Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 13, 2006
Author: P&S


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  • Master of Melody honoured for seamanship

  • Government moves to ease border post congestion

  • Coega Development Corporation fires manager on spying charge

  • MOL looks to further calls at Maputo

  • Improved agricultural trade between SA and US forecast

  • Pic of the day

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    Master of Melody honoured for seamanship

    The master of the MSC cruise ship Melody has been honoured for his exceptional seamanship in the rescue of a man who jumped overboard into the Indian Ocean in November.

    Captain Antonio Siviero (right) and Ian Wienburg of the NSRI, on board the cruise ship Melody. Picture Terry Hutson

    The National Sea Rescue Institute of South Africa (NSRI) visited the cruise ship in Durban harbour on Monday night to present Captain Antonio Siviero with ‘a rare certificate of appreciation“ as a result of the dramatic rescue of a crewman who jumped overboard while the ship was on its positioning cruise to South Africa.

    The 21-year old crewman became upset when his girlfriend, who was also a crew member on the ship, informed him that their relationship was over. He jumped overboard into the fast flowing Mozambique Channel as the ship sailed along the coast of northern Mozambique.

    Captain Siviero, who gave credit to his officers and crew, related how he advised Search & Rescue in Cape Town that the ship had lost a man overboard. He said he was advised that owing to there being no other ship within 120 miles they would have to conduct the search by themselves.

    “I told the crew we would find him and would continue searching until we do,” said Captain Siviero.

    The ship put about and reversed its course in pitch darkness, and using a formula to calculate the apparent drift of the current and the likely position of the missing man, a search pattern was established. It turned out that twice during the night they passed close to the seaman, but owing to the darkness were unable to see him.

    Shortly after dawn and six hours after having jumped overboard the missing seaman was sighted. Once he had landed in the water he apparently underwent a change of mind and managed to tread water throughout the long ordeal. Fortunately the Mozambique current is warm, especially at this time of year.

    Once the man had been sighted a boat was launched and he was successfully recovered.

    Ian Wienburg, chief executive of the NSRI said that the procedure of establishing a search pattern was a standard one that his organisation practiced with regularity.

    “For us (the NSRI) to stop and turn our rescue craft is a relatively easy matter with a 10m rescue boat. Turning a 35,000 ton ship and coming back to the exact position where the man was thought to have jumped was something quite different and an example of outstanding seamanship of the highest order.”

    ‘Captain Siviero’s actions and those of his crew that night were in the best traditions of the fellowship of those who go down to the sea in ships,’ reads the framed certificate.

    The rescue delayed the ship by five hours arriving in Durban. The rescued seaman and his lady friend have since left the ship.

    Government moves to ease border post congestion

    by Thapelo Sakoana, BuaNews

    Various government departments have come together to plan and coordinate their efforts at the country's border posts, in a bid to ease congestion during the festive season.

    Officials from different government departments and agencies started convening daily planning sessions on Monday to monitor trends in the movement of goods and people through the borders.

    The officials represent the Departments of Home Affairs, Intelligence, Transport, Public Works, Agriculture, Health, Defence, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

    They will employ contingency plans at the busiest border posts in the country where necessary.

    The public is also being given access to information about border operations to ease congestions.

    A call centre has been established to inform travellers and traders of which times the border posts are busiest. They can call 0860 BORDER (0860 26 73 37).

    The SMS service is also available at 083 709 9444. People can send the word "border" followed by a space and then the name of the border gate.

    The information is also available on the website www.rsaborders.co.za

    The Border Control Operational Co-ordinating Committee (BCOCC) has encouraged the public to access the following information to plan for transit across South Africa's land borders:

    * Operating hours of the port of entry
    * Location of the port of entry
    * Port of entry contact details
    * Port of entry classification in terms of commercial or non-commercial port
    * Current queuing or waiting time (to be updated at specific intervals)
    * Travel documents required (i.e. passports and vehicle registration papers, among others)
    * Cost of transit through ports to neighbouring countries (for example, thirds party insurance) and
    * Passport and visa requirements

    The website and the information database will be updated regularly.

    "The webpage and information database will be updated regularly to ensure that the details provided to the public reflect the current operating scenario at the ports of entry accurately," the BCOCC said.

    The busiest border posts would employ additional personnel and extend operating hours.

