For Nigeria’s transportation system to be sustainable and safe, the different transportation modes, including land (road and rail) maritime (inland waterways and sea) and air must be synchronized through intramodality to ensure that passengers get value for money.
This can only be achieved when each of the various modes operates in an environment that is well-regulated and the safety of operations is guaranteed.
These were the words of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Moghalu, at a webinar of the second National Transport Technology Conference and Exhibition 2023 organized by the National Transportation Commissioners Forum.
Moghalu said human/manual means of ensuring these regulations might not be foolproof and that technological innovations are required by regulators.
According to him, despite efforts by concerned authorities to ensure the safety of passengers and cargoes on the waterways, NIWA is ensuring that its processes are modernized and technologically oriented. He said it is doing this by introducing online registration and survey of boats, which has helped to ensure that many vessels plying the inland waterways are captured on their database.
Moghalu said the body expected that with its efforts, boat accidents would be reasonably minimized, adding that the recent incidents call for urgent intervention by the authorities.
He said in the last six months, Nigeria has recorded over 100 fatalities on the inland waterways, which calls for concerted efforts by all relevant stakeholders to nip the ugly incidents in the bud.
Also speaking, Director-General/CEO of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Mansur Bako Matazu, said the maritime transport sector has a long tradition of using risk-based approaches in the design and operation as well as to support decision-making on safety.
To further this objective, Nimet recently signed an MoU with NIWA against the backdrop of an ongoing collaboration with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Matazu, represented by Prof. Charles Anosike, said incidents in recent years have highlighted the hazards of extreme weather at sea, emphasizing the need for more action to better protect infrastructure and improve the efficiency of the maritime supply chain.
He added that the agency remains committed to providing impact-based forecasts to enable better decision-making for the safety of navigation and the protection of life and property at sea.
Managing Partner, Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara, while speaking on ‘safety practices in waterways and maritime transport: the urgency of the now’, said collaboration among the bodies charged with matters of inland waterways transport is key to minimizing conflicts, promoting efficiency and enthroning safety practices of international standard in the inland waterways transport.
Source: The Guardian