Maritime This Week: A recap of News and Events

MONDAY NOVEMBER 4, 2019

Abiodun OBA    |             

This medium started the week with an editorial opinion captioned “Security for Sale at Nigerian Ports”

Penultimate week, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, at the behest of Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, announced the cancellation of what was roundly condemned as illegal fees being paid by ship owners at the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA).

She also came hard on the purported Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Nigerian Navy and a private company called Ocean Marine Solution Limited (OMSL) to secure the anchorage which she abolished as it was couched in total breach of national security meant to wilfully extort ships that call on the nation’s sea ports.

Apart from the ship owners who are at the receiving end of this contraption by OMSL and the Navy, not many people were aware of the level of extortion going on at the anchorage until the NPA wielded the big stick.

 

Dangote Refinery, symbol of the Nigerian success story
Dangote refinery and petrochemicals under construction

 

The 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals Plant has been described as a symbol of the Nigerian success story.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, made the declaration in a statement issued by Mr Samson Makoji, the Acting Spokesman for the Nigerian National Corporation (NNPC) in Abuja on Monday.

The minister, accompanied by Group Managing Director of NNPC, Malam Mele Kyari, and other members of the corporation’s top management, spoke during a tour of the Dangote Refinery, being constructed by the Dangote Group in Lagos.

He said that the refinery would further attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Nigeria upon completion and that the Federal Government will support the project to ensure its successful completion so as to realise the Federal Government’s aspiration of reversing the ugly trend of fuel importation.

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 5
FIRE GUTS BALOGUN MARKET, MARKETERS HELPLESS

Millions of naira worth of goods went up in flames as fire razed the popular Balogun Market on Lagos Island, Southwest Nigeria.
There was weeping and wailing as the fire rose in the sky with thick smokes bellowing the atmosphere Tuesday in the central market district.
Officials of the Lagos State Fire Service, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, battled to quell the raging inferno.
Fire service officials and other rescue agencies had the crowd who thronged the scene to contend with before carrying out their duties effectively.
It was a helpless situation as traders watched their investments went up in flame.

Hope rises for Shipowners as Committee begins review of CVFF
 

The Indigenous Shipowners can now heave a sigh of relief as the committee set up by the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on cabotage implementation is preparing new guidelines for disbursement of the long-awaited Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF).
The fund set up by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, otherwise known as the Cabotage Act, 2003 to give investment leverage to indigenous ship owners, has remained un-accessed 16 years after its creation. The fund currently has a value of $124 million (about N44.6 billion).
Chairman of the committee, Mr. Temisan Omatseye, a former Director-General of NIMASA, told journalists in Lagos that the committee would come up with new guidelines for ship owners to access the fund, among other works it was saddled with.

 

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 6
Merchant Navy boss tasks members on developmental mentality

The National President of the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA) , c has tasked officers and members of the union to up their ante to ensure development of the group.He also charged the officers to be diligent in their assignments and work assiduously to bring the organisation into good stead. Alalade gave the charge during the elections of officers into the three final branches of the association.
” Apapa traffic gridlock now claiming lives of our members” — freight forwarders cry out

A group of freight forwarders which styled itself as Concerned Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (CFFN), has lamented that the resurgent Apapa traffic gridlock has so far claimed the lives of three of its members in the last few days.
Following this tragic incident, the group has threatened to disrupt port activities if the government fails to find a lasting solution to the malignant crisis.
Speaking in Lagos, the Chairman of the group, Andy Omenogo disclosed that a member of the group died last week Friday and also lost another member on Saturday.
According to him, only three days ago, another member of the group slumped and died while in the traffic.

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 7

Shippers’ Council Board Chairman raises fresh hope for CTN, NTC Bill

The Governing Board of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), has raised the hope of maritime stakeholders for the approval of International Cargo Tracking Notes (ICTN) and the National Transport Commission (NTC) bill that President Muhammadu Buhari declined assent.
Speaking yesterday at the familiarisation visit by the chairman and members of the governing board to the council, the Chairman, Hon. Bashir Sheriff Machina, said it will lobby the Federal government and the National Assembly for the approval of the NTC bill and the ICTN.
He however assured the management of the council of readiness to ensure that the feats are achieved.
According to him, shippers’ Council transmuting to NTC and the approval of ICTN would help grow the economy.

Border Closure not targeted at any part of the country – NCS
… Based on the current security and economic situations in the country
…Goods worth over N2bn impounded, 239 illegal migrants arrested

The ongoing partial closure of Nigeria borders was not targeted at any part of the country nor based on regional, tribal or religious considerations, but to stimulate economic activities in the country.

The Deputy Comptroller of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Spokesman for the Team Mr Joseph Attah, reiterated this in Owerri, Imo State.

Attah who was speaking at a sensitisation forum of the team with stakeholders made up of representatives of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), National Orientation Agency (NOA) and Fish and Poultry Farmers, explained that the borders were closed as a result of the flagrant abuse of established ECOWAS protocols by some neighbouring African countries and to secure, build and stimulate economic activities in the country.

“Flagrant abuse of established ECOWAS protocols is making the job of the security agents difficult.

According to him, the closure was to further address challenges confronting the nation like armed banditry, herder/farmer clashes, insurgency in the North East and kidnappings across the country.

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 8
Opening of Lekki Deepsea Port and Dangote Refinery on the Lekki-Ajah zone, bold step by FG – NIS

The plan to open the Lekki Deepsea Port and Dangote Refinery on the Lekki-Ajah zone has been described as a bold step by government.

The Life Patron, Nigeria Institute of Shipping (NIS), Mr Caleb Okoye who stated this at the Nigeria Institute of Shipping’s 9th Annual General Meeting and Awards held on Friday night in Lagos, however, urged that road or rail connections be made to the facility.

Okoye further called for urgent actions to decongest Nigerian ports.
Reiterating the importance of rail system in decongesting ports, Okoye said, “The rail link between Lagos and the North was then running smoothly. Today that is history,” he said.

He claimed that Federal Government had not made any good investment in uplifting the port facilities especially Tincan Island and Apapa ports.

The NIS Life Patron regretted that the military government made a mistake in authorising establishment of sugar, wheat and cement factories inside the ports adding that it would have been appropriate to site only factories for goods meant for export at the port.

He therefore called for urgent actions to decongest Nigerian ports and re-establish a national carrier for faster development of the shipping industry.

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