Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 6, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Now Russia wants a smelter at Coega

  • Indian Ocean countries commit to maritime security

  • Putin kick-starts his South African visit

  • Coega write-off was not irregular, commission told

  • Ship robbed in Tema anchorage

  • Luchegorsk finally released by Conakry authorities

  • SATAWU to hold second National Congress

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    Now Russia wants a smelter at Coega

    The search for major investors at Coega goes on. Now Russian company Renova, the investment arm of Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Cape Town today (Wednesday) with the Coega Development Corporation. Vekselberg who lives much of the time in New York, is said to be the third wealthiest man in Russia.

    Renova is part of a Russian business delegation visiting South Africa together with Russian President Vladimir Putin during which a number of business deals are being explored.

    The Coega smelter project would involve construction of a ferro-alloy smelter at the Coega Industrial Development Zone near the port of Ngqura together with the export of manganese ore from a mine in the Northern Cape.

    The CDC has explored a number of smelter projects with various investors since the project was first announced in the later 1990s but so far without any success. Canadian aluminium manufacturer Alcan, which inherited a potential smelter project from French firm Pechiney when it took over the French company, has yet to decide on whether to build an aluminium smelter near the port – a project long envisaged as the desired anchor tenant for Coega/Ngqura.

    Port Elizabeth already exports close to two million tonnes of manganese ore each year. A decision on transferring the manganese store and loading facilities to the new port some 20km away has yet to be taken and negotiations with the exporters are underway.

    Indian Ocean countries commit to maritime security

    Eight countries bordering the Indian Ocean have reaffirmed their commitment to outlaw sub-standard and unseaworthy ships. The eight Indian Ocean states – Australia, India, Iran, Kenya, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Tanzania, who tabled a resolution to step up surveillance of the Indian Ocean for security purposes, were told that unseaworthy ships were becoming a serious threat to sea transportation and were placing at risk the lives of seafarers on board those vessels while endangering the marine environment.

    According to Tanzania’s IPP Media, the Tanzanian Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Development, Dr Makorongo Mahanga called substandard shipping “a sheer disgrace to the whole maritime community.”

    He called on member ports and related authorities to install systems of detecting and subsequently clamping down on unseaworthy vessels and to ensure that all shipping in the region adhered to international maritime regulations.

    - source IPP Media/Guardian

    Putin kick-starts his South African visit

    by David Masango (BuaNews)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in the country (yesterday) for a historic two-day visit aimed at strengthening ties with South Africa, particularly those in economic affairs.

    Yesterday President Thabo Mbeki hosting Mr Putin in Cape Town, where they held talks and signed a number of agreements ahead of Mr Putin's scheduled meetings with other prominent figures during the course of the day.

    Presidents Mbeki and Putin among others, discussed the status of bilateral political and economic relations between both countries, including endeavours to promote economic relations through the Intergovernmental Trade and Economic Committee (ITEC).

    The promotion of the African agenda, including a follow up of the G-8 Summit; regional developments in the Southern African Development Community (SADC); conflict resolution and peacekeeping in Sudan and the Ivory Coast as well as the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were also discussed.

    Other issues included the non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy with respect to the situation in Iran; the Middle East in the context of Russia's membership of the quartet which developed the Roadmap to Peace. The other member countries are the United States, the United Nations (UN) and the European Union.

    The reform of the UN was also to be discussed, ahead of the General Assembly scheduled for later in September.

    Agreements for signing by the two heads of state were expected to include those on co-operation in the fields of health care and medical sciences; the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes; aviation and water resources and forestry.

    Upon conclusion of his meeting with Mr Mbeki, President Putin met with (among others) the Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Mninwe Johannes Mahlangu.

    He then received a courtesy call from Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka before meeting De Beers chairperson Nicky Oppenheimer.

    Last night Mbeki hosted Mr Putin for an official dinner in the latter's honour.

    Today (Wednesday), the two leaders will participate in a Round Table Business Meeting in Cape Town.

    Mr Putin will conclude his visit by visiting Robben Island and the Cape Point Nature Reserve.

    Coega write-off was not irregular, commission told

    The Pillay Commission looking into the financial affairs of the Eastern Cape government has been told that a R600 million write-off was not irregular (see our News Reports dated 15, 23 and 27 August 2006).

    Lawyers acting for the Coega Development Corporation/IDZ argued that amounts written off by the accountants were actually assets that could still be recovered, even if it took up to 15 years, and should not be regarded as written off losses. They claimed in cross-examination that evidence given by accountant Bernard Levenstein from Gobodo Forensic Investigations was misleading.

    Levenstein countered that although technically the write-offs could still be reversed, he remained concerned that the amounts written-off were too high. He said the Industrial Development Zone was intended as a series of capital investment projects aimed at bringing economic benefits. However, to date the economic benefits derived from the money spent at the Coega IDZ remained far too low.

    Ship robbed in Tema anchorage

    According to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre five people armed with knives went on board a tanker at Tema Roads on Thursday night last week (30 August) by means of having climbed the anchor chain.

    Once on board they proceeded to steal ship’s stores and took a walkie-talkie radio from the duty officer. Another A/B noticed the robbers and raised the alarm, resulting in the crew mustering on the forecastle.

    On observing this the thieves/pirates abandoned their effort at further robbery and made their escape. The ship’s master alerted Tema Port Control and was told to move his ship from the anchorage during the night and drift at least five miles offshore.

    The IMB Reporting Centre website can be found at http://www.icc-ccs.org

    Luchegorsk finally released by Conakry authorities

    Luchegorsk, the Russian tanker involved in alleged illegal bunkering off the West African coast, has been released from custody in Conakry harbour after 12 days of detention and has been allowed to sail.

    Russian authorities say they ‘took the necessary measures for the protection of the rights and interests of Russian citizens’ and may be seeking some form of compensation from the Guinean authorities.

    The Russians say they want proper explanations why the ship was detained off the coast and taken into custody. First reports suggested the armed men were acting unilaterally but subsequent claims indicate they were members of the Guinea armed forces.

    The ship’s owners, Primorsk Shipping says the vessel was on legal charter to the Swiss bunker supply firm Addakh and was in Sierra Leone waters when it was boarded by armed men wearing Guinean government flashes on their uniforms. The men maintained the ship was operating illegally in Guinean waters and, according to the ship’s master, asked for a fine of US $ 20,000.

    When this was refused he was told to proceed into port where his ship was detained along with the crew.

    SATAWU to hold second National Congress

    South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) will hold its second National Congress at a venue in Boksburg between 12 and 15 September.

    According to the transport union about 600 delegates will attend the four day meeting. The union says membership has grown from 82,000 to 133,000 between 2003 and 2006, making it now the fifth largest affiliate of COSATU,.

    The purpose of the gathering is to ‘elect its national leadership, determine policy direction to steer the union for the next three years by adopting policies and resolutions, and adopt work programmes and priorities for all its various industries in the years leading to 2009.’

    Organisations that will be attending include the ruling party the ANC, the SACP, COSATU and COSATU affiliates, as well as international representation from the International Transport Federation (ITF).

    Evidence of the importance that government places on the congress comes from confirmation that the ministries of Transport, Safety and Security, Labour, and Public Enterprises will also be present.

    Transnet has also been invited to send a delegation but it is not known whether the transport company will attend.

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