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Indigenous Boat Owners Violate Maritime Law

Indigenous Boat Owners Violate Maritime Law

As the rainy season is here, tides are high on the Sierra Leonean waters. The indiscriminate spontaneity of boat accidents on the Sierra Leonean waters do not notice one of its occurrence, precautionary measures like the use of life jacket must not be neglected.

Many a time, locally made boat (Pampa) has caused the loss of many innocent lives on the high seas. However, one of the main causes of such fatal menace has not been unconnected to the deliberate violation of maritime law on the use of life-jackets while surging the high seas.

Unfortunately, these boats are made out of large tree trunks and timber fit in with nails and adhesive. By this very description of how these boats are constructed is enough to send a cold shiver in one’s spine. In other words to say they are unsafe for human transportation and even for goods is an under statement. The use of these “Pampas” for transportation of humans and goods is conspicuously unsafe if proper precautionary measures are not put in place. The use of life- jackets and other safety equipments will help alleviate these boat accidents causalities at sea.

Over the years, boat accidents have claimed the lives of enormous amount of Sierra Leoneans on the high sea. One of such fatalistic accidents occurred in 1998 where business people lost their lives. It could be vividly remembered that immediately after that boat accident saga, “the killer sweet” came into fame. Sierra Leoneans stopped at nothing and named this chocolate-flavored sweet as “the killer sweet” due to the simple logic that it was behind this once flourished business between Guinea and Sierra Leone innocent lives have been lost.

As Sierra Leoneans are too quick to forget the odd pasts, it is expedient to inform and remind boat owners and sea passengers to be very cautious with their lives in order to avert this irrevocable sea danger. Using life -jackets and other safety measures will be in their own good interest.

Nevertheless, a not too far instance of boat accident is not far-fetched in recent times. On May 11th this year, a boat capsized on the high sea has claimed the lives of five Sierra Leoneans. In that accident, one could not suggest that it was out of their own negligence they died, but one can confidently argue that they failed to put the necessary precautions in place.

In the same vein, in as much as the onus of protecting the lives of sea-passengers lies in the hands of boat owners; it is also expedient upon government and other stakeholders to put the necessary sign posts at strategic potential accident areas to signal danger to these ‘pampa’ captains not to venture. Hence, there are certain features at sea like sand, boulder (stone) that pose a threat to the smooth navigation of boatmen. Programmed alarming system and automated lightening systems could serve as one precautionary measure at sea.

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