Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 11, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – MOL WELLINGTON

  • EIA approval for extensions and improvements to Durban’s Bayhead Road

  • Watertight laws needed to fight piracy

  • SA has no plans to join international navies off Somalia

  • RBCT exports increase in February

  • Progress with Angola’s railways

  • Pic of the day – WILMA in CAPE TOWN


    First View – MOL WELLINGTON

    The container ship MOL WELLINGTON (31,767-gt), built 1979) this week made her final visit to the New Zealand port of Lyttelton on the South Island, before sailing to Hong Kong and from there to Alang in India and the breakers’ yard. The ship previously sailed under the name WELLINGTON MARU, perhaps more fully describing her Japanese lineage. Picture by Alan Calvert

    EIA approved for extending and improving Durban’s Bayhead Road

    Environmental approval has been given for the construction of a double highway extension of Bayhead Road in Durban between Langeberg Road and the Pier 1 Container Terminal, one of the major areas of road congestion in the Bayhead area.

    The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report was submitted to the National Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism (DEAT) on 23 December 2008, a particularly fast approval rate. The approval takes into account information included in the basic Assessment Report which was submitted to the department as well as comments from interested and affected parties, the consent provided by landowners, and the objectives and requirements of relevant legislation, policies and guidelines.

    The approval is subject to a range of conditions that include both standard conditions laid down by the Department, as well as specific conditions and recommendations. The authorisation letter states that Transnet must notify all registered Interested and Affected Parties in writing within 10 calendar days of receiving the Department’s decision.

    The authorisation, dated 10 February 2009, was sent by email to the Environmental Assessment Practitioner on the 2nd of March 2009. A full copy of the authorisation letter is available from the public participation office, contact person Vicky Madonsela, Tel: (031) 717 2790 or Fax: (031) 717 2791 and Email:
    vmadonsela@golder.co.za or Website: www.golder.co.za.

    Notice of any intention to appeal the decision must be lodged with the Minister, DEAT within ten days of receiving the notification. According to EIA Regulations the grounds of appeal must be factual and substantiated by appropriate documentation.

    Appeals must be submitted within 30 days of lodging the notice of the intention to appeal, to:
    The Minister: Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
    Fax: (012) 310 7561
    Post: Private Bag X447, Pretoria, 0001; or
    By hand: 2nd Floor, Fedsure Form Building, North Tower, cnr Van der Walt and Pretorius Streets, Pretoria.

    An appeal must be on an official form that can be obtained from Mr PKM Retief, Appeals Administrator, Tel: 012 310 3705, pretief@deat.gov.za; or Mr H Grovè, Appeals Administrator, Tel: 012 310 3070, hgrove@deat.gov.za at the Department.

    Watertight laws needed to fight piracy

    By Edwin Tshivhidzo (BuaNews)

    Cape Town, 10 March 2009 - African states must introduce water tight laws against piracy if they want to effectively combat the threat to the continent's coast.

    Speaking at the 3rd Sea Power for Africa Symposium currently underway in Cape Town, Paul Musili Wambua, a Kenyan researcher, said there was a need for regional cooperation and tough legislation to be put in place to effectively prosecute pirates.

    “Countries must jealously guard their maritime against pirates and governments must give their navies support to enable them to carry out their duties more effectively,” said Mr Wambua.

    A lack of regional cooperation in safeguarding maritime will remain a stumbling block to safeguarding maritime and that would contribute in the number of pirates increasing, he said.

    He pointed out that there was a lack of appropriate policy, legal and institutional frameworks for governance of the maritime zones.

    African countries are battling poaching, arms and drug smuggling, human trafficking, piracy and other activities of organised crime syndicates.

    Approximately 95 percent of all the world's trade is conducted via the sea.

    According to International Maritime Organisation, in the first quarter of 2008, there were 11 piracy attacks off the East African coast, 23 in the second quarter and 50 in the third and 51 in the fourth quarters, making a total of 135 attacks, 44 hijackings and the kidnapping of more than 600 seafarers.

    Recent incidences of hijacking were reported off the coast of Somalia where ships were hijacked and a large ransom demanded for their release. Somalia has the longest coastline in Africa measuring approximately 3 898 km of which 1 204 km is in the Gulf of Aden.

    Rear Admiral OS Ibrahim of the Nigerian Navy said combating maritime threats in African waters required systems that would ensure that African countries have adequate capacity to exercise control over its maritime domain.

