Connect with us
>

Archives

US court throws out $655.5 mn verdict against Palestinian Authority, PLO

Published

on

  •  Resumes scheduled passenger flights to Cuba after more than 50 years

A US federal appeals court on Wednesday threw out a $655.5 million verdict against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization for damages suffered by Americans killed and wounded in six attacks in Israel.

The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that the lower court which issued the February 2015 verdict did not have jurisdiction over the case and ordered it dismissed.

“The terror machine gun attacks and suicide bombings that triggered this suit and victimized these plaintiffs were unquestionably horrific,” Judge John Koeltl, writing for the three-member court panel, said in a 61-page ruling.

“But the federal courts cannot exercise jurisdiction in a civil case beyond the limits prescribed by the due process clause of the Constitution, no matter how horrendous the underlying attacks or morally compelling the plaintiffs’ claims,” it said.

“We vacate the judgment of the district court and remand the case to the district court with instructions to dismiss the case for want of jurisdiction.”

The attacks, which took place between January 2002 and January 2004, left 33 people dead and wounded more than 390 others.

Later in 2004, 11 American families filed a civil suit in federal court under a US anti-terrorism law that allows victims of international attacks to pursue foreign entities in the US courts for damages.

In February 2015, after seven weeks of testimony, a jury unanimously found the two Palestinian entities liable on 25 separate counts related to the attacks, initially awarding victims and their families more than $218 million.

They apportioned individual damages ranging from $1 million to $25 million to Americans who were injured or lost loved ones.

The sum was automatically tripled in accordance with US anti-terrorism law to $655.5 million.

The bombings and shootings were carried out by Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades — an armed offshoot of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah party — during the second Palestinian uprising against Israel.

Both are blacklisted as terrorist organizations in the United States.

In the meantime, the first scheduled commercial passenger flight from the United States to Cuba in more than half a century landed on Wednesday, opening another chapter in the Obama administration’s efforts to improve ties and increase trade and travel with the former Cold War foe.

A JetBlue Airways Corp passenger jet arrived from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara. The route may be a commercial challenge, at least initially, but it is the first of a plethora of new flights by various U.S. airlines to destinations on the Communist-ruled island.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, JetBlue Chief Executive Officer Robin Hayes, other officials and journalists were aboard the 150-seat plane. Regular travelers, including some of Cuban descent, occupied nearly half the seats on the flight to Santa Clara, a city with a population of about 200,000 that is known for its monument to revolutionary leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

While opening travel to cities like Santa Clara is seen as a foot in the door to expanding travel to the Cuban provinces, the market’s big prize is routes to Havana, which Foxx awarded on Wednesday. American Airlines Group Inc was awarded the biggest portion.

“The Havana competition was one of the most over-subscribed competitions that I’ve been a part of,” Foxx said in an interview before the plane took off. “I think that speaks to the interest on the part of the American people, and it also speaks to the level of commercial interest in the U.S. that exists.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry noted in a Twitter message that the flight took place just over a year after the flag was raised at the reopened U.S. embassy in Havana. He called it “another step forward.”

Cuba and the United States began normalizing relations in December 2014 after 18 months of secret talks and have since restored full diplomatic ties. The countries had been hostile for more than five decades, since Fidel Castro ousted U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista in a 1959 revolution that steered the island on a communist course and made it a close ally of the Soviet Union.

Until Wednesday, passenger air links between Cuba and the United States were by chartered flights.

Obama’s opening to Cuba has included a landmark visit by him to the Caribbean island in March and a series of measures to increase commercial ties, but the U.S. president has been unable to persuade Congress to lift the longstanding embargo.

Critics of the detente argue the Obama administration has won few human rights concessions from President Raul Castro in exchange for allowing hotel chains, cruise lines and at least one U.S. bank to ramp up operations on the island.

The United States still prohibits its citizens from visiting Cuba as tourists, although there have long been exceptions to the ban, ranging from visiting family to business, cultural, religious and educational travel. The Obama administration has further eased the restrictions.

Lázaro Chavez, a 49-year-old pharmacist who lives in Miami and returns frequently to his homeland, said before boarding that he was taking the flight for two reasons. “One, I am going to see my family. Two, I want to be on this historic flight.”

MSN

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

Advertisement

Editor’s Pick

Politics