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Igbokwe drags Okonjo-Iweala, others to court over NIMASA, NPA funds



The ground is set for an epic legal battle at the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos as senior maritime lawyer, Mr. Mike Igbokwe (SAN) on Friday filed a suit challenging the powers of the Federal Government to direct the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to pay the internally generated revenue accruing to them or funds statutorily-provided for into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) at the Central Bank of Nigeria and to close all their revenue accounts in different money deposit banks across the country and beyond and to transfer same into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) on or before the 28th day of February, 2015.

Acting on behalf of an indigenous shipping company, Elshcon Nigeria Limited, Igbokwe said the directive, which was issued by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to all government agencies should have excluded NIMASA, NPA and NIWA in line with their enabling laws.

The suit number FHC/L/CS/201/15, brought before Justice Ibrahim Buba, has the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Account-General of the Federation and the Minster of Finance as defendants.

Igbokwe said the plaintiff had applied ex parte to the Federal High Court Lagos for an order restraining the 1st Defendant either by himself or through his agents or servants or privies or assigns or successors-in-interest or through any company, maritime Agency or Ministry whatsoever claiming through, acting for or under or deriving authority from him or the Federal Government of Nigeria or otherwise howsoever from implementing or continuing to implement the directives by the 1st and 2nd Defendants to Ministries, Departments and Agencies to pay internally generated revenue accruing to them or funds statutorily-provided for into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (‘CRF’) at the Central Bank of Nigeria and to close all their revenue accounts in different money deposit banks across the country and beyond and to transfer same into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) on or before the 28th day of February, 2015 as the directives relate to or concern revenue or other moneys payable under the Constitution and the Acts of the National Assembly into other public funds established for specific purposes including the statutory revenue accruing to the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (‘CVFF’), the statutory financial allocations to the Maritime Fund and to the Maritime Academy of Nigeria collected, kept and administered by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the Funds maintained and general reserve funds established and maintained by Nigerian Ports Authority and the Funds established for its running expenses by National Inland Waterways Authority; pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction filed by the Plaintiff/Applicant.

The plaintiff is seeking six reliefs, which include an order directing the defendants to stop forthwith, the implementation or further implementation of or compliance or further compliance with, the directives.

Justice Buba had consequently directed that the plaintiff should serve the Defendants with the Motion and Notice for interlocutory injunction and Originating Summons. It also granted an accelerated hearing of both the Motion on Notice and the Originating Summons and adjourned the case to Thursday 5th March 2015.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said he had written to NIMASA, NPA and NIWA advising them not to take any action or do anything, with respect to or in furtherance of the implementation of or compliance with, the Federal Government directives pending the determination of the matter by the Court so as not to “stifle or have the potential effect of stifling the exercise by the Court of its undoubted jurisdiction on our Client’s pending Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction and Originating Summons thereby destroying the subject-matter of the litigation before the Motion on Notice and Originating Summons are heard and determined as such would amount to an abuse of court process and acts that Courts frown at and that our client would be compelled to move the Court to set aside”.

Ships and Ports


WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…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



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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