By Godfrey Bivbere
THE Lagos Area Office of the National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, has issued fresh guidelines for controlled inland waterways transportation as well as jetty operations.
NIWA said the new guidelines were in line with the directive of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, to allow a gradual and controlled easing of the lockdown as announced by the President on March 27, 2020.
In a statement last Sunday, the Area Manager, Sarat Braimah, said the new guidelines would take effect from Monday, May 4, 2020. According to NIWA, “Movement of Boats/Ferries will be between the hours of 6:30am and 5:30pm. No passenger boat is expected on the waterways after 5:30pm in the evening.
“The loading capacity of all Boats and Ferries shall be at 60 per cent capacity until further notice, that is a 20 passenger boat will be reduced to 12 passengers only. All passengers shall put on a face-mask before embarkment and throughout the duration of travel. Boat operators shall make alcohol based sanitisers available at the entrance of their boat. The use of sanitisers is mandatory before embarkment and disembarkment of passengers.
“Operators are to make available decent lifejackets as we move towards actualising optimal hygiene and passengers are urged if necessary to provide and use their personal Life Jackets. Commercial boat operations shall remain suspended during weekends till further notice. There will be temperature checks at various jetties and terminals.
“Jetties/terminals are not allowed to accommodate and congregate not more than 20 passengers at a time, this is in line with the enforcement of social distancing. Passengers are expected to board immediately on arrival at the jetties. In the event of any suspected case of COVID-19 please call the Authority or 08000CORONA.
“These guidelines are to be strictly adhered to. Please call the Area office emergency numbers placed on the jetties if you find any passenger or operator violating any of the above guidelines.
“In order to ameliorate the cost of operations for commercial Boat Operators, the Authority has directed all jetty operators to charge fifty percent of applicable jetty fees while government jetties remains free of charge till further notice,” NIWA noted.