Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 23, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • SA Navy’s second sub due in South Africa this week

  • Lake Victoria is dying - report

  • Mozambique: Call for end to illegal logging

  • ILO Africa conference kicks off this week

  • IMO Sec-General Mitropoulos intervenes in emissions debate

  • Pic of the day – IMPERIUS

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    SA Navy’s second sub due in South Africa this week

    The South African Navy’s second new submarine, SAS Charlotte Maxeke (S102) is due to arrive in Simon’s Town on Wednesday (25 April) accompanied by the combat support ship SAS Drakensberg.

    S102 sailed from Emden in Germany on March 14 under the command of Cmdr Roland Shortt. It had been expected that the two submarines S102 and S103 would be named only on arrival in South Africa, as happened with the first new sub S101 which was named SAS Manthatisi in Simon’s Town.

    Instead, the commissioning of both S102 and S103 took place last month before the Deputy Minister of Defence, Mluleki George, the South African Ambassador to Germany Moss Chikane and two sponsors who named the respective boats SAS Charlotte Maxeke and SAS Queen Modjadji.

    Also in attendance were the chief of the navy Vice Adm Johannes Mudimu, the flag officer Rear Adm H Bester and the chief of naval staff R Adm M Magalefa.

    SAS Charlotte Maxeke was officially handed over to the South African Navy on 6 November, 2006 since when she underwent sea trials with her new crew. These were completed on 24 February 2007.

    Shortly after the naming ceremony S102 and her escort slipped from their moorings and headed out into the North Sea on the start of their long journey home, broken by a visit to a Spanish port along the way.

    Lake Victoria is dying - report

    NASA image showing Lake Victoria with country borders drawn in. Lake Tanganyika (long and narrow) lies to the lower left in the image CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

    Nairobi, 19 April 2007 (IRIN) - The lives of 30 million people living and dependent on Lake Victoria are in danger as a result of uncontrolled municipal and industrial waste, urbanisation and slum overpopulation, a senior United Nations official said on Thursday.

    "Lake Victoria is a fragile ecosystem and the international community must now come to its aid since urbanisation, pollution and overpopulation in towns surrounding it continue to degrade it, contributing to its slow death," said Anna Tibaijuka, the executive director of UN-Habitat.

    Tibaijuka, speaking at the launch of phase three of the lake's City Development Strategies (CDS) in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, said the CDS aims to enable municipal authorities to address local environmental issues and urban poverty to achieve sustainable urbanisation by providing improved environmental planning and management policies.

    The lake is the world's second largest fresh water body shared by Kenya (6 percent of the lake), Tanzania (49 percent) and Uganda (45 percent) and a third of the combined population of these countries depend on it for fishing, agriculture and domestic use.

    Some of the problems facing the lake and its people include loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, pollution, soil erosion and natural resource depletion. Poverty and HIV/AIDS are other key issues according to UN-Habitat.

    The initiative was started in November 2006 by UN-Habitat, with support from the Swedish International Development Agency, Lake Victoria Region Local Authority Cooperation (LVRLAC), and other local authorities around the lake.

    It intends to mobilise local authorities and stakeholders to address the absence of effective planning in urban centres that leads to the degradation of the lake's environment. Eight cities are involved: Uganda's Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe; Kenya's western towns of Kisumu and Homa Bay, and Tanzania's Musoma, Mwanza and Bukoba.

    Some US $ 5 million allocated for the CDS will help in capacity building, addressing issues of poverty eradication, and HIV/AIDS in the regional towns, Priscah Auma of LVRLAC and Mayor of Kisumu said during the launch.

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

    Note: Shipping on Lake Victoria has been curtailed in recent years for several reasons One of these is the shrinkage of water on the lake owing to drought and over usage, which has left some vessels unable to berth near to landing places.

    Mozambique: Call for end to illegal logging

    Maputo, 19 April 2007 (IRIN) - As reports warning of the scope of illegal logging in Mozambique grow more serious, local environmental groups are attempting to raise public consciousness of the issue and pressure the government to act, but this will be no easy task in a country where poverty reduction and HIV/AIDS usually take centre stage.

    A newly formed coalition, called Amigos da Floresta (Friends of the Forest), organised a march through downtown Maputo, the capital, this past Saturday, the country's first public demonstration related to deforestation.

    "We need to get civil society more active," said Daniel Ribeiro, project officer for Justiça Ambiental (Environmental Justice), a local nongovernmental organisation (NGO). "Every once in a while it gets in the news and filters through, but it is not regularly featured in the media." Organisers expect about 500 people to take part in the march.

    That something has to be done, and quickly, became abundantly clear last year, said local activists. The first major indicator was a widely distributed report that documented large discrepancies between various official statistics on deforestation in the central province of Zambezia, and also alleged the existence of a "timber mafia" carrying out extensive unsustainable resource exploitation.

    "Asian timber buyers, local business people and members of the government of Mozambique and their forest services are colluding to strip precious tropical hardwoods from these slow-growing, semi-arid and dry tropical forests, at a rate that could see the resource exhausted in five to 10 years."

    This projection was made Catherine MacKenzie, an environmental attorney affiliated to the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom, in a report commissioned by a coalition of NGOs in Zambezia, provocatively titled 'Chinese Takeaway' in reference to the large number of Asian buyers who have flocked to buy truckloads of logs at wholesale prices.

