Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 9, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • WANTED – one Yanmar inboard diesel engine

  • Pres Motlanthe to attend his first IBSA summit

  • Zululand weighbridge opens near Richards Bay

  • Theodore Roosevelt completes South Africa port visit

  • Security Council call for naval and air action against pirates

  • Piracy Report – Ships crew may now receive danger money

  • US Navy MSC charters kite-powered BELUGA SKYSAILS

  • Whales, dolphins and manatees win protection under UN-backed pact

  • Mombasa port to undertake container census

  • Namibia to extend new rail line 1km into Angola

  • Safmarine appoints its first female master in command of a ship

  • NSRI evacuates sick sailor off ship

  • Pic of the day – ESMERALDA


    BOA MIGHTY and BOABARGE 30 arriving in Cape Town 7 October, 2008. Picture by Hugo Schuitemaker

    WANTED – one Yanmar inboard diesel engine

    A Durban-based reader is desperately searching for a used 20hp Yanmar inboard diesel engine. Model 2GM20. If anyone knows of a contact or where such an engine may be found please email les@webpro.co.za with details and requirements etc. Tel 082 891 9439

    Pres Motlanthe to attend his first IBSA summit

    India, Brazil and South Africa, three of the world`s leading emerging economies working together to advance the agenda of the South in global affairs.

    Pretoria (BuaNews) - President Kgalema Motlanthe is expected to attend the third India, Brazil and South African Summit, to be held in New Delhi next week, where he will meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Brazilian President Lula da Silva.

    The three Heads of State will meet on 15 October to look at ways to jointly meet the challenges of energy and food security, as well as global economic development and governance.

    Business leaders from the three countries will meet earlier, on 13 and 14 October, to discuss trilateral cooperation in business and improve trade.

    Improving tourism

    During the summit, the three countries will sign an agreement to promote cooperation in the area of tourism, including an exchange programme for students between leading academic institutions in the tourism sector.

    Last week, the three countries pledged to enhance their coordination on political and multilateral issues including reform of global governance institutions on the sidelines of the United Nation General Assembly in New York.

    Several non-permanent member countries in the United Nations are seeking to make global bodies more representative of smaller and developing countries around the world.

    Helping least developed nations

    The Foreign Ministers of all three countries - SA's Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, India's Pranab Mukherjee and Brazil's Celso Amorim - also looked into ways to fast-track the disbursement of funds from the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum to projects in several least developed countries around the world.

    In a statement they issued after their meeting last week, the three countries approved support for five more projects in addition to two existing ones in solid waste management in Haiti and agriculture development in Guinea-Bissau.

    "The new project approved for support included phase two of agriculture development in Guinea-Bissau, strengthening infrastructure and capacity to combat HIV/AIDS in Burundi, irrigation and watershed management in Lao People's Democratic Republic," the ministers said in a statement.

    They also approved refurbishment of health care infrastructure in Cape Verde and building of a sports facility to promote constructive youth engagement in Palestine.

    Zululand weighbridge opens near Richards Bay

    by Siboniso Ntuli (BuaNews)

    Gingindlovu, 8 October 2008 - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport has officially opened the multi-million Rand Gingindlovu Weigh Bridge which will contribute towards minimising the risk of accidents in the area.

    Opening the bridge which will be used to weigh overloaded trucks on Tuesday (7 October), the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison in KwaZulu-Natal, Bheki Cele said the majority of the provincial weigh bridges were located in close proximity to the N2 and N3 corridors as it ensures control of overloading in these areas.

    The entire project, which cost R10.5 million, was completed in August 2008.

    MEC Cele said preventing overloading on roads was a high priority since the finding that 60 percent of the road damage in the province was being caused by overloaded trucks.

    "Overloading is a serious challenge that has serious consequences particularly in road fatalities and road damages. With all these projects the department is engaging on, we want to ensure that the all road users and motorists are safe at all times.

