Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 16, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Namibia’s fishy story

  • Mozambique minister says still a lot to be done with transport corridors

  • US and IMF provide debt relief for Liberia

  • African economies on growth path

  • African naval news

  • Pic of the day – HMS SOUTHAMTON

  • Fishy story as Namibian fishing fleet absconds

    One of seven fishing vessels ordered back to port at Walvis Bay by Namibian authorities has disappeared, after the ship’s master ignored instructions to remain at anchor outside harbour pending an investigation into alleged irregularities in the horse mackerel (tuna) fishing industry.

    The missing ship, KIEYVSKAYA RUS and others were summoned back from the fishing grounds and were waiting for the Prosecutor General’s decision on whether charges of contravening the Marine Resources Act of 2000 would be brought.

    While authorities have not disclosed details of the alleged contravention, it is being reported in the Namibian media some of the vessels possessed illegal equipment used for dumping unwanted fish species, which contravenes the Act. Another theory offered is that it relates to fish meal plants installed on board the vessels.

    As a result of the recall of the seven vessels the Namibian horse mackerel industry has effectively ground to a halt. Only one of the 10 trawlers currently employed off the Namibian coast has been cleared to continue fishing, the Erongo Marine vessel DESERT ROSE. Another two ships are currently in Cape Town undergoing maintenance repairs.

    Among the arrested vessels are LAZERNYY, ZAMOSKORESHYE, KIYEFSKARES, ZAMORSKOVORECHYE, STAR FISH 1 and VENUS 1. These are predominantly officered by Russians and other East Europeans, according to sources in Namibia.

    The source said that a large number of Namibians were also employed on the ships and in related industries ashore, and were all affected by the stoppage. Newspaper reports have suggested that up to N$ 1 million a day is being lost on account of the order. Another report quoted a figure of $ 100,000 per day per ship.

    Namibia’s allowable ‘catch’ for horse mackerel is 300,000 tonnes this year and this has been reduced by 70,000 tonnes for 2008, according to another report in The Namibian today (Friday). In a statement issued yesterday, shortly after the cabinet made the decision to reduce the allowable catch, government said the full quota for 2007 had not been possible because adult horse mackerel had moved to the 200-metre depth where there is a ban on fishing and because fish had been smaller than usual.

    In July 2006 the former South African coaster UMFOLOZI, which had been sold and renamed MICHAEL S, absconded from Walvis Bay after being placed on arrest on account of a collision with the South African dredger INGWENYA. Umfolozi sank at a berth at the port’s container terminal shortly after the collision but was later refloated and repaired on the Elgin Brown & Hamer floating dock in the port. The ship was sold to East European interests and one day during July a crew was allowed to go on board and the ship set sail, disappearing over the Namibian horizon and hasn’t been seen since. Following that incident the Russian harbourmaster at Walvis Bay, Captain Vladimir Gusev was suspended and has subsequently left the service.

    (See related reports in Ports & Ships News column dated 17 September 2005 and 24 July 2006).

    Mozambique minister says still a lot to be done with transport corridors

    Mozambique’s Minister of Transport Antonio Mungwambe says there is still a lot that remains to be done in realising the potential of Mozambique’s various transport corridors linking the ports with inland regions and neighbouring countries.

    He said he was acknowledging this despite a substantial growth in cargo handled so far during 2007. Comparing the amount of cargo now being handled with that between 2004 and 2006 he said the development corridors can only be described as ‘positive’. As examples the Maputo and Beira corridors experienced a 22 percent increase in volumes handled, while the Nacala corridor has shown a 13 percent step up.

    Addressing Mozambique’s Parliamentary Commission on Economic Activities and Services, he said that his ministry was aware that a lot could still be done to fully exploit the potential of these corridors which could in turn generate greater revenue for the public treasury and help create more jobs.

    Rehabilitation of the railway line between Ressano Garcia on the South African border and the port of Maputo would be completed next month (December), he said, adding that he was confident this would attract more cargo to the port and in turn stimulate greater investment in new port infrastructure and terminals.

    At Beira Mungwambe said that dredging of the port access channel and the turning basin within the harbour was crucial to improving the performance of the Beira corridor, which links the port city with Zimbabwe. At the same time the economic crisis affecting Zimbabwe was having an adverse effect on the corridor.

    As a result of its chronic shortage of foreign exchange Zimbabwe is unable to import regular large quantities of fuel through Beira and there was very little that Mozambique could do to rectify this.

    The minister said that the rehabilitation of the mooring quay for the ferry crossing between Inhambane and Maxixe in southern Mozambique, which commenced in July this year will take a total of 18 months to complete. Regarding similar work on the ferry used between Maputo and Catembe, he said that government was waiting for approval from the World Bank as the funding agency with regards approval of the tender report. Only then could a contract be awarded.

    source - Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

    US and IMF provide debt relief for Liberia

    Washington, 15 November 2007 - The United States says it welcomes the agreement by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to finance debt relief for Liberia.

