Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 16, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Cyclone Indlala goes inland, weakens

  • Build super highways, not railways

  • Safmarine introduces third new ship for SAFARI service

  • Polaris name lives on

  • US State Department says additional Zimbabwe sanctions are possible

  • Pic of the day – PLANET

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

    Cyclone Indlala goes inland, weakens

    The severe tropical storm known as INDLALA, now listed as a Category 2 storm (previously a Category 4 Cyclone) has moved inland over northern Madagascar in the past 24 hours and it is anticipated that the storm will swing southwards in a direction taking the epicentre towards the island capital of Antananarivo.

    At 12.00 yesterday UTC the storm was registering 975 hPa, 60 kts (10-minute sustained) - Meteo France, 12.00 UTC 15 Mar and 954 mb, 85 kts (1-minute sustained) - JTWC, 12.00Z 15 March.

    Cyclone Indlala was originally named Indlada.

    Cyclone INDLALA had moved inland across northern Madagascar by late yesterday. Image courtesy Naval Research Lab. Click image to enlarge

    Build super highways, not railways

    South Africa should be building a system of ‘super highways’ instead on investing heavily in railway infrastructure, a automotive supply chain conference being held in Port Elizabeth has been told.

    The statement came from logistics expert Andrew Marsay of Arup Transport Planning, one of the speakers on the second day of the two-day conference.

    Marsay pointed out that if the economy grew by 5 percent annually, it was reasonable to expect the demand for transport to expand by 6 percent.

    He said the challenge facing planners lay in doubling transport infrastructure within a 12 year period and suggested the answer lay in building ‘super highways’ across South Africa instead of spending billions of rands upgrading existing railway networks.

    Specially built roads would prove more efficient than railway lines, said Marsay while pointing out that research in the Eddington Transport Study carried out in the UK demonstrated that the return ratio on railways from a social benefit perspective was 3:1 whereas a road system produced benefits equal to 10:1 which meant increased job opportunities and all round efficiencies.

    Instead of spending another R12 billion on upgrading the Durban – Gauteng rail corridor Marsay suggested the money would be better directed towards creating a dedicated ‘super highway’ for freight transport which could be toll-based and privately operated, leaving the state with no expense to incur. As a result the turnaround time in getting trucks to Durban Harbour would be greatly improved and road traffic on South Africa’s other main routes would be reduced by having less heavy trucks using them.

    A R12 billion investment on the Durban – Gauteng highway would triple freight capacity compared with what rail could handle.

    The conference ended on Wednesday.

    Safmarine introduces third new ship for SAFARI service

    Safmarine’s latest newbuilding
    has been named SAFMARINE MUFADI and will be joining the South Africa – Far East service (SAFARI Service), it was announced yesterday (15 March 2007).

    The announcement came after a naming function held at the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea, when Mrs Amanda Oosthuizen, wife of the group managing director of Capespan (Pty) Ltd, Neil Oosthuizen, officially named the new ship.

    Safmarine Mufadi is the third newbuild in the series and is named for southern Africa’s highest mountain peak which is found in the Drakensberg range. The peak is 3,450m above sea level.

    The ships already introduced in the series are Safmarine Meru and Safmarine Mulanje. The latter vessel entered service in Southern African waters during the past week while Safmarine Meru has completed several round journeys.

    Safmarine Mafadi has the following specifications:

    Length: 292,08 m
    Breadth: 32,25 m
    Deadweight: 60,700-DWT
    Service Speed: 24,50 knots
    Container Capacity: 4154 TEU

    The new ship will enter the SAFARI service between Asia and Southern Africa as of 12 May, 2007 as part of the company's long term fleet renewal programme.

    picture courtesy Safmarine – click image to enlarge

    Polaris name lives on

    The well-known name of ships agency business Polaris Shipping is not to disappear after all.

    On 8 March we reported that the long established Durban-based agency was undergoing a metamorphosis to become Zim Integrated Shipping Services. This was in line with its allegiance with the International Zim Integrated Shipping Services.

