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Ports & Ships Maritime News

25 October 2011
Author: Terry Hutson


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The general cargo ship WESTERN ISLAND (6668-gt, built 2010) seen recently in Cape Town harbour. Picture by Aad Noorland


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EU armed forces recapture a pirated ship

Piracy and other maritime threats around Africa are now costing most international users of sea routes millions in increased fuel prices, insurance, security and ransom payments as well as costing Africa its integrity, security and position as a leading player in sea trade.

This is according to Tracey-Lee Zurcher, director of the Maritime & Coastal Security Africa conference and expo, which is to be officially opened by South African Defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu this Thursday, 27 October at the CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa (the conference starts on Wednesday).

“80% of Africa's GDP is reliant on safe sea trade to Africa as well as cargo passing through African waters,” she said. “Not taking a stronger stance towards the increasing threats at sea can have dire economic effects on the African economy, with Africa losing goodwill and competitiveness as major players and service providers in international trade and transportation.”

Piracy moves south

Reported cases of piracy-related crimes in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans have accelerated exponentially in 2011. According to the Maritime & Coastal Security Africa director this is seriously affecting major trade routes, socio-economic development and natural resources and “it calls for stronger action to be taken by strengthening multi-lateral agreements between African and surrounding nations bordering the affected area.”

She continues: “In light of current challenges faced by seafaring bodies, governmental authorities and maritime defence forces are rethinking their strategies in 2011 and 2012. With sea-related crimes having reached an all-time high this year and militia attacks around East and West Africa moving further south and becoming too high profile to ignore, maritime security projects are now being expedited to protect sovereignty and ensure security at sea and ports of entry in Africa.”

ISPS code

The International Maritime Organization's ISPS code is now also being implemented by port and ship authorities active in Africa as a matter of priority.

“This code was developed to enhance the security of ships and port facilities against the threats of piracy, terrorism and other maritime dangers and has proven to be very effective for those who understand the complex benefits of being ISPS compliant, says Zurcher.”

Maritime & Coastal Security Africa is officially supported by the South African Navy and Armscor, and includes VIP speaker representation from 11 countries - all with a vested interest in securing maritime routes and borders. The conference and technology exhibition is focused on creating and reinforcing international naval relations as well as bridging the communication gap between all seafarers in and around African waters.

Details of the conference can be accessed from our EVENTS DIARY - use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.


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Countermeasures introduced to deter further pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea were bearing fruit, a Nigerian special presidential assistant said in New York on Sunday.

Leke Oyewole, senior special assistant to the president on maritime services, was attending a UN Security Council meeting on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

Oyewole said that Nigeria and Benin had introduced a joint military operation aimed at preventing further pirate attacks on shipping off the coasts of the two countries. He nevertheless expressed concern that the pirates would simply move their attention to neighbouring Togo and Ghana.

He said other West African countries needed to take steps against piracy with a concerted and coordinated action and to prevent piracy from growing in the region. The neighbouring countries may not have experienced piracy as yet but over a period of time this may change, he warned.

Nigeria and Benin needed the help and support of the UN and the international community to tackle security issues in the Gulf of Guinea, he said. While Nigeria and Benin was strong in terms of human capacity, they lacked the necessary equipment and infrastructure, such as patrol boats, surveillance equipment and radar.

New patrol boats for Ghana arrive in Takoradi

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The Ghana Navy has taken possession of four small patrol boats that will be used to protect Ghana’s emerging oil drilling industry along its coast. The four boats will also be used to monitor offshore fishing.

The patrol boats are currently at Takoradi.

Kenya court rules against piracy trials

A Kenyan judge, Mr Justice Mohammed Ibrahim has ruled against the further prosecution of nine Somali pirate suspects saying that Kenya’s courts lack the jurisdiction to deal with events that took place outside of Kenya’s territorial waters.

Although the judge has come in for strong criticism for his ruling, his findings are not that different from those of other countries in Europe and elsewhere, i.e. that laws are only enforceable if the transgression was within that country’s territorial space.

Judge Ibrahim dismissed the case against the nine Somali’s accused of piracy and in so doing has placed a question mark on further prosecutions in Kenya against pirates captured at sea by foreign navies. He ordered that the men be immediately released from custody and be repatriated to Somalia.

The State has appealed against the judgment.

