Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 31, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Rift Valley Railway lifts cargo capacity

  • Beira dry dock back in service

  • New Walvis Bay floating dock on its way

  • Elegant sailing ship enters Cape Town

  • SA government bans all asbestos exports

  • SADC considers single visa for member states

  • SAMSA celebrates ten years

  • Pic of the day – ORIANA

    Watch a short 4.5 minute video clip about ship stowaway searches CLICK HERE and follow the link

    Rift Valley Railway lifts cargo capacity

    by Peter Kaujju

    Kampala, 27 Marcy 2008 - RIFT Valley Railways (RVR), the managers of the Kenya-Uganda railways, has more doubled its capacity for transit goods crossing into Uganda.

    Roy Puffett, the managing director, explained that the development was part of the company's turnaround solution for the Kenya-Uganda railways.

    “RVR has been working round the clock to ensure that all transit cargo to Uganda is speedily hauled across the country and we are happy that the Uganda Revenue Authority is responding positively to our increased efficiency,” Puffett said.

    In the past three weeks, Puffett disclosed, more than 60 trains had passed through the Malaba border town to Uganda, representing a 200% comparative growth. RVR is operating a double schedule train service from Mombasa to Uganda on a daily basis.

    Puffett said plans to increase the frequency to four were underway. He said the move was part of the efforts to decongest the port of Mombasa.

    Source - New Vision (Kampala)

    Beira dry dock back in service

    Maputo, 27 March 2008 - Repairs to the dry dock in the central Mozambican city of Beira mean that Mozambican ships, particularly the country's fishing fleet, will no longer have to travel to neighbouring countries for repairs, according to a report in Thursday's issue of the independent newsheet ‘Mediafax’.

    Felisberto Manuel, the chairperson of Beiranave, the company that runs the Beira Naval Dockyards announced that it has spent 2.5 million US dollars on the repairs, and on dredging the quay that provides access to the dry dock.

    This expenditure was justified, he said, given the importance of shipping in the Mozambican economy.

    The Beira dry dock was built in the 1960s, but for the past 20 years it has worked with considerable difficulty because its main gate allowed water to infiltrate. The recent repairs, however, should mean that the dry dock is now 100 per cent operational.

    Manuel said that, although the dock can repair 100 vessels a year, it will probably not be able to keep up with domestic demand. This is because maritime traffic along the Mozambican coast is forecast to double over the next five years.

    He said that programmes should therefore be designed to expand the dry dock, so that it will be able to repair vessels that are at least 200 metres long.

    A second headache for the fisheries authorities in Beira is the degraded state of the fishing port, which should complement the activities of the dry dock. According to Fisheries Minister Cadmiel Muthemba, the government is continuing to negotiate funding for rehabilitation of the fishing port - and it is not yet clear whether donors will be willing to commit funds.

    The problem is that the original funding agencies, including the African Development Bank (ADB), had announced they were willing to finance the rehabilitation to the tune of 20 million US dollars. That was the figure given by a company hired by the ADB and other partners to assess the costs.

    Apparently this firm got the maths badly wrong. When contractors were invited to bid for the contract, they said it would cost over 50 million dollars. So far there is no funding guaranteed for that extra 30 million dollars.

    Source - Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

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    New Walvis Bay floating dock on its way

    NAMDOCK, Walvis Bay’s first floating dock seen arriving off the port early 2006. A second similar dock has just left Klaipeda in the Baltic for the Namibian port. Picture Willem Kruk

    Walvis Bay’s second floating dock, a 140m long concrete base dock is on its way to the Namibian port, having left the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda in tow to the tug De Zhou.

    The new dock is a close replica of the existing floating dock (known as Namdock, the same name as the ship repair company operating it) which was installed in the port in 2006 as a joint venture between Elgin Brown & Hamer (Namibia) Ltd and Namport, the Namibian Port Authority. Namdock in turn is similar to Eldock, a floating dock in the port of Durban.

    Elgin Brown & Hamer (EB&H) is Southern Africa’s oldest ship repair company, dating back to the 19th century when it was established in Durban. The company has branches in Durban (head office), East London where it operates as East London Shipyard, Cape Town and Walvis Bay.

