Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 16, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Calling all agents and ship owners - Special offer on stowaway searches in Durban

  • Mozambique to reduce diesel tax on fishing vessels

  • New Coega smelter twist as Rio Tinto bids for Alcan

  • Grindrod receives another accolade

  • Back on the beach – MSC Napoli’s back is broken

  • Pic of the day – BERGE SUMMIT

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

    Calling all agents and ship owners - Special offer on stowaway searches in Durban

    Calling all agents and ship owners! Magnum Shield Shipping Security has a discounted special offer available for the port of Durban during the months of July and August.

    “Our offer is to search the first four vessels at a rate of US $ 600 (to agents account or cash) and then the fifth vessel will be searched for free including with full insurance cover,” says Ernst Venter, shipping manager for Magnum Shield Security.

    He said that in addition Magnum would provide three security guards on the vessel to ensure greater safety 12 hours before sailing.

    Full details are available from Magnum Shield Security at 031 314 3300.

    Venter reports that a total of eight stowaways were discovered hiding on ships in Richards Bay during June. The discoveries were made by Magnum’s specialist team operating with dogs, and indicated that the stowaway problem has not gone away despite stricter security at the ports.

    Magnum Shield Security, which is a division of the Bidvest Group, established their Richards Bay operation in February this year, several months after the launch of their first anti-stowaway division which operates in the port of Durban.

    “Since then we haven’t missed a stowaway”, he says, adding that this is a result of the stringent training the team went through and continues to receive.

    The security team uses Jack Russell dogs to assist them while searching the ships, having found that this breed remains alert and active far longer than other breeds. Because of their small size the dogs can get into places a larger dog cannot – even though a fully grown stowaway may have found a way to hide there.

    Despite the increased security at the port stowaways continue to pose a problem, and often disguise themselves as stevedores to go on board ships, suggesting that genuine stevedores and other port workers are aware and sometimes assist them.

    Mozambique to reduce diesel tax for fishing vessels

    In an effort aimed at solving the crisis facing the Mozambique prawn fishing industry, the Mozambique government is looking at ways to reduce tax on diesel fuel.

    A team from the departments of Fisheries and Finance has been set up to study the effect of lowering the tax and hopes to have a solution by the end of 2007, according to an article published by Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo), which adds that certain businesses in fisheries, agriculture and industry are already receiving tax rebates.

    The Mozambique prawn fishing industry faces a crisis because few vessels are going out to sea on account of high fuel costs. The news reports says that only seven of the 16 licensed semi-industrial boats with their own freezing system remain operative while 13 out of 25 boats licensed to use ice actually go to sea.

    Of eight deep sea prawn trawlers at least one has not gone to sea in recent times on account of the fuel price.

    Adding to the problem is the fall in prices on the European market owing to competition from aquaculture prawn producers in Asia and Latin America. Fishing crews who use ice instead of refrigerated machinery on their boats are also prohibited from exporting into the European Union on health grounds.

    Last year prawn fishing earned Mozambique about US $ 96 million.

    New Coega smelter twist as Rio Tinto bids for Alcan

    Australian mining group Rio Tinto has entered the fray by making a US $ 38.1 billion cash bid for Alcan which the Canadian board is reported to have unanimously recommended for acceptance.

    Rio Tinto’s emergence is just the latest in a long-running saga of the proposed aluminium smelter at Coega on the Eastern Cape coast, adjacent to the new port of Ngqura. A spokesman for Alcan said the offer would not affect plans for the building of the Coega smelter.

    The bid by the Australian group is a clear $ 10 billion higher than that made by Alcoa which offered bn in cash and stock a bid that was treated as hostile by Alcan and which led to fears that the Coega project would be placed on hold.

    Despite the battle for the board room Alcan went ahead in the past week and signed a $ 100 million joint venture agreement over the Coega deal that includes South African construction company Murray & Roberts for engineering design work. The other partners are Canadian company SNC-Lavalin and Hatch.

    The Coega smelter has had a long gestation period stretching at least six years while discussions involving Alcan commenced in 2003 when the Canadian group bought out aluminium manufacturer Pechiney, just as the French company was ready to sign contracts for Coega. Things firmed up in 2006 when Alcan and Eskom signed agreements over the supply of electricity for an amount that has still not been disclosed.

    Grindrod receives another accolade

    South African shipping and logistics company Grindrod has been awarded another top ranking, being listed in the Financial Mail’s Top 20 list.

    The listing of the company follows a close look at historical financial performance factors as well as an assessment of future prospects.

    An extract from the Financial Mail publication reads:

    The judges consider how the company is managed (and is likely to continue to be managed) by assessing corporate governance and the inherent strength of management. For the past three years, commitment to BEE, a key strategic driver for all South African companies, is considered.

    A company may be profitable and well managed, but it is imperative to consider whether it is worth buying. To do that, the share price, valuation and tradability is looked at.

    Companies whose great prospects have been more than fully priced by the market will fall down on this criterion. Profit prospects are considered in two ways. Sector it operates in and measured against its peers in that industry.

    The Top 20 companies have not only done well, they are expected to continue to perform.

    Back on the beach – MSC Napoli’s back is broken

    With her back to all extents and purposes broken and a three metre wide crack in the hull, and with no chance that the ship would have withstood a tow into deep water, salvors working with the UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency took the decision at the end of last week to re-beach the ship and have her broken in two.

    Robin Middleton, the UK’s Secretary of State representative with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency said his decision was taken following a close inspection which revealed the damage to the container ship was worse than had originally been thought. He said that on that basis the vessel was incapable of being towed.

    Following the decision the ship was re-beached at the next high tide, even closer inshore than the spot where she first went ashore earlier this year following a severe storm in the English Channel which resulted in fractures in the ship’s hull.

    It is thought the action of pulling the ship clear from the sandy beach where she has lain for about six months may have further weakened the hull. After completing the task of removing all the containers and contaminant oils from the ship, salvors arranged for the ship to be pulled into deeper water last week so that divers could undertake a more accurate inspection.

    Attention will now turn to breaking the ship up and removing all wreckage.

    Pic of the day – BERGE SUMMIT

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The 44,690-gt Norwegian LPG carrier BERGE SUMMIT seen in Cape Town harbour during May this year and photographed by Ian Shiffman

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

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