Successful pirate attacks decline this year

Image and video hosting by TinyPic In the first nine months of this year successful pirate attacks have declined from 35 vessels captured in the same period of 2010 to 24 this year January to end September.

Credit for the reduction is being given to continued naval activity and interventions and better countermeasures being taken by ship managers and crews.

“Navies deserve to be complimented on their excellent work: they are a vital force in deterring and disrupting pirate activity," said International Maritime Bureau (IMB) director Pottengal Mukundan.

He said that despite the fall in ships seized off East Africa however, worldwide attacks including armed robbery had risen to more than in any other year and that 625 seafarers had been taken hostage, eight had been killed and 41 received injuries.

There has however been an increase of attacks on ships off West Africa, with 19 ships attacked off the coast of Benin, of which eight were tankers that were highjacked. In 2010 there were no ship attacks off Benin.

The IMB report said that “A pattern has emerged where armed pirates board and hijack the ship - sometimes injuring crew - then force the master to sail to an unknown location where they steal the ship's properties and cargo, and then let the vessel go.”


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Minister of Transport, Sibusiso Ndebele


Pretoria – The Minister of Transport Mr Sibusiso Ndebele has instructed the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) to halt all processes related to the tolling of national roads, it was announced in Pretoria yesterday.

The announcement said the Minister is of the view that consultative processes should be allowed to take place to offer concerned parties an opportunity to share their views on the toll road programme.

While he believes that the country requires good road infrastructure to meet its economic growth targets, Minister Ndebele says this shouldn't put a huge financial burden on the shoulders of consumers.

He says while the first phase of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Plan has delivered good road infrastructure, it was an expensive exercise that has drawn sharp views from the public.

“All spheres of government should be part of a consultative process with all affected parties, consumers in the main. Good infrastructure is a necessity for a better future for our country, but this requirement must not leave our people even poorer,” says Minister Ndebele.

Cabinet recently appointed a Task Team that includes Minister Ndebele and the Minister of Finance to look into the issue of toll roads.

Minister Ndebele says all these processes, including a consultative processes initiated by the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, should be allowed to reach their logical conclusions to ensure that all parties concerned and their respective views are brought on board.


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Safmarine’s Leslie Correa, Smriti Sharma and Gaurav Gupta with the ‘Shipping Line of the Year’ award for the India-Africa trade. This award was presented to Safmarine at the prestigious All-India MALA (Maritime and Logistics Awards) event in Mumba.

The ‘Shipping Line of the Year’ award for the India-Africa trade was presented to Safmarine at the All-India MALA (Maritime and Logistics Awards) held recently in Mumbai. The event was organised by Exim Group company, Fairplay.

“We accept this award with pride and thank the organisers for this recognition,” said Bimal Kanal, Safmarine’s India Subcontinent (ISC) Regional Executive. “Safmarine is focused on its core markets and Africa continues to play an important role in our business development from the Indian Subcontinent.”

He said Safmarine viewed the recent awards such the 2011 CEVA Logistics ‘Ocean Product Supplier of the Year’ and the Hellmann ‘Gold Award for Carrier of the Year’ (presented at the end of 2010) as a strong foundation for future growth and as valuable industry recognition, not only for the Safmarine brand, but for the Safmarine way of doing business.

Safmarine has been operating in the ISC region since the late 1980s and India is today one of Safmarine’s top import and export countries globally. The company says its expertise, understanding of its customers’ business, and the strong presence of its brand in South Africa, makes it the preferred carrier in the India-Africa trade lane.

Safmarine’s India-Africa trade grew exports and imports in 2010 by 8.5% compared to 2009 (total throughput figures) and figures (from July 2010- July 2011) show an increase of total import and export throughputs of almost 7%.

Safmarine’s India, Mumbai and Gujarat clusters are the ISC region’s major exporters to Africa, followed by New Delhi. Major export commodities include textiles, vehicles, foodstuffs, paper and pharmaceuticals, to name a few.

Safmarine, which continually revises its services between the two continents, currently offers its customers more than 10 specialist shipping services between India and Africa. Services include:

MESA (covering Middle East-South Africa);
Masiika Express (UAE- East Africa);
Horn of Africa (Asia–UAE–North Africa);
MEW 1 (UAE–North and West Africa-Europe-India);
MECL 2 (ISC–North Africa–USA);
Prime 1 and Prime 3 (India-Middle East–Europe-North Africa)
and the recently introduced Rumba Prime 4 service, a direct, weekly service between the Indian Subcontinent, Middle East and East Coast of South America which also touches on North Africa (Morocco).


