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Merchant Navy boss condemns call for resignation of maritime agencies’ heads over barge accident

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Segun Oladipupo     |    

The National President of Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA), Comrade Bob Joseph Yousou, has condemned the call by some stakeholders asking heads of some maritime agencies to resign over the recent barge accident that occured in Mile 2 area of Lagos.

Yousou, who faulted the demand of the six groups, said they were hasty in their decision, saying investigations were yet to be concluded on the matter.

Recall that the Shippers’ Association Lagos State (SALS), Ndigboamaka Progressive (Traders) Associations, Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN), African Association of professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Congregation of Registered Freight Forwarders Practitioners of Nigeria (CREFFPON), Justice and People Care Foundation and Sea Empowerment and Research Centre had called for resignation of Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Speaking on behalf of the groups, Reverend Jonathan Nicol said, “Notwithstanding the prevalent situation, it is not a leeway or a suggestion that barge operations should thrive on the premise of carefree and negligence nor professionalism jettisoned nor operational abuses, impunities, high handedness condoned or regulatory obligations compromised at will.”

Speaking against the background, Engr. Bob Joseph Yousuo said accidents happen even in advanced countries, adding that it was not enough to call for resignation of the heads of the agencies responsible for the regulation of the sector.

He advised that instead of calling for their sack, an investigative panel be inaugurated to know the remote cause of the accident, saying It’s when the cause is known that solutions can be proffered.

According to him, it is after the findings are made that compensation could be paid to those affected either by the government or the underwriters.

Yousuo advised both the operators and their clients or customers to observe safety guidelines in accordance with the international best practices.

While sympathising with the operators on the great losses incurred as a result of this accident, he called on the relevant agencies to collaborate to avoid recurrence of the ugly development

As stakeholder in the maritime industry, he however called for inter-agency synergy which he said was lacking among the Parastatals for seamless operations in the ports.

He reiterated the need for the berge operators to be well versed and certified in the mode of transportation.

“The personnels must be well grounded and the berges must be seaworthy.

“I will conclude by appealing to all stakeholders to shealth their sword while investigation is carried out so as to come up with the best way to curb future recurrence,” he submitted.

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