April 25, 2024

CILT Nigeria says 300 lives lost to boat accidents in 2023

Boat carrying 100 passengers capsizes in Niger

File image for illustration

. . . Calls for increased safety culture on waterways

By Godwin Oritse

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Nigeria has expressed displeasure over the frequent loss of lives associated with passenger ferries on coastal and inland waterways, even as it advocated for more safety culture measures by users and stakeholders.

President of CILT Nigeria, Barrister Mfon Usoro in a statement, disclosed that the institute Committee investigated the incessant boat mishaps in Nigeria and discovered that over 300 lives were lost on the waterways in 2023.

Usoro,a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, reiterated that “An independent online investigation initiated by the CILT, Nigeria Publicity Committee revealed that over 300 lives were lost to different boat accidents across the country in 2023. ”

Giving a vivid explanation on the mishaps in the nation’s stated ”Recent ferry and boat fatalities recorded include: 5 Nollywood actors and crew in Asaba, Delta State; 3 medical students in Calabar, Cross River State, 3 passengers in Ibeshe, Ikorodu, Lagos State, 8 dead and estimated 100 persons declared missing in Borgu district, Niger State, 8 passengers in Anambra State.

“Overwhelming cause of the ferry disasters were the occurrence of one or a combination of the following factors: overloading, non-use of lifejackets, adverse weather conditions, human error, sub-standard boats and ferries, mechanical failures like engine breakdowns, inadequate safety measures, absence of navigational aids, non-availability of search and rescue services and regulatory gaps.,”She highlighted .

Usoro maintained that safety of lives and property at sea/rivers is of paramount concern to everyone, especially in the light of recurring boat mishaps.

According to her, the incidents not only result in tragic loss of lives but also pose significant economic and environmental risks.

The CILT boss stated that “While we support the use of inland waterways, is saddened by the frequent loss of lives associated with passenger ferries in our coastal and inland waterways.

“While we support the use of inland waterways transports as an alternative and viable mode of transportation, the incessant ferry related incidents resulting in fatalities has prompted a closer look at the deficit in safety culture and non-adherence to safety measures by the parties responsible for safety in our waters.

Usoro who was a former Secretary,Abuja MoU, noted that CILT is of the opinion that all stakeholders that constitute the “circle of responsibility” in safety of water transport must work in collaboration to improve safety consciousness of ferry operators, jetty owners and persons that use waterways transport.