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Hurricane Matthew kills 22 in US as flooding endangers North Carolina

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  • Devastation in Haiti forces UN to call for $120m in aid

With floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew on the rise, at least one North Carolina city appeared near chaos Monday, its police station shuttered and sporadic gunfire in the air, and authorities worried that more communities could end up the same way.

The storm is gone, but it left behind a water-logged landscape where flooding was expected to persist for the rest of the week. At least three rivers were forecast to reach record levels, some not cresting until Friday. In many areas the scene resembled a repeat of Hurricane Floyd, which caused $3bn in damage and destroyed 7,000 homes as it skirted the coast in 1999.

Officials were concerned that other cities could suffer the fate of Lumberton, a community of 22,000 people about 80 miles from the ocean.

The Rev Volley Hanson worried that stress from the lack of running water and electricity might push people over the edge. Robeson County, which includes Lumberton, had North Carolina’s highest violent crime rate in 2014.

“The cash is going to be running out. We’ve already got street vendors hawking water, Cokes and cigarettes. Cigarettes are at seven bucks a pack,” Hanson said. “It’s nuts here, and it’s going to get worse.”

The storm killed more than 500 people in Haiti and at least 22 in the US, nearly half of them in North Carolina. At least three people were missing.

The full extent of the disaster in North Carolina was still unclear, but it appeared that thousands of homes were damaged and more were in danger of flooding.
One silver lining may be that emergency planners now have sophisticated models that can precisely determine a river’s crest and pinpoint which buildings will be flooded. But even those models have their limits. They cannot predict when a levee or a dam will fail. A levee in Lumberton appeared to fail overnight, but officials later concluded that floodwaters had flowed around it.

About 1,500 people had to be rescued early Monday. Most of them were in knee-deep water, but some fled to rooftops as the brown waters swirled around them.
Rescuers still have not made it to all the submerged cars or figured out exactly how many people are missing or dead, county emergency management director Stephanie Chavis said.

“I’ve been here right at 28 years,” Chavis said. “This seems to be the worst one we’ve had in my career.”

Damien Mosher and his fiance were trying to make it to their coastal home in South Carolina but were detoured to Lumberton because Interstate 95, a major artery for the east coast, was closed. Shelters turned them away because of their two dogs so they ended up in the police department parking lot, listening to occasional gunfire around them. The department’s doors were locked, and most of the 75 or so officers were out helping with traffic or rescues.

The Lumber river crested 4ft above its record level Sunday in Lumberton and was forecast to remain there until Saturday.

River flooding was happening in other places, too. In the tiny town of Nichols, South Carolina, downstream from Lumberton, at least 100 people spent the night on the third floor of the town hall.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory pleaded with residents to heed evacuation orders and to be careful. The seven-day forecast of clear, cooler weather was good for cleanup but might lure people into a false sense of security.

“This is going to be a prolonged hurricane for us even though the skies are blue,” the governor said.

Engineers had no estimate on when the interstate would reopen. Driving was difficult, if not impossible because hundreds of roads were closed, in some cases isolating entire towns. Dozens of school districts and East Carolina University canceled classes for the entire week. Nearly 1 million people in North Carolina and South Carolina were without power two days after the eye of the hurricane moved out to sea.

In addition to the 10 deaths in North Carolina, there were four in Florida and three each in Georgia and South Carolina. One death was reported in Virginia.

In the meantime, the United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has called for a “massive response” to help Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew as local aid officials struggled to get food, medicine and water to increasingly desperate communities still isolated almost a week after the blow from the deadly storm.

“Some towns and villages have been almost wiped off the map,” Ban told reporters. “Tensions are already mounting as people await help. A massive response is required. UN teams are working with local officials to assess needs.”

Power was still out, water and food were scarce on Monday, and officials said young men in villages along the road between the hard-hit cities of Les Cayes and Jeremie were putting up blockades of rocks and broken branches to halt convoys of vehicles bringing relief supplies.

One convoy carrying food, water and medications was attacked by gunmen in a remote valley where there had been a mudslide, said Frednel Kedler, coordinator for the civil protection agency in the Grand-Anse department, which includes Jeremie. He said authorities would try to reach marooned and desperate communities west of Jeremie on Monday.

The national civil protection headquarters in Port-au-Prince on Monday raised its official nationwide death toll to 372, which included 198 deaths in Grand-Anse. Local officials have said the toll tops 500 in Grand-Anse alone.

The UN humanitarian agency in Geneva, meanwhile, made an emergency appeal for nearly $120m in aid to help provide “life-saving assistance and protection” for 750,000 people in south-western Haiti over the next three months.

UN officials said earlier that at least 1.4 million people across the region needed assistance and that 2.1 million overall had been affected by the hurricane. Some 175,000 people remained in shelters Monday.

The agency said flooding had hampered efforts to reach the most affected areas, and that the hurricane had increased the risk of a “renewed spike” in the number of cholera cases. A continuing cholera outbreak has already killed roughly 10,000 people and sickened more than 800,000 since 2010.

Roosevelt Zamos, an official with the civil protection agency, told the Associated Press that there were 40 cases of cholera in Jeremie alone. He said eight people had died of cholera in the Grand-Anse department since the storm.

It can take 12 hours to five days for cholera symptoms to appear after a person ingests contaminated food or water, according to the World Health Organization.

The open-air cholera treatment center at Jeremie’s main hospital had no running water on Monday and at least a dozen of the new patients were under age 10.

Guardian

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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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