Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 9, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • High speed vessel will make life difficult for poachers

  • Mozambique needs funds to buy survey vessel

  • NIGERIA: Militant group takes then frees South Korean oil hostages

  • Senegal introduces additional Ro-Ro vessel on coast

  • Norwegian Crown cruise ship pulled free

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    High speed vessel will make life difficult for poachers

    The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has introduced a high tech boat, valued at nearly R4 million to help fight against marine poachers.

    "The increasing levels of poaching have been aided by the use of high tech equipment and skilled divers on the part of those robbing us of our natural resources.

    "We are determined to turn this around and the introduction of the Florence Mkhize speed chase vessel is yet another indication of our determination to succeed", said Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk as he launched the new 14m vessel in Cape Town yesterday (Thursday 8 June). The chase vessel cost R3.8 million to build.

    Talking about the vessel in relation to the new technology employed by the poachers, the minister boasted the prowess that the vessel was bringing to the anti-poaching campaign.

    "The vessel is one of its kind and extremely fast (speed in excess of 60 knots) and consists of twin SeaTek 820 Kilo Watt engines" he said.

    As there were no South Africans able to operate the new vessel, a human resource capacity boost programme was implemented and as a result five skippers completed a training programme on how to handle the chase boat at high speeds in excess of 60 knots.

    Training included throttle responses when going over a wave at 60 knots and what the effects were if this was not done properly. It further involved planning a navigation passage for a patrol and how to collate this information into the Global Positioning System (GPS).

    "The choice of name for the vessel fits the description and the competence of the strong and dedicated struggle icon, Florence Mkhize" said the Minister as he likened the task of the vessel to the role that Florence Mkhize played in the fight against discrimination in South Africa.

    "Alongside her sister vessels, the Florence Mkhize will take up the fight against poaching to ensure a better future for the people of South Africa and especially those who rely on fishing as a resource" said Minister van Schalkwyk.

    "New global efforts by scientists and government officials are bringing attention to the value of the world's oceans, the resources they provide, and the need for ecosystem-based management to address these threats."

    - source BuaNews and DEAT

    Mozambique wants US$ 15 million to buy survey vessel

    Mozambique is seeking funds to acquire a hydrographic survey ship capable of surveying and mapping the country’s long coastline.

    According to the National Institute of Hydrography and Navigation (INAHINA), the purchase of the ship has become a necessity if existing data relating to the Mozambique coast is to be updated. The director of the Institute, Select Mudlovo said this while addressing a gathering of hydrography experts of the SADC in Maputo this week.

    He said the cost of a suitable vessel could be as much as US$ 15 million but it had become an imperative as the only survey work currently being done in Mozambique was in the ports and the vessels used for this work were unsuitable for offshore surveying purposes.

    In addition INAHINA needs to replace the vessel used to mark out the access channels leading to the respective ports as this craft was now very old and needed to be replaced.

    - source AIM (Maputo)

    NIGERIA: Militant group takes then frees South Korean oil hostages

    Port Harcourt, 8 Jun 2006 (IRIN) - Militants fighting in Nigeria’s southern oil-producing Niger Delta said yesterday (Thursday) they have freed five South Korean oil workers taken hostage in an attack on a gas plant operated by Royal Dutch Shell.

    The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which claimed Wednesday’s attack on Shell’s Cawthorne Channel facilities, said the hostages were released to a senator from the oil region on the direction of detained militia leader Mujahid Dokubo-Asari.

    The group had earlier in the day pledged to free the hostages as requested by Dokubo-Asari. “In fulfilment of our earlier pledge, all five [South] Korean prisoners captured by our unit…were released at 1600 hours [local time],” said a subsequent email message by MEND.

    The prisoners were handed over to a Senator David Brigidi representing the Ijaw region of the delta, who is also an outspoken campaigner for local control of oil wealth which is a key demand of the militant group.

    There was no immediate confirmation of the release by Shell, which had contracted Daewoo Engineering and Korea Gas Corp - employers of the hostages – to work on the gas plant. A military spokesman Navy Captain Obiora Medani said he could not confirm the release as the military was not involved in the negotiations to free the captives.

    The attack on Wednesday was the latest in a series launched since the beginning of the year that has caused Nigerian oil exports to drop by more than 20 percent.

    MEND said Wednesday’s attack was in direct response to a federal appeals court ruling on Tuesday in the capital, Abuja, which denied bail to the region’s best known militia leader, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, who is facing trial on charges of treason. The presiding judge had refused bail demands, describing Dokubo-Asari as a security risk.

    The group has repeatedly demanded the release of Dokubo-Asari since it announced its emergence in January following an attack on an offshore facility where it seized four foreign workers.

    Dokubo-Asari, as leader of another militia group, the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, has campaigned for control of the delta’s oil wealth by its impoverished inhabitants, a call also taken up by MEND.

    More than a decade of restiveness in the oil region has seen the emergence of different armed groups in the region, many of whom attack oil facilities and abduct oil workers for ransom.

    On Sunday, eight oil workers seized from an offshore oil-rig two days earlier were freed by their captors. They had been abducted to pressure their employer to give jobs and other development benefits to the local community.

    (This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)

    Senegal introduces additional Ro-Ro Vessel on coast

    A Senegalese ship operator Societe Maritime de l’Atlantique (SOMAT) has acquired the 1984-built Ro-Ro container ship Norlandia (4,998-gt) to work in tandem with an Indonesian passenger ferry named Wilis (2,620-gt, built 1999) which was chartered earlier as a replacement for the ill-fated ferry Le Joola. The latter vessel capsized and sank with the loss of nearly a thousand lives off the Gambia in 2002.

    Norlandia is capable of carrying in excess of 300 TEU in addition to rolling cargo. The ship is equipped with twin 60-tonne cranes and will operate between the ports of Dakar and Ziguinchor in the south of Senegal.

    SOMAT has a 2,500-gt ferry on order from a German builder which is due to enter service in 2007. SOMAT is a joint venture involving the Dakar Port Authority, the Senegalese Shippers’ Council and Morocco’s COMANAV.

    Norwegian Crown cruise ship pulled free

    The cruise ship Norwegian Crown was successfully pulled clear of the sandbank near Hamilton in Bermuda on which it was grounded on Wednesday morning.

    With the assistance of three harbour tugs the 34,242-gt cruise ship was pulled clear on the evening high tide the same day and has since been taken to Dockyard for inspection of possible damage.

    According to a statement issued by NCL, the operators of the vessel, Norwegian Crown was under pilotage at the time of the grounding, which coincided with a period of heavy rain across the island. There were no injuries among the 1,100 passengers and more than 500 crew.

    The ship is expected to resume its return journey to Philadelphia where she is expected on Sunday.

    NCL recently sold the ship to Fred Olsen Lines who will take over operation of the vessel from the end of 2007.

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