Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 13, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Africa’s rejection of EU trade deal

  • Fully laden livestock vessel sinks in Red Sea

  • Energy Efficiency Award for RBCT

  • AFRICA MERCY ship dry docks in Canaries

  • China welcomes Africa-EU partnership

  • Pic of the day – MAERSK GLOUCESTER


    Africa’s rejection of EU trade deal

    by Sholain Govender (BuaNews)

    Lisbon - Most African leaders have stood together at the 2nd European Union (EU)-Africa Summit and refused to accept the EU´s proposed Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) signing instead interim trade agreements.

    The summit which was attended by 67 heads of states from the two continents concluded on Sunday with the signing of the Joint Strategy set out by Africa and the EU, minus the initially proposed EPAs.

    Heads of states including President Thabo Mbeki and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade refused to accept Economic Partnership Agreements set out by the European Union and asked that different trade agreements be negotiated.

    "We are not talking any more about EPAs, we've rejected them...we're going to meet to see what we can put in place of the EPAs," President Wade told reporters on the second and final day of an EU-Africa summit in Lisbon.

    Wade dismissed pressure for new trade deals by 31 December, when a waiver by the World Trade Organization on preferential trade arrangements for developing countries expires.

    Instead, by the close of the summit, interim economic agreements were put in place for signing in order to make sure that trade between the continents would not be disrupted by 1 January 2008.

    At the press conference, only two heads of states from Africa were left to sign those agreements, according to the President of the EU Commission, Jose Barroso.

    "What we are now initialing are not the EPAs, the discussion around the EPAs is ongoing, we understand the difficulties that exist when it comes to a new system of trade," he said.

    He added that the formulation of the interim trade agreements was a good illustration of the spirit of partnership between the two continents.

    Barroso said the summit had resulted in eight concrete partnerships on peace and security, climate change and migration, amongst others.

    "I now expect political leaders from the two continents to match their commitments," he said. Barroso added that climate change and good governance were also key issues that had been discussed at the summit along with trade.

    Speaking on Saturday President Mbeki highlighted the need for good governance and human rights and said there was a great need to address the issue of migration.

    "We continue to face challenges relating to governance in Africa, as this is the case with other regions of the world," President Mbeki said.

    "However, to put the matter frankly, by far, the biggest challenge we face in terms of implementing our programmes on good governance and human rights is the issue of resources."

    President Mbeki, current mediator between the Zimbabwean ruling party and main opposition, also said German Chancellor Angela Merkel was out of touch with the political situation in Zimbabwe after she criticised Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at the start of the summit.

    Ms Merkel told leaders present that the situation in Zimbabwe was damaging the new image of Africa. Meanwhile, Barroso commended President Mbeki on the job he was doing as mediator in Zimbabwe.

    Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said the summit was an extraordinary event and the fact that it was held was evidence that both continents had been able to overcome the impasse which had bogged them down over the last few years.

    Socrates said the summit was a milestone for Africa and the EU and a Lisbon Declaration would definitely result from the meeting.

    He said all goals that had been set were achieved for the summit.

    "We have adopted a joint strategy, an action plan and a monitoring mechanism - an agenda for which we will face the challenges," said Mr Socrates.

    He added that there would definitely be another meeting soon and that Libya had already offered to host the next such summit.

    African Union chairperson, Ghanaian President John Kufuor agreed with Mr Socrates saying that regular meetings were very important.

    He also said the summit will mark a radical change in the relationship between Europe and Africa

    Fully laden livestock vessel sinks in Red Sea

    A fully laden livestock carrier has capsized and sunk in the Red Sea near the Lesser Hunaish (or Hanish) Island.

    All 22 crew members are reported safe after having been picked up by Yemeni coastguards. The estimated 10,000 head of cattle on board the ship however drowned when the ship foundered.

    After being rescued the crew were taken to Al-Makha port.

    The sinking occurred on Monday while the United Arab Emirates-registered ship, which has not been named, was supposedly en route from Somalia and heading for Djibouti. What the vessel was doing near the smaller of the Hunaish islands is not clear as the islands are on the far side of Djibouti coming from Somalia (news coming from this part of the world is not always too clear on detail).

    The cattle were being taken for slaughter during the Eid al-Adha festival on 20 December, which is also known as the Sacrifice Feast.

