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The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) may have tasked the All Progressives Congress (APC) Campaign Organisation to retract within three days, an alleged claim that the agency was funding bad campaigns against its flag bearer, General Mohammadu Buhari or be dragged to court to prove it.

The Director, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi indicated this on Sunday at a press conference, even as he condemned strongly, what he described as an “on-going smear campaign” of the APC Campaign Organisation against the NIMASA, in an attempt “to score political points against President Goodluck Jonathan”

“The attempts consist of a trail of mischievous representations and blatant lies, orchestrated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to discredit the giant and monumental strides President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has achieved through NIMASA and other Agencies in the Maritime Sector. In the process, important issues of state have been trivialised on the altar of political grandstanding at the expense of the unity of our dear country, Nigeria.

“The vicious campaign is intended to cast aspersions on the activities and integrity of NIMASA as a responsible corporate entity of government. We should leave politics to the politicians and let the professionals do their job”, Akpobolokemi cautioned, stressing that the agency has subsequently demanded the immediate “withdraw (of) their accusations that NIMASA had engaged in the sponsorship of hate campaign against the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari”; or face legal actions.

Akpobolokemi also used the opportunity to deny the allegation that NIMASA contracted the country’s maritime security to a private firm owned by Tompolo, or any private company as insinuated by APC, insisting that no such contract existed in the Agency.

“Prominent amongst the falsehood perpetrated by APC against NIMASA is the allegation that NIMASA contracted the country’s maritime security to a private firm they claim is owned by Tompolo. I here unequivocally state that this accusation is false. NIMASA neither entered into any such security contract with any private company nor with Tompolo.

“These unfortunate allegations have mutated over time culminating in their rather callous and condescending attempts to variously describe NIMASA as the President’s ATM, and now labelling us as the sponsors of hate campaigns against the APC Presidential candidate”, observed the DG, providing what immediately apppeared like explanatory note.

 “The Agency entered into partnership with a competent Nigerian maritime company; Global West Vessels Specialist Limited (GWSVSL) to provide its platforms to patrol the coastline. With the involvement of Global West, the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement now boasts of various categories of boats, contrary to what obtained in the past.

“The PPP project has also made it possible for the Agency to provide suitable platforms to the relevant security Agencies collaborating with us to fight piracy and other sundry security breaches in our waters. Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) have been signed and are being implemented between the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Air Force and the NIMASA.

“Contrary to widespread speculation, Global West did not buy warships for NIMASA, what we have are our routine operational vessels with which   the Nigerian Navy and the Agency collectively have successfully carried out the Agency’s mandate as well as tracked, interdicted and arrested vessels engaged in criminal activities in our waters”, he stated further.

The Director General said he was also taken aback by the recent media reports trying to disparage the Agency on the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), adding that under the programme “over 2,500 young Nigerians have benefitted” or “are currently enjoying” various levels of scholarship in reputable institutions in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Romania, India and Philippines.

“Students are studying to become marine engineers, naval architects and nautical scientists. This has gone on successfully devoid of any discrimination. For the avoidance of doubts, no student of the NSDP programme has been sent out of school for fees and none will be sent out, because all fees have been paid by NIMASA till date”, he explained of the  NSDP, while appealing that agency be left alone, totally out of politics, to enble its professionals concentrate at performing their statutory functions, in superlative terms.

“Let us make bold to state here that the Agency will not be distracted by the activities of persons and institutions seeking to bring important matters of state to a pedestrian level by cheap and baseless propaganda. We remain committed to the ideals setting up NIMASA and resolute in efforts at evolving a responsible and responsive Safety Administration in the belief that the future of our country can only be guaranteed by a focused leadership”, Akpobolokemi concluded.


WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…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



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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