Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 17, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • SA port statistics for September

  • Monterey sold for scrap - report

  • Spotlight falls on protecting marine biodiversity

  • Spoornet ramps up with massive locomotive order

  • Angola: WFP pulls out as oil riches deter donors

  • Madagascar: Hoping for the best as presidential election approaches

  • Picture of the day

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    SA port statistics for September

    South Africa’s ports handled a total of 14.471 million tonnes of cargo during the month of September 2006 (August 14.045Mt). This figure excludes containers which the National Ports Authority no longer records by weight. It also reflects a decrease in volumes and in particular a decrease in the number of containers handled versus the month before.

    When a calculation is made allowing for the containers handled (13.5 tons per TEU), the figure handled by all ports increases to 18.073 million tonnes (August 18.324Mt).

    On that basis including containers the respective ports handled the following:

    Cargo handled by tonnes

    Richards Bay       7.762 million tonnes (Aug 6.921Mt)
    Durban              5.404 Mt (Aug 5.902)
    Saldanha Bay      2.824 Mt (Aug 2.714)
    Cape Town         1.034 Mt (Aug 1.443)
    Port Elizabeth      0.809 Mt (Aug 0.984)
    East London        0.108 Mt (Aug 0.159)
    Mossel Bay          0.139 Mt (Aug 0.201)

    Containers measured by TEUs
    (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal and Tranship cargo)

    Durban             172 294 TEU (Aug 200,298)
    Cape Town         61,192 (Aug 77,259)
    Port Elizabeth      31,079 (Aug 36,175)
    East London          2,097 (Aug 2,715)
    Richards Bay            168 (Aug 538)

    Total handled     266,830 TEU (Aug 316,985)

    Ship Calls

    Durban:          385 vessels 7.962m gt (380 vessels 7.814m gt)
    Cape Town:    255 vessels 3.700m gt (241 vessels 3,828m gt)
    Port Elizabeth: 138 vessels 2.340m gt (129 vessels 2.390m gt)
    Richards Bay:   141 vessels 5.462m gt (131 vessels 4.567m gt)
    Saldanha:         44 vessels 1,693m gt (49 vessels 1.802m gt)
    East London:     28 vessels 0.743m gt (23 vessels 0.707m gt)
    Mossel Bay:     206 vessels 0.311m gt (314 vessels 0.236m gt)

    - source NPA plus Ports & Ships calculations on container weights

    Monterey sold for scrap - report

    Reports have begun circulating that the MSC cruise ship MSC Monterey has been sold to a Dubai firm and will be sent to India for breaking up.

    Ports & Ships reported recently that the visit to South Africa by the cruise ship had been cancelled, at least for the summer months, due to boiler problems. We raised the issue then boiler problems in a ship this age (54 years) lessened the chances of it being economically viable to repair the ship and return her to service.

    Ports & Ships approached MSC Cruises in the United States for verification but was told they had no information regarding the fate of the vessel.

    According to several reports circulating at the weekend, the ship has already undergone a name change to Monte and has departed Italy for destinations in the east.

    Given recent problems with other elderly ships bound for breaking up yards it is perhaps not so surprising that little is said about the matter.

    Monterey was scheduled to arrive in South Africa this month where she was to have remain as an all-year cruise ship operated jointly by MSC and Starlight Cruises, the swan song of a long and illustrious career. She was to undertake a number of cruises from Cape Town early next year, sailing along the southern Cape coast and also to Namibia. These have had to be cancelled although passengers were given an option of talking cruises on another MSC ship, MSC Melody which arrives in Durban in December for a summer only cruise season.

    Monterey would have remained based in Durban during the southern winter, undertaking cruises to the Mozambique coast – the first time in a number of years that a cruise ship would have remained over for the winter months.

    A spokesman for Starlight Cruises said the company was given the option of bringing out MSC Rhapsody as a replacement for the winter months but had declined as the ship is considered too large in accommodation for winter cruising.

    Spotlight falls on protecting marine biodiversity

    by Bongani Mlangeni (BuaNews)

    The responsibility of all South Africans to protect the country's exceptionally rich biodiversity will fall under the spotlight during this year's National Marine Week.

