Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 8, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Mystery continues over Chinese ‘Ship of Shame’

  • Stowaways plague Durban port

  • Ford increases export order with 70,000 pick-up ‘bakkies’

  • Media Release – 1st International Ship-Port Interface Conference – the Human Element

  • Undersea cable to create sustainable competitive market

  • New Zealand – Union says rail buyback on the right track

  • Pic of the day – SCYTHIA GRAECA


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

    Mystery continues over Chinese ‘Ship of Shame’

    Interest in the whereabouts of the Cosco freighter An Yue Jiang, which is/was carrying among other cargo a shipment of arms and ammunition intended for Zimbabwe, continues unabated, several weeks after the ship sailed hurriedly away from Durban ahead of a sheriff brandishing an order of arrest.

    It now appears the ship entered Luanda, Angola on Monday, but for the briefest of calls according to Lloyds MIU, who said the ship had remained in port for just over one hour before sailing again in a west-south-westerly direction.

    Trade union officials at Luanda however said the ship discharged a cargo of cement and construction material – hardly likely in less than 80 minutes so someone has got their facts wrong.

    Meanwhile Zimbabwe’s Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga blew more smoke across the story by claiming on Sunday that Zimbabwe had already received the shipment of arms, consisting of three million rounds of AK47 ammunition, 3,000 mortar rounds and 1,500 RPGs. Matonga was taking part in a panel discussion on television when he made the remark, “in any case that shipment is already in Zimbabwe”.

    The International Trade Federation (ITF) and International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) say that members in various African ports are continuing a watch to ensure that the arms shipment is not unloaded. It was they who confirmed the An Yue Jiang had entered Luanda to offload cement (not the easiest cargo to discharge) and construction materials.

    If this and the Lloyds MIU report are equally accurate then shippers to Angola will be hoping that port officials and stevedores in Luanda will in the future be able to continue such amazing levels of efficiency.

    Stowaways plague Durban port

    Evidence of repeated incursions by stowaways into the ports – many from East Africa – continue to be received, including reports this week of a marked increase in activity.

    On 1 May the multipurpose cargo ship Safmarine Lisbon underwent a search by a team from the stowaway search company ‘Stowaway Search Dogs’ who discovered four Tanzanians in hiding. The vessel was at Maydon Wharf 11 at the time, an area of supposed added security accessed through two sets of gates and fences.

    All four stowaways were disguised as stevedores, complete with helmets, bibs and overalls and confessed to having accessed the ship only minutes before the search began, using the aft mooring ropes to get on board. Presumably the uniforms were intended to get them past the security officials at the Maydon Wharf Terminal gate.

    Patrick Mooney of the Stowaway Search Dogs told Ports & Ships that the four men were found hiding in the ship’s stores on the ship’s superstructure. The men had tied Coke bottles filled with water to their backs and hidden under their overalls to avoid these being noticed.

    Two of the four stowaways discovered on board the Safmarine Lisbon at Durban’s Maydon Wharf 11 a week ago. Note the water bottles tied to their backs, which were hidden under stevedores’ overall to avoid discovery while sneaking into the terminal

    In other reported but unconfirmed cases involving stowaways at Durban a vessel which sailed recently from another supposedly highly secure area in the port (New Pier 1) was carrying five stowaways who were discovered after the ship was at sea. A few days later a second vessel sailed from the harbour with six stowaways on board.

    South Africa was recently listed as having the most cases of reported stowaways of any country in the world -
    read the article HERE.

    However this ‘statistic’ reflects arrests of the unofficial ‘passengers’ after they have been caught. Nevertheless there is mounting evidence of repeated illegal boarding of ships in Durban and at other ports. Ports & Ships intends carrying further stories and reports in the near future – watch this space.

    Ford increases export order with 70,000 pick-up ‘bakkies’

    Ford Southern Africa is to expand its export market with sales of 70,000 1-ton pick-ups (bakkies) over the next three years, reports the Herald Online.

    Announcing the export order earlier this week the company’s president and CEO Hal Feder said the vehicles, which are being produced at the Ford manufacturing plant at Silverton in Pretoria, would be exported to other states in Africa. The first shipment of right-hand drive bakkies has already been dispatched, he said, with left-hand vehicle exports due to be commence from July.

    During 2008 10,000 of the trucks will be shipped, increasing to 24,000 in 2009 and 40,000 in 2010 by which stage Ford SA will be exporting a total of 60,000 motor vehicles each year.

    Media Release – 1st International Ship-Port Interface Conference – the Human Element

    Bremerhaven, 7 May - From 19 to 21 May 2008 the 1st International Ship-Port-Interface Conference – The Human Element (ISPIC 2008) takes place in Bremen, Germany.

    The conference is under the patronage of Admiral Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). It is organised by Rogge Marine Consulting GMBH of Bremerhaven and Bremen University of Applied Sciences/Faculty V – Centre of Maritime Studies, Bremen. Detailed information is available on the conference website at

    The ship/port interface is the point where a ship is directly and immediately affected by actions involving the movement of persons, goods or the provisions of port services to or from the ship. However, it is not only of interest from a security point of view. Aspects such as number and quality of available workforces, health and social conditions of work, reasons for and prevention of incidents and accidents are just a few additional topics which are of common interest to both parties of the ship/port interface.

