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Duration For NIMASA’s Registration Of Ship Is Uncertain – Dakuku

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  • As Lebanese dupes three Lagos customers, absconds with N170m

The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside told newsmen on Wednesday that, but for his ingenuity, staff salaries would have been impossible to pay, as the agency was flat broke when he assumed office.

He however failed to mention how many days it would averagely take for a serious ship owner to get a ship registered by the agency, as he posited that the exercise could be accomplished, between 30, 60 or 90 days.

“But for my ingenuity, payment of salaries would have been impossible”,  he indicated, noting that the agency was first hit by the sliding number of ships coming to Nigeria, in addition to the fact that by the time the agency revenue was paid into the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the agency was often down and out.

“We have fewer number of ships coming to our shores now”, he stated, even as he explained that the agency’s currently faces the twin challenges of raging militancy in the Niger Delta, as well as the dwindling global economic crisis, occasioned by the unstable crude prices.

He vowed to leverage on his background as a member of national assembly to ensure the enactment of a more effective law, capable of deterring piracy, pointing out that what the Police is working on presently, is weak.

“In the past when we handed over pirates to the Police, they did not prosecute them very well. We need a stronger legal platform to deter the pirates; and we are already, working on it”,  he explained.

Dakuku Peterside assured he would block all identifiable revenue loopholes,  while focusing how to deliver on the core mandate of the agency.

Thoroughly an eloquent administrator, he however failed to see anything wrong in the fact that the agency could not register a ship under one week as obtained in Liberia, nor mentioned any plans towards tackling it.

“The number of days it takes to register a vessel is not certain. It may take somebody 30 days; and another (person) 60 days or more”, he concluded.

In the meantime, a Lebanese and bureau de change operator, Aly Sayad, has been accused of absconding with $487,700 (about N170m)  in the Victoria Island area of Lagos State.

It was learnt that three businessmen had approached the suspect in his office on Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island, to help them change $487,700 to naira.

He was alleged to have left the men in the office after collecting the money, saying he was going to the bank to transfer the naira equivalent to their various bank accounts.

After waiting for hours, the victims were said to have gone to the bank where Sayad claimed he was going to do the transaction, but could not find him.

He was alleged to have fled with the money.

The case was reported at the Bar Beach Police Division, where a manhunt was launched for the suspect.

A police source told PUNCH Metro that the incident happened on Tuesday, adding that the complainants approached the police after searching for Sayad for seven hours.

He said, “The three men actually met at the Lebanese man’s office where they gave him money totalling $487,700 which they wanted to change to naira. He told them to wait for him that he would be going to the bank to deposit the dollars and transfer the naira equivalent into their bank accounts.

“The three businessmen waited until banking hours were almost over. They decided to go and check him around 3pm, but they didn’t find him in the bank. After checking at other places without result, they reported the matter to the police.”

The Police Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the incident, adding that nobody knew the address of the suspect.

Badmos, a Superintendent of Police, said, “We are on his trail. The unfortunate thing is that nobody knows his address. We have transferred the matter to the State Department of Criminal Investigation, Yaba, for further investigation. We will surely get him.”

Additional report from Punch

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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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