Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 24, 2005
Author: P&S

Somalia pirates strike again

Unconfirmed reports indicate that yet another merchant ship has been highjacked by pirates off Somalia. The as-yet unidentified vessel was sailing between Dubai and Somalia but failed to arrive at its destination nor has any word been heard from the ship, giving rise to fears that the ship has become the latest Somali piracy victim.

Last week the Ukrainian vessel Panagia, en route from Maputo to Turkey with 32,000 tons of coal was seized about 90 miles from the coast. Pirates have demanded a ransom of US0,000 to free the ship and its crew of 22.

The latest seizure coincided with a renewed appeal from the International Maritime Bureau director Captain Pottengal Mukundan for the world’s navies to take action in preventing such acts of piracy on the open sea. He described the Somalia attacks as clear attacks that fall within the classic definition of piracy, and meaning that warships operating in the area are entitled to intervene.

Meanwhile two Kenyan ships released recently by the Somalis reached Mombasa to a joyous welcome by families and friends of the crew. The vessels, Semlow and Miltzow were chartered to carry food aid to tsunami victims on the Horn of Africa by the UN World Food Programme but were intercepted by the pirates and forced to go to a port of their choosing where the ships and crew were held to ransom. A third seized vessel, Torgelow is still in Somali waters.

Kiperousa logs block East London

A giant 10 ton log from the shipwrecked logger Kiperousa washed onto an East London beach on Saturday (22 October), seriously injuring a young girl who was swimming in the sea.

Earlier the entrance to East London harbour was blocked for some of Friday by logs which gathered across the entrance channel.

Heavy seas on Thursday and Friday last week pounded the wreck of the 14,921-gt vessel causing it to finally begin breaking up and spilling a large number of logs overboard. Salvage teams were hastily assembled to clear the port entrance, which is lies north of the wreck site, with the last log having been removed late on Friday night.

On Saturday morning came the news that a nine-year old girl had sustained serious internal injuries when a log in the surf line rolled across her as she went swimming at Nahoon Beach, north of the city. She was rushed to hospital with severe internal injuries and by today (Monday) her condition had stabilised although she remains on the serious list.

The salvage team attempting to remove the logs from the vessel believe about 95% of all logs were now off the ship and those loose in the ocean have either washed ashore or have been gathered by the team. However a SA Maritime Safety Authority spokesman told an Eastern Cape newspaper that it could take up to three years before further ‘acts of God’ released the balance from the shipwreck.

Durban strike action hampers container handling

Workers at the Durban Container Terminal were expected to return to duty tomorrow (Tuesday) after taking part in a one-day strike called by the trade union COSATU to highlight concerns with concessioning plans by Transnet.

Early this morning five container ships were at anchor outside the port and this number was expected to increase during the course of the day as additional ships arrived.

A spokesman for the terminal told Ports & Ships this afternoon that sufficient workers to form three gangs reported for duty at Durban Container Terminal this morning. The afternoon shift had even less with two gangs at work but he expected an improvement with the evening shift that came on duty at 18.00.

“By then strikers should have finished with their marches and those that are able will arrive for duty,” he forecast.

Members of the union marched through the city streets today to give publicity to their grievance. There were no incidences reported.

New oil strike off Angola

Angola’s Sonangol and BP Plc have announced a new oil strike off Angola made last week – the ninth in this sector. The Global Santa Fe drill ship Jack Ryan struck oil almost 5km below sea level in 2,000m of water in Block 31, about 360km north of Luanda. (acknowledgements Oil&Gas Journal)

Meanwhile Angola’s oil production is expected to increase to two million barrels a day by 2010, almost double the current output of 1.1m barrels, an oil company workshop in Luanda has been told. The estimates were based on figures from Sonangol and other multinational companies operating in the country.

Boost for Angolan maritime awareness

According to the Angola Press Agency a maritime surveillance system that is aimed at improving the security of the country’s territorial waters is to be installed.

The report did not elaborate of the nature or cost of the security system but said it is to fall under the control of the Angolan Navy and will be installed in the provinces of Cabinda and Zaire.

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