Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 25, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Kenya crisis worsens – UN report

  • Mauritian coastguard nabs Malaysian poachers

  • East African news in brief

  • Go fly a kite as Skysails soars

  • Go row your boat

  • Pic of the day – SKYSAILS


    Kenya crisis worsens – UN report

    23 January 2008 (UN) – Security conditions in Kenya are deteriorating rapidly, according to United Nations officials who report that more than a dozen civilians have been killed in political violence, and 70 houses burned, in the past 24 hours.

    The Government estimates that 685 people have been killed in the violence, which first erupted in the East African nation a few weeks ago after Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga in December elections. The crisis has also forced some 255,000 to flee their homes.

    According to UN security officials, seven people were killed in Kipkelion and 70 houses burned in the Aldai area of Rift Valley province. In addition, five people were shot dead and 30 shops burned in Trans Nzioa, while four people were killed in Korogocho, Huruma and Mathare slums.

    Meanwhile, UN agencies have completed an assessment tour of internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in the town of Molo, where they found an urgent need for shelter, blankets, water and sanitation.

    The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) sent teams out to several towns, including Nairobi and Eldoret, to assess damaged homes, and verify the number of persons and conditions in IDP camps, as well as review water and sanitation needs.

    There is reportedly a scarcity of cooking fuel in several IDP camps, according to the UN Country Team, which noted that IDPs in Eldoret have begun burning construction material for cooking.

    Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has continued its immunisation campaign against measles and polio in all the IDP camps. And, working with Kenyan authorities, the World Food Programme (WFP) has finalized a new distribution plan to assist some 67,000 people affected and displaced by the crisis in the Rift Valley.

    Meanwhile, at the port of Mombasa there has been no marked change in the last 24 hours with a considerable backlog of containers in the terminal – see our news reports earlier this week.

    Mauritian coastguard nabs Malaysian poachers

    by Alain Malherbe

    Port Louis, 24 January - National Coast Guard (NCG) officials on a routine operation stopped and boarded a Malaysian flag fishing vessel within the Mauritian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on Saturday (19 January).

    A unit of the NCG, the CGS Guardian escorted the Malaysian-flagged f/v PUTRA JAYA 33 into Port-Louis after 30 ton of tuna, illegally fished, was discovered in the fishing vessel’s hold. The CGS was carrying out a routine patrol at the time of the arrest. On arrival in Port Louis the captain and crew were detained for further investigation, with the captain appearing in court on Monday 21 January when he was formally charged.

    The Mauritius Coast Guard has instituted a programme of monitoring the EEZ, in particular to the south of the island, to discourage the plunder of Mauritian waters by foreign unlicensed fishing vessels.

    A NCG surveillance plane, the Dornier is systematically used in tracking down illegal vessels furrowing this zone and the data available on the Vessel Surveillance System is treated within the framework of the Mauritius Intelligence Monitoring System. A suspicious response from the f/v Putra Jaya was noted shortly after her discovery within the EEZ of Mauritius by the crew of the Dornier.

    The vessel’s master failed to respond to radio communication attempts from the aircraft and suspicions were further confirmed at NCG headquarters when it transpired that the fishing vessel had not communicated its position in the required manner on the Vessel Surveillance System, which is mandatory according to licenses allocated by the Mauritian Ministry for Fisheries and Natural Resources.

    After analysis of the data relayed by Dornier, a decision was made to dispatch a joint squad of the NCG and Fisheries Protection Services to carry out a physical control operation. The CGS Guardian met the f/v Putra Jaya 33 around 13h30 on 17 January while the fishing vessel was at about 132 nautical miles east-south-east of Mauritius, at position 20°16 and 59°54 and within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the island.

    Information available is that the Putra Jaya 33 sailed from Port-Louis on 24 December for a fishing campaign and was due back in port on or about 21 January.

    The Master of the Malaysian vessel was unable to confirm to the NCG and to Fisheries Protection Services the origin of the 30t of tuna found in the vessel’s holds. In addition, the vessel was not in possession of any valid fishing license issued by the Mauritian Authorities.

    It was consequently noted that no fishing log, no ship’s log, and no radio operator log was being maintained on board. The only document available was a notebook in Chinese language.

    “During the inspection carried out in accordance to procedures specified in law, the captain of the ship could not account for the origin of the catch. The records were not accurate,” underlined one official of the Mauritian Fisheries Department.

    The NCG took control of the f/v Putra Jaya on her way back to Port-Louis, under escort of the CGS Guardian. The two ships arrived in port around 16h00 on Saturday. Technically, the Master and crew of the f/v Putra Jaya were placed under arrest during the time of the investigation.

    East African news in brief

    Kenya introduces new marine tariffs

    Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has introduced a new tariff which will come into effect on 1 February 2008, introducing dramatic increases in marine charges and an introduction of stevedoring on the discharge of bulk liquids, reports GAC World.

    The agency reports that stakeholders are lobbying the Government and port authority for further consultation or even a possible delay to the introduction of the new tariff, but says that it appears likely that it will be imposed at that time.

