Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 21, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Coastwatch: ship attacks continue off African coast

  • East London plans new marina

  • SMIT buys into Egypt’s Ocean Marine

  • Transnet to sell Carlton Centre

  • AU concerned at Anjouan's situation in Comoros

  • Pic of the day – KOTA AZAM

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
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    Coastwatch: ship attacks continue off African coast

    An Egyptian fishing vessel came under attack from suspected pirates in Eritrean waters earlier this month, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

    After opening fire the pirates succeeded in capturing the vessel together with its crew of 23 and have taken the vessel to a position along the Eritrean coast from where it is thought a ransom will be negotiated.

    A bulk carrier sailing off the Somali coast reported to the IMB reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur that a fishing vessel approached in a suspicious manner, manoeuvering onto a converging course with the larger ship. The bulker was in position 01:20.28S - 049:30.61E which is approximately 320n-miles off Mogadishu in Somalia.

    The bulker altered course and although the fishing vessel also altered course to follow, it suddenly broke away after having approached within five miles of the larger ship and headed towards the coast. This incident took place during the past week.

    Earlier in June three motor boats approached a tanker sailing along the Somali coast, adjusting their course in concert with the tanker’s manoeuvering. As the tanker enjoyed a greater speed it was able to increase the distance from the following boats, which eventually gave up the chase and departed the scene.

    According to the IMB shipping everywhere should maintain anti-piracy watches and report all pirate attacks and suspicious movements of craft to its Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    In West Africa four armed pirates dressed in military-style fatigues boarded a reefer vessel on berth in Port Harcourt harbour on the night of 19 May, reports the IMB. After assaulting the duty seaman with their guns and then shooting him in the legs they made their escape in a small boat.

    Police and ambulance personnel apparently refused to go to the port and a port security officer was forced to take the injured seaman to hospital in his duty car.

    In the troubled Nigerian Bayelsa state gunmen invaded an oilfield operated by ENI/AGIP on Sunday (17 June), taking 27 workers hostage. Italian oil company ENI has since confirmed the attack and has declared force majeure on the Ogbainbiri flow station, affecting a production of 37,000 bpd.

    East London plans new marina

    East London’s Buffalo City Council has given approval to the first phase of a R600 million plan to re-develop the city’s beachfront which includes building a new marina and yacht harbour on the sea-side of the port.

    The new yacht harbour will be immediately to the east of Orient Beach but is dependent on other plans to deepen East London port to accommodate larger ships.

    Transnet has so far declined to finance the improvements to the harbour but has raised no objection to the city and developers attempting to raise interest for the project. The harbour deepening and new quays would cost in the region of R5 billion, it has been estimated.

    Sand and silt dredged from this project would be used to create new beaches along the beachfront and to build the marina.

    The plan forms part of a more ambitious project that will see Marina Glen on Eastern Beach developed with a hotel and luxury apartments and shops – the glen is currently an open park area.

    SMIT buys into Egypt’s Ocean Marine

    Anchor handling and supply tug OCEAN ALEXANDRIA of Ocean Marine Services. Picture Ocean Marine

    Rotterdam, 19 June 2007 – Dutch-based SMIT Salvage, which in 1999 acquired the salvage and marine operations of Pentow Marine at the southern tip of Africa with its headquarters in Cape Town, has now acquired a 50 percent share in Ocean Marine Services on the other northern end of Africa in Egypt.

    According to SMIT a total of seven vessels will be deployed on term charters for the Egyptian petroleum industry.

    The vessels owned and operated by Ocean Marine immediately prior to the establishment of the partnership are:

    Ocean Cairo – supply vessel
    Ocean Luxor – supply vessel
    Ocean Aswan – supply vessel
    Ocean Shield – maintenance vessel
    Ocean Alexandria – anchor handling and supply tug
    Ocean Drum – anchor handling and supply tug
    SMIT Komodo – anchor handling and supply tug

    The acquisition of a half share of Ocean Marine is in line with SMIT’s objective to focus its growth strategy on the pursuit of stability and predictability of its business activities, says SMIT.

    Transnet to sell Carlton Centre

    Some eight years ago and amid plenty of hype, Transnet announced it was acquiring the Carlton Centre in downtown Johannesburg as its corporate headquarters in a move that aimed at helping arrest the degradation of the CBD.

    Transnet paid R32 million for the Carlton, which consisted of the 700-room Carlton Hotel and a large shopping mall spread over several levels with plenty of parking space plus office space above.

