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PENGASSAN, NUPENG begin strike to worsen current fuel crisis



… As Oil sector operators fault CBN’s policy on dollar transaction.

Hopes of a timely end to the current fuel scarcity dimmed further yesterday as the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, began an indefinite strike that may completely cripple economic activities nationwide. 

In Abuja, the protesting labour union members barricaded the entrance of the headquarters of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, thereby preventing the employees from resuming in their efforts to get its management attends to their demands. 

Specifically, PENGASSAN called for a declaration of emergency in the oil and gas sector and urged the incoming government to do everything possible to address the plethora of issues bedevilling the sector in order to ensure its efficiency. 

The association’s President, Mr. Francis Johnson, in a statement pointed out that there were many issues requiring urgent attention from the incoming government to reposition the industry for efficient and effective delivery of its benefits to Nigerians. For instance, he canvassed the need for the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to call an all-inclusive stakeholders’ forum to critically examine and proffer workable and enduring solutions to all the problems in the larger interest of the country. 

“All the subsectors of the oil and gas industry have one challenge or the other and all these challenges are affecting the deliveries of the benefits of our God-given hydrocarbon resources to the country and the entire people of Nigeria. 

“These challenges are as result of past neglects, wrong policies and policy summersault in some areas of the sub-sectors. “All these are inflicting pains on Nigerians who ought to be enjoying the benefits of the natural resources that God bequeathed to the country,” Johnson said.

He listed some of the challenges to include, pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, state of the refineries, intractable and persistent scarcity of petroleum products, subsidy payment controversies, and divestment. Others are, illegal transfer or allocation of oil blocks, irregular Joint Venture, JV, funding with emphasis on delay in cash call payment, inadequate funding of government agencies in the sector and undue interference in the management of government agencies.

The union leader said that the stakeholders’ forum will chart ways of attending to the critical challenges affecting the industry and evolve a framework that will facilitate its stability, adding that machinery should be set in motion for periodic meetings to evaluate and review the success and workability of the framework. NUPENG on its own said it was time the Federal Government assess more critically how the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, was being managed with a view to ensuring that the guiding laws and rules relating to the operations of the company are subverted.

Assistant General Secretary of NUPENG, Mr. Adamson Momoh, said that the strike against NPDC, which is an arm of NNPC, would continue until the management sees reasons with the workers. In Lagos, the effects of the strike started manifesting as long queues, which had abated fairly since Monday, became more pronounced in filling stations as motorists renew their struggles to buy fuel. Independent and black marketers virtually took over sales of fuel, dispensing at between N120 and N150 per litre, depending on the station and bargaining power of customers. Most major marketers had no product to sell.

The unions had given a notice, which expired last weekend, urging the Federal Government to reverse the transfer of operatorship of the Joint Venture, JV, partnership in OMLs 40 and 42 to Neconde Energy Nigeria Limited and Elcrest Exploration and Production Limited.

A statement from the JV partners, said the shut-in has affected all NPDC operated assets in joint venture with indigenous companies that had applied for operatorship, except Neconde, who, prior to the crisis, had been awarded the operatorship of OML 42, and immediately got the Joint Task Force, JTF, to secure the assets.

Elcrest (OML 40) which is next in line to be awarded operatorship, Shoreline OML 30 and FHN/Afren (OML 26) have now been shut as oil evacuation is hampered from OML 34 which relies on the OML 30 pumping station. 

Meanwhile, major stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have expressed concerns over the moves by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ban dollar denominated transactions in the petroleum industry.


According to a joint position taken by leaders of all professional bodies and industry business associations in a private meeting attended by select media representatives, the controversial proposals ignored the status of the petroleum as a global industry that requires the dollar to drive transactions across international boundaries.

National Mirror With additional reports from Upshot



WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…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



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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