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FOU Owerri impound N9m hemp in luxury bus

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Cost of drugs, particularly cannabis sativa also known as ‘Indian hemp’ may soon rise in the Eastern part of the country, as Federal Operation Unit Zone “C” Owerri, intercepts about 400 kilograms of a normal supply in Enugu State.

Dimka, explaining to his officers why they must be at least two steps ahead of smugglers in terms of resourcefulness and imagination.

Dimka, explaining to his officers why they must be at least two steps ahead of smugglers in terms of resourcefulness and imagination.

Popularly called “Ghana Conc” with an estimated N9 million street value, the prohibited item, according to FOU Zone “C” Customs Area Controller, Victor Dimka were properly concealed in a luxury bus, alongside other passengers’ luggage to beat the eagle eyes of the Customs men on duty.

“However, acting on information made available to us, our men took strategic positions, intercepted the bus and eventually recovered the cannabis sativa alongside other contraband goods such as foreign rubber slippers, used motorcycle and used computers”, Victor Dimka indicated.

Showcasing the neatly parcelled drugs which were intercepted at the 9th mile axis of Enugu State, Comptroller, Dimka Victor warned traders of illicit goods to stay out the Zone, stressing that the “tea party” was over.

“Despite efforts to reduce smuggling, smugglers have refused to listen to the voice of reason and it is quite unfortunate and disheartening that the deviants have continued in their nefarious trade”, he observed, advising that the entire Zone “C” area of the Nigeria Customs Service should now be considered a “no go area” for smugglers, their agents and collaborators, in the meantime.

He emphasized that his officers and men were so adequately trained, motivated and equipped with the state of the art gadgets to deal decisively, with die hard smugglers however clever they may be.

Dimka highlighted that the driver of the luxury bus would for now, be perceived as the prime suspect while investigation continues; and if found guilty by the law court, would be committed to prison, in accordance with the provisions of the law.

He assured the law abiding business community that the Nigeria Customs Service would continue to strengthen her existing synergy with other sisterly agencies to protect their interest, even as the war against smuggling continues.

He thereafter handed over the parcelled drugs to the Commander, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Enugu State Command- Barr. Anthony Nkem Ohanyere for further investigation.

Receiving the seizures on behalf of the NDLEA Chairman, Alhaji Ahmadu Giade, the NDLEA Enugu State Commander, Ohanyere reiterated the determination of the agency to win the war against illicit trade, thanking the Service for recognising that the drug war is  not the exclusive responsibility of the NDLEA alone, but that of all levels of government and well meaning Nigerians.

He regretted that the continued consumption of hard drugs by some disgruntled individuals has led to the upsurge of all manner of criminality in the society with many youths ruined in the pursuit of their lofty careers.

Ohanyere expressed delight at the inter agency relationship between the NCS and the NDLEA and gave an assurance that his agency would further carry out a detailed investigation on the items seized to serve as a deterrent to others still trapped in drug trafficking. 

He also expressed his joy that the NCS, has been modernized to stand shoulder high anywhere across the globe, hence its increasing relevance in the on-going war, against smuggling.

Thorough, fearless and daring, Victor Dimka, the present FOU Zone C Boss, it would be recalled, was once the head of the FOU Zone “A” Lagos, where he terrorised smugglers so much, making so much seizures, that the smugglers bandied together, to fight him back, in return.

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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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