Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 20 2007
Author: P&S

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  • End of the road for hospital ship ANASTASIS

  • Ghana urges US investors to look beyond oil

  • Straddle carriers arrive in East London

  • MSC Napoli – the ship that just won’t die

  • World Bank highlights African port projects

  • Pic of the day – KAMANGA

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
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    End of the road for hospital ship ANASTASIS

    A chance review of a list of ships that have called at Cape Town in the past few days threw up an interesting name, which required immediate checking and verification.

    The ship was the Mercy ship ANASTASIS, which arrived in the Mother City in the past week to load bunkers for her final voyage to the breakers of Alang in India. Anastasis has become quite famous the world over, not only for performing humanitarian duties as a hospital ship in ports that often lack much in the way of modern medical facilities, but also because of the ship’s long history.

    Anastasis was equipped with three fully equipped operating theatres, a dental clinic, laboratory and X-Ray unit. Built in Trieste in 1953 as a passenger liner, she was acquired by Mercy Ships in 1978 and saw duty at many places throughout the world, becoming surplus to requirement only a few months ago with the arrival of Mercy Ships’ latest vessel, AFRICA MERCY, which has now entered service in West Africa.

    Mercy Ships are manned almost entirely by volunteers, a number of whom have a medical background. Volunteers also take sundry other skills among the local communities in spheres other than medical, helping with the upliftment of the community.

    Ghana urges US investors to look beyond oil

    Accra, 19 July (BuaNews) - Ghana's head of state has urged private sector operators from the United States to increase their investments in Africa beyond the extractive industries of oil and precious minerals.

    Addressing the Sixth African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum Wednesday, President John Agyekum Kufuor identified agriculture, processing, manufacturing and tourism as some key areas that they could put their money into.

    This, said Mr Kufuor, would assist in technology transfer and build the continent's capacity to become more competitive and effective partners in trade.

    Additionally, investors should also look at the re-location of industries and outsourcing Information Communication Technology (ICT) contracts to the region, he told the three-day forum.

    The meeting is also providing a platform for trade ministers from 39 AGOA-qualified countries in sub-Saharan Africa, representatives of the private sector, civil society groups and US officials to discuss ways of increasing US-Africa trade.

    The African Growth and Opportunity Act is a US Trade Act that enhances US market access for 39 Sub-Saharan African countries.

    The Act originally covered the period from October 2000 to September 2008, but amendments signed into law by President George W Bush in July 2004 further extended AGOA to 2015.

    The theme for this year's AGOA Forum is: “As Trade Grows, Africa Prospers: Optimising the Benefits under AGOA.”

    AGOA opens up the US market to eligible countries to export more than 6,400 duty-free and quotation-free products, estimated at more than 10 trillion USD without reciprocity.

    Imports from Africa under this initiative totalled 44.2 billion USD last year, a five-fold increase over 2001, when the programme began. The increase involved mostly crude oil and apparel exports.

    The programme ends in 2015 and this, President Kufuor said, must be extended by five years to give Africa space to take full advantage of the opportunity.

    “Given the time constraint and the very serious capacity challenges, we must admit, Africa can hardly exploit the benefits of this huge initiative anywhere to the full.

    “I will therefore appeal, first to the US Government to extend the time of AGOA to 20 years, then to the countries in Africa as well as our development partners in the US to design and implement a specific and efficacious vehicle targeted at empowering African nations in terms of capacity building.”

    President Kufuor said AGOA benefits must not be seen only from the perspective of the African.

    He quoted the statement made by President Bush, while signing the AGOA Acceleration Act in 2004 that, “When America sells to Africa, it means employment for somebody in America” and said the programme, should therefore work both ways to everyone's advantage.

    The Head of the US Delegation, Susan Schwab, said the US was determined to serve as a strategic partner with Africa and would not stop, until the continent has realised its enormous potentials.

    She noted that if the region could increase its share of the global trade, which stands at two per cent, by a single percentage, it would be generating 70 billion USD annually.

    This would be about three times the amount of development assistance it has been receiving.

    Ms Schwab spoke of the need for enhanced intra-African trade and South-South trading and re-affirmed the US commitment to reducing agricultural trade distortions.

    Ms Schwab, who is the Trade Adviser to President Bush, described the future of Africa as full of hope saying, there was now a new breed of political leaders who were determined to turn the economic fortunes of the continent around.

