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Ports & Ships Maritime News

19 October 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

 

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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News continues below...

 

FIRST VIEW – GANNET

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The Cape Town pilot boat GANNET photographed underway in Table Bay. Picture by Glen Kasner

 

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LATEST PORT TARIFF APPLICATION OFFERS RELIEF

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Tariff reductions proposed for container traffic. Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za

The latest Port Tariff Application by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) promises to bring some relief in certain sectors of the import and export markets.

The tariff application will be the topic of public comment later in November when the National Ports Regulator goes on its annual roadshow and is inviting comment from port users and interested parties.

The roadshow visits four areas representing the entire country, commencing in Durban on 19 November and ending in Cape Town on 22 November. Copies of the tariff application are now available on the Ports Regulator’s website www.portsregulator.org.

In the TNPA’s latest tariff application for the financial year 2013/14 the TNPA is asking for an overall average 5.4% increase, considerably below last year’s request of 18.06% for which the regulator granted 2.76%. It is thus a little revealing that this year’s inflation-related application should include a proposal that tariffs for export containerised cargo is reduced by 43.21% and imported containers by 14.33%, while also seeking a 15.71% reduction in port fees on motor vehicle exports.

On the other hand, bulk coal exports could face an increase in tariffs of 104% - maybe a case of using bulk coal exports to balance the books?

The Ports Regulator’s national roadshow is as follows: Durban and Richards Bay, meeting at Southern Sun North Beach Hotel, Durban on 19 November 2012.
Johannesburg, meeting at Garden Court, OR Tambo International Airport on 20 November 2012.
East London, Port Elizabeth, Ngqura, meeting at Garden Court, Kings Beach, Port Elizabeth on 21 November 2012.
Cape Town, Saldanha, Mossel Bay, meeting at Southern Sun, The Cullinan Hotel, Cape Town on 22 November 2012.

All meetings commence at 9am.

 

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ZUMA CALLS FOR STRONG PARTNERSHIPS TO ADDRESS ECONOMIC CHALLENGES

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Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma says there is a need to stimulate South Africa’s economy in the face of deteriorating world markets and labour unrest in the country.

“We have emerged today with one voice, one message and strong confidence in our capacity as a society to address the immediate challenges we face and to lay a basis for long term growth and job creation,” he said after meeting with various social partners in Pretoria on Wednesday.

The meeting was attended by the presidents of Business Unity South Africa, the Black Business Council, Cosatu, Fedusa and Nactu and the overall convenor of the community constituency at Nedlac as well as several Cabinet ministers.

It agreed that “a package of economic and socio-economic measures” was necessary to address underlying social pressures and to act as a stimulus to pressures on the local economy as a result of slowing global growth.

Zuma said the parties agreed to take steps to increase investor confidence in the South African economy and social stability using their capacities to build a strong South Africa. An “action package” had been developed to address many challenges facing the country.

“While many accords and social agreements have been reached in the past, we want this to be different in the speed and focus of our implementation.

“We will monitor implementation at the higher level, with ministers and social partner leaders meeting regularly and reporting to me,” Zuma said.

In response to the wildcat strikes in the mining sector and the recent violent strike by truck drivers, the meeting called on workers engaged in unprotected strikes to return to work.

“We are of the common view that our collective bargaining system is broadly sound, and that the integrity of the system must be defended,” said the President.

Violence and intimidation during strikes needed to come to an end.

A call has also been made to chief executives and leaders of business to freeze salary increases and bonuses over the next 12 months as a signal of commitment to building an equitable economy.

The parties will set up a committee to consider the local and international experience in addressing income inequalities and develop further proposals within the next six months, added Zuma. – SAnews.gov.za

 

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PIRACY: ANOTHER SHIP ATTACKED OFF WEST AFRICA

Bourbon Liberty 249 crew seized by pirates

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Bourbon Liberty 249 – crew seized by pirates

Seven crew from the French-owned offshore anchor handling vessel BOURBON LIBERTY 249 (1733-gt, built 2011) were kidnapped by armed pirates this week while the ship was offshore of the Niger Delta in West Africa.

