Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 30, 2007
Author: P&S


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  • SA Navy helps out with flood victims in Mozambique

  • Upgrade for Maputo road corridor

  • Placing eight Spanish trawlers on one floating dock is old hat to these guys

  • IMB has good news on piracy

  • Mbeki, Jintao to discuss wide range of issues

  • Pic of the day – TSITSIKAMA

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
    WEB SITE: www.hugheship.com

    SA Navy helps out with flood victims in Mozambique

    SAS Drakensberg, the South African Navy combat support ship has arrived in Maputo to deliver 150 tonnes of equipment including logistical supplies after tens of thousands of Mozambicans were left homeless in the aftermath of severe flooding in parts of central Mozambique.

    In addition to the aid material the South African Navy has donated a ferry boat and two smaller boats to be used when reaching out to otherwise inaccessible places along Mozambique’s long coastline.

    Much of the aid material consisted of logistical support equipment to assist the Mozambique authorities when future disasters strike. In recent years the navy has donated two Namacurra harbour patrol craft to its Mozambique counterpart and recently the United States handed over several patrol boats to assist with combating illegal fishing and smuggling or even potential terrorist activity.

    Mozambique has not experienced anything serious in the way of piracy or ships being raided while at anchorage outside harbour, as has happened off Dar es Salaam and West African ports. There are fears however that this scourge may spread south unless measures are taken to deter it and a better prepared and equipped navy is probably the best answer.

    Upgrade for Maputo road corridor

    TRAC, the organisation holding the concession to operate and manage the Maputo road corridor from Pretoria to the Mozambique border at Komatipoort, recently announced a R168 million contract on the N-4 highway from Wonderboom gto Belfast.

    The rebuilding of the road takes effect from the end of January and will include widening the single carriageway between the Wonderfontein and Belfast intersections, thus providing motorists with a four-lane carriageway between Pretoria and Belfast.

    The contract is expected to last two and a half years and is expected to lead to some disruption during the process. TRAC says the roadworks will be confined to the present national road reserve to avoid delays cause by land disputes and says it will lead to the elimination of many intersections with farm and other minor roads.

    The N-4 provides the main road thoroughfare for the Maputo Corridor between Gauteng and the port of Maputo.

    Placing eight Spanish trawlers on one floating dock is old hat to these guys

    Despite the cyclical nature of the industry the country’s shipyards are doing quite well at present, thanks mainly to the oil and fishing sectors in Cape Town and Walvis Bay, but even Durban, which is far removed from both fishing and oil drilling activities, has remained busy.

    Nowhere else is this as evident as at the Elgin Brown & Hamer yard – one of South Africa’s longest established ship repair companies which in addition to having its own quay the yard boasts a 8,500-tonne capacity floating dock – the country’s first privately owned dock. The dock, named Eldock is a twin of the dock at Walvis Bay.

    Both of these docks are heavily occupied (no pun intended) – at Walvis Bay this is particularly so but over in Durban the dock recently had the experience of taking on no less than eight trawlers at the same time.

    Eight into one does go – 8 Spanish trawlers fit snugly on the Eldock floating dock in Durban harbour. Picture courtesy EB&H

    It’s not the first time this has been achieved at Eldock – the same trawlers have been coming to Durban in the off-season for several years. They are part of a Spanish prawn fleet operating out of Mozambique where it is now the off season. Its become a tradition for the trawlers of Groupo Amasua to head for the sheltered waters of Durban and an annual refit on the Eldock.

    Known as Krustamoz vessels 1 – 8, they have undergone a complete scraping and repainting plus having other mechanical repairs including rebuilding their propeller blades – constant entanglements with trawling nets leaves the blade tips chipped and off balance.

    All these repairs are available locally.

    Groupo Amasua operates ten trawlers in Mozambique, 12 in Argentina, 3 in Chile, and 3 in Morocco.

    By the way, the word is that EB&H is negotiating for a third floating dock and don’t be surprised if it also ends up in Walvis Bay.

    IMB has good news on piracy

    According to the IMB ((International Maritime Bureau) greater emphasis on reporting has resulted in improved awareness which in turn leads to action being taken by the repsective governments, and the net result has been a decrease in the number of piracy attacks generally.

    “More reporting and greater awareness leading to increased government reaction is proving a successful strategy in the battle against piracy,” the IMB said in a statement.

    However the IMB cautions that the fall of the Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia may lead to a resumption of piracy off the Horn of Africa. During their brief reign in that country the Islamic Courts took a firm control on piracy and the single attack that took place during the period in which they held sway in Mogadishu was swiftly dealt with. There are suspicions that the warlords that previously held control over much of Somalia aided and assisted with the attacking of and seizure of shipping.

