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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS
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As thousands of workers across the country joined marches yesterday in protest against job losses and poor pay scales, reports received indicate a mixed impact on industry in general.
Of interest to the maritime industry, the effect of the strike on the ports and railway was certainly mixed. According to Graham Braby of South African Port Operations (SAPO), there were limited disruptions to operations at Durban and Port Elizabeth only.
Braby maintained that normal work activity took place at the ports of Richards Bay, East London, Saldanha and Cape Town
He said the gates of the two Durban container terminals remained shut during the day with landside operations largely cancelled, while on the marine side there were no vessels scheduled for Pier One Container Terminal.
However a number of container ships scheduled for the Durban Container Terminal (Pier Two) remained idle outside the port and according to reliable sources only five container gantry cranes were at work during the day, meaning that more than half the container terminal was effectively down for the day.
Braby said that operations at the multi purpose terminal were able to continue with the assistance of casual labour, with three vessels on berth.
At Port Elizabeth he said one vessel was working at the container terminal and SAPO had enough labour to provide about 75 percent capacity to allow landside and quayside operations to continue, albeit at a slower pace.
Elsewhere in the country the mining industry was badly affected by the COSATU strike with a number of mines reporting 100 percent stayaways. Other industries affected included the motor manufacturers, retailers and the textile industry.
Meanwhile, the cabinet has described yesterday’s nationwide strike by the Congress of South African Trade Unions as not only ‘unwarranted’ but also ‘counter-productive’ to government’s efforts to fight poverty.
"Four out of ten workers are unemployed. This places a huge burden on those who remain in employment to support, on average, eight dependents," Cosatu has said.
However, in its statement yesterday, Cabinet noted that it was common knowledge that government was working with all social partners in the implementation of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA) and the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) which is aimed at enhancing skills in the country and reducing poverty.
"It is therefore government's firm view that such strike action is not only unwarranted, but also counter-productive. Within government, the standard principle of 'no work, no pay' will apply," the Cabinet said.
Led by Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, ASGISA is aimed at accelerating economic growth by six per cent by 2014, to enable the country to meet its aim of halving poverty and unemployment by that time.
However, one of the factors that constrain growth is skills shortage. In March, government launched JIPSA, a high-level task team, which seeks to identify the urgent skills needed and advise on ways to respond to these challenges.
JIPSA also seeks to ensure that unemployed graduates - whose numbers have grown considerably in the past five years - are absorbed into the economy.
Cape Town, 18 May 2006: The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism's flagship offshore environmental protection vessel, the Sarah Baartman, has arrested two fishing vessels over the past two days for illegal fishing and her sister vessels the Victoria Mxenge and Ruth First succeeded in preventing possible poaching incidents.
On Tuesday, 16 May 2006, the Sarah Baartman arrested a vessel which was caught fishing in the Pondoland Marine Protection Area. Four tuna and a slinger were caught by the vessel. The owner has been charged in Port St Johns and will appear in court on Monday 22 May 2006.
At 02:30 yesterday morning (Thursday 18 May 2006) the Sarah Baartman also arrested a Mozambican flagged vessel the Twanano off the KwaZulu-Natal coast near Mozambique. Last night Sarah Baartman was towing the vessel to Richards Bay where the owners will be charged.
The DEAT patrol boat Sarah Baartman earlier this year in Cape Town harbour – picture by Ian Shiffman – click to enlarge
In a combined land and sea based operation near Port Elizabeth on Wednesday (17 May), the Victoria Mxenge approached a suspect fishing vessel. As they moved closer bags were thrown from the boat to the sea and the vessel sped off. The officials on-board the Victoria Mxenge then managed to retrieve the bags from the sea which contained 185 large abalone.
On the West Coast the Ruth First in a joint operation with the Saldanha based South African Police Service (SAPS) Water Wing, approached a vessel with twelve divers on board. The vessel was only licensed to carry six divers. As this falls within the mandate of the SAPS they took further responsibility, but appreciated the assistance of the Ruth First. Commenting about the arrests, the Acting Chief Director of Communications, Mava Scott applauded the successful operations and further warned the poaching fraternity against continued flouting of the law in this regard.
"These successful operations serve only to prove our serious intentions to deal firmly with the law breakers in this sector" he said, "We will leave no stone unturned in the fight against poaching and illegal fishing".
He concluded by applauding the continued successful partnership with SAPS. "The law enforcement agencies can make greater impact like the current one when they act in concert and in this regard we appreciate the strong partnership we have with SAPS and the Scorpions in dealing with these criminal elements."
- source Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism
In recent weeks the port of Richards Bay has been the scene of a number of heavylift project cargo type operations involving transformers for Eskom – with units weighing in at 370 tonnes and requiring a special type of ship and special handling once they are offloaded.
Beluga Recommendation comes alongside the misnamed Richards Bay S/C (Small Craft) berth, the port’s facility where most heavylift cargoes are discharged
The latest shipment involved two transformers urgently required as Eskom gears up to meet a rising demand in South Africa and its neighbouring states for electrical energy.
Both pictures courtesy Mainport Africa Shipping – click images to enlarge
The date of discharge was 16 May 2006. Mainport Africa Shipping, a specialist in project cargo handling took care of the shipping of the cargo and reported that the operation went smoothly and effectively.
Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises wrapped up some of the last remaining port terminals in its port concessioning programme this week with the sale of Calabar’s Terminal B.
The winning bid came from the Ecomarine Consortium International, which paid USD 30 million to see off two other finalists. As it turned out Ecomarine paid far more than the next nearest bid of USD 3.1 million offered by Calabar Terminal Ltd.
The concession process on two remaining terminals, Koko Port and Warri Old Port Terminal B were suspended as a result of low bids received. Potential concessionaires for these two terminals will however get another chance, provided that minimum upset prices are met or bettered.
AP Moller-Maersk has declared the option for a third deepwater development semi-submersible at Keppel FELS limited in Singapore. The new rig is expected to be delivered in March 2010.
Similar to its sister rigs the rig will be able to operate at water depths of up to 10,000 ft and is designed for areas such as offshore West Africa, Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Asia.
AP Moller-Maersk says that great emphasis has been made on improving the drilling efficiency on the new rigs, which are particularly well suited for deepwater development drilling.
The rig features a dynamic positioning system as well as the ability to attach to a pre-laid mooring system. 180 people can be accommodated onboard.
The design is based on operational experiences gained from other deepwater semi-submersibles and incorporates a number of innovative ideas from Maersk Contractors potential customers.
Claus V. Hemmingsen, CEO, Maersk Contractors comments: “Exploration in deeper water by oil companies has turned out good results and now enters the development phase. In a response to our customers’ request for maximum value for money, we have – together with Keppel FELS, Singapore and Marine Structure Consultants, Holland – designed a high efficiency rig to support our customers’ ambitions”.
“We have awarded the contract to Keppel FELS based on past experience and their proven reputation to deliver on time. We believe that we have an excellent team for our expansion in the deepwater market.”
Maersk Contractors is part of the AP Moller-Maersk Group and is a leading drilling contractor and supplier of floating production solutions. The fleet counts 26 drilling rigs and three FPSOs including six high efficiency jack-up rigs and now three deepwater development semi-submersibles under construction. Maersk Contractors, together with Egyptian Drilling Company, employs an international staff of altogether 6,800 well-trained people.
- source AP Moller-Maersk
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