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A great man,  Dakuku Peterside was this week,  appointed the substantive Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).  Unfortunately,  for the first six months and until he proves his mettle, he  may have to function under stakeholders’ suspicious watch,  as Rotimi Amaechi’s ‘stooge’.

A statement broadcasting his appointment,  issued by the Ministry of Transportation described him as “an ally”  of the Minister; but concerned stakeholders, who see the new DG as an extremely ‘loyalist’ of the Minister,  described the view as an understatement.

Dakuku Peterside                                                                             Dakuku Peterside

Dakuku may be sinless.  Yet,  his appointment must be seen in the light of three basic perspectives: first,  it is not in tandem with the NIMASA Act,  which prescribed that anyone wanting to occupy the exalted seat must have cognate skills, exposure or background in: Maritime Safety, Security, Pollution, Nautical Sciences and Hydrography; as well as Maritime Engineering, Marine Law, Transport Logistics and Marine Labour, before he can be qualified to be so appointed. Dakuku may be lacking in all these.

Secondly,  the new DG is not just “an ally” of the Minister,  he was indeed, Amaechi’s Commissioner for works (2007-2011) where he anchored Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s phenomenal transformation of Roads and Infrastructural landscape of Rivers State.  He was unarguably so effective,  efficient and loyal that he was,  allegedly, single handedly anointed the 2015 gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rivers State by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi when he was completing his Governorship tenure of eight years.

Thirdly,  Dakuku is coming in as an immediate successor of Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi,  a university teacher who like Dakuku, similarly lacked requisite experience for the job,  and ended up,  watching the domestic shipping go into comatose,  while the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds (CVFF) slumbered idly in commercial banks!

Minister for Power, works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.

Minister for Power, works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.

One on one,  Akpobolokemi was a most likeable person.  He would have made a highly responsible,  focused and most sought-after teacher.  His major weakness was that he was too loyal to those who appointed him.  And when his meagre salary as a teacher skyrocketed from less than N3millon, to about N70million annually,  the man was ready to throw all cautions to the winds!

The stakeholders added two to two on Akpobolokemi and the answer was four. Can anyone blame them,  if they assume that a two plus two,  again would be different from another four,  in respect of Dakuku?

Dakuku would have to come in and prove his mettle.  Dakuku would have to free the CVFF and use it for the purpose it was meant: propping up domestic shipping,  which presently is almost completely dead! Dakuku would have to carry the stakeholders along.  And Dakuku must do all these,  transparently.

Already,  mixed reactions have expectedly greeted his appointment, with some applauding,  even as several spoke with the tongue in cheek.

Specifically,  the Secretary General, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Tunji Brown praised the appointment stressing that his association had long waited for the appointment of a substantive DG.

“He was not a novice in the industry as he was appointed the chairman, house Committee on Downstream. He was in the house of Representatives and he has knowledge about the industry”,  posited Brown,  even as another ship owner,  who spoke on conditions of strong anonymity disagreed, calling attention to the prescription from the NIMASA Act.

“I have reservations against this appointment. We all know the relationship between Peterside and Amaechi, so the appointment to me is not the best but at the appropriate time, I will make my opinion known,” the Shipowner said.

Pressed further on what he thinks the relationship between the two portends, he said, ” Are you telling me you don’t know it was Amaechi that made him APC candidate in Rivers State? We all know Peterside is Amaechi’s stooge.”

An importer,  James Oladele wanted to know if the APC as party  has finally forgotten it’s pledge of relying on technocrats and experts; even as former President,  Nigeria Association of Master Mariners, Capt. Adewale Ishola described the appointment as a tough one,  noting that critical stakeholders had always pleaded for appointment of stakeholders in the industry.

He however maintained that Dakuku could restore confidence and excel if he works for the appointment of maritime experts on the board of the agency.

“That is a tough one. We have been saying they (government) should follow NIMASA Act in making appointment but government have a way of doing their things and so there is barely nothing we can do.

“But, the man should surround himself with professionals who can show him the way because we have said this all this while; but the government have refused to listen to us.

“We complained about Akpobolokemi, we can only plead that they allowed industry stakeholders and professional to be part of top management to direct them in the right way.”

A Maritime lawyer, Emeka Akabogu called attention to the benefits of finally having a substantive DG and noted that the Agency had been stagnated long enough.

“NIMASA has been without a substantive Director General for almost nine months and things have evidently been at a standstill. In view of this and the strategic importance of the agency, I welcome the appointment of Dr. Dakuku Peterside at this time.

“It is the prerogative of the President to appoint, and he has done so. The challenges ahead are significant and I urge all stakeholders to give the new Director General the support required,” Akabogu stated.

Youthful and dynamic, Dakuku Peterside, was elected and represented Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro area in the House of Representatives in 2011 and was later, the 2015 gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rivers State.

No doubt,  loyalty,  determinations and focused commitment comes with great rewards; but Dakuku Peterside may have to now work and prove that,  while probably paying for the ‘sins’ of Akpobolokemi, and that he also packs more punch,  beyond whatever the industry watchers think!

In the meantime, let us remind ourselves that the average Lagosians, suffered this week, far more than he ever did before. It was a week in which, there was largely no light, water or fuel.

Vibrant and hardworking, the average Lagos took pride in running generators, and ensuring breeze, portable treated water in amenable cold condition. For this week, the fuel crisis came and coincided with NEPA (Discos and Co) strikes. With fuel scarcity coinciding with no electricity supply, water supply waned, and the average Lagos began to redefine Change, in the context of new pains, and failed political promises!

We thank God the NNPC workers’ unions have now called of their strikes. Just as the suppliers of electricity, also did a rethink!

But, must Nigeria still be totally dependent on generators and current NEPA regime, at a time the developed world, with a largely ‘freezing’ environment is celebrating a breakthrough in new and revolutionary solar power plants, capable of providing 24-hour light!

The new solar plant in Southern Nevada can generate energy both during the day and at night, overcoming what has traditionally been one of the biggest drawbacks to solar power.

The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant located about 225 miles northwest of Las Vegas, according to SolarReserve, is capable of generating 110 megawatts of power – that’s enough for 75,000 homes, even when not running yet, on full capacity.  SolarReserve says the facility is planned to ramp up to its full annual output over the course of 2016.

The solar plant uses more than 10,000 mirrored heliostats spread across 1,600 acres to focus sunlight on a 640-foot tall central tower filled with molten salt. That salt is heated by the sunlight to nearly 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit; this stored heat is then used to convert water to steam and drive electricity-producing generators.

This system allows the plant to deliver power on demand, not just when the sun is shining. The salt can retain heat for months at a time, so the occasional cloudy day shouldn’t interrupt the availability of electricity. Best of all? There are zero emissions, the water use is minimal, and of course, there’s no hazardous waste created as a byproduct of the process.

Already, an African country, Morocco is anchoring strongly on the solar, as it sets to switch on phase one of the world’s largest solar plant

But sadly, and very sadly too, Nigeria, a country with severely burning hot sun is yet to develop any plans, or noteworthy intentions, for harnessing the Sun!

May the President live forever!


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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