By Chiemelie Ezeobi
Disaster was averted at the Tarkwa Bay area of Lagos after naval operatives attached to the newly established Forward Operations Base (FOB) rescued all 12 passengers of a capsized commercial boat.
The outboard-engine boat had capsized when a heavy wave by another transiting boat filled its flanks.
Fortunately, operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship BEECROFT attached to the FOB as well as personnel of the navy’s Special Boat Services (SBS), who were on routine patrol, chanced on them and rescued the passengers.
Confirming the rescue, the Information Officer, Western Naval Command, Commander Thomas Otuji, said the passengers were immediately ferried to the Naval Medical Centre, Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island, Lagos, for medical care.
He said: “The boat conveying 12 passengers capsized due to heavy wave caused by another boat transiting the same area, leaving its occupants scampering for help.
“The Nigerian Navy, whose men were at the vicinity on routine patrols, immediately deployed to the scene for search and rescue operations.
“All passengers onboard the ill fated boat were rescued alive and conveyed to the Naval Medical Centre, Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island Lagos for immediate medical care.
“Once again, boat operators and passengers are strongly advised to adhere to safety guidelines and measures before embarking on any trip.
“ Relevant unions and associations are further advised to ensure that safety gears are provided by their members for passengers and to enforce the compulsory use of the safety gears by all passengers.
“Additionally, boat drivers should be subjected to regular and mandatory training and medical checks. These measure are necessary because the mishap in the first place was caused by an unprofessional boat driver with poor judgement and with no regard to the safety of others while plying the waters.
“On our part, the Western Naval Command will continue to render necessary assistance in fulfilment of its mandate on aid to civil authority, especially the security and safety of lives and property in its Area of Responsibility.
“Accordingly, members of the public are enjoined to remain patriotic and support measures emplaced by the command to checkmate untoward actions by criminal elements in the maritime sector.“