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Suicide bomber kills 54 in Yemen attack- health ministry

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  •  As Kerry Urges Bangladesh to Step Up Efforts Against Terrorism

A suicide bomber killed at least 54 people when he drove a car bomb into a militia compound in Aden on Monday, the health ministry said, in one of the deadliest attacks claimed by Islamic State in the southern Yemeni port city.

The director general of Yemen’s health ministry in Aden, al-Khader Laswar, told Reuters that at least 67 other people were wounded in the attack in the city’s Mansoura district.

The militant Islamic State group said in a statement carried by its Amaq news agency one of its suicide bombers carried out the bombing.

“Around 60 dead in a martyrdom operation by a fighter from Islamic State targeting a recruitment center in Aden city,” the statement said, without giving further details.

A security source said the attack targeted a school compound where conscripts of the Popular Committees, forces allied to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, were gathered for breakfast.

Witnesses said the suicide bomber entered the compound behind a truck that had brought breakfast for the conscripts, who had queued for the meal.

Ambulance sirens wailed throughout the morning as they ferried casualties to a hospital run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which was overwhelmed by the number of casualties. An MSF spokesperson said the hospital received at least 45 bodies and more than 60 wounded people.

Islamist militants, including Islamic State, have exploited an 18-month-old civil war between the Houthi movement and Hadi’s supporters, attacking senior officials, religious figures, security forces and compounds of the Saudi-led Arab military coalition which supports Hadi.

Last month, the governor of the southern Yemeni city of Aden survived a car bomb attack targeting his convoy, the latest attempt on the city’s top official.

In May, a suicide bomber killed at least 40 army recruits and injured 60 others when he rammed a booby-trapped car at recruits lined up to enlist for military service at a compound in Aden.

Hadi’s supporters, who accuse former President Ali Abdullah Saleh of using Islamist militants to target the internationally-recognized president, have launched a series of raids in recent weeks to try to stem the violence, seizing dozens of people suspected of involvement in attacks across the city.

In eastern Yemen, forces loyal to Hadi, backed by troops from the United Arab Emirates, drove members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula from the city of Mukalla in a military operation in May.

In the meantime, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Monday for Bangladesh to step up efforts to fight extremist violence, come to terms with links between local and international militants and protect and promote human rights.

Kerry made his first trip to Bangladesh as America’s top diplomat amid increasing concern about terrorism in the South Asian nation after of a series of militant attacks.

On a brief stop in Dhaka before a two-day visit to New Delhi, Kerry met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Abdul Hassam Mahmood Ali, opposition officials and students. In each session, he made the point that Bangladesh must deal with the roots of the attacks, the most recent of which killed 20 people, including 17 foreigners, at a popular restaurant last month in the capital.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for that attack, but Bangladeshi authorities maintain that ISIS has no presence in the country and that a banned local group, Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, or JMB, was behind it. Some have accused Bangladesh of turning a blind eye to the possibility of outsiders radicalizing elements of the Muslim-majority nation.

Kerry said he does not believe “the government of Bangladesh has its head in the sand.” But he also made the point that there are links between ISIS and extremists around the world, including in Bangladesh.

“There is evidence that [ISIS] in Iraq and Syria has contacts with about eight different entities around the world, and one of them is in South Asia,” Kerry told reporters in a news conference in Dhaka. “And they are connected to some degree with some of the operatives here, and we made that very clear in our conversation.”

Kerry spoke pointedly of the transnational threat posed by terrorism. The July 1 attack on Dhaka’s Holey Artisan Bakery “was an outrage clearly designed to divide Bangladesh, designed to try to cut off this welcoming society from the outside world,” he said.

“These heinous acts of violence — and too many others worldwide — are a stark, painful reminder that those who aid terrorist groups or perpetrate these acts have no respect for national boundaries, no concern for the rights of others, no regard for the rule of law,” he said. Kerry said a longstanding counterterrorism dialogue has intensified in recent months and work with the Bangladeshi police and military will continue with an eye toward further cooperation.

On Saturday, police said they had killed three suspected militants, including an alleged mastermind of the cafe attack. But many of the perpetrators of a string of attacks over the past two years that have killed atheist bloggers, foreign aid workers and religious minorities remain at large.

Kerry urged the government of Bangladesh to resist the temptation to shut down public debate or stifle opposition groups as a way to combat the threat.

“Democracy,” he said, “still provides the most resilient and reliable platform we have for preventing and responding to violent extremism … to defeat terrorists, we must uphold, not betray, the democratic principles we cherish and they abhor.”

After his brief stop in Bangladesh, Kerry traveled to India for the seventh meeting of the U.S.-India strategic dialogue, which seeks to improve security and well as economic and development ties between the nations.

This year’s discussions are taking place as tensions rise in the disputed region of Kashmir, scene of some of the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years. Since early July, at least 67 civilians have been killed and thousands injured, mostly by government forces firing bullets and shotguns at rock-throwing protesters. Two policemen have been killed and hundreds of government forces have been injured in the clashes.

On Monday, Indian authorities lifted a curfew imposed in most parts of India-controlled Kashmir as part of a 52-day security lockdown. But they re-imposed the curfew in the region’s main city after anti-India protests and clashes erupted in several neighborhoods.

MSN with additional report from NBC

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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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