New patrol boats will improve waterway transport in Rivers, Moghalu says

Moghalu said it was part of the Authority’s vision to ensure the nation’s inland waterways provide a truly safe and alternative mode of transport.

By Uzor Odigbo

Transport Minister Mu’azu Sambo on Friday, August 2, commissioned two patrol and passenger boats to bolster the operations of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in Rivers State.

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The Minister, during a tour of NIWA’s Port Harcourt Regional Office facilities, commanded the two patrol boats, PB-Gusau and PB-Jalingo; as well as a 32-seat passenger ferry.

NIWA Chief Executive Dr George Moghalu said the Minister’s wealth of experience and knowledge in the sector will positively impact the Authority and spur it towards greater productivity.

Moghalu noted that the set of river craft aims to improve the operational efficiency of the Authority, and added that NIWA’s vision is to make Nigeria the leader in the transport, development and management of inland waterways. in Africa.

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He explained that there is a need to ensure the development of infrastructure for a national network of inland waterways that will connect creeks and rivers to economic centers, using river ports as nodal points for intermodal exchange.

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“As you may be aware, less than a year ago the Authority ordered over twenty patrol boats as well as a tug, a barge and a marine ambulance for distribution to various regional offices of the Authority.

“It is part of the Authority’s vision to ensure that the Nation’s inland waterways provide a truly safe, efficient, cost-effective and alternative mode of transporting goods and people, while becoming competitive and attractive.

“It is undeniable that the enormous opportunities that abound in the Nation’s waterways can only be maximized if concerted efforts are directed towards infrastructure development and adequate funding to make the waterways attractive and competitive for stakeholders, d ‘where the need for a regulatory framework. ; aiming to actualize this, which will eventually take the cost of providing infrastructure on the roads to the water at a relatively cheaper cost”.

The NIWA boss revealed that the Authority has licensed several companies to transport goods through Nigeria’s waterways, particularly from the ports of Lagos and Onne to the hinterland and vice versa.

“To achieve more goals, the Authority is poised to continuously ensure the development of native manpower as well as provide aids to navigation, river training work, survey and l removal of wrecks, placement of river gauges, construction of jetties, capital and maintenance dredging, establishment of search and rescue stations, certification of river craft and training of boat operators. boats and crew, as well as ongoing safety awareness campaigns.

“As we speak, the sixth batch of training and certification of boat skippers by the Authority is underway in Lagos. Even expatriates are taking part in this exercise of training and certification by the Authority,” he added.

He thanked the ministry for its contribution to the growth of the Authority, to ensure that the nation gets the most out of the inland waterway transport system.

The people present at the event are the Minister of State for Transport, Prince Ademola Adegoroye; the Permanent Secretary (FMOT), Dr. Magdalene Ajani; and delegates from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC).

Earnest A. Martinez