Boat accidents: Former GIS Olu Akinsoji asks NIMASA to take responsibility

Olu Akinsoji

A former Government Inspector of Ships (GIS), Engr. Olu Akinsoji, has expressed sadness over frequent fatal boat accidents in Nigeria, asking the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to rise up to the responsibility of ensuring safety on the waterways.

Speaking against the background of the latest boat accident that claimed 17 lives in the Mile 2 area of Lagos, Akinsoji expressed regret that “the series of mishap in the waterways” had not attracted serious attention of the appropriate authorities.

“Has NIMASA been relinquished of the statutory responsibility of the safety of life and properties concerning waterways transportation? That agency does not feature sufficiently in your reports concerning the incessant terrible loss of innocent life.

“I am worried because the situation is getting worse by the day. You will recall that my office, Government Inspector of Ships, responsible for safety of ships and watercrafts was merged with NMA (National Maritime Authority) to create NIMASA.

“It now appears that the aspect of safety of the life of our citizens in the waterways is subsumed in the politics of ‘maritime administration’.

“I think NIMASA should review its structure to become more homely (domestic caring) and demonstrate her understanding of its national municipal responsibilities,” Engr. Akinsoji, who is Nigeria’s pioneer Alternate Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and a former Administrator of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, said in a message to SHIPS & PORTS on Monday.

He said control of security, safety and environmental protection from the operations of vessels are related, “and they all require the deliberate presence and effectiveness of the authority in charge”.

“I hope the authority will show some more concern on the current trend of waterway mishap,” he added.

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