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Attack in Ankara, Turkey: 34 Killed, 125 Injured

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  • As 16 are killed after gunmen open fire on tourists

Thirty-four people were killed and 125 were injured during an attack in the Turkish capital of Ankara, said the country’s health minister, Mehmet Muezzinoglu.

Thirty of the victims were declared dead at the scene; the remaining four died at hospitals, the minister said, adding that 19 of the injured remain in critical condition.

The blast, which local media attributed to a car bomb, occurred on the city’s main boulevard, Ataturk Bulvari, close to Ankara’s main square, Kizilay.The private NTV news channel said a car, believed to be laden with explosives, detonated close to a bus.

Several vehicles then caught fire, the station said. The area is close to government offices, including ministries.

The deadly explosion — the third in the city in five months — came just three weeks after a suicide car bombing in the capital targeted buses carrying military personnel, killing 29 people.

A Kurdish militant group which is an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdish rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, claimed responsibility for the Feb. 17 attack.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that “terrorist organizations” were targeting “innocent civilians in the most immoral and heartless way” — and he promised to bring “terror to its heel.”

“Our state will never give up its right to self-defense against all kinds of terror threats,” he said, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.

Two days before Sunday’s attack, the U.S. Embassy in Turkey issued a warning “regarding a potential terrorist plot” to target government buildings and housing located in the Bahcelievlera section of Ankara, approximately three miles west of the deadly explosion.

American citizens were advised to stay away from the area.

On Sunday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “appalled by the devastating terror” in Ankara and Ivory Coast, where at least 16 people — including four Europeans — were killed by gunmen at a popular beach resort.

In a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Turkey offered condolences to the victims and said it was “deeply saddened and horrified by the attack.”

In the meantime, no fewer than 16 persons were shot dead on Sunday after six gunmen stormed Ivory Coast beach resort of Grand Bassam and opened fired on tourists.

Reuters reports that the dead include 14 civilians and two soldiers while the assailants were also killed. The resort is visited by both locals and foreigners.

The Ivory Coast President, Alassane Ouattara, confirmed the casualty number during a visit to the scene of the incident.

He said, “Six attackers came onto the beach in Bassam this afternoon … We have 14 civilians and two special forces soldiers who were unfortunately killed.”

Ouattara added that the six attackers were also killed.

The Interior Minister, Hamed Bakayoko, told BBC that the gunmen had been “neutralised”.

A witness of Sunday’s attack said, “heavily armed men wearing balaclavas” had opened fire near the L’Etoile du Sud hotel, which was full of expats.

Another eyewitness, Souleymane Kamagate, said he saw people running from the beach and fleeing in different directions.

BBC’s Maud Jullien reports that Ivory Coast has been identified as one of several countries in West Africa at risk of being targeted by Islamist militants.

Luxury hotels were targeted by terrorists in Mali in November and Burkina Faso in January.

NBC 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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