    According to Rhett van Zyl, Zim Southern Africa’s managing director, the change applies specifically to the company’s liner services but the name Polaris will continue to be used for non-liner services, which Polaris/Zim hoped to grow in the near future.

    At one time Polaris was one of the busiest agencies in South Africa with around 800 ship movements in Durban harbour each month but several of these agencies have since moved leaving Polaris to concentrate mainly on its core liner business.

    US State Department says additional Zimbabwe sanctions are possible

    by Stephen Kaufman, USINFO Staff Writer

    Washington -- In response to the Zimbabwean government’s violent repression of its political opposition, the Bush administration is considering “additional measures” to its existing targeted sanctions, the State Department said March 14.

    Deputy spokesman Tom Casey said the United States will be consulting with “other like-minded countries,” including members of the European Union, on possible actions to take, and Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Barry Lowenkron will be raising the issue March 15 in his consultations with the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    Lowenkron will “see what we can do with our African Union partners to push the Zimbabwean government to allow for peaceful political participation from its citizens and from the opposition,” Casey said.

    Current US sanctions, imposed in 2002 and 2003, have been “very specific and focused on individuals who have been associated with some of these repressive policies,” he said.

    “There's always other tools in the toolbox, though, and I certainly expect we'll look at those,” he added.

    The deputy spokesman said Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s remarks threatening a “heavy price” against the opposition are “in keeping” with his regime’s continued intimidation and repression of the country’s opposition.

    Casey said members of Zimbabwe’s political opposition, including Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, plan to participate in the March 17 funeral of an individual who was killed in the government’s March 11 attack on an opposition prayer meeting.

    “We call on the government of Zimbabwe to refrain from any actions against that funeral and events surrounding it and to allow that to move forward peacefully and without any further incidents of violence or intimidation,” Casey said.

    US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell intends to meet with Tsvangirai, who is recuperating from injuries reportedly received while in police custody, “as soon as he is physically able to receive visitors.”

    Earlier, Casey said the United States was “most pleased” to see that Tsvangirai and some of the other individuals who had been severely beaten at the prayer meeting and while in custody have been allowed to receive medical attention.

    “Certainly we’re glad to see these people getting medical treatment, but it still makes very clear the kinds of problems that Zimbabwe currently faces and the exact nature of the regime that we’re dealing with,” he said.

    Casey also said the Bush administration wants to see the U.N.’s Human Rights Council in Geneva address the issue, despite US concerns that it lacks credibility because it is focused primarily on Israel.

    “We think this would be certainly the kind of concern that a well-functioning and credible human rights council would want to address,” he said.

    A senior State Department official said the United States wants the international community, including Zimbabwe’s neighbors in the African Union, to do more to increase diplomatic pressure on the Mugabe regime.

    The official said that although beatings and acts of intimidation against government opponents have occurred before, such as during the country’s previous election, “this is a qualitatively different kind of reaction to opposition efforts.”

    “People really ought to be shocked to see how this happened, and to not only see that the initial breakup and violent breakup happened, but to then have people who are basically in the leadership of a substantial portion of the Zimbabwean political community be savagely beaten while in detention and then denied medical treatment on top of it,” the official said.

    The Mugabe government’s response “is clearly … taking it to a different level, and we hope people will respond appropriately,” the official added.

    The official cited the poor condition of Zimbabwe’s economy, saying that under the Mugabe government the country has transformed from one of the region’s larger food exporters into a major importer, “relying, in some cases, on international food contributions.”

    The United States is seeking ways to target the regime “without causing additional hardship to the people,” and the official said that would likely mean looking at “ways to expand and broaden the kinds of targeted sanctions that we’ve already got in place.”

    (USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

    Pic of the day – PLANET

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The general cargo vessel/bulker PLANET underneath Durban’s old Agriport grain elevator, which has since been demolished to make way for a modern new concrete structure handling both grain and woodchips. The picture was taken on 20 May 2003 by Terry Hutson

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

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