Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 1, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Cyclone Gamede alters course south-eastward

  • Tropical Cyclone 'Favio' 2007 versus 'Eline' 2000

  • Nacala Corridor railway – a hidden agenda?

  • Tanzania moves on Dar es Salaam port congestion

  • Pic of the day – NINO

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    Cyclone Gamede alters course south-eastward

    Cyclone Gamede, now moving across the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, has altered course and is heading south east parallel to the coast on a course that may see it skirt the island.

    The previous storm, Cyclone Favio also skirted the southern tip of Madagascar but approached from a heading more directly to the east. Favio eventually went ashore near Vilanculos in central Mozambique and caused widespread damage - the effects of that storm have since been felt as far inland as eastern Zimbabwe.

    Meanwhile the latest tropical cyclone, Gamede has already left one man dead in Mauritius and a number injured in La Reunion. The dead person in Mauritius apparently ignored warnings and was swept off a rock south of Port Louis, where he and several companions had climbed to watch the waves.

    On Reunion which was not directly in the centre of the cyclone, winds caused damage to farms and houses across the island. Nine motorists were injured when they also ignored warning to stay indoors. Elsewhere on the island a 520m bridge was swept away and over a hundred thousand people are without electricity.

    Tropical Cyclone 'Favio' 2007 versus 'Eline' 2000

    by Ian Hunter: SA Weather Service

    Here follow a few facts on tropical cyclones 'Favio' and 'Eline' – since some comparisons are inevitable :

  • the Tropical Cyclone Centre on La Réunion (TCC) placed both Eline and Favio in the “Intense Tropical Cyclone” category just prior to their making landfall. Within each tropical cyclone category central pressure estimates may vary - for example the TCC put Favio at its peak on 20 February – 930 hPa.

  • bear in mind however that central pressures (and maximum winds) are seldom if ever actually measured in the SW Indian Ocean basin.

  • In terms of overland precipitation however – which is probably of far more significance – things might turn out quite differently between the two systems, particularly in terms of the location of the flooding.

    Image 1 Trajectory of ‘Eline’ Feb 2000

  • Eline moved overland on the morning of 22 February 2000 – some 100 km south of Beira.
    Favio crossed the coast roughly 240 km south of Beira (just north of Vilanculos) – on the afternoon of 22 February 2007 !

  • Image 2 Trajectory of Favio Feb 2007

  • Eline showed a remarkably straight track – see figure 1. It was one of the longest trajectories in the recorded history of tropical cyclones in this region. 'She' subsequently tracked virtually right across the sub-continent.

  • Image 3. Trajectories of all tropical cyclones in the south-west Indian Ocean basin - 1985 to 2005

  • Favio’s trajectory was also quite unique in its path around Madagascar. Compare figure 2 with figure 3, all tropical cyclone tracks 1985 to 2005, courtesy Joint Tropical Cyclone Warning Center, Pearl Harbour.

  • -----------------------------------------

    On Friday 23 February, the eye of tropical cyclone 'Gamede' passed very close to the weather station on St Raphael Island. This island is part of the St Brandon group, roughly 500 km NNE of Mauritius. At 07h00 UTC winds on the island peaked at SSE 50 kts (93 km/ hr). By 12h00 UTC the air pressure had reached its minimum - 957.1 hPa.

    Figure 4. Time series of air pressure from drifting weather buoy 56511

    Nacala Corridor railway – a hidden agenda?

    The chairman of Railroad Development Corp, Henry Posner III has reacted to reports in the Mozambique media quoting government officials questioning the way in which the Nacala Railway (CDN - Northern Development Corridor) is being operated.

    The articles under the heading ‘What a way to run a railway’ state that CDN has imported four diesel locomotives which are incompatible because of gauge differences.

    “The CDN's latest fiasco has been to import, at great expanse, locomotives from Panama, which do not fit on Mozambican rail lines,” said one widely quoted article, adding that it seemed CDM had not bothered to check the gauge before ordering the Panamanian locomotives.

    "I've been working on the railways since 1984, nothing like this ever happened before," said a railway technician to the news group.

    railway scene along the Nacala Corridor

    Henry Posner III, writing to a railway interest group in South Africa, gave the (unnecessary) assurance that his company was aware that 3-ft gauge locos require regauging to run on 3ft 6ins gauge railway.

    “The locos (2 GE U6Bs and 2 GE 50-tonners) were purchased at a very good price; have rebuilt Caterpillar engines; and come with spare parts (including a spare rebuilt Caterpillar engine). They require both application of vacuum brakes and regauging; in the case of the latter, the bogies are gauge-convertible and this work is being done in Nampula,” he said.

    “I trust that this will address the question of whether the locos represent mismanagement.”

    The attacks on CDN, and also those on Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), the consortium which is operating the Maputo port, is developing into a strange affair, leaving outsiders to wonder if another deeper agenda is involved. MPDC has been under attack over its financial affairs – one doubts that from an operating perspective even the Mozambique government is able to find fault with the progress in redeveloping the port thus far.

    But the latest attacks on CDN over the gauge of the locomotive display an amazing ignorance of railway matters – perhaps an indication why Mozambique’s railways were able to get into the deplorable state they were in before CDN and others like Rites (on the Beira Railway) took on the concessions.

    It is common cause that there has been regular swapping of locomotive bogies between the different gauges in Africa (and almost everywhere else in the world) – South African diesel-electric locomotives which originated as 3ft 6ins gauge are to be seen operating on the metre gauge of East Africa and elsewhere and it was hardly surprising to learn that CDN had acquired 3ft gauge locos to operate on a 3ft 6ins gauge network.

    In fact there’s a documented case of a 2ft gauge diesel locomotive in South Africa being regauged to 3ft 6ins for a one-way 1700-km trip from KwaZulu Natal to Port Elizabeth.

    As for the technician at Nacala, if he did say what he is quoted as saying, then perhaps a refresher course at some reputable college might be in order for him to learn some fundamentals before he again makes a fool of himself.

    The real mystery in this affair is why it is happening in the public arena. CFM in the form of chairman Rui Fonseca as well as Mozambique transport minister Antonio Mungwambe have each gone out of their way to question the abilities of CDN and MPDC and to ask whether they should remain in charge of their particular concessions.

    Is this a pointer of what one might expect of recently concessioned railways to the north of Mozambique? It still takes a brave but patient person to run a business in much of Africa.

    Tanzania moves on Dar es Salaam port congestion

    Tanzania’s prime minister Edward Lowassa has reacted to mounting congestion at the Dar es Salaam Container Terminal by giving instructions that steps be taken to immediately reduce the number of containers being stored there.

    Dar es Salaam Container Terminal has a capacity of 6,000 TEU but is currently storing over 10,000 boxes. As a result of the congestion shipping lines have taken to bypassing the port and taking the Tanzanian-bound containers to Mombassa in Kenya, which is adding to a mounting problem there.

    As a means of moving the unwelcome containers government says that premises owned by two local companies – one of which is defunct, should be used to store some of the excess boxes.

    It was also agreed earlier to move additional boxes to the inland Ubongo container depot which has a capacity of 4,000 but so far only a handful have been moved.

    source - schednet

    Pic of the day – NINO

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    the grounding of the tanker Nino in 2002 presented one of the larger jobs to come along for Durban ship repair companies, who combined their talents to replace damaged steel along the hull of the vessel and carry out other repairs, including to rudder and propeller. The contract was successfully achieved on the Eldock privately owned floating dock of Elgin Brown & Hamer. Picture Terry Hutson

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

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