Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 14, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Improved access for Africa’s busiest port

  • Rift Valley Railway blamed for Mombasa port congestion

  • Somali government moves to Mogadishu

  • The Legacy of Tropical Cyclone 'Gamede'

  • Kuwaiti interests to rehabilitate Tanga Harbour

  • Pic of the day – IMVUBU FLOATING CRANE

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

    Improved access for Africa’s busiest port

    Durban’s port, the most strategically placed in southern Africa and also the port handling the most cargo in the region, is undergoing a multi-billion-rand infrastructure improvement. This includes the widening and deepening of the harbour entrance and deepening of channels within the port to accommodate ‘latest-generation’ cargo vessels.

    The existing junction of Bayhead Road, coming from the Bayhead region of the port and forming a T-junction with South Coast Road. The dry dock is on the immediate right centre of the picture, partly obscured

    With 60 percent of imports into the country transported along Bayhead Road, this route plays a integral role in the overall port operations and it, too, is receiving a major overhaul to improve access and egress to the harbour area.

    The R127-million contract to construct the Khangela Bridge and Bayhead Road extension has been awarded by the eThekwini Municipality to the Stefanutti / Basil Read Joint Venture, a joint venture between Stefanutti & Bressan and Basil Read. The implementation of the project is being led by the Roads Provision Department of the eThekwini Municipality’s Engineering Unit and is being funded by both the Municipality and the National Ports Authority of Transnet Limited. Transnet Projects (formerly Protekon) has been appointed by the Roads Provision Department to design and manage the construction of the bridge and rail-related works. Clive Reucassel, a director of Stefanutti & Bressan, has been appointed contract director for the Joint Venture.

    Reucassel, a director of Stefnautti & Bressan, explains: “The scope of works includes the construction of the seven-span Khangela Bridge from Bayhead to Sydney Roads across the Spoornet tracks feeding the Bayhead area, the M4 Southern Freeway and the electrified Metro Rail tracks into Durban. The bridge comprises four spans of twin, incrementally-launched, box-girder decks over the electrified Metro Rail tracks and M4 Southern Freeway; one cast-in-situ transition span and two spans of conventional precast beam and deck slab over the Spoornet tracks. The Metro Rail tracks and the M4 Southern Freeway are extremely busy transport routes in and out of the city, and the incrementally-launched bridge was the best option to ensure least disruption.

    The proposed Khangela bridge spanning the railway lines and the Southern Freeway which will extend Bayhead Road and connect with the Umbilo Road arterial and reducing much congestion in South Coast Road and the Rossburgh Junction area

    “Parapet modifications will be made to the existing road-over-rail structure where the new Khangela Bridge ties into South Coast Road and two new traction substations will be built for Spoornet and Metro Rail.

    “Glastonbury Place between Umbilo and Sydney Roads will be reconstructed, the intersection at the Queen Mary Avenue and Umbilo Road will be widened, and new access roads to the eThekwini Municipality Congella electrical substation, the United Breweries and the adjacent warehouses, will be constructed. The north-bound carriageway of South Coast Road at the Bayhead intersection will receive an asphalt overlay and services in Sydney and South Coast Roads will have to be rerouted.

    “A new turning facility will be constructed. Watford Road, near Sydney Road, and the railway tracks and services will be slewed to allow for the construction of the piers and abutments for the bridge.

    “Although the contract was awarded to start on 19 February, there are numerous services to move before we can start the actual construction of the bridge. Piling is due to start during June, followed by pier and abutment construction, with the launching of first carriageway of the bridge deck due to start in December 2007. The entire project is scheduled for completion in February 2009.”

    Rift Valley Railway blamed for Mombasa port congestion

    It’s been only three months since the private consortium known as Rift Valley Railway (RVR) took over the management and operation of the Kenya and Uganda Railways, but already fingers are being pointed at RVR amidst cries that the port is congested because the railway cannot move the traffic.

    According to the Nairobi newspaper The East African, the Kenya Ports Authority last week took out a paid advertisement saying that the new railway operator appeared unable to cope with increased volumes at the port.

