Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 16, 2007
Author: P&S


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  • Call to utilise Maputo service – Spoornet arranges corridor roadshow

  • Hull damage seals SS Norway/Blue Lady fate

  • US beefs up Mozambique Navy with patrol boats

  • Mbeki urges for African intervention in Somali crisis

  • More international support needed in DRC: report

  • Pic of the day – EXCALIBUR

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    Call to utilise Maputo service – Spoornet arranges corridor roadshow

    Since December the port of Maputo has benefited from its first direct Maputo - Far East service in many years, thus encouraging importers and exporters in both Mozambique and South Africa to look more favourably at the Mozambique port.

    The direct service was introduced by MOL and the current sailing schedule from that company shows the following calls at Maputo:

    MOL Sunrise 24 January
    MOL Sassandra 3 February
    MOL Niger 16 February
    MOL Mono 12 March
    MOL Dream 18 March
    MOL Volta 31 March
    MOL Sunrise 7 April
    MOL Sassandra 12 April
    MOL Callao 22 April
    MOL Niger 1 May
    MOL Oueme 11 May

    The eastbound rotation is Maputo, Port Louis, Singapore, Hong Kong.

    In an effort to drum up support for the Maputo Rail Corridor in conjunction with this new shipping service Spoornet and CFM are planning a Roadshow in Nelspruit for 15 February.

    ‘There have been notable developments on the rail line between Gauteng and Maputo and significant strides have been made in rehabilitation and stabilisation of the line between Ressano Garcia and the port of Maputo. In celebration of these developments and the progress made, (cargo movers) are cordially invited to the Road Show jointly hosted by SPOORNET and CFM to be held on 15 February 2007. The CEO’s, Messrs Siyabonga Gama of SPOORNET and Rui Fonseca of CFM, will address their clients and stakeholders on sector specific strategies for the Mining and Energy, Intermodal and Agricultural sectors,’ reads the statement distributed through the Maputo Corridor Liaison Initiative (MCLI).

    People interested in attending this roadshow should email the following: barbara.mommen@mcli.co.za quoting the name of the person seeking an invite and physical address to which a personal invitation can be sent.

    Hull damage seals SS Norway/Blue Lady fate

    SS Norway on tow off Cape Town in July 2005, en route to South East Asia supposedly for refurbishing and re-engining with a planned return to some form of service. Instead the ship has ended on the beach at Alang. Picture Ian Shiffman

    The ill-fated former SS Norway (SS France), now designated the BLUE LADY and sitting forlornly on the beach at Alang in India awaiting a court decision as to whether breakers can commence her demolition, had been dealt what must surely be the death blow to any who harboured hopes of seeing this old ship saved for another day.

    Following an inspection it now appears the giant ship, once the pride of France and one of the grandest transatlantic liners, has severe hull damage, probably caused when she was run onto the beach in defiance of a court order holding off her demolition.

    The latest court action preventing actual cutting up became necessary over fears of contamination from large quantities of asbestos cladding remaining on the ship – up to 1,000 tonnes, to which ship breakers would be exposed. For three months the ship has been sitting on the beach awaiting the Indian judges final ruling but now investigators from the Gujarat Maritime Board have discovered the ship’s hull is severely weakened as a result of the constant rise and fall of the ship on the tide.

    Expert opinion is that it would be next to impossible to tow the ship with the help of tugs and only dredging would present a possibility of getting the ship clear of the sand on which it rests, but that would be exorbitantly expensive, India’s Supreme Court has been advised.

    US beefs up Mozambique Navy with patrol boats

    The fledgling Mozambique Navy has taken possession of three patrol boats donated by the United States to help the southern African country protect its maritime and lake resources against illegal poaching of fish resources.

    The three boats, which arrived in the country in late December, will go into service at the naval bases of Tete on the Zambezi, at Metangula on Lake Niassa and at the northern port of Nacala.

    According to Mozambique’s chief of the navy Rear Admiral Patricio Jotamo, foreign fishing fleets have been able to act with impunity along the long Mozambique coastline, netting sharks for their fins but also taking turtles and other sealife which are caught up in the nets and on the long lines. He said that more than 42 dead turtles were counted in the Bazaruto area in just one month, thought to be victims of illegal net fishing.

    Meanwhile, a US company has been contracted to help train Kenyan ports on security matters. In terms of a World Bank-funded East African Trade and Transport Facilitation project, the American company Aviation & General Security Consultants has entered into a contract to help train KPA personnel on port-related security matters.

    The training programme will take place over the next 14 months and includes the drawing up of new security procedures.

    Mbeki urges for African intervention in Somali crisis

    By Lavinia Mahlangu, BuaNews

    President Thabo Mbeki has called on African states to assist strife-torn Somalia as renewed fighting rages on. The country has not had a stable government in over 15 years.

    "For the sake of both Somalia and our continent as a whole, Africa has no choice but to come to the aid of this sister African country," President Mbeki said.

    Somalia came into existence as a state in 1960 but collapsed after the overthrow of Siad Barre in 1991. It has since seen intermittent periods of fighting amongst those in power in the now fragmented area.

    After 1991, it became divided into various sections with North-West Somalia proclaiming itself the independent Republic of Somaliland, the Puntland region declaring its autonomy and parts in the south falling under different clan leaders.

