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Israel’s Netanyahu Summons U.S. Ambassador After U.N. Vote

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  • As Obama cautions Trump: ‘There’s only 1 U.S. President at a time’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday summoned the U.S. ambassador to Israel to discuss the U.S. abstention in a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an end to settlement-building.

Separately, the envoys of 10 other nations were called in to the Israeli Foreign Ministry to be reprimanded on Sunday, and Netanyahu had more harsh words for Washington over Friday’s U.N. vote.

An Israeli spokesman gave no details of when Netanyahu would meet U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro.

The resolution was passed in the 15-member Security Council because the U.S. broke with its long-standing approach of diplomatically shielding Israel and did not wield its veto power, instead abstaining.

Netanyahu put his personal imprint on Israel’s show of anger by repeating at the weekly cabinet meeting what an unidentified Israeli government official contended on Friday — that the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama had conspired with the Palestinians to push for the resolution’s adoption.

The White House has denied the allegation.

“According to our information, we have no doubt the Obama administration initiated it (the resolution), stood behind it, coordinated the wording and demanded it be passed,” Netanyahu told the cabinet in public remarks.

Another official said Netanyahu had ordered that for the coming three weeks, until President-elect Donald Trump takes office, cabinet ministers refrain from traveling to or meeting officials of countries that voted in favor of the resolution.

The envoys from 10 of the 14 countries that voted for the resolution and have embassies in Israel – Britain, China, Russia, France, Egypt, Japan, Uruguay, Spain, Ukraine and New Zealand – were summoned to the Foreign Ministry.

Sunday is a regular work day in Israel, but most embassies are closed, and calling in envoys on Christmas Day is highly unusual.

At the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu described a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday, when Israel and President-elect Donald Trump successfully pressed Egypt to drop the anti-settlement resolution it had put forward.

It was resubmitted a day later by New Zealand, Senegal, Venezuela and Malaysia.

“Over decades American administrations and Israeli governments disagreed about settlements, but we agreed that the security council was not the place to resolve this issue,” Netanyahu said.

“We knew that going there would make negotiations harder and drive peace farther away. As I told John Kerry on Thursday, ‘Friends don’t take friends to the Security Council’,” he said, switching from Hebrew to English.

In the meantime, outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama has told incoming President Donald Trump to accept the fact that there is only one U.S. President at a time.

Obama also told the president-elect that he remains the U.S. President till Jan. 20, 2017, when he would complete his two-term presidency of the U.S. and handover to Trump.

The Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Obama’s remarks followed what the White House termed as Trump’s undue interference in U.S. policies since his election.

NAN also reports that the president-elect had on Thursday, directed the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Ms Samantha Power, to veto the Security Council’s Resolution on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.

However, the Obama’s administration disregarded Trump’s directive and had gone ahead to abstain from voting on the resolution when it finally came up on Friday, drawing criticisms from the president-elect and his team.

The White House, in a response by Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, Mr Ben Rhodes, obtained by NAN, said the UN Security Council’s Resolution was a policy issue that Trump should not meddle in.

“On the President-elect, the first thing I’d just say is that there’s one President at a time.

“President Obama is the President of the United States until January 20th, and we are taking this action (abstention), of course, as U.S. policy,” he said.

Rhodes explained that there was no any communication between the White House and the President-elect or his staff between when Obama made his decision and when the vote took place.

“So I’m not aware that President Obama and the President-elect spoke about this, but again, I’m not — President Obama definitely made no reference to that, so I can’t confirm that this hasn’t come up at all, but I’m not aware of any particular conversation they had about this.

“We did hear from the President-elect’s team. Again, our position has been there’s one President at a time.

“We’re going to make our decision on this and, frankly, believe that it’s important that there’s a principle here that the world understands who is speaking on behalf of the United States until January 20th and who is speaking on behalf of the United States after January 20th.

“And look, the new team will have every opportunity after January 20th to pursue their own policies, to take different approaches.

“I’m certain that they will on any number of issues.

“We’re just reflecting the simple principle that I think has guided the President-elect transitions historically.

“Which is that there is one President at a time and we’re going to execute our duties until the new team is in place and the new President is inaugurated,” the Obama’s aide said.

NAN recalls that following the pressure that Trump reportedly put on Egypt, the sponsor of the resolution, Egypt withdrew it on Thursday and the vote was consequently delayed till Friday.

However, the resolution was put forward on Friday by Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela and the 15-member Council adopted the resolution by a vote of 14 in favour and with one abstention – the U.S., which abstained from voting rather than veto the resolution.

NBC with additional report from Nation

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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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