Sat. Oct 31st, 2020

Flaws in boat safety and service emerge as a serious concern for travelers

Photo by Yaqub Ali

PT Report

Hunza/Islamabad, February 16: Serious concerns have been raised about condition of the boats that NDMA has provided for transporting hundreds of stranded commuters of Gojal valley. “The boats are really old and rusty and there is always a fear of getting drowned in the lake”, said Mehboob Ali Khan of Gulmit – Gojal while talking to Pamir Times on phone. He also said that instead of giving priority to the stranded people VIPs are touring the lake without purpose.

Another stranded passenger, Zahir Shah from Gulmit – Gojal, told Pamir Times that many people had to return from the lake barrier yesterday because they were not transported. “We suffered the cold weather and were hungry but after hours of waiting we had to return”, he complained. The commuters have demanded establishment of a desk near the lake barrier to make the process of obtaining passes for travel convenient for the travelers.

Yaqub Ali from Passu – Gojal, who has recently traveled in one of the boats, told Pamir Times that his traveling experience was not comfortable. “Water splashed into the boat and our cloths got wet”, he said while pointing out lower heights of the boat. He also said that the boats are not appropriate for senior citizens, women and children. “The boats are not appropriate for harsh weather conditions”, he further said.

While provision of the boats to people of Gojal is an important step towards re-linking the valley to other parts of the country, it is equally vital that the facility becomes a source of comfort rather than causing more trouble.

Also see a related report on DAWN

17 thoughts on “Flaws in boat safety and service emerge as a serious concern for travelers

  1. These are rotten and don’t appear reliable at all. I hope people are given safety briefing before boarding on the boats. They should also be provided with life jackets in case any things goes wrong on the way.

  2. What a rubbish act of NDMP this is. Firstly they havent gave new motor boats to the people. Every boat is rusted and has a leak in it. How would the people travel in it in these severe winter months. Have the authority ever realized it? Enough is enough, The authority is playing with the emotions of the civilized peoples in their hard time.

  3. THATS WHAT CALLED DEALING WITH THE PEOPLE AS SECOND RATED CITIZENS.SHAME ON THE CM GB MEHDI SHAH WHO EVEN COULD NOT GET NEW BOATS FOR THEIR PEOPLE.

    WAZIR BAIG SHOULD BE DRAGED ON HUNZA ROAD FOR HIS NONSERIOUS ATTITUDE AT A TIME HANZA PEOPLE LOOKING AT HIM FOR HELP.

    THE PROVISION OF OLD,ROTTEN AND LEAKED BOATS IS A JOKE WITH THE PEOPLE OF HUNZA AND GB.

  4. Zulfi, great job in uploading this video clips. Just one request… is it possible to put it in a reporting form. a bite of current information would make your videos a great media report… It will update those who have no or a little information and idea about the current situation there.

  5. i suppose i am also the one who has also held on till long, not to speak against these so called leaders.but now lets speak it.where is Mr.Wazir Baig after sucking the blood of Gojalis through his falllous compains even if he is not capable of providing any service to the frustrated people.Is this a joke with the people of Gojal to provide rusty boats after 16 days of stoppage of any kind of Service .i dont know what he is doing with his budget even if he cant buy a boat in this crises situation.

  6. The water temperature is probably less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Even if you get to shore, the air temperature isn’t going to help matters. Before getting into one of those, first I’d want a Wetsuit. Then I’d want a life jacket.

  7. WHAT A SURPRISE………THIS IS OUR GOVT OF PAKISTAN.

    OUR WISHES IN EVERY FIELD BEING A CITIZEN OF GILGIT-BALTISTAN IS FULLFILLED IN THE SAME WAY.

    BE IT NEED OF CURRENT BOAT SAFETY.

    CURRENT BOAT CONDITIONS

    CURRENT SEVER WEATHER,THAN WE USING SAME BOATS FOR TRANSPORTATIONS OF SICK PEOPLES IN THE DIRE NEED…YOU CAN FIND WATER LICKAGES FROM THOSE BOATS..

    GOD FORBID,IF THERE IS FAST WIND BLOWING ,THESE BOATS CAN TURN UPSIDE DOWN,I CAN GURANTEE YOU.WITHOUT WEARING PROPER SAFETY JACKETS AND PROPER EQUIPMENTS….OUR LIFES WILL BE DROWN INSIDE THIS ARTIFICIAL LAKE,AND FOR SURE THIS GOING TO TAKE ANOTHER LIFE? WHOSE GOING TO RESPONSIBLE AGAIN?

    NEED PROPER SAFETY PROCEDURE FOR ALL THIS.

    OUR AREA IS NOT GIVEN IMPORTANCE.HENCE NO ONE CARES

    A BIG SIZE BOAT IS A MUST REQUIREMENT OF THIS LAKE WITH PROPER SAFETY PROCEDURE FOLLOWED?
    THIS BIG SIZE BOAT WILL BE MORE SAFE WITH HAVING PROPER SHELTER COVERED ON THE ROOF OF THIS BOAT ABLE TO CARRY MORE PASSANGERS AT A TIME.

