MARITIME THIS WEEK: Recap of News, Events

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MARITIME THIS WEEK:  Recap of News, Events

 

MONDAY MARCH 30, 2020

Abiodun OBA

 

Editorial: As the world battles coronavirus scourge

The Nigeria maritime industry lays prostrate under Coronavirus as the pandemic rages with the ferocity of a tiger throughout the world.

The industry, just like other sectors of the economy, is panting under the pangs of the scourge.

The respiratory disease, which sprouted from Wuhan, China in December 2019, finally berthed in Nigeria on February 27th, 2020, when an unnamed Italian, as an index case, exported the dreaded disease into the country.

Since then, Nigeria, just like the other conquered nations of the world, has been battling to stay ahead of the pandemic.

The nation is under partial lockdown with the wheel of the economy almost grinding to a painful crawl.

The nation’s maritime industry, which is the second largest revenue earner for the country, is not spared from the evil clutches of the scourge.

The otherwise fast paced industry has lost its lustre and dynamism as most industry operators have closed shops.

 

NIMASA donates 20 ventilators, N50 million to fight covid-19

— Volunteers, 6 Vessels, 4 Ambulances, Medical Consumables, Personnel

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has added to the number of agencies and individuals who have donated towards the fight against the raging pandemic, covid-19.

The agency on Sunday said it donated N59 million and 29 ventilators for the purpose

Isichei Osamgbi, Head, Corporate Communications of NIMASA stated this in a release Sunday night.

The release read, “In the face of huge global demand, the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA has donated 20 ventilators to fight the COVID 19 pandemic in Nigeria.

The Agency’s Director General Dr. Bashir Jamoh who made this known in Lagos also announced the donation of a total sum of N50 million to fight the virus scourge in the country; with N30 million going to the Federal Government Committee on COVID-19 Intervention and N20 million to aid the Lagos State Government’s effort to control the spread of the virus.

 

TUESDAY MARCH 31, 2020

Shippers’ Council Asks Port Users & Govt Agencies to support the FG in containing Covid-19

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has called for synergy amongst port users and government agencies to support the Federal Government in containing the scourge of the deadly virus.

In a statement by the management of the Council, various efforts are being made by NSC for the possible sustenance of port operations during this period.

The statement said NSC has been inundated with complaints that banks are not offering services with respect to port operations which without doubt, hampers cargo clearance from the ports.

Shippers’ Council therefore said: “The attention of the banks is, therefore, drawn to the Notice by the Federal Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria, which allows operations in the financial system.  We note that port operations as indicated by the President are essential and critical services.

 

Journalists Task NIMASA DG On Harnessing Blue Economy, Fight Against Piracy

The Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN) has congratulated Dr. Bashir Jamoh, on his recent appointment as the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

In a statement issued and signed by the President of the Association, Mr. Yusuf Babalola, the association urged Jamoh on his assumption to office to move the nation’s maritime sector forward.

The statement reads: “Given your track record, including as President of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration (CIoTA) and NIMASA Executive Director, Finance and Administration, beside your academic credentials, we are not in doubt about your competence and capability to take the agency to greater heights.

 

WEDNESDAY APRIL 1, 2020

MWUN tasks terminal operators on daily incentives for dockworkers 

Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on concessionaires to provide incentives for dock Workers within the 14-day lockdown.

As the lockdown has been said not to put a stop to port operations in Lagos, leaders of the union who embarked on the assessment for first-hand information on the safety of their members, made the call, on Tuesday.

President General of the MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju who led his team on a courtesy visit to Lagos Ports Complex (LPC) and Tin Can Island Port Complex (TCIPC) since last week, reiterated that Union’s commitment in ensuring a befitting welfare package and proper safety standards for members against the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic across the globe.

 

Covid-19: ITF Seafarers’ Trust launches $1.23M Fund to Support Seafarers

A UK-based charity the ITF Seafarers’ Trust (ITFST) is launching a USD 1.23 million (GBP 1 million) emergency fund to address the impact of the global pandemic on seafarers and their families.

