Jackie Chan’s Trip To Vietnam Cancelled Over China Sea Row

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 12, 2019, Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan attends a press conference promoting the release of his new solo album “I Am Me” in Taipei.

 

Martial-arts film star Jackie Chan’s planned visit to Vietnam for a charity has been cancelled following an online backlash related to Beijing’s expansive claims in the disputed South China Sea.

The Hong Kong-born actor was set to visit Hanoi on November 10 to support Operation Smile, a charity that gives free surgery to children with facial disfigurements.

But the plans were scrapped after thousands of angry Facebook users flooded the charity’s official page when his visit was announced last week.

Some of their comments claimed Chan had spoken in support of China’s so-called nine-dash line — its historic justification for its territorial claims in the resource-rich sea.

However, Chan has not explicitly expressed public support for the controversial maritime assertion.

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Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei all have competing claims in the waterway that overlap with China’s — long a source of tension in the region.

Issuing a mea culpa Friday for failing “to predict the reaction” of the Vietnamese public, the charity asserted that their work is “non-political”.

“We are very sorry… Operation Smile will not organise any activities with (Chan’s) involvement” in Vietnam, they said.

Vietnam is one of Beijing’s most vocal critics over the flashpoint South China Sea issue.

The foreign ministry on Thursday repeated its usual proclamation on the sea, citing the country’s “full legal basis and true evidence to affirm Vietnam’s sovereignty”, deputy spokesperson Ngo Toan Thang told AFP.

Chan has in the past been accused of siding with China over Hong Kong’s democracy protests after calling the unrest in his hometown “sad and depressing”.

The comment sparked ire in Hong Kong but was warmly received by many in China where he has a massive fan base.

Earlier this month Hanoi pulled the DreamWorks film “Abominable” from theatres over a scene featuring a map showing the nine-dash line.

Beijing claims the majority of the South China Sea through the vague delineation, which is based on maps from the 1940s as the then-Republic of China snapped up islands from Japanese control.

“Abominable” is not being shown in Malaysia either after its distributor refused to cut the offending scene, while the Philippines also filed complaints.

The US this week accused Beijing of intimidating smaller countries in the South China Sea, a key global fishing route.

China has built military installations and manmade islands in the area, and for several weeks earlier this year sent a survey ship to waters claimed by Vietnam.

Global Maritime Security Conference Holds In Abuja

 

The Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC) is holding in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The event is a high-level Maritime Security Conference hosted by Nigeria with the aim to facilitate a clearer understanding of the challenges of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea region.

The conference is developed to tailor solutions as well as coordinate efforts at strengthening regional and international collaborations to extinguish maritime threats in the region.

In attendance at the event is the DG NIMASA Dakuku Peterside, Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, among other government officials.

 

17 Chinese, Ukrainian Seamen Kidnapped Off Cameroon

 

 

Nine Chinese and eight Ukrainian seamen were abducted in attacks on two merchant ships off Cameroon, in the latest act of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, sources said Friday.

The attacks took place on Thursday in Cameroonian waters off the port of Douala, located at the apex of a gulf that has become a hotspot of seaborne crime.

A Douala official told AFP on Friday that a total of 17 people had been abducted, including “nine Chinese civilian sailors” from one of the ships.

A Cameroonian security official, likewise speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the account.

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The Cameroonian navy and the country’s port service had reported the kidnappings on Thursday but had been unable to give the number or nationality of those taken.

A navy source said the kidnappers “are probably Nigerian pirates,” adding that Cameroon’s security forces had launched a search for them.

The Gulf of Guinea, whose coastline stretches in a huge arc from Liberia to Gabon, is notorious for piracy as well as oil theft, illegal fishing and human and drugs trafficking.

In Malaysia, Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a watchdog agency, said the 17 seamen were seized from two ships that were attacked within hours of each other while they were anchored off Douala.

Choong said one of the ships was a multipurpose German-owned ship that flew the flag of Antigua and Barbuda.

“Eight crew were kidnapped from the ship, consisting of a total of 12 Asian and European sailors,” he said.

The other vessel was a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier managed in Greece with a Greek owner.

“There were 21 crew on board. All were Asians. Nine crew were taken,” Choong told AFP.

“(The) IMB has issued a warning to all ships at Douala. We ask all ships to take additional precaution.”

Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement quoted by news agencies that three of the kidnapped sailors were Russian nationals. Many Ukrainians also hold Russian citizenship.

Piracy epicentre

In recent years, the seas off West Africa have become “the world’s worst for pirate attacks,” according to the IMB.

Attacks doubled in the Gulf of Guinea in 2018 compared to the previous year — the bulk of them due to piracy, it said.

Of the 75 seafarers taken hostage in the first half of this year, 62 were abducted in the gulf, IMB figures showed.

The Gulf of Guinea now accounts for 73 percent of kidnappings and 92 percent of hostage-takings at sea worldwide, particularly off the coast of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon.

The 17 countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea and adjacent coastline have limited surveillance and maritime defence capabilities.

They have been trying for several years to bolster their means of intervention and to put in place closer collaboration.

Ten Turkish sailors were freed last week after being kidnapped by “pirates” off Nigeria last month. Pirates normally seize sailors hoping to be paid ransom.

Osinbajo, Peterside, Others Celebrate 2019 Seafarer Day

Wife of the Vice President, Dolapo Osinbajo, NIMASA boss, Dakuku Peterside with other dignitaries at the 2019 Day of the Seafarer in Abuja.

 

Wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Yemi Osinbajo, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside joined other personalities to celebrate the 2019 Day of the Seafarer.

Dolapo represented her husband, Professor Yemi Osinbajo who is in New York to meet with the US Vice President Mike Pence and the Nigerians in the diaspora.

Speaking at the event, the NIMASA boss said this ninth edition seeks to appreciate the roles of women in the industry.

According to him, the 2019 International Seafarers Day seeks to address issues of women empowerment, eliminate discrimination among women and help them to progress in their chosen career.

“As the world marks the ninth edition of this global celebration, there is a very strong emphasis in the maritime community on the watch and importance of women within the industry.

“This is with the intention of not only highlighting and appreciating the contributions that they are already making within the industry but also to encourage more women to take up careers in seafaring and in other sub-sectors of the maritime industry.

“In addition, to draw attention to the issues of women empowerment, the need to erase various forms of discrimination against women in terms of employment as well as career progression,” he said.

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Dignities at the event include the Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Transportation, Sabiu Zakari; Chairman, Governing Board of NIMASA, General Jonathan Garba; the Chief of Naval Staff,  Ibok Ekwe Ibas.

Others include the Chief Executive Officer of the Shippers Council, Bello Hassan; Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Usman, the wife of immediate past Transportation Minister, Judith Amaechi; the Rector of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Commodore Ifedua among others.

June 25 is a day set annually by the International Maritime Organisation to mark the International Day of the Seafarers.

This year, the IMO has placed a strong emphasis in the maritime world on the importance and value of women within the professional ranks.

The theme for this year’s celebration is Empowering Women in the Maritime Community.

Nigerian Maritime University To Commence Lectures In April – Osinbajo

 

The Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, is set to commence the admission of students into the university for the 2017/2018 academic year and start lectures next month, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.

A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and publicity, Laolu Akande, said it was one of the highlights of the meeting of the Niger Delta Inter-Ministerial Committee on Friday.

The announcement comes after a meeting the Vice President chaired at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

“A total of 196 students have so far been accepted into the University to commence their academic programmes, Osinbajo said.

“while 76 applications still pending, in view the Buhari administration’s New Vision for Niger Delta.”

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved an increase in the take-off grant allocated to the University from the N2bn earlier announced to N5bn. The figure was included in the 2018 budget presented to the National Assembly in November 2017.

“An additional One billion Naira was approved by the President to support essential infrastructure works and staff recruitment in the University in November 2017.

“The Delta State government has also donated two 500KVA generators to the University. The Maritime University was recently granted approval in January by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to commence undergraduate degree programmes effective from the 2017/2018 academic session.”

On its part, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had listed the University in its Central Admissions Processing System on January 24, 2018, while interviews for academic staff positions were conducted between 1st and 2nd of March 2018.

Similarly, the National Universities Commission (NUC) had approved that academic activities commence in three faculties namely: Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management, with a combined total of 13 departments with various specializations – from Marine Engineering, Marine Economics to Climate Change, Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Sequel to the commencement of operations in 2017, the university had invited job applications for academic staff with advert placement in major national dailies.

Maritime Workers Protest Move To Repeal NPA Act

Maritime workers have taken to the streets of Lagos to protest the move by the National Assembly to repeal the Nigerian Ports Authority Act.

