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US election 2016: Trump sweeps all five US states



  • Many killed in Aleppo as fierce fighting shatters Syria’s fragile truce

Donald Trump has won presidential primaries in all five US states that voted on Tuesday, while Hillary Clinton triumphed in four out of five.

Mr Trump called himself the Republican “presumptive nominee” after victories in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

The results bring him closer to the number of delegates he needs before the party’s national convention in July.

For the Democrats, Mrs Clinton was denied a clean sweep by Bernie Sanders.

The Vermont senator won in Rhode Island and vowed to fight to the end of the primaries process.

Speaking at Philadelphia Convention Center after securing the four other states, Mrs Clinton said her campaign was setting “bold, progressive goals” to improve lives in the US.

“We believe in the goodness of our people and the greatness of our nation,” she said.

In the meantime, large-scale fighting has erupted in the Syrian city of Aleppo and the surrounding countryside, upending a fragile truce that was meant to pave the way for peace talks and threatening a siege of the opposition-held part of the city and a humanitarian catastrophe.

Government warplanes on Tuesday killed five civil defence workers in airstrikes on the emergency teams’ facilities, highlighting the growing ferocity of the conflict after the halt of the UN-mediated negotiations.

“The shells are everywhere, there are dead people on the ground, and they’re washing the blood from the streets,” said one resident in the government-controlled part of Aleppo.

The latest fighting comes days after a halt in peace talks in Geneva that were brokered by Washington and Moscow, and the deployment of Russian artillerylast week in support of an offensive that Syrian government officials have long pledged to pursue.

Forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad are buoyed by recent battlefield advances, largely the result of massive Russian aerial bombardment of rebels fighting to overthrow the Syrian dictator. But progress in recent weeks has been slow with the partial withdrawal of Russian forces ordered by the Kremlin.

Government forces hope to encircle east Aleppo, which is held by the opposition, and are also fighting in the countryside to cut supply lines in the north from Turkey.

Activists in the city said at least 12 people had died on Tuesday in rebel-held areas, the continuation of an aerial campaign that began on Friday and has killed more than 20. Sixteen people died in retaliatory shelling by the rebels on government-controlled territory and more than 80 were injured, state media said, blaming the attacks on Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaida’s wing in Syria.

Brita Haji Hasan, the head of Aleppo city’s opposition council, said 25 people a day have been massacred in the city since the Assad regime and their Russian allies broke the ceasefire just under a week ago. He told the Guardian the city had endured five to six days of bombing and machine-gun strafing.

Seven people were killed when a barrel bomb landed in the popular Alsakhour market on Sunday. Thirty people, including women and children, were killed that day in what appeared to be an intensification of the barrage, Hasan said.
He added that the city was under partial siege with the only road out of Aleppo under constant attack.

“The situation is very bad but we are trying to live on,” Hasan said. “If we are besieged it will be a complete disaster.”

The attacks led civil defence volunteers in opposition-run Aleppo to ask citizens to avoid gathering in crowds and stay away from schools, markets and public squares to avoid airstrikes. Schools in Aleppo were closed.

The civil defence itself was targeted by two airstrikes and a missile launch on Tuesday in Atareb, a town west of Aleppo, killing five emergency responders.

“In all other countries around the world, search and rescue teams are immune from bombing under the Geneva conventions, yet this is not the case in Syria,” said Raed Fares, the head of the White Helmets, the name of the civil defence organisation operating in opposition-held areas in Syria. “In Syria, our volunteers are forced to pick up the body parts of their teammates.”

Humanitarian officials fear the latest Aleppo campaign could lead to a full-blown siege of its eastern neighbourhoods, which already lack fuel, water and electricity, and cause a major humanitarian disaster in a city that is already in ruins after four years of fierce combat.

“In the east people are living in the rubble, burning trash to get a bit of heat or make morning tea. I don’t know how they can cope if the fighting really hits Aleppo harder,” said Pawel Krzysiek, the International Committee of the Red Cross’s spokesman in Syria. “Unimpeded and regular access is what we expected from the truce and that didn’t happen. We will not help people if we go only once there. This is not a solution.”

Humanitarian officials say the regular aid deliveries promised in the ceasefire deal have not materialised, with one-off missions into besieged territory occasionally going through. The UN estimates that hundreds of thousands of people are living under siege in Syria, mostly enforced by the Assad regime and its allies, while other organisations believe the number is over a million.

BBC with additional report from Guardian


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



…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



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

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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