The remaining crew of nine later sailed the ship to safety in the Nigerian Port of Onne. Those kidnapped were six Russians and one Estonian.

“The emergency unit set up immediately by Bourbon [owner/operator of the vessel] has been set up to aim at their rapid liberation under the safest security conditions,” the company said in a statement.

The pirate attack is not the first for Bourbon – in 2010 pirates attacked a Bourbon-operated offshore oil platform and later kidnapped three French employees who were subsequently ransomed and released.

 

NIMASA says it has captured 15 pirates

Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, said earlier this week that it had prevented an armed attack on a ship off the Benin coast and had arrested 15 suspected pirates in possession of arms and ammunition.

Giving little other details of the arrest and seizure of the pirate suspects and their weapons, NIMASA's Director-General, Patrick Akpobolokemi, said that the agency's activities in the war against piracy led to foiling the hijack and arrest of the suspects. He said the agency's extension of its anti-piracy operation in Benin waters was under the direction of President Goodluck Jonathan and was based on the request of the President of Benin.

He claimed NIMASA was assisting in curbing the menace of piracy and border-related vices within the Benin Republic waters and its neighbouring states of Nigeria, Togo and Ghana.

If the issue was not tackled, he maintained, it would lead to increased costs on cargo, resulting in an increase in the cost of goods and services, and tilting Nigeria towards the Somali situation. On the other hand, he maintained that there had been a steady decline in the cases of piracy in Nigerian waters since NIMASA entered the war against piracy.

 

Sri Lanka places anti-piracy armoury ship off Galle Island

Sri Lanka is reported to have placed a floating armoury vessel offshore of Galle Island to assist ships sailing in pirate threatened waters of the Indian Ocean.

The vessel is the Sri Lankan-flagged offshore supply tug MAHANUWARA (1036-gt, built 1975) which will used for guard transfers and their arming. Earlier, Sri Lanka’s defence ministry had expressed concerns about establishing the bona fides of the security companies providing armed guards, and strict rules concerning proper record keeping and accountability have been set.

The tug/floating armoury will be operated by Avant Garde Maritime Services of Sri Lanka.

 

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TFR TO RAIL HEMATITE ORE FROM SWAZILAND NEXT MONTH

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Transnet Freight Rail – growing its business. Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za

Pretoria - The first train service to transport hematite products from Swaziland to South Africa’s Richards Bay will begin in November and is also expected to stimulate job creation, said Transnet Freight Rail (TFR).

“TFR has successfully implemented the first train service to transport hematite products from Mpaka in Swaziland to the Port of Richards Bay. The full service will commence from November with the 1 train per day service,” said Transnet.

TFR, which is a division of Transnet, said the service was designed to run seven trains a week, and the move was expected to add an estimated 1.2 million tons per annum to the logistics company’s annual railings [as well as to the port’s exports].

Hematite contains 48% iron ore and is mined at Ngwenya Mine in Swaziland, the oldest hematite mine in the world. It is often used to make jewellery and ornaments.

TFR, together with its neighbour Swaziland Railway, renders the service to Salgaocar Swaziland, an international mining company and supplier of iron ore.

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Hematite ore

TFR chief executive Siyabonga Gama said the move would have a positive economic impact and strengthen relations between the two countries.

“The success of hematite transportation by rail forms part of TFR’s road to rail strategy, which aims to move rail friendly cargo from the roads as part of its broader market demand strategy. The service will stimulate job creation and increase capacity to meet Transnet’s market demand strategy and volume growth in the ports of Richards Bay, which currently handles high volumes of Chrome, Magnetite as well as rock phosphate.”

Hematite will be railed under the Mining Mineral and Chrome Business Unit, one of TFR’s six newly established business units which are more customer and commodity focused.

“This is an opportunity for Transnet Freight Rail to increase volumes from 17mt to 18.2mt for the Mineral Mining and Chrome Business Unit during this financial year.”

