Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 30, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson


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  • First View – PRO JADE

  • Daily pirate attacks

  • US Sen McCain wants Jones Act repealed

  • India mulls easing cabotage, but domestic industry opposes move

  • Portugal to train Mozambican personnel in port and rail management

  • A teacher’s quest

  • Angola tops 1.88m barrels a day but seeks to diversify exports to USA

  • Pics of the day – MSC ANNA and KOTA ARIF


    First View – PRO JADE

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    The South Korean oil and chemcial products tanker PRO JADE (46,757-dwt, built 2003) departing from Lyttelton in New Zealand during May after discharging petroleum product from Singapore. Picture by Alan Calvert

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    Daily pirate attacks

    Shipping companies report only a fraction of the actual cases of piracy for fear of their ships being impounded for long periods or because they simply do not want to pay the resultant higher insurance premium. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) puts losses from piracy in 2008 alone at some €13 billion

    Marine piracy continues to be a serious risk for shipping companies, sailors, cargo owners, and insurers. According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in London, pirate attacks are an almost daily feature. – source Shiptalk

    The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) this week extended the high risk area subject to Somali pirate attacks to encompass the entire Red Sea as far north as Suez and extending further out into the Indian Ocean to coordinates latitude 10 degrees south and longitude 78 degrees east (encompassing the Maldives and the Chagos archipelago further south).

    In its communication the IMB said that while attacks so far have not been reported as far as 78 degrees east, they have taken place at almost 70 degrees east. “There remains the possibility that piracy attacks will take place even further to the east of the high-risk area,” the communiqué said.

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    US Sen McCain wants Jones Act repealed

    Former Republican US presidential candidate Senator John McCain of Arizona has introduced a bill that would repeal the Jones Act, the protectionist law that keeps coastal shipping to American carriers, shipyards and crews.

    “The Jones Act adds a real, direct cost to consumers - particularly consumers in Hawaii and Alaska. A 1988 GAO [General Accounting Office] report found that the Jones Act was costing Alaskan families between USD 1,921 and USD 4,821 annually for increased prices paid on goods shipped from the mainland,” said Senator McCain on introducing his Open America's Waters Act.

    In 1997, a Hawaii government official asserted that “Hawaii residents pay an additional USD 1 billion per year in higher prices because of the Jones Act. This amounts to USD 3,000 for every household in Hawaii,” he said.

    Senator McCain said the 1999 US International Trade Commission economic study “suggested that a repeal of the Jones Act would lower shipping costs 22 percent.” Also, a 2002 economic study from the same commission found that repealing the Jones Act would have an annual positive welfare effect of USD 656 million on the overall US economy.

    Calling it a law that hinders free trade and favours labour unions over consumers, Senator McCain said: “This restriction only serves to raise shipping costs, thereby making US farmers less competitive and increasing costs for American consumers.”

    Tim Brown, president of the Masters, Mates, and Pilots Union, said the repeal of the Jones Act might reduce shipping costs, but would also result in the displacement of hundreds of jobs for American seafarers.

    Some have called for a repeal of the Jones Act to allow additional foreign-flag vessels to be used in the BP oil spill cleanup, reported American Shipper. But those who oppose its repeal there are enough laid-up American ships that could be used instead.

    Mr Brown said Senator McCain was using the crisis of the Gulf of Mexico BP rig explosion to gain more support for a bill that would not otherwise “have a prayer” of passing.

    But Senator McCain said the Obama administration has the ability to grant a waiver of the Jones Act as did George W Bush during Hurricane Katrina disaster.

    His bill, he said, went far beyond disaster relief. “The best course of action is to permanently repeal the Jones Act to boost the economy, saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars. I hope my colleagues will join me in this effort to repeal this unnecessary, antiquated legislation in order to spur job creation and promote free trade.” - Schednet

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    India mulls easing cabotage, but domestic industry opposes move

    India’s shipping ministry is considering liberalisation of domestic coastal shipping laws to permit foreign carriers to enter, though it faces opposition from the domestic industry.

    If the Indian cabotage trade is restricted to domestic carriers, the ministry reasons, it is likely that non-Indian lines would avoid using the new one million-TEU DP World terminal that opens in September in Cochin and continue to employ feeder lines of their choice from Colombo.

    While the ministry is canvassing the domestic industry for its views, the pressure is on to move much more cargo by short sea to relieve road congestion as only a few ports can receive large containerships because the shallows run out far from the coast.

    But V Grammarian, managing director of Tranworld Group, a cabotage provider, told London's Containerisation International: “Cabotage laws are everywhere, including the USA. Indian laws allow only Indian ships and companies to do the coastal services and the present supply is five times more compared with the demand, for coastal services.”

    Said Mr Grammarian: “What is the necessity to amend the law now? I feel there is some vested interest in this. The present law provides a provision to get foreign ships and companies to provide coastal services if the domestic tonnage is insufficient. This is good enough and the law does not need amendment. If need be, Indian companies are capable of deploying more ships on coastal routes.”

    As it stands some 75 percent of India-bound containers are transhipped from Colombo or transshipment hubs in Singapore, Port Klang, Jewel Ali or Salaam, reported American Shipper. The shipping ministry estimates that India's importers and exporters face more than USD 200 million in added costs due to transshipment. - Schednet

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    Portugal to train Mozambican personnel in port and rail management

    Portugal and Mozambique signed a document in Maputo this week setting out an activities plan for cooperation in the transport and communications sector, whose central point covers training personnel to manage ports.

