Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 6, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • New ship unloader ‘launched’ today

  • Ship highjacked by pirates off Somalia

  • Building starts on Smit Amandla’s bunker barge

  • Uganda plans dry port

  • Sea fishery patrol boats spending too much time in port

  • Dlamini-Zuma holds talks with Chinese counterpart

  • Port managers must think of seafarers as human beings

  • Picture of the day

    Ports & Ships has introduced a new column called The Shipping World which will carry comment and analysis, as well as a collection of interesting facts, figures and explanations about shipping and transport in general and of the people who make it tick. In fact anything that influences the Shipping World. The topics will not be news as such, more the background to the news.
    The column can also be utilised to highlight companies that have made their mark in this industry, or who do things differently from the rest. Get in touch with us if you have an interesting story to tell or a success to share. Contact us at info@ports.co.za

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
    WEB SITE: www.hugheship.com

    New ship unloader ‘launched’ today

    Later this morning (Monday) a large new ship unloading machine will be commissioned into service by South African Bulk Terminals (SABT). Capable of discharging a bulk ship at a rate of 800 tonnes per hour, the Buhler Portlink 800/8RK ship unloader will help boost discharge rates at SABT to 20,000 tonnes a day, compared with between 5,000 and 6,000t a day previously.

    This impressive figure will be achieved with the assistance of the existing ship unloader which has been in service alongside SABT’s Maydon Wharf berth 5 for 25 years. The older machine will probably undergo an overhaul once the new one is in service but even the new machine operating alone will be able to boost production at this busy terminal. The older machine has a handling rate of about 300t an hour compared with 1,000t for the new Buhler Portlink.

    The new acquisition forms part of a R100m expansion plan announced last year by parent company Bidfreight Port Operation.

    Ship highjacked by pirates off Somalia

    Just as it appeared that law and order ad been established along the coast of Somalia after many years of rampant piracy, another ship has been attacked by armed pirates and taken hostage.

    The attack occurred last week and involved a UAE-registered vessel, the MV Fishana which was on charter to Mogadishu-based businessmen to ship charcoal from the port of El Maan near Mogadishu.

    In an apparent reference to a demand for ransom the pirates allowed the master of the Fishana to contact the charterers in Mogadishu and confirm what had transpired. The master is reported to be an Ethiopian and his 12 crew are Indian nationals who by all accounts have not been harmed. The ship was en route from Mogadishu for El Maan to load charcoal for the Persian Gulf when the attack took place.

    This is the first reported attack by pirates along the Somali coast since the Union of Islamic Courts took effective power in Mogadishu and much of central and southern Somalia. According to reports in Somalia the UIC has promised ‘decisive’ action against the pirates although what they will do and how is not yet known.

    A week ago ten Somalis were sentenced to seven years in prison in a Mombasa court after being found guilty of piracy at sea by a Kenyan magistrate. The ten had captured an Indian ship which was subsequently recaptured and freed by the US destroyer USS Winston S Churchill. The ten pirates were transferred to Mombasa as this was considered the nearest appropriate port.

    Building starts on Smit Amandla’s bunker barge

    An unusual and fairly unique occasion took place at the Dormac shipyards on Friday with the ‘keel-laying’ ceremony for the first new fully double-skinned bunker barge to be built in Durban.

    Pictured from left to right at the keel laying ceremony were: Pim Zandee, executive director Smit Marine, Sheila Ngubane, director of Palisa Investments (a shareholder in Dormac), Paul Maclons, managing director of Smit Amandla Marine, Craig Samuels, financial director Dormac, and Chris Sparg, managing director Dormac. In front is master welder Artwell Cele. Picture Terry Hutson. Click image to enlarge

    The barge has been ordered by Smit Amandla Marine and will enter service either in Durban or at Richards Bay, delivering bunker fuel to ships in port. The new barge has some impressive dimensions, capable of carrying up to 5,000 tones of fuel and delivering this at a rate of about 1000t an hour.

    The total cost is expected to be about R60 million and the project will provide 150 specialist jobs at Dormac’s shipyard plus another 500 or so jobs ‘downstream’ among the various subcontractors.

    The barge is also the first new vessel to be built at the yard since the early 1990s when the shipyard, which was then named Dorman Long, completed its 107th vessel. So the new barge was listed as Hull Number 108, and this is what the simple ceremony on Friday was all about – a metal keel plate inscribed with the sponsor’s name (Mrs) Manana Nhlanhla and the hull number which will be fixed to the hull of the new barge.

    “The keel laying ceremony celebrates the laying of the first timber and can be traced back to the earliest ship building at traditional shipyards, including this one,” said Craig Samuels, financial director of Dormac (Pty) Ltd. “Today’s ceremony maintains the tradition, but has been modified to take into consideration updates in material, technology and techniques.”

    Paul Maclons, managing director of Smit Amandla Marine said his company was doing the right thing by building the vessel in South Africa and showing others that it can still be done. He said they had the support of their overseas partners (Smit) even though shipbuilding was not Smit’s core business.

    “Smit’s commitment to the local ship building industry is in line with the government’s stated support for the re-establishment of South Africa’s shipbuilding capability and the resurrection of this vitally important sector of the economy,” he said.

