Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 12, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Durban stowaways burn down port building

  • Johannesburg Mandrax haul traced to Durban harbour

  • Setback for Cape Town Container Terminal expansion plans

  • Another group of oil workers kidnapped in Nigeria

  • Smit secures R30 million BEE fuel procurement deal

  • Cerebos stays in Coega

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

    Durban stowaways burn down port building

    A disused building near the Maydon Wharf area of Durban Harbour was badly burnt in the early hours of yesterday morning when police chased a suspected robber into the former I&J building in Boatmans Road behind Trawlers Wharf.

    Police were responding to reports that someone had stolen property off a nearby small boat. When they identified and chased a suspect he ran into the derelict building which housed a large group of vagrants including more than 30 stowaways, mostly of East African origin.

    The occupants pelted the police with burning debris which set the building alight. The stowaways together with a number of local vagrants had apparently been living in the building below the roof and in the rafters. The building contained a quantity of stolen property, some of which is thought to have come from ships along the adjacent Maydon Wharf.

    Police later arrested 28 men who they said were illegal immigrants. A number of others managed to escape. There were no reports of injuries as a result of either the fire or arrests.

    The incident again raises the question of lax security in sections of Durban harbour, where people arriving in vehicles are routinely stopped and requested to produce a permit before entering whereas pedestrians are able to walk in or out at will.

    The lack of security guards on the various entrances to Maydon Wharf, which is currently affected by the ongoing security guards’ strike, will have exacerbated the matter but even when security personnel were on duty the lack of control over pedestrian traffic was obvious to any onlooker.

    this is a typical ‘boom gate’ securing one of the numerous entrances to Durban’s Maydon Wharf – the date is 5 May 2006 and was taken during the security guard strike when no-one was on duty. The boom was however missing before the strike began. Picture Terry Hutson. Click image to enlarge

    Durban has been the scene of a number of stowaway incidents since the advent of the ISPS measures nearly two years ago, when boom gates were installed along Maydon Wharf and the remainder of the port boundary was securely fenced. Today many of the booms are broken and unusable.

    Johannesburg Mandrax haul traced to Durban Harbour

    What has been described as one of the largest ever drug busts in South Africa has been traced to a container that entered South Africa through Durban harbour from China.

    The container held an estimated two million Mandrax tablets with a street value of R156 million, according to Johannesburg police. Eleven people had been arrested by yesterday afternoon, including one Durban man who worked as a clearing and forwarding agent for a Durban company.

    The police were acting on information received and traced the container at Johannesburg’s City Deep container terminal to a ship (not identified) that brought the container from China. The drugs in tablet form – mandrax in tablet form is a commonly used drug in South Africa, were hidden inside hollowed out section of the declared cargo of wooden doors. Police sniffer dogs were used to identify the cargo and police subsequently began breaking open the doors to reveal the drugs.

    The bust has been declared as a massive blow to the drug smuggling industry but in reality this is just one of a number of similar ‘busts’ in recent months with the drugs continuing to arrive in the country either by sea or by air.

    Setback for Cape Town Container Terminal expansion plans

    The planned expansion of Cape Town’s container terminal received a setback this week with the Minister of Environment and Tourism’s announcement that the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report is ‘flawed’.

    According to Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the proposed R3.2 billion expansion, which involves widening the terminal’s stacking area by 300m out into Table Bay, could no longer proceed as planned despite his earlier authorisation of the project. South African Port Operations and the National Ports Authority were banking on a favourable and acceptable EIA that would allow the expansion to begin. The terminal is already operating beyond its said designed capacity and both organisations are on record saying that the only way to extend this capacity is to widen the terminal into Table Bay.

    Cape Town harbour was built originally in a similar manner with the quaysides and berthing area constructed into Table Bay. Since its early days of just the Victoria and Alfred Basins, the port has undergone a number of extensions including the creation of the existing container terminal basin, known originally as the Ben Schoeman Dock.

    Cape Town Container Terminal – the proposed extension involves widening the terminal quay by 300m to the right of this scene. Picture Terry Hutson. Click to enlarge

    During the EIA phase objections were received from property owners, who said they feared erosion from altered currents and tidal action if the port was extended. They also objected to increased levels of smoke emission from ships and suggested that the NPA and SAPO had not explored all the alternatives available.