Seafarers are being retained on vessels after sign-off, left ashore in foreign countries unable to return to their families, and deprived of information as port authorities ban crew change-overs and limit the movement of foreign nationals to curb the pandemic from spreading further, according to NGOs.

The crewing crisis has seen conditions onboard vessels deteriorate and is impacting seafarers’ state of mind.

The seafarers are reporting an increasing trend of non-payment of wages, contract extensions without informed consent, crews being left in foreign states to pay hotel bills and to seek flights home using their own funds.

Putting seafarers’ mental health and wellbeing at risk is also a safety risk for the shipping industry and trade flows, industry bodies have warned.

The fund aims to provide a lifeline for welfare services at risk due to the financial impact the virus has had on business and fundraising and activities, the charity said.

 

THURSDAY APRIL 2, 2020

 

Covid-19:  Port Congestion looms as freight forwarders abandon cargo at ports — Bello appeals for seamless cargo clearance

 

Despite the Federal Government directive that ports should remain open to facilitate seamless evacuation of cargo in the midst of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, freight forwarders have refused to clear their goods from the ports.

This incident has therefore led to cargo glut as most of the terminals are almost full to their capacity with vessels laden with cargoes still at anchorage, waiting to discharge.

The freight forwarders have attributed their inability to clear their cargo, despite being exempted from the movement restriction order, to the challenges with Customs clearance procedures and the failure of banks to open to enable them  process duty payment.

The Vice Chairman of ENL Consortium, one of the terminal operators, Princess Vicky Haastrup lamented that the terminal is already full to the brim with 85 per cent yard space already occupied.

Lockdown measures, travel restrictions left seafarers in limbo – HRAS CEO 

The recent lockdown measures and travel restrictions have left seafarers in limbo, especially those between contracts and who are part of the global crew change-over system.

David Hammond, CEO of Human Rights at Sea (HRAS), believes there has been an unexplained under-reporting of the detail of the pandemic’s consequences on seafarers, as well as their families.

Unions and NGOs have been swamped with seafarers’ plights for assistance as they are left stranded on vessels without pay, unable to return home and largely deprived of information about the COVID-19 developments deeply affecting their state of mind.

“It is now time to tell the whole truth, including the good, the bad and the ugly of the ramifications of COVID-19 on the silent heroes who will keep us supplied and alive in this unprecedented global crisis,” he said.

 

FRIDAY APRIL 3, 2020

Maritime Regulators appeal to stakeholders for understanding of guidelines to contain spread of covid 19

Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Bashir Jamoh and his counterpart in the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello have called for understanding among maritime operators and stakeholders.

The appeal came on the heels of the guidelines for vessels calling at the Nigerian Ports recently issued by NIMASA to ensure shipping activities continue in a way that would not allow the spread of COVID-19.

The duo made the call when Bello led some stakeholders to NIMASA head office in Lagos on Thursday in Lagos.

 

Lekki Deep Seaport Receives $221m China Harbour Equity Fund, Gets New CEO

Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL), has received the infusion of $221,047, 248 equity funding from China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), one of the shareholders of the Lekki Deep Sea Port Project currently under construction at the Lagos Free Trade Zone, Ibeju Lekki.

This was disclosed by the Chairman of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited, Mr. Biodun Dabiri, in Lagos at the end of the board meeting held on Tuesday via teleconferencing.

“I am pleased to confirm that Lekki Port has received the $221,047,248 equity funding from China Harbour Engineering Company. The payment was received on Monday, 30th March 2020”, he said.

According to Dabiri, this equity injection coming at this time when the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic shows the deep commitment of CHEC to the success of the project, which will greatly contribute to fast tracking the timely delivery of the project and bring about economic prosperity to Nigeria as a whole.

Speaking further, the Chairman also announced that the Board of Directors had approved the appointment of Du Ruogang as the new Chief Executive Officer for Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL) with immediate effect.

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