    "Our waters hold 10 percent of the world's marine biodiversity. This places a huge responsibility on our shoulders to ensure the sustainability and protection of this unique and extraordinary environment," Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said ahead of the launch of the week's events, starting yesterday.

    Marine Week is aimed at creating awareness on the marine and coastal environment as well as the promotion of sustainable use and conservation of these resources.

    "To protect the marine environment of the globe, it becomes crucial for nations including governments, scientists, researchers and marine managers to work together," Van Schalkwyk said.

    At a regional level, said the Minister, South Africa was collaborating with Angola and Namibia on the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) programme aimed at developing and strengthening an ecosystems approach to fisheries management.

    "We agreed to jointly address transboundary marine environmental issues and to begin to manage our marine resources at the larger ecosystem level," he said.

    The three countries have re-committed themselves by signing an interim agreement on the formation of the Benguela Current Commission, which will drive the implementation of the ecosystems approach to their marine resources management.

    The minister said fisheries research in South Africa indicated that the local fishing industry garnered resources worth between R3 and R3.5 billion per annum.

    "Fisheries research in our country has a long history, and most fisheries have been managed quite rigorously through effective ecological and biological research, comprehensive surveying, catch and effort data gathering, and application of high-level stock assessment techniques," he explained.

    The minister also encouraged South Africans to participate in the activities arranged as part of the Marine Week.

    "During the forthcoming week our department, together with our partners, will embark on various events and activities. I encourage all South Africans to become part of this important celebration," he said.

    Key activities include the National Marine Week Mini Boat race to be held at the Mossel Bay, the launch of the NMW radio station and Air Quality Governance Lekgotla that will discuss government's efforts in protecting the marine environment.

    Spoornet ramps up with massive locomotive order

    Spoornet, the national rail operator announced at the weekend that it is ordering another 212 new locomotives costing R6.13 Billion, which is over and above the 110 already on order for the Richards Bay coal line.

    The new order of locos will be for general freight purposes and will provide some teeth to Spoornet’s avowed intent of winning back some of the freight traffic it has lost to road transport.

    There is no indication where the order is to be placed – the earlier order of 110 locos for the coal line was placed with a consortium headed by Japan’s Mitsui and including a large black empowerment content as well as the involvement of South Africa’s Union Carriage & Wagon as a sub contractor. The first of these locos won’t be delivered before November 1007 and the final loco is expected in March 2011.

    According to Transnet spokesman John Dludlu, the order for new locos will be financed by a combination of funding instruments, ‘including debt and our own cash resources.’ He said that proceeds from Transnet’s sale of non-core assets will also be used.

    "We envisage local participation. All our major capex projects are structured imaginatively to shore up the development of local industries, promote meaningful BEE [black economic empowerment] and skills and technology transfer."

    He said the deal had only been decided on about a week ago and would take some time to conclude.

    Angola: WFP pulls out as oil riches deter donors

    Johannesburg, 13 Oct 2006 (IRIN) - The UN's World Food Programme (WFP), finding it hard to mobilise donors to support Angola's hungry poor, has been forced to cut back on its feeding programmes in Africa's second-biggest oil producer.

    The food agency announced on Friday that a lack of funding had prompted it to wind down all its food aid operations in Angola by the end of the year, after three decades of direct involvement in the country.

    WFP has begun discussions with the Angolan government about handing over any remaining food stocks for distribution by competent state institutions.

    "WFP's aim has always been to hand over responsibility for food assistance and development support to the government of Angola. A drop in donor support has spurred us to speed up the handover process," said Sonsoles Ruedas, the acting Country Director in Angola.

    "We plan to scale back to a small office in Luanda, which will provide only technical assistance to the Government, starting in 2007."

    The current operation, valued at US$90 million, was launched in April 2006 and had planned to run until March 2009. However, contributions to date reached just US$19.5 million, a shortfall of 78 percent.

    "In the age of diminishing resources, Angola is not going to be popular," commented Amir Abdulla, WFP's regional director for Southern Africa. "There is a perception that an oil-producing country like Angola should perhaps do more to help itself."

