Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 298, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – Durban Port entrance

  • What’s in a name? Plenty it seems, if it affronts royal protocol

  • Derailment along Richards Bay coal line

  • Africa's infrastructure is key to economic growth

  • Nigeria: Worsening coastal security raises fear of increased delays

  • Piracy update: French Navy busy arresting pirates - US Navy says pirate activity is lessening

  • Pics of the day – MSC FLAMINIA and KOTA MEGAH


    First View – Durban port entrance

    The latest picture showing progress at the Durban port entrance, where engineers and dredging speciailsts are widening and deepening the entrance channel into the harbour. As can be seen the channel has been fully widened except for one or two small bumps and beaches, while construction of the new north breakwater is proceeding quickly and is already fully shaped. Dredging to the required depth is still underway.

    Re-development of the Point precinct consisting of upmarket apartment blocks, hotels, canals and shopping malls is also proceeding, as can also be seen. Picture by Steve McCurrach

    What’s in a name? Plenty it seems, if it affronts royal protocol

    The naming of Safmarine’s first new container ship for 2009, the 3,075-TEU SAFMARINE BAYETE, earlier this month – see report HERE - has ruffled some feathers.

    Following our report on 22 January it has been brought to our attention that the word ‘Bayete’ is a specific term of respect used only in the presence of a ruling Zulu king and that its use for any other person or object, including a ship, is a mark of disrespect.

    A leading Zulu traditionalist told Ports & Ships that the misuse of the name would certainly cause offence in the Zulu kingdom. He said that Bayete was used as a greeting of great respect given by his subjects to the Zulu king and to no other. The word could not be used even for a son of the king nor when referring to any previous Zulu king. To use the word to name a ship, even if not intended as disrespect, was strictly taboo, he said.

    He said the matter was to be taken up with Safmarine.

    Safmarine has been approached for comment.

    at the recent naming ceremony in South Korea

    Derailment along Richards Bay coal line

    KwaZulu-Natal, 28 January – The Richards Bay coal line suffered another derailment this week when a laden coal train went off the tracks outside Vryheid in northern KZN on Monday night.

    According to a Transnet Freight Rail spokesman about 55 coal wagons derailed at 21h25 on Monday.

    There were no injuries and a TFR recovery team has been sent to the site to clear the line and restore services. The cause of the derailment was under investigation.

    Derailments along the Richards Bay coal line have been given as one of the causes for a loss of exports in recent years, although in the last financial year shortages of coal from the mines are also known to have played a part in Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) and the coal line each performing well below budget in terms of exports.

    The most recent derailment is not expected to effect exports owing to the stockpile held at RBCT.

    Africa's infrastructure is key to economic growth

    by Bathandwa Mbola (BuaNews)

    Addis Ababa, 28 January - Africa's current infrastructure, which has long been identified as a key requirement for economic growth, needs to be developed to an adequate and efficient standard.

    “Despite the global economic crisis which can have implications for the availability of finance for infrastructure development in Africa, with determination, the challenges can be met.”

    This was the message from the Infrastructure Day Conference and Exhibition in Addis Ababa on Wednesday, the eve of the African Union Summit where infrastructure development in Africa will be the theme.

    Addressing delegates from the 53 African countries, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of the AU Elham Ibrahim said: “Infrastructure should be integrated and interconnected, making it easier for Africa to meet its goals on socio-economic development.”

    She said infrastructure is an important element in the development of peoples and nations as it facilitates socio-economic activities which will lead to the achievement of the MDGs.

    Presenting Infrastructure Consortium for Africa's (ICA) perspective, Coordinator Alex Rugamba outlined a number of challenges facing the development in Africa due to the global financial and economic crisis.

    The ICA was set up by the 2005 Gleneagles G8 summit with the aim to build a strategic partnership among donors and stakeholders in order to facilitate the development of infrastructure in Africa.

    Stressing that Africa was making progress, he reinstated the strong commitment from African countries to tackle the infrastructure challenges facing the continent.

    Mr Rugamba also emphasised that, despite the economic downturn, official development assistance was expected to continue at current levels.

    Turning to the role of private sector, Mr Rugamba said: “Development partners on their own cannot meet all the needs. It is important that private capital be tapped in the more financially viable sectors to make urgently needed investments.

    “Infrastructure in Africa offers significant investment opportunities for long-term investors, even in time of global crisis.”

    He outlined a number of possible African responses to the crisis, stressing that there is a need for a “one size fits all” solution and that responses would vary from country to country.

    Some of the responses included the acceleration of interregional trade and investment, reducing the cost of doing business by strengthening and improving local and regional financial markets.

    On Tuesday AU Commission chairman Jean Ping said the AU wanted to put together a programme of concrete action for infrastructure development.

