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Maritime Stakeholders Celebrate Chief Sarumi’s Wife, At 70

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…As EFCC Storms Dikko’s House… Finding Nothing!

It was “Thank You, God!” all the way, as maritime movers and stakeholders last Thursday, swooped on Our Saviour’s Church, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), to celebrate Chief Felicia Oluwakemi, wife of former Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Managing Director,  Chief Adebayo Babatunde Sarumi, who just hit the age of 70 years!

From the President of the Nigerian Master Marinas Association, Capt. O. A. Olopoenia, to NAMM former President, Capt. Adewale Ishola; the the first NPA female Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Ms. Aina. Ehgarevba, to the Arrowhead, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Mrs. Ify Akerele, to former NPA Strongman, NBC Akani.

The Oba of Lagos sent his white cap chiefs, with his beaded staff of office, to represent him, just as the Ibadan Indigenes Council came in significant numbers.

The celebrant, Chief (Mrs) Felicia Olukemi Sarumi (left); her husband Adebayo; Chief Emiola Adesina and his wife at the Thanksgiving Service on the  occasion of 70th Birthday of Mrs. Sarumi at Our Saviour’s Church in TBS, Lagos…yesterday

The celebrant, Chief (Mrs) Felicia Olukemi Sarumi (left); her husband Adebayo; Chief Emiola Adesina and his wife at the Thanksgiving Service on the occasion of 70th Birthday of Mrs. Sarumi at Our Saviour’s Church in TBS, Lagos…yesterday

The message was on the need for Nigerians to pursue righteousness, honest and selfless goals, and the nation would leap, into new heights!

In the meantime, EFCC officials on Friday afternoon laid a seige outside the Abuja residence of former Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs, ‎Abdullahi Dikko Inde.

Residents in the area  who spoke on conditions of anonymity told Maritime First,  that despite a long and meticulously thorough search,  the operatives   of the antigraft agency who arrived the house on Ahmed Musa Crescent ‎Jabi Abuja in a Hilux bus and immediately prevented everyone from either entering or leaving the compound found nothing incriminating in the house.

“It was a surprise and shocking operation which most likely,  yielded nothing.  First,  the former Comptroller General was not around when they stormed his residence.  And secondly,  they came up with nothing,  despite their meticulous efforts.”, he indicated,  adding that he particularly noted that the security men around the house,  we’re earlier withdrawn, leaving only one  hours  before the operatives struck,  creating a coincidence that bordered on ominous suspicion.

Asked how he knew the operatives did not come up with whatever they were seemingly looking for,  the respondent said their departure was devoid  of the kind of celebration they had put up,  when they were leaving the residence of former Petroleum Minister,  Diezani Alison Madueke,  after ransacking her Abuja house.

“It was not unlikely that whoever ordered the removal of the security men off the house, also knew of the EFCC impending visitation”,  the source opined further.

The former Customs boss voluntarily resigned his appointment in August, 2015, four months after President Buhari came into office.

In a related development,  the Sunday Punch however has reported that security agents may have been detailed to arrest Dikko,  On his way back into the country.

“The EFCC was reported to be looking for huge amounts of money, in dollars, believed to be stashed in a residential building owned by the former customs chief. It was not clear whether the EFCC had found anything incriminating in Dikko’s residence.

“On Saturday, the EFCC had relaxed the siege on the residence of the former Comptroller General of Customs. But a senior official of the commission, who confided in SUNDAY PUNCH, on Saturday, said the EFCC had learnt that Dikko had travelled to Dubai. He said that the former CG of customs would be arrested on his arrival back into the country as security agents at airports had been alerted to do so.

“The source did not give the reason for Dikko’s trip to Dubai. He also refused to speak on the specifics of the investigation or the reason for the high-profile raid. Sunday PUNCH also gathered that a high-powered delegation of top operatives of the commission was billed to travel outside the country for a mission connected with the ongoing investigation.

“However, a relative of the ex-customs boss, Mohammed Usman, had on Friday alleged that the EFCC did not secure a search warrant before raiding the house.

Usman, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria, said “The information I gathered showed that the operatives, numbering about seven, were in the house to carry out a search for documents.

“A team of about seven operatives of the EFCC in company with some armed policemen arrived at the residence at about 7am and have been in the house for the past five hours.

“From the information available to me, no search warrant was presented before the commencement of the search. As I speak to you, they are currently in my uncle’s bedroom carrying out the search in his absence.”

“Usman also expressed misgivings that the operation was carried out in the absence of the former comptroller-general.

“The only people in the house at the commencement of this search and even till now are his children who are below the age of 18,” he said further,  according to the Punch reports.

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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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