Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 26, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • BBC China grounding recalled as Tanzanian company sues BBC Chartering

  • No apparent hurry to clear wreck of Safmarine Agulhas

  • Maputo targets Durban

  • Somalia: Protests after Islamic Courts take Kismayo

  • Mbeki to host Singh and strengthen SA-India ties

  • SA, China commit to combat the smuggling of goods

  • Picture of the day

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    BBC China grounding recalled as Tanzania company sues BBC Chartering

    Dar es Salaam – The owners and operators of the heavylift ship BBC China are being sued by a Tanzanian company on account of alleged damage to a gas turbine generator, after delays in installation as a result of the grounding of the ship off South Africa’s Wild Coast on 16 October 2004.

    BBC China aground near Port Grosvenor on South Africa’s Wild Coast. Picture courtesy Smit Salvage

    The ship carrying equipment for the power station ran aground while en route to Durban and then to Dar es Salaam. After salvors failed to refloat the 5548 ton vessel she was declared a total wreck.

    The suit being brought by Songes, the Tanzanian power company asks for damages of US $ 12.3 million plus a further $ 435,000 caused by delays to the installation of the unit at one of Tanzania’s power stations.

    The case comes before the Tanzanian High Court on 13 October 2006.

    No apparent hurry to clear wreck of Safmarine Agulhas

    According to SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) the tender for removing the wreck of Safmarine Agulhas is likely to be awarded at the end of September.

    Responding to queries about the delay, a spokesman for SAMSA said that tenders had been placed and adjudicated but it was now up to the ship’s owners to decide.

    Four salvage companies submitted tenders to remove the ship from its resting place on the outer side of East London’s western breakwater, where the ship ran aground on 26 June. There were no injuries and most of the cargo consisting of over 500 containers was salvaged. However about 80 boxes remain on board the ship in flooded holds which have made their recovery difficult.

    During the refloating effort undertaken by Smit Salvage, all the fuel oil was safely removed from the ship which now poses little environmental risk. However SAMSA has ruled that the shipwreck must be removed in its entirety including that portion underwater and it is a contract for this that is now awaited.

    The four companies in the running are Smit Salvage, SvitzerWijsmuller, Mammoet Salvage and Titan Marine.

    Maputo targets Durban

    The port of Maputo will have become a serious competitor for Durban, South Africa’s premier port, by 2008, says Mozambique’s Minister of Transport, Antonio Munguambe.

    He based his claim on Maputo being closer to many of South Africa’s main export regions and the fact that Mozambique will have invested US $ 50 million in port and rail infrastructure by 2008.

    “We have to take advantage of our position next to Zimbabwe and Malawi,” he said adding that Maputo would have lower transport costs than the South African port.

    He made these comments at the opening of Maputo’s new $ 10 million sugar terminal (see our News report dated 15 September).

    Mozambique is currently refurbishing the main railway line between the port of Maputo and the South African border at Ressano Garcia, after dismissing Spoornet for non performance on the contract. Since then a number of diesel-electric locomotives have been sent for refurbishment in South African and others are being rehabilitated locally.

    Somalia: Protests after Islamic Courts take Kismayo

    Nairobi, 25 Sep 2006 (IRIN) - At least one person was killed on Monday as forces belonging to the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) fired shots to disperse rowdy anti-Islamist demonstrators in Kismayo, 500 km south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, hours after the UIC took control of the key port city.

    The demonstration was organised by ‘khat’ traders after the UIC announced a ban on flights carrying the popular leafy narcotic at Kismayo airport. "They [the traders] were angry that the courts have banned a business they were making a living out of," an eyewitness in the city said. The UIC said the ban on the narcotic would be in effect over the month of Ramadan.

    Earlier, thousands of Kismayo residents had poured on to the streets to welcome the UIC takeover of the city, which is located in the agriculturally rich and economically important region of Lower Juba. The move completes the UIC’s control of all ports in southern and central Somalia and extends the group’s control of south-central Somalia.

    The leader of a local militia that controlled the city left a day earlier. The UIC forces "entered Kismayo at around 6:00 am local time this morning [Monday] without any resistance", Yusuf Mire Serar, the vice-chairman of the Juba Valley Alliance (JVA), which had been in control of the city, said.

    Col. Barre Hiraale, the JVA chairman and defence minister in the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), left Kismayo with some of his supporters and technicals (battlewagons) after disagreements within the JVA on how to deal with the UIC.

    "We have been in discussion with the UIC for the last week or so and some of us have come to the conclusion that there should be no fighting in Kismayo," Serar said from Kismayo. "There was a majority that did not want bloodshed in Kismayo and that is why we agreed to the Courts' peaceful takeover. Barre unfortunately disagreed and left yesterday [Sunday] evening and is on his way to Gedo [southwestern region]."

    He said the UIC had earlier agreed to give Hiraale and his forces "safe passage to Gedo".

    The UIC said it went to Kismayo at the invitation of the locals. "We did not use force. We went there at the invitation of the local people who requested reinforcement, to guard against the entry into the country of foreign forces," said Ibrahim Hassan Adow, the UIC's Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

    The UIC forces have set up checkpoints in "all the main arteries of the city", Ali Abdulkadir, a resident, said. "Everybody is going about their business as if nothing has happened," he added. "Most people have welcomed the arrival of the Courts."

    Ali said many JVA commanders had defected to the UIC and were now cooperating with them. "Barre left with about 26 technicals and his closest supporters and relatives," he said.

