Maritime workers urge Bayelsa govt to review ban on 200hp boats


Maritime workers in Bayelsa State have called on the state government to review its ban on the use of 200 horsepower engine boats on the waterways in the state. They said that the decision to ban the use of 200 horse power engine boats was wrong as it would impact negatively on their operations. Bayelsa State Government had on Monday, after its security council meeting in Yenagoa, announced the ban on the use of 200 horse power engine boats and directed security agencies to commence stop and search operations on land and the waterways. According to the government, the decision which excludes security operatives, was part of efforts to combat kidnapping, sea piracy and other criminal activities on the state waterways. But the Bayelsa State chapter of the Maritime Workers Union, in a statement, yesterday in Yenagoa by its chairman, Lloyd Sese, said: “The issue of sea piracy and kidnapping that informed the decision is an age long issue that has been begging for quick action on the part of the government.” The union noted that no conscious effort was made by the state government to meet with its members before taking the decision. The ban, according to the union, would further impoverish speedboat operators, many of whom have been victims of sea pirates attacks and kidnappers in recent times. “The union had in the past tried to reach out to government with a view to proffer workable solution to the problems of kidnapping and sea piracy but the government did not attach any importance to it. It thereby went ahead to put the lives of waterway commuters in danger. “In the light of the current security situation, it is not safe for us to use 75 horse power engines in the creeks because the transport boats would always be out runned by criminals that equip their boats with 200 horse power engines. “We, therefore, call on the state government to upgrade the security infrastructure in the creeks to stem the challenges rather than ban the use of 200 horse power boats for transportation purposes.”



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