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Could it be true? Could it just be true, that the pirates were still here, freely operating in the nation’s water, robbing, maiming and kidnapping innocent and hardworking seafarers, contrary to whatever the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency told us.

“We have installed satellites… we have deployed state of the art technology… the entirety of the country’s maritime domain is strictly monitored… the pirates have fled for dear life!” and we believed it; until the IMB brought a contrary story entirely.

So, could the DG’s statement be true, when the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a special ‘hand-maid’ of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reported that at least, seven serious piracy attacks, took place, in Nigerian waters, between January and March 2015.

Stressing this truth further, the maritime intelligence agency Dryad described the Gulf of Guinea as “one of the most dangerous piracy hotspots for mariners”,  providing crime figures for Quarter 1 (January to March) of 2015, which included loss of lives.

“Kidnapping of crew for ransom remains the most significant threat to mariners in the region. In March 2015, eight crew were taken in three separate incidents off the shores of Rivers and Akwa Ibom States in Nigeria. Three mariners have since been released from captivity after being taken from MT Kalamos on 3rd March.

“A crew member died by gunfire during the incident. Another five crew were kidnapped in attacks against support vessel MV Maridive 603 and floating storage tanker MT Yoho”, Dryad informed further, noting that the ” MV Jascon 24 was attacked in late January in this area; a Nigerian naval rating was shot and killed during that incident, which was almost certainly another attempt at taking crew for ransom. The threat of kidnap in both regions of Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom’s offshore waters remains, and further attacks are likely”, Dryad said.

The NIMASA Director General, Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, perfectly gentleman did not play pranks. The IMB is never frivolous. It speaks with facts and figure. The pirates must have been sleeping when the NIMASA DG made his remarks. And when they woke up, simply went back to work. Or more succinctly put,  the agency satellites went to bed, when the pirates went to work. So, the agency neither knew the pirates operated, nor recorded the havoc they wrecked.

BUT while we both know whose claim would be more accurate, can it also be true that the NNPC has begun to remit the sum of $1.48 bn to the Central Bank of Nigeria?

The last time a Customs agent asked about the money, I over heard an industry watcher telling him there was no money missing. I over heard him telling the agent that his view derived from a “forensic” investigators report that “affirmed” that there was no money, missing or in transit.  Yet a report in the week indicated that the Minister of Petroleum, the extremely beautiful Lady Diezani Allison-Madueke while highlighting that she had stepped on powerful toes also said the NNPC had begun to remit some money.

On Thursday, when the same agent asked me if it was true the NNPC had begun to make the refund, I read a newspaper to him.

Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, on Wednesday disclosed she had indeed stepped on many powerful toes in the oil and gas sector in the country, I read aloud; adding, The minister disclosed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has started refunding the $1.48bn unremitted fund into the Federation Account as recommended by an audit firm, PriceWaterHouse Coopers. She however did not disclose how much has so far been refunded by the corporation”. The agent patiently waited for me to finish, before he asked in an incredulous tone: “Which money be that one?!”

Now, which money be that true, true? Was it the money that some had claimed was ‘missing’?

Why wasn’t the money refunded until now? I told the inquisitive agent that I did not know. If you know which money, why it was delayed till now or how much has finally been paid?, kindly tell the Customs agent!

Now, is it also true that the pump price of petrol in Nigeria deserved to be around N45 and not N65, let alone N87?

An analysis purportedly done by a revered petroleum guru, Prof. Tam David West, indicated that a barrel of Crude oil was equals to 42 gallons or 159 litres.

If the claim that our four Refineries had an Installed (combined) capacity of 445,000 barrels per day, then our production capacity would not be less than 445,000 barrels x 42 gallons or 159 litres.

But since ageing equipment had reduced our actual refineries capacity to 30% i.e. 133,500 barrels per day; then it still means that at 133,500 barrels we should still be producing on domestic platforms, about 21.2 million litres, daily.

The analysis noted further that, since our Local required consumption (F.O.S) was not yet more than 12 million litres; It means that even our moribund refineries can actually meet all our local consumption need in terms petroleum.

Now, it is either that this analysis was alien to our managers; or they didn’t like the face of David West!

The analysis then detoured into the sensitive area of cost, pointing out that:
if the cost structure of crude oil (i.e. Qua Iboe Crude Oil) production; – Findings / development was
(a) – $3.5
(b) Production cost – $1.5
-(c) Refining Cost – $12.6
-(d) Pipeline/transportation – $1.5
-(e) Distr/bridging fund Margin -$15.69;
Then, the true cost of one litre of petroleum anywhere in Nigeria must come within a total sum cost of = $34.8; where:  1ltr cost = $34.8 divided by 159 litres = $0.219; and which Naira Equivalent must be: 0.219 x N160= N35.02k
Consequently, if Vat was Tax of N5 was added ; and calculated as:
Tax N5 + N35.02; the sum total for pump price would not go beyond N40.02; or plus miscellaneous equals N45.

Now, is the above true or not? If this is true, then why are we talking about the need to reduce the current pump price from N87 to N65/litre?

Further more, why was the local industry managers denominating locally refined products at International prices? Was it because they needed the ‘handy’ Dollars as worthy campaign ‘tools’? Was that why they had earlier gunned for the creation of the N5,000 notes?! Was that why the value of the Dollar shrank from N223 to N215 only six days after the March 28 Election? Sorry for the digression….

Is it true then, that we never needed any SUBSIDY in the first instance?
Was it true that what was LACKING, was merely the WILL to enforce the LAW ON CORRUPTION?

Less than four hours after we published our last weekend Ginger, on the fate of migrants, dangerously crossing into Europe through North Tripoli,  a storm tore through the Mediterranean sea, upturned most migrants’ boats and killed an estimated 800 persons! How many Nigerians were victims?! If Syrians, Iraqis and peoples from the volatile Middle East were fleeing to Europe, adopting very dangerous routes, it can only mean that a war of some sort, must be wrecking Nigeria for our citizens to be found in such high proportion in their midst!

May their souls, including the 24 given mass burial in Malta on Thursday,  rest in peace.

The Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis are enjoying public sympathy because they are observably facing political warfare. Nigerians are undergoing a highly destructive, and genuinely incapacitating economic warfare at home; and the leaders, like Emperor Nero are playing flute!

Welcome Buhari… Yea, welcome…too late!


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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