Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 20, 2007
Author: P&S

For conference details contact http://www.iqpc.com/za/container/p&s

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  • Search and rescue conference

  • Manganese ore and petroleum relocation – who pays?

  • Guess who gets to build and operate the pipelines

  • International maritime briefs

  • Coastwatch: Heavy fighting in Niger Delta’s main port city

  • Pic of the day – GOLDEN ISLE

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

    Search & Rescue Conference

    The Department of Transport in collaboration with the South African Search and Rescue Organisation (SASAR) is holding a Consultative Conference on the Integration of SAR Services in the Southern Africa Region from 22 - 26 October 2007 at Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

    Please note this is a revised date.

    The purpose and primary objective of the conference is, as the name and central theme suggests to facilitate discussion on the integration of aeronautical and maritime search and rescue services. The secondary objectives are multi-fold and include but are not limited to the following:

  • To inaugurate the sub-regional maritime SAR Co-ordinating Committee as required by Article 8 of the Multilateral Agreement on the Co-ordination of maritime SAR services
  • to initiate discussions on the establishment of regional aeronautical SAR arrangements in pursuance of the Sally Portudal Declaration and the SADC Protocol
  • to develop and/or adopt common SAR procedures, documentation and practices
  • taking into account the work already done in this regard by AFCAC and ICAO
  • to review current regional SAR capability and institutions with a view to come up with possible solutions which could address deficiencies where they exist
  • to explore a possibility of establishing a cooperative SAR funding mechanism
  • to explore how SAR authorities could co-operate with other agencies such as disaster management agencies and voluntary organisation during search and rescue operations

    The conference should be of interest to persons and institutions involved in search and rescue or disaster management coordination including those from neighbouring SADC countries involved in search and rescue coordination.

    An invitation to attend can be requested by contacting the conference organisers and completing registration by 31 August 2007. There is no registration fee applicable but delegates must find their own way to Port Elizabeth and be responsible for their own expenses whilst there.

    Applications should be made to Ms Tshepiso Makhubela, tel 27 12 309 3987, or Ms PN Msomi, tel 27 12 309 3411. The fax is 27 12 309 3101 or contact may be made by writing to Department of Transport, Private Bag X193, Pretoria 0001 South Africa.

    2nd Annual Container & Freight Conference

    A reminder of next week’s 2nd annual container and freight conference which is being held at the Durban Elangeni Hotel from Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 August. A few seats are understood to still be available – full details are available from Grant Stroud on +27 11 669-5088 or email: grant.stroud@iqpc.co.za

    The website can be accessed at http://www.iqpc.com/za/container/p&s or by clicking on the banner carried on this News Bulletin.

    Status and Current Plans for Durban Port

    Another meeting taking place in Durban that should be of interest for port stakeholders is to be held on Wednesday, 29 August at the Durban Chamber of Business and Industry, 190 Stanger Street Durban starting at 8am.

    The subject is The Status and Current Plans of the Port and will be presented by Mervin Chetty, chief strategy officer for Transnet Port Operations (formerly SA Port Operations).

    Chetty is also currently the co-chairman of SACTAB (South African Container Terminal Advisory Board), a collaborative body that focuses on ensuring that South Africa’s container supply chain has world class efficiencies.

    Manganese ore and petroleum relocation – who pays?

    A certain stalemate appears to exist between the Department of Public Enterprises and Transnet over the proposed relocation of the manganese ore dump and the petroleum tank farm at Port Elizabeth harbour to the new port of Ngqura.

    While Transnet is a government-owned body and subject to doing what its master wishes, there appears to be some degree of foot dragging with respect to the planned move.

    Public Enterprises is keen for the relocation to go ahead without any further ado whereas Transnet appears to have strong concerns. No doubt uppermost among these is the question of costs – who pays for the transfer, and in addition who pays for the rehabilitation of the land presently occupied by ‘dirty’ cargo and in close proximity to Humewood beach – a prime site in the city.

