Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 22, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • No it’s not April

  • Relief for Dar es Salaam as port congestion eases

  • Cape Town salvage work completed

  • Jamaica announces trade mission to SA

  • Mombasa dredging set to start

  • Pic of the day – DOUGLAS BAY

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

    No, it’s not April

    Some years ago we had the somewhat nutty proposal by a group of so-called entrepreneurs who wanted to build a full-scale working replica of the TITANIC in Durban.

    Before you laugh, the idea was taken very seriously by some, and for a while the project was bandied about by developers and other speculators until it eventually went the way that more level headed people thought it should.

    Later we had an equally serious proposal to bring the cruise ship CANBERRA, then about to be retired from service, to Durban to be moored as a hotel ship cum tourist drawcard. This appeared somewhat more feasible, if still highly impracticable, and the port captain of the day even went so far as to give an assurance that space in the harbour could be made available, subject to certain conditions including dredging out and developing the site.

    By the time the project developers had begun getting their ducks in a row it was too late and the ship was on her way to the breakers yard and history.

    Now comes a newspaper report (EP Herald, 21 August) that blames the delay in relocating Port Elizabeth harbour’s manganese ore dump for the failure of a scheme that would have seen the famous cruise ship/liner QE2 permanently berthed at the Eastern Cape port.

    The article says that negotiations to buy the ship, in the view of many still the most famous passenger ship afloat, were scuppered by the National Ports Authority (NPA). Ouch!

    It says that the R742 million deal had the support of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, the Nelson Mandela Development Agency and Nelson Mandela Tourism, but fell through because the NPA was unable to say when the ore berth would become available (see our report in Monday’s News Bulletin - 20 August).

    When it became clear that a date for the permanent availability of the berth could not be secured the owners of the ship went ahead and negotiated another more urgent offer coming from Dubai, to where the ship has since been sold.

    The local project was going to be financed through a floating (no pun intended) on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and a ‘marriage’ arranged between the two ‘Elizabeths’.

    Port Elizabeth harbour has been earmarked for development as a tourism attraction once the new port at Ngqura opens in 2009, by which time presumably the ore and petroleum products will have been relocated away and the area spruced up.

    The project initiator, Andre Jensen told the newspaper that he had been negotiating with Cunard, QE2’s owner, who was interested in making the ship available until the American company got a firmer offer from Dubai. He said he had received support from the SA Port Operations Business Unit Executive Siya Mhlaluka (not that it has much to do with SAPO – it’s a Transnet NPA matter).

    Relief for Dar es Salaam as port congestion eases

    The introduction of a 24-hour port operation and the establishment of several inland container depots to relieve chronic congestion at the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam has begun to pay off, according to port manager Jason Rugaihuruza.

    He said the construction of the inland depots and fright stations is increasing the offtake of containers from the port, thus reducing dwell time and freeing up vital stack space. Rugaihuruza blamed the amount of transhipment cargo that Dar es Salaam has been forced to handle, resulting from promotional efforts to secure trade for the port, as well as subsidised charges.

    He said there were clear signs that cargo was now moving more quickly and effectively. The congestion experienced at both Mombasa and Dar es Salaam had shown that the two major East African ports had to work closer together to ensure the situation was managed properly. The joint congestion has seen ships diverting to both ports at different times.

    Another factor in the congestion is the increased amount of cargo having to be handled, he said, citing Chinese imports as an example.

    Rugaihuruza said that the Tanzanian Ports Authority intended building a fourth container yard at the Ubungo depot in 2008 and would be introducing new forecasting methods to evaluate future needs for the ports.

    "We must create space and wait for business and not wait for business then create space, which has been our undoing. We have to be three to four years ahead always," he said.

    A constraining factor for Dar es Salaam was its current inability to handle the new generation deeper draught container ships being introduced into service. Port management is planning to widen and deepen Dar es Salaam harbour to accommodate some of the larger ships though not necessarily those with very much greater draughts.

    Port management indicated that Dar es Salaam would handle 280,000 TEU for the 2007/08 financial year, and is forecasting a throughput of 305,000 TEU for 2008/09 and 320,000 TEU for 2009/10. The port caters for a hinterland of 166 million people annually in the countries of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

    source – East African

    Cape Town salvage work completed

    The salvage of two fishing vessels which sank off Ben Schoeman Dock and Duncan Dock in the Port of Cape Town in 2001 and 2002 has been completed, reports Cape Business News.

    The specification called for the raising, removal and disposal of two trawlers, namely the SOUTHERN HARRIER and the St ENOGAT from the waters of the Port of Cape Town.

    Guerrine Marine Construction Company, which tendered to remove the two trawlers described that the work of salvaging these vessels as ‘tedious’.

    Southern Harrier (in 10 metres of water) with a gross weight of 490 ton sank off berth 702 during heavy gale force winds in February 2001, while the second trawler St Enogat, sank after it was overwhelmed by a storm in October 2002, forcing it to lie on its starboard side.

    Adriano Guerrine, MD of Guerrine Marine Construction, said the process of removing these trawlers required constant monitoring from down below and on the surface.

    He said three heavy duty hatches had been designed and engineered to withstand immense pressures once divers began to pump air into the holds. Before the hatches were placed and sealed, divers had to ensure that all the necessary surfaces were thoroughly cleaned of all marine growth.