    "It was for these reasons that the department decided to construct a Traffic Control Centre at Gingindlovu, not only to weigh vehicles but to be able to check the vehicle brakes, general vehicle condition together with driver compliance," said Mr Cele.

    The department also stated that the weigh bridge project will further assist in addressing the ever increasing accident rate along the R66 and R34 corridor.

    "All motorists and trucking companies are urged to make sure that their vehicles are in a roadworthy condition before they leave their premises," said Mr Cele.

    The opening of the Gingindlovu weigh bridge forms part of the transport month activities.

    Theodore Roosevelt completes South African port visit

    Picture by Ian Shiffman

    by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (AW/SW) Monique K. Hilley, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs (source www.navy.mil)

    USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Theodore Roosevelt (TR) (CVN 71) pulled anchor as it departed Cape Town, South Africa 7 October, after its three-day port visit to the area.

    This port visit was a historic event as it marked the first time a US aircraft carrier has visited South Africa in 41 years. The last time a carrier visited Cape Town was USS Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1967.

    Crew members were provided many opportunities to experience the culture and environment of South Africa. TR's Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) organised several tours for the crew including wine tours, an African safari, a tour of Cape Point and hiking Table Mountain.

    "A total of 800 Sailors took MWR tours on Monday, 6 October, and we have gotten nothing but rave reviews from everyone that went on the trips," said Chief Aviation Electrician's Mate (AW) Bryan Neal, TR's MWR fun chief. "At the end of the day, we were able to accommodate Sailors by giving them the opportunity to see the country."

    TR was anchored in the harbor of Table Bay with the dramatic Table Mountain as its backdrop. Table Mountain is considered one of the most recognizable and most visited sites in the region. MWR provided bus rides and tickets to the crew so they could ride the cableway up the mountain and enjoy a 360-degree view of the city.

    "The view was breathtaking, and I was totally surprised at how close we were able to get to the edge of the mountain," said Lt jg James Knepp. "It was one of the most enjoyable experiences I had in port."

    One of MWR's tours was the Bushman Experience which offered Sailors a chance to visit an ostrich farm as well as the opportunity to visit a local village where tours were provided by a local Bushman who demonstrated their way of life.

    "It was crazy to see how other parts of the world live," said Storekeeper Seaman Lacy Frye. "My favorite part was definitely sitting on an ostrich. That is something you do not get to do back home."

    Crew members also got the chance to dine on some very unique cuisine while on liberty in Cape Town including warthog, gazelle, crocodile and caribou steaks.

    "We were honored to be able to experience the amazing culture of South Africa. This visit to Cape Town was a rare opportunity for our Sailors, one that I know will remain long in the memories of every member of the crew," said Capt. Ladd Wheeler, TR's commanding officer.

    Security Council call for naval and air action against pirates

    UN News Service (New York), 7 October 2008 - The Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called today for more international air and naval forces off the pirate-ridden coast of Somalia to ensure that United Nations food aid gets through to more than 3 million people threatened with starvation.

    In a resolution adopted unanimously, the Council called on States with naval vessels and military aircraft operating off the Somali coast to use "the necessary means" against acts of piracy, while Mr Ban warned that more Somalis will die unless countries provide the forces needed to ensure that the UN World Food Programme (WFP) can deliver its aid.

    "In Somalia, 3 million people are in danger of starving," Mr Ban said in introductory remarks to a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York. "Nearly 90 per cent of the food that feeds them arrives from the sea aboard WFP ships.

    "As you know, pirates are terrorizing Somalia's coastal waters," he said, noting that the Dutch, French, Danish and Canadian navies have been escorting WFP ships safely into the ports, but that Canada's tour of duty ends on 23 October.

    "As yet, no nation has volunteered to take Canada's place," Mr. Ban added. "Without escorts, those ships will not arrive. Without that aid, more people will die."

    The piracy crisis off took on added significance last month when a Ukrainian cargo ship laden with tanks, rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition was seized and Mr. Ban said he would discuss the matter with European Union (EU) officials when he visits Geneva later this month.