    The 1st International Ship Port Interface Conference hopes to provide answers to the entire maritime industry on how to ensure through a human-centred work philosophy safe, secure and efficient future operation at the ship/port interface.

    The conference will offer an opportunity for interchange of information between designers, builders, owners and operators of ships and ports, pilots, sailing mariners, maritime administrators, lawyers and consultants, maritime educators, staff from classification societies, maritime supervisory authorities, the scientific and academic communities and all others with a common interest in the human element at the ship/port interface. The topics addressed include maritime infrastructure, maritime safety and security, quality and risk management, legislation, policy, and maritime human resources.

    As the result of this three-day event a conference resolution will be prepared that includes the outcomes of the discussions about the ship/port interface in view of the human element. This resolution will then be handed over to the IMO whose representative will be present throughout the conference.

    Conference participants will have an unique opportunity to influence the development of strategies of the IMO Safety Department. Their opinions, concerns and feedback are considered as valuable input for future progress in the maritime industry.

    - issued by Rogge Marine Consulting GMBH

    Undersea cable to create sustainable competitive market

    by Nthambeleni Gabara

    Pretoria, 7 May - Government has identified the Broadband Infraco-led African West Coast Cable (AWCC) project as a lead initiative to create a sustainable competitive international bandwidth market in the country.

    This emerged during the meeting held between the Presidency, Public Enterprise Minister Alec Erwin and Communications Minister Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri over the weekend.

    The decision is in line with President Thabo Mbeki's State of the Nation Address to complete the licensing and the operationalisation of Infraco as well as the completion of the process to launch the undersea cables in partnership with the private sector and other governments on the continent.

    The AWCC is a 3,840 Gigabit super cable which will stretch from the Western Cape to the United Kingdom with capacity terminating in London.

    The project which is expected to be functioning in the middle of 2010 will have branching units to at least 10 countries along the West Coast of Africa at a design length of 13,000km.

    “It is anticipated that the system will enter the service by mid 2010 in time to meet the bandwidth requirements for the 2010 Soccer World Cup,” the Ministry of Communications said.

    The cable will also support South Africa's science super-projects such as the Square Kilometer Array Telescope for which the country is competing against Australia to host it.

    Costing about 600 million US dollars, the project has brought together 40 nations and some of the world's most influential telecommunications players in a joint effort to use state-of-the-art technology in linking more people more efficiently than ever before.

    The project will also use revenue generated to spur economic development on Africa as a whole.

    Lying between 1,000 and 8,000 metres below the ocean's surface, the system will be able to withstand bad weather and vandalism.

    Broadband Infraco was created by government as a new state-owned enterprise to execute interventions that deliver affordable broadband to South Africans on an open access basis.

    The AWCC model will own 26 percent of the cable while the remaining 74 percent will be owned by a broad base of private sector participants, including incumbent communications operators.

    The project is reported to be well advanced, while a Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed upon with prospective private sector participants.

    Infraco will announce a selected supplier and enter formal contract negotiations.

    Government also reiterates its commitment to continue working with other governments on the continent and interested partners in the Africa-wide UHURUnet NEPAD-led initiative.

    The initiative will also play a central role in reducing the cost of communications at the same time increasing connectivity in Africa.

    Both Dr Matsepe-Casaburri and Mr Erwin are expected to elaborate on these matters during the course of this week. – BuaNews

    New Zealand – Union says rail buyback on the right track

    Wednesday, 7 May 2008 - The Maritime Union of New Zealand says the buyback of rail and ferries is a good step towards rebuilding a top quality transport system in New Zealand.

    Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the move is positive for New Zealand, and should have been done a long time ago.

    “The only regret is that we have now had a generation where this vital part of our infrastructure has been first asset stripped then unsuccessfully operated by global corporations interested in shareholder profit, not for what is good for New Zealand.”

    Mr Hanson says the Government was moving in the right direction but should not be timid.

    “We need some more speed in developing New Zealand-owned coastal shipping, establishing a national ports strategy, and ensuring our transport infrastructure is developed for the benefit of New Zealand, not private interest groups or overseas shareholders.”

    Hanson says shipping and rail will be the two transport modes of the future as fuel prices, road congestion and environmental problems continue to grow.

    “Hopefully this is the closing chapter of the rail saga that goes back to the right-wing political cabal who stripped New Zealand's assets and sold them to their mates during the 1980's and 1990's.”

    The Maritime Union represents maritime workers aboard the Cook Strait ferries and in all New Zealand ports.

    Pic of the day – SCYTHIA GRAECA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The bulker SCYTHIA GRAECA sails from the port of Lyttelton, New Zealand on Tuesday (6 May) with a shipment of coal for the port of Richards Bay, South Africa. Picture Alan Calvert

    Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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