Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 20, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Work on port access road intensifies

  • South African waters now a designated Special Area

  • Safmarine Agulhas wreckage removal begins

  • Somalia: Contact group meets Somali parties

  • Kenya Railways begins retrenching as handover nears

  • New dates for Durban port closures

  • SA Navy leaves East Africa and heads for La Reunion

  • Picture of the day

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    Work on port access road intensifies

    Port users and others who have to make the long drive from the N-3 highway or Empangeni into Richards Bay each day, will be relieved to hear that road works will take place throughout the night in future, instead of during daylight hours.

    The John Ross Highway, which forms the major road route into Richards Bay and bears most of the heavy and light traffic, has been the scene of major logjams in recent weeks after work began on resurfacing the roadway. Much of the highway consists of only two lanes – the road is currently being widened, but following a spate of complaints (and some accidents) it has been decided to move the resurfacing to during the hours of darkness.

    The decision is expected to work in the contractors favour as it will allow for longer uninterrupted sessions compared with the stop-start operations during the hours of daylight. The contract should be completed in December.

    Meanwhile Richards Bay port has concluded a successful two-day Open Day exercise during which tours of the port complex were arranged and the public encouraged to get to know the working of the port. The Open Day function takes the place of the annual Port Festivals which came to an end following the introduction of more stringent security measures in the wake of introducing the ISPS Code in 2004.

    South Africa waters now a designated Special Area

    www.MyGAC.com reports that amendments to MARPOL designating the waters off Southern South Africa as a Special Area under the MARPOL Convention for the prevention of pollution by ships, have been adopted by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which met for its 55th session from 9-13 October at Westminster Central Hall, London.

    The designation of the Southern South Africa waters as a Special Area will provide measures to protect wildlife and the marine environment in an ecologically important region used intensively by shipping.

    In an Annex I Special Area, any discharge into the sea of oil or oily mixtures from ships of 400 gross tonnage and above is prohibited except when certain conditions apply.

    Other Special Areas designated under MARPOL Annex I are: the Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, "Gulfs" Area, Gulf of Aden, Antarctic, North West European Waters and the Oman area of the Arabian Sea.

    The MEPC also agreed a Circular which requests Member Governments and industry groups to comply with the Special Area requirements immediately on a voluntary basis and, in particular, requests them to urge oil tankers to refrain from washing their cargo tanks in the new Special Area, pending the entry into force of the amendment, which will take effect from March 2008.

    - source www.MyGAC.com

    Safmarine Agulhas wreckage removal begins

    The death of a ship is always a sad occasion and so is the removal of the ‘corpse.’ For many it is preferable when a ship simply goes to the bottom with some dignity but when she has gone aground, environmental concerns in this modern age require that the wreckage, or as much as possible, be removed from the scene and the environment returned to what it was before.

    Such is the case with the ill-fated container ship Safmarine Agulhas, which went aground after losing engine power as she sailed from East London harbour in June. Fortunately the grounding took place on the outer side of the western breakwater so the workings of the harbour were not disrupted in any way. After efforts to pull the ship clear failed, and the ship subsequently began breaking up, the decision was taken to have a salvor appointed to remove the wreckage in its entirety.

    The contract was awarded to Dutch company Mammoet and this week work began on cutting the ship up and removing its steel works and equipment, a job that is expected to take well into 2007 to complete.

    Fortunately the shipwreck lies close enough to the western breakwater to enable the latter to be used for access by the salvage company, and some modification of the ‘roadway’ on the breakwater is underway by way of installing steel trackworks. Three large 450-ton lift cranes to operate on the tracks will be erected on the pier – the first is already in place.

    The contract is expected to come to an end by May next year.

    Somalia: Contact group meets Somali parties

    Nairobi, 19 Oct 2006 (IRIN) - The United States-led International Contact Group on Somalia began a meeting with officials of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) on Thursday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to discuss the country's political future.

