Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 24, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Zambia claims oil and gas strike

  • Nigerian tug engineers complete training in Durban

  • President Mbeki to attend extraordinary SADC Summit

  • GM expands truck and bus market

  • Massive haul of abalone and arrests made

  • Public transport infrastructure gets boost of R3, 8 billion

  • Panama delivers resounding go-ahead for canal expansion

  • Picture of the day

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    Zambia claims oil and gas strike

    Lusaka – Zambia claimed yesterday that payable deposits of oil and gas have been discovered in Northwestern Zambia, close to the Angola border.

    According to the country’s president, Levy Mwanawasa, samples taken at 12 different sites of Zambezi and Chavuma have confirmed oil and gas residues. All 12 sites showed positive for oil and six sites revealed positives signs of gas deposits, said Mwanawasa.

    "These results confirm the presence of oil and gas in the sub-surface of the two districts of Chavuma and Zambezi," he said in a prepared statement.

    Mwanawasa said his government was setting up a special cabinet committee to be headed by the Minister of Mines, Kalombo Mwansa, to draw up policies and guidelines for oil and gas exploration by private companies.

    The northwestern region of Zambia has become one of the leading mining districts following the development of the Lumwana Mines which contains one of the world’s largest copper reserves.

    Nigerian tug engineers complete training in Durban

    Thirty Nigerian apprentice tug engineers from Nigeria’s Ports Authority conclude their training in South Africa this week when they complete practical workshop skills and repair experiential training in Durban.

    The thirty apprentices underwent an intensive course of workshop practice at the Durban University of Technology, before being deployed for experiential training at various shipbuilding and ship repair companies in Durban harbour. During this period they also attended two engine room simulator courses at the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) at Simon’s Town.

    Now, after five months training in South Africa they will return to Nigeria where they will be deployed on harbour tugs in the various Nigerian ports including Lagos, Port Harcourt and Warri.

    The training at the Durban NPA Academy and also at the Durban University of Technology resulted from a delegation Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) officials which visited the main South African ports during November 2005 to assess available training facilities for harbour pilots and engineer officers of harbour craft. They also sought the assistance of the Technology Universities, the South African National Ports Authority (NPA) and the local maritime industry. This training had previously been undertaken in Europe, but was now being sought within Africa.

    Deanna Collins, Training Director of Marine Crew Services, together with Captain Solomon Abiodun Omoteso, a marine consultant with Nigerian Ports Authority, instigated the project.

    Miss Collins, who was instrumental in designing the training programmes, said “The wider objective of this co-operative training is to produce competent mariners and to create jobs in the maritime industry for seafarers from the African continent as a whole.”

    Captain J. Abbott, head of Maritime Facilitators of South Africa, who is managing the apprentices whilst in South Africa, added “This was a unique project for the training of harbour marine personnel. The training programmes for the pilots and tug engineers were designed and developed in South Africa specifically for the Nigerian Ports Authority.”

    Thirty four apprentice pilots also completed their training earlier this year and with the success of the apprentice tug engineers the programme is being looked upon as an African success.

    President Mbeki to attend extraordinary SADC Summit

    Pretoria, 22 October (BuaNews) - President Thabo Mbeki is to lead a senior government delegation to an extraordinary Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit on Monday (23 Oct) on regional economic integration.

    The Extraordinary SADC Summit on Regional Integration occurs within the context of the appointment of a Task Force of ministers of Finance, Investment and Economic Development; Trade and Industry and the SADC Secretariat, to review the SADC's regional economic integration agenda.

    The summit will further review progress and propose measures for scaling up implementation of regional integration and the milestones for achieving the Free Trade Area and SADC Customs Union.

    The Taskforce on Regional Economic Integration is expected to present its report to the summit of Heads of State and government.

    Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma attended the meeting of the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Integration preceding the Summit on Saturday and Monday.

    Spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said the Summit will also focus on the current status of implementation of the Free Trade Area (FTA) in terms of the main activities required to complete the FTA by 2008 as planned for in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).

    In addition, the requirements for achieving a SADC Customs Union will also be considered as well as macro-economic convergence in the region.

    "The theme of the Summit is "Economic Integration of SADC" and it is expected that all SADC Heads of State and Government will attend," said Mr Mamoepa.

    According to Mr Mamoepa the meeting will also provide Ministers of Foreign Affairs with a SADC mandate regarding the African Union Government, in preparation for the African Union process on the matter.

    GM expands truck and bus market

    General Motors SA, based in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape has entered into a joint venture with Isuzu Motors Japan to establish Isuzu Truck SA.

    The new company takes over distribution and support of all Isuzu trucks from 3.5 tons upwards for South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mauritius.

    The company will increase plant capacity and introduce a second shift in 2008 as production ramps up. The existing and popular Isuzu one-ton bakkie will continue to be produced and marketed by GMSA but the new company will take over the marketing of all medium and heavy commercial ranges.

    Apart from cross border distribution the new venture is unlikely to expand into the export market in the foreseeable future.

    Massive haul of abalone and arrests made

    On Monday morning (23 October) officials from the Departmental of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) together with the Hermanus Dog Unit of the South African Police Service (SAPS) confiscated 29 bags of abalone containing 3,800 abalone at Meerensee near Hawston. Four suspects were arrested. They are due to appear in court today.

    Several other confiscations and arrests were made over the weekend.

