Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 9, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – LILIAN NGOYI in Cape Town

  • South African port statistics for February 2009

  • Urgent warning to all east coast boaters and seafarers as port is closed

  • Africa’s navies must be equipped for effective sea control – Adm Mudimo

  • Pic of the day – MONTE ALEGRE in Durban


    First View – LILIAN NGOYI in Cape Town

    The environmental protecion patrol vessel LILIAN NGOYI in Table Bay, with the salvage tug TSAVLIRIS HELLAS in the background. Picture Aad Noorland

    South African port statistics for February 2009

    January’s severe decrease in cargo and traffic volumes was not repeated in quite the same drastic fashion during February, although statistics just released indicate a continued but smaller drop in volumes across the combined ports. It is still too early in 2009 to draw any conclusions but it might appear that South African cargo volumes are following international trends of between 6 – 10% decreases on 2008.

    For comparison purposes readers can see statistics of 12 months ago, ie February 2008 HERE

    As is customary the figures shown in this report reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers in terms of the number of TEUs and not by weight - for which PORTS & SHIPS makes an estimated weight adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to reflect estimated tonnages. This figure is considered to be on the conservative side with 14 tonnes or even more being a more realistic figure in view of the increasing quantity of bulk cargo which is now being handled in containers.

    Figures for the respective ports during February 2009 were (with January 2008 figures shown bracketed):

    Cargo handled by tonnes

    Richards Bay                      6.292mt million tonnes (Jan 5.810Mt)
    Durban                              6.396 Mt (Jan 4.532)
    Saldanha Bay                     4.716 Mt (Jan 4.082)
    Cape Town                        1.252 Mt (Jan 0.986)
    Port Elizabeth                     0.516 Mt (Jan 0.410)
    Mossel Bay                         0.183 Mt (Jan 0.154)
    East London                       0.212 Mt (Jan 0.198)

    Total monthly cargo in February 19.569 million tonnes (Jan 16.173 Mt)

    Containers (measured by TEUs)
    (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA)

    Durban                              196,435 TEU (Jan 176,457)
    Cape Town                          72,012 (Jan 52,921)
    Port Elizabeth                      26,618 (Jan 15,476)
    East London                          3,494 (Jan 3,262)
    Richards Bay                              59 (Jan 175)

    Total containers handled during February 298,618 TEU (Jan 248,291)

    Ship Calls for February 2009

    Durban:               428 vessels 10.237m gt (Jan 375 vessels 9.900m gt)
    Cape Town:         254 vessels 4.751m gt (Jan 291 vessels 4.816m gt)
    Port Elizabeth:      119 vessels 2.295m gt (Jan 78 vessels 2.542m gt)
    Richards Bay:       140 vessels 4.822m gt (Jan 127 vessels 4.572m gt)
    Saldanha:             48 vessels 2.806 gt (Jan 28 vessels 2.673 gt)
    East London:         26 vessels 0.622m gt (Jan 28 vessels 0.702m gt)
    Mossel Bay:           70 vessels 0.264m gt (Jan 67 vessels 0.244m gt)

    - source TNPA, with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container weights

    Urgent warning to all east coast seafarers as port is closed because of heavy swells

    An urgent warning has been issued to all those on or near the sea along the east coast between Mossel Bay and Richards Bay of extremely large on-shore surf conditions and rough seas.

    The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) posted the warning yesterday after a spate of reports of heavy seas and rough conditions, which it is understood is caused by a deep low currently lying off the east coast opposite East London.

    The deep low is similar to that of two years ago, also in March, which resulted in extensive damage to the coastline, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal.

    Yesterday (Sunday) reports were received of three drowning accidents on the KZN South Coast – one at Port Shepstone where a bather attempted to swim across the Umzimkulu River mouth, another at Ramsgate and a third reported by lifeguards at Shelly Beach.

    Further south in the southern Cape a 21 year old male is reported missing and is presumed to have drowned at the Fish River mouth, while on the KZN North Coast a family of three was rescued after being swept out to sea in five metre swells at Umhloti, just to the north of Durban.

    As a result of the rough seas and heavy swell authorities along the KZN coast have closed many beaches but the NSRI says that in light of a spate of drownings including at the Wilderness over the past few days, a yacht that ran aground in Port Elizabeth, and the weekend’s incidents in Umhloti, Durban and elsewhere on the coast the NSRI is urgently appealing to bathers, paddlers and boaters to not enter the water and for seafarers to exercise extreme caution.

    In addition to the above the port of Durban was closed to all shipping on Saturday night because of a heavy swell. It is reported that one of the construction cranes on the breakwater, being used to raise and strengthen the breakwater was damaged by the heavy swell breaking across the breakwater.

    Africa’s navies must be equipped for effective sea control – Adm Mudimo

    Regrettably Ports & Ships was unable to be present when the Chief of the South African Navy, Vice Admiral Rufiloe Mudimo addressed the media in Cape Town last week. However we have obtained a copy of his address and it is produced here in full.

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the media of the Mother City, I bid you welcome to this media conference that I have convened to brief you on the forthcoming historic Third Sea Power for Africa Symposium that will be hosted in Cape Town over period 8 to 12 March 2009. The inaugural First Sea Power for Africa Symposium was held in Cape Town in August 2005 followed by the Second in Abuja, Nigeria in May 2006. The theme adopted for this symposium is “Towards Effective Maritime Governance for Africa” and it will be attended by thirty-one Chiefs of Navies or their representatives of coastal and inland Navies of Africa and twelve observers from International Navies.

