Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 5, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Call for return to service of Lake Victoria ship

  • News from the shipping lines

  • SAS Mendi and Ghanaian Navy ships joined by US Navy in exercises

  • Submarine visit strengthens UK naval ties

  • US State Dept calls Africa a US ‘Foreign Policy Priority

  • Pic of the day – VALERIA

    Call for return to service of Lake Victoria ship

    The proliferation of water hyacinth on Lake Victoria (see PORTS & SHIPS News 27 September 2007
    http://www.ports.co.za/news/article_2007_09_26_3752.html#four) and the grounding of the motor vessel UHURU a year ago is causing major headaches for trading on the lake, reports the former port manager of Kisumu, Edward Talam.

    Kisumu is the port serving Kenyan interests on the lake.

    Speaking to the East African Standard, Talam said revenue from operations on the lake had been so greatly reduced that it was now threatening Kisumu port’s economic livelihood.

    He said that Kenya used to earn Sh17 million a month when MV Uhuru, which was previously owned by the Kenya Railways Corporation, was the dominant force on the lake.

    "Before its services were suspended, the vessel was a key contributor to the country's economy. We have lost revenue to the tune of Sh204 million in the last one year after the ship stalled," he told the newspaper.

    Management of Kenya’s lake shipping service has since been ‘inherited’ by Rift Valley Railway (RVR), the concession company that is now managing and operating the former Kenya and Uganda Railways. It is reported that negotiations between RVR and an insurance company have been held up while repairs to the stranded ship are conducted, but this has not been confirmed. A spokesman explained that minor repairs had to be completed before a surveyor could advise on the most suitable type of insurance.

    Businessmen in Kisumu said they felt abandoned by the Kenyan Transport ministry. They relied on MV Uhuru to carry goods from Kisumu to Mwanza on the Tanzanian end of the lake and were now pleading to government to intervene and have repairs to the ship speeded up.

    "We have been abandoned. The grounding of the vessel has virtually thrown us out of business," said a businessman in Kisumu who previously ferried building equipment like corrugated iron sheets and cement to Mwanza but was forced to close his business once the ship suspended operations.

    Other traders complain of higher costs charged by the Tanzanian vessel MV UMOJA, which they claimed could only make two trips a month compared with the four to five made by MV Uhuru.

    To add to everyone’s problems a Ugandan owned lake ship MV KABALEGA sank in May 2005 after colliding with another vessel, MV KAAWA. This was followed by the suspension of two Ugandan vessels, MV KAAWA and MV PAMBA on account of being unseaworthy.

    source - East African Standard

    News from the shipping lines

    Maersk Line has announced a new eastbound rotation to its Asia – Red Sea service, known as FM5.

    “With the new rotation, we will start calling Salalah, our hub port in Oman, and Singapore instead of Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia,” says the company in a statement just issued.

    The future eastbound rotation of the FM5 will be Aqaba (Jordan), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Salalah (Oman), Singapore and Ningbo (China) and according to Maersk the benefits of the new eastbound rotation are:

  • Weekly connection between Jeddah and Maersk’s hub port in Salalah, offering transhipment opportunities to the global Maersk Line vessel network
  • Direct connection from Jeddah to Singapore (11 days)
  • Direct connection from Salalah to Singapore (7 days)

    The first eastbound call at Salalah was on Tuesday, 2 October 2007.

    Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is reminding customers on its website of the 30 November deadline for registering claims in English limitation proceedings over the sinking of the container ship MSC NAPOLI.

    “The majority of MSC customers whose containers were onboard MSC Napoli at the time of the incident on 18 January 2007 have, either directly or through their insurers, retained cargo claims recovery agents and/or lawyers to assist them. We list at the end of this message details of some of the recovery agents and English lawyers involved in MSC Napoli claims, in case any MSC customers who have not already done so now wish to engage one of them”.

    The owners of MSC Napoli, a company not directly connected to MSC as the ship was under charter, have constituted English limitation proceedings and have lodged a fund amounting to £14,710,000 which is available to pay all liabilities of the owners as well as any liabilities of MSC. These are whether such liabilities are under the MSC Bills of Lading and Waybills or otherwise.

    The full text of the notice including the details of the recovery agents and law firms can be seen at MSC’s website http://www.mscgva.ch

    SAS Mendi and Ghanaian Navy ships joined by US Navy in exercises

    USS DOYLE (FFG 39), four Ghanaian patrol craft [GNS ACHIMOTA (P28), GNS YOGAGA (P29), GNS SEBO (P27) and GNS DZATA (P26) – Ports & Ships] and the newly commissioned South African frigate SAS MENDI (F148) have been participating in a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) and maritime interdiction operation exercise off the coast of Takoradi, Ghana during this past week.

    Doyle is deployed to the region to help strengthen regional partnerships and improve maritime security and safety in West and Central Africa.

    Prior to getting underway, each ship exchanged officers and crew members with the other ships involved. Doyle embarked 20 Ghanaian and South African personnel and provided 10 riders among the ships in the flotilla.

    The overall exercise included scenarios of divisional tactics, small boat operations, rescue and assistance (R&A), and was highlighted by a VBSS team exercise.

    “The VBSS exercise in particular provided the Ghanaian participants a real-time opportunity to display their level of proficiency they had previously practiced in port and underway with Doyle crew members," said Capt John Nowell, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 60. “They performed extremely well.”

