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Peru oil spill pollutes Amazon rivers used by indigenous group

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  •   As Kachikwu assures : We’ll increase oil production for domestic use

At least 3,000 barrels of crude oil have been spilled in an Amazonian region after leaks from Peru’s main oil pipeline, the state oil company said.

The oil has polluted two rivers that at least eight indigenous communities rely on for water, the government and indigenous leaders said.

Petroperu has promised a full clean-up and is also providing food and water.

The company said the first leak was triggered by a landslide but the cause of the second rupture was unclear.

The oil has poured into the Chiriaco and Morona rivers in northwestern Peru, the government’s environment watchdog, OEFA, said.

The spill is affecting the Achuar community and heavy rains have hampered efforts to contain it, local indigenous leader Edwin Montenegro said.

Peru’s health ministry has declared a water quality emergency in five districts and OEFA officials said Petroperu could face fines of up to $17m (£12m) if the spills were found to have affected local people’s health.

In a statement, OEFA said the spills were “not isolated cases” and ordered the company to replace parts of the pipeline and improve maintenance.

Petroperu president German Velasquez also denied reports the company had paid children to clean up the thick sludge.

However, Mr Velasquez said he was considering firing four company officials, one of whom may have allowed children to collect oil.

The company was evaluating the 1970s-built pipeline to prevent future spills, he said.

The leaks have stopped the transportation of up to 6,000 barrels of oil a day.

In the meantime, Nigeria will keep striving to increase crude oil production to meet local demand and not to essentially sell it in the international market, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said.

Kachikwu also announced Nigeria’s backing of Saudi Arabia and Russia in freezing oil production, while giving Iran and Iraq a way out to regain some of their lost market shares due to sanctions and war.

The minister said he supported a production freeze in an interview with reporters in Doha, Qatar on Sunday, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Kachikwu stated that Nigeria’s oil production would be 2.2 million barrels a day this month, unchanged from January, he said.

“Nigeria will continue to look at the possibility of increasing production, not to sell it, because we have local consumption that is essential for us. Right now, we are not even exporting the quantity that OPEC has given us,” he said, adding that demand from domestic refineries was at least 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

On Nigeria’s backing of a freeze in oil production, Kachikwu said, “Countries like Iran and Iraq have been out of the market for a while, and if they are to come back, you shouldn’t freeze them out where they are; you should freeze them at a higher level. By June, we will come very close to tightening the market.”

Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar agreed last week to keep production at January levels, as long as others followed suit, in an effort to revive prices from a 12-year low.

Iran’s production has slumped since international sanctions were imposed on its exports, and Iraq is seeking to rebuild following years of war and underinvestment.

Kachikwu noted that there was little chance that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries would hold an emergency meeting before the next regular one scheduled for June.

He said, “Rather than focus on an emergency meeting, we need to talk more. Because if you held a meeting when you haven’t agreed largely on the solution, it wouldn’t be productive and would also affect the price of oil.”

In another development, the NNPC said it was not recruiting and called on members of the public to be wary of fraudsters sending letters to unsuspecting individuals inviting them for “the second process of recruitment” billed to hold towards the end of this month.

BBC with additional report from Upshot

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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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