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NPA Boss Lauds Buhari On Release Of 21 Chibokgirls

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  • Two Greek Firms to Pay USD 1.3 Mn for Dumping Oily Waste

President Muhammadu Buhari’s dedicated efforts which secured the release of 21 out of an alleged over 200 students, abducted from Chibok, received a strong commendation of the Nigerian Ports Authority ( NPA) Managing Director, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman at the weekend.

Ms Usman, who actually shot to national prominence in 2014 through her Bring Back Our Girls (#BBOG) initiative, following the abduction by the Boko Haram insurgents of 276 girls from their secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, said she was particularly happy, knowing full well that with Government’s consistency and dogged commitment, the release of the rest, is only a matter of time.

Hadiza Bala Usman, NPA--Maritime First Newspaper

Hadiza Bala-Usman

“The release of the 21 girls is a good omen that the country would overcome its security and other challenges”, she stated, urging the Federal Government not to relent in its efforts to secure the release of the remaining girls.

She however also urged Nigerians to always appreciate every positive effort put in place by the government to boost security and revamp the economy, noting that the release of the girls is a fulfillment of President Buhari’s; and the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign promise.

Ms Usman posited that the development, apart from reassuring Nigerians and the international community that President Buhari is indeed committed  to ensuring the safe release of all the abducted girls, it also show the importance of peace talks, collaboration and synergy on the part of relevant agencies of Government; even as she extended an unreserved appreciation to the parents of the released girls and #BBOG colleagues in the Bring Back Our Girls Group, the Nigerian Armed Forces, the international community and other non-governmental organisations  for their support and persistent roles before and after the rescue of some of the girls.

In the meantime, the ship operator Angelakos Hellas SA and ship owner Gallia Graeca Shipping were ordered by U.S. District Court in Seattle to pay a USD 1.3 million fine for dumping oily waste at sea, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, a 735-foot bulk carrier MV Gallia Graeca, owned and operated by the companies, travelled from China to Seattle in October 2015.

During the voyage, a pollution-control device known as an oil water separator was inoperable. On October 16, 26 and 27, 2015, the defendants discharged overboard approximately 5,000 gallons of oily bilge water.

The defendants concealed these incidents from the Coast Guard by making false statements to inspectors, and making false statements and omissions in the ship’s oil record book.

The ship operator and the ship owner were found guilty in June 2016 of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, Falsification of Records in a Federal Investigation, and engaging in a Scheme to Defraud the United States.

The companies were placed on five years of probation and required to have environmental compliance plans in place which will ensure they are abiding by anti-pollution policies and regulations.

In addition to the USD 1.3 million fine, the companies were ordered to make a USD 200,000 community service payment.

Additional report from World Maritime News

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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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