Ports & Ships headline news
Sep 27, 2005
Logs from Kiperousa declared a navigational hazard
A warning has gone out to shipping along the Eastern and Southern Cape coasts of South Africa to maintain a sharp lookout for logs in the sea after an estimated 800 logs were lost overboard from the grounded bulker Kiperousa at the weekend.
The hardwood logs were released from number 2 hold on Sunday night (25 September) as the crippled ship began breaking up during a severe storm. About 250 of these have washed up along the shore nearby but the majority of the others are unaccounted for, leading to the warning issued yesterday by the South African Maritime Safety Authority.
Kiperousa, which was voyaging from West Africa to the Far East with a planned call at Durban for bunkers, has been aground on a reef near the coastal village of Hamburg since 7 June. Attempts to refloat the vessel were unsuccessful and efforts have since focused on recovering the cargo of over 8,000 logs. The deck cargo was taken off successfully using a helicopter but the majority of logs which remain below decks are proving difficult to salvage.
A large barge brought to the area from the Middle East to assist with the salvage was damaged in transit and is undergoing repair at East London.
US and India start naval exercise
Two aircraft carriers of the United States and Indian Navies along with other ships are taking part in a ten-day joint training exercise along India’s west coast looking into the Arabian Sea.
The joint exercise code named ‘Malabar’ is focused on dealing with terrorism and piracy and involves nearly 10,000 men and women on board the USS Nimitz, the INS Viraat plus a number of other naval ships. The latter includes two US Aegis-class destroyers, an Indian Navy Delhi-class guided missile destroyer and Shishumar submarines (basically HD209 submarines).
F18 Hornets from USS Nimitz will join with Sea Harriers from India’s only aircraft carrier on joint air defence operations, assisted by a P3C Orion surveillance aircraft on the submarine warfare and anti-piracy exercises.
India has the world’s seventh largest navy with approximately 140 ships. In addition to the aircraft carrier INS Viraat, India plans to build its own aircraft carrier by 2015 but in the meantime will be acquiring a Russian-built carrier by 2009 following that ship’s refit.
Somali pirates renege on deal over Semlow
Somali pirates have reneged on a deal struck with the United Nations World Food Programme and the Somalia Transitional Federal Government to release the Kenyan ship m.v Semlow, which was seized along with its cargo of rice two months ago. The ship and crew of ten has been held captive by the pirates near Mogadishu, but recently the Somali’s agreed to allow the ship to sail to the anchorage at El Ma’an where the cargo was to be discharged for distribution and the ship then released. The ship has now sailed away from El Ma’an with its crew still captive on board.
Another ship seized by Somali pirates
Pirates believed to be from the same group as those that seized the Kenyan m.v. Semlow in June (see story above), seized another ship on Saturday night, the m.v Ibn Batouta, which is carrying a cargo of cement from Egypt and bound for Somalia. The ship was captured near El Ma’an and forced to sail to Haradhere, about 300km north of Mogadishu, the place where the Semlow was held after being captured by pirates. At this point the crew on board the Ibn Batouta have not been injured, so far as is known. This is the seventh reported attack on a commercial ship in Somali waters since March this year.
Somalia has been without law since 1991 when the dictator Siad Barre was overthrown and much of the country is under the control of various warlords. The country has a population of seven million, but an estimated one million of its citizens has died from hunger and disease in the past ten years. There are currently attempts to set up an interim government.
Somalia was formerly two colonies – one a British Protectorate and the other Italian. The capital is ostensibly Mogadishu in the south of the country but the former British protectorate region facing the Gulf of Aden has since declared unilateral independence and calls itself Somaliland.
US State Department recommends convoy system
The US State Department has reissued an earlier announcement warning US citizens of continued potential for terrorist activity in the area of the Horn of Africa and the southern Red Sea and recommends that ships travel in convoy and maintain good communication at all times.
The alert follows the arrest last week by authorities in Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland of an ‘internationally known’ al-Qaeda operative along with five of his followers. “Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings or targeting maritime vessels,” says the State Department announcement which adds that US citizens should review ‘carefully’ any plans to travel to East Africa.
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