Parliament’s Transport Committee has said the captain of the boat that sunk on the Volta River Sunday on May 29 and resulted in the drowning of six children (all under three years old) and two other passengers must be punished for failing to ensure that occupants of the boat were wearing life jackets at the time of boarding.
The boat capsized after hitting a tree stump, our correspondent in the Brong Ahafo Region, reported.
Ranking member of the committee, Kwabena Otchere Darko-Mensah, speaking on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Monday May 30, said more lives could have been saved if rescuers had responded early to the accident.
“It is unfortunate that this keeps coming up every time, but I do believe we have to do something drastic about it. For some time it has reduced but we have seen that this is a pure accident. We are told the boat hit into a stump in the lake and that brought the problem. But I believe one of the biggest difficulties was the response time, it took a long time for them to respond and that created this mess, I believe that more lives could have been saved if the rescue response had been quicker”, he told host Prince Minkah.
“I also believe it is time that all the villages around be provided with life jackets so that we can save more lives when there is a crash like that. I know that prior to the GYEEDA scandal, there were lots of people around the landing site, who were supposed to be rescuing people when they have this problem, but because of the scandal, I think a lot of these programmes were stopped. As we speak now, we have to look forward and make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” the lawmaker advised.
He continued: “One of the key issues is that the persons manning the boat – the captains of the boat, should be penalised properly for not observing a lot of rules. When somebody wants to jump into a private boat to move across the lake and is not properly uniformed, the captain should not allow the person to get on board. The captain should be penalised. I think that is the way we should go. We cannot have government officials there all the time, but rather, it is the captain who is supposed to supervise that boat. If he misbehaves or does not allow passengers to go through the safety measures, he should be penalised. The person who was supposed to have checked him should also be penalised, I don’t think we should leave anybody off the hook”, Mr Darko-Mensah said.