Ports & Ships Maritime News

June 1, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • The eventful voyages of the FPSO Dalia

  • South Africa faces more transport strikes next week

  • US challenges Africa to take charge of its territorial waters

  • Senegalese police crack down on illegal migrants as Spain takes diplomatic action

  • Container train crash in northern KZN

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    The eventful voyage of the FPSO Dalia

    The FPSO Dalia, which is on its delivery voyage from South Korea to the Dalia block 17 site off northern Angola and being towed by two tugs, was expected off Cape Town this week after what is proving to be an eventful journey.

    FPSO Dalia is intended as a second production pole on Angola’s block 17. It is larger than Girassol and is capable of processing 240,000 barrels per day (bpd) and has a storage capacity of 2 million barrels of oil.

    However by all accounts the site is not ready and FPSO Dalia will be laying up at Cape Town where maintenance and some repairs will be carried out – a welcome boost for the Cape Town repair industry. The NPA and contractors have apparently been rather busy getting the Cape Town repair jetty ready for this rather large piece of seagoing equipment.

    FPSO Dalia is 300m in length, 60m wide and stands (rides?) 32m high. On top of this large floating vessel is 29,400 tonnes of topside superstructure. The FPSO has a water injection capacity of 450,000 bpd, water treatment capacity of 265,000 bpd and gas compression capacity of 8 MMscf/d.

    Electric power capacity installed amounts to 66 MW. The vessel’s living quarters caters for 120 people or up to 190 during shut-downs and the structure has a design working life of 20 years.

    As impressive as this appears, her delivery voyage has not been without incident. Towed by the tugs Fairmount Sherpa and Fairmount Alps, with a third tug the Sea Tiger accompanying them as escort, the FPSO nevertheless managed to ‘get free’ while off the East African coast (fortunately well out to sea) during some rough sea conditions both sets of tow wires parted, leaving Dalia FPSO drifting free for over 24 hours.

    Later in the journey the third tug Sea Tiger made a call at Mossel Bay to take on bunkers and also to undertake repairs to damages sustained during the long crossing of the Indian Ocean.

    South Africa faces more transport strikes next week

    South African Transport & Allied Workers Union (Satawu) today confirmed its intention of bringing about a general transport strike next week that if it becomes necessary will see the ports and road and rail transport sectors coming out in sympathy with the ongoing strike by security workers.

    Workers in the security sector are demanding a wage increase of 11 percent but have been offered 8 percent. Wages paid to security personnel remain among the lowest in any sector in South Africa despite the large profits reportedly being generated by the companies involved, which the unions have not been shy of pointing out.

    The resultant impasse has seen over two months of strike action involving regular marches through the main cities and violence leading to the death of a number of people.

    Satawu’s Randall Howard said yesterday that the sectors that will be drawn in involve trucks, busses, rail (freight and commuter transport), port operations and port authority, all Transnet businesses, tollgates and contract cleaning.

    He said that on Friday 2 June meetings will be held to mobilise workers for a general strike next week.

    “Satawu intends to call a one-day general secondary strike next week pulling out all its sectors across the country supported by COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) and its affiliates in order to induce a settlement favourable to its members through negotiations and an agreement.”

    Satawu also accused multinational companies such as ADT, Chubb, Bidevest, and Group Four Securicor of exploiting cheap labour and said they were not wanted in South Africa. It called on the global union federation, United Network International to bring pressure on the multinationals to ‘do the right thing.’

    The following statement was issued yesterday afternoon on behalf of the mining and maritime unions by John Maitland, National Secretary, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union of Australia and Chairman of the Mining and Maritime International Coordinating Committee:

    ‘We, leaders of mining and maritime unions representing workers from Canada, the United States, Australia and South Africa meeting in Johannesburg on 29-30 May, express our serious concern with the violation of workers’ rights by the security companies, many of which are multinational corporations, such as Chubb, Securicor, Group Four and ADT.

    ‘Their refusal to bargain in good faith with Satawu is resulting in prolonging the current dispute. Given that the strike has been on since 23 March 2006, we strongly urge the security companies to return to the negotiating table and focus on resolving the dispute in the interests of changing the low wage situation of security workers.

    ‘We are horrified by the fact that employers in an industry which recorded super profits in the last financial year would not recognise the importance of their workers and stubbornly refuse to seek an resolution to this dispute by raising the current offer by a mere R31 per month

    ‘Satawu’s demands of a 11 percent across the board increase, and four (4) months paid maternity leave are considered very reasonable in the circumstances given the difficult working conditions of security workers.

    ‘We warn that failure to resolve this dispute soon will result in the escalation of the battle to the operations of these multinational companies beyond South Africa’s borders to Australia, Canada and the USA.’

    US challenges Africa to take charge of its territorial waters

    The United States has challenged African states to take naval control of its waters by improving surveillance and combating piracy, Illegal fishing and human and drug smuggling.

    The challenge was issued as the heads of 38 African navies gathered at the three-day second Sea Power for Africa Symposium being held in Abuja, Nigeria this week. More than 200 delegates from 47 countries were expected to attend.

    Admiral Harry Ulrich, Commander US Naval Forces Europe and Africa said that governments required good data in order to invest in the right equipment necessary to protect their coastlines. "We need to see what we're losing off our coastlines. I start with maritime domain awareness. You did not hear me talk about boats, ships, missiles, guns or hardware," he said.

    Admiral Ulrich told naval chiefs from across Africa that a simple affordable Automated Identification System (AIS) could help save billions in dollars in lost revenues. He pointed out that an estimated USD 1 Billion was lost annually to illegal fishing off sub-Saharan Africa, while Nigeria loses at least USD 1.5 Billion annually in crude oil stolen from its coast. But Africa’s problem was that it had little idea about what went on in its territorial waters. AIS, he said was a cheap means of solving this.

    "This, in my view, offers a much better model for maritime security in Africa and around the world ... This is not rocket science," he said.

    Other topics under discussion at the US-sponsored conference include disaster management, environmental degradation and where to base the naval component of the African Union’s standby force.

    Senegalese police crack down on illegal migrants as Spain takes diplomatic action

    Dakar, 31 May 2006 (IRIN/PLUSNEWS) - As the Senegalese authorities crack down against illegal migrants, destination country Spain has launched a high-profile diplomatic offensive to bolster cooperation with West African leaders.

    “The only future for illegal migration is return - the alternative is death by drowning,” Spain’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Bernardino Leon said on Wednesday. “Our two governments share the same humanitarian concerns.”

    Speaking to reporters after meeting Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade, the minister said Spain had agreed to help Senegal to try to keep its people at home by funding a scheme to encourage 10,000 young people to return to the countryside to take up farming.

    Alarmed by the flood of migrants currently beaching in Spain’s Canary Islands, Madrid last week also dispatched a special ambassador to Senegal to deal with the crisis. Miguel Angel Fernandez Mazarambroz, who will start work next week, will head a team of diplomats who will help six West African countries combat illegal migration.

    Leon, who has visited Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau, and next goes to Gambia, said Spain as from today would begin repatriating from the Canary Islands 600 to 700 illegal migrants identified as being Senegalese.

    Of the 700,000 illegal immigrants who recently were provided with papers allowing them to live legally in Spain, 30,000 were Senegalese, he said.

    “Legal migrants from across Africa will be welcome. But neither Spain nor other regional governments can opt to risk lives in an impossible adventure, travelling 1,500 kilometres by sea in very difficult conditions,” he said.

    Almost 9,000 illegal migrants have arrived in the Spanish Atlantic archipelago in the first five months of this year, almost as many as in 2002, a record-breaking year when 9,929 illegal migrants landed over 12 months.

    According to the newly created Cell Against Illegal Emigration, some 2,000 people have been rounded up on beaches and in waters off the Senegalese coast in the last two weeks alone, the vast majority of them Senegalese, a few dozen from Ghana, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire. The journey from Senegal to the Spanish islands, seen as a stepping stone to Europe, takes only a matter of days.

    The Senegalese security cell, based at navy headquarters and involving police, gendarmes and fishing officials, says 60 suspected traffickers are in detention and that officers seized a score of boats, dozens of huge drums of petrol and large amounts of cash during the raids.

    As of last weekend, 150 people had been charged and 50 found guilty of “clandestine migration organised by land, sea or air” and handed six-month suspended sentences. Two traffickers were sentenced to two-year jail terms.

    The International Organisation for Migration (OIM) told IRIN that West Africans seeking a better life in Europe progressively abandoned old overland routes across northern Africa after security was tightened around the Morocco-based Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in October 2005, when crowds of desperate would-be migrants attempted to crash barbed wire border fences there.

    More and more would-be migrants from this destitute region, home to a handful of the world’s poorest nations, are opting instead for the sea route from the Atlantic seaboard to Spain’s Canary Islands, said OIM programme officer Vijaya Souri.

    Early this year illegal migrants were all heading for the northern Mauritanian port of Nouadhibou. “But increased surveillance of the Canary Islands and Morocco by Mauritania, Morocco and Spain has pushed the flow further south,” Souri said in an interview.

    “These last months departures have multiplied all along the Senegalese coast. They are more and more organised and more and more sophisticated, using satellite phones, GPS systems and bigger boats,” she added.

    The OIM, which has set up a special fund to help migrants return home on a voluntary basis, needed extra finance to maintain the programme, she said.

    To help Spain manage the flux of illegal migrants, seven of the country’s European Union partners will begin joint patrols with Madrid off the West African coast soon. Countries involved are Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands and Portugal

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

    Container train crash in northern KZN

    One man was killed when a fully laden container train collided with a lorry carrying sugar cane at a level crossing between Enseleni and KwaMbanombi in Zululand on Tuesday.

    The train, hauled by diesel-electric locomotives was approaching the Mposa crossing when the driver of a truck loaded with sugar cane either didn’t hear the train’s approach or gambled that he could make it safely across. If so he was wrong, but this will not be known as he was killed instantly and police sniffer dogs had to be used later to find body parts.

    Although the train was travelling slowly it was unable to stop but did sound its horn repeatedly, according to people on a nearby crocodile and snake park. The collision left the truck mangled and a number of containers from the train were thrown across the line, which was extensively damaged. The driver of the locomotive and his assistant were shaken by the accident but not seriously injured. The railway, which forms the main line between Richards Bay and Swaziland and Kaapmuiden in Mpumalanga is damaged and was closed as a result.

    The front section of the train was carrying 40ft containers belonging to the shipping company Hamburg Sud. It is not known whether they were empties or full and if so whether the cargo within was damaged.

    - source The Mercury and own.

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