    “The need for security is a mutual interest requiring the cooperation of industry and government,” he said, adding that the role for African navies may have to be reviewed to advance Africa's maritime interests.

    Being held under the theme ‘Towards effective maritime governance for Africa’, the symposium seeks to find better and effective ways of dealing with illegal activities in the seas.

    SA has no plans to join international navies off Somalia

    The South African government has no immediate intention of sending warships to assist other international navies patrolling the pirate-infested waters off Somalia.

    This became clear this week when the Minister of Defence Charles Nqakula told the third Sea Power Symposium being held in Cape Town that more questions needed to be asked before any thought could be given to sending frigates to assist commercial shipping off Somalia.

    According to reports senior officers of the South African Navy were ‘put in their places’ by government which has made it clear it doesn’t want to get involved. Sources suggested that this view by government might change after the symposium has been held and the reality of the situation in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali and Tanzanian and Nigerian coasts is made more clear, a view that suggests government doesn’t really know what exactly is going on to the north of South Africa.

    One of the advertised motivations behind the purchase of new frigates and submarines by the present South African government was to equip the navy to go to the aid and assistance of other fellow African countries in times of need. But since their commissioning the four frigates have been used on goodwill visits to various countries around the globe, from as far afield as China to Chile, and have taken part in numerous naval exercises with navies of other countries, but have yet to be used in an operational sense.

    In fairness to the government the minister didn’t entirely rule out South African Navy participation in an anti piracy role but said he was waiting for answers to questions that government has posed to the navy. He said government had to go to parliament with a “watertight” case before making any commitment.

    RBCT exports increase in February

    Coal exports from the Richards Bay Coal Terminal went up 2.4% in February 2009, when compared with the same month in 2008. In total the terminal shipped 5.2 million tonnes, up from 5.08mt a year ago.

    During January this year RBCT exported 4.12mt, it was revealed.

    Transnet Freight Rail delivered a total of 5.32mt of coal for export to the terminal in February, which helped RBCT accumulate a stockpile of 3.06mt at the port.

    In other interesting figures released by RBCT, 58 ships loaded coal during February while 651 trains of coal arrived at the terminal.

    Progress with Angola’s rialways

    Reconstruction of the 505 kilometres section of the Moçâmedes railway between Angola’s Huila and Cuando Cubango provinces is due to be completed by July 2009, according to a report issued by China’s MacauHub News Agency.

    Quoted by the Angolan news agency Angop, Wei Kui, vice-president of the Chinese company undertaking the refurbishment of the 903-km former colonial railway said that 89km of railway between Matala and Dongo will be completed and handed over shortly.

    The railway which stretches from the port of Namibe (former Moçâmedes) and Menongue (former Cuando Cubango) was almost totally destroyed during the long civil war that followed the withdrawal of the former colonial power, Portugal. The importance of the railway was that it linked the southern provinces of Angola with a seaport, while another railway to the north, the better-known Benguela Railway (CFB) linked the ports of Lobito and Benguela with not only central Angola but also the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia to the east of Angola.

    Angolan government sources estimate that all three Angolan railway systems, which includes the line from the capital Luanda to the inland city of Malange (CFL) but are not linked together, will be operational during 2010 but this seems optimistic and probably means that sections of the railway systems only will be in operation.

    For instance, work began this week on the CFB railway between Munhango and Luau – the latter town being on the border with the DRC. Angola’s news agency Angop reported that work commenced at Chicala, about 35km from the city of Luena and that the first train was expected in or about July next year. By the end of 2010 it might be possible to travel by train as far as the Luau border, said a Chinese construction official.

    However, the opening of the CFB railway between Lobito and Luau would only be possible in 2011.

    The CFB was completed between 1903 and 1928 as the longest railway in Angola, providing a rail link to the ports at Lobito and Benguela for the mineral rich Central African countries of the Congo and Northern Rhodesia (now DRC and Zambia).

    With the current refurbishment the Angolan government has so far invested US$1.8 billion on this 1,347-km railway, which includes bridge construction and 16 rail stations.

    Pic of the day – WILMA

    The term general cargo ship for WILMA (8,388-gt, built 1997), which was in Cape Town last week, seems apt considering her unusual deck cargo - two small vessels that appeared to be fishing boats. Often a ship’s cargo can be as interesting as the ship herself. Picture Ian Shiffman

    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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