Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 21, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • US Navy said to be poised to assist latest pirate victim

  • Beira and Nacala ports to be refurbished

  • Seychelles steps up fight against illegal fishing

  • Govts urged to help Africa in facing food crisis

  • Oil reaches new high

  • Efficient Transport System Imperative for Successful 2010

  • Nacala airport to be refurbished and upgraded

  • Pic of the day – STATESMAN


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    US Navy said to be poised to assist latest pirate victim

    Indian reports suggest that the United States Navy is poised to intervene in the highjacking of the Jordanian cargo ship Victoria, which was seized by armed Somali pirates at the weekend. Ten of the crew of 21 on board the ship are Indian nationals, the others being Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Kenyans and Tanzanians.

    The ship was taken on Saturday while en route to Somalia with a cargo of sugar that had been donated by Denmark. The pirates subsequently forced the ship to sail towards the port of Hobiyo near Elmaan, some 500km northeast of Mogadishu. Coalition warships are reported to have been following the ship and monitoring its whereabouts but haven’t intervened.

    An unchecked report from Somalia states the ship has been taken to the port of Haradhere, not far from Hobiyo but this cannot be confirmed. The same source claimed that Islamists took possession of Haradhere at the weekend, which has some significance. When the Islamists were in control of Somalia piracy was quickly outlawed.

    The vessel’s managers have denied they have received demands for ransom from the pirates although this is the normal reaction once a ship has been taken captive in this part of the world. The matter of paying a ransom is sensitive and no ship owner and certainly no country likes to admit having given in to demands from pirates.

    Nevertheless there is irrefutable proof that ransoms have been paid over prior to the release of a number of ships – one of the latest being the French luxury cruise yacht Le Ponant owned by shipping giant CMA CGM. After a ransom was paid and the ship and crew released, French special forces attacked the pirates lair in Puntland, killing several pirates and capturing others while also recovering much if not all of the money, which had been paid in cash.

    Beira and Nacala ports to be refurbished

    Maputo, 20 May - The ports of Beira and Nacala are to be the target of a programme of refurbishment and modernisation worth a total of USD900 million in order to receive more ships and more cargo, the Mozambican minister for Transport and Communications said Saturday.

    Speaking to Mozambican newspaper Notícias, Paulo Zucula said that the programme to improve both ports included reconstruction of the road and rail networks that link the terminals to countries in the interior, particularly Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

    The funding needed for the programme to be carried out will be the responsibility of companies that obtained concession contracts for modernisation and management of the ports, tenders for which are due to be launched soon.

    According to the minister, it is expected that around USD400 million will be invested in the port of Nacala and the remaining USD500 million in the port of Beira.

    Figures for 2007 provided by Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM) showed that the port of Beira handled 2.961 million tonnes of cargo and the port of Nacala 1.1 million tonnes, representing growth of 224,000 and 150,000 tonnes, respectively, as compared with the 2006 financial year.

    At Nacala port the rise was mainly due to an increase in exports of container cargo and sugar and imports of fertiliser, wheat, container cargo and klinker by Malawi.

    International traffic accounts fro 97 percent of all the cargo handled at Mozambican ports, which in 2007 processed 11.086 million tonnes.

    Around 46 percent of the cargo handled at Mozambique’s ports in 2007 was from or sent to South Africa, 28 percent to Zimbabwe, 20 percent to Malawi, 3 percent to Zambia and another 3 percent to Swaziland. – source macauhub

    Seychelles steps up fight against illegal fishing

    The fight against illegal fishing in Seychelles’ waters is about to be stepped up as the second phase of the surveillance mission begins.

    In particular, air patrol hours will be increased as the newly acquired Twin Otter plane of the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces is modified and fitted with specialised equipment.

    A briefing meeting for all partners involved in the mission’s second phase [was held last week] in the Seychelles Fishing Authority’s conference room.

    The overall strategy results from a regional plan for fisheries surveillance in the southwest Indian Ocean launched early last year. This followed the signing of a partnership agreement between the European Commission, on behalf of the European Union (EU), and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) countries.

    The aim is to help IOC members – Seychelles, France on behalf of Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and Comoros – in their fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by improving their ability to monitor, control and survey their territorial waters. Illegal fishing threatens the sustainability of fisheries in a region where many states lack the resources to act on their own.

    The actual surveillance project began last November following the detailed working out of the plan by the IOC countries and the EU.

    The EU has provided €7 million to cover the costs of intensified surveillance efforts, with the use of sophisticated technology such as satellite monitoring, over the first three years of the project (2007-2010).

    Member countries were expected to make a financial contribution, and Seychelles budgeted R11.5 million annually, with R4.1 million spent on air surveillance and sea patrols to date.

    An air surveillance mission involving local and Mauritian inspectors took place on Thursday and another is planned for the second phase of the mission.

    From the start of the first patrol last November to the end of this month, sea patrol days will stand at 30 and air surveillance hours at 20.