    Manganese has been stored in the port for many years as has the petroleum tank farm and the residue from both will be no easy or inexpensive matter to clean up, particularly in view of the likely use of the two sites for recreational type purposes.

    From reports by the chief executive of the Mandela Bay Development Agency the matter is now under discussion at national level, with Transnet expected to make a decision on the business plan. The irony is that space for the ore dump has been earmarked at the new Ngqura port from the very beginning when the port was first envisaged. Apparently all sides are agreed in principal that the two products must relocate to Ngqura and it’s now a matter of who pays.

    Sitting in the wings are two groups of interested bystanders – the mining houses and the petroleum industry who each have a stake and, some believe, an obligation to help pay the bill.

    While it comes down to money, in the background lies perhaps another underlying factor – the reason for the development of Ngqura in the first place. Perhaps somewhere in the Transnet psyche is the thought that the need for a new port barely 20km from an underutilised one came from a political motivation, not a marine one.

    Guess who gets to build and operate the pipelines

    The South African government appears to have ruled out any possibility of a privately owned and operated pipeline between the port of Durban and Gauteng, after a decision taken by cabinet this past week. But paradoxically, a new privately funded pipeline is expected to go ahead between Port Maputo and Kendall in South Africa.

    The cabinet took the unusual step last week of approving the construction of a new multi-product pipeline between Durban and Gauteng by Transnet Pipelines (the former Petronet), which seems to effectively rule out any chance of the private sector consortium known as iPayipi going ahead with its own proposal of going into competition with Transnet, which already operates existing pipelines between the port and Gauteng.

    Government’s decision (if that it what it is) is ambiguous to say the least in that the Department of Minerals and Energy has since said the cabinet decision in no way rules out private participation in the project but was merely giving approval to the Transnet bid.

    One is reminded how it came to be that when the first pipeline was built from Durban to what was then the Transvaal some 40 or so years ago, the then government firmly stamped out any suggestion by the oil industry that it participate in the venture. Perhaps the same reasons hold true today – pipelines are a strategic industry that few governments would like see in any hands other than its own.

    But as if to make nonsense of this theory, we learn that a company called Petroline intends building a pipeline between the port of Maputo and a storage facility at Nelspruit from where it will extend to Kendall where it would join with the existing Gauteng pipeline network.

    Despite contrary reports coming out of government circles, a spokesman for Petroline gave his assurance last week that the project was going ahead as planned and that construction would begin in first half of 2008. In March this year Petroline was granted a license from Nersa (National Energy Regulator of South Africa) to build the pipeline.

    Meanwhile, the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) has issued a statement saying that government intends to continue operating the petroleum pipeline industry and at least one newspaper report has quoted DME as stating that private enterprise would be making a mistake to think otherwise.

    Denying this the DME director-general Sandile Nogxina said this wasn’t true and that government welcomed competition. He added that Transnet would have to go through exactly the same regulatory procedures as anyone else. The cabinet’s endorsement of Transnet building the new Durban – Gauteng pipeline was merely stating policy, he said.

    So there you have it…. clear as… er, mud. Watch this space.

    International maritime briefs

    New US law will increase costs and lead to congestion - The Asian Shippers Council says that the new US law which aims at scanning 100 percent of US-destined containers in foreign ports by 2012 is going to hit Asia the hardest and will result in a total gridlock of ports and airports.

    According to John Lu, chairman of the Asian Shippers’ Council, implementation of the law will slow down cargo and shippers will have to carry the brunt of increased costs as shipping carriers and airlines exploit their position of strength over shippers in the Asian region.

    Lu’s comments are part of a greater statement issued by the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF), representing shippers’ groups in Asia, North America and Europe. The GSF statement expresses ‘grave concerns’ over the new law, which President Bush signed into law earlier this month (see Ports & Ships News Bulletin dated 7 August 2007).

