Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 22, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • MOZAMBIQUE: Bracing for cyclone Favio's arrival

  • Mauritius turns to India for Port Louis

  • Safmarine issues statement re SA Helderberg collision

  • Cyclone forces cruise ship to Eastern Cape waters

  • SA and Russia firm up economic ties

  • Pic of the day – LA BOUDEUSE

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    MOZAMBIQUE: Bracing for cyclone Favio's arrival

    Cyclone Favio’s anticipated track towards Mozambique. map courtesy IRIN

    Maputo, 20 February 2007 (IRIN) - Disaster officials and aid agencies are closely monitoring tropical cyclone Favio, due to make landfall in flood-drenched Mozambique on Thursday (today), as it crosses the narrow sea channel from Madagascar.

    A major storm hitting Mozambique's central provinces, where more than 120,000 people have already been displaced, could seriously hurt ongoing relief efforts. "It would be another emergency," João Ribeiro, the deputy chief of Mozambique’s disaster response agency, the INGC, told IRIN. However, he voiced confidence the government and civilian relief partners would be able to cope.

    The exact trajectory of Favio is still uncertain. It could make landfall further south, in Inhambane province, where rains would be welcome to alleviate near drought conditions. It could also strengthen: “we need to keep an eye on it,” warned Karin Manente, deputy country director for the World Food Programme (WFP), which is coordinating food supplies for people displaced by flooding along the Zambezi River since early February.

    Manente said government officials appeared to be up to the task. "What we have seen so far in relation to the flood response is that INGC has shown quite a high degree of preparedness. The fact that we have had no known deaths due to the current floods is testament to their effectiveness".

    Media reports have mistakenly attributed 29 deaths to the recent floods, but those fatalities were a result of flooding in other parts of the country from October 2006 through to January this year.

    "The problem [the government is currently facing] is funds," Robeiro said. "We are working together with UNICEF [the UN children's agency], the Mozambique Red Cross, and others. The capacity exists, the problem is the financing." More helicopters are also needed; the only helicopter in use in the entire relief effort has been rented from WFP.

    The impact of Favio has already been felt in Madagascar after it scraped the southern tip of the Indian Ocean island, disrupting relief operations trying to reach 582,000 people struggling to cope with the aftermath of a drought in the south, and flooding that has left at least three dead and displaced 33,000 throughout the country.

    The storm caused heavy rains that reduced road access to the southeastern parts of the island, said Gianluca Ferrera, WFP deputy country director for Madagascar.

    Madagascar is currently in the middle of a "cyclone season". Six have already hit, with ‘Bondo’ at the end of December and ‘Clovis’ in January, causing the most damage.

    Ferrera said flooding had disrupted agriculture, with ramifications for already precarious food security. The National Office for Risks and Catastrophe Management (BNGRC), estimated the southeastern Vatovavy Fitovinany region had lost 70 percent to 87 percent of its rice paddies.

    The latest situation report by the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affair (OCHA) warned of the "high potential" for outbreaks of water-borne disease in the capital, Antanananarivo.

    The Malagasy government is expected to make a formal donor appeal for US $ 243 million in aid - mainly for infrastructure reconstruction and agricultural rehabilitation.

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

    Mauritius turns to India for Port Louis

    Port Louis - Indian firms have been invited to invest in the development of Port Louis on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.

    According to Mauritius Port Authority director-general Shekur Suntah, an investment of US $ 460 million is being sought, of which he said he expected at least $ 245m to come from Indian investors.

    His statements were made during a visit to Mauritius by an Indian delegation.

    Fairplay (UK) reports that the island country has signed an agreement with India for a hydrographic port survey and that the Indian Oil Corp is interested in offering bunkers to Port Louis.

    Port Louis has in recent years been re-positioned as a transshipment hub strategically placed between Africa and Asia. The port which was recently dredged is capable of handling fifth-generation container ships and Port Louis has succeeded in attracting a number of lines to make use of the port’s transshipment facilities – MSC in particular among them.

    Safmarine issues statement re SA Helderberg collision

    Safmarine has issued the following statement on its website in regard to the collision involving the container ship SA Helderberg (see our New Bulletin dated 21 February).

    ‘We regret to advise that at approximately 05.14 hrs local time on Saturday 17th February, the 3,101 TEU container ship SA Helderberg was involved in an incident with the 77,356 DWT, Singapore-registered Oil Tanker Ocean Sapphire off the coast of Singapore. No members of the crew onboard the SA Helderberg were injured. No damage was sustained to any of the cargo onboard the ship. The S.A Helderberg sustained some damage on her starboard side with water inflow, but this is under control and a pump is being used to discharge ingress. A SvitzerWijsmuller tug is alongside vessel and has lifted additional salvage pumps and power pack on board as a precaution.

    Some oil has leaked from the SA Helderberg's fuel tanks into the sea. Malaysian Marine authorities boarded the vessel on Saturday 17th February at 17.30 hrs (Singapore Time), on Sunday morning, 18th February, and yesterday evening to check progress and the vessel is within the Malaysian Territorial water (12 Mile) limit. These authorities have taken over pollution control, placing a boom around the vessel to ensure no fuel escapes from area. Two Malaysian anti-pollution vessels are on standby next to SA Helderberg. The previously appointed anti-pollution vessel SAL Vixen, has stood down and returned to Singapore on Saturday. Singapore authorities also have vessels on stand by in case any oil enters within Singapore waters.

