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Poverty fuels aggression!
Extreme poverty engenders madness. Otherwise, how do you explain why about 15 extremely poor and hopeless migrants would last Tuesday unite and throw overboard, one after the other, 12 other extremely poor,hapless Christian migrants, also fleeing  Africa, into the sea!



Palermo police account indicated that there were about 10 Nigerians, a Ghanaian and another migrant, all Christians, who were all running away from Africa, through North Africa’s Tripoli area, into Europe, targeting Lampedusa or Sicilian Island, in Italy.  

Madness created by extreme poverty!  They simply vent their angers on fellow poverty-ridden, fleeing souls, and began to throw them to their deaths!

It is not a sufficient consolation that the police said they had detained the 15 people suspected in the high seas murder, which they learned of while interviewing tearful survivors from Nigeria and Ghana who had arrived in Palermo Wednesday morning after being rescued at sea by the ship Ellensborg.

The 15 were accused of multiple homicide, aggravated by religious hatred, police said in a statement.

We probably do not need a PhD, to know that if the 10, out of the 12 migrants thrown overboard were Christians, then they were also most likely, to be either South-easterners, South -southerners or South-westerners.

The highest common factor (hcf) they shared was that their home Nigeria was no longer a “home sweet home”. They wanted to flee Nigeria. It no longer mattered to them, whether or not the reigning President is a Christian or a Muslim! 

Some of them could have sold off the few property, or personal effects they still had, to procure the minimal fares, needed to proceed to their harrowing deaths!

When Jesus was entering Jerusalem, the clergymen told us He knew he had a date with death. The same people told us that one Apostle Paul was even forewarned of the danger, associated with his intention to visit Rome. He was prepared for the outcomes, including death. When my Nigerian brothers were embarking on their terminal journey, some of them with money borrowed from friends, they most likely were armed with high hopes, fake visas, and the smallest of personal effects. They hardly knew they were paying to sacrifice  themselves as cheap food, to shacks, barracudas and such terrifying sea creatures. 
The question is: has Nigeria, as a country become so bad, that citizens are now willing to raise loans to buy death-tickets?!

The survivors said they had boarded a rubber boat April 14 on the Libyan coast with 105 passengers aboard, part of the wave of migrants taking advantage of calm seas and warm weather to make the risky crossing from Libya, where most smuggling operations originate.

During the crossing, the English-speaking migrants from Nigeria and Ghana — believed to be Christians — were threatened with being thrown into the sea by some 15 other passengers from the French-speaking Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali and Guinea Bissau.
Eventually the threat was carried out and 12 were thrown overboard. The surviving Christians, the police statement said, only managed to stay on board by forming a “human chain” to resist the assault!

In order words, if the living would unite and form a human-electoral-chains, we can always become invincible. But until then, ‘they’ would always be free, to assault us, one at a time…to our detriment!

But then, what is 12 deaths decided probably  on Wednesday; when talking of a route which consumed about 41 on Monday.

The International Organization of Migration (IOM) speaking on Thursday, said four migrants who were picked up in recent days by the Italian Navy reported a shipwreck to aid workers after arriving in the Italian port of Trapani Thursday. Their boat had originally been carrying 45 people; the others are presumed dead.

Now, of the 41 presumed dead, how many were Nigerians? One, two or 10?

The IOM said the migrants — two Nigerians, a Ghanaian and one Nigerien — were found floating in the sea by a helicopter and were rescued by the Italian Naval ship Foscari. They had left Tripoli in Libya on Saturday and stayed adrift for four days. The location of the rescue was not immediately known.

Yet, these figures were nothing, compared to the statistics of a few days earlier, when over 400 Africans cheaply perished on the same route, after the sinking of a ship near the Libyan coast!

The deaths have raised calls for a more robust search and rescue of the seas between Libya and Europe amid a surge in migration between the Middle East and Africa toward Italy.

Already, it is becoming a monthly rituals. Africans, many of them, Nigerians would leave their abode, armed with ignorance, FALSE hopes, gleefully heading to their doom.

Only last month, several merchant ships assisted in migrant rescues from seven separate boats in a 24-hour period, bringing to safety almost 1,000 migrants, including 30 children and 50 women, one of them pregnant.

They were identified as mostly Syrian, Palestinian, Tunisian, Libyan and sub-Saharan Africans, who were fleeing to Italian ports. How many died?

Records showed that more than 300 people died in that same-week trying to cross the sea from Libya to Italy, through southern island of Lampedusa, just about 300 kilometres (186 miles) from the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

The U.N. refugee organisation UNHCR says at least 218,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean by boat in 2014 out of which 3,500 lives were lost

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has begun a campaign against it, with the Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu calling for more concerted action to address the issue of criminals who organize illegal and unregulated sea passage by migrants.

But while IMO, the IOM and Italian Coast Guards are crying their hearts out, what are the African Governments doing? What are the Nigerian Governments, even the local governments doing? Have you ever heard of a single jingle, warning anyone on the dangers of risking a cross, from North Africa into Spain or Italy? 

Africa is in tartar, Nigeria is fast drifting from the celebrated goals!

If Africa must produce to fed the fish, must Nigeria, with the frightening thousands, separately wasted by Boko Haram also be a large donor?

Muamah Ghadafi stayed so long in power, because he was able to feed and housed his people. Are we truly able to feed and house anybody presently, with the growing army of unemployed, unemployable and the retrenched?!

In the past, school leavers, the unemployed Corpers and the sacked merely needed to look for few lucky friends and their extended family members. Poverty has changed the cultural values, sadly leaving in its trail, a growing number of highly educated prostitutes and poorly packaged, kidnappers, highly daring armed robbers and sophisticated yahoo-yahoo boys!

The citizens now pay higher tariffs for non existing electricity light; business is booming for the increasing numbers of those selling ‘bottles’ of pure and ‘poor’ water, all because potable water is getting scarcer by the day; while  the best of the roads are more easily found, on the pages of campaign posters, bill boards and newspapers, because they are lacking in reality!

On 23rd of May, 2012, a maritime expert and highly endowed law maker, in a chat at a five star London hotel took a hard look at the problems of the country, critically appraising the challenges, from budget implementation, media inadequacies, educational lapses to law making; and concluded that the nation’s problems wholly derive from ‘leadership’.

In April this year, the same law maker, was declared the Governor-elect of Enugu State; and the entire maritime stakeholders went into frenzied jubilation! 

“We have everything. We are blessed. But, we do not protect any of the things that God has blessed us with!” Hon. Ugwuanyi had declared in 2012, asking:
“…. So, who is losing? It’s the country!”

Defending the legislature, Ugwuanyi asked again, “if you make laws that are not obeyed, what would you do?!” 

On May 29, 2015, Ugwuanyi would, by God’s grace be sworn in as the next Enugu State Governor. On May 30, we will run his interview; and thereafter, hold him accountable, for the content of his assertions made, three years earlier.

so, you already heard it, most succinctly put: they made the necessary laws. Adherence was the major problem! And in the absence of strict adherence, decay, deterioration and degeneration began. 

Welcome General Muhammadu Buhari. How many more Nigerians would still die between Tripoli and Lampedusa or the Sicilian Islands, striving desperately to get out of what they perceive as a hopeless cul-de-sac?

Welcome Buhari. Unfortunately, the platform is totally destroyed!
Mu n la lache du ka!
… Mu n gama duka!!!


WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…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



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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