Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 10, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Coastwatch: rescue reports

  • Mombasa rises above challenges to record growth

  • Dar es Salaam port invests in oil installations

  • Tanzania’s northern rail route set for a pick up

  • Top SA boat builder expands into China and sounds a warning

  • Pic of the day – SALVAGE DUKE


    Coastwatch: rescue reports

    The Zululand Observer reported this week of a seaman who fell overboard from the Dredging International hopper dredger MARIEKE which is currently working in the approaches outside the port of Richards Bay.

    The seaman was working on the top deck and is thought to have fallen after the ship was struck by a heavy swell. He went overboard and spent about an hour in the water before being rescued and airlifted by port helicopter to hospital. After a check-over he was discharged and returned to duty on board the vessel.

    It appears he had been wearing a buoyancy floating suit when he fell overboard and after an hour or so in the warm summer waters off Richards Bay was little the worse for his ducking.

    “Dredging International complies with the most stringent marine safety codes and has procedures in place for all types of incidents. This incident highlighted the hazards of working at sea and measures are in place to ensure that safety of crew is further increased through the use of North Sea tested electronic man-overboard alarms,” said David Brown, Dredging International project manager. He thanked the Richards Bay harbourmaster and his staff for their assistance and commeded the Marieke’s personnel for the professional way they handled the situation.

    In other incidents off the South African coast the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) reports on three incidents in the past 48 hours, all in Cape waters. From Bob Meikle, NSRI St Francis Bay Station Commander comes the first:

    “At 17h00 (Monday, 7 January) NSRI St Francis Bay volunteers launched our rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II to casualty evacuate a fisherman, 27 years old, from Port Elizabeth, off the chokka (squid) fishing boat Sea Lion suffering a laceration to his right arm after apparently being flung across the engine room when the vessel went over a wave.

    “On arrival on-scene NSRI medics treated a deep laceration to the patient’s right arm and he was brought aboard Spirit of St Francis II and transported to our NSRI rescue base where a Private Care ambulance transported him to hospital in a stable condition.”

    Rein Hofmeyr, NSRI Knysna Station Commander reports: “At 22h50 (Tuesday, 8 January) NSRI Knysna volunteers were activated to casualty evacuate a fisherman, from the 9 metre fishing trawler Bounty, 35 nautical miles off-shore, suspected to be suffering a cerebro vascular accident (Stroke).

    “Our volunteers launched our rescue craft Alex Blaikie and illuminating flares were used to help the responding crew to guide Alex Blaikie through the Knysna Heads through big breaking swells.

    “On arrival on-scene, in 2 to 3 metre swells and 10 to 15 knot winds, two NSRI crew, Emily Burgess, who is also an ICU trauma nurse, and Graham Harding, were put aboard Bounty where they stabilised the patient, approximately 50 years of age, who was then secured into a Stokes Basket Stretcher and transferred across to our rescue craft.

    “Medical treatment continued on-board our rescue craft en-route to Knysna and on arrival at our NSRI rescue station, at approximately 06h30, an ER-24 ambulance transported the patient to hospital in a stable but serious condition.”

    And in a report to hand just as this Bulletin was being prepared for going online, Angus Kirkman, NSRI Witsand Station Commander reported on a fishing trawler that has gone aground.

    “At midday (Wednesday, 9 January) NSRI Witsand were alerted to a report of a 63 foot fishing trawler, Blougans, that had run aground on rocks approximately 25 metres off-shore of the boat slip-way at Infanta with nine crew on-board.

    “NSRI Witsand launched our rescue craft Falcon Rescuer, the SA Police Services responded and NSRI Agulhas were placed on alert to respond if necessary and to assist in the coordination of a rescue operation.

    “The Metro Ambulance and Rescue Services, Bredasdorp Fire and Rescue Services and a Bredasdorp Fire and Rescue Services helicopter were placed on alert.

    “On our arrival on-scene, in 1 to 2 metre choppy sea swells and a 25 knot on-shore South Easterly wind, all nine crew were found safely ashore and not injured. They were all medically assessed by our NSRI crew and found to be requiring no medical assistance.

    The casualty vessel is hard aground and holed on rocks about 25 metres off-shore.

    “It appears the vessel may have drifted ashore after dragging her anchor. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has been alerted.

    “Local holidaymakers assisted the nine crew to get ashore. According to Gerald Hoek, from Swellendam, who is staying in his holiday home at Infanta, he and his son Warren from Kleinmond and other residents watched the vessel drift towards the shore and hit a rock. Gerald said all nine crew donned life-jackets and abandoned ship onto a life-raft that the crew launched from the Blougans after the vessel drifted onto rocks.

    “Gerald said that his son Warren swam out to the life-raft with a beach life-buoy attached to a rope and once at the life-raft Gerald and about another 10 local residents pulled Warren and the nine men on their life-raft safely to shore.

    “The SA Police Services are on the scene, the owner of the vessel has been called to the scene and SAMSA has been informed.”

    Mombasa rises above challenges to record growth

    The Kenyan port of Mombasa has risen above various challenges including ongoing congestion – since made worse by recent political strife in the country – by handling 9.9 percent more cargo in the first 10 months of 2007 than for the same period of 2006.

    According to Kenya Port Authority managing director Abdallah Mwaruwa, container traffic – the main item in the port’s congestion - increased by an impressive 22.3 percent over the same period.

    Mombasa handled 13.16 million tonnes of cargo during the first 10 months of 2007, up from the 11.97mt of 2006 while container throughput at the Mombasa Container Terminal over the same period reached 484,462 TEUs, compared with 396,556 for the previous year.

