Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 5, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • TETA’s lack of vision hampering maritime job creation

  • Fishing trawler GARCIA lost in cyclone off Madagascar

  • US Aid Agency paints Mozambique as a model for Africa

  • RBCT awarded OHSAS certification as coal exports increase

  • Transport corridors identified as key factors to economic growth

  • Pic of the day – CRYSTAL SERENITY

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    TETA’s lack of vision hampering maritime job creation

    A group of Marine Crew Services cadets undergoing water survival training. Picture MCS

    A lack of support from the Transport Education Training Authority (Teta) as well as the government has been criticised by Cape Town-based Marine Crew Services, the black empowered company which was established specifically to train South African seafarers and place them with international shipping lines.

    The company has had marked success particular with placing young South African cadets with Sanko Steamship Company of Japan.

    The criticism comes in the aftermath of the shock revelations concerning the asset management company Fidentia, in which Teta has invested over R250 million of its funds, raised mainly from levies. Fidentia came under investigation by a Financial Services Board (FSB) investigation team accompanied by members of the South African Police Service last November and has since collapsed financially.

    Last week the SABC reported that Teta would seek to use all the assets of Fidentia to recover the R250 million that Fidentia is unable to account for. It is thought that the matter could take years to resolve.

    President Thabo Mbeki said that funds destined for the purpose of training should be utilised and not be left lying unproductively in banks.

    Commenting on the crisis Marine Crew Services (MCS) managing director Jan Rabie said the company has been waiting for some years for government support for its highly successful programme that has seen a number of young South Africans being placed in international maritime careers.

    “We have students and have negotiated with international ship owners for training berths for these new entrants, but despite numerous attempts to get funding for this project which is of national importance, we are getting nowhere with the Government and with Teta,’ says Deanna Collins, Ships Crew and Maritime Training Executive at MCS.

    “Instead, we now learn that funds that should have been disbursed for training of navigation and marine engineering officers and ratings may be lost in this financial scandal.”

    She said there is a large world-wide shortage of trained, certificated and qualified merchant navy officers and ratings.

    “Given the fact that poverty alleviation, job creation and skills training are major priorities for our country, we find it very frustrating that we cannot utilise the tremendous opportunities to penetrate the international maritime market with South African trained merchant navy officers, cadets and ratings.”

    Rabie referred to cooperation between MCS and the Sanko Shipping Line of Japan which ensures that training on board large vessels is provided for the new young entrant seafarers who need sea time before they are able to take their final examinations to qualify as officers.

    “Through this we have gained access to Sanko’s fleet of more than a hundred vessels and they are fully committed to supporting our South African training programme. Somebody has to help pay for this and that is why we need government support. We also need the assurance that money made available for skills training is used in the most cost effective way.”

    He blamed vested interest at the Seta and Teta decision making levels for the lack of Teta funding. “We need to remove vested interest from these decision making bodies in order to ensure that funding is allocated for projects of national strategic importance.”

    Fishing trawler GARCIA lost in cyclone off Madagascar

    In the aftermath of Cyclone Gamede, which has moved off south of Madagascar and has rapidly lost much of its strength, comes the news that a fishing vessel GARCIA has sunk off the southern coast of Madagascar.

    Little detail is imemdiately available except that all 23 crew members were able to get off the sinking trawler onto life rafts and were later picked up by the Taiwanese container ship EVER GAINING, which was en route to Durban at the time.

    The container ship is deployed on the company's ESA service between Asia, Mauritius, South Africa and the east coast of South America. She was due to arrive in Durban yesterday (Sunday) where the rescued crew members will be landed. The ship is on her westward leg en route to South America via Cape Town.

    Victim of a cyclone – the catamaran VELAPI which was caught up when Cyclone Favio came ashore on the Mozambique coast at Vilanculos. Picture courtesy Dave Miller

    US Aid Agency paints Mozambique as a model for Africa

    by Jim Fisher-Thompson, USINFO Staff Writer

    Washington - The Mozambique government has responded to a devastating flood and cyclone with speed and efficiency that could serve as a model for the rest of Africa and the world, says Jay Knott, the mission director in Mozambique for the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

    Speaking by phone from his office in Maputo, Mozambique, Knott, a 25-year aid veteran who previously has served in Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, told USINFO that "the [Mozambique] government response to the natural disasters has been, by any measure, outstanding."

    Knott said central regions in the country were flooded by torrential rains in the later part of 2006. Then, a cyclone hit the southern coast in February. But deaths from both disasters were kept to a minimum – less than 100 -- due largely to the timely response and efficiency of Mozambican emergency operations, he said.

    "Of course, here as with everywhere, including the United States, more work needs to be done to be prepared and educate people about how to protect themselves [in a natural disaster] but certainly Mozambique has come a long, long way and is a good model for other countries in the region and perhaps elsewhere as well," he said.

    To counter flooding in the interior the government opened 41 accommodation centers in four provinces located in the flood plain of the Zambezi River and 34,000 people have found shelter in them, the aid official said.

    USAID helped with an aircraft that disaster teams used to assess the flood-ravaged regions. The US aid agency also sent 10,000 mosquito bed nets and 16,000 bottles of a water treatment chemical to the affected areas to help purify water.

    But the bulk of transporting, feeding and sheltering many of the 114,000 people displaced by the flood was done by the Mozambican military and local civilian authorities, Knott said.