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by William Gumede

In June 2011 African leaders unveiled concrete plans to create an African-wide free trade area when they announced that 26 African nations will join the three existing, but often overlapping regional trade blocks, writes William Gumede, Honorary Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public and Development Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Their ambition, he says in an article published by AllAfrica.com, is to create a duty and quota free movements of goods, services and business people by 2016, and an Africa-wide economic and monetary area by 2025.

There are very obvious advantages of an African free trade area. Pooling their markets may help African economies better take advantage of new growth opportunities offered by the rise of powerful new emerging powers. It may also help African economies overcome new challenges caused by the decline of some of the old industrial powers in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

Given the debt crises in the US and the EU it becomes even more important for African countries to integrate closer and quicker, because better intra-regional trade can provide a protective buffer from global shocks. Furthermore, it may provide a protective wall to African countries to beneficiate their economies from single-commodity dominated ones and nurture new manufacturing and services industries.

Many African economies are so tiny they are unviable on their own. Pooling African economies will bring larger economies of scale and markets which has the potential of expanding production and demand. Currently African countries trade more with the rest of the world, mostly former colonial powers, than with each other.

What should be done differently to prevent the idea of an African grand free trade area turning into a grand failure?

The first requirement is political will - at the heart of many African development failures.

There are a number of regional trade blocs in Africa, all with different rules, regulations and are at different stages of integration - all which could slow the building a free trade area.

Whatever the level of integration within these regional groupings, all of them have struggled to free the movement of goods, labour and services.

There are high levels of protectionism between African countries. Restrictive trade permits requirements and frequent bans on imports from neighbours persist. Economic disparities between African countries are further obstacles. Smaller countries fear domination by bigger neighbours, while bigger ones, fear a grand free trade area would lead to domination by South African produce. Non-trade tariffs such as travel restrictions, poor physical infrastructure, incompetent public administrations and rampant corruption are major stumbling blocks.

Political instability in many African countries is a major problem. Most of African economies are based on one raw material or agricultural products. African countries typically export raw materials abroad and buy finished products at higher prices.

Africa's rising growth has mostly been because of a boost in mineral exports, increased local demand at home due growing domestic markets fuelled by a rising African middle class, and increased trade with new emerging powers, such as China, India and Brazil. However, Africa's current growth spurt is following the old pattern of being based on exporting raw materials instead of diversifying into manufacturing, services and value-add products.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan rightly calls this African growth spurt, 'low-quality' growth. The growth has remained 'inequitable, jobless, (and) volatile' and if continued on current patterns unlikely to lead to widespread job creation and poverty reduction. A report by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union (AU) released in July 2011, titled 'Economic Report on Africa 2011', urged Africans to diversify production and exports through improving 'competitiveness by tackling supply-side constraints as well as improving infrastructure and productive capacities, among other things'.

Weak logistics and supply chains, and scarce bank finance are other obstacles.

Africa imports most of the manufacturing and services it could arguably produce at home from abroad - this will have to be rectified.

This article continues HERE

- please use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page. The article first appeared in BBC Focus on Africa and has been republished in AllAfrica News as per the above link.


William Gumede is Honorary Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public and Development Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He is the co-editor of The Poverty of Ideas, published by Jacana.



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Scenes from the ship repair industry at Cape Town. Here the oil platform PRIDE SOUTH SEAS is seen in Cape Town harbour where it underwent extensive repair and maintenance. Picture by Frank Vennard / Videographics

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In the Cape Town Sturrock dry dock is the world’s first steel-hulled newbuild LPG FSO, the ESCRAVOS LPG FSO, which was built for the Escravos gas field offshore of Nigeria as a result of Nigeria’s instruction that offshore fields had to stop the flaring of gases. Escravos LPG FSO converts ethane, propane and butane components of the gas stream into liquid products. The liquid LPG in high pressure and normal temperature is transferred to the LPG FSO and liquefied to LPG in normal and low pressure. The liquid products are stored in tanks of the FSO hull prior to being offloaded to LPG tankers that are used to transport the LPG to market. Picture by Frank Vennard / Videographics. Acknowledgement to www.modec.com for above technical information.


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