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Cuomo leads the way in fighting BDS

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  • As Report says Israeli Air Force attacked Syrian weapons facility over the weekend 

Ordering a boycott of the boycott, Gov. Cuomo on Sunday placed New York State at the vanguard of fighting a drive, steeped in anti-Semitism, to delegitimize Israel.

The governor issued an executive order that bars the state from doing business with entities that back the BDS movement, which calls for boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning Israel for alleged human rights violations against Palestinians.

In addition to ignoring true atrocities by other regimes, BDS at heart views the existence of the Jewish state as illegitimate in and of itself, and thus it inherently tramples Palestinian rights.

“If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you,” the governor declared with pithy moral power.

Cuomo went as far as a governor can go alone. Now, the Legislature must make barring business with BDS-supporting entities state law. Importantly, that move would extend the reach of the governor’s order to the state pension fund — which is where the real money is.

Some foreign banks serve BDS-backing enterprises that do business with firms that handle New York retirement system investments. The prospect of losing those investments could lead firms to sever ties with offending banks. A trend in that direction would be especially important in Europe, a BDS hotbed.

Meanwhile, the state Senate has passed an anti-BDS bill. A related measure is pending in the Assembly. The leadership of both houses must reconcile and pass legislation that focuses directly on combatting the BDS plague.

Cuomo’s order extends to all agencies and departments under his control — but not the bi-state Port Authority, which should get on board as well.

A state official will develop a list of institutions that target Israel in this way — and require all executive offices to “divest their money and assets from any investment in any institution or company” so deemed.

The list will be regularly updated, and targeted companies will have the opportunity to demonstrate either that they were unfairly included or that they have ended BDS ties.

While no one should be denied public sector business for stating a political position — speech is free in America — actively engaging in a boycott against Israel is an affront to New York values. Taxpayers ought not to enrich the bottom line of companies set on destroying Israel via economic warfare.

In the meantime, Israeli Air Force jets attacked a missile storage facility in Syria over the weekend, targeting a number of military sites said to be housing advanced weaponry, according to Syrian Internet publication Al Wasil Time on Tuesday.

The attack took place near the embattled city of Homs and reportedly caused extensive damage to the facility.

The report added that Syrian defense systems identified Israeli aircraft within their airspace but refrained from firing.

If the report is verified, it would be the first operation conducted under the newly minted Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman, who toured the northern border earlier Tuesday with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

He was also briefed by OC Northern Command, Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, the head of the Northern Formation and Commander of the IDF Staff and Command College, Maj.-Gen. Yossi Bachar, and regional commanders in northern Israel.

“I heard briefings today on this area, which is always sensitive, and I can say that the northern border is in good and secure hands,” Liberman said.

“I was impressed by the readiness, the plans, and preparations. The role of the IDF here is to safeguard the quiet on the northern border, and that is what we are doing. We have no other plans, other than to safeguard the quiet, and I hope that everyone understands that well, including our neighbors.”

Liberman added, “In any case, I would not advise anyone to try and test us.”

Additional reports from NY Daily news and Jerusalem Post

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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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