Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 18, 2007
Author: P&S


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  • Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) at Cape Town officially recognised

  • Third mobile crane introduced at Toamasina Container Terminal

  • Construction of new inland Nigerian container terminal begins

  • New attack on expat oil workers in Nigeria

  • Pic of the day – OOM KAPPIE

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    Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) at Cape Town officially recognised

    The visit to South Africa of the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Efthimios Mitropoulos, was used to mark the signing of an agreement establishing South Africa as home-base to one of three regional African Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCC). Other sub-centres within the Southern African region are to be established in the Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique and Namibia.

    The other two MRCC regions are in East Africa and West Africa.

    The Cape Town-based MRCC has in effect been in operation for some time but as a purely South African Search and Rescue organisation, whereas the signing this Monday (15 January 2007) makes its establishment official in the eyes of the IMO.

    Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe signed on behalf of South Africa and was joined by several other sub-regional partners. Namibia was not represented but is expected to sign the agreement separately in a few weeks time.

    “South Africa was proactive in approach in that the current South African MRCC was refurbished in anticipation of her extended mandate of hosting the sub-regional MRCC. The Cape Town MRCC is now ready to assume this additional responsibility,” Radebe said.

    He said that among others, this will promote sustainable commerce, tourism, recreation thereby boosting the economy and a capability to respond quickly to emergencies to reduce the severity of accidents or death.

    “I must stress that South Africa is committed to be a global player in search and rescue matters and will continue to give her unwavering support to the objectives and efforts of the IMO and the SADC region to make search and rescue a worldwide system. Today South Africa has contributed R100,000 to be used in the operations of the International Maritime Security Fund. The South African Government is looking forward to high level regional and international relations within the maritime industry and thereby enhancing global economic growth.”

    As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council South Africa is looked at to play a more prominent role in peacekeeping activities elsewhere in Africa. The country is reasonably well equipped to handle emergencies involving search and rescue at sea and to assist neighbouring states in the same if necessary.

    However, Radebe acknowledged a shortage of trained skilled personnel. “The challenges of insufficient or lack of relevant Search and Rescue infrastructure, lack of well-trained staff and lack of SAR facilities will have to be addressed with the participation of all role-players in the maritime industry,” he said.

    Third mobile crane introduced at Toamasina Container Terminal

    The commissioning of the new Gottwald heavy duty mobile crane, model GHMK 6407, at the Toamasina container terminal, the only facility of its kind in Madagascar, represents a key step in Madagascar International Container Terminal Services Limited’s (MICTSL) plans to upgrade both quayside container handling power and berth coverage, says a statement issued by the company yesterday.

    ‘Aside from the base new capacity offered by the top-of-the-range mobile, which joins two existing mobile units already in service in Toamasina, MICTSL has acquired a Bromma twin-lift spreader for use with it, which is able to lift two 20ft containers simultaneously with each of these weighing up to 25 tons.

    ‘The twin lift facility, believed to be the first introduced into service in the region, is particularly designed to meet the challenge of the larger vessel sizes being introduced into service in Asian trades where there is a high concentration of import 20ft containers in one hatch. The increased height of the new mobile, compared to the existing units, is also seen as an advantage in this respect, delivering to the crane operator improved visibility via the higher positioned operator cabin.’

    The new Gottwald GHMK 6407 unit (center) introduced into service at ICTSI’s Madagascar operation complete with Bromma twin-lift spreader

    The new mobile offers a maximum outreach of 51 metres, which is in excess of MICTSL’s current requirement for 41 metres with vessels possessing 13 rows of container across on deck.

    The full potential of the upgraded handling arrangements along the quay of MICTSL’s two berth operation will be realised via the completion of strengthening works on its C2 quay, designed to enable it to accept higher load factors. This will then offer the necessary load capacity to spread the three cranes over two berths, although it is the terminal’s intention to continue utilising ships’ gear on berth C2 for loading/unloading operations when necessary.

    The investment in the new mobile crane, in excess of US $ 4 million, represents the latest step in a rolling investment programme undertaken by MICTSL following the securing of the terminal by International Container Services, Inc. (ICTSI) under a government privatisation programme in 2005.

    Total investment at the terminal following the quay rehabilitation, upgrade of the terminal area and an electrification project will be in the order of US $ 36 million. Extensive investments have already been made in new yard equipment including four new rubber tyred gantries, new reach stackers and 14 new Kalmar terminal tractors. There have also been major investments made in IT hardware and systems including the successful rollout of the Navis SPARCS system.

    Commenting on the arrival of the new mobile Christian Gonzalez, MICTSL Chief Executive Officer, underlined: “What this new machine will help us achieve is to build on the consistency of operations that we have already achieved here, and to continue to reduce overall working times. This important development area is one of a number that we have addressed since acquiring the terminal a relatively short time ago, all of which are progressively positively impacting the conduct of Madagascar’s maritime containerised trade.”

    “Equally, it is important to point out in this context,” he continued, “that since our takeover many of the back-up systems that exert a strong influence over the conduct of maritime trade have also been positively addressed – for example, security has improved dramatically to the extent that Toamasina has been rated very highly by the US Government. Similarly, shipping lines are now the beneficiaries of more and more information via EDI. All of these developments represent important steps, and reflect the positive co-ordination of the planning initiatives between ourselves, the port authority, Customs and all involved parties”

    Construction of new inland Nigerian container terminal begins

    Construction of the second of eight new inland container terminals (ICT) in Nigeria begins at the Jos ICT today (Thursday).

    The contract for the N5 billion container terminal was awarded to Duncan Maritime Services and has been issued on a Build, Operate and Transfer basis (BOT) for an initial period of 25 years with an option for renewal.

    The contract is expected to be complete in three years.

    The first ICT to commence construction is at Kano. The ICT’s are intended to assist with reducing congestion at the ports and to improve efficiencies in the delivery chain while also boosting local economies and providing job sources.

    Source – Vanguard (Nigeria)

    New attack on expat oil workers in Nigeria

    A Dutch male and a Nigerian policeman were killed and a South Korean employee of Hyundai Heavy Industries injured on Monday when armed robbers in two speed boats attacked the launch in which they were travelling in Rivers State.

    The passenger boat came under attack while the people on board were transferring from Port Harcourt to Bonny.

    Approximately 16 attackers sprayed the passenger boat with gunfire before boarding and robbing the passengers of valuables. The survivors were taken to hospital for treatment and a spokesman for HHI said that’ security measures would be reevaluated and improved.

    HHI is installing oil storage facilities in Rivers State and has about 100 HHI and 1,000 local workers on site.

    Meanwhile nine Daewoo employees who were taken hostage by armed attackers on 9 January have been released unharmed. They were working on a Shell pipeline project when the attack took place.

    Pic of the day – OOM KAPPIE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    How many readers will remember this old Durban whaler named OOM KAPPIE, one of a once substantial fleet based at the port? The picture is courtesy of Uli Wessmann

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

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