Boat mishap: LASWA warns ferry operators against night journey
• Says violators risk prosecution
Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority (LASWA) has again warned all ferry operators and passengers in the state against night journey, reminding that the state government’s “No Night travelling” on the waterways directive is still in place.
The agency issued this warning, on Saturday, following a boat accident that occurred last night around 8:00 pm along Ikorodu Channel of the Lagos State Waterways which claimed five lives.
The State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, who paid an unscheduled condolence visit to the scene of the accident at Ikorodu this morning, explained that the accident was avoidable if the operators had followed the state government directive of no night journey and 60per cent loading capacity.
Oladeinde, who was accompanied by LASWA General Manager, Mr Damilola Emmanuel, stated further that the 20 passengers ill-fated boat, apart from taking off illegally around 8 pm in the night at Ebute Ero Jetty, also overloaded as 21 passengers were on board when the accident occurred.
“The avoidable boat mishap occurred after a 20 passengers capacity commercial ferry with 21 passengers on board took off illegally from Èbúté Ẹrọ Jetty at about few minutes past 8:00 pm heading towards Ikorodu, ran into an unknown object on the Waterways causing the boat to capsize,” Oladeinde stated.
The commissioner said 16 passengers were rescued alive while five persons were confirmed dead with one survivor.
According to Oladeinde, this followed an immediate rescue effort deployed by the authority after the news of the accident was broken, describing as regrettable.
“It is regrettable to confirm that there are five casualties from this mishap, also 16 passengers have been rescued alive with one person in critical condition through the efforts of LASWA Search Party, Local Boat operators search team, the Marine Police and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA),” the commissioner stated
The commissioner commiserated with the families of the deceased passengers, assuring that necessary action would be taken to ensure that thorough investigation was carried out, just as he promised that all those responsible for the mishap would be prosecuted according to the law.
Oladeinde, in an emotion-laden voice, urged ferry operators in the state to desist from breaking government laid down safety guidelines to avoid a reoccurrence of the incident, noting that the unfortunate incident would have been avoided if the rule of no night travelling on the waterways from 6:00 pm had been strictly complied with by the operators.
Also speaking at the scene of the incident, LASWA General Manager, Mr Emmanuel, warned that henceforth, any operator, who violated any of the safety guidelines especially the no night travelling rule, would be arrested by the Marine Police, while their boat would be impounded.
Emmanuel urged passengers too to desist from embarking on night journey on waterways, warning that any passenger found on board of such boats at night would also be prosecuted in accordance with the relevant laws of the state.