Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 15, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – GULSER ANA

  • Customs (SARS) workers back on the job

  • Indian company Rites says it has injected money into Tanzania’s railway

  • UN official calls for broader approach to the scourge of piracy

  • MSC Nikita makes it back to port - just

  • Massive abnormal project tackled by Durban’s Access Freight

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Pic of the day – MONTE SARMIENTO


    First View – GULSER ANA

    The Turkish bulker GULSER ANA (23,602-gt, built 1985), which was no stranger to South African ports having called here many times, sank off the coast of Madagascar near Faux Cap on 26 August while carrying a cargo of 40,000 tonnes of rock phosphate. The ship experienced main engine failure before running aground on a reef opposite a marine reserve. Following our initial report on 8 September (Click Here) we received a detailed account of the casualty and the measures taken to avoid contamination of the surrounding sea and beaches, unfortunately all in Turkish but including the picture above showing the sad ending for the ship. Picture courtesy of Esin Kuzuloglu

    Customs (SARS) workers back on the job

    by Proffesor Ndawonde (BuaNews)

    Pretoria, 14 September - South African Revenue Service (SARS) has confirmed that the industrial strike is over and its employees have returned to work.

    Speaking to BuaNews on Monday, SARS spokesperson Adrian Lackay said all employees at the regional offices were back at work and the organisation was operating as normal.

    “The strike is over and we are meeting the unions today to further our negotiations. On Thursday we are implementing our offer and we are confident that the unions will accept it after we clearly explained what it entails,” said Lackay.

    He said SARS have consulted with employees and many of them are happy with the 9 to 11 percent offer, adding that there will be no reason for unions not to accept it.

    The unions are also confident that a deal will be signed.

    SARS employees went on strike last week in what was supposed to be a one-day stay away, but this was extended because the tax man and unions could not reach an agreement.

    The unions which included the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and Public Servants Association (PSA) had demanded a 12.8 percent increase.

    Also affected by the strike were a number of border posts.

    Indian company Rites says it has injected money into Tanzania’s railway

    India’s Rites company, which holds the concession to develop and operate the Tanzania Railways Limited railway network has denied that it is undercapitalized.

    Rites (Rail India Technical & Economic Services) managing director Vinay Agarwal told journalists last week that his company has spent about US$45 million so far on acquiring 25 locomotives and passenger coaches from India, and on refurbishing locomotives from the TRL fleet.

    He was responding to claims that Rites has failed to pay fees in terms of the concession for the running of TRL.

    He claimed that TRL on the other hand had failed to pay leasing fees in terms of the contract. “We are 100% committed financially to TRL as required by the contract, but we are disappointed by TRL's failure to honour the contract,” he said.

    Rites had earlier threatened to stop using the leased rolling stock if TRL failed to pay the leasing fee, and said it would take legal action to recover the debt.

    TRL’s CEO, Mr Hundi Lal Chaudhary, laid the blame for the non-payment on the Tanzanian government. The Tanzanian government owns a 49% share in TRL.

    The dispute has arisen around calls for the cancellation of the concession awarded two years ago.

    UN official calls for broader approach to the scourge of piracy

    Continuing piracy-related incidents off Somalia and their increasing sophistication illustrates the weaknesses of an entirely sea-based approach to combating the scourge, a senior United Nations official said this week.

    João Honwana, Director of the Africa I Division of the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), told a meeting of the Contact Group on piracy off the coast of Somalia - held at UN Headquarters - that the situation showed the need for the international community to deal with the issue of piracy in a comprehensive, cohesive and broad-based manner.

    “The international community's engagement at sea remains necessary and has demonstrated its deterrent value,” he said. “But the continued increase in the [number of incidents] underscores the limits of an exclusively sea-based approach.”

    Mr Honwana said the UN has been strengthening the capacities of individual Member States to ensure that suspected pirates are prosecuted through harmonizing national laws with the international legal regime.

    The UN, through its Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), is also assisting with efforts to encourage more States to share the burden of prosecuting and imprisoning pirates, which has largely fallen to Kenya.

    UNODC has helped countries review their counter-piracy laws, provided training for prosecutors, developed court facilities in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, delivered witnesses to trial and improved prison conditions and reduced overcrowding.

    Mr Honwana said the UN would also continue to provide technical support to authorities across Somalia.

    “UNODC and UNDP [the UN Development Programme] are working on the improvement of prison conditions in Puntland and Somaliland to allow the transfer of convicted pirates back to Somalia, and in the longer term, increase the capacity of Somalia's basic legal and institutional structures.

    “In this regard, international support towards rebuilding Somali institutions is crucial to combat piracy, while also creating livelihood opportunities for the local communities.”

    Mr Honwana reiterated the UN's request to the Contact Group to set up a new working group focused on land-based initiatives to tackle the root causes of piracy, while an international trust fund is also being created to channel resources to projects and activities that deal with piracy.

    On Wednesday (10 September), dozens of countries signed up at UN Headquarters to a declaration that commits them to taking greater steps to prevent or delay further pirate attacks. The so-called New York Declaration, which is non-binding, calls on signatories to make widely known ‘best management practices’ for ships and other vessels to protect themselves against possible attacks on pirates.

    The declaration was first proposed in May by four of the countries with the world's largest ship registries - Panama, the Bahamas, Liberia and the Marshall Islands. Last week’s signatories included the United States, China, France and the United Kingdom. – UN News Service

    MSC Nikita makes it back to port - just

    These pictures have been circulating on the web but are so interesting we are including them here, but partly because, in the strange manner in which these things happen, reports began circulating that suggested the pictures were taken in Durban harbour. Far from it, as the story below reveals.

