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WEEKEND GINGER: ISPS, Boko Harams and the rest of us!



When the United States of America introduced a protective mechanism popularly called the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code through the International Maritime Organization, most Nigerians hated it.

We hated it, most probably, because the application of the code was likely to either cure or expose two of our major weaknesses as a nation: greed and carelessness.

Implementing the code could curtail executive greed, while at the bottom, the use of circuit television cameras, perimeter fencing, and designated security personnel could eliminate the tendencies towards carelessness, through which several evils, like pilfering, broaching etc were perpetuated.

But when you recall the recent fire incident at the Folawiyo Tank Farm in Apapa, Lagos on Wednesday June 25, 2014, and juxtapose it with the fire incident which gutted the Total Gas depot Ijora, also in Apapa, on Wednesday August 27, 2014; you may begin to infer the true meaning of the ISPS Code.

First, if the Code came as an ‘autopsy’ report, sequel to September 11, sad bombing of the New York’s Twin Towers, then its relevance as a protective document can not be lost on everyone, particularly the relevant authorities.

When a group of militants years back, took interest in the Atlas Cove Jetty in Lagos; and set fire to it, those who should know told us cock and bull stories.

The Lagos State Fire Service Director, Mr. Rasaq Fadipe similarly, told Nigerians on Thursday, June 26, that the fire at the Folawiyo Tank Farm a day before was caused by a gas explosion, and not a bomb blast, and several of us believed him. But, who appeared more credible, when the Boko Haram leader, Shekau swore by “Walahi”, that it was an event he initiated? ( Check U-tube).

The fire incident and what it was targeted to achieve, was not in anyway, diminished by the outburst of the Chief Executive Officer of the Tank farm, Mr. Tunde Folawiyo that the explosion did not occur inside the depot, but at the Creek Road and Burma Road junction.
Did the ISPS Code make any prescription, in terms of the extent of Safety that must exist between a Facility and its interface or not?

Speaking in respect of the Total Gas incident, the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Western Ports Police Command, Mr. Olumide Kayode, said the fire which started around 5.30 am was as a result of some tanker drivers, (or their boys), trans-loading petroleum products in the area. Some account posited, that it was in the process of trans-loading stolen petroleum products!

No one needs to hear more than once, the account of the ACP, to realize how far the negligence of the ISPS Code has culminated, into a wholesale incompetence to manage pedestrian traffic!

“The fire started around 5.30 in the morning. The people around, especially, the Total Gas staff responded and they put it off.. No sooner had that been done, the police arrived and everybody thought it was okay; and the people resumed their normal activities. 
“But, the fire started again, because there is fire that had already gone down, the charcoal…”

Autopsy is performed, not necessarily to re-awake the corpse. It is essentially to assist the living, to stay alive. If two ‘fires’ are not enough to ginger the industry to common sense, then, should we wait, for the armageddon!

If the ISPS Code is too much for us, because of its ‘International’ nomenclature, can somebody please introduce a ‘domesticated’ version? Sadly enough, the only body saddled with the task of ‘domestication’ of rules, the NIMASA is currently preoccupied with the ‘prudent’ administration of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds!

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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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ADEBAYO SARUMI: Doyen of Maritime Industry Marks 80th Anniversary, Saturday 

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