Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 21, 2006
Author: P&S


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  • Wrapping it up for the year

  • Beira to Sena railway gets underway

  • Little risk of pollution from two Angolan shipwrecks

  • LIBERIA: Government lays foundation for legal logging

  • Pic of the day – BBC Iceland

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    Wrapping it up for the year

    All good things come to an end and this year has been a fruitful and busy one for PORTS & SHIPS. Since its beginning at the end of 2002, readership of PORTS & SHIPS has increased steadily to the point where it now tops 19,700 readers a month, with 116,000 individual pages being read during the month and over 480,000 ‘hits’ registered in that time.

    That has been achieved without any advertising or publicity. You the reader discovered the site by yourself or through word of mouth and hopefully you are continuing to find it useful.

    The ultimate purpose of PORTS & SHIPS is to become just that - a useful and dependable resource for the maritime industry of not only Southern Africa but for much of sub-Saharan Africa as well.

    During the past year we have added a number of significant facilities to the site. We now feature regular updates of ship movements for ports in the range of Walvis Bay on the west coast, around South Africa, to Nacala in northern Mozambique on the east side of this continent. It is our intention to add other ports and arrangements will hopefully be concluded during 2007 to include these.

    Another significant addition to PORTS & SHIPS is the MARITIME SERVICES DIRECTORY which was included during 2006. Much work remains to be done with this important resource, in which we hope to include as many if not every single business involved with the maritime industry in southern Africa, in order that you, the reader, can have a facility for finding other businesses in the region.

    There are already well over a thousand entries in the Directory and we know that we have only begun to scratch the surface. If your company is not yet featured, or if you would like to discuss an upgrade in which you can promote and advertise more fully your services, please contact us.

    Tomorrow will be the final daily News Bulletin for 2006, as we intend to have a short break between Christmas and the New Year. However we will continue providing regular Ship Movement reports as often throughout that period as we can obtain them from the respective ports and terminals. We will also continue to monitor the shipping and maritime news and if there are any important developments these will be published as stand alone stories in the News section.

    As mentioned above, our intention is to create a fully comprehensive resource for the maritime and transport industry in southern and later sub-Saharan Africa. Thank you to all who have shown support and encouragement. Please continue supporting this free service.

    Beira to Sena railway gets underway

    According to Mozambique Minister of Transport, Antonio Mungwambe, the Sena railway line which connects the coalfields of the Moatize region in Tete Province with the port of Beira is now under reconstruction.

    He said last week that work on rebuilding the line, which fell into disrepair during the civil war, has begun following the final clearance of land mines from the rail servitude along the route.

    Brazilian mining group Companhia do Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) recently announced it would not be routing its coal exports through the northern port of Nacala, which infers that Beira will be used and the rehabilitation of the railway has now assumed even greater importance.

    According to Mozambique media reports a factory producing concrete railway sleepers has been established at Dondo, a town 30km west of Beira. So far less than 15km of track has been relaid along the main line along with another 13km laid on the spur from Inhamitanga to the sugar town of Marromeu.

    The reopening of this spur line by the end of December is expected to result in a considerable reduction in transport costs for Marromeu sugar exported via Beira.

    There is no clarity as yet over future coal exports from the mines at Moatize. Under present conditions the port of Beira is unlikely to handle large bulk ships without considerable dredging and improvements. In recent years there was talk of opening a new ore port at Savane to the north of Beira but there has been no indication of any progress in this area. In pre-independence Beira handled all of the coal exports from the Tete Province that went out by sea.

    Little risk of pollution from two Angolan shipwrecks

    Angola’s Minister of Transport, André Luís Brandão, says there is little risk of pollution from two ships that sank near the port of Luanda.

    The most recent sinking involved the heavylift semi-submersible Mighty Servant 3 which mysteriously sank shortly after floating off an oil rig it had delivered to Angola. As the rig floated off the heavylift was unable to recover and began to sink, going under within 30 minutes but fortunately with no loss of life.

    The ship is lying in about 60m of water and according to the transport minister, preventative measures have been taken to prevent any leakage of oil from the vessel. It is not known whether there will be an effort to salvage the ship. A few years ago another ship of the same company, Mighty Servant 2 sank off a reef in Indonesia but was later refloated and recovered.

    The second ship to sink, the former passenger ship Green Coast sank within the Luanda harbour area and according to Angolan authorities also poses little risk of pollution. The ship is lying on its side with its hull visible. A decision regarding salvage of this elderly vessel has yet to be taken.

    LIBERIA: Government lays foundation for legal logging

    Monrovia, Dec 2006 (IRIN) - Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority is preparing a new bidding process for logging concessions following the lifting in October of the United Nations Security Council’s three-year ban on Liberian timber exports.

    “We expect this will create about 10,000 jobs,” Richie Grear, the government’s forest bureau spokesman, told IRIN. “All the mechanisms are being put into place to ensure that logging activities restart.”

    Revenues from timber constituted 50 percent of the country’s export earnings before the UN Security Council imposed sanctions in July 2003. At the time, the council described Liberia's logging industry as a threat to peace and security with revenue from timber allegedly being used by former president Charles Taylor to fuel armed conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    The council has not yet lifted sanctions on diamond exports imposed on Liberia five years ago, saying the country is yet to meet international standards of verification designed to prevent the illegal trade of so called “blood diamonds”.

    With timber, the current elected government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has implemented new legislation on logging to ensure revenue would benefit the whole country.

    “[It is] principally geared towards sustainable forest management and more developmental benefits to the communities where logging activities would be carried out,” Grear said.

    Under the new law, Liberia’s forests, which cover 40 percent of the country, are to be divided into three categories: protected forests, forests for community timber activities and commercial logging concessions.

    The law compels logging companies to provide regular public disclosure of their revenue. Also, 30 percent of the money earned from leased timber concessions is to be used for schools, health centres and other basic social services in local communities.

    In the past, local residents did not receive any of the money paid by logging companies, said Snorh Teah, the district commissioner in south-eastern Sinoe County where logging activities took place before the UN ban.

    “I hope this time around the government will prevail on companies to develop the villages and towns around them,” Teah said.

    Implementing the law will pose a huge challenge to the government, local environmental activist Alfred Brownell told IRIN. “If you look at the laws you will see there is no clear mechanism on how the 30 percent should be shared among various communities and how they are going to receive the benefits,” he said.

    The new bidding process will start early next year, said forestry spokesman Grear. “[Companies] will have to meet with the highest international environmental standards to ensure our forests are properly managed and bio-diversity protected.”

    Previously, Taylor had tight control over who could export timber, with "logging companies themselves serving as arms importers and weapons transporters", according to a 2002 report from the London-based NGO Global Witness.

    One of the first things President Johnson-Sirleaf did after she took office in January was to nullify some 70 agreements for forest concessions.

    However, Brownell said he saw signs that the new bidding process may not be fair either.

    “Already, we have seen high profile government officials travelling out of the country scouting for investors for the forest industry,” he said. “I am afraid there could be some political influence if government officials are allowed to bring in forest investors.”

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

    Pic of the day – BBC Iceland

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    BBC Iceland, which is engaged in project cargo work on behalf of the German specialist line Beluga Shipping, was seen at Cape Town this month where she was photographed by Ian Shiffman

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

    Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Beira on the East Coast?

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