Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 6, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Cyclone Gonu heads for Oman and Straits of Hormuz

  • SA government accused of showing a lack of interest in training seafarers

  • APL introduces new service to East Africa

  • Far East dominates East African trade

  • Oppenheimer: Africa is on the right track

  • Pic of the day – BELUGA ENTERPRISE

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    Cyclone Gonu heads for Oman and Straits of Hormuz

    Ports along the coast of Oman have gone of full alert and several have been closed as Cyclone Gonu rages across the Arabian Sea.

    At 16.30 GMT yesterday Cyclone Gonu was listed as a Category 3 cyclone (intense hurricane) with wind speeds of up to 200 km/h being reported along with heavy rain and high seas. The cyclone is expected to make landfall sometime today (Wednesday 6 June). Meanwhile, civil defence units throughout the Sultanate are being deployed in readiness.

    Ports and installations that have closed include Sohar, Mina Al Fahal and Port Sultan Qaboos in Muscat and the Qalhat LNG terminal at Sur. As at Tuesday evening the container port of Salalah remained open for shipping and terminal operations were continuing. Other ports along the Omani coast that are likely to be affected include Fujairah in the emirate of that name and Khor Fakkan, the container terminal port of Sharjah.

    Reopening of these ports and installations remains dependent on the outcome of the storm.

    According to some reports Gonu has already achieved the status of the most powerful storm to enter the Arabian Sea in modern times. As the storm approaches the Gulf of Hormuz where the land creates a narrow channel wave height is expected to increase bringing the possibility of wave damage on either side of the strait.

    SA government accused of showing a lack of interest in training seafarers

    Angola sets the example

    A steady stream of Angolan seafarers are passing through South African training centres and institutions as that country puts its weight behind a programme to create a pool of merchant navy seafarers for both its local off-shore and international shipping industries.

    One local company that is closely involved with this programme says the Angolan example is a good indication of what can be achieved in a partnership between the public and private sectors to create jobs in industries where citizens of Southern Africa have had limited access in the past.

    Training executive at Marine Crew Services (MCS), Deanna Collins says the Angolan government together with shipping companies involved in the off-shore industry provide strong support for the marine training courses offered by the various expert service providers in South Africa.

    “Young Angolans are attracted to the fast growing off-shore oil industry and both the public and private sectors realise that these new entrants to the merchant navy need the required skills and are providing the funding to do something about it.”

    “This is an excellent example for all countries in Africa and we have no doubt that Angola will see the results not only in increased employment for its people in the off-shore industry, but also in their placement in the shipping fleets of the world.”

    Ms Collins says a number of merchant marine training providers in South Africa are offering training for the Angolans, with some students coming down from Angola to attend statutory short courses in marine safety, while a large number of students are enrolled in two-year diploma courses at tertiary educational institutions to achieve their academic qualifications before embarking on a period of practical experience at sea as either engineering of navigational cadets.

    MCS is a black empowered company which was founded three years ago with the specific goal of helping to increase the number of South Africans who have access to careers in the maritime world.

    “We have had limited success, not because we do not have hundreds of people knocking on our doors, or because of unwillingness of shipping partners to support this venture. The real reason is that despite initial promises the South African government has not joined the initiative in a similar fashion as the Angolans have,” says Jan Rabie, MCS’ co-founder.

    The Cape Town- based company has on a number of occasions argued that it is quite realistic to set a target of 25,000 seafaring jobs, or 10 percent of the total number of seafarers involved in the South African trade.

    “This is more conservative than what would be required in terms of the Maritime Charter’s aim that 25,1 percent of South African cargo be carried on South African flagged vessels by 2014. If this aim is achieved and the South African flagged vessels employ South African crews as is envisaged, this would amount to about 86,000 jobs with wages of $ 129m or R774m paid every month,” says Rabie.

    However, Collins says MCS would be pleased if the South African government would set more moderate targets to try and train 2500 new merchant navy seafarers over the next eight years.

    “Without funding assistance for training students will not be able to enter this lucrative field of employment and a programme such as is being proposed by us would require R247-million. The end result will be a turn-out of 500 fully certificated officers and ratings from the third year onwards, thereafter escalating by 500 per year over the subsequent five year period.”

    She points out that Marine Crew Services has already established the international linkages to make a success of such a programme. “Through our partnership with the Sanko Shipping Line of Japan we now have 13 cadets and emerging officers sailing on vessels around the world who are in the process of accumulating the required experimental training before being able to take their examinations to qualify as officers. This programme is very successful and it is such a pity that we cannot expand it to include more of the youth in our country because of a lack of funding.”

    Collins says while there appears to be a lack of interest or possibly a lack of understanding of the potential that exists for employment opportunities for merchant navy seafarers on the part of the South African government, the Angolans are reaping the benefit of the excellent training and tertiary educational facilities that South Africa can offer.