    Maclons added that Dormac needs to become a major shipbuilder again and this was perhaps the first step.

    Uganda plans dry port

    According to Uganda’s Economic Minister Maurice Kagimu Uganda is to establish a dry port at Tororo on the Uganda-Kenya border to handle cargo destined for Uganda and the Great Lakes region.

    Kagimu said the dry port on land which has already been allocated will help shorten the time taken for imports to enter Uganda. The new port is strategically close to the Rift Valley Railway network. He said this meant that cargo destined for either Uganda or the Great Lakes region would be handled at Tororo in future and not delayed for clearance etc at Mombasa.

    Meanwhile the Masindi ferry service linking Port Masindi and the Apac district in the northwest of Uganda has been suspended to allow repairs to the respective landing sites, which have become dilapidated and unsafe.

    The ferry is expected to be out of service for most of November during which not only will repairs to the landing sites be carried out but dredging of the silted up sites will also take place.

    Sea Fishery boats spending too much time in port

    A parliamentary committee has been told that the four sea fishery patrol boats, acquired recently for nearly half a billion rand, are spending too much time in port on account of the cost of running them.

    The vessels are operated by the Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) and cost on average R690,000 a day to keep at sea or R220,000 per day while in harbour. Because of a shortage of finance the vessels, the Sarah Baartman, Lilian Ngoyi, Ruth First and Victoria Mxenge are spending an average of 175 days a year at sea, compared to an optimum of 250 days.

    The environmental affairs portfolio committee was told that even then some of the time spent at sea was not on patrol but doing charter work. Environment minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said it had been a mistake to buy the vessels, saying the Marine Living Resources Fund which had been created to raise the operating costs of the vessels, was unable to generate sufficient money.

    The fund raises money through selling confiscated items such as abalone and also from levies on fish products, the cost of permits and from licence fees, which was not proving sufficient.

    However the fund has also drawn criticism from the auditor general for a lack of internal controls and having not proper accounting systems in place. The minister said that in retrospect it had been a mistake creating a fund outside of his department.

    Meanwhile the Treasury will provide R35 million to cover the shortfall for the four vessels for the current financial year and will assist with financing them over the next three years.

    Dlamini-Zuma holds talks with Chinese counterpart

    Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma held political, economic and trade discussions with her Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing, ahead of the weekend’s forum on China and Africa.

    Minister Dlamini Zuma was in China as part of President Thabo Mbeki's delegation to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Heads of State and Government Summit, which was held over Saturday-Sunday (4-5 November) in Beijing.

    The China-Africa Forum provided a platform for African and the Chinese governments to engage in collective dialogue and forge multilateral cooperation, concentrating on issues of economic and social development between Africa and China.

    Ministers Zuma and Li Zhaoxing reviewed political and economic relations between their two countries and discussed North Korea's decision to rejoin the six-party talks, amongst others.

    Talks included preparations for the China-Africa Forum Ministerial and Summit; conflict resolution in Africa as well as South Africa's election to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

    On Friday Dlamini Zuma led a South African delegation to the ministerial meeting of the China-Africa Forum to lay a basis and make preparations for the China-Africa Heads of State and Government Summit.

    The Summit included a roundtable discussion in addition to a high level dialogue between government and business leaders from the two regions.

    It explored opportunities for concrete and practical cooperation on Nepad and the 18 economic and social development fields identified in the Beijing Declaration of 2000 and the Programme for China and Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development (2000).

    Delegates also explored other areas of cooperation identified in the Addis Ababa Action Plan 2004-2006 adopted in 2003.

    At its conclusion the Summit was expected to adopt a Declaration and an Action Plan for 2007 to 2009.

    "President Mbeki and Minister Dlamini Zuma will participate in the China-Africa summit within the context of South Africa's commitment to strengthening South-South co-operation with a view to advancing and consolidating the African agenda and the developmental agenda of the south," Foreign Affairs Department spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said.

    South Africa and China are in addition members of the Group of 77 + China, which is the largest coalition of developing countries outside of the UN.

    South Africa currently chairs the G-77 + China.

    - source BuaNews

    Port managers must think of seafarers as human beings

    Port management can help the Missions to Seafarers do their jobs, says the former chairman of P&O and chairman-designate of the Mission to Seafarers, Robert Woods.

    He was speaking at the society’s world conference held in Derbyshire in the UK last week. Among his audience were 180 delegates including chaplains, bishops, and mission committee chairman from all around the world.

    Woods illustrated some changes in the industry since he joined P&O. He said that the job of 23 tweendecker ships with a total crew of 450 was now done by one 9,000 TEU vessel with 18 seafarers. Twenty years ago practically everyone in port management had a master's certificate. Today there were few seafarers in port management where the experience was in IT and technological skills.

    He said that people who run ports by and large do not have a commonality with seafarers. "We should educate management not to think just in terms of IT and technology but to think of seafarers as human beings."

    He suggested the society spend more resources and time on educating people "that there is this huge army of seafarers who need our love. Chaplains can't be there all the time but the man in the terminal can be."

    - source Maritime Global Net

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

    Pre-positioning ship USNS Charlton (T-AKR 314) at Durban’s Island View 9 dolphin berth. Picture Terry Hutson

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