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Singapore: Two More Bodies of Dredger Crew Recovered, One Still Missing



…As Scorpio Bulkers Shrinks Net Loss, Initiates Dividend***

Two more bodies of seafarers, former crew members of JBB De Rong 19 dredger, have been recovered in Singapore territorial waters since the fatal collision between the dredger and tanker Kartika Segara that occurred on September 13.

This brings the total body count to four of the five persons that went missing following the accident, according to the latest update from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. The last crew member remains missing.

“The first body was found south of Raffles Lighthouse in Singapore waters on September 16, 2017, and family members of the crew member have since claimed the body. A second body was found 1.9 nautical miles northwest of Tanjung Sengkuang in Indonesian waters, off Batam, on September 17 and is in the process of being claimed by family members,” MPA Singapore informed.

“The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore will continue to issue safety broadcasts to ships in the area to keep a lookout for the last crew member.”

To remind, on the same day divers recovered two bodies belonging to the crew members of the ill-fated dredger.

The ships collided while they were some 1.7 nautical miles south-west of Sisters Island, causing the Dominican-registered dredger to capsize. Kartika Segara reported damage to its starboard bow, nevertheless, the 26 Indonesian crew did not sustain any injuries.

The incident happened while the dredger was transiting the westbound lane and the tanker was departing Singapore and joining the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait.

Commenting on the collision, MPA said earlier that prior to the collision, Singapore’s Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) had provided timely navigational information and warnings to both vessels to take preventive actions to avoid a collision.

“While the vessels acknowledged the information provided by the Singapore VTIS, the collision was not averted.”

In the meantime, Monaco-based dry bulk shipping company Scorpio Bulkers has managed to cut its net loss for the period ended September 30, on the back of an improvement in dry bulk rates.

For the third quarter of 2017 the company’s GAAP net loss was USD 10.7 million, compared to a GAAP net loss of USD 21.3 million reported in the same period a year earlier.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, the company’s GAAP net loss stood at USD 58.7 million, against a GAAP net loss of USD 104.3 million for the prior year period.

“We are pleased with the steady quarter-on-quarter improvements in the rate environment and the resulting positive cash flow generated from operations. We believe that current market rates are sustainable and will continue to improve through 2018,” Emanuele Lauro, the company’s Chairman and CEO, said.

The company’s Board of Directors has also declared a quarterly cash dividend of USD 0.02 per share.

“We are excited to initiate a quarterly dividend, which is a reflection of our confidence in our company’s financial strength and cash flow generation and the markets in which we operate,” Lauro added.

Time charter equivalent (TCE) revenue was USD 38.6 million for the third quarter of 2017 and is associated with a day weighted average of 46 vessels owned and one vessel time chartered-in compared to USD 24.1 million during the prior year quarter. TCE revenue per day was USD 9,053 and USD 6,791 for the third quarter of 2017 and 2016, respectively.

TCE rates continued the sequential quarter on quarter growth as mineral demand increased in China and long grain hauls out of South America extended further into the third quarter than usual. TCE revenue increased greatly versus the third quarter of 2016 due to the increase in rates combined with the increase in revenue days associated with the growth of the company’s fleet.

For the nine-month period ended September 30, Scorpio Bulkers’ TCE revenue was USD 110.7 million, compared to USD 51.6 million during the prior year period. TCE revenue per day was USD 8,801 and USD 5,262 for the first nine months of 2017 and 2016, respectively.

TCE revenue increased significantly versus the prior year due to the increase in rates, increased demand across all bulk sectors, regions and commodities, as well as a reduction in tonnage supply, combined with the increase in revenue days associated with the growth of the company’s fleet.

During the third quarter of 2017, the company entered into an agreement to acquire six Chinese-built Ultramax dry bulk vessels for USD 142.5 million in the aggregate from Norway-based dry bulk shipping firm Golden Ocean Group Limited (GOGL). Three of the vessels were built in 2015, one was built in 2016, and two were built in 2017.