    “In the process, we, and the other companies involved in maritime training are making a huge contribution to the aims of Nepad, which is ultimately to alleviate poverty in Africa.”

    APL introduces new service to East Africa

    APL has become the latest shipping line to launch a service to East African ports with the introduction of the East Africa Express service (EAX) from this month (June).

    The weekly EAX service will connect the Indian sub-continent and Arabian Gulf with East Africa, with a port rotation of Colombo (Sri Lanka) – Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) – Mombasa (Kenya) – Nhava Sheva (India) – Port Qasim (Pakistan) – Jebel Ali (UAE) – Mombasa (Kenya) – Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) – Colombo (Sri Lanka).

    Trade from the Far East bound for East Africa will depart from Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Nhava Sheva in India. The port at Nhava Sheva will also serve cargoes originating from the Indian subcontinent and Arabian Gulf, alongside ports in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

    According to a company statement issued this week APL is introducing the weekly service to meet growing customer demand and to leverage the string growth potential of the East Africa region.

    “Africa is an expanding economy which continues to report impressive GDP growth, averaging about 5 percent annually in the past six years,” said Jason Wong, APL vice president for Intra Asia, Middle East and Australia.

    “In East Africa, economic growth is projected to accelerate to around 6 percent in 2007 and 2008. To leverage on the region’s strong growth potential, APL is extending its footprint into East Africa to provide customers with consistently high-quality transportation services. With APL’s first-class shipping capabilities, the EAX service will guarantee customers a smooth-sailing success for their cargo deliveries to and from East Africa.”

    Wong said the recent increase in demand that APL has witnessed in this region suggests East Africa is ready for a service of this nature.

    “The EAX is in line with our strategy of adopting an early entry approach in emerging markets. This enables our customers to be the first to benefit from opportunities throughout the world.”

    APL is a global container transportation company offering more than 60 weekly services and nearly 300 calls at more than 90 ports in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. The company is a unit of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), a global cargo transportation and logistics company.

    Far East dominates East African trade

    Of 19 shipping lines serving the port of Mombasa on a regular liner basis the majority are trading with South East Asia, the Far East and the Middle East, says Kenya Port Authority’s managing director Abdullah Mwaruwa.

    He pointed out that of the 19 lines only the Italian Messina Line operates a regular service between Mombasa and Europe, signifying the increasing importance of trade to the east of Kenya.

    Mwaruwa was addressing a group of journalists from Germany to whom he said he expects Mombasa to reach its design capacity of 22 million tonnes much sooner than originally forecast. As a result the KPA was introducing plans to expand the capacity of the port including the container terminal.

    At the same time a three year marketing plan had been introduced to increase port traffic, improve customer service and general port efficiency and productivity.

    He said the container terminal would benefit from an additional berth by 2009 while a second container terminal would be completed by 2020 with three berths and a total quay length of 900 metres backed up by a container yard of 100 acres and a capacity of 1.2 million TEU.

    In addition a dredging programme would see the draught of the port channel increased to 15m making the port accessible to larger later generation container ships

    source – East African

    Oppenheimer: Africa is on the right track

    Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of De Beers has told the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in London that he is optimistic about Africa’s future.

    Most of the continent’s 53 countries are on a road to success, he said at the meeting in London, adding that this was despite promises of developmental assistance from the West that had failed to materialise.

    “To talk about ‘Why Africa will succeed’ is a challenge and I am certainly not so foolish as to suggest that all 53 countries that make up the continent are on the road to success. However I do believe that the foundation has been laid for more to succeed than will fail.”

    He suggested that Africa no longer relied on links with Europe or the United States but was turning to its own resources and looking to the emerging economic forces in China, India and Brazil.

    “China’s rising profile in Africa is perhaps the most significant development for the continent since the end of the Cold War, which has ended European and American complacency that Africa will always belong to their sphere of influence – a continent for assuaging guilt rather than building growth.

    “The news from Africa is good. Sound domestic policy, which counts more than external assistance in creating the conditions for growth, is more the African norm. Failure is the deviation. Africa is succeeding – not in spite of the international community’s apathy or unreliability, but because of it. African countries have had to become more self-reliant and take greater responsibility.”

    Oppenheimer pointed out that South Africa was showing that social change can co-habit with economic growth.

    “South Africa has become, in just a short period, a most important source of foreign direct investment for the rest of the continent,” he said.

    Pic of the day – BELUGA ENTERPRISE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    BELUGA ENTERPRISE carrying four Noell Rubber Tyre Gantries (RTGs) loaded in China for the MICTL container terminal in Toamasina, Madagascar (see Ports & Ships News Bulletin for 5 June 2007 for full story). Picture courtesy MICTL

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

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