Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 9, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Beira gets the coal terminal

  • Many feared dead after boat tragedy

  • Durban bunker disruption

  • Crime costs Durban its cruise ship call

  • Panama Canal fee increase leaves shipowners nervous

  • Mozambique fishing boat owner gets heavy fine

  • Pic of the day – MSC ALYSSA

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    Beira gets the coal terminal

    Cape Town, 7 February, 2007: It’s now official – the terminal to handle export coal mined at Moatize in the Tete province of Mozambique will be in the port of Beira.

    This was revealed by Mozambique’s deputy minister of mining Mr Abdul Razak Noormahomed during the Mining Indaba being held this week in Cape Town this week.

    The coal mine at Moatize is currently being redeveloped by Brazil’s Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) and when in full production is expected to become the largest coal mine in the southern hemisphere with an expected capacity of up to 26 million tonnes a year.

    There has been much debate over which port would handle the coal exports, with Nacala in the north of Mozambique being favoured at one stage. This would have necessitated building a connecting railway from Moatize into Malawi to link with the existing rail network in that country, from where coal would have been railed back into Mozambique along the Nacala – Malawi railway.

    However this suddenly fell through late last year when CVRD announced it was suspending talks aimed at developing that particular rail link. However there was no confirmation that Beira was back into favour although it was the only obvious alternative. What counted against the central Mozambique port has always been the question of the silting of the river on which the port is built, resulting in a subsequent need for constant dredging which in recent years has been somewhat neglected owing to a lack of suitable dredgers.

    In December the government said it was postponing emergency dredging at Beira which had been planned for 2006. This came after government rejected three separate bids for the tender when the amounts quoted exceeded the tender specification. The transport minister told parliament that a new tender would be issued in 2007 and he pointed out that routine maintenance dredging by the government dredging company Emodraga continued to be carried out at Beira even though one of the two dredgers in services was now over 50 years old and was no longer reliable.

    The minister said that Mozambique planned to acquire another larger capacity dredger in the near future.

    The railway between Beira and Moatize is currently under rehabilitation after having fallen into neglect and having been damaged during the civil war.

    Many feared dead after boat tragedy

    It is feared that a large number of traders and fishermen are dead after the boat in which they were traveling capsized and sank off Man-of-War Bay along the coast of southwest Cameroon at the weekend.

    The wooden power boat, known locally as an ‘engine boat’ and named ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’, sailed from the village of Tiko near Limbe on Saturday and was bound for Oron in Nigeria but continued to pick up additional passengers until it was hopelessly overcrowded, according to eyewitnesses and survivors. Initially it was thought that 60 people had died but this number has been reassessed upwards in the light of subsequent reports.

    More than 60 bodies were buried in a mass grave by villagers along the coast near where the tragedy occurred but many others drowned at sea and their bodies have not been recovered. The area where survivors came ashore is covered by thick forest and swampy land which survivors had to trek through to find help.

    The engine boats are popular with local people because they provide a quicker form of transport for people having to travel overland through rough country with poor roads. The boats habitually stop at villages along the coast to pick up more passengers and cargo and often operate in an unsafe manner.

    According to one survivor’s report, the skipper of the boat cut his engine to avoid detection from customs patrols and failed to restart again before the boat was swamped by large waves.

    Durban bunker disruption

    Durban 08 February: Part of the MFO pipeline is to be taken out of service for an annual statutory pressure test, reports local ships agency GAC.

    The pipeline is expected to be out of service for three days from 19 February, during which it will not be possible to supply MFO by pipeline at Island View berths 7 – 9, New Pier laybye berths (100 – 104) and the Durban Container Terminal.

    MFO will however remain available from Island View berths 1 – 5 and by bunker barge.

    The barges will have to load MFO at Island View 1- 5 which may in turn interfere with berth occupancy for cargo loading.

    Source - GAC

    Crime costs Durban its cruise ship call

    The luxury cruise ship SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER which has completed cruising along the southern African coast, making calls at Walvis Bay, Cape Town, Richards Bay and Maputo, avoided a stop at Durban this week because of security fears, it has been learned.

    This was disclosed on board the ship in Richards Bay harbour on Wednesday, when it was said that when Regent Seven Sea Cruises drew up its itinerary a previous security problem in Durban led to the decision to avoid the KZN port.

    Our guests do not feel safe getting off the ship in Durban where passenger facilities are not secure, so we chose Richards Bay instead, said the ship’s master, Capt Dag Dvergastein. Despite the perception that Durban is ‘unsafe’, he said that South Africa and Africa remained a popular destination among the passengers, who visited the nearby game parks and the St Lucia World Heritage Wetland Park while the ship was in Richards Bay.

    He was possibly referring to an incident that occurred in November with the visit to Durban of the German cruise ship AMADEO, during which three busloads of passengers were taken to the beachfront where each group was mugged and had goods stolen from them at knifepoint in quick succession.

    The incident has received worldwide adverse publicity and undone much hard work done by the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism bodies which have been promoting KwaZulu-Natal and Durban in particular as a cruise centre.

    Panama Canal fee increase leaves shipowners nervous

    The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) says that the international shipping industry is concerned over the intended increases in fees recently announced by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

    The ACP said it intends increasing fees on laden container ships from the current US $ 49 per TEU to $ 54 as from May this year, and to $ 63 in 2008 and $ 72 in 2009.

    Reefer fees will also increase from $ 2.96 per PC/UMS to $ 3.39 in October and .80 in 2008.

    The higher fees will help finance the planned construction of a third set of locks costing US $ 5.25 Billion which is aimed at making it possible for post panamax vessels to use the canal, which currently has a width restraint of 32.2m.

    According to ICS’s secretary-general Tony Mason, everything in life has to be paid for and the canal project is no exception, but ship owners were nervous as to how they are expected to pay for it.

    Mozambique fishing boat owner gets heavy fine

    The owner of the Mozambican fishing boat TWANANO, which was arrested while fishing illegally near Kosi Bay in 2006, received a hefty R500,000 fine in a Richards Bay court this week.

    On 18 May 2006 the South African patrol boat SARAH BAARTMAN, which was on patrol in the area, arrested the TWANANO while fishing off the KwaZulu-Natal coast near the Mozambique border and escorted the vessel and its crew to Richards Bay where the ship was detained.

    The owner subsequently flew to Richards Bay and was also arrested. He and the crew were later released on bail although the boat remained in custody in the port.

    This week the case came before the regional court where the owner, Jose Ernesto of Maputo received the half million rand fine after pleading guilty to four charges under the Marine Living Resources Act. Four-fifths of the fine has been suspended for five years.

    The boat’s skipper was also fined half a million rand but received a full suspension of the fine for five years.

    Pic of the day – MSC ALYSSA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    MSC ALYSSA eases away from berth 102 at Port Elizabeth’s Container Terminal on completion of her initial visit to the Eastern Cape port. The ship is a sister vessel to MSC SANDRA – the latter ship being named for the wife of the chairman and MD of MSC in South Africa, Capt Salvatore Sarno. MSC ALYSSA was built in 2001 and has a capacity of 4,355-TEU. The ship is 273m in length, a beam of 32.2m and a draught of 13m. She maintains a speed of 23.5 knots on the company’s South Africa - Mediterranean service. Picture Alvin McCloughlin

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