Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 23, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • SAPO East Coast terminals re-open after high seas

  • Hoax pictures have people guessing

  • President Mbeki to co-chair SA-Mozambique meeting

  • Eastern Cape train service reinstated this month

  • Maputo rocked by explosions

  • Pic of the day – MOL DRAKENSBERG

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    SAPO East Coast terminals re-open after high seas

    Durban, 22 March, 2007 - South African Port Operations (SAPO) east coast ports are fully operational and addressing delays caused by high swells which affected operations earlier this week.

    Extraordinary high tides, heavy swells of up to 8m and strong winds caused port closures in Richard Bay, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth on Monday and Tuesday resulting in a loss of about 47 hours.

    The current operational status for the various terminals is as follows:

    Maydon Wharf Terminal:
    No of vessels outside: 7
    Average delays: 40 hours
    No. of vessels on berth: 8

    Car Terminal:
    No of vessels outside: 0
    Average delays: 0
    No. of vessels on berth: 2

    Durban Container Terminal:
    No. of vessels outside: 14
    Average Delays: 28 Hours
    No. of vessels on berth: 6

    Port Elizabeth Container Terminal:
    No of vessels outside: 0
    Average delays: 0
    No. of vessels on berth: 1

    Richards Bay MPT:
    No. of vessels outside: 2 (expected 23.03)
    Average delays: 0
    No. of vessels on berth: 0

    Pier 1 Container Terminal is currently closed as the terminal is under construction.

    Solly Letsoalo, Chief Operations Officer Containers said: “We have implemented a recovery plan to address the 47 hour delay caused by the weather as quickly as possible and we are communicating with the shipping lines about this plan.

    source – SAPO Press Release

    Hoax pictures have people guessing

    Normally we would ignore a hoax such as this rather than encourage the instigator. However, judging by the sheer number of queries fielded in the last day or two perhaps an acknowledgement ought to be given to whoever that person is, for he/she has really duped a lot of people.

    Even one of the national newspapers was reported to be considering publishing the pictures of the container ship supposedly lying on its side in Durban harbour, after having capsized during the recent wave and wind storm (we call it that because there was no rain).

    Fortunately the newspaper had the good sense to check out the facts first and didn’t publish, but the good folk at the National Ports Authority in the Port of Durban still had to deal with a lot of worried phone calls the next morning, such is the influence of modern technology involving the email system of communication.

    Happily for anyone keeping abreast of world shipping news and events it was an easy matter to spot the hoax and have a giggle or two at the sheer cheek of the perpetrator, for the ship in question was the Ro-Ro ferry Republica di Genova, which capsized on 8 March in Antwerp harbour, a long way from good old Durbs.

    Come to think of it we can’t recall a ship capsizing in Durban harbour, certainly in recent times. There’s been one or two sinkings, involving harbour tugs and the like, including the NPA floating dock which infamously sank at her moorings immediately prior to being taken out of service.

    The other hoax involves pictures of a bulker plowing through some rather heavy seas which, so it is claimed, is an ore ship sailing out of Durban harbour. Judging from the number of hatches visible beneath the foam this ship is a tad too large for the likes of Durban but in any case the port was closed on the day in question, so again, nice try but not on!

    With 1 April just around the corner perhaps these were dry runs (pun intended) for the real event. So keep a sharp lookout me mateys and a suspicious mind on your email inboxes during the next fortnight or so.

    President Mbeki to co-chair SA-Mozambique meeting

    Pretoria, 22 March 2007, BuaNews - President Thabo Mbeki is to co-hair the South Africa - Mozambique Heads of State Economic Bilateral meeting on Friday (today) with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza.

    The meeting will take place at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

    "President Mbeki will host this session of the Heads of State Economic Bilateral meeting within the context of South Africa's commitment to strengthen and consolidate political, economic and
    trade relations with Mozambique with a view to the consolidation of the African agenda," the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

    Issues on the agenda of discussions between Presidents Mbeki and Guebuza are expected to include a review of bilateral economic relations since the last session of the Economic Bilateral meeting in June 2006.

    The leaders will also discuss developments in bilateral projects between South Africa and Mozambique, such as the Cahora-Basa Project and the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) / Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area.

    Another project set to be discussed is the Kosi Bay - Ponta do Ouro Border Post and Transfrontier Conservation Area.

    Border post operations between both countries, as well as fisheries and integrated marine and coastal management and development will also be discussed.

    Presidents Mbeki and Guebuza will also engage in discussions on co-operation in the agricultural sector including agricultural finance, trade, and commercial farming investment joint venture initiatives.