    In rejecting the findings of the EIA Minister van Schalkwyk said that while he appreciated the urgent need to expand container facilities he was not convinced that alternative options had been fully explored. He called the EIA flawed and a ‘serious breach of responsibility’ because it failed to deal with all the relevant issues. Experts whom he had appointed to investigate the matter advised of potentially significant gaps in the report. They also said that not all sensitive areas in the EIA had been identified, such as the Milnerton Estuary, Salt River Mouth and the Caltex Sea Outyfall. They also stated that the model utilised to predict potential coastal erosion was not appropriate for the study area.

    ‘The specialists found the EIA process and the EIR to be flawed and recommended that the appeals be upheld and the National Ports Authority (NPA) be instructed to repeat and improve certain specified elements of the EIA.’

    The full report can be read on the Department’s website at www.environment.gov.za>http://www.environment.gov.za and proceed to that website’s News Media section.

    Another group of oil workers kidnapped in Nigeria

    Three foreign oil workers have been kidnapped by militants in Nigeria’s Port Harcourt. The attack, which involved seizing the men from a car travelling in Port Harcourt with a police escort is the latest in a series of kidnappings involving foreign workers on oil installations which is intended to deter oil companies from operating.

    By all accounts the latest incident was a result of a local dispute involving the oil company Saipem and the local community. According to police one of the suspected kidnappers has since been arrested but the whereabouts of the three oil workers is not known.

    The attack came a day after an American working in Nigeria for an oil company was shot dead from a passing motor cycle. Oil companies have called the murder an isolated and incident unrelated to earlier attacks on oil expatriates.

    Smit secures R30 million BEE fuel procurement deal

    SMIT Amandla Marine (Pty) Ltd has reached a marine fuel purchase agreement with Kepu Trading (Pty) Ltd, which is owned by broad-based black economic empowerment company Calulo Investments, and is worth some R30 million rand annually.

    The agreement, signed at SMIT Amandla Marine offices in Cape Town yesterday by Executive Chairman of Calulo Investments Mkhuseli Faku and SMIT Amandla Marine Managing Director Paul Maclons, is for the purchase of marine fuel (gasoil and bunkers) for SMIT Amandla's owned and managed vessels and includes fuel procurement for the Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism's fleet of patrol, supply and research vessels which are managed by SMIT Amandla Marine.

    In a statement SMIT Amandla Marine said the agreement was in line with the company’s stated preferential procurement objectives and would contributes greatly to the company's contribution to Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment.

    “SMIT Amandla Marine is a 30 percent black-owned specialist marine services company employing some 550 South Africans who have a vested interest in the company's success by virtue of their status as beneficiaries of the SMIT Amandla Marine Employee Trust, which owns 12 percent of SMIT Amandla.

    ”Kepu Trading (Pty) Ltd is a leading black-owned, international petrochemicals trading company, with interests in the trading and supply of crude oil and refined petroleum products and is owned by Calulo Investments - a black-owned and managed investment company aiming to give effect to the meaningful participation of black South Africans in the energy and minerals sector.”

    The fuel supply agreement becomes effective on 1 June, 2006.

    Cerebos stays in Coega

    Cerebos Ltd, a leading South African salt producer yesterday announced it intends relocating to the Coega Industrial Development Zone as part of a R85 million expansion and relocation project.

    The relocation is a result of the ongoing development of the Coega IDZ and Port of Ngqura, which will occupy land and river area currently used by the salt manufacturer.

    According to the company the new plant will see Cerebos introduce innovative new technology not previously used in sub-Saharan Africa for the production of high purity sodium chloride known as pure vacuum dried salt (PVD) – better known as the stuff we put in our salt dispensers.

    Cerebos has been a South African brand leader for many generations and has occupied the Coega River mouth area for much of that time.

    Social economic benefits for the local communities will be given a boost with the creation of a least 100 jobs during construction in addition to the retention of the current 140 jobs in the current operations. An increase in jobs may be expected as the company improves its volumes due to an increasing local and international demand for PVD salt.

    Construction work of the new plant is scheduled for July and when completed it is expected to increase Cerebos’ national and global competitiveness while at the same time helping the company meet its local demand.

    “Local demand for PVD salt exceeded our supply so we had to turn some customers down but all that will be history when the new plant is operational in September 2007”, said Cerebos MD Chandler.

    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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