Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 27, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Transnet Board moves on future of Ramos

  • Navy chief criticises South Africa’s lack of cohesive maritime policy

  • India, South Africa, Argentina reject proposals to limit protection to farm sector

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Unicorn bunker tankers are named

  • Abnormal load heads for and from Richards Bay

  • Zim Kenya expands operations

  • Zambia looks to Mombasa for its copper exports

  • Mombasa suspends cargo transfer services

  • Somali pirates strike again – Japanese bulker taken this time

  • Portuguese-flagged tug held captive by Nigerian militants

  • Nigerian activists up in arms over British intentions in Niger Delta region

  • Senegal seizes 2.5 tonnes of cocaine on sailing ship

  • Italy says it sees Mozambique as southern Africa’s economic gateway

  • Fishing vessels Paloma V and Antillas Reefer accused of illegal fishing linked to single joint venture

  • Fuel crisis hits cruise industry

  • Southern Africa: New money to mitigate disaster

  • Sea Sunday service held in port of Durban

  • Stowaways survive 14 days outside ship

  • Pic of the day – JAG RAHUL


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    Transnet Board moves on future of Ramos

    Johannesburg, 25 July – The Transnet Board announced on Friday that Maria Ramos, the Group Chief Executive has agreed to amend the terms of her fixed-term contract with the company, meaning that from the end of October 2008 either Ramos herself or Transnet can terminate her employment by way of a fixed period of notice.

    There has been speculation within in the industry over the future of Transnet and whether Ramos will continue as chief executive. This includes rumours of her moving to new challenges although Ramos herself has declined any comment on the matter other than to say that the Board would make a statement later in July.

    The new form of contract entered into between Ramos and the company makes it possible for her to move on at any time in the future, not necessarily at the end of October, which appears to suggest she may remain at her post for a limited period.

    In its statement the Transnet Board says the changes have the support of Transnet’s shareholder minister, the Minister of Public Enterprises, Alec Erwin.

    The statement also said the Board wishes to “extend its gratitude to Ms Ramos for the commitment and diligence with which she has led the Company over the last five years.

    “As part of its corporate governance responsibilities, the Board has in place succession plans for all the senior executive jobs in the Company including the post of the Group Chief Executive. These are regularly reviewed by the non-executive and independent directors. At the appropriate time, the Company will make announcements in this regard.”

    Navy chief criticises South Africa’s lack of cohesive maritime policy

    South Africa lacks a cohesive maritime policy, says the Chief of the Navy, Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu.

    Speaking at an international conference on maritime security held in Stellenbosch last week, the admiral said South Africa’s respective governments had underestimated the importance of its surrounding oceans and the need for a viable navy capable of defending the country’s trade routes.

    He said there was a “countervailing trend of maritime insecurity in all its facets” despite a boom in international maritime trade and shipping. Because of its lack of a cohesive maritime policy South Africa experienced a duplication of effort and waste of resources.

    He pointed out that South Africa sat astride one of the world’s most important east-west sea routes, where the biggest growth in demand had been in global energy supplies, in particular to China, “where crude oil imports are expected to treble within the next decade.”

    “A regional effect is evident, where Angola became the biggest supplier of oil to China in 2007.”

    According to Mudimu there are overlapping claims to jurisdiction and “a lack of agreed maritime boundaries and mechanisms for dispute resolution.” As a result certain critical maritime tasks are often not carried out because functional delimitations have not been agreed.

    The biggest threat to maritime security in the region, he said, was complacency.

    India, South Africa, Argentina reject proposals to limit protection to farm sector

    Geneva - India, South Africa and Argentina, key members of the NAMA-11 alliance at World Trade Organisation (WTO) last week rejected a move by developed countries to limit the flexibility on tariffs and imports of developing countries to protect their domestic industry and farm sector.

    “We reject any attempt to further constrain the already limited flexibilities in the modalities text, particularly the very recent anti-concentration proposals,” the NAMA-11 communique said.

    Meanwhile, the United States and the European Union is pressing the developing nations to make concessions in opening the markets to ensure a global trade deal.

