The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has disclosed that final arrangements had been made on the modalities for training, certification and licensing of boat captains and operators on the nation’s waterways.
NIWA said that the new programme was informed by the worrisome state of safety standards by boat operators.
The Authority made the disclosure at the quarterly stakeholders’ meeting and launch of a new boat service held in Lagos on Wednesday, where NIWA assured boat operators and other stakeholders that the latest move was to ensure all-year safety on the waterways by standardising operating procedures within the sector.
The mandatory Small Power Boat and RIB Master training course would be delivered in partnership with Metropolitan Waterways. The course is designed for beginners and experienced boat owners and captains interested in refreshing their basic seamanship.
Accordingly, it is now compulsory to take the Small Power BOAT/RIB course as a prerequisite to obtain NIWA Captain License. Similarly, the SPB course certificate makes it eligible to apply for the NIWA Captain/skipper Licence as a boat operator on Nigeria inland waterways.
Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of NIWA, George Moghalu, said: “We are greatly saddened each time we hear incident of boat mishap.”
Represented by Joseph Ororo, General Manager, Marine, NIWA, Moghalu said that the training had long started in Delta and Bayelsa States, thus long overdue for takeoff in Lagos.
The NIWA MD said that the license would be valid anywhere in Nigeria and would be renewed every three years
While soliciting stakeholders’ support to ensure success of the programme, Moghalu blamed most boat mishaps across the country on human error, while acknowledging that NIWA should also live up to its responsibility in that regard, which was a key reason for the retraining programme for operators.
He vowed that henceforth NIWA would be stricter with operators as it was currently working on categorising rivers across the country to guarantee security on inland waterways as catalyst for the success of the Deepsea Project.
Speaking also, the Lagos Area Manager, NIWA, Sarat Braimah, said the programme curriculum for the training recognizes the education barrier in the sector, therefore, consideration is given to educate both the captains and users on proper safety measures.
She said that the training would be categorised into three phrases and would also include executive training for boat owners who wish to drive their own boats.