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Our Greatest Asset Is Our People- Dakuku Tells IMO

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  • As Okogie tells Buhari: Nigerians are hungry

The nation’s greatest asset in the maritime industry has been identified as the Nigerian people, the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has observed.

Dakuku indicated this during the opening ceremony of a five-day training programme facilitated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in conjunction with NIMASA on International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS)  code compliance in Lagos, stressing that it is for that the agency has no option than to heavily invest in human capacity development, so as not only to meet the IMO standards, but to reap the gains of maritime endowments.

“Recognizing that our greatest asset is our people, the leadership of the maritime industry in Nigeria, is committed to building a skilled, talented and effective workforce. That is why we take advantage of every training programme to equip our people and prepare them for new challenges that come up daily in the course of carrying out their assignments”, Dakuku highlighted, stressing that his Agency would continue to cultivate, develop and boost the strong values of professionalism as hallmarks of the agency.

Positing that the NIMASA was now poised for new challenges, Dr. Dakuku Peterside assured the IMO of the nation’s full commitment to enforce the implementation of the ISPS Code, he thanked the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi for showing rare leadership in the maritime industry.

“Things are turning around in the maritime industry because we have a Minister who understands that the industry offers Nigeria a great opportunity to leapfrog our economy”, he stated, noting the support he enjoys towards the creation of a skilled, efficient and talented work force, which he affirmed were critical to the growth of the maritime sector.

He also assured that the NIMASA would continually equip its staff with new knowledge, skills and technologies necessary to ensure compliance with the ISPS Code, adding that it is for such reasons that the agency has developed an in-house training initiative to continuously update the skills of its staff and keep them in tune with various developments in the industry.

While assuring the participants that the training will be continuous, Dr. Peterside also said that the Agency as the Designated Authority (DA) for the implementation of ISPS Code, will work with local and International stakeholders to develop quality industry specific training for its staff, to enhance their performance and productivity in the line of duty.

The ISPS Code training which was being facilitated by consultants from the IMO for the staff of NIMASA, NIWA, NPA and the Federal Ministry of Transportation, involved in its implementation, is intended to bridge the knowledge gaps and strengthen the code’s execution in Nigeria.

In the meantime, the Emeritus Archbishop of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Okogie, has said President Muhammadu Buhari must do something fast to address hunger across the country.

Okogie  said  in an open letter to the President on Monday  that  Buhari’s campaign slogan was anchored on change.

He stated, “Today, cries of “hunger” could be heard across the length and breadth of our vast country. Nigerians hunger, not only for food, but also for good leadership, for peace, security and justice.

“This letter is to appeal to you to do something fast, and, if you are already doing something, to redouble your effort. May it not be written on the pages of history that Nigerians die of starvation under your watch.

“As President, you are the chief servant of the nation. I therefore urge you to live up to the huge expectation of millions of Nigerians. A stitch in time saves nine.”

The cardinal said that Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress, promised to lead the masses to the Promised Land.

He  said  that although it was not an easy task to lead, the President during his campaign  offered to take the enormous task of leadership.

The cardinal stated, “Nigerians are waiting for you to fulfill the promises you made during the campaign. They voted you into office because of those promises. The introduction of town hall meetings is a commendable idea. But in practice, you, not just your ministers, must converse with Nigerians. You are the President. You must be accountable to them. The buck stops on your desk. Even if your administration has no magic wand at least give some words of encouragement.”

He said that the President should  instruct his ministers to be sincere and polite at the town hall meetings, adding that their sophistry would neither benefit Nigerians nor the President.

“Mr. President, if you want to leave a credible legacy come 2019, in all sincerity, please retool your administration. Change is desirable. But it must be a change for the better. Let this change be real. Change is not real when old things that we ought to discard refuse to pass away,”  he added.

Okogie said that the President must take a critical look at his cabinet, policies and programmes of his  administration.

He added, “You will need to take a critical look at the manner of appointments you have been making. It is true that commonsense dictates that you appoint men and women you can trust. But if most of the people you trust are from one section of the country and practice the same religion, then you and all of us are living in insecurity.

“The Nigerian economy has never been in a state as terrible as this. You as the President, you are like the pilot of an aircraft flying in turbulence. Turbulent times bring the best or the worst out of a pilot. We can no longer blame the turbulence on past administrations. You know quite well that some of the officials of your administration served in previous dispensations. Blame for what we have been experiencing is in fact bipartisan in character.

“The entire political class needs to come together, irrespective of party differences to acknowledge its collective guilt and to seek ways of saving the sinking ship that our country has become. This cannot be done if some officials of your administration demonise and alienate members of the opposition.”

Okogie said that if a large portion of the blame for the present situation was to be laid on the doorsteps of the entire political class, the search for solution must involve everyone.

He said, “That is why no one should be alienated. All hands must be on deck.

“This is the time to revitalise moribund industries, reinvigorate our agriculture, make our country tourist and investor friendly, and enable our young men and women to find fulfillment by contributing to the common good.

“None of these lofty goals can be achieved without good education. On this particular issue, recent appointments you have made in the education sector raise a question: have you really appointed the best? Still on education, it is important that our universities be allowed to use their own criteria to admit students. It is a gross violation of the principles of federalism and academic freedom for the Federal Government to insist that only a federal parastatal can decide on who gains admission into our universities.”

Responding, the Presidency said President Muhammadu Buhari was already addressing the hunger in the land as advised by Okogie.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said this in an interview with The Punch.

Adesina said Buhari was working hard to ensure that Nigerians bid poverty and hunger farewell in shortest possible time.

The presidential spokesman said, “The respected cardinal asked the President to do something fast to address hunger across the country.

“That is exactly what the President is doing. He is working hard for Nigerians, so that they can say a final farewell to poverty and hunger.”

Additional report from Punch

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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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