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Weekend Ginger: “We’ll soon stop ripping you off”- NPA Boss

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Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Managing Director, Habib Abdullahi on Wednesday confirmed that the authority has been collecting tug boat charges, without providing the facilities for stakeholders, in most cases.

He acknowledged this at Eko Hotel, while presenting his two records of stewardship even as he pledged with the end users to bear with his management, as efforts was already being intensified to procure more tug boats to enable the NPA meet the soaring needs of end users.

“What you said is very correct. We have been charging you for tug boats and we have not been always providing you with tug boats. But give us (more) time and we will make up for it”, he indicated.

A good percentage of the audience was surprised. Some were in fact shocked. How can the head of the authority ripping off the people, be bold enough to acknowledge it outside?

But the crew of Maritime First was glad. Abdullahi was setting new records, for integrity, honesty and transparency.

In Nigeria, most leaders would rather lie, than confront the truth.

“We have met the Landfall Chairman and he is going to give two more tug boats. The Federal Government has also approved the acquisition of four more tug boats.

“So, we will soon have enough tug boats, to meet the challenges of increasing demands” he explained further, stressing that cargo/ ship traffic in Lagos was growing by the day!

He had all the time in the world to lie. He could even, like some other parastatal heads, throw tantrum, feign anger, at being confronted with the facts of his organization’s failure to perform his statutory mandate, but not Abdullahi. Now how many other Nigerian leaders would learn from Abdullahi; —Like the Yoruba man would say—“kuro n niyi, ete lo n mu wa (lie and gain glory, only ends in shame)”.

However, the two-year account of leadership at the Marina was not only about rip-offs. In fact, he gave a good account of diligent leadership.

On human capacity building, Abdullahi said the organization, for the first time undertook a massive training plan both local and foreign that cut across every cadre of the workforce, resulting in the training of about 90 percent of the entire workforce, last year.

“In 2013 alone, management trained 3,091 personnel out of the total work force of 4,245. This figure represents 90% of total workforce.
“The present Management has also successfully completed the recruitment and training of security men for the Authority, while similarly, we are in the process of recruitment of additional firemen and women”, he indicated.

On Corporate Social responsibility, he noted that, the present Management undertook several projects, which included providing relief materials to 2012 flood victim; relief materials to Bakassi returnees,  donating buses to UNILAG, donation of security boats to Navy and the provision of social amenities, consisting of classrooms and health centres across the country. 

“As you are all aware, the  biggest vessel to call at any port in West Africa (WAFMAX) with a length overall 232.33 metres and capacity of 4,500 TEUS requiring draught of 13.5 Meters has started visiting our ports due to our consistent dredging campaign. The weekly call of the WAFMAX vessel to Lagos and Onne port is a great achievement.

“Generally, stakeholders and shipping companies have confirmed that the channel management and conservancy function of the Authority has continued to improve.

“Analysis has confirmed that most of the ports recorded increase in the Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) of vessels mainly due to the capital and maintenance dredging of the channel by our Joint Venture (JV) Companies, namely the Lagos Channel Management (LCM) Company, for the management of the Lagos channel and the Bonny Channel management (BCC) Company for the management of the Bonny channel.

“These strategic developments have reflected in increasing cargo throughput to 77 Million metric tons in 2013 from 44,953,073 MT in 2005 excluding crude oil and gas.

“Provision of Towage Services  
In order to provide efficient towage service, the Government has approved the outsourcing of these services in Port Harcourt, Onne,  Warri, and Calabar ports. Very soon, I assure you there will no more complaint in delays in ship movement in and out of the ports”, he said further, pointing out that the NPA in recognition that excellence in environment, safety and health    enhance efficient and successful Port Operations, also procured six Mercedes Benz (Across 3332) fire engines with foam tenders, complete with accessories and one-year back-up spare parts; two Mercedes Benz (Across 3332) fighting truck with aerial platform, complete accessories and one year back-up spare parts; and a supply of first aid intervention equipment.

“We have continued to make strides in improving existing port infrastructures in the areas of rehabilitation works. We have seen to the conclusion of East and West moles and upgrading and renovation of common user facilities. Worth mentioning here is the completion of phase 4 and approval received for the commencement of the development of port facilities phase 4B at Onne Port Complex” he said further, providing a catalogue of good accomplishment in the area of capital projects.

“We therefore have witnessed the completion of the construction of 1.6km road at LPC.; completion of reconstruction of terminals B &C at old Warri Port; Completion of the rehabilitation of rail track at LPC; Continuation of the rehabilitation of TCIP quay wall and quay apron and third party projects which includes: the initiation and completion of  Island Berth on Lagos Channel by Oando and Completion of Eko Support Services at Bullnose, Apapa.

“To further encourage private participation in port development, technical approvals were granted to Digisteel Ltd and MRS Oil & Gas to expand their services at Ogogoro and TCIP respectively. 

“We have also granted approval to Niger Dock for development of additional berth to its existing one at Snake Island. Similarly, we are processing a number of applications from prospective investors. 

“Already applications from PTML and GDNL have been processed and recommended for requisite approval.
In order to accommodate the rapid expansion and development in the port, we are intensifying effort in the final production of a National Port Master Plan” he explained further, adding that with the present introduction of the electronic Ship Entry Notice (e-(SEN), to boost the gains of the e-payment which was launched in February this year, the port was finally set, to move from efficiency to transparency stage.

One thing is certain, the NPA has to some extent, been ripping off the stakeholders in the area of tug boat provision. Habib has not only confirmed it, he has also pleaded for understandings.

But beyond rhetoric, Mallam Abdullahi has also raised the stakes, in leadership approach to honesty, candidness and transparency. Would this gesture be appreciated, in a land that thrives in horse trading, lies and corruption? Only the future will tell!

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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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