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Removal of Calabar-Lagos Rail Project from 2016 Divides Senate



  • New Deep Seaports Targeted at Achieving Greater Productivity, Says NPA Boss

The removal of the Calabar-Lagos Rail project from the 2016 budget has divided the Senate.
It was gathered Wednesday that Senators from the Southern part of the country are not happy that the project was diverted to the North and are insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari should not sign it.
This is against the position of some Northern senators who want the budget signed.

A report by THISDAY Newspaper showed that senators from the South-west and South-south geo-political zones who met in their respective caucuses on Tuesday night felt that the project was deliberately removed because it is a southern project.

There was also an enlarged secret meeting of South-south, South-west senators, South-south and South-east senators on Wednesday in the residence of Senator Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East), on the issue, THISDAY reported.

During the meeting, they resolved to reject a call for the supplementary budget, saying it was attempt to deny the Southern region the rail project.
The removal of the project was discovered when the details of the budget were sent to President Muhammadu Buhari .

A source close to the Ministry of Transport said that the National Assembly had instead approved the Lagos-Kano rail project which budget was N100bn, and moved the sum of N40bn from the Lagos Calabar rail project to add to the Lagos-Kano rail project.
The budget details sent to the Ministries further showed that the balance of N40bn from the Lagos-Calabar rail project was added to some road projects in the North.

The road projects in which the N40bn was distributed are said to be located in the constituencies of Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Danjuma Goje and his House of Representative Appropriation Committee counterpart, Hon. Abdulmumini Jibrin.
Senator Goje hails from Gombe while Jibrin hails from Kano.

SHIPPING DAY gathered that the Ministry of Transport which discovered this has already informed the President about the development.
A source close to the Minister, said he is not happy about the development, and has already drawn the attention of the Presidency to the development.

In the meantime, the Managing Director NPA Mallam Habib Abdullahi has said that one of the ways of diversification in the ports and achieving greater productivity was through the development of the new deep seaports in the country.

Abdullahi identified the deep seaports as Lekki Deep Sea Port, Akwa Ibom and Badagry Ports, saying they are meant to assist import and export.

He made the statement during the visit of the United States Consular General to Nigeria John Boay who paid him a courtesy visit at the Corporate Headquarters in Marina.
The NPA boss added that there is also the specialised Port being put in place at Ondo State for mining only, which would commence operations soon.

The MD also informed the United States Consular General of the improvement of Intermodal Transport through the Railway Transport system where goods would be moved from one part of the country to the hinterland for smooth operation instead of relying solely the road Transport.

At present, there is a rail line linking Lagos to Calabar, Lagos to Kano and Port Harcourt which are being expanded for use as soon as possible, he said.

Management, according to him, was always ready to assist the terminal operators achieve standards in terms of operational efficiency and meeting set target in
accordance with the ISPS Code.

He equally assured the United States Government of the continued support of the management at creating an enabling environment towards achieving greater efficiency and capacity building in the maritime sector.
He stated that the mutual support being sought by the United States Government with the Nigerian Ports Authority was important in view of the role the industry plays in the development of any nation.

He stressed that the organisation was ready to partner with the U.S as a way of achieving set targets.

Some of the achievements recorded by the present management, according to him, include the enforcement of its regulatory status to terminal operators.

He also added that achieving standards by all and avoiding “porousness in our Ports by making sure that things are being done rightly’’ was part of the goals of the management.

In his address, the Consul General of the United States of America to Nigeria John Boay promised to assist the Nigeria Government through the NPA in areas such as capacity building and training in achieving its leading status as well as its Mission statement.

Shipping Day


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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