    In the area of damage prevention, Knott said the years of US investment in helping Mozambicans "build their capacity to manage the annual rains" paid off. The government was able to fine-tune discharges from the Cahorra Bassa Dam, which mitigated widespread flood damage.

    "A difference I've noticed from five years ago when I first arrived here," Knott said, is "a real empowerment and more professional attitude toward anticipating and responding to natural disasters."

    "The Mozambique government's equivalent of our FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] is far improved in its ability to plan, manage resources, pre-position both supplies and personnel in threatened areas," he said.

    In addition, the Mozambicans "have done a lot of work educating populations; establishing early warning systems; giving people instructions about what to do in the case of an emergency -- in all of these things we've seen light years of improvement," Knott said.

    Overall, US humanitarian and development aid to Mozambique amounted to $ 150 million in 2006 with $ 200 million sought by the Bush administration for 2007.

    In March 2006, USAID donated 12 ambulances and other medical equipment worth $ 740,000 to the Mozambique Ministry of Health. The vehicles are equipped with radios that allow for instant communication with hospitals and clinics.

    For more information on U.S. policies, see U.S. Aid to Africa.

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

    RBCT awarded OHSAS certification as coal exports increase

    Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) has been awarded full certification of the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001, a management system that places emphasis on continuous improvement.

    RBCT was independently assessed against OHSAS 18001 standards and awarded full certification by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).

    “As RBCT, we are proud to have achieved certification in OHSAS 18001.This achievement demonstrates our commitment to providing a safe and healthy working environment for our employees and contractors on site. It also underpins our reputation not only as the single largest but also as the best-run coal terminal in the world, said Kuseni Dlamini, Executive Chairman of RBCT.

    The certification means that RBCT complies with international management systems geared towards reducing and preventing accidents and accident-related loss of lives, resources, time and damage to the environment.

    RBCT achieved its ISO 14001 certification (environmental management system) in 2003 and will be audited for annual re-certification due to be completed in March this year.

    Coal Exports Increase

    RBCT has revealed that coal exports for the month of February increased to 6.19 M/t at an annualised rate of 80.45 compared to 3.98 M/t in January 2007.

    RBCT has commenced an expansion project, which will see the terminal expand from its current annual throughput capacity of 72 million tons to 91 million tons per annum in 2009.

    Transport corridors identified as key factors to economic growth

    by Thapelo Sakoana, (BuaNews)

    Tshwane (Pretoria), 2 March - Mpumalanga has detailed plans for the Maputo Development Corridor and Moloto Rail Development Corridor - two of the "Big Five" flagship projects with the potential to grow the province's economy.

    The initiatives were announced by Premier Thabang Makwetla during the State of the
    Province Address last week.

    The Big Five projects are:

  • Maputo Development Corridor
  • Moloto Rail Development Corridor
  • Initiative to revitalise tourism and greening the province through conservation management
  • Rolling out water infrastructure; and
  • Capacity building of managers

    Addressing the media on the priorities for the economic cluster in Nelspruit on Thursday, Finance MEC Mathulare Coleman said all these projects would have a positive impact on the socio-economic development of the province.

    She then detailed initiatives that would be rolled-out on three of the Big Five projects that fall under the economic cluster, which are the Maputo Development Corridor and the Moloto Rail Development Corridor.

    As part of the Maputo Development Corridor, she said industrial infrastructure projects would be implemented to create an environment for business operations along the corridor.

    Such projects would include the establishment of freight logistics.

    The corridor would also promote manufacturing among small, medium and large enterprises in the province.

    Ms Coleman said this project would also encourage primary production of goods and services as part of rural development.

    The Maputo Development Corridor, which links the province with Gauteng and the port of Maputo in Mozambique, is not an entirely new project.

    It was conceptualised in 1994 when the new South African government entered into bilateral agreement with the Mozambican government.

    It had since been described as true transportation, comprising road, rail, border posts, port and terminal facilities.

    The corridor, which passes through vast industrial and primary production areas, was designed to upgrade South Africa's links to Maputo port, and to persuade more South African companies to import and export through Maputo.

    Moloto Rail Development Corridor, MEC Coleman said, would be high on government's agenda to implement an integrated public transport system comprising a rail line which is fed by the road transport system.

    This, she said, would lessen travelling time for the people and reduce the number of accidents on the Moloto corridor.

    "It will also provide affordable and safe travel solutions for both government and passengers by means of a cost effective system.

    "The corridor will also have positive impact on the social lives of commuters by means of spin-offs of improved public transport system and other economic benefits that flow from this initiative," said the MEC.

    Other initiatives that would be prioritised by the cluster this year included the Masibuyel' emasimini programme, which supports subsistence farming and encourages peasant farmers to aggressively till land.

    Ms Coleman said the Expanded Public Works Programme would also be instrumental in job creation and infrastructure development.

    Pic of the day – CRYSTAL SERENITY

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The cruise ship CRYSTAL SERENITY in Cape Town harbour last week (2 March) on the first leg of her South African cruise. The 68,870-gt ship, one of three in the Crystal Cruises fleet, is owned by one of the world’s largest shipping companies – Japan’s NYK Line or Nippon Yusen Kaisha. Initially CRYSTAL SYMPHONY was the most regular visitor, at least until the launching of the larger CRYSTAL SERENITY in 2003 which has since returned several times. Like her smaller sisters, a truly magnificent ship. Picture courtesy Ian Shiffman

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

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