    He specifically mentioned the Cairo-Capetown and Dakar-Djibouti Highways, adding that although there were missing links along these routes there were projects in place.

    “For example, the road between Khartoum and Cairo is under construction and a feasibility study has been undertaken for the Dakar-Djibouti Highway,” he said, adding that the African Development Bank has donated funds to achieve this and they were looking for additional partners.

    The aim of Infrastructure Day Conference and Exhibition is to facilitate and establish links between the AU, RECs and specialised institutions, member states and international organisation on how best to address the development challenges faced by the African continent.

    Nigeria: Worsening coastal security raises fears of increased delays

    Shipping in the Niger Delta should expect additional delays due to increased security and safety measures imposed in response to the large number of militant and pirate attacks in the region, warns ships agency specialist GAC.

    In its latest bulletin the agency says that ships have been attacked while loading at offshore terminals and that as a result some of the terminals, such as Brass and Okwori have banned night working. Vessels under loading are now required to disconnect by 18h00, drift out to sea to a safe distance and return the next morning to re-berth and re-commence loading.

    In addition to the above, berthing of ships and delivery of cargo documents onboard at most terminals is now handled in such a way that that the operation must be completed and the team involved returned before dark, otherwise it has to be shifted to the following day.

    GAC also reports that the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Transportation has issued a reminder that all import cargoes must be discharged at Nigerian Ports Authority and Concessionaire Ports under strict supervision by relevant government agencies.

    The agency says this is a result of it having been brought to the Ministry’s attention that some shipping companies and private jetty operators have been discharging at midstream
    platforms or private jetties in flagrant disregard of Presidential & Ministerial directives banning such activities. This activity results in loss of revenue and also poses a threat to the nation's security.

    “Any vessel that cannot dicharge at such ports must first:
    (a) pay all relevant Government charges, including terminal charges, etc.
    (b) obtain all relevant releases before proceeding to private jetties or
    midstream platform for discharge
    (c) berth at the official designated port.”

    Piracy update: French Navy busy arresting pirates - US Navy says pirate activity is lessening

    Nine Somali pirates were arrested by the French Navy on Tuesday after they attempted to highjack a 150,000-dwt crude oil tanker, AFRICAN RUBY. The pirates used two small boats to chase the tanker which issued an immediate distress signal. The French patrol frigate FNS FLOREAL, which is normally based in Reunion dispatched a naval helicopter to the aid of the tanker and after a chase brought them to bay and secured their capture.

    Since April last year the French Navy has been responsible for arresting 57 suspected pirates off the Somali coast.

    The French success took place as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) convened a high level meeting in nearby Djibouti to discuss the rise of piracy in the region. The IMO is looking to reach agreements on assisting countries in the region to strengthen their own capabilities of combating piracy and armed robbery against shipping passing their shores.

    In his opening speech IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos highlighted the seriousness of the problem facing all countries in the region as well as international shipping. He stressed the international response by various nations and alliances in sending naval forces to assist with the delivery of food aid to the region and to help escort merchant ships through the Gulf of Aden.

    He said the fate of Somali lay in the hands of Somalis alone – other governments and organisations, including the European Union, NATO, China, India, the Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia have played a role and done their duty, but it was now time for states in the region to add their own contribution to the efforts of the international community. Most importantly, it was time for Somali itself to act, he said.

    Meanwhile it was announced this week that Japan will send warships to the Gulf of Aden region to assist in preventing piracy. This is a radical departure from Japan’s previous policy that has been restricted by its pacifist post-war constitution. Latest thinking appears to consider action against pirates to be a defensive one and not a mark of aggression. It wasn’t announced how many ships the Japanese Navy would be sending.

    The United States which has been in the forefront of creating a special task force to combat piracy off Somalia says that 20 nations are considering providing ships to Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), which was established on 8 January specifically to act against piracy. CTF-151 differs from other naval forces and task forces in the region that are acting under limited charters preventing them from aggressively combating pirates.

    The US Navy commander of task force CTF 151 says increased naval forces in the Gulf have already cut piracy dramatically.

    Pic of the day – MSC FLAMINIA and KOTA MEGAH

    The MSC FLAMINIA (75,590-gt, built 2001) is one of several 7,000-TEU container ships deployed on MSC’s Europe – South Africa service and which are now becoming regular callers at Cape Town, where this picture was taken, Port Elizabeth and Durban. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    Another container ship but this time deployed on the South East Asia – South Africa service is PIL’s KOTA MEGAH (18,000-gt, built 1990). In spite of her Asian name and habitat Kota Megah is an American owned ship managed by a Singapore-based company and on charter to Pacific International Lines. The picture was taken outside Durban. Picture by Steve McCurrach

    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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