    "The Mozambican economy continues to perform well and expectations are that the average growth rate of 7 percent that has been seen over the last ten years will continue," the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

    Total exports by South Africa to Mozambique by 2005 were valued at R6.402 billion, while South Africa imported goods from Mozambique to the value of R199,282 million in the same period.

    "As such, South Africa and Mozambique's economic relationship is the strongest in the Southern Africa region.

    "In 2005 statistics show that 41.4 percent of Mozambique's imports emanated from South Africa
    and about 12.9 percent of Mozambique exports were destined for the South African market."

    The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has been used by the Government of South Africa as the primary catalyst for South African investment in Mozambique

    To date, the IDC has approved funding for 10 projects geographically spread throughout Mozambique and is currently considering and investigating six additional projects in
    the country.

    The spread ranges from mining and mineral beneficiation, agriculture, tourism, chemicals, and forestry, transport infrastructure to energy.

    The Mozal Aluminium Smelter (Mozal 1 and II) remains the IDC's largest investment outside the borders of South Africa.

    Another major project funded by the IDC is the titanium-bearing mineral sands in southern Mozambique (US $ 600 million).

    Eastern Cape train service reinstated this month

    The reinstated train service between the port of East London and Mthatha, in what used to be known as the Transkei, gets underway with its inaugural trip on 29 March.

    The line has been refurbished and repaired after falling into neglect when Spoornet opted, along with many other branch lines around South Africa, to basically abandon the line. It’s already cost R117 million which has been provided by the Eastern Cape Government who saw the rebirth of the railway as a catalyst for the region’s economy.

    When first mooted there was some silly talk of high speed passenger services between East London and Mthatha – ideas so ridiculous that it suggested those drawing up the plans had never visited the railway. The 1067mm Cape gauge line crosses numerous watersheds and faces severe curvature especially in the river passes, with nothing to lend itself to high speed travel.

    Since then some sanity has prevailed and such talk has dried up, with a more realistic approach of encouraging overnight passenger travel – although the rail will remain strongly handicapped against the alternative of mini bus taxis which complete the journey in a matter of a few hours. It is also hoped to develop freight traffic for the railway, in particular timber has been highlighted, which would be railed either to the port of East London or would come down the branch to the junction at Amabele and from there taken to timber mills and chipping plants in KwaZulu Natal.

    If such traffic can be generated it would make sense to consider developing a chipping plant within the precincts of the port at East London, along similar lines to the newly built plant at Maydon Wharf in Durban. Apart from timber and a small amount of general goods it is hard otherwise to see what other traffic can be found to make the branch truly viable. Nevertheless the initiative of the Eastern Cape Government is to be applauded and it is hoped that a tight rein will be kept on he operational aspects of the railway with smart working encouraged.

    The initial service will consist of a passenger train leaving East London as from 6 April, on Fridays and returning overnight on Sundays. The one-way journey will take 12 hours and will be operated by Metrorail, with a one-way fare that has been set at R25 making it very affordable for workers wanting to return home from East London for the weekend.

    Maputo rocked by explosions

    Smoke billows above the burning depot shortly after last night’s explosion in the port city of Maputo. Picture David Norton / IRIN

    Maputo, 22 March 2007 (IRIN) - A series of explosions rocked the Mozambican capital, Maputo, tonight (Thursday) as an army ammunition depot exploded. Flaming tracer bullets could still be seen against the night sky in the densely populated suburb of Malhazine, about 10km from the city centre, where the depot is located.

    Thousands of people crammed aboard buses and other vehicles as they tried to flee the suburb while towering flames rose several hundred feet above the burning armoury. An IRIN journalist at the site saw shells flying over the wall of the depot into the neighbourhood, while black smoke billowed over the suburb and through streets.

    "At this point no fatalities have been reported, but dozens of people have been brought into hospitals, injured by the shells of the bombs or broken glass from window panes and doors," said Fernando Lima, a prominent Mozambican publisher and journalist.

    Lima reported that the explosion on Thursday was as severe as the first time the Malhazine depot exploded in 1985, killing two children and injuring 40 people. Another depot blew up in January. "Army depots frequently explode in Mozambique as the storage facilities are not very good," he explained.

    The IRIN journalist said there was a possibility of fatalities, as he had witnessed an informal restaurant going up in flames but did not know whether all the patrons had managed to escape.

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

    Pic of the day – MOL DRAKENSBERG

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    MOL DRAKENSBERG made her maiden call at Cape Town yesterday, arriving in the rain and fog but Ian Shiffman was on hand to record the event

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

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