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LCM assists Nigeria to produce 3 Master Mariners

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…After several years in limbo!

The Lagos Channel Management (LCM), a joint venture company between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Landfall Towage and Transport Services may have assisted Nigeria in producing three brand new Master Mariners, after several years in limbo.

NPA Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi

NPA Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi

The master mariners, who got their Certificate of Competence (COC) only last month, may thus become the first batch of youths, to be enrolled in a nation’s professional body, whose majority of memberships range from 60 years and above.

The certification confers on the youth the endorsement to handle vessels not above 500 gross tonnage, including tugs.

“It is a miracle. My brother who was only a few years back, hopelessly on the street, is now a master mariner!”, a lady who spoke on condition of strong anonymity told the Maritime First, stressing that the whole family was happy, that the brother listened to an uncle, who revealed that the LCM was recruiting to train!

“This calls for more than clinking of glasses. Thanksgiving go dey and champagnes go flow”, she highlighted further.

Investigation showed that the young Master Mariners, Charles Babatunde Olorunkunle, Victor Enebeli and Ezekiel Dare Owope were trained and certificated in Ghana, a country which is not only on the International Maritime Organization’s White List, but also enjoys higher credibility than Nigeria.

When the LCM Managing Director, Mr. Danny Fuchs was contacted, he confirmed the story, stressing that the company started its pilot scheme with 40 Nigerian youth, and sponsored them to Ghana, with special emphasis on discipline, commitment and good behaviour.

“Our main purpose is for tugs; but now, they can also upgrade themselves to handle any ships in the world.

“We started with 40 cadets, consisting of 20 engines and 20 decks…We presently have 15 certificated, consisting of seven decks and eight engines.

” We are fulfilling our assignments now: to take people off the streets and turn them into Engineers and Master Mariners”, indicated Fuchs, stressing that the LCM is also leaving no stones unturned, in its bid to assist the engineers who presently hold their COC as third engineers to further upgrade to second, so as to enable them handle higher capacity engines.

Asked how many years it would take them to serve the company, the LCM surprised everyone when he said the company did not allow the youths to sign any contracts with them.

“They know from inception that they are free, on the completion of their courses, to stay with us; or to go and work in any part of the world.  We did not allow them to sign any papers. Only a promise to be good ambassadors of the country, wherever they go!” he concluded, adding that the youths also had their mandatory sea-time experience in Nigeria under Landfall strict supervision.

It would be noted that the Nigerian Government attempt at producing certificated seafarers through the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron has been a remarkable failure, as a result of Government’s inability to provide a required training vessel to enable the cadets acquire the mandatory sea time experience.  The Government also failed to, provide an enabling policy as done in other climes, that would compel foreign ship owners to do so. Consequently, most graduates of the academy, in spite of their impeccable academic records have remained jobless, being perceived as half baked, because of their lack of mandatory sea time experience.

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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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