MARITIME THIS WEEK: Recap of News Events


Abiodun OBA


MONDAY May 18, 2020

The focused attention on “CRFFN Dance of Shame

Last week, two freight forwarding associations, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) raised an alarm over what they described as a surreptitious plan to hold public hearing, amidst Covid-19 pandemic lockdown,  on the amendment of the CRFFN Act No 16 of 2007, the Act which gave life and substance to the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).

The opposition mounted by these two leading freight forwarding groups was so formidable that the House Committee on Ports and Harbour had to hastily suspend indefinitely the public hearing it initially slated for May,12th, 2020 in Abuja.

The associations, which are incidentally, the two leading federating units of CRFFN with the highest number of representatives on the current governing board of the council, have shot down the proposed public hearing which they regarded as self- serving, mischievous and ill-timed.

They have rightly argued that the public hearing would not be all-inclusive as it will exclude the participation of majority of the core stakeholders who may not be able to access Abuja due to the current lockdown.

The Committee was also reminded that the CRFFN is still embroiled in legal cobweb with one of its federating units.

The House Committee members have no other choice than to put the controversial public hearing on hold.

We share some of the sentiments of those who opposed the timing of the amendment.

Clearing Agents Urge Customs To Invoke CEMA To Curb Spread Of #COVID-19 

Clearing agents operating at the nation’s seaports have called on the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to invoke the bill of sight in the Customs Excise and Management Act (CEMA) to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the maritime industry.

Speaking, the Vice President of the Association of the Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Kayode Farinto stated that the failure of the service to invoke section 28 and 29 of the Customs Excise and Management Act which gives Customs the power to invoke the ‘Bill of Sight’  could spread the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.

He said the Bill of Sight will help reduce human contacts which may lead to the outspread of the pandemic in the maritime industry and the entire country at large.

TUESDAY MAY 19, 2020

NIWA Cautions Lagos Assembly  Over Mining Law 

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has frown at the attempt of the  Lagos State House of Assembly to over reach itself on the extant mining laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In a press a statement by NIWA and a copy made available to newsmen, the authority said the managing director, Dr George Moghalau has explained in a letter to the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi that only NIWA is mandated by the constitution to have oversight access to the nation’s waterways.

NIWA said the Lagos State assembly is over-reaching itself with an attempt to ambush the regulatory powers of the agency and at the same time interfere in the activities of dredging companies through the composition of a 7-man committee to investigate and make recommendations on dredging activities in Lagos State, a development NIWA considers as deliberate and subtle attempt to muzzle its mandate and expose it to national ridicule.

Relaxation will portend grave danger for our populace – President Buhari

The Federal Government on Monday said any relaxation of the on-going lockdown will only portend grave danger for Nigerians in the country and therefore extends lockdown easing in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun by two weeks.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on #COVID-19, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja.

Mustapha said although modest progress was made, Nigeria was not yet ready for full opening of the economy “and tough decisions have to be taken for the good of the greater majority.”

Mustapha said, “Any relaxation will only portend grave danger for our populace.


Shippers’ Council calls on FG to focus attention on export as substitute for oil

In view of the increasing sharp drop in Oil export, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has called on the federal government to focus attention on exportation of Nigerian produce and other items for the sustenance of the country’s economy.

To achieve the feat, the Council also advocated that the federal government should establish Export Strategy Committee that will facilitate easy processing of export goods out of Nigeria.

The port economic regulator which believes that the rate of cargo coming into the port will trickle, added that export can generate income for the government if proper attention is given to the sector.

In a chat with some journalists on Tuesday, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Council, Barrister Hassan Bello said there was urgent need for the government to focus its attention on export as the fortune of oil is fast dwindling.

Barrister Bello maintained that there was no other time to develop export than the present time as well as to simplify the process for easy exportation of goods outside the country.

Senate passes Bill to amend oil, gas sector Content Development Act for second reading 

The oil  and gas sector received a boost as the Nigerian Senate passed a bill to amend the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector Content Development Act 2010 for second reading.

In the process monitored on Tuesday, the house said the passage would boost local content and strengthen the nation’s economy.

The Bill, sponsored by Senator Teslim Folarin of All Progressive Congress (APC), Oyo Central was read for the second time.

During the debate at the chamber, he noted that the bill seeks to amend 38 Sections of the extant Act while new sections were subsequently introduced.

Folarin explained that the reason behind the Bill amendment was to make the provisions of the sections to be amended into congruence with sector best practices maintaining that the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act, passed in 2010 was meant to address the then abysmally low level of the local content in the oil and gas sector geared towards creating a regulatory mechanism to monitor and enforce compliance by the sector operators.

The amendment he further claimed, was also to help domesticate substantial part of oil and gas exploration and production activities within the country.



FG Approves $454,000 For Seatime Training For NSDP Cadets

Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved $454,000 for sea-time training for Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA).

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, made this known at the end of the second session of the virtual meeting of the FEC coordinated from the Council Chamber of the State House, Abuja.

House of Reps calls for “forensic investigation” of NNPC graduate trainees  recruitment 

— Directs  reinstatement of sacked refineries’ workers

The House of Representatives has directed its Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to carry out a “forensic investigation” of the recent recruitment of graduate trainees by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The investigation is with a view to “determining how many persons were recruited from the various host communities.”

The lawmakers gave the directive at the plenary when  considering and adopting a motion entitled, ‘Urgent Need to Investigate the Termination of the Employment of over 300 Casual Staff of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company.’

Adopting the motion moved by Mr Thomas Ereyitomi, the House resolved to “direct the NNPC and the management of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company to reinstate the over 300 persons affected by this action pending the investigation by the House Committee on Public Petitions.”

FRIDAY MAY 22, 2020


Customs makes largest single seizure of N1.2bn cannabis on Lagos waters

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) made the largest single seizure of  drugs suspected to be Cannabis Sativa valued at N1,002,050,000 during a seagoing patrol on Lagos waters.

The Controller of the Western Marine Command, Comptroller Olugboyega Peters, whose operatives made the interception in a statement in Lagos on Thursday, described the seizure as the “largest single seizure” of such drugs on the waters in the history of the Nigeria Customs.

According to him, the suspected smugglers seen from afar with the drugs dived into the water to escape upon sighting customs officers approaching to make the seizure.

Amaechi Tasks New NPA Board On Trade Facilitation At Seaports

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has charged the newly inaugurated board members of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) to improve on trade facilitation and sea port management in the country.

Amaechi gave the charge at the inauguration of members of the board, Chaired by Mr Akin Ricketts on Thursday in Abuja.

Members of the board include Mohammed Koko, Onari Brown, Sen. Binta Garba, Sen. John Udoidighe, Abdulwahab Adesina, Ghazali Moh’d, Mustapha Dutse and Prof. Idris Abubakar.


NIMASA Set To Investigate Fire Incident On Oil Rig In Ondo

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has sent an investigative team to unravel the circumstances surrounding a recent fire incident at a wellhead offshore Ondo State.

The incident involved a barge belonging to Michharry and Company Nigeria Limited, an offshore and onshore facility provider for the oil and gas industry.

NIMASA deputy director, Public Relations, Philip Kyanet in a statement, said the officers from the Maritime Safety and Seafarers Standard Department (MSSSD) and Marine Environment Management (MEM) Department of the Agency, would conduct both on the spot assessment and detailed analysis of the incident.

NIMASA also advised mariners and other maritime stakeholders to steer clear of the areas affected by the fire for their own safety and to aid investigation and remediation work at the location, Ororo1, in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 95. The site is a Chevron platform sold to local investors.

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