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Shell to conclude plans on Bonga oilfield next year

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…As Calabar Port stays idle with shallow water channel***

The decision to go ahead or withhold action the development of Nigeria’s Bonga Southwest offshore oilfield by Royal Dutch Shell and its partners has been put off till 2019, a senior company official said.

It is not clear if the delay is connected to the political trend in the country. The project is one of Nigeria’s largest with an expected production of 180,000 barrels per day. Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, Bayo Ojuli, said that the project will generate profit at below $50 a barrel. Ojuli said that Shell is currently negotiating a production sharing contract with the Nigerian government which will determine the viability of the project and the negotiations are expected to finish this year. Shell operates the project and ExxonMobil, Total, Eni and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, are partners.

In the meantime, expectations are high on the Federal Government, particularly the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), to dredge the Calabar Port channel, to diversify available infrastructure and reduce excessive pressure from the ever-busy Lagos ports, while saving huge revenue losses.
Dredging the channel has remained a challenge and an uphill task for successive administrations for decades.

Although, past managements of NPA had made many promises coupled with several contracts award for the project, but operators, importers, and other stakeholders appear to wait almost endlessly for this reality.

Calabar Port, along with its peers in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Onne, are the gateway for sea trade in the South-Eastern Nigeria. The port is not only designed to serve the South-South and South-East regions, but also other neighbouring countries like Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Draft at approach of the Calabar channel is 6.4 metres at high tide and 5.4 metres at low tide, whereas the concession agreement stipulated that the Federal Government will take the draft to 9.5metres; and the Bureau on Public Enterprise (BPE) had assured that this would be achieved on start of business, but the situation remains the same since 2006 when the concession programme took effect.

Weighed down by shallow water channel, poor roads and others, the port has failed to meet stakeholders’ expectations in the maritime industry and the country at large.

Recall that about $56million contract for the dredging of Calabar Port Channel was awarded in 2006, but it remained uncompleted. The Federal Government awarded another contract in November 2014, for N20billion to complete the project. The contract, which was signed by the NPA, the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) and the Calabar Channel Management, was for the port to be dredged up to 9.8 metres, but it also hit the brick wall.

Worried by the controversies surrounding the dredging contract, the Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, on assumption of office on July 11, 2016, took up the issue almost immediately, with an inspection a month after.

Usman had said: “The critical issue about Calabar Port has to do with the dredging of the channel; the draft needs to be deeper to ensure we attract more vessels. We need to jointly work to bring commercial activities into the state. We have discussed with the state government.”

But two years after, terminal operators continue to decry the low pace business at the seaport occasioned by its shallow water level. Although, NPA had advised that flat bottom vessels could sail smoothly into the port, but operators said this is not the best solution for a nation that seeks to be competitive.

Wasted efforts
Four months ago, NPA announced that it had begun arrangements to facilitate the dredging of Calabar Port, and had commenced a survey of the area ahead of the excercise, but terminal operators said nothing had changed.

A director in one of the Terminals, who pleaded anonymity said: “Nothing new has happed on the channel. It is really vey annoying because government seems to have abandoned the Calabar Port, as they appear to concentrate only on the Lagos Ports. Lagos Port Complex is currently challenged by the poor access roads, where other ports such as Calabar can provide relief, but it is rather unfortunate that our government is not looking that way.

“The NPA claimed to have started a survey about four months ago; how long does it take to do bathometric survey? It does not take that long. That is another problem on its own because if you have done bathometric survey, and you did not carry out the project, filtration would change the whole thing as time goes by. So by the time you are ready to embark on the project, you will need to do another survey.

“Look at the situation here in Lagos. The ports are almost collapsed. What are the remedies? We should think about the Eastern ports and their limitations, so that we can use them to relief the Lagos ports, and reduce pressure on the roads. The critical issue is that of dredging, so why is government finding it difficult to carry out the dredging?

“The consequence of this neglect is that, importers will divert cargoes to neighbouring ports. The NPA has even accepted that their import volume has dropped in terms of cargo traffic in the last one year,” the source said.

Loss of revenue
Nigeria has lost huge trade cargoes to Benin, Togo, and other neighbouring countries due to poor shipping connectivity and shallow draft of the port channels with attendant loss of revenue.

With regard to making use of flat bottom vessels to navigate the channel as suggested by NPA, John Obasi, a port operator, argued that this would just be palliative, and cannot make Nigerian ports to be competitive.

“I keep asking: if Nigeria is aspiring to be a regional hub, what do you think should be done? Because your ports must be competitive at the regional level both in terms of tariff and infrastructure development. You must be competitive regionally. Some major importers and industries have relocated because they don’t have easy access to port infrastructure and they have relocated to other neighbouring countries where they think they have a better deal. Sometimes, we don’t get our priorities right, if only they know how much this country is losing on daily basis with the problem in Lagos alone. There is over concentrated effort on Lagos ports, and this is the consequence we are facing now; and these problems are not quick-fixes, which underscore the need to also develop the capacities in the Eastern ports, especially Cabalar, considering its proximity to the Northern states. You can imagine how many trucks that move from Lagos to the North on daily basis, so imagine when those trucks are diverted to Calabar. It means saving a huge amount of money, and it’s a great relief on Lagos and its roads.”