    The US assistant secretary for African affairs, Jendayi Fraser, was chairing the meeting. The US set up the contact group, with members from 11 countries, after the UIC took control of Mogadishu in June.

    "The president (Abdullah Yusuf) and his delegation are here at the invitation of the contact group," Muhammad Ali, an official in the Somali prime minister's office, said.

    The UIC head of communication and information, Abdirahim Ali Mudey, said their delegation was led by the head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Hassan Adow. The UIC controls most of southern and central Somalia, including the capital, Mogadishu.

    "Our delegation is there to give the contact group our views on the way forward in the reconciliation process," Mudey said.

    Somalia's transitional government was installed in late 2004 but in June 2006, the UIC defeated pro-government warlords who had controlled the city. The country had been without a legitimate government for 16 years, following the ousting of the late President Muhammad Siyad Barre in 1991.

    Mudey said the UIC saw no alternative to dialogue "and the best solution to our problem is to sit together as brothers and talk."

    Delegations from the two sides first met on 22 June in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, for talks facilitated by the League of Arab Nations. However, negotiations collapsed when the transitional government accused the UIC of grabbing territory and enforcing a strict version of Islamic law in a direct challenge to its authority. For its part, the UIC accused the transitional government of inviting foreign troops into Somalia.

    A second round of talks in early September also failed to resolve their differences. A third round is expected in Khartoum on 30 October.

    However, Mudey said if the two sides were left alone without "foreign interference, we, as Somalis, would a find a solution acceptable to all."

    He said the UIC delegation would meet Yusuf and his delegation "if the opportunity presented itself and the president could come to Mogadishu to see the positive changes."

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

    Kenya Railways begin retrenching as handover nears

    Despite growing concern about whether Rift Valley Railway (RVR), the South African consortium that has been awarded the concession to manage and operate the Kenya and Uganda Railways networks, will be ready for the 31 October handover, some 6,000 employees of Kenya Railways began receiving their severance packages earlier this week.

    Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has a total of 9,500 employees and on Monday Roy Puffet, managing director of RVR handed over a list of 3,166 people that RVR wants to retain. The balance will have to be retrenched by KRC in terms of the concession agreement.

    In a circular to all staff the acting KRC managing director said that all staff were required to be ready and prepared for the handover on 1 November and he called on all personnel to assist with the smooth handover of operations and duties.

    The memo said that retrenched staff in possession of company housing will be allowed to remain living in them for a period of three months.

    - source: East African Standard

    New dates for Durban port closures

    Following the postponement of the past weekend’s port closures to permit geotechnical drilling in the Durban port entrance, because of strong swells, new dates have been set for the exercise.

    The port closures will now take place, conditions permitting, on 21/22 October and 28/29 October (both Saturday/Sunday) between the hours of 17:00 and 09:00.

    However, these times will only be able to be set on the date of the drilling. The port advises that every effort will be made to inform port users timeously should there be any last minute changes to the dates.

    SA Navy leaves East Africa and heads for La Reunion

    The three ship flotilla of South African Navy ships has concluded a successful visit to Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya and sailed this week for La Reunion to take part in joint exercises there with other navies.

    The three ships, the hydrographic survey ship SAS Protea, and two missile strike craft SAS Galashewe and SAS Isaac Dyobha, sailed from Mombasa after conducting visits to naval counterparts in the Kenyan Navy and other dignitaries in the Kenyan port city. During the visit South African sailors made the most of an opportunity of visiting one of Africa’s oldest harbour cities, dating back to the 8th century.

    The three ships also paid a visit to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania where they were made to feel welcome. Prior to this the ships called at Maputo in Mozambique.

    The next port of call is expected to be the French island of La Reunion on the eastern side of Madagascar, where a joint exercise named ‘Bourbon’ involving the French Navy has been planned.

    Additional details of the East African visit can be seen on the SAN official website http://www.navy.mil.za

    Picture of the day
    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    South African Navy strike craft SAS Isaac Dyobha P1565, one of three ships to visit East Africa this past fortnight. Picture Terry Hutson

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