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ACP Sets Maximum Draft for Neopanamax Locks



  • As Militants set up 7 camps along Lagos, Ogun creeks

Based on the current level of Gatun Lake and the weather forecast for the following weeks, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has updated the maximum draft for Neopanamax vessels on August 5, effective immediately.

According to ACP’s advisory to shipping, the maximum allowable draft for vessels drafting the Neopanamax locks will be 13.41 meters Tropical Fresh Water (TFW).

The maximum authorized transit draft was previously set at 11.74 meters TFW.

The announcement comes on the back of the suspension of the third draft restriction that was scheduled to become effective on June 6, 2016, amid dry weather conditions brought about by the El Niño.

The dry weather triggered a drought in the canal watershed, causing the water level of the lake to fall below its average. The restriction was initially scheduled to take effect as of May 9, but was pushed due to rainfall in the Panama Canal watershed.

In the meantime, the unmasking of the criminal gang that abducted the traditional ruler of Iba in Lagos State, Oba Goriola Oseni, three weeks ago, has also exposed how the gangs have cordoned off riverine areas of Lagos and Ogun states with seven camps manned by 800 members, all registered.

Each of the camps is led by a ‘General’ and his foot soldiers, all operating in a typical military hierarchy.

This revelation came as Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday, vowed to punish suspected kidnappers of the traditional ruler, stating that they would face the full wrath of the law.

The governor described the abduction as “a sacrilege and a complete desecration of Yoruba cultural values.” Meanwhile, three other suspects were arrested by the Police, yesterday, after the initial arrest of two members of the gang on Saturday.

The suspects confessed that they were paid N15.1 million ransom to free the Oba. So far, security agents have succeeded in recovering a register containing names of most of the vandals operating in the creeks.

The list contains 800 names, with some of their pictures on display. Leader of the gang, identified as Duba Furejo, popularly called  ‘General’ Duba, as reliably gathered, was arrested by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, led by its commander, Abba Kyari, and those of the Special Anti -Robbery Squad, SARS of the Lagos State Police command at about 5pm on Saturday.

Duba, a native of Arogbo in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State and leader of a militant camp in Ijegemo creeks, Isheri area of the state, was arrested at Iyana school, along Iba/LASU road, moments after the monarch was released.

He reportedly came out of the creeks after sharing the ransom among his members, with an intention to flee to his home town.

His second in-command, identified as Ododomu Isaiah, was arrested at about 6am, yesterday, at Iyana-Ipaja, while trying to board a vehicle to Ondo State. Both suspects were paraded, yesterday, by Governor Ambode and Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, at the State House, Alausa.

However, three other suspected members of the gang were arrested, yesterday afternoon, in Igando area of Lagos State.. The suspects with undisclosed identities were arrested, following confessional statement by one of those arrested, identified as Isaiah.

Vanguard was reliably informed that the suspect arrested at Igando got N800,000 from the ransom paid for the monarch’s release. Impeccable police sources revealed that N12 million was initially paid as ransom for the release of Oba Oseni, out of which ‘General’ Duba got N1m. But he was said to have been angry, as he felt he was short changed.

Rather than release the monarch as instructed by the leader of another militant camp, he (Duba) took the monarch to his creeks in Ijegemo, where an additional N5 million was demanded as ransom.

However, after much plea and persuasion from the monarch’s family, N3.1 million was reportedly paid for his release, out of which ‘General’ Duba got N600,000. His second-in-command, Isaiah, got N400,000, while the rest was shared among other members.

World Maritime News with additional report from Vanguard

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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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