Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 15, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Mombasa port is safe, says KPA head

  • Flood crisis warning for southern Africa

  • South Africans head off the join World Youth ship

  • Database to assist fresh produce export industry

  • SA's relations with global economic body are ‘positive’

  • Pic of the day – Durban port entrance channel


    Mombasa port is safe, says KPA head

    Mombasa, 14 January – The Port of Mombasa is secure and operating normally, says Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director Abdallah Mwaruwa.

    In a formal announcement to stakeholders Mwaruwa said that negative impressions concerning port security that were ‘painted’ by the international media in the aftermath of the political strife in Kenya made it necessary for the KPA to assure all members of the shipping community, and in particular the cruise industry, that the port of Mombasa was operating normally and that top priority had been given to the safety of all ships scheduled to call at the port during the current season.

    “We would also like to emphasise that despite this regrettable and unfortunate prevailing scenario, the port is still operating at security level one and every relevant security organ is on the alert to ensure that safety and security is not compromised,” he said.

    Mwaruwa said that security at the port of Mombasa had been taken extremely seriously particularly since the events of 9/11. In consultation with Kenya Police, the Kenya Navy and with port users the KPA had introduced comprehensive security measures.

    This included implementing the IMO ISPS code and providing a full documentation of proper security arrangements and procedures at the port which is available on the KPA website (www.kpa.co.ke). On the ground, security has been enhanced with a combination of new measures including increased patrols by the KPA’s own security personnel and the forging of closer links with the Kenya Police force. The KPA has also erected a new perimeter fence and watchtowers and stepped up access control.

    Whenever a cruise vessel is docked at Mombasa, the KPA ensures that access to the berth generally allocated to cruise ships and surrounding areas is cordoned to establish a maritime exclusion zone around the vessel for easy control and monitoring.

    Shore-based visitors to cruise ships or naval vessels must now give prior notice of their intention to go aboard. Similarly, tourist buses collecting or returning passengers to the berth must be pre-listed by the agent and security meetings are held ahead of each vessel’s arrival to coordinate the visit, identify vehicles and issue passes.

    KPA’s newly purchased speed boats were in operation to facilitate patrols. One of the boats NYOTA has been assigned to the port marine police.

    Two container scanners operated by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) are stationed at the port to identify false declarations and to look for contraband, explosives and narcotics.

    He said the Kenya police increases patrols both landside and waterside whenever there is a vessel alongside and the government has established a special Maritime Police Unit to enhance safety and security in Kenyan ports and territorial waters.

    Mwaruwa said that the Kenya Navy through its radar system monitors the entire Kenyan coastline and territorial waters and tracks all vessels using advanced automatic identification and radar systems. In addition, Kenya Navy vessels constantly patrol Kenyan waters to guarantee safety of cruise vessels and other vessels within Kenyan waters. The Navy ships are always stationed off the Kenyan coastline including off the Manda and Lamu islands.

    He urged shipping lines whose vessels are scheduled to call at Mombasa to proceed with their itinerary at any time of the year. “We wish to reiterate that Kenyan waters and the port of Mombasa are safe for all vessels in particular cruise ships.”

    Flood crisis warning for southern Africa

    Geneva, 14 January 2008 - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warned today of a potential disastrous flood crisis in southern Africa. The region has been affected by heavy rains which started last month in parts of Zimbabwe. The flooding situation is now spreading to other countries including Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland and Madagascar.

    “The current seasonal rains – intensified by La Niña current in the Pacific - has pushed rivers to their danger level and beyond over the past two weeks,” says Peter Rees, head of the International Federation Operations Support Department. “The weather forecast for the next seven days is not good with more rain expected which could last until April. If this happens, southern Africa will certainly face major flooding with potentially catastrophic consequences. This is why we should not wait, but immediately respond to the coming crisis and further develop disaster preparedness activities,” he adds.

    The situation in Mozambique is particularly worrying. This flood-prone country was already severely-hit by flooding immediately followed by a cyclone in February 2007. Many communities are just starting to recover and they now have to face another crisis. About 60,000 people are currently being affected but numbers are rising on a daily basis. The Mozambique Red Cross Society has assisted in emergency evacuations. It also provided tents, tarpaulins, plastic sheets, mosquito nets, mattresses and other non-food items to hundreds of families in Sofala, Manica, Inhambane, Zambezia and Tete.

    “We still have stocks and volunteers in reserve in the north of the country but we now badly need cash to keep the logistics going,” says Fernanda Teixeira, secretary general of the Mozambique Red Cross. The extent of the humanitarian crisis has been limited so far by the early warning given by Red Cross volunteers who immediately alerted communities as soon as the water level started to rise and helped them to move to higher grounds.

