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Four killed, 17 wounded in blast in southeast Turkey -sources

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  • As Twin suicide attack hits police station near Baghdad, kill 5

Four suspected bomb makers were killed and 17 people wounded when an explosion ripped through a village in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast, security sources and the Interior Ministry said.

The blast occurred at about 10:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) in the Sarikamis district, about 25 km (15 miles) from the region’s biggest city of Diyarbakir, as Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants loaded explosives onto a small truck, according to the Interior Ministry.

A photograph taken from a police helicopter and provided to reporters by the Interior Ministry showed what appeared to be a massive crater in a field caused by the explosion.

Electricity in Sarikamis had been cut and homes near the blast site suffered damaged, CNN Turk reported.

Two of the wounded were in critical condition, security sources said. Witnesses reported hearing the explosion as far away as Diyarbakir.

The blast followed a car bomb attack near a military facility earlier in the day in an Istanbul suburb that wounded seven people, and a car bombing in Diyarbakir on Tuesday that targeted police and killed three people.

Turkey has been hit by a series of bombings this year, including two suicide attacks in tourist areas of Istanbul blamed on Islamic State and two car bombings in the capital Ankara, which killed a total of 66 people and were claimed by a PKK offshoot.

After the blast, security forces set up checkpoints at Sarikamis and searched vehicles entering and leaving the village.

Security sources said the blasts occurred as militants loaded explosives onto the truck that they intended to use in an attack on security forces.

Meanwhile, a twin suicide bombing hit a police station in Baghdad’s westernmost suburb on Thursday, killing at least five policemen a day after a wave of attacks by the Islamic State group killed nearly a hundred people in the Iraqi capital.

The IS-claimed bombings were the deadliest in Baghdad this year, coming at a time of turmoil and deadlock in Iraq’s government and parliament. Funerals were underway Thursday for many of those who were killed in Wednesday’s bombings, which included a car bomb that struck a crowded outdoor market selling food, clothing and household goods in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City.

In Thursday’s attack, two suicide bombers hit the station in the western suburb of Abu Ghraib at dawn, according to a police officer.

The first bomber blew himself up at the station’s gate, followed by the second who detonated his explosives inside the building, the officer said. The explosion also left 12 policemen wounded.

A medical official confirmed casualty figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to release information.

The Sadr City bombing on Wednesday killed 68 people while two more car bombs elsewhere in Baghdad killed at least 30.

After the attacks, grieving relatives and family members lit candles at the scene of Sadr City bombing as calls came from mosques in Baghdad for blood donations. Many of the victims were being buried Thursday in the southern Shiite city of Najaf, where a sprawling cemetery is located near a shrine for a revered Shiite imam.

Although security has improved in the Iraqi capital, Wednesday’s attacks demonstrated the Islamic State’s ability to launch devastating assaults in tee hart of Baghdad. Back-to-back bombings on Feb. 28, also in Sadr City, killed 73 people.

IS extremists still control significant areas in northern and western Iraq, including the second-largest city of Mosul. Commercial and public places in Shiite-dominated neighborhoods are among the most frequent targets for IS militants who want to undermine government efforts to maintain security in the capital.

Reuter 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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