Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 24, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Indian destroyer on way to Durban

  • Hundreds of millions written off at Coega

  • Iran eyes Saldanha once more

  • Russian bunker tanker seized off Guinea

  • India casts a spell on African oil

  • Longer hours for SA-Mozambique border cargo crossing

  • DRC: Ceasefire silences the guns

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    Indian destroyer on way to Durban

    Ports & Ships has unconfirmed news that the Indian Navy destroyer INS Mumbai (D63), one of three Delhi class destroyers in service with the Indian Navy, will pay a one-week official visit to Durban from 28 August (next Monday) until 3 September 2006.

    The warship will berth alongside N berth passenger terminal for either the duration or at least some of the time in Durban and will be open to the public on certain days. The warship is bound to attract a large public interest during her visit.

    INS Mumbai displaces 6,700 tons when fully loaded and is a large ship of her type at 163m in length and a beam of 17m. Built to an indigenous Indian design (the first vessel INS Delhi was launched in 1997 and was followed two years later by INS Mysore), INS Mumbai is the third of a planned six ships and was launched in 2001.

    She has an arsenal of 48 SAM missiles, 16 SSM, a 100mm main gun, four 30mm aa guns, two triple 12.75 inch torpedo tubes and carries two Sea King helicopters housed on a helicopter deck and hangar.

    The ship’s propulsion is in the form of twin shafts driven by 10,000 bhp diesel engines for cruise purposes and boosted by two AM-50 gas turbines producing 54,000 shp, giving the ship a described top speed of 28 knots.

    INS Mumbai carries a crew of 360 personnel.

    We emphasise that this news has not yet been confirmed but is considered reliable.

    (technical information courtesy Haze Gray & Underway)

    Hundreds of millions written off at Coega

    The Eastern Cape government has written off hundreds of millions of rand invested in the Coega Industrial Development Zone, the Pillay Commission enquiring into the finances of the Eastern Cape Government has been told.

    According to evidence given by project accountant Bernard Levenstein, the Coega IDZ has spent R800 million since inception and except for assets worth R163m the remainder has had to be written off due to a lack of good governance. The commission was also told that the provincial government requires R3.2 billion to complete Coega by 2015.

    The witness stated that the loss was a result of a failure by Coega to sign contracts prior to embarking on infrastructure projects. Among the amounts written off was R107m relating to salaries, rental, cell phone allowances and to fund courses for employees to attend foreign universities such as Oxford in the UK and Harvard in the USA.

    He testified that an amount of R209m had been spent on building the N-2 and Neptune interchange on behalf of the National Roads Agency, but most had been unrecoverable because no contract had been entered into with the road agency. Coega eventually wrote off R132m of this amount.

    Levenstein testified of other amounts that were written off on account of a lack of agreement with involved bodies and organisations, including a substantial sum relating to the provision of electricity that had proved inadequate for the tenant involved but was provided despite Coega not having the rights to distribute electricity.

    The commission was told that Coega engineers had not budgeted properly for projects and mention was made of one project overrunning budget by 90 percent.

    The commission, headed by Judge Ronnie Pillay, is continuing its enquiry.

    The Coega project is directly related to the development of a new port at Ngqura (same place, different spelling) which is being developed separately by the National Ports Authority. When completed in 2008 the port terminals will be handed over to South African Port Operations (SAPO) which will assume responsibility for their operation.

    Iran eyes Saldanha once more

    Iran is expected to re-enter discussions with South African officials to store oil at the Saldanha Bay crude oil storage facility.

    Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki told a news conference in South Africa that the 45-million barrel capacity storage facility at Saldanha would help Iran to develop and open new markets for Iranian oil exports to Africa. The conference followed several days of talks with South African government and oil industry officials.

    The Saldanha storage facility is owned by Petro-SA, a state-owned organisation which has indicated its willingness to handle Iranian oil despite its tanks being currently ‘full’.

    According to PetroSA previous discussions were not successful because market conditions had not been favourable.

    In 1996 ecological concerns in part stymied an agreement that would have seen a resumption of large scale exports of Iranian oil to Saldanha. At the time South Africa and Iran were reported to be on the brink of finalising an agreement that would see Saldanha being used for oil storage but fears of a tripling of oil shipping traffic and its environmental implications in part led to the deal’s abandonment. Since then periodic talks have continued between Iran and South Africa.

    During apartheid years Saldanha was established as one of South Africa’s strategic oil reserve facilities together with Ogies in the then Eastern Transvaal. Ogies, which made use of abandoned gold mine shafts, was shut down and its oil reserves sold off in 2000.

    Russian bunker tanker seized off Guinea

    According to the Voice of America unidentified gunmen went on board the Russian oil tanker Luchegorsk on Monday while the ship was some 65 km from the Guinean capital Conakry and took possession of the vessel.

    The station quoted Russian officials as saying that ten armed men seized the ship, which has a crew of 20 and had sailed towards Conakry. The Russian official said the men initially demanded money and were claiming that the ship had been in Guinean territorial waters without permission.

    The Luchegorsk, which had been servicing several other Russian ships in the area as a bunker supply tanker, is now reported to be in port at Conakry. There are no reports of injuries among the Russian crew.

    India casts a spell on African oil

    India says it intends investing US $ 1 Billion on oil and mining interests in Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa over the next five years.

