Ports & Ships Headline News

Sep 19, 2005
Author: P&S

Cleanup operations at Walvis Bay
Cleanup operations are underway at Walvis Bay after 100 tonnes of oil leaked from the holed container ship Umfolozi. The ship was in collision with the dredger Ingwenya shortly before midnight on Friday, 16 September and barely made it back to harbour before settling on her bottom alongside the container terminal. The vessel has a large fracture on her starboard side and is now subject to tidal flow in all holds and the engine room. The cargo of 225 TEUs has been however been removed from the flooded vessel. Meanwhile port and environmental authorities are busy contending with the spilled fuel oil – the ship was carrying 220t of HFO and 115t of MDO, which began leaking immediately after the collision. Booms have been laid around the vessel and a Namibian anti-pollution vessel, Nataniel Maxuilili is assisting with the cleanup operation.

Fat profit for Kenya Ports Authority
It’s been a good year for the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), which raised its profits by 72% to Sh3.1 billion for the financial accounting year ending June 2005. After tax profit is in the region of Sh1.8m. Total cargo handled at the port of Mombasa rose to 13.9 million tonnes. The port and the KPA has come under severe criticism in the past year for inefficiencies which led to threats by the shipping lines of surcharges on containers. The KPA responded by bringing in new harbour equipment and improvements are being reported.

Anthracite to be exported via RBCT
Proposals of exporting up to three million tonnes of anthracite each year through the giant Richards Bay Coal Terminal have been revealed. The specialised coal is to be mined at Somkhele Anthracite Mine near Hluhluwe in Zululand and railed to RBCT at a rate of about 26,000 tonnes a month. Strenuous objections have however been raised over proposals to stockpile the coal near the town of Mtubatuba where the coal will be washed before final delivery to the port.

Concern over Zambia Railway
A report states Zambia railway infrastructure is continuing to deteriorate despite the concessioning of the former state railway nearly two years ago. According to an article in the Lusaka newspaper The Post, the report by a government inspector of railways says that the state of the railway is now worse than before the concession to the Railways Systems of Zambia (RSZ) was granted. It says that track maintenance is not being done or at best could be described as minimal, and highlights that it is unsafe to move fuels by rail because firebreaks were no longer being created along the railway line. The paper quoted an unnamed government official who said that derailments were the order of the day. Railways Systems of Zambia however has denied the claims about maintenance saying that regular and routine maintenance is being carried out. It said the RSZ is in full compliance with the concession agreement so far as the investment plan was concerned.

Chinese satellite tracking ship expected in Durban
It is thought that the Chinese satellite tracking ship Yang Wang 3 will be arriving in Durban in the next few days, possibly on Thursday (22 September) and ahead of the anticipated Chinese space launch due next month. Yuan Wang 3 (the name apparently means ‘Long View’) has become a regular visitor at Durban and also Cape Town whenever the Chinese undertake one of their space launches – the last occasion was in October 2003 when the first Chinese astronaut was successfully placed in earth orbit. The latest attempt, due immediately after the Chinese weeklong holiday between 1 and 7 October, will see two astronauts blast off on a planned five day orbital mission.
Yuan Wang 3, with a massive array of satellite tracking dishes and hundreds of scientists on board, will probably spend a week or so in Durban before heading for the South Atlantic opposite Namibia to be on station for tracking the astronaut’s flight.
A similar vessel, Yuan Wang 4 is believed to be in West Australian waters and two other ships, Yuan Wang 1 and 2 will be deployed in the Pacific Ocean.


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