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Japan Releases S’Korean Fishing Vessel Captain

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Japan’s Coast Guard said it had released a South Korean fishing boat captain who was arrested after his trawler refused an order to stop in Japanese waters.

The captain’s release puts a quick end to the incident.

The incident, which occurred recently, follows a bitter dispute involving a Chinese fishing vessel and the Japanese Coast Guard last year, which developed into a diplomatic row between both countries.

The speedy release was expected after the South Korean Coast Guard said earlier  that a joint investigation with its Japanese counterpart showed the boat was not fishing illegally.

The captain would, however, be fined 3,000 dollars for refusing the order to stop.

The vessel was chased by Japanese patrol boats in waters 42 miles east of disputed isles  known as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan before it sailed back into South Korean waters, a statement by the South Korean Coast Guard said.

In the face of North Korean hostility, Seoul and Tokyo have put behind years of animosity over Japanese colonial rule at the start of last century to strengthen bilateral ties.

The defence ministers of the two countries have agreed to boost military cooperation.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara is due to visit Seoul on Saturday for more talks about how to deal with Pyongyang and how to further strengthen their deterence against the North.

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Maritime

Boat Mishap Kills Four In Lagos

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The Lagos State Wa
terways Authority (LASWA) has confirmed that four persons lost their lives to a boat mishap along the Irewe creek in Ojo Local Government Area of the state.
LASWA said the accident occurred at about 6:10pm on Tuesday when two passenger boats were returning from where they had gone to pick fun seekers that had visited some of the resorts in the riverine communities.
The authority said that the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency in conjunction with other relevant agencies were still searching for the missing passengers till late Tuesday night.
LASWA disclosed this on Wednesday in a statement made available to The Tide by its General Manager, Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, saying 13 passengers had been rescued so far from the mishap.
According to him, the two passenger boats had a head-on collision along the Irewe Creek.
“There were 10 passengers in a boat coming from Ojo Jetty and eight passengers in another coming from the Irewe Community when the incident occurred.
“Eighteen passengers in total were involved, with 13 rescued during the operation. But we recorded three fatalities, and two passengers including an adult and child are still missing,” he said.
Emmanuel assured that search and rescue operation would be intensified by relevant state agencies and the local community who were the first responders at the scene.
According to him, preliminary investigations by LASWA and LASEMA revealed that the incident was caused by reckless driving and overspeeding on the part of boat drivers, as one of them was not in his right of way.
“Further investigations would be thoroughly carried out by the authority and those found wanting will be sanctioned accordingly,” he said.
The Tide recalls that Lagos State has recorded several boat mishaps in recent times, with one on June 29 and another one on the Lagos lagoon claiming 10 lives.

 

Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Passengers Decry Insecurity On Bonny/Bille Waterways

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Following the spate of pirate attacks and insecurity along Bonny/Bille waterways, passengers plying the route are expressing worry over the security of their lives and property.
They described the rate of abduction and killings by suspected sea robbers in the area as worrisome.
Speaking with our correspondent on the situation on Wednesday, a boat passenger, Mr Jack Power, said the incident had caused low patronage to drivers as most boat operators were forced out of business by the act.
Power called on the state government, the Nigerian Navy and the marine police to beef up security at the waterways, saying regular patrol of the channels and deployment of gunboats to the routes would reduce crime rate on the waterways. Another passenger, Mrs Benedith Koko, noted that most boat drivers and passengers were now afraid to ply the Bonny/Bille route, insisting that the Bonny waterway is no longer safe and secured for business activities.
“Most boat drivers and passengers are scared of plying the Bonny/Bille route due to pirate attacks and abduction of passengers by the hoodlums on daily basis” she said.
She also said that piracy along the Bonny waterway had crippled socio-economic activities in Bonny Island and forced many companies and business  outfits to  close down and relocate from the area.
She appealed to the state government to come to the rescue of both drivers and passengers plying the waterways and put necessary security measures that would check piracy in the area.

 

Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Onne Port Assures Terminal Operators Of Improved Standards

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The management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Onne Port, has assured terminal operators and other stakeholders of continuous improvement on the standards of the port.
Port Manager, Onne. Alhassan Ismaila Abubakar, gave the assurance while addressing participants at the first quarter Safety Committee meeting held at the Port Manager’s Conference Hall at Onne Port last Wednesday.
He expressed satisfaction with the NPA for sustaining the tempo of enhanced safety and environmental standards at the port.
NPA, he said, was steadily on top of attaining appropriate safety standards in all its operations.
He urged terminal operators and other stakeholders to key into the vision of the authority to maintain high level of standards.
“At NPA, we are working to attain ISO 9001 and OH SAS 18001 certificate. By this, we are setting the agenda, we are also renewing our procedures, moving on to enhance Ease of Doing Business at the Port”, he said.
Abubakar assured the operators that there would be numerous benefits for NPA and all the stakeholders in the area of job execution, creating an organisation and wide performance with the standards of ISO..
Earlier, the Chief Port Safety Officer, Onne Port,  Engr. Sule Wunti, had urged the stakeholders to review the performance of the port in the area of safety compliance.
He commended the NPA management as well as management of the Intel’s Services for  recording improvement in safety within the period.
“Intel’s did not record any incident within the period. I commend them and urged others to emulate them”, Wunti said.

 

Chinedu Wosu

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