    By the early 1990s the building had become largely abandoned by occupants anxious to move out of a then rapidly deteriorating city centre and relocate to other newly developing areas such as Sandton City.

    Transnet’s bold move was quickly justified as new tenants were found, finding benefit in being in a building close to the headquarters of the giant government transport parastatal. Today the building is almost fully occupied with big name tenants that include SA Revenue Services, Pick n Pay and several other leading brand name retail stores.

    Now comes the news that Transnet, which has considerably reduced the number of people in corporate head office, intends selling the 50-storey building. Property specialists are of the opinion that a price of R500 million could be realised for the once more prime property.

    AU concerned at Anjouan's situation in Comoros

    by David Masango (BuaNews)

    Cape Town, 20 June 2007 - The meeting of the African Union (AU) Committee of Countries of the Region on Comoros has expressed concern at the situation in Anjouan, one of three main islands in the Union of the Comoros.

    The meeting reiterated the position of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), rejecting the outcome of the "election" earlier in June in Anjouan and called on the international community to do the same.

    It strongly condemned the decision of the Anjouanese authorities to organise the first round of the election of the President of the Island in spite of the decree of the President of the Union postponing the election, as the conditions on the ground were not conducive to the holding of free, fair and transparent elections, and the decision adopted by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) on 9 June.

    The meeting, held in Cape Town Tuesday, was hosted by Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in her capacity as Chairperson of the AU Committee of Countries of the Region on Comoros.

    It was attended by ministers and other heads of delegation from Tanzania, Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, Kenya and Mozambique.

    The archipelago is located in the Southern African region and is made up of a group of islands at the northern mouth of the Mozambique Channel, about two-thirds of the way between northern Madagascar and northern Mozambique

    In a joint statement following the meeting, the delegates explained that it was briefed on the situation in the Comoros.

    The Vice-President of the Union of the Comoros led a delegation which requested the AU to provide urgent assistance to the Comorian government to enable it overcome the current crisis in the archipelago, and to enhance the long-term capacity of the institutions of the Union, the statement read.

    Regarding the elections the meeting took note of the ruling on 18 June of the Constitutional Court, declaring that the electoral activities for the presidential election in Anjouan were a flop, and instructing the relevant authorities to invite the voters to participate in the election of the President of the autonomous Island of Anjouan.

    "Consequently, the meeting considered that the purported installation of Colonel Mohamed Bacar as "President" of Anjouan and all subsequent acts by the Anjouanese authorities are null and void," the statement said.

    In view of the above, and based on the ruling of the Constitutional Court, the meeting agreed that effective measures should be taken to bring the crisis in the Comoros to a definite end.

    Some measures agreed at the meeting include that the Anjouanese authorities should:

    * comply with the ruling of the Constitutional Court and to unambiguously acknowledge that the "election" organised in Anjouan on 10 June 2007 is null and void;
    * facilitate the organisation, in Anjouan, of the first round of the election of the President of the Island at a date to be agreed upon by all stakeholders;
    * allow the AU Electoral and Security Assistance Mission to the Comoros (MAES) to deploy in Anjouan, to provide security for holding free, fair and transparent elections; and
    * commit themselves to, and create the necessary conditions for, restoring the authority of the Union in Comoros.

    The meeting also agreed that, in the event the above-mentioned demands were not met by the Anjouanese authorities, the PSC should meet to take all necessary measures.

    These measures might include revising the mandate of MAES and increasing its strength to achieve the above objectives, and to ensure the full implementation of the institutional framework provided for by the Constitution of the Union of the Comoros.

    "In this respect, the meeting recalled that, in its communique of 9 June 2007, the PSC reiterated its determination to take all necessary steps to assist in the effective establishment of the new institutional framework of the Comoros, including the restoration of the authority of the Government of the Union in Comoros," the statement said.

    It emerged that issues of governance, including the inadequacies of the current constitutional arrangements, and capacity building were among the most serious challenges facing the Comoros and needed to be addressed.

    The meeting reiterated the commitment of the countries of the region to support the people of the Comoros in their endeavour to promote reconciliation and work towards sustainable development.

    Pic of the day – KOTA AZAM

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    Pacific International Line (PIL) container ship KOTA AZAM arrives in Durban after another voyage from Singapore. – PIL vessels always look smart and well-cared for. Picture Terry Hutson

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

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