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Boko Haram Kills 1,637 Herdsmen in Borno- Chairman ACBAN

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  • Dozens killed by bombs in Syria, clouding UN peace session

The Chairman of Al-Hayah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigerian (ACBAN), Alhaji Ibrahim Mafa has said that 1, 637 herdsmen were killed in various attacks by Boko Haram terror suspects in Borno state; with the torching of many Fulani tents and hamlets.

Ibrahim disclosed this Sunday to journalists in Maiduguri, while lamenting on the death toll of herdsmen in the six-year Boko Haram insurgency in Sambisa Forest and Northern Borno State, comprising 10 council areas.

He said since the Boko Haram insurgency, the cattle breeders association lost over a million livestock to the terrorists that operate and attack in the forest and north parts of Borno state.

This, he said could have been used to ‘finance and sustain’ Boko Haram insurgency, despite the blocking of fuel and food supplies by the military.

“We also lost about one million livestock, comprising 146,399 cows, 54, 374 goats and sheep among others,” said Mafa on rustled livestock.

Mafa further disclosed that members of the association also lost 395, 605 sacks of grains to the terrorists.

He however commended the military for its efforts in fighting the terrorists, in spite of the difficult desert and forests terrains in the North-East sub-region of the country.

He said: “We commend the soldiers for chasing out these Boko Haram terrorists from the forest and desert; and liberating many communities hitherto occupied by insurgents.”

He however alerted the military that the terrorists are still wrecking more havoc in “inaccessible and remote” communities using motorcycles and bicycles to attack people and other herdsmen.

He said that the terrorists have resorted to the use of motorcycles and bicycles to attack cattle breeders and snatch their livestock in remote communities that are yet to be accessible by troops in Sambisa Forest and Northern Borno state.

He also added that some of these stolen livestock were being kept around Dikwa town, before they will be smuggled to other parts of the country for sale and continues with Boko Haram terrorists’ activities in Borno.

“Some of the livestock are smuggled to the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroun Republic,” said Mafa.

He however appealed to the military to explore the possibilities of deploying more troops to remote communities to check mate Boko Haram attacks and terrorism.

“I’m also appealing to the Federal and Borno State Governments to consider assisting the cattle breeders in their rehabilitation and resettlement program for terrorism victims in the North East,” he said, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Kashim Shettima, should come to the aid of cattle breeders ameliorate their sufferings.

“We appeal to government rebuild our torched tents and huts, as well as reactivation of our water-points destroyed by the insurgents, while attacking Fulani settlements and hamlets,” cried Mafa yesterday in Maiduguri.

Meanwhile, a triple bombing killed at least 50 people in a predominantly Shiite suburb south of the Syrian capital of Damascus on Sunday even as a U.N. mediator held his first meeting with members of the main opposition group that seeks progress on humanitarian issues before it will join formal talks on ending the five-year civil war.

The attacks were claimed by militants from the Islamic State group, and Syria’s delegate to the U.N.-sponsored peace talks said the violence confirmed the connection between “terrorism” and “some political groups” — a reference to those who oppose President Bashar Assad.

The blasts went off in the Damascus suburb of Sayyda Zeinab, about 600 meters (yards) from one of the holiest shrines for Shiite Muslims. Syria’s state news agency SANA said the attackers detonated a car bomb at a bus stop and that two suicide bombers then set off more explosives as rescuers rushed to the area.

State TV showed several burning cars and a scorched bus, as well as blown out windows, twisted metal and large holes in the facade of a nearby apartment building. The golden-domed Shiite shrine itself was not damaged.

At least 50 people were killed, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said, with more than 100 wounded.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based opposition group that monitors the conflict, said at least 63 people were killed, including 25 pro-government Shiite fighters. It said the dead fighters included Syrians and foreigners.

The suburb is one of the first areas where Lebanon’s Hezbollah group sent fighters in 2012 to protect it from Sunni extremists who vowed to blow up the shrine. Hezbollah and Shiite groups from Iraq are known to have fighters in the area.

A website affiliated with the Islamic State group said the attacks were carried out by members of the Sunni Muslim extremist group, which controls large areas in both Syria and Iraq.

The bombings cast a shadow over the Geneva talks, the first U.N. effort since 2014 to try to end the conflict that has killed at least 250,000 people, forced millions to flee the country, and given an opening to IS militants to capture territory.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appealed to both sides “to make the most of this moment, to seize the opportunity for serious negotiations, to negotiate in good faith with the goal of making concrete measurable progress in the days immediately ahead.”

“Now, while battlefield dynamics can affect negotiating leverage, in the end there is no military solution to this conflict,” Kerry said. “Without negotiations, the bloodshed will drag on until the last city is reduced to rubble and virtually every home, every form of infrastructure, and every semblance of civilization is destroyed.”

The talks got off to a rocky start Friday when U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura met only with a Syrian government delegation. The main opposition group, the Saudi-backed Higher Negotiations Committee or HNC, boycotted the session, saying it won’t take part until preliminary demands are met: the release of detainees, the end of the bombardment of civilians by Russian and Syrian forces, and the lifting of government blockades on rebel-held areas.

On Sunday, de Mistura paid an informal visit to the HNC delegation, saying he is “optimistic and determined” about the talks.

HNC spokesman Salem al-Mislet told The Associated Press that the violence against civilians must stop first, saying the U.N. Security Council should put “pressure on Russia to stop these crimes in Syria,” he said. Moscow, which began its airstrikes in Syria in September, is a major Assad ally, along with Iran.

But Bashar Ja’afari, the head of the Syrian delegation, criticized the opposition in remarks to reporters.

“Those who speak about preconditions are coming to this meeting in order to derail it,” he said. “With the opposition’s delegation not showing up, it shows that they are not serious and irresponsible at a time when Syrians are being killed.”

Tribune with additional report from MSN

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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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