Dec 18, 2019, 2:55 PM
The past few days have been a very sad moment for families of those who lost their loved ones in a tragic river accident at the Bansang-Dobo ferry crossing point in the Upper Fulladou West district of the Central River Region.
Five people including four from the same family lost their lives in a sudden but avoidable accident at the Bansang-Dobo crossing point on Saturday morning.
The pain caused by this incident is yet to wear off. And for most people, especially the families of the loved ones, the harrowing experience may take a lifetime to get over.
But what is the cause of the accident? The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), the police, the bereaved family; in fact, the general public, should have this question answered.
The purpose of getting to the bottom of what happened is not to put the blame on anybody or institution; rather, such cathartic knowledge will help in the healing process, especially for close family members, as well as friends and colleagues of the victim.
It will also enable the authorities concerned, such as the GPA, which is responsible for ferry services, to know what actually happened, so as to take appropriate measures to plug any loopholes in the operations of the ferry services, and prevent a recurrence of this type of accident at our ferry terminals.
A number of factors could be at play here. Were workers at the terminal at the time of the incident careless? It may also be that not enough safety measures or practices are put in place at the terminal in Bansang.
It is in light of this that we once again renew our call for the management of the Gambia Ports Authority to put every feasible safety measure in place in all our terminals, whether big or small, so as to give the passengers crossing a reasonable degree of assurance that the ferries they board are perfectly safe.
The authorities should maintain zero tolerance and a no-compromise attitude with regards to the safety and security of passengers, crew and cargo vessels using Gambian waterways.
As we always emphasise on these pages, the GPA should ensure that the safety of the passengers plying the River Gambia in its ferries on a daily basis is given top priority.
Though accidents do happen, some accidents could definitely have been avoided if more care had been taken to put in place the needed safety mechanisms in our ferry terminals.
“Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.”