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Jonathan begs Nigerians, says my govt. erred in many ways

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President Goodluck Jonathan Sunday sought forgiveness from Nigerians he may have hurt in his time as president of the country.

Jonathan spoke at a thanksgiving service at the Aso Villa chapel just as his wife, Patience who had lampooned Muhammadu Buhari as brain dead revealed that she was herself on death throes through the course of the campaigns.

“No system is perfect. Every human system must have an element of imperfection. For the period of eight years that we have been here because, my transition from Vice President to President was gradual and complicated. It was intertwined so you cannot actually draw the line.

“When the late President Umaru Yar’Adua was challenged with major health issues, I ran the country for sometime even before the doctrine of necessity made me acting president. Then I took over at first and conducted the 2011 election which I won and I had to run my full four years as an elected president. So, for the eight years that one has been there, definitely one is not perfect.

“We have certainly done things that probably we wouldn’t have done that way, but we didn’t do things deliberately.

“So for those who we have offended, it was not deliberate, it was circumstances of the office. We also plead that those people should forgive we think we have done our best.

“You can do your best and your friends may misunderstand you. Today we are talking about leaving. It is only God that knows why things go the way they do” the president said.

His wife who also spoke at the occasion traced her husband’s elevation to the presidency as the act of God.

“I never thought in my life that I will be first lady. I never dreamt of being wife of a deputy governor because my husband was not a politician. But God made it possible and God lifted us up from deputy governor and here we are.” The First Lady noted.

“Just two years ago, I went through operations upon operations. Within one month, I passed through 12 operations. It is wonderful. To some people they said she is dead but God resurrected me.

“During this campaign period, the devil struck and came in again. In pains I was rushed to the hospital in Germany and the doctors told me, mama, you have to go for major operation now.

“What again! The campaign was still going on and I wondered how we were going to explain to Nigerians. You know even when you go for check-up, they will be writing on papers saying all sorts of things.

“I said I and my family have to handle this. My husband will continue with his campaign until the last day. That was how I went in for the first major operation in January ending.

“And by God’s grace I went for the operation and came out and it was from that operation that I went to the campaign ground. And they told me mama, there is another bigger operation that you have to go in for. This one would not be in this hospital.

“This hospital is too small for that type of operation. You have to go to a bigger hospital and I said ah aha. I will go, I have faith in God. And that my God will see me through. He has brought me out for a purpose. I called my pastor to continue praying for me.

“I said gain, They want me to be a sacrifice, but I will never be. Then, do you know I went to the bigger hospital. I booked for the operation and I was asked to go for the campaign. They gave me a new date.

“I had paid for everything remaining just to enter the theatre and something occurred to the doctors at the hospital. They said, let’s check her again. By then, my husband had lost the election. I had started packing out of Villa.

“Behold! I went to four hospitals again and the thing vanished. My doctors were surprised they didn’t think that could happen. I told my people doctors say we can go”.

“We should be grateful to God for what he has done. To our followers, today it might not be too good but I want them to be grateful to God because you have followed us for a long time. You know this position is not a life thing.

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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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