    The focus of these symposia has been the establishment of a collective approach to collaboration and co-operation to address the maritime challenges that face Africa. The results have been positive and this is evident from the marked increase of African Navies attending these symposia since its inauguration and the interest displayed by international Navies to attend these ongoing symposia. In others words the momentum is being successfully maintained.

    At the first symposium resolutions were collectively adopted and reviewed at the second symposium.
    I termed this event historical as history was made by creating a credible forum for the Navies of Africa to discuss Africa’s maritime issues, maritime networking was achieved and the opportunity was created for international participation and interaction.

    This third symposium will once again provide the opportunity to reassess the challenges we face in the maritime domain, review our adopted resolutions, further improve co-operation and relations and plot our way forward. We must succeed for the benefit of humanity and the generations to come.

    Certain issues that were adopted in the formulated resolutions include

    1] An urgent need to co-operate in the fight against maritime crime and piracy.

    2] A critical requirement to co-operate in the field of maritime training so as to ensure availability of professionally skilled human resources.

    3] A requirement to operationalise the concept of collaborative, multi-national utilisation and interoperability of naval assets in pursuit of common objectives at national, regional and continental levels.

    This includes empowering elements of national navies to perform coastguard functions and strengthening the capacity of landlocked countries to execute riverine and waterborne operations.

    The maritime challenges we are confronted with are many and range from poaching, arms and drug smuggling, human trafficking, piracy and other activities under the control of unscrupulous or organised crime syndicates, such as oil theft and poaching. The porous borders and un-patrolled seas make certain states of Africa vulnerable to these criminal activities and results in denying their people the rightful benefit to the economic growth and development that can be earned from marine resources both in and below their territorial waters and their vast Economic Exclusion Zones.

    The resolutions we have adopted must therefore devise plans and demonstrate the readiness of our nations on the continent to collectively unshackle the chains of conflict, poverty, hunger and underdevelopment that plague the people of our continent.

    The Navies, coastguards and marines of the continent must not and should not allow economic disruptions to undermine the collective efforts to improve the livelihood of the people dependent on the marine resources.

    The importance of the sea must not be underestimated and it is vital that the political masters of our nations are made aware of the need to invest in capabilities to fill the gaps in these porous borders and un-patrolled waters.

    The seas that surround our continent are the lifeline for trade with the world and this contributes directly to economic well being. We must also bear in mind that Africa is the bastion of four major choke points, namely the Suez Canal, Straits of Gibraltar, Bab el Mandab (Gulf of Aden) and the Cape Sea Route. There are already indications that because of the increasing threat of piracy around the Horn of Africa, ships are being re-routed via the Cape Sea Route, despite the additional costs.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, we need to remember that 95% of all world trade is conducted via the sea, human trafficking has increased globally by 60% over the last year, the majority of drug trafficking is conducted via North West Africa, approximately 15 million US dollars of oil is stolen and 1 billion US dollars of fish is poached. For this reason the Navies of Africa must be equipped for effective sea control.

    This means that the Navies, coast guards and marines of Africa must be given the requisite capability to enforce sea control.

    Hand in hand with this, it is important that the Navies of Africa need to take the lead in confronting these challenges. They must be competent in maintaining maritime situational awareness, mutually exchange information and have the capability to eradicate these activities.

    However we note that fortunately international Navies are playing a key role in assisting with the establishment of maritime situational awareness structures in Africa.

    It is essential that these sea lanes of communication are protected so that they allow safe and secure passage for all seafarers. Historically, conflict flash points have been land centric and at intrastate level, cognizance has therefore not been given to the maritime dimension and the fact that in most cases conflict and threats emanate from the sea - and they must be stopped at sea. Recent examples have been the terrorist act in Mumbai, India and the plundering that occurred in Benin.

    Besides addressing land-borne conflict issues there is a need to protect our marine resources from sea-borne threats. In most cases this will require joint ventures, but once again the lack of capabilities must be addressed.

    A viable solution would be a joint partnership between the Regional Trade Bodies, MAGREB, ECOWAS, ECCAS, COMESA, and SADC, to enter a programme for the design and building of an indigenous, non sophisticated Offshore Patrol Vessel that could be built in countries such as Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa and others.

    Niches of expertise and capacity exist on the continent where such a programme can be effectively undertaken. These platforms will contribute to the security and stability of the member states and interoperability will be realised. This proposal needs to be impressed upon the political masters of the continent so that the coastal and inland Navies of Africa can effectively face the challenges in their waters and eradicate them at sea.

    To sum up the importance of the sea, which is not just applicable to South Africa but the entire continent and the intentions of these symposia, I quote from our former President and Commander-in-Chief, Nelson Mandela during the International Fleet Review that was held in Cape Town on 5 April 1997:

    I quote “The sea is a vital national interest and that is why we maintain the Navy. We are a maritime nation trading all over the world. We accept our obligation to combine with other maritime nations to uphold the freedom of the seas and to protect our national interests through naval power” unquote.

    The South African Navy will urge the Navies of Africa to become more committed to co-operation and assist each other with capabilities to do the things we have mentioned above. The Navies of Africa must appreciate that they are instruments of the state and are mandated to protect national interests and marine resources through effective sea power that will give rise to sea control and sea denial. Hence we need effective maritime domain awareness that is supported by good intelligence, surveillance, monitoring of shipping and sharing of information to ensure sea control becomes a reality.

    Vice Adm Rufiloe Johannes Mudimo
    Chief of the Navy

    Pic of the day – MONTE ALEGRE

    One of Hamburg Süd’s latest newbuilds, MONTE ALEGRE (69,132-gt, built 2008) arrived in Durban at the recent weekend. Picture by Trevor Jones

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