    Among the challenges facing the port was traffic, mostly containers, that has been diverted from other East African ports because of ongoing congestion at those harbours. Mwaruwa told stakeholders at the annual dinner that the port also faced ongoing challenges because of poor service from the road and rail services. Despite these problems cargo to and from neighbouring countries through the port of Mombasa had increased by an average of 5.5 percent.

    The port was now in a sound financial position and has paid dividends to government for the last three years, said the Minister of Transport in a speech read for him at the function.

    In an unrelated matter, the dredging of Mombasa port has been delayed in order that additional contractors can be considered for the contract. Kenya’s East African newspaper reports that the Belgian company Jan De Nul had already been selected and was ready to sign contracts when the instruction ‘came down’ to delay the process and consider other bids. This apparently arose after Dredging International came up with a lower bid for the contract and since then two other international firms, Vanorb and Boskalis have also entered the arena.

    The contract is said to be worth in excess of US$60 million.

    Dar es Salaam port invests in oil installations

    The port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania has set aside land for the construction of modern oil depots.

    This is in anticipation of a surge in oil imports through Dar es Salaam. A total of 55,000 square metres has been identified and set aside for the development in the Kurasini area adjacent to the port. The Tanzania government will be gazetting the expansion programme to facilitate the resettlement of people living in the area.

    As the port currently has limited capacity in terms of ship access, a new Single Point Mooring buoy (SPM) will be constructed replacing the existing facility to cater for larger size tankers. The project to replace the SPM is estimated to cost US$44 million.

    In anticipation of the development the government is offering lend leases to prospective oil dealers.

    Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) also intends building three inland freight stations to handle container overflows from the port - see our related News Report of 8 January Tackling the congestion at Dar es Salaam port CLICK HERE

    Dar es Salaam is currently handling 300,000 TEUs and is severely congested, leading to shipping lines diverting traffic to Mombasa. According to the TPA the port expects to handle one million TEUs by 2015.

    TPA has revealed plans to build new ports at Tanga, Bagamoyo and Mtwara where it says it has acquired the necessary land.

    source – East African and own correspondent

    Tanzania’s northern rail route set for a pick up

    The East African newspaper reports that contrary to earlier reports Tanzania’s scenic northern railway linking the inland regions of Arusha and Moshi are to be refurbished and returned to service. Previous reports indicated the line was to be closed and abandoned.

    Tanzania Railways Ltd managing director Narasimhaswami Jayaram said that heavy maintenance including a complete rebuild of some sections would be necessary – a survey conducted recently showed the line to be in urgent need of refurbishment. “The tracks are in very poor condition,” he said.

    Jayaram said the Tanga line was an important route for minerals and cement. The line also carried tea and coffee exports from Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions in the past and contains numerous sidings linking the port with factories, flour mills and a city based industrial area, Gofu.

    He pointed out that the line formed an important transport corridor between Tanga, Arusha, Musoma and Port Bell/Jinja in Uganda which is currently being initiated by the East African Community.

    The 437-kilometre railroad was built by the Germans a century ago and as with most other East African railways was built to metre-gauge.

    Tanzania Railways Ltd (TRL) took over operation and management of the country’s main railway routes on a 25-year concession in October 2007 and consists of a partnership between India's Rites consortium and the state-owned Reli Assets Holding Company. Rites acquired 51 per cent of the shares of the former Tanzania Railways Corporation, with the balance being held by the Tanzanian government.

    Top SA boat builder expands into China, and sounds a warning

    A leading South African boat builder, Robertson & Caine (R&C), has entered a joint venture agreement with Chinese company Flying Eagle to manufacture its sail and power catamarans in China. This is the South African company’s first global manufacturing venture.

    The Chinese venture marks the start of an era of explosive growth for Robertson & Caine, as it will accommodate a planned five-fold production increase within five years. The facility will be located in Fuyang City near Hang Zhou, one of China’s largest cities.

    “China has immense potential,” says Ellian Perch, R&C’s director. “The economy is huge and growing fast.”

    He said that in a second positive spin-off, the deal will give R&C access to cost-effective Chinese raw materials and components, whereas before the company sourced these from Western quarters. “This will allow us to be far more cost-competitive in the world arena.”

    The Chinese factory together with the Cape Town facility will push out boats to the tune of between 700 and 800 within five years, says Perch. Some 90 percent of boats sold into China will be power boats, and Chinese boats will sport much more luxurious fit-outs than those sold in other world markets and South Africa.

    During December R&C was given the go-ahead by the City of Cape Town to build a second local ship-yard in Atlantis, which will take 2006 production of 120 boats a year to 350 by 2010.

    Discussing the differences between the Cape and China experiences, Perch recalled struggling for months to get approval for the Atlantis project and eventually resorting to renting factory space as the company burst out of its seams in its first base in Woodstock.

    In contrast, the Chinese government embraced the opportunity to cater for a burgeoning leisure market, and has already allocated land for the project.

    He said another example could be found in Ireland. In the uncertain months leading up to being given Atlantis rights, R&C was forced to hedge its bets, and enquired about alternative manufacturing bases in Ireland. The Irish government, he said, showed great and immediate interest.

    “In the final analysis, South Africa’s attitude and the perceived ease of doing business with us will determine the rate at which we attract or repel foreign investment,” he warned.

    Pic of the day – SALVAGE DUKE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    Asian Marine’s tug SALVAGE DUKE (1059-gt) in Cape Town harbour on 17 December, with one of three oil rigs in the port at that time behind the tug’s bows. Picture by Aad Noorland

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