    The festival commemorates the prophet Ibrahim’s readiness to sacrifice his only son Ismael for Allah.

    Energy Efficiency Award for RBCT

    Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) says it is pleased to have been awarded the National Business Initiative’s 2007 Energy Efficiency ETA Award. “This is indicative of RBCT’s commitment to energy efficiency in all aspects of its operations, which is viewed as key to our reputation of one of the world’s most globally competitive export coal terminals,” says the company in a statement.

    RBCT signed the Energy Efficiency Accord with the Minister of Minerals and Energy in August 2006. The Accord has targeted energy savings of 12-15 percent by 2012. RBCT formulated a corporate policy and put together a project team dedicated to continuously monitor and measure its performance and integrate energy saving in every aspect of its operations.

    “Being part of the energy efficiency accord has enabled us to actively and continuously benchmark our performance in this crucial area. Our best allies and active partners in pushing for energy efficiency are our people and their teams. Their passionate commitment and creative efforts have made energy efficiency to be the way of life at RBCT,” said Kuseni Dlamini, Executive Chairman.

    RBCT says it has completed the first phase of the energy saving lighting initiative, which saved a bankable 314 megawatt- hours, representing 3 percent savings. In addition to this, another project to save diesel fuel translates into 3.2 percent representing an equivalent of 45,000 litres to be saved. Both projects translate into over 600 tonnes of carbon emissions reduced directly and indirectly by Eskom to generate the equivalent electricity.

    RBCT has a comprehensive energy efficiency plan driven by a team that continuously investigates, identifies and take advantage of opportunities for ongoing improvement. Every project’s feasibility is evaluated carefully producing documentation that is recorded, even if the project is not viable.

    Initiatives submitted included fuel savings, electricity savings, water savings, carbon emissions savings and all potential projects.

    source – RBCT

    AFRICA MERCY ship dry docks in Canaries

    The AFRICA MERCY, the latest hospital ship of the Mercy Ships organisation has completed its first six months in West Africa since being commissioned. This ship recently entered dry dock at the Astican Shipyard in Las Palmas for its first examination since entering service in June.

    Africa Mercy, a former rail ferry, underwent a rebuild and conversion in the UK into Mercy Ships newest and largest hospital ship, with six theatres on board and fully equipped to provide medical care and assistance where most needed.

    The ship has spent the last six months based in Liberia, and will return there on completion of the current refit and examination in the Canaries. The dry docking also gives the medical staff and ship crew an opportunity for some rest and recreation in local hotels courtesy of several hotel chains and resorts on the islands.

    On completion of the dry docking the ship proceeds to Santa Cruz de Tenerife where the crew will rest over Christmas before preparing for the return to Liberia and a nine month programme of medical care in the former war-torn country. During mid January the ship will be opened to the public for tours on board, showing off the facilities and work undertaken by the voluntary personnel on board.

    Africa Mercy provides educational and developmental assistance in addition to specialized medical care. Further details can be found at

    China welcomes Africa-EU partnership

    Beijing (BuaNews) - China welcomed the landmark joint strategy for a new partnership between the European Union (EU) and Africa, says Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

    The joint strategy was adopted at the just-concluded EU-Africa summit in Lisbon, reports Xinhua News.

    The summit aimed to "take the EU-Africa relationship to a new, strategic level with a strengthened political partnership and enhanced cooperation at all levels."

    Mr Qin said that China hoped the new partnership could facilitate stronger EU-Africa cooperation, help to achieve peace, stability and rejuvenation in Africa and create more opportunities for development on the continent.

    China shares the common concerns and interests of the international community, including the EU, in the development and peace of Africa, he said.

    China is willing to work with the world community to make its due contribution for achieving these goals, he added.

    The Lisbon Summit was the second of its type. The inaugural meeting was held in Cairo, Egypt, in 2000.

    No meetings have been held in the interim because several African countries rejected a summit that excluded Zimbabwe.

    Pic of the day – MAERSK GLOUCESTER

    Free Image Hosting at allyoucanupload.com

    MAERSK GLOUCESTER sails from Durban in October 2007. The removal and rebuilding of the North Pier can be seen on the port side of the container ship – when complete in early 2010 the entrance channel will be a 100 metres wider than the present 120m. Picture Terry Hutson

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