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Brexit: Cameron to face EU leaders after vote to leave

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  • As bomb kills dozens in Yemen

David Cameron is to meet European Union leaders for the first time since the UK voted to leave.

The UK prime minister will discuss the implications of the Brexit vote and the way ahead at an EU summit in Brussels.

German, French and Italian leaders said on Monday there could be no “formal or informal” talks on a British exit at this stage.

Meanwhile, Chancellor George Osborne has ruled himself out of replacing Mr Cameron as prime minister.

He said in the Times that “it isn’t in my nature to do things by half-measure, and I fought the referendum campaign with everything I’ve got. I believed in this cause and fought hard for it.

“So it is clear that while I completely accept the result, I am not the person to provide the unity my party needs at this time.”

And Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the UK must remain within the EU’s single market.

Mr Hunt, who is said to be considering standing for the leadership after Mr Cameron stands down, has floated the idea of a “Norway plus” arrangement outside the EU where the UK would enjoy the current trade benefits of being a full EU member while negotiating revised immigration rules.

In other developments on Tuesday, Labour MPs will vote on a motion of no confidence in their leader Jeremy Corbyn – who has insisted he is staying put – while Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will address MSPs over Brexit’s implications for Scotland’s future.

As Europe tries to come to terms with Britain’s decision to leave, Mr Cameron will attend a working dinner of EU leaders after meetings with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

He will not attend talks between the leaders of the other 27 EU member states at breakfast on Wednesday.

Mr Cameron is standing down after last week’s referendum went against him. The prime minister campaigned for the UK to remain a member but has insisted that the result must be accepted.

Speaking on Monday, he said a special unit within government was being set up to lay the initial groundwork for leaving the EU.

However, he has said that it must be up to his successor – who will be elected by the start of September – to decide how to proceed and precisely when to give formal notification of the UK’s intention to leave by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Under EU rules, once this happens, the UK would have two years to negotiate the terms of its divorce from the EU – unless the remaining 27 members unanimously agreed to extend the process. It must also decide the shape of its future trading relationship with the EU.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said a new UK government must be given time to prepare itself but other EU leaders have said the process cannot be delayed indefinitely amid fears of “contagion” for an organisation facing multiple economic and political challenges.

French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi have emphasised the need to process the UK’s exit as quickly as possible and focus on the challenges facing the remaining 27 states such as fighting terrorism and strengthening the borders.

The European Parliament will also meet on Tuesday in emergency session to debate the fallout from the Brexit vote – including a non-binding motion urging the “immediate activation” of Article 50.

MEPs, who must ratify any final agreement with the UK, have said they want to be “fully involved” in the process and that withdrawal must be “swift and coherent” in order to protect the interests of the wider “European project”.

After two days of sharp falls in the stock market and sterling and political turmoil engulfing both the Conservative and Labour parties, there is increasing uncertainty about what Brexit will entail and the precise nature of the mandate that Mr Cameron’s successor will be given.

Speaking in the Commons on Monday, former Chancellor Ken Clarke said it should be up to MPs to decide the terms of the UK’s exit and the blueprint set out by the Leave campaign during the referendum – including quitting the single market – should not be sacrosanct.

But Commons leader and Leave campaigner Chris Grayling said the UK was the EU’s biggest customer and, as such, negotiations would be a “two way process”. There will be “real damage” to European markets if a “sensible agreement” were not reached, he said.

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Hunt said the UK needed to secure a “sensible compromise” on freedom of movement rules as part of a broader agreement that kept the UK in the single market – an objective which he said must be a “explicit national objective”.

The British public’s concerns about immigration needed to be addressed, he said, while it was also in the EU’s interest to do so as it “faced collapse” unless the current unconditional right of all its citizens to live and work in other member states could be reconsidered.

He also raised the possibility of the public having another vote on the terms of the Brexit deal or an early general election.

“Before setting the clock ticking, we need to negotiate a deal and put it to the British people, either through a referendum or through a Conservative manifesto at a fresh general election,” he wrote.

In the meantime, triple bomb attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group have killed at least 35 people and injured 24 in Yemen’s south-eastern city of Mukalla.

The militants struck at sunset as soldiers were preparing to break their day-long fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, officials say.

The attacks involved a suicide bomber, a car bomb and an improvised explosive device, Reuters news agency reports.

An offshoot of al-Qaeda controlled the port city until recently.

It was recaptured in April by Yemeni government and Saudi-led coalition forces.

The first explosion occurred as an attacker detonated his suicide vest at a checkpoint on Mukalla’s western approaches, Reuters says.

A bomb-laden car then exploded at the military intelligence headquarters, while the last bomb went off as soldiers were preparing to eat, the agency says.

The al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) group had taken advantage of Yemen’s civil war to seize territory, weapons and money.

Yemeni security officials believe there is an overlap between AQAP loyalists and IS, despite the rivalry between the two groups, Reuters says.

“Sleeper cells still exist in Mukalla and we are working against them every day,” a security official was quoted as saying.

“Since the liberation of the city, security forces have arrested hundreds of al-Qaeda fighters in raids, uncovered plots and seized around 20 explosive cars.”

Pro-government and coalition forces had previously focused on battling Houthi rebels and military units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

More than 6,400 people, half of them civilians, have been killed in Yemen’s conflict, while almost 2.8 million others have been displaced, according to the UN.

BBC

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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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