Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 4, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • African economic growth still strong but development and aid lag: UN report

  • Van Gogh arrested - again

  • Container ship crippled by engine room fire

  • New grain terminal adds capacity at Mombasa

  • Death of Capt Craig Doornekamp – South African seafarer

  • New Angolan port planned for Luanda

  • Pride Angola signs on for another five years

  • India turns towards Angola for its oil

  • Africa needs better meteorological monitoring for development - UN official

  • Pic of the day – MSC SHEILA


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    African economic growth still strong but development and aid lag: UN report

    3 April 2008 – African economies are forecast to grow by an average of 6.2 percent in 2008 after a strong 2007, but the struggle against extreme poverty and international support for systemic improvement lag behind, according to a United Nations report released this week.

    The latest edition of the Economic Report on Africa (ERA 2008), the annual joint publication of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union (AU), says that growth on the continent was driven mainly by robust global demand and high commodity prices.

    Other growth factors in Africa include continued consolidation of macroeconomic stability and improving macroeconomic management, greater commitment to economic reforms, increased private capital flows, debt relief and increasing non-fuel exports, the report says.

    It adds that Africa has also witnessed a decline in political conflicts and wars, especially in West and Central Africa, though peace remains fragile in some parts of the continent and growth performance varied sharply across countries and regions.
    Key challenges to Africa's growth in 2008 include the risk of sharper slowdown in the United States economy, a fall in global commodity demand and prices and high oil prices.

    In addition to political instability in some countries, inefficient public infrastructure and unreliable energy supply at the national level as well as poor integration of transportation and energy networks at the regional level continue to pose economic constraints.

    This year’s report, under the title Africa and the Monterrey Consensus: Tracking Performance and Progress, also assesses progress in the implementation of the 2002 Monterrey Consensus on international commitments for development in Africa.
    Debt relief, one area of the consensus, has made much progress, the report found. However, very limited progress has been made in other core areas such as mobilizing domestic and international resources for development and promoting trade as a development engine.

    The establishment of donor groups and an annual African Ministerial Conference to monitor progress on the consensus is a bold step forward in this area, the report concludes.

    “It is hoped that these monitoring mechanisms will help to turn the promises made by development partners into deeds. The implementation of these commitments is important for Africa to achieve meaningful results in poverty reduction and lay the foundation for a brighter future for its peoples,” ECA said in a press release on the report’s launch.

    Van Gogh arrested - again

    The cruise ship VAN GOGH (15,402-gt) in the V&A harbour at Cape Town last month. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    A few weeks ago we reported that the cruise ship VAN GOGH had been detained in Cape Town harbour for unspecified financial reasons. Whatever these were the matter was quickly resolved and the ship sailed about 12 hours behind schedule.

    Van Gogh has now reached the west coast of Africa – the port of Funchal in Madeira to be exact, where she is again under judicial detention. The ship has about 460 passengers on board who had been anticipating a last few relaxing days at sea before the ship ended her world cruise back in Cornwall. Instead while passengers remain uncertain just how their voyage will end, the ship’s operators are arguing the legal points of her arrest.

    Other than the ship being unable to sail the passengers have not been greatly inconvenienced and have been allowed to go ashore while lawyers for the operators, Van Gogh Cruises seek the ship’s release. The current operator is a subsidiary of the Dutch company Club Cruise.

    The matter apparently concerns an outstanding debt involving the previous operator, Travelscope, whose planned itinerary for Van Gogh was taken over by Club Cruise/Van Gogh Cruises.

    Von Gogh sailed from Falmouth in the UK early in January on a world cruise and was due back in that port tomorrow (Saturday).

    Container ship crippled by engine room fire

    The container ship MSC LUGANO has been towed further away from the Western Australia coast after losing all power in an engine room fire. The ship, sailing from Adelaide to Fremantle, experienced a fire in the engine room while about 150 n.miles off the port of Esperance.

    Although the crew managed to extinguish the blaze the ship has been crippled and left drifting. According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) the ship’s master reported he was waiting for the engines to cool down before assessing the extent of the damage. He obviously hoped that the vessel would be able to restart her engines and make her way to Fremantle.

