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Boko Haram: Twin blasts kill 35 in Biu, Jos

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Thirty-  five people were killed when suicide bombers struck in Borno and Plateau States, yesterday.

A suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded bus station in Borno State, killing 17 persons while a second bomber was shot dead before he could detonate his explosives.

In the neighbouring Plateau State, 17 people were also killed when a twin blasts hit two motor parks along Bauchi Road in Jos, the Plateau State capital, yesterday,

The blasts were said to have occurred at about 6pm when residents were returning to their houses during the evening rain.

Babagana Kyari, a civilian vigilante in Borno State said: “At least 18 people, including three women, died… and several others were injured” in an account supported by a local resident, Ali Dauda.

The attack happened after two men arrived the Tashar Gandu motor park on the edge of the town in Borno State, where one detonated his explosives among passengers and vendors, onlookers said.

The two men in the latest attack pretended to be traders leaving Biu after business at the main market, which takes place every Thursday and Sunday, said Kyari.

“The two men came as if they were travellers and one of them detonated his explosives in the midst of travellers and petty traders,” the vigilante added.

“But the second man was shot and killed by soldiers before he could pull the trigger.”

Dauda said the scene was cordoned off by soldiers and vigilantes, while they waited the arrival of the police bomb squad to defuse the unexploded explosives on the second attacker.

“His body was abandoned at the scene of the blast which was cordoned off with the hope the explosives would explode by themselves,” he added.

“When the explosives failed to explode after a long wait a mob who gathered near the scene took the risk and sprinkled gasoline on the body and threw fire at it from a distance.

“The body caught fire and exploded without harming anyone.”

In Jos, Plateau State, the bombers were said to have taken advantage of the rain to hit their targets but details of the incidents were not yet available as security personnel and other humanitarian agencies were still working to give accurate figure of those affected.

The death toll at the twin blasts which occurred almost simultaneously in two motor parks along Bauchi road in Jos, the Plateau State capital is yet to be confirmed.

A resident of the area, Umar Awwal said the explosives were thrown from moving vehicles by the bombers who took advantage of the heavy downpour of Thursday evening and the blasts had “claimed many lives and left others seriously injured.”

A junior staff of the University of Jos whose Main Campus along Bauchi road is just a few meters from the scenes said he heard the first blast at about 6 pm but thought it was thunder as the result of the downpour but the second blast drew residents’ attention that the sound was not that of a thunder.

The staff who did not want to be named added that he counted six bodies but could not confirm the total number of death as he was scared of getting close to security vehicles which were used to evacuate the bodies from the scenes.

However, the North Central Zone Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency, Mohammed Abdulsalami was unable to give details as he said the agency was working to rescue the survivors.

Media Officer of the Special Task Force, STF, Capt Ikedichi Iweha said his men were still busy “taking care of the aftermath” of the blasts to have authoritative figures. – Vanguard.

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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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