    To have a meaningful outcome to this round, all countries would have to secure meaningful new market access in agriculture, manufacturing and services and that is particularly true when it comes to the interests of the developing nations, US Trade Representative, Susan Schwab said.

    The NAMA-11 alliance of developing countries said it would reject any plans that limit the flexibilities they have got to protect their nascent industries, particularly a clause in the draft WTO text that restraints a country from seeking protection for a whole sector.

    It noted that the anti-concentration clause is an irritant to developing countries as it restrains them from seeking protection for a whole sector, which it finds is facing cheap imports.

    Instead, a country has been allowed to use the overall level of protection across different sectors up to a certain limit. - BuaNews-NNN

    News from the shipping lines

    The 10,778-gt container vessel BOUNDARY completing a maintenance overhaul at Durban’s ship repair jetty 1 on 25 July 2008. Picture Terry Hutson

    Ocean Africa Container Line (OACL), the Durban-based feeder carrier serving the southern African coastline from between Angolan ports and Mozambique, has taken the BOUNDARY into service, a Maria Rickmers-owned 10,778-gt container ship and the fourth of this particular type on charter to the company.

    Boundary recently underwent a maintenance overhaul in the Eldock floating dock in Durban and is due to enter full service on the West Coast service this week (Durban, Cape Town, Luderitz, Walvis Bay).

    An observant Ron Bevan of Sturrock Shipping in Richards Bay last week last week noticed not one but two ships with the name OCEAN STAR in port on the same day, and wondered how frequent a coincidence this was. One of the ships was loading coking coal while the other was in port for bunkers and sailed later that day. He also noted the presence of one of a shrinking fleet of SD14 freighters in port, the North Korean-owned HYANG RO BONG.

    The trend towards introducing larger ships on various services continues, with West Africa proving no exception despite existing port limitations. Maersk Line has signalled its intention of introducing 3,430-TEU size ships on its Algeciras – West Africa relay service which connects Tangier and Algeciras with Abidjan, Tema and Dakar. The largest ships currently on the European - West African services are generally in the range up to 2,800-TEU.

    Staying with Maersk Line, The US branch of AP Moller-Maersk, Maersk Line Limited has bought two of the US flag general cargo Ro-Ro ships, PFC WILLIAM N WAUGH and PVT FRANKLIN J PHILLIPS from their respective private owners. The large cargo pre-positioning ships will be renamed MAERSK TEXAS and MAERSK TENNESSEE respectively and will join the company’s US flag commercial fleet. The two ships are part of a five-ship series originally built for Maersk Line at the Odense shipyard and later sold to US interests for use in the US Navy pre-positioning programme.

    Pvt Franklin J Phillips, soon to become Maersk Tennessee. Military Sealkift Command image

    Also dealing with large container ships, do readers recall the MSC DANIELA, the 154m container ship that operated on the Indian Ocean service carrying all of 403-TEUs fully loaded. She was withdrawn some time ago and the name is now set to reappear on Mediterranean Shipping Company’s (MSC) inventory later this year, this time as the Swiss/Italian company’s first 14,000-TEU class ULCS (ultra large container ship). Others of this size will follow at regular intervals.

    Another company introducing its first 11,000-TEU class ship is French line CMA CGM with the first newbuild CMA CGM VEKA due in service from October.

    According to unconfirmed reports, SAILS (SA Independent Liner Services) has again suspended its managing director Ian Wicks after Wicks had been successful in having the Cape High Court rule in favour of his reinstatement following his first suspension by major shareholder, Lonrho. SAILS, which operates a so-called liner service between South Africa, West Africa and Europe is reported in the UK as having suffered a loss of £6.1 million for the six months ending March 2008.

    Unicorn bunker tankers are named

    Robert Young, marine director of Unicorn Shipping and Saskia Voet, ‘godmother’ to the ship and wife of Sapref MD, Bart Voet

    During the past week the two new Unical bunker tankers, SOUTHERN VALOUR (Cape Town) and SOUTHERN VENTURE (Durban) were named at ceremonies held in their respective ports.

