Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 22, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • SA Navy tracks Chinese ship An Yue Jiang round coast

  • Chinese arms ship latest: unions mobilise to prevent weapons transfer

  • Grindrod expects half-year profits to go up by between 55 – 75 percent

  • Islanders count cost as crane collapses

  • Uganda gives up on recovering lake cargo ship mv Kabelega

  • Somali pirates seize Spanish fishing ship

  • Pic of the day – ARA LIBERTAD


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    SA Navy tracks Chinese ship An Yue Jiang round coast

    An Yue Jiang off Durban 17 April 2008. Picture Clinton Wyness

    Durban, 21 April - The South African Navy has confirmed it is tracking the progress of the Cosco vessel An Yue Jiang around the South African coast but will not, it appears, do anything to bring the vessel into port or to serve court papers.

    The ship, carrying a cargo of arms and weapons for Zimbabwe, raised anchor and sailed away from the Durban outer anchorage on Friday evening, moments before the sheriff of the court arrived to serve papers to the vessel ordering it into port.

    On Friday evening the Durban High Court heard an urgent application brought by the South African Litigation Society representing the Bishop of Natal and other church groups which sought to prevent the ship’s cargo of arms and weapons reaching Zimbabwe through South Africa.

    Judge Kate Pillay granted a temporary interdiction ordering the ship to enter port and discharge the cargo which was to be held in bond until a second court hearing in a week’s time. But as the sheriff went out in a motor boat to serve the order the ship was observed raising anchor and moving away in a northerly direction with Maputo listed as the next port of call.

    Satawu (South African Transport and Allied Workers Union), which last Thursday instructed its workers not to handle the cargo, said yesterday the ship had attempted to dock in Maputo but was turned away after the International Transport Federation (ITF), to which Satawu is affiliated, had made urgent representations to the Mozambican government not to allow the vessel to enter any of its ports.

    Satawu has since called on African transport workers and road freight operators not to allow the ship to dock or work cargo at any African port right up as far as West Africa and to return the cargo to Beijing.

    Meanwhile it appears the ship’s transponder has been turned off, leading to Lloyds MUI listing the ship as a casualty on Sunday morning. However the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) at Cape Town later advised that the ship had been observed passing Cape St Francis near Port Elizabeth, heading southwest towards Cape Point.

    It now appears the ship intends reaching either Walvis Bay or Lobito in Angola, where it can refuel and dispose of its cargo.

    Late on Monday morning two South African Navy ships left Simon’s Town unexpectedly but the navy declined to comment whether this has any connection with the An Yue Jiang. The navy later acknowledged it has been monitoring the ship’s progress but a spokesman for the SAN told the South African Litigation Society, which brought the action before the courts last Friday that it could not interfere as long as the Chinese ship remained outside the 12 mile territorial limit.

    Chinese arms ship latest: unions mobilise to prevent weapons transfer

    London, 21 April - Global union federation the ITF today (Monday) reported that the An Yue Jiang, which left South African waters to avoid an injunction and trade union action against its cargo, later steered away from possible landfall in Maputo (where the local ITF-affiliated union was also on alert).

    The ship has switched off its transponder (which broadcasts its exact location), but the ITF believes it could try to make for Luanda, Angola next, and may be running low on fuel. The ITF is alerting its member unions in the area and seeking an assurance from the Angolan government that it will not attempt to assist the transshipment of the load to Zimbabwe.

    The ITF believes that the vessel should dock at the nearest suitable port, irrespective of whether or not its cargo is impounded, take on fuel and return to China.

    ITF General Secretary David Cockroft said: “The ITF, our member trade unions and the ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) are doing everything we consider necessary to stop this dangerous and destabilising shipment reaching Zimbabwe. We will continue to do so, we hope with the support of the regions’ governments, but without them if necessary.”

    “This materiel must not reach Zimbabwe, a country whose people are crying out for food and freedom, not bullets.”

    He concluded: “As well as mobilising our colleagues in the region we are reiterating our message to Cosco, the Chinese Government, the officially approved All China Federation of Trade Unions, and the Chinese Seamen’s and Construction Workers’ union – which has been showing indications of growing independence from the national authorities – that they should think of the safety of the ship’s crew. The way to do that is to dock, whether or not the arms are seized, assure the vessel is seaworthy, and then return it to its home port.”

