Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 23, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • NATO ships en route to Cape Town

  • Rail safety a concern, says regulator

  • West African shipping news

  • Environment watchdogs angry at being excluded from Durban port expansion proposals

  • Big bang coming on Sunday as Durban port silos are imploded

  • Pic of the day – BAHIA CASTILLO

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    NATO ships en route to Cape Town

    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE image courtesy SNMG1

    Details of the six NATO warships currently deployed on a circumnavigation of Africa are now available. The ships are scheduled to arrive in Cape Town from next Tuesday, 28 August for a five day visit.

    The six ships are:

    USS Normandy, a Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser, which is the flagship of Rear Admiral Mike Mahon, Commander of SNMG1. In the latter part of the voyage somewhere in the vicinity of the Seychelles, USS Normandy will leave the group after handing over duties as flagship to USS Bainbridge, one of the Arleigh Burke class destroyers. Bainbridge is not currently part of the group.

    HNLMS Evertsen, a stealth type Zeven Provincien class air defence and command frigate of the Royal Netherlands Navy.

    FGS Spessart, a Germany Navy Rhone class replenishment tanker, acting in support of SNMG1 throughout the deployment.

    HMCS Toronto, a Canadian Halifax class multi-role patrol frigate.

    NRP Alvaras Cabral, one of several Vasco da Gama Meko class frigates in the Portuguese Navy.

    HDMS Olfert Fischer, the Royal Danish Navy Niels Juel class corvette.

    The six ships are due to make a five day official visit to Cape Town, which as far as can be ascertained will commence on Tuesday, 28 August. A reception is to be held on board one of the ships in harbour.

    While in South African waters the NATO ships will take part in exercises with ships of the South African Navy. These exercises will include a series of seamanship and warfare serials which are designed to demonstrate the capability of NATO forces and the South African Navy to operate together, developing integration and operational skills. The respective forces will also conduct training and logistics support including replenishment at sea and helicopter operations.

    In the final stages of the exercises the ships will conduct more advanced warfare serials such as gunnery, anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction operations, including surface surveillance and situational awareness. NATO says it is expected that these more complex exercises will inspire mutual confidence and respect between NATO maritime forces and the South African Navy, allowing for even greater cooperation in possible future combined exercises or operations.

    “The South African Navy is a well respected and capable naval force that plays a vital role in protecting key international shipping routes around the Cape,” said Commander SNMG1, Rear Admiral Michael Mahon.

    “It will be a pleasure to operate with them and to share experience and expertise.”

    It is not known which ships of the South African Navy will take part in the exercise. Of the four frigates SAS Mendi is to take part in the Brazilian Bi-Centennial celebrations in Rio de Janeiro but SAS Amatola is due to return to South Africa after taking part in training exercises with the Royal Navy in UK waters and is due in Cape Town harbour on 4 September. The other two frigates, SAS Isandlwana and SAS Spioenkop are both in Simon’s Town as are the strike craft and two of the new submarines plus the replenishment ship SAS Drakensberg and one can expect most of these ships to take part.

    Rail safety a concern, says Regulator

    The state of South Africa’s railways is a cause for great concern, according to the Railway Safety Regulator in a report made public this week. The same report has already been tabled in parliament.

    The keenly awaited ‘State of Railway Safety in South Africa reveals an alarming number of collisions, derailments and accidents on the country’s railway network totaling nearly 3000 in number.

    According to the Regulator’s CE, Mosengwa Mofi, there were also 2847 security related incidents on trains or affecting the railways, including assault and murder, muggings, theft and vandalism.

    Transnet Freight Rail (the former Spoornet) and Metrorail, the commuter train operator, accounted for about 80 percent of all rail accidents that occurred in the 2005/06 year under review. The incidents cost the two state-owned entities in the region of R650 million. The major contributing factor in these accidents – 33 percent - was human error but ageing rail infrastructure (22 percent) also played a significant role.

    Mofi said that there is a legacy of under-investment in rail and that a lot had still to be done to ‘jack up the system’. He said however that tremendous progress had been made in the past year to correct the state of affairs reflected in the report.

    Mofi said he was confident the directives issued by the Regulator to rail operators which aimed at avoiding further incidents were yielding results. He was however concerned with the high amount of vandalism and theft of operational assets, which had a direct impact on safe railway operations.

    West African shipping news

    Monrovia - Liberia is the recipient of a US$37 million grant from the World Bank to support the new government’s efforts of rebuilding and re-establishing basic infrastructure and agriculture in the West African country.

    Included with the grant is a management contract for operations within the port of Monrovia along with advisory services to reform the port sector. The grant will also go towards funding transport technical assistance and will fund the reconstruction of the port’s oil jetty and repairs to various bridges and road systems vital to the country’s transport network.