    The IMB annual report says that worldwide piracy attacks have fallen for the third year in a row. In its annual report it says that in 2006 there were 239 attacks on ships compared to 276 in 2005 and 329 in 2004. This is the first sign of a systematic decline since reporting began in 1991.

    The IMB makes repeated requests that each and every attack on a ship, even in the case where the attack is little more than petty theft, should be reported to the organisation in Kuala Lumpur.

    source – IMB

    Mbeki, Jintao discuss wide range of issues

    Pretoria (BuaNews): President Thabo Mbeki is holding discussions this week with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao to further strengthen the existing trade and political relations between their countries.

    The presidents will sign at least seven agreements to strengthen relations, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad told reporters last week.

    These include:

    * Protocol on Phyto-Sanitary Requirements for the export of pear fruit from China to South Africa;
    * Protocol on Phyto-Sanitary Requirements for export of table grapes from South Africa to China;
    * Protocol on Phyto-Sanitary Requirements for the export of apple fruit from China to South Africa;
    * Protocol on Phyto-Sanitary Requirements for the export of tobacco-leaf from China to South Africa;
    * Agreement between on co-operation in the minerals and energy sector;
    * Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the establishment of the South Africa-China Minerals and Energy Sectoral Co-operation Committee;
    * Agreement on economic and technical co-operation.

    President Mbeki and President Hu will also discuss global matters since South Africa has assumed a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

    "We will have to discuss our common approach to many of the issues that will arise during the next few months - on the African continent, Kosovo, the Middle East.

    "But most importantly we want to discuss the broader political issues and how to implement the economic agreements to give concrete expression to the commitments undertaken by the Chinese government at the Forum for China Africa Co-operation (FOCAC)," explained Mr Pahad, adding that discussions would be political and economic.

    Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1998, trade between China and South Africa has grown significantly, with China becoming South Africa's second largest import trading partner in 2005, comprising 9 percent of total imports and the eighth largest export partner, comprising 3 percent of total exports from South Africa.

    While both imports and exports grew 30 percent in 2005 compared to 2004, China still enjoys a massive trade surplus with SA.

    In 2005 imports from China totalled R31.476 billion, while exports came to R8.763 billion, he explained, highlighting the sizeable trade imbalance in favour of China in bilateral trade.

    Mr Hu's visit to South Africa is part of eight-nation tour of Africa that includes Liberia, Sudan, Cameroon, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Seychelles and South Africa to forge a strategic partnership between China and Africa.

    It was preceded by a visit in June last year by Premier Wen Jiaboa when he and President Mbeki held discussions.

    The two sides then reviewed the principles guiding the bilateral relationship set out in the Pretoria Declaration on the Partnership between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa in 2000 and the strategic partnership established by the two countries in 2004, said Pahad.

    Mr Hu is scheduled to arrive in the country today (Tuesday 30 January) and departs on Thursday.

    His broader African visit focuses on strengthening a Strategic Partnership with Africa that will focus on three main areas of co-operation - political solidarity, economic co-operation and socio-cultural co-operation.

    In that regard Pahad emphasised that it was important to harmonise, synchronise and align FOCAC with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and to leverage FOCAC to the benefit of NEPAD especially since much of China's activities in Africa were conducted under the FOCAC.

    "China's increased engagement with the continent presents an opportunity for a valuable contribution to Africa's growth and development.

    "A positive pro-active approach on the relationship between China and Africa needs to be developed and implemented, in order to harness resources and focus activities towards meaningful deliverables that would serve primarily the interests of Africa," he added.

    He said at the November 2006 FOCAC Beijing Declaration, China and Africa committed themselves "Properly (to) handle issues and challenges that may arise in the course of co-operation through friendly consultation in keeping with China-Africa friendship and the long-term interests of the two sides."

    China's development has created a growing export market for Africa with China-Africa trade volume reaching US $ 39.8 billion in 2005, US $ 21.1 billion of which comprise imports from Africa.

    China's total investment in Africa reached US $ 6.27 billion.

    Pic of the day – TSITSIKAMA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The Port of Durban pilot boat Tsitsikama pulls away from her berth near the port entrance to intercept the coastal tanker ORIBI (out of picture) as the latter ship sailed from Durban in mid January. Waiting in the background is one of the port’s eight tugs, not needed in this exercise. TSITSIKAMA, named for the Cape mountain range and forest, was transferred some while ago from Port Elizabeth after Durban’s previous pilot boat BALLITO began to give problems. Pilot transfer operation at Durban is usually by helicopter but when the ‘chopper’ is out for maintenance, as was the case during January, the pilots have plenty of opportunity to rehearse their ladder hopping skills. Picture Terry Hutson

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

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