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Only Competent Persons Will Get CVFF- Peterside‏

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  • As Court orders Fani-Kayode’s remand over Alleged N1.5b theft

Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has pledged to adopt every legitimate measures to protect every national asset under the Agency’s care, saying it is for this reason that the CVFF would only be issued to competent persons.

The DG indicated this at the weekend while talking to newsmen at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, in respect of the Agency’s plans to safeguard the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) from suffering the same fate as the Ship Building and Ship Acquisition Fund (SBSAF).

Dr. Peterside highlighted that the current management was committed  to the principles and letters of its enabling instruments noting that NIMASA under his leadership will prove itself to be dedicate to its core functions of promoting indigenous participation in international and coastal shipping as well as regulating the maritime sector for Nigeria’s economic development.

Explaining why the SBSAF may have failed, the DG observed that while the SBSAF was backed by policy, the CVFF is backed by law which makes it more difficult for the CVFF to be open to abuses.

“With the CVFF, the Agency contributes 35 percent,  the banks who are the Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs) contribute 50 percent,  while the applicant makes an equity contribution of 15 percent. The various layers of due diligence from the Agency to the banks makes it very difficult for this programme to be abused as the banks for instance will undertake the risk analysis because they are bearing 50 percent of the risk” the DG said.

He assured stakeholders that NIMASA will ensure the disbursement of the CVFF to only qualified operators provided they meet the requirements as stipulated in the guidelines.

The Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) is a product of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act of 2003 and provides for the disbursement of loans to indigenous operators in the shipping industry to grow their fleet. This fund is derived from the 2 percent surcharge on all Cabotage contracts which are deducted and warehoused in the CVFF.

In the meantime, a Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos yesterday ordered the remand of a former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for three weeks.

Chief Magistrate Mrs. Bola Osunsanmi granted the remand application after taking arguments from counsel to the commission, Mr. A. N. Anana and Wale Balogun, for the defendant.

Ordering Fani-Kayode’s remand, she said: “The defendant is hereby remanded in EFCC custody for three weeks pending a proper arraignment in court.

“The applicants have never suppressed the date of the arrest of the defendant before this court.

“Also, no evidence of the suit of the defendant before the FCT High Court was tendered by his counsel before the court.”

The EFCC brought Fani-Kayode to court to seek a remand order against him over a two-count charge of obtaining money by false pretences and the alleged theft of N1.5 billion, property of the Federal Ministry of External Affairs.

The anti-graft agency said the remand order was urgently needed to prevent Fani-Kayode from tampering with evidence.

During the proceedings, the counsel to the EFCC urged the court to remand the ex-minister.

His words: “We have an ex parte application for an order of remand dated May 10, 2016, made pursuant to Section 261 (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.

“Attached to the application is a nine-paragraph affidavit of urgency, seeking the remand of the defendant in the EFCC custody.

“We need this order of remand because, if he is not remanded, he might interfere with the investigations in this matter,” Anana said.

But counsel to Fani-Kayode, however, opposed the EFFC’s application for remand.

He said: “The applicants have suppressed some facts which your lordship would question why the application of the EFCC is being taken ex parte.

“There is a pending suit before the FCT High Court to challenge the detention of the defendant.

“The suit is between the defendant and the EFCC, who are aware of the suit and have been served.

“The defendant has been in EFCC detention since May 9 after which he was granted administrative bail, the conditions of which he met on May 12.

“In Abuja, they got another detention order for 14 days and what the EFCC did after was to bring him to Lagos.”

Balogun urged the court not to detain Fani-Kayode because of the pending suit he had instituted against the EFCC.

“My client’s detention is a breach of the constitution; it is either he is granted bail or charged to court,” Balogun said.

The chief magistrate, thereafter, adjourned the matter to June 15, 2016 when the 21 days remand order will lapse.

Fani-Kayode arrived at the court at about 10.55a.m.

He was dressed in a white Kaftan with a pair of white slippers.

At about 12:30p.m. when the matter was called, Anana told the court of the application for an order of remand against the defendant.

But the matter was stood down for 2.00p.m.

At 2.07p.m., the matter was called again and the chief magistrate delivered her ruling in three minutes.

Additional report from Nation

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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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