Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 20, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Port Elizabeth hosts commissioning of fourth SAN frigate SAS Mendi

  • Ships collide outside harbour as Richards Bay and Durban ports close

  • MADAGASCAR: Vanilla coast devastated by cyclones

  • NEPAD CE identifies importance of Chinese investment for Africa

  • AU armed forces take over control of Mogadishu port

  • Pic of the day – CARIBBEAN CHALLENGER

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    Port Elizabeth hosts commissioning of fourth SAN frigate SAS Mendi

    SAS Mendi on a visit to Durban in 2004, shortly after arriving in South Africa and minus her weapon systems. Picture Terry Hutson

    SAS Mendi (F148), the last of four new Meko class frigates for the South African Navy, is to be commissioned this morning at an historic function being held in Port Elizabeth.

    SAS Mendi will be handed over to the navy by the builders, sub-contractors and their representatives. The ship was built in Germany and fitted out at the Simon’s Town dockyard which included the armament suite and other sophisticated electronic equipment.

    SAS Mendi, named for the troopship that sank in the English Channel during World War II with a large contingent of South African soldiers on board, will be based at Simon’s Town along with the other three frigates.

    Today’s commissioning involves the ship being handed over to Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota on behalf of the South African Government and people, after which Lekota will formally hand over the vessel to the chief of the navy, Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu.

    The defence minister will be met by a 19-gun salute fired from the frigate SAS Spioenkop (F147). The strike craft SAS Isaac Dyobha is also in Port Elizabeth for the commissioning.

    SAS Mendi’s commissioning at Port Elizabeth follows the commissioning of SAS Amatola (F145) in Simon’s Town in February 2006, SAS Isandlwana (F146) in Durban in September 2006 and SAS Spioenkop (F147) in February 2007 in Simon’s Town (see our respective reports in Naval News).

    Ships collide outside harbour as Richards Bay and Durban ports close

    Two Greek bulk ships have collided outside the port of Richards Bay during dtrong gale force winds at the weekend.

    Neither ship was badly damaged in the incident. One vessel, the 38,372-gt bulker ANGELA STAR, which is owned by Marias Trading of Panama and managed by Maryville Maritime of Athens, later sailed to Durban for assessment of her damage.

    The other vessel, THEARESTON (36,573-gt) has remained at anchor outside Richards Bay where the port has been closed during the weekend because of the strong swells and winds. The bulker is owned and managed by Good Faith Shipping of Piraeus.

    There were no injuries reported on either vessel.

    At nearby Durban the port was closed to incoming vessels from Sunday morning (18 March) and from midnight on Sunday to all vessels owing to the gale force winds of 45 knots and high swells across the entrance. The port remained closed throughout yesterday (Monday).

    A port spokesperson told Fairplay yesterday morning that the swells were continuing to average 5m in the entrance channel while 7m waves were pounding the adjacent beaches, causing widespread flooding and collapsing of retaining walls.

    The Weather Bureau said yesterday the freakish weather is the result of a low out at sea off the East London coast while the extremely high tides being experienced are influenced by the alignment of the sun, moon and earth.

    The sea conditions forecast along the KZN coast for today (Tuesday) is very rough in the morning and rough in the afternoon with a 4.5m SE sea swell in the morning and a 4.0m SE swell in the afternoon, moderating overnight. An 18 knot SW wind is anticipated during the day.

    MADAGASCAR: Vanilla coast devastated by cyclones

    Johannesburg, 19 March 2007 (IRIN) - Madagascar's vanilla coast in the northeast has been devastated by Cyclone Indlala, the sixth storm to hit the Indian Ocean island this season.

    "The region is still recovering from the impact of the devastating cyclones (Elita and Gafilo), which hit Madagascar three years ago; this year the farmers were hoping for a good harvest," said Stefanie von Westarp, spokeswoman for the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) in Madagascar. Vanilla orchids take three years to flower, so the 2006 harvest was small.

    According to government estimates, about 80 percent of the country's vanilla production, Madagascar's top foreign exchange earner, has been lost to Indlala, which hit the coast on Thursday. WFP and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said a clearer picture would emerge after an assessment in the next few days.

    "People's only source of livelihood has been affected," said von Westarp, adding that strong winds in Antalaha, the main centre on the vanilla-producing coast, had done the most damage. The devastation of vanilla plantations, one of the most labour-intensive crops in the world, would have an impact on the livelihoods of entire communities.

