Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 4, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Tata ferrochrome smelter gets underway at Richards Bay

  • Mombasa cargo handling increases

  • End of the road for SS Norway, alias Blue Lady

  • Somali pirates back in Mombasa court

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    Tata ferrochrome smelter gets underway at Richards Bay

    The much delayed Tata Steel ferrochrome smelter plant at Richards Bay finally gets off the ground this month with the sod-turning ceremony scheduled for 21 August.

    The R650 million project was delayed by disputes over where the plant would be built and the intended position was relocated at least once as a result of complaints over potential pollution.

    The plant is now to be built at an Alton North site and will create a large number of jobs during the construction period, in addition to permanent positions once the plant is in production.

    Mombasa cargo handling increases

    The port of Mombasa anticipates cargo handling to increase by almost 10 percent this year to 15 million tonnes.

    This compares with 13.65 million tonnes of cargo handled at the port in 2005 and 12.92 mt in 2004.

    Container traffic is expected to show an increase of nearly 10.75 percent to reach 485,000 TEU (twenty foot container equivalents) during 2006, compared with 440,000 TEU achieved in 2005 and 438,000 TEU in 2004.

    Kenya Ports Authority has recently announced several major investments aimed at improving cargo handling and capacity at the port. The KPA also intends the construction of a new terminal at Lamu, north of Mombasa. According to the Kenyan government Lamu is ideally positioned to serve Kenya’s neighbouring states of Sudan and Ethiopia.

    End of the road for SS Norway, alias Blue Lady

    The end of the road now appears certain for the former liner SS Norway, once the SS France and pride of the French fleet.

    A committee appointed by the Indian Supreme Court has given the nod for the 315m long ship to be broken up at Alang, despite fears that the vessel contains large quantities of asbestos and other hazardous components.

    The ship, which now carries the name ‘Blue Lady’ has been at anchor off the Indian coast in Gujarat awaiting the committee’s decision – the Supreme Court already having ruled that the ship may be broken up provided its expert committee gave the nod. To reach its decision the committee had to board the ship and conduct a full inspection, which has now been completed.

    According to this expert committee the ship possesses 215 tonnes of hazardous material that will have to be disposed of in a safe manner. Environmentalist organisations dispute this, saying there is at least 1200 tonnes of asbestos cladding on board the ship. They say they intend fighting the decision by the expert committee.

    SS Norway suffered a boiler explosion in Miami port some years ago and after a lengthy period of indecision by Norwegian Cruise Line, the ship was towed around the Cape of Good Hope ostensibly to undergo a refurbishment and re-enter service in the Far East, but environmentalists say this was simply a ruse and the intention all along was to have the ship broken up in Asia.

    Somali pirates back in Mombasa court

    Making a short appearance in a Mombasa magistrates court this week, ten Somali men accused of being pirates who highjacked an Indian ship at sea off the Somali coast have had their case remanded until 8 August.

    The ten men, who were arrested in January when a US warship recaptured the Indian-owned vessel in international waters, freeing the Indian seafarers, claim that Kenya has no right to try them.

    They maintain they were seized illegally in international waters and deny they had themselves attacked and seized the ship. Their story is that they are simple fishermen whose own vessel had experienced problems, forcing them to flag down the passing Indian vessel and ask to be rescued. They say they had just gone on board the merchant vessel when the American warship appeared.

    The Somalis told magistrate Beatrice Jaden that the American seamen had tortured them because they did not speak English.

    Their story made little impression on the magistrate who advised them that they had a case to answer.

    In turn the Indian seafarers who were set free after the US warship’s intervention told the court they had been treated badly by the pirates.

    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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