Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 14, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Protesters speak out against Coega’s smelter

  • SA pathologists sent to Cameroon following Kenya Airline crash

  • Nigerian oil militants turn up the heat

  • Maersk names latest oil rig

  • Pic of the day – TARIFA

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    Protesters speak out against Coega’s smelter

    AS if the uncertainty over whether Alcan’s possible takeover by rival US producer Alcoa (see News Report dated 8 May 2007) isn’t enough, a group of environmentalist has added their protests against the building of an aluminium manufacturing plant which they say will ‘destroy people’s health in order to create jobs’.

    The protest outside the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) offices last week was small in number and consisted of academics, students, professionals and housewives, reported the EP Herald newspaper. Protesters carried banners reading ‘Develop don’t destroy’ and ‘Alcan will use three times more electricity than our town’. Another stated ‘Alcan will use our electricity for next to nothing while 30 per cent of our people have no electricity!’

    Protesters are concerned about pollution arising from the plant at Coega, which borders a nature and game reserve and is a mere 20km northeast of the city of Port Elizabeth (PE). They claim that whenever the north wind blows it will be children in the townships whose health will suffer.

    There is also a growing belief that government ‘leaned’ on Eskom to provide cheap electricity to the Canadian manufacturer to make a deal possible. Eskom and government have so far refused to divulge the electricity rates offered to Alcan but sceptics point out that the raw material for the aluminium has to come from elsewhere, possibly Australia which, they say, suggests just how cheap the provision of electricity to Alcan really is.

    Electrical power constitutes one of the higher costs in the smelting of aluminium but Eskom has no generating plants in the Eastern Cape region. There are reports that the power company will either introduce a new gas-powered plant at Coega to generate the required electricity or it will have to provide power through transmission lines from the nearest power stations nearly a thousand kilometres away. Either way the cost is said to be high, raising further questions about the rates offered to Alcan.

    SA pathologists sent to Cameroon following Kenya Airline crash

    by Bongani Mlangeni (BuaNews)

    PRETORIA, 13 May 2007 - The South African Government has dispatched a team of six pathologists to Douala, Cameroon to assist with the victim identification process following the recent Kenya Airline's crash which killed 114 passengers and crew members.

    "The team of pathologists, led by South African Police Services Expert Inspector Leone Ras, left on Saturday and is expected to begin its work today (Sunday)," the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Sunday.

    In this regard, the South African team of pathologists is expected to assist the Cameroonian and Kenyan authorities with victim verification as part of its efforts to help families of the victims identify their loved ones and to find closure.

    "The process, initiated by South Africa's Ambassador to Cameroon Dr SS Ripinga in consultation with the Cameroonian authorities, is a step in the process of repatriating the mortal remains of all victims, including South Africans who were on board, back to their home countries to be laid to rest," said the statement.

    The wreckage of Kenyan Airways flight KQ 507 was found in a mangrove swamp 20 kilometres south-east of Douala in Cameroon on Sunday evening after it had taken off Saturday during a midnight storm and crashed.

    The plane had 114 people from at least 23 countries on board, including seven South Africans.

    In a separate report it appears that the ill-fated aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 which entered service only 6 months ago, spent an hour on the runway waiting for a storm to pass before the pilot made the decision to take off. Two other aircraft were also in a holding position on the ground also with passengers on board while the storm raged around the vicinity of the airport but they opted to remain.

    It is believed the pilot may have been influenced in his decision to take off because he had passengers on board with other flight connections to make. It is now thought the aircraft crashed within less than a minute of takeoff, judging from the distance it had flown from the airport itself. There are indications that the aircraft had gone into the ground at an extremely steep angle and had banked away from the flight path shortly before crashing.

    Nigerian oil militants turn up the heat

    NIGER Delta militants say they intend causing a ‘month of mayhem’ to force foreign oil interests and the Nigerian Federal Government to provide more autonomy in the region.

    The statement by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) comes after a spate of attacks on installations in which a number of foreign workers have been abducted in recent weeks.

    The attacks also coincide with the end of recent elections for a new president of Nigeria and shortly before outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo hands over the reins of power to his successor Umaru Yar’Adua later this month.

    Expatriates have been taken hostage off two offshore oil installations and other land-based sites while other attacks have left oil pipelines damaged.

    The latest threat came as the outgoing Nigerian government auctioned a further 41 oil exploration permits last week, which militants see as further provocation. The majority of permits were issued to Asian operators.

    Maersk names latest oil rig

    MAERSK Contractors named its latest oil drilling rig on Saturday (12 May) at a ceremony at the Jurong Shipyard in Singapore.

    The new rig has been named MAERSK COMPLETER and is the first of nine high capacity drilling rigs which will join the fleet over the next three years, said Claus V Hemmingsen, CEO of Maersk Contractors.

    The rig is the first of two identical jack-up rigs acquired by the AP Moller - Maersk Group in July 2006 and is capable of operating in water depths up to 375 feet in most parts of the world including the harsh environment of the central and southern parts of the North Sea.

    The new rig is of Baker Pacific Class 375 design and distances itself from conventional jack-ups in several areas, not least on the drill floor where the highly mechanised equipment leads to increased safety for the crew. The sophisticated drilling equipment will also make the rigs suitable for drilling deep and difficult wells, including high temperature/high pressure wells.

    The first assignment for the MAERSK COMPLETER is a one-year drilling contract with an option to extend the contract for another 15 months, with Total E&P Borneo at Total’s Maharaja Lela field off Brunei.

    Note: Maersk Contractors is part of the AP Moller - Maersk Group and a significant drilling contractor and supplier of floating production solutions. The fleet counts 29 drilling rigs and four FPSOs including six high efficiency jack-up rigs, three deepwater development semi-submersibles and one Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel under construction. Maersk Contractors employs an international staff of 3,100 people.

    Pic of the day – TARIFA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines’s pure car carrier TARIFA in early evening light at G Shed in Durban recently. The ship is on charter to WW from Ray Shipping having entered service with them only a month ago. Tarifa is on of the larger pure car carriers in the WW service,with a capacity of 6500 motor units. Picture Gill Abdey

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

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