By Steve Agbota

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Nigeria has lamented over 300 lives were lost on the waterways in 2023, even though it advocated more safety culture measures by users and stakeholders.

The Institute in a statement on Thursday expressed displeasure over the frequent loss of lives associated with passenger ferries on coastal and inland waterways.

However, President of CILT Nigeria, Barrister Mfon Usoro revealed that the institute Committee investigated the incessant boat mishaps in Nigeria and discovered that over 300 lives were lost on the waterways in 2023.

Usoro who is also a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said that an independent online investigation by the CILT, Nigeria Publicity Committee revealed that over 300 lives were lost to different boat accidents across the country in 2023.

”Recent ferry and boat fatalities recorded include: five Nollywood actors and crew in Asaba, Delta State; three medical students in Calabar, Cross River State, three passengers in Ibeshe, Ikorodu, Lagos State, eight dead and estimated 100 persons declared missing in Borgu district, Niger State, eight passengers in Anambra State.

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“Overwhelming cause of the ferry disasters were the occurrence of one or a combination of the following factors: overloading, non-use of lifejackets, adverse weather conditions, human error, sub-standard boats and ferries, mechanical failures like engine breakdowns, inadequate safety measures, absence of navigational aids, non-availability of search and rescue services and regulatory gaps,” she said.

According to her, the safety of lives and property at sea/rivers is of paramount concern to everyone, especially in light of recurring boat mishaps.

She hinted that the incidents not only result in tragic loss of lives but also pose significant economic and environmental risks.

“While we support the use of inland waterways, are saddened by the frequent loss of lives associated with passenger ferries in our coastal and inland waterways.

“While we support the use of inland waterways transports as an alternative and viable mode of transportation, the incessant ferry-related incidents resulting in fatalities has prompted a closer look at the deficit in safety culture and non-adherence to safety measures by the parties responsible for safety in our waters,” she said.

Usoro who also doubles as the former Secretary, Abuja MoU, pointed out that CILT is of the opinion that all stakeholders that constitute the circle of responsibility in the safety of water transport must work in collaboration to improve the safety consciousness of ferry operators, jetty owners and persons that use waterways transport.