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Navy impounds barge with 120,000 litres of illegal crude

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  • Nigeria’s oil output falls below market estimate

The Nigerian Navy has impounded a barge containing about 120,000 litres of alleged illegal crude oil at Elem Kalabari in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole, who disclosed this to newsmen, yesterday, said crew members of the barge escaped, adding that more House boats would be set up on the waterways to enhance sea patrol by men of the Navy.

He said that the barge was impounded on Wednesday by his men on sea patrol, adding that the choke points strategy adopted by the Navy was yielding commendable result in the fight against oil theft.

He said: “Naval troops manning our maritime security stations (house boat) on Wednesday around 2a.m., intercepted and impounded a metallic barge laden with about 120,000 litres of crude oil suspected to be stolen.

“Troops were unable to arrest crew members on board the barge as they fled the scene on sighting advancing naval gunboats.

“This interception is a testament to success of our choke point strategy which involves positioning of troops on flash points for quick response to situations.

“This strategy and other security measures recently put in place curtailed spate of attacks on oil and gas installations, piracy and other criminality in our maritime environment.”

In the meantime, the crude oil production figure provided by Nigeria to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries for last month was 139,000 barrels per day lower than the estimate from secondary sources.

Nigeria, which lost the Africa’s top oil producer status in March, produced less crude oil than its rival, Angola, in September, according to OPEC.

OPEC, in its latest monthly oil report released on Wednesday, said Nigeria’s oil output rose by 280,700 bpd to 1.385 million bpd in September, compared to Angola’s 1.649 million bpd.

The country produced 1.524 million bpd in September, up from 1.429 million bpd in August, according to secondary sources.

Nigeria had in March lost the status of Africa’s top oil producer to Angola when the country’s production dropped to 1.677 million bpd, compared to Angola’s 1.782 million bpd.

Nearly eight months after it was shut down, the Forcados export terminal remains offline.

Shell had on February 21 declared force majeure on the export of Forcados, one of Nigeria’s largest crude oil grades, after a subsea pipeline feeding the terminal was damaged, knocking out at least 250,000 bpd of the nation’s oil exports.

The force majeure, a legal clause that allows it to stop shipments without breaching contracts, came a week after the Forcados export line was attacked by militants in the Niger Delta.

It is still uncertain when the Forcados pipeline will come back on stream as repairs have yet to be concluded.

According to secondary sources, OPEC crude oil production averaged 33.39 million bpd in September, an increase of 220,000 bpd over the previous month.

“Crude oil output increased mostly from Iraq, Nigeria and Libya, while production in Saudi Arabia showed the largest drop,” OPEC said in the report.

According to Bloomberg, of OPEC’s 14 member countries, Iraq and Venezuela are the only two that have publicly criticised the sources’ figures. Yet, there are five others whose own estimates are higher than those provided by secondary sources. Three nations – Angola, Nigeria and Qatar – provided estimates that are lower.

Venezuela told OPEC it pumped 2.33 million barrels of crude a day in September, 245,000 more than what was estimated by secondary sources, which include news organisations such as Platts and Argus Media as well as the International Energy Agency.

Iraq said it pumped 4.78 million bpd, 320,000 more than the secondary-source view. The total discrepancy for both countries equals the daily production of Ecuador.

According to the report, Africa’s oil supply is projected to average 2.12 million bpd in 2016, a decline of 10,000 bpd year-on-year and revised up by 10,000 bpd from the previous month’s report.

It said, “In 2016, oil production from Congo is expected to grow by 50,000 bpd to average 310,000 bpd, while output in other African countries – despite increasing output from Ghana’s production start-up in the ‘TEN’ project and the production ramp-up at the Jubilee field in the second half of this year – will decline or remain stagnant in 2016.”

Vanguard with additional report from Upshot

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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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