    "In many respects the deeply entrenched Somali crisis demonstrates what can happen to many of our countries if they are not governed and managed in a manner that addresses the interests of all citizens, bearing in mind the national specifics of each country," said President Mbeki.

    Somalia currently has an interim government, founded in 2004 and recognised by the AU and the rest of the world, following negotiations in Kenya amongst the warring Somali factions.

    However, this did not herald stability, as the interim government has been [until now] effectively a government in exile.

    "As a result of the Ethiopian intervention, which ousted the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) that had fought itself into a position of power in Mogadishu and other parts of southern Somalia, this government is now operating from Mogadishu," said Mr Mbeki.

    He explained that, supported by the United Nations Security Council, of which South Africa is a non-permanent member, the African Union was already intervening in the situation in Somalia.

    He said the AU was engaged in an urgent process that should result in the deployment of AU peace-keeping troops in Somalia.

    "In this regard, the January 2007 President of the Security Council, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, announced that the Council regards Somalia as 'a high priority matter' and is concerned about instability, security, and the humanitarian situation," Mr Mbeki said.

    The UN Security Council strongly supported an inclusive political dialogue among various political forces in Somalia, he explained, and favoured the speedy deployment of a new force that would be set up by the African Union and a seven-nation East African regional group of nations.

    In December, the UNSC unanimously adopted a resolution authorising the creation of this force, which is an African protection and training mission to help protect Somalia's transitional federal institutions.

    The AU is to set up the new force, to be known as IGASOM, in conjunction with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an east African group.

    The body will have an initial mandate of six months, while no countries bordering Somalia would be able to deploy troops, the UN news service said.

    "Time will tell when the next Assembly of Heads of State and Government, this time of the AU, will convene in Mogadishu," Mr Mbeki said.

    "For that to happen, as Africans we will have to do everything necessary to overcome the old and new historic problems that have placed Somalia on our agenda as an unresolved problem of the African Revolution, as the liberation of the Portuguese colonies was an unresolved problem of the African Revolution in 1974."

    Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed concern over the United States' air strikes on Somalia, particularly their humanitarian impact.

    "I am closely following the situation in Somalia and what I said through my spokesperson the other day immediately after this [US] attack on Somalia, hideout of Al-Qaeda, that was simply a concern about the possibility of impact on civilians and the reported loss of civilians," Mr Ban told reporters at his first formal press conference since assuming his post.

    "While I fully understand the necessity behind this attack, we should be cautious enough [that this kind of situation will not] lead to unwanted directions."

    He added that the situation in Somalia, was "a very stark reminder that we need to redouble our diplomatic efforts to have some political process for the realisation of a peaceful resolution of this issue."

    Previous air strikes by the US in Somalia in 1993, purportedly against terrorists, resulted in a US Black Hawk helicopter being shot down and the deaths of US soldiers.

    The incident, which has gone down in history as "Black Hawk Down" was dramatised as a film of the same name in 2001.

    On Friday the UN sped up humanitarian relief efforts there by distributing a one month supply of food to 6,000 people stranded near the border with Kenya.

    The UN reported however that about 190,000 people were in urgent need of food assistance and other aid in Kismayo, Jamame and Jilib districts could not be reached.

    More international support needed in DRC: report

    Nairobi (BuaNews)- The international community should continue its support for the newly elected government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) so it could overcome serious security and political challenges, a Brussels-based International Crisis Group has said.

    "The political process is not finished" despite the general election in the DRC last year, a senior International Crisis Group (ICG), analyst in charge of Central Africa, Jason Stearns, said here last week at the launch of the ICG's latest report on the DRC.

    The ICG report, 'Congo: Staying Engaged After Elections', recommends establishing new international structures to support the peace process after the dissolution of the International Committee for Supporting the Transition, known as CIAT, which was based in the DRC capital, Kinshasa.

    The international community supported the DRC before and during the two rounds of elections that culminated in the inauguration of President Joseph Kabila on 6 December last year.

    South Africa played a pivotal role both in facilitating a peace deal in the mineral rich country and provided logistic, technical and security support for the elections in the DRC.

    The 2006 democratic elections in the DRC, the first in more than 40 years, marked the country's transition to democracy and development after years of civil war, which officially ended in 2003, but the east has remained volatile due to militia activity.

    The country was likely to face post-electoral challenges including those relating to the judicial and legislative system as well as security risks, the ICG said.

    The DRC's electoral process cost an estimated 500,000 US dollars, most of it supplied by international donors.

    Mr Stearns said with donors funding at least 60 percent of the DRC's budget, they should play a greater role in the political process.

    "Donor funds should be tied to key political benchmarks. Rebuilding the DRC is not primarily a technical endeavour but also a political one.

    "MONUC [the United Nations mission in the DRC] should be given a political mandate to support security-sector reform and state institutions such as the judiciary and parliament," Mr Stearns said.

    With the security situation in the eastern part of the DRC remaining volatile, ICG recommended the maintenance of the 17,000 MONUC troops in 2007 to secure the country.

    Mr Stearns said there were an estimated 8,000 foreign rebels in eastern DRC and a similar number of Congolese militia.

    "At the heart of the problem remains the issue of how to deal with the militia," he said.

    Pic of the day – EXCALIBUR

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The 93,786-gt Belgian LNG carrier EXCALIBUR in Cape Town harbour last Friday, as photographed by Ian Shiffman

    NB Shipping pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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