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ITF Calls for Coronial Inquiry into Seafarer Death

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…. As Turkish Airlines compensates passengers over Tarmac infiltration

The International Transport Workers’ Federation has formally called for a coronial inquest into yet another seafarer death on board a Panamanian registered Flag of Convenience coal carrier.

Namely, a 26-year-old Filipino national died on 19 December 2015 on board the Japanese owned, Panamanian registered Beaufix, while en route from China to Gladstone to load Australian coal.

The seafarer was diagnosed with tonsillitis in China but died a number of days after leaving Shanghai on 13 December 2015, says ITF National Co-ordinator Dean Summers.

“Nine of the surviving crew complained of similar symptoms, but we are told they would need to pay $500 each to see a doctor in the first port of Gladstone,” Summers said.

“These seafarers are paid so little they do not have $500 to pay for a medical out of their own money which by law must be provided free by the shipping company.”

ITF said that the ship has now sailed from Gladstone and is alongside in Mackay where the union has forced the issue and seafarers are receiving medical advice.

“As the body count increases from FOC shipping, our Federal Government continues to dismantle the Australian industry, replacing it with this de-registered, disgraceful form of shipping,” Summers said.

A separate dispute is raging over a temporary licence the Australian Federal Government granted to ALCOA which opens the door to this type of FOC Shipping.

As informed, the body of the Filipino seafarer has been taken to Rockhampton for an autopsy.

Meanwhile, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says troubled Turkish Airlines has compensated aggrieved passengers whose luggages were left behind in its flight TK 624 scheduled service from Istanbul to Abuja.

The regulatory agency stated that the airline paid full monetary compensation as contained in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, Nig.CARs.

The agency also said Close Circuit Television, CCTV camera footage would be deployed to identify the unruly passengers for prosecution in order to dissuade others from carrying out similar act in future.

Statement issued by General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, said the airline under the supervision of its Consumer Protection Officers, CPO, ensured that all passengers were fully compensated.

Also, he said a cargo flight and an Airbus aircraft were arranged to freight to the country all contentious backlog of baggage that were earlier left behind by the airline, stressing that all concerned passengers had collected same as at the time of this report.

He said these were contained in a report of the investigation carried out by NCAA over the recent tarmac intrusion by the airline’s passengers submitted to Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman.

The statement added, “There were several observations and recommendations in the report. These include provision of signages informing passengers of possible penalties of unlawful acts at the airport. Furthermore, clear cut penalties arising from unlawful acts should be displayed to serve as deterrent to would-be violators.

“Close Circuit Television footage will be deployed and the Turkish Airlines should assist in identifying the unruly passengers for prosecution to dissuade others from carrying out similar acts subsequently.”

Adurogboye stated that in the final phase of the investigation, salient questions would be asked concerning airport management, noting that if established, sanctions would be applied for violating access control requirements in the National Civil Aviation Security Programme, NCASP, chapters 4.5 (a),6.1.4.6.2.1 and 6.3.2.

Also, the requirements of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations Part 17 section 17.37.1-3.

“NCAA has also directed the appropriate agencies to put up appropriate control mechanism strong enough to prevent unauthorised access to restricted areas of the airports forthwith. These recommendations and others would be implemented to the letter to foreclose and mitigate future occurrence.”

It would be recalled that the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, recently ordered the immediate suspension of the Airport Manager of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja and Head of Aviation Security, AVSEC, and terminal manager over the invasion of tarmac by passengers of Turkish Airlines.

Sirika also ordered the Consumer Protection Directorate of NCAA to investigate the event and act appropriately.

Sirika had called to question the management of Turkish Airlines on why they airlifted their passengers without their without their luggage.

The suspended officials were immediately told to hand over to their next in rank pending the conclusion of the investigation, even as the minister stressed that explanations offered by officials of the airport that security personnel on duty were overpowered was unacceptable to the government.

WMN with additional report from National Mirror

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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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