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Customs, Protecting Limbs And Tummies: Impound Arms, Unhygienic Poultry

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  • As Nigeria embarks on serious struggles to find buyers for N159bn oil

Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service have impounded a 40-foot container from the US, with 980 rounds of 9mm live ammunition and a pistol at the Tin Can Island Port (TCIP), even as the Federal Operations Unit Zone A, Customs’ anti smuggling arm in Lagos intercepts 3,328 cartons of smuggled frozen poultry valued at N18m

The developments which have already led to the arrest of not less than three suspects, clearly shows the Service protecting Nigerians’ limbs and tummies.

The Impounded Truck

The Impounded Truck

The TCIP Controller, Comptroller Bashar Yusuf told newsmen that his officers also found in the container, camouflage military face cap, camouflage belt, a pair of hand gloves, a pair of shoes among other items concealed in two vehicles, alongside a suspect; all of which have been handed over to the Department of State Security Service (DSS).

But while Yusuf’s problem may end with a brief handover ceremony, that of the FOU Lagos, Controller Dahiru Umar would include digging and burying the un- hygienic N18m poultry, supervised by certain government agencies.
DSC UCHE EJESIEME

 

      DSC UCHE EJESIEME

“The seizures were effected at different locations within the flanks and flashpoints under the supervisory authority of the unit”, he indicated as he conducted newsmen around, leaving no one in doubt, on a mission he embarked on, on 12th January, 2016; on assumption of office.

“We are working hard to change our modus operandi, to suit the exigencies of the moment and to also ensure that the unit remains on top of the smugglers antics in all ramifications, particularly in terms of enhanced intelligence network”, he stated, disclosing that the renewed onslaught led to the interception of an articulated truck which ought to be carrying alcoholic beverages, instead of smuggled frozen poultry.

The Controller praised his teams, and singled out a particular team leader, whom he described as a “highly committed officer”, whose contribution to the seizure profile of the unit could not be quantified.

“Investigations are ongoing to determine the level of involvement of the suspects before charging them to court and determine the degree of complicity of the truck owners in the unlawful act”, he said of the two suspects he nabbed,

“I advice smugglers in this Zone to invest their money in more legitimate businesses and avoid smuggling because the more you smuggle, the more we seize. We also call on the general public to oblige us with useful information on the activities of smugglers”, he added, assuring that the FOU in Lagos would remain a serious thorn on the smugglers wellbeing, while he occupies the driver’s seat.

Meanwhile, Umar in furtherance of his vision to incorporate enhanced use of networking and intelligence, has flagged off official visits to relevant sisterly agencies, particularly, the Nigeria Police.

In the meantime, Nigeria’s March crude programme is struggling to find outlets, with some 25 million barrels still unsold even as the April loading programme is expected to start arriving this week, traders have said.

Despite this, offers for the oil have gone mostly quiet as those holding the cargos wait for reluctant buyers to return to a market awash with choice for oil, according to Reuters.

As of February 16, the price of crude oil (Bonny Light) stood at $32.32 per barrel, while the official naira exchange rate was N197 against the dollar, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Sellers were offering Qua Iboe, one of the country’s oil grades, at dated Brent plus $1.40, but buyers showed little interest and traders said values were less than $1 per barrel versus Brent.

Most buyers said the differentials would have to weaken somewhat in order to get the cargos moving, particularly with refinery maintenance coming and freight rates increasing to some destinations.

Still, several tenders due this week from Indian refiners would likely clear out a few thousands of the barrels. India is the biggest importer of Nigerian crude oil.

Lower differentials for crude oil from other regions, particularly Urals and Mediterranean crude, were said to have piled pressure on sellers to lower differentials to encourage activity.

The slow movement contrasted with Angola’s March loadings, which traded quickly due in part to larger term contracts with Chinese buyers that left less oil for spot trading.

Angola is expected to export at least 1.8 million barrels per day in April, slightly more than March.

The April loading schedule is expected to start emerging on Thursday or Friday.

Indian Oil Corporation is running two crude buying tenders this week, and the results of both are expected by Thursday.

Fellow Indian refiner, BPCL, also has a buying tender for West African grades loading from February 25 to March 6.

Additional report from Punch

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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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