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The Executives of the Nigerian Indigenous Shippers Association has embarked on an emergency meeting, in a determined effort to investigate the veracity or otherwise, of an allegation that its President, Capt. Olaniyi Dada Labinjo was involved in a $6 million scandal.

Engr. Emmanuel Ilori

Engr. Emmanuel Ilori

NISA image maker and Lloyds Ambassador, Engineer Emmanuel Ilori who confirmed that a meeting was already going on, also assured the industry stakeholders, that the body would do everything humanly possible, not only to unravel the truthfulness of the story, but also ensure that the collective desire of NISA to create jobs is not detailed.



“This executive team is composed of credible and seasoned operators in the banking, insurance and maritime sectors. We are mindful of what the industry expects from us. And we also fully aware of the fact that this industry is far above any individual or group”, Ilori stated further, pleading for just a little more time, to enable the executive complete its investigation and issue a communique.

It may be noted that the NISA Executive embarked on a hurried meeting, after a report broke that Navy Capt. Niyi Labinjo (rtd) had been accused of allegedly diverting part of a USD5.85million (about N1.2billion) loan facility granted by a Nigerian commercial bank to an indigenous shipping company, Acenk Maritime & Energy Services Limited for the purchase of two vessels.

The report, broken by the Ships and Ports ironically noted that, the accusation was being levelled against Labinjo and his wife, Bola by the daughter of their benefactor – the founder and immediate past Chairman of Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Chief Isaac Jolapamo.

“In between sobs, Mrs. Adenike Jolapamo-Onifade told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that her greatest undoing was to disclose to Mrs. Bola Labinjo that she was about to access a loan from one of the first generation banks (names withheld).

“She said she trusted the Labinjos so much that she did not see anything wrong with Mrs. Labinjo’s idea for her and her husband to be a part of the loan deal.

“’I was so naive. I don’t know if they used some spiritual things on me. These people are heartless. They want to ruin me,” she said.

Jolapamo-Onifade narrated her story as follows:

“About five months ago, in August 2014 to be precise, I made an application for a loan of USD2.5million to purchase an Oil Tanker to the bank. Whilst speaking with Mrs. Labinjo a few days later about the loan application, she pleaded with me to increase it from USD2.5million to USD7.5million.

“She said General Alexander Ogomudia wanted to give them (the Labinjos) a 30% deposit to purchase a Fast Support Intervention Vessel (FSIV) for him. She told me the price of the FSIV was USD4.2million so I said that we should request for USD6.5million loan rather than the USD7.5million she suggested.

“The bank requested for 10 per cent equity on the transaction. This amounted to USD650,000 (N125million) which Mrs. Labinjo made available. She said it was provided by General Ogomudia.”

Jolapamo-Onifade said the loan facility of USD6.5million was subsequently granted to her company, Acenk Maritime & Energy Services Limited via an offer letter dated 15th September, 2014.

According to her, upon approval of the loan and while her company was preparing to fulfill the condition precedent to drawdown, she requested that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the purpose of repayment structure to the bank for the three-year period be signed between her company, Acenk Maritime & Energy Services and Ogomudia’s company, Turbo Dynamic Nigeria Limited in the ratio of USD2.3million to Acenk for the purchase of the Oil Tanker it needed and USD4.2million to Turbo Dynamic for the purchase of its FSIV.

“I so much trusted the Labinjos by virtue of Captain Labinjo’s relationship with my father – having worked with my father for 12 years as the Secretary to NISA while my father was the Chairman.

“After the fulfillment of the condition precedent to drawdown and the money ($5.85million) was released into my account for onward transfer to the different vendors, I allowed and gave the bank written instructions to transfer the balance of the money of USD2.35million to Labinjo’s broker, Radunia International Corporation in Greece.

“This was after the first transfer of the ten per cent deposit (equity) to the same broker. I later found out after the arrival of the vessel that the broker, Radunia Corporation did not remit the USD650,000.00 to the owners of the FSIV as it was actually purchase for USD3.5million which the bank transferred directly to ABC Maritime Corporation in Geneva, Switzerland who are the owners of the fast intervention support vessel named ‘FISV KRYSIA’.

“I was not aware of all this information at that time because Captain Labinjo was the main contact person dealing with owners of the vessel,” she said.

Continuing, Jolapamo-Onifade said, “At the conclusion of the transaction on the FSIV, I mentioned and also gave invoices to the Labinjos that I had negotiated for a 5,000dwt 1989-built oil tanker which was trading on Italian waters. I told them to instruct their broker, Radunia Corporation to transfer the sum of USD1.8million to the owners of the Oil Tanker and the balance of USD500,000 to my account for the logistics of clearing and bringing the vessel to Nigerian waters.

“That was when the problem started. Rather than transfer the money, they started telling me all sorts of stories.”

She said after waiting for more than a month without any headway, she approached one of her friends at Fidelity Bank where the Labinjos maintain their company accounts. That was when the bubble burst as she discovered that rather than pay for her Oil Tanker with the balance $2.3million, Radunia had been transferring the money into various accounts belonging to the Labinjos.

She said, “I initially believed their stories for more than a month until I mentioned the matter to a friend of mine who works in Fidelity Bank where they have their accounts and she promised to help me investigate. She later came back with telex copies of money transfer from Radunia International Corporation to the Labinjos’ account.”

It was discovered that Radunia severally transfered money to Transunion Credit Agency Nig. Ltd, Global Shipping Activities Bureau Limited and Soughtafter International Synergy Ltd – all companies Jolapamo-Onifade claimed are owned Labinjo and his wife.

“To my greatest surprise, I noticed from one of the telex transfers that the sum of USD377,000 was transferred to them few days after we came back from the closing of the FSIV vessel transaction in Geneva. And they never told me anything,” she added.

In all, it was discovered that a total of USD1,125,530 (N216million) of the first generation bank loan had been transferred by the supposed shipbroker, Radunia International Corporation to the companies. There is also no evidence that the USD650,000 released as equity contribution by General Ogomudia was transferred to any broker or shipowner abroad.

The telex transfer documents revealed that Radinia transferred USD220,000 to Transunion Credit Reporting Agency Nig. Ltd on 17/10/2014; USD20,000 on 6/11/2014; USD300,000 on 17/11/2014 and USD350,000 on 25/11/2014.

Radunia also transferred USD230,000 to Soughtafter International Synergy Ltd on 6/10/2014 and USD5,530 to Global Shipping Activities Bureau Limited on 6/11/2014.

“This is the money meant for the purchase of my Oil Tanker and the Labinjos connived with Radunia to divert the money for personal use. Now they are using the bank’s money to live large,” she claimed.

Mrs. Adenike Jolapamo-Onifade said that she has been greatly distressed by the attitude of the Labinjos. She said all she wanted was immediate release of the money in the custody of the Labinjos to enable her fulfill her contractual obligations.

“Failure to do so will mean inviting the EFCC and other relevant authoritites into the matter,” she stated.

But when contacted, the NISA President, Capt. Niyi Labinjo denied having any business transaction with Jolapamo-Onifade.

“I am aware she had a business transaction with my wife. They had an MoU but along the line, there was a breakdown of the agreement. Trust was also lost. I am aware also that there are arrangements to return all the loan to her so that she can go her way since the working agreement is not working,” he told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY.

When asked how soon he thinks Acenk Maritime & Energy Services Limited would get the money back, he said “very soon”.

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



…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



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

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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