Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 24, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – SMIT AMANDLA

  • Ship pulled clear of Cape coast ‘just in time’

  • Tanzania reviews rail concession given to India’s Rites

  • Ghana concerns over Port of Takoradi security

  • Trade news – new stacker reclaimer for Saldanha

  • Africa's trading blocs seek new partnership to boost exports

  • Pic of the day – GLOBAL PATRIOT


    First View – SMIT AMANDLA

    The SMIT AMANDLA salvage tug (2918-gt, built 1976), which is on a standby contract along the South African coast on behalf of the South African Government, took the capesize bulker KIRAN under tow on Monday night after the fully laden bulker, carrying iron ore loaded at Saldanha, lost engine power and came close to going aground near Slangkop. See next report below. Picture Glenn Kasner/SMIT

    Ship pulled clear of Cape coast ‘just in time’

    The capesize bulker KIRAN (built 1994) came perilously close to drifting ashore between Slangkop and Scarborough last night after losing engine power shortly after sailing with a full cargo of iron ore from Saldanha.

    With heavy seas running and force 8 – 9 winds blowing and the ship drifting in excess of 2 knots at times, it was estimated that she would have gone aground between 20h00 and 21h00 hours on Monday evening.

    The salvage tug SMIT Amandla hurried to the ship’s rescue after receiving the distress call and connected a tow at 18h00 and was able shortly afterwards to commence towage offshore. Meanwhile a helicopter landed a salvage team on the bulker including a salvage master and a salvage engineer to assess the situation with the ship.

    By yesterday afternoon the Kiran was still under tow but some 22 n.miles northwest offshore of the Green Point Lighthouse. All was reported well with the ship in good condition other than her engine failure and the tow is holding despite the adverse weather conditions being experienced in the vicinity of Cape Town.

    Having just left the port of Saldanha with a full load of iron ore the ship was also fully laden with fuel, and had she gone aground on the Cape Peninsular a major ecological and environmental disaster would have happened.

    The incident occurred as a series of cold fronts swept across the south-western Cape, bringing strong winds and high seas with forecasts of swells increasing to 9 metres. The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has warned residents of Cape Town and surrounds to keep away from the Sea Point promenade, the Atlantic seaboard, False Bay coastline and Strand and Gordon’s Bay beachfronts. People can easily be swept away and drowned, the NSRI said.

    A Smit Amandla Marine spokesperson described the weather conditions as being very similar to that when the Sealand Express (2005) and the Ikan Tanda (2001) went aground nearby.

    The capesize bulker KIRAN was without power and helpless off the Cape coast until taken in tow by the tug SMIT Amandla, which had been on 20 minutes standby in Cape Town harbour until called out. Picture Glenn Kasner/SMIT

    Tanzania reviews rail concession given to India’s Rites

    The Tanzanian government is reported to be reviewing the concession agreement with Tanzania Railways Limited, operated by India’s Rites which operates and manages the entire Tanzanian railway network except for the 1067mm gauge Tazara railway.

    This is said to be because of dissatisfaction over the operation of the metre gauge railway that extends from the port of Dar es Salaam inland to lakes Tanganyika and Victoria.

    The country’s minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr Mustafa Mkulo disclosed this last week in response to questions from a group of MPs that have made their intention clear of wanting the government to cancel the concession. The MPs maintain the railway has not shown sufficient improvement since concessioning and is resulting in huge losses that the government has to carry.

    The minister explained that the examination of the agreement with TFL was mandatory in terms of a loan agreement between TRL and the Indian government, which the Tanzanian government would have to guarantee.

    He reaffirmed government’s wish to rebuild the railway network to European standard gauge (1484mm) which he said would help improve efficiencies. Government also had plans to build a new railway between Isaka in northwest Tanzania and Rwanda and Burundi. source The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)

    Ghana concerns over Port of Takoradi security

    Ghana’s new government is reported to be concerned with security at the port of Takoradi, due to future plans of expanding the port’s oil export operations.

    A number of security issues have been identified by key stakeholders in the oil and port industries, which government says it will pay particular attention to.

    The Western Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo said the time is fast approaching when the port will be used as a major transit point for the export of oil from fields that have still to come into production.

    “Government has tightened security at the Takoradi port, and as 2010 is not far from today, we will ensure that we have a common security policy in place, before the oil production starts,” he said.

    The minister said that with the probable economic boom that the oil industry would bring to the port and city of Takoradi it was necessary to examine possible security dangers and plan accordingly. He said the government of President John Atta Mills would work to avert any potential security issues.

    The minister has also requested of the port authority a list of all firms operating within the port in order to streamline and organise their activities. He gave an assurance that government would play its part in ensuring that challenges facing the port were addressed and dealt with.

    He highlighted the lack of berths, which needed to be increased, as also applied to warehousing at the harbour and other facilities and services. source Ghanaian Chronicle.

