Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 20, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Forensic investigation into the big harbour fire begins

  • Tit for tat spat between port of Mombasa and Rift Valley Railway

  • Biggest single Cat cargo docks in Cape Town

  • Safmarine container classrooms a big hit in Zambia

  • Norway boosts ties with Namibia, Angola

  • Pic of the day – CARIBBEAN MERMAID

    Investigation into the big harbour fire begins

    Dampening down operations were underway yesterday at Durban’s Island View oil and chemical storage facility after the devastating fire of the previous night (Tuesday - see yesterday’s News report).

    At least one man has been reported missing and is feared to have died in one of the fireballs that enveloped a large section of the terminal around 7pm. It now appears that as many as eight storage tanks were damaged or burned out after the fire broke out – some reports said it started with a road tanker that caught fire and exploded into flames.

    However Transnet said in a statement issued yesterday that the cause of the fire was unknown and was the subject of a forensic investigation.

    The port authority said that the fire had been brought under control and although one tank remained burning yesterday this was under control and being allowed to burn out. Shipping operations which had been stopped during the inferno resumed yesterday morning, with the exception of Island View terminal. A number of ships on berth at Island View were moved to the outer anchorage during the height of the blaze and had not returned by late yesterday.

    “Transnet wishes to express its deepest gratitude to the joint emergency services who worked through the night to bring the fire under the control. Similarly, we thank everyone who extended a hand during the incident which is being investigated,” said a port spokesperson.

    Soon after the fire broke out emergency services began evacuating both the Island View complex and sections of the neighbouring suburb on the Bluff which overlooks the tank farm. People were moved to church halls but were allowed to return home at about 2am when it was deemed safe.

    Some Transnet employees, involved in the evacuation of vessels from the area, were taken to hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation and later discharged.

    Operations at the container terminals on piers 1 and 2, which had been temporarily suspended as a precaution, resumed at 6am yesterday. The rest of the port remained working as normal.

    Transnet said that the full scale of the damage had not yet been determined.

    While the port and city emergency services are to be commended for the smart and efficient way in which they arrived at the scene and dealt with one of Durban’s largest ever, and potentially most dangerous fires, there has been some justifiable criticism that communication with the public, and especially those living in the area, was conflicting and unclear.

    Tit for tat spat between port of Mombasa and Rift Valley Railway
    According to a media report in the East African newspaper, words are being exchanged between the management of the port of Mombasa, which is upset at a vessel delay surcharge raised because of delays to shipping, and the Rift Valley Railway (RVR), which the port suggests is not helping to clear the port quickly enough.

    In an attempt to ease the build-up of cargo the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) extended an amnesty to importers to encourage them to remove containers stored at the Mombasa container terminal. The amnesty has since been extended until the end of October.

    Importers are allowed to decide whether to use road or rail to move their boxes, and because of cheaper costs many opt for rail. However this has placed additional pressure on RVR, which is already struggling to move sufficient containers out of the port. At the same time the railway stands to lose if many importers opt for road transport instead.

    But according to the report the RVR is moving a mere 7 percent of containers that arrive at the terminal.

    In response to the criticism Roy Puffet, RVR’s managing director told the newspaper that the accusations against the rail operator were misplaced and he accused the port of having its own problems. He cited prolonged breakdowns of ship-to-shore gantry cranes at the container terminal.

    “Ask the port how long some of their gantry cranes have been down. One was out of service for about two months and another for about one month," he is quoted as saying.

    At the same time Puffet admitted that the rail was experiencing problems, including a rail bridge which remained damaged for almost one week and slowed down rail traffic. Nevertheless he maintained that RVR’s performance had not declined.

    The vessel delay surcharge has been raised by member lines of the East African Conference Lines (EACL) which in February also raised a similar surcharge at Dar es Salaam. The surcharge at Mombasa amounts to $ 200 per TEU for southbound containers and $ 100 per TEU for northbound boxes.

    "Regrettably, the member lines can no longer afford to absorb the losses being incurred and therefore have to announce the introduction of a Northbound Emergency Vessel Delay Surcharge," the EACL notice said.

    source – East African

    Biggest single Cat cargo docks in Cape Town

    The biggest load of Caterpillar equipment ever to land in South Africa on a single vessel happened last month in Cape Town.

    The vessel, the AFRICAN KITE, was carrying 40 Cat machines, the majority large mining machines, weighing in at a total 2,035 tons. The vessel was chartered specially to transport the consignment, occupying 7,000 cubic metres of hold space, from the USA for Barloworld Equipment customers in southern Africa, including Zambia, Angola and the DRC.

    On 6 August 2007 the vessel docked in Cape Town to discharge the bulk of its cargo, comprising 36 trucks, dozers, wheel loaders and various other machines, as well as separate components such as buckets and truck bowls.

    The machines and components were transported out of the harbour on 61 lowbed trucks.

    From there The African Kite made for Durban, where the remaining equipment, three off-highway trucks bound for Zambia and a large wheel loader for Angola, were offloaded and transported out of the harbour on another 16 lowbeds. All the machines reached their destinations within two to seven working days. In addition to customers in Angola, Botswana, Zambia and the DRC, machines in this consignment were transported to seven provinces in South Africa: Limpopo, the Northern and Western Cape, Mpumalanga, the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

    The machines were assembled where necessary and underwent pre-delivery inspections by Barloworld Equipment prior to handover to customers.

    source – Cape Business News www.cbn.co.za

    Safmarine container classrooms a big hit in Zambia

    Zambia’s Amano Christian School this week celebrated the official opening of new school facilities constructed entirely from shipping containers donated by multi-trade shipping line, Safmarine. Twenty-five containers were used to build 10 modern classrooms, one science laboratory and one assembly hall. Safmarine also funded the conversion of the containers, which was done by skilled Zambian artisans.

    According to Philip Grove, Chairman of the Amano School’s Board of Trustees, construction of the Amano container school - which takes its name from the Bemba word for ‘wisdom’’ – first began in 2003 and was completed in 2007.

    “You have invested in the lives of the many children who will pass through Amano School in the