Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 5, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Bush outlines strategy to increase access to trade

  • Somali pirates kills hostaged seafarer

  • Maersk sells drilling rigs

  • ICTSI Toamasina stocks up on RTGs

  • Fishermen rescued after vessel goes aground at St Francis

  • Pic of the day – AFRICAN FUTURE

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
    WEB SITE: www.hugheship.com

    Bush outlines strategy to increase access to trade

    President Bush outlines a global development strategy that aims “to bring progress and prosperity to struggling nations all across the world” in a speech in Washington last week. The president spoke in advance of the June 6-8 Group of Eight summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, where development will be a priority. (White House photo) CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

    by Jaroslaw Anders, USINFO Staff Writer

    Washington – President Bush has announced new initiatives to strengthen financial markets and boost educational opportunities in Africa.

    In a major speech prior to the June 6-8 Group of Eight (G8) summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, Bush also called on Congress to double US funds for the global fight against HIV/AIDS and to fund his 2005 commitment to expand US assistance to sub-Saharan Africa to $ 8.67 billion by 2010.

    Speaking on 31 May to the US Global Leadership Campaign, a coalition of businesses, nongovernmental organisations and community leaders, the president outlined the US development agenda: “to bring progress and prosperity to struggling nations all across the world.”

    “We’re working to increase access to trade and relieve the burden of debt. We are increasing our assistance to the world’s poorest countries and using this aid to encourage reform and strengthen education and fight the scourge of disease,” the president said.

    The president also advanced a framework for developing a new international agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

    Promoting balanced global growth, fighting global warming, increasing help to Africa and fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics will be high on the agenda when Bush joins the leaders of Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and Russia at the G8 summit.

    Bush said his message at the summit will emphasise the common responsibility of the United States and other developed nations to help millions suffering from hunger, poverty and disease.

    Opportunities through trade

    The president announced a new project called the Africa Financial Sector Initiative, which will provide technical assistance to African nations seeking to strengthen their financial markets.

    In addition, the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will work with the financial community to create several new private equity funds that would mobilise up to $1 billion for new private investments in Africa, he said.

    By September, OPIC plans to select which funds to support based on its assessment of the developmental impact and potential for success, the White House said in a fact sheet also released on 31 May.

    “If you're interested in job creation, there's got to be capital available. It's in our interest that we help provide capital to African entrepreneurs,” the president said.

    He also said open trade will improve lives faster than government help. He pledged to urge other nations at the G8 summit to help conclude a successful Doha round of global trade negotiations.

    The president hailed the previously announced cancellation of external debt owed by Bolivia, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The bank will forgive approximately $ 3.4 billion in principal payments and $ 1 billion in future interest payments, according to IDB sources.

    “If you are interested in helping the poor, it makes sense for the developed world to forgive the debt, and that’s what the United States will continue to do,” he said.

    (USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

    Somali pirates kill hostaged seafarer

    According to Shabelle Media News Somali pirates have killed one of the seafarers from a Taiwanese fishing vessel which was captured by the pirates recently, apparently because the ship’s owners would not agree to negotiate a ransom for the ship and sailors.

    They killed the seafarer on Saturday and are threatening to kill another unless their demands are met.

    The ship, the CHING FONG HWA 169 was captured in mid-May off the Somali coast. The crew of 16 consisted of two Taiwanese and 14 Chinese sailors. After the capture the pirates established communication with the ship’s owners over its release.

    Since the interim Somali government took power after Ethiopian troops ousted the Islamists earlier this year the number of piracy attacks has increased with little or nothing being achieved by the current Somali government. Last weekend a Danish cargo ship DANICA WHITE was captured while a French warship patrolled nearby. The French ship reportedly stated it could not intervene as the attack took place in Somali waters.

    One of the reasons offered by the pirates for the spate of attacks against international shipping is that they are acting as coastguards and are protecting the Somali coast against exploitation and acts of illegal dumping at sea. Coastguards however don’t extort ship owners for the release of crew and ships and nor do they execute crew members.

    During the period last year when the Union of Islamic Courts held the reins of power in Somalia piracy was all but stamped out. Immediately the Islamists were overthrown with the aid of Ethiopia in January piracy began to rear its head again.

