Minerva Bunkers Starts Physical Supply Operations Offshore West Africa

LAS PALMAS, Spain, Minerva Bunkers, a global supplier and trader of marine fuels, confirmed the launch of a physical fuel supply operation in West Africa, which covers the offshore waters of the Guinea Gulf countries: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.

The launch will complement the company’s current trading operation across the region.

Minerva Bunkers’ 13,115-dwt double-hulled tanker Sea Lion I will supply customers with the full range of fuels. A second tanker of similar size is due to be launched before March 2016. Built in 2007, Sea Lion I has a pumping capacity of up to 1,000 MT/HR. The tanker will be fitted in the first quarter of 2016 with a Coriolis Mass Flow Meter to provide accuracy in the quantity of fuel supplied. The new meter will also provide additional assurances against any measurement inaccuracies caused by swelling during offshore supply.

Miguel Fernandez, Physical Supply Business Development Manager for Minerva Bunkers, commented: “We know this region very well and know what our customers need in this region – fast and accurate supply, high quality products and being able to avoid unnecessary port calls and lengthy waits. With our own vessel and control over the supply chain, we are able to provide our customers with the highest quality fuels in the most efficient and cost effective way.”

Currently, Minerva Bunkers supplies the full range of high quality bunker fuels offshore West Africa, including MGO and IFO ranging from 30 to 380 cst.

Fernandez continued: “With our team’s expertise in serving offshore markets worldwide, as well as an in depth knowledge of the local markets, we can deliver Minerva Bunkers trademark quality service where our customers need it. Offshore supply is time-critical and safety is of paramount importance, so it is important that our customers can be assured by the rigor and transparency that define our operations. This is exactly why we have set our own extremely high quality standards, which go over and above the industry requirements and guarantee reliability of supply.”

The company uses its own global standard to ensure the quality of its products, which used in all of Minerva Bunkers’ physical operations. A specification analysis on physical product orders is provided to customers. That analysis is then delivered prior to the usual testing procedures conducted by an external fuel oil analysis provider.

Minerva Bunkers is in the process of getting the certifications ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 and occupational health and safety standard OHSAS 18001.

About Minerva Bunkers:

Minerva Bunkers is a global supplier of marine fuels and related services. The company is 100% owned by Mercuria Energy Trading, a leading integrated Energy and Commodity Group. Minerva’s core activity is the global sale of bunkers both from its own physical inventories, now in Singapore, Houston and West Africa, with several new locations projected in the next few years, as well as worldwide intermediary trading. Minerva Bunkers also provides advanced risk management tools and services in an increasingly unpredictable oil market and volatile global economy. Its parent company, Mercuria, is one of the world’s largest traders of oil cargoes.

The Group has a strong local market knowledge as a result of global network operating with counterparties in more than 50 countries, spanning Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

SOURCE Mercuria Energy Trading S.A.

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Boko Haram arrests worsen Cameroon prison conditions

Detention conditions in Cameroon’s prisons are worsening as thousands of people suspected to have links with Nigeria-based terrorist group Boko Haram are thrown in jail.

Since 2014, at least 1,300 people have been “arbitrarily arrested, and many held in deplorable conditions, which have led to dozens of deaths,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s director for West and Central Africa.

At least 700 of these suspected Boko Haram terrorists are currently detained in Maroua Central Prison, where already poor conditions “have been worsened by these massive arrests of Boko Haram suspects”, the attorney general for the Far North Regional Court of Appeals, Joseph Belporo, told IRIN.

Under Cameroon’s 2014 anti-terrorism law, the military and police have been raiding homes and markets along the northern border with Nigeria searching for suspected Boko Haram militants. Most of those taken into custody are teenage boys and men, and they are often arrested dozens at a time. Many families say they still don’t know where their loved ones were taken.

“It [has become] a normal thing for innocent citizens to be arrested and detained for the purpose of investigations at this moment when the country is at war with a terrorist organisation,” said Eva Etongue, of the National Commission for Human Rights and Freedoms. “But we are concerned with how these suspects are treated and how long they are being held in custody.”