    However the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) on Wednesday exercised its power of intervention and dispatched two tugs, the Mackenzie Tug Services’ SHOAL CAPE and the CAPE PASLEY from the port of Esperance to intercept and tow MSC Lugano further away from the coast. The two harbour tugs were released yesterday (Thursday) on arrival of a more powerful salvage tug from Fremantle.

    MSC Lugano (35,959-gt), which is deployed on the company’s North West Europe – Australia / New Zealand service, carries a crew of 25.

    New grain terminal adds capacity at Mombasa

    picture courtesy Kenya Ports Authority

    The Port of Mombasa is now able to provide increased storage for bulk grain imports following the opening of a new terminal near the harbour.

    The new facility at the Shimanzi Industrial area has storage for 100,000 tonnes of grain, complete with temperature and aeration facilities. The USD12 million terminal is operated by Grain Bulk Handlers Limited (GBHL).

    According to GBHL managing director Brown Ondego (the former Kenya Ports Authority MD) the terminal would benefit the Great Lakes region and Indian Ocean Islands in particular, with grain being able to be stored for longer periods than previously.

    In 2007 Mombasa handled just short of a million tonnes of grain.

    Death of Captain Craig Doornekamp - South African seafarer

    Captain Craig Doornekamp, master mariner passed away this week after an illness bravely borne.

    Capt Doornekamp (48) served the last 18 years with Unicorn Shipping, where he was master of a variety of ships across the company’s respective services. He began his career at sea as a cadet with Safmarine in 1977, later transferring to sister company Pentow when that was still a division of Safmarine.

    Joining Unicorn in 1990 he sailed as a trainee ships master with the offshore fleet before being appointed as master. After two years he transferred to the dry cargo ships and in 1997 to the tanker fleet where he again underwent training before being appointed as a tanker master. His last command in Unicorn Tankers before his illness was with the vessel INYATI which was deployed in the Mediterranean.

    His colleagues all spoke highly of the man, both as a person and as a seafarer and ships master, who was well liked and loved. One colleague described him as someone with a great sense of humour who could always get the best out of everyone he came in contact with, in particular his crew.

    “He ran a happy ship but always an efficient ship, which is an all-too-rare thing these days. He looked after his crew and his ships were spick and span and it was always a pleasure to sail with him,” said Captain Dick Young from Unicorn’s head office in Durban.

    Captain Doornekamp leaves his wife Belinda and stepson Craig. The funeral will be held in Cape Town today (Friday) at 3pm.

    New Angolan port planned for Luanda

    Angola intends starting construction on a new port for Luanda this year, says Minister of Transport André Luís Brandão.

    The new harbour will be built at Dande Bay to the north of the existing Luanda harbor and will be twice the size and capacity of the existing port, with berthing facilities for up to 32 ships. The existing port of Luanda can take 15 ships on berth at present.

    Speaking at the opening ceremony for the Third Consultative Council of the Harbour of Luanda, Brandão said the government recognised the need for a new port as a result of the economic growth taking place. However he stressed that the existing port should also have to undergo redevelopment and modernising to meet current challenges. The port required attention to the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure to handle current traffic demands.

    The minister emphasised the importance of the role played by the country’s ports as gateways for merchandise and raw materials on which the country depended. - Angop

    Pride Angola signs on for another five years

    The deep-water drill ship PRIDE ANGOLA will spend another five years operating off Angola following the signing of a renewal contract between the American company Pride International and Total, the French oil major.

    Pride Angola’s original contract to drill off the Angolan coast goes back to 1997. This week’s renewal follows the receipt of the regulatory approval which will see the new contract take effect from July in direct continuation of an existing contract, also for Total.

    The drillship is designed to operate in water depths of up to 10,000 feet although the contract off Angola requires drilling in depths up to 6,000 ft.

    India turns towards Angola for its oil

    India intends focusing on obtaining energy assets in Angola, says a report in Gulf News.

    After failing to obtaining supplies closer to home (the Middle East) India, which is Asia’s third largest consumer of oil, is turning its attention further west.

