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Stowaway cases rise, crime rates drop at Lagos ports – Police



  •  As Ex-MD NPA, Suleiman says Nigeria will not attain hub status without deep seaports

Crime rate at the seaports in Lagos have reduced drastically due to low level of activities occasioned by low volume of importation, a senior police source in the Western Port Police Command has told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY.

He however said the ports have witnessed more cases of stowaways in recent times.

The police source, who pleaded anonymity, as he was not authorised to speak with the media, explained that compulsory charging of suspects to court without option of bail and other measures put in place by the police, including constant police presence at the terminals, training of its personnel had helped to discourage crime at the Lagos ports.

“Obviously, the economic recession is affecting activities in the port and this can be linked to some government policies. The port is no longer as busy as before, as the economy is really biting hard on the populace. And I think this is why crime has reduced in the port, but recently, few persons have been caught as stowaways on vessel,” he said.

The officer identified some challenges faced in the port as bad access road and poor lighting at night.

“The patrol team moving around the ports has also helped to reduce crime. The calibre of police personnel in the port are officers who know their onions and whoever is arrested is charged to court without any form of cutting corners. Such attitude has deterred port users from engaging in any form of crime.

“The re-training of police officers have also contributed to better service delivery because they now have the orientation that they are public servants so they have to be respectful and be courteous when talking to members of the public,” he noted.

He further added that there has been a good synergy with other security agencies especially the Nigeria Customs Service.

“The fight against crime is a collaborative effort. No one can do it alone,” he said.

In the meantime, a former Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Engr Omar Suleiman, has said that Nigeria’s quest to become the hub of maritime activities in the West and Central African sub-region will remain elusive without a deep seaport.

Speaking recently in Lagos during the investiture of Princess Vicky Haastrup as President of the Certified Institute of Shipping of Nigeria (CISN), Suleiman said Nigeria must have a port facilities that can accommodate large vessels with draught of at least 15metres and that carry up to 10,000 TEUs.

“Without deep seaport, our hope of being hub will not materialise,” he said.

Suleiman, who served as NPA Managing Director from 2011 to 2012, also said that the inability of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to provide a transhipment tariff is hampering the use of Nigerian ports for transhipment of cargoes to “landlocked countries like Niger”.

Describing the investment ratio of 60:20:20 between the private sector, Federal and State governments in the development of some deep seaports in the country as inadequate, he said “about 50% of the port cost is taken by the breakwater”.

“Investors are reluctant to pay for breakwater, unless in special cases, breakwaters are provided by the government of that country.

“In Nigeria, government through NPA should provide breakwater and channel, these constitute the infrastructure for safe navigation on which compulsory pilotage is being charged.

“The 40% government exposure is not enough to build the infrastructures. This is one of the main problems of ports development.

“Government should review this policy to accommodate the peculiarities of maritime infrastructure. The best way to go is to set up a Maritime Infrastructure Commission to take care of all maritime infrastructure issues,” he said.

Ships & Ports


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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