Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 5, 2007
Author: P&S


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  • Nigeria and Daewoo go into shipping

  • Threat of strike hangs over Indian shippers

  • Somalia: EU calls for reconciliation to achieve peace

  • Mombasa containers pile up

  • Somali pirates back at work

  • Pic of the day – DAL KALAHARI

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    Nigeria and Daewoo go into shipping

    Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC) and South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo are in the process of creating a joint shipping venture with the aim of giving Nigeria a greater share in the West African country’s oil exports.

    The company is being floated with an investment capital of US $ 10 million, in which NNPC will hold 51 percent and Daewoo the balance. The company has indicated it intends expanding beyond carrying just oils into gas, chemicals and product cargo.

    The project is to be managed by Daewoo but there is no indication as to the number of ships or a timeframe for the venture.

    Threat of strike hangs over Indian shippers

    Shippers doing business with India need take note of reports in the Indian media of the possibility of a strike at 12 of the sub-continent’s ports.

    According to these reports, the strike may be enforced anytime after 26 January, unless a settlement is reached between the Indian government, maritime industry employers and the All-India Port & Dock Workers Federation.

    The threat of a port-wide strike follows the ending of a wage settlement under the Industrial Dispute Act that has been in force for the past ten years.

    A prolonged strike would have an adverse effect on India’s surging economy.

    "The Union Government is pushing workers to total strike as it has neither constituted the obligatory Bipartite Wage Negotiation Committee for the next settlement, nor has it settled some old wage and service related disputes despite promises of time-bound disposal," said a statement from the All-India Port and Dock Workers Federation.

    "The union has decided to go on strike if the issue is not addressed by 26 January," said Kandla Transport and Dock Workers Union general secretary Manohar Bellani.

    "We don't want this to happen, but we have been pushed to the wall," said Mr Ballani, whose dockers hope to retain work practices and manning scales in the face of changing cargo handling technologies.

    Somalia: EU calls for reconciliation to achieve peace

    Brussels, 4 Jan 2007 (IRIN) - Expressing concern over the situation in Somalia, members of the European Union's International Somalia Contact Group have called for a reconciliation process that would include the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC).

    Somali Transitional Prime Minister Ali Muhammad Gedi is now in the hot seat but faces having to bring law and order to the troubled Horn of Africa country – picture courtesy IRIN

    The UIC was last week routed by the Ethiopia-backed Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces from its stronghold in the capital, Mogadishu, and the southern part of the country.

    "The situation in Somalia is far from stable, notably on the humanitarian side," Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's Foreign Minister, said on Wednesday in Brussels at the end of a meeting of the Contact Group. "Next week, we will know if Somalia engages on the way to political normalisation, with guarantees for freedoms and human rights and to a ceasefire or, on the other hand, to anarchy."

    The meeting was attended by the European members (United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden and Norway) of the Contact Group, which was established in June 2006 on the initiative of the United States. The group also includes representatives of the United Nations, the African Union (AU), the Arab League, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and Tanzania.

    The meeting was held to take stock of the situation in Somalia and coordinate European efforts to contribute to the country's peace and reconciliation process.

    Steinmeier said three conditions were crucial for Somalia's stability: the cessation of violence: "we should avoid any vacuum after the departure of the Ethiopian troops," he said; "the improvement of the humanitarian conditions for the internally displaced persons"; and "the process of reconciliation".

    Steinmeier said the TFG was now obliged to guarantee a process of normalisation. "We are keen on the relaunch of the internal process," he said. "The base of this process should be enlarged if this process is to succeed."

    On the possibility of an international military force in Somalia, Steinmeier said this would be discussed on Friday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, at a meeting of the whole Contact Group. "If an international presence is required, it will be of African origin," Steinmeier said. "The financing [of such a force] was not discussed at this stage."

    EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, also attended the Brussels meeting. On 22 December 2006, he led a peace mission to meet the TFG and the UIC. At that time, he told the daily Belgian newspaper, "Le Soir", that, "One cannot consolidate any solution in Somalia if one doesn't consolidate the situation in Sudan, if one doesn't find a solution between Ethiopia and Eritrea. We should also pay attention to Djibouti who could play a more important role."

    The 27 member countries of the EU Council are scheduled to discuss Somalia on 22 January.

    Meanwhile, a deadline set the by the TFG for clans in Mogadishu to hand over their weapons has expired. On 1 January, interim Prime Minister, Ali Muhammad Gedi, gave the clans three days to hand over their arsenal or be disarmed.

    "The response so far has been negligible," a local resident said. "There were a few technicals that have been handed in, but unfortunately there are hundreds in the city."

    He said the expiry of the deadline had created panic among the public, with many leaving the city. "Many people are leaving Mogadishu fearing renewed clashes if the government uses force to try and disarm people."

    Government spokesman, Abdirahman Dinari, told IRIN the government would insist on disarming the population, adding, "The government position on disarmament has not changed.”

    Another source said despite the expiry of the deadline, the government was not expected to use force "anytime soon. I think they will first try negotiations with the clans before they resort to force".

    At the Kenya-Somalia border, hundreds of asylum seekers were still being denied entry into Kenya, aid workers said. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said nothing has changed since the border was closed on Wednesday. “We had a meeting with the Foreign Ministry and their position remains that the border is closed,” said Millicent Mutuli, regional spokeswoman for UNHCR.

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

    Mombasa containers pile up

    Mombasa’s container terminal has become clogged with nearly 10,000 containers including almost 6,000 boxes that remain undeclared.

    The congestion following the suspension of three insurance companies that normally issue clearance bonds for cargo destined for neighbouring countries. Since the three companies were suspended uncleared and undeclared containers have begun accumulating.

    Kenya’s clearing and forwarding agents blame the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for leaving them stranded after having acted unilaterally by suspending the three insurers. The KRA however in an advertisement in a local newspaper claimed it had consulted with Kenya’s International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) as well as the Association of Kenya Insurers.

    Source - The Nation (Nairobi)

    Somali pirates back at work

    With the apparent overthrow of the Union of Islamic Courts as the controlling power in Somalia (see News Report ‘Somalia: EU calls for reconciliation to achieve peace’ above), piracy has reared its head once again in waters off the Horn of Africa country.

    The International Maritime Bureau reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur says that a bulker came under attack from apparent pirates on 19 December while the ship was at co-ordinates 00-32:6S – 043:57.8E.

    The attack took the form of a distress call supposedly from a ship in trouble. Closer examination gave the master and crew of the bulker reason to be suspicious as the vessel concerned did not appear to be in distress.

    After taking evasive manoeuvres and increasing speed the bulker was able to make its escape while reporting the incident to the IMB. The other vessel continued the chase for several miles before turning away.

    Source - MGN

    Pic of the day – DAL KALAHARI

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The German container ship DAL KALAHARI, one of six modern ships making up the SA-Europe Container Service (SAECS) conference, which operates a weekly container service between Northern Europe ports and South Africa since the mid 1970s. The ship is seen arriving at Durban in this picture which is by Terry Hutson

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

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