    “Each of these hatches had inlet and outlet valves to allow the air to be pumped in and water to escape. After surfaces were cleaned and hatches were completed the hatches were lowered into the water, with divers placing and clamping them shut. Air leakages had been stopped and enough air was pumped to move the vessel from its position on the seabed,” said Guerrine.

    A 200 ton sling was placed around the aft section of the vessel while pumping the air into the holds of the fore section. An NPA floating crane lifted the aft section slightly and held the ship in position.

    The fore section of the ship came up and the foremost hatch was removed and all the water pumped from its hold. This was repeated at the middle and end hatches respectively before the ship was afloat and secured to the quay.

    Once marine growth is cleaned from both vessels, they will be cut for scrap metal by a specialist company. Guerrine says the success of this venture is due to the assistance of NPA former Harbour Master Captain Rufus Lekala. It is still unknown how much fuel remains aboard, however all fuel leaks were stopped.

    As a result of the salvage valuable berthing space has been freed up. The salvage took two months to complete.

    source – Cape Business Report

    Jamaica announces trade mission to SA

    by Janine du Plessis (BuaNews)

    Pretoria, 21 August - A cross section of 20 Jamaican businessmen, academics and the media are to be sent on a trade mission to South Africa in October, in search of areas to advance cooperation between the two countries.

    Acting High Commissioner Joan Thomas said this would "plant the seeds of trading in South Africa".

    Speaking to BuaNews at the High Commission in Pretoria, Ms Thomas said representatives from the construction industry, hoteliers, manufacturers and agri-industry stakeholders will form part of the group.

    "We have strong political links with South Africa but we would like to build trade and investment bridges," said Ms Thomas, who has been Acting High Commissioner since the opening of the High Commission in October last year.

    "We want to share ideas and expertise. We have been established here to show South Africa what we have to offer and we want to assist and cooperate in any way we can," said Thomas, adding that she wanted the High Commissions presence to make an impact on the country.

    She said tourism was a key focus area as both countries had developed tourism markets.

    "Jamaica's resort tourism markets have excelled. We have cornered the market with over 3 million people touring our country.

    "South Africa has a well developed eco-tourism industry, which has tripled in the last ten years. But with cooperation South Africa stands to gain a viable resort tourism market especially in Cape Town and Durban."

    Ms Thomas said Jamaica was keen to share expertise within the low-cost housing construction industry.

    South Africa's construction industry needs established companies and engineers to build low cost houses, said Ms Thomas said, adding that this was one of the strengths of Jamaica.

    In terms of furniture-making, manufacturers will form part of the team visiting South Africa with a view to explore opportunities in the country.

    She said Jamaica did not have a well-developed agriculture industry and therefore they could learn much from South Africa.

    "This is an area we would like to cooperate on as South Africa is self-sufficient in terms of this industry."

    Thomas said she hoped to see an explosion of cultural cooperation between the two countries.

    "Reggae music has evolved into a different genre and it has even impacted on South African music as musicians have fused it with Kwaito. We have amazing cuisine that we would like to share. Our foods are hot and spicy," she said.

    The High Commission flew one of Jamaica's top culinary artists to the country to prepare traditional dishes for Jamaica's Independence Day celebrations on 6 August.

    The "Jamaica 45" celebratory events included a church service in Soweto and an Independence Day Reception in Pretoria marking a milestone in Jamaica's history with South Africa.

    Thomas said Jamaica was heartened by President Thabo Mbeki's interests in the Africa Diaspora. "The Caribbean is part of Africa's Diaspora and we have been designated as the 6th Region of the African Union," she explained.

    There are already a number of cooperation agreements in draft form between Jamaica and South Africa. The primary areas include education and culture, science and technology and visa abolition.

    "We hope to have them signed soon so we have a framework to work with. We are currently meeting with government officials to get things started," she said.

    In terms of the visa abolition agreement, South African nationals are currently exempt from requiring a visa for up to three months when visiting Jamaica and this is extended to Jamaicans. "It is already operational but we want to formalise these arrangements."

    She said her country was passionate about sports education in schools as this ensured young sports stars were nurtured and developed. Therefore, Jamaica's excellent sports curriculum was another one of the areas which formed part of the drafted agreements.

    "It is an exciting time to be here in South Africa. This is a post-independence society with many developmental challenges, but we have shared these challenges and we share commonalities such as our goals.

    "South Africa is committed to achieving a rainbow nation, while our motto is 'Out of Many, One people'," said Ms Thomas.

    She said South Africa was on the right path to development and democracy.

    Mombasa dredging set to start

    Consultants who have been appointed to study the area of Mombasa port that requires dredging will have their report completed by November, with actual dredging expected to commence immediately thereafter, says Kenya Ports Authority terminal services
    manager Joseph Atonga.

    Atonga said the duty of the consultants is to identify the scope of the work to be undertaken, the design, particular areas to be dredged, depth and distance. The KPA intends issuing a contract to carry out the work as soon as it has received the report, he said.

    The Kenya government recently approved the project which involves deepening the Likoni Channel over a period of three years. This will be undertaken in three phases and will take place alongside the construction of a second container terminal at a cost of $ 224 million. The dredging project is estimated to cost nearly $ 60 million.

    The project comes amidst clear indications of larger ships being introduced onto the East African services.

    Pic of the day – DOUGLAS BAY

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The Debmarine vessel DOUGLAS BAY (2,172-gt), used in the recovery of diamonds from the seabed off the West Coast, seen in Cape Town harbour. Something else unique about her – she flies the South African flag. Picture Terry Hutson

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