Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 6, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Find consensus, Cape Town is urged

  • Pack ice moving north

  • Coastwatch: maritime news from the African coast

  • More stowaways nabbed off ship at Maydon Wharf

  • Setbacks for South African motor vehicle exports

  • Pic of the day – ARKAAN

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

    Find consensus over port, Cape Town is urged

    An appeal has been made for the city of Cape Town to work together with the provincial government of the Western Cape to present a common front in negotiating with Transnet and the Transnet National Ports Authority over future plans for the port of Cape Town.

    The appeal was made at a mayoral committee meeting by University of Cape Town economic professors Mike Morris and Dave Kaplan who suggested that an arbitration and mediation process might have greater success in finding consensus over several issues of dispute.

    Their comments arose over a difference of opinion between Transnet and the city and province over future use of the port. Transnet says that its core business is that of handling containers, from which Transnet Port Authority derives the most profit, whereas the province would like to see ship repair receive more prominence and support. While the port authority wants to expand its container operations, the Western Cape Province believes that the region should take advantage of opportunities presented to serve the West African oil fields.

    Transnet earlier this year commissioned a study on the economic benefits of ship repair and container handling at the port of Durban, which showed conclusively that as far as Transnet was concerned the greater benefit came from container handling.

    It is not known whether a similar study has been done at Cape Town but the same factors would be in place and similar results were likely. The ship repair industry however argues that the study does not look at the whole picture and that ship repair forms an indispensable and intrinsic cog in any major port.

    Part of the challenge facing Cape Town is that it has a multiparty alliance made up largely of opposition parties leading the city and a provincial government controlled by the ruling African National Congress, leading to the suggestion that a means of consensus be found as a matter of urgency.

    Pack ice moving north


    By Ian Hunter (SAWS), Friday, 3 August 2007 - The above image was taken early this morning (Friday 3 August) by the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) on the European satellite ENVISAT. These images are provided semi-real time to SAWS (SA Weather Service) by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI).

    The region covered lies well to the north-west of the SANAE IV base in Antarctica and roughly 300 nautical miles west of the South Sandwich Island group, where SAWS has an automatic weather station on South Thule Island. Fast ice (attached to the land) can pose a navigational problem over the southern part of this group even as late as December.

    Note that the ice edge presently lies at about 58°S. It will continue to extend northwards until it reaches its maximum northerly position in about a month's time. September is also the month for the annual relief voyage of the SA AGULHAS to the South African weather station on Gough Island. After offloading the new team and her cargo, she will undertake a drifting weather buoy deployment cruise to the south-west of the Island. Although the vessel is unlikely to encounter any pack ice and the nearest large (> 10nm) iceberg is at 62S 15W, it is quite possible that fragments of the latter - or other smaller 'bergs - may be sighted.

    The perturbation at roughly 58°S 15°W provides an indication of the surface current patterns. High levels of nutrients at the ice edge provide for a considerable volume and variety of sea life.

    Interestingly enough some global circulation models actually predict that global warming could result in an increase in the extent of sea ice (as opposed to ice of land origin i.e. icebergs) - in the Southern Ocean. This is due to the fact that seasonal melting is driven by the upwelling of deep, warm water. Accepting the long-term prediction of increased precipitation in this region, the ocean will become more stratified, making it more difficult for this warming to take place.

    The polynya indicated in the south-western part of the image represents an area of open water or relatively low ice concentrations. The 'Agulhas' is able to make use of a semi-permanent polynya north-east of SANAE, almost every year, on the December relief cruise to Antarctica.

    Coastwatch: maritime news from the African coast

    OT Africa shipping line reports heavy congestion at the port of Matadi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On one day last week the container terminal at port was reporting 6,000 TEU stacked in an area designed for 4,500 TEU, with empties having to be stacked some 500m away at the Quai de Venise.

    Ghana’s minister of Ports, Harbours & Railways has announced an allocation of US$5.3 million to acquire a new ferry to be used on Lake Volta. The money will be made available to the Volta River Company to purchase a ferry and to train personnel.

    Nigerian Delta Militants last week staged an attack on two boats travelling between a Shell terminal on Bonny Island and Port Harcourt, nothwithstanding the fact that five armed policemen were on board the two boats to give protection.
    The gunmen made their approach via a motor boat armed with a gun mounted on the bow that had been taken off a captured Nigerian Navy patrol boat. Three people travelling on board the two boats were killed in the attack and the five policemen had their weapons taken away by the attackers. Other passengers were robbed of their possessions.

    The Port of Mombasa will take delivery of a large number of motor vehicles this week arriving on several ships, reports The Nation newspaper. A total of 1700 vehicles are expected to be discharged from the vessels Jolly Verde, Pioneer Runner, Katya Zalenko, Grand Cosmos and Bright Angel. According to the report the importation of this number of vehicles is unusual but is being put down to forthcoming elections in Kenya, with “presidential aspirants bringing into the country a large number of vehicles for their campaigns.”
    However some of the vehicles will find their way onto motor car showrooms and others are in transit bound for neighbouring countries.

    More stowaways nabbed off ship at Maydon Wharf

    Stowaways hiding on a freighter at Durban’s Maydon Wharf were captured and removed from the vessel late last week by members of the Magnum Shield Security stowaway search team.

    The two stowaways were the latest to be caught in Durban following several other discoveries by the same team in the past week. The two men admitted that they had boarded the ship at Maydon Wharf 13 disguised as stevedores, after which they proceeded to no.2 hold once discharging had been completed.

    The security team placed dogs in the hold which immediately began barking, a sure sign that stowaways were present, said Ernst Venter, Magnum Shield Shipping manager. He said the handlers followed into to hold and noticed hand and footprints leading to the first stowaway being discovered.

    “After removing the first man the dogs continued barking, indicating another was on board so the handlers went back in and found a second man further into the hold. Once he was removed the dogs were quiet.”

    Magnum Shield has a special offer available for ships in Durban harbour for the balance of 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 Venter.

    In addition Magnum provides three security guards on the vessel to ensure greater safety 12 hours before sailing.

    Full details are available from Magnum Shield Security at 27 (0)31 314 3300 or email them at shippingkzn@magnumshield.co.za

    Setbacks for South African motor vehicle exports

    Volkswagen is reported to be considering cancelling production of the Golf model right hand drive motor car at the Uitenhage plant near Port Elizabeth and transferring it to Wolfsburg in Germany.

    If production of the Golf model is transferred to Germany it will deal a further heavy blow to South African motor vehicle exports, only a week after it was revealed that the South African Ford Motor Company had lost the contract to produce Ford Focus cars after 2010, partly, so it is believed, because of uncertainty over government policy on the motor industry development programme (MIDP).

    The Ford contract has been won by Ford Australia after the Australian government provided large incentives to its local industry, so it is reported.

    Volkswagen South Africa has been exporting Golf motor cars from the Uitenhage plant for about ten years and the loss of this contract will be a heavy blow not only to the motor industry in the Eastern Cape but the port at Port Elizabeth as well, which faces losing much of its other business to the adjacent new port of Ngqura from about 2009. The Golf contract is worth about 40,000 motor vehicle exports annually.

    Pic of the day – ARKAAN

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The bulker ARKAAN (15,028-gt) at sea off Durban. She is a Greek-owned ship registered in Malta and was built in 1982. Picture Terry Hutson

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