Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 18, 2008

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  • New twist in Chinese arms shipment – union will refuse to handle cargo

  • SA government says it can’t interfere with China-Zim shipment

  • RBCT one of the top companies to commit to UN Global Compact

  • Mozambique wants USD70 million to fix port of Beira

  • Somalia’s head to authorise international measures against piracy

  • Pic of the day – SALVANGUARD


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    New twist in Chinese arms shipment – union will refuse to handle cargo

    In a new twist with the shipment of Chinese weapons destined for Zimbabwe, which last night remained stranded on board the COSCO ship An Yue Jiang outside Durban harbour (see yesterday’s story Chinese ship carrying arms for Zimbabwe refused entry to Durban CLICK HERE), the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) has entered the fray by instructing its members not to handle any cargo from the ship should the vessel enter harbour.

    “Satawu has become aware that a vessel from China has docked in Durban (the ship is at the outer anchorage – editor) and we are also informed that the vessel is carrying arms headed for Zimbabwe,” said Satawu general secretary Randall Howard last night (Thursday).

    “Satawu has also noted the comments of the Government spokesperson Themba Maseko indicating that Government will not intervene in the matter as it is a matter of trade between Zimbabwe and China. Satawu further notes the comments by Transnet Spokesperson John Dludlu who stated that the vessel had complied with all the necessary requirements in the port of Durban.”

    Howard said that Satawu does not agree with the position of the South African Government not to intervene with this shipment of weapons. “Our members employed at Durban Container Terminal will not unload this cargo neither will any of our members in the truck driving sector move this cargo by road.

    “This vessel must return to China with the arms on board as South Africa cannot be seen to be facilitating the flow of weapons into Zimbabwe at a time where there is a political dispute and a volatile situation between the ZANU-PF and the MDC.

    “As Satawu we will campaign for this vessel to be returned to China as it is the only way through which a peaceful solution can be found in Zimbabwe with the election results being announced by the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the will of the Zimbabwean people respected through the ballot box as exercised on 29 March 2008.

    “Finally, Satawu will also raise this matter with its Federation COSATU to join the campaign to ensure the return of this vessel to China and to ensure the use of the military and the use of force is not used on ordinary Zimbabweans.”

    See related article giving government’s viewpoint in next story.

    SA government says it can’t interfere with China-Zim shipment

    by Bathandwa Mbola (BuaNews)

    Pretoria,17 April - South Africa is not in the position to interfere with a shipment of weapons reportedly from China en-route to Zimbabwe which is currently docked at the Port of Durban, says Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister, Aziz Pahad.

    “We are not able to determine as Foreign Affairs as to what goods are shipped from one country to another,” he said, adding that clarity should be asked from relevant stakeholders.

    “It is a matter that needs to be taken up by relevant stakeholders like the South African Revenue Service, National Ports Authority, International Ship and Ports Security,” he told reporters at the Union Buildings on Thursday.

    Pahad further said South Africa was not aware of the nature of export and import relations between Zimbabwe and China.

    According to media reports the Chinese ship, An Yue Jiang, was carrying three million rounds of ammunition for AK-47 assault rifles and small arms, 3,500 mortars and mortar tubes as well as 1,500 rocket propelled grenades.

    The ship which is currently docked at the Durban harbour is reported to have entered the port without clearance and is currently docked at the outer anchorage.

    Besides the transport permit issued by the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), a clearance permit from the explosives department of the police is still needed before the shipment can be released.

    The arms shipment has sparked a political outcry with parties calling on the government to block the consignment allegedly bound for Zimbabwe's army.

    Earlier, Government spokesperson Themba Maseko echoed the same sentiments of Deputy Minister Pahad.

    “We are not in a position to act unilaterally and interfere in a trade deal between two countries,” he told reporters during a post Cabinet briefing.

    All South African authorities could do was to make sure that all proper administrative processes were followed, he said, adding that South Africa is not at all involved in the arrangement as it was a matter between the two countries.

    It would be possible, but very difficult for South Africa to start intervening and saying that we will not allow the shipment through, Maseko said.

    RBCT one of the top companies to commit to UN Global Compact

    a partial view of RBCT, with a Capesize bulker alongside loading coal at the world’s largest single terminal, and a Handysize beyond. The terminal handles between 65 and 70 million tonnes of export coal annually

    Richards Bay, 17 April - Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) last week was one of the 16 SA top companies that signed the United Nations Global Compact in Johannesburg.

