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Shine your eyes, Vote for Jonathan- Obi tells freight forwarders

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… As Aniebonam, Nwabunike laments maritime industry neglect 

A former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi on Thursday enjoined freight forwarders in Lagos, to undertake a critical reappraisal of the current political gladiators in the country and re-elect President Goodluck Jonathan, for a second tenure.

former Governor of Anambra State, Christian Obi

Former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi

Obi, who was popularly hailed as “Okwute ndi Igbo” (the Rock of Igbo) made the call at the Rockview Hotels, Apapa Lagos, stressing that his mission was essentially to identify why the ports, particularly the Eastern ports were not working as they should, so that Mr. President, if and when re-elected, could frontally tackle it.

NAGAFF BOSS, Boniface Aniebonam

NAGAFF BOSS, Boniface Aniebonam

“The critical element is to identify what it would take the ports to work, especially the Eastern ports. The President is serious about getting the ports working. But, he must be in office, in order to enable him do whatever you tell him today, to do”, Obi stated, adding that “ife o na eche erika” ( Mr. President is thinking of a lot of things).

Indicating that he was presently the head of Eastern Ports Development Committee (EPDC), and a chieftain of the Jonathan’s Re-election Campaign Group, the former Governor reassured the freight forwarders that they should also totally feel free to express their views, as everyone’s observation would receive comprehensive consideration at the appropriate time, after the election.

“Re-election is what we are looking for now. And we must protect our interest. So, we must ask ourselves: ‘who is going to listen to us?’ We have many problems. And that is why we must ask: kedu onye ga e ge anyi nti?” he reiterated further in Igbo language, adding that one of the greatest problems of the country, was keeping too quiet.

“Please, begin to ask your questions. Don’t keep quiet. One of our major problems is that we have been too quiet” he encouraged further, noting that the country has since remained, one place where a very poor man would be elected or appointed, and six months after, he has acquired a mansion, about eight exotic cars and when he embarks on thanksgiving, the congregation would be clapping hands for him, instead of handing him over, to the police.

He however debunked the allusion that the flag bearer of the APC would free the Chibok girls if elected into Office, stressing that if Buhari could do it, then he does not need to wait, until after election before freeing the girls.

Earlier, a chief convener of the meeting and founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Chief Boniface Aniebonam had earlier charged the freight forwarders to warm up to the representative of Mr. President in their midst, stressing that the meeting was not merely to adopt President Jonathan, but also to intimate the President of the myriads of industry challenges, requiring urgent attention.

“We are here, because our industry, the freight forwarding industry needs urgent attention. … If you have access to the sea, then you have access to the riches of the world”, he stated, adding that the nation’s access to the sea was however, presently not being optimized.

Aniebonam highlighted the need to adequately implement the letters of the Cabotage law as well as the Local Content Act, explaining that these were capacity development platforms whose visions were still being largely underutilized.

Speaking in the same vein, a Chieftain of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tony Nwabunike  also called attention to some industry challenges, particularly the chronic traffic situation, stressing that he managed to get to the venue of the meeting all because he engaged the service of a commercial motor cycle, popularly called “Okada”.

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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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