BEVERLY HILLS, June 06, (THEWILL) – As part of the efforts to license boat operators, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has reiterated its commitment to building capacity for boat captains and skippers operating in Lagos waterways.
This was disclosed by NIWA General Manager Marine Operations, Engineer Joseph Ororo, at a stakeholders meeting between the agency and boat operators held in Lagos midweek.
Ororo maintained that the training would be compulsory for the operators, even as he noted that participants at the end of the schooling would be licensed by the agency as certified captains.
According to him, NIWA with the collaborative support from accredited institutions would design a curriculum for training the skippers.
He said the training would be categorised into the three phases which, in turn, included practical and theoretical methodology.
The GM added that the training would also be extended to executive boat operators.
Oror said the move was necessitated against the backdrop of the poor educational background of the skippers and captains in brown waters operations, adding that the “training of our boat operators is long overdue. We have started it in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states but Lagos is the centre of excellence.”
Earlier, the Lagos Area Manager NIWA, Engineer Sarat Lara Braimah, said the training was centred on how to license boat operators.
According to her, the certification would last for three years at the end of the training.
“Our boat captains will be formerly licensed by NIWA,” Engineer Lara Braimah said. “We want them to be known in their operations. We want to hold them accountable in whatever they do and what they are doing in the waterways activities.”
She told the gathering that awareness on the blue waters alongside the potentials were positioned for economic sustainability but the brown waters have what it took to also compete with the blue economy.
She noted that the stakeholders in brown waters operation had what it took to move the subsector to an enviable level, pointing out that boat mishaps in recent times could be attributed to carelessness and other human errors.
“Both the operators, both NIWA, we are all guilty of these unfortunate accidents on our waterways, therefore, we want to look for the way forward.
“How can we do it right? Let’s 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 wants to start from somewhere.
“We want a proper formal education for our captains because they are not properly educated.”
She also noted that the training programme would be devoid of language barrier as all types of dialects would complement the capacity building project.
The Area Manager urged stakeholders to cooperate with NIWA to end the boat mishaps on Lagos waterways, adding that carelessness on the part of the captains resulted in the accidents that occurred recently.
The stakeholders meeting had in attendance members of ATBOWATON, MWUN, officials from LAGFERRY and the service providers in the waterways transportation ecology