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Cabotage: NPA to raise red-flags against straying ships

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…As Abdullahi assures NISA of total support to bring back Nigerian jobs

The nation’s hope of improving her employment opportunities through the Nigerian Indigenous Ship-owners Association (NISA) got a boost on Thursday, as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), pledged to evolved a committee, mandated to raise the red flags, against illegally operating vessels in Nigerian water, in a bid to ensure a more effective implementation of the Cabotage regime.

Capt Dada Olaniyi Labinjo

Capt Dada Olaniyi Labinjo

The body which would consist of NPA, NISA and other relevant members would have the special mandate of identifying straying ships, wanting to engage in illegal activities,  alert designated persons, who in turn, would officially intimate the NIMASA to enable it enforce the relevant law.

 The NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi (left) and the association National PublicitySecretary, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori, during the NISA visit to Marina Lagos NPA Headquarters, on Thursday.


The NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi (left) and the association National Publicity Secretary, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori, during the NISA visit to Marina Lagos NPA Headquarters, on Thursday.

The NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi disclosed this, in his Marina Lagos office, while hosting a delegation of NISA members, led by their President, Capt Dada Olaniyi Labinjo, who came in the course of their campaign, to win back their jobs, from foreign shipping companies.

The NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi (middle) flanked by the NISA President Capt. Dada Olaniyi Labinjo (Right) and the NISA Scribe on the left., during the NISA visit to Marina Lagos NPA Headquarters, on Thursday.

The NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi (middle) flanked by the NISA President Capt. Dada Olaniyi Labinjo (Right) and the NISA Scribe on the left., during the NISA visit to Marina Lagos NPA Headquarters, on Thursday.

“I am very much concerned about Cabotage implementation, because it is for the benefit of the entire country, especially in terms of its potential economic empowerment”, the NPA Boss indicated, even as called attention to the fact the actual implementation of the Act remains the direct responsibility of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

The NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi (third from right) and the NISA President and otherS, during the NISA visit to Marina Lagos NPA Headquarters, on Thursday.

The NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi (third from right) and the NISA President and others, during the NISA visit to Marina Lagos NPA Headquarters, on Thursday.

Highlighting that a prosperous Nigeria was the prayer of stakeholders, Habib said he would personally  be glad to encourage the indigenous ship owners in their chosen career,  noting that if he joyfully handles jobs for Grimaldi Group because they pay accurately, why would he not be equally happy to meet the needs of NISA, since they would also be paying.

He however tasked NISA to develop itself into a strong formidable body, able to influence policies, noting that this was the thing that gave prominence and respect to similar bodies in other countries.

“You have to come out to make yourself pronounced; you must make yourself to be known, and I think its only by doing that that you will earn the respect you deserve”.

The Managing Director also cautioned against allowing the NIMAREX Expo to degenerate into an annual jamboree, stressing the need to monitor its gains, against the desired expectations of its founding fathers.

Speaking earlier, the NISA President had observed the huge economic waste, highly pronounced in the maritime industry, stressing that a situation that allows the loss of overN1.2 trillion on annual basis could no longer be allowed.

“In the maritime palance today, two things readily comes to mind whenever we are talking about maritime infrastructure:  one, the Port where the business is transacted; and two, the ship, bringing the cargo, ensuring that  business is transacted. The two, the port and the ship go together.

“It is for this reason, that we genuinely believe there should be a working business relationship between these strategic Government agencies, particularly the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the the core service providers, especially the NISA. The relationship would essentially be, for the mutual enhancement of the Nigerian maritime industry.

“The recent happenings have even made it more imperative; where oil prices have noze-dived, where Nigeria has been declared as being in a recession, and we have told that we need to readjust, by tightening our belts, has necessitated that we need to look more inwards.

“But, to look more inwards also imply that we make sure that we begin to use more of the Nigerian goods and services, at least, to conserve the scarce foreign currencies, and shore up our economy.

“But what is our best alternative?  It is by focusing or refocusing on our oil and gas! We believe that if we do this, the whole of our members, backed by you, we could make the desired difference to the economy.. For instance, if we’d synergize we could save the country as much as N1.2 trillion.

“That is why it is important that the NPA and the NISA work hand in hand, 

“And I want to assure you that NISA members are not hooligans. We are not ruffians. We are sincere and genuine Nigerians, wanting to run credible shipping business in the country.

“We are also no small-time investors. We are people who should be encouraged. None of us is a small time investor. Ship acquisition or services are prettily expensive. And that is why we must be encouraged.

“And like I told everybody during my campaign period, we need to bring back our jobs. 

“It is only in Nigeria that we are talking about breaches to the Cabotage law. In other climes, no body talks about it, because you cannot breach it. It is taken for granted.

Capt. Labinjo therefore called for the establishment of a NPA-NISA Business Committee, that would constantly monitor the terrain, and proffer needed counsel in the overall interest of industry growth.

The Committee’s additional task then include, to meticulously monitor for vessels straying into Nigeria for illegal business operations, raise the red flag on it; and pass the information to NISA, which in response, would communicate same to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as a regulatory Government arm, for its flag State functions.

The NISA President thanked the Managing Director for the 30% discount the members enjoy as incentive, and especially, the fact that they made their payments in Naira.

He also, specially lauded the active participation of the NPA in NIMAREX, the Nigerian annual forum, for mind-rubbing and ideas-exchange, between the service providers, service consumers and core decisions makers, in the nation’s maritime sector, assuring that the newly inaugurated NIMAREX Planning Committee would leave no stones unturned, to ensure that the platform yielded the desired long-term benefits.

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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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