    The Global Compact, an initiative by the United Nations, asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption. To date, over 5,000 companies in over 100 countries around the world have committed themselves to this set of principles.

    “It is indeed an important milestone for us at RBCT to be part of such an initiative which enables us to publicly commit ourselves to the ten principles of the UN Global Compact in respect to human rights, labour rights, the environment and anti-corruption,” said Kuseni Dlamini, Executive Chairman of Richards Bay Coal Terminal.

    “RBCT is proud to commit to making the Global Compact and its principles part of our strategy, culture and day to day operations. As the single largest coal export terminal in the world, RBCT takes seriously the issues laid out in the Global Compact. That is why we have been making tremendous improvements in our facility in terms of fighting HIV/ Aids, optimising energy efficiency and creating opportunities for multi stakeholder engagement and encouraging collaborative action by businesses in the Zululand Region.”

    Some of the benefits of being part of the UN Global Compact are as follows

  • exchange of experience and good practices to inspire practical solutions to challenging problems
  • Global and local opportunities to dialogue and collaborate with other international businesses, NGO’s, labour and government on critical issues
  • Leverage the UN’s global reach and power with governments, businesses and civil society
  • Increase legitimacy and license to operate because business practices are based on universal values
  • Ensuring accountability and transparency through a public communication on progress

    “Participation of companies in the Global Compact is a symbol of good corporate citizenship in South Africa. The NBI is confident that the initiative will continue to grow into an important mechanism for business to improve their contribution to society and our environment,” says André Fourie, NBI’s Chief Executive Officer.

    The Global Compact in South Africa is managed by the National Business Initiative (NBI), which became focal point to the initiative in 2007.

    Mozambique wants USD70 million to fix port of Beira

    Mozambique will have to raise USD70 million if it wants to complete the dredging of the entrance and access channels for the port of Beira.

    This was confirmed by a spokesman for CFM, the state-owned transport company that ‘owns’ the port. Antonio Libombo pointed out that dredging was essential if Beira is to handle 20 million tonnes of coal exports from the redeveloped mines at Moatize in Tete Province.

    The coal mines are currently being reopened by the concessionaire Brazilian mining group CRVD and Beira has been selected as the port of export. The railway from Tete Province to Beira is currently being rehabilitated.

    Apart from having to undertake deep dredging to open the port to larger ships, CFM also wants to acquire another dredger which can be used to maintain the levels. Last year Mozambique’s state-owned dredging company took delivery of a new dredger donated by Japan, which has been put to work at Beira.

    Beira was originally identified as a potential port by the Portuguese explorer Paive de Andrade and this was followed by a hydrographic survey of the river and approaches and then in 1887 the establishment of a Portuguese military post. But the impetus to build the port really followed the development of what was to become Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and with it the need to provide the shortest possible rail link to the coast. The latter was undertaken by the chartered company of Cecil John Rhodes.

    Beira is now Mozambique second largest city and port after Maputo but the harbour, built on the Pungwe River continues to be hindered by sandbanks in the river and at the mouth.

    Beira was named after the Prince of Beira and Portuguese Crown Prince, D Luis Filipe. The original Beira is a region in central Portugal.

    Somalia’s head to authorise international measures against piracy

    Mogadishu, 17 April - Somalia's President Abdullah Yusuf Ahmed said on Wednesday (16 April) he would authorise international measures to fight pirates on high seas off the Somali coast.

    Ahmed was attending the UN Security Council debate to find ways of assisting the African Union in its mission for peace throughout the continent. He said his war-torn country was confronted with numerous internal problems.

    “Since Somalia cannot at the moment guard its vast coast, we would want to authorise the international community to take action and combat piracy at the high seas off Somalia until we can effectively undertake the security of our territorial waters,” Ahmed said.

    The French government, following the successful capture of pirates who seized the yacht Le Ponant, has proposed a naval task group to deter attacks by pirates. – adapted from an article in Shiptalk

    Pic of the day – SALVANGUARD

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The towing and salvage tug SALVANGUARD in Cape Town yesterday, shortly after arrival. In the background is one of several oil rig’s taking up residence in Cape Town, ATLANTIC VENTURE, with another behind it. Picture by Aad Noorland

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