    In a statement issued yesterday the White House said that President Bush welcomes the agreement by IMF shareholders.

    “The United States, in partnership with the G-8 and the managements of the IMF, the World Bank, and African Development Bank, worked hard to secure the funding necessary for 100 percent multilateral debt relief. This follows the US commitment to provide $ 391 million in bilateral debt relief for Liberia. Collectively, this will unlock significant resources in support of the economic turnaround begun by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

    “The United States has led international efforts to bring peace and prosperity to the Liberian people, including ending the destructive civil war, conducting free and fair elections, and delivering critical reconstruction assistance.

    “President Bush’s landmark initiatives on debt relief, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and education have helped to bring prosperity and hope to millions of people in Africa. Treasury Secretary Paulson and Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte are traveling in Africa this week to further advance these important efforts.”

    African economies on growth path

    Lusaka, 15 November 2007 (BuaNews) - Many African economies are moving to a path of faster and steadier economic growth which is needed to reduce high levels of poverty.

    This is according to the World Bank' Africa Development Indicators 2007 (ADI) report.

    Africa has recorded an average economic growth rate of 5.4 percent which is on par with the rest of the world over the past decade, says the report.

    It adds that in 2005, the performance varied substantially across countries with nine posting growth rates of near or above the 7.0 percent threshold needed for sustained poverty reduction.

    "Solid economic performance across Africa in the decade 1995-2005 contrasts sharply with the economic collapse of 1975-1985 and the stagnation experienced in 1985-1995," the reported states.

    The report, however, notes that accelerating productivity and increasing private investment is key to achieving sustained growth and adds that improving the business climate and infrastructure in African countries, as well as spurring innovation and building institutional capacity, is needed to attain sustained growth.

    "The ability to support, sustain and in fact diversify the sources of these growth indicators would be critical not only to Africa's capacity to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but also to become an exciting investment destination for global capital," said Obiageli Ezekwesili, the World Bank Vice-President for the Africa Region.

    The Eight MDGs include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.

    Combating HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development are also MDGs.

    ADI Online contains the most comprehensive database on Africa, covering more than 1,000 indicators on economics, human development, private sector development, governance, environment, and aid, with time series of many indicators going back to 1965.

    The report identifies stronger and more diverse export growth as a key factor needed to sustain growth and reduce volatility.

    It also laments the higher indirect costs of exporting in Africa, 18 per cent to 35 per cent of total costs, compared with indirect costs in China at a mere 8.0 per cent of total costs.

    As a result, while efficient African enterprises can compete with Indian and Chinese firms in terms of factory floor costs, they become less competitive due to higher indirect business costs, including infrastructure, which has been identified by the ADI 2007 report as an "important emerging constraint to future growth".

    The report states that despite the negative impact of poor infrastructure on the continent, 38 African countries increased their exports and the Africa region as a whole saw its exports rise in value from 182 billion USD in 2004 to 230 billion USD in 2005.

    Exports were fuelled by growing pockets of non-traditional exports, such as clothing from Lesotho, Madagascar and Mauritius.

    African naval news

    Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral GTA Adekeye is to begin an inspection of naval bases, facilities and ships in the Eastern Naval Command sector as from Monday (18 November).

    The area covered by Eastern Naval Command includes Port Harcourt, Calabar, Oron and Bonny.

    As part of the inspection all Nigerian Navy ships will put to sea for the full seven days of the inspection exercise. At the end of the exercise the annual naval ball is to be held in Lagos State.

    The ongoing South African Navy exercise codenamed Red Lion which is being conducted by ships of the South African Navy continued this week along the east coast involving several ships in action near Durban yesterday. Taking part in this exercise along the east coast was the frigate SAS MENDI, the two strike craft SAS ISAAC DYOBHA and SAS GALASHEWE in addition to the combat support ship SAS DRAKENSBERG.

    Yesterday the frigate SAS Mendi detached from the exercise and arrived at the Durban naval station on Salisbury Island and was followed by the two strike craft. On Saturday (17 November) the three ships will sail with representatives of industry and business on board to demonstrate the ability of the navy to perform its role function in an exercise dubbed Blue Shield.

    SAS DRAKENSBERG is meanwhile continuing further north to take part in Exercise Interop East with the naval forces of several SADC countries in promoting regional and continental security and co-operation. Among ports to be visited is Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

    Pic of the day – HMS SOUTHAMPTON

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The Type 42 destroyer HMS SOUTHAMPTON in Cape Town harbour this past week. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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