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LATC: DAMEN BRINGS 4 MORE VESSELS TO NIGERIA

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…As Navy foils pirates’ attempt to hijack ship in Lagos

Africa-focused proprietary investment firm, the L.A.T Cleveson (LATC) has signed an order with Damen Shipyards Group for the supply of two PSV 3300 Platform Supply Vessels and two FCS 5009 Fast Supplier Vessels.

 This landmark transaction is expected to again, bring next generation Damen PSVs to the offshore industry of Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.

The purchase is being made by LATC Marine Ltd, a subsidiary of L.A.T Cleveson, which is already establishing a positive reputation for providing state of the art marine vessels and offshore operation support services to leading Oil & Gas operators in Nigeria.

 The Maritime First was told, that the company’s aim is to set new standards in the West African offshore oil sector through acquisition of modern, technologically advanced assets to serve international & local clients operating in the region.

It was learnt that the purchase has been financed by Fidelity Bank Plc, a Nigerian bank, with a dynamic Transport & Shipping division which is poised to support value-adding projects and new/efficiently run companies in the industry, in particular those with a strongly local content status.

“Our aim is to redefine the concept of quality tonnage in the Gulf of Guinea and particularly in Nigeria. We plan to locally develop the necessary skill sets that will sustain our quality service to the most demanding clientele who run very complex operations in the most challenging environments. Ultimately, our strategy is to attain the capacity to build and maintain quality tonnage in Nigeria. We anticipate strong demand for repair and docking services in our region and we plan to create the facilities to meet that demand, professionally and safely”, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of LATC Marine,
Mr Gbolahan Shaba, indicated.

Speaking in the same vein, the Fidelity Bank’s Head of Transport & Shipping Division – Mr Mike Nnaji, confirmed that there was already a business relationship capable of significantly benefiting the country.

 “This agreement and acquisition further marks our support toward professional development of Offshore Oil & Gas marine support in Nigeria within the local content framework. The quality of the assets speaks for itself and the professional management is evident from the positive reaction of the Oil & Gas companies whose operation they already support and will be supporting.

“These vessels will show the value and effectiveness of assets that are built to UK North Sea standards which are efficient, environmentally-friendly and economic to operate”, he stated, adding that the Fidelity Bank would continue to stimulate and support such development in line with the Nigerian Government’s local content initiative.

It is believed that the Platform Supply Vessels and Fast Suppliers Vessels acquired by LATC Marine will have the full support of the Damen Service Hub in Port Harcourt, as well as the Damen Regional Office in Lagos.

Presently, the Damen Shipyards Group is indicated to be operating 32 shipbuilding and repair yards, employing 9,000 people worldwide. Damen has delivered more than 5,000 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers some 160 vessels annually to customers worldwide.

Meanwhile, attempts by 10 suspected pirates to hijack a foreign vessel, MT IMAS was at the weekend foiled by the Nigerian Navy (NN) on Lagos waterways.

The operation, which was carried out by personnel of the Western Naval Command (WNC) who were on pre-election patrol, led to the arrest of one of the suspects identified as Shola Sama.

It was learnt that the other nine who had successfully boarded the distressed vessel opened fire upon sighting the naval officials but later bowed to their superior force.

Sama, 31 and father of three, however denied being a pirate, claiming he was a businessman going about his lawful duty, adding that he was nabbed while trying to rescue his younger brother who fell into the water after his boat capsided.

He claimed that he sells food and other things such as recharge cards to ships with his passenger ship, in exchange of petrol.

He said that he usually bought the items for about N2000 and would sell for as much as N4500 and went as much as thrice a day.

He said: “I went to sea to collect my product with a 50kg jerrican. I was with my younger brother, Gbenga and I had N400 thousand with me. That is how we usually drive around and I am not the only one in the business.

“After filling the keg, the wave came and there was a vessel that was pumping sand when it passed, the wave hit my boat and it capsided with my younger brother so I was trying to rescue him, it pushed me away.

“I was swimming and shouting to ship that was coming. A man said they should throw rope for me. They threw rope and I was begging them to allow me come into their ship that I used to buy market from them.

“He said they were coming. They called a white man and they said I should wait. The next minute, they  brought a lifebouy and I went to the boat. They asked what I was doing I explained. The next place I found myself was Navy base.”

But explaining how the suspect was caught,  Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), WNC, Rear Admiral Jonathan Ango said the distressed vessel radioed the NN that she was under attack by pirates.

He explained that NN boat was deployed and after exchange of gun fire with the pirates who had two boats, some of them sustained injuries and were dislodged, while Sama was nabbed.

Ango said: “As part of our preparations and actions for the just conducted election, we deployed our ships to cover the inland waterways and also to protect the ships and patrol the territorial water.

Fortunately for us, one of the ships, MT IMAS, raised the alarm around 01:20 that she was under attack by pirates and one of our patrol boats that was close by went immediately to her rescue and in the process, saw two boats loaded with pirates and there was an exchange of fire.

“We managed to dislodge the pirates from the attack. We injured a few of them and we also captured one of them whom we brought here for proper investigation .

“Their intention was to board the vessel and either kidnap the foreigners on board or steal the product. Or take the ship as ransom and go and sell the product somewhere. But the alarm raised through the distress channel which we all have, foiled their attempt.

“This is part of the measures we are taking to assure Lagosians especially and Nigerians in general that the NN is very much ready for the security of the water ways

“And if there are miscreants or hoodlums who think they can use the waterways to cause any harm or damage, we want to let them know the NN is very much ready and up to the task to prevent them from doing that.”

Additional reports from Ships and Ports

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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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