No fewer than 13 seafarers have been kidnapped by rampaging pirates off the coast of Cotonou, Benin Republic and coast of Lome, Togo.
This is as pirates attacked three passenger boats along the Billie waterways in Rivers State, killing two persons and injured others who were heading for a wedding ceremony in the Kalabari community, last Saturday.
The Tide reliably learnt that nine of the seafarers were kidnapped off Cotonou on a Norwegian-flagged ship codenamed MV Bonita, last Saturday, while four were kidnapped on Monday aboard a Greek oil tanker, named Elka Aristotle off Lome.
The Norwegian ship owner, J.J. Ugland, in a terse statement on Sunday, said that, ”The Ugland Emergency Response Team are handling this situation as per contingency plans, and they are in contact with relevant authorities. The families of the crew members have been contacted and will be kept informed by Ugland.”
Although the Norwegian ship owner declined making the identities of the crew members and their nationalities public due to security reasons, he said, the ship was carrying a cargo of gypsum, a mineral commonly used as fertilizer.
With regard to the abduction on the Greek tanker, authorities said the four kidnapped crew members include two Filipinos, one Greek and one Georgian.
One security guard was also reportedly shot and wounded in the attack.
The Greek authorities in a statement said, “On Monday, 4th of November 2019, around 0300, the tanker boat Elka Aristotle was attacked around 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the port of Lome by armed individuals,”
The vessel’s manager, European Product Carriers Ltd, confirmed the early morning attack, without providing further details.
Greece’s shipping ministry said it was “closely monitoring the issue.”
The Tide learnt that armed guards were present on the Greek boat and tried to fight off the attackers, but one was wounded.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said while piracy has reduced worldwide, West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea was a high-risk area for abductions and armed robbery.
NPA Board: Group Urges Buhari To Review Rickett’s Appointment
A Coalition of All Progressives Congress (APC) support groups in Cross River State, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to review the appointment of Mr Akin Rickett as Chairman, Governing Board, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The coalition made the call in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Iso Bassey and Secretary, Mr Edo Owan, in Abuja yesterday.
It urged the president to investigate the process through which Rickett was appointed.
“APC in Cross River has more than enough critical stakeholders, leaders and members, who contributed immensely and reasonably to the growth of the party.
“These relevant stakeholders have cognate experience in leadership and also sacrificed for the party, served the state and country in various capacities.
“APC would be facing a fresh general election in 2023, hence the need to give appointments to political assets and those that would build the party for victory and not to give appointments based on friendship and sentiments.
“And we also urge the president to always consult critical stakeholders in the state in the event of any appointments,” the coalition said.
Onne Port To Introduce Electronic Truck Call-Up System
The management of Onne Port in Rivers State has entered into partnership with the West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) to introduce Electronic Truck Call-Up System, to enhance its operations.
The port management said the Electronic Truck Call-Up system would enhance better traffic management in the port.
Manager, Onne Port, Alhasan Ismaila Abubakar, disclosed this in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt, recently.
He said that the system would enhance truck operations from the trailer parks within the port complex.
Abubakar said Dangote Group was also remodelling its jetty at the Federal Operational Terminal (FOT) at the cost of $28.25 million with an export capacity of two million metric tons of clinker and import capacity of 0.75 million of gypsum.
According to him, both the export and import are expected to commence within the first quarter of 2020.
Abubakar said the port was currently undergoing expansion of its facilities to meet up with the growing bulk of urea export operation by Idorama Terminal.
He said that the urea export operation which is currently over 800 metric tons per annum, is expected to be sustained in 2020 and it was projected to reach two million tons by 2022.
By: Chinedu Wosu
725 Vessels Berthed At Onne Port In 2019-Port Manager
No fewer than 725 vessels of various capacities and sizes berthed in Onne Port in 2019.
This was as the port management said that there had been a reduction in terms of pirate attacks in the complex.
The port also received a general cargo of 535,336 metric tons in 2019.
This was made known to The Tide by the Manager, Onne Port, Alhasan Ismaila Abubakar, during an interview in his office, Onne Complex.
He expressed delight that the port now recorded high level of container traffics in the Eastern ports, especially in oil and gas and general industrial equipment.
Abubakar said the port now enjoyed a current permissible draft of 10.6 metres.
Describing the port as the largest trafficker of oil and gas in the region, the manager said, Onne was a multi purpose port across West Africa.
“We can handle all containers, general cargoes, including cars in Onne Port”, he said.
The port manager said the port in 2019 handled over 23,723,453 liquid Bulk as well as 743,707 dry bulk.
The port, Abubakar said, handled 2,522,959 containers as against 2,234,301 in 2018.
He declared that a total of 2,429 boats were serviced in 2019 as against 1,678 in 2018.
By: Chinedu Wosu
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