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FG calls Avengers’ bluff, repairs NGC pipeline

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  • As Police await new chief as Inspector-Gen. Arase bows out

The Federal Government has ignored the threat of the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, not to repair oil facilities blown up by the militant group during the period of conciliation for dialogue or risk resumption of hostilities.

“We are going to redirect and reactivate all our activities if the government, oil companies and their services firms do not heed these modest warnings of not carrying out repair works and suspend the buying of crude oil from our region, as we await the right atmosphere that will engender genuine dialogue,” the militant group had warned on June 13.

This came as suspected kidnappers waylaid the outspoken Ibe-Benimowei (Chief Mobilizer) of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Chief Godspower Gbenekama and his wife at Effurun, Uvwie local government area, of Delta State, but he escaped by the skin of his teeth.

Vanguard gathered that government was carrying out repairs on the Nigeria Gas Company, NGC, pipeline recently destroyed by militants at Ubefan Creek in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State with a heavy military presence.NDA bombed the said pipeline on Wednesday, May 26.

It confirmed in a tweet, May 27: “At 11.45 on Thursday, @NDAvengers blew up other NNPC Gas and Crude trunk line close to the Warri pipeline that was heavily guarded by the military.”

Community sources confided in Vanguard that soldiers were escorting badges, tugboats loaded with equipment and personnel heading for the repairs of the damaged facility of a NGC, a subsidiary of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC,on Sunday.

Chairman of Kunukunuma Federated Communities, Chief Moses Bebenimibo, who corroborated Vanguard’s findings, grumbled that the contractor carrying out the maintenance, Melcurt Nigeria Limited, did not involve the host community. He sulked at the development, saying that government did not consider his community hosting the facility in any manner.

Bebenimibo accused the Federal Government of being interested only on the oil that flows in the communities and not the well-being of the people, adding: “They are good in using the military to always intimidate and subdue us in matters that affect us as a people from this end.”

In the meantime, the Police Service Commission (PSC) has approved the promotion of 4,542 Senior Police Officers to their next ranks between May and June.

This information was contained in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by Mr Ikechukwu Ani, the Head, Press and Public Relations of the commission.

The statement said seven Commissioners of Police were elevated to the rank of AIG and six Deputy Commissioners of Police to Commissioners of Police.

Also, 20 Assistant Commissioners of Police became Deputy Commissioners of Police while eight SPs moved to ACs, 107 SPs to CSPs, 1,431 DSPs to SPs, 1,252 ASPs to DSPs and 1,711 to Inspectors of Police.

The statement said three DCPs, five ACPs, four CSPs, three SPs, five DSPs and 127 ASPs were promoted on acting appointments.

It said the commission approved special promotion for 16 officers based on exceptional performance and dedication to duty on the recommendation of the Inspector-General of Police.

The statement said two officers were promoted on account of gallantry while 188 others were placed on acting appointments of their next rank.

The statement said the chairman of the commission, Mr Mike Okiro, urged the officers to reciprocate government gesture by rededicating themselves to the service of the nation.

He promised that the commission would continue to ensure that deserving policemen were promoted as at when due to serve as motivation for effective and efficient service.

Okiro enjoined them to ensure that they were guided by the approved rules and regulations of the Force and that they operated with the fear of God.

He said the commission would continue to ensure that the promotion of policemen was regular to serve as a tonic for effective and efficient service.

The chairman noted that the commission would continue to evolve guidelines and programmes that would improve efficiency in the Force.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Solomon Arase quits today. Arase is the 18th indigenous IGP.

He was appointed in April last year by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Officers and men of the Force are anxiously awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice of successor.

Force spokesperson Olabisi Kolawole said: “The IG’s tenure will end today and we don’t know who the next IG will be as I speak.

“Even the IGP does not know but maybe he will know later today (yesterday)  or tomorrow (today) but as we speak now, we are all in the dark. I am sure we will know tomorrow and  will communicate it to you.”

Arase yesterday decorated four Assistant-Inspectors General of Police. They are AIGs Tili Abubakar, Opadokun John, Ogunbayode David and Dorothy Gimba.

Arase urged them to work harder wherever they were posted to.

He said: “The position you are today requires a lot of responsibility.’’

Abubakar, who responded for others, promised their dedication to duty and loyalty to the force.

“We will remain more dedicated and loyal to the police force.

“We will continue to uphold the good tenets of the Nigeria police force’’, he said.

He expressed gratitude to the I-G for finding them worthy for promotion.

Some policemen have expressed displeasure over the promotion of 14 officers to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP).

Those promoted are: Nkechi Enehikuere; Juliana Abah; Abdulkadir Jimoh; Garba Baba; Joseph Egbunike; Jonathan Towuru; Adeleke Bode and Muri Musa.

Others are: Magu Mustafa; Lawal Tanko; Celestine Eluemelu; Edward Ajogun; Sylvester Alabi and David Igbodo.

Some of those left out are crying foul over alleged “lack of due process”

The officers, who are unwilling to give their names, alleged that with exception of Enehikuere, Abah, Jimoh, Baba and Egbunike, the PSC left out many senior officers who have attended and passed their Senior Staff course.

“Because the IGP is going out, he has jumped the gun in recommending some of his loyalists for promotion, “ an officer said.

Also yesterday, Arase inaugurated a police officers’ mess and 35 suites.

Arase said as the head of the force, the welfare of men of the Nigeria police was his top priority.

“As long as I am the Inspector-General of Police, the welfare of my men is my number one priority.

“I am very unapologetic about the welfare of police officers,’’he said.

He said the project would help solve the accommodation problem being faced by officers when they come to Abuja on official duty.

DIG Mamman Tsafe, in charge of Logistics and Supply, said accommodation was a complicated problem for the police.

He said the project would rake in revenue for the force if its maintenance was sustained.

Tsafe hailed Arase for his vision and commitment to complete the project started by former Inspector-General of Police, Ogbonnaya Onovo, in 2009.

Other projects inaugurated by Arase included the commissioners’ quarters and the police finance building.

Vanguard 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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