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2016: 2-Year Old Boy Becomes First Refugee To Drown

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  • As 34 Bodies Washed Up Turkish Coast
  •  Nigerian sees four-year-old grandson in ISIS video

A 2-year old child may have emerged as the first refugee to drown in 2016  as 34 persons loose their life, trying to cross into Europe from Turkey.

The child was on a boat with 39 other refugees when it slammed onto the jagged rocks of a small Greek island on Saturday.

Known only by his first name, Khalid, his death is the first that emergency responders have recorded in 2016. It will likely not be the last.

Not fewer than 34 bodies have however been washed up on the Turkish coast in the latest tragedy to hit migrants and refugees trying to cross the sea to Greece.

Their boats are thought to have capsized while crossing to the island of Lesbos.
The bodies were found on beaches at Ayvalik and Dikili some 30 miles (50km) apart. Several were children.

More than one million migrants crossed the Mediterranean in 2015 and the vast majority went from Turkey to Greece.

According to the UN, 3,771 people were listed as dead or missing.

Isa

Isa

Conditions in the Aegean Sea in the early hours of Tuesday were described as rough and officials said the migrants who had tried to reach Lesbos were in rubber dinghies.

Coast guards at Ayvalik searched the area for survivors and rescued eight people who had climbed on to a breakwater, reported Dogan news agency.

Residents said the boat that sank off Ayvalik appeared to have hit rocks. “I’m guessing these people died as they were trying to swim from the rocks,” one man said.

Security forces pulled some bodies from the water while others could be seen on the beach, all wearing life jackets. Some were clearly children.

Police told Turkish media that 24 bodies were found on the beach or in the sea off Ayvalik while 10 more were discovered near Dikili.

Although their nationalities were not confirmed, local governor Namik Kemal Nazli Hurriyet said they were Syrians, Iraqis and Algerians.

On Sunday, dozens of people were rescued from a small island off the town of Dikili as they tried to cross to Lesbos. Helicopters had to be called in because the island was too rocky for rescue boats to get to.

Boats are continuing to arrive on the Greek islands every day, despite the wintry weather. Lesbos is by far the most popular destination for migrants leaving Turkey. More than 500,000 reached the island in 2015.

Late last year, Turkey reached a deal with the European Union to tighten its borders and reduce the numbers crossing to Greece in return for €3bn (£2.1bn) and political concessions.

More than 1 million migrants and refugees arrived in Europe by crossing the Mediterranean in the past 12 months. But, about 3,700 people perished in the sea last year while attempting the crossing.

Already, amongst the dead children were at least three with their bodies still wrapped in winter coats to protect against the cold weather, as they lay in the sand in the town of Ayvalik.

Video from Turkish news outlet Dogan news agency shows images of the small bodies being washed to shore in the rough seas, before Turkish police pulled them from the surf.

The images of the young drowning victims are reminiscent of the death of Alan Kurdi, a 3-year-old Syrian refugee whose body also washed up on the shores of a Turkish resort in September 2015.

His father, Abdullah, delivered an alternative Christmas message on Britain’s Channel 4, pleading with the world to have sympathy for those risking their lives to make their way to Europe.

“If a person shuts its door in someone’s face, this is very difficult. When a door is opened, they no longer feel humiliated,” Abdullah said. “Hopefully next year, the war will end in Syria, and peace will reign all over the world.”

While images of his son sparked international outrage at the lack of resources and aid for those making the risky journey, little has changed in the months since his death.

On Tuesday morning, similar scenes were again playing out on a Turkish beach.

Following that drowning, volunteers with the charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) said freezing and windy conditions have slowed the number of people setting off from Turkey, but many refugees and migrants are still willing to battle the conditions.

In the meantime, a four-year-old gun-bearing boy shown in a recent Islamic State (ISIS) video has been confirmed to be partly Nigerian.

According to a report by The Telegraph the grandfather of the boy, Mr. Sunday Henry Dare, came forward as the video went viral.

Mr. Dare said Isa is the son of a British jihadi bride. The video as released by ISIS shows how five alleged British spies were killed and 32-year-old British ISIS fanatic accused of being the ‘new Jihadi John’, Siddhartha Dhar aka Abu Rumaysa, was seen shooting one in the head.

Isa, who was dressed in military outfit and a black bandanna bearing the white mark of ISIS, declared in the video that ‘We will kill kuffar (non believers)’. Confirming his grandson’s identity, Mr. Dare said the young boy is the son of his daughter Grace ‘Khadijah’ Dare, who grew up in Lewisham, south London, to Nigerian Christian parents and converted to Islam as a teenager.

Dare, who is a minicab driver, told the The Telegraph: “I was surprised when I saw the picture. It’s definitely him. Of course I’m worried but there’s nothing I can do now. I’m not angry – I would never have expected it. I just hope someone is trying to bring them back.” In an interview with Channel 4 news, Dare begged his daughter to return to Britain: “She should come back and face the music. Because, she has let herself down”.

On his grandson Isa, Dare further told Channel4 News: “He doesn’t know anything. He’s a small boy. They are just using him as a shield.” He added that he had not spoken to his daughter Grace for weeks because “When she calls me I keep on ignoring her calls because she has brought shame to my family and to herself”.

Grace ‘Khadijah’ Dare, who’s married to a Swedish Islamic fighter called Abu Bakr, is said to have left Britain for Syria two years ago where she joined the terror group ISIS.

Last December 14, Nigeria was listed among 34 mainly Muslim countries by Saudi Arabia to coordinate a global fight against terrorist organisations.

According to the government of Saudi Arabia, the alliance would confront not only ISIS, but “any terrorist group in front of us.”

BBC with additional report from Nation

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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