Ports & Ships Headline News

Sep 16, 2005
Author: P&S

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SA Navy survey ship on her way to Maputo
SAS Protea, the South African Navy hydrographic survey ship, sailed this afternoon from Durban Naval Station for Maputo, the capital and chief port of Mozambique. The purpose of the visit is mainly for diplomatic reasons and will be used to strengthen the bonds of friendship with the Mozambican navy as well as providing training for junior officers and ratings on board the Hecla class vessel.
SAS Protea is equipped for hydrographic survey purposes and carries an array of facilities for the collection of oceanographic data, including a Polaris survey system, survey launches. The ship also has an Alouette helicopter on board. On board at this time are 114 ratings and ten officers.

Russian crew granted bail by Nigerian court
Fifteen Russian, Romanian and Georgian crew members from the unfortunately named tanker African Pride were granted bail this week after having been held in a Nigerian jail for almost two years on charges of smuggling crude oil.
The men were arrested when their Greek-owned ship was detained off the Nigerian coast on 8 October 2003 in suspicion of carrying oil smuggled out of Nigeria. The seafarers will however have to remain under supervision at the Russian trade mission premises in Lagos until their trial is heard at some future date. Their ongoing detention without access to a trial became the cause of a rift between the Russian and Nigerian governments and resulted in protests from the International Transport Federation and other seafaring bodies.

Breakthrough for Walvis Bay
The port of Walvis Bay in Namibia reached a milestone last week with the handling of its first bulk cargo shipment destined for Zambia, reports the Namibian newspaper The Namibian. The cargo of 3,000 tonnes of rice will be delivered by road to Zambia along the recently opened Trans-Caprivi Corridor in the past similar cargoes for Zambia had to be shipped via ports on the east coast of Africa or via Durban. The newspaper reports that the Walvis Bay Corridor Group has also established an office in Zambia to facilitate further shipments through Namibia.

Suez Canal to be deepened
The Suez Canal Authority will spend US 0 million on deepening the Suez Canal to a draught of 20.1m to cater for larger ships and more traffic through the canal. The work is expected to be completed during 2006. The Suez Canal first opened for sea traffic in 1869 leaving Egypt deep in debt to pay for the work undertaken by a French company headed by Ferdinand deLesseps. In the latest financial year 2004/05 the canal generated a revenue of approximately US billion.

Richards Bay chopper crash enquiry
The Mercury newspaper from Durban reports that the investigation into the crash of the Richards Bay port helicopter on 3 September will only be concluded in about one year. The wreckage of the aircraft, which was recovered from the sea outside the port entrance along with the body of the winchman, will be taken to Johannesburg for detailed analysis as part of the investigation. Two other people, the helicopter pilot and a marine pilot who was being winched off a wood chip vessel at the time, received injuries and were taken to hospital. The marine pilot, Captain Ashwani Pathak remains in intensive care at the local hospital. Since the accident marine pilots and surveyors going out to ships in the anchorage are being transferred by boat.


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