Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 21, 2005
Author: P&S

Yet another ship highjacked off Somalia

At about the same time the IMB was appealing to naval forces operating in the area to protect ships passing Somalia and the Horn of Africa, Somali pirates were out seizing yet another ship – the 24th since March this year.

The latest ship to fall victim of the Somali gangsters is the 34,000-dwt Ukrainian bulker Panagia, which was on a north-easterly heading about 90 n.miles off the coast and bound for Turkey when the pirates came aboard.

Panagia had taken a cargo of wheat to Port Elizabeth and Durban and subsequently loaded 32,000 tonnes of coal at the Matola coal terminal in Maputo, Mozambique. She has a crew of 22 seafarers on board, all reportedly Ukrainians who are apparently unharmed and allowed to remain on board while the gangsters ‘negotiate’ a fee for the ships release. The fee set for her release is US0,000.

Durban terminal strike confirmed

The trade union COSATU has confirmed that the one day national strike planned for Monday (24 October) will go ahead, and SA Port Operations has advised clients of the Durban Container Terminal to expect the terminal to be affected.

Earlier this week SAPO appealed to shipping lines to consider diverting vessels away from the port at this time and said cargo owners should collect containers from the terminal by Sunday, 23 October in order to mimimise stack congestion.

SAPO has also extended the free storage period by one day to accommodate import containers due for landing on Sunday and Monday, while export stacks will be adjusted in line with the stay away.

Adding to the potential build up of congestion as a result of losing one day, October is proving to be a particularly windy month in which already almost 40 hours have been lost due to strong winds. As a result SAPO anticipates delays will increase within the next fortnight and advises the diversion of container vessels to other ports where possible.

Slight mishap in Durban harbour

The harbour dredger Piper had her mooring ropes broken this afternoon (Friday) while moored at the discharge pipe in the port entrance (adjacent to Thirsty’s). The dredger had completed a dredging job and was moored to the reclaiming jetty next to the restaurant when the container vessel SA Winterberg sailed down the channel on her way out of the harbour.

From eye-witness reporting it appears the dredger’s mooring ropes tightened as the vessel completed discharging spoil and became lighter (and therefore higher) in the water. The swell action set up by the passing container ship, which was proceeding down the channel at an estimated 5.5knots, set the dredger rocking against her mooring until first one rope snapped with a loud crack, followed shortly afterwards by another three.

As Piper moved away from the reclaiming jetty a section of the pipework that was still secured to the dredger broke off, which will presumably place the facility out of service until repairs can be undertaken. There were no injuries or other damage apparent to the dredger and the sailing of SA Winterberg was not affected.

Unicorn Shipping looks to place new orders

It appears that Durban-based Unicorn Shipping is close to placing orders for two new product tankers from a Chinese yard.

The as yet unconfirmed reports indicate Unicorn wants two 16,500-dwt tankers from a Chinese yard to supplement an already strong order book that includes four smaller 12,800-dwt chemical/oil tankers on order at the South Korean Samho Shipyard and five 37,000-dwt chemical/oil tankers placed with Shina also in S. Korea, all for delivery between 2006 and 2008.

One of Unicorn’s sister companies, Island View Shipping currently has three Handysize bulkers awaiting delivery from Kanda Shipbuilding between December 2005 and June 2007.

Kenya Port Authority gives rail concessioning its blessing

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) says the concessioning of the Kenya and Uganda Railways to Rift Valley Railways, a consortium headed by Grindrod company Sheltam of South Africa, will be good for the port and port users.

According to the East African Standard, KPA’s managing director Brown Ondego said smooth railway operations were crucial to the performance of the Mombasa port.

Kenya Railways currently carries less than 10% of import and export cargo for the port.

“Rail services need to take 30% of the market share at this port for the flow of cargo to be faster and efficient,” Ondego said, while also urging private terminal operators to invest in infrastructure and equipment to meet the expectations of rail users.

See our earlier News Bulletin dated 15 October

Trade unionist blames vested interests for Ghana’s transport woes

One hundred rail wagons imported eight years ago from South Africa to haul cocoa to the ports are standing idle because of government meddling.

That is the claim of a trade union representative in an interview with the Ghanaian Chronicle newspaper, who said this week that the country’s transport problems should be laid ‘squarely on the footsteps of the present and immediate past governments.’

The secretary-general of the Ghana Railway Workers Union said that vested interests are preventing political decisions from being made that would make it possible for Ghana Railways to operate efficiently and competitively. He accused top people in government of having a vested interest in other forms of transport to the detriment of the railway.

As a result commodities like cocoa could not be hauled at competitive prices – Ghana currently produces 700,000 tonnes annually and an allocation of just 100,000t to the railway could help turn its fortunes, he claimed.

Rest for Clipper racers

It’s rest and recreation and party, party, party time for the competitors in the Clipper 05-06 Round the World Race, who are now relaxing at the harbour in Salvador, Brazil after completing the North Atlantic crossing from Liverpool.

The next leg of the race begins on 25 October when the ten competing yachts, all bearing names of cities, islands or places, set off across the South Atlantic for Durban in South Africa, where they are expected to arrive from approximately 17 November.

Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Beira on the East Coast

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