    Both vessels arrived in South Africa on 2 June from the builders yard in China as deck cargo on board a semi-submersible barge hauled by a tug after a 42 days voyage to Richards Bay. From the Zululand port the two bunker vessels made their way under their own power to Durban from where Southern Valour later departed by herself for Cape Town, where she is to be stationed.

    At ceremonies in both ports the two tankers were ‘christened’ and given their names by Mrs Lungi Faku, wife of the chairman of Calulo Services, who named Southern Valour, and Mrs Saskia Voet, the wife of Sapref managing director Bart Voet.

    Unicorn Calulo Bunkering Services (Unical) may be new to bunkering services but the joint venture between Unicorn Shipping, a division of South Africa’s largest shipping and logistics company Grindrod, and Calulo, a leading empowerment company, brings its own kind of experience. Unicorn Tankers has a long history of delivering oil on behalf of the oil companies along the South African coast and operating tankers internationally, operating such vessels as the handysize tankers SOUTHERN UNITY and RAINBOW on the South African coast.

    With two of the new vessels building in China Unicorn Shipping made the decision to build a third here in Durban, an identical vessel but with greater local input in terms of equipment. Unicorn held an option for a third newbuild with the Chinese yard but the costs of delivering a single vessel to South Africa outweighed any savings on building in Asia.

    Southern Valour in Cape Town has already gone into service but final approval from SAMSA was being awaited before the Durban-based vessel, Southern Venture could also commence operations.

    Neither vessel is small, hence the decision to refer to them as bunker tankers instead of barges. With a deadweight of 4,700 tonnes each vessel is larger than a previous coastal tanker in service with Unicorn Tankers, the ORANJEMUND, which operated for about 30 years along the South African coast delivering fuel and other supplies.

    SOUTHERN VENTURE immediately prior to being named in Durban on 25 July 2008. Picture Terry Hutson

    The new bunker tankers are capable of delivering bunker fuels – heavy marine oil, marine diesel oil and gas oil in 11 segregated tanks and systems at rates of up to 1000 tonnes per hour. They have been deliberately ‘over-designed’ in the sense of using thicker steel plate and having additional ‘ribs’ capable of absorbing the many knocks these small ships will endure by having to come alongside other ships while delivering fuel on numerous times a day. Robert Young, Unicorn Shipping’s marine director described them as virtual miniature versions of the handysize tankers Southern Unity and Rainbow.

    The third tanker which will be built here in Durban will be identical in design and main components and will continue a long but interrupted tradition of Unicorn having its ships built locally.

    All three bunker tankers are fully South African-owned, operated and crewed.

    Abnormal load heads for and from Richards Bay

    An abnormal load consisting of a giant cold box is due to be discharged in Richards Bay harbour on Tuesday (29 July) before proceeding by road to Newcastle in northern KZN.

    The enormous ‘cold box’ measuring 54 metres in length, 5.5n wide and 4.4m high has been imported by Messrs Air products South Africa Pty Ltd as part of a major expansion and refurbishment project, costing in the region of R280 million. The cold box has been supplied by Acrefair in North Wales and is among the largest of its type to be brought into South Africa.

    Once offloaded and readied for onward transport the equipment will be taken by road to Newcastle using special multi-axle trailers. This trip should take eight to ten days, as the logistics required are complex.

    “We work closely with the Road Agency, local authorities and police forces to ensure the safe and smooth transit of our loads,” says Projects Manager Harry Van Lieshout.

    Air Products’ Newcastle plant has been providing a continuous supply of large volumes of oxygen to the ArcelorMitttal steel plant in Newcastle for the past 38 years. To produce the volumes required, the cold box is extremely large, weighing in at 160 tons. The new cold box cryogenically separates air and, in the process, extracts oxygen, nitrogen, and argon. Costing in excess of R30-million it contains specialised distillation equipment, and is being brought into the country fully-assembled. Rob Richardson General Manager On-site says that the cold box is scheduled to come on stream by the end of the year.

    Zim Kenya to expand operations

    Zim Kenya, a division of Zim Lines and one of the longer serving shipping companies using the port of Mombasa, intends spending USD177,000 on building a new container freight station at Miritini in the Changamwe area of Mombasa.