    According to the port authority the number of containers waiting to be collected by rail stood at over 1500 and an increasing number of customers are asking to be allowed to switch to road transport. As a result of the congestion the KPA has waived all storage charges for the period between 5 March and 5 April 2007.

    There are also reports of rising tension between the RVR and its regulator, the Kenya Railways Corporation, with claims that RVR is resisting efforts by the regulator to obtain information about railway operations.

    The regulator is reported to have proposed monthly meetings with RVR within a week of each month end to monitor the previous month’s progress, at which time RVR should submit a written report to the regulator.

    RVR also faces outstanding legal disputes involving the transfer of 25 percent of the shareholding in the company to the jurisdiction of the Uganda High Court until such time as a dispute between Roy Puffet and Sheltam Rail on the one hand and Mirambo Holdings and Primefuels (Kenya) Ltd is settled. The dispute concerns the original make-up of the Rift Valley Railway consortium, in which Mirambo and Primefuels withdrew at a late stage but are now claiming compensation or to have their shareholding restored.

    source - East African

    Somali government moves to Mogadishu

    Nairobi, 13 March 2007 (IRIN) - Somalia's interim parliament has voted to move the interim government to Mogadishu, the capital, from its temporary seat in Baidoa, barely three months after Ethiopian-backed government forces ousted the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) from the city.

    "The government has been present in the city, but parliament had to officially approve the move," Madobe Nuunow Muhammad, Information Minister, told IRIN on Tuesday.

    He said the motion to move the government to Mogadishu was passed on Monday in Baidoa after 171 Members of Parliament voted in favour while nine opposed and 10 abstained.

    Muhammad said the move would take effect immediately. "The President and his staff had left for Mogadishu this morning [Tuesday]," he added.

    The move is linked to a plan announced by the government on Sunday to "secure and stabilise" Mogadishu within 30 days.

    "The population has suffered enough," Salad Ali Jeele, Deputy Defence Minister, said on Monday, adding that newly trained security forces would start work in the city soon. "We will secure the city in 30 days."

    Many residents have already left the city to escape the daily exchange of mortar and artillery fire between the government forces and insurgents.

    Meanwhile, journalists’ groups have denounced the detention of a radio reporter and the beating-up of others in the country.

    Government security officials detained Hassan Sade Dhaqane of HornAfrik Radio and Television on 9 March and he has not been seen since, according to HornAfrik managing partner, Ali Iman Sharmarke. "We have not seen him or heard from him since Friday," Sharmarke said.

    "It is becoming a trend to harass the free media. The arrest of Hassan is meant to discourage others from reporting unfavorable news."

    In another incident, forces loyal to the Transitional Federal Government beat up three journalists from Shabelle Radio Network on 12 March.

    Reporters Isma'il Ali Abdi, Muhammad Ibrahim Rageh and Muhammad Ibrahim Ali had gone to the former ministry of defence headquarters, which is a base for Ethiopian troops, to confirm reports that the Ethiopians had left, "when they were beaten up and their equipment confiscated", Muhammad Amin, deputy head of Shabelle Media Network, said. Amin said their equipment had been returned and they had reported the matter to the minister of information.

    Minister Muhammad told IRIN he was aware of both incidents. "I regret that these incidents took place," he said. "This government supports the freedom of the press. As a ministry we are investigating the incidents and following them up with the relevant agencies."

    However, he urged the private media to be responsible and to contribute to the "efforts by the government to bring peace and stability to the country. They have a role to play and they should play it positively."

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

    The Legacy of Tropical Cyclone 'Gamede'

    Article by Ian Hunter, SA Weather Service

    The names of many tropical cyclones are forgotten as soon as the season is over - there is a lot of sea in the South-West Indian Ocean and hopefully mariners will have heeded the warnings (this is not always the case - see below).

    However, the name of 'Gamede' will be remembered by many. Refer to the track chart in figure 1 :


  • St Brandon is an archipelago belonging to Mauritius. Unfortunately 'Gamede' had intensified to 'Tropical Cyclone' category (Hurricane Force winds - i.e. sustained speeds in excess of 116 km/ hr) - just prior to passing over the islands on 23 February. The weather station on Île Raphael reported SE'ly winds of over 90km/ hr in the morning. By 12h00 UTC the pressure had dropped to 957 hPa as the eye passed within less than 50 km of the island. No damage reports are available.

