Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 30, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Kenya and Uganda introduce one-stop border crossing

  • Transnet takes tough stance over corruption

  • SOMALIA: Mogadishu tense after weekend violence

  • Fred Olsen buys the Norwegian Crown

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    Kenya and Uganda introduce one-stop border crossing

    Kenya and Uganda are working on a proposal to operate a 24-hour schedule at the port of Mombasa as part of a project of improving cargo flow between the two countries.

    Last month the two governments signed the Malaba Bilateral Agreement in Arusha, which created the legal framework for a more seamless customs operation on the two country’s borders.

    USAid provided assistance to the process by means of refurbishing the Malaba Railway Station one-stop cargo clearance unit, which was commissioned last week.

    "With the legal framework, it is now expected that we shall move into operating a synchronized working hours schedule at Malaba," assistant transport minister Robinson Githae said at the commissioning.

    He said the Malaba border crossing would be replicated at other border posts which will reduce transit time and uncertainty at these crossings.

    "Malaba border post is taking the lead and will act as a model for the others.”

    Transnet takes tough stance over corruption

    Transnet remains uncompromising over corruption within the organisation and dismisses an average of 25 people a month who are caught for this and other disputed reasons, says Maria Ramos, chief executive of the transport parastatal body. She told parliament’s public enterprise committee that although this number might seem high it should be seen in the context of more than 75,000 employees within the organisation. She identified Transnet’s housing division as problematic in this regard.

    In a separate announcement in Cape Town yesterday Ramos confirmed reports that Transnet’s pension and retirement funds intended selling between 74 and 100 percent of the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town for an undisclosed amount. She said the sale was in line with Transnet’s already announced plans of disposing of non-core assets.

    SOMALIA: Mogadishu tense after weekend violence

    Hargeysa, 29 May 2006 (IRIN) - Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, was calm but tense on Monday after a fresh outbreak of violence during the weekend left at least 12 people dead and hundreds more displaced.

    "It is calm right now," a local observer said on Monday, "but the militia are still facing each other, and the tension is high. Large numbers of people continue to flee Mogadishu."

    Violence flared up on Saturday rocking the city again only two days after what was termed the "deadliest" fighting to hit the city in years.

    Map c IRIN

    The fighting, like the previous clashes, pitted militiamen allied to the Islamic Courts against those loyal to the newly formed coalition to fight international terrorism, the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism.

    Fighters from both sides indiscriminately pounded parts of Mogadishu with artillery, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar fire. The fighting was most intense in Galgalato District and around "77", a complex of former military barracks between Daynille and Keysane districts.

    "We were awoken by sounds of gunfire and mortars. A mortar hit my neighbour's house - it killed her son and seriously wounded two other people in the house," said Asha Ali, a terrified resident of Daynille. "We are waiting for the fight to subside so that we can leave for safer areas."

    Most of the casualties were taken to Keysane Hospital, run by the Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS) and adjacent to one of the main battle areas. Medical personnel at the hospital confirmed that four persons, including a 14-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy, succumbed to their wounds on Sunday. Officials at the medical facility also indicated that two stray mortars hit the hospital during Saturday's fighting, prompting the SRCS to appeal to both warring sides to spare the hospital and other medical centres. A 10-year-old girl also died at Medina Hospital on Sunday.

    Eyewitnesses also reported seeing at least five bodies lying at the battlefields in Daynille District and two in Galgalato. "I saw five dead bodies lying not very far from where the fighting was taking place, near the road to Daynille airport," said Mohammed Lamane, from Daynille. "The bodies were there since Saturday, and people fear to be attacked when collecting them."

    Since clashes first erupted on 18 February, there have been more than 300 deaths. Some 1,500 wounded have been treated in hospital, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the SRCS said in a statement. Most of the casualties in the recent fighting have been civilians, caught in the crossfire or killed inside their houses by stray mortars and artillery.

