Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 3, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Stowaways – an African pain

  • Energy threat to Walvis Bay port expansion

  • P&O takes umbrage over ORIANA’s berthing arrangement

  • Safmarine Angela introduced into multi purpose service

  • Transnet director stands down

  • AFRICOM aims to partner with African nations

  • Pic of the day – Durban port entrance widening


    The latest update from the journal of adventurer and explorer Kingsley Holgate, now more than halfway through the epic Africa, the Outside Edge expedition, is now available in the SEA STORIES section of Ports & Ships. For this and earlier reports CLICK HERE

    Stowaways – an African pain

    The cost of finding and repatriating stowaways, which has been estimated at USD 20 million a year, remains one of the major security problems facing African ports, says Transnet National Ports Authority intelligence and security manager Castro Khwela.

    Khwela was addressing a conference in Johannesburg and said the threat of stowaways was nothing else but a consequence of poor access control. Incidences of stowaways reflected serious security lapses around the port facilities and ships, he said, and the situation calls for urgent and strategic security measures by port authorities and stakeholders to address the problem.

    “The number of stowaways [has] increased dramatically at South African ports. One major factor was that South Africa was seen as the place where the stowaways’ dreams of employment and riches could come true,” says Khwela. Many stowaways claimed to be South Africans, but investigations indicated that less than one per cent of them were bona fide nationals with the majority being illegal immigrants.

    He said he wants a redefinition of a stowaway on the basis that a stowaway is also a trespasser into the port and port facility prior to boarding the vessel. Later he becomes an illegal immigrant in the port of destination.

    According to Khwela South African ports are pro-actively facing security challenges in the ports and have introduced a pilot project at the Port of Durban known as the Security Information Management System (SIMS).

    “It is designed to be a user-friendly information management system that ensures the collation, processing, consolidation and dissemination of information, which is then forwarded to security management for dissemination in the form of monthly reports and presentations,” he said. Source – Business Daily

    Related Article

    In a recent news report in Ports & Ships the UK P&I Club gave figures that shows Africa as having the highest incidents of stowaways, with South Africa leading the field at 190 cases in 2007. Read the article HERE

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

    Energy threat to Walvis Bay port expansion

    It’s not only South African towns and cities, and industry, that is facing an energy crisis. Neighbouring countries are faced with similar problems, as reported this week by Namibia’s New Era newspaper.

    The mayor of Walvis Bay told the town council that the lack of sufficient energy supply was proving worrisome, particularly in the face of envisaged development at the town and port, including proposed oil refineries and depots and the Namibia Ports Authority (Namport) expansion project.

    Mayor Derek Klazen warned that electricity load-shedding should be anticipated and said that while the proposed developments for the Walvis Bay area were to be welcomed for their positive boost to the local economy, their effects on electrical supply could not be ignored.

    P&O takes umbrage over ORIANA’s berthing arrangement

    Oriana on the Cape Town harbour Eastern Mole, with the mountain in the background – stirring up a minor storm of controversy. Question – where should ships of this size be berthed? Picture Robert Ravensberg

    The decision by the Port of Cape Town to place the visiting cruise ship ORIANA along the Eastern Mole has not gone down well with the shipping line and others involved, according to media reports from Cape Town.

    The ship, at 260m long, is considered too long by port authorities for the V&A Waterfront which has all the tourism attractions. Because of her size the 1500 or so passengers on board the P&O ship found themselves berthed in a working area of the harbour – no unusual experience for large cruise ships or even the Oriana, we are sure, but nevertheless some distance from the city and too far for passengers to easily access shops and restaurants.

    According to the harbour master they did have an excellent view of Table Mountain.

    A unique ferry service was apparently also introduced, taking passengers on a short ride to the adjacent Victoria and Alfred basins but by all accounts this was not good enough for P&O.

