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Over 80 killed as lorry hits crow in Nice Attack

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A lorry has struck a crowd after Bastille Day celebrations in the southern French city of Nice, killing at least 80 people, including children, and injuring dozens, officials say.

It happened on the famous Promenade des Anglais after a firework display. The driver was shot dead and guns and grenades were found inside the lorry.

President Francois Hollande said the attack was of a “terrorist nature”.

He extended a state of emergency across France by three months.

France had been on high alert following last November’s attacks in Paris in which 130 people died and hundreds were wounded.

The state of emergency had been due to end on 26 July.

“France is badly hit,” Mr Hollande said, adding that “we need to do everything we can to fight against” such attacks.

“All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism,” he said, adding that “several children” were among those killed.

The president added that “operational reserves” would be deployed to support the army and security forces across the country, with particular focus on the borders.

About 50 people were injured, 18 of them critically, in the incident on Thursday, which was Bastille Day – France’s national day.

Prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre said the lorry drove 2km (1.2 miles) through a large crowd, the AFP news agency reported.

One image on Twitter showed about a dozen people lying on the street.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet denied earlier reports of hostage situations and said the driver of the lorry had been “neutralised”.

He added that officials were investigating whether the driver acted alone.

No group has so far claimed responsibility, however prosecutors said the inquiry would be handled by anti-terror investigators.

Some reports spoke of shots being exchanged between police and the occupants of the lorry but these have not been confirmed.

Social media video showed people running through the streets in panic following the incident.

A journalist with the Nice Matin newspaper reported from the scene that there was “a lot of blood and without doubt many injured”.

A reporter for the AFP news agency said the incident took place as the firework display was ending, adding: “We saw people hit and bits of debris flying around.”

Another image on Twitter showed a white lorry stopped in the middle of the promenade with damage to its front, and four police officers observing it while taking cover behind a palm tree.

One eyewitness told BFM TV: “Everyone was calling run, run, run there’s an attack run, run, run. We heard some shots. We thought they were fireworks because it’s the 14th of July.

“There was great panic. We were running too because we didn’t want to stick around and we went into a hotel to get to safety. ”

Another witness, Roy Calley, told the BBC that there were “thousands of people on the promenade” when the incident happened.

“The police have completely taken over the city, the promenade has now been closed down. Everybody was physically pushed away from the site and told to get back in no uncertain terms by the police.”

“I live 200m from the promenade and it took nearly one hour 30 minutes to get back to my flat because all the roads have been closed down.”

US President Barack Obama condemned “in the strongest terms” what he said appeared to be “a horrific terrorist attack in Nice”, the White House said.

The president had been briefed about the situation “and his national security team will update him, as appropriate”, National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said.

On Friday, flags in France will be flying at half-mast, and Nice’s jazz festival has been cancelled.

BBC

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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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