Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 30, 2005
Author: P&S

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

LONDON – Radebe addresses the IMO

South Africa has well advanced plans of introducing a tonnage tax and intends revitalising and extending its ship repair, refurbishment and ship maintenance facilities, says transport minister Jeff Radebe.

He was addressing the 24th Assembly of the International Maritime Organisation which is underway in London.

“The government has begun work to re-establish our ocean going ship building industry, especially with a view to build up our Ship Register and to establish a viable coastal shipping fleet servicing our region’s transhipment needs,” he told the assembly.

Radebe pointed out that South Africa is the only southern African country that straddles three oceans.

“At present no other southern African country is represented in the IMO Council. South Africa can therefore, with its strategic position at the tip of the continent and it's well established technical capability and skills base, make a meaningful contribution to the activities of the IMO Council, especially as it pertains to the southern African sub-region. We would do so if so honoured, in full cooperation with all SADC States, including both littoral and island States.”

He reminded the IMO that South Africa is in full compliance with the International Ship and Safety Security Code (ISPS) and was currently assessing the operation of ISPS with a view to enhancing its impact and identifying possible loopholes derived by South Africa’s own specific environment and context.

“Regardless of its reputation for stormy waters, the sea route around the Cape is still the main waterway for oil transportation from the Middle East to Europe and North America. An estimated 7000 vessels pass around the South African coastline annually, of which a large number are laden tankers carrying in excess of 30 million DWT tonnes of crude oil. These conditions, as proven by thousands of shipwrecks over centuries, present regular challenges to vessels which often result in distress calls to the Cape Town based Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC).”

The minister said that during the past three years the MRCC received more than 500 distress signals from vessels off the South African coastline, some as far south as Antarctica. Various laden, very large crude-oil carriers have been assisted to safety, their cargoes safely transferred by means of ship to ship transfers and the affected vessels repaired or temporarily repaired in order to proceed for permanent repairs at other ports.

“High winds and high seas are common in the region, raising the risk that ships will accidentally spill oil, chemicals, noxious liquid wastes, and other hazardous substances. Currently, slicks brought in from spills in the open ocean by coastal currents frequently mar beaches and damage coral reefs. Discharges of contaminated ballast water and from refineries add to the load.”

He said it is estimated that over 30% of the world's petroleum production of about 60 millions barrels per day is transported through the waters of the West Indian Ocean region. This means that more than 500 million tons of sea trade in crude oil passes near or through the coastal waters of the coastal states and the island states of the West Indian Ocean, in transit to markets in North America, Europe and Asia. The heavy sea traffic in crude oil represents over 5000 tanker voyages per year through the sensitive areas of the countries in the region.

NIGERIA – Port strike looms

Port workers are expected to stop work tomorrow (Thursday 1 December) at the beginning of an indefinite strike against the government’s port concessioning programme. A last minute meeting was being held today in an effort to avert the strike but when this went to publication there was no indication of any success in avoiding the action.

According to Anthony Nted, president of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, workers have run out of patience and the only way out for them is to begin an indefinite work stoppage. He instructed members of the union that unless government accedes to their demands by morning, workers should begin shutting down the ports. He called for the action to be peaceful and to avoid violence but said no ships should be loaded or discharged.

No amount of compensation would compensate for the social disruption that privatisation will bring to union members, he told members. Despite the union having lowered its initial demands regarding the size of severance packages, government was continuing to ignore its request.

“Government has reneged and without signing any agreement has gone ahead with the concessioning,” he said.

DUBAI –the sun sets on P&O

Dubai-based DP Ports has agreed to pay US.7 billion for the purchase of London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co., which means in effect the acquisition of P&O Ports’ container terminals across the world.

The amount of the offer of 443 pence per share in cash is 43% above the closing price of P&O Ports on 28 October, which was the final day of trading before the announcement that an offer to purchase had been made.

By acquiring the 168-year old company DP World, which is owned by the city of Dubai, inherits 29 container terminal operations scattered across the world, including one in Africa at Maputo, Mozambique. P&O Ports also operates a large stevedore business in South Africa, with headquarters in Durban.

DP Ports last big acquisition was CSX World Terminals in December 2004, for which it paid US.15 billion. By buying P&O Ports the Dubai company catapults into third place among container terminal operators - the two largest groups being Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa and Singapore-based Temasek Holdings.

In 2004 DP Ports handled a total of eight million TEUs at its various terminals while P&O Ports handled a total of 13.8 million in the same period. The purchase gives DP Ports a combined capacity of 50 million TEUs.

The deal also includes the loss-making ferry side of P&O’s business. DP World has indicated it will continue to operate the ferry business and intends retaining the management and staff of P&O.

SOMALIA – Kenyan ship released

Somali pirates have released the Kenyan freighter Torgelow, which they seized in an act of piracy almost two months ago. However another six vessels are still believed to be held captive by the Somalis.

Torgelow, with a crew of ten was dispatched in October to carry general cargo and fuel intended for a sister ship, the MV Semlow which had also been highjacked by Somali pirates. Semlow had been released by the highjackers but had no fuel on board and was also experiencing engine trouble as a result of being forced to use the wrong type of lubricating oil, while Torgelow was supposed to deliver supplies and engine parts.

In mid October there were reports that Torgelow had been released but these proved premature with the pirates subsequently detaining the ship once again. She was the third ship owned by Mombasa-based Motaku Shipping Agency to have been highjacked in Somali waters.

Other ships still being held captive are the Thai vessel Laemthong Glory, three Taiwanese fishing vessels and two Arab dhows. A bulker Panagia was released at the weekend and has sailed from the region.

CLIPPER RACE UPDATE – successful transfer at sea

A successful transfer of mechanical parts for a water making pump took place during the last 24 hours, with spares carried on board the Jersey Clipper being transferred across to New York Clipper after the latter’s system failed. After the success of the transfer, which required Jersey Clipper having to delay its progress, Jersey Clipper has requested redress for time lost in the operation. This will be considered by the race committee.

It’s still too early to draw much conclusion from who is leading the leg to Western Australia, but Durban, Glasgow and Westernaustralia.com are currently holding places 1, 2 and 3 on the leaderboard, with Durban holding a more central course among the competitors and Westernaustralia furthest south. At 17.00 today (Wednesday 30 November) Durban had 3,611 km to go to the finishing line, Glasgow had 3,622km and Westernaustralia 3,624km. There’s still nothing in it.

Race details courtesy of Clipper Ventures Plc

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