Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 5, 2006
Author: P&S


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  • Union urges urgent action to reduce fatigue at sea

  • Large fire in Durban harbour

  • Lake Victoria’s waters begin to rise

  • SA, Canada to strengthen relations

  • Next stop for Mbeki - a Bush visit for trade talks

  • Pic of the day

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
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    Union urges urgent action to reduce fatigue at sea

    The UK officers union Nautilus wants urgent action to be taken to reduce the number of hours that ships officers and seafarers have to work while at sea.

    This follows the publication of a report detailing the conditions under which seafarers are required to operate. The six-year study included a survey of 1,800 seafarers in which half said they regularly worked weeks in excess of 85 hours. Half of those who took part in the study thought that the long working hours constituted a danger to their personal safety while 37 percent said that the excessive hours posed a danger to the safe operation of their ship.

    Half of those surveyed claimed their working hours had increased over the past ten years, in spite of regulations introduced to combat fatigue at sea. A quarter of all seafarers admitted that they had fallen asleep while on watch.

    The study was co-sponsored by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and the Health & Safety Executive of the UK, with support from the Seafarers’ International Research Centre at Cardiff University and Nautilus.

    The report recommends a range of measures to address the problem, including a review of the way in which working hours are recorded, better fatigue management training, an industry standard for measuring fatigue, and an auditing tool to assess the significance of various risk factors.

    Source – Nautilus and MGN

    Large fire in Durban in Durban harbour

    A large fire blazed next to the Durban Container Terminal yesterday morning (Monday), sending plumes of black oily smoke swirling across the bay in an easterly direction.

    The fire appeared to have been caused by a consignment of rubber products which caught alight in a yard situated between the Transnet Heritage site at Bayhead and the Spoornet container terminal railway exchange yard.

    Thick black smoke billows out from a fire in a yard next to the Spoornet exchange yard at the Durban Container Terminal yesterday (Monday). On the right of the picture can be seen the operations centre for the Durban Container Terminal. Picture by Terry Hutson

    Despite efforts from the port and city fire brigades the fire continued to burn for several hours, with black smoke at times obliterating from view large areas of the exchange yard and the adjacent Durban Container Terminal office building.

    The cause of the fire was not known at the time of preparing this report. Attempts to obtain comment from companies occupying affected areas proved difficult with no-one prepared to take calls. However it appeared from observation that the emergency services had the fire under control and were successful in preventing it from spreading.
    So far as is known the fire did not cause any disruption to port working.

    Lake Victoria’s waters begin to rise

    After a protracted period in which the water level of Lake Victoria fell alarmingly, resulting in ships being unable to dock at places along the lakeshore because of low water levels, the level is now rising following recent heavy rains in the region.

    According to reports the water level had receded by 150m in length and 2.5m in depth following the drought, leaving ships unable to approach the dockside. But with the rains ships are again able to berth normally.

    However the assistant director of Kenya’s Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, Dr Richard Abila has warned that the rise may not be permanent.

    Source – East African Standard

    SA, Canada to strengthen relations

    by David Masango, BuaNews

    Strengthening of political and economic relations between South Africa and Canada will come under the spotlight today when President Thabo Mbeki meets Canadian Governor-General Michäelle Jean.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs said some of the issues Mr Mbeki and Ms Jean will discuss at the Union Buildings include the status of bilateral political and economic relations between the two countries, conflict resolution and peacekeeping in Africa.

    They will also discuss the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and plans to ensure the United Nations (UN) is reformed.

    South Africa has been elected to the UN Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member from 2007 to 2008.

    "President Mbeki will host Governor-General Jean in line with South Africa's commitment to consolidate the African agenda to promote the North-South hemisphere relations through the Group of 8 (G-8)," the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

    Governor-General Jean's visit forms part of a five-day African visit which will see her visiting Algeria, Mali, Ghana and Morocco.

    The agenda will also feature trade and investment, science and technology, arts and culture, agriculture, and minerals and energy, health, education and human resource development and skills exchange amongst others.

    The department said relations between South Africa and Canada had increased since President Mbeki visited Canada in November 2003. Relations between the two countries, the Department said, are conducted largely within the framework of the annual consultations and the first were held in Pretoria in 2004.

    The department further said regular contacts and interaction between most government departments and their Canadian counterparts were continuing.

    There have been reciprocal engagements between the legislatures, such as the portfolio committees on defence, public works, security and constitutional affairs, finance and oversight committees.

    In most cases, interaction is centred on capacity building and skills development.

    Next stop for Mbeki: a Bush visit for trade talks

    Later in the week (Friday) Pres Mbeki is scheduled to hold talks with the US president, George W Bush in Washington.

    The talks will focus on economic as well as political matters and are being held in the context of South Africa’s promotion of North-South co-operation in support of the African agenda through the Group of Eight, says government spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa.

    He said that the economic relationship between South Africa and the United States was strong, with total trade approaching R60 Billion, which reflects an annual increase of 11 percent.

    Picture of the day

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The third of the relatively few cruise liners that are calling at Durban this season, the MARCO POLO spent half a day in port last week. She was built in 1965 in East Germany as the Russian ALEKSANDR PUSHKIN but was sold in 1991 to a British company and operates under the banner of Orient Line. She was rebuilt between 1991 and 1993 and now carries 826 passengers.
    Her present voyage started in Athens (Piraeus) on 1 November and she transited the Suez Canal, through the Red Sea, and called at Mombasa before reaching Durban. From here she proceeded to Cape Town, before the crossing to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires prior to going to the Antarctic for which she is well prepared being strengthened for navigation in ice. Picture copyright SHIPHOTO INTERNATIONAL email shack@iafrica.com

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

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