Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 5, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • CMA CGM introduces new South America, Arabian Gulf, Indian South Africa service

  • Salvage begins on Tristan da Cunha oil rig

  • South Africa's trade deficit down in December

  • NIGERIA: Surveillance efforts to increase after reported bird flu death

  • Pic of the day – SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER

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

    CMA CGM introduces new South America, Arabian Gulf, Indian South Africa service

    CMA CGM, the French shipping line has announced the launch of a new service linking South America to the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea, Indian and South Africa.

    As of 13 February the new weekly service, operating under the name VASCO Express, will deploy eight ships of 1,700-TEU capacity and a reefer capacity of 350 reefer plugs.

    The vessels will rotate between the ports of Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Paranagua, Itajai, Rio-Grande, Salalah, Khorfakkan, Nhava-Sheva, Port Louis, Durban, Rio de Janeiro with highly competitive transit times (20 days between Rio-Grande and Khorfakkan).

    “The new service will enable CMA CGM to meet the growing market demand fro refrigerated containers between South America and the Middle East,’ says CMA CGM.

    CMA CGM VASCO Express will use the port of Salalah to serve the Red Sea market with CMA CGM dedicated feeders.

    The first ship will leave Brazil on 13 February with the CMA CGM RIO-GRANDE.

    Salvage begins on Tristan da Cunha oil rig

    Tristan da Cunha: Salvors are busy again with the decommissioned oil rig A Turtle (aka Petrobas XXI), firmly aground in Trypot Bay off the island of Tristan da Cunha.

    Regular readers will recall that the rig got ‘lost’ for a considerable period while being towed from Brazil to Singapore, after she became detached from her tug MIGHTY DELIVERER. This was in May 2006 and later in June the rig was discovered firmly aground on the coast of South Atlantic island.

    During the period in which the rig went ‘walkabout’ a second tug, RUBY DELIVERER was dispatched to help the search, to no avail, and it was left to some islanders, on their way to round up cattle ahead of the winter weather, to find the rig ‘parked’ neatly in one of their less used backyards.

    Smit Salvage was subsequently awarded the contract to refloat the rig and sent the chartered tug ZOUROS HELLAS from Cape Town to do the job. Also to no avail - adverse weather and conditions defeated all attempts to free the rig and eventually the salvage was called off, ostensibly ‘until a stronger tug became available’.

    The tug ZOUROS HELLAS seen here arriving with a previous tow in Durban. Picture Terry Hutson

    Since then the rig has remained in the bay, firmly stuck on the seabed with its condition slowly deteriorating.

    Since then the Governor of St Helena has issued a permit to the owners of the rig to have her removed, along with conditions for the removal. It appears likely however that during the time A Turtle has been aground off Tristan da Cunha her condition has deteriorated and the best that can be hoped for now is to pull her clear and have her scuttled in deep water, well away from the fishing grounds on which the island’s economy largely depends.

    An environmental survey is being undertaken to determine if the rig is carrying pollutants – a report says that although the rig was decommissioned before leaving Brazil it is possible that small quantities of pollutants remain on board.

    A contract for the salvage has subsequently been awarded to the US company Titan Maritime of Fort Lauderdale, which is using Cape Town as the base from which to work. The tug DE HONG is already at the island where preliminary work in being undertaken. The Cape Town-based supply vessel EDINBURGH has also been chartered to carry supplies as has the vessel KELSO as an accommodation vessel and support base.

    During January a quantity of scrap steel was removed from the rig to aid buoyancy.

    It is thought that the spring tides of 18 February will present the best opportunity of freeing up the rig. If so she will be towed some 12 miles offshore and sunk.

    source – tristanddc.com

    W Cape government says boat builders need help

    The Western Cape boat-building industry should be supported by the national government similar to their French counterpart if it is to survive and become a major contributor to the local economy.

    The Western Cape government has called on the national decision makers to dedicate millions to ensure that the industry flourishes.

    Various estimates put the annual turnover of the South African industry at close to R1 billion, with 75 percent coming from Western Cape manufacturers. Ten years ago finance minister Trevor Manuel told Ellian Perch, director of the country’s premier boat-building operation, Robertson & Caine, that he saw the undoubted need for government support. But this has not materialised and has cast the future of the industry in doubt.

    Perch is unequivocal about the need for government subsidies. “We can make a serious contribution to the local economy and create countless job opportunities, but we need government to come to the party.”