    The freight station will be on 17.8 acres of land recently acquired by Zim Kenya.

    Eli Aviv, the Johannesburg-based director of Zim Africa said it was hoped that the Kenya Ports Authority will agree to using the private facility to store incoming cargo from the port. Aviv said he also hoped the KPA would agree to making use of barges to bring containers from ships awaiting a berth in mid-stream and thereby avoiding vessel congestion.

    He similarly wants the KPA to offer dedicated berths for Zim Line vessels in view of the large number of Zim ships anticipated as a result of increased trade with Kenya.

    KPA managing director Abdallah Mwaruwa said the port was expanding quickly in order to cope with trade expansion in the East African region. He said Mombasa is building a 1.2 million TEU capacity second container terminal to help consolidate Mombasa’s position as the premier port in the region with 21 shipping lines connected to it.

    Mwaruwa welcomed the news of Zim’s freight station and said the KPA would fast-track its acceptability with the Customs Department before contracting the terminal for container storage.

    Zambia looks to Mombasa for its copper exports

    Zambia says it sees the Kenya port of Mombasa as an alternate export route for copper exports.

    Zambia’s Permanent Secretary for Communications and Transport Dr Eustern Mambwe said his country has targeted copper exports to lead Zambia’s economic development push. He said the country’s smaller copper mines had provided their production export targets and it was clear that the ports of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Durban in South Africa will be unable to cope with the increased volume.

    The mining town of Ndola was expected to mine 20 million tonnes of copper between 2009 and 2010, the permanent secretary said.

    In any event he claimed that both ports were severely congested at present as opposed to Mombasa.

    He pointed out that 30 years ago Zambia used Mombasa as an export port for copper exports.

    Editor’s note: Readers may wish to ponder what method the permanent secretary plans for transporting his excess exports of copper to Mombasa, or whether the Kenya port is any less congested than Dar es Salaam or Durban. See next article.

    Mombasa suspends cargo transfer services

    The Mombasa Container Terminal – congested with transshipment build-up and a new operating system with glitches

    Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has suspended the landing of transshipment cargo at the port of Mombasa because of ongoing congestion at the container terminal, where a backlog was being reported last week.

    The port said it had more than 2,700 transshipment containers for Dar es Salaam and other Indian Ocean ports to clear, which was an increase of more than 700 over what is normal. “We shall resume transshipment business as soon as we clear the backlog,” said Harry Abok, Mombasa port’s communication officer.

    Abok pointed out that Mombasa was not obliged to accept this transshipment cargo and only handled it when convenient. Unlike inland transshipment cargo, cargo destined for Dar es Salaam and the islands remains near the berth for convenience and is supposed to remain in the harbour for no longer than 32 days. According to Abok it sometimes stays much longer. “Since it cannot be taken to the container freight stations there is always the problem of availability of space whenever there is a slight congestion in the port,” he said.

    On the day when the suspension was announced in a media advertisement there were 11 ships waiting outside the port for a berth.

    Meanwhile it has been reported that the newly introduced computerised handling system known as the Kilindini Waterfront Operating System (Kwatos) has been temporarily suspended following a go-slow by port workers unhappy with some of its effects. The go-slow has affected ship working leading to the build-up of vessels waiting outside port.

    However another report said the go-slow was a result of a seven-day week having been introduced that affected the amount of overtime workers could earn.

    KPA managing director Abdallah Mwaruwa said the congestion was a result of instability with the Kwatos system with reports of problems between the network interface and an existing enterprise planning system.

    According to Mwaruwa the port may resort to using the old system for some time until all kinks with Kwatos have been ironed out. Sources – The Nation and own sources

    Somali pirates strike again – Japanese bulker taken this time

    Somali pirates struck again last week when they attacked and seized the 52,454-DWT Japanese bulker STELLA MARIS, with 18 crew on board.

    According to reliable reports the vessel was attacked by no less than 38 heavily armed pirates while the Japanese ship was under way off Calula in the Gulf of Aden. The pirates attacked using fast speedboats.

    After transmitting a signal saying they were under attack the ship fell silent until later reports confirmed its seizure.