    "I urge them [the EU and other nations] to bear in mind the October 23 deadline as they consider longer-term solutions to the challenge of piracy on the Horn of Africa," he added.
    In its resolution the Council cited humanitarian reports that as many as 3.5 million Somalis will depend on food aid by the end of the year and WFP's maritime contractors will not deliver that aid without naval warship escorts.

    The 15-member body called on states to actively take part in the fight against piracy, "in particular by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft," to protect the vital WFP lifeline for the affected populations.

    Mr. Ban noted that the political future of Somalia, which has been plagued by protracted war and humanitarian suffering since its last functioning national government was toppled in 1991, was again uncertain with fierce fighting between Islamist insurgents and transitional government forces backed by the Ethiopian military.

    "We need to set to work on a plan for deploying a viable multinational force to help secure a peace, or at the very least sustain its people," he said, adding that he had been discussing this issue with a number of leaders of potential troop contributing countries.

    In a sign of the continuing violence, the UN is temporarily relocating some of its staff from Marka in south-eastern Somalia after an explosion last night hit a UN rented vehicle, killing the driver and slightly wounding two UN personnel, an Italian and a Somali. The exact nature of the blast has yet to be determined.

    Meanwhile, torrential rains and strong winds have hit a string of settlements between Mogadishu, the capital, and Afgooye, which house hundreds of thousands of people uprooted by the fighting, destroying makeshift shelters and leaving many homeless once again. Ten hours of heavy rain fell overnight Sunday, flooding many shelters and forcing many people to return to their homes in war-torn Mogadishu, despite the dangers.

    The flooding is worsening an already dramatic situation, with over 1 million people displaced. Some 700,000 people fled Mogadishu last year alone, and since the beginning of 2008, another 170,000 people have been uprooted, including over 35,000 in recent weeks. Somalis are currently escaping fighting described as the worst since the beginning of the latest insurgency in February 2007

    Piracy Report – Ships crew may now receive danger money

    As the world comes to a belated recognition that piracy off Somalia is unlikely to go away by itself, so attention begins to turn to the effect it is having on international shipping.

    This week The International Bargaining Forum agreed that crews affiliated to the IBF would receive ‘danger money’ equal to double their basic wage for the period their ship is in transit through the Gulf, while compensation for death and disability will be doubled.

    Ships are required to follow the recently designated Maritime Security Patrol Area but crew on vessels that don’t follow this route will be entitled to refuse to make the transit and may demand they be repatriated at owners expense.

    In Cairo, the head of the Suez Canal Authority, Ahmed Ali Fadel said that piracy in the Gulf of Aden had so far made no difference to the number of ships using the canal. He said that the number of vessels had actually increased, showing that there was no adverse effect on the canal.

    His statement comes after speculation that ship operators may opt to take the longer route around the Cape if piracy is not brought under control.

    In Mombasa the head of the Kenyan section of the Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, Andrew Mwangura, who was arrested by Kenyan police for ‘making false statements’ regarding the destination of the weapons on board the highjacked Ukrainian ship FAINA, has been released on bail equivalent to USD2,700.

    Mwangura was arrested as he left the offices of The Standard newspaper in Mombasa on 1 October.

    His release followed calls from the Reporters Without Borders organisation, which defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world.

    Mwangura, a former journalist, received a prize in 2006 from the Chamber of International Commerce - commercial crime services, for his work in defence of sailors and particularly against murder and piracy in east Africa. He has helped obtain the release of several sailors taken hostage.

    His alleged crime is that he contradicted official Kenyan statements as to the destination of the cargo on board the FAINA. According to Mwangura the Ukraine ship’s cargo of 33 Russian made tanks and other arms and weapons is destined for south Sudan. He claims to have seen documents to this effect. Kenya put out a statement saying the tanks and weapons were for Kenya. A US Navy spokesman based in Bahrain, Nathan Christensen has also gone on record as saying the weapons are intended for south Sudan, where a civil war is currently in progress. The BBC also made similar claims that Kenya is acting as an intermediary in the matter for south Sudan.