As of October 20, 2017, Scorpio Bulkers paid a 10% deposit, which will be held in escrow until each vessel is delivered. The acquisition, including the delivery of the vessels and payment of the remaining USD 128.3 million, is expected to occur in December 2017.

Scorpio Bulker received a commitment for a loan facility of up to USD 85.5 million from Nordea Bank AB, New York Branch, and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB in mid-October. The loan facility will be used to finance up to 60% of the market value of the six Ultramax vessels that the company agreed to acquire.

The loan facility has a final maturity date of February 15, 2023 and bears interest at LIBOR plus a margin of 2.85% per annum.

Also in October, the company entered into a financing transaction in respect of one of its Kamsarmax vessels with unaffiliated third parties in Japan. The cost of the financing is equivalent to an expected fixed interest rate of 4.24% for 10 years. The transaction involves the sale and leaseback of the SBI Rumba, a 2015 Japanese-built Kamsarmax dry bulk vessel, for consideration of around USD 19.6 million.

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Customs, Army in Strategic Collaboration Against Smuggling



…Adeniyi, working to further tighten the noose against illicit traders!

The Comptroller General of Customs CGC, Adewale Adeniyi strengthened his strong-foundation laying mission last week, with a pivotal meeting with the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, affirming the Service’s sincere commitment to national security.

The Comptroller General in a meeting held Thursday, 30 November 2023, at the Customs Headquarters in Abuja, specifically lauded the collaborative efforts between the Nigeria Customs Service and the armed forces, stressing the critical role such partnerships play in national security.

Hawk-eye industry watchers say it is the CGC’s running effort to further tighten the noose against illicit traders.

“We stand stronger when we work together”, the CGC, Adewale Adeniyi stressed, acknowledging the global challenges, and reiterating the commitment of the Nigeria Customs Service towards collaboration, innovation, and consultations.

Expressing his strong belief in collaboration, innovation, and consultations, the CGC posits that unity strengthens the nation, and reflects deeply, on past collaborations with the Defense Headquarters, particularly the support the Service has received in the sphere of Capacity building, Joint operations, and Training exercises.

Additionally, the CGC expressed gratitude for the support provided by the armed forces in various operations, particularly in civil-military cooperation initiatives.

He was unambiguous of the Customs Service’s dedication to exploring innovative solutions to challenges, leveraging technology, and working closely with other government agencies.

He consequently proposed an intensified joint exercise between the Customs Service and the military; even as he suggested unannounced frequent operations, to demonstrate a show of force, capable of deterring criminals.

The CGC, Adeniyi emphasized the importance of shared experiences in training, facilitating a better understanding of operational contexts.

He underscored the significance of information sharing and the need for collaborative efforts to address porous borders and challenges posed by non-state actors.

CGC Adeniyi assured the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, of the Customs Service’s continued support, stressing the prioritization of clearing military consignments and participation in training programs.

He equally proposed ongoing cooperation, dialogue, and joint exercises to ensure a collective and effective response to evolving security threats.

In his address, General Musa expressed gratitude for the critical role played by the Nigeria Customs Service in the nation’s security landscape. 

He highlighted the indispensable nature of the Customs Service, stating that without their contribution, the country’s defense efforts would be severely compromised.

He commended CGC Adeniyi for his leadership and dedication since assuming office, acknowledging the challenges faced by the country, particularly in the global economic downturn.

He stressed the importance of interagency cooperation in tackling non-state actors and securing the nation.

Addressing the collaboration between the military and the Customs Service, General Musa recognized the significant support received, particularly in civil-military cooperation initiatives.

Furthermore, General Musa affirmed the need for enhanced collaboration, training, and information sharing between the Armed forces and Customs.