    On Friday, the International Federation released one million Swiss francs (US$980,000 / €660,000) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) to support Red Cross societies in affected countries in their response. A preliminary appeal will be launched shortly.

    “We must immediately bring humanitarian aid to affected communities but we also need to bear in mind that people affected or displaced by the floods will need long-term assistance, especially to restore their livelihoods,” says Françoise Le Goff, Head of the International Federation‘s southern Africa zone office which is supporting all Red Cross societies in the region involved in emergency response operations.

    Meanwhile relief supplies for flood victims have begun to arrive in Mozambique with 3,000 tonnes of food aid, enough to support 250,000 people for a month, being unloaded in Beira harbour. The UN World Food Program (WFP) plans to truck the supplies north the assist those along the Zambezi river valley.

    The UN said that at least 50 people have so far died and tens of thousands displaced. Some 30,000 people have been evacuated from flooded areas in Mozambique and another 72,000 have either had their houses destroyed or require aid, according to UN reports. The Mozambique Red Cross has mustered all its forces in the north of the country as it seeks to avert further flood disasters.

    “We still have stocks and volunteers in reserve in the north, but now we badly need cash to keep the logistics going," said Fernanda Teixeira of the Mozambique Red Cross. She added that supplies have to be trucked from Beira to Caia and money is needed for fuel or haulage.

    South Africans head off to join World Youth ship

    by Bathandwa Mbola (BuaNews)

    Johannesburg, 14 January - Ten youngsters countrywide have departed for Japan to attend this year's 20th Ship for World Youth (SWY) programme, which promotes mutual understanding, friendship and co-operation between youth worldwide.

    SWY is a cultural exchange program organised by the government of Japan and centred around a voyage on a passenger ship, the Nippon Maru.

    It sails annually and entails the hosting of youth from diverse continents on board for approximately 50 days.

    The programme seeks to broaden the youth's international outlook, thereby fostering their ability to play leading roles in various fields of their country where effects of internationalisation are being felt.

    According to the National Youth Commission, this year, about 120 Japanese youths and nearly 150 others from 15 countries will spend three months on a ship visiting various countries and ports while sharing daily life together.

    The voyage will commence in Japan, proceed to Singapore were participants will visit different youth programs, focusing on culture and youth service, and it will then proceed to Oman and India in pursuit of the same objectives.

    "While on board, youth participants study and discuss issues of common interest from a global viewpoint and are involved in lectures, seminars, introduction of cultures, sports, recreation and various club activities," said the commission.

    Participants from the South African delegation will present:

    * a view into the lives of the South African township communities, through visual and audio;

    * indigenous games as a window to the heritage of South Africa and

    * a poetry evening focusing on the untold story of the township youth and how they view the ongoing transition of South Africa.

    "These activities and encounters with international youth will help the participants to broaden their international perspectives and understanding of common subjects from a global viewpoint," said the commission.

    This is the second time that South Africa has been provided with an opportunity to participate in the SWY since it was initiated 19 years ago. The first participation was in 2001.

    Database to assist fresh produce export industry

    The global competitiveness of South Africa’s fresh produce export industry has received a major boost with the launch of a comprehensive, internet-based information database on maximum residue limits (MRL) for agricultural chemicals.

    The MRL Info Hub is the culmination of a year’s worth of research by a consortium of experts operating as Agribusiness Systems International (ABSi), under the direction of the South African Pesticide Initiative Programme (SAPIP) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and the European Union. The research involved gathering data from myriad sources around the world, and cross-referencing all of the data to verify its validity.

    It is believed to be one of the most complete databases of its kind in the world, and covers all relevant plant protection products (PPP) listed in the EU and South Africa. These include 78 insecticides, 65 fungicides, four herbicides and six growth regulators.

    South Africa’s agricultural sector needs to be competitive in order to meet the 10-15 percent export growth target set in support of government’s Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (Asgi-SA) strategy. The purpose of the database is to provide farmers and other stakeholders with the information they need about MRLs in order to compete effectively in the international market, such as the specific MRL limits for specific crops in certain importing countries. Using the MRL Info Hub, growers will be able to assess which PPPs are most suited to the crops they produce for export and to what extent and how they can use such products depending on the recipient country.

    “What is of especial value in the MRL Info Hub is information on ‘minor’ or niche crops, including subtropical fruits, berries, other fruits such as granadillas and figs, as well as vegetables and mini vegetables, which has until now been lacking. Given that demand for such crops is growing internationally, and that small scale and emerging farmers can produce them, the MRL Info Hub will go a long way to providing such farmers with pertinent information they need to assess specific markets competitively,” says Capespan Market Access Manager Kobus Hartman, who has been intimately involved with compiling the MRL Info Hub.

