NIMASA should investigate boat mishaps- Marine Engineer

Mr. Nnajiuno Oliver Ogbuagu, a Marine Engineer and former Director of Safety and Security with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has called on NIMASA to investigate the causes of boat mishaps on the nation’s inland waterways.

The marine engineer, who is also a former Executive Director Operations in NIMASA, said the Agency should take the action in accordance with the extant laws and provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act.

According to Ogbuagu, the responsibility lies on NIMASA because, it is in its purview to regulate all marine crafts operations for safety and security.

“NIMASA regulates safety and security of all marine craft operations including ships in Nigeria’s waters, be it in brown, blue, green or what have you in any navigable water(s) in Nigeria.

“The main investigations by the Maritime Safety Administration, NIMASA, is a must, since theirs will determine a call or otherwise for recommendation to the Minister of Transport for the constitution of a Marine Board, which is almost a must since fatalities were reported in accordance with MSA 1990 as amended.”

Engr. Ogbuagu spoke on the backdrop of the recent boat mishap that occurred last week in Lagos with fatalities recorded.

He spoke, supporting Engr Olu Akinsoji’s argument See here against a proposed decision by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to shut down operations of the boat transporting company, Lelak, which was ferrying the passengers to Ikorodu from Ebute Ero late at night.

Ogbuagu, however, called for a thorough technical investigation with a remarkable role played by NIMASA, saying that if NIWA went ahead with a shutdown of the company’s operations, many companies would turn away from providing such vital services.

He added that: “Similarly if an authority stops buses operations anytime there is bus accident, your guess is as good as mine. Their threat to shut down operation is not the answer. The road to reach such conclusion is very long.”

He also wants an unbiased review to ascertain if the waterways authority has the capacity for such investigations.

“Another big question to ask is, does NIWA have the necessary personnel, capacity and competence to conduct such reported marine accident investigation that resulted, allegedly in any fatalities, not the least in accordance with the extant laws and MSA in particular?” Ogbuagu, who was also a consultant to the House and Senate Committee on Marine transportation, added.




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