    The adjoining Maroanstetra district, about 150km southwest of Antalaha, has an estimated population 180,000 and was almost entirely flooded, said von Westarp.

    Northern Madagascar, which produces a substantial quantity of rice, the country's staple food, has also been affected. The island's 17 million people consume almost 2.5 million mt of rice annually. Von Westarp said at least 195,000 people were in need of food aid before Indlala hit land.

    Gianluca Ferrera, deputy director of WFP, said the food agency was trying to transport 135,000mt of food to the coastal town of Maroanstetra in the next 48 hours to 72 hours by boat. The French government had already dispatched a naval vessel and aircraft to the affected areas to deliver non-food items to assist people in need.

    Tropical storms like Indlala have been compounding the pressure on already precarious food security, especially in the country's arid southern region, where a drought has affected 582,000 people. The government appealed for $ 242 million in international aid in February.

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

    NEPAD CE identifies importance of Chinese investment for Africa

    Addis Ababa – BuaNews: The Secretariat of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) said Chinese investment and its huge infrastructure projects in Africa are an opportunity for the growing continent.

    Chief Executive of the NEPAD Secretariat, Professor Firmino Mucavele made this observation this week at an expert group meeting here, entitled "Investment for African Productive Capacity."

    The meeting was organised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the African Union (AU).

    Asked about the pros and cons of Chinese investment in the continent, Professor Mucavele said that a lack of infrastructure limits investment expansion in Africa.

    "Lack of adequate infrastructure hinders private sector initiatives and increases their investment costs. China is giving Africa infrastructures [such as] railways, roads, and others which other development partners are not providing."

    The continent's leaders and China convened the first Africa-China Forum last year, which served as a platform to strengthen their partnerships and discuss further cooperation in politics, economics and aid amongst others.

    High level Chinese delegations have been visiting Africa in recent months conducting historic visits to a number of countries. These have included tours by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

    The head of the secretariat said that Africa is very different from what it was six years ago, in that it has exceeded a 5 percent annual economic growth rate for the past three years.

    This, he said, indicated an end to decades of economic stagnation.

    "Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) reached US $ 31 Billion in 2005 surpassing Official Direct Aid (ODA) for the first time. While food processing, textiles and services now attract a growing proportion of foreign investments from new source countries such as China, India, Malaysia and South Korea," Prof Mucavele said.

    China's high levels of reserves and capital to promote investment would lead to the promotion of comparative economic advantages, he said.

    Prof Mucavele did however point out the need for changes in Africa.

    "The norms, institutions and how business runs in the continent should be improved to avoid any problems with the Chinese investment in Africa, and on the other side there are some agreements in some areas that limit imports from China," he said.

    He also stated that Africa should emphasise transforming its economy and increase the use of comparative advantages and competitiveness in the market, rather than worrying about the threats of Chinese investment and imports.

    "The problems we have with China exist in our relations with the European Union, the United States and others. What we need is to work together, and NEPAD and China are working on the problem together," Prof Mucavele said.

    AU armed forces take over control of Mogadishu port

    Mogadishu, 19 March - A cargo vessel carrying military equipment for the African Union (AU) contingent now in Somalia on peacekeeping duty came under mortar attack earlier today (Monday).

    About 15 people were injured in the attack which later saw AU troops take possession of the port. An AU spokesman Captain Paddy Ankunda told the Shabelle Media Network that the takeover of port operations was a temporary measure to enable the troops to secure their equipment from the ship that is thought to have drawn the fire by insurgents.

    Other port workers were evicted from the harbour but told they would be able to return after about 24 hours. Captain Ankunda said it was not the intention of the AU to disrupt normal port activity. He did however intimate that the AU intended securing the port from attack.

    A few days earlier AU soldiers secured the Mogadishu international airport. Observers have questioned whether the under-strength AU force in Somali will be sufficient to ensure security from attack by supporters of the Union of Islamic Courts and warlords intent on regaining their former strongholds in the country.

    source - Shabelle Medi Network (Somalia)

    Pic of the day – CARIBBEAN CHALLENGER

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    In January 2003 when calling at Durban the container ship, owned by China Navigation was operating as CARIBBEAN CHALLENGER. A couple of months later she had been renamed TASMAN ENDEAVOUR under which name this handsome ship continues to operate, albeit not on the South African service. Picture Terry Hutson

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

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