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Two Ships Load Of Fuel Fail To Meet The Nation’s Need

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  • Fuel sells for N250 to 300 per litre

Except the MV Alizea,  a 17,000 Metric – Ton petrol tanker which sailed in yesterday goes on immediate and full offloading of product, the nation’s fuel crisis would continue, unabated.

Wet cargo monitoring at the nation’s ports and jetties showed that while the duo of Histria Ivory and the Sea Frontier actually completed offloading yesterday, and were due to set sail shortly after,  their total strength may fail to genuinely assuage the country’s deep hunger of a people already focused on panic buying and hoarding.

An industry watcher, Tony Emeordi while noting that petrol was already selling for N250 to N300 per litre in some parts of Lagos and Abuja,  however advised Nigerians to rely more on phone calls, reduce travelling and stop fuel hoarding, if the quantity of products being imported,  would have desired effect, adding that another giant tanker, the MT. Atlantic Canyon similarly expected to sail in with petrol has indicated it would be slightly delayed.

“Look, the more we buy and hide them in kegs in offices and stores, the longer this crisis would last!”,  he indicated, noting that the assurances from the authorities based on the arrival of the tanker, Hinde was a misplaced one, since the 8,000 Mt vessel actually came in with far less than the quantity expected.

Meanwhile, fuel price increased to N300 per litre yesterday as scarcity worsens in Lagos, Abuja and other cities across the country. Survey by our correspondents showed that many filling stations did not have stocks of the product. Consequently, only few stations were dispensing to motorists, with long queues, which also resulted in crushing traffic bottleneck, especially in Lagos. Most filling stations were selling at over N200 per litre. In Lagos and its environs, the situation was severe as a 10 litre jerry can was offered for N3000 by black market operators. Many motorists had no choice than to patronise the black market as the situation around the few filling stations dispensing was rowdy.

The situation was the same in Abuja as investigations showed that motorists were subjected to harrowing experiences while trying to source for the scarce commodity. Queues extended for few kilometers in virtually all the filling stations visited in the metropolis, with drivers lamenting the hardship created by the scarcity. Also, black market thrives with 10 litres going for as much as N2,500, which is equivalent to N250 per litre. A motorist, Mr. Okey Amalu, told our reporter that he had parked his car for more than one week only to discover that going by taxi is not cheaper as the scarcity escalates.

“By now we thought that government would have been able to bring this madness under control because the suffering is just too much. I had to park my car since last week waiting for it to abate but you discover that even moving with taxi is not any better as they charge exorbitant fares as a result of the scarcity,” he said. But illegal operators sold it in excess of N350 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and other states in the South South. There were no indications that the situation would improve in the coming days, especially as adequate logistics have not been put in place to accomplish steady distribution.

Group Chief Executive Officer of Forte Oil Plc., who doubles as the Chairman of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Mr. Akin Akinfemiwa, disclosed that the Federal Government had provided sufficient Q2 allocations for the importation of petroleum products. Akinfemiwa said the allocations had been evenly divided between NNPC and the petroleum marketers. Meanwhile, Commandant- General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu, said the corps had commenced the deployment of personnel from all state commands nationwide for proper surveillance of fuel supply so as to stem diversion.

Muhammadu, who disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday, during an interactive session with newsmen, noted that the move was in line with the Federal Government’s resolve to tackle the issue of fuel diversion which had caused monumental hardship to Nigerians. He said: “So far, we have deployed 280 personnel to Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in Dikko, Niger State to flag off the activities.” The commandant general stated that the latest arrangement with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, was to ensure that NSCDC put men at strategic locations across the country to ensure that every truck from depots get to their final destinations, while efforts are in place to provide adequate tracking system to monitor the movement of the trucks.

He said: “Diversion of fuel remained a major challenge in the country and that is why the deployment of personnel in all state command across the country becomes imperative to put an end to the lingering fuel scarcity. “The era of fuel diversion is over. This step will remain a continuous exercise until the situation is normalised across the country. “NSCDC is more determined to chase saboteurs out of business, including tanker drivers, independent and major oil marketers.” He noted that the corps was also exploring new ways to monitor and protect pipelines, especially the use of technology and sophisticated gadgets to track down vandals. “I can assure you that we are already exploring new approaches which will include the massive deployment of technology as opposed to conventional approach,” he said.

Additional report from National Mirror

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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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