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Instanbul: Three killed, 11 injured, as Hamas targets Israelis in abroad‏



Three Israelis were murdered and 11 others wounded in the Istanbul suicide bombing on Saturday morning – Avraham Goldman, 69, from Herzliya; Yonatan Suher, 40, from Tel Aviv; and Simcha Damri, 60, from Dimona.

Simcha Damri and her husband Avi, who was moderately wounded in the attack, were on a culinary tour to experience the tastes of Turkey when ISIS terrorist Mehmet Ozturk blew up himself near their tour group.

The group had breakfast on Saturday morning and began to walk down the popular pedestrian boulevard of Istiklal Street. “I saw a store that had ‘XOXO’ written on it; I wanted to take a picture of it to send to my daughter in Israel,” Avi recounted. He hung back from the group, intending to message 24-year-old Adi a message of kisses and hugs.

“Suddenly, I heard a terrible explosion, and everything was flying. I couldn’t see my wife,” he said.

All 14 members of the tour group were caught in the suicide bomber’s blast. Avi suffered two broken legs and a punctured lung. “I can barely speak,” he told Ynet, “and I don’t know where my wife is.”

Hours passed. Forty people were caught in the explosion, most of them tourists. Avi’s wife could not be found.

Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Meir Cohen, a former mayor of Dimona, is a close friend of the Damris. “I hoped all day that the fact that (Simcha) had not been located would end well. To my great sorrow, this didn’t happen.”

Late Saturday night, Simcha Damri was identified as one of those murdered in the explosion.

Avi and Simcha are known throughout their hometown of Dimona, where the couple runs several businesses, including a catering company and a bakery, and they have four grown children.

Yonatan Suher also went on a culinary tour of Turkey with his wife, to celebrate his 40th birthday.

The couple, who had two children, lived in Tel Aviv, but Yoni is originally from the Kvutzat Shiller kibbutz in central Israel; in fact, he was dubbed “the kibbutz’s first great grandchild.” He grew up there, went to school there and married his wife, Inbal Marom, there.

Yoni did his military service with the military police. He later received his bachelor’s degree in law, and he worked in the hi-tech industry.

Inbal is in serious but stable condition. A friend of hers reported that she is conscious. Her parents flew to Istanbul following the attack to be by her side.

Yoni’s side of the family is back in Israel, gathered together at their home in the kibbutz and accompanied by representatives of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. It was there that they received the news that Yoni had been killed in the blast.

Avraham Goldman (commonly known as Avi) and his wife Nitza loved to travel. They particularly enjoyed shorter trips in which they could immerse themselves in cultures and food, exploring restaurants and wineries abroad. When they took longer vacations, they would travel to Florida to spend time with their daughter, who lives there with their five grandchildren. They have a further two children and three grandchildren.

Avi’s love of travel led him to take up work in recent years as a tour guide for visitors to Israel. He spoke English fluently, and his clients were largely foreign VIPs and businessmen, such as former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who even wrote Avi a thank-you letter following his trip.

The Goldmans lived in Herzliya, but Avi would of course take visitors to see Jerusalem, to the dismay of his friends, who were worried for his safety in light of the frequent terror attacks in the capital. “(Avi) would explain that he kept a kitchen cutting board in his backpack,” said one of his friends, Amit, “so if he was stabbed, the cutting board would stop (the knife).”

Nitza and Avi were with their group at the time of the attack. She was lightly wounded, underwent surgery on Saturday in Turkey, and will likely need further operations. Avi did not survive.

“We’re all completely shattered,” said Amit. “We sat all night and wept.” He added that the Goldmans’ daughter from Florida is on her way to Israel.

Members of the tour group who were wounded in the attack (left to right): Ran Greenfield, lightly wounded; Yehudit Sharig, seriously wounded; Na’ama Peled, lightly wounded; Dudi Califa, lightly wounded; Anat Kama, lightly wounded; Inbal Marom, seriously wounded; Irena Sapir, lightly wounded.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has been coordinating with Turkish officials, the IDF and Magen David Adom to return the wounded and the remains of the murdered to Israel.

President Reuven Rivlin released a statement on Saturday night: “The heart aches for the victims who lost their lives in the horrific terrorist bombing in the heart of Istanbul. We send our condolences to the families in mourning, pray for the well-being of the injured and hope for their swift return to Israel.”

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu addressed Israelis: “I would like to convey my condolences to the families of the Israeli citizens who lost their lives in the heinous attack which happened in Istanbul and to the people of Israel, and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.



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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