    Every effort is being made to ensure the impact on the environment is minimised and Safmarine is in close contact with all relevant authorities with regard to this matter.

    A survey of the damage sustained by the SA Helderberg is being made by divers and Lloyds Register and P&I surveyors have also been aboard and have commenced assessing this damage.

    Damage sustained by the Ocean Sapphire is unknown at this stage.

    The SA Helderberg is managed and operated by Safmarine Container Lines N.V. and is on a bare-boat charter from Danaos Corporation. The vessel is deployed on the Far East / South Africa (Safari II) service.’

    Cyclone forces cruise ship to Eastern Cape waters

    MSC MELODY in Port Elizabeth yesterday. Picture Alvin McLoughlin)

    The cruise ship MSC MELODY, which is currently engaged on a summer cruise season operating out of Durban, during which she offers three and four day cruises to the Mozambique islands, has been forced to sail south to avoid Cyclone Favio.

    The ship left Durban on Monday on a four night cruise to the Bazaruto Island region in central Mozambique, right in the path of the oncoming cyclone which skirted the southeastern corner of Madagascar and is now headed for the central Mozambique coast (see first news report above).

    Yesterday (Wednesday) the ship arrived in Port Elizabeth to give passengers on board an unexpected treat with a visit to the Eastern Cape city and its attractions (possibly not as welcome for any passengers who live in PE).

    From personal observation, the object of a cruise on the Melody appears to be along the lines of having a non-stop three or four day party with a visit to an island or tropical beach thrown in for good measure, depending on the weather and sea conditions. No doubt the passengers on board who now find themselves south of their intended destination have managed to enjoy themselves nonetheless with the unexpected cruise diversion.

    SA and Russia firm up economic ties

    by David Masango, BuaNews

    South Africa and Russia will this week work to further strengthen their already healthy bilateral political and economic relations when delegations from the two countries meet.

    The two countries will on Wednesday and Thursday co-chair the 6th session of the South Africa - Russian Federation Joint Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Co-operation (ITEC) at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

    South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and the Russian Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Petrovich Trutnev are scheduled to co-chair the meeting.

    The meeting follows the state visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin in September last year.

    Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Putin then agreed on improving and strengthening bilateral economic relations by enhancing cooperation among business people and increasing trade and investment between both countries.

    A number of agreements were signed between delegates from the two countries including amongst others an Agreement on Co-operation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes and one to establish a business council.

    The business council seeks to facilitate interactions between the businessmen of the two countries.

    President Putin repeated Russia's conviction to look at investing billions of dollars in South Africa, at a time when Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves top the US 0 billion mark and the country's economy is surging at 7.4 percent growth.

    Other agreements signed included an arrangement between a Russian banking division dealing with foreign financial transactions and South Africa's Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), where it is understood that the IDC would assist Russia in the area of developmental financing.

    Nedbank signed an agreement with the same Russian banking division; while a memorandum of cooperation was signed by Russian minerals company Alrosa and South African diamond company De Beers.

    Russian Renova group, South Africa's transport giant Transnet and United Manganese of the Kalahari (UMK) signed an agreement that would facilitate the rail transportation of manganese ore as well as coal and other raw materials to a ferro-alloys smelter.

    A similar agreement was also signed between Renova and national electricity utility Eskom for supply capacity for a manganese mine in the Northern Cape.

    In this regard, this week's ITEC meeting will therefore review the outcomes of President Vladimir Putin's visit.

    Other issues up for discussion during the meeting are:
    * The status of bilateral political and economic relations between both countries;
    * Co-operation in multilateral fora;
    * Other issues of mutual interest including the reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and South Africa's tenure of the non-permanent seat 2007-2008.

    The meeting is also is expected to review progress in co-operation between both countries in the fields of:
    * Agriculture
    * Arts and Culture
    * Health
    * Education
    * Minerals and Energy
    * Science and Technology
    * Trade Investment & Banking
    * Transport

    The Department of Foreign Affairs said Dr Dlamini Zuma would co-chair the session of ITEC within the context of South Africa's commitment "to fast-track the achievement of the African developmental agenda through the consolidation of North-South relations".

    And the cooperation with the Russian Federation is important since it is one of the five permanent members of the UNSC and of the Group of 8 (G-8) while South Africa has this year occupied a non-permanent seat on the UNSC.

    Pic of the day – LA BOUDEUSE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The 42m long (overall) three-masted sailing ship LA BOUDEUSE is currently in Richards Bay where the crew are enjoying some well-earned rest and recreation after making the journey from south-eastern Madagascar - ahead of tropical cyclone Favio that has just ravaged that area – see first news story above. The ship will remain in Richards Bay until the end of February after which she heads for Cape Town and later Walvis Bay, en route to France where the crew hopes to arrive in mid year. LA BOUDEUSE is completing a circumnavigation of the world reminiscent of the journey undertaken in a previous ship of this name, captained by the famous French explorer and naturalist, Louis de Bougainville (see our News report dated 20 February 2007). Picture Chris Jenkins

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

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