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Edo Poll: Police Deploy 3 Gunboats, 5 Helicopters, 12 Armoured Personnel Carriers, 25,000 Operatives

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  • As Russian military says it’s ready to talk to US about Aleppo

About 48 hours to the conduct of governorship election in Edo State on Wednesday, the police have intensified efforts at ensuring that the election is hitch-free with the deployment of surveillance helicopters and a combined team of policemen to the state on Sunday.

In all, the police have deployed three gunboats, five helicopters, 12 armoured personnel carriers and 25,000 operatives to ensure maximum security before, during and after the election.

Scores of police vans lined the Oba Market Road by the Oba Market Police State in Benin on Sunday afternoon, while police officers drawn from different commands in the country were seeing arriving the state headquarters of police on Monday.

Two helicopters inscribed with the name of police were sighted hovering over many parts of the Benin metropolis Sunday afternoon.

Marine policemen, who will man the gunboats to secure the waterways in areas such as Ologbo, Agenebode and Inikorogha, have also arrived Edo State.

The Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) in charge of operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja, Habila Joshak, has arrived Edo State along with four Commissioners of Police for effective monitoring.

The DIG, who is expected to coordinate security being put in place for the election, is to be assisted by Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Zone 5, Mr Isaac Eke, Commissioner of Police in charge of Air wing, Mr E.D Zang, and Commissioner of Police, Mobile Police, Mr Bello Ahmed, among others.

The Commissioner of Police in charge of Air Wing, Mr E.D Zang, is expected to lead his men using the helicopters to view from the sky and promptly report to ground troops any unwanted occurrence.
The Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and other security agencies in the state would also be involved in the exercise.

Speaking at the police headquarters, DIG Habila enjoined the officers to display high level of professionalism and neutrality as anyone found to have violated the electoral act would be arrested and prosecuted.

He police officers, who would be involved in the election to ensure that adequate security and protection is given to the electorate, observers, ballot materials, INEC personnel, National Youths Corps members, party agents and everyone participating in the exercise.

In the meantime, the Russian military said Wednesday it’s ready to resume contacts with its U.S. counterparts over the situation in Syria, even as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry threatened to cut all cooperation with Moscow on Syria unless an onslaught on Aleppo ends.

Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir of the military’s General Staff said Wednesday that Russian experts are ready to travel to Geneva to restart consultations with the U.S. to “search for possible ways of normalizing the situation in Aleppo.”

A U.S.-Russian truce in Syria has collapsed and the Syrian government forces backed by Russian warplanes have launched an attempt to take control of the rebel-held neighborhoods of Aleppo.

Kerry said Wednesday the U.S. is preparing to “suspend U.S.-Russia bilateral engagement on Syria,” including talks on a possible counter-extremist partnership, unless Russian and Syrian government attacks on Aleppo end. More than 250 people are believed to have been killed in the besieged city in the last week.

Poznikhir didn’t make any reference to Kerry’s statement, saying only that Russia was ready to continue discussions.

“It’s expected that Russian experts will be sent to Geneva shortly to resume consultations with the American side,” he said. “We hope that American partners are also ready for joint work.”

The U.S.-Russian deal brokered Sept. 9 envisaged cooperation between the two militaries against the Islamic State group and al-Qaida’s branch in Syria if the declared cease-fire held, but it collapsed amid renewed fighting and mutual acrimony. The U.S. blamed Russia for an attack on a humanitarian convoy outside Aleppo, accusations Moscow has denied.

Poznikhir said the Russian military got new information about Syrian rebels’ involvement in the attack on the convoy, but he didn’t offer any details.

Like other Russian officials before him, he has blamed the rebels for the collapse of the truce, adding that an increasing number of Syrian opposition units have integrated with al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria. He also alleged that the militants are preparing to strike sections of Aleppo with chemical weapons to heap the blame on the government.

“It has become known to us that terrorist groups are preparing to strike Syrian army positions and residential quarters in the eastern part of Aleppo with projectiles loaded with toxic agents as a provocation, in order to put the blame on the government forces,” he said.

Tribune with additional report from MSN

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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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