    Faced with an expanding economy India, like China before it has set its eyes on the African continent as a source of urgently required raw materials, including oil and minerals. And to boost this the Indian ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire says his country is prepared to invest in new factories and to aid in other development in the West African country.

    Cote d’Ivoire is coming out of a civil war that has largely devastated the once economically sound West African country. Ambassador Khatua said that India had identified the market and believed the political crisis in the country would shortly be resolved.

    Cote d’Ivoire is not one of the larger oil producers in the region, with current production standing at 60,000 barrels a day. But India, which has already invested US $ 12 m in an offshore block is confident of positive results both with the drilling and in the country’s politics.

    Longer hours for SA-Mozambique border cargo clearing

    Alfandegas (Mozambique Customs) and the South African Revenue Services: Customs Dept have advised that the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia Border Commercial Cargo Clearing hours will be extended to 22.00 (10pm) as from 1 September 2006.

    The Maputo Corridor Liaison Initiative (MCLI) which released this announcement yesterday at one of its MCLI focus workshops, said it applauded all stakeholders who worked towards making this possible.

    DRC: Ceasefire silences the guns

    Kinshasa, 23 Aug 2006 (IRIN) - Bodies are still lying in the streets of Kinshasa and pillaging continues in some neighbourhoods but a ceasefire reached late on Tuesday between President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba seems to be holding.

    "All troops have moved back to their earlier position," William Swing, the Special Representative for the United Nations Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), said on Wednesday in Kinshasa, the capital.

    Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba and President Joseph Kabila battle for power in the ballot box and on the streets. Picture MONUC/Myiram Asmani/IRIN – click image to enlarge

    Under the terms of the ceasefire, Kabila and Bemba agreed to cede control of parts of the city to the national police force and have verification teams monitor their compliance. Each verification team would comprise officials from the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC), the European Union’s military force and police, the national army and Bemba’s and Kabila's guards.

    "We are reassured by the initial findings of the two teams after they returned to us last night [Tuesday]," Swing said.

    Cars and pedestrians returned to Kinshasa on Wednesday for the first time in two days.

    However, the governor of Kinshasa, Kibembe Mazunga, said the Red Cross had not been able to enter the battle zones to count the corpses. "We have registered a number of people in the general hospital who are seriously injured," he added.

    The chief of staff of the Congolese armed army, Gen Kisempia Sungilanga, said six people had been killed when the fighting began on Sunday, two hours before the Independent Electoral Commission issued preliminary election results, as Bemba was on his way to his television station to deliver a statement.

    Fighting continued, with UN and Congolese armoured vehicles patrolling the streets. On Monday, members of Kabila's presidential guard laid siege to Bemba’s property, where he was meeting ambassadors.

    Kabila won 45 percent of the national vote but 50 percent is needed to avoid a run-off. In Kinshasa, Kabila secured less than 20 percent of the vote, against Bemba's 50 percent.

    A second round is scheduled for 29 October

    Nairobi, 22 Aug 2006 (IRIN) - Fighting in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, may have broken out because the results of the 30 July election, announced on Sunday, took supporters of President Joseph Kabila by surprise, analysts said on Tuesday.

    Troops loyal to Kabila and his closest contender, Jean-Pierre Bemba, have been fighting since Sunday. Heavy weapons were used and dead bodies can be seen on the streets.

    Kabila secured less than 20 percent of the vote in Kinshasa, against Bemba's 50 percent in the city. In Kinshasa, "Kabila and his forces may now have a siege mentality", Jean Marie Gasana, senior analyst for Africa at the NGO Forum on Early Warning Response, said on Tuesday.

    "I think the problem could be that everyone on Kabila's side thought he would win the first round outright," he said. "Now they don't have a plan 'B'."

    Kabila, who needed at least 50 percent of the national vote to avoid a run-off, won 45 percent, according to preliminary results issued by the DRC's Independent Electoral Commission. Bemba came in second with 20 percent, higher than most people expected.

    "His popularity took a sudden rise during the campaign," said Gasana.

    Kabila and his supporters were not psychologically prepared for the second round, Philip Biyoya, a professor of science and constitutional law at the Protestant University of Congo, said. "They now fear they are heading towards a dead end," he said.

    On Monday, Kabila's presidential guard attacked Bemba's two homes and party headquarters, as well as burning his private helicopter, according to Bemba's spokesman Moise Musangana. Kabila's political adviser, Marcellin Tshisanbo, said Bemba's militia had provoked the presidential guard.

    A war of words has accompanied the fighting. Bemba's radio station went off air on Tuesday. Tshisanbo said Bemba's television station had been broadcasting images that incited hatred. Two radio stations supporting Kabila were shut down last Thursday by the DRC's independent media authority.

    The United Nations helped to organise the elections, the DRC's first multiparty poll in more than 40 years. On Tuesday, the head of the UN mission in the DRC, William Swing, said both Kabila and Bemba had promised to stop their troops fighting.

    The fighting began in Kinshasa on Sunday shortly before the Electoral Commission issued preliminary election results, as Bemba was on his way to his television station to deliver a statement. It has continued, with UN and Congolese armoured vehicles patrolling the streets, and an attack on Monday afternoon by members of Kabila's presidential guard on Bemba's home while he was meeting ambassadors.

    The office of the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has issued a statement urging "all Congolese parties and the candidates to accept and respect the results of the elections, in the spirit of peace and reconciliation, so that these remain an example for the African continent and the rest of the world".

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

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