    The purchase of a second floating dock for Walvis Bay is an indication of how successful the venture in Walvis Bay has been, where the dock has experienced 100 percent occupancy for much of the time since installation.

    Prior to the first dock’s arrival ship repairs had to be undertaken in Cape Town, East London or Durban. The enthusiasm and support of Namport for the venture took many people by surprise – the Namibian government being keen for job creation and economic development and has proved highly supportive of the venture.

    The story goes that EB&H originally intended to place a floating dock in Cape Town. After five years of waiting for a response from Transnet the company began negotiating with Namport which embraced the proposal and asked to do a joint venture. The rest, as they say is history.

    In addition to having a full roster of ship repair on the dock the shipyard has undertaken several oil rig repairs as well – another first for Walvis Bay.

    Elegant sailing ship enters Cape Town

    The Canadian barquentine Concordia arrived in Cape Town last week for a short visit.

    Operated by Class Afloat, the sailing ship provides a floating classroom for young people who experience life at sea while exploring other parts of the world – the microcosm of a sailing ship and the macrocosm of the planet, as the Class Afloat website puts it.

    The barquentine arrived from Uruguay and Brazil, having commenced her voyage in Europe and then making her way down the Bay of Biscay and into the Mediterranean before exiting again via the Straits of Gibraltar and sailing down the west coast of Africa. From Dakar the Concordia crossed the Atlantic to Bahia in Brazil and then down the South American coast to Montevideo.

    After sailing from Cape Town she will visit Walvis Bay and St Helena before re-crossing the Atlantic en route for the Caribbean and North America where the semester will end.

    Students on board undergo a rigorous programme of academic study while also developing leadership skills and raising cross-cultural awareness. Students are encouraged to stretch themselves beyond their own comfort zones to embrace global issues and set personal goals, in a safe and supportive community-oriented environment which inspires both passion and compassion for others and the planet.

    The 57.5m long sailing ship was designed and built in 1992 especially for the purpose of a sailing school vessel and is classified 100A-1 Yacht with Lloyds Register of Shipping. The ship is also regularly tested by local port state authorities including those in the US and in Canada, where Class Afloat is owned by West Island College.

    SA government bans all asbestos exports

    by Michael Appel

    Pretoria, 28 March 2008 - Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has announced that the use, manufacture and processing [as well as import and export] of asbestos will be prohibited in South Africa with immediate effect.

    The Regulations for the Prohibition of the Use, Manufacturing, Import and Export of Asbestos and Asbestos Containing Materials will be promulgated on 28 March and will take effect immediately, said the minister during a media briefing on Thursday.

    The regulations form part of the Environment Conservation Act 1989.

    “A grace period of 120 days will be allowed for any person or merchant who is currently dealing in asbestos or asbestos containing materials to clear their stocks,” said Mr van Schalkwyk.

    The main objectives of the new regulations is to prohibit the use, processing or manufacturing, of any asbestos or asbestos containing product unless it can be proven that no suitable alternative exists.

    South Africa will now prohibit the import or export of any asbestos or asbestos containing product, and will also stop the import of any asbestos or asbestos containing waste material other than from a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

    The regulations do, however, make provision for asbestos to be used for research purposes.

    The health implications of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres were highlighted in the 1930s and specific links to certain cancers were first made in South Africa in the early 1960s.

    “Due to the extent and severity of asbestos related problems affecting the communities in these provinces, a multi-stakeholder National Asbestos Summit was convened by the Environmental Portfolio Committee in 1998,” the minister said.

    He highlighted that recommendations from the summit brought about the development of a national strategy to address asbestos pollution in the country with the objective of phasing out the mining of it.

    The department had been mandated by Cabinet to draft regulations to enforce the phasing out and ultimate prohibition of asbestos.

    The first draft of the regulations were published for comment in November 2005.

    The minister said it is important to remember that exposure to asbestos in the workplace including, mining, industrial, commercial, retail and public workplaces, including maintenance of building materials is still controlled by the Asbestos Regulations 2001 published by the Department of Labour.

    These require employers to draw up a register of all asbestos containing materials, conducts a risk assessment, educate and inform employees, protect employees from exposure to asbestos and conduct regular dust and health surveillance.