    WISH MY GILGIT BALTISTAN…..GOOD LUCK

  8. the rotten boats provided by NDMA and the administration are condemndable and this show the real face of the government that she is not taking keen interest and not making serious efforts to remove the debris. if the govt. can’t solve the problems they have to get international aid

  9. @ Aejaz

    Due to lake of time and resources we are unable to properly edit and present professional video reports. You are well aware that we also need to manage bread and butter.

  10. Y the government is so so poor that it can’t afford a few new boats ……moreover they are making joke of us …
    …wn ll the time come wn v show to the government wt v can do
    vd them.

  11. Why don’t the private sector jump in and operate 2-3 good condition boats??? After all its a transport service, people are ready to pay as they pay the wagon wallas???

  12. CM Mehdi Shah , whe he was on his tour to Karachi announced Rs.200,000 for Karachi Press club but he has no money to buy a new boat for his own people . What a pitty?

  13. instead of blaming our non serious GVT we should start working ourselves.jst wake up gojali youth and start working instead of just cmmenting.get united….wazir baig is poor persn by heart actully he cant help the people who hourned him….SAVE OUR LAND.

  14. This shows the poor effort of the pak Govt and its status, how much serious he is in this incidence and how much capable he is to help out his citizens in such a hard time. . the boats are not a mean of convenience its a life threat for the travellers. it come to hear that a chinese worker has kicked it into the water with a big smiling face upon the pakistani miserable workers. .wow what a joke !

  15. It is really a shameful joke with our people. the FWO has already got a sufficient amount from NDMA but this corrupt Military tehkidar is on its way to get money out of this catastrophe. so shame on NDMA and FWO.

  16. I would like to take this opportunity and address the issue of boats and the safety of the people using them.

    PLEASE GET THIS INFORMATION TO SOMEONE WORTHWHILE SO AS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE IMPLEMENTED –

    NONE OF US WOULD LIKE TO SEE A TRAGEDY UNFOLD JUST BECAUSE THE PROPER SAFETY MEASURES WERE NOT FOLLOWED.

    1. The locals must get together and create a Water Craft Safety, Rescue and Operations Group.

    This group must make sure that all its rules and regulations are followed strictly – with no exceptions.

    No matter whose boat it is – commercial or private – every boat and its operator MUST be responsible and follow the safety and operating rules.

    Safety:

    Register all boats and their operators
    Check that all boats are in generally good order – repair leaks before using these boats
    Check that all boats have life vests for all the occupants and driver as well as a few spare
    A 5 meter rope
    Two paddles incase of engine failure
    One blanket in a waterproof bag

    Course and Safety:

    Right of Way: For this situation we recommend that the boats follow the same principals of vehicle driving. Therefore when approaching each other the other boat must always be on you RIGHT SIDE.

    Create a up and down lane by floating colored plastic cans or small drums anchored by nylon rope to the bottom of the lake – this will create a lane or passage and keep boats from wandering around and creating a hazard

    Emergency pontoons can be made by tying airtight containers together and leaving at every 200 meters along the lanes – in case of any capsizing these pontoons should be able to accommodate the people while other boats try and reach them.

    These pontoons should be anchored as well so that they stay in their approved places.

    These pontoons are essential because even if the life vests keep one from drowning the water temperature will cause hypothermia if one is not able to stay out of it.

    Walkie Talkies must be present in every boat and at the ports.

    Each boat should also carry an emergency light / flash light.

    General:

    Ports must be created where the boats arrive and depart.

    There should be one port master who has the communication with the other port and boats so as to be aware of traffic and emergencies.

    Each port should have one boat on standby with a minimum of three very good swimmers as part of the rescue team.

    ONLY the rescue team should respond to an emergency.

    All boats must report their departure and arrival

    All boats must be cleared by the port master for loading and safety

    In high winds the port master must stop traffic or have two boats go together with reduced passengers

    All passengers must be given boarding priority and the port master MUST avoid putting too many children, elderly and women in one boat.

    Each boat should have a mix of able bodied men and children, elderly and women so that they can help in an emergency

    All passengers should only carry small personal items with them

    Cargo boats MUST operate separately but can go with the other passenger craft and act as support to the passenger craft in case of emergency

    These should be made in such a way that there is no one to hamper the passengers from getting off or on the boat and there is no chance of being pushed into the boat or water by accident.

    Boats MUST not operate at night unless the water way lanes have lights on the lane markers and the pontoons and running lights on the boats.

    Cargo: A few small size barges can be built using large plastic or steel drums. These when tied and lashed together will form a floating platform that can be towed slowly but will carry huge loads without compromising the safety of the people. The boat towing the barge MUST keep a sharp knife to cut the tow line in case of danger to the boat.

    I have tried to offer some simple but important advice – please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or if I can help with any aspect of the water transport and safety issues.

    PLEASE TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY, THE PEOPLE OF HUNZA ARE EXCELLENT ON THEIR FEET BUT NOT IN THE WATER! PLEASE DO NOT TAKE IT LIGHTLY AS WATER CAN KILL VERY VERY QUICKLY!!!!

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