Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 29, 2005
Author: P&S

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

LONDON – IMO sends resolution on piracy to UN

Following strong pressure from the shipping industry the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) last week duly passed a resolution calling on the United Nations Security Council to take steps against piracy at sea including armed robbery on ships outside or in harbours. The resolution passed in London has been submitted to the Assembly at the recommendation of IMO secretary-general Efthimios Mitropoulos.

The matter became more urgent in the eyes of the IMO following a spate of piracy involving international shipping off the coast of Somalia, which culminated in the highly publicised abortive attack on the American cruise ship Seabourn Spirit.

‘The resolution condemns and deplores all acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships and appeals to all parties, which may be able to assist, to take action, within the provisions of international law, to ensure that all acts or attempted acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships are terminated forthwith; any plans for committing such acts are abandoned; and any hijacked ships are immediately and unconditionally released and that no harm is caused to seafarers serving in them,’ says the IMO.

‘The secretary-general has been requested to continue monitoring the situation and to report to the IMO Council on developments. He has also been requested to establish and maintain co-operation with the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia; and to consult with interested governments and organizations to discuss providing technical assistance to Somalia and nearby coastal States to address the problem. This includes taking into account the outcome of the sub regional seminar on piracy and armed robbery against ships and maritime security held in Sana'a, Yemen from 9 to 13 April 2005. A follow-up to this seminar is due to be held in Oman in January 2006.

’The resolution respects fully the sovereignty, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and territorial integrity of Somalia and the relevant provisions of international law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

‘Governments are strongly urged to increase their efforts to prevent and suppress acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships and, in particular, to co-operate with other Governments and international organizations in relation to acts occurring or likely to occur in the waters off the coast of Somalia.’

-SOUTH AFRICA – Mbeki will talk shipping while in the Congo

South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki is to embark on a state visit to the Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville) from tomorrow (Wednesday) during which he will discuss several matters of economic importance between the two countries, including merchant shipping.

Other issues that are likely to be discussed include minerals and energy, tourism, health, safety and security, arts and culture and agriculture. Several agreements are expected to be signed during the visit, including those involving merchant shipping and trade.

NIGERIA – Arrested Russian seafarers face further delay

The long-awaited court case involving 15 seafarers including 12 Russians arrested when the tanker African Pride was detained on 8 October 2003 on suspicion of smuggling oil out of Nigeria, has been delayed a further three weeks.

The case was expected to come before the court this week but was again delayed - this time to allow the Lagos Federal Court to ‘correct inaccuracies in its records.’

For a along period the seamen were held in jail waiting trial but after pressure from the Russian government the 12 Russians were eventually allowed to be detained under supervision of the Russian trade mission in Lagos, pending trial.

MOZAMBIQUE – Mozal to triple size of smelter

BHP has announced it intends going ahead with phase 3 of the Mozal aluminium smelter at Maputo in Mozambique, adding a further 250,000 tonnes of capacity to the plant’s existing 685,000 tonnes, which it achieved during BHP’s 2005 fiscal year.

The company revealed it has completed the feasibility stage and is now in discussion with South Africa’s Eskom and the Mozambique government for the provision of the additional electricity, on which availability the development is dependent.

BHP holds a 47% stake in the Mozal smelter, with Mitsubishi of Japan holding 25%, South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation another 24% and the Mozambique government 4%.

BHP also controls the largest aluminium smelter in the Southern Hemisphere at Hillside in Richards Bay, producing 650,000t annually as well as the smaller Bayside smelter also in Richards Bay producing some 250,000t annually.

Meanwhile analysts say that increasing the capacity of the Mozal smelter should not affect the potential of an aluminium smelter being built at Coega in the Eastern Cape, where Alcan of Canada and a Russian group have both expressed interest.

-SOUTH AFRICA – Crippled car carrier will undergo cofferdam repair

The Norwegian-owned but Hong Kong registered pure car carrier Dyvi Baltic (39,043-gt0, built 1989) is the undergo repairs to her rudder in the port of Durban after cracks were discovered.

The vessel had called at the port to deliver a consignment of motor vehicles and underwent inspection after problems with the rudder had been experienced. The inspection revealed a crack endangering the rudder and the safety of the vessel.

As a result of the dry docks at Durban, East London and Cape Town being currently fully booked for weeks ahead the owners have had to agree to a cofferdam being erected around the rudder. It is thought the ship will be out of action for at least a month – in the meantime Dyvi Baltic, which is owned by Dyviships XII of Norway has gone to a layby berth at Durban’s Point awaiting the construction of the cofferdam.

-SOUTH AFRICA – No change for high cubes

The Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe says that government has no intention of changing legislation to allow the use of so-called ‘high cube’ containers in South Africa.

Radebe was responding to questions from the opposition Democratic Alliance transport spokesman who wanted to know if the Department of Transport had given consideration to amending regulations concerning the transportation of high cubes. This would require an increase in the height limitation of 4.3m permitted for road transport.

The minister said it was not feasible to amend the regulations owing to the number of bridges and other infrastructure on the country’s roads that would have to be altered or rebuilt to accommodate road vehicles carrying the larger containers.

NIGERIA – Worker compensation drops

The amount of money to be paid out to port workers affected by the concessioning of various port terminals in Nigeria has decreased dramatically, according to reports from the West African country.

The amount allocated is said to have decreased from N115 billion to N35 billion and sources say this is a result of a decision that many of the workers will be retained after concessioning – with the National Port Authority finding positions for them.

In terms of the concessioning and advice received from the World Bank about 10,000 workers were due to be made redundant. This has resulted in widespread unhappiness particularly with the trade unions. In the meantime several of the successful concessionaires have declined to take up the operation of the terminals awarded to them on account of the government not having taken steps to implement the layoffs.

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