Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 18, 2005
Author: P&S

Strong winds close Durban port

Strong north-easterly winds gusting up to 40 knots shut the port of Durban today to all shipping bar a few sailings. By 18.00 today (Tuesday) the port remained closed to all incomings, said a port spokesperson.

The weather resulted in an increasing number of berths at the two container terminals remaining empty throughout the day, despite a mounting list of container ships arriving outside which were forced to go to anchor.

SAPO warns of strike action

According to the South African Port Operations (SAPO), strike action during the national stay away which is being organised by COSATU for Monday, 24 October will result in delays at the Durban Container Terminal and Pier 1 Container Terminal.

SAPO says it is encouraging shipping lines to plan the arrival of ships around this day.

‘Diversion of ships, where possible, to other terminals along the South African coast would be appreciated. In the light of the situation SAPO encourages customers to collect import containers from the terminal by Sunday, 23 October 2005 in order to minimize stack congestion.’

In view of the anticipated disruption, SAPO says it will extend the free storage period by one day to accommodate import containers that land on the day of the disruption as well as one day before. On the export side, stacks will be adjusted in line with the stay away to mimimise disruptions.’

Government promises to revitalise branch railway lines

South Africa’s minister of transport Jeff Radebe says government is committed to the revitalisation of branch lines across South Africa “…because we realise that their decline has held back economic development.”

Radebe made this welcome statement while opening the upgraded Belmont – Douglas branch line in the Northern Cape last week.

Belmont is a dusty railway junction south of Kimberley on the main line between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Douglas, 85 km away by rail, serves a mainly farming community producing grains, cotton, lucerne, groundnuts and fruit and until the deterioration of the railway was heavily reliant on the railway service. Some of the traffic lost to road or lost completely was for export, and in 2003 the total traffic carried by rail was about 160,000 tonnes. In that year an upgrade of the line began at an estimated cost of R58 million.

In recent years many similar branch lines throughout South Africa, classified as low density and amounting to about half the total rail system, have been allowed to wither and die on the basis that Spoornet intended concentrating its efforts on main line operations between the principal centres using block trains.

Ships collide outside Suez Canal

Two passengers died and 38 were injured yesterday (Monday) when the Ro-Ro ferry Pride of Al Salam 95 (12,503-gt) collided with a 75,000-dwt Cypriot-registered bulk carrier, Pearl of Jebel Ali near the southern entrance of the Suez Canal.

The collision left the Egyptian passenger ship with a gaping hole in the side which admitted water below decks and caused the ship to begin sinking. There was immediate panic among the 1,350 passengers on board, most of whom were returning from a pilgrimage in Mecca and who had boarded the ship in the Saudi Arabian port of Jiddah. Fortunately at least 20 rescue boats were able to reach the stricken vessel in time to rescue the majority of passengers.

Durban Clipper reaches Salvador in fifth place

The first leg of the round the world Clipper 2005/06 race is over for most of the yachts taking place, with Clipper Westernaustralia being first in, followed by Liverpool, Cardiff and New York.

The sole African entry, Clipper Durban held on to fifth place, arriving in the Brazilian port earlier today (Tuesday) at 04.22 GMT.

Clipper Durban, picture courtesy Clipper Ventures

Westernaustralia arrived triumphant to a traditional welcome of chilled caipirinhas, music and a spectacular firework display that lit up the harbour.

Behind Clipper Durban came Clipper Singapore followed by Jersey and then Victoria and Qingdao filling 8th and 9th places and Clipper Glasgow still to finish when this went to publication.

This ends the initial 3,500 mile leg between the UK and Brazil. On Tuesday, 25 October the yachts leave on the second leg on a heading for Durban, where they will face the challenge of the southern Atlantic weather systems followed by the treacherous seas around the Cape of Good Hope.

The race fleet will arrive in Durban on South Africa's east coast from 17 November for a spectacular 10-day stopover which is expected to provide a significant boost to the region's tourism, hospitality and maritime industries as well as raising the city's international profile.

The Race

The Clipper 05 – 06 Round the World Yacht Race takes ten identical 68ft ocean racing yachts, all backed by international cities, islands and countries, on the world’s longest circumnavigation race – approx 35,000 miles. The race started on 18 September 2005 from Liverpool, UK and expects to finish on 1 July 2006 at the same port.

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