Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 27, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Somali pirates strike again

  • DAL KALAHARI skips Cape Town call

  • AP Moller shipyard looks to retrench

  • Indian Ocean braces for yet another cyclone

  • South Africa assists flood-stricken Mozambique

  • Pic of the day – DAL KALAHARI

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    Somali pirates strike again

    A US warship is reported to be heading for the Somali coast where a WFP-chartered cargo ship ROZEN was highjacked by pirates on Sunday morning.

    The Kenyan ship was chartered by the United Nations food aid organisation to deliver relief food aid to Somalia, where the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has a tenuous hold on the country after evicting the Union of Islamic Courts from Mogadishu and much of the country. The eviction was carried out with the assistance of Ethiopian troops.

    The Islamists say they will fight on and intend targeting any foreign troops, peacekeeping or otherwise, that may be sent to the troubled Horn of Africa country. The capital city and port Mogadishu has come under repeated mortar attack in recent days.

    The 2250-gt ROZEN, which is managed by Motaku Shipping of Mombasa, Kenya, was seized by pirates off the north-east coast of Somalia shortly after 09.30 on Sunday (25 February). The armed pirates used a motor boat to chase and board the Kenya ship shortly after the latter sailed from the Somali coast.

    The ship has a crew of 12 including six Kenyans and six Sri Lankans including the ship’s master. The vessel had earlier delivered 1800 tonnes of relief food parcels to Berbera and Bossaro and was returning empty to Mombasa when attacked.

    According to reports the ship has been taken to an anchorage near Bargal in Somali waters.

    This is not the first time this particular ship has run foul of pirates off Somalia, having narrowly escaped their attentions in 2005 at about the time when a sister company ship, the SEMLOW was taken hostage and held for about three months (reported by Ports & Ships at the time).

    A spokesman for WFP said the organisation is highly concerned about the safety of crew members and the vessel.

    “Such acts of piracy might undermine the delivery of relief food to vulnerable people in Somalia and could further worsen the prevailing precarious humanitarian situation", said Peter Goossens, WFP Country Director for Somalia.

    WFP said it is currently in close contact with Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the Puntland authorities, and with the vessel's agents, to obtain the most accurate information and to ensure the earliest release of the vessel and crew.

    In 2005, after the hijacks, WFP temporarily had to suspend deliveries of food aid by sea for some weeks, but since then sea deliveries have been uninterrupted, even during the worst days of the conflict between the TFG and the Union of Islamic Courts (ICU) at the end of last year.

    In 2006, WFP delivered some 78,000 metric tonnes of relief food to 1.4 million people affected by drought and floods in southern Somalia.

    DAL KALAHARI skips Cape Town call

    MOL South Africa advises that the container ship DAL KALAHARI, currently employed on the SAECS service (South Africa Europe) will omit its planned call at Cape Town in order to avoid a 48-hour berthing delay and will instead proceed directly to Port Elizabeth.

    Cape Town cargo will be dispatched on the ship’s second call of 5 March. The vessel was due in Port Elizabeth yesterday (26 February) and in Durban on Wednesday 28 February.

    MOL also announces that due to severe congestion at ECT Terminal in Rotterdam, vendors are faced with huge waiting times for collecting and delivering of full containers. This is negatively affecting the logistics process.

    “There are unfortunately no guarantees that C/H containers that are booked on barges will be delivered in time (Import and Export). More cargo is moving from barge to truck, thus increasing the pressure on this mode of transport as the volumes escalates. Some vendors have suspended their calls at ECT whilst others are moving their cargo via alternative terminals with pre / on carriage from ECT to that terminal.

    ”We’d like to ask you to keep the above mentioned information in mind when shipping cargo to / via Rotterdam and apologise for any inconvenience that these delays may cause.”

    MOL also announces that it has deployed the MOL DRAKENSBERG to the SAECS intermediate service with immediate effect. The company says it has named the ship DRAKENSBERG after the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa as an indication of MOL’s further commitment to the promotion of South Africa to the rest of the world.

    MOL now has four vessels deployed on the SAECS two string service.

    AP Moller shipyard looks to retrench

    The management of Odense Steel Shipyard Ltd has initiated negotiations for a reduction in the number of employees due to difficulties in obtaining new orders.

    According to management the reduction may amount to approximately 140 salaried employees in the administration, design and engineering departments.

    In a statement issued yesterday the company said there will be a continued need for approximately 440 salaried employees. It said efforts towards obtaining new orders will continue.

    The yard presently employs approximately 575 salaried and 2,600 waged employees.

    The management of Odense Steel Shipyard Ltd and employee representatives will immediately initiate negotiations, and a negotiation committee will be established in order to reduce the impact of the contemplated reductions.

