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IMO Urges Fair Distribution Of Covid-19 Vaccines To Seafarers

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The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has called on member states to ensure that Covid-19 vaccines are made available to all seafarers across the globe.
The Secretary-General, IMO, Kitack Lim, in a statement, said all IMO member states should support a fair global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to enable seafarers have access to it.
im also wanted seafarers and marine personnel to be designated as ‘key workers’, noting that some key maritime labour supply countries are reliant on the COVAX initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to access vaccines.
He said, “To ensure access to vaccines of those countries, I call on all IMO member states to work together towards a fair global distribution, beyond fulfilling their national needs.
“No seafarers should be left behind or forced to forgo their careers because of limited resources in their home country.
“The health of the world’s seafarers and the safety of their workplaces has to remain one of our main priorities and can only be guaranteed if industry and member states continue to provide all necessary measures such as testing, appropriate Personal Protective Equipment, (PPE), access to medical care and sanitation facilities to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to addressing the ongoing humanitarian crisis at sea. I therefore reiterate my call to all member states to designate all seafarers and marine personnel as key workers.
“To date, only 58 of our 174 members have notified me that they have done so. The designation of seafarers as ‘key workers’ will facilitate their access to vaccination, since most states are prioritising essential workers in their national Covid-19 vaccination programmes, in accordance with the WHO SAGE Roadmap.
“Seafarers’ lives and work have been affected dramatically by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the last quarter of 2020, the estimated number of seafarers globally waiting to either be relieved or join their ships stood at 400,000. Now, in May 2021, thanks to the collaborative efforts of IMO member states, the shipping industry, social partners and IMO’s sister UN agencies, the number is currently estimated to be about 200,000.
“However, this figure is still unacceptably high and the humanitarian crisis at sea is by no means over. Seafarers still face enormous challenges concerning repatriation, travelling to join their ships, proper access to medical care and shore leave”.
Lim said despite these challenges, the seafarers on board ships had continued to work and provide essential services for the global population.
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Maritime

MWUN Demands Fixing Failed Tin-Can, Onne Ports’ Quay-Aprons

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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has again raised concerns over the decay in ports Infrastructure across the littoral states of the nation, saying the dilapidated quay apron Tin Can Island Port Complex and Port Harcourt Port pose serious danger to dockworkers.
President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, disclosed this on Thursday in Lagos during the recent Dockworkers Day Celebration.
Adeyanju, who is also the Deputy President, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), lamented that the two major seàports in Lagos are old, hence government and the concessionaires have failed to maintain or upgrade the infrastructure for optimal utilisation.
Apparently unhappy with the situation in furtherance to the protection of dockers, the President General stated that “Today’s event is expected to X-ray the challenges faced by the Dockworkers in their daily struggle and efforts toward Port efficiency and in the light of ever-improving technological driven economy.
“MWUN Warns NPA To Stop Vessels From Berthing At Five Star Logistics Terminal.
“Training and career is fundamental and provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential to protect them against various hazardous working conditions.
“It is instructive to note that the environment we operate has posed dangers to our lives. For instance, the quay aprons at Apapa port complex are dilapidated and Tin Can Island Port Complex has collapsed due to long use, while Port Harcourt port is aged and decrepit”.

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MOWCA Seeks Collaboration With Incoming IMO Scribe

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Secretary General of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Dr. Paul Adalikwu, has met with the newly elected Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr. Arsenio A. Dominguez Velasco, in London to continually foster cooperation between both bodies.
Their meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the recently held 33rd General Assembly of the IMO, explored already agreed areas of collaboration between both organisation with a view to continuing them when Velasco resumes in January 2024.
While congratulating Dominguez on his new appointment and reassuring him of MOWCA’s support in promoting environmentally safe and sustainable shipping in West and Central Africa , Adalikwu recalled that he achieved the signing of a Joint Action Plan (JAP) agreed by both bodies in 2022 under the outgoing Secretary General Mr. Kitack Lim.
Adalikwu gave Dominguez a brief on MOWCA, its scope of operations and achievements made under his watch in the past two years, while the incoming IMO SG promised to consolidate and sustain the relationship between both organisations.
The  IMO and MOWCA had agreed on a Joint Action Plan (JAP) to promote maritime security, safe, efficient and environment friendly shipping.
The JAP was agreed upon at IMO headquarters in London with outgoing IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, MOWCA Secretary General, Dr Paul Adalikwu, and transportation ministers from West and Central African countries in attendance.
Both bodies agreed that the JAP be operational from 2022 to 2032 in the first phase and implemented to align towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), African Maritime Transport Charter, African Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050, and African Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development.
Adalikwu described the JAP as a bold step towards ensuring improved safety of ships, crew members and cargoes on African waters, especially in the West and Central African regions.
He added that the move would engender more technical cooperation between IMO and MOWCA for strategic human capital development that will leverage on technology.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

 

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NCS Enforces FG’s 22% Increase On Import Duty

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The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has begun enforcement on the 22.24 percent increase on import duty, by the Federal Government.
Federal Government had increased import duties by as much as 22.24 percent, a development that may worsen the inflationary trend that is already prevailing in the country.
The increase, which is the third this year from records, is expected to drive the cost of clearing a 40-foot container from N7.3 million to N8.9 million, and is warranted by the depreciation of the Naira, as the naira value of the imports rose astronomically, affecting the import duty component.
NCS in a release on Friday, explained that the Comptroller-General of Customs,  Adewale Adeniyi, and the entire personnel were not aware of the development until it was communicated by the Ministry of Finance.
The statement further added that the NCS only carry out the   directive of the Federal Government.
It, however, noted that the Service is not oblivious of what await importers, adding that the agency will maximise its service delivery and work on clearing cargoes as soon as paper works are completed.
”The NCS recognises the import of this exchange rate, particularly when it is done without prior notice on trade.
“We have addressed freight forwarders; we recognise what the Nigerian business community is going through but there is little we can do about fiscal and monetary policies. Our role is to implement them.
“But we align ourselves with government policies because every decision taken is for the collective interest of the nation and I expect that we all abide by it.
“What we said we should do as Customs, which we have told the freight forwarders and clearing agents, is that to mitigate the impact of what they are going to go through in the next few days, we will maximize our service delivery by ensuring that importers do not incur demurrage and associated costs”, the statement noted.
Although the Association of  Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), in reacting to this development through its Vice President, Segun Oduntan, said there was nothing anybody can do about it, he appealed to the government to assist Nigerians in transportation by pegging the duty rate on buses and transport vehicles at zero duty.
He also noted that the development will result in higher inflation on goods and services in the country.

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