Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 23, 2007
Author: P&S


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  • Free for all as public scavenges MSC Napoli cargo

  • Nigerian Navy moves on Delta militants

  • Mozambique seizes 47 containers of hardwood

  • Smit wins contract to recover Mighty Servant 3

  • Ambitious new survey to map trends, improve service delivery

  • GUINEA: Unprecedented violence hits capital and provinces

  • Pic of the day – FNS FLOREAL

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    Free for all as public scavenges MSC Napoli cargo

    Crowds of people have begun scavenging cargo off the beach at Branscombe in Devon UK, close to where the 4,420-TEU container ship MSC NAPOLI was deliberately beached to prevent her breaking up and polluting the English coast.

    Police and the Receiver of Wrecks stood by taking no action as people, following in the traditions of earlier inhabitants of the Devon and Cornish coasts, took advantage of lenient UK salvage laws that leave it up to those salvaging off shipwrecks to report their ‘finds’.

    Television viewers worldwide have watched as hundreds of people wheeled away anything from new BMW motor bikes to wines and disposable nappies, proudly boasting of the opportunity of taking advantage of someone else’s misfortune.

    The ship became disabled last Thursday when water entered the engine room after cracks appeared in the hull as the ship battled 9m seas and gale force winds. When the ship began listing the crew of 26 took to the lifeboats and were later lifted to safety by Royal Air Force helicopters.

    After being taken in tow the condition of the ship deteriorated further and salvors opted for putting her onto the beach opposite Branscombe in the hopes of containing any pollution. The ship is now lying firmly aground close to the shoreline with a list of 25 degrees which adjusts with the low tide. Booms have been placed around her to prevent the escape of oils.

    Late yesterday salvors said they were facing technical problems preventing the pumping of oil from the ship onto waiting barges.

    The ship, which until recently was deployed on the Europe – South Africa service, was carrying 2,100 containers on a voyage from Antwerp to Sines.

    Nigerian Navy moves on Delta militants

    Faced with ongoing attacks on oil installations off the Nigerian coast in the region of the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s Navy has deployed 13 vessels, four helicopters and four smaller boats to the area in an attempt to prevent further disruptions.

    The manoeuvre which is being described as the biggest sea exercise in 20 years is to provide training for Nigeria’s armed forces and does not mean an attack on militants is imminent, says the chief of naval staff, Vice-Admiral Ganiyu Adeke.

    Code-named Exercise Idabo, which means ‘to protect’ in Yoruba, the exercise will help test the operational capability of the naval forces when guarding the oil installations, he said.

    "Bight of Bonny is our major gateway for export of Nigeria's crude oil and natural gas - that is why it is important for us to exercise our fleet on the protection of deep sea oil and gas installation especially against terrorist attacks."

    When asked why the navy had failed to prevent attacks by the militants, he said that rules of engagement precluded the use of maximum force in such circumstances.

    According to Nigerian media reports the vessels deployed on the exercise include NNS DAMISA and NNS SHIRI, both guided missile strike craft, as well as four Agusta A109E attack helicopters

    Mozambique seizes 47 containers of hardwood

    Mozambique authorities have seized 47 containers loaded with hardwood timber that was about to be exported from the northern port of Pemba.

    The Maputo newspaper Noticias reports that the containers were owned by a Chinese company named MOFID which has a warehouse in Pemba.

    The port of Pemba in Pemba Bay, northern Mozambique. Picture by Terry Hutson

    A combined operation between Mozambique police, customs, forestry and wildlife officials and the country’s security forces, SISE, uncovered the shipment, which has been taken back to MOFID’s warehouse for unpacking and inspection.

    The containers were destined for delivery by sea to Asia but the ship on which the containers were to have been dispatched has since sailed.

    Mozambique law prevents timber from being exported without beneficiation, which usually means being sawn into planks of no more than 10cm thick. The newspaper said it had received reports from other timber merchants in Cabo Delgado province of previous shipments of uncut timber by the Chinese company.

    Smit wins contract to recover Mighty Servant 3

    The Dutch salvage company SMIT has been appointed by fellow Dutch heavy-lift company Dockwise to recover the sunken semi-submersible MIGHTY SERVANT 3, which sank during December in the Bay of Luanda while discharging the drilling rig ALEUTIAN KEY.

    The ship is lying in 53m of water and will be recovered with the aid of the sheerlegs cranebarge TAKLIFT 7.

    Compressed air will be pumped into the sunken ship to aid buoyancy when the lift is attempted.

    Meanwhile SMIT, which is reported to have equipment close to Luanda, has undertaken a survey to determine the means of recovering bunker fuel from MIGHTY SERVANT 3 prior to the salvage attempt.

    Only once the ship has been refloated will negotiations begin with suitable repair years to undertake the task of repairing the semi-submersible. At the same time the cause of the sinking can be fully investigated.

    There were no injuries or casualties when MIGHTY SERVANT 3 sank. She had just completed floating off the rig and failed to recover her buoyancy, sinking rapidly to the bottom. (See our News Reports dated 6, 10 and 20 December 2006, including photographic coverage of the sinking)

    Ambitious new survey to map trends, improve service delivery

    by Oupa Segalwe, BuaNews

    Pretoria - Statistics South Africa will conduct an ambitious new survey from 7-28 February in an effort to map trends in the South African population.

    The R600 million "South African Community Survey 2007" is expected to help government improve service delivery.

    The project is the first of its kind in the country and will be conducted in certain identified areas.

    During the launch of the project, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel highlighted its importance towards improving the lives of South Africans.

