The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) on Tuesday confirmed the boat mishap, which happened on June 29, at about 22: 00hours in the Lagos Lagoon that claimed 10 lives with 8 people still missing.
The Lagos Zonal Coordinator of NIWA , Mr Muhazu Zambo, who made this known in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, said three persons were rescued.
According to him, the boss mishap occurred on June 29 between Badore in Ajah (Eti- Osa Local Government Area) and Egbin (Ikorodu LGA).
He said that the investigation by the Lagos Area Office of NIWA revealed that a total of 21 persons including men and women boarded an unmarked fibre boat W19 with 60HP engine.
Zambo said that none of the passengers were wearing a life jacket, while the particular boat was designed to carry only 10 persons.
“The jetty at Badore is a substandard jetty that has previously been sealed by the authority. It is owned and run by the Itom Community in Badore.
“The boat capsized midway across the Lagoon; most likely as a result of high tidal waves, which was not helped by the boat being over loaded by twice its capacity.
“Sailing at night makes the search and rescue efforts more difficult.
“Following the incident, three persons survived, 10 bodies were recovered, while eight are still missing as at the time of this press statement while Co-ordinated rescue efforts and investigations are still ongoing, ” Zambo said.
He said that the management of the NIWA wishes to convey its deep condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident.
The authority prayed that the Lord would give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable losses.
NIWA , however, sound another strong warning to boat operators and passengers alike, over the need to observe and adhere to water travel extant rules and regulations.
He said that the warning was against the backdrop of the fact that this is another clear case of violations of subsisting laws and regulations.
“According to him, owners of the jetty are doubly culpable for operating an already sealed jetty at night.
“The operator is culpable for travelling at night, over-loading and the non-provision of life jackets.
“The passengers sadly boarded without life jackets in spite of the Authority’s sustained routine campaign of safety awareness at all the passenger jetties in the state.
“The authority has effected the arrest of all persons deemed culpable under extant laws, for prosecution in order to serve as a deterrent measure against future occurrences of such gross violations,” he said.
Zambo called on the general public and stakeholders in water transportation in particular, to comply with all extant laws and regulations concerning water transportation.
He said that there was need to obey the regulatory law in order to save lives and prevent needless and avoidable deaths on our waterways.