    The French patrol vessel Osiris, which is helping with the current patrol, was expected at the Fishing Port in Victoria last week.

    The second phase of the mission will involve patrols by the Andromache and the Osiris over a period of four days, with inspectors from Mauritius, Seychelles and Réunion taking part.

    This article first appeared in Seychelles www.nation.sc online

    Govts urged to help Africa in facing food crisis

    by Judith Akolo (BuaNews)

    Nairobi, 20 May - The President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Dr Gertrude Mongella has called on governments on the continent and internationally to help Africa in sorting out its food crisis.

    Ms Mongella said at the end of the PAP session in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, last week that it was clear that the situation is dire and needs various interventions.

    In a statement, she said it was unacceptable that millions of Africans and the poor in other parts of the world are affected by soaring food prices.

    She urged the world's emergency response systems to examine the situation and ensure that prompt and effective assistance is planned.

    Ms Mongella said the genesis of the food crisis in Africa is complex as it includes the high levels of poverty, agricultural mismanagement, unfair trade rules and climate change, all of which have contributed to the situation.

    Legislators at the PAP session highlighted the integral role of political leaderships, past and present, which have contributed to the current situation.

    The MPs said a woman's role in the agricultural sector was crucial in finding a way to tackle the near crisis.

    "In many countries women were, in fact, the backbone of food production," they said.

    The legislators also called on governments to go beyond words at this time and put in place a coordinated and integrated approach in looking at immediate, medium and long-term solutions that address the root causes of the crisis in Africa and elsewhere around the world.

    PAP MPs in the debate urged the African Union and the United Nations to prioritize the issues of agricultural development in Africa. - BuaNews-NNN

    Oil reaches new high

    Oil reached a new record high yesterday, topping USD129 a barrel for the first time for light crude – a figure most analysts now predict will continue to be eclipsed with forecasts of an eventual USD200 a barrel being achieved.

    London Brent crude peaked at USD127.11 yesterday and the outlook continues to look bleak for international shipping following ongoing disruptions in Nigeria and Iran, two of the world’s major producers. Adding to the uncertainty OPEC has so far declined any suggestion of raising output to help soften prices. OPEC says there is no reason to raise output and blames speculators for driving the prices higher as well as a weak dollar and disruptions to production.

    It is estimated that Nigeria is losing more than half a million barrels a day due to ongoing unrest involving armed militants and gangsters.

    Efficient Transport System Imperative for Successful 2010

    by Vivian Warby (BuaNews)

    Cape Town, 20 May - The Department of Transport has been hard at work ensuring an efficient transport system is in place before the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This was one of the FIFA requirements to host the event.

    Addressing the media before tabling his Budget Vote in Parliament on Tuesday, Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe said for the world cup to be a success an efficient transport system was needed.

    “We have worked hard to put up infrastructure that would meet the world cup transport imperatives while knowing that such infrastructure will continue to be invaluable in the transport needs of our people and economy long after the last goal is scored.”

    A transport system which allows fans to efficiently move between stadiums and to their accommodation, recreational and tourist facilities is needed.

    The minister said the department's initiative to acquire 1400 luxury coaches to provide transport for guests attending the games were at an advanced stage.

    Once the event is over these vehicles are to be ploughed back into the communities.

    The department is working closely with the Local Organising Committee as they both share the vision that the world cup is an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy.

    The minister said the increased transport capacity would help resolve the limited transport capacity that was characterised by traffic congestion during peak hour traffic.

    “What this means is that while we will seek to present a successful event that meets the expectations of football fans across the world as they converge in South Africa, the FIFA world cup events must help boost our economic development in general and our infrastructure development in particular.”

    Over R13.6 billion has been allocated to improve the country's infrastructure.

    The minister said the overall investment framework in transport infrastructure in addition to the Public Transport Infrastructure Fund included: road infrastructure (R70 billion); access to roads (EPWP) (R3 billion); airports development (R19.5 billion); air traffic navigation (R400 million); passenger rail (R18 billion); the taxi recapitalisation programme (R7.7 billion) and the Gautrain (R25 billion).

    Almost all of the major physical projects have started in all host cities. “Some have even been completed or are in the final stages of completion.”

    Nacala airport to be refurbished and upgraded

    Nacala Airport is to be rebuilt for commercial use both for passenger and air cargo traffic, says US-based Ayr Logistics, which is responsible for the construction of a USD5.5 billion oil refinery near the port town.

    Ayr Logistics director Philip Harris said his company would invest USD80 million in refurbishing the Nacala airport after having reached an agreement with the Mozambique government.

    Construction of the refinery in northern Nampula province will result in a production of 300,000 barrels of fuel a day. The refinery will employ at least 1,000 people in one of Mozambique’s least developed states with high unemployment.

    US companies are also involved at Nacala in the operation of the port and the railway between the port and the Malawi border.

    Pic of the day – STATESMAN

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The supply tug STATESMAN which arrived in Cape Town yesterday for bunkers while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Denmark. Picture by Aad Noorland

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