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ANLCA Blasts NAGAFF Over DTI Cafe Closure, Passwords

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  • As T.B Josua insists:  “I’ve no foreign account” 

The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has lambasted a sister association; the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), alleging that its (NAGAFF) members were responsible for most of the illegalities going on at the various Customs Direct Traders Input (DTI) cafes.

ANLCA has equally warned the freight forwarders to stop crying more than the bereaved by kicking against plans by Nigeria Customs Service to close DTI cafes and grant passwords to owners of customs license. In a press release made available to Shipping Position Daily by the National Publicity Secretary of ANLCA; Kayode Farinto yesterday, the association noted that issuing licensed customs agents with passwords will stop the illegalities being perpetrated on their behalf by “criminals claiming to be freight forwarders”.

Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) had said that the service is shutting down all cafes, because most of them were being used to perform illegalities and hacking of clearing agents’ practicing licenses.

But ANLCA yesterday said, “one wonders why an association that claims to be for freight forwarders should be crying more than the bereaved, that licensed customs agents should not be issued with password” “We at this end have been making efforts that our licenses must be protected by the board of Nigeria Customs Service and we are happy that the various DTI Cafes where lots of illegalities are being perpetrated using our licenses names will be proscribed, it goes a long way in sanitizing the maritime industry”.

“We as trade experts should be able to monitor our licenses from any acts of criminality from the impostors”, it said. The association stressed further that shutting the DTI cafes does not pose any danger, because freight forwarders are not expected to perform any custom formalities other than to arrange way bills, export documentation and obtain authority to load from various terminal operators.

The association lamented that clearing agents are currently in double jeopardy because they were being regulated by two Acts; the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Act According to it, only transporters, freight forwarders, warehouse owners and shipping agents should be regulated by the CRFFN Act ‎and not licensed customs agents.

In the meantime, the General Overseer of The Synagogue Church of All Nations, Prophet Temitope Joshua, has denied reports linking him and his wife, Evelyn, to an offshore company, Chillon Consultancy Limited.

German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, had last week released the PanamaPapers, the biggest leak in the history of data journalism, publishing online 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which showed how some prominent people across the world criminally hid money using anonymous shell corporations across the world.

Nigerian online medium, Premium Times, claimed to have seen documents stating that Joshua and his wife own one ordinary share each in the offshore company.

However, Joshua said in a statement that the report was a cheap attempt to tarnish his image.

The statement read in part, “I was shocked to find a report written in Premium Times claiming that the PanamaPapers revealed a shell company called Chillon Consultancy Limited in the British Virgin Islands, allegedly owned by me.

“Whoever is involved in this malicious write-up and propaganda with an obvious intent to defame my person and the ministry, should remember what the Bible says in Luke 2:34 – ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many… and to be a sign that will be spoken against.’

“I am not a businessman and I have no business whatsoever. What God has given me is more than enough. I have nothing to do with the PanamaPapers. As for me and my family, we shall remain in the vineyard of God.”

The cleric urged the media to be fair in its reportage, adding that some journalists were using the PanamaPapers to blackmail prominent Nigerians.

Joshua said, “Do not use the PanamaPapers to attack those you have been looking for an opportunity to victimise. This is to show that not everybody alleged in the media to be involved in the PanamaPapers is truly involved.”

Shipping Position with additional report from Punch

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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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