    “For instance, the grower of a crop such as avocado who would like to export his produce to a European country can now investigate which PPPs are permissible for his produce and what their MRLs are for such a product in the recipient country. This allows the grower to tailor his agricultural practices, in order for his crop to be acceptable for export.”

    Hartman said that because Capespan, Southern Africa’s largest fruit export and marketing organisation, insists on best agricultural practice when it comes to the use of agricultural chemicals such as fungicides and pesticides, the MRL Info Hub will assist its producers to employ PPPs judiciously and appropriately. In this way, food and environmental safety issues are addressed, as well as any potential impact on people, including farmworkers.

    “Capespan supports all aspects of food safety, due diligence and the relevant regulatory requirements. It promotes fruit production practices that are environmentally sound and demonstrate care for the environment, minimise pollution and support productive utilisation of natural resources,” says Hartman.

    source – www.cbn.co.za (Cape Business News)

    SA's relations with global economic body are ‘positive

    by Shaun Benton (BuaNews)

    Cape Town, 14 January - The relations between South Africa and the 30-member Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are "extremely positive and moving fast."

    At the end of the fourth meeting of the OECD held in Cape Town, the organisation's Deputy Secretary-General, Pier Carlo Padoan, said they are currently undergoing "a process of rapid change" with the inclusion of new members and "enhanced engagement" with a number of others, including South Africa.

    The OECD counts some of the world's richest and most highly industrialised countries among its members.

    Responding to a question regarding South Africa's possible membership of the organisation, whose mandate he described as providing "a hub for globalisation", the Deputy Secretary-General said if that were to occur, South Africa could participate actively in "defining new rules" for the organisation as the globalisation process advances.

    Such a move, he said, would recognise South Africa's status as a key player in the global system.

    He added that membership of the OECD, as a sector-structured organisation that promotes common grounds and programmes, was a process.

    He indicated that the organisation saw great potential for new members to enrich and develop it's group view, but added that for its members to exploit the benefits of market-driven growth, it relied on the development of "good institutions" and "good rules".

    Speaking more broadly, Mr Padoan added that as a fast-growing region, Africa has great potential that is just beginning to be realised and said that efficient tax administration was a key element of good institutions.

    Responding to a similar question after delivering the opening address to the fourth meeting of the OECD's Forum on Tax Administration (FTA) a day earlier, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said there were benefits to be had for a country from being in an environment where useful information was freely shared.

    As such, the minister indicated that the OECD, with its sector-specific programmes and openness to an adjusted paradigm within a fast-changing, globalising world, was an environment where critical information was shared among its expanding membership.

    OECD literature describes the organisation as "a unique forum where governments share ideas and expertise to develop policies to tackle the economic, social and governance challenges of the globalised economy."

    The organisation is regarded as perhaps being best known as "one of the world's largest and most reliable sources of comparable, statistical, economic and social data" which can help governments to understand and respond to new developments and concerns.

    Speaking to the media a day later Padoan noted that public administrations are mandated to provide services to citizens.

    At the FTA's closing press conference, he indicated that the purpose of the FTA initiative was to move forward to building better institutions.

    Part of this process was about developing better relations between institutions and taxpayers, adding that the FTA was about promoting guidelines sharing good practices, achieving common goals and enhanced cooperation among nations.

    The FTA meeting was open to all the organisation's member countries, with observers including Argentina, Chile, China, India, the Russian Federation and South Africa, while representatives of multilateral institutions the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the World Bank were also present.

    The roots of the OECD itself go back to the Marshall Plan that was designed to rebuild the European economy after World War 2, with the organisation's 30 members now comprising market democracies that jointly produce 60 percent of the world's goods and services.

    It's members are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the European Commission also participating in the work of the OECD.

    Countries expected to become new members shortly, according to an official, include Estonia, Slovenia, Israel, Chile and the Russian Federation.

    Pic of the day – Durban port entrance channel

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    A recent look at the port entrance channel widening project now underway at Durban, in which the channel is being widened by about 100m to a maximum of 220m and deepened to a workable 16m with the approach channel reaching 19m, both chart datum. The longer pier in the centre of the pic is the 'old' north pier which is currently being dismantled. Most of the material recovered will be used to build the new north pier seen to the right of the picture. The land behind the two will be excavated abd flooded. The project is due for completion early in 2010. Picture by Steve McCurrach

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