In a Bill which originates from the Assembly, the lawmakers are seeking to repeal the NPA Act 2004 and establish the Nigerian Ports and Harbours Authority.

The Bill according to the lawmakers, is aimed at providing for the ownership, management and development of ports and harbours and for related matters.

The workers, however, say the Bill if passed will lead to loss of jobs in the sector, as the reform targets concessioning of the operations of ports and harbours in the country.

Nigerian Navy Arrests over 84 Vessels In 17 Months

nigerian navyThe Nigerian Navy says its operations in the last 17 months have led to the arrest of over 84 vessels and their crew for alleged involvement in Maritime related crimes.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday, ahead of the 59 Anniversary of the Navy, the Chief of Policy and Plans of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Johnson Olutoyin, said the Navy had also destroyed over 120 illegal oil refineries, 29 barges, 93 large wooden boats and 1,259 auxiliary equipment within the last one year.

The Navy, however, decried lack of diligent prosecution of suspects by Prosecuting Agencies, saying it has become a major challenge to the force and other security agencies operating in the oil-rich nation’s waters.

In January, the Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, decried the inability of the Nigerian government to check the daily loss of over 400,000 barrels of oil to theft, a situation he said had led to the loss of about 1.2 Trillion Naira between the month of July 2013 and July 2014.

EEI Forum: Experts Discuss Maritime Security Threats, Youth Engagement

MaritimeThe Port Harcourt Energy, Environment and Investment Forum (EEIF) 2014 ended on its third day with issues on renewable energies, energy efficiency, clean technologies and investment opportunities in Rivers State and Nigeria remaining on the front burner.

At the International Conference Center, delegates, experts and other guests came together for the final day of sessions at the Energy Environment and Investment Forum on Sustainable Energy: The Key to Africa’s World Integration.

Various speakers were on same page on the issue of energy as the bond that connects economic, social and environmental development.

The first session focused on ‘Security Threats on Maritime Industry and Piracy Impact on Oil and Gas Industries Energy Supply Routes: Geo-strategy and International Policy.

Social Scientist from Switzerland, Jennifer Giroux, identified black market illegal dealings, product theft, corruption and regional security loop holes as breaches to the nation’s maritime security.

At the session on ‘Securing Africa’s Future through Strong Public Private Partnerships: A Conversation with the Youth, young people were inspired to be focused and engage the opportunities of education and investment.

 

Nigeria Will Dictate The Pace of Seafaring In Few Years- DG NIMASA

The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi on Thursday said that the agency will dictate the pace of seafaring in Africa in the nearest future.

Akpobolokemi, who said the agency aims to achieve this feat through capacity building, revealed that that the agency has made conscious effort in training a lot of Nigerians all over the globe, so that in the future we can boast of human capacity in terms of seafaring in the industry.

He further noted that the federal government did not give that kind of attention to the agency 35 years ago when the national shipping line was liquidated insisting that “with this trend, in the few years to come, we are going to dictate the pace, in terms of sea faring, in Africa”.

Despite not having a Maritime Development Institute in place to facilitate the transition, Akpobolokemi maintained that agency will achieve this through capacity building.

He said with “853 square Kilometres water ways, over 200 Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and within the context of maritime natural blessings, we have the oil, gas, the aquatic lifestyle” Nigeria has been able to attract the world.

He also added that the world trades with Nigeria, through the maritime channels, because of the “abundant natural opportunites” hence the country’s high ranking in the International Maritime Organisation.

He stressed the agency’s drive to ensure that piracy is totally eradicated from the nation’s waterways to provide a safe and secure environment for local international maritime trade.

He noted that back in the days, there was no awareness that sea robberies take place adding that “virtually any case of hijack is reported now because of the mechanism that we have put in place” insisting that “there are so many instances when we go after the pirates or sea robbers, got them down in collaboration with other security agencies”.

He said some of the pirates the agency, in collaboration of other security agencies, arrested found their way back and went for a further hijack. It was this second hijack that claimed the lives of some of them and I think some of them are facing prosecution right now.

He expressed dismay at how they got themselves out of the hook, while revealing that the agency does not have the “power to prosecute”.

Akpobolokemi, who was a lecturer at the Niger Delta University before his appointment, said these on Channels Television’s breakfast flagship programme, Sunrise Daily.