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Japan, Singapore, ReCAAP Join Forces against Piracy in Asia

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  • As Stena plans to add more Capacity on Rotterdam-Killingholme Route

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA Japan) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), together with the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC), have agreed to jointly combat piracy in Asia.

The parties launched the inaugural Capacity Building Executive Programme on combating piracy and armed robbery against ships in Singapore on September 27.

Targeted at senior-level personnel with 10 to 15 years of experience and above in maritime enforcement, the program will see ReCAAP Contracting Parties from ASEAN, which includes Cambodia, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, together with representatives from Indonesia and Malaysia as dialogue partners, participate in a 10-day training held both in Singapore and Japan from September 27 to October 6, 2017.

“The Programme aims for enhancing maritime law enforcement capabilities of ASEAN countries in the area of counter-piracy efforts and we believe it is a very timely initiative considering the fact that increasing transnational criminal activities including abduction in the Sulu-Celebes Sea pose a threat to the ASEAN,” said Ambassador Toshiro Iijima, Deputy Assistant Minister, Foreign Policy Bureau, MOFA Japan and Japanese Governor to the ReCAAP ISC Governing Council.

Designed to build capacity, enhance information sharing and strengthen cooperation among the ASEAN enforcement authorities, the Capacity Building Executive Programme will cover topics, including trends and developments in maritime crimes against ships in Asia; best practices of information sharing; and best practices in the law enforcement and prosecution against maritime crimes.

Additional topics are international laws and regulations related to piracy and armed robbery against ships, as well as emerging maritime threats such as cybersecurity, maritime terrorism, etc.

“Incidences of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia have been on the decline in recent years. Much of this is the result of enhanced information sharing and more effective enforcement by the coastal states,” said Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC.

“Through the Capacity Building Executive Programme, we want to build on this momentum to enhance capability, augment information sharing and strengthen regional cooperation as we collectively work towards making seas in Asia safer and more secure for all,” Kuroki added.

In the meantime, Swedish ferry company Stena Line has revealed plans to increase capacity on the route Rotterdam-Killingholme in January 2018.

Earlier this year, the company announced increase to its freight capacity on the route Rotterdam (Europoort) to Harwich from January 2018 by replacing the current two RoRo vessels by larger ships.

A decision has now been taken to introduce a larger RoRo vessel on the North Sea to replace a current chartered ship, the Caroline Russ, when its contract expires in January 2018. Stena Line will furthermore as of next year reposition the RoRo ships between the Europoort routes to further optimize the available capacity.

On the route from Rotterdam to Killingholme, which Stena Line started with one vessel in 2014 and which has daily departures since 2016, MV Misida and MV Misana will operate. The new ship will be introduced next to the Stena Scotia on the route Rotterdam – Harwich in January 2018.

As explained, the company will consequently increase its total capacity from Europoort with some 20%.

“(W)e will now take the next step in the strategic development of our Rotterdam (Europoort) freight transport hub to the UK,” Annika Hult, Trade Director at Stena Line North Sea, commented, adding that the company has seen a strong growth in the transport market to the UK over the past several years and it is currently trading at very high utilization on both routes.

Founded in 1962, Stena Line currently operates 37 vessels on 20 routes in Northern Europe.

World Maritime News

Maritime

SOAN Inaugurates New Leadership, Boosting Hopes Of Crushable Inflation

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SOAN Inaugurates New Leadership, Boosting Hopes Of Crushable Inflation

…Sonny Eja is President, Ekere is 1st Vice President; Iroghama Ogbeifun is Chairman, Technical Committee

When Air Peace made its innocent maiden flight from Nigeria to London on March 30, 2024, the symbolical flight achieved two things: first, it broke the unholy equilibrium fare price amongst available airlines.

Secondly, the gesture sent some powerful signals to the entrenched operators, that a determined indigenous operator has finally berthed; and momentarily, the extortionate fare crashed…! Now, if we should replicate this very gesture in the maritime, with a provision of a ‘national’, but privately run vessels/ carriers, how far or fast would carriage charges crash?

The Air Peace has silently made a deafening statement: no amount of plea would crash prices, except the nation can assertively provide a functional alternative.

