Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 17, 2005
Author: P&S

EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
WEB SITE: www.hugheship.com

SOUTH AFRICA – Navy provides diving demonstration

Divers from the South African Navy will provide the media with a demonstration of advanced diving techniques and activities at the Salisbury Island Naval Station on Monday, 21 November.

Teams of divers were deployed to Durban earlier this week on board the combat support ship SAS Drakensberg to participate in a major diving exercise (DIVE EX). While in Durban the divers will exercise in demolition clearance, action damage and deep diving capabilities.

The chief of the navy Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu will be present at the media briefing to answer questions and a video of the recent sea trails in Germany of the South African Navy submarine S101 will be shown.

SENEGAL – Royal Marines make a wrong reservation

There’s long been a love/hate relationship from the French towards the British – perhaps not surprising considering that hundreds of years of wars were fought between the two nations and also notwithstanding that they were staunch allies in others.

However for a party of French tourists visiting Senegal they may have had new reasons this week – their holiday was suddenly and rudely interrupted by about 100 Royal Marines from the 40 Commando battalion who got their wires crossed and ‘attacked’ the wrong hotel during a training exercise being held near the Senegalese capital Dakar.

The troops from 40 Commando were supposed to have ‘attacked’ another hotel a few hundred metres down the coast as part of a beach-landing exercise but got their rendezvous points confused. After due apologies they headed off in the direction of the correct hotel.

The Marines are taking part in joint training exercises with US, French, Dutch and Italian troops while helping local soldiers keep peace in the region. The Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster is currently off Senegal providing support for the exercises.

Three years ago another group of British commandos attacked the wrong country. On that occasion they thought they were invading Gibraltar but went ashore on the coast of Spain instead.

CONGO – river crossings resume

After a two week suspension ferry crossings across the Congo River between Kinshasa and Brazzaville recommenced earlier this month. All traffic across the river dividing the two cities and countries came to a close after a ban imposed on 18 October, sparking price hikes and shortages in Brazzaville. Kinshasa is a major supplier of food to its north bank neighbour.

The stoppage came after former Zairean army soldiers occupied Brazzaville’s riverside port, known as the Beach, demanding to be allowed to return to the DRC. They had fled what was then called Zaire to the neighbouring Republic of Congo in 1997 after Uganda and Rwandan-backed guerillas led by Laurent Kabila toppled Zaire’s President Mobutu Sese Seko and changed the name of the country to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The ban on river crossings caused food prices in Brazzaville to rise sharply – a bag of fufu flour (cassava-based staple food) rose from the equivalent of US to . Despite the attempts of smugglers in motorized canoes to keep the supply lines open they could not cope with demand.

Importance of the Beach

The Beach is always a hive of activity. Porters rush around loading and off-loading goods. Under the shady mango trees that dot the port, moneychangers do brisk business and turn a healthy profit, thanks to the strength of the ROC’s currency.

Merchants on opposite banks of the river transport their goods on barges belonging to the national river transport companies of both countries: la Coordination nationale des transports fluviaux (CNTF) in the ROC and the Office national des transports (ONATRA) in the DRC. The Beach also serves as a border post and is staffed by immigration, customs and police agents.

Some 30% of ROC's imports come from DRC, and the latter imports 5$ to 10% of its wood, plywood and wooden electricity poles from ROC. The ROC Customs Department said it lost 100 million francs (8,450) in duty during the traffic closure.

Despite being a producer of crude petroleum, ROC depends on its neighbour for much of its refined paraffin, oil, gasoline and jet fuel.

ROC's foreign trade office, the Direction générale du commerce extérieur, has recorded 30 billion franc CFA (.54 million) of imports from DRC since 2001. This amount represented about one-third of the country's total global annual imports, making the resumption of traffic a welcome relief to the public and the nation as a whole.

- this report courtesy UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)

SOUTH AFRICA - holiday operating hours at Saldanha

Operating times at the Multi Purpose Terminal (MPT) at Saldanha Bay over the coming holidays (Christmas and New Year) have been announced.

MPT Saldanha will be operational or closed during the following hours/days:

16 December 2005 – normal operational times
24 December 2005 – terminal stops working at 19.00
25 December 2005 – Christmas Day - terminal closed
26 December 2005 – terminal reopens at 07.00
31 December 2005 – terminal closes at 19.00
01 January 2006 – New Year’s Day – terminal closed
02 January 2005 – terminal reopens at 07.00

Enquiries may be made to deonju@saportops.co.za or tel 022-703 4105

Clipper Race update –

Thursday 17 November

New York crossed the line in second place shortly before 13.45 GMT after a tough few days in the closing stage of race 3. The New York crew have been struggling with constantly changing wind conditions, broaches, Chinese gybes and major spinnaker damage as they raced up the South African coast.

Earlier in the day with just 30 miles to run to the finish line, Skipper Joff Bailey said: 'My feelings at the moment are as though I have been involved in a train wreck, and I think that goes for the rest of the crew. It feels like everything has conspired against us over the last few days.'

But the challenges of the last few days are now behind Joff and his crew, as they enjoy the warm welcome laid on by the Durban welcoming committee. Despite the drizzle, the scantily clad Zulu warriors gave the weary New Yorkers a memorable welcome in front of the gathered crowds and local dignitaries including Durban's Deputy Mayor Councillor Logie Naidoo.

At 20:08 GMT Cardiff Clipper crossed the finish line to take 3rd place into Durban. They were very shortly followed by Qingdao Clipper who finished 38 minutes later at 20:46 GMT. A large crowd and Zulu dancers awaited the arrival of both yachts at the Clipper Race Village.

After over 4,200 miles of Transatlantic racing, Liverpool 08 and Uniquely Singapore were racing neck-to-neck as they approached the finish line off Durban. After days of extremely close racing with often just a mile separating the two boats, the Liverpudlians and Singaporeans battled over fifth place up to the line, crossing at 01.33 GMT on Thursday 17 November. The exact order of finish has not been confirmed and is subject to verification.

Final positions and finish times are yet to be confirmed.

- this report courtesy Clipper Ventures

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