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IMO: Updates on Sea Guide for Rescue of Refugees and Migrants

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THE International Maritime Organization (IMO) has issued the updated and revised Rescue at Sea guide intended for the rescue of refugees and migrants.

According to IMO, the guide, was prepared in collaboration with the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

IMO explained that  the document provides guidance on relevant legal provisions, on practical procedures to ensure prompt rescue of  persons, and on measures to meet their specific needs, particularly in the case of refugees and asylum-seekers.

Available data indicates that 2014 has been a record high year for illegal migration at sea, with migrants putting lives at risk and placing a huge strain on rescue services and on merchant vessels.

IMO had in  2014,“pursued actively”  its targets and objectives in a wide range of subject areas including rescue at sea.

The global body explained that safety remained a high priority during 2014, pointing out that  IMO adopted the safety provisions of the Polar Code and SOLAS amendments to make it mandatory.

“Also adopted were important measures addressing container safety and enclosed space entry drills. Several amendments entered into force during the year. Domestic ferry safety was also a topic of concern.

“2014 proved a busy and productive year for IMO on the environmental front. Among the highlights were the adoption of the environmental provisions of the Polar Code and the entry into force of the Emission Control Area for the United States and Caribbean Sea.

“Further progress was also made on extending and developing energy efficiency measures for ships.

“IMO joined other United Nations bodies in calling for action to address irregular maritime migration, an increasing problem from the point of view of loss of life at sea as well as a burden on shipping.

“The Facilitation Committee moved forward on e-business and the single window concept, approving a completely revised Annex to the FAL Convention, while the Facilitation and Maritime safety Committees agreed to look into cyber security.  Action against piracy and armed robbery against ships remained a high priority off the coasts of Africa.

“IMO was involved in a series of capacity-building projects across the globe including ship recycling, energy efficiency, counter-piracy and stowaways.

“April saw the entry into force of the Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, while the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks reached its criteria to enter into force in April 2015.

“IMO joined a UN and industry taskforce on Ebola Virus Disease and continued to work with ILO on seafarer matters.

“The importance of effective implementation of IMO measures was a recurrent topic throughout 2014 as it had been chosen as the theme for World Maritime Day. The Secretary-General spoke on theme at meetings and conference across the globe and recorded a video message highlighting key aspects of the subject. A host of workshops, seminars and training events were organised all over the world, and work progressed in preparation for implementation of the mandatory IMO Member State audit scheme.”

Meanwhile, Sekimizu,  has launched the 2015 world maritime day with theme: “Maritime Education and Training” at World Maritime University, Page Content

telling students and staff that maritime education and training was essential for the long-term sustainability of the sector, both at sea and on-shore.

He said: ““Effective standards of training remain the bedrock of a safe and secure shipping industry, which needs to preserve the quality, practical skills and competence of qualified human resources,” Mr. Sekimizu said, adding that the 2015 World Maritime Day theme provided the opportunity to highlight the importance to everybody, not just within the shipping industry, of there being sufficient quantity and quality maritime education and training available to meet the sector’s needs, now and into the future.

“The 1978 STCW Convention and Code, as amended, has set the international benchmark for the training and education of seafarers. While compliance with its standards is essential for serving on board ships, the skills and competence of seafarers, and indeed, the human element ashore, can only be adequately underpinned, updated and maintained through effective maritime education and training,” he added.

Addressing the class of 2015 post-graduate students, who have begun their first semester at WMU, in Malmö, Sweden, Sekimizu said that the university was a cornerstone of global maritime education and training and a vital and integral part of the IMO family.

“At IMO, we are unique among UN agencies to have two affiliated educational institutions – the World Maritime University and the International Maritime Law Institute (in Malta). We are very proud of these and of the many graduates they have produced who now hold positions of responsibility and influence within the maritime community,” he said.

Without a quality labour force, motivated, trained and skilled to the appropriate international standards, the maritime industry cannot thrive. Not only that, but all the many advances that have been made, in terms of safety and environmental impact, are at risk if those at the “sharp end” are unable to implement them properly.

While seafarer training falls to training institutions recognized and authorised by national authorities to meet STCW standards, IMO as an organization supports skills-based training events and the sharing of technical knowledge, through national and regional Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) training events and workshops, which provide short up-grading courses, based typically on the IMO Model Courses.

On another level, the World Maritime University and the IMO International Maritime Law Institute are at the forefront of IMO’s capacity-building strategy, supporting post-graduate training in order to maintain a cadre of high level managers, policy makers and other key personnel.

While in Malmö, Mr. Sekimizu also made a site visit to the future home of WMU in Tornhuset, the centrally located, historic harbor master’s building that is being enhanced by a dramatic new addition designed by renowned architect Kim Utzon in collaboration with Tyrone Cobcroft of Terrior Architects (Australia). The new building will be inaugurated in May 2015.—Maritime Hub

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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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ADEBAYO SARUMI: Doyen of Maritime Industry Marks 80th Anniversary, Saturday 

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