    During the R&A exercise portion, Doyle acted as the vessel in distress while both Doyle and Mendi’s rigid hull inflatable boats were used to transport personnel to Doyle for R&A familiarisation.

    “The R&A provided useful knowledge to the South African Navy as they are in the process of establishing procedures for their repair locker teams while the Ghanaian sailors were able to apply skills they had learned while working with Doyle during an in port engagement,” said Nowell.

    The exercise demonstrated the increased capacity of the Ghanaian sailors involved and integrated the South African navy as a capable partner nation in the maritime region of West and Central Africa.

    source – US Naval Forces Europe - US 6th Fleet Public Affairs

    Footnote – SAS Mendi visited Ghana while returning to South Africa after having taken part with 23 other ships in Brazil’s Bi-Centennial celebrations. These included a frigate and a patrol boat of the Nigerian Navy.

    Combined exercises with other navies are coming thick and fast for the South African Navy. Already this year SAS Amatola has participated in the UK with the Royal Navy, while there have been joint exercises with a NATO task force off Cape Point and last week further exercises involving SAS AMATOLA, SAS MANTHATISI and USS FORREST SHERMAN while sailing between Durban and Cape Town.

    Next year joint exercises will include a visit by the German Navy, followed by ships from Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil taking part in Exercise Atlasur. In addition joint exercises involving ships of the South African Navy, Indian Navy and Brazilian Navy are planned, the first involving the three members of IBSA (India/Brazil/South Africa). Details of all these will be made available a little closer to the time.

    Submarine visit strengthens UK naval ties

    HMS Sceptre. Picture Royal Navy

    by Shaun Benton (BuaNews)

    Cape Town, 4 October 2007 - British nuclear-powered submarine HMS SCEPTRE arrived from Australia at the Simonstown Naval Base yesterday (4 October) marking the first trip to South Africa by a British submarine in several years.

    The officer commanding the British submarine, Commander Jim Perks, said the stopover in Cape Town was an ideal opportunity to further links with the South African Navy and in particular the South African Navy submarine service.

    Commander Perks said interactions with the submarine force were aimed at furthering the links between the two countries' submarine services.

    While British ships have made several visits, this is the first time in about three years that a British submarine has touched South Africa's shores.

    "It's rare for us to come all this way to see the [South African Navy]," said Commander Perks.

    There will not be any training involved in the current visit, but discussions will include the possibility of holding joint exercises some time in the future.

    The nuclear-powered submarine can stop at only a handful of naval bases worldwide because it requires special berthing facilities. It has been at sea for two weeks, travelling directly from Australia.

    HMS Sceptre had been away from the United Kingdom for eight months, with one month to go before returning to the UK in time for Christmas.

    Commander Perks said because it is nuclear-powered it could continue a voyage indefinitely, with the acquisition of food being the only reason for the vessel to head to port.

    As is protocol on such visits, Commander Perks would be visiting the SA Navy's operational commander, who is based at Simonstown, before introducing himself also to the local magistrate and the local councillor, Lieutenant-Commander Prince Tshabalala told BuaNews.

    In the meantime, the British submariners serving on the somewhat battered vessel will be enjoying a two-day recreational outing in Cape Town, the HMS Sceptre's second-in-command, Lieutenant-Commander Justin Codd, said.

    US State Dept calls Africa a US ‘Foreign Policy Priority

    US working to improve conditions in Horn of Africa

    Africa stands as a “foreign policy priority” of the Bush administration, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi E. Frazer told the United States Congress on 2 October.

    In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, Frazer said the United States is working to promote conflict resolution; humanitarian assistance; strengthening of transparent, democratic African governments; greater economic growth and a strengthening of counterterrorism efforts.

    “All of these elements are part of the picture when we consider the Horn of Africa sub region and Ethiopia in particular,” she told the lawmakers in her prepared testimony. Frazer’s testimony updated the lawmakers on the latest conditions in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa sub region.

    Frazer said the United States government has provided more than $ 200 million to support humanitarian programs throughout Ethiopia in fiscal year 2007.

    Turning to Eritrea, Frazer told the lawmakers the United States continues to have “grave concerns” about human rights issues in that country, including the level of democracy, rule of law, freedom of the press and religious freedoms.

    “Fourteen years after independence, national elections have yet to be held, and the constitution has never been implemented,” she said. “Several thousand prisoners of conscience are being detained without charge indefinitely and without the ability to communicate with friends and relatives. The government has severely restricted civil liberties, and arbitrary arrest, detention (including two Eritrean employees of the US Embassy detained since 2001), and torture are serious problems. Security forces detain and arrest parents and spouses of individuals who have evaded national service or fled the country, despite the lack of a legal basis for such action.”

    On Somalia, Frazer cautioned that the current situation there “poses a threat to regional stability.” She added, however, that the United States has provided more than $ 89 million in fiscal year 2007 to respond to that nation’s emergency humanitarian needs.

    source - Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State)

    Pic of the day – VALERIA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The general cargo ship VALERIA (14,003-gt), managed by NYK Line has been a regular caller at Southern African ports for a number of years and although now reaching 30 years old this year the ship normally appears to be in remarkably well cared for, although this image suggests some paint wouldn't go amiss. She is pictured here in the Esplanade channel in Durban harbour, accompanied by the harbour tug UTHUKELA, which as is common with these Voith Schneider tugs, is operating in the reverse direction. Picture Terry Hutson

    Don’t forget to 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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