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Svitzer Orders Tug Quartet from Damen

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  • As Eagle Bulk Strikes Long-Awaited Deal with Creditors

Global towage operator Svitzer has signed a contract with the Damen Shipyards Group for four ATD 2412 tugs as part of Svitzer’s ongoing fleet renewal programme.

All four tugs are being built at Damen Song Cam Shipyard in Vietnam. Damen is handing over the first two vessels just one month after contract signing as it already has them built on stock.

Svitzer has the first two tugs signed up for port towage operations at its Dominican Republic joint venture with Remolcadores Dominicanos. Damen will deliver these vessels, to be called Svitzer Maimon and Svitzer Beata, in mid-April 2016. The second two tugs are due for completion in August 2016.

All four vessels are of Damen’s 24-metre Azimuth Tractor Drive (ATD) design. This heavy duty tug yields a tonne bollard pull of over 65 tonnes – the power originating from twin Caterpillar 3516C main engines and can reach a top speed of 12 knots.

Damen has built a significant part of Svitzer’s fleet and the two parties are also involved in developing new innovations together, including the first ever Reverse Stern Drive Compressed Natural Gas tug, in cooperation with MTU Friedrichshafen.

Meanwhile, Marshall Islands-registered owner of Supramax dry bulk vessels Eagle Bulk Shipping has reached an agreement with its lenders and holders of approximately 75% of the company’s outstanding equity for a comprehensive balance-sheet recapitalization.

The deal comes after a number of delays and extensions of the forbearance period on its loan which was due to be paid in January, 2016.

The transaction provides Eagle Bulk with approximately USD 105 million in incremental liquidity, which includes a new second lien facility comprised of USD 60 million in new capital from existing shareholders, as well as new capital providers.

“The combination of additional liquidity and the enhanced financial flexibility it provides greatly improves our ability to persevere through the current market, and a new corporate structure will enable us to pursue market opportunities,” the company’s Chief Executive Officer Gary Vogel said.

Under the terms of the transaction, Eagle Bulk will benefit from additional incremental liquidity through a USD 14 million reduction in its first lien minimum liquidity requirement, a deferral of more than USD 31 million in amortization payments through 2018, and renewed, full access to its USD 50 million revolver.

The transaction also includes changes to Eagle Bulk’s organizational structure, which the company claims will allow it to “pursue growth opportunities in the dry bulk market.”

Eagle Bulk further plans to issue shares equal to or more than 20% of its outstanding shares, increase the amount of authorized shares, and effect a reverse stock split.

Earlier this month, the company said that it expects to report a full-year operating loss of approximately USD 84 million, further deepening the loss of USD 51.6 million it posted for the corresponding period in 2014.

With regard to revenue expectations, the company anticipates to report USD 102 million in revenue for the year ended December 31, 2015, down from USD 154.3 million from the previous year.

The decrease in revenues and increase in operating losses were primarily attributed to lower charter rates earned by its fleet in 2015.

World Maritime News

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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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