Mr Kunle Olayiwola, Zonal Coordinator, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Warri, has warned unauthorised boat operators in the creeks to steer clear of the waterways in Delta,.
Olayiwola, who assumed office recently in Warri, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Warri on Sunday.
He said that some of the operators used substandard boats and warned that anyone caught operating without NIMASA’s authorisation would face the wrath of the agency.
He said that henceforth, boat operators plying the creeks in the zone must be certified by the agency to ensure professionalism and safety.
“The whole idea is to bring about professionalism and standard in the trade as well as reduce accidents on the waterways”, he said.
The coordinator urged Delta Government to set up a taskforce that would sensitise the people on the need to wear safety jackets and avoid overloading.
He said the apex maritime regulatory body was saddled with ensuring secure shipping, clean oceans and enhanced maritime capacity, in line with global best practices.
Olayiwola also said that NIMASA had organised training programmes for seafarers on marine pollution prevention and removal of wreckage from waterways.
The coordinator said that the agency had been encouraging indigenous shipping and training youths on international seafaring, adding that the trainees would replace the ageing ones.
“The young seafarers trained in Singapore, Malaysia and parts of Europe will take over from the ageing ones.
“NIMASA is helping people to get international certificates; with this, there will many qualified master mariners in the country in the next 10 years”, he said.
Olayiwola, however, said some state governments had not cooperated with the agency in carrying out safety awareness campaigns.
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