The Port Manager, Calabar Port, Mrs Funmilayo Olotu, could not give details about the plan, but said the NPA in committed to the dredging project.

NPA Shipping Position obtained by The Guardian for Monday, showed that only seven vessels called the port between 22nd to 30th of July. These vessels are: MV Express 12; MV Thor Mondiac; MT Ocean Progress; MV Dona Simoa; MV Rebecca; MV Brenda Corlett and MT Sea Voyager.

Others such as the oil rig Delta Queen has occupied the berthing space since February 2012, while MV Carisma (arrived in May); MV Kenavo (arrived in April); MV Agbama (arrived in January); MV Merbey (arrived in May); and MV Calabar Marine which berthed in 2016 are still at the port.

Experts said big ships bearing petroleum products, containers of consumables, and equipment that cannot berth at the Nigerian seaports now berth at the Lome Port, where small ships that can only sail on low draft go several turns to ‘lighter’ the cargo to the Nigerian ports.

Vanguard with additional report from Guardian NG

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MWUN Floors Intel’s, As Court Orders Foreign Giant to Pay 599 Workers’ Gratuity

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MWUN Floors Intel's, As Court Orders Foreign Giant to Pay 599 Workers' Gratuity

In a significant triumph for the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), a court has ruled in favour of the union, ordering INTELS to pay extra gratuity to 599 workers who were affected by a redundancy exercise. 

The ruling comes after a prolonged legal battle, which began when INTELS initially paid redundancy extra gratuity to its 34 permanent staff but refused to negotiate with the union to pay the same amount to the contract staff.

According to a statement released by the union’s Head of Media, Comrade John Kennedy Ikemefuna, on Monday, May 20, 2024, the court ruled that INTELS and AMS must negotiate with the union and pay the extra gratuity to all 599 affected workers, just as they did with their permanent staff. 

The court also declared that the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) was wrong to unilaterally determine the amount workers should be paid without negotiation, which led to the trade dispute.

This victory marks a significant milestone for the Maritime Workers Union, which has been fighting tirelessly for the rights of its members.

 The union has consistently demanded that INTELS negotiate with them to pay the extra gratuity to all affected workers, and the court’s ruling has vindicated their stance.

With this ruling, the union has secured a major win for the 599 workers who were initially denied their rightful entitlement. 

The union’s determination and perseverance have paid off, and they will continue to fight for the rights and welfare of their members.

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AKTORAS: Bonny Gas Transport Limited Charts Sustainable Course with Launch Of Eco-Friendly Vessel

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AKTORAS: Bonny Gas Transport Limited Charts Sustainable Course with Launch Of Eco-Friendly Vessel

… Nigeria berths state-of-the-art ship, equipped with cutting-edge technology that reduces emissions and increases efficiency

Bonny Gas Transport Limited (BGT), a subsidiary of Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), has taken a significant step towards a sustainable future with the charter of a new eco-friendly vessel, AKTORAS. This state-of-the-art ship is equipped with cutting-edge technology that reduces emissions and increases efficiency, aligning with BGT’s commitment to decarbonization.

The vessel was officially launched at a ceremony at the Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea, where Mrs Olu Verheijen, Special Adviser to the Nigerian President on Energy, christened the vessel as the Sponsor Lady and Godmother.

The event was graced by dignitaries, including Ambassador Ferdinard Nwonye, the Nigerian Head of Mission in South Korea; Dr. Philip Mshelbila, BGT’s Executive Vice President and NLNG’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer; and Mr. Andy Odeh, NLNG’s General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development.

Dr. Philip Mshelbila hailed the charter of AKTORAS as a transformative stride towards decarbonization and a sustainable future. “The charter of this newbuild modern tonnage to BGT, on a Bareboat Charter basis, represents a strategic move towards diversifying our shipping portfolio.

This vessel signifies a new era of greater efficiency and sustainability for BGT’s fleet. The enhanced fleet capacity will support NLNG as it continues to harness Nigeria’s abundant natural gas resources, reposition itself in the Energy Transition era, and prepare for the future, which includes the expansion of its production capacity in furtherance of the commitment to meet the growing demand for clean and sustainable energy solutions on a global scale.”

Mrs Olu Verheijen emphasized the vessel’s significance, stating, “This ceremony symbolizes the unwavering commitment of Bonny Gas Transport Limited and its parent company, Nigeria LNG Limited, to adapt and thrive in the ever-evolving global energy landscape. Their dedication to future-proofing their business resonates deeply with me, recognizing it as a crucial strategy to maintain relevance and competitiveness in the dynamic LNG market.”

The AKTORAS vessel is a 174,000 m3 capacity class LNG carrier, with a length of 299.6 meters, breadth (moulded) of 46.40 meters, and deadweight of 81,194 tons. It is equipped with MEGA propulsion systems that reduce emissions and increase efficiency, making it an eco-friendly addition to BGT’s fleet.

The vessel will be managed by NLNG Shipping and Marine Services Limited (NSML) and will play a crucial role in supporting NLNG’s expansion plans and commitment to meeting the growing demand for clean and sustainable energy solutions globally.