    In an unrelated incident a US Navy destroyer opened fire on a terrorist hideout in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland in northern Somalia, killing at least eight Islamist fighters that had recently arrived in the area from southern Somalia. The Puntland government acknowledged the shelling of the terrorist hideout near the port of Bargal on the tip of the Horn of Africa, saying that foreign fighters had recently arrived by sea from southern Somalia. It claimed the foreign fighters were made up of Somali militants and international terrorists including Americans, British, Pakistani, Swedish and Yemeni citizens.

    A Puntland official said his government had requested the assistance of the US Navy but declined to give further details.

    Maersk sells drilling rigs

    Maersk Contractors has sold the jack-up drilling rigs MAERSK EXERTER, MAERSK ENHANCER and MÆRSK ENDEAVOUR. The buyer is Northern Offshore Ltd. Bermuda, a company controlled by a large number of foreign investors.

    Maersk Contractors will continue to operate the rigs on behalf of the new owners until the existing contracts with Mærsk Olie og Gas expire in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

    The crews will remain on board the rigs until Maersk Contractors’ involvement comes to an end, and will then be transferred to other units in the rig fleet. Maersk Contractors presently has eight highly advanced drilling rigs under construction for delivery between 2007 and 2010 and several of these are expected to be employed in the North Sea.

    MAERSK EXERTER, MAERSK ENHANCER and MÆRSK ENDEAVOUR are all jack-up type rigs built in 1982.

    Maersk Contractors is a part of the AP Moller - Maersk Group and is one of the leading suppliers of drilling rigs and floating production units. The Maersk Contractors’ fleet consists of 18 drilling rigs and three FPSOs. In addition to this, Maersk Contractors presently has five high-efficiency jack-up rigs, three deepwater semi-submersible and one FPSO under construction. Maersk Contractors employs 3,200 people.

    source – AP Moller

    ICTSI Toamasina stocks up on RTGs

    MICTL’s four RTG Cranes underwent final commissioning and testing at Noell Crane Systems in China. The RTGs were loaded out on a single vessel on its way to Toamasina CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

    The Madagascar International Container Terminal at the port of Toamasina, operated by International Container Terminal Services Ltd (MICTSL), which is a division of ICTSI International Container Terminal Services Inc, has taken delivery of four new Noell rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTGs).

    The new RTGs feature one over five stacking capability to enable high capacity stacking in the container yard and have design features which include a fully electric trolley system with high efficiency electric winches, and anti-sway and electric jacks trim to provide precision skew and auto-steering.

    These are supported by a differential global positioning system operating in conjunction with a local area network.

    An environmentally-friendly performance is delivered via the incorporation of the latest “green,” low emission, new generation Cummins QSX engine in the power train.

    Ease of maintenance is a major feature in the overall design, and is enhanced through remote crane monitoring from the terminal workshop facility. As part of the maintenance reduction effort, Noell Crane Services worked closely with MICTSL in the training of MICTSL maintenance staff. The staff was involved in the final phases of the erection and commissioning of the four RTGs at the manufacturing site and was lectured on the RTGs’ design features. The MICTSL maintenance staff also received intensive training from Siemens on the AC vector control drives and PLC systems, and from Cummins on electronic engine programming, monitoring and troubleshooting.

    source – ICTSI press release

    Fishermen rescued after vessel goes aground

    The ill-fated fishing vessel KAREN lies wrecked off the entrance to St Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape on Sunday, 3 June 2007. Picture courtesy Gavin Riddle, NSRI CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

    There were no fatalities or serious injuries when the fishing vessel KAREN went aground and began breaking up off St Francis Bay on Sunday (3 June).

    The vessel apparently struck a sandbank shortly after sailing from the St Francis harbour in the late afternoon. Emerging into three-metre swells she soon ran onto the rocks alongside the shoreline where she canted over onto on her side.

    The 23 fishermen making up her crew were all able to make their way ashore onto the rocks with the assistance of local people and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).

    Pic of the day – AFRICAN FUTURE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The handysized chemical products tanker AFRICAN FUTURE arriving in Durban on 7 May. The ship has an interesting background despite her young age, and sails under her second name also with an African connotation after several changes of owners and management - including what appears to be sales before the ship was completed in 2005. Her previous names included SHIN-A and SHIN-A 436, presumably the hull number, and, most interestingly, NELSON MANDELA which was carried for a short while in 2005. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

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