Gov Otu orders suspension of cruise boat operations in Calabar

Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State has placed an indefinite suspension on cruise boat operations at the Marina Resort, Calabar, of the state.

This followed the June 24, 2023, accident involving 14 medical students with three feared dead and 11 rescued.

The governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Ogbeche, on Sunday, said: “All cruise boat operations and other activities at the Marina Resort be suspended immediately until further notice.

“That the cruise boat operators with the management of the State Tourism Bureau are directed to attend a meeting in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government on June 27, 2023, by 12pm.

“Besides the cruise boat operations, the State Ministry of Transport is to immediately cross-check the safety standards and conditions of all boats operating in the Calabar waterways.

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“That the Police should speed up their investigations of the fatal boat accident and prosecute those found culpable to serve as deterrence to others.

“The governor further sympathizes with the families of the affected students over the unfortunate incident,” the statement added.

Gov orders probe into accident

Recall that Governor Otu, had on Saturday, ordered probe into the cruise boat mishap involving 14 medical students at the popular Marina Resort in Calabar, the state capital.

The governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, on Saturday, expressed saddened that three of the medical students, who were in Calabar for the Nigeria Medical Students Games, were yet-to-be found.

He charged security and rescue agencies as well as local villagers involved in the operations to find the missing students and reunite them with their families.

Otu decried the safety standards at the resort, vowing that anyone found guilty to have compromised on safety would be severely sanctioned.

“The news of a cruise boat mishap at the Marina Resort, a tourist and relaxation destination in Calabar, is saddening and calls for concern not only as your governor but as a parent.

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“To imagine that the boat was overcrowded and some of those on it were without life jackets is of even greater concern, and the more reason why the state government will be investigating the incident.

Those who compromised safety to face the wrath of the law

“And all those found culpable of having compromised on safety standards will face the wrath of the law.

“As a government, our administration remains committed to protecting the sanctity of life and providing an enabling environment for business, tourism and peaceable living.

“Therefore, any untoward action that could derail our objective will not be tolerated,” the governor stated.

He further expressed his joy that all but for one of the rescued students were out of hospital and was confident that the remaining one will pull through as doctors say he is stable and responding to treatment.

“Governor Otu was full of praise for personnel of the Nigerian Navy and local villagers who responded swiftly to the hapless revellers and rescued 11 of the 14 passengers on the boat,” the statement added.

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