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Vendetta or Hanky Panky: Maritime Stakeholders Shocked By Severity of NIMASA’s N500M Penalty



…In addition to Suspension of Certifiers’ authority 

Concerned Maritime Stakeholders have expressed shock over the severity of a N500 million penalty slammed on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency following its submission of an alleged defective 2018 tax returns.

The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria FRCN last Thursday slammed a N500m penalty on NIMASA, after it suspended the agency’s audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2018.

As if it wasn’t done yet, the body, stressing its commitment to a stricter enforcement of standards, highlighted that the decision was taken in accordance with the FRC Act 2011 (as amended) and the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria-Guidelines/Regulations for Inspection and Monitoring of Reporting Entities.

Undone, the council also suspended the FRC registration numbers of the certifiers of NIMASA’s 2018 audited financial statement, Dr. Bashir Jamoh (FRC/2017/CIANG/00000016699) and Chudi Offodile (unregistered), thereby making them incapable of certifying any financial statements in Nigeria.

“Did they cook the book”, an industry watcher, Bolutife Egbewole asked, stressing that that any penalty that runs into half a billion was suggestive of hanky panky.

“It’s like somebody is saying, ‘Let them protest and then we can drag them into the open’. But, whatever may be its reason, everyone knows this punishment is severe!”, he stated further.

Speaking in the same vein, another industry operator asked: Where is NIMASA going to find that kind of money? The agency has only two kinds of money: Government dedicated funds and the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds (CVFF). 
“So, where do you expect the Director General to dip hands into?”, he asked, tasking the Director General to visit the FRCN and insist on dialogue.
He also wanted to know if the agency had,  in the past, infuriated the body in any way, to which the general masses might have reason to suspect vendetta.

But a freight forwarder who aired his view in Apapa advised the Director General not to pay.
“If he doesn’t pay, and he doesn’t act on the letter, what will happen? This is job matter. It is a civil issue. A bii naa criminal matter be this? Anyone can make mistakes and figures can become unintentionally lost… Would that call for this kind of penalty? Except it can be proven that somebody was deliberately playing hanky panky and needed to be deterred “, he concluded.

The body had tersely declared its position thus: 

 “The 2018 Audited Financial Statements of NIMASA are hereby withdrawn, and NIMASA is directed to restate its 2018 audited financial statements. NIMASA is required to publish, within seven working days from the date of this notice, in at least two national newspapers (full page), that their 2018 financial statements and returns have been withdrawn for non-compliance with Financial Reporting Standards.

“The FRC will immediately post this information on its website and inform other regulatory agencies that the defective financial statements and returns have been withdrawn for restatement.

“NIMASA is directed to begin the process of restating the 2018 audited financial statement in accordance with the FRC Act. This restatement will form the basis for the preparation and submission of audited financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

“NIMASA is required to file the restated financial statements for 2018, together with the management letters issued by their external auditors, with the Council within 60 days.”

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SIFAX: Ajayi Crowther University Honours Taiwo Afolabi With a Doctorate Degree



The Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo State has honoured the SIFAX Group Chairman, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, with an honorary doctorate in Business Administration.

The colorful event which was a cardinal part of the institution’s activities to mark its 15th  convocation ceremony was therefore attended by the Group Chairman and his wife; as well as the top SIFAX Group management team.

*Yinka Afolabi, Executive Director, SIFAX Marine; Tobi Afolabi, Executive Director, Operations, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited; Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Chairman, SIFAX Group and his wife Afolashade Afolabi; Mariam Qudus, Executive Director, Compliance, SIFAX Group and her husband Qudus during the conferment of the honorary doctorate degree in Business Administration on Dr. Taiwo Afolabi by the university at its 15th convocation ceremony held on Thursday.

*Cross section of guests and SIFAX Group top management team during the conferment of the honorary doctorate in Business Administration on Dr. Taiwo Afolabi by the university at its 15th convocation ceremony 

*L-R: SIFAX Image maker, Muyiwa Akande, and Head, Off-Docks, Oliver Omajuwa at the ceremony.

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