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Report: Tug Owner to Pay USD 1 Mln Ransom for Kidnapped Crew



  • Group Bemoans Huge Revenue Loss From Illegal Discharge Of Oil, Gas Cargoes

The owner of the hijacked tugboat Brahma 12 has agreed to pay a ransom in the amount of IDR 14.3 billion (USD 1 million) for the ten kidnapped crewmembers, according to the Indonesia’s newspaper Jakarta Globe.

PT Patria Maritime Lines’ reportedly agreed to the terms of the crew’s release previously set by pirates, claiming to be members of the Islamic extremist group, the Abu Sayyaf, despite the Indonesian government’s attempts to facilitate the hostages’ release and prepare for a strike on the kidnappers.

After the crew members were taken hostage on March 26 from the tug Brahma 12 and barge Anand 12 in the Philippine waters, the tug was soon released, however the kidnapped crew remained in captivity, with their whereabouts unknown.

While on their way from Sungai Puting, South Kalimatan to Batangas, South Philippines, the vessels were attacked by the pirates.

World Maritime News is yet to receive a confirmation on the matter from the Indonesian government and the vessel’s owner.

In the meantime, a group; Nigerians Against Theft in the Maritime Sector (NATIMS), has raised alarm that the Federal Government will continue to lose huge revenue if it allows illegal discharge of oil and gas cargoes in undesignated terminals. The group stated this in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos.

It expressed disappointment with the comments made by terminal operators at the Tin Can Island, Lagos against other operators outside Lagos, when the Comptroller- General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Retired Col. Hameed Ali, recently toured their facilities.

The terminal operators alleged that Nigeria was losing billions of naira due to a monopoly which allowed for the discharge of oil and gas related cargoes only at designated terminals. The Chairman of NATIMS, Dr Jonas Bankole, had repeatedly said that some private jetty operators still allowed illegal discharge by ships in their terminals.

“NATIMS in the statement, said that, “Two of the companies that complained about monopoly are notorious for the illegal diversion of vessels.’’ It said that while one of them was closed for 36 days between December 2015 and January 2016 for illegally diverting a vessel, the other paid N2.5 billion in February, 2016, before a ship which was diverted to its terminal was released.

“It is the same group of companies that were dealt a blow in March 2016 when a Federal High Court in Lagos struck out their suit against the Federal Government on grounds of lack of jurisdiction.

“In the suit, Ports and Terminal Operators Nigeria Ltd. (PTOL) had alleged that vessels meant for their jetties were being diverted to other terminals since October 2013. “During the comptroller-general’s visit, the companies accused government agencies of short changing the Federal Government in terms of expected revenue from the maritime sector,’’ NATIMS said.

According to the group, it is a known fact that any ship carrying oil and gas cargoed and illegally diverted to a private jetty instead of an appropriate terminal as required by law, translates into a huge financial loss to the Federal Government. The statement said that, “Instead of discharging at the rate of 5.8 dollars per tonne of cargo at the appropriate terminal, same transaction goes for one dollar at the private jetties’’. NATIMS noted that over the years, NPA had offered technical explanations on why private jetties would not be allowed to receive Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) and ocean-going vessels.

It said that the reasons had to do with the shallow nature of the depth of the water where the jetties are located, space required for large vessels to manoeuvre and the need to avoid any mishap which would have dire consequences on the movement of other vessels.

“Furthermore, there is a Presidential order banning private jetties from receiving ocean-going vessels at their terminals directly without such vessels first berthing at the concessionaires’ ports. “Obtaining all clearance before proceeding to final destination for discharge,’’ the statement said.

NATIMS said that the visit of the comptroller-general to the Tin-Can Island was “aimed at standardising Customs procedures, harmonising operations and enhancing revenue collection’’. The group urged the government to investigate all the issues raised before considering the demands made by the terminal operators in Tin Can Island.

The NCS, however, said it would look into laws concerning the discharge of oil and gas related cargoes in some terminals in the country. The Comptroller-General recently went on a tour of facilities of Snake Island Integrated Free Zone (SIIFZ) and Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), against the backdrop of controversies surrounding the discharge of oil and gas related-cargoes at designated terminals.

After the visit, Ali said: “I have listened to your presentations. I would like to assure you that President’s Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is one of fairness, equity and transparency.’’ The Customs chief said that in the past, certain things were not done in accordance with the laws.

He noted that the administration believed in doing business in accordance with the law. “We as the Customs Service have no choice but to toe that line. We have to walk the path of equity and justice. “We will look at the laws that exist. If we find anything contradictory to the laws, we will address it but if it is in accordance with the law, we are also in a position to let you know,’’ Ali added.

The Chairman of the SIIFZ, Mr Anwar Jarmakani, said that Nigeria was losing billions of naira due to a monopoly which allowed for the discharge of oil and gas related cargoes only at designated terminals in the country. The SIIFZ is the location of Nigerdock, a ship repair, fabrication, supply and logistics facility offering maritime, logistics and oil and gas services.

World Maritime News with additional report from Shipping Position


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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