    According to Mwangura four other shipments of similar weapons have been offloaded in Mombasa for south Sudan in the past year.

    The pirates are holding the FAINA to ransom along with its crew off the port of Hoboyo, while a small flotilla of warships keep close watch. A Russian warship is expected to arrive shortly but Russian officials say they will work closely with other naval forces already in the area.

    US Navy MSC charters kite-powered BELUGA SKYSAILS

    BELUGA SKYSAILS, the sail assisted cargo ship now on charter to the US Military Sealift Command.

    From Military Sealift Command Public Affairs

    NEWPORT, Wales (NNS) - For the first time, the US Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC) has chartered a kite-assisted, fuel-saving cargo ship to carry military equipment.

    MV Beluga SkySails departed Newport, Wales, 5 October after the first of three European port calls to load US Army and US Air Force cargo before the ship's month-long voyage to the United States.

    The 400-foot Beluga SkySails is the world's first cargo ship to use a sky sail – a giant, computer-controlled kite that can rise 100 metres into the air and uses wind power to help propel the ship during long ocean transits. Though MSC frequently charters commercial ships to meet mission requirements, this is the first time the command has chartered such a ship.

    The ship operating company estimates that the sky sail can reduce fuel costs 20-30 percent, or roughly USD1,600 per day.

    Though Beluga SkySails' wind power was not a factor in awarding the contract, the ship operating company was likely "able to capitalize on fuel savings to make its offer more competitive," said MSC contracting officer Kenneth Allen.

    "MSC values innovation that leads to cost savings," said Navy Capt. Nick Holman, commander of Sealift Logistics Command Europe, MSC's area command for Europe and Africa. "We are proud to be collaborating with innovators in the commercial maritime world to provide our customers with efficient and quality service."

    MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish US Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed US forces and coalition partners.

    Whales, dolphins and manatees win protection under UN-backed pact

    7 October 2008 (UN News Service, New York) – Dolphins, small whales and manatees living in the waters off West Africa or islands in the mid-Atlantic Ocean will now receive greater protection after 15 countries signed an agreement under a United Nations-backed treaty that aims to conserve wildlife and habitats.

    A memorandum of understanding with the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) came into effect last Friday immediately after the agreement was signed by 15 countries attending an intergovernmental meeting in Lomé, Togo.

    The new instrument, which contains two action plans to conserve marine species, is aimed at protecting more than 30 small cetacean species – or aquatic mammals – in an area stretching from the waters off Morocco to South Africa.

    The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), under whose aegis the CMS was concluded, has welcomed the agreement, calling it a permanent legacy of the Year of the Dolphin, which was celebrated last year and then extended to run through 2008.

    “It helps to facilitate transboundary cooperation by providing an international platform to negotiate and coordinate research and conservation measures,” UNEP said in a press release issued today.

    Robert Hepworth, Executive Secretary of the CMS, said the latest pact is the fourth in a network of regional agreements that aim to conserve migratory cetaceans in key areas of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea.

    This agreement officially refers to West Africa and the region known as Macaronesia, which includes Cape Verde and other mid-Atlantic island chains, such as the Azores and the Canary Islands.

    Mr Hepworth said “now we need to encourage Portugal, Spain and the remaining Western African Range States to sign the memorandum of understanding” so that it applies to an even broader area.

    The countries which signed the agreement are Angola, Benin, Cape Verde, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Togo.

    The 17,951-gt Swiss-owned bulker ship SILVAPLANA heads off down the Esplanade channel in Durban harbour in early October. Picture Rip L Riphagen

    Mombasa port to undertake container census

    Mombasa – Kenya Port Authority has announced it intends carrying out a census of containers this Friday (10 October 2008) at the port’s Container Terminal.