TFR is also exploring the opportunity to rail hematite from Swaziland to Maputo, to where its customer also sends some of its vessels. - SAnews.gov.za

 

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UNIT OF MARITIME LAW AND MARITIME STUDIES LAUNCHED AT UKZN

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University of Kwazulu-Natal Vice Chancellor Professor Malegapuru Makgoba unveils a plaque during the launch of the Unit of Maritime Law and Maritime Studies at the Howard College Campus in Durban on Tuesday night.

Makgoba said he regarded the Unit as the University’s unique signature initiative and a signal approach towards maritime studies and maritime law.

“We are making the maritime sector a business for the University and this Unit is very important as we are preparing for the academic catwalk which will be the maritime sector in five years to come,” he said.

Located on the threshold of the largest port-related maritime community in any city in the southern hemisphere, the Unit of Maritime Law and Maritime Studies has been established at UKZN to offer a consolidated postgraduate teaching site and research portal for this professional and commercial maritime community.

Its focus will be on but also well beyond the boundaries of eThekwini and the Durban port community. Principal areas of teaching excellence at a postgraduate level range from maritime law, maritime transport and port economics to customs and excise. Picture by Rajesh Jantilal

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Acting Dean of Accounting and Economics and Finance at UKZN Professor Jim Fairburn, UKZN Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor John Mubangizi, Dean of Law at UZKN Professor Managay Reddi and Co-Ordinator of the Unit of Maritime Law and Maritime Studies Professor Trevor Jones during the launch of the Unit of Maritime Law and Maritime Studies at the Howard College Campus in Durban on Tuesday night. Picture by Rajesh Jantilal

 

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US SAYS IT SEEKS JUST A ‘SMALL FOOTPRINT’ IN AFRICA

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by Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Washington - The small African nation of Djibouti hosts the one forward operating base the United States maintains on the African continent, and that is due to its unique location, said deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs, Amanda J Dory.

Djibouti hosts about 3,000 US service members at Camp Lemonier -- a former French base adjacent to the capital of Djibouti City. The US service members work to build military capabilities with Djibouti and neighbouring nations. The base also is a training and logistics hub.

Yet, it is not a model for how the United States will interact on the African continent, Dory said. “The DOD strategy in Africa has moved toward flexible operating concepts,” she said in a recent interview. “[We will] focus on maintaining a small footprint on the continent that is flexible and low cost.”

The US military footprint will be different in each African nation, the deputy assistant secretary said.

“Each country will work with us to see what capabilities they need, how much they can commit to developing, and how fast they want to work,” she said. “They will also work with us to determine the process of working with us.”

US troops, she said, will visit these nations for short periods of time for specific tasks or training cycles.

“We do not want permanent bases,” Dory said.

The US military effort on the continent is being accepted by many African leaders, she said. When US Africa Command first stood up, there was concern among some leaders that it signified a ‘militarisation’ of US foreign policy and a sort of creeping colonialism. Those fears have subsided, she said.

“Most [African] nations welcome our contributions,” Dory said.

Djibouti is unique because it lies on the seam between US Africa Command and US Central Command, officials said, and it is situated at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. Vessels transiting through the Suez Canal to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean sail close to Djibouti, which boasts a natural harbour and roads that link the interior with the coast.

The country has interest from four US combatant commands -- US Africa Command, US Special Operations Command, US Central Command and US Transportation Command, officials said. In addition, other nations work with the Djiboutian government to ensure security in the area.

Djibouti and Camp Lemonier represent a strategic gold mine, Dory said. But Camp Lemonier, she added, will remain an expeditionary base.

“It will remain an austere base. “We will make improvements for force protection, but you will not see a golf course at Camp Lemonier, ever,” she said. source US Department of Defense

 

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MSC FLAMINIA – A TALE OF HEROISM AND TRAGEDY

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For a first-hand account of the frightening and tragic fire on board the MSC FLAMINIA and the heroic actions of the officers and crew, CLICK HERE. Use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page.

 

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PICS OF THE DAY – MARTY QUIST TIDE

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The Tidewater Marine offshore supply vessel MARTY QUIST TIDE (2301-gt, built 2010) seen departing from the Port of Cape Town.

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Pictures by The Aerial Perspective aerialphoto.co.za

 

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