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Dickson Wins Bayelsa Governorship Election

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…Monarch, five others feared killed in post-poll clash

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Seriake Dickson has been declared winner of the Bayelsa State governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Mr Dickson polled 134,998 votes to emerge winner of the election. Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Timipre Sylva, scored 86,852 votes to place second.

“Henry Dickson Seriake, having satisfied the requirements of the law and scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected. This is signed by the returning officer dated this 10th day of January 2016,” the Returning Officer said.

INEC had revised its guidelines for the re-run of the governorship election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The Commission said all the parties had given their consent to the revised guidelines, which it believes would help to fast-track the exercise on Saturday, January 9.

According to the new document, accreditation and voting will go on simultaneously.

After taking results from four local government areas where governorship re-run election was held in Bayelsa State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) commenced the collation of the final results in the early hours of Sunday between 12:00am and 2:00am local time.

After the results from Ogbia were announced the electoral body said it would take a break and reconvene in the morning by 11:00am.

In the declared results, the All Progressives Congress (APC) scored 448 votes in Yenagoa LGA while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 839.

In Brass LGA, APC had 1,679 and the PDP got 5. In Sagbama LGA, APC scored 119 , PDP, 180 while APC had 139 in Ogbia LGA with PDP polling 1,290 votes.

On resumption, it was declared that in Ekeremor Local Government Area, the PDP polled a total of 2,695 votes, while the APC recorded 257 votes.

In Nembe, the PDP had 1,160 votes while the APC polled 1, 400 votes.

The result for Southern Ijaw was finally announced on Sunday evening around 7:00PM local time. The PDP scored a total of 23,081 votes, while APC scored 10,216.

The collation officer also reported that elections did not take place in Kolana Ward 17 because voting materials arrived very late and had to be returned.

The INEC had declared the Bayelsa election inconclusive after it rescheduled the governorship election in Southern Ijaw for January 9.

Professor Mustapha Leki announced the rescheduled election at the headquarters of INEC in Yenagoa, the capital of the State.

He said the INEC experienced major disturbances and challenges in a number of places, especially the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

“These were occasioned as a result of severe militant activities. As a result of this development and working in conjunction with security agencies, our first concern is to take steps to stabilise the situation to ensure the safety of electoral officials and the security of materials,” he told reporters.

After INEC rescheduled the election, the major candidates – the incumbent Governor, Seriake Dickson of the Peoples Democratic Party and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Timipre Sylva – expressed displeasure with the circumstance that led to the cancellation of election in the area.

While the incumbent governor said he had set up a judicial commission of enquiry to examine the alleged violence and thuggery during the governorship election, the APC candidate said the action of the election umpire was a rape on democracy that had denied the people of Bayelsa the right to choose their leaders.

In the meantime, six people, including a traditional ruler, were feared dead yesterday during a clash between supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Peremabiri, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

The Paramount Ruler of the community, Chief Progress Neverdie and five other persons were said to have been shot during the fracas which occurred when results for the governorship election in the state were being collated in Yenagoa.

It learnt that when it became obvious that the PDP candidate was poised to win the poll, the party supporters started celebrating and taunting the loyalists of the APC.

Peremabiri is the community of the ex-militant leader, Mr. Eris Paul, popularly known as Ogunboss.

Neverdie, who was reportedly shot at the back, was said to have been rushed to the Federal Medical Centre.

Sources said he was unconscious and in a critical condition as he was being taken to the hospital.

News of the incident filtered into Yenagoa shortly after the police urged the winners of the poll to celebrate with utmost modesty.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Peter Ogunyanwo ,also thanked the general public for cooperating with all security agencies to conduct a peaceful and orderly rerun election.

He said: “It is hoped that this trend would be improved upon in subsequent elections. The Command in the meantime appeals to all, that as the results are being announced, members of the public should co-operate with security agencies in sustaining the existing peace in the state.

Upshot with additional report from Nation

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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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