    Officials from the Department and the SAPS have clamped down on a farm in Steinkopf on the West Coast over the weekend and confiscated 20,600 units of abalone, more than half of which was dried. Four vehicles, a caravan and various drying equipment were confiscated and 11 suspects were arrested, one of whom is a Chinese national. All were expected to appear in the Springbok magistrate's court yesterday.

    In two separate incidents in the Overberg area officials seized 10,000 units of abalone in Buffelsjag and also arrested two suspects in a house in Gansbaai where they confiscated 780 units of abalone and a freezer after a tip off was received from members of the community.

    During the same time in another incident, members from the South African Police Service confiscated 5,600 units of abalone, a vehicle and arrested 7 suspects in Napier near Bredasdorp.

    All suspects appeared in court yesterday.

    "With increasing tip-offs and cooperation with members of communities it becomes clear that communities are becoming impatient with poachers and others who illegally exploit our marine resources. Poachers are warned that no matter where they are engaging with these illegal activities, they will be exposed," said Blessing Manale, Acting Chief Director Communications of the Department.

    - source DEAT

    Public transport infrastructure gets boost of R3.8 billion

    by Nozipho Dlamini (BuaNews)

    Government has set aside R3.8 billion for public transport infrastructure for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, said Transport Minister Jeff Radebe.

    "The eyes of the world are on us as we accelerate our preparations for the 2010 Fifa World Cup," said Radebe, addressing the Transport Indaba in Soweto yesterday.

    He said a 2010 Transport Action Agenda had already been developed and the World Cup Public Transport Infrastructure and Systems Fund had allocated the first round of funding to municipalities.

    "The success of this event is dependent mainly on our ability to provide world-class infrastructure and systems that will be enjoyed by all South Africans well beyond 2010," he said.

    However, he added that an additional R 5 billion expenditure per annum was required to address current decline in service levels and to implement their strategy over the next 10-15 years.

    "Our transport plan will ensure efficient and safe transportation for all visitors but most importantly it will ensure sufficient air, road and rail transport operators and infrastructure to accommodate the event."

    In addition the department is currently engaged in detailing the World Cup development programme and some of the key thrusts of the programme include calling for project proposals from host municipalities in order to allocate funds for 2007/08 onwards.

    The programme will also oversee the overall programme management and interdepartmental coordination on World Cup development and allow structured communication and coordination with all stakeholders in transport sector to ensure overall coordination for transport readiness and delivering a legacy of improvement.

    The department has already started implementing some of the transport projects.

    The R 241 million has already been allocated to the host municipalities and a further R 700 million will be allocated during the current financial year.

    "The success of our initiatives depends solely on your fully support. We must do more to embed this at the heart of our discussions," he told delegates.

    This transport indaba is expected to consolidate these initiatives and take forward decisively a successful Public Transport Plan which truly complements the country's economy.

    Minister Radebe said the department's public transport strategy would enable the achievement of a sustainable mass rapid public transport system.

    "We are going to ensure the promotion of a growing public transport sector that is able to meet the needs of current and new users and is able to deliver functioning intermodal systems.

    "It is our firm belief that the emphasis needs to be placed on transforming the semi-formal operators into an integrated system that is planned and well managed by the public sector while being operated by the existing private operators," he said.

    The department's strategic aim is to work with the existing operators and existing road and rail infrastructure, in order to reorganise and upgrade operations into a high quality integrated network.

    This will allow existing operators and their workforce to have a guaranteed stake in a new mass rapid transit network and will ensure improved revenues for operators and service delivery for users and government, said the minister.

    Panama delivers resounding go-ahead for canal expansion

    Panamanians went to the polls on Sunday and chose by means of a referendum to spend billions of dollars on widening the Panama Canal to enable it to handle post-panamax ships.

    A total of 78 percent of voters gave a resounding mandate to President Martin Torrijos’s plan for expanding the canal’s potential to handle much larger ships. The cost of financing the work, estimated at US $ 5.25 Billion, will come from increased canal fees.

    The canal will now be widened by means of a third adjacent set of locks able to handle ships of greater width and depth as well as wider shipping lanes. The impetus for widening the canal came with the substantial increase in the number of post-panamax ships, in particular post-panamax container ships and coinciding with severe congestion among US west coast ports and logistics networks.

    Many of the containers being discharged on the US west coast are intended for the mid west and east coast regions of the United States and have to be railed or road trucked across the continent. With a wider canal new generation post-panamax container ships from Asia will be able to call at east coast ports thus alleviating many of the existing bottlenecks, while ultimately earning Panama far greater revenues.

    Certain US ports such as Houston on the Gulf Coast are expected to benefit considerably from the canal development.

    Some facts about the Panama Canal

    A ship sailing from San Francisco to New York will save 7,870 miles when using the canal compared to going round the Cape Horn.
    The first ship to use the canal was the Ancon, in August 1914.
    Ships usually take between 10 and 12 hours to transit the canal – on average between 36 and 38 ships cross the canal daily.
    Construction began in 1880 under Frenchman Ferdinand de Lesseps, but was abandoned seven years later due to huge loses in life through illness and injury. The United States took over the project in 1904, opening the canal for the first time ten years later.
    The canal cost a total of US $ 336,650,000 to build.
    The canal accounts for about 10 percent of Panama’s economy.
    The Panama Canal currently handles a mere 4 percent of world sea trade.
    On 31 December 1999 the canal reverted to ownership and operation by Panama.

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

    Ocean Africa Container Lines coastal container ship Sofala sails from Durban bound for Mozambique ports. Picture Terry Hutson

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