    Perch adds that the largely export-based local industry is too vulnerable to fluctuations in the value of the rand and thus needs government to consider subsidising the bigger manufacturers.

    Herman Jonker, manager of Marine Marketing at the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape, says the department, in conjunction with the City of Cape Town, provides industry bodies with R500 000 in annual funding.

    The South African Boat-builders Business Council was formed through this funding, but Perch says to stimulate real growth national government must follow the example of the French.

    Council officials are aware that the French government subsidises their industry, but the nature of the support has never been made public.

    Says Jonker: “We would like to make a more meaningful contribution to the industry, but that is really dependent on the contribution of the national government.”

    Former director of the boat-builders council Bruce Tedder suggests tax breaks from government for builders, but Jonker rules this out. He says international examples have shown that this does not work, but he does not rule out that the French subsidising could be looked at as a model.

    According to Perch, there is currently no dialogue between government, either at local or national level, and the major manufacturers.

    “We need to start interacting with government on this issue. My company has decided to not expand our operation abroad and we remain committed to the local economy, but this cannot carry on indefinitely. When we visited Dublin to consider expansion there we were received like royalty, because I think they understand the real economic value of the industry,” Perch adds.

    Robertson & Caine is one of then world’s top builders of cruising catamarans and has consistently been awarded the highest industry accolades for their designs. In 2005, their Leopard 40 catamaran was named Best Overall Export Boat in the United States.

    Another issue that stymies industry growth is the reluctance of banks to provide bridging finance for builders or loans for local buyers. Says Perch: “If banks changed the way they view our business, and the bona fides of clients, we will also be in a much better position to compete internationally.”

    source – Cape Business News

    NIGERIA: Surveillance efforts to increase after reported bird flu death

    Abuja, 1 Feb 2007 (IRIN) - Health authorities in Nigeria were redoubling surveillance efforts on Thursday to track the deadly H5N1 virus in birds and humans after the first human death from avian flu was reported in the country.

    Laboratory tests conducted in Nigeria showed that a 22-year-old woman who died on 17 January following symptoms of bird flu was infected with the same virulent strain of avian flu that has killed millions of birds around the world and raised fears of a potential human pandemic, a government statement said on Wednesday.

    The woman had slaughtered chicken to prepare a family meal before her death, health officials said. Her 52-year-old mother had also died of similar symptoms on 4 January but was not tested for the virus, officials said.

    “The federal government is strengthening surveillance efforts across the country with particular emphasis on monitoring human contacts with poultry populations to prevent animal-to-human and human-to-human infection,” Information Minister Frank Nweke said in a statement on Thursday.

    Samples taken from the victim and people who were in contact with her have also been sent to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United States Centres for Disease Control for independent review, he added.

    WHO said in a statement on its website that it was working with Nigerian authorities to monitor the avian flu situation in the country. It said preliminary tests on samples taken from three other suspected cases and other people who were in contact with them turned out negative.

    The agency advised that people should only consume chicken that has been properly cooked “until none of the meat is red”, stressing there is no evidence of infection from poultry or eggs that have been thoroughly cooked.

    “The greatest risk of exposure to the virus is through the slaughter and handling of live or already dead infected poultry,” WHO said in the statement.

    Nigeria reported Africa’s first case of bird flu a year ago. Since then the H5N1 strain of the virus has been confirmed in 17 of the country’s 36 states, but no human cases had been reported until now.

    As part of new surveillance measures, movement of poultry around the country is to be restricted. People are also being urged to wash their hands thoroughly after handling live or dead poultry and to report any cases of suspected avian influenza to the authorities.

    However, in poultry markets in Lagos on Thursday, both buyers and sellers were engaged in business as usual. Boys who make their living from slaughtering and cleaning birds for buyers in the markets did their job without the protection of gloves and seemed unimpressed by warnings about the dangers of their trade.

    “We heard about this bird flu last year and nothing happened to us,” one of them, Isa Musa, told IRIN. “We are not going to stop our business because of something we are not sure exists.”

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

    Pic of the day – SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The six-star luxury cruise ship SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER paid Cape Town a call last week while ‘voyaging’ along the South African coastline. The 41,599-gt ship, built in 2003 for the Radisson Seven Sea Cruises group, carries up to 700 passengers. Picture Ian Shiffman

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

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