Ports & Ships Maritime News
Dec 15, 2005
Tomorrow (Friday) is a holiday in South Africa and we will not be publishing a full news bulletin. We will however issue an update of the Clipper Yacht Race, with hopefully news of the winners of the Durban to Fremantle leg
NIGERIA – Russian seafarers released
The 15 seafarers from the Greek tanker African Pride, who were arrested with their ship on charges of smuggling or stealing bunker oil in Nigeria, were found guilty yesterday after pleading guilty to reduced charges of illegal possession.
Each of the sailors – 12 Russians, two Romanians and a Georgian received six month sentences but were immediately released as a result of a plea bargain process. They are now able to return home.
The men had already spent almost two years in pre-trial custody and became the subject of intense diplomatic pressure on their behalf by the Russian government.
The African Pride was detained in the custody of the Nigerian Navy but mysteriously disappeared one day together with its cargo of illegally-gained oil, allegedly siphoned from pipelines ashore. The ship subsequently made good its escape (minus the 15 sailors who were in jail) but two rear admirals of the Nigerian Navy were later suspended and brought before a court-martial on charges of having assisted the ship to escape.
SOMALIA – another act of piracy reported
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports another ship as having come under attack from what is thought to be the infamous pirate’s mothership operating 400 miles off the Somali coast.
In the latest incident, which took place on Monday (12 December) according to the IMB, the unnamed vessel, a general cargo ship was pursued by a fishing vessel fitted with a boom or derrick. The cargo ship took evasive action and made its escape.
The IMB also reports that a products tanker was fired on by several speed boats last week but was able to increase speed and take evasive action before making its escape.
SOUTH AFRICA – Fuel relief for Eastern Cape as tanker docks
East Londoners received good news this morning when the local newspaper, the Daily Dispatch announced that a fuel tanker (the Chem Baltic) had arrived in port with a cargo of diesel fuel to relieve the shortage in the Border region of the Eastern Cape.
The Chem Baltic loaded a cargo of fuels at Durban earlier this week and her arrival in East London was expected to result in a lifting of a critical shortage of certain fuels in the area.
Meanwhile, the national minister of Minerals and Energy, Lindiwe Hendricks has announced that she intends setting up a panel to investigate the reasons for the shortage of fuel in many parts of the country. Durban and KwaZulu Natal appears to be the only province not affected while Cape Town and the Eastern Cape have been worst hit, which has included a shortage of bunker diesel oil at Cape Town port.
EGYPT – new cruise terminal for Alexandria
The Alexandria Port Authority is inviting international companies with experience in cruise terminal operation to tender for the operation and management of the Alexandria Cruise Terminal project.
Alexandria Cruise Terminal anticipates catering for 500,000 passengers annually during the first stage of operation, which should be reached in the first half of 2006. A 50,000 square metre area has been designated for the purpose including some 5,000 square metres for commercial usage. The terminal will be connected with Egyptian Railways and special trains will operate between the terminal and Cairo. A 700m long road bridge will lead towards the historical and commercial centre of Alexandria.
SOUTHERN AFRICA – serious concern about food in southern Africa
Nearly 12 million people in need of assistance – FAO
Food insecurity in southern Africa is of serious concern despite a bumper maize harvest in South Africa, according to the new Africa report published by FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organisation).
Nearly 12 million people, mainly in Zimbabwe and Malawi, are in need of emergency food assistance.
However, South Africa has harvested a record maize crop of 12.4 million tonnes, estimated to result in a potential export surplus of about 4.66 million tonnes, more than enough to cover the sub-region’s import requirements.
In Zimbabwe, shortages of key farm inputs such as seeds, fertilizer and draft power are reported. Normally Zimbabwe requires about 50 000 tonnes of maize seed. Only half of this is currently estimated to be available locally. Fertilizer companies estimate that this year about 75 percent of last year’s much reduced amount of fertilizer may be available at much higher prices.
Access to food in many areas is severely hampered by scarcity of grain on the market and high inflation, coupled with fuel and transport problems which are exacerbating food insecurity. Between June and October this year the average maize price increased from about Z00 to about Z00 per kilogram. An estimated three million people will receive monthly rations of cereals and pulses from the World Food Programme.
In Malawi, food insecurity is worsening throughout the country as maize prices continue to rise. So far, commercial imports and food aid deliveries have been meagre in spite of the significant amounts pledged by international donors.
In eastern Africa, the 2005 harvest is generally better than last year and food availability is expected to improve in most countries of the sub-region. The overall food situation, however, remains precarious with high malnutrition rates reported in several countries arising from effects of war, displacement and past droughts.
In Somalia, the overall food security situation continues to be of concern with more than 900 000 people in need of urgent assistance. The situation is further aggravated by upsurges in hostilities in parts of southern Somalia and deteriorating security conditions that are hampering the distribution of relief assistance.
The food situation in Sudan is also alarming due to continued conflict and population displacement that have resulted in serious food insecurity, especially in Darfur and Southern Sudan.
In Eritrea, despite a higher crop production, about 1.4 million people are in need of food assistance.
In Ethiopia, crop prospects are favourable in the main producing regions. But household food availability is poor and high malnutrition rates, particularly for children, are of serious concern in some areas. The number of people in need of emergency food assistance is estimated at 3.8 million.
Good harvests are expected in the Sahel, following generally favourable weather conditions throughout the growing season.
However, the severe food crisis that hit the sub-region in 2004/05 had serious income, livelihoods and nutrition effects and resulted in depletion of household assets including loss of animals, as well as high levels of indebtedness, notably in Niger and parts of Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania. In Côte d’Ivoire, insecurity and the de facto partition of the country continue to disrupt agricultural production and marketing activities.
In Central Africa, crop prospects and food security outlook are unfavourable in several countries due mainly to civil strife and insecurity. Burundi has warned that a serious food crisis is looming in the northern and eastern provinces due to the unfavourable prospects for the 2006 first harvest.
Cereal import requirements in sub-Saharan Africa in 2005/06 are expected to remain high, the report said. Total food aid requirement in 2004/05 is estimated at about 3.3 million tonnes similar to 2003/04.
- source FAO report
The delivery of food aid, whether supplied from South Africa’s surplus or from imports shipped in from overseas is likely to again place the ports, railways and storage facilities of southern under strain.
CLIPPER RACE UPDATE
Thursday 15 December 2005
So near and yet so far! Just when we thought it was all over bar the shouting, the two race leaders, Durban and Victoria entered a hole with no wind to fill their sails, allowing others behind them to catch up some of the leeway.
Durban Clipper has led the way across the Indian Ocean since leaving Durban on 27 November. Will she be the first into Fremantle, or will it be Victoria or even Westernaustralia.com?
With 154 miles to go at 17.00 today (for Durban) it might seem as if another 14 or so hours would see the winner home, but in the 12 hour period leading up to this report both Durban and Victoria each managed distance runs of only 87 and 85 miles respectively, compared with 111 miles by two of the yachts further back.
So what this means is that all ten yachts are drawing closer together with Fremantle barely over the horizon, and still any one of several is capable of becoming the first one in. However with luck and fair winds whichever yacht it is will finish the race sometime tomorrow late morning or early afternoon (GMT).
Race position at 17.00 today (with distance to finish)
New York (349)
- source http://www.clipper-ventures.co.uk
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