    South Africa, he said, has joined some 50 countries in the prohibition of asbestos and that any person who has ever suffered from exposure to asbestos would see the absolute necessity for the regulations.

    Asbestos once accounted for three percent of the value of South Africa's minerals.

    South Africa was the fifth largest supplier of chrysotile, produced 97 percent of the world's crocidolite and 100 percent of all of the amosite. - BuaNews

    SADC considers single visa for member states

    by Tshwarelo eseng Mogakane

    Nelspruit, 27 March 2008 - Members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have signed a deal to speed up the process of establishing a single visa system, or Univisa, for travelers in the SADC region.

    Spokesperson for South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Moses Rannditsheni, said a Univisa would ease the movement of travelers within southern Africa.

    “The Univisa will facilitate efficient movement in the region, which will positively impact on tourism revenue for all member states,” he said on Thursday.

    “This process seeks to bring to an end delays and the inconvenience of visa applications.”

    The deal was signed at SADC's inter-ministerial conference held in Luanda, Angola last week, where the department's Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi represented South Africa.

    Ms Mabudafhasi told delegates at the conference that statistics of foreign arrivals in the past few years indicated that the SADC region was month the top preferred tourist destinations.

    Tourism growth would help eradicate poverty by creating jobs, she said, calling for more bilateral discussions to take place about allowing SADC citizens to move within the region without a visa.

    Ms Mabudafhasi said the Univisa would operate similarly to the European Schengen visa system.

    Member states still have to resolve outstanding issues such as costs, policy agreements, procedures and requirements for issuing the Univisa.

    South Africa is one of 14 SADC member states including Angola, Mozambique, Swaziland, Malawi, Mauritius, Madagascar, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tanzania. - BuaNews

    SAMSA celebrates ten years

    The country’s custodian of all matters maritime – the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is celebrating 10 years of existence tomorrow (1 April 2008).

    Promulgated into law through the passing of the SAMSA Act 5 of 1998, SAMSA continues to champion and promote South Africa’s maritime interests which include the management of a 2,798 kilometre long coastal area.

    True to the organisation’s value proposition: “the authority leading the advancement of South Africa’s maritime safety and industry development agenda through service excellence” SAMSA continues to diligently regulate and promote an industry accounting for well-over 95% of South Africa’s total trade.

    Planned celebrations marking SAMSA’s 10th birthday coincide with the organisation’s newly revised/launched strategic intents. These aim to place a renewed focus on SAMSA’s core mandate inclusive of ensuring the safety of life and property at sea, prevention and combating of maritime pollution from ships and contributing to the release of the full potential of the maritime industry in South Africa.

    SAMSA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tsietsi Mokhele notes that “with the vast socio-economic, growth and development implications and potential it bares, SAMSA’s role has had to be re-oriented so that it can seminally contribute towards the development and promotion of the nation - much in line with government’s Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (ASGISA) and related policy pronouncements.”

    Besides the scheduled nationwide celebrations across all ports and regional offices under SAMSA’s management, on 1 April 2008 SAMSA will commemorate the day at head office, all ports and regional office. As well, the organisation will be contributing to the further development of the local maritime skills pool through the donation of over R 5,000 to the South African Sea Cadets in Port Elizabeth – one of the country’s few institutions striving to provide good quality maritime qualifications.

    The donation will mark the first in an array of similar initiatives planned for the new financial year and will ensure that SAMSA sees many more successful years of championing the country’s maritime industry.

    Issued by: Sipho Mabena (SAMSA)

    Pic of the day – ORIANA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The P&O cruise ship ORIANA is currently in South African waters while engaged on her 2008 World Cruise. On Friday the majestic ship called at Durban during which the port played host to no less than three cruise ships alongside the T-Jetty – Oriana, Melody and Corinthian II. From Durban Oriana later sailed direct to Cape Town, arriving in the Mother City yesterday (Sunday) for a two-day stopover. Her arrival coincided with the opening of a new road along the seaward side of the Eastern Mole where the ship has berthed and where several large marquees have been set up. In addition a new ferry service has been opened to carry passengers across the water to the V&A Waterfront. This picture by Terry Hutson. Berthing information courtesy Ian Shiffman

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