Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 2, 2006
Author: P&S


  • Durban and Richards Bay strike ends

  • Safmarine brings on new multipurpose US – Angola service

  • Stowaway case - Seafarers given suspended sentences

  • Ship delay causes diesel shortage

  • Rift valley Railway partners split up

  • Clipper Race - the pack separates

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
    WEB SITE: www.hugheship.com

    Durban and Richards Bay strike ends

    Hailing the industrial action as a complete success in spite of the short amount of time available to organise it, the four Transnet trade unions Satawu, Uasa, Utatu and Sarwhu yesterday concluded three days of strike action across KwaZulu Natal to an end with a march through the streets of Durban. Between 2,000 and 3,000 union members took part in the proceedings, much less than forecast by the unions.

    Last night shift workers began trickling back to duty but the ports and commuter rail services were only expected to be back to normal from the start of this morning’s shifts (Thursday).

    Total production lost during the three days this week when important sections of the ports of Durban and Richards Bay were closed or reduced in activity has still to be measured, if it ever can. The container terminal, which handles over 65% of South Africa’s containerised cargo lost probably in excess of 80% of production during the stoppage. The less labour intensive Durban car terminal was much better off with ships being worked and cargo moving in and out of the terminal albeit at a slightly reduced rate. New Pier, Maydon Wharf and City breakbulk terminals were also adversely affected.

    Leaseholder areas of the port continued with almost normal operations, subject only to the availability of ships but the marine services kept going throughout the three days.

    At the port of Richards Bay all terminals were working but at greatly reduced levels while the coal terminal was reported to have remained in ‘full production’ thanks to a stockpile of coal.

    Trade unions said they considered the strike had achieved all that it set out to do, and will be continued in the other provinces as previously announced (Eastern Cape on 13 February, Western and Northern Cape 14 Feb, and remainder of country including Gauteng on 20th) unless agreement is reached with Transnet beforehand.

    Failing that the country faces a national one day strike on 6 March.

    The unions are due to meet with Transnet again today (Thursday).

    Safmarine brings on new multipurpose US – Angola service

    Safmarine is to introduce a new direct multi purpose liner service between the USA and Angola called Angorex, with the first sailing to be performed by Safmarine Onne which sails from Houston towards the end of February.

    Frequency will be every 21 days with the following port rotation: Houston - Malabo - Soyo - Luanda - Lobito - Pointe Noire - Abidjan - San Pedro - Camden - Savannah – Houston. Other ports offered will be subject to inducement.

    This will give Safmarine three direct services between North America and Africa –

  • COREX (Commodities and Oil Rig Express) with five multi purpose ships serving the Dakar/Port Gentil range

  • ANGOREX (Angola Oil Rig Express) with three multi purpose ships serving the Malabo/Angola/Pointe Noire range

  • AMEX, the direct express container service operated in partnership with Maersk Sealand and MSC

  • Stowaway case – seafarers given suspended sentences

    The master of the bulk ship African Kalahari and two of his crew were found guilty this week of charges relating to the death of two stowaways in Durban harbour in January and of having assisted with smuggling seven men into South Africa.

    The Polish master, Captain Leskowicz Krzysztof received a two year suspended sentence after a plea bargain was entered into with the state. He faced a charge of having endangered the lives of persons on board a ship. His co-accused, Ukrainians Kolesnikov Igor and Kuzin Mykola each received five year suspended sentences and were fined R40,000 each on charges of culpable homicide and of having endangered the lives of persons on board a ship. In addition they all paid fines to the department of immigration for contraventions of the act.

    A third crew member had his charges withdrawn before the case was heard and was released.

    All fines have been paid and the men are now free to leave South Africa.

    During the case it transpired that the crew became aware of the seven stowaways shortly after the vessel sailed from Mombasa. They said in court that they had befriended the men and felt sorry for their circumstances and consequently arranged to help smuggle them into South Africa once the ship reached Durban.

    They said they had given the men money, clothing and cigarettes which were wrapped in plastic bags and taped to their bodies before they were helped overboard down a rope and into the water at Durban’s Maydon Wharf. They said they were not trying to harm the men but to assist them ashore and assisting them overboard on the side facing away from the wharf was the only method to escape detection.

    Ship delay causes diesel shortage

    The tanker vessel Southern Unity was more than usually welcome to many Eastern Cape motorists yesterday when she berthed at Port Elizabeth’s tanker berth.

    According to the Port Elizabeth newspaper EP Herald the town had begun running out of diesel fuel. The shortage occurred only days ahead of a fuel price hike which went into effect yesterday (Wednesday).

    According to the report the SA Petroleum industry blamed the shortage on the delayed arrival of the Southern Unity. The spokesman added that this had forced the affected companies to bring in supplies by road from depots in Mossel Bay and East London.

    Late last year the Eastern Cape and Western Cape suffered acute shortages of diesel after all refineries entered their annual shutdown periods virtually simultaneously. As a result all ports experienced bunker shortages and delays until the supply was reinstated. The minister of minerals and energy has since ordered an enquiry and the outcome is still awaited.

    - source EP Herald

    Rift Valley railway partners split up

    Shortly before the signing of the contracts for the concessioning of Kenya Railways took place, two of the Tanzanian partners, Mirambo Holdings and Prime Fuels, withdrew after a disagreement over the contract. This left main shareholder Sheltam Rail in virtual full control of the Rift Valley Railway.

    The two Tanzanian-registered companies were to have held 25% of the new company, with Sheltam as the main shareholder with 61% of shares and Comazar Ltd holding another 10%. The balance of 4% is held by the Africa Development Trust of South Africa.

    There is no indication at this point as to which company will take up the balance of shares.

    Clipper Race - the pack separates

    There are now two distinct groups of yachts – one that has moved over to the east consisting of Qingdao, Glasgow and Cardiff, and the remainder sailing further to the west with Singapore the furthest west. The two yachts favouring the easterly route now have longer distances to sail but hope to find more favourable winds and currents. Meanwhile Westernaustralia.com had begun to open a significant gap over the others.

    The race position at 05.00 today was (with distance to finish)

    Westernaustralia.com (1596)
    Durban (1607)
    Singapore (1608)
    Jersey (1610)
    Liverpool (1613)
    New York (1614)
    Victoria (1615)
    Qingdao (1625)
    Glasgow (1641)
    Cardiff (1646)

    - source http://www.clipper-ventures.co.uk

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