  • The Meteorological Service of Mauritius put the Island on red alert on the 24th, the first time this season. Sadly, some people chose to ignore the warnings and there were two deaths - even though the worst of the weather remained to the north-west. Police had to force overly-keen wind surfers and surfers out of the water...

  • On La Réunion (which holds several global rainfall records) over 2000mm was recorded in some places in the mountainous interior. A bridge was washed away, causing damage of about R150m. Fortunately 'Gamede' reached the 'Intense Tropical Cyclone' stage (sustained wind speeds in excess of 142 km/ hr) when it was furthest from La Réunion, to the north-west. Nevertheless, gusts of over 200km/ hr were recorded near some exposed cliff faces.

  • Fig.2

  • Despite the 6-hourly warnings prepared by the Tropical Cyclone Centre on La Réunion - which are broadcast to all ships via the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) - some vessels did not escape the storm. M/V Spirit of Adventure with 250 passengers on board suffered broken windows and other damage and had to run for Antsiranana. The Maltese-registered general cargo vessel 'Gracia' (24 199 tons gross) also got too close to the cyclone, but in this case the crew decided they'd be better off in the life raft and abandoned ship. They were rescued and taken to Durban. It is still not clear what has happened to the vessel - if it is still afloat it could end up in the Agulhas Current!

  • On Friday 2 March a heavy easterly swell arrived on the beaches of northern KwaZulu-Natal, courtesy Tropical Cyclone 'Gamede'. They had been travelling for roughly 2 days (15 sec period -> 22 kts group speed - distance ~ 1000 nm). For the first time in over 4 years Lake St Lucia was opened up to the sea. See accompanying Landsat image. On this day the estuary mouth was not open - the coastal sediment is due to seepage. Apparently the crocs had a fine time welcoming the incoming salt-water fish!

  • Fig.3 – the St Lucia Estuary and lake

  • Unfortunately the high swell that subsequently hit the Durban beaches was more prolonged due to 'Gamede' having been blocked by a high pressure ridge to the south. Coming in with a near spring high tide, the waves flooded the lower Marine Parade and covered the road in sand. Beaches had to be closed due to the shark nets being tangled up by the heavy seas.

  • The port of Durban was closed at midnight on Friday and only re-opened to all vessels on Sunday. This is a good example of a case where an accurate forecast of sea state could well have saved significant amounts of time and money, by allowing port authorities and ship operators to plan a few days ahead. Unfortunately at this stage, the forecasting by numerical prediction models of waves generated by tropical cyclones is not as accurate as that for swell coming from the deep mid-latitude lows well to the south-west of the country.

    Kuwaiti interests to rehabilitate Tanga Harbour

    The port of Tanga in Tanzania is to be developed for deep water berthing with an agreement due to be signed between Kuwait and Gulf Link Port International (KGLP) and the Tanzanian government in which KGLP will develop the US $ 400 million project on a Build and Operate basis.

    The deep water berths are to be located in the Mwambani sea inlet in Tanga Bay. The entire project involves the construction of quays, fenders, rail sidings plus the infrastructure necessary to operate a modern port.

    As a result of the development it is hoped that Tanga will become an important port of entry for other members of the East African Community, particularly the eastern DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

    Tanga – the word means ‘sail’ - was one of the earliest ports along this part of the East African coast. The port is on the northern coast of Tanzania close to the Kenyan border. Shipping lines calling at Tanga include MSC, MOL, Maersk Line, Global Container Line and the coastal services.

    Pic of the day – INVUBU FLOATING CRANE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The floating crane IMVUBU, owned and operated by ship repair company Elgin Brown & Hamer, is one of such two cranes in operation in Durban Harbour. Imvubu, with a lifting capacity of 60 tonnes at 6.1m or 40t at 16.2m was acquired by EB&H when it became surplus to requirements for the National Ports Authority, and a full overhaul at their own repair jetty soon put the crane back into perfect working condition. EB&H mostly uses the floating crane for ship repair work but a request for lifting work in the port would probably not be declined. Picture Terry Hutson

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

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