As part of the efforts to license boat operators, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has reiterated its commitment to build capacity for boat captains and skippers operating in Lagos waterways.
The General Manager, Marine Operations, NIWA , Engineer Joseph Ororo, disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting between the agency and boat operators, held in Lagos, yesterday.
Ororo, maintained that the training will be compulsory for the operators ,even as he noted that participants at the end of the exercise would be licensed by the agency as certified captains.
According to him, NIWA with the collaborative support from accredited institutions will design a curriculum for training of the skippers.
He explained that the training will be categorised into three phases, to include the use of local languages when necessary, practical and theoretical methodology.
The GM added; “The training will also be extended to executive boat operators to enhance appropriate safety measures at sea. As regulators, we don’t want accidents at sea. So, we are going to train boat captains and crew members on important safety measures to guide their operations.”
The General Manager said the move is necessitated against the backdrop of poor educational background of skippers and captains in brown waters operations, adding that boat mishaps are often caused by human errors.
He emphasised; “This training of our boat operators is long overdue. We started it in Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta States but Lagos is the centre of excellence.
So, we are going to expand the scope of this capacity building exercise to boat operators in Lagos.”
Earlier, the Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, Engineer Sarat Lara Braimah, said that the training will focus on safety and will lead to licensing of boat operators to operate within appropriate regulatory guidelines.
According to her, the certification will last for three years at the end of the training.
Her words; “Our boat captains will be formerly licensed by NIWA. We want them to be known in their operations. We want to hold them accountable in whatever they do.
“Awareness on blue waters alongside the potentials are positioned for economic sustainability but the brown waters has what it takes to also compete with the blue economy.
Stakeholders in brown waters operation have what it takes to move the sub-sector to an enviable level.
“Boat mishaps in recent times can be attributed to carelessness and human errors.
Boat operators and NIWA are all guilty of these unfortunate incidents on our waterways. Therefore, we want to look for a way forward.
“We can do it right. Let us even know who are the people piloting our boats. We want to know them and that is why we want them to be licensed. NIWA want to start from somewhere.
“We want proper formal education for our captains because some of them are not properly educated “.
She also noted that the training programmes will be devoid of language barrier, as all types of local languages will be used during the capacity building exercise to carry all operators along.
The Area Manager urged stakeholders to cooperate with NIWA to end ravishing boat mishaps on Lagos waterways, adding that carelessness on the part of the captains resulted to accidents that occurred recently.
The stakeholders’ meeting had in attendance members of ATBOWATON,MWUN, officials from LAGFERRY, and the service providers in waterways transportation ecology.