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WEEKEND GINGER: 2014 Performance: Customs leads, followed by NPA, NSC

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…As two Abdullahis contest for number 1 spot, in terms of strong performances in maritime industry

A critical appraisal of maritime industry performance by stakeholders may have seen two Abdullahis, gunning for first position.

Alh INDE DIKKO ABDULLAHI, COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF CUSTOMS

Alh INDE DIKKO ABDULLAHI, COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF CUSTOMS

Stakeholders’ critical appraisal of maritime industry performance, may have witnessed two Abdullahis, one heading the Nigerian Ports Authority and the other, heading the Nigeria Customs Service, contesting for first position!

NPA Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi

NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi

Our respondents, who all spoke on the conditions of anonymity, consisting of port users, shipping operators and agents, importers and journalists, specifically taking into considerations, the resourcefulness and performances of Government parastatals, however gave the prime position to the Abdullahi that heads the Customs; declared the Abdullahi that heads the NPA as second; and unto Barrister Hassan Bello, they crowned third!

Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council

Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council

In their fair assessments, they noted that while the NPA initiated: *e-payment *E- Ship Entry Notice and *Consolidated good administration to come second; the Nigeria Customs Service on the other hand, introduced: *Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) which grossed in over N1 trillion for Government * Consolidated on E-payment; * Solidified the Nigeria Single Window Portal for foreign trade * Reinforced the Nigeria Trade Hub; a hub for trade information * Consolidated on good administration

LCM BOSS, Danny Fuchs

LCM BOSS, Danny Fuchs

The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) was adjudged third, not because it was established on 4th July, 1978 via Decree 13 of the Federal Government of Nigeria to enhance shippers interest, but rather because it:

  • Developed a platform, that could challenge the formidable and highly coordinated Sea Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) in what it perceived as avoidable extortion, despites young age as a Port Regulator; and also defeated the mighty body in court!

In their assessment, the body though lauded the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) for its determination to throw a life jacket at one in sight, in a bid to reduce frightening statistics of deaths by drowning in Nigerian in land waters, they failed to make the fourth position, because of the same statistics issued by NIWA, that the country lost not fewer than 300 lives to drowning in 24 months!

Hajiya Inna Ciroma, MD, NIWA

Hajiya Inna Ciroma, MD, NIWA

The NIWA was particularly guilty of:

  • Dredging the inland waterways and thereafter abandoning the channel to oil thieves and kidnappers. No policing or poor policing?!
  • Refusal to develop operational cells for commercial ferry operators, nation-wide, or any determined commitment to monitor them.
  • Over-looking the dangers of over-loading, while over-emphasizing life-jackets. If the aviation sector should emulate NIWA, nobody in Nigeria would be allowed to board the airplane from Lagos to Abuja, until he was first strapped in parachutes!
NIMASA DG, Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi

NIMASA DG, Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi

How we loved the apex Nigerian maritime agency?! Unfortunately, the first as feared; actually came last! The stakeholders while the committed effort and dogged determination of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to silenced piracy, a tertiary function of its statutory mandate, also noted that:

  • That NIMASA, despite the billions of Naira it had expended on fighting piracy, was yet to convict any oil thieves; thereby making the billions appear as scarce resources so far thrown down the drain. So, no deterrent factor has been served, to potential criminals!
  • That the Maritime University it established at Okerenkoko had not taken off, despite its celebrated pledge that its first academic session would begin in 2014.
  • That the agency till date, was yet to adopt measures that would make Okerenkoko, a fairly accessible place, thereby indirectly hampering the attraction of optimal benefits, from the establishment of such a strategically important University at Okerenkoko.
  • The stakeholders also noted that the agency was yet to entrench measures that would guarantee reasonably home employments to the Master Mariners and nautical engineers the agency is presently “baking” outside the country, particularly from India and United Kingdom.

They however lauded the visionary gestures of the NIMASA Director General particularly in pursuit of International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code and the piracy warfare, stressing that the agency was bound to create indelible footprints in 2015, if the present vision and commitment was sustained! In the areas of dredging, the industry watchers rated the Lagos Channel Management (LCM) first, noting that while the Calabar channel could only accommodate relatively small or partially off-loaded vessels; and only one West African Maximum (WAFMAX) had been able to visit the Port Harcourt channel; the Lagos channel has since become a natural domain of fully loaded WAFMAX vessels, with several of them sailing in over 4,000 TEU containers at a time, aboard their 249 metre-long technological wonder! As we expressed our sincere appreciations to the stakeholders for their ‘fair and true’ view appraisal, we also wish to thank you, all our readers out there, for being with us. Your criticisms have made us stronger; your commendations, especially from our readers in London and the United States of America, have sincerely, made us bolder! Readers’ reactions are welcomed. Thank you for the year! Happy Christmas; and Happier New Year please!

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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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