SIXTEEN passengers are yet to be found after a W19 passenger fibre boat transporting them from Mile 2 to Ibeshe capsized on Friday, July 8, 2022.
A statement signed by the Lagos area manager of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Sarat Braimah, said the authority received a distress call by 7:45 pm when the accident occurred.
Braimah stated that the boat captain breached the night rule of ferrying passengers by night.
“The boat going from Mile 2 to Ibeshe in the Ojo axis broke the waterways rule of late travelling by setting sail at 7.45 pm. As he set out, the tide of the water drifted the boat to a stationary barge, which caused the boat to overturn. It is said that all passengers on board, including children, were not all putting on their life jackets,” the statement read in part.
The statement added that the Search and Rescue teams of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) were immediately mobilized to the scene of the incident. Sadly, the boat was found after several hours, while efforts were ongoing to locate the victims.
It added that the boat had been retrieved, while the boat captain was still unaccounted for.
In a related development, the Lagos State Government has vowed to enforce safety measures and go after sub-standard boat operators.
This is according to a statement signed by the Assistant Director, Public Affairs of the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Bolanle Ogunlola, and received on Saturday, July 9, 2022.
The statement, which quoted the General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr. Damilola Emmanuel, condoled with the families of victims who lost their lives in the recent boat mishaps in the state.
Emmanuel said, “One of the boat drivers whose actions led to a boat mishap some years back was recently sentenced to life imprisonment. We are coming harder on operators who are compromising standards. With the huge capital committed to the water transportation sector, we cannot fold our arms and allow mediocrity.”
The LASWA General Manager disclosed that his agency has partnered with the manufacturer of Yamaha, which manufactures most of the engines used in boats in Lagos, to reduce the price they are selling engines to boat operators to enhance safety.
He admonished passengers on the waterways to be safety conscious always.
“The life jacket can save you. Buy your own life jacket if you must. Inspect the life jacket that you are given and make sure it does not have holes or is torn, while avoiding night travels. Safety consciousness is a collective responsibility. If you see something unusual on the waterways, say it,” Emmanuel was quoted to have said.
The mishap yesterday came barely two days after a 20-passenger ferry boat capsized in Lagos at 7:45am on Wednesday July 6, 2022.