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Barge Operators Urge NIMASA To Dredge Waterways

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The Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN) has called on Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to live up to its responsibilities by dredging the nation’s waterways to enhance movement of vessels in and out of the country.
The Association also wants the Federal Government to ensure security of lives and properties across the nation’s seaports.
Making the call at the weekend in a press release,   the Public Relations Officer (PRO), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Daniel Eze, urged the government to dredge the waterways and create barge channels because more activities are now ongoing at the waterways.
“Government should dredge, and also provide security on waterways. Operators should operate within the stipulated safety guidelines and be involved in policymaking as it relates to the maritime sector,” he said.
He explained that the dredging would mean that more channels will be opened and this will lead to more safe badge operations in the waterways, and ultimately result in more money from maritime operations in the country.
“If barges are forced to go through some of these channels that are not dredged with other users, it can lead to accident”, he said.
According to Eze, expectations are high that 2022 will witness an increase in the operations of badges. This, he said, is what has necessitated the call for Government to partner with BOAN and NIWA to encourage investors.
While noting that BOAN recorded relatively fewer accidents on the waterways in 2021, the PRO siad it was due to compliance with safety procedures, and directives on Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of barge operators, Nigerian Ports Authority and other regulators.
“In 2019, there was a devastating accident that occurred on the waterways and this led to regulators looking into the operations of barges in Lagos waterways,” he said.
The image maker said the Association extended hands of fellowship to the Maritime Workers Union, the operational arm of maritime, to ensure that their operations are seamless and consolidated.
“We also ensured that they align themselves with the SOP that governs barge operations within Lagos pilotage district,” he said.

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Maritime

Dockworkers’ Election: Shun Violence, Trustee Urges Members

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Ahead of the forthcoming Port Harcourt District Dockworkers elections scheduled to hold on 3rd February, 2022, a trustee of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Harry Waite, has called on members to do everything possible to have a hitch-free election.
Waite, who made the call during an exclusive interview in Port Harcourt, noted that the election is long overdue, hence, the need for members to comport themselves appropriately, to prevent unwarranted occurrences.
Dockworkers election”, he said, “is not by selection, but a process where workers would elect candidates of their choice, devoid of malpractice.
“This election is different from selection. it is not a community election. It’s only workers that filled forms and completed the election procedures that will be voted for. We are not for community selections. So, do the right thing and let us have a free, fair, and trouble-free election”, he said.
He appealed to members from all the zones to come out enmass and vote candidates of their choice, insisting that only accredited dockworkers of the zone would be cleared and allowed to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice.
The election, he said, is slated to hold in the Atlantic Hall of Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, on the 3rd February.
The Port Harcourt District Dockworkers comprises Port Harcourt, Onne, Calabar, Warri and Uyo Zones.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

SOAN Expels Member Over Indebtedness

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Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) says it has expelled one of its members, Oil Flow Nigeria Ltd, over failure to refund to the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) monies received as payment for sea experience services.
Speaking on the expulsion, President of SOAN, Dr Mkgeorge Onyung, said Oil Flow Nigeria Ltd had been expelled from the Association after all efforts failed to make the company see the reason for the money to be refunded.
“In as much as I won’t like to join issues with the Rector over this matter, it is important that everybody knows that SOAN as a body did everything possible to make Oil Flow Nigeria Ltd refund the Academy.
“The Academy entered into an agreement with individual shipowners, who are members of SOAN, to provide sea experience opportunity for cadets of the Academy.
“SOAN as a body did not collect money from the Academy, it was an agreement entered into individually with shipowners who are SOAN members. So, that a member of SOAN refused to refund money collected from the Academy for sea experience services does not make every member of SOAN bad?
“For example, if a student or some students of the Academy go against the law of the school, does it make all the cadets of the school bad? No. So, for the Rector to categorise the whole of SOAN over the misdeed of one member is wrong.
“The SOAN leadership has been very cooperative with the Academy over this issue. What we have done is that we have expelled the erring member over this issue.
“The man has been expelled from SOAN and will only be re-admitted after he rectifies this issue because he is a shipowner. It is just unfortunate that the Rector said he is not going to deal with SOAN again because of this issue”, Onyung said.
Earlier, Rector of the Academy, Commodore Duja Effedua, affirmed that Oil Flow Nigeria Ltd collected money from the Academy to provide sea experience services to cadets of the school, but failed to provide such services and also did not refund the money like some other indigenous shipowners.
“The truth is that I am no more interested in that agreement with SOAN. I had good intentions and we started well, but one company, Oil Flow Nigeria Limited decided to defraud the Academy.
“The company took money but did not provide the required sea experience as stated in the agreement. Rather than refund the money like others who couldn’t meet up with the agreement, Oil Flow Nigeria Ltd chose to go to court.
“I am so disappointed because the owner of that company has children. Why would you deprive the children of other Nigerians opportunity for progress in life? Some companies collected money from us, but because they had a very busy schedule and there was no space to train our cadets, they returned the money.
“Oil Flow was tossing us up and down. They will ask us to come to Lagos, we will be in Lagos, and then they will say we should come to Port Harcourt.
“At a point, we had to ask them to give us our money because the siwes programme which was for four months was already over. We had to take the company to court and the case is still in court as we speak”, Effedua said.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Customs Commissions 18 Patrol Boats To Fight Smuggling …Hails New Scanning Machine In One Port

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has commissioned 18 patrol boats to fight smugglers who terrorise the Southern, Eastern and Western waterways of the country.
Comptroller General, Customs, Hameed Ali, stated this during the commissioning of the boats constructed and built by SEWA West Africa in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Ali said the boats, which comprise of nine gunboats and nine logistics boats, were serious signals to criminals.
According to him, the boats, which have high functionalities, are an addition to the Service’s marine arsenal at a time smugglers are running away from the heat on land.
“I feel highly elated to be with you and most importantly, to commission the 18 creek patrol boats.
“The addition of these boats to the Service Marine arsenal at a time when more smugglers are running away from the heat on land to water is simply the right thing to do.
“This event, no doubt, marks the beginning of a renewed offensive against those who chose creeks and waterways as safe haven for their illegal trade.
“The 18 creeks patrol boats, consisting of nine logistic support boats and nine gunboats whose parts are armoured, should send clear signals to the criminals that the game is up.
“Unlike before, we now have boats with flat bottoms that can access the creeks even when the water has receded.” Ali said.
The Comptroller-General noted that NCS tapped into the ingenuity of a Nigerian company, SEWA, to design, construct and build the edifices in-line with Executive Order on Local Content of 2017.
“As you can see, these boats are not only built with our weather and circumstances in mind, they can compete with similar ones built anywhere in the world”, he stated.
He used the opportunity to acknowledge what cordial relationships can lead to in Nigeria.
“The relationship between NCS and SEWA represents excellent examples of what Nigerians can achieve when we come together.
“I, therefore, commend SEWA for delivering on their promise and have no hesitation to recommend them to individuals or organizations that need what they are capable of producing.
“As we commission these boats, which will be deployed for the Southern waters (the Eastern and Western Marine Commands). I urge our marine operatives to use them judiciously in the interest of the nation”, he said.
Ali, however, noted that even with the best of working tools, the NCS’ efforts will not yield maximum output without the cooperation and commitment of Nigerians.
At Onne Port, where he inspected a scanning machine recently acquired by the Federal Government to aid cargo inspection, Ali said the scanner would facilitate trade and reduce the issue of importation of contraband goods.
He said the scanning machine would reduce cost and time spent on inspection of containers.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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