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…Accuses media of fuelling tension, enmity in the industry

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) under the leadership of Dikko Inde Abdullahi may be saving the country a wasteful payment of $25 million monthly, a seasoned Customs broker has observed.

president jonathan

president jonathan

The Deputy National President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Prince Obums Anene who made the statement,pointint out that government paid services provider 2.4 billion dollars in eight years, also vilified maritime journalists, for what he described as “speculative writings”, especially of those bordering on the tenure of Dikko, as Customs Comptroller General (CGC).

Dr. Boniface Aniebonam

Dr. Boniface Aniebonam

Accusing the media of fuelling tension, enmity and avoidable distraction  on issues that would not grow the industry, the NAGAFF Chieftain said he was disgusted that a cross section of misinformed maritime reporters had failed to realize that Customs and its current management took away the jobs of Destination Inspection (DI) Service providers, a group which Government wastefully paid $2.4 billion under eight years, through a very costly fight.

“It is sad to note that most Nigerians and our Resident Reporters may not have realized that this young man, Dikko, and his administration struggled with their last breath to dislodge the service providers from undertaking Destination Inspection in Nigeria.  Well over 2.4 Billion Dollars may have been paid to the Service Providers in the past 8 years and yet young Nigerian graduates are roaming the streets in search of gainful employment.

“The point herein canvassed is to state clearly from our vantage point that the Dikko administration has done so well in the area of revenue collection, anti-smuggling function, trade facilitation, post audit function, international collaboration, capacity building and training, infrastructural development and ICT compliance”, Obums stated further, asking those wishing to see the Dikko, or his counterparts at NIMASA, Ziakede Akpobolokemi or the NPA Managing Director, Habib Abdullahi removed to engage their energies in more productive ventures.

“It is very sad that most of the Resident Reporters in our seaports, airports and border stations spend their precious time writing about the removal or continued stay in office of some Government officials e.g. the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), the Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) instead of engaging themselves in issues that will help the advancement of our international trade and ports administration.

“The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) as a critical stakeholder in the maritime trade and transportation is really surprised over the on-going distractions to the officers of the Government by the Resident Reporters because they tend to create undue tension, suspicion and enmity within the ranks of the Service personnel”, he noted further.

“It is on record that the tenureship of civil servants is either 35 years in Service or 60 years of age whichever comes first.

“In the particular case of the CGC, the truth remains that he (Dikko) is yet to reach 35 years in Service or 60 years of age and he has not been found guilty of any offence against Civil Service rules or Customs law.

“The point herein canvassed is to state clearly from our vantage point that the Dikko administration has done so well in the area of revenue collection, anti-smuggling function, trade facilitation, post audit function, international collaboration, capacity building and training, infrastructural development and ICT compliance”, he also said.

The NAGAFF as a body however, tasked the Customs Boss to work towards bridging the gap between the letters of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) and that of the Council for Regulations of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN).

“However, what we think should attract the attention of the CGC at the moment is the divide between CEMA and CRFFN.  There is the urgent need to harmonize the relevance and operations of these two legislative instruments to achieve professionalism and compliance level on the part of freight agents and shippers in the Customs ports and approved border stations.

“We also will want the management team of the NCS to increase their efforts in lobbying the National Assembly and the Presidency with a view to ushering in a new Customs law that seeks to grant partial autonomy in Customs administration”, the group concluded, in a statement it sent to Maritime First on Wednesday.


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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