Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 18, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • South African visit by US destroyer is confirmed

  • Motor industry strike continues

  • New skips for Richards Bay terminal

  • Special Report: Many modern conflicts are food wars, say experts

  • Pic of the day – BASS BULKER

    South African visit by US destroyer is confirmed

    The US Consulate in Durban has confirmed that USS Forrest Sherman (DDG98), one of the most modern and powerful destroyers afloat, will call at Durban within the next week, followed by a visit to Cape Town. The Forrest Sherman, an Arleigh Burke-class multirole guided missile destroyer, is currently on a visit to Maputo in Mozambique (see yesterday’s PORTS & SHIPS News Bulletin).

    The ship’s commanding officer is Cmdr Dean Vesely and the vessel carries a crew of about 360.

    The Arleigh Burke class of destroyer is a modern ship with a length of 155m length which displaces 9,200 tons fully loaded and is regarded as the mainstay of the US Navy surface fleet in the first part of this century. Thirty-four ships in the class have been built or are on order.

    USS Forrest Sherman, as part of a newly established task force dedicated to the African East and South Coast region and which is known as the Southeast Africa Task Group 60.5, has also paid visits to Djibouti, Dar es Salaam and Moroni in the Comoros on her current cruise.
    Southeast Africa Task Group 60.5 is under the command of Captain Nicholas Holman.

    During her visit to Durban and Cape Town many of the sailors on board will enjoy some shore leave, and in Durban the US Navy is hoping to arrange a public concert involving musicians from the ship. While in Durban next week the ship will not be open to the public and will sail for Cape Town on completion of her visit.

    “Strong maritime partnerships are vital to the security of a region and, ultimately, to its stability and economic development. Peaceful, secure and prosperous seas are in everyone’s best interest,” said Capt Holman when he addressed a group of diplomats and Tanzanian government and military officials at a reception on the ship’s flight deck in Dar es Salaam harbour recently.

    Motor industry strike continues

    Last week’s strike involving an estimated 50,000 motor vehicle component workers appears continued into this week with no sign of an agreement with management being reached.

    The strike, which appears to have hit the Eastern Cape manufacturers particularly hard, has seen several pants including the VW in Uitenhage outside Port Elizabeth halt production, while DaimlerChrysler in East London is also reported to have stopped production last week and sent 1600 workers home. A spokesman for VWSA described the strike as a ‘total disaster’ for the company.

    Nissan SA also closed its production lines last week while Ford SA was forced to shut down one of the lines. According to General Motors SA the plant was able to continue production but was going to have to reassess things this week if industrial action continues.

    There is no indication yet whether any export orders have been affected.

    The strike was called by members of the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) over an offer of a wage increase.

    New skips for Richards Bay terminal

    Arlona Engineering recently manufactured nine of these 20m³ skips designed by Transnet Port Terminals for Richards Bay

    Mechgen has commissioned Arlona Engineering, specialists in fabrication, machining, proofloading and maintenance, to manufacture 40 8m³ capacity skips for Transnet Port Operations (formerly SAPO).

    “These robust skips, which will be used for the loading of iron ore into the hull of vessels at the Port of Richards Bay, are being manufactured according to stringent SSAB specifications at Arlona’s fabrication facility in Durban,” says Steve Christy, managing director of Arlona Engineering. “The company has completed other successful projects of a similar nature for SAPO that include the fabrication of nine of the biggest skips in operation at Richards Bay. These 20 m³ skips are used for pitch coke and have been trouble free since delivery early in 2006.

    “Although the skips currently being manufactured for Mechgen were originally designed by SAPO engineers, Arlona has recently completed a project for forty 8m³ units using the company’s own design that has set new standards for strength and durability, as well as efficient manufacture and minimal need for repair. Another 20 skips for the same customer are soon to be commissioned.”

    Special materials are used in the manufacture of these skips to ensure high strength and extended service life. Hardox 450, which is a wear-resistant steel that is manufactured by SSAB Oxelösund in Sweden, has a useful life up to five times longer than ordinary structural steel. Although this material has a hardness of 450 Brinell - that is three to four times harder than structural plate - its excellent forming and welding properties make it an ideal manufacturing material for this application.

    Before these skips are delivered to Richards Bay, they will be load tested at Arlona’s specialised proofloading facility that is equipped with a test rig certified to proofload up to 100 tons. These 8 m³ skips have a safe working load (SWL) of 20 tons and will be load tested and certified to 25 tons.

