Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 10, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • AU troops secure Mogadishu seaport

  • Government remains cagey over Eskom’s Coega rates

  • COASTWATCH: American oil workers seized in Nigeria

  • Pan African Parliament plans to reduced African transport costs

  • Pic of the day – CAP FRIO

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    AU troops secure Mogadishu seaport

    African Union (AU) peacekeeping troops stationed in Somalia intend securing key points around Mogadishu including the port to prevent further attacks and ambushes from armed militants opposed to the interim federal government.

    The AU peacekeepers took over control of the city three weeks ago from Ethiopian soldiers who were largely responsible for forcing the Union of Islamic Courts to abandon the city. Since then however there has been sporadic fierce fighting in the city with parts being mortared by insurgents opposing the interim government and the Ethiopian troops.

    According to the commander of the AU forces the seaport is to be fully secured with additional Ugandan peacekeepers who will be stationed in the port. The airport has similarly been secured and a number of armoured vehicles have been observed in the area of the harbour.

    A main road in the northern suburbs of Mogadishu has been de-mined – this was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting up to a month ago.

    source - Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

    Government remains cagey over Eskom’s Coega rates

    Government is refusing to reveal the rates Eskom will charge Alcan for electricity for the giant aluminium smelter planned for Coega, near the new port of Ngqura.

    Opposition member of parliament Hendrik Schmidt asked the minister of minerals and energy Buyelwa Sonjica to disclose the tariff that Eskom will charge Alcan.

    The matter of electricity supply for the smelter remains one of the more contentious issues surrounding the project – Eskom will have to more than double the energy needs of the Nelson Mandela Metropole (Port Elizabeth) region just for the smelter and will have to divert much of this energy from power stations in Mpumalanga Province, up to a thousand kilometres away.

    This agreement entered into with the Canadian manufacturer comes at a time when the country is facing ongoing outages owing to insufficient electrical capacity. This past week Eskom took out advertisements in national newspapers asking people to cut down on their electricity requirements, including turning off hot water geysers in the home when at work and using less water to boil a kettle.

    In reply to the MP’s question the minister declined to provide any details, saying simply that the rate is to be charged on a globally competitive price.

    “The actual rate cannot be disclosed publicly as it is subject to a confidentiality agreement with the customer,” said the minister.

    Speculative reports suggest that in order to secure the smelter for the Eastern Cape Eskom was forced to agree to provide electricity at an extremely competitive rate – aluminium smelters are heavy users of electricity and power supply will be one of the major costs faced by the manufacturer.

    Another opposition MP told Ports & Ships this week that the DA intends demanding that government disclose full details of the Eskom/Alcan contract in the interests of the public consumer.

    Meanwhile, in another development the Coega smelter again faces the risk of being in limbo following the news that US manufacturer Alcoa is making a hostile bid for Alcan (see our News Report for Tuesday 8 May 2007).

    COASTWATCH: American oil workers seized in Nigeria

    Nigerian militants attacked and seized another four oil workers this week.

    The latest attack took place at a Chevron oil export terminal at Escravos and involved the capture of four American oil workers. The attack followed a demonstration by villagers protesting that the Chevron company and the government has been taking oil from their region for years without compensation.

    The demonstration at a Chevron flow station leading to the Escravos terminal was led by men armed with crude weapons

    The Americans were on a pipe-laying barge when two speedboats approached bearing men armed with rifles and RPG weapons. After taking the men hostage they sped off.

    The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) which has been in the forefront of armed attacks in recent years said in a statement that all foreign workers employed by the multi-national oil companies should leave the country or face the consequences. The statement has been sent to a number of heads of state of countries involved in oil industry in Nigeria, including the EU and UN.

    In a separate incident the oil pipeline leading to the Brass Terminal has been cut, reports GAC on its internet news service. The report says that explosions took place in the swamp area surrounding the terminal. As a result of damage caused no crude oil production is reaching the terminal from swamp area flow stations.

    Pan African Parliament plans to reduced African transport costs

    by Themba Gadebe, BuaNews

    Johannesburg, 9 May – Nepad, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, has created a number of transport infrastructure projects to rid the continent of poverty.

    Addressing the media Tuesday, Chief Executive of the Nepad Secretariat, Prof Firmino Mucavele, said one of the organisation's primary goals was to reduce poverty.

    He was speaking after tabling the Nepad report on the continent's state of infrastructure at the seventh Ordinary Session of the Pan African Parliament.

    "Underlying one of the Nepad's primary poverty reduction objectives is the maxim that there can be no poverty reduction without economic growth, and there can be no economic growth without trade, and there can be no trade without (transport) infrastructure," he said.

    Professor Mucavele said Africa's transport system was poorly integrated, saying it imposed high cost premiums on trade travels, business and affected the continent's competitiveness.

    The Nepad transport programme, he said, would close the gap in transport infrastructure and reduce costs.

    Some of the transport corridor programmes currently being implemented include:

    * A road network connecting from Mombassa to Nairobi ending in Addis Ababa;
    * Ghana connects to Togo;
    * Benin also connects to Togo;
    * Mali runs to Burkina Faso until Ghana; and
    * Mali joins Senegal.

    The Nepad CE also called for the acceleration of safety enhancing projects for air transport.

    He said statistics showed that Africa had a high rate of flight accidents with 9.8 per million departures compared to the world average of 0.8 per million.

    "This underscores the need to expedite implementation of safety enhancing projects underway," he said.

    His plea comes shortly after the horrific crash of a Kenyan flight, travelling from Cameroon to Kenya.

    The tragedy left 114 people dead including seven South Africans Saturday night.

    Professor Mucavele also acknowledged that African governments had faced an immediate challenge to spend large amounts of money on railway transport.

    "Meeting this responsibility will be a major challenge to government given other priorities," he said.

    Pic of the day – CAP FRIO

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The Hamburg Sud container ship CAP FRIO sails from Durban in February 2005. Picture by Terry Hutson

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