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Somali ‘Pirate King’ Gets 20 Years of Prison



  • As Illegal fishing vessel wanted by 13 nations has finally been destroyed by Indonesia

The notorious Somali pirate leader Mohamed Abdi Hassan, aka Afweyne, has been sentenced to 20 years of prison for his involvement in the hijacking of the Belgian dredger MV Pompei in 2009.

Namely, the Bruges Criminal Court sentenced the so called King of Somalian pirates in absentia together with his accomplice Mohamed Moalin-Aden, who was given a 5-year sentence, Belga news agency informed. The latter was found guilty of involvement in a criminal gang, but was acquitted of being involved in the hijacking.

The ship was hijacked around 105 km north of the Seychelles with 10 crew members on board in April, 2009 who were held hostage for two months until a ransom of EUR 2 million was paid.

The Somali “pirate king” was lured into Belgium in 2013 having been offered a fictitious role in a movie within the framework of an undercover operation. Having arrived to the country, Hassan was immediately arrested. The Monday ruling also convicts Hassan of torture and orders him to pay EUR 20,000 compensation to the Dutch captain of the dredger.

The defendant is expected to appeal the ruling.

In the meantime, Indonesia destroyed a poaching ship wanted around the world yesterday (March 14). The Viking, a stateless “ghost ship,” had over the years repeatedly changed names and flags, avoided using any type of signal-broadcasting equipment that could make it trackable, and landed on Interpol’s purple-notice list for illegal fishing.

In a late February raid involving a helicopter and warship, the Indonesian Navy arrested at least 11 crew members for fisheries crimes and seized the vessel—which was using the name the Viking and flying a Nigerian flag at the time—in waters south of Singapore in the Riau Islands province.

Sea Shepherd, a nonprofit ocean conservation group, was among those who alerted Indonesian officials when the ship entered the nation’s waters. It recently posted a video with drone footage of the ship being destroyed in waters off Pangandaran Beach, a popular tourist spot on the southern coast of West Java.

For Indonesia, which has been waging a war on illegal fishing since 2014 and aspires to be a maritime power, the capture of the infamous Viking was a point of pride. President Joko Widodo tweeted about it, noting that while 13 countries had been hunting for the Viking, Indonesia managed to catch it.

He also tweeted that the ship would be sunk half-body as a monument against illegal fishing.

The Viking was part of a group of a half dozen vessels that Sea Shepherd dubbed the “Bandit 6.” Sea Shepherd is better known for taking on whaling vessels with sometimes confrontational—and controversial—techniques.

The whalers basically took the season off in 2014/15 because in March of 2014 the International Court of Justice ordered a halt to the hunting of whales in the Southern Ocean. That meant Sea Shepherd needed something else to do, which it turned out, was bad news for the Bandit 6. (The whalers and their pursuers resumed the hunt this season.)

The Bandit 6 were involved in illegally fishing for vulnerable Antarctic and Patagonian toothfish (also known as Chilean sea bass in some places). The rogue ships flouted the rules established for fishing in the Southern Ocean set by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Sea Shepherd launched “Operation Icefish” against them in 2014, its “first campaign to target illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing in the Southern Ocean.”

It took about 15 months, but all six ships were taken out of commission, in what the nonprofit is dubbing “one of the biggest successes in marine conservation history.” The group followed the ships, collected evidence against them, and alerted authorities to their whereabouts and activities. Ships were seized by authorities in Senegal, Malaysia, parts of the west Africa coast, and, finally, Indonesia.

The Viking was the last of the Bandit 6 to be taken out.

World Maritime News with additional report from Quartz


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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