MARITIME THIS WEEK: Recap of News, Events

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MARITIME THIS WEEK: Recap of News, Events

Abiodun OBA

MONDAY May 4, 2020

The focused attention on “Customs’ #COVID-19 Rice: A Kiss Of Death?”

EDITORIAL; Customs’ Covid-19 Rice: A Kiss Of Death?

The Coronavirus pandemic currently ravaging the world has thrown up the good, the bad and the ugly sides of the respiratory disease.

It has brought about lockdown, movement restriction and hunger which are the fall out of the economic lockdown.

However, ironically, the pandemic has its own good side.

In Nigeria, we are not short of such palliatives.

One of such palliatives is the large quantities of bags of rice surrendered by the Nigeria Customs Service at the behest of the Federal government.

In addition to its questionable cash transfer scheme, the Federal government has tapped Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, to release sizable quantity of seized rice he kept in the Customs’ warehouses across the country.

This is to feed the hungry and vulnerable Nigerians who have been quarantined in their homes as a result of the pandemic.

The deployment of the Customs palliative has since been trailed with controversy.

The beneficiary states in the South-West and South-South have alleged that the rice is not good for human consumption.

Four states were said to have rejected the offer.

While the Customs was living in denial, the benefitting states were insisting that the rice was poisonous.

Despite the public concerns this matter has generated, the Customs top hierarchy has kept mum on the raging controversy.


Covid-19: Shippers Council recalls staff in phases – asks Level 16 Officers to resume duties

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council yesterday asked officers on grade level 16 and 17 to return to office.

In a statement signed by the Executive Secretary of the Council, Barr. Hassan  Bello and a copy made available to our correspondent,  Bello said the date for resumption of other staff will be done in phases.



Immigration takes advantage of ease in lockdown to commence issuance of passports 

Immigration announces staggered
collection of processed international passports

The Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr. Muhammad Babandede, has ordered passport offices across the country to begin issuance of passports.

The Federal Government agency in a statement released on Monday through the  Service Public Relations Officer (SPEO), Mr Sunday James, Babandede disclosed that passport officers were asked to take advantage of the Government’s phased easing of lockdown to release the processed passport to the applicants.

The NIS boss explained that the Federal Government phased and gradual easing of lockdown was effective from yesterday, Monday 4, 2020.

It will be recalled that Babandede had during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in the country, directed all the passport offices across the nation to clear all passport backlog for applicants enrolled for immediate issuance when the lockdown is lifted.

The agency, however, urged applicants to follow the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) directives on social distancing, wearing of facemask, washing of hands using soap, use of hand sanitizers among others at the point of collection of the passport.


Shell denies responsibility for death of aquatic creatures in Niger-Delta.

Health hazard in the makingThe

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) yesterday said it was not responsible for the fish kill incident along the Niger Delta coastline states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, and Rivers, and other places within the region.

Recall, that an Environmentalist, Mr Furoebi Akene, has alleged that the dead fishes littering Niger Delta coastline were caused by the discharge of toxic chemicals from Shell’s operations at Forcados Oil Export terminal.

Akene, who is the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Centre for Environmental Preservation and Development (CEPAD), said in Yenagoa that there was no oil spill linking the massive death of fishes floating near the Atlantic coastline in Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom.



Dock workers on war path with terminal operator over poor safety kits for workers amid Covid -19

There is imminent danger as Dock workers working with Ports and Terminal Operations Limited (PTOL) in Port Harcourt allegedly failed to provide safety kits and Personal Protective Equipment to the labourers.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the development, the workers lampooned the terminal operator for failing to provide personal safety equipment for members in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic

PTOL operates berths one to four of the Port Harcourt port in Rivers State; with fifteen years concession agreement with the federal government.

In a short video on Tuesday, 98% of the dockworkers were spotted with bathroom slippers without safety and protective kits on.


Resource Control: Apapa youths threaten service providers over neglect.  — accuse local government of compromise

In what was akin to the Niger-Delta agitation over resource Control, the youths resident in Apapa have taken on the service providers operating in the Lagos ports over the need to allow them be part of opportunities accrued from the boundless resources within the local government area.

Apapa is home to two of the largest and most viable seaports in the country with combined contributions of over 70 per cent of the revenue accrued from nation’s maritime industry.

Apparently pissed off by the prolonged neglect from the terminal operators, shipping companies, Government agencies and other multi- national corporations plying their businesses in the area,
a body of youths under  the aegis of United Apapa Youth Forum (UAYF), has threatened to disrupt port operations to register their grievances over what they described as snobbish attitude of the operators.

The body of youth numbering over one thousand lamented that maritime agencies, multinationals have the history of snubbing the youth of the community by failing to plough back into the community.

They alleged that the organisations have no record of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to the youth of the community.

The youth called on the management of shipping companies, terminal operators, government agencies to ensure that at least a reasonable percentage of employment opportunity quota is given to the qualified youth of the community.


Buhari Approves 5 Banks for Coronavirus Donations

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the opening of #COVID-19 Donor Accounts in five commercial banks.

The Director Information and Press, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Henshaw Ogubike, in a statement in Abuja, named the banks as Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank, UBA, and First Bank.

Ogubike explained that all public funds allocated and dedicated to the fight against #COVID-19 including the Fiscal Stimulus Package as well as all donations by corporate bodies and individuals to the Federal Government towards the fight against  #COVID-19 and the mitigation of its social and economic effects on citizens are covered under the new approval.

He said also included are donations under the Private Sector Coalition Against #COVID-19 (#CACOVID) Fund domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria.


Nigeria adds four weeks to ban on all flights 

The ban on all flights in Nigeria which is due to expire today (Thursday), has been extended by another four weeks in the face of the raging coronavirus pandemic.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SSG), Boss Mustapha and Chairman of the task announced the extension during the daily briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said: “Tomorrow (Thursday) marks the last day for the enforcement of the closure of Nigeria’s airspace to flights. We have assessed the situation in the aviation industry and have come to the conclusion that given the facts available to us and based on the advice of experts, the ban on all flights will be extended for an additional four weeks.”

According to the PTF chairman, the outcomes of the modelling it has adopted suggest that dangers lie ahead for the country.


FRIDAY MAY 8, 2020

Agitation of freight forwarders over demurrage waivers misplaced–Haastrup

The Vice-chairman of ENL Consortium Limited, Operators of Terminals C and D, Apapa Port, Princess Vicky Haastrup, has dismissed the agitation of freight forwarders over demurrage waivers as lacking in substance as such demand was misplaced.

Haastrup, who is also the Chairman of Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), disclosed that the Terminal operators actually complied with the directive of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to grant waivers but blamed clearing agents for not taking advantage of the storage free period granted by the Port authority.

Haastrup, who was speaking in Lagos against the complaints of Customs brokers over the controversial directive, claimed that many clearing agents who showed up enjoyed the free period.

She declared that most of the Customs brokers were ignorant about the nature of free rent period which NPA was talking about; hence some refused to take advantage of the demurrage grace period.


Covid-19:  Shipping company suspends low sulphur surcharge on Nigerian importers

French shipping company, CMA/CGM has suspended low sulphur surcharge on Nigeria-bound cargoes around the world.

The company however, said that as from 1st of June 2020, it will suspend surcharge slammed on importers on low sulphur surcharge.

The low sulphur surcharge is the general name for the extra cost which carriers charge as a result of the higher cost of IMO 2020 compliant fuel.

The company in a statement made available to newsmen said, “CMA CGM has introduced a Low Sulphur Surcharge (LSS20) effective December 1, 2019 to cover the increase in fuel-related costs associated with the implementation of the IMO 2020 regulation.

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