Marine Surveyors Decry Safety of Watercrafts on Lagos Waters

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Eromosele Abiodun
The Centre for Marine Surveyors in Nigeria has frown on the use of unsafe boats and other water crafts on Lagos waters.

This is coming even as the Managing Director of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Bisola Kamson has disclosed that not less than two million Lagosians now travel in and around Lagos by water on a monthly basis following increased enforcement of the laws guiding water transportation in the state.

Speaking at the annual lecture of the centre, the group’s Vice President, Akin Olaniyan said that the need to ensure safety of passenger boats on Lagos waters cannot be over emphasized following the high number of commuters currently patronising the use of water transport.

Olaniyan also urged the Lagos State Government to ensure proper certification of operators of passenger boats adding that uncertified coupled with unsafe boats will mean disaster if measures were not put in place to correct the anomaly in the water transport sector.

“Once passenger safety is guaranteed and commuters can travel in relative comfort, the seascape is opened and a major economic trigger is activated. The question is how safety can be guaranteed. The rules and regulations governing the safety of lives at sea should be enforced. It is necessary to note here that there is no universal convention covering small crafts safety per see the nations operating commercial small vessels has their different laws on this issue. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has only addressed the common grounds of this,” he said.

He added, “The United Kingdom operational standards for small vessels which contain the safety codes of practice and certification is widely used and accepted in many countries with a blend of their local safety laws in quickly add that when addressing this issue, one must be clear on what a small vessel is.
“Government Ambode may have unwittingly kick-started a virile industry which is capable of transforming the maritime economy nationwide and galvanizing intelligentsia towards creativity. The time has come when we should redefine our policies on maritime transportation and its safety.”

On his part, Kamson said the target is to move 20 million passengers around Lagos every month.
Kamson added that the increased patronage could be attributed to the increased safety measures the government has put in place, saying that alone built up passengers’ confidence in the use of water transport.

Although she could not give a breakdown of the figure, she noted that a holistic development of the water transport sector was part of the government ‘s moves of making Lagos a mega city.
She also called on private investor to take advantage of the rising demand for water transport and invest in the sector.

Similarly, the Managing Director of the Lagos Ferry Services, Mr. Paul Kalejaiye disclosed that plans to concession about five ferry terminals have been concluded.
“We are also doing our jetties, we are privatizing five jetties, the Ikorodu, Mile 2 and other major jetties across the state have slated for privatisation.

“The Mile 2 concession is concluded because this was where ferry services started in Lagos state but today the place is an eye saw. The government is embarking on a total revolution of the state waterways transport system, a new master plan has also been produced to this effect,” he said.