    “Eighty percent of what we discussed was training,” Mozambican Transport and Communication Minister Paulo Zucula said at the end of a meeting with Portugal’s Minister for Public Works, Transport and Communications, Antonio Mendonça.

    On Monday the Portuguese minister began a two-day visit to Mozambique to assess the implementation of agreements between the two countries in the transport and communications sector, especially the management of infrastructures (airports, ports and railways).

    When the Portuguese prime minister visited Mozambique last March, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the two countries, with a view to boosting cooperation in the transport and communications area. The respective activities plan has now been drawn up.

    On the occasion, Mendonça said that Portugal should back Mozambican efforts to restore and modernise rail infrastructures. He added that the EMEF railway maintenance and equipment company could produce rail-cars for Mozambique, or even make them in the former Portuguese colony.

    Partnerships in the civil aviation and shipping industry sectors were also discussed during the meeting between the two ministers. - macauhub

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    A teacher’s quest

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    Maritime study pupils of the Sithengile High School in KwaZulu-Natal

    The inspirational characters depicted by Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds and Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society has some likeness to the real life character introduced in this article.

    Margaret Masuku, a 35 year old teacher at Sithengile High School in KwaZulu-Natal first approached Grindrod some five years ago requesting shipping magazines, books, ship models or anything else the company could spare. She was determined to provide as many resources as possible for her maritime students.

    As a qualified biology teacher, her teaching abilities were solid but she lacked knowledge and experience of the maritime industry. The challenges must have seemed insurmountable, but with the backing of the headmaster, Mr Thusi, she set about overcoming the obstacles by approaching the industry for assistance.

    Masuku’s genuine desire to assist her students was like a breath of fresh air and the first step in making maritime studies at Sithengile sustainable and a subject of choice.

    Grindrod’s involvement with the school started with arranging harbour tours for the maritime students and progressed to requesting assistance from teaching experts such as Brian Ingpen (maritime teacher at Simons Town) to assist students in exam preparations. Last year Grindrod, through Project Build, commenced with the construction of a maritime centre at the school.

    At the official handover earlier this month, Mr Thwala from the department of transport highlighted the need for maritime studies in this country. According to a paper drafted by the Department of Transport last year, “Trade is the life blood of nations, with maritime transport carrying 90 percent of all international trade. The past decade has seen steady growth in South Africa’s trade with the different regions of the world. The bulk of South Africa’s trade (in excess of 95 percent) is moved by sea through the country’s seven commercial ports.”

    Alan Olivier, Grindrod CEO, in addressing students, teachers and other sponsors, said that an educated nation was the foundation of a successful society and that the business community played an important role in making this goal a reality.

    Megan Harris, who was very involved in assisting Masuku in acquiring sponsors, and representatives of the various sponsors were all present to celebrate the official opening. Jo Tankers, Smiths Manufacturing, Rennies Ships Agency, LBH South Africa, NCD Solutions, Panargo Shipping and the Maritime Law Association as well as the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers all contributed in some way. Computers, furnishing, bursaries, internet connection are all needed for a functional maritime centre.

    Also announced at the handover was that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has sponsored Masuku to study at the World Maritime University in Sweden. She will be departing on 25 September 2010 to study ‘Master of Science in Maritime Education’ and will return on 4 December 2011 before commencing teaching at Sithengile in the following year.

    Ocean Africa Container Lines has agreed to pay all her travel expenses.

    Angola tops 1.88m barrels a day but seeks to diversify exports to USA

    Angola, which produced 1.88 million barrels of oil a day during May, should soon begin exporting agricultural and agro-industrial products to the market in the United States of America, to which it already sends oil and natural gas, officials from both countries stated on Monday in Luanda.

    After the opening of the Trade and Investment Council meeting, held per the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), the head of the US delegation, Florizelle Lizer said the US federal government aimed to diversify commercial exchanges with Angola, to enhance the investment climate and attract more American entrepreneurs to the Angolan market.

    Lizer mentioned concern about certain tariff barriers and a business environment which to a certain extent discourages some American entrepreneurs from investing in Angola.

    Regarding the TIFA, Lizer explained that the protocol is meant to help expand bilateral trade and partnership between Angolan and American companies.

    Angola’s Vice-Minister for Commerce, Archer Mangueira, said his country had the potential to export products such as bananas, pineapples, honey, coffee, fish, wood and granite, among other goods.

    The TIFA was signed in 2009. It is a US government bilateral consultation mechanism meant to promote trade and investment and in the future may lead to the signing of agreements for reciprocal promotion and protection of free-trade agreements and investments.

    Delegations from both countries will meet next October at a place still to be determined, to finalise the trade cooperation and working plan begun on Monday in Luanda. - macauhub

    Pics of the day – MSC ANNA and KOTA ARIF

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    Mediterranean Shipping Company’s container ship MSC ANNA (5,974-gt, built 1985) seen arriving off Durban in January 2006. Picture by Terry Hutson

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    Pacific International Line’s container ship KOTA ARIF (17,652-gt, built 1999) arriving off Durban on that same afternoon in 2006. Picture by Terry Hutson

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