Connect with us

Archives

Tanker Thwarts Pirate Attack off Nigeria

Published

on

  • As Militants blow up Chevron’s Okan platform

The string of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea continues as pirates attempted to board a tanker earlier today while underway some 36 nautical miles south west of Bayelsa coast, Nigeria.

Specifically, a group of armed pirates in a speedboat chased and fired upon a tanker underway, the Maritime Trade and Information Sharing Centre for the Gulf of Guinea (MTISC-GoG) informed.

However, as the ship employed anti piracy maneuvers and due to the presence of Navy Personnel onboard the attack was aborted. The ship’s crew is reported to be safe and unharmed.

The name of the ship has not been disclosed.

The attempted attack follows that from Wednesday, according to MTISC-GoG, when armed guards onboard a vessel underway some 60 autical miles south west of Brass, Nigeria opened fire on a speedboat approaching the vessel.

The warning shots are said to have prevented the pirates from boarding, forcing them to quit the attack.

The vessel was last said to be proceeding to its destination, with its crew accounted for and unharmed.

In the meantime, suspected militants in the Niger Delta on Thursday blew up a major valve platform belonging to Chevron Nigeria Limited around Escravos in Warri, Delta State.

A group known as Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for the explosion.

In a statement signed by its spokesman, Col. Madoch Agbinibo, the NDA warned the Federal Government that the deployment of soldiers in the oil bearing region would not stop it from crippling the Nigerian economy.

The group threatened to take its attacks beyond Delta to Lagos State and Abuja, even as it warned international oil companies that the Nigerian military would not be able to protect their facilities.

The Chevron’s General Manager, Policies, Government and Public Affairs, Deji Haastrup, said the facility had been shut following the damage.

He stated, “The facility that was bridged is the Okan offshore platform. The valve is offshore our Escravos terminal area. We have shut in the facility and we have mobilised to contain the potential spill that results from incidents such as this. All of our export commitments are taken care of. It will not affect our commitments to export crude.

“It means that we cannot produce from that particular facility until it has been accessed and repaired. But we will continue to produce from our other assets.”

Asked about the volume of production shut in as a result of the damage, he said, “We are still assessing that.”

On the implication for the country, Haastrup said, “This is a very difficult time for the country because it needs oil, the revenue it can get from oil production. Incidents such as this have the potential to impact that. We do hope that it does not seriously affect the country.”

The naval spokesman, Commodore Chris Ezekobe, stated the incident had adversely affected the nation’s crude oil and gas production capacity.

Ezekobe recalled that the incident was similar to an attack on Chevron’s terminal in 2009, adding that Thursday’s explosion occurred about 40 nautical miles from the Escravos terminal.

“Production has been cut short both in gas and crude oil. Gas production has reduced to 100 million cubic feet. We don’t know who is responsible. The NDA can only be speculative,” he added.

The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, confirmed that suspected militants attacked the Chevron facility on Wednesday night.

“Actually, it is true. It is unfortunate that this type of thing happened. It happened far into the high sea; so, efforts are being intensified to track the perpetrators,” he said.

However, Ezekobe explained that the attack took place some four miles off the Escravos River.

According to him, the platform that was partially damaged was a collection point for crude oil and gas to the main Chevron facility in the area.

Ezekobe said that the Forward Operation Base of the Navy had already dispatched vessels to protect oil platforms in the area and the facility of the Shell Petroleum Development Company that was earlier blown up by the NDA in the Forcados area of Delta State.

He said, “Well, it is true, the incident happened four nautical miles off the Escravos Bar. The platform was partly damaged, it is a collection point for crude oil and gas to the main facility in the area, so it has affected production.

“Our Forward Operation Base in the area has sent vessels to protect the oil facilities in the area and the one that was attacked at the Forcados.”

An energy expert and Technical Director, Drilling Services, Template Design Limited, Mr. Bala Zakka, described the damage of the platform as a huge sabotage of the nation’s economy and reputation in the international community.

He said, “Okan is a field that has many wells; the platform is a structure used to gather all the crude oil coming from the wells – it is the collection point. The damage is going to have a major effect because Okan is a very big field; it is a major and prolific field within Chevron concession. So, the destruction of the valve on the Okan platform is a major economic sabotage.

“Now that the platform has been shut, it will affect production and export because there are so many wells in the Okan field with different production volumes. It is a huge production that has been cut off. It is a major disruption not only to Chevron, but also Nigeria.”

World Maritime News with additional report from Punch

Archives

WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

Published

on

…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. 

Continue Reading

Archives

Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

Published

on

The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

Continue Reading

Archives

Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

Published

on

…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

Continue Reading

Editor’s Pick

Politics