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KUWAIT: ICRC: PRESIDENT ADDRESSES HUMANITARIAN CONFERENCE OVER SYRIA

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ICRC, Maritime First Newspaper

The ICRC President, Peter Maurer would today address the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, at the: State of Kuwait, as the Syria crisis enters its fifth year.

The address became necessary as human costs across the region are now so enormous they stretch beyond description, with constant, deadly conflict destroying lives, families and communities.
Thogh a political solution is presently needed, it nonetheless appears very far from sight. 

Peter Maurer is addressing the international pledging conference for Syria in Kuwait, representing the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The Movement is determined and ready to double its current level of response in order to address emergencies in Syria and support host communities and refugees recover in the neighboring countries. 

Mr Maurer will be seeking long-term partners for the Movement’s humanitarian response in the region: on the prediction of at least, another five years of intense humanitarian activity will be needed. In Kuwait, 
  
Mr Maurer will be accompanied by Robert Mardini, ICRC Head of Operations for the Near and Middle East.

Meanwhile, severe war is indicated to be pushing water shortages to breaking point in the Middle East, says ICRC report
   
With heavy fighting continuing to tear apart Syria and Iraq, and many communities still recovering from conflicts in Lebanon, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the region’s water resources and aging delivery systems are reaching their breaking point, according to a new report by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
  
Even without the devastating impacts of recent droughts and ongoing conflicts, many Middle East and Gulf states would be struggling to meet the basic water needs of growing urban populations and rising food production demands.
  
Now with some 7.6 million people displaced within Syria and some 3.8 million seeking safety in neighbouring countries — along with another 2.5 million displaced due to fighting in Iraq — the situation is even more critical.
  
“Water systems in the region are under great stress,” says Peter Maurer, president of the ICRC. “Water sources are being rapidly depleted and water infrastructure is being badly damaged in areas where local authorities were already hard pressed to meet the needs of growing populations. Massive displacement due to conflict is only amplifying the problem. If urgent efforts are not made, we will reach a breaking point. This is why we must act now to protect and preserve this most essential, life-giving resource.”
  
But record-low rainfalls, diminishing aquifers, overuse of scarce resources and the devastating impacts of conflict have made clean water increasingly difficult to come by. To make matters worse, warring parties sometimes target water and power-supply infrastructure or deliberately interrupt supplies for military or political gain.
  
“Using access to water as a tactic or weapon during conflict, or targeting water or energy facilities, not only violates the laws of armed conflict, it has very harmful effects on the lives of people whose health is already extremely vulnerable,” says Robert Mardini, ICRC’s head of operations for the Middle East.
  
“Such attacks are particularly harmful because water, sanitation, electrical and energy supplies are intimately interconnected,” Mardini continued. “An attack on an electrical station, for example, could have a very serious impact on sewage treatment, water availability, the quality of water, or the functioning of health facilities. The humanitarian community does not have the capacity to meet the populations’ needs by continually substituting services or by offering quick-fixes.”
  
In many cases, sewage and other waste water is not being properly treated, posing a serious threat to community health among already vulnerable populations. Water networks lose significant amounts of water due to lack of maintenance — a situation often caused directly by conflict. In Syria alone, local officials estimated in 2014 that they lost 60 percent of pumped water through gaps in the network due to damage caused by the conflict.
  
While there are no easy solutions to the region’s water woes, the ICRC and its national partners are already making a tremendous difference in the lives of millions of people affected by conflict. By working with national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as well as local water and power authorities, the ICRC has been able to keep vital services running. Even during intense fighting it has helped provide badly needed clean water to millions of people in all the affected countries. “There are reasons to be hopeful,” says Mardini. “This is largely a problem caused by humans and it can be solved by humans. But it depends on the support and concerted efforts of everyone, from the international community to local communities. The problem and the solutions belong to everyone, and we must make sure the water flows for everyone”.

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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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