Anaylsis Of The Causes And Prevention Strategies Of Boat Accident Along Nigeria Inland Waterways (A Case Study Of Niger Delta)
Cases of Boat accident involving personal injury, deaths, property and environmental damage have grown in tandem with increased oil prospecting and other commercial seaborne transportation activities in Niger-Delta/coastal regions of Nigeria. The incidence of Boat casualties and associated risk factors generate serious concern as further empirical evidence suggests that between 75-96% of Boat casualties are caused at least in part by some form of human error. This study investigates the determinants of accident involving Boats in Nigeria’s waterways. Perceptual data analysed in this study were obtained from structured questionnaires administered to a random sample of Boat operators in marine terminals and anchorage locations. Findings from parametric tests using multinomial logit regression model indicate that human and environmental factors significantly affect probability of accident involving Boats. Policy implications of the results are discussed.
1.1 Background to the study
It is very absurd to read on a regular basis, reports about boats mishaps resulting into loss of lives and properties instead of breakthrough made by marine engineers and naval architects on shipbuilding, efficient wreck removal and ship recycling. It is equally disturbing when the causes of ship capsizing in the country are repeatedly common requiring little government intervention to avert them but without necessary official concerted efforts to reverse the ugly trend of loss of enormous resources. Although government has provided enough policy frameworks on how to ensure safety in the Nigerian waters, there is lack of enforcement on the part of executing agencies.
Section 428 subsection 1a – 1c of the Nigerian Merchant Shipping Act (MSA), 2007 states that there is a marine casualty when any ship is lost, abandoned, materially damaged or causes lost or material damage to another ship or there is any loss of life by reason of any casualty occurring to or on board any ship on or near the coast of Nigeria. On the other hand, Sections 189 – 192 of the Act provides measures to be taken to prevent marine accidents and for the protection of seamen and other maritime employees. It also requires investigations to be conducted into causes, general trend and hazards for marine accidents by empowering the Minister to make regulations dealing with structure, machinery, safety, cargo types, loading and unloading as well as firefighting, ballast and kitting for crew members. Also, Section 258 subsections 1 and 2 empowers the Minister to make rules for the safety of non-conventional Boats including prescribing the requirements for hull, equipment and machinery, lifesaving appliances, manning level, ship class, inspection and licensing as well as prevention of overloading and overcrowding. Again, Section 275 of the Act makes it mandatory for masters of all Nigerian ships, near coastal and inland waters ships to transmit reports regarding any accidents resulting into loss of life or injury, unseaworthiness of the ship, inefficiency of the hull or machinery, failure of which without any reasonable cause, on conviction shall be liable to a fine of not less than one hundred thousand Naira.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Wrecks are Boats sunk, stranded or abandoned in harbour, dock, pier, tidal water or port approaches under the control of a harbour authority. Wrecks include jetsam, flotsam, lagan and all derelicts (including logs) floating or submerged in the tidal waters or the operational shores of a nation. Wrecks are viewed seriously because they constitute danger to navigation and to lifeboats engaged in rescue operations and other services.
In Nigeria, there is a general impression that wrecks can only be found in the coastal states where there are seaports. In fact, there is hardly any mention of such instance when government officials and maritime professional are discussing about water transportation in Nigeria apart from those that occurred in places which they commonly referred to as the “riverine areas”. However, for several years now, newspapers have been reporting about boat mishaps along different water channels in the hinterland.
What are the causes of boats mishaps in the interior? What role has government played to prevent boats accidents in those places? What intervention other measures can be put in place to avert boats casualties?
1.2 Objectives of the study
This study attempts to find out about the types, causes and frequencies of boats mishaps in selected Niger/Delta states of Nigeria and to document suggestions from operators and the communities on how to prevent or minimise the occurrence to the lowest possible level. Specifically, the study also intends to:
- Evaluate the safety measures put in place by operators and other institutional bodies in the areas and assesses the level of infrastructure in terms of quantity, quality and accessibility to boat operators, boat users and institutional staff.
- Examines the educational background and training needs of operators and institutional staff as well as the number and quality of training institutions in the areas
- Recommend various intervention policies to government.
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the causes of boats mishaps in the interior?
- What role has government played to prevent boats accidents in those places?
- What intervention other measures can be put in place to avert boats casualties?
1.5 Significance Of The Study
There is no gain saying the fact that the issue of economic growth and development is one of the most sensitive issues in Nigeria of today. One reason for the sensitivity of this issue is the scenario of abject poverty in the Land of surplus as is the case in Nigeria. The reason for this boils down to the fact that every reasonable Nigerian is bothered about the economic imperialism brought about by the level of underdevelopment. The generation yet unborn is even saddled and sold to economic slavery because of the present level of poverty and penury.
A research work on such a sensitive matter as the relationship between economic development, external reserve, debt payment and ocean shipping export in Nigeria, is therefore at this time a necessity.
The need to provide a lasting solution to the problem of underdevelopment, abject poverty, tribal clashes, Niger Delta Youth restiveness, religious bigotry among others, provide workable economic growth scenario, management of our abundant natural resources among others as would be advocated in this research work is therefore a task that must be done and hence a justification for this research work. Hence, this study is significant.
1.6 Scope Of Study
For the purposes of this study, the study will focus on causes and prevention strategies of boat accident along Nigeria inland waterways a focus on Niger delta region
1.7 Limitations Of Study
The research work has been intended to have an overview analysis of causes and prevention strategies of boat accident along Nigeria inland waterways.
It would assess the concept of ocean shipping export in relation to the current level of economic growth given special attention to relationships between ocean shipping export and some indicators of economic growth.
However, due to time constraints and lack of good data base and information sources in Nigeria and worst still because of lack of good data in the required government ministries and parastatals, the research work could not cover all the economic growth information of the country.