Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 19, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Somali clears US Navy to patrol coast

  • Oranjemund sold to Greek interests

  • Transnet given two weeks to clear Richards Bay waste

  • World’s largest cruise ship sails into Hamburg

  • Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants shipped out the way they came

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    Somali clears US Navy to patrol coast

    US Navy ships have been given clearance by the Somali transitional government to patrol along the Somali coast. In addition the US Navy will assist the Kenya-based government in exile to train a Somali coastguard service.

    Announcing this at the weekend, Somali’s prime minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi said the US had been granted permission to patrol close to the Somali coastline.

    His announcement means that US forces will be able to operate in Somali territory for the first time since 1993, when the US suffered casualties in street fighting in Mogadishu. The US Navy together with other navies has been operating at a distance from the Somali coast and has successfully intercepted several pirate vessels operating from Somalia, which remains under the effective control of local warlords.

    The declaration by the government in exile provides an air of legitimacy to allied naval operations off the coast of Somalia, but it is doubtful whether this will be respected by the warlords occupying Mogadishu and other ports along the coast who effectively ‘control’ much of the country. On 15 March this year the United Nations Security Council encouraged naval forces in the area to take any action deemed necessary to protect commercial shipping from acts of piracy. Since then US ships have intercepted suspected pirates on two occasions, and ten Somalis who were arrested in possession of an Indian ship are now facing trial in Mombasa.

    Nevertheless, Somali pirates continue to hold three ships they subsequently seized in Somali waters, including an oil tanker and a South Korean fishing vessel.

    Over 100 naval ships are currently operating in the Arabian Sea and in the vicinity of the Horn of Africa – the largest concentration of allied warships in one place since the Korean War.

    Oranjemund sold to Greek interests

    The Unicorn tanker Oranjemund, which has operated along the South African coast for 30 years, was sold last week to Greek interests and will shortly leave South African waters for the last time.

    The little 61m tanker, which was built in Durban and designed specially for the West Coast service including calls at Port Nolloth, was withdrawn from service a few weeks ago after completing a successful voyage to the Southern Ocean, where she replenished the Greenpeace vessels patrolling in the vicinity of the Japanese whaling fleet. (See our article ‘Oranjemund Antarctic Adventure’ in the News section dated 16 January.)

    Oranjemund arriving in Durban in February 2005 after yet another of her many coastal voyages. For 30 years the little ship has been in regular service along the South African coast. Picture by Terry Hutson – click image to enlarge

    Following that voyage Oranjemund made a final trip to West Africa before returning to Durban, the port where she began her long career in 1976. According to a Unicorn Tankers’ spokesman the single-hulled ship has been sold because she is unable to meet the criteria required by the oil majors for tankers operating along the South African coast. In her place Unicorn Tankers has acquired another tanker which has been named Oribi.

    It is believed that Oranjemund, which will be renamed Zambezi, will operate a bunkering service along the East African coast and among the Indian Ocean islands as well as in the Middle East. Despite her advancing years the ship is in remarkably good condition, as her recent trip into Antarctic waters demonstrated, and is likely to remain in service for a few more years.

    As Zambezi she is expected to sail from Durban some time this week.

    Transnet given two weeks to clear Richards Bay waste

    The provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Agriculture has served a 14-day notice on Transnet and Futuretech Services Logistics (FSL) to dispose of a waste dump near Enseleni in Zululand that has been created using hazardous waste material from the port at Richards Bay.

    Transnet, as holding company is deemed to be the owners of waste material that is estimated at one stage to have amounted to 10,000 tonnes. The material was removed from SAPO terminals at the port and according to reports placed illegally at the site near Enseleni.

    The waste material is a result of spillages during cargo workings that has accumulated over a period of years and which was eventually gathered and removed from SAPO terminals. According to a report in the Zululand Observer the Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Rejoice Mabudafhasi expressed dismay at the accumulated waste stockpile during an official visit to the harbour in May 2005. As a result SAPO contracted a company to move the waste at a cost of R5 million, resulting in some 30,000 tonnes being moved to an Alton site.

    After municipal officials objected about a third of the waste was removed from Alton to the Enseleni site where it was stored in a disused warehouse belonging to Sasol. This violation was in turn brought to the notice of the authorities by publicity in the pages of the Zululand Observer, which ultimately led to the final notice given to Transnet and FSL of 14 days to clear the site completely or face heavy fines.

    World’s largest cruise ship sails into Hamburg

    The world’s largest cruise ship, Freedom of the Seas, sailed into Hamburg on Monday in front of an assembled crowd of thousands of onlookers.

    The 339m long 158,000-gt ship is actually about 6m shorter than Queen Mary 2 but has a higher gross tonnage, as well as being both taller with 15 passenger decks and wider than the Cunard vessel. She sailed to Hamburg to complete her fitting out or final ‘polishing’ before entering service for her owners, Royal Caribbean International.
    Freedom of the Seas is 72m high and has a beam of 56m and is capable of carrying up to 4,375 passengers. She was built at the Kvaerner-Masa shipyards in Finland and will receive her final touches at the Blohm & Voss yards before heading into commercial service via her maiden Transatlantic crossing on 25 April. Her future homeport is to be Miami and the ship will operate cruise in the Caribbean. Freedom of the Seas cruises at an operating speed of 21.6 knots.

    Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants shipped out the way they came

    Sixty-seven Bangladeshi immigrants who were arrested a week ago near the port of Nacala after being smuggled into Mozambique on board a cargo ship named Karibu, are to be deported to Madagascar the same way they came, back on board the Karibu (see our News report dated 13 April).

    Mozambique police arrested the 67 people north of Nacala after being alerted to their whereabouts by local people. The Bangladeshis had been dropped off from the Madagascan ship Karibu and later a Mozambique patrol boat arrested the ship and escorted her to Nacala. According to authorities the ship was not considered fit for carrying humans, although this hasn’t prevented Mozambique from using the same vessel to deport the unwanted arrivals.

    When it was learnt that the ship did carry enough money to acquire fuel for the return journey lasting two days, the Mozambique authorities ordered the Mozambique forwarding company Manica Freight Services to make the funds available. According to Nacala’s immigration department Manica, as the agent representing the ship on its arrival, was supposed to be aware of its cargo, including any passengers on board. Because the company had failed in this duty it was being held responsible for their return.

    The person regarded as the ringleader involved with trying to smuggle the Bangladeshis into Mozambique, a Mr A Miah is also being deported along with the others. This man was reportedly arrested in December 2004 for smuggling 34 people into northern Mozambique by air from the Comoros, but was later released by the courts on account of lack of evidence.

    Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Beira on the East Coast?

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