    Portuguese-flagged tug held captive by Nigerian militants

    A number of crew on board a Portuguese flagged tug, the Swedish-owned HERKULES have been taken hostage by Nigerian militants who seized the vessel last Thursday (24 July).

    The Herkules was operating with 12 crew but seven were later released leaving five Russians still in the hands of the Nigerians.

    The 1977-built Herkules was sailing off the Bonny River area en route to the Akpo oil field when the attack happened. The tug was later taken in the direction of the Sombereiro River, about 15 n.miles west of Bonny River.

    The vessel is on charter to Saipem, a ENI subsidiary.

    Nigerian activists up in arms over British intentions in Niger Delta region

    Nigerian activists are joining in protest against a British plan to secure peace in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria.

    This follows a BBC report last week which said that Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua had held talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown over what Yar’Adua called a ‘lawless area’, meaning the Delta.

    At the recent G8 meeting held in Japan Brown is reported to have told Yar’Adua, “We stand ready to give help to the Nigerians to deal with lawlessness that exists in this area and to achieve the levels of production that Nigeria is capable of, but because of the law and order problems has not been able to achieve.”

    Militant and activist groups have interpreted this to mean that Britain intends providing military assistance and training for Nigeria’s armed forces in the Delta region, including military aid and the sending of special forces to act against local communities.

    The activist groups say that while they acknowledge that lawlessness exists in the Niger Delta it is because of over exploitation and neglect on the part of the international oil companies and the Nigerian Federal and State governments. They maintain the people of the area have never been given a proper opportunity of electing their own representatives.

    “We know that the Nigeria government and its law enforcement agencies are aware of the main players or culprits in the theft of crude oil, and are culpable in the illegal activities. They continue to deceive the world that the people of the Niger Delta are responsible,” the Nigerian Ijaw People Association said in an open letter to Brown.

    Senegal seizes 2.5 tonnes of cocaine on sailing ship

    Senegalese police say they have seized almost 2.5 tonnes of cocaine, worth overUSD200 million, on a deserted sailing ship.

    The sailing ship is reported to have drifted into a coastal resort earlier in July. The vessel had been manned by three South Americans who were operating a fish farming company which police claim was a front for their drug smuggling activities. The men were found in possession of guns, money in the form of both foreign and local cash, and satellite equipment. They later led the police to a further supply of drugs.

    It is being reported in the West African press that Guinea-Bissau was the intended entry point for the drugs and when the ship became incapacitated it drifted down into Senegalese territory. Guinea-Bissau is thought to be a major transit point for drugs arriving from South America and later being moved to Europe or the Middle East.

    Italy says it sees Mozambique as southern Africa’s economic gateway

    Mozambique could become Italy’s gateway into the rest of southern Africa, says Italy’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Adolfo Urso.

    Addressing the media in Maputo last week Urso said this was the reason why a 70-strong delegation of Italian businessmen was currently visiting Mozambique. He said they hoped to identify areas of co-operation with their Mozambique counterparts and were particularly interested in investing in agriculture, the agro-industry, tourism and energy and to assist with the food crisis.

    Urso pointed out that Italy was Europe’s largest exporter of agricultural equipment and the second largest in the world, and that this could lead to ways of helping Mozambique improve productivity in agriculture.

    “We think that Mozambique may be the best gateway to step up Italian and European economic presence in Southern Africa, so we have started a development plan to step up trade relations between Italy and Mozambique,” he said.

    Fishing vessels Paloma V and Antillas Reefer accused of illegal fishing linked to single joint venture

    Namibia says it is still waiting for information about a Namibian registered fishing vessel, ANTILLAS REEFER that was caught fishing illegally in Mozambique waters recently.

    The vessel was operating off the coast of Zambezia in late June and instructed to put into Maputo, where fishery inspectors discovered 43 tonnes of shark, 4 tonnes of shark fin, 1.8t of shark tail, 11.3t of shark liver and 20t of shark oil.

    The vessel was also carrying illegal fishing gear.

    A fine of USD4.5 million was imposed on the ship’s owners and the vessel has been confiscated along with its contents.

