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FG Ready to Establish National Carrier, Says Amaechi

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  • As African Shippers say: Only Availability of Cargo Will Guarantee Vessel Acquisition Financing

Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi on Wednesday said that the federal government is willing to establish a national shipping line as part of efforts to develop the shipping sub-sector of the maritime industry.

Amaechi, disclosed this while speaking at the opening of the 2016 African Maritime Conference with the theme ‘Financing The African Fleet: ‘Capacity Development In The African Maritime Industry’ holding in Lagos.

He stated that national carrier would support the training of cadets on sea time, much as it would serve the purpose of being engaged in carrying the national cargo.

But he said that the industry would not involve in financing ‘gifts’ to people to lavish, adding that the industry would rather acquire vessels that Nigerians would own.

Speaking on the Cabotage Act, the minister said “We will urge the President to enforce the law on Cabotage, but that is after we have floated the National Carrier.

“We have agreed on a 60/40 model, where Nigerians own the larger percentage and the other goes to foreigners,” the Minister said.

He said the ministry would partner with industry operators in its bid to have a better-organised maritime sector, adding that the industry should be part of its wealth-creating plan.

The Minister urged industry operators to understand that government’s role should primarily be to support policy workability and ensure stability to the benefit of the trade environment.

With respect to sea time for cadets, Amaechi said the goal for establishing the Maritime Academy, Oron in Akwa Ibom, had been defeated.

He also reiterated the need to carry out a performance audit of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) to right whatever wrong that may have existed there.

The minister called for proper briefing on the transporter, MV HORTEN, said to be laying redundant on the marina waters, while it was reported to be having the capacity for training of 135 cadets at sea.
It would be recalled that the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line was liquidated in 1995.

Meanwhile, the African Shipowners Association (ASA) Wednesday said the availability of cargoes would enable Africans engage in trade and guarantee the financing needed to develop the shipping sub-sector in the African Continent.

President of the Association, Mr Temisan Omatseye said financing of vessel acquisition was not the problem, but the cargo.

“ When you look at the focus of the conference, you are talking about financing and African fleet. I can tell you categorically that for me, I know where to get the money from. All the discussions, we know how to fund the vessel.

“Where the problem is, is the cargo. Once I can guarantee cargoes, I will get the money to fund the shipping.”

The ASA President who spoke during the opening of the three-day 2016 African Maritime Conference in Lagos, said the association would meet with African Leaders in Lome to request that they changed their ECO-terms agreement.

He said it would mean that any cargo leaving Africa must be on a C&F basis, so that it is the African nations that would determine the vessels that would carry their cargoes to deliver.

He added said that ‘any importer bringing on FOB, we will send our vessel there to pick up the cargo and bring it to Africa. That is what we need to do.”

He said when that was done, the financing would be locked-in.

In her goodwill message, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), represented by Mr Kazeem Karris, said Africa desired an integrated, peaceful and prosperous continent.

She called for efficient use of Africa’s resources.

Giving his goodwill message, President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun said Africa needed efficient ship-owners’ association, to strengthen shipping development.

He said that in spite of the need to diversify economic activities from oil and gas, Nigerian fleet had yet to participate in the increased shipping activities.

Ogbeifun said that collaboration to strengthen the sector in the continent was important, even as they looked forward to re-establishing a Nigerian fleet, which would create jobs, reversing capital flight.

Frontline ship-owner, Chief Isaac Jolapamo , said Nigeria has lost control of the cabotage trade, leading to capital flight through using foreign-flagged vessels for transporting the nation’s cargoes.

He, however, encouraged efforts in development of human resources and sectors of the maritime industry to benefit the nation’s economy.

Discussants at the interactive session observed that Africans must take effective steps toward financing shipping, building infrastructure and human capacity.

They agreed that member-states there should be institutions to monitor performance, to ascertain level of growth relative to agenda goals.

They also noted that the Africans had only initiated about 5 per cent financing of ocean-going vessels, while calling for a target-driven approach to developing the industry.

Shipping Day

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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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