    So far, the TFG has not commented on the Kismayo takeover but has previously said any UIC advance would violate a recent ceasefire agreement signed between them in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.

    The TFG and the UIC have been in confrontation since June, when forces belonging to the Islamic group seized control of Mogadishu after defeating warlords who had controlled the city since 1991, following the collapse of the regime headed by the late president, Muhammad Siyad Barre.

    The UIC has been extending its authority to other areas of southern Somalia, much to the chagrin of the TFG, a fledgling administration set up in 2004 following reconciliation talks in Kenya between Somalia's various clans and political factions.

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

    Mbeki to host Singh and strengthen SA-India ties

    BuaNews: President Thabo Mbeki is to host Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for discussions next week, around various bilateral political and economic relations issues.

    Prime Minister Singh will undertake his first visit to South Africa from 30 September to 3 October, holding various discussions at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

    Speaking to reporters at the Union Buildings on Thursday Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said South Africa and India shared a strategic partnership in developing the agenda of the South.

    He said the visit would take place within the context of South Africa's commitment to consolidate South-South relations for increased market and trade access.

    Issues on the agenda between President Mbeki and Prime Minister Singh are expected to include bilateral political and economic relations between both countries and the consolidation of the outcomes of the recently-concluded India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summits, with a view to fast-tracking the developmental agenda of the South.

    They will also discuss the outcomes of the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) including the comprehensive reform of the UN; African developmental issues as well as peace and security on the Continent.

    "In this regard we hope that India will follow some of the other Asian giants and become more involved in Africa," said Mr Pahad.

    He said Mr Singh's visit was important as it would provide him with an opportunity together with President Thabo Mbeki, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Satyagraha philosophy by Mohandas (Mahatma) Ghandi in South Africa.

    "This will be a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to Mahatma Ghandi's historical legacy.

    "While in South Africa, Prime Minister Singh will also visit sites in KwaZulu Natal, in Durban of particular relevance to Mahatma Ghandi and interact with the members of the South Africa - India CEOs Forum chaired by Patrice Motsepe and Ratan Tata in Johannesburg," Mr Pahad told reporters

    Trade between South Africa and India continues to grow.

    In 2005, total bilateral trade approached a level of R14.5 billion, with imports from India at R7.02 billion and exports to India at R7.5 billion.

    India currently ranks as South Africa's 13th most important export market and the 13th most important import market.

    Mr Pahad pointed out that the sheer size of the Indian economy - the 14th largest manufacturing economy in the world - gave it an influential position in the global market in which South Africa had a key interest.

    "Since South Africa and India have similar developmental challenges, their collective capacity in bargaining and voicing concerns that affect their economies in international forums is made highly effective.

    "As a key emerging regional economy, India provides a platform for the re-integration of the South African economy with that of South Asia," he said.

    Opportunities that have been identified for closer co-operation and would form part of South Africa's trade development agenda in India include the sectors of capital equipment, agro-processed products, autos and components, services, Information Communication Technology (ICT), science and technology, health and Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME).

    SA, China commit to combat the smuggling of goods

    by Oupa Segalwe, BuaNews

    Pretoria - South Africa and China have entered into an agreement set to tackle the smuggling and distribution of counterfeit goods in both countries.

    On Friday, SA Revenue Services' (SARS) Commissioner Pravin Gordhan and the Chinese Minister General for the Administration of Customs (GACC) Xinsheng Mu, signed an agreement to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two countries' customs administrations.

    "Both administrations [SARS and GACC] are strongly committed to combat smuggling and other issues like counterfeit goods that get into both our countries," Mr Gordhan said, adding that the agreement would help combat such practices in a significant way.

    Mr Gordhan said the agreement, which has been endorsed by South African Deputy Finance Minister Jabu Moleketi and China's Ambassador to South Africa Guijin Liu, was a legal basis for the two administrations to combat smuggling.

    "Smuggling is a problem in every country because there are highly organised syndicates that are operating everywhere, depending on what kind of economic advantage they get to obtain. We all have a share of the problem," he said.

    Mr Mu indicated that South Africa was his country's largest trading partner in Africa, adding that the Chinese government would continue to strengthen relations with Africa countries and South Africa in particular.

    According to SARS, China is one of the biggest trading partners for South Africa, currently being the 8th largest destination for South Africa's export market, which amounts to about R6.85 billion.

    The Asian country is also the second largest source for imports, which amounted to R23.02 billion in 2005, SARS said.

    "South Africa exports mostly raw material such as aluminium, platinum and chrome to China and it imports processed goods such as electronics, machinery, clothing, textiles and footwear from the country," SARS spokesperson Andrain Lackay said.

    The two countries have also agreed to a pilot project to manage the trade between them.

    This will entail the advanced electronic submission of customs data and will allow for the joint detection of high risk.

    The agreement is also to support the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and President Thabo Mbeki in June to restrict clothing and textile imports from China into SA, in a bid to remedy the trade imbalance between the two countries.

    The South African government has since announced that the quota system to cut down on the amount of imported clothing and textile from China would be implemented at the beginning of next year.

    The move will affect about 31 product categories in the clothing and textile industry.

    Picture of the day

    The container ship DD Success arrives in Durban from Port Louis on 29 August 2006 and would sail later for Pointe Noire in West Africa. Picture Terry Hutson. Click on image to enlarge

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