The distance between Lagos and London by flight is about 6 hours and 40 minutes. The distance between London and New York by flight duration is 7h 30m. So, how come the cost of flight from Lagos to London is always twice as much, compared to the cost of flight from London to New York…? 

The answer is simple: Nigeria is an orphan, and there is no effective competition to mitigate arbitrariness. In the maritime sector, however, the country’s fate is worse: shippers are paying twice for cargo freight. Same for handling charges. There was even a time they were paying for as ridiculous a charge as the ‘Weekend’ levy, in the event that you are unlucky to come for clearing by weekends!

 The growing inflation, the poor masses albatross is both artificial and conspiratorial!

First, government’s understanding of the industry is warped and its support, insignificant. The Government functionaries who should assist both the shippers and stakeholders were often either insincere, ignorant or easily cave in under politicians’ pressure. 

No one is as hopeful as the hunter’s wife: she knows her husband did not keep any beast in the forest, yet, she joyfully sings lullaby for the baby on the mat, as she washes the soup pot and grinds the pepper, as she awaits the husband’s return! And the hunter never disappoints.

It is in the same spirit, that shippers would tomorrow, celebrate the inauguration of the incoming President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria SOAN, Sonny Eja.

Those who know him at close range described him as a highly focused, truly inspired and totally committed investor, who never disappoints. He is sold to the cause of the shipping industry development. 

Unarguably, he is acknowledged as a resourceful long runner, who often is not only self-motivating, but equally enjoys the special ability to motivate others  Some said it is for this reason that he is so treasured, by the SOAN maiden Arrowhead and Nigeria’s foremost shipping magnate, Engr. Greg Utomwen Ogbeifun.

The President, fortunately, will be fully assisted by tested and trusted ship owners, with enviable skills and technical know-how.. promoters 

These include Dr Louis Ekere as SOAN’s 1st Vice President; Mr. Gbolahan Shaba, the 2nd Vice President; Mr.Babalola Adefariti – Financial Secretary/ Treasurer; Mr. Bem Garba –  Chairman, Training & Capacity building Committee; the shipping industry Amazon, Ms.  Iroghama Ogbeifun as Chairman Technical Committee; Ms. Bassey Adie -Chairman, Ethics & Privileges Committee; and finally, Mr. Emmanuel Okene, who is the Chairman, Finance and membership Committee.

The Doyen of the Maritime industry, High Chief Adebayo Babatunde Sarumi once congratulated SOAN for lifting Nigeria off the lackluster club of 10-Percenters. 

Now, the whole nation would probably look up to SOAN, to midwife a ‘national carrier’ and permanently crash the menace of intractable inflation!

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Maritime

Smugglers Altering Vehicles’ Chassis Numbers–Customs

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Smugglers Altering Vehicles’ Chassis Numbers–Customs

Mr Chedi Wada, the outgoing Comptroller of the Federal Operations Units (FOU) Zone “B”, Kaduna says smugglers are now altering vehicles’ chassis numbers in the bid to perpetuate their nefarious activities.

Wada spoke to newsmen on Wednesday in Kaduna after handing over the leadership of the unit to his successor, Mr  Ahmadu Shuaibu.

He, therefore, underscored the importance of public awareness and compliance with government policies.

Wada reflected on the myriad of achievements and challenges encountered during his tenure.

He commended the resilience of his team in tackling the hurdles posed by nationwide border closures.

According to him, with unwavering support from the Comptroller-General  (CGC), Mr Bashir Adewale, saying that they have successfully curbed smuggling activities within the zone.

He said,  “FOU Zone ‘B’ Kaduna is now well-equipped and effectively managed, marking significant strides during my six-month stewardship.”

Wada acknowledged the pivotal role of the media in showcasing the unit’s efforts while urging the officers to prioritize knowledge acquisition and diligent execution of duties.

He said, “Total commitment and dedication have been the cornerstone of my successes.”

Wada also urged  his colleagues to follow suit,  disclosing that with his redeployment to the NCS Headquarters in Abuja, he will work under the Enforcement, Investigation, and Inspectorate Unit

He also assured of his continued dedication to service, WARING smugglers that his successor is an enforcement expert who is prepared to take charge.