    The purpose is to establish accurately what containers are in the port in order to have an accurate inventory for the Kilindini Waterfront System, the port’s unique computer operating system.

    The census will commence from 07h00 and run through until 23h00 the same day.

    Due to this exercise terminal operations and services to third parties will be stopped with the following exceptions:

    1] Loading of empty containers on all working ships.
    2] Deliveries of containers to KPA nominated CFS’s from 15h00 onwards.
    3] Resumption of discharging and loading of full containers on working vessels from 23h00.

    Other normal activities will resume on Saturday 11 October at 07h00.

    Namibia to extend new rail line 1km into Angola

    Namibia’s new railway line being built in the north of the country will extend one kilometre into Angola to enable goods for Namibia’s northern neighbor to be offloaded on its territory, reports The Namibian.

    The extension is also aimed at reducing congestion at the Oshikango border post.

    Namibia’s cabinet has chosen to build the Oshikango railway station yard directly on the Angolan border, which deviates from the original plan selected in 2003.

    The cost of extending the line one kilometre into Angola will amount to a further ND8.5 million (R8.5m), whereas the cost of the railway station area and access roads to the station is given as ND7.6m.

    "In line with the promotion of one-stop border posts in the SADC region and to facilitate the movement of goods and people, the Ministry of Works and Transport proposed the construction of the railway station yard on the Namibia-Angola border," last week’s Cabinet briefing paper disclosed.

    Cabinet also approved the transport ministry’s proposal that the line be extended into Angola. "This will ensure that cargo destined for the Angolan market is transhipped or offloaded on the Angolan side of the border instead of the Namibian side. This will reduce the traffic congestion currently experienced at the present border post," the paper said.

    Written permission from the Angolan government is still necessary before work can go ahead. There is still no confirmation when Angola will build a railway line to link with the Namibian line.

    Safmarine appoints its first female master in command of a ship

    Louise Angel and her crew of SAFMARINE NGAMI

    South African Louise Angel (29) has become the first woman to take command of a Safmarine vessel. She is also the youngest Master in the Safmarine fleet, which comprises 19 owned and 39 chartered vessels.

    Angel, who is married and lives in Durban, will take command of the SAFMARINE NGAMI - a 2,474TEU containership deployed on the South Africa/North America (AMEX) trade - in mid-October 2008.

    Earlier this year, she also became the first female officer to take delivery of a new Safmarine containership - the very ship she will now be at the helm of.

    Commenting on her appointment, Safmarine CEO Ivan Heesom-Green said: "As a seafaring Safmariner, Louise has demonstrated her ability and commitment and her appointment to Master is an excellent achievement - and one of great pride to all Safmariners."

    Safmarine is an independently-managed, multi-trade shipping company within the AP Moller-Maersk Group, the world's largest liner shipping company. The company was founded in South Africa in 1946 and is today represented in more than 120 countries.

    NSRI evacuates sick sailor off ship

    The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) at East London was called into action this week to evacuate a 43-year old Ukrainian seafarer with appendicitis from the 177 metre bulk carrier ALAYSIA 7, which was then sailing off the Eastern Cape coast.

    The NSRI launched its rescue craft ACSA Rescuer 1 manned by NSRI East London volunteers and assisted by a Netcare 911 paramedic and rendezvoused with the bulker some 7 miles off East London.

    “ALAYSIA 7, sailing from Brazil to India, had headed closer to shore during the night to reach the rendezvous point after the sailor experienced symptoms associated with appendicitis,” reported Geoff McGregor, NSRI East London Station Commander.

    “On arrival on-scene, in 3.5 metre swells, the sailor was stabilised on-board the ship by the paramedics and brought aboard our rescue craft and brought to port aboard our rescue craft where he was transported to a local hospital by ambulance, in a stable condition, for further treatment.”

    Pic of the day – ESMERALDA


    The Chilean sail training ship ESMERALDA arrived in Cape Town harbour this week. Picture by Hugo Schuitemaker

    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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