    Faced with what it referred to as “deplorable conditions of essential port infrastructures”, the Port of Monrovia had earlier implemented urgent procedures for vessel reception and cargo operation aimed at improving safe port operations.

    source – OTAL and the World Bank

    Offshore service provider pulls out of Nigeria, 22 August 2007 – Farstad Shipping has announced it will sell its AHTS vessel LADY MARGARET to a Nigerian joint venture partner, Vigeo Ltd for $14.5m. This is a direct result of continuing unrest in the Niger Delta region. Farstad operated the vessel by way of a wholly-owned subsidiary.

    Environment watchdogs angry at being excluded from Durban port expansion proposals

    A number of environmental and community watchdogs have expressed unease and concern at what they see as their exclusion from development proposals for Durban Bay.

    In a joint statement the Wildlife and Environment Society, Coastwatch, the Botanical Society of SA (KZN Coastal Branch), groundWork, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), and Earthlife Africa (eThekwini) have expressed their deep concern at their lack of inclusion in the development proposals for the Durban Bay and the ramifications that these proposals will have on surrounding communities and the environment.

    The statement reads as follows:

    “On the 10th May, 2007 a public meeting was held and the large attendance was told that a Forum would be established for the proposed Durban Bay expansion consisting of representatives of all the interest groups. This was accepted by the public in good faith at this meeting.

    “To date, 3 months later, no meeting has yet been called and the planning for the port continues behind closed doors while the public are kept largely uninformed. More worrying still, is that the EIA for the Island View Berth 10 expansion in going ahead in the interim. Although this is a separate project, if it gets the go ahead now, it could effectively negate options for access to the Bayhead area so the EIA for the Bayhead area will be seriously compromised.

    “It must be remembered that the Durban Bay belongs to the people of South Africa and it is their rightful heritage. Numerous local people use the natural resources of the bay to make a living, and their interests should receive priority over international business.

    “Durban Bay is a fully functioning estuary at present although being under severe strain from the port development which has already taken place over the years.

    “The bird populations which use this area are currently under threat and they have diminished alarmingly over the years through loss of habitat. Further hard surface development has been sanctioned despite our national government signing numerous international treaties which protect these migrant species and their required habitats.

    “The small remaining and very important mangrove population is currently protected but for how long? This remnant population is vital to the ecological functioning of the Durban Bay estuary. The Mangroves and the “Little lagoon” are the nursery areas for developing fish and form the nucleus of the proclaimed Bayhead Natural Heritage Site. Can we not learn from the experiences of the development of the Richards Bay harbour where the mangroves were protected during and after the total harbour development project.

    “The Bay is further a place of recreation for the people of Durban with numerous clubs and individuals using the bay for this purpose and these people need to be properly considered and not treated as something that needs to be dealt with that stands in the way of development at all costs.

    “Likewise better traffic flow planning is needed in the South Durban Basin to cope with the current bottlenecks and the increased demand that this expansion will bring.

    “In general the needs of Durban residents need to be properly considered, without treating us as simple-minded obstacles to development. The public need to be part of a holistic process that honestly analyses the costs and benefits of all developments in and around the bay. All interested parties need to be brought to the proposed Forum to openly and honestly discuss whose interests are served by proposed developments so that these benefit not only Transnet and their financial wants (not needs), and eThekwini Authorities and their rates base, but also the people who call this area home and are concerned about the Bay and their future.

    “The public need to know and see that proper and holistic planning is taking place rather than the current approach which seemingly encourages short term, quick fix solutions informed by ‘development at any cost’ thinking.

    “Is it possible that there one set of laws for the Politicians and Authorities and another for public developers???”

    Big bang coming on Sunday as Durban port silos are imploded

    On Sunday 26 August the five Malt Silos previously servicing SA Breweries (SABMiller) on Durban’s Pier 1 will be imploded.

    The toppling will take place at 10am under the direction of Durban-based Blasting & Demolition Services on behalf of Johannesburg company, Jet Demolition.

    The silos are being taken down to make way for the extension of container handling facilities at the Pier 1 Container Terminal. They are situated adjacent to berth 100 and close to Salisbury Island. When SABMiller was given notice to vacate the site it had been intended that Salisbury Island would be cleared for a new car terminal, but this idea was suddenly abandoned with no public explanation being presented.

    Blasting Contracts Manager Charles Mitchell told Ports & Ships that the demolition has involved much coordination with numerous authorities, including the South African Navy, SA Police Services Water Police, as well as contractors involved with the construction of Pier 1 Container Terminal.

    Mitchell advised that the silos will be dropped one at a time in sequence from south to north leaving them to fall in a westerly direction.

    Pic of the day – BAHIA CASTILLO

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    BAHIA CASTILLO, the third of six newbuilds for Hamburg Süd as described in our News Bulletin for Tuesday, 21 August, seen on berth at the Durban Container Terminal on the very next day, 22 August 2007. Picture Terry Hutson

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