NIWA to shut Lalek Marine operations over Lagos boat mishap

The ill-fated Lalek Marine boat which capsized recently with 14 passengers rescued and six dead, failed to adhere to 6pm sailing regime guiding water transportation services in Lagos, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has revealed. This is even as the agency said it is shutting down Lalek Marine operations following the comoany’s disregard for extant laws guiding ferry operations in Nigeria.

In a preliminary report on the sad and avoidable incident, the Office of the NIWA Lagos Area Manager, Engineer Sarat Lara Braimah stated that the boat operator, apart from violating the extant time of operation regime which is at 6pm and not 8pm, the boat operator also overloaded the boat against the covid 19 protocol which allows only 60 per cent carrying capacity for all types of boats in order to encourage social distancing.

“We at NIWA responded immediately and joined the marine police, LASWA and other concerned agencies to rescue the 14 passengers and also recovered six others already drowned, with one missing.

“The MD of NIWA has directed that the jetty be monitored by NIWA police to avoid re-occurrence of the incident and to enable NIWA conduct full investigation to this very sad but avoidable violation.

“NIWA management, a month ago offered waiver and reduced sundry fees and other operational charges across board in the brown water economy to help stakeholders stick to post Covid 19 protocols and to check tendencies that might encourage violations of extant regulation regime.

“The Managing director of NIWA, Dr George Moghalu knew that some operators might be tempted to make quick money to make up for the lost opportunities and financial loss experienced during the lockdown and therefore was futuristic and proactive to reduce the fees and charges, knowing the expected impact of the lockdown on operators but we can see from what happened that some operators are so uncaring and selfish to end the lives of innocent people through blatant violation of the rules of engagement,” Sarat Lara Braimah explained.

It will be recalled that the boat named lalek marine, operated out of Ebute Ero jetty on Friday night by 8pm and capsized on its way to Ikorodu, shortly after departure, with 14 passengers rescued and six dead with one missing.

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