Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 15, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Shock for India’s Rites and Beira as CVRD heads for Nacala

  • Seychelles transhipment plan pays off

  • Master Mariners award bursary to former Tisand High School boy

  • NIGERIA: Oil workers released unharmed

  • DJIBOUTI: First human case of avian flu

  • Diego Garcia islanders may return, British high court rules

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    Shock for India’s Rites and Beira as CVRD heads for Nacala

    According to reports in Maputo, the Brazilian mining group Companhia do Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) intends shipping coal exports through the port of Nacala and not through Beira.

    CVRD last year won the rights to explore and mine coal at Moatize in Mozambique’s Tete Province.

    The report said that the Brazilian mining group will rail coal exports to Nacala making use of an existing railway line in Malawi and along the northern railway from Malawi to Nacala. However the port of Nacala will not be pressed into use for coal exports; instead CVRD intends developing an coal port facility on the opposite side of the bay at Nacala-a-Velha.

    The coalfields at Moatize are approximately 200km from the railway within Malawi, which in turn is connected to Nacala albeit on a railway that would have to be considerably strengthened to handle the large ore trains that CVRD would seek to use.

    The decision brings into question the future of the current rehabilitation of the Sena Railway from Beira, which also leads to Moatize and was awarded to the Indian Rites company which has already commenced work.

    The rehabilitation of the Sena railway apparently takes little account of heavier trains making use of the line. Additionally, the shallow approaches and waters of the port of Beira makes it unsuitable for handling larger ore ships, whereas the naturally deep water Nacala Bay enjoys no such limitations. The bay has an average depth of 60 metres and is one of the deepest natural harbours in Africa. The present port of Nacala lies on the south side of the bay.

    When the plan to reopen the coal mines at Moatize were first mooted several years ago there was talk of developing a new ore port at Savane to the north of Beira, with a rail spur connecting from the Sena railway. However that was before tenders to mine the coal were issued and subsequently awarded to CVRD.

    Seychelles transshipments plan pays off

    The Seychelles decision to create a transhipment centre for petroleum products along with a tanker shipping fleet has paid off, with the Seychelles Petroleum Company (Sepec) generating a USD 20 million profit during 2005, according to Sepec’s CEO Captain Guy Adam.

    According to VirtualSeychelles, Adam said that a lot of progress had been made on the tranship side of the business, leading to the bulk of Sepec’s profit.

    The company’s tanker fleet of three vessels as well as the islands storage facilities played a leading role in this healthy situation. Adams said the islands acted as a transhipment point for oil from the Gulf that was re-distributed to East Africa and other Indian Ocean islands. Rapid turn-round time has made Sepec the re-export option of choice for authorities in Kenya, Madagascar and the rest of the region.

    Adam told journalists that the Seychelles was only seven days sailing time from the Gulf and pointed out that during the last week of April (2006) the company handled six tankers in only five days.

    Sepec’s fleet consists of three tankers – Seychelles Progress (the newest addition to the fleet), Seychelles Pioneer and Seychelles Pride, with the latter two employed on international trades.

    Master Mariners award bursary to former Tisand High School boy

    The Society of Master Mariners has announced the awarding of a bursary to a former Tisand Technical High School student to attend the Cape Technikon S1 course.

    The first recipient is Vusi Mcambi, who passed grade 12 at Tisand at the end of 2005 with flying colours. The 17-year old said he was determined to pursue his studies in the maritime field and his ambition is to advance to the rank of ship’s master. He was born in Esikhaweni in northern KwaZulu Natal.

    The bursary was made possible by Captain C Luddeke who donated a substantial amount of money, which was matched by the Society to kickstart this venture. It is envisaged that with the help of all members of the Society and donors this scheme can be broadened to allow more students to pursue a sea-going career.

    NIGERIA: Oil workers released unharmed

    Dakar, 12 May 2006 (IRIN) - Three foreign oil workers were released unharmed on Friday after being abducted at gunpoint from a work bus in the oil city of Port Harcourt in southern Nigeria.

