Kalangala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Novat Mukajanga Baliremwa, a marine engineering specialist, has emphasized the importance of conducting regular safety drills for operators of public water transport vessels.
His call comes in response to a recent incident involving MV Nodl, which caused panic among nearly 100 passengers traveling on Lake Victoria.
Eng. Mukajanga, currently working with Kalangala Local Government, has been advocating for safety drills to enhance operators’ preparedness in handling potential incidents on water bodies.
He believes that the recent incident serves as a wake-up call for the operators to take safety issues seriously.
According to Mukajanga, operators have neglected the need for safety drills for several years.
The incident involving MV Nodl, which occurred on a new route with many first-time lake travelers, highlights the importance of passengers being emotionally well-prepared and able to respond calmly to life-threatening situations.
Mukajanga notes that the period between May and July brings turbulent conditions on the lake, resulting in anticipated wave disturbances. However, he reassures that these waves, although significant, do not pose a complete hindrance to navigation.
In situations similar to the recent incident, when there are no windbreaks available in open waters, there is a risk that panic may lead to unintentional actions that put passengers at significant risk.
Mukajanga emphasizes the importance of passengers trusting the competent crew and following instructions diligently to navigate potential challenges safely.
Describing MV Nodl as an AA catamaran vessel with twin hulls, Mukajanga explains that while the vessel offers remarkable stability, it encounters difficulties when faced with side waves. He clarifies that although the waves may impact navigation, the vessel’s overall stability is unlikely to be compromised.
Sadala Musoke, the Managing Director of Nation Oil Distributors Limited, the company operating MV Nodl, acknowledges the minor incident on Sunday and states that it prompted their crew to adopt preventive measures to address passenger panic.
Musoke assures passengers of the stability of their vessels and acknowledges the significance of conducting regular safety drills, indicating that their technical teams are considering implementing the idea.