The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has called for urgent global and regional cooperation to fight piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
This is as two vessels were targeted in the Gulf of Guinea, last week.
The body decried the spate of pirate attacks in the sub region, describing it as alarming.
The Chairman, ITF Seafarers’ Section, David Heinde, disclosed this in a statement made available to The Tide yesterday.
Heinde said, “Alarmingly, the frequency’ and severity of attacks on vessels in the Gulf of Guinea is increasing, with a spate of recent kidnappings and ruthless acts of violence in recent months.
‘The entire maritime industry urgently needs to take action to improve prevention, reporting and response to attacks across the Gulf.
“Coastal countries in the Gulf must work with industry and unions to identify actions, and allocate adequate resources, to reduce the risks posed to seafarers and shipping.
“While we acknowledge the difficult international regulatory environment, we must continue to build capacity and cooperation, and address the mounting human toll that these attacks are having on lives and physical and mental health transiting through the waters of West Africa”.
Heinde said two weeks ago, pirates kidnapped nine crew members from the Norwegian-flagged MB Bonito while the vessel was at anchor off the coast of Benin in West Africa.
Two days later, four crew members were also taken hostage off the coast of Togo from the Greek-flagged Elka Aristotle.
Several other abductions have been reported in the Gulf of Guinea in recent months, including eight crew members taken hostage off Cameroon in August, and 10 Turkish seafarers off the coast of Nigeria in July 2019.
It will be recalled that in October, 2019, International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported that the Gulf of Guinea accounted for 86 percent of 49 crew taken hostage so far in 2019.
Although the number of crew members taken worldwide was down significantly from the 112 taken in the first nine months of 2018.
IBM reports insisted that the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a concern because of the increasing scale and frequency of attacks.
NSC Boss Warns Maritime Agencies Against Unhealthy Rivalries
The Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello, has warned agencies in the maritime sector to avoid superiority rivalry, saying it has done the industry more harm than good.
He also advised heads of maritime agencies to avoid cosmetic cooperation and come together for the development of the industry.
Bello gave this warning at a sent-forth ceremony organised in his honour, last Friday.
Bello bowed out of service last Friday after eight years of service.
He was appointed by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2013. Before his appointment, he was the Director, Legal Services of the NSC.
Bello noted that some agencies spent so much in defending their territories while neglecting their statutory mandates.
According to him, “There is lack of synergy among the agencies and I don’t think it is succeeding because it has been the basis of equality. There is no agency that is better than the other.
“Agencies are not graded by their budgets but what they contribute, but it is very unfortunate some agencies think that maritime starts and stops with them. No, it cannot work.
“Some agencies are trying to defend territories and in doing so, they go to a large extent and that is not good. They spend a lot of money to defend these territories while they neglect what they are established to do and that’s why we are not developing and that’s what Nigerian Shippers’ Council will never take from anybody not now, tomorrow or forever. We are all equal, we all have contributions to make.
“We can’t be having cosmetic cooperation, we have to have real cooperation”.
Bello said that the Federal Ministry of Transportation had undergone a lot of transformations, saying the era of state capture was over.
He lauded the Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors of the Ministry for giving the Council the opportunity to achieve a lot through their supports.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
Okowa Seeks Permanent Site For Maritime Varsity
The Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the Federal Government to develop the permanent site of the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko.
Okowa made the call while playing host to the Governing Council of the university during a courtesy visit at the Government House, Asaba.
He said the establishment of a permanent campus would go a long way in putting the university on a sound footing, and ultimately enable it to deliver on its core mandate of imparting sound maritime-related education on students.
The governor said he was happy that the institution took off academic activities at the temporary site but urged the Federal Government to make resources available for the construction of buildings and provision of amenities that would enhance academic activities.
He noted that the birth of the special educational institution for the training of manpower in the maritime sector had strengthened peace and the economy of riverine communities.
Okowa advocated the need for more projects to be sited in riverine areas because of the inputs of riverine areas to the economy of the nation.
“We thank God that the Maritime University has started even when we have challenges because we do know that the take-off of the university brought good news to our people and helped us to build peace, particularly in our riverine areas”, he said.
Earlier, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of the university, Dr Elias Courson, commended Governor Okowa for his inspiring and magnanimous support towards the take-off and continued development of the university.
He also thanked the governor for establishing three additional universities in the state, which would provide additional access to quality education not only to Deltans but to Nigerians.
Dr Courson, however, appealed to Okowa to assist the university in completing the renovation/ remodelling of the classroom blocks, construction of additional staff quarters and provision of a potable water scheme in the campus.
By: Chinedu Wosu
2022 Nations Cup: S’Eagles To Travel To Cameroon By Boat
The Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) says it will convey the Super Eagles of Nigeria by boat to Cameroon for next year’s Nations Cup.
Managing Director, LAGFERRY, Abdullah Balogun, stated this in a statement.
“We plan to take Nigeria’s Super Eagles to Cameroon for next year’s Nations Cup after achieving that of Benin Republic — this is a goal we have set for ourselves”, Balogun said.
LAGFERRY said they considered the boat trip following the success recorded in the Benin experience.
He said, “It was a major milestone for us to transport Nigeria’s national team to the Benin Republic through the waterways.
“Coming on board LAGFERRY through the international route to the Benin Republic is a mind-blowing experience. We were excited to be part of it”.
The LAGFERRY boss said the success recorded in the Benin game, where the Eagles won 1-0 away, was as a result of the trouble-free trip.
“It reflected on the field of play and it showed on their (players) performances because they came out victorious in the game,” he said.
Balogun said the players, during next year’s boat trip, would enjoy free Wi-Fi, USB pots and a lot of entertainment and side attractions enabled by technology.
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