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Indigenous Ship Owners To lift Crude Oil, Soon

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The Minister of Transport, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman has constituted a 12-member committee to work out modalities of having indigenous ship owners transport crude oil.

The Minister also presided over a meeting with stakeholders in the maritime industry in Lagos, asked the committee to submit its report within two weeks.

The committee comprised representatives of the Federal Ministry of Transport, the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) Indigenous Ship-Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) , Federal Ministry of Finance and other representatives.

Suleiman said the ministry was making efforts to ensure indigenous ship-owners secure government’s approval to move crude oil.  This is coming on the heels of reported loss of over N1.57 trillion by Nigeria through the carrying of its crude oil by foreign shipping firms.

He explained that there was need  for the Federal Government and the Nigerian National  Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to approve the shipment of oil based on cost, insurance and freight (CIF).

The minister noted  that a lot of money that would have been collected by government agencies got missing through sales of the crude oil based on Free On Board (FOB0.  he said such sales pattern had led to revenue leakages and stunted growth in the maritme industry.

Suleiman said the ministry would discuss with NNPC to be sure that its operations would not be jeopardized by the indigenous ship owners.  “we will talk to NNPC to start the process of freight and asked the shipping companies to start carrying bilateral cargoes”, he said.

He said the NNPC and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources had insisted that indigenous ship owners must show that they are capable of effective handling the cargoes.

Suleiman said in doing this, government would not have a repeat of what happened during the cargo allocation era.

If the cargoes are given to indigenous shipping companies the economy would develop and more job opportunities would be created, the minister said.

On controversies over, the waiver clause, in the Cabotage Act,  the Minister said in line with what obtains in other countries, he agreed that for any company that applied for waiver or exemption, the request could be forwarded to ISAN for their own inputs, saying, this would determine whether on indigenous company could handle it or not.

The chairman of ISAN, Chief Isaac Jolapamo said more than 200 ships owned by members of the association, mostly tankers and off-dock supply vessels were old.

He recalled that sometimes the association asked for ship repair and refurbishment fund so that some of the old vessels could be repaired, but nothing was done by government.

He called for strict  enforcement of the cabotage law for government to generate enough revenue for the Cabotage Vessel Financing  Fund (CVFF) for Nigeria to acquire new vessels.

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Maritime

NPA Frowns Against Extortion Of Truck Drivers

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has threatened to sanction any staff that indulges in extortion of money from truck drivers at Apapa Port. 
The Acting Managing Director, NPA, Muhammed Bello-Koko, disclosed this shortly after a meeting with Governor Babatunde Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
Koko expressed optimism that the agency’s collaboration with the state government would bring an end to the perennial gridlock within and around the Apapa area.
The NPA boss emphasised the need to strengthen enforcement of traffic laws along the roads leading to Apapa and Tin Can ports, which are the two busiest ports in the country. 
He said NPA had been inundated with complaints of extortion from truckers, especially by security operatives, demanding money from drivers before accessing the ports.
 He described the practice as a major disincentive to the smooth implementation of the truck call-up system.
“One of the complaints of the truckers has to do with extortion by security operatives, the Army, the Police, the Nigerian Navy and even NPA security staff.
“This is one of the areas we require the intervention of government, because we have police officers deployed from the State Command who are allegedly involved in this. We at the NPA have resolved to take the right punitive measures against any of our staff involved in this.
“We have moved some of them out of port locations, and we will do further reviews. Whoever is found involved would be appropriately sanctioned”, he said. 
The NPA boss acknowledged that the Lagos State Government had been a close partner in terms of enforcement, but asked for more intervention to end the menace. 
“NPA has reached out to the Federal Ministry of Works, we have been speaking with the Director of Works in the State, and we have asked that they should provide some palliatives around Sunrise Bus-stop.
“We were made to understand that the contract for that section of the road has just been awarded, but because of the rains, work has been delayed”, he added.

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Maritime

MWUN Tasks NIMASA, NIWA On Boat Drivers’ Training

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The Maritime and Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to train and retrain boat drivers in the country to reduce incessant accidents on our waterways.
MWUN said training and retraining of boat drivers would enhance their capability and efficiency in the industry and save lives.
Chairman, MWUN, Rivers State Chapter, Comrade Jonah Jumbo disclosed this during a telephone interview with The Tide.
Comrade Jumbo also advised NIMASA and NIWA to sanction any boat driver involved in over-speeding, overloading and reckless driving to reduce boat mishaps.
The chairman who regretted that most boat drivers lacked the skills and technical know-how to navigate the waters, said their human errors often caused accidents.
Comrade Jumbo insisted that regular training for boat drivers would enrich their skills and enable them to read the tide while on transit.
He frowned at the increasing rate of boat mishaps on the nation’s waterways and urged all stakeholders to check the trend. 
The MWUN boss called on the Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police to arrest and prosecute any driver indulging in alcohol and overloading of passengers while on transit, adding that the act caused over seventy percent of water accident.
He appealed to drivers to desist from acts capable of causing accident, noting that many families have lost their loved ones through reckless driving and unholy acts caused by human errors on the waterways.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Sokoto To Boost Water Transport With Motorised Boats

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The Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, says his administration will boost water transportation with motorised boats.
He also said his government would make life jackets available to all travellers and other water users to reduce boat mishap.
The governor stated this while commiserating with the people of Shagari Local Government Area that recently lost their loved ones in a boat mishap in the state. 
He regretted that the state had lost many lives to boat accidents and prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and their families the fortitude to bear their loss.
Also speaking, Chairman, Shagari Local Government Council, Aliyu Dantine Shagari, said eight of the victims were married women while five were children and elderly men.
He attributed the cause of the boat mishap to overloading.
“But there are other causes of boat mishap including strong wind. We are still investigating the matter to know what actually led to the accident”, he said. 
The chairman advised boat drivers to desist from overloading and over speeding, noting that the community lost over six people in a similar accident last year.

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