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Saraki to OBJ: We’re all responsible for Nigeria’s woes

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  • As ISIS, Rebuffed in Iraq, Syria; Now Threatens Libya

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki on Tuesday said all political stakeholders in Nigeria, especially from 1999 till date, are guilty of the predicament that the country is currently, arguing that no one should be spared.

He said all public office holders in Nigeria since 1999, were involved in at different times in the mistakes of the past that led the country to the present political and economic mess.

Saraki said this against the backdrop of allegation of profligacy levelled by former President Olusegun Obasanjo against the National Assembly as contained in a letter he wrote to the leadership some few days ago.

As if providing an answer to the posers by Obasanjo on National Assembly budget, Saraki during a meeting with Senate Correspondent said it was wrong for anybody to hold an individual or group of people responsible for the mess of the past.

He said, ” We’ve all been here since 1999 up to the recent past when things were not done right, we are all part of it. I was there, you were there, every other political office holder in different capacities were there as well.

“My own view ‪from the 8th National Assembly is that the time for collective participation for the good of all Nigerians is here with us in line with the change mantra of the present administration.

We are all on the same page for things to be done differently. “I think what we need now from all stakeholders , is more of cooperation, encouragement and participation as oppose to trying to hold one person responsible for the mistakes of the past that we are all part of .It is clearly not the right thing needed now.

“I Appeal to you, I appeal to all Nigerians that we should work together just as I assure you all that we will do well here in NASS to practically complement the change agenda”.

In the meantime, the international war on ISIS is “making a difference” in Iraq and Syria but the terror group is resurgent in Libya and could seize that nation’s oil wealth, Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday.

Kerry credited the deployment of U.S. Special Forces inside Syria, training programs for anti-ISIS fighters and upgraded intelligence for helping push ISIS back.

“We are surely not here to brag about anything… but our persistence, our unity, our concerted commitment from every different country in whichever way you are committed, is all making a difference,” Kerry told ministers and officials from 23 countries at a conference in Rome.

He said the advances against ISIS have been “pretty remarkable” despite recent ISIS-inspired attacks in Turkey, Paris and San Bernardino, California.

“We’re not telling people we’re there yet but we are seeing that our concerted effort is moving in the right direction,” Kerry said.

Still, he warned there were signs that ISIS could regroup in other countries, “particularly Libya.”

He told his audience that it was essential that Libya’s new unity government maintains an edge over terrorists, especially given the country’s resources.

“The last thing in the world you want is a false caliphate with access to billions of dollars of oil revenue,” Kerry said.

He stressed the need to push “full speed ahead” in training security personnel and creating a “safe environment” for a government to stand up and operate.

“This is, I think, a major obligation for those countries — us among them — who were there at the very beginning when we felt compelled to protect the people… being slaughtered by the dictator of the country,” Kerry said.

At a later news conference, the secretary of state also called for efforts to reach a ceasefire in Syria in order to end human suffering — such as the starvation deaths in Madaya — and to weaken ISIS.

“This tactic to use famine as a weapon of war is illegitimate,” he said. “Do we want to defeat [ISIS] quickly? So let’s negotiate the end of the war in Syria as soon as possible. That would weaken [ISIS].”

Daily Times with additional report from NBC

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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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ADEBAYO SARUMI: Doyen of Maritime Industry Marks 80th Anniversary, Saturday 

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