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NIMASA: Stakeholders dub tabloid editorials as ‘hand of Esau’.



…task agency to dissociate itself from the editorial.

Stakeholders may have begun to read meanings into a June editorial of a freight and energy tabloid which counselled the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to do away with the experiences of the Nigerian ship-owners in the establishment of the proposed national carrier, noting strongly that the editorial actually came, shortly after the agency announced that it would work on new criteria that might be exclusive of Nigerian ship-owners.

The respondents, consisting mostly of industry watchers, and port users also counselled NIMASA to dissociate itself from the editorial captioned, “Failed Ship-owners shouldn’t manage proposed national shipping line” before Nigerians begin to draw the unfortunate conclusion that the agency whose sole responsibility is to grow the industry might have no better objective than the destruction of the very platform, for which it was set up.

“As much as I want to respect editorials as seeds of independent imaginations and logics of informed individuals, I cannot but developed my fears, in so far as this particular editorial goes”, highlighted one Anthony Emeordi, a port operator, noting that one of the reasons the editorial deducted, for advising the NIMASA Director General against investing in the experiences of the group was that some of them, when they had money, had “spent their fortunes in non-profiting frivolities like acquiring traditional tittles, (and) bagging honorary doctorate degree from institutions where they made bogus and unrealistic promises to carry out development” projects.

Emeordi, while stressing the unique importance of experience, as the best teacher, also advised the agency, to go beyond the realms of semantics and rhetoric, and begin the implementation of whatever ideas, especially the equipping of the operators with their ‘esusu’ collected money called the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), stressing that a situation where the agency had collected the money for over 10 years, hides it in banks, at a rate only the agency knows, without the slightest indication of when the money would be put to fruitful use was to say the least, evil.

“I am not a saint. And I don’t think the people in the agency are saints either. You are a journalist. If I ask you, how much was the total collection now, I am sure you don’t know. If I ask you at which interest rate it was kept in the bank now, I am also sure you won’t know. Let alone, if I should ask you, the procedure through which the agreed interest rate was concluded….

“And you want me to believe that all is well with the CVFF? If I believe the way you are defending the agency right now, then, I may as well believe anything”, he concluded, saying that information in respect of the CVFF as a public fund, should be available for everyone.

But in the response of an industry watcher who pleaded for anonymity, the agency had lost its vision; and may soon emerge as full blown bull, in a china shop.

“My Brother, leave the issue of CVFF out of it. Let us ask ourselves how much the agency is presently dolling out now on monthly basis for the platform it hired from the Global West group. Didn’t they tell us it would be on no cure- no pay? Are they still paying on the basis of curing? If you don’t know, go and investigate and you can there after come here, for further enlightenment”, he concluded, pointing out that when the chips were down, Nigerians would know the truth.

Speaking in the same vein, another respondent, a shipmaster who also pleaded for anonymity sought to know what progress NIMASA had recorded for the country in the past three years, in the area of its core function of shipping development? He laughed when the Maritime First said the agency had sent over 2500 students for overseas training.

“Have you asked them how much that idea had gulped? Have you asked them if the same objectives could not be achieved at far cheaper cost? And have you asked them where he cadets would work in Nigeria, if the country continues to remain without ships?

“Have you asked them what had actually sustained Iranian economy, when the Western world turned the heat, through sanctions upon it? Have you also asked them whether up till now, Nigeria does not deserve to have any ships of her own?” he asked, stressing that he had begun to pray for a post Jonathan era, in the maritime.

An importer, Mrs. Bolutife Ajayi however spoke eloquently, in respect of both the agency and the Director General, Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi, stressing that she had monitored the management style and was satisfied that the former university teacher has a lot to offer.

“You know people don’t usually appreciate anybody’s good efforts when they are in office. When Baba Obasanjo was in power, remember how several people treated him like what have; yet today he is treated as a saint. The same would be of President Jonathan. And the same would also be of this present DG. He is doing a good work. And with time, this would also come to show”, she concluded.

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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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