    Meanwhile Namibia’s Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Abraham Iyombo said he was still waiting for official confirmation from the Mozambique authorities before Namibia could take any action.

    Last week the Namibian ministry took action against the fishing vessel PALOMA V, a sister ship to the Antillas Reefer but registered to a separate company and has stripped the vessel of its registration. Paloma V is accused of illegally fishing Patagonian Toothfish in the southern Atlantic and had previously been detained in New Zealand. It appears that both the Paloma V and the Antillas Reefer are owned by a joint venture company involving a Walvis Bay based outfit and a Uruguayan company named Mabenal.

    The consequent New Zealand court action is likely to result in the Paloma V being blacklisted by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which will effectively prevent it from entering any port of a signatory country, including those in Mauritius.

    Fuel crisis hits cruise industry

    Cruise ship operator Royal Caribbean Cruises says it has to cut 400 jobs after posting reduced second-quarter results.

    The American company, one of the leading cruise operators has blamed rising fuel prices for its misfortunes. The company earned USD84.7 million for the period, compared with USD128.7m for the same period in 2007.

    To redress the loss of profits Royal Caribbean says it intends taking several steps to cut costs by at least USD125m including shedding at least 400 jobs.

    Other cut-backs include getting rid of ‘The Scholar Ship’ which is an educational programme enabling students to study abroad while at sea.

    Southern Africa: New money to mitigate disaster

    Johannesburg, 24 July 2008 (IRIN) - In an effort to mitigate the negative impact of climate change, new funding by European Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) will help bolster disaster risk reduction and community resilience in Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi and the Comoros.

    A statement released on 23 July said the EC had extended the scope of its disaster preparedness programme (DIPECHO) with a new allocation of €5 million (USD7.8 million) for the four southern African countries.

    “This is an important step in supporting communities that are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. Experience shows that many lives can be saved if people know what precautions to take and how to react when the disaster strikes,” Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said in the statement.

    “Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi and the Comoros all suffer the serious effects of tropical storms that develop in the Indian Ocean. This type of action is especially important in a context of rising food prices and climate change,” Michel noted.

    More storms on the horizon

    “The number of extreme weather events has increased sharply in recent years. Climate change already seems to be having a serious humanitarian impact,” John Clancy, spokesman for Commissioner Michel, told IRIN.

    “The decision to extend it [DIPECHO] to the southwest Indian Ocean reflects an unfortunate reality: more cyclones are occurring in that area, causing ever more structural damage and serious flooding,” Clancy said.

    According to the 2007 Annual Disaster Statistical Review, published by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED): “Last year’s number of reported disasters confirmed the global upward trend in natural disaster occurrence. This upward trend is mainly driven by the increase in the number of reported hydro-meteorological disasters.”

    In Mozambique, catastrophic flooding in 2000 left up to 800 dead; in 2007 dozens of people were killed, and the country is yet to recover from floods in January 2008.

    Over 100 people died when Madagascar was hit by cyclones Fame, Jokwe and Ivan earlier in 2008. The powerful winds, heavy rains and flooding affected over 340,000 people, of whom 190,000 lost their homes.

    Cyclone Indhala, which hit Madagascar in 2007, caused over USD240 million worth of destruction, according to CRED statistics. Altogether, there were six cyclones in 2007 - the worst year on record - while drought in the parched south has persisted for several years.

    Malawi, also hit by floods earlier this year, has turned a corner since 2005, when drought left close to five million people in need of food aid, but the country remains particularly exposed to dry spells and food insecurity.

    According to The Climate Change Risk Report by Maplecroft, a UK-based firm that specialises in risk mapping, at the beginning of July, Comoros was the country most vulnerable to the future impacts of global warming, such as increased storms, rising sea levels and agricultural failure.

    Weathering the storm

    “The funding targets communities that are already vulnerable because of extreme poverty, isolation due to weak infrastructure and difficult communications, and in Malawi and Mozambique, the high incidence of HIV and AIDS,” Clancy said.

    “The increase in extreme climatic events keeps such communities in a state of constant quasi-emergency, and does not allow them to establish the long-term coping mechanisms they need to allow real development to take off.”

