Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 25, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Upgrade for K Line, MISC and PIL’s Asia – South Africa service

  • Piracy continues in Somali waters – Suez Canal also scene of attack

  • Poachers nabbed at Robben Island

  • Fighting in port city of Kismayo forces civilians to flee

  • Pic of the day – BGP PIONEER

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    Upgrade for K Line, MISC and PIL’s Asia – South Africa service

    Durban, 25 April 2007 - ‘K’ Line, MISC and PIL announced today that the joint Asia South Africa Service is to be upgraded with effect from later in April 2007. The upgrading will involve the deployment of larger vessels with extended port coverage to include China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka in its revised rotation.

    The newly-upgraded Asia South Africa Service will have 7 containerships of 3300 – 3800-TEU capacity, with ‘K’ Line and MISC each contributing 3 vessels and PIL one vessel.

    The new port rotation will be:

    Shanghai – Ningbo – Kaohsiung - Shekou - Hong Kong – Singapore – Port Klang – Colombo - Durban – Cape Town – Colombo - Port Klang – Singapore - Hong Kong – Shanghai.

    The newly-upgraded service, which will make the round-trip voyage in a total of 49 days, is expected to commence around the end of April with a full deployment of the up-sized vessels to be completed around June.

    “By extending the current service to the North Asia region, customers are expected to benefit from the wider market coverage and fast transit times. Having a Colombo call on both eastbound and westbound legs gives it the unique distinction of being the only service of its kind which is intended to connect the high growth markets in the Indian sub-Continent as well as those of the Middle East,” says a communiqué from the three lines

    The message adds that the larger capacity containerships with significantly increased number of reefer plugs will comfortably meet the growing demand for space in this continually expanding eastbound trade.

    “This service upgrading further confirms the partners’ commitment to meet their customers’ needs as well as providing a reliable platform for future growth being anticipated for South African exporters and importers.”

    Piracy continues in Somali waters – Suez Canal also scene of attack

    Kuala Lumpur, 24 April 2007 - According to reports submitted to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Reporting Centre, an organisation endorsed by the UN’s IMO, two incidents of piracy have occurred off Somalia this month, indicating that matters at sea off the coast of Somalia are equally dangerous at sea off the coast as they are on land where fighting between the Ethiopian-backed interim government and elements of the Union of Islamic Courts continues.

    Heavy fighting has been reported in parts of Mogadishu as well as in the port city of Kismayo in the south of the country (see report below).

    The IMB says that on the evening of 3 April two boats carrying armed men approached a dhow which was at anchor off the port of Mogadishu, brazingly opening fire on the defenceless vessel.

    The master of the dhow contacted port authorities who responded by despatching a speedboat, causing the would-be pirates to break off their attack and leave the scene. No arrests were made. The incident took place at the following position: 02.03.00N, 045.20.00E.

    Two days later a similar attack took place on another dhow off the port of Kismayo in the south of the country. Luckily the attackers’ boat experienced engine trouble and the dhow was able to make good its escape. This incident happened at 00.5.00S, 042.4.00E.

    In an incident in the Suez Canal on 11 April the IMB reports that thieves boarded a general cargo ship at the Egypt mooring buoy in Port Said, using a grappling hook and rope ladder to climb on board while the ship’s crew were occupied with mooring arrangements.

    The thieves then lowered the ship’s gangway to allow more robbers to board the ship with greater ease, before proceeding to the accommodation area. As soon as they were noticed and the alarm was sounded the thieves left the ship without taking anything of value. Although the ships agents were notified the IMB reports that no action was taken by authorities.

    The IMB urges shipping everywhere to maintain strict anti-piracy watches and to report all pirate attacks and suspicious movements of craft to its Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    Poachers nabbed at Robben Island

    Cape Town, 24 April 2007 - The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) and the South African Police Service's Special Task Team and Borderline Port of Entry Division have arrested nine people during a joint night operation around Robben Island, an identified 'hot spot' poaching area.