    Straddle carriers arrive in East London

    They may be old and ‘hand-me-downs’, but the eight straddle carriers which were delivered to the port of East London this week on board the heavylift BLACK RHINO (former Cheyenne) are seen as long overdue and very welcome by port users and officials alike.

    The straddle carriers became surplus to the Durban Container Terminal when it took delivery of a fleet of more than 100 new machines delivered from Finnish manufacturer Kalmar (see PORTS & SHIPS 14 April 2006 - http://www.ports.co.za/sapo/article_2006_04_14_4114.html)

    Eight of the older machines released from service in Durban underwent refurbishment before being transferred to East London. Although not an ideal situation it does strengthen the port’s ability to handle containers at the East Bank container terminal, where a rise in volume is expected following the news that the DaimlerChrysler plant in the city has embarked on a programme of building the new model C-class Mercedes motor cars for export. (see PORTS & SHIPS News Bulletin 4 July.

    MSC Napoli – the ship that just won’t die

    Despite a second round of explosives the crippled container ship MSC Napoli refuses to break in two.

    Efforts to separate the bow from the stern of the vessel met with mixed success on Wednesday evening with two longitudinals remaining intact, holding the ship together in one piece. Deck plates had been successfully separated in the explosion, and tugs later attempted to flex the vessel structure to complete the break. It’s the salvors intention to float away the front section – the stern being firmly grounded.

    If all else fails a third set of explosions has been set for today (Friday).

    MSC Napoli was on a voyage from Northern Europe to South Africa in January this year when she was caught in a storm in the English Channel. With the hull suffering stress fractures her crew abandoned the ship and were rescued by helicopters. A salvage crew later went on board and attempted to take the vessel to safety.

    However, with the storm offering little respite the salvors opted to run the ship ashore on the Devon coast to prevent her sinking in an area that would certainly have led to large-scale pollution of the English and possibly French coastlines.

    With the ship stranded and efforts to refloat her later proving unsuccessful, attention turned to removing pollutants and her cargo of over 4,000 containers. A number of the latter had washed overboard and onto the nearby beach, where hordes of locals scavenged the contents with scant regard to the legal owners. Efforts are still underway to recover some of the cargo stolen from these containers.

    World Bank highlights African port projects

    The World Bank recently cited International Container Terminal Services, Inc.’s (ICTSI) port projects in Africa, South America and Europe as examples of successful Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).

    In a presentation delivered at the Regional Workshop on Public-Private Partnership in Transport held in Riga, Latvia, Michel Audigé, World Bank Lead Transport Specialist in the Infrastructure and Energy Services Department, pointed out the various investments that ICTSI had introduced in Brazil’s Suape Container Terminal (SCT), Madagascar’s Madagascar International Container Terminal (MICT) and Poland’s Baltic Container Terminal (BCT), and how these investments raised operational efficiency at the terminals.

    In his study on SCT and BCT, which ICTSI started operating in 2002 and 2003, respectively, Audigé noted ICTSI’s multimillion dollar investments in container handling equipment, and how these resulted in the growth of TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit) throughput.

    For the Toamasina terminal, Audigé cited the sizeable financial returns that Madagascar is set to benefit from the project in terms of investments and concession fees. He also noted the reduction of tariff at the terminal, where handling and reception and delivery fees were lowered by 20 and 10 percent, respectively, since ICTSI commenced operations in 2005. The study likewise underlined ICTSI’s commitment to keep a fixed number of local employees at the terminal.

    The Regional Workshop on Public-Private Partnership in Transport aimed to provide an overview of the role and contribution of PPP’s in maintaining, upgrading and extending transport infrastructure. The workshop was designed to increase participants' knowledge in several areas, including PPP options and challenges, competitive selection of concessionaires, establishment of regulatory institutions for toll roads, improving governance in transport infrastructure PPP concessions, key success factors for PPP implementation, benefits and risks including traffic forecast risks and impacts on revenues.

    Pic of the day – KAMANGA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The rather smart Cambodian-flagged refrigerated (reefer) vessel KAMANGA (2244-gt) seen off the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia. To add to the cosmopolitan background of this little ship, she is managed by Seatraffic Ltd of Sevastopol in the Ukraine while her registered owner is Falcon Reefers which has its head office in the Isle of Man. Picture by Ivan Kalyazhin

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

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