The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says, a total of 75 people were missing after a crowded boat carrying migrants sank off Tunisia sea at the weekend.
Noting that the number of people that risk the dangerous crossing to Europe through the route increases, the organization said 24 people had been rescued from the boat, which departed from the beaches of Zawara in Libya and sank off the coast of Sfax.
The CoastGuard, according to officials, have recovered a body as they continue to search for 75 others who were still missing as at press time.
The statement noted that In recent months, dozens of people have drowned off the Tunisian coast, with an increase in the frequency of attempted crossings from Tunisia and Libya towards Italy.
Meanwhile, the Organization said hundreds of thousands of people have made the perilous mediterranean crossing in recent years.
Figures from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) showed that more than 123,000 migrants arrived in Italy in 2021, compared to more than 95,000 in 2020.
NPA Begins Settlement For $12.5m Port Dredging Contract
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), yesterday said the Federal Government has initiated out-of-court settlement with Niger Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited over the $12.5million Calabar Port dredging contract.
Speaking to newsmen after a tour of the Calabar Port, after paying a courtesy visit on the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, the Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said litigation between the agency and the dredging company has stalled the dredging of the Calabar channel.
He, however, disclosed that NPA and the Federal Ministries of Transportation and Justice have resumed discussions on how to settle the issue out of court so that dredging can continue and vessels with deeper draught can berth at the port.
“The channel management was awarded many years ago but there is litigation between the Nigerian Ports Authority and the contractor that was awarded the contract and this has inhibited our ability to dredge the channel. But, what we have done in recent time is to start looking for out of court settlement.
“The port authority is working with fedteral Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Justice. They have resumed discussions in terms of how to settle this out of court. That has to be done inorder for us to either return the same contractor to continue dredging, or appoint another company to do the dredging of the channel.
“That has been what has delayed or stopped the dredging of that channel. We have taken it very serious, it is one of the reasons we are here today and to also meet with terminal operators and discuss with them, reassure them that government is taking all necessary action to ensure that the issue is taken care of as soon as possible,” he said.
The NPA boss also disclosed that draft limitations has been hindering the calling of vessels at the Calabar Port but disclosed that discussion is ongoing with importers for more vessels to berth at the port using flat bottom vessels.
He stated that the port has close proximity to the North Eastern and Central part of the country, hence the need for it to be viable for importers in the North to import and export their consignment.
“In bringing traffic to Calabar, we are not oblivious of the draft limitations along the channels, but we believe that there are still business that can still come here, import can come to Calabar rather than taken to Lagos.
“Don’t forget that Calabar is strategically located as the nearest port to the North Eastern and some part of the Central states in the country.
“There have been regular interactions with importers which took place in Calabar some months ago and also Port Harcourt and we are here to have the same discussion.
“We have been discussing with shipping companies and the consignees themselves. We would locate major importers into the country and encourage them to use Calabar. And also, exporters to ensure export products are taken out through the seaports”, he said.
Bello-Koko continued continued that “about two days ago a vessel came in with a lot of trucks and equipment. It did not just come from nowhere, it came because of the efforts being made by the Port Manager and Executive Management of the NPA.
Buhari Welcomes First Ship At Lekki Deep Seaport
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has congratulated the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and all stakeholders in the maritime industry on the successful berthing of the first ship at Lekki Deep Seaport.
The vessel, ZHEN HUA 28, delivered three Ship to Shores (STS) and 10 Rubber Tyre Gantries (RTG) cranes that will help in the evacuation of cargoes from vessels to the shore.
In a statement by his media aide, Femi Adesina, on Saturday, Buhari recalled that his approval of four new seaports in the country, including the Lekki Deep Seaport, was hinged on growing the economy, creating massive job opportunities, foreign investment inflows and trade facilitation.
He commended the staff and management in the nation’s maritime sector, who, he said, are working round the clock to make the operationalisation of Lekki Deep Seaport before the end of the year a reality, while reassuring them of his commitment to sustain investments in the new assets.
The statement added that President Buhari recognised that the nation’s maritime and aquatic resources are critical to the livelihoods of Nigerians and Government will spare no effort in successfully harnessing the potential of the sector.
KIDP To Commission Domestic Export Warehouse
The Kaduna Inland Dry Port (KIDP) is set to commission the pilot operations for Nigeria’s first Domestic Export Warehouse services.
This is a way of promoting exportation of made-in- Nigeria goods and agricultural produce.
General Manager (GM), KIDP, Rotimi Raimi-Hassan, who disclosed this at a media parley recently in Lagos, also said support infrastructures were already in place for seamless and efficient operations.
Hassan, who described KIDP as the most equipped facility in Nigeria with a modern laboratory that could check the quality of exports that would be processed through the dry port, said about 10 trucks were ready for deployment.
He stated that KIDP had judiciously utilised the Export Expansion Facility Grant from the Federal Government under the office of the Vice President to achieve hitch-free logistics.
Speaking on storage and durability of perishable goods, the GM said a cold room, with capacity for 50 tons of cargo, had been put in place to keep export cargoes preserved at the required temperature to meet market demands
He explained that the warehouse has 4,000 square meters to do aggregation, consolidation and complete packaging of all types of export within the KIDP facility.
Raimi-Hassan commended the Federal Government, Kaduna State Government, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council and other government agencies for their support towards the success of the DEW project
“I can tell you that we are ready to make DEW a success and will continue to improve in ensuring that whatever leaves our port meets international standards.
“We are working to bring the full port experience to Kaduna in all ramifications, except the berthing of ships. KIDP is equipped with close circuit television for enhanced security and monitoring of all activities within and around the dry port area.
“Arrangements have also been made for exporters to have their cargoes processed for direct shipment. What I mean is that from Kaduna dry port, the cargoes are loaded into ships without any stoppage, re-examination or delay on transit.
“The Federal Government has approved an inter-agency arrangement involving all relevant government regulatory and enforcement agencies to implement this.
“The other privileges like electronic call-up system for improved traffic situation and Nigeria Customs Service Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System 11 are some of the technology-aided platforms meant to improve trade that we are embracing too,” he said.
The GM added that apart from job creation, the port was demonstrating ability to generate reliable data for trade and would greatly improve Nigeria’s participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area.
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