    The story in brief is that the container ship MSC NIKITA (32,629-gt, built 1980), en route to Antwerp was in collision with the general cargo ship NIRINT PRIDE (8,861-gt, built 2000) at the intersection of the shipping lane outward of Rotterdam and that for southbound traffic, known as the ‘Roundabout’.

    The container ship received heavy damage and was breached in the engine room while the Nirint Pride caught fire, which was fairly quickly extinguished. The latter ship was later able to return to the port of Rotterdam under her own power. Only one person needed attention from smoke inhalation and was later treated in hospital.

    There were no injuries on board the MSC Nikita which however was unable to make further progress owing to the engine room damage. All crew were evacuated from this ship and the vessel taken in tow. Three containers were reported to have fallen overboard.

    The container ship was towed to a safe area away from other shipping and later taken to the EMO Terminal at the Maasvlakte near the port of Rotterdam. The accident led to the ship acquiring an abnormal draught of 18 metres, making it impossible to allow unloading at any of the container terminals and as a result part of the cargo on the rear deck was transferred by use of a sheer leg crane onto a pontoon barge to lessen the draught, after which the ship could be taken to the Delta Terminal on the Maasvlakte for unloading.

    MSC Nikita has subsequently been declared a total constructive loss and MSC has declared general average. The ship has or will undergo ‘repairs’ involving welding the damaged section closed and the ultimate fate of the ship is expected to be sold to a breaking yard.

    The financial settlement is likely to take years to complete.

    Acknowledgements to Damian Carrington and the unidentified photographer in Rotterdam – also to all the other readers who sent copies.

    Massive abnormal project tackled by Durban’s Access Freight

    Access Freight Projects recently worked on another shipment for the Brazilian company, U&M Mining and Construction.

    This particular shipment originated in Arizona, USA and was shipped via Houston. It comprises of four dismantled second-hand items of Komatsu 930E earthmoving machinery. Even disassembled, individual pieces are very large – the highest being the canopies standing at an impressive 4.58 meters high, and the heaviest being the chassis’ at between 44.7 and 48.8 tons each.

    The Komatsu 930E was the first Ultra Class off-highway hauler built and introduced in May 1995 at a rated payload capacity of 310 tons. In 1996 it was upgraded to 320 tons with the addition of larger tyres through the 930-2 and 930-3 models. The Komatsu 930E is notable for being one of the largest models of trucks ever manufactured. Prior to 2005, it was the largest.

    These trucks arrived in Durban harbour and were en route to the U&M Mine in Chingola, Zambia where they will be reassembled and put to work on the copper mine.

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Approximately one third of the cargo of bunker fuel has been removed safely from the grounded Turkish bulker SELI 1 in Table Bay, the salvage coordinators SMIT Salvage announced yesterday. This phase of the removal operation began last Friday using two small craft to transfer and ferry the bunker fuel of 660 tonnes ashore at Cape Town. Pumping operations are continuing 24 hours a day for as long as the weather and sea conditions permit. Skimming of the flooded engine room has also begun. After one week the ship is now lying fast in some 2 metres of sand which has stabilised the ship’s movement in the water as well as her structural integrity. There is still concern however that high seas may cause some residual oil to be released.

    The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) and the government of Botswana were due to sign a Dry Port lease agreement yesterday. This follows an agreement of understanding that was signed in February last year for the development of a dry port at Walvis Bay, with the aim of facilitating trade through the port and into Botswana. Namport also has a lease agreement with Zambia to establish a dry port at Walvis Bay.

    Fifteen bodies have been recovered and another 34 people are missing after a ferry capsized on a river in Katanga Province in the southern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, spilling its passengers into the water. According to a government spokesman 95 passengers were found alive and helped from the river. The boat, which was loaded with 144 people and merchandise, apparently struck a rock in the river.

    Costa Rican authorities say they have intercepted a boat carrying 54 African migrants. They said the boat was in poor condition with little food remaining and that three men on board have been charged with human trafficking. It is believed that some if not all the men and women on board the boat came from Eritrea but had sailed across the Atlantic from a point on the West African coast. Several boats from Africa involved in human trafficking have been intercepted in the Caribbean recently.

    Two ships of the Beluga Shipping company, which successfully completed the Northeast Passage crossing through the Arctic Ocean from northern Europe to South Korea with the assistance of Russian icebreakers, have begun the return journey and reached the Siberian port of Yamburg on Saturday, 12 September. The ships, BELUGA FRATERNITY and BELUGA FORESIGHT are said to be making use of global warming by navigating the once-ice-blocked passage from Europe to Asia. “We are all very proud and delighted to be the first western shipping company which has successfully transited the legendary Northeast Passage and delivered the sensitive cargo safely through this extraordinarily demanding sea area,” Niels Stolberg, president and CEO of Beluga Shipping, said on Beluga’s Web site. By utilising the Northeast Passage ships are able to save considerably on time, fuel and money. Beluga says it plans to send more ships through the Passage next year.

    See our original report at the commencement of this pathfinding voyage HERE. Click your back button to return to PORTS & SHIPS.

    Pic of the day – MONTE SARMIENTO

    The 5,552-TEU Hamburg Süd container ship MONTE SARMIENTO (69,132-gt, built 2005), deployed on the company’s Far East to east coast South America service via South Africa, is seen in Durban harbour at the Pier 1 Container Terminal at the recent weekend. Picture Trevor Jones

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