Maritime Report

August 19, 2020

NIWA set to impound substandard boats, certify operators, jetty owners

NIWA set to impound substandard boats, certify operators, jetty owners

By Godfrey Bivbere

As a means of curbing  incessant boat mishap in the country, the National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, has said it will commence impounding of substandard boats plying the nation’s waterways.

Disclosing this at a meeting with stakeholders to inform them on the new development, Managing Director of NIWA, George Moghalu, told the stakeholders that the Authority will commence inspection of boats, operators, and owners of boats to ensure that they all adhere to the protocol.

Moghalu explained that henceforth, NIWA will embark on inspection of jetties, boats, monitor speed limit, ensure no movement after 6.30 pm, midstream transfer of passengers, etc.

He said: “These cannot continue; therefore we let owners and operators know that we are now going to enforce all the protocols. We are moving now to re-certify every vessel, no matter how small or how big as long as they operate on our inland waterways. There is going to be certification and re-certification of vessels.

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“No vessel that is not certified by NIWA will be allowed on our inland waterways. We are going to impound vessels now, vessels (as far as we are concerned) sea-worthy, vessels that are not certified by NIWA will be impounded.

“We are going to now start a regime of random checks; you are going to see our police on water, chasing or stopping vessels on our waterways. We cannot allow things to continue this way; the use of life jacket must be obeyed. We cannot afford to lose any more lives; even the speed limit must be observed. I know that for us to achieve our aims and desire fully, we must get the buy-in of both the operators, boat owners and all the stakeholders.

“I am sure you are aware that a good percentage of accidents have actually been a consequence of refusal to obey protocols. It is either life jacket are not used; it is either vessels are not certified, it is either the boat operators are not qualified; the vessels are overloaded; it is either a case of over speeding; it is either a case of using the right boat for wrong purposes, or the wrong boat for the right purposes.

“I am sure you are aware that there are protocols already established by NIWA; protocols that insist on wearing of life jackets, protocols that insist of no drugs, the protocol that insists that from 6.30 pm to 6.00 a.m, no boat should be operating, the protocol that states that vessels should not be overloaded for any reason.

“We have come to know that there are midstream transfer of passengers, that is not acceptable. Even when we know that the water is not good for the operation we allow our vessels to go. In some cases you find out that the pilots are over speeding beyond the capacity of those vessels.”