    Source – gacworld.com

    Ferry wanted for lake and Nile River

    Uganda local district authorities are petitioning the government to place a ferry on the River Nile and at Lake Kyoga in an effort to bolster trade. District secretary of works Samuel Kizito said during a budget conference that the Ugandan government has failed to honour a 2001 pledge to place a ferry on the river at Nabuganyi. Lake Kyoga lies about a hundred kilometres to the north of Lake Victoria.

    UN starts campaign of discouraging dangerous Horn of Africa crossings

    The United Nations has started a new campaign aimed at highlighting the dangers of emigrants making the voyage from Somalia across the gulf to Yemen, saying that more than 1,400 people lost their lives doing this last year. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is distributing colourful leaflets containing drawings and text printed in Somali and in three Ethiopian dialects throughout Somalia’s Puntland region, while radio spots have been broadcast since October.

    The campaign advises asylum-seekers that they can seek asylum directly in Somalia and asks host countries to treat migrants humanely. The 1,400 people who died last year – one of every 20 making the crossing – were killed by smugglers or drowned at sea. Nevertheless over 28,300 people are reported to have made it ashore on 300 boats, says the UNHCR.

    Go fly a kite as Skysails soars

    The Skysails project – how it works

    When the concept was first introduced some years ago some sceptics were quick to make their views known and appeared to be quickly justified when the project fizzled away. Or so it seemed.

    This week a 132m cargo ship, the heavylift carrier MS BELUGA SKYSAILS set out from Bremen in Germany, bound for Venezuela in an attempt to prove what the designers and previous tests have said all along, that a modern ship can be assisted by sails in reducing operating and fuel costs.

    But this is no conventional sailing ship fitted with engines but a steel ship in every way as ordinary as her thousands of sisters. What makes her different is that she employs a giant parasail or kite that will harness the wind and reduce the ship’s reliance on engine power. If it is a success there will also be benefits from a reduction of carbon emissions – something that is more and more becoming a concern to shipowners and operators.

    The 160 square metre kite is flown ahead of the ship up to 250 metres or more above the vessel, secured by a single cable that also carries electronic information to and from a computer on board the ship, which adjusts the direction and flight of the kite-like sail.

    As with a kite being flown from the beach or a wind-swept field, it will perform figures of eight as it maximises the power of the wind, achieving speeds up to four times that of the wind and helping reduce the ship’s dependency on engines by up to 20 percent with optimal wind. In fact its designer, German engineer Stephan Wrage reckons that savings of between 10 and 35 percent are possible with larger kites.

    For the technically minded, an average towing force of 3 tons (30kN) is generated by the wind (approx. 11 m/s), which pulled an earlier test vessel, the 55-metre long research ship BEAUFORT equipped with the SkySails propulsion. These figures represent a fuel saving of 1,200 litres a day at speeds between 5 and 12 knots.

    “Within the framework of 27 test cruises on the North and Baltic Seas, researchers were able to demonstrate that a SkySail of 80m² can produce a tractive force of seven tons at wind forces up to 6 Bft.”, said Prof Dr Schlaak, scientific manager of the project from the University of Applied Sciences Oldenburg/Ostfriesland/Wilhemshaven.

    The Skysails concept has already been successfully tested on another cargo ship, the coaster MICHAEL A along the north European coast.

    Referring to the first commercial voyage involving ms Beluga Skysails, Stephan Wrage, Managing Director, SkySails GmbH & Co. KG said that the maiden voyage marked the beginning of practical testing during regular shipping operations of the SkySails-System. “During the next few months we will finally be able to prove that our technology works in practice and significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions,” he said.

    Finally and in order to prove a point, the Beluga Skysails is not just a test voyage – the ship is carrying a full cargo of project cargo consisting of factory parts to Venezuela. And the message for the future is that later this year Skysails should be able to deliver towing kites of 320m² in size and provide savings of up to 2,400 litres of fuel a day.

    - thanks to Steve Maloney for story suggestion

    Go row your boat

    Gcuma Challenger on arrival at the International Boat Show in Durban last year. Picture Steve Maloney

    Following from our report in yesterday’s News Bulletin about two South Africans who won the (pairs) rowing race across the Atlantic, ship surveyor Steve Maloney (LR~ex Audit & Marine Services) provides the following update as well as the accompanying picture.

    “Your article on the Gquma Challenger today refers,” he wrote by email. “Please find attached some photos of the rowing boat taken at the Durban Boat show last year. Bill Godfrey and Peter van Kets (the two who took part in and won the race) asked me to provide a seaworthiness certificate whilst the boat was on show in Durban, as it was a pre-requisite for entry to the race.

    “The boat is constructed of marine ply and epoxy resin and is of immense strength.

    “She was built in New Zealand – apparently the Kiwis build the best trans-ocean rowing boats, and had already been rowed across the Atlantic before Bill and Peter acquired her.
    See their website for more details www.gquma.co.za.”

    Pic of the day – SKYSAILS

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The coaster MICHAEL A flying a kite in European waters. See report on Skysails above

    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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