    “Angola is the next country where we are going to concentrate,” Indian Oil Minister Murli Deora said in an interview in New Delhi. “We lost because our bid wasn’t good enough” in previous auctions, he said. “We have learned from this,” the minister said.

    State-run explorers from India and China have submitted bids for oil blocks in Angola as the world's two most populous nations need imports to sustain economic growth.

    India's oil shortage has spurred Deora to turn to Angola, Opec's fastest-growing member, after losing out to China in USD10 billion of auctions.

    India's energy independence has been threatened because it hasn't been able to increase production at home, where output from three-decade-old fields is declining. India will also compete for oil in Nigeria, Africa's biggest producer, and Sudan.

    “India has to acquire assets overseas. There is no other way,” said Prashant Periwal, an analyst at B&K Securities in London. “China has slowly and steadily spread across most of Africa and is sitting on huge resources. For fuel security, you have to take control of supplies.”

    India has been beaten by China to auctions for energy assets in Kazakhstan and Myanmar in the past three years. India has offered to build ports and railways in Nigeria and Sudan, copying tactics used by China.

    The South Asian nation hosted a two-day India-Africa conference in November to discuss oil cooperation, where Deora offered to build refineries and pipelines.
    India sought stakes of as much as 32 percent in two fields in Sudan, RS Butola, managing director of ONGC Videsh, said during the November conference in New Delhi.

    Deora will travel to Venezuela next month to complete an agreement to acquire a stake in fields in the biggest crude-exporting nation in the Americas.

    The bidding has been delayed after Angola extended the deadline indefinitely.

    Statistics: Growing demand

    * India, the fastest-growing economy after China, estimates demand for oil will rise 62 percent over the next five years to 241 million tonnes a year.

    * ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas exploration unit of Oil & Natural Gas Corp, India's biggest producer, will invest up to USD356 million in a venture with state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA, to operate the San Cristobal area.

    * ONGC Videsh and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's largest refiner, are among 43 companies that will bid to explore for oil in Angola, according to state-run Sonangol SA.

    * The African nation is offering 11 licences for fields with a potential of 9.6 billion barrels of oil reserves, Sonangol said on its website. - Gulfnews

    Africa needs better meteorological monitoring for development - UN official

    Addis Ababa - Given Africa’s vulnerability to climate change, variability and extreme weather events, better meteorological services are crucial for its development and the struggle against poverty, the head of the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said this week.

    “African National Meteorological and Hydrological Services must be seen as actors of development,” Michel Jarraud, the WMO Secretary-General, told a conference of finance and economy meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia under the aegis of the African Union (AU).

    “They have an important role to play in regional and international action plans, particularly with regard to evaluating and monitoring the environment, preparing for natural hazards, agricultural production, water resources and, particularly, climate change,” Mr Jarraud continued.

    Many African countries are among the world’s least developed and consequently are the most susceptible to threats posed by meteorological and hydrological disasters, such as drought, flooding, cyclones, dust storms and other extreme weather events, the WMO said in a press release.

    In February, for example, Cyclone Ivan caused catastrophic floods in Mozambique and Madagascar, resulting in enormous losses in human life, agricultural production and property. Drought has plagued many countries across sub-Saharan Africa, causing water shortages and damaging crops and threatening food security.

    But if more is invested in developing the observational capacities of their national meteorological and hydrological services, improved weather forecasts, improved early warnings of imminent natural hazards and climate change can be made available to decision-makers and end-users, the agency said.

    Mr. Jarraud said that at present, however, African meteorological services are far from ideal to perform those critical functions.

    “Serious gaps still exist in observation networks, often due to instrument and systems failure, as well as the high costs of operation and maintenance,” he said, urging that African leaders focus on fixing the problem.

    “Leaders can promote this by investing in and developing methods that can assess the socio-economic advantages of national meteorological and hydrological weather services,” he proposed.

    Pic of the day – MSC SHEILA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    Mediterranean Shipping Company’s container ship MSC SHEILA seen in this picture sailing from Durban. The vessel operates on MSC’s Durban – Cape Town – Luanda service
    Picture by Steve McCurrach

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