    The ITF is a global federation of 654 unions from 148 countries representing 4,418,455 workers worldwide.

    Grindrod expects half-year profits to go up by between 55 – 75 percent

    Durban, 21 April - Grindrod says it expects that its earnings per share and headline earnings per share for the six month period to 30 June 2008 will increase by between 55 percent and 75 percent compared to the comparative period of 2007.

    The growth in profits is a result of strong operational performance, the company said in a statement.

    Grindrod emphasised that the forecast has not been reviewed or reported on by the company’s external auditors, but it is obliged in terms of the Listings Requirements of JSE Limited to publish a Trading Update as soon as the company financial results will differ by more than 20 percent from the financial results for the previous corresponding period.

    The company says it will release its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2008 on or about 20 August 2008.

    Islanders count cost as crane collapses

    Islanders on the remote Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic are counting the cost after the boom on the island’s only heavy duty harbour crane collapsed.

    The elderly crane was to be replaced in the near future with finance having already been secured but the immediate problem now is how to get equipment and materials for the construction of a new fish processing plant ashore.

    The crane is an essential part of the island’s limited harbour facilities and the mishap came shortly after repairs to Calshot Harbour were successfully carried out by a team from the Royal Navy fleet auxiliary vessel, FRA Lyme Bay. The fleet auxiliary carried its own equipment which returned with the ship.

    Earlier this year the island’s fish processing factory caught fire and was destroyed, resulting in the need to bring new equipment and machinery to one of the world’s most isolated islands. source tristandc.com

    Uganda gives up on recovering lake cargo ship mv Kabelega

    The Ugandan Department of Works and Transport says it is withdrawing from attempts to salvage the Lake Victoria cargo and passenger ship mv Kabalega, which sank on 8 May 2005.

    Kabalega, which was owned by the Ugandan Railways Corporation, was in collision with another lake vessel, the mv Kaawa approximately 60 n.miles south of Port Bell and sank carrying her cargo of 840 tonnes of wheat.

    According to the Minister for Works and Transport, John Byabagambi it is not economically viable to continue attempts at recovering the ship. He said a South African salvage firm had quoted USD4.57 million for the salvage and another USD11.42m would be required to repair the vessel. In addition the ship’s insurance had been allowed to elapse.

    “When we weighed the assessment, we decided to abandon the whole issue,” he told parliament’s National Economy Committee.

    The cause of the accident was ascribed to incompetence on the part of the crew on bridge duty on both vessels, as well as a lack of communication equipment and a failure to implement recommendations arising from previous accidents involving both ships. A lack of a suitable trained and equipped search-and-rescue unit was also highlighted.

    The minister said Uganda planned to reactivate another lake ship, mv Pamba and that mv Kaawa which was damaged in the collision with Kabalega could be repaired at a later stage. He said that it would be possible to have mv Pamba back in service by August 2008 for the vessel to increase the capacity of the southern route to the port of Dar es Salaam.

    In the meantime a private operator, Tanzanian-based Kamanga Ferry has stepped up its cargo operations on the lake, operating to various ports. source - East African

    Somali pirates seize Spanish fishing ship

    Somali pirates yesterday captured a 1,600-ton Spanish fishing vessel, the 76-metre-long ms Playa de Bakio along with 26 crew members.

    According to reports about half the crew of the fishing vessel are Spanish and the other half are Africans, no nationalities provided. During the attack gunfire took place and one boat in the water was damaged and one person injured.

    According to a radio message sent from the ship by the master, all crew were accounted for and unharmed.

    Local Somali elders and the Spanish government are believed to be in touch with the pirates and are negotiating the release of the ship and crew. The pirates are demanding a ransom be paid and a Spanish frigate sailing in the Red Sea is on its way to the scene.

    At the time of the attack the fishing vessel was fishing for tuna some 450 kilometres off the Somali coast. The pirates came in with small boats and used grenades to force the Spanish ship to surrender.

    Pic of the day – ARA LIBERTAD

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    FOR THE RECORD… in yesterday’s News Bulletin we inadvertently gave the date of arrival of the Argentine sailing ship ARA LIBERTAD as this Saturday 16 April. This should have read 26 April. Apologies for any inconvenience but there’s still time to arrange a visit to the V&A Waterfront in Table Bay at the weekend to see and visit the ship. For details see our report in yesterday’s bulletin

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