    A 9 metre semi-rigid inflatable boast was confiscated along with 289 units of abalone and 10 West Coast Rock Lobsters. All suspects reside in the Gansbaai and Houtbay area. They are expected to appear in the Cape Town magistrates court on Wednesday 25 April 2007. Another rubber duck was also confiscated by authorities in the Robben Island area on Sunday 22 April 2007 for contravention of South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) regulations.

    In a another incident earlier this week (Monday 23 April 2007), authorities responded immediately to calls from members of the communities in the Hawston/Kleinmond area who reported two semi-rigid vessels were observed which were thought to be planning to embark on west coast rock lobster poaching.

    A joint SAPS and DEAT team was dispatched to the area and in a combined land-sea based operation, which involved the RUTH FIRST environmental protection vessel, poaching was effectively prevented as the vessels immediately withdrew from the waters. The Ruth First and the rest of the environmental protection fleet continue to patrol the South African coastline as part of a preventative strategy (the deepsea patrol ship SARAH BAARTMAN is believed to be operating in KwaZulu Natal waters this week).

    "Collaborations and joint operations with other law enforcement agencies form an important aspect to our fight against poaching and crime - and our communities are more and more realising that they too are the custodians in protecting our marine resources. Through effective partnership we can only but be successful in nailing these ruthless criminals who are plundering our natural resource base", said Blessing Manale, head of DEAT communications.

    Fighting in port city of Kismayo forces civilians to flee

    Nairobi, 24 April 2007 (IRIN) - Fighting between different clans serving in Somali's interim government in the port city of Kismayo had forced displaced persons living in camps to flee again, sources said.

    Many internally displaced families in the Faanole neighbourhood of the city abandoned their camps as fighting broke out on Monday. Some set up temporary shelters away from the area and others headed towards the Kenyan border. At least 25 people reportedly died in the town.

    Kismayo is 500km south of the capital, Mogadishu. A local journalist, who declined to be named, said the Majeerteen militia - of President Abdullahi Yusuf's Darod sub-clan - had been pushed out of the city by the Marehan - also of the Darod sub-clan, to which the Defence Minister Barre Hiirale belongs - and was now camped outside the city.

    However, Ahmed Abdi Umar, the deputy governor of Lower Juba - of which Kismayo is the regional capital - downplayed the displacement. Many people, he added, were already returning home, adding that no displaced people had gone towards the Kenyan border. "They moved to other areas within the city for safety," he said.

    According to other sources, tension had been building between the two groups over power-sharing within the administration. "It just boiled over yesterday [Monday]," said a business source. The two groups, he added, had been forced to merge into one army unit, but later disintegrated into clan militias.

    Muhammad Ahmed, a local journalist, said Kismayo was still tense. Many businesses had not opened for business on Tuesday.

    Meanwhile, Mogadishu entered the sixth day of fighting between Ethiopian-backed government troops and insurgents on Tuesday.

    The fighting occurred mostly in the north of the city, according to a local source. He said shelling by Ethiopian and government forces on the north Mogadishu neighbourhoods of Jamhuriya and Towfiiq, insurgent strongholds, was continuing.

    The insurgents comprise the remnants of the Union of Islamic Courts and Hawiye (the dominant clan in the city) militias, who are opposed to the transitional government and the presence of Ethiopian forces.

    Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called for an end to the violence in Somalia.

    "The Secretary-General is gravely concerned about the continuing heavy fighting in Mogadishu, which has reportedly killed more than 250 people and forced more than 320,000 from their homes in the past six days alone," spokeswoman Michèle Montas told reporters in New York.

    All parties to the conflict and the international community must work to initiate an all-inclusive peace process to avoid clan warfare in south-central Somalia

    Ban called on the parties to "immediately cease all hostilities and to facilitate access for the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance", renewing his call for an urgent resumption of political dialogue.

    Separately, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) urged the UN Security Council and the international community to work for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Mogadishu to secure humanitarian access to displaced populations.

    "All parties to the conflict and the international community must work to initiate an all-inclusive peace process to avoid clan warfare in south-central Somalia," NRC's International Director, Jens Mjaugedal said ahead of a Council meeting on Somalia due on Tuesday.

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

    Pic of the day – BGP PIONEER

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The BGP Pioneer which called at Cape Town on 19 April 2007. The picture was taken by Ian Shiffman

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

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