Connect with us

Archives

CCT trial: We’ll swim and sink with Saraki – Senators

Published

on

  • MSC Cruises Adding Four More Giants at STX France

The prospects of a prolonged crisis in the Senate was, yesterday, in the offing following the decision by loyalists of Senate President Bukola Saraki to sink or swim with him in his continued trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.

The affirmation of the Saraki loyalists is in the wake of agitations by some senators to give the Senate President a soft landing through a possible resignation from office in the interest of the legislative body.

Senator Saraki is currently facing trial at the CCT following a 13-count charge levelled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, bordering on alleged corruption and false declaration of assets.

The contrasting views were inevitably widening the chasm that preceded the Senate leadership election that saw the All Progressives Congress, APC senators divide between Senators Saraki and Ahmad Lawan. Meanwhile, allies of the Senate President in their response to the increasing pressure on him to step down, yesterday, vowed to resist the pressures saying that Saraki would not resign from office.

The pro-Saraki senators met at the Asokoro residence of Senator Magartarkada Wammako, APC, Sokoto Central and Chairman, Senate Committee on Education. At the end of the meeting, some of the senators believed the Senate President must continue in office, stressing that for whatever it was worth, they would continue to stand firmly behind Saraki and ensure that his Senate Presidency seat was protected.

Addressing journalists on behalf of the senators, Senator Ibrahim Rafiu, APC, Kwara South and Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, reiterated their earlier stance that Saraki’s trial was a ‘mere persecution’ and an attempt to tarnish his image in ways not experienced before.

He said:  “We have since discovered that the trial of the Senate President is a mere attempt to blackmail him and make him look bad in the court of public opinion. No more, no less. A dispassionate analysis of the proceedings at the CCT, yesterday, has pointed to the fact that the APC-led executive is still embittered against Dr. Saraki over the manner of his election as Senate President.

“This is why we are standing for the Senate President and we will so do till the very end. We are doing this not for him but for the institution of the Senate that he eminently represents. We will never allow any arm of government to rubbish the cherished autonomy of the Senate.” Commenting on the calls in some quarters that the Senate President should resign from his position, the senators insisted that the calls were borne out of ignorance and pure hatred, describing such calls as ‘wicked and unfounded.’

“For those calling for the impeachment of the Senate President, we urge them to avail themselves of the provisions of the law relating to such a sensitive step. “As far as we are concerned, there is nothing like that on the table, and if anybody is trying to import that from outside of the Senate, God help them. “All I know is that they will have to produce as many as a 100 senators to achieve that aim. As long as they don’t have the majority, the call is a tall dream that will remain a figment of the imagination of the groups and their sponsors,” the senators said.

Vanguard gathered, yesterday, that both the Senate Unity Forum, SUF and the Likemind Senators of the APC, may be returning to their battle moods ahead of another potential face off. The SUF was a political pressure group formed to support Senator Ahmed Lawan, APC, Yobe North for the position of Senate President, while Likemind Senators was a pro-Saraki’s group.

According to a source, the senators are divided as to whether Senate President should step down or not. While some of the senators are pushing for his resignation to save the image of the Senate which they see as already being rubbished before the public and the international community, others are of the view that he should remain till the end of the case.

In the meantime, Geneva-based cruise line MSC Cruises has signed a letter of intent for four more World Class cruise ships to be built at STX France’s shipyard in Saint Nazaire, the cruise company confirmed.

Featuring a weight of 200,000 gross tons, the ships will be fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and have the capacity to carry some 5,400 passengers.

The deal, which is reportedly worth some EUR 4 billion (USD 4.5 billion), will see the ships debute in 2022.

The four new ships, announced by the cruise line’s founder Gianluigi Aponte, bring MSC Cruises’ orderbook to 11 new cruise vessels scheduled to join the company’s fleet by 2026.

The order comes only two months after the cruise company announced that it inked a deal with the same shipyard to build two 331-meter long Meraviglia Plus class vessels, valued at EUR 1.6 billion (USD 1.74 billion).

The two Meraviglia Plus class ships, which will have the capacity to carry almost 6,300 passengers, are expected to join the company’s fleet in October 2019 and September 2020.

Under a contract signed with STX France in April 2015, MSC Cruises has two additional Vista class cruise ships on order.

Vanguard with additional report from World Maritime News

Continue Reading
Advertisement Simply Easy Learning
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

17 − six =

Archives

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

Published

on

…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. 

Continue Reading

Archives

Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Archives

Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

Published

on

…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

Continue Reading

Editor’s Pick

Politics