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Dahiru Arrests 42, Impounds N688m Contraband

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  • As Car bomb attacks in Baghdad kill at least 90

The Federal Operations Unit,  Zone ‘A’ an anti smuggling arm of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Lagos recorded 481 stupendous seizures with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N668,392,940, alongside the arrest of 42 suspects, between January and April, 2016.

The FOU arrowhead,  Comptroller Umar Mohammed Dahiru who authenticated this in Lagos, also warned smugglers and illicit traders that the Command as a logistics outfit of the Nigeria Customs Service, saddled with the responsibilities of suppressing smuggling and facilitating legitimate trade would remain a thorn in their flesh, until they turn a new leaf.
Comptroller Umar Mohammed Dahiru
                                                                   Comptroller Umar Mohammed Dahiru

“This statutory role is a compelling factor for a sustained onslaught against the saboteurs of the Nation’s Economy”, Dahiru stated,  highlighting that it was on this basis that the Unit has reviewed its operational methodologies to meet up with sophisticated strategic standards which the smugglers will find extremely difficult to decode.

Providing a breakdown of the seizures, the Comptroller stated that from 481 different seizures, valued at N527,830,350,  with a payable duty of N140,562,590,

“One hundred and forty one different Seizures of Rice, totalling eight thousand, one hundred and forty eight (8,148) bags of 50kg parboiled rice and fifty (50) bags of 25kg with Duty Paid Value of Fifty Three Million, One Hundred and Twenty Four Thousand, Five Hundred Naira (N53,124,500.00) Only.

“One hundred and twelve (112) different Seizures of imported Frozen Poultry Products, totalling twenty thousand, seven hundred and forty two (20,742) cartons with Duty Paid Value of One Hundred and Twelve Million, Six Thousand, Eight Hundred Naira (N112,006,800.00) Only.

“Fifty (50) different Seizures of Vegetable oil, totalling two thousand, five hundred and nineteen (2,519) kegs of 25 liters, twenty four (24) kegs of 10 liters, one hundred and forty (140) cartons of kings oil, one hundred and twenty (120) pieces, one thousand, two hundred and fifty (1,250) empty kegs with Duty Paid Value of Eighteen Million, Seven Hundred and Eighty Eight Thousand, Four Hundred Naira (N18,788,400.00) Only.

“Thirty two (32) Units of Vehicles, twelve (12) cut buses with Duty Paid Value of Eighty Seven Million, Two Hundred and Ten Thousand Naira (N87,210,000.00) Only.

“One hundred and forty eight (148) different Seizures of General Merchandise comprising new & used textile materials, new & used foot wears, mosquito insecticide, spaghetti noodles, various soap & detergent, used tyres, narcotics, compressors, hard drugs, Indian hemp etc with Duty Paid Value of Three Hundred and Ninety Seven Million, Two Hundred and Sixty Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Forty Naira (N397,263,240.00) Only”,  he indicated further, highlighting a comparative analysis of the corresponding period of 2015, which showed that the Command recorded 628 different Seizures with a Duty Paid Value of N428,664,404.00

“Smuggling, just like scavenging is a global menace and countries all over the world are constantly strategizing on how to suppress it in their domain, using various methods. In view of this, the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’, have keyed into the various strategies, including the use of ICT in gathering intelligence amongst others”,  Mohammed Dahiru concluded.

Part of the seizure made.

Part of the seizure made.

In the meantime, a string of car bomb attacks across Baghdad has killed at least 90 people, making it the Iraqi capital’s deadliest day this year.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the largest blast, at a marketplace in the Shia neighbourhood of Sadr City, which killed at least 63 people.

Two other blasts targeted the Shia neighbourhoods of Kadhimiya, in the north of the city, the site of one of the main Shia Islamic shrines, and Hurriya.

Despite the resurgence of Isis in areas outside the capital, the frequency of attacks in Baghdad has slowed over the past year. But Isis continues to demonstrate that it can still launch coordinated campaigns in sensitive areas of the city despite a massive security presence.

Iraqi officials have yet to come up with a way to stop car bombs from being driven around the city and detonated in areas that have frequently been targeted. Sadr City, a sprawling former slum area which is home to more than 1 million Shia residents, is one such area.

In recent years Sadr City has been targeted at least 110 times, according to Iraqi officials. In almost all cases the bombs were driven into the neighbourhood past an extensive system of checkpoints.

Iraqi police and soldiers continue to use British-made fake bomb detector wandsat many checkpoints across the country. The company that made them, ATSC, was dissolved in 2013, and its founder, Jim McCormick, was convicted of three counts of fraud and sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Iraqi interior ministry and military officials spent an estimated £52m on the devices. Officials still insist they work.

Isis has been pushed back from areas to the south and north of Baghdad, which are now dominated by Shia militias, who work alongside the Iraqi military and often have primacy over them. Isis is also on the back foot west of Baghdad, which had been a hotbed of Sunni militancy for more than a decade.

The terror group has repeatedly pledged to continue to target civilians across Iraq, especially members of the Shia sect. It has said it draws no distinction between them and security forces.

Iraq’s government believes the group retains an organised presence in Baghdad, with a network of sleeper cells that recruit and train suicide bombers such as the militant who targeted Sadr City in the latest strike. Officials believe the suicide devices and car bombs are assembled inside the city.

The Guardian has spoken with captured Isis members who have previously been responsible for explosions in some of the areas targeted on Wednesday. One of the men, Abu Abdullah, who was formerly second in charge of the group inside Baghdad, said he had personally sent 15 suicide bombers on missions between 2011 and 2013, and had no regrets about his actions.

Additional report from Guardian

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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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