    "We invite all South Africans to share with us information about their lives as it allows government to improve service delivery," Minister Manuel said.

    He explained that the project was expected to fill the information gap that had developed as a result of the change in conducting the population census from a five-yearly cycle to every ten years.

    The survey will collect demographic, geographical and socio-economic data at municipal level, in order to assist different levels of government and other progressive organisations with the planning, implementation as well as the monitoring and evaluation of policies.

    It will produce municipal data that could be used to assess the impact of socio-economic policies and provide an indication as to how far the country has gone in eradicating poverty and to measure the delivery of services.

    About 5,800 field-workers, who will wear yellow shirts and blue caps and carry their identification, would visit 284,000 households in 17,089 areas and help respondents answer up to 75 questions.

    The questions will range from migration, mortality, employment status, level of income, education, participation in public works programmes to economic working patterns.

    "The survey would further help build and develop capacity ahead of the population census," Manuel said.

    Since becoming a democracy, South Africa has conducted the population census twice, first in 1996 and in 2001.

    The Community Survey will thus take the place of the population census that was to have been conducted last year, which has now been scheduled for 2011.

    Statistician General Pali Lehohla said although the survey was not of the same scale as the population census, it was "ten times the size of existing household surveys".

    In fact, the Community Survey is second in size only to the census.

    Mr Lehohla said about 60 percent of the Community Survey's R600 million budget had already been spent, comparing this to the R1 billion cost of the 2001 population census.

    Stats SA plans to publish the survey's results in October.

    GUINEA: Unprecedented violence hits capital and provinces

    Conakry, 22 Jan 2007 (IRIN) - Security forces shot dead at least 20 people on Monday as tens of thousands of Guineans turned out to demonstrate against President Lansana Conte in the biggest nationwide show of discontent in his 23-year rule.

    In the capital, Conakry, violent clashes between protestors and the Guinean army were reported in most of the sprawling city’s suburbs, with protestors “pouring” into main city streets from as far as 20km outside the city centre, witnesses said. Eleven corpses with gunshot wounds were admitted to one city morgue, and six others to morgues elsewhere, hospital staff told IRIN. Three other people were reported killed in the often violent suburb of Hambaleye.

    In the far-eastern town of Kankan, observers estimated that 20,000 people began marching in the morning, but three hours of violence ensued after the army started shooting into the unarmed and largely peaceful crowd. At least three people were critically injured, but casualties could not be confirmed as shooting was still ongoing, residents said.

    In Kissidougou, local residents also reported a peaceful demonstration in the morning, which by mid-afternoon had been broken up by the army. Witnesses said soldiers were chasing unarmed protestors through the town streets and shooting into crowds.

    Demonstrations and shooting by the army were also reported in the towns of Labe, Pita, and Dabola. The restive southeastern city of Nzerekore, where residents say three people were shot dead and 21 wounded in protests over the weekend, remained calm on Monday.

    “These were huge crowds and it wasn’t like other days when it was more like gangs. This time it was normal families, women, teenagers, heads of family marching. It was a vast crowd,” a resident in Kankan said.

    “There were different groups around the city that started marching towards the government buildings,” he said. “Then the military came and started shooting randomly. There were bullets going everywhere.”

    Guinea is now in the 13th day of an “indefinite” strike called by the country’s powerful trade unions to protest the rising cost of living, which they say is caused by economic mismanagement and corruption at the highest levels of government.

    Leaders of the trade unions behind the strike warned on Monday afternoon that they have “lost control” of the movement.

    “The unions cannot control certain movements organised by associations that we do not know about,” Boubacar Biro Barry, negotiator for the trade unions, told IRIN.

    Several youth members of the Guinean Workers Union (USTG) and the National Confederation of Guinean Workers (CNTG) were arrested on Monday afternoon, and the union headquarters was sacked by an army unit led by President Conte’s son, Army Capt. Ousmane Conte, witnesses said.

    Union leaders, who were last week threatened by Conte in an acrimonious meeting that failed to end the strike, could not be reached for comment on Monday afternoon, but Barry said talks with the government are “on hold” until the army stops shooting protestors.

    The unions have accused septuagenarian President Conte, a former army colonel who seized power in a coup in 1984, of being too ill to manage the country, and called on him to retire his government and hand over all his powers to a new prime minister.

    Conte has refused to relinquish his powers, but has resigned the country’s current prime minister and offered some concessions to the strike-leaders.

    On Friday, West African heads of state at a meeting of the regional ECOWAS grouping called for calm, and proposed sending a high-level delegation to Conakry to meet President Conte.

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

    Pic of the day – FNS FLOREAL

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The French patrol frigate FNS FLOREAL visited Cape Town during December 2006, when she was photographed by IAN SHIFFMAN. The ship is no stranger to southern African shores, being based at the French Indian Ocean naval base at La Reunion.
    The ship caries a 100mm gun and a pair of 20mm guns in addition to two Exocet surface to surface missiles (SSM) and is also equipped with a helicopter to extend her surveillance range while on patrol.
    Built in 1991 she displaces 2,950 tons fully loaded and is powered by four diesel engines producing 8,800 bhp and driving twin shafts for a top speed of 20 knots. By naval standards this may appear slow but the class of six ships, of which FLOREAL lends its name, was deliberately built to commercial and not naval standards for sea fishery patrol purposes, making her ideal (and inexpensive) for long range patrols in the Indian Ocean. In addition to a crew of 80 the ship can carry 24 special armed forces.

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