    Trade news – new stacker reclaimer for Saldanha

    The tender for the supply of hydraulic systems, for what is believed to be one of the largest iron ore stacker reclaimers in southern Africa, has been awarded to Hytec by Sandvik Materials Handling.

    “This is by far the biggest stacker reclaimer that we have worked on. The machine will be used in the Saldanha Bay port, by Sandvik’s end client, Transnet, to stockpile and reclaim iron ore for onward shipment,” says Klaus Marggraff of Hytec.

    The Saldanha stacker reclaimer is capable of handling 10,000 tons of material an hour and features a boom length of 60m. “We have supplied complete hydraulic solutions for the luffing system, which controls the height of the conveyor boom, as well as the hydraulics for the tripper car, the bypass chute and the stacking and reclaiming system,” says Marggraff. The entire hydraulic system is powered by two 132kw electric motors, which drive two electronically controlled hydraulic pumps.

    “The most challenging aspect of this project was to ensure the smooth control of the luffing system. The potential problem is evident, with such a large scale machine, any shudders or vibrations will be transmitted down the length of the boom resulting in an inefficient and unsafe piece of equipment. The Hytec team met the challenge head on and made use of its extensive industry experience to carefully select the correct hydraulic components for the job. We supplied a primary control for the hydraulic pump which is responsible for the acceleration and deceleration of the boom. The solution that we provided not only solves the original challenge, but has also proved to be highly energy efficient.“

    “We used Bosch Rexroth hydraulic components throughout the systems on the stacker reclaimer. The systems have a minimum projected operational life of ten years,” says Marggraff. source Cape Business News

    Africa's trading blocs seek new partnership to boost exports

    Nairobi (BuaNews) - Africa's regional trading blocs have developed a new strategic partnership to boost the continent's exports.

    The three of Africa's regional economic communities, Common Market of East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central Africa States (ECCAS), have forged a new strategic partnership with the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC) to boost the ability of African firms to compete in global markets.

    Kenyan Trade Permanent Secretary Cyrus Njiru said on Monday that one of the objectives of the Program for Building African Capacity (PACT II) is to provide support to regional and national institutions so as to enhance export competitiveness and market linkages for Small and Medium Enterprises in high potential sectors.

    “It is from this perspective that I consider this event crucial for laying the foundation for the successful implementation of the activities associated with this program,” the Permanent Secretary said in a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Chief Economist at the Ministry, Richard Sindiga.

    The new venture will be launched this week by the three communities at a series of events that started with the COMESA in Nairobi on Monday.

    The continent's share of world trade has fallen to around three percent from four percent in the 1970s.

    The dramatic contraction in global and regional trade as a result of the current international financial crisis makes regional cooperation and integration on trade even more important.

    Funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, the 20 million Canadian dollars (US $ 17.3 million) PACT will offer a springboard for exporters by developing trade information networks, strengthening cooperation between trade support institutions, such as chambers of commerce.

    The PACT program, which runs until 2012, aims to involve and support the private sector and develop its capacity to trade by enhancing public-private partnerships, fostering a better understanding of export markets, strengthening regional supply chains and encouraging moves to improve the quality of goods.

    It will give particular emphasis to sectors offering high growth potential in Africa.

    The 42 countries comprising the three African communities have done much to integrate their economies, establish free trade areas and harmonising tariffs, but this progress has yet to yield significant dividends in terms of greater trade flows both between them and with other regions and countries.

    “ITC will partner with the regional economic communities (REC) to foster stronger and deeper trade integration, which is ultimately aimed at raising living standards and meeting the Millennium Development Goals,” said ITC Executive Director Patricia Francis.

    “Building the capacity of RECs to respond to private sector needs in trade development is the primary aim of PACT II. This is the focus of the new program,” she added.

    The ECCAS will present the project at a meeting of senior officials in Libreville on 1 to 2 July, with the ECOWAS having its high-level launch in Abuja on 8 to 9 July.

    ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organisation and the UN, with a mandate to help businesses in developing countries become more competitive in global markets in order to speed economic progress and meet the UN's development goals.

    Pic of the day – GLOBAL PATRIOT

    The American general cargo vessel GLOBAL PATRIOT (26,409-gt, built 1978) which is under judicial arrest in Durban harbour is to be sold at auction in July. The vessel was last listed to Redstone Shipping and managed by Global Container Lines of Garden City, New York. The sale will be conducted by Admiralty Sales of Durban.

    In March 2008 the ship received a lot of adverse publicity after US Marines performing guard duties on the ship, which was then on charter to the US Navy, opened fire on an Egyptian ‘bum boat’ which approached too close to the Global Patriot at the southern entrance to the Suez Canal. Despite initial denials the US later acknowledged that shots had been fired, one of which killed an Egyptian man on one of the boats. See that report HERE     Picture Terry Hutson

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