    In September, WFP began suspending food distributions to 700,000 Angolans, among them 220,000 children in school-feeding programmes. Other beneficiaries included pregnant and nursing women, children under the age of five and people suffering from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and pellagra.

    The world's largest humanitarian agency arrived in Angola in 1976 to deliver food aid across the country to people stranded and displaced by the 27-year civil war.

    When the war ended in 2002, WFP assisted in the long process of reconstruction and the repatriation of Angolan refugees, which is ongoing. More than 80,000 refugees are still expected to return home from camps in neighbouring Zambia, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    International medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières-Spain has been concerned over the suspension of targeted feeding. "We know in areas like Moxico and [the southeastern province of] Cuando Cubango, school feeding and programmes for those affected by HIV/AIDS are often the only source of nutrition," said Monica Camacho, head of the mission in Angola.

    Angola has one of the world's highest child mortality rates, with one in four children dying before the age of five.

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

    Madagascar: Hoping for the best as presidential election approaches

    Johannesburg (IRIN) - An opposition leader has been denied entry into Madagascar to register for the December presidential election but the United Nations (UN) is confident that the country's ability to hold a credible poll remains intact.

    Officials closed the airport to international flights in the eastern city of Toamasina on Saturday, preventing former Deputy Prime Minister Pierrot Rajaonarivelo from returning from exile in France. He faces corruption charges after serving in former President Didier Ratsiraka's AREMA party government.

    A second attempt to enter the country was frustrated on Thursday when officials on the neighbouring Indian Ocean island of Mauritius barred him from boarding a plane after official requests from Madagascar said he posed a security risk. Registration for the 3 December elections closed on Saturday.

    Bouri Sanhouidi, the UN Resident Coordinator, told IRIN: "I am confident. For the time being things are going well, the preparatory work is ongoing with the support from technical assistance from the United Nations Development Programme ... all donors are involved ... to ensure free and fair elections."

    Incumbent President Marc Ravalomanana and Ratsiraka both claimed victory in 2001 elections. After a violent standoff and a recount in April 2002, Madagascar's High Constitutional Court (HCC) pronounced Ravalomanana president, but it was not until July that Ratsiraka fled and Ravalomanana gained control of the country.

    "He [Rajaonarivelo] has been sued many months ago, and was invited to attend a tribunal and he didn't come. Now people are wondering why he wants to come now," said Solofo Randrianja, professor of Political History at the University of Toamasina. "He hasn't been in Madagascar for four years, he is not realistic about what is going on - he is even criticised by the opposition."

    Observers said the blocking was motivated by fears that Rajaonarivelo's arrest would spark violence and jeopardise the electoral process.

    "He would have been arrested and would not have been able to register anyway, and with the arrest warrant his candidacy would never have been approved by the courts," said one local diplomat. "If Madagascar is serious about justice and the sentences they pronounce, they would have had no choice but to arrest him, [which] would have caused demonstrations and could lead to violence."

    A protest by Rajaonarivelo's AREMA opposition party supporters demanding that the airport be reopened was reported in Toamasina on Tuesday. Crowds were reportedly dispersed by police firing teargas and six were arrested but released the following day.

    "On Saturday he [Rajaonarivelo] called for a general strike; now he is calling for a march in Toamasina this Saturday, but everything still seems very quiet," Randrianja said.

    Five candidates have registered to challenge Ravalomanana and more are expected by the cut-off time tomorrow. The HCC is likely to announce the names of the approved candidates next week, with election campaigning scheduled to kick off on 12 November.

    International donors are investing in the smooth running of the polls: the European Union (EU) has pledged US$3.75 million, Norway is contributing $1 million and Japan has pledged to provide the ministry of the interior, which is in charge of the electoral process, with $1.1 million. The US will contribute $1.1 million to support civic education and observation, and China is donating 20 computers, office material and 600 bicycles.

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

    Picture of the day
    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The small products tanker Wappen von Hamburg arrives Durban October 2006. Picture Terry Hutson

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