Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 26, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Port of Tanga to be dredged this year

  • US security bill plans to scan all inbound containers by 2010

  • Fishy story

  • Coastwatch: Nigerian strike ends and oil workers released

  • COMESA urges free movement of maize across borders

  • Pic of the day – MARIEKE

    Port of Tanga to be dredged this year

    Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) says it intends dredging the port of Tanga in the north of Tanzania this year.

    In March the TPA revealed plans to develop Tanga for the handling of larger ships by way of a new US $ 400 million harbour development at Mwambani Bay in Tanga Bay (see Ports & Ships News Bulletin of 14 March 2007 ‘Kuwaiti interests to rehabilitate Tanga Harbour’). Now the TPA says that dredging will resume during the current financial year and will focus on deepening access to the existing port.

    Tanga will remain a lightering port with deep draught vessels anchoring outside and transhipping cargo to lighters.

    TPA’s corporate communications manager Franklin Mziray told the East African Business Week that the project covers the ‘cleaning of the port’s channel and scooping of silt underneath the harbour waters.” He said the present draught at the quays is 4.5m at low tide.

    Plans to dredge Tanga in 1998 fell through due to a lack of finance. The TPA hasn’t revealed how the latest project, which is still in the tendering stage, will be funded.

    Mziray said that in addition to dredging the project the harbour waters the TPA will embark on the rehabilitation of quay 1 and the acquisition of new cargo handling equipment for container handling.

    These projects are in addition to the development at Mwambani Bay (see Ports & Ships 14 March 2007).

    According to the report dredging of the entrance to the port of Dar es Salaam has recently been concluded.

    US security bill plans to scan all inbound containers by 2010

    A bill before US legislators requires that within three years all cargo for the US will be scanned ahead of shipment.

    The proposed legislation, which is considered a certainty for implementation despite the problems it brings, will have to be introduced within three years at all large international ports trading with the US, with smaller ports to follow within another two years.

    While the bill hasn’t been approved as yet a draft proposal that seeks to reconcile differences between different House and Senate versions, has set 1 January 2010 as the target date. According to one US Democratic representative, Bennie Thompson, the setting of a clear timetable is critical - if one isn’t provided it will never happen, he said.

    While the bill continues to receive criticism that it is basically unworkable, the US Customs & Border Protection has already commenced with a pilot programme in which all US-bound containers are subject to radiation scanning at the Pakistani Port Qasim. Similar testing is set to begin at Southampton in the UK and at Puerto Cortes in the Honduras.

    The proposal provides a number of loopholes such as if implementation results in significantly slower cargo flows, or if the incidents of false alerts becomes too high, as has occurred in pre-testing. The two bills, the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007 (H.R. 1) and the Improving America's Security Act of 2007 (S. 4) were both passed by solid margins and, say analysts, a consensus bill is now virtually assured.

    US-bound containers loaded at the port of Durban currently are currently profiled by US Customs officials based at the port and working in conjunction with the SA Revenue Services (Customs) department. South Africa employs a single scanner in use at present (at Durban) although a number are due to be installed at the ports and other entry points in the near future.

    sources – Global Security Network and International Freighting Weekly

    Fishy story

    Port Alfred, 24 June, 2007 – The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) at Port Alfred was activated at noon on Sunday following a request for help from a fisherman who said he’d been towed out to sea by a large fish.

    The fisherman involved, Deon Jooste (30) from Witbank but now living in the Eastern Cape coastal resort, had gone fishing in his sea-kayak and while close inshore near the harbour pier had caught what he described as a very big fish or possibly a shark.

    The ‘very big fish or shark’ towed him some three nautical miles out to sea before he decided to cut the line and paddle back to shore. Jooste said he initially thought the fish would tire but when this didn’t happen he was forced to use his knife and cut the 20 pound fire fishing line as he was heading further and further out to sea.

    He hadn’t had a chance to see what it was that he’d caught (or is that the other way round) and after cutting the line and paddling for home he found the north-westerly winds too strong to make much headway back to port. He consequently used his cell phone to call for help from the local caravan park, who alerted the NSRI.

    The NSRI responded by launching the rescue craft KOWIE RESCUER which located the fisherman about one mile off-shore and one mile from the Kowie River. Jooste was taken on board with his kayak and brought back to shore somewhat tired and shaken from his experience but otherwise okay, and with no doubt more than a few fishy stories to tell his grandkids one day.

    source - Craig Lambinon, Sea Rescue Spokesman

    Coastwatch: Nigerian strike ends and oil workers released

    Nigeria 25 June 2007 – Nigerian Delta militants have released four of the expatriate workers that were taken hostage from the US firm Schlumberger on 1 June.

    The four men, a Briton, a Frenchman, a Dutchman and a Pakistani were released into the hands of security offices in Port Harcourt at the weekend, according to Nigerian sources. They were reported to be in good health and apparently unharmed. There is no indication whether a ransom was paid for their release.

    Also in Nigeria, the nationwide strike that brought about the closure of all ports late last week has ended after trade unions called it off.

    Most of Nigeria’s ports experience congestion and an additional interruption of several days due to the strike is sure to have added to delays. According to GAC World port operations were expected to return to normal as from yesterday (Monday) but the company warned that there could be a fuel shortage and ‘other problems’ resulting from the strike.

    Shell meanwhile says it will re-start crude oil loadings from the Forcados terminal in July – the planned resumption set for June had been delayed for security reasons, it said.

    In South Africa, the Port of Cape Town was reported closed earlier yesterday after a strong storm swept through the peninsular accompanied by winds gusting to 100km/h.

    COMESA urges free movement of maize across borders

    Harare 24 June 2007 (BuaNews) - The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has urged member states to allow free movement of maize by implementing the “maize without borders” concept to ensure food security and promote trade in the region.

    “As a staple food crop in a number of COMESA countries, the unimpeded movement of maize from surplus to deficit areas is critical to ensuring sustained regional food security,” Comesa said in a report.

    It noted that free trade in maize was being hampered by periodic import and export restrictions imposed by member countries.

    COMESA said the solution to such challenges lay in the speedy implementation of the “maize without borders” strategy that had already been adopted by the bloc to remove trade barriers in the movement of maize across member states.

    “Such a development will also recognise and formalise the important role played by small cross-border traders in the movement of maize across borders.”

    Apart from being a staple food, maize is one of COMESA's leading export commodities.

    According to recent United Nations trade data, maize accounts for more than 50 percent of the regions total grain imports.

    COMESA said for the region to fully realise its potential in maize production, serious consideration towards investment in agro-processing should be made.

    Such a development, it said, would enable COMESA to add value to raw maize grain and boost export sales.

    “Investing in agro-processing will enable the bloc to add value to raw maize grain, thus allowing local goods to compete on the international market,” it said.

    Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo are COMESA's major importers of agricultural commodities while Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, Malawi and Egypt are the top five leading exporters of farming products.

    The 20 member COMESA region has an estimated combined population of 400 million people and covers an area of over 12 million square kilometres, compared to the Southern African Development Community's estimated 9.8 million square kilometre area and 233 million people.

    The two organisations have overlapping memberships.

    COMESA member countries are Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    SADC's 14 member countries are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    Pic of the day – MARIEKE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    Another image of the trailing suction hopper dredger MARIEKE which arrived in Durban late last week to undertake the dredging of the new entrance channel (see our News Bulletin for yesterday, 25 June 2007). Wasting no time the dredger was already hard at work outside the port by the weekend, working on the outer side of the North breakwater. Picture by Transnet Projects

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

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