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Customs Releases 40 Impounded Trucks to AMARTO Members



The Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO) has heaved a sigh of relieve as the Nigeria Customs Service headquarters in Abuja ordered its Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ in Ikeja, to release more than 40 trucks belonging to members of the association which were impounded.

The trucks were impounded by officers of the FOU while conveying unprocessed woods into Lagos ports for exports.

Chairman of AMARTO, Chief Remi Ogungbemi told journalists in Lagos on Monday that the trucks were seized between October 2015 and February 2016 on their ways to the port. Unprocessed woods are onCcustoms export prohibition list.

However, to protect its members, AMARTO has equally disclosed that it is introducing an indemnity form for them, which will exonerate them from wrongdoings whenever they are accosted by the customs for carrying contraband. This is to be done in collaboration with the Association of Woods Export and Processing and the Nigeria Customs Service.

The AMARTO chair; Chief Ogungbemi also took a swipe at Nigerian shippers and clearing agents, saying that most of them are dubious and unscrupulous, he further alleged that they were the cause of problems faced by truckers, because most of them fail to declare correctly what they were carrying for export or import. He expressed gratitude to the Comptroller General of Customs and officers of customs at the headquarters in Abuja for their magnanimity in releasing the seized trucks. He said that owners of the trucks and their businesses have been badly hit since the trucks were impounded.

“More than 40 trucks were impounded, some were seized at FOU, Tin Can and Apapa, but majority of the trucks are at FOU Ikeja. Tomorrow (Tuesday), we will go to Ikeja to take inventory and take stock of the trucks there and process their release. This will require us hiring a crane to put the container down”.

“Management of the customs intervened, after findings and investigations, they discovered that truck drivers are not the shippers and the response from the drivers convinced them that the drivers were not involved. Out of their magnanimity they ordered the release of the trucks”.

“Our members are suffering and falling victims of these because unscrupulous clearing agents will not tell customs what they are exporting or importing. I am highly impressed that the management of customs deemed it fit to send somebody from Abuja, the person came to brief and educate us on what and what we should be carrying”, he explained.

Speaking on the introduction of indemnity form for truckers, Chief Ogungbemi said the form is free. “Our members would not know which one is legitimate and which one is illegitimate this is why we have come up with an indemnity form which will contain all the information about the agent, the importer, the loading point and the agency name. This is to ensure that if our trucks are accosted, through the form the authority will know all the information about the cargo”.

He stated further that: “Most times, truck drivers do not know their importers or the agents of the cargoes, but with the indemnity form they will know all information about the cargo they carry. We want to indemnify our members and this is why we are embarking on the use of forms”.

“We will go further to seek audience with the management of Nigerian customs for them to approve and authorize the form, so that it will become a condition by which all trucks would be allowed into the port to load or discharge cargoes”.

“Importers should declare correctly what is going out or coming into the country, they are the people giving us all these problems and not the customs, they are not honest. If all shippers can be honest, there will be no need for customs to arrest our members” he said.

Shipping Position


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



…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



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

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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