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MOU signed between the Maritime Institute of Eastern Mediterranean and the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport

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The ceremony for the Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Maritime Institute of Eastern Mediterranean (Mar.In.E.M) and the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) took place in Limassol, Cyprus on 12th December 2014. The Ceremony was held under the Auspices of H.E. Mr. Marios Demetriades, Cyprus Minister of Communications and Works.

The MoU endorses a long standing commitment for collaboration between the two organizations.  It provides opportunities for embarking upon mutually beneficial joint activities in relation to Maritime Research and Development, Maritime Education and Training, Cooperation in International and Regional Fora, Green Shipping and Quality Shipping.

Addressing the signing ceremony, the Cypriot Minister of Communications and Works, Mr. Marios Demetriades, highlighted that Cyprus` ambition is to be a step ahead of competition at any time, both as an international registry and as a base for international shipping and shipping related operations.

He added that the government’s shipping policy is founded on three pillars: quality, competitiveness and reliability, pointing out that the maintenance of a high standard quality fleet and the effective implementation of the internationally applicable safety, security and environmental protection standards, is the foundation on which Cyprus builds its reputation as a serious and quality maritime flag, as well as, a reliable base for international operations.

Referring to the MoU, Mr. Demetriades stated that Cyprus and Egypt are two countries in the Eastern Mediterranean that both invest in the maritime industry and the maritime professions, as they recognize the political, economic and social importance of shipping.

His Excellency gave assurance that his Ministry fully supports and endorses such cooperation and strongly believes that the signing of this MoU can only have positive and innovative outcome in the fields of maritime research, education and training.

The President of Mar.In.E.M. Mr. Zacharias Siokouros, in delivering his speech underlined that the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation between the Maritime Institute and the Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Maritime Transport is an event that marks an important milestone in the roadmap towards achieving what has been the Vision of the Institute since its inception i.e. the cooperation on Maritime Affairs of the Region’s countries with the aim of creating a “Maritime Cluster in the Eastern Mediterranean” – as an essential aspect of a “European Maritime Strategy for the Eastern Mediterranean” – based on the model of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region.

Such a cluster should encompass the whole range of sea‐related economic activities, that would subsequently foster synergies between the various regional stakeholders ・ currently scattered and in some cases isolated within National boundaries ・ and will boost the development of a Common Maritime Economy that will benefit everyone within the Region in line with the European Union’s Integrated Maritime Policy and the Limassol Declaration for the promotion of Blue Growth.

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In his speech, the President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghafar, expressed his honor to be in Limassol and reaffirmed his willingness and commitment to further strengthen, the already close ties, between the two institutions, as well as, for the two countries overall, Cyprus and Egypt.

Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghafar indicated that the primary goal of the MoU is to achieve rational outcomes in the best interest of both parties and noted that it will provide opportunities for joint activities.

In her speech, H.E. Dr. Hebei El Marassi, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, said that Cyprus’ strategic positioning in the east Mediterranean makes the island one of the most important neighbors of Egypt, that already maintains excellent relationships with the Arab world and plays a significant and important role, specifically with regards to the shipping sector in the region.

Earlier that morning the President and the delegation of the AASTMT attended various important and productive meetings with the Minister of Education and Culture, Mr. Costas Kadis, the Minister of Communications and Works, Mr. Marios Demetriades and the Director of the Oceanography Center, at the University of Cyprus in Nicosia, Dr. George Georgiou. The delegation also visited the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Larnaca. They were briefed on the JRCC’s capabilities, on its role in case of a crisis and possible evacuation from the Middle East as well as for JRCC’s future plans in improving coastal and sea surveillance

Before the signing ceremony, the President of AASTMT and other representatives attended a joint meeting with several officials from the Maritime Cluster of Cyprus consisting of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, the Department of Merchant Shipping, the Limassol Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Cyprus Ports Authority and the Cyprus University of Technology. Present at the meeting were also H.E. Mr. Marios Demetriades, Minister of Communications and Works and H.E. Dr. Heba ElMarassi, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt.—Maritime Cyprus

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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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