Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 4, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Charges brought against TransNamib boss

  • Shipping representatives issue appeal over piracy

  • K-Line and PIL join forces with joint Asia – east coast South America service

  • East Africa’s broad gauge railway to extend into Rwanda says Uganda minister

  • Plans to increase Tema Container Terminal capacity

  • Pic of the day – SHIN FUJI



    The second of two Svitzer newbuildings to call at Cape Town recently, the tug SVITZER GELLISWICK, arrived in Cape Town at the weekend on her delivery voyage. Two weeks ago it was the turn of the SVITZER MUSSELWICK. As in that instance, Aad Noorland was on hand to capture the moment on film. Picture by Aad Noorland

    Charges brought against TransNamib boss

    TransNamib CEO Titus Haimbili has had his suspension extended indefinitely while six charges alleging various items of misconduct and mismanagement have been issued. He has been given 14 days in which to admit or deny them.

    Until now Haimbili has been under suspension without any official indication of the reason.

    He told Namibian newspapers that he was pleased to have the charges finally brought against him, saying that he wondered why it had taken TransNamib so long to do so.

    According to the national transport company, which operates the ports and railways inside Namibia on behalf of the government, the charges are the result of an investigation undertaken on the company’s behalf by the firm of Ernst & Young.

    TransNamib’s chief of communication said it appeared that the allegations have been confirmed by the findings. Haimbili would remain on suspension until the proceedings had been completed.

    Included in the charges are nepotism and mismanagement.

    The Namibian newspaper reported that while he was in office Haimbili had authorised an investigation into corruption regarding the purchase of locomotives from China, in which it was claimed there was evidence of kickbacks offered by the Chinese to TransNamib officials in the previous management. The inference is that his suspension has been designed to put a halt to these investigations.

    Haimbili told the Labour Court in September that there were ulterior motives behind his (Haimbili’s) suspension which may have been a result of his investigation. He maintained that items such as fridges were smuggled into Namibia with the locomotives which were kickbacks from the Chinese.

    The recent strike involving almost the entire TransNamib workforce was a result of Haimbili’s suspension, with workers claiming he had been unfairly treated.

    Haimbili remains on full pay during his suspension.

    Shipping representatives issue appeal over piracy

    Seven of the world’s major shipping industry bodies have sent an open letter to all governments urging action over piracy off the coast of Somalia.

    The message from the International Chamber of Shipping, International Shipping Federation, Intercargo, InterManager, Intertanko, BIMCO and the International Transport Workers’ Federation calls on all governments individually and collectively through the United Nations, to do everything in their power to counter the state of lawlessness and to restore safety of navigation in the Gulf of Aden.

    “Contributions already made in response to UN Security Council resolutions 1816 and 1838 are welcomed but the undersigned note with considerable concern that UN SCR 1816 is end dated 2 December 2008. The considerable support being voiced in the European Union and in NATO is also welcomed but coordinated international action is the only mechanism likely to bring any lasting relief to this troubled and lawless area.

    “These waters are strategically important for world trade; safe and unhindered passage of innocent merchant ships is essential if the needs of the nations and peoples of the world are to be safeguarded. The freedom to navigate safely on the high seas is an abiding principle of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the situation that pertains today is one of the most serious challenges to this principle to have arisen in recent years.

    “It is our view that immediate and decisive action is required to strike at the very heart of the armed and organised gangs that appear to be operating in the region almost with impunity. The practical and legal difficulties facing the crews of the few warships currently deployed into the area are understood only too well and it is for this reason that the following actions are identified as essential short term steps toward a lasting solution.

    1. Governments are urged to commit sufficient numbers of warships, military aircraft and surveillance assets to the region and to coordinate their command and control under the auspices of a United Nations mandate,

    2. The existing UN Security Council resolutions 1816 and 1838 must be enhanced with a further resolution with more explicit text on action required against the criminal gangs and with a time frame adequate to reaching a final solution,

    3. Of equal importance is the need to establish a legal jurisdiction to bring arrested criminals to justice and subsequent punishment. In this regard States are particularly urged to review and amend national legislation to include such due process, noting their obligations under the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, 1988 (SUA Convention).

    K-Line and PIL join forces with joint Asia – east coast South America service

    K Line’s CHANG JIANG BRIDGE (48,2370-gt) in Cape Town, 2007. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    K Line (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd) and PIL (Pacific International Lines) have announced they intend launching a new joint service to operate between Asia and the east coast South America starting in June 2009.

    This follows last week’s announcement that the joint service between Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) and PIL is to come to an end (see yesterday’s ‘News from the Shipping Lines’ in our daily News Bulletin) with MOL going it alone as from January 2009.

    The new PIL and K Line joint service will have ten panamax ships with each company providing five and allowing for a weekly rotation. The service will connect China and east coast South America directly and will be supported by K Line’s comprehensive service network in the Asia, Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, says the announcement.

    “The new service will cater for the fast growing demand in the trade between Asia and ECSA and offer a quality service to customers.

    It is not clear whether the ships will call at South African ports with this service.

    East Africa’s broad gauge railway to extend into Rwanda says Uganda minister

    The proposed broad gauge railway to be built from the Kenyan port of Mombasa inland to the Uganda capital Kampala will also extend into Rwanda, says Uganda’s transport minister.

    John Byabagambi said last week that the new railway, to be built to the European broad gauge (1435mm) would follow the route of the existing metre gauge railway from the port, which he described as “substandard and slow”. He said an extension would connect with Kigali from the southwestern railhead town of Kasese through Mbarara and Kabale and then on to Kigali in Rwanda. He could not say whether the proposed line would extend further south into Burundi.

    He claimed that building the line to standard gauge would provide a more efficient service. “We have to develop the railway links to facilitate trade in the region,” he said.

    The standard gauge is intended to also extend northwards from Kampala into South Sudan and westwards into the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Feasibility studies for the project are due to begin early in 2009 including the determination whether the project would be financed by the Regional Community (EAC) or the partner states involved in the project.

    Editor’s note: The advisability of an expensive standard (broad) gauge railway in the East African context is to be one of the key topics at the Railways and Harbours Conference and Exhibition which is to be staged at the Cape Town ICC from 4 – 6 March 2009.

    Plans to increase Tema Container Terminal capacity

    Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority says it is investing USD500 million to increase the capacity of the Tema Port container terminal.

    With feasibility studies already underway Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority hopes to enhance the country’s status as the gateway into the West African region.

    Quoted in the Accra Daily Graphic, director-general Ben Owusu-Mensah said the port was operating at its optimum capacity of 500,000 TEU and had moved from a first generation port to a modern third generation port, which was comparable with any European port in terms of infrastructure.

    In the face of congestion the port authority had completed the Golden Jubilee Terminal which resulted in container capacity increasing from 166,963-TEU in 2000 to 489,147-TEU in 2008.

    Turning to the port of Takoradi, Owusu-Mensah said the discovery of oil had brought a change in direction with plans to expand Takoradi to handle oil products.

    Pic of the day – SHIN FUJI

    The Japanese refrigerated freighter SHIN FUJI in a tranquil Durban Bay setting in July 2004, as the 3,822-gt ship moves down channel to a berth at Maydon Wharf. The ship was most recently back in South African waters in October this year when she made a call at Cape Town. Picture Terry Hutson

    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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