    The new law requires that within five years all US-bound sea containers must be screened at the port of dispatch, while screening of air cargo will come into effect within three.

    The Global Shippers Forum called the new law 'a giant mistake' which it says will result in enormous costs to users, suppliers and ultimately consumers.

    source – Global Shippers’ Forum

    India may offer duty-free access to products from Africa - India is planning to provide duty-free access to products from the least developed countries of Africa. New Delhi will also host its first summit with the African Union in April next year in a bid to put its traditional ties with the continent on a fast track.

    "We expect to hold the India-Africa Forum summit in India in April," external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said while delivering the inaugural Dharam Pal Memorial Lecture on 'India and Africa: Strong Bonds and Future Prospects' at the India Habitat Centre.'

    The lecture was organised by the Indian Society for Afro-Asian Studies and the Observer Research Foundation.

    sources - www.domain-b.com and http://www.tralac.org/

    Coastwatch: Heavy fighting in Niger Delta’s main port city

    UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Friday 17 August - People are fleeing Nigeria's main oil city of Port Harcourt amid heavy fighting between government troops and armed gangs, residents and officials told IRIN on Friday.

    "The whole thing appears to be completely out of hand," said Opuka Ibieye, a resident of Port Harcourt, a 2 million strong city in the south of the country, who said he was fleeing the city with his family.

    "We have no choice but to leave this city as it is not safe any more."

    Fighting broke out in the early hours of Thursday after the military launched an attack in the Makoba district of the city on what was believed to be a hideout of top militia leader, Soboma George, known often simply as George.

    "We were lucky we got information on the hideout of Soboma George and we went to attack it and cordon it off," said Major Sagir Musa, spokesman of the joint military task force in charge of security in the volatile Niger Delta oil region.

    "In the process there was an exchange of fire between the militants and the troops."
    Residents said the fighting then spread to other parts of the city, including Borokiri, Creek Road and Marine Base, with helicopter gunships flying overhead firing at what was supposed to be militia positions.

    Armed militia fighters operating on motorbikes fought back with automatic weapons and dynamite.

    People were also seen leaving the city with their belongings on Friday amid widespread fears the militia fighters had regrouped in creeks around Port Harcourt and were planning to launch a fresh offensive on the city during the weekend.

    The Rivers State government, the seat of which is in Port Harcourt, said in a statement on Thursday night that at least 32 people had died in the fighting, most of them militia fighters, including the leader George.

    But the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the main militant group in the region which claims George as one its commanders, denied the claim. "George is alive and well," according to a statement emailed from MEND.


    The latest fighting is blamed on a recent upsurge of violence after troops were sent in to intervene following clashes between rival armed gangs in the city, apparently fighting for control of lucrative criminal rackets in guns, drugs and illegal oil deals.

    Dozens of people have been killed in the city in the past two weeks. Reuters reported on 16 August that 71 gunshot victims have been admitted to a Port Harcourt trauma centre in the two weeks before.

    Nearly two decades of unrest in the Niger Delta region have in recent years evolved into an armed insurgency for local control of the oil wealth. The Niger Delta produces nearly all the oil that is the mainstay of Nigeria's economy yet the region remains one of the poorest in the country.

    Criminal gangs have grown increasingly powerful, thriving on rackets involving tapping of oil from the region's network of pipelines. The tapped oil is illegally sold to ships waiting offshore, often in exchange for guns.

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

    Footnote – The Rivers State Government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on Friday, 17 August which will remain in force until further notice. The various waterways of the Port Harcourt and Bonny areas are affected and as a result the exchange of crew and other ship crew movements at both ports is not recommended, reports GAC World.

    Pic of the day – GOLDEN ISLE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    As a lone kayaker returns from a morning on Durban Bay, MACS Line freighter GOLDEN ISLE makes her way sedately down Durban’s Esplanade Channel barely a few metres way. Picture Terry Hutson

    Send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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