    Investing in preparedness would not only save lives and relieve suffering, “it also means that limited resources can be used more effectively - the cost of good preparation is a lot less than the cost of clearing up the mess afterwards,” Clancy commented.

    It pays to prepare ‘bottom-up’

    “Important lessons were learned from the big floods in Mozambique in 2000 and 2001, when hundreds died. The floods of 2007 were of a similar magnitude and in the same area, but the government and actors on the ground were much better prepared,” Clancy said.

    With the capacity of the Mozambican national disaster management authority (INGC) greatly boosted by 2007, contingency plans for pre-positioning essential relief items and evacuations were put in place. “Around 230,000 people were displaced and/or lost their livelihoods, but large-scale fatalities were avoided,” Clancy said.

    While bolstering the INGC was a ‘top-down’ approach, the new funds would be more ‘bottom-up’, targeting communities and helping them to organise themselves and be able to take measures to preserve their livelihoods.

    According to the EC statement, various types of programmes would be supported, “including practical training in disaster response for community groups and institutions, early warning systems, public information campaigns and small-scale infrastructure works.”

    ”In Madagascar, it has been calculated that a child living in a disaster-prone area loses on average one full school year due to lack of access to or destruction of their schools,” Clancy said.

    The new funds would assist communities by establishing cyclone- and flood-resistant schools and clinics, “which can also serve as shelters for the community, and by funding the acquisition of small boats, for example, which allow children to continue to access their schools even in heavily flooded areas.”

    The statement also said implementation of these projects should begin in October 2008, before the onset of the next cyclone season around December.

    (This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)

    Sea Sunday service held in port of Durban

    Capt Mike Brophy, Capt Ali, Fr Sylvester David and Revd Boet van Schalkwyk at the Sea Sunday service

    by Yvonne de Kock

    The Annual Sea Sunday Service was held in N shed passenger terminal on the T Jetty, Port of Durban on Sunday 13 July 2008.

    Attended by about 300 people, the service was conducted by Fr Sylvester David, OMI from the Catholic Church.

    Capt Mike Brophy, Transnet National Ports Authority Chief Harbour Master undertook the blessing of the port, an important aspect of the Sea Sunday Service which also pays tribute to many organisations involved in work in the ports. Capt Ali, Principal Officer of SAMSA (SA Maritime Safety Authority) and Ms Glenda Duvall, Manager of the Bayhead Mission Centre were amongst those who also participated.

    The maritime profession, whether it entails working on vessels as they cross the oceans, or working in ports, at sea or on shore must be one of the most demanding and often dangerous professions.

    The United Kingdom has historically been a maritime nation and over the years has suffered many maritime disasters resulting in loss of life. Hence during the last century, organisations which concerned themselves with seafarers such as various Missions including the International Sailors Society instituted a day where tribute is paid to – as they put it – “those who go down to the sea in ships”. This day has been commemorated internationally on the second Sunday in July since 1946. It takes the form of a church service, but it must be emphasised that it is completely interdenominational and tribute is paid to all seafarers, irrespective of their beliefs.

    This service which was organised by Durban port chaplains with the kind assistance of Transnet National Ports Authority, Port of Durban in providing the venue. Years ago the service was held at various churches in Durban. However, it was decided that the most appropriate venue was within the Port of Durban.

    Various Missions and maritime organisations also participate.

    Stowaways survive 14 days outside ship

    Three African stowaways survived a hazardous journey to Durban perched in the rudder trunk of the reefer vessel BELGIAN REEFER.

    They were spotted after the ship went to anchor in the Durban outer anchorage, having boarded the ship in Benin in West Africa 14 days earlier.

    Members of the Border Police went out by boat to make the arrest and remove them from the ship which was able to enter port only later. A source told Ports & Ships it had been a miracle that the three men had survived such a long journey down the Atlantic and round the Cape into the Indian Ocean.

    A subsequent search of the vessel in port revealed no other stowaways.

    Pic of the day – JAG RAHUL

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The 30,011-gt Indian owned and operated bulker JAG RAHUL in Cape Town harbour 5 June 2008. Picture by Aad Noorland

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