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CABOTAGE: NIMASA pledges support to bring back NISA jobs



The “Bring Back Our Jobs” campaign by the Nigeria Indigenous Ship-owners Association (NISA) on Tuesday got a boost, as the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi pledged to assist NISA return the jobs.

The NIMASA boss gave the assurance, when the NISA President, Capt. Dada Olaniyi Labinjo led a delegation of newly elected NISA executive members on a maiden visit to the NIMASA Corporate Headquarters, Apapa Lagos; to stress the need for collaboration, cooperation and synergy of relevant services providers, in the overall interest of the citizens, particularly the un-employed.

“We will work, to see that NISA gets back its jobs”, indicated Akpobolokemi, assuring the delegate that not only would the agency grant the association the required priority attention, but has in fact, begun flying same kite, because of his deep conviction that the only way to reduce crimes, particularly armed robbery, is by creating jobs, which observably was the main focus of NISA.

“Nigerians are getting restive because the jobs which the citizens can do, are still being done by foreigners”, he remarked, highlighting that he already communicated the fact that the implementation of the cabotage law would now be more emphasized, at a meeting he held, earlier in the day with a group he called the ‘OPTS”, said to be an umbrella for operators in the petroleum and gas terrain.

“We told them we  them we need to empower our people, because Nigerians are getting restive, that jobs which Nigerians can do are still being done by foreigners”, stated, adding that a committee had also been formed, to work on the morality for the return of the jobs.

Akpobolokemi however stressed the need for the understanding and total support of NISA, in the task of getting the jobs back, noting that the task would not be easy.

“I do not say it would be easy; but we must all do our best. The laws are there. But our problem is that it is often difficult to fully implement the laws in this country”, he said further, stressing the need not to underrate the kind of challenge the agency would probably confront, in the course of a full implementation of the cabotage regime.

The NIMASA Boss assured the NISA members, that having been involved in the NISA election, he had a moral reason to work for its success, said he would endeavour to carry the members along, so as to ensure that they fully understand if the pace of the journey, could not be as fast as the association would want it;

“Why do we make noise about the Cabotage Act? It is because it is not being implemented 100 percent. The Americans do not talk about the Jones Act because they have crossed that huddle.

“The desire of the Indigenous Ship-owners Association is to create jobs. If the jobs are not created, the armed robbers would increase. There is nothing anybody can do about it.  So, we must work together to achieve this common purpose; because jobs brings multiplier effects on the economy.

He maintained that the agency should not be perceived as “doing anybody any favour” by working in the direction that could bring jobs, because it would only amount to merely striving to contribute their quota, towards creating a better Nigeria, noting that the Government was seriously working towards ensuring an enduring turn around of the economy, in the overall interest of the country, and urged the country, particularly the potential investors, to focus more on the expansion of the Nigeria fleet.

Earlier, the NISA President, Capt Labinjo had told the NIMASA Boss that they were there not only to fraternize, but to explore opportunities to evolve modalities for closer understanding, cooperation and collaboration to “bring back the jobs”, in the overall interest of the citizens.

“We are not vagabonds. We are not ruffians. We are what other people, in other countries call investors. We are a group that any country would be glad to have.

“We are not from Ghana . We are Nigerians, like you”, Labinjo stated, highlighting that the NISA plan was to formulate workable strategies, which would ensure an encompassing participation of all ship-owners, be it in Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri or anywhere else was carried along in their twin desire to create jobs and stamp out illegality.

“Just like you, we will permit no illegality. We will cooperate with you, to ensure that no illegality will be allowed”, he posited, even as he noted that if the members were legally engaged, they would not allow anything like illegal bunkering to be perpetuated.

“But we want to take back our jobs. Our jobs have been taken over by foreign operators. How? We want to take back our jobs by encouraging our members to acquire new vessels. We will also discourage the foreigners who have overrun our waters”, he indicated, noting that in the task ahead, there may also be a strong need for the use of the NIMASA satellite tracking technology.

“We can’t trade in Ghana . We can’t trade in Malaysia . And if this is true, then, I should not be struggling with foreigners here, before we can trade.

“It is for this purpose that Nigeria created the Cabotage Act; and further consolidated it by the Nigerian Local Content Act”, he stated further, noting that the association was aware that on November 5th, 2014, Brazil enacted a new law, which in addition to their cabotage law, also foreclose waiver options.

Capt. Labinjo stressed the need for NISA to have input in the operation of waiver policy, pleading that when a waiver application was received by the DG, the content should be made available to the NISA, for professional advice, and response within 72 hours; because that is the way it was done in Malaysia , India and elsewhere too.

Those in attendance where members of the new NISA executive, which included the Second Vice President, Aminu; the General Secretary, Tunji Brown; Treasurer, Peter Olorunfemi; Financial Secretary, Dele Lamisa, Otunba Shola Onaoji, Mr. Peter Ashinwo and Associate Member, Akin Olaniyan.


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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