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Stakeholders watch, as Customs destroy N13.5m poultry in Seme



… Join us in fighting smugglers,CAC urges traditional rulers

Officials of Port Health Service, Agricultural Quarantine Service, Directorate of State Security (DSS) and National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) dutifully watched on Monday, as the Nigeria Customs Service, Seme Command destroyed poultry products with a duty paid value of N13.5million.

Customs Area Controller, Mr. Ndalati Garba Mohammed

Comprising of 1,805 cartons, the poultry products were also in addition to bags of expired flour and used textile intercepted, while being smuggled into the country from Benin Republic during the weekend of 24th January 2015

Mr. Wale Adeniyi

Mr. Wale Adeniyi

“We first pour caustic soda on the products before burial to hasten decomposition and deter scavengers from digging them up for sale or consumption” stated the Command’s Public Relations Officer,  Ernest Olottah who also gave the value of the destruction; adding that there were also, presently in the Government warehouse, recent seizures of sugar, paints, rice and other trade goods whose values are yet to be ascertained.

Seized Frozen Poultry Products being Destroyed with       Caustic Soda

Seized Frozen Poultry Products being Destroyed with Caustic Soda

Industry watchers told the Maritime First that the weekend seizure might not be unconnected to a recent matching order of the Customs Area Comptroller (CAC), Ndalati Garba Mohammed who gave a marching order to all Patrol Units to intensify and widen the scope of anti-smuggling activities to bring deviants to order.  

The Controller also addressed field officers at various operational posts, especially at Gbaji and Owode where he declared that the fight against smuggling and other trans-border crimes must be total, harping on the importance of discipline while directing officers and men to translate the change process brought about by the capacity building effort of the Comptroller – General of Nigeria Customs Service (CGC) to manifest actions of politeness, decency and pursuance of the Service objectives. 

”We are all expected to justify the confidence the Comptroller General of Customs and his Management team repose on us by putting our best in the interest of Nigeria. We must not live on the past glory of   achievements recorded. I believe we can do more. We should double and redouble our revenue collection drive. Smugglers must be discouraged from the crime by our persistent arrests and seizures of their wares” he charged them. He had hardly finished, than the seizures began to tumble in.

Meanwhile, the command collected a total of N9, 680,465,372.88 as revenue for the year 2014 which represents 9.12% increase over the N8, 482,231,829.91 revenue collected in the corresponding period in the year 2013.

The Command also last year, made 686 seizures of various goods and vehicles with a duty paid value of N294, 326,677.00; arrested and arraigned a total of 18 suspects during the year 2014. 

The items impounded included motor vehicles, rice, frozen poultry products, petroleum products, shoes etc, accomplishing a feat which analysts said had direct bearings to the command’s anti-smuggling sensitization exercise at the grassroots.

In the meantime, the new Customs Area Controller, Mr. Ndalati Garba Mohammed has boosted his grassroots contacts, with visiting and urging traditional rulers, chiefs and members of the border community to cooperate with the Customs in the fight against smuggling and other related vices, because issues of security, safety and general peace is everybody’s business.

At the palaces of the Alapa of Apa Kingdom, Oba Oyekan Ilufemiloye Poosi and Aholu of Kweme Kingdom,Oba Sejiro Olalekan James, Ndalati particularly thanked the monarchs for their past support to the Service and urged them to sustain it during his time, stressing that they should see him as their son.

“As your son, I have come to see my fathers at home to solicit fatherly blessings and support. Considering the way I was received in the palace, I really feel at home and this gives me further assurances of your support to the Customs”, the CAC said.

The monarchs while promising to fully identify with the Customs Service in its duties of suppression of smuggling, collection of revenue for government and facilitating legitimate trade, also told the Controller that their palaces were opened to him and his officers any time of the day.

Oba Oyekan was indicated to have expressed satisfaction with the rapport his palace had enjoyed with the command while Oba Sejiro who described his domain as being blessed to host Seme Border Command remarkably, gave similar assurances.  

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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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