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FRSC: Relocation of tank farms only solution to Apapa gridlock

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The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) said yesterday that the relocation of tank farms from the Apapa Port roads remained the permanent solution to the persistent gridlock in the area.

The Lagos Sector Commander of the commission, Mr Chidi Nkwonta, who spoke in Lagos, said that the measures being taken at the moment to end the congestion were temporary.

Nkwonta said that the increase in the number of tankers and trucks, the dilapidated condition of the roads, and the negligence of the stakeholders in the oil and gas industry made it necessary for the tank farms to be relocated.

He said: “We expect the tank farms to be moved from Apapa; they cannot be on the port roads in Apapa; the siting of the tank farms is inappropriate. It is in the heart of the town and it is unsafe, it is causing congestion. As such, it is endangering the entire environment. So, the tank farms must move at the long run, while the roads must be fixed. You cannot control the traffic on those roads when the roads are so bad. The number of vehicles on the roads is large and there is no parking space for the trucks. Most of those trucks enter the potholes and they get stuck; some of the trucks lack maintenance; and coupled with the existence of the potholes it is difficult to move them.”

According to the sector commander, lack of functional loading bays, dishonesty among stakeholders in coordinating the movement of the tankers in and out of the farms made drivers to resort to queuing on the access roads.

He said they queued to avoid being pushed to the back by other loaders of products.

Nkwonta alleged that the company currently rehabilitating the roads had worsened the situation by blocking parts of the roads while working in the daytime.

He advised that the construction work could be done at night.

He urged the construction company to fill all the potholes on the roads, as a temporary measure, to ease the “nightmare” for the people.

The sector commander urged the government to designate a route for tankers and trucks.

Nkwonta advised the government to provide dedicated parks for the tankers and introduce the use of tallies in order to coordinate the movement of such tankers in batches.

He urged the unions to put their loading bays in good shape and to ensure that all the drivers adhered strictly to the laws guiding their operations.

The FRSC boss said that the commission had drafted no fewer than 300 officers and two commands to control traffic in the area in a bid to solve the problem.

Meanwhile, Lagos State Government has disagreed with the Federal Government over the construction of only the failed portion of the Oshodi Apapa express road saying total reconstruction of the entire stretch of the expressway is the permanent solution to the perennial gridlock on the road.

Speaking in Lagos yesterday, the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, said the temporary palliatives of the Federal Government would not solve the problem on the busiest roads.

Opeifa pointed out that the root cause of the chaos on the road, especially around the Coconut bus-stop and the Apapa ports, was that several portions of the road had failed.

The Commissioner said the situation led to frequent accidents involving tankers and this had resulted in the total blockage of the road in the past.

“The problem affecting the Apapa end is that most portions of the road are bad, and that explains why tankers and trucks fall on that road, resulting in the traffic mess we always experienced there. Until the road is reconstructed, the problem on the Apapa axis will be very difficult to solve permanently,” he said.

Opeifa said the Federal and Lagos State Governments had a meeting in 2012 where the former promised to reconstruct the entire road, so as to end the sufferings of motorists plying the route.

He, however, said that the Lagos state government was still expecting the Federal Government to fulfil the promise it made in 2012 to reconstruct the road.

“What they are doing now is palliative work and that will not solve the problem.

“You see, the blight spots are Coconut, Wharf and Creek sections of the road, but the ongoing palliative work is not extended to those areas.

“We have been consistently implementing our own part of the agreement we had with them, some of which was to manage the traffic and build inner city roads,” he said.

He said the state government was constructing no fewer than eight inner city roads and deploying traffic administrators there, to ensure sanity.

SOURCE: SHIPS AND PORTS

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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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