Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 was a scheduled international passenger flight, operated by AirAsia Group affiliate Indonesia AirAsia, from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. The flight was reported to have crashed in bad weather, killing all 155 passengers and 7 crew on board on 28 December 2014. Fortunately, Indonesian divers have retrieved the data recorder of the aircraft but are yet to reach the cockpit voice recorder, the second part of the black box. The black box is a total forensic timeline of everything that happened and is of immense importance to understanding what caused the crash.
It contains information such as the condition of the engine, what the pilots were doing, whether the plane had stalled and its altitude will all be revealed from the tonnes of data that is on the flight data recorder. The head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency Bambang Soelistyo said that the device was found under the wreckage of a wing and was reported by the National Transport Safety Committee chief at 07:11 (00:11 GMT) on January 13, 2015. According to him, the cockpit voice recorder had also been detected but divers had not yet succeeded in reaching it.
The maritime sector is a major part of the travel industry in any nation and constitutes a source of revenue, employment generation amongst other benefits to the home country. However, this can only be achieved when it is strategically positioned with the right policies and programmes in place. This concern was the focus of the “Policy Dialogue Series on Generation of Revenue from Nigerian Shipping Sector” held recently in Lagos. Speaking at the forum, Olisa Agbakoba, a renowned maritime lawyer and also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said that the nation’s shipping sector has the potential to generate N7 trillion annually into the federation account if properly harnessed.He called on the Federal Government to diversify the nation’s economy from being oil dependent and explore other non-oil sectors of the economy in the wake of continuous drop in the price of crude oil at the international market. According to him, shipping is crucial to maximizing oil potential and as such the government needs to overhaul policies, institutional, regulatory and legal framework in the shipping sector to be able to tap into the revenue, which the sector has in stock for both the government and the masses.
Water transportation has over the years proved to be the least utilized, among the three modes of transportation. This situation has undermined its potency in providing an alternative means of traveling by decongesting the air and road transportation especially in heavily industrialized cities like Lagos. The aftermath of this situation is often more intense with the road transport, resulting in accidents, traffic gridlock to mention a few. This concern formed the center of a media briefing yesterday in Lagos by the Chief Executive Officer of Tarzan Jetty, Mr Ganiyu Balogun. He said that the solution to the traffic gridlock in Lagos Metropolis was the development of the water transportation in Nigeria. He is also the President, National Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters (ATBOWATON).
Mr. Balogun told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that adequate investment in water transportation would not only help in reducing the burden on the roads but was also capable of boosting water tourism as well as create more job opportunities.According to him, the deplorable conditions of many roads in the country have made it difficult for tourists to visit and navigate through the numerous tourist attractions in the nation. He stressed that Government needs to invest more in water transportation, so that boat operators can open up the waterways for boat services.
As part of its efforts to complement the Federal Government’s plan to decongest the ports, APM Terminals Apapa Limited has granted 50 per cent storage charge waiver to the owners of longstanding containers at the terminal. Chief Commercial Officer of APM Terminals Apapa Limited, Mr Neil Fletcher, who disclosed this in Lagos, said that the offer became necessary as part of efforts aimed at decongesting the port. APM Terminals Apapa had, in 2008 and 2011, waived a combined total of more than N2.5 billion storage charges for longstanding containers at its facility. mFletcher, who said the measure was meant to support the government in its effort to reduce clearance time and congestion at the seaports, added that 724 overtime containers sitting at the terminal would enjoy the 50 per cent storage charge waiver. While urging importers and agents to take prompt delivery of their containers to avoid incurring high storage charges, Fletcher declared:
Despite the N705 billion investments in port reforms aimed at making Nigerian ports more efficient and cost-effective, cargo dwell time in Nigerian ports has remained the longest in the West African region. BusinessDay investigations revealed that Nigerian ports currently handle an average of 77 million metric tonnes of cargo and 877,737 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) of containers annually. But industry analysts estimate that Nigeria would be handling over 150 million metric tonnes of cargo annually if the current dwell time of over 21 days is reduced. The lingering long dwell time, according to analysts, has made Nigeria to lose over 40 percent of inbound cargoes, which are diverted to neighbouring ports of Benin Republic, Togo and Cameroon. Most of the analysts who spoke to BusinessDay attributed the long dwell time to bureaucratic bottlenecks in the form of excessive physical examination of imported cargoes by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and long documentation processes involved in cargo clearance at the port.
Currently, it takes an average of 14-21 days ((two-three weeks) or more to clear a consignment from the seaport. This is happening despite the 48-hour cargo clearance policy of the Federal Government. Comparatively, it takes an importer an average of 48 hours (two days) to clear and take delivery of his or her consignment in Ghanaian ports. For Cotonou (Benin Republic) ports, it takes between five to seven days (one week) to clear a consignment.
According to concerned stakeholders, some clearing agents allegedly use port terminals as warehouses pending when they complete their long clearing process with Customs, thereby compounding congestion at the ports. Besides, accusing fingers are also pointing at the activities of multiple agencies at the point of exit from the ports in Lagos for the lingering congestion, a development that prompted a ministerial committee raised by the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar recently. The Chief Executive Officer of a maritime firm who spoke with The Guardian on condition of anonymity advised the federal government to investigate thoroughly reasons why some agents prefer to leave their goods at the Terminals instead of opting for a warehouse outside the ports. The source said: “I can tell you without any fear of contradictions that the agents and customers have discovered that it is cheaper for them to use the terminals. I want to use this opportunity to appeal to the government through the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) to transfer long staying cargo to Customs Bonded facilities for auction.”
TO curtail oil theft and guide against breach of national security, President Goodluck Jonathan has directed relevant agencies to ensure oil and gas cargoes are discharged only at designated terminals. Speaking at the just concluded forum on Oil and Gas Trade and Investment held at the Onne Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone (FTZ), Jonathan emphasised the need for agencies to ensure strict enforcement of the ban on midstream discharge of cargoes and to prevent ocean-going vessels from discharging directly at private jetties. According to Jonathan, port reforms had ensured greater efficiency “thereby reducing goods clearing period from about six weeks to about one week”. He described port reforms and the federal government collaboration with the private sector in the development of Onne Free Trade Zone (FTZ) as successful and “highly visible”. According to him, since the inception of the present administration in 2007, the federal government has demonstrated the willingness to engage in more flexible and innovative policies “that will accelerate economic growth and development in order to put Nigeria in the league of the 20 largest economies in the world”.
The entertainment programme on board the modern and casual luxury ship, the EUROPA 2, which has been awarded the highest distinction of “five-stars-plus” by the 2014 Berlitz Cruise Guide, continues to offer new innovations for guests. Three stage shows created exclusively for the EUROPA 2 by the Berlin production company “Phase 7” are currently running in the on-board theatre which covers two floors/decks. At their heart, these shows combine spectacular lighting effects, video and software art with music, dance and drama. The ensemble, consisting of ten artists, presents two shows per week. “Symphony for a Ship” is a production, which focuses on the EUROPA 2 and the story of its creation. The production combines musical sophistication, dancing skill and fascinating video aesthetics. Inspired by the beauty and design of the ship, the “Phase 7” artists have created a contemporary performance for all to see, especially on the eight-by-six-metre LED wall in the ship’s theatre. The video artists provide exclusive insights from the creative perspective of their art, including into the construction phase of the EUROPA 2