    “We're bringing 1500 tourists... and they have an expectation that Cape Town will be easily accessible from the ship,” Philip Naylor, Carnival Corp UK general manager of fleet, marine and shore operations was quoted as saying.

    The shipping line sent the port authority a sharp email saying that the berth provided was ‘quite unsuited to a high-quality tourist activity’.

    Oriana was in Cape Town for two days at the recent weekend, sailing again on Monday.

    Safmarine Angela introduced into multi purpose service

    Here’s one that almost got past our radar (where was your press release Safmarine?). On 13 March Safmarine unveiled and named the first of four new multi purpose ships, SAFMARINE ANGELA, at a naming ceremony held in Antwerp.

    Safmarine Angela is on long-term charter to the company’s MPV division (multi purpose vessel) – the only business unit within the AP Moller-Maersk Group that is active in both containerised and non-containerised shipments.

    “These new, versatile vessels, built to Safmarine’s specification in China, will be deployed on the MPV West Africa trades where their ability to carry break bulk commodities as well as heavy lift and oversized cargoes - in addition to containers - is much sought after by our growing customer base,” said Safmarine CEO, Ivan Heesom-Green.

    The Safmarine Angela is a box-shaped, geared tweendecker vessel boasting a number of features which makes her highly suitable to the transportation of a wide range of cargo – from mega-bulk cocoa shipments to containerised reefer cargo and heavy lift cargo.

    The new vessel joins the Safmarine Basilea and Safmarine Leman on Safmarine’s OPEX service which operates from Aberdeen, Larvik, Antwerp and Las Palmas to oil locations in the equatorial region of West Africa.

    The naming ceremony in Antwerp, hosted by Safmarine on behalf of the vessel owners, was a special occasion for Safmariners as the vessel, making her maiden call in Antwerp, was berthed in full view of the Safmarine Head Office on Antwerp’s Gerlachekaai.

    To mark the occasion, Captain Greg Ulicki, Safmarine’s MPV Executive, presented the vessel with a statue of an early 1900s Antwerp dockworker (‘Buildrager’).

    Safmarine currently offers five different MPV services from three continents to more than 12 West African countries, deploying on average 18 vessels ranging from 12,500 and 18,000 DWT.

    In addition to its core services from Europe, the USA East Coast and South Africa to West Africa, the MPV unit also serves the needs of customers shipping containerised cargo from South America, Asia and West Central Asia to ‘MPV niche ports’, ports not served by the regular liner services of the AP Moller-Maersk Group.

    Vessel specifications:

    Name: Safmarine Angela
    Owners: Enzian Shipping, Switzerland
    Shipyard: Tianjin Xingang Yard, China
    Length: 139,99 m
    Breadth: 21,50 m
    Deadweight: 12,070 tdw
    Service Speed: 16,00 kn
    Complement: 16 crew
    Container Capacity: 470 TEU
    Cranes: 3

    Transnet director stands down

    Johannesburg, 1 April – Transnet has announced that Dr Sam Jonah has resigned from the Transnet Board of Directors as well as the Board of Trustees of the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund.

    The resignation became effective in February 2008 but has only now been announced.

    Dr Jonah has been a Transnet non-executive and independent director since 2004, during which time he also served on various board committees including chairing the Remuneration Committee and the TSDBF.

    Mr Fred Phaswana, Transnet’s chairman, expressed gratitude to Dr Jonah’s contribution over the years in helping steer the Company into a focused freight transport and logistics business and, lately, in positioning Transnet for volume-led growth.

    “Sam’s invaluable input has taken us through some of the most challenging stages of our journey. On behalf of everyone at Transnet, we extend our sincere gratitude to Dr Jonah for his devoted service to the Company.”

    Phaswana said a process to fill the vacancy on the Board was underway.

    AFRICOM aims to partner with African nations

    Another report from the African Conference held outside Washington

    by Jim Garamone

    Warrenton, Virginia, 30 March, 2008 — US Africa Command (AFRICOM) wants to work in partnership with African nations, and its establishment does not signal the militarisation of US foreign policy, said the organization's commander, Army Gen William E ‘Kip’ Ward.