    In December 2006, media reports of some 40 containers of illegal timber seized at the port city of Quelimane, Zambezia's capital, indicated the scale of criminal activity in the destruction of forests. An environmental activist estimated that the amount of contraband wood in that one seizure represented more than twice the annual amount of timber the province allowed to be harvested legally.

    Government officials disputed the estimate, and the common official response has been to characterise assessments of illegal logging as 'out of date'.

    To mobilise the public, environmentalists have pointed out that illegal logging is not just an environmental issue, but also has economic and social implications. Government regulations should ensure that most wood harvested locally is also processed locally, but environmentalists say those rules are being flouted and raw timber goes directly to ships waiting offshore.

    The result is that local communities get nothing: no jobs in sawmills, no logging-related local enterprises, and, because it happens outside legal channels, no money from local taxes coming into the community.

    "It leads to unsustainable management and exploitation of the forest, huge losses in added value, and no poverty alleviation," said Jan de Meer, who works for an NGO that sets up sustainable cooperatives in Zambezia. De Meer estimates that communities where logging concessions are sited reap only one percent of the proceeds rather than the promised 20 percent.

    Environmentalists say these communities are also exploited in other ways. Small concessionaires, for instance, require the consent of the community for a logging license and have to bargain with community leaders to obtain it.

    "Many times the promises are not kept," said Ribeiro, of Justiça Ambiental. "They come to the community, cut down the trees, and do not return. Or many times the loggers do very little, like give away some clothes or clear a football field."

    About 400 officers, spread over the entire country, monitor traffic in timber, which is not enough, said Mauricio Sulila, programme officer for Livaningo, one of Mozambique's oldest environmental organisations.

    Ribeiro commented that it was "very cheap to corrupt a public officer". Last year he visited the main timber checkpoint outside Beira, where he witnessed truckers routinely passing through without showing paperwork.

    But organising the affected communities to pressure government authorities has proven difficult. The capital is far from Quelimane, so a major obstacle is distance from the seat of power. De Meer said he and his colleagues attempted to get two busloads of community members from Zambezia to Maputo for Saturday's march. "They are interested, but we don't have the money, you know?" he says. "You need money to transport people over 2,000km."

    Silula, of Livaningo, which recently started a programme to build the capacity of NGOs in the central and northern regions of the country, said, "The problem is, the people in the provinces [where deforestation is taking place] are not as strong as the NGOs in Maputo. There are groups there [in Zambezia], but they are weak."

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

    ILO Africa conference kicks off this week

    Addis Ababa (BuaNews) - The 11th African Regional Meeting (ARM) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) will be held in Ethiopia from 24 to 27 April.

    Briefing the media Thursday ILO Regional Director Regina Amadi Njoku said the meeting, themed "Decent Work Agenda in Africa 2007-2015", is expected to deliberate on various issues related to Africa's development.

    It will focus on critical issues related to African development, in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including job creation, youth employment, child labor, labour migration, sustainable enterprises and social protection.

    Ms Njoku said although Africa had been registering encouraging economic growth over the past years, it was impossible to attain the MDGs without employment-rich growth that generates decent employment opportunities.

    Africa needs 11 million new job opportunities yearly to meet the MDGs, but the jobs being created annually in Africa total not more than 8.6 million.

    HIV and AIDS, rampant conflicts, migration, and the brain drain of qualified Africans are challenges that are significantly affecting Africa's human capital and diminishing its work force, she said.

    ILO Director General Juan Somavia will highlight two major reports while the African Employment Trends - a comprehensive publication for the region - will also be launched during ARM 2007.

    The meeting will be preceded by a social partners preparatory workshop and a high-level panel discussion on the private sector in Africa due to be held on 22 and 23 April respectively.

    Some 300 participants including African heads of state, ministers, employer and worker representatives as well as key international stakeholders are expected to attend the meeting.

    The current chair of the ILO is South Africa's Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana.

    High-level participants will include, Professor Alpha Oumar Konare, Chairperson of the African Union Commission; Kemal Dervis, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and Gertrude Mongella Chairperson of the Pan African Parliament.

    Since the AU Extraordinary Summit on Employment and Poverty Alleviation in Africa, the ILO's Decent Work Agenda has gained momentum and has been accepted internationally as a specific goal to achieve the MDGs.

    IMO Sec-General Mitropoulos intervenes in emissions debate

    IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos has taken a personal interest in the debate over further controls of emissions from ships, reports Maritime Global Net (MGN).

    Last week he intervened during a sub-committee meeting to propose that a special group be created to consider their further control.

    The sub-committee on bulk liquids and gases (BLG) had been considering revisions of Marpol Annex VI which applies to NOX and, of most relevance at present, SOX emissions.

    Mr Mitropoulos said that a cross-government industry-scientific group should be commissioned properly to evaluate strategies being proposed to minimise air pollution.

    The secretary-general’s move came as industry and government officials were debating, among other options, whether the world fleet should be switched to distillate fuel.

    Mr Mitropoulos’s proposal will have to go the next meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee in July which will, if in agreement with the move, commission the group and determine its terms of reference

    source – Maritime Global net (MGN)

    Pic of the day – IMPERIUS

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The unladen Greek-owned bulker IMPERIUS of 15,934-gt sails from Durban one windy December afternoon, bound for Richards Bay a hundred miles along the coast. Earlier the ship had completed discharging cargo at Durban’s Maydon Wharf. Picture by Terry Hutson

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

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