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British Cadets Stuck On Hanjin Boxship, Union Urges Action

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  •  As report shows Hanjin Shipping Has Enough Cash to Cover Offloading Costs

International maritime union Nautilus has been providing advice and assistance to four British officer trainees who have been stranded onboard one of the container ships caught up in the collapse of the South Korean shipping company Hanjin Shipping.

The four cadets are among an estimated 2,500 seafarers who have been unable to leave their ships while they have remained in international waters to avoid arrest by creditors.

Three of the cadets joined the Liberia-flagged Hanjin Louisiana in May and were due to leave the 40,855gt vessel on 2 September.

Nautilus has been liaising between the cadets, the training providers, the shipping company, Liberian flag state authorities and the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency to help secure arrangements for the trainees to be taken off the ship.

The union has also worked with Inverness MP Drew Hendry to bring the case to the attention of government ministers.

”These young cadets cannot be expected to be adrift while all this plays out in the courts,” Hendrysaid.

”The time has come for the UK government to say enough is enough — it is vital that every effort is made to protect these students and other affected seafarers from the nations of the UK.”

Nautilus national secretary Jonathan Havard said the union is seeking to ensure the cadets are able to return home as soon as possible.

”They have been placed in an appalling situation through no fault of their own, and we are doing everything we can to get them repatriated so that they can get back to their families and then resume their studies,” Havard said

”The fact that they are all determined to continue their training shows their deep commitment and we are hugely impressed by their mature and sensible response to the events they have been caught up in.”

Meanwhile, cash held by Hanjin Shipping, coupled with commitments from the company’s leading shareholder, the leading creditor, and the parent group’s CEO, should be enough to cover the costs of unloading cargo from the company’s container ships stranded offshore, Reuters reported a South Korean government official as saying.

The vessels have been stranded ever since the South Korean biggest container carrier filed for bankruptcy protection in late August.

Korea Development Bank, the company’s largest creditor, will provide KRW 50 billion (USD 45.2 million) in cash to help Hanjin offload cargo from the stranded ships. Korean Air Lines Co., Hanjin’s largest shareholder, decided to provide KRW 60 billion to the company, and Hanjin Group’s chairman Cho Yang-ho reportedly offered 40 billion won in personal assets to help the carrier complete the offloading.

Following the announcement of the start of the bankruptcy proceedings, 97 of Hanjin’s container ships, carrying cargo worth around USD 14 billion, were left stranded across the globe and unable to load or offload containers in fear of either the vessels or the cargo being seized by creditors or port operators.

Out of the 97 container ships stranded, 35 have unloaded their cargo as of September 22. The majority of the remaining 62 ships is expected to complete the unloading by the end of October.

The courts in Germany, the UK, Japan, and reportedly Singapore have allowed Hanjin Shipping to unload vessels at the ports in these countries.

The government of South Korea plans to unveil a set of new measures in October which are expected to provide other carriers with measures to avoid the Hanjin scenario.

World Maritime News

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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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