Connect with us

Archives

Migrants struggle in sub-zero temperatures

Published

on

  • As NISA boss says Nigeria is losing N80bn daily to petroleum products smuggling

Medics working at refugee aid camps in the Balkans say they are seeing a spike in the number of migrants falling ill as freezing temperatures arrive.

It has fallen to as low as -11C in the region.

The medical charities International Medical Corps and Medecins Sans Frontieres say most patients are suffering with respiratory problems such as bronchitis and flu.

There are also concerns about people refusing or not seeking treatment.

Migrants are offered medical assistance, warm clothes and food at the main refugee points at the Serbian border with Macedonia to the south, and Croatia to the north.

International Medical Corps runs a makeshift clinic at the train station in the tiny town of Sid, in northern Serbia.

“Last week, when temperatures were a bit less, we were seeing around 50 to 60 people a day,” said Sanja Djurica, IMC team leader.

“This week, now that temperatures have fallen, it’s more like 100 or so a day.”

“Almost all of them are suffering with respiratory illnesses brought on by the cold.”

I met the Al-Maari family, who are making the journey as the snow falls thick and fast. They fled Syria three weeks ago, and have been on the road ever since.

They are travelling with four children, the youngest is just two years old. His brother Mohammad, seven, is suffering with fever and a chest infection.

“We are on a journey of death,” said Mohammad’s uncle, Iyad Al-Maari.

“We can endure. But I am worried about the children – the cold, disease and hunger.”

In the meantime, chairman of the Nigeria Shipowners Association, NISA, Capt. Niyi Labinjo,  has said that the country is losing N80 billion daily to petroleum products smuggled into the country.

In an exclusive interview with Vanguard, Labinjo explained that half the 1.8 million litres daily national need of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, is smuggled into the country.

The NISA boss noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, said the daily PMS need of the country is 1.8 million litres and that it (NNPC) only supplies half the quantity while the other half is smuggled into the country.

He pointed out that this is done through the off-shore Lome and off-shore-Benin. Giving a breakdown of the loss, Labinjo pointed out that a 5,000 ton vessel laden with Automotive Gas Oil, AGO, costs N600 million.

He said half of the 1.8 million litres comes to down to 900,000 and if divided by 5,000 equal 108 (5,000). Should this be multiplied by N600 million, it comes down to N108 billion and a large chunk of this amount is lost daily through smuggling of the product, he said.

He advised that the smuggling of petroleum products through the off-shore Lome and off-shore-Benin must be stopped because of the effect on the nation’s economy.

This is outside the revenue that should have been collected by the various government agencies like the NPA, NIMASA, NCS etc should these ships have berthed at the nation’s ports.

He said that the sector is more than capable of providing the N2 trillion needed to fund the budget.

He said the economic crime against the nation is being committed by foreign vessels that ship in these product informing their countries that they are headed for Nigeria, only for them to stop on the high seas where these products are discharged into smaller vessels and moved into Nigeria.

He noted that 68 percent of these products get into the country unaccounted for and this costs the nation huge revenue losses in terms of capital flight, since the transaction is done in cash, (not captured in the economy), creation of employment for foreign countries, crew of each of the ships and negative effects of balance of trade.

He said that Nigeria presently has no control over about 200 vessels involved in this illegal trade outside the nation’s territorial waterways and that alone poses a security risk to the nation, especially with the security situation in the country presently.

The retired Navy officer, stressed that government must as a matter of urgency stop the smuggling of petroleum products into the country, as well as ensure that the Cabotage Law is enforced fully.

BBC with additional report from Vanguard

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

Editor’s Pick

Politics