Wada expressed confidence in the incoming comptroller’s abilities to build upon the foundation laid, signalling tough times ahead for the smugglers.

Wada’s redeployment marked the end of his duty of combating smuggling and fostering organizational commitment within FOU Zone “B” Kaduna.

It was reported that until his redeployment, Shuaibu was the Comptroller, Ogun I Area Command, Idi-Iroko. 

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Maritime

Q1 2024: Tincan Customs Generates N303.9bn, 139% Higher Than Q1 2023

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Q1 2024: Tincan Customs generates N303.9bn, 139% higher than Q1 2023

Comptroller Dera Nnadi, the Customs Area Commander (CAC), Tincan Island Ports (TCIP), says that the command generated a revenue of N303.9 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2024.

Nnadi said in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos that the Q1 revenue generated in 2024 was 139 per cent greater when compared with revenue of the same period in 2023.

In the statement signed by NN Okwara, the Public Relations Officer of TCIP, the customs area commander said that the difference in revenue between Q1 2024 and Q1 2023 was N177 billion.

“The command recorded a total collection of N303.9 billion revenue in the first quarter of 2024, as against N126.8 billion recorded in the same period of 2023.

“The breakdown shows that the command collected a total of N88.4 billion in January 2024 which is 107.9 per cent upscale from the same period of 2023 which was N42.5 billion,” he said.

The customs CAC said further that the command also generated N100.3 billion in February 2024, which is 141. 8 per cent higher than the revenue collected in the same period in 2023 which was N41.5 billion.

He explained that in March 2024, the command collected the sum of N115.1 billion in revenue as against N42.8 billion collected in the same period of 2023.

Nnadi appreciated officers for embracing service delivery for the stakeholders and for teamwork which resulted in an increase in revenue collection.

He said: “The improvement and success is due to the efforts put in place by all units in the Area Command, adding that their efforts are highly appreciated.

“I wish to remind the officers that all stakeholders should be held in high esteem and treated with respect but with due diligence to identify compliant and non-compliant traders.”

He noted that the Enforcement and Anti-Smuggling Unit had not relented in its effort to combat smuggling and all forms of criminality.

The customs boss stressed that under his supervision, the Customs, being the lead agency at the Ports, had through its enforcement unit coordinated several 100% physical examinations in collaboration with critical stakeholders.

He said that these were to ensure that the command was free of any form of non-compliance in line with the international trade cycle.

Nnadi said that, in the period under review, a total of 57 packets of heroin weighing 56.390kg with a street value of ₦902.24 million were seized.

He added that 3612 packets of Colorado Indica weighing 956.772kg with a street value of ₦4.06 billion were also seized.

“All the seized illicit drugs have been handed over to the relevant sister agencies as directed by the service.

“In the past few months, the command has hosted different sections of the stakeholders’ forum – shipping companies, terminal operators, freight forwarders, security agencies, etc.

Nnadi said that the meetings, physically and virtually, have been on modalities to automate communication channels to minimise revenue loss and boost rules of engagement.

“The Command has not relented on its efforts to ensure that its aim is achieved in its efforts to create a level playing field for importers and stakeholders by decongesting the Ports.

“The Command encouraged stakeholders’ approach for the establishment of new terminals and activities have long commenced at the terminals, respectively,” he said.

The customs boss said that in terms of volume (mT) and value (FOB), export trade recorded exponential growth within the same period under review.

“Comparatively, tonnage of goods exported via TCIP increased from 145,906.33 mT in 2023 to 251,679.89 mT in 2024 and represents an increase of 95.3%.

“Also, there is an over 300% increase in the FOB value of the exports from N80.993 billion to N287.79 billion of Q1 2023 and 2024 respectively.

“Exports from the Command include essentially agricultural and other allied products, namely Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Beans, Cashew Nuts, etc,” Nnadi noted.

He commended the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adeniyi, for his management team and continuous efforts towards strengthening the capacity of the service.

He added that the customs comptroller-general had also introduced innovative methods to perform its statutory responsibilities in line with international best practices. 

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