Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 22, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – STAR PRINCESS

  • Transport minister launches Sea Watch and Response Centre today

  • SA patrol boat SARAH BAARTMAN captures two illegal Mozambique fishing vessels

  • MAERSK ALABAMA officers to be honoured at USS Admiral of the Ocean Dinner

  • Namport installs Navis SPARCS N4 at Walvis Bay

  • DP World’s Nakheel ‘cut down to size’

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Today’s Good Read – Somalia: Al Qaida’s next stronghold

  • Pics of the day – VICTOR TALALIKHIN


    First View – STAR PRINCESS

    Princess Cruises’ ship STAR PRINCESS (108,977-gt, built 2002 – 2,600 passengers) which heralded the New Zealand 2009/2010 summer cruise season this week when she arrived in Lyttelton harbour on New Zealand’s South Island. Picture by Alan Calvert

    Transport minister launches Sea Watch and Response Centre today

    by Proffesor Ndawonde (BuaNews)

    Pretoria - Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele will later today (Thursday) launch the Centre for Sea Watch and Response in Cape Town as part of Transport Month.

    The centre has the capacity to identify and track vessels up to 1000 miles from the country's coastline as well as South African-flagged vessels anywhere in the world, said the department on Tuesday.

    It said that the centre will have access to the Automatic Identification System (AIS) data of ships on the coast and in the areas around the major ports of South Africa.

    “This means the vessel's every move can be tracked,” said the department, adding that this data will be displayed on an electronic chart which is accessible via a secured website and only with an authorised username and password.

    Once a vessel is identified, full details of the vessel can be accessed via a ship's database.

    The centre will also be equipped to communicate directly with all ships at sea within the areas of the department's responsibility in order to improve the quality of information exchanged and ensure direct contact with the vessel's master.

    This will ensure that the centre's response time to maritime incidents is improved as any situation can be fully appraised.

    With the establishment of the centre, South Africa will comply with National Maritime Regulations and Agreements as well as international requirements with respect to maritime security and the protection of the marine environment.

    African countries last week adopted the African Maritime Transport Charter at the Second African Union Conference of Ministers Responsible for Maritime Transport in Durban.

    In this regard, the department said South Africa has also decided to further develop its SA National Data Centre to establish the Africa Cooperative Data Centre.

    SA patrol boat SARAH BAARTMAN captures two illegal Mozambique fishing vessels

    The offshore Sarah Baartman with another smaller MCM patrol craft, Lilian Ngoyi in background

    South African Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) patrol vessel SARAH BAARTMAN has successfully detained two Mozambique fishing vessels, the BELMIA and the BARRACUDA which were fishing illegally in the Maputaland Marine Protected Area of northeast KwaZulu Natal.

    “The two vessels, Belmia and Barracuda, carrying 13 and 14 crew members respectively were escorted, with the assistance of the South African Police Borderline Unit, to Richard's Bay,” said Department of Environmental Affairs spokesperson, Zolile Nqayi in a statement.

    According to the MCM the Sarah Baartman was forced to pursue the two fishing vessels back into Mozambique waters before the apprehension. Nqayi said MCM was permitted to venture into Mozambique waters if the fishing vessels had been fishing in South African waters. Each vessel was found to be in possession of endangered bottom fish species.

    The crew were reportedly placed under arrest in Richards Bay and were being held in detention pending an appearance in the Richards Bay Magistrate’s Court, after which they face being deported.

    Nqayi said that if the owners came to South Africa they faced arrest as well. If they did not then the MCM would apply to the court for an order allowing them to sell the two fishing vessels, with the proceeds being plowed back into the fight against illegal fishing.

    MAERSK ALABAMA officers to be honoured at USS Admiral of the Ocean Dinner

    Maersk Alabama arrives in Mombasa after her ordeal with pirates

    New York, NY - The officers and crew of the MAERSK ALABAMA (14,120-gt, built 1998), who fought off a pirate attack earlier this year, will be represented by Captain Richard Phillips, Chief Engineer; Michael Perry, and Bosun William Rios in accepting an Honored Seafarers plaque at the 40th annual United Seamen's Service (USS) Admiral of the Ocean Sea dinner on 13 November 2009.

    “We are pleased that all three unions aboard the ship will be represented by the vessel department heads at this signature maritime event,” said Edward R Morgan, USS President. The unions are the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots, Marine Engineers Beneficial Association and the Seafarers International Union of North America. “It is a microcosm of the bravery exhibited every day by the American seafarers involved in world commerce and supporting our military,” he added.

    The Maersk Alabama crew fought off a pirate attack while maintaining control of the ship 350 miles off the coast of Somalia and whose captain was taken hostage, 6 – 13 April. They are among the officers and crews of five American ships and a seafarer who extinguished a fire on a vessel who will be honored for heroism. The AOTOS honors this year will go to Donald Kurz of Keystone Shipping Company, Ronald Widdows of Neptune Orient Lines and the United States Coast Guard, which will receive a special award.

    The officers and crew of LIBERTY SUN, who were fired upon and sustained damage from a pirate attack, but were able to ultimately evade the pirates without injury near the Gulf of Aden will also be honored. Other honorees are the officers and crew of New York Waterway, who rescued 143 passengers from a downed US Airways plane in the Hudson River; the USNS Lewis & Clark for eluding a pirate attack by taking evasive action to prevent a successful attack off the coast of Somalia and the officers and crew of MV MIDNIGHT SUN, who fought and extinguished a fire preventing the spread of the fire
    and the damage of the cargo. The seafarer who will receive a Mariner's Rosette is Third Mate Victor Manoli III, who fought and extinguished an on board fire preventing a catastrophic incident on the SEALAND QUALITY.

