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Ogbeifun, Omatseye, Orakwusi absent as NISA inaugurates new exco

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Navy Captain Niyi Labinjo (rtd) yesterday assumed the mantle of leadership of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) as he formally took over from founding Chairman, Chief Isaac Jolapamo.

The inauguration of the new NISA President and other executives held at Rockview Hotel, Apapa with the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello as Chairman of the event. However, the two presidential aspirants who contested against Labinjo in the election, Mr. Temisan Omatseye and Engr. Greg Ogbeifun were conspicously absent. Also absent were the newly elected first Vice President, Mrs. Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi, second Vice President Aminu Umar and Port Harcourt Coordinator, Emi Membere-Otaji.

It would be recalled that Emeka Ndu who was elected Lagos coordinator, resigned less than a week after the election held on October 24, 2014. Membere-Otaji had also hinted that he might not be able to serve on team.

Delivering his inaugural speech yesterday, Labinjo said the task of the new executive would be to consolidate and also to bring back the jobs of shipowners.

“The consolidation that the new executives of the association will bring about will be such that our jobs taken up by foreign shipowners will be brought back and Nigerian shipowners henceforth will provide shipping services, ancillary and associated maritime services to the Nigerian oil and gas community.

“This task is going to pitch us against those who are benefiting from the domination of our maritime space by foreign shipping services providers who will not like to see a change in the status quo even if it means undermining or breaking Nigerian laws,” he said.

Labinjo said his leadership is prepared to protect the maritime economy of Nigeria and investment of its members.

“After all, Nigeria is the only country where we can undertake the shipping services as the Greeks and Indians or Americans will not admit us to come near their coasts to share in what is reserved exclusively for their citizens,” he stated.

Labinjo who was the former secretary General of NISA pleaded with Ogbeifun, Omatseye and other aggrieved members of the association to put the contentious election behind them.

“I will like to appeal to our members particularly my good friend and brother who I have a great admiration for, Gregory Ogbeifun, the Chairman of Starz Group to please join me in the new effort to rid our waters of usurpers.

“The same appeal goes to Temisanren Omatseye, the vibrant and ebullient executive chairman of Polmaz Shipping Limited whose participation in the NISA election added glamour and colour to the exercise. We shall require your respective experiences and reach in the task of bringing our jobs back,” he stated.

Immediate past Chairman of the association, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, in his speech, said that the association would ensure the growth of the shipping industry to create job opportunities.

He said that gone were the days when the forces of domination undermined the cabotage and local content regimes that were meant to improve the lives of industry operators.

“We have come out of the trenches with better determination to secure our maritime industry that is capable of reducing our dependency on oil and create jobs,” he said.
He recalled that the Nigerian flag was flown with pride all over the world by Nigerian-owned vessels that carried Nigerian cargoes and crewed by Nigerian seafarers.
He said the Nigerian maritime industry was the envy of nations, adding that there was assurance for transportation of cargoes by local ships with shipyards designed for ship repair and ship building.
According to Jolapamo, the situation changed negatively when foreign companies dominated the nation’s maritime industry.
He said that the foreign companies were against the idea of indigenous ownership and management of ships in order to ensure continued foreign dominance of Nigeria’s maritime trade.
Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello who chaired the event, said the revival of the national carrier was very key to the growth of the economy.

Bello called on the new president of NISA, Capt. Niyi Labijo, to ensure that the issue of revival of the national career was re-visited.—Ships and Ports

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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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