Connect with us

Archives

Migrants stranded by Macedonia closure

Published

on

Thousands of migrants and refugees have been stranded near Athens and on Greece’s northern border after Macedonia stopped allowing Afghans in.

More than 5,000 people were stuck at or near the border and at one point several tried to storm the fence. Four thousand more arrived by sea from the Aegean islands at Piraeus port.

Macedonia said on Sunday it was following other governments by allowing in only Syrians and Iraqis.

Greece protested against the decision.

After Syrians, Afghans made up the second largest number of people seeking asylum in the EU in 2015, according to official figures.

The Macedonian move came three days after Austria imposed a daily limit of 80 asylum claims on its southern border.

Although EU officials said the Austrian limit was incompatible with human rights conventions, Balkan states along the migrant route from Greece responded by implementing their own restrictions.

In the past year, the vast majority of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe have taken the route through Greece, in the hope of claiming asylum in Germany or other EU countries. More than 1.1 million people arrived in Germany alone in 2015.

EU police agency Europol said on Monday that 90% of them had used a “facilitation service”, offered mainly by criminal smuggling groups.

More than 5,000 people had gathered by Monday morning at the Idomeni crossing or on buses a few miles away.

Some 600 Afghans staged a protest, holding up banners that read “Open the border”, but then a crowd broke through a Greek cordon and gathered at the fence.

Many protesters stormed the fence and sat on a railway line in no-man’s land. Several climbed through barbed wire before being arrested.

Greece’s junior immigration minister said he was hopeful the issue would soon be resolved with Macedonia. The Athens government fears the new restrictions will prompt a build-up of migrants and refugees on its territory.

The first indication of that came with the arrival on Monday of four ships in the port of Piraeus carrying more than 4,000 migrants. They were intending to continue their journey to the Macedonian border at Idomeni.

Last November, Slovenia and other Balkan countries announced they would only allow in refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, where armed conflicts were taking place.

Macedonia said it was now halting access to Afghans as well, because Serbia had itself imposed restrictions, although that was disputed by the Belgrade government.

Police from Austria and the Balkan states agreed new guidelines for letting in migrants last week, which reportedly include a photo-document issued by the authorities on the Macedonian border with Greece.

The UN has already counted more than 94,000 arrivals from Turkey on Greece’s Aegean islands since the start of this year. However, the EU’s Frontex border agency said the numbers in January were 40% lower than the previous month, largely because of poor weather.

German politicians have reacted with dismay to the change in Austrian policy, which includes a 3,200 daily limit on the number of migrants and refugees being allowed transit through the country.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere complained the number was far too high and sent the wrong signal.

“If others think that they will dump a greater burden on Germany, we won’t accept that in the long term,” he said.

His opposite number in Austria, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, complained that Germany was sending mixed signals.

Germany could not promise Greece that it would continue pursuing its open-border policy while also demanding that Austria stop everyone coming through, she argued.

Germans have been shocked in recent days by two anti-refugee protests in the eastern state of Saxony.

Dozens of protesters blocked a bus carrying families to a shelter in the town of Clausnitz on Thursday night, hurling abuse and chanting “we are the people”.

Two nights later, a shelter for asylum-seekers was set alight in Bautzen as onlookers were filmed applauding the action.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert condemned the Clausnitz attack as cold-hearted and deeply shameful.

MSN

Continue Reading
Advertisement Simply Easy Learning
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

20 + 15 =

Archives

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

Published

on

…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. 

Continue Reading

Archives

Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Archives

Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

Published

on

…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

Continue Reading
ADEBAYO SARUMI: Doyen of Maritime Industry Marks 80th Anniversary, Saturday 

Editor’s Pick

Politics