See: Cameroon pays high price for joining Boko Haram fight

Cameroon’s penal code allows judges to keep suspects in pre-trial detention for a period of six months, renewable once, but human rights advocates say many of these prisoners have been held for much longer.

“Since the government started arresting Boko Haram suspects, I am not sure they have released any of them,” Marie Nana Abunaw, who runs a local NGO called Prisons Fellowship, told IRIN.

Overcrowded and unsanitary

Statistics from the NCHRF indicate there are now a total of 26,702 inmates in Cameroon prisons. Maximum capacity is not meant to exceed 17,000.

The commission’s most recent report on the state of prisons found there is “little or no access by detainees to adequate healthcare facilities, [and] poor sanitation and inadequate feeding.” Due to rationing, each prisoner receives just one meal a day, worth less than 150FCFA ($0.25), they say.

A September report by Amnesty International found that at least 40 inmates at Maroua Central Prison died between March and May last year as a result of inadequate health care and poor sanitation.

The government has denied such allegations, and says that security officers involved in one particular case, where 25 people died while in custody, are no longer on the staff.

Communication Minister Issa Tchiroma Backary maintains that the arrests and detentions are “within the prerogatives of the armed forces, who are facing a faceless enemy,” and that the objective of the raids is to “protect national territories and citizens”. He insists that soldiers don’t intentionally detain innocent citizens without cause.

Responding to the concerns about overcrowding and the protracted detention periods, the president of the Far North Regional Court of Appeals, Fonkwe Joseph Fongang, blamed the situation on a host of factors: a shortage of magistrates; a lack of courtrooms at the military tribunal; lengthy trial procedures; and a “non-mastery” of the new criminal procedural code by some magistrates.

A wake-up call?

Prisons Fellowship’s Abunaw, who also served for 31 years as prisons general in Cameroon’s Ministry of Justice, said more must be done to improve the conditions for pre-trial detainees.

“Despite the rise in the number of inmates in Cameroon prisons due to the war against Boko Haram, the government has not increased the usual funds allocated for food and other facilities for prisoners,” she said. “That is why their situation is getting worse by the day.”

In Maroua Central Prison, for example, there is no running water and just 20 latrines for more than 1,200 people, according to Amnesty International.

An ex-convict, Celestin Yandal, who was held in pre-trial detention for 22 months, told IRIN that he suffered “inhumane and degrading treatment and punishment”. He claimed that at least five inmates died each week because of the conditions.

“It is a prison without water, electricity and especially without toilets,” he said. “Inmates defecate in pots.”

Settling scores

Cameroon’s Minister of Justice Laurent Esso was aware of concerns that his judiciary was not functioning as it should and did not seek to deny them.

“These claims are not totally unfounded and are not totally exaggerated,” he told IRIN.

Esso said the majority of inmates being held in pre-trail detention would have been released if it wasn’t for the logjam in court proceedings. He admitted the need to improve detention conditions, and added that the government was seeking to combat cruel and degrading treatment, in accordance with the UN Convention against Torture.

“There are still many examples of cases where justice is not rendered as it ought to be,” he said in a speech last year, adding that “such mishandling risks creating suspicion over the entire system.”
Amowahnou Agbessi, director of the UN Commission for Human Rights and Democracy for Central Africa, told IRIN: “we are aware many innocent people are being held in custody as Boko Haram suspects”.

But, he added, “we also know that some citizens in the Far North Region are using the situation to settle scores with their enemies. Some can just run to security officers and tell them that an enemy of his has links with Boko Haram, and given the magnitude of the terror situation, he will be arrested and put behind bars. The government of Cameroon does not want to take chances.”

The government says it is currently constructing new prisons across the country in order to alleviate overcrowding. But as the fight against Boko Haram intensifies, conditions will likely get worse before they get better.