    After early reports that two employees of the Italian energy giant ENI SPA had been abducted, police later confirmed that three had been captured.

    Italian authorities confirmed that the three were released early on Friday morning, unharmed. Authorities declined to say whether a ransom had been paid.

    The incident was the latest in a series of attacks and kidnappings targeting foreign oil workers and oil companies in the Niger Delta (see our News Bulletin report dated 12 May).

    An armed militant movement, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), has made repeated attacks on oil installations causing a drop in Nigeria’s oil production by more than 20 percent.

    The group told reporters on Tuesday it would target oil workers with fresh attacks. However, MEND, which has taken oil workers hostage in the past, has not claimed responsibility for Thursday’s abduction.

    (This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)

    DJIBOUTI: First human case of avian flu

    Djibouti, 12 May 2006 (IRIN) - Health authorities in Djibouti have reported the first human case of the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain.

    In a radio and television address on Thursday, Djibouti’s health minister, Abdallah Abdillahi Miguil, announced that a young girl had been hospitalised with the H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus. Samples from other family members, who had shown flu-like symptoms, had been sent to the laboratory Namru III in Cairo, the Egyptian capital.

    The patient comes from a small village, about 30km south of Djiboutiville, the capital. She is receiving treatment at Bouffard, a French military hospital.

    Rumours of an outbreak of fever had been circulating in Djiboutiville since the beginning of April, according to an official from Djibouti’s health ministry. It was originally believed to be dengue fever or chikungunya, a mosquito-borne fever that has been reported recently in Mauritius and Reunion. The government, with the help of United States and French troops, and in collaboration with the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO), took several blood samples for testing.

    A sample taken from the child, who showed symptoms of fever, tested positive for H5N1 on 27 April. Three chickens were found to be infected with the virus as well.

    The confirmation of a human case is alarming, because Djibouti imports chickens from abroad and has no poultry farms. "We are shortly going to ban the import of live poultry. I urge people to cook chicken well before eating it," Miguil said. "We will soon review our mechanisms of disease control. But I ask parents to watch their children and prevent them from playing with birds and from going near dead birds."

    People in the capital have panicked since the announcement and stopped eating chicken. Said Ali, the owner of an open-air restaurant, regretted that the announcement was made in the early evening, when the food was already cooked. "If the minister had made his announcement in the morning, we could have made arrangements, but now it’s too late to throw it all away."

    "Bird flu will be our only topic of conversation among friends," said Osman Ali, an 18-year-old student.

    Confirmation of H5N1 in chickens puts Djibouti in phase III of the global pandemic, according to the WHO definition. Egypt is the only other country in Africa to have reported human infection of the disease.

    (This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)

    Diego Garcia islanders may return, rules British court

    Islanders who were forcibly removed in secrecy from the island of Diego Garcia more than 35 years ago, won the right to return from a British high court last week.

    Describing the action of exiling a people from their homeland as ‘repugnant’, Lord Justice Hooper and Mr Justice Cresswell ruled that the removals were unlawful. More than 2,000 islanders were taken off Diego Garcia between 1965 and 1973 to make way for the US to build a strategic air base.

    Aerial picture of Diego Garcia – courtesy US Dept of Defense – click image to enlarge

    The islanders were taken to Mauritius (continuing a long-held European practice of using the Mascarenes as a dumping ground for exiles). Some of the islanders from Diego Garcia, which is part of the Chagos group, found their way to the Seychelles and to the UK, from where a group of them has long agitated to return to the Chagos.

    The judgement described in some detail the secret exile and efforts of the Chagos people to return. Representing the islanders was the South African advocate and former Senior Council Sir Sydney Kentridge QC, who described the treatment of the islanders as ‘outrageous, unlawful and a breach of accepted moral standards.’

    The QC acting on behalf of the UK Foreign Office said the British government had acted within its powers.

    The ruling does not mean that the islanders will automatically return to what is in effect an American strategic fortress from which B52 and other US bombers flew to bomb Afghanistan and Iraq in both Gulf Wars.

    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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