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Nigeria records first baby by ‘freezed egg’

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  • Boy of eight held at Paris airport for more than a week

Nigeria has recorded the birth of its first baby conceived through the oocyte (egg) freezing protocol.

The feat was recorded by The Bridge Clinic, Lagos, on February 16, with the delivery of a male child, named Tiwatope.

The oocyte was preserved through cryopreservation, which is the cooling of cells and tissues to sub-zero temperatures to stop biological activity and preserve the cells for future use.

Human oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) is a process in which a woman’s eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen and stored. Later, when she is ready to become pregnant, the eggs can be thawed, fertilised and transferred to the uterus as embryo.

According to the fertility physician with The Bridge Clinic, Dr. Emmanuel Owie, who broke the news, Tiwatope’s birth was significant in many respects, as he puts the  country on the global map in the practice of oocyte cryopreservation, a new offering in the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) space.

“Before his birth, this new practice seemed to be an exclusive preserve of the developed world of Europe and North America. It is even more significant considering the fact that since the report of the first pregnancy through this protocol in 1986, the practice has resulted in the birth of only about 5,000 babies worldwide,” he stated.

Dr. Owie said Tiwatope’s mother had her eggs frozen using the vitrification, also known as flash-freezing process – the cutting edge technology in cryobiology, where the eggs or oocytes of a woman are dehydrated and the water content replaced with “anti-freeze” solution (cryoprotectants) before freezing. This will prevent the formation of ice crystals, which could destroy the cell.

Tiwatope’s parents had battled infertility for eight years, but the clinic had the mother’s eggs frozen for two months.

Dr. Owie explained: “We fertilised the eggs using a standard technique, known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to overcome the egg shell, which normally gets hardened with freezing.

“The fertilised egg was subsequently transferred into her womb, resulting in the pregnancy of Tiwatope. She had her antenatal care in her family hospital and delivered the baby boy through caesarian section (SC).”

The clinic’s coordinator, Corporate Marketing/Communication and Client Relations, Dr. Ekundayo Omogbehin, said the baby and the mother were in good health.

In the meantime, an unaccompanied eight-year-old boy has been held at Paris’s main airport for more than a week after trying to enter France with false identity papers.

Children’s rights campaigners have accused the French authorities of breaking international child protection laws by refusing to let the youngster join relatives in France.

The boy, who has not been named, was put on a plane to Paris from the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of south-east Africa, more than a week ago by his mother who, according to French and African media, wanted him to have a better life.

Carrying just a Spiderman backpack, he was arrested on arriving at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport on 21 March and detained in an airport holding area for those suspected of trying to enter the country illegally, after reportedly producing a French passport in his cousin’s name.

The French appeal court decided he must be held in the waiting area for his own protection.

But Catherine Daoud, a child protection lawyer, told French radio: “The imprisoning of children in the [airport] waiting area, especially young children like this, is against the international convention on child protection signed and ratified by France.”

She added: “Sadly, his is not an unique case. It’s shocking to see a young kid stuck in the same basket as the adults and with the police … for the child it’s a prison.

“What shocks us is that he is shut in. Why is he shut in? We’re talking about a place with bars, it’s no place for a child.”

The French interior ministry said on Wednesday that the boy’s mother had asked for the child to be returned to her.

The authorities were trying to organise for someone to accompany him back to Comoros, but the process had been delayed because of the Easter holiday, a ministry spokesman told the Guardian.

“The boy arrived with a borrowed passport and was in an irregular situation in French territory,” she said.

“This was confirmed by the police and he was placed in the waiting area. The judge for liberty and detention decided it was in the boy’s best interest to keep him in the waiting zone until inquiries could be made.

“The French authorities made contact with his family and his mother said she wanted to take this young boy back.

“On 25 March, the court of appeal decided he should remain in the waiting zone until he could be returned.”

She added: “It’s not for the ministry to question legal decisions. Obviously he is being correctly treated and is with someone from the Red Cross [at the airport].

“We want this child to be returned to his country of origin as his mother has requested, but accompanied this time.”

Daoud said 259 lone minors had been kept in the holding area in 2014. Like adults arriving in France without papers, they can be held for up to 20 days before being admitted or deported.

Isabelle Thieuleux of the organisation La Voix de L’Enfant (A Child’s Voice) was at the court hearing. “We were told the French administration had to be given time to organise the boy’s return to Comoros,” Thieuleux said.

“He left the hearing accompanied by two police officers. His bag was almost bigger than him, he was just a little thing.

“There’s no justification for imprisoning an eight-year-old child who has arrived in the country, and even less for the motive of his own protection. Where’s the protection for a child in such a place?”

Nation with additional report from MSN

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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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