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NileDutch Links W’Africa,  USA’s East Coasts In New Service



  • In besieged Syrian city, hungry residents sell gold for food

West Africa focused container carrier, the NileDutch is set to boost its laudable presence in the sub region  with the introduction of a new service, meant to link the East Coast of the USA with West Africa and Europe.

The rotation will start in New York and the service will run every nine days. The first vessel, the MV Cafer Dede will sail on February 16, 2016.

This development aims to meet the growing demand from exporters in the East Coast of the USA for better access to their markets in West Africa. The new service will be operated by NileDutch in cooperation with Turkon Line.

The port rotation will be: New York – Norfolk – Savannah – Tangier. In Tangier the cargo will be transferred onto the NileDutch WEWA (West Europe – West Africa) service which calls on Abidjan, Pointe Noire, Luanda, Lobito and Namibe. All cargo towards the USA out of West Africa and Europe will be facilitated as well.

NileDutch not only serves these key West African ports but also operates an extensive network of feeder vessels in the region which carry cargo between regional ports (Matadi, Soyo, Boma, Bata, Malabo, Cabinda, Douala and Libreville).

NileDutch Africa Line BV (NileDutch), headquartered in Rotterdam (NL) is a major container shipping company, focussing on links between West Africa and the rest of the world. Norton Lilly International is NileDutch’s representative in the USA.

Norton Lilly International is the premier shipping agency in North America, with vast experience in all aspects of the maritime and logistics industries. Norton Lilly is a fully integrated and diversified service provider benefiting clients across the globe.

Meanwhile, in Syria’s eastern city of Deir el-Zour, supplies are running so short that desperate residents are selling their gold, valuables and even their homes for food or an exit permit allowing them to escape a siege by both government troops and Islamic State militants.

The extremists have blockaded government-held areas of the city for over a year, and some of its 200,000 residents are slowly starving — while troops and militias supporting President Bashar Assad exploit their suffering.

While international attention was focused recently on Madaya — a rebel-held town surrounded by pro-Assad troops near the capital of Damascus — the United Nations and aid agencies say another catastrophe is unfolding in Deir el-Zour.

The civil war has transformed a once oil-rich city into a place where even something as simple as making tea is a struggle, according to residents who have fled, because of severe shortages of food, water and fuel.

Many people live on bread and water — and there are long waits for both. Taps are shut off for days at a time, and the water that flows out for only a few hours is brackish. The city hasn’t had electricity for over 10 months, with little fuel available for generators and water pumps.

The U.N. warned last week that living conditions have deteriorated significantly in Deir el-Zour. Students are frequently absent from school because of malnutrition. The only remaining civilian hospital needs drugs and other supplies, as well as staff.

Unverified reports cited up to 20 malnutrition deaths, the U.N. said in its report. But Ali al-Rahbi, spokesman for the Justice for Life Observatory for Deir el-Zour, said his group documented 27 deaths.

The Islamic State group surrounds Deir el-Zour and won’t let people and supplies in by land; the Syrian government, which controls part of the city and its airport, won’t allow supplies to be brought in by air or let its people out.

The city, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Damascus, is divided roughly along the Euphrates River, with the Islamic State group on the eastern side and the Syrian government on the western side, although IS controls some territory on the western bank as well.

Deir el-Zour is the largest of about 15 besieged communities in Syria, cutting off about 400,000 people from aid. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said both the Syrian government and the rebels are committing war crimes by deliberately starving civilians. Reports of starvation in Madaya prompted an international outcry, and two aid convoys last week delivered humanitarian aid to civilians there.

So far, no such aid is forthcoming to Deir el-Zour.

The city recently has been the focus of renewed efforts by Islamic State militants to retake it. An offensive over the weekend captured new areas from government forces, killing over 250 troops and civilians, and capturing hundreds.

The offensive “is putting thousands of people in the line of fire,” said U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq.

How the city came to be under such a punishing siege from both sides only makes sense in the perverse circumstances of Syria’s civil war, now in its fifth year.

Deir el-Zour lies near the Iraqi border, deep in Islamic State territory, but the government has been able to defend its military airport on the outskirts, allowing it to maintain its city’s fortifications. It also controls four large neighborhoods that are home to many internally displaced people, including women and children.

Because the airport is so close to the front line, only helicopters have been able to land there since September, the U.N.’s Haq said.

The government troops in the city are regularly reinforced and supported by Russian and Syrian air power. Rather than fight them, the IS militants imposed a blockade in January 2015. Residents say the siege grew worse in March when the government stopped anyone from leaving Deir el-Zour without permission.

IS has prevented people from entering government-held areas, but a few months ago, it began allowing people to leave for other IS-held areas, although it subjected them to interrogation and harassment — and in some cases, it confiscated their documents.

The extremists then closed that window, banning anyone from leaving.

Residents say the government has its own reasons for maintaining the siege-within-a-siege and carefully controlling the flow of goods and people through the military airport: The residents have effectively become human shields against an IS attack. In addition, the government can extract money from them by raising the price of food or taking huge bribes in return for permits to leave.

Many residents wonder if an IS takeover would bring much-needed supplies of food.

“My father told me exactly, ‘My beard is long now, and my stomach is empty. Let them (the militants) in if it is going to let food into the city,'” said Karam Alhamad, a Deir el-Zour native who escaped in September but left his parents behind. It took him six months to find someone who could arrange his exit permit.

But Haq said that following the IS attacks on Sunday, the U.N. has received credible reports of the “execution and abduction/detention of civilians,” including those believed to have been smuggling in food.

International organizations have been able to fly in only a limited amount of aid through the military airport, where it passed through government hands before reaching the population, if at all.

Any aid typically goes to army officers and their allies, who resell it on the black market, al-Rahbi said by phone from Turkey.

“The regime is operating a war economy and allows its officers to control humanitarian aid to the city,” he added.

Last week, Russia dropped 22 metric tons of relief supplies into Deir el-Zour, but activists said government-affiliated vehicles immediately moved in. Alhamad said security forces collected all the supplies to sell them at the market for the prices they wanted.

A resident who identified himself as Bahaa said he lost more than 14 kilograms (33 pounds) during 11 months in the city and escaped in November to Gazientep in southern Turkey weighing only 55 kilograms (121 pounds).

“My health now is much better than it was, but I’m still suffering psychologically. A lot,” he said by phone.

The man, who did not give his real name because he feared for reprisals against relatives left behind, said he paid 250,000 Syrian pounds (over $600) in bribes to receive permission to fly out. It was too expensive to bring his whole family.

“We sold our gold” to raise the money for the bribes, he said. “Other families have sold their homes.”

Bahaa’s house is on the IS-held side of the city. When the militants took over, the family fled to the government-held side, where they rented an apartment.

“We don’t know what has happened to our home,” he said.

A resident named Mustafa, who also spoke on condition his full name not be revealed for fear of reprisals, said he managed to flee in October to the Islamic State group’s de facto capital of Raqqa, then made it to Turkey. From there, he took the perilous sea route to Europe and has resettled in Austria.

“I thank God every day that I was able to get out,” Mustafa said, adding that his three children fell ill and one began refusing food and drink. “I couldn’t bear it any longer. There was no one to help. No doctors, no medicine, no nothing.”

Mustafa said he sold his apartment “and bribed so many people, I forgot how many.”

Additional report from MSN


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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