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Damen Gets Tonnes Of Commendations From Iskes Over Tug Delivery

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  • As Buhari blames MTN for Boko Haram casualties

Damen, the shipyard giant is presently basking in the tonnes of commendation being heaped on it from a customer, Iskes, following beyond -the -expectations performance of a recently delivered tug, the new ASD 2411 Venus.

Iskes Towage & Salvage which took delivery of the new Damen ASD 2411 in November 2015, rained the commendations as feedback, on occasion of its first 100 day, on the tug which has been performing vessel assistance duties in the locks and canals around the Dutch Ports of Amsterdam and IJmuiden.

The Venus crew

The Venus crew

“We needed a compact tug that could work in the IJmuiden locks – but also a versatile one that could handle anything”, indicated Iskes Managing Director Jim Iskes, noting that with the shipyard, his experience had been: “You call them with what you want and they organise it. Then you get the key and you’re on your way. Of course, any new build has problems to start off, but Damen sorts them out. It’s top quality – what every ship owner really wants.”

The vessel’s captain, Auke de Haan, has worked for Iskes for six years, mainly on larger, but less powerful, tugs however. “I had my doubts about working on this relatively smaller tug, but these have turned out to be unfounded. We work a lot over the bow, towing in reverse, but her stern rises nicely out of the water with great course stability. She’s very manoeuvrable and can handle the power well thanks to the slipping clutches. I can perform manoeuvres with only 10 revs on the prop.”

While Captain De Haan is pleased with the visibility he has from the bridge, he does have some important feedback for Damen concerning the levels of comfort there. “The bridge could be more  spacious,” he comments. “For example, there’s a good chair for the Captain, but only a simple bench for my crew.”

Below in the engine room, Wilco Wittekoek, the Venus’ Engineer, is well placed to comment on how the Venus has performed in her first 3 months of service. “She’s nice and quiet,” he says. “There’s quite a lot of electronics down here compared to some of the older tugs that I’ve worked on, but that’s unavoidable these days. And, being an engineer, it’s a shame that you can’t do much work on the engine. That all happens via the laptop. However, the shore support that we get from Caterpillar is very handy. Collecting and analysing data in this way really contributes to keeping the ship tip-top.”

The Damen ASD 2411 combines advantages of various tug designs. It has an impressive 70-tonne bollard pull for a 24-metre tug. The Venus, part of Iskes’ twelve-strong fleet operating out of Amsterdam, has assisted a wide variety of vessels since her delivery. In fact, her first ever job was helping a 280-metre bulk carrier out into the open sea and her second was handling a small fishing trawler.

Damen Shipyards Group operates 32 shipbuilding and repair yards, employing 9,000 people worldwide; and has delivered more than 6,000 vessels in more than 100 countries, with about 180 vessels annually delivered to customers worldwide.

In the meantime, failure of South African telecommunication company, MTN to disconnect millions of unregistered users aided the activities of Boko Haram, President Muhammadu Buhari has said. “You know how the unregistered GSM are being used by terrorists… That was why NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission) asked the MTN, Glo and the rest of them to register GSM,” Buhari told a joint a press conference held with the visiting President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

He continued: “Unfortunately MTN was very slow and contributed to the casualties. And that was why the NCC looked at its regulations and imposed that fine on them.”

Nigerian Communication Commission had ordered all phone line operators to disconnect unregistered SIMs by mid-2015 on security grounds but MTN missed the deadline. The company was consequently fined a $3.9 billion.

It has since paid $250 million towards the penalty. The affair cast a shadow over the build-up to the visit of South African President Jacob Zuma and was expected to have been high on the agenda when he met Buhari for talks in the capital, Abuja. Buhari emphasised that the country had no intention of witch-hunting MTN.

He said the fine became imperative since unregistered lines were a security risk. “The concern of the federal government was basically on the security, not the fine imposed on the MTN,” he said.

Zuma arrived in Abuja on Tuesday morning in a visit which observers see as an attempt to mend fences between Africa’s largest economic powers. Pretoria is putting a positive spin on the visit, talking up the pair’s “good bilateral political, economic and social relations” and potential new business opportunities, AFP reports. Zuma has a sizeable ministerial and business delegation in tow and announced after meeting Buhari that “over 30 bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding” had been signed.

“These agreements cover a wide range of cooperation areas including trade and industry, transport, energy, defence and security and immigration among others,” he said in a speech. He made no mention of MTN, which challenged the fine in court but withdrew its case to enable negotiations for an agreement.

Nigeria has asked South Africa for closer defence ties, including special forces training in operations against Boko Haram, military spokesman Rabe Abubakar announced late on Monday. But the MTN affair — and complaints from other South African firms in Nigeria — have dominated discussions against a background of tensions.

Additional report from The 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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