    Ward spoke to representatives from 43 African nations during the US - Africa Defense Policy Dialogue at the Airlie House conference centre south of Washington, DC, on 27 March, 2008.

    “I don’t want to take over US foreign policy,” Ward told the gathered African defence experts. “(It's) not my job and quite frankly not the value system I possess.” The general stressed that US civilian leaders make policy, not the military.

    Ward called the command an “innovation” in ways to deliver security assistance to African partners. He said the command will only act after listening to what African nations want. The command will maintain a light footprint on the continent, and American officials are not looking to establish bases on the continent.

    Security and economic development are two sides of the same coin, Ward said, and African nations understand that. Africa Command is a unique mix of uniformed personnel and interagency civilians that will help Africans provide their own security.

    “This construct is designed to address the complexity of trying to bring stability, and we know it’s not a strictly military task,” Ward said.

    US Africa Command stood up on 1 October, 2007 and is scheduled to become an independent unified command by 1 October, 2008. It is integrating missions that were the responsibility of three other geographic commands: US European Command, US Central Command and US Pacific Command.

    The command, which currently has about 400 military and civilian personnel, is picking up the missions of those three geographic commands while growing to about 1,300 people, said Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, a career State Department employee who serves as the command's deputy for civil-military activities.

    “The military is from Mars and we are from Venus, we are from different worlds,” she said. “But when we work together it is clear that the military is not making the foreign policy ... we all are following the US policy. By being integrated in the command, we think we can more effectively support the policies the State Department articulates.”

    The command will deliver military assistance and facilitate and support other US and African agencies. The key is “sustained security engagement with our partners,” Yates said. “If you want us to partner with you, we'll be there with you. We want to stay in the military lane, because what we've heard from you is better security and stability in your nations is what is going to bring economic prosperity.”

    Yates is one of two co-deputies for Africa Command along side a Navy vice admiral, who is Africa Command's deputy for military operations However, Yates is not the only member of the command from outside Defense Department. The Treasury Department, the US Agency for International Development, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice all have employees in the command.

    The command is bilaterally working with many nations and with pan-African organizations - such as the African Union - to help professionalise their militaries, to help them become more responsive to civilian control and to help them build security. At the core of this is what the command calls active security. This is a concept Ward devised after listening to African leaders.

    “When we do something with you that you have asked us to do, you are assured that we're going to be there to help see it through. That's the notion of active security,” he said.

    Sustaining security is the long-term goal of the nations and the command. Sustained security “fosters growth ... that doesn't fade in time and can mature in ways that make a difference to you,” Ward said.

    “This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” the general said. “And we want to establish a relationship so you know we are in it for the long term. It will be sustained, but in ways that make sense to you.”

    The command will continue the training and military exercises that the other three geographic commands have in place. It will also work with African nations on plans in case of natural or man-made disasters. AFRICOM will help continental organisations with logistics and with communications - things already being done, Ward said.

    US Africa Command is designed to be able to provide that support in a more effective way, the general explained.

    “We don't want to control anyone,” Ward said. “We want you to be better able to provide the security that you have said you want to do. We want to help you build your security capacity - we don't want to provide it.”

    Ward pointed out that the command wants to support humanitarian assistance efforts, and do it in a way that fosters dialogue and development.

    Africa has many problems, the general said, but he believes it can overcome them. The continent will probably “not get to the perfect condition where there are no conflicts,” Ward said, “but does that mean we ought not be working toward that?” - (American Forces Press Service)


    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    An update showing the latest stage of the widening of the Durban port entrance channel, in which the reduction of the North Pier (right) can be clearly seen. The ship in the entrance channel with the pilotboat alongside is CMA CGM Anapurna
    Picture by Steve McCurrach

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