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New rules on inland waterways transportation under way



With the incessant occurrence of boat mishaps along the Nigeria’s inland waterways, the Federal Government, through the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has commenced action needed to reduce accidents on the water ways to the barest minimum, if not totally eradicated .The action included the attempt aimed at the formulation of codes that would ensure safety behavior and practice amongst operators.

In this attempt, the authority put in place recently, a working group to discuss issues relating to the possibilities of evolving suitable codes to guide all operations within the country’s inland waterways.

In order to actualize this, the specialized group made up of experts from the Authority, the Federal Ministry of transportation and organized private sector converged at Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, recently to deliberate on the appropriate code that would effectively regulate inland water ways transportation in the country.

The National Inland Waterways Authority which is itching to ensure safety and safe navigation on the Nigerian waterways had developed a draft code which it presented to the experts for consideration, amendment and the eventual approval.

It tagged the draft code as “a safety code, offences and penalties” as being practiced by other modes of transportation, the first of its kind in the country.

This attempt aimed at developing regulations for the inland water ways transportation practice is meant to up the practice in Nigerian to international standards and best practice.

The Managing Director of the Authority, Mrs Chiroma told the experts that her authourity was saddled with the responsibility of being the key player in the regulation, control and management of the inland water ways transportation sub-sector and the usage of its declared right of ways.

She therefore emphasized the need to have in place a safety code considering the vast length of the available inland water ways that connect no fewer than 28 states of the Federation in order to reduce the reoccurrence of boats mishaps and the attendant loss of lives and property worth billions of Naira.

It has become absolutely necessary and imperative to have an inland waterways transportation code to address the challenges” she said.

The draft code presented for scrutiny of experts and stakeholders by NIWA provided for offences and penalties. It was presented for the determination of its applicability, compliance monitoring, penalty rate and methods of enforcement.

The expert committee and stakeholders who brainstormed at Uyo on the draft code rose their three days session with observation that in addition to the provisions of the code, there was need to also include the procedure for issuing out “shipping Notices” which will be rolled out from time to time to address emerging polices, rules, guidelines that will enable authority to review. Renew or revoke some provisions of the code as and whenever appropriate to do so.

On the code of conduct for the transit of inland Shipping to Coastal Routes and vice versa, they observed that the the inland waterways transportation code as presented by NIWA did not identify with the important need to regulate the operational procedures for ships transiting from coastal routes into the inland river channels and those making return from the inland rivers into the coastal water.

For uniformity, the forum agreed that the penalties and particularly the severity of the penalties could vary from location to the other.

It therefore recommended that NIWA should put in place all necessary machineries to enable the successful implementation of the code..

The forum also asked NIWA to harmonize collaboration between Federal, states and local governments in the inland water ways domain for the successful application of the code.

According to the forum, there was the need for NIWA to engage in training and retraining of both the regulators and operators to meet up with the expectation of the inland waterways transportation code for prompt service delivery.

Besides, it emphasized the need for NIWA to speed up the action for the approval of the code for proper implementation saying it was long overdue.—International Trade Monitor

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



…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



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

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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