    Namport installs Navis SPARCS N4 at Walvis Bay

     Bisey Uirab, Namport's CEO

    Walvis Bay - Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) has acquired the Navis SPARCS N4 terminal operating system for the port of Walvis Bay container terminal, chief executive officer Bisey Uirab has announced.

    The computerized operating system, which is similar to that recently introduced by Transnet at various port terminals throughout South Africa, cost Namport R13.5 million to have installed but will help align the Namibian port to best international standards. The system will also enable the port to continue with high productivity levels currently being achieved.

    According to Uirab, the increasing cargo levels in the port of Walvis Bay and along Namibia’s transport corridors was the driving force behind Namport’s search for better productivity, which he said was expected from a world-class port handling container vessels.

    “With this system in place, NamPort will enjoy benefits such as improved yard planning and control, enhanced vessel planning and control, as well as superior equipment control. It will enable NamPort to increase capacity, lower operating costs and improve customer service,” Uirab said.

    DP World’s Nakheel ‘cut down to size’

    Dubai World’s real estate division Nakheel has been reduced to what the parent company says is its right size for the current market, leaving it structured to best meet the needs of its real state customers.

    Nakheel is the principal shareholder in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront and is responsible for the move to relocate the former passenger liner QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 to Cape Town as a floating hotel and tourist attraction.

    In a statement issued by DP World said, “The restructuring has resulted in significant cost savings and increased efficiency. Its businesses are now well prepared to thrive in both the current climate and the still uncertain future environment. The reorganisation builds on the changes announced in June, when the management of Jumeirah Golf Estates, Jumeirah Lakes Towers and the real estate activities of Dubai Maritime City moved to Dubai World real estate company Nakheel.”

    The management of several hotels and commercial property has been transferred from Nakheel to Istithmar World, with the latter continuing to own these assets. Istithmar World is the investment arm of Dubai World.

    Its divisions Istithmar World Ventures and Istithmar World Capital have been merged and Istithmar World's activities are now focused principally on the ongoing management of assets already acquired.

    Istithmar World will manage the assets of Dubai World Africa in addition to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. – source Gulf News and DP World.

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Nacala to have three duty free zones

    The port city of Nacala in northern Mozambique is to have three duty free industrial zones, the Mozambique government has confirmed. Minister for Planning and Development Aiuba Cuereneia said that Nacala has the necessary conditions to become a trading post from which coal from Moatize can be distributed. This was under consideration by Vale, the Brazilian mining group that is developing the Moatize coal mines in the Tete Province.


    China warns its national shipping lines to keep clear of pirate areas

    China has issued a warning to its domestic shipping lines to stay clear of the area where the Chinese bulker DE XIN HAI was highjacked earlier this week. The vessel was sailing from Richards Bay to India with a cargo of coal and was attacked and seized by Somali pirates 550 miles northeast of the Seychelles and 700 miles east of Somalia, and more than 1,000 miles from the nearest Chinese naval ship on patrol in the Gulf of Aden.


    Piracy becoming more frequent, warns IMB

    Acts of piracy are becoming more frequent and dangerous, the International Maritime Bureau has warned. The IMB Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur says that 306 acts of piracy took place in the first nine months of this year, an increase on the 293 incidents over the same period in 2008. The use of weapons in prate attacks increased by 200%, it said. So far this year Somali pirates have seized 32 vessels, taking a total of 533 crew hostage in the process. Two ships have been highjacked by Somali pirates in the past week.


    Tanzania Ports Authority introduces online tracking

    In an effort to establish a port community system, Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) says it is about to launch an online IT system allowing cargo to be tracked during its various stages at the port of Dar es Salaam. TPA says the system will go online early next year and will be useful in helping reduce congestion at Dar es Salaam. The system will incorporate also the Tanzania Revenue Authority, the privately operated container terminal, the respective railway organisations in Tanzania and shipping and freight forwarding companies. Up until now each organisation made use of its own IT system, making connectivity difficult. In future the port community platform will enable each member to log in and track the movement of cargo. Read the report in full HERE


    Kenya’s new Merchant Shipping law won't lock out foreigners

    Kenya’s new Merchant Shipping Act 2009 will encourage local participation without locking out foreigners, Kenya's Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere says. The minister said in Mombasa last week that some stakeholders thought the new Act was meant to restrict foreign direct investment in the sector. “This is not so. The government, through the Transport Ministry, encourages collaboration between local and foreign firms. The Act does not prohibit direct foreign investment in any segment of the logistics chain. It addresses the issue of vertical integration of the logistics chain where a few people dominate the sector by applying pricing practices that limit the entry of new investors.” Read the full article HERE

    Today’s Good Read – Somalia: Al Qaida’s next stronghold

    As the Pakistani army pounds Taliban and Al Qaida positions in Southern Waziristan, reports suggest that US President Barack Obama is poised to send up to another 45,000 US troops to Afghanistan.

    With all eyes on the Hindu Kush, however, there is a marked failure to recognise the myriad dangers brewing in Somalia which has been torn apart by civil war for nearly 20 years and where the Islamist group, Al Shabab and its allies are now in control of most of southern and central Somalia.

    Today’s GOOD READ examines the risks of the terrorist movement establishing itself in this highly strategic Horn of Africa country. To read the report click on the link HERE.

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    If you have any suggestions for a good read please send the link to info@ports.co.za and put GOOD READ in the subject line.

    Pics of the day – VICTOR TALALIKHIN

    The Ukrainian general cargo vessel VICTOR TALALIKHIN (8,466-gt, built circa 1980) passed briefly through Cape Town last week, on what is suspected to be her final voyage to the breakers. Perhaps someone is able to confirm? She is also thought to be the third ship of her class to pass this way in recent months – remember the KATYA ZELENKO of 10 days ago (see Pics of the Day for 12 October). Pictures by 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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