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Malta Summit: Technology Must Adopt More Friendly, Engineering Approach – Ogbeifun

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The global Maritime community sat with rapt attention today, as Nigeria inspired industry experts on why technology must seek more friendly engineering methods, in spite of the increasing pull of market forces, in the economic task of moving cargo.

Taking the centre stage as the only African body representative in the First Malta Maritime Summit in Valletta, the Chief Executive Officer of STARZS and Arrowhead of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Engr. Greg Utomwen Ogbeifun also noted and lauded developments which have resulted in new vessels and the expanding frontiers of deadweight tonnage and speed.

Malta Summit

Engr. Greg Ogbeifun in a Group photograph with the Panelists for the Malta Maritime Summit Session he moderated, in Valletta, Malta, today.

“The net effect of market forces has been to challenge technology in the development of increasingly economic methods of moving cargo”, Ogbeifun observed, noting that it is in respect of this that “engineers have responded, by devising entirely new vessel types and expanding the frontiers of deadweight tonnage and speed.

“The result has been an ocean transportation system that is able to carry the vastly increased amount of cargo swiftly and safely”, he posited, taking a nostalgic peep into the development of Container ships, without missing a breadth in terms of what needed to be added.

“The pioneering container ships could carry only 59 containers, having a length of 35 feet and stacked two-high on deck. Once this seemingly radical idea of carrying boxes by Ship had been proven sufficiently in the coastwise trade, the first true container ships, having cellular holds into which containers were loaded by cranes came into being. There capacity was around 20 TEU – hence the designation “TEU”  (for 20-foot equivalent Units), being the standard measures of capacity adopted by the industry”, he observed, before taking a harder look at ships design, the unfolding challenges and their future prospects.

Engr Greg Ogbeifun, in Valletta, Malta, getting set for his presentation on Developments in Ports to Cater for Innovative Ships,  at the Malta Maritime Summit, in Valletta today.

Engr Greg Ogbeifun, in Valletta, Malta, getting set for his presentation on Developments in Ports to Cater for Innovative Ships, at the Malta Maritime Summit, in Valletta today.

“For several years, designs have been available for vessels with capacity of up to about 15 TEU. The design and construction of such vessels is well within the state of the art. In fact, a consensus among shipbuilders and ship operators is that a container ship able to load 20,000 TEU may well be a possibility. (The highest currently standing at about 18,270 TEU).

“For such a ship to become a viable reality may require a complete rethinking of the way containers are handled; to and from the Ship, as well as to and from; and within the Shoreline terminals. Of equal or greater importance, there must be shore side facilities to march it’s capacity.

“Today’s container ship is the linch – pin of cargo transportation, but it is only a part of the total system which includes sophisticated shoreline terminals, inter-modal extensions to inland points by rail and highway; and automated information systems that track a shipment throughout its journey”, Ogbeifun indicated further, citing innovations which include the Artic Shuttle tanker, a mega ship which incorporates an ice breaker and a shuttle tanker; innovative cruise ships etc; dropping a presentation which was not only appreciated, but further dissected and illuminated by a combined efforts of the President, Yildirim Holdings, Mr. Robert Yildirim; the Secretary General, Cruise Lines International Association and the Assistant Vice President, New Building Technical Projects, United Arab Shipping, Mohammed Zaitouni.

It would be recalled that Malta in particular, edged Nigeria out of the Category ‘C’ of the prestigious IMO Council seat in London, by a single vote. Nigeria is yet to inch near the Council seat, ever since!

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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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