    Information on hours of operation at border posts will be available on the website, the call centre, through the SMS service and as follows:

    * Beit Bridge - 24 hours
    * Lebombo - 24 hours
    * Maseru Bridge - 24 hours
    * Kopfontein - 6am to 12am (unless indicated through the information services on specific days)
    * Oshoek - 7am to 10pm (unless indicated through the information services on specific days)
    * Ramatlabama - 6am to 10pm (unless indicated through the information services on specific days)
    * Skilpadshek - 6am - 12am (unless indicated through the information services on specific days)

    All the measures put in place are part of government's drive to enhance service delivery throughout the festive season.

    Coega Development Corporation fires manager on spying charge

    The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) last week fired one of its senior managers after a disciplinary committee found him guilty of misconduct.

    Achilles Limbouris was dismissed on Friday after having digitally recorded a presentation to CDC members which it is claimed was later passed on to outside parties.

    The CDC said in a statement that Limbouris had been found guilty of having maintained contact with an outside company, Scribante Construction, which was tendering for a R85 million construction project at Coega. The contact had been pursued during the tendering period in contravention of CDC policies and procedures.

    The CDC says it followed the recommendations of the presiding officer of the disciplinary hearing as dictated by its policy and Limbouris was dismissed with immediate effect last week. Limbouris may appeal against the decision by taking the matter further to the CCMA within 30 days.

    The CDC and Scribante have been involved in lengthy and costly court action over a contract on which the Port Elizabeth based construction company had tendered.

    MOL looks to further calls at Maputo

    Following a successful trial call at the port of Maputo by the Mitsui ship MOL Niger on 11 December, the Japanese container carrier says it intends looking at further calls at the Mozambique port on its Southern Africa – Asia trade route.

    “MOL is delighted to announce further support to this exciting port development. With the recently added 8th vessel to the fleet, which improved frequency and stability we have been able to look at further direct calls at Maputo to assist in the development of this excellent gateway to Asia. It is hoped that frequency of Maputo direct calls can also be increased as this develops further,” said the company.

    In the meantime MOL will call at Maputo as follows:

    5 January 2007 – MOL Dream
    19 January – MOL Volta
    31 January – MOL Sassandra
    19 February – MOL Niger

    These calls will provide direct coverage to the key gateway ports of Port Louis, Singapore and Hong Kong – with regular feeder connections (using mainly MOL’s own network) from Singapore and Hong Kong to a full range of destinations in the Asian continent.

    Improved agriculture trade between SA and US forecast

    by Oupa Segalwe, BuaNews

    Agricultural trade between South Africa and the United States of America (US) should improve during the first half of 2007, the Department of Agriculture said on Monday.

    "During the first half of next year, trade in citrus, table grapes, apples and beef between the two countries should be enhanced," the department said in a statement.

    Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Lulama Xingwana is in the US holding bilateral trade talks with her counterpart Mike Johanns, amongst others.

    The US remains South Africa's number one trading partner in terms of total trade, which includes agricultural goods.

    Total trade is approaching R60 billion with an annual increase of approximately 11 percent, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

    Xingwana and Johanns have discussed the revival of the South Africa-US Agriculture Working group to promote trade between the two countries.

    They have also discussed global trade in terms of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) including the US farm Bill 2007 and its impact on the Doha negotiations.

    Discussions were also held regarding the Agricultural Research Cooperation and a proposal to revive the Professional Development Programme (PDP).

    The PDP involves the two countries' agriculture departments, the South African Agriculture Research Council and some US universities.

    The talks further extended to the issues of animal and plant and the Food Safety Inspection Services.

    "The talks were mostly in a positive spirit, and should lead to better trade and market access between the two countries and the rest of the continent," the department said, adding that it would be possible under the US's African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

    AGOA significantly liberalises trade between the US and 37 designated Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries including South Africa.

    The Act builds on existing US trade programs by expanding the duty-free benefits previously available only under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) program.

    It originally covered the 8-year period from October 2000 to September 2008, but amendments signed into law by US President George Bush in July 2004 further extended it to 2015.

    Xingwana also attended a Consultative meeting on International Agricultural Research Business.

    Picture of the day –

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The trailing suction hopper dredger Piper (originally named RE Jones before the 1994 renaming programme), which is stationed in Durban and used for keeping the entrance other main channels clear of silting. Picture Terry Hutson

    NB Pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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