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“NIMASA WOULD SOON BE OVERHAULED”- APC CHIEFTAIN

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…TO ENTRENCH PROFESSIONALISM 

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) may soon be overhauled to entrench professionalism, a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Danjuma Dabo has assured.

General Muhammadu Buhari

General Muhammadu Buhari

General Muhammadu Buhari’s Campaign Director in Bauchi, Dr. Dabo who indicated this however said the gesture would not be to witch-hunt, but to extract partisanship off the agency.

Highlighting that while the APC does not believe in some of the stories which have been peddled in some newspapers against the NIMASA, there is however, sufficient ground to believe that the agency has allowed partisanship to germinate.

“We have no reasons to believe some of those stories that NIMASA is this or that; but our empirical observation shows that the agency was partisan”, Dr. Dabo, a seasoned maritime guru stated.

“Personally, I will not support anyone to speak any how of NIMASA, except such statements are backed by facts and figures”, he defended the agency, even as he noted that sufficient damage had already been done in that area already; he nonetheless could not deny the fact that the agency, during the campaign period, was partisan. He loves NIMASA.

But we actually drew him out, when we asked him if the seed of partisanship was not actually planted, when he was first there in the agency, as an Executive Director?

“I am talking as an industry expert; as somebody who has been there before. But when I was there the agency was not partisan. Not at all. NIMASA was never partisan when we were there!

“We all did our work professionally. We made sure every worker did his work professionally. And when we left, we left as professionals leaving behind, a very vibrant agency.

“Unfortunately now, the NIMASA has now been turned into an agency that is quasi-professional.

“It has transformed into an agency where people are engaged as a reward platform. It has transform into a parastatals to reward people who are loyal to the out going government.

“So, as far as I am concerned, NIMASA has really not lived up to its statutory responsibility or the expectations of the good people of Nigeria”.

Asked what would the General do when he takes over after May 29, 2015; his response was succinctly sharp:

“We are going to clean the place up and revert it back to its original professional state. Where professional would again hold sway and both the government and the good people of Nigeria would be happy to identify with the agency. 

“The NIMASA is a regulatory agency; so the in-coming Government’s task would be to see the agency perform its task as a credible regulatory  agency—not as a PRO agency. Not an agency that would abandon it statutory tasks just to please the people at the top.

“The NIMASA is an international agency. It is a body that stands and operates on international platform. It is the eye of the International  Maritime Organization  (IMO)  in Nigeria. It is expected to domesticate  the IMO conventions or laws in Nigeria. So, if such a strategic agency loses credibility because it has strayed away from professionalism, then, that is not too fair, either to the staff or the citizens”, he indicated further, stressing that the APC however appreciates the fact that there were staff who had remained focused and diligent, and whose efforts must be acknowledged.

“But, you must also recognise that there are professionals in the agency who have not been allowed to flourish or work the way they should…. People have been brought, over and above the NIMASA staff who are professionals and who know what they are doing; and have been credible, working for so many years.  People have been brought in and within few years, were promoted over and above their competence; to the extent that they are no longer competent in the places they are placed; to the extent that those who are competent are down there suffering and withering away in abject abandonment”, he observed further, adding it is for such reasons that the agency must be overhauled!

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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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