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102333 A police officer checks the papers of a motorist in Cameroon’s Far North region, following an increase in check points, which are an attempt to thwart potential Boko Haram attacks. Analysis Human Rights Conflict Migration Health Boko Haram and Cameroon’s prisons IRIN YAOUNDÉ Cameroon Niger Nigeria Chad West Africa

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Fabrice Ondoa voudrait quitter le FC Barcelone

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Le gardien camerounais du FC Barcelone B, qui évolue en troisième division espagnole, ne semble pas satisfait de son statut de remplaçant au sein du club catalan, et aurait émis ses envies de départ.

En effet, le portier de 20 ans, lié a Barça jusqu’en 2017, voudrait résilier son contrat, et partir du coté de »Gimnàstic Tarragone« , club de même division, et où évolue un certain Achille Emana.

Les prochains jours seront décisif quant à l’avenir de « Faro », qui demeure un jeune gardien exceptionnel et plein d’avenir, qui compte déjà 12 sélections avec les Lions, dont la CAN Orange 2015, et il est aussi vainqueur de la Ligue de la jeunesse de l’UEFA en 2014 avec le FC Barcelone U19 .

StarAfrica

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Cameroon Welcomes US Assistance Against Boko Haram

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YAOUNDE—

Cameroon President Paul Biya welcomed the engagement of U.S. troops in his country’s fight against Boko Haram insurgents. But many Cameroonians do not yet understand the role of the troops in the war.

President Biya in his end of the year message said Boko Haram had remained a major challenge to his country’s development, peace and security, and saluted what he called the experience and expertise of American troops in helping Cameroon.

He said he specially thanks the U.S. government and is highly delighted with the confidence of the American people, especially now that their troops have been providing vital information and training for his country’s military.

Thirty-year-old Muslim youth leader Bouba Ahijo said residents of Cameroon’s northern town of Garoua were told U.S. troops had come to liberate them from Boko Haram atrocities. But he said he is still not aware what the Americans have been doing more than two months after they arrived.

He expected the U.S. forces to fight alongside Cameroonian soldiers to defeat Boko Haram, but they have instead stayed in their offices since they came. He questions why the Americans have not attacked Boko Haram, as he hears they attacked an Islamic State base in Iraq.

Cameroon has been fighting a Boko Haram insurgency that spilled over into its territory from Nigeria three years ago. According to the United Nations more than 20,000 people have lost their lives and more than two million people have been displaced.

The head of the Marines contingent, Colonel Mike Davis, described the type of support the United States is giving the Cameroon army in the fight against Boko Haram.

“Cameroon government asked the U.S. government to support them in the fight against Boko Haram, so what we are doing is assisting the Cameroonian government in the fight against Boko Haram. That support is in a way of remotely piloting aircraft among other things, training and some security stuff,” said Davis.

Cameroon Army General Ndjonkep Mehomy Frederick, one of the top commanders of Cameroon troops fighting the Boko Haram insurgency, said the assistance they are receiving from the Americans is basically training and intelligence sharing.

He said the U.S. troops have excellent and up-to-date drones that give them vital and timely information, allowing them to then surgically intervene against the terrorists wherever an attack is taking place or is being planned. He said the Americans have been fully cooperating in surveillance and information sharing, which is very vital in the war against the terrorists.

Cameroon military spokesman Colonel Didier Badjeck said people should not expect U.S. soldiers at the battle front, but that they are very instrumental in Cameroon’s recent successes against the insurgents.

He said American soldiers are in Cameroon exclusively to help eliminate Boko Haram with their advanced technology, and that from the month of February 2016, they will be fully operational when the rest of the remaining contingent arrives in Cameroon to make up the 300 promised by President Barack Obama.

In December, Cameroon announced its soldiers and Nigeria’s military had liberated more than 900 people from Boko Haram strongholds. Government officials said they benefited from the U.S. technical expertise.

The U.S. military is setting up its first drone base in Africa and Cameroon believes it is likely to host it. Soldiers of the central African nation are learning how to use drones for surveillance from the U.S. Marines.

VOA

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