    Arlona Engineering, which is accredited by the Department of Labour as a testing station, also offers a load testing service to general industry to ensure that all lifting equipment complies with the Occupational Health and Safety Act requirements.

    Special Report: Many modern conflicts are food wars, say experts

    Holistic approach built on food security can stabilise postwar societies

    by David McKeeby
    USINFO Staff Writer

    This is the fourth in a series of articles on US food aid programs and agricultural assistance for vulnerable populations around the world. The other three articles are available on the USINFO website – see below

    Washington -- Throughout history, hunger has been both a cause and effect of war. For this reason, according to anthropologist Ellen Messer and political scientist Marc Cohen, most modern conflicts should be viewed as “food wars,” a concept that poses unique challenges for the United States as the world’s leading provider of food assistance.

    “Food does have this enormous moral weight in our society, and rightly so,” Messer told USINFO in a recent interview. “Sharing food is part of the history of our way of life. Making sure that all have enough to eat is certainly part of all the religious traditions that make up America.”

    In exploring the link between persistent hunger and armed conflict, Messer, a professor at Brandeis University, and Cohen, a researcher for the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute, have published a series of articles in recent years exploring famines, poverty and the distribution of food resources within communities. From their research, they have developed their concept of “food wars,” the practice of warring parties fighting for control of food supplies to reward their supporters and punish their enemies.

    In a 2003 study, they found that more than 56 million people living in 27 countries face “food insecurity,” such as supply disruptions, shortages and malnutrition due to conflicts -– an average of 20 percent -- but noted that the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has found country-specific levels as high as 25 percent in Sudan, 43 percent in Tanzania and 49 percent in Haiti, and at 70 percent or higher in Afghanistan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

    “We took this as a starting point for looking at a food wars concept, where conflict is one of the chief causes of hunger. We looked at the many ways that conflict interferes with food security,” Messer explained, such as its effect on family income and its destruction of farms, markets, schools and health clinics. They also looked at the role of food insecurity in perpetuating conflict.

    Today’s most significant food wars, Cohen told USINFO, can be found in Sudan’s Darfur region; in the greater Horn of Africa region, which encompasses conflicts in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo; and in the disruptions to families displaced by ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Food security remains a challenge for families driven from their homes by fighting in Colombia, he added, as well as in several post-conflict countries, including Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Tajikistan, with serious implications for those nations’ futures.

    Breaking the link between hunger and conflict

    To break the link between hunger and conflict, Messer said, aid efforts must operate simultaneously on two separate tracks: reducing food insecurity by addressing shortages with emergency food aid, while increasing food security by helping area residents to more effectively raise their own crops and strengthen the region’s economy in ways that could reduce the likelihood of future conflicts.

    “Food can be used as a hook to build other capacities,” Messer said, “health programs, income generation programs and education programs, which is another very important way food is used.”

    By ensuring basic food security, food aid can promote stability and help communities resist renewed calls for militant violence or recruitment by terrorists, who exploit community grievances to justify attacks, according to Messer and Cohen.

    Following the 2004 South Asian tsunami, said Cohen, joint relief efforts by government forces and insurgents in Indonesia’s Aceh led to a peace agreement in 2005, evidence of how food aid can bring combatants together. But food security is only one variable in the equation, he acknowledged, looking across the Bay of Bengal to Sri Lanka, where hostilities resumed after a brief pause.

    “A food security effort can be important in stimulating a peace process,” Cohen said, “but it’s obviously not sufficient to make it happen.” Peace-building requires a holistic approach that integrates a variety of aid programs in post-conflict societies.

    Food aid plays a particularly important role in the tenuous first months after the end of a conflict, Cohen said, as displaced families and former combatants return home to await the first new harvests.

    “That’s clearly a place where food aid is an appropriate kind of intervention,” he said. “It’s all the more important that it be linked to demining, perhaps agrarian reform, and rebuilding the infrastructure.”

    As the world’s largest donor of humanitarian food aid, the United States plays an important role, he said, but it must do more through its partnerships with the United Nations and nongovernmental aid organizations to integrate emergency food aid into conflict resolution.

    “If food activities, that is, building food security where it has been destroyed through conflict, is going to go forward, there has to be security, and this is the conundrum that so many of these post-conflict reconstruction reconciliation projects run into,” said Messer.

    (USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

    Pic of the day – BASS BULKER

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    BASS BULKER seen in Cape Town harbour on 25 May this year, picture by Ian Shiffman

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