This development marks a significant milestone in BGT’s and NLNG’s relentless march towards a sustainable and low-carbon emission future, demonstrating their dedication to future-proofing their business and maintaining relevance and competitiveness in the dynamic LNG market. As the energy landscape continues to evolve, BGT and NLNG are poised to lead the charge towards a more sustainable future.

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IMO: NIMASA Celebrates Nigerian Women Stakeholders, to Mark Women In Maritime Day

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The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dayo Mobereola has commended the contributions of Nigerian women to the development of the maritime sector, even as the agency Director of Financial Services, Mrs. Olamide Odusanya thumbed up women’s pivotal roles in developmental sustainability.

The NIMASA Director General gave the commendation, during the 2024 commemoration of the International Day for Women in Maritime in Lagos, 

“Let me seize this opportunity to recognize and applaud the incredible achievements of women in maritime. From seafarers and ship captains to engineers”, the Director General, Dr. Dayo Mobereola who was represented by the Agency’s Executive Director of Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Jibril Abba, informed the audience, comprising the various women’s groups in the maritime industry.

L-R: Hon. Olaitan Williams, President of Ocean Ambassadors Foundation; Adaora Nwonu, WIMOWCA Nigeria ExCo; Nneka Obianyor, WIMOWCA Nigeria Secretary General; Mrs. Rollens MacFoy, President of WIMA-Nigeria; Barr. Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore, President of WIMOWCA Nigeria; Jibril Abba, Executive Director of Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, representing the DG of NIMASA; Princess Margaret Inam of WILAT; Dr Odunayo Ani, President of WISTA Nigeria; Juliana Saka of Nigeria Shippers Council, Vivian Chimezie, DG of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping; Obiageli Benjamin, Assistant Secretary of WIMA Nigeria; and Jennifer Eneh, DD Cabotage Registration NIMASA, cutting the cake during NIMASA’s celebration of the International Day for Women in Maritime at NIMASA Maritime House, Apapa, Lagos.

Speaking on the theme: “Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety” the DG told his happy audience which included the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA), Women in Maritime (WIMA), Women in Logistics and Transport (WILAT), and Women in Maritime West and Central Africa (WIMOWCA), among others, to stand firm, speak with one voice, because the agency would support their aspirations.

Dr. Mobereola emphasized that the Agency appreciates its contributions to the overall development of the Nigerian maritime industry.

“From seafarers and ship captains to engineers and port operators, as well as maritime professionals and trailblazers, women have played a pivotal role in shaping the maritime industry and driving innovation and progress”, the NIMASA Boss observed, praising their dedication and resilience.

“Their dedication, resilience, and expertise have enriched our industry and inspired a future generation of women to pursue careers in maritime”. He said.

L-R: Nneka Obianyor, Special Adviser (Technical) to the Director-General; Rakiya Lamai, Head of SERVICOM; Chris Amakulo, Director of Shipping Development; Gloria Anyasodo, Coordinator of the Western Zone; Jibril Abba, Executive Director of Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, representing the Director-General of NIMASA; Dr. Odunayo Ani, Head of Internal Audit; Jide Owonubi, Head of Reform Coordination and Strategic Management; Navy Commander Salihu Ibrahim, representing the Maritime Guard Commander; and Olamide Odusanya, Director of Financial Services, were present during NIMASA’s commemoration of the International Day for Women in Maritime.

“To all the women in maritime: Your contributions are vital, your voices are heard, and your achievements inspire us all. Together, we can harness the nation’s blue economy to build a more sustainable and prosperous maritime industry that benefits us all. Thank you for your dedication, passion, and commitment to a more inclusive maritime community”. Mobereola added. 

Earlier in her presentation, Mrs Olamide Odusanya, the Director of Financial Services at NIMASA, appreciated the IMO for creating an inclusive and supportive environment to recognize women in maritime, in line with the provisions of Sustainable Development Goal 5, which is Gender Equality.

Her words:  “It is clear the pivotal role of women in the maritime industry. Closing the gender gap, which is SDG 5- Gender Equality, has been an internal quest of women folks since the Industrial Revolution, and one significant achievement has been made; we still have a long way towards achieving relative parity.

President of WIMOWCA, Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore (4th from right), is flanked by other members after their inauguration during NIMASA’s commemoration of the International Day for Women in Maritime, which recently took place in Lagos.

A paper presented by Mrs. Gloria Anyasodo on “Emerging Trends: Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety and Opportunities for Women” emphasized that safety transcends gender. Therefore, women must cultivate competence through proper education, expertise, and mutual support to uplift one another.

Dr. Odunayo Ani the President of the Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria,  Mrs Rollens MacFoy, President of African Women in Maritime, Nigeria chapter, Princess Margaret Inam of Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT), Barrister Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore the National President of Women in Maritime of West and Central Africa (WIMOWCA) and Hon. Olaitan Williams, President Ocean Ambassadors Foundation all delivered goodwill messages at the event.

The event culminated with the official inauguration of the WIMOWCA Nigeria chapter by the DG NIMASA.

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