    ”At the upcoming negotiations the Yard is open to all proposals, including establishing a job centre, to reduce the impact of the contemplated reductions of the labour force.”

    source – AP Moller

    Indian Ocean braces for yet another cyclone

    Tropical storm Gamede’s position on 26 February 2007  (IRIN)

    Johannesburg, 26 February 2007 (IRIN) - Madagascar is bracing for yet another cyclone as ‘Gamede’ makes its way across the Indian Ocean. Gamede has already taken its toll in the neighbouring Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and La Reunion claiming two lives and injuring nine respectively.

    According to Gianluca Ferrera, deputy director of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) in Madagascar, the authorities "are absolutely on alert and closely monitoring the direction it [Gamede] is going to take."

    Gamede follows Cyclone Favio which brushed the southern tip of Madagascar, before tearing through Mozambique’s central province of Inhambane on Thursday. The Indian Ocean island has already been hit six times since December by tropical storms, with ‘Bondo’ at the end of December and ‘Clovis’ in January, causing the most damage.

    "All prevalent information indicates Gamede has turned south but a number of coastal towns have already been [affected]," Ferrera said. The main concern is that areas along Madagascar’s eastern coast are vulnerable after taking an earlier pounding from ‘Clovis’ which caused heavy flooding.

    Even if the cyclone does not directly hit the island, "heavy rains will certainly [worsen] the situation," Ferrera warned. The food aid agency's operations have already been hampered in some areas. "Feeding of approximately 100,000 people in the affected areas has been delayed. We were supposed to start today [Monday] – [but] as a response to the weather we can only start on Wednesday, we are waiting to see what Gamede will do," he added.

    Meanwhile, Mozambican authorities are keeping a close watch on Gamede as they take stock of the damage caused by ‘Favio’. "There has been serious damage," Fernanda Teixeira, secretary general of the Red Cross in Mozambique told IRIN.

    According to the Mozambican National Institute of Disaster Management, at least 40,000 people were affected by the cyclone. Mozambique is also trying to deal with 140,000 people displaced by the floods in the Zambezi valley in the centre of the country following heavy rains earlier this month.

    The coastal town of Vilanculos was "most affected where an estimated 6,000 houses were partially or completely destroyed," Teixeira said. "People have been helped with shelter but families want to stay in their homes and start rebuilding," she added.

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

    South Africa assists flood-stricken Mozambique

    by Nozipho Dlamini, BuaNews

    South Africa’s government will send immediate assistance to Mozambique following tropical Cyclone Favio that struck southern parts of the country, the Department of Provincial and Local Government said at the weekend.

    Spokesperson for the department Zandile Ratshitanga said government was ready to provide the material assistance required by the government of Mozambique.

    The assistance will include helicopters, roof sheeting for the reconstruction of homes, water treatment plants for the accommodation and resettlement centres, tents for displaced people who are now living in temporary accommodation centres.

    In this regard, the helicopters will help to transport food to the temporary accommodation centres.

    "We will also provide a liaison officer to be stationed in Maputo for the duration of the relief as well as an assessment team for more detailed planning," said Ratshitanga.

    The announcement comes after the Minister of Provincial and Local Government, Sydney Mufamadi, responsible for disaster management, and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Aziz Pahad, visited Mozambique to determine the nature of support required by the people of that country.

    "We will also provide an extra 170 flying hours for the monitoring of activities in the entire affected area," she said.

    Government is further investigating the possibility of providing mobile water purification units.

    In addition, the South African urban search and rescue team will be on standby.

    The Mozambican government has proactively implemented numerous contingency plans and mobilised significant resources to pre-empt and deal with the direct effects of the disaster.

    The affected areas were evacuated prior to the tropical cyclone reaching land and leaving a large number of people homeless and they have been accommodated in temporary shelters.

    Southern Mozambique was hit by tropical cyclone Eline on Thursday morning just south of Beira, and by tropical cyclone Favio on Thursday afternoon at little further south at Vilanculos.

    This followed extreme flooding in the Zambezi river basin in the northern region, which was exacerbated by rains in neighbouring countries.

    Earlier about 80,000 Mozambicans were reported to be homeless as a result.

    So far, three people have been reported dead as a result of the cyclone and 30 people lost their lives due to the floods.

    "We have pledged our solidarity and we are confident that the people of Mozambique will overcome this calamity."

    Ms Ratshitanga said the SA team visited Maputo, in the south, meeting Prime Minister Luisa Diogo, government ministers and the weather services.

    The delegation could not travel north to the disaster area due to lack of transport.

    Pic of the day – DAL KALAHARI

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    DAL KALAHARI arrives through the haze off Durban on her maiden voyage to South Africa in 2005. The vessel is presently back on the SA coast and has skipped a call at Cape Town to avoid berthing delays in that port – see report above. Picture Terry Hutson

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

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