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Customs redeploys Area Controllers

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No fewer than a dozen Area Controllers of the Nigeria Customs Service have been redeployed in the latest round of posting by the Service.

Although major commands of Apapa, Tin Can and Onne Port were not affected, most of the affected Controllers have enjoyed relative stability as they have served for close to a year at their various commands.

As part of the changes from records obtained by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, the Western Marine command now has a substantive Area Controller with the redeployment of Yusuf Umar from Zone ‘C’ headquarters in Owerri to the command while Comptroller Folorunsho Adegoke has been moved from PTML command to Murtala Mohammed International Airport Command to take over from Comptroller Tajudeen Olanrewaju who has been redeployed to the Customs headquarters, Abuja.

Comptroller Isa Talatu of Lilypond Area Command takes over at PTML command while Comptroller Willy Egbudin was redeployed from his position as Controller, Seme Area Command to the Customs headquarters in Abuja.

M.O Osoma moves from the Customs headquarters to Cross River, while M.J Atiku has been redeployed from industrial incentives at the headquarters to replace Talatu at Lilypond.

Others are: Abubakar Bashir from headquarters to FCT command replacing Mohammed Umar while Maitama Kura has been redeployed to Kastina/Kaduna Command. Muhammed Biu succeeds Maitama as Controller Niger/Kogi/Kwara command while Garba Mohammed Ndalati moves from Customs headquarters to Seme command.

Meanwhile the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Imo said it impounded 685 cartons of contraband frozen poultry worth over N30 million in November 2014.

The Customs Area Controller of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone C, Victor Dimka, disclosed this in Owerri on Wednesday while briefing newsmen on its activities.
He said that the contraband were concealed in 4,400 cartons of La Casera apple drinks and 50 bags of locally made animal feed.

Dimka said the goods were impounded by the service on Asaba/Onitsha and Calabar axis while two men were arrested in connection with the alleged crime.
A trailer truck was used by the smugglers to conceal 450 cartons of the frozen poultry with the 4,400 cartons of La asera Apple drinks, while a Mercedes Benz truck with Reg. No. XU 465 PHC was used to conceal the 235 cartons of the poultry with 50 bags of locally made animal feeds.”
The controller decried the incalculable harm being inflicted on the nation’s economy due to the smuggling of prohibited products into the country.
He warned those still engrossed in the act of smuggling to desist or face the wrath of the law, when arrested.
“We will continue to make this zone very hot and uncomfortable for smugglers to remain in business and we are not mincing words about this.
“This is happening today to tell the world that we mean business,” he said.
According to him, the two suspects arrested in connection with the illegal importation are now undergoing intensive interrogation for further prosecution in court.
Dimka said that all suspects arrested in connection with smuggling activities in the zone would be prosecuted and jailed, if found guilty.
“The determination of the Nigeria Customs Service to reposition itself for greater challenges is unstoppable.
“Our officers and men are currently undergoing capacity building/training at the Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, while others are being trained abroad,” he said.
The area controller expressed delight at the cordial synergy between the NCS and other sister agencies, including the Nigeria Police, State Security Service (SSS), Nigerian Army, National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) in the fight against smuggling.
He said the synergy would continue to grow from strength to strength.

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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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