    Following the clashes, doctors at different hospitals in Mogadishu said they were overwhelmed by the high number of people seeking treatment. Some of the casualties were brought into the hospitals on wheelbarrows. Medical personnel indicated that many patients were dying from treatable wounds because the clinics had run short of drugs and blood and because they lacked specialists to perform more complicated tasks.

    "We are running short of facilities to cope with the huge number of wounded patients seeking treatment, and currently there are more than 100 of them at the hospital," said Sheikh Doon Salad Elmi, director of Medina Hospital. "A 24-year-old boy who had a bullet lodged in his brain just died in front of me because I could do nothing to save his life. We are mainly administering conservative treatments to patients."

    A local analyst indicated that the fighting was started on Saturday by warlords from the anti-terror coalition who were trying to retake areas seized from them on Thursday. The analyst also interpreted Sunday's brief lull as a period during which both sides were regrouping and amassing weapons.

    Hundreds of people fled their homes at the weekend, adding to the thousands who had already been displaced over previous days. Fleeing predominantly to the north, the displaced have reached towns as far as 150km from Mogadishu, including Bulo Mareer, Owdhegle, Kuntuwarey, Sablaale, Wanlaweyn and Afgoy. They are reportedly living in deplorable conditions, lacking basic necessities like food, water and shelter. Elders in Lower Shabelle region, accommodating a group of newly displaced people, appealed for assistance to support the new arrivals.

    Meanwhile, a peace delegation comprising two cabinet ministers and a member of parliament from the Transitional Federal Government arrived in Mogadishu on Saturday, in a bid to convince the warring groups to halt the fighting and observe a ceasefire. Public Works Minister Osman Ali "Ato" leads the delegation and reportedly met representatives from the Islamic courts on Sunday.

    "The mediation effort is ongoing, but has not led to a tangible result so far," a local observer said on Monday. "They are expected to meet the anti-terror coalition today."

    Reacting to Saturday's clashes in Mogadishu, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan backed the calls by numerous local and international officials for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and deplored the deaths and suffering caused by the renewed violence. "The Secretary-General calls on both sides to enter into an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, as appealed for by the people of Mogadishu, clan leaders, and the international community, including his special representative for Somalia," Annan's spokesman said in a statement.

    The clashes between the two sides that started in February threaten Somalia's fragile transitional government, which is struggling to impose its authority on the anarchic nation. The Islamist fighters, backed by influential Sharia courts, have gradually taken over larger parts of the city each time they have clashed with the warlords-led coalition. They have so far captured an airport; K4, a strategic junction; and the famous Sahafi hotel, all of which were previously under the control of the anti-terror coalition.

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

    Fred Olsen buys the Norwegian Crown

    Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has acquired the 1988-built cruise ship Norwegian Crown from Norwegian Cruise Line.

    The 34,242-gt ship has been in NCL service for several years having also spent a short time with associated company Orient Lines, during which the ship made its only call so far to South Africa. At the end of that cruise the ship then named Crown Odyssey transferred to NCL and was renamed with her present title. Norwegian Cruise Lines is a subsidiary of Malaysian Star Cruises.

    Ship with two names! Crown Odyssey arrived in Durban in April 2003 bearing the name Norwegian Crown but still operating as Orient Line’s Crown Odyssey. She was due to transfer across to NCL operation at the end of this particular cruise but had her name painted out before arriving. So far as is known this was the ship’s only visit to South Africa but further cruises are now likely to take place in the future with the new owner – picture by Terry Hutson. Click the image to enlarge

    According to reports the ship will change hands later this year but will be chartered back to Star Cruises until November 2007, after which she will undergo a refit into more typical Fred Olsen style. At that stage the ship will again be renamed and is expected to commence sailing for Fred Olsen from early 2008. A sum of about USD 130 million will have been spent on the ship by the time she enters service at that date.

    The addition of this ship will expand the Fred Olsen cruise fleet to five ships – Black Prince, Black Watch, Braemar, Boudicca and the yet to be renamed Norwegian Crown.

    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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