Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 11, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Safmarine Agulhas UPDATE

  • Synthetic Aperture Radar - ship surveillance that could have found the missing oil platform PXXI

  • Review mission to receive SA self-assessment report

  • Kenya plans Lamu port development

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    Safmarine Agulhas UPDATE

    Good progress was made over the weekend with respect to the removal of deck cargo from the grounded container ship 'Safmarine Agulhas' and salvors are in the process of removing the last of the containers on deck. 277 containers were located on the deck of the 'Safmarine Agulhas' before the cargo removal operation began last Tuesday. Once all deck cargo has been removed, the salvage team will concentrate on removing containers stacked below deck.

    Last week, water ingress was reported in two of the cargo holds and the engine room. The structural integrity of the vessel continues to be monitored and internal assessments are continuously being undertaken. Should the vessel deteriorate any further, future refloating attempts may be delayed in order to ensure that the fuel and cargo removal operations are completed. The fuel removal operation is making steady progress.

    A number of proactive environmental protection measures remain in place:

  • The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism's (DEAT) oil pollution patrol aircraft 'Kuswag VIII', stationed in East London, over flies the casualty daily

  • DEAT has mobilised oil spill abatement equipment and a team of experts to East London. This team is conducting daily beach patrols to monitor any impact on the environment

  • The SMIT oil pollution abatement vessel 'Kuswag IV' is on site as an additional precaution

  • The tug 'Smit Amandla' is connected to the 'Safmarine Agulhas' and is holding her off of the breakwater

  • - source SMIT Salvage

    Synthetic Aperture Radar - ship surveillance that could have found the missing oil platform PXXI

    by Ian Hunter – SA Weather Service

    The photo – courtesy Tristan da Cunha’s official website www.tristandc.com) – shows the semi-submersible oil rig ‘Petrobas XXI’ (PXXI) grounded in Trypot Bay on the south-east side of the Island (see map). It was discovered by some islanders on 7 June. SMIT Salvage South Africa are currently involved in a salvage operation to refloat the rig (see our earlier News Bulletins dated 7 July, 29 June and 23 June 2006 – PORTS & SHIPS).

    The PXXI was being towed by the tug Mighty Deliverer from Brazil via Cape Town to Singapore. According to a NAVAREA VII warning issued by the South African Hydrographic Office the tow line had to be released on 30 April as a result of extreme ‘weather’ conditions. The position was roughly 120 nm north-west of Tristan. The tug plus tow were in the middle of the South Atlantic high – i.e. windage should not have been an issue at the time. However, wave model analyses have the significant wave height at over 7m, probably the result of a very deep vortex that developed rapidly south of South Georgia a few days earlier. These wave heights were confirmed by altimeter data from the Jason-1 satellite. In addition, high peak energy periods can cause resonance effects on floating rigs, but NOAA’s WAVEWATCH III model does not indicate such a condition.

    The last image is from the other side of the globe – off the south-east coast of Canada. It shows a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image from Canada’s RADARSAT-1 satellite. The transmissions from this radar are in the microwave portion of the spectrum and thus largely unaffected by cloud – an important consideration in the mid and high latitudes. In order to increase the resolution a synthetic (artificially large) antenna aperture is created by combining a series of return pulses as the satellite orbits the globe. RADARSAT-1 has a resolution of roughly 10m. RADARSAT-2 (to be launched in 2007) will have an ultra fine resolution of 3m. An SAR (ASAR) also flies on ESA’s ENVISAT.

    This SAR image clearly indicates the usefulness of the sensor for maritime surveillance. The bright white dots at the southern end of the oil slick (dark patch orientated north-south) are salvage/ clean up vessels – clearly visible, through the cloud, from 800 km up. It would appear that there was no satellite beacon on the ‘Petrobas XXI’. Despite a 2nd tug joining in the search the rig was essentially ‘lost’ for over a month! SAR imagery could quite possibly have located it within a week (global coverage takes 4 to 5 days)

    SAR is an extremely useful surveillance and data collection tool. A wide variety of surface parameters/ phenomena can be inferred from this sensor, ranging from high resolution winds and ocean wave spectra to pack ice and icebergs. It has also been used extensively for oil slick detection and can even be utilized to measure earth crustal movements. It is one of the sensors specifically mentioned last year in an address to the US House of Representatives Science Committee, following serious cut-backs in NASA’s Earth Observation System (EOS) Program (which includes QuikScat, Terra and Aqua – three extremely useful but ageing satellites).

    Review mission to receive SA self-assessment report

    by Zibonele Ntuli - BuaNews

    Pretoria - South Africa will handover its country assessment report on Wednesday (12 July) to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Country Review Mission.

    The APRM is a voluntary self-monitoring tool agreed upon by the African Union in 2003, in Kigali.

    Led by Professor Adebayo Adedeji of Nigeria, the APRM country review team arrived in the country on Sunday and was expected to hold consultations with the country's APRM Governing Council, business, political parties, government, civil society and President Thabo Mbeki.

    South Africa's APRM Governing Council Chairperson Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi will hand over the country's self-assessment report to the mission on Wednesday. The handing over ceremony will be attended by President Mbeki.

    The country review mission will be in the country until 25 July, and will consult with government departments, parliamentarians, political parties and other institutions such as the Reserve Bank, Chamber of Commerce, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, labour unions and faith based organisations.

    The mission will also visit all the country's provinces and meet with President Mbeki.

    The APRM is aimed at promoting good governance in Africa through the adoption of laws, policies and practices that will lead to political stability, economic growth, sustainable development and the continent's economic integration.

    Countries are expected to conduct self-assessments in line with the APRM guidelines.

    South Africa is one of 24 countries that have submitted to the scrutiny.

    Rwanda and Ghana were the first countries to be reviewed. Their reports were subsequently released during an African Peer Review Forum in Nigeria last June.

    Countries are also expected to produce a programme of action based on the self-assessment reports.

    They should also implement such programme of action, monitor and report on progress every three to five years.

    With this initiative, the APRM seeks to meets its development objective of eradicating poverty.

    The review process is underpinned by the principles of broader stakeholder consultation and mobilisation to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate in the process by making their own inputs.

    Early last month, South Africa announced that the country's final draft of the report had revealed that South Africa's democracy was not under threat.

    Regarding democracy and good governance, it revealed that South Africa was not in conflict with other countries and there was little potential for future conflict.

    However some stakeholders believed that conflicts in other African countries caused tension in South Africa, with relations among local communities strained by the arrival of fleeing foreigners.

    Regarding constitutional democracy, South Africa's political system allowed for free and fair elections and the country has institutional mechanisms for meaningful political participation by its citizens.

    Its legislative bodies accurately reflect voters' choices and preferences. The Constitution provides the bedrock for the rule of law and entrenches a comprehensive set of inalienable rights.

    On the rights of women, the report said South Africa had made significant strides in promoting and protecting their rights.

    In keeping with Southern African Development Community (SADC) targets, government aims to achieve a 50 percent women empowerment in political and decision-making positions by 2009.

    Regarding codes of good business ethics, the country is making efforts in promoting corporates through strengthening public sector finance reporting and accountability through the Public Finance Management Act, Municipal Finance Management Act and Treasury Regulations, over which the Auditor General plays an oversight role.

    While efforts to combat corruption and unethical practices are acknowledged, some stakeholders raised concerns regarding the effectiveness and co-ordination of the various anti-corruption agencies in the country.

    Kenya plans Lamu port development

    Kenya’s foreign minister Raphael Tuju announced on Sunday that Kenya intends modernising the port of Lamu to help ease congestion at Mombasa and to have an alternate port available for southern Sudan.

    He said the idea of encouraging Sudan to make use of Lamu was to assist growth in that region, saying the port will create “easy communication links between Kenya and southern Sudan as well as other neighbouring countries – Ethiopia and Uganda.”

    The minister said it was important for Kenya to collaborate with its neighbours, particularly members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and that such moves would assist job creation and boost business in the region.

    Kenya was finalising plans to rehabilitate the road between Kenya and southern Sudan through Lodwar-Lokichogio to Juba.

    - source The Standard (Kenya)

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