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ISIS suicide bombers kill 148 in Syria

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  • As Shekau’s aide kills top Boko Haram bomb maker

No fewer than 148 people were killed on Monday in bomb explosions in Jableh and Tartous on Syria’s Mediterranean coast on Monday in the government-controlled territory that hosts Russian military bases, Reuters quotes monitors and state media as saying.

It was reported that at least 200 persons were wounded in the attacks claimed by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the cities, saying it was targeting members of President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite minority.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 148 people were killed in attacks by at least five suicide bombers and two devices planted in cars. State media had said 78 people had been killed in what is Assad’s coastal heartland.

The attacks were the first of their kind in Tartous, capital of Tartous province and home to a Russian naval facility, and in Jableh in Latakia province, near a Russian-operated air base.

Sky News reports that 73 people were killed in Jableh and another 48 died in Tartus further south, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

The attacks mark the latest development in a bloody six-year civil war, as the United Nations’ Syria envoy continues to attempt to restart peace talks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said the increase in militant attacks and bombings in Syria “once again demonstrates how fragile the situation in Syria is”.

Local television reports said that at least one suicide bomber targeted a busy bus station in Tartus, followed by a car laden with explosives minutes later.

In a separate attack, four explosions hit Jableh, which is south of Latakia city.

They included three rocket attacks and a suicide bomber at a city hospital, state media said.

Russia has a naval base in Tartus, and an air base in Latakia province. Insurgents are known to have a presence in rural Latakia.

Syrian cabinet minister Omran al Zoubi told Syrian television, “We will not be deterred … we will use everything we have to fight the terrorists.”

A one-sentence report by the ISIS-linked Aamaq news agency, which routinely carries the group’s news, claimed responsibility but gave no further details.

In the meantime, in what appears to be  a major breakthrough in the clearance and rescue operation by the Nigerian military and to also confirm that all is not well within the  Boko Haram terrorists camp, the chief bomb maker and a high ranking terrorist, was shot dead on Monday.

The chief bomb maker, apart from his high status in the command structure of the Boko Haram terrorists, was one of their capable hands involved in making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), coming after their chief scientist, called Abu RPG (who has been killed long ago).

Army spokesman, Colonel S.K. Usman, who disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja, on Monday, said the chief bomb maker  was killed by one of the body guards of the Boko Haram terrorists leader, Abubakar Shekau, as he was about to run away just like several others were doing because of the intensity of Operation Crackdown.

He also said, in a related development, that one Julelebeeb, who was appointed to take over, was now completely blind because  his two eyes were shattered by  shrapnel, in the process of preparing an IED to consolidate his appointment.

According to him, “there is no doubt, this development has dealt a devastating blow on the terrorists capacity on IED preparation, suicide bombing and their ability to sustain their criminal acts.”

The Army reassured the public that their troops were continuing with the clearance and rescue operations successfully in order to completely clear Boko Haram terrorists wherever they might be hiding.

Punch with additional report from Tribune

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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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