MARITIME THIS WEEK: Recap of News Events

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MARITIME THIS WEEK: Recap of News Events



Abiodun OBA

Editorial: Ali’s Volte-face on Barge Operations

On March 12, 2020, the Nigeria Customs Service, through a circular, took what turned out to be the most ridiculous policy ever shunned out from its High Command.

In the circular, Hameed Ali, the Comptroller-General of Customs, ordered a blanket ban on barge operations at the ports due to an “intelligence information” that the operators divert containers to unauthorised destination.

Expectedly, the uproar that greeted the unpopular decision made the CGC to hastily beat a retreat.

Notwithstanding the volte-face of the CG, the incident has thrown up a very fundamental flaw in the administrative acumen of the retired Solder.

The incident has given us an insight into the level of understanding of the CGC about the critical roles of customs in the economy.

We were shocked by the CGC pronouncement to ban barge operations.


Coronavirus: Shippers Council Shutdown Offices, Orders Staff To Work From Home

In the wake of the spread of Coronavirus (Convid-19), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has taken measures to contain the spread of the virus as it yesterday announced partial shutdown of its offices and direct staff to work from home.

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council in a memo directing workers to work from home titled “Suspension of work and partial closure of offices,” a copy exclusively obtained by our correspondent, the management said all staff are to work from home except those on essential services (Medical, Complaints Handling, and General Services).



NPA stops non-essential services for two weeks over COVID-19

Following the continue spread of the deadly Coronavirus (Convid-19) in the country, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has ordered the shutdown of its offices across the country for two weeks.

The NPA shutdown is coming barely 24hours after the Nigerian Shippers’ Council announced the shutdown of offices to contain the spread, allowing only officers on essential service to resume to the office

In a memo with reference number HQ/CR/AD/G.2 from the office of the Managing Director and a copy exclusively obtained by our correspondent, the Managing Director, Hadiza Bala-Usman said officers from non-essential divisions and departments of the authority are advised to stay away from duty and work from home.


Terminal Operators Urge Continued Opening Of Seaports Amid Convid-19 Crisis

The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, has emphasized the need for the nation’s seaports to remain open at all times while the Federal and State Governments battle to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This was disclosed in a statement made available to journalists yesterday in Lagos.

Haastrup said, “As we face the global public health crisis birthed by the Coronavirus disease, otherwise known as COVID-19, we advise government to ensure that the supply chain is not disrupted and the seaports keep running. Even if other sectors of the economy are shut down to guard against the spread of the virus, the seaports should remain open to ensure that there is no shortage of food, drugs and other essential supply to Nigerians,” the STOAN Chairman said.


Covid-19: MAN, Oron Suspends Academic Sessions

The Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron has suspended all academic sessions of the foremost maritime school towards curtailing the spread of Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

The management of MAN, Akwa Ibom State, said it became necessary to close down academic sessions until the pandemic is brought under control.

The Rector, MAN, Commodore Duja Effedua (rtd), made this known on Monday during a courtesy visit by the President-General, Oron Union, Bishop Etim Ante.

The Rector also noted that the need to be cautious heralded the decision of the Academy to send home its cadets over the menace of the Covid-19 pandemic.



ANLCA, NAGAFF wind down operations at ports over COVID-19 – direct members to stay at home

As the dreaded Coronavirus is rampaging the world in a deadly ferocity, freight Forwarders operating at the nation’s ports and border posts have been asked to stay away from work.

In an emotion-laden notice sent to all members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tony Nwabunike, the National President of the association, has directed that the National Secretariat of the group be shut from 12 noon, Tuesday, March 24th, 2020, while appealing to members to stay at home with their families.

NRC Suspends Lagos-Ogun Mass Transit Train Services

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has suspended the Lagos-Ogun Mass Transit Train Services (MTTS) with effect from Wednesday evening to contain the further spread of COVID-19 in the state and the country.

Recall that the NRC on March 21, announced the suspension of passengers’ train services in the country with effect from Monday before it was later set aside in another statement same day.

The Lagos Railway District Manager, Mr Jerry Oche, told Newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday, that the new development had become imperative

“We are shutting down today. So, there is not going to be evening train operations until further notice.

“We are shutting down to curb the spread of COVID-19. The closure is going to be indefinite until further directives from the government.

“We carry a lot of people at once and this continued operation might aid the spread of the virus.

“We think it is only wise to shut down. COVID-19 is not a respecter of persons.

Customs officials walk out over coronavirus fears

Customs officials at Zimbabwe’s biggest airport stopped reporting for work on Wednesday, fearing exposure to coronavirus and a lack of measures to prevent its spread, their union said.

Zimbabwe has recorded one death from three confirmed cases of coronavirus, but the opposition and critics of President Emmerson Mnangagwa accuse his government of under-reporting the number of cases. The government denies this.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Trade Union said its members at the main airport in the capital Harare came into contact while dealing with the man who died from coronavirus, but they were not tested or put into mandatory isolation.



COVID-19: NIMASA scales down operations – directs staff on non-essential duties to work from home

The foremost maritime regulator, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Wednesday, told its staff to comply with the directive of the federal government towards curtailing the spread of the COVID-19.

The agency had directed all non-essential Public Servants on Grade Level 12 and below should stay and work from home as issued from the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.

In that order, all visits to NIMASA during the period are restricted to Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12noon and 2pm only, for visitors of Assistant Directors and above respectively.

The agency also said that those exempted from the days mentioned are, shipping companies, agents and other critical stakeholders who transact with operational departments and units of the Agency.

Budget: FG slashes oil benchmark to $30 per barrel

The Federal Government has proposed the reduction of oil benchmark, upon which the 2020 budget was predicated, from $57 to $30 per barrel.

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, on Wednesday, announced this after a meeting between the executive arm of government and the leadership of the National Assembly in Abuja.

The meeting was meant to review the 2020 budget and Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, particularly against the background of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the global economy.

The meeting, which lasted almost four hours, according to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, was summoned to “discuss the proposed review of the 2020 budget and the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.”



Covid-19:  IPMAN restates commitment to steady fuel supply

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has restated its commitment towards steady supply of petroleum products during the lockdown period over Covid-19 pandemic.

The leadership of the association on Thursday said arrangements to sustain the supply and distribution of petroleum products across Nigeria is settled.

Speaking after an emergency meeting with members, the Chairman, IPMAN, Kano chapter, Alhaji Bashir Danmallam said the union was duty-bound to rise to the occasion and contribute their own quota towards fighting against the deadly pandemic.

COVID-19: Customs charges officers on self-awareness and preservation

The newly deployed Customs Area Controller of Bauchi/Gombe Command, Comptroller Bello Mohammed Jibo has advised officers and men of the command to take high level of self-awareness and preservation against the deadly coronavirus.

In a release made available to our correspondent by the commands Public Relations Officer, Nuru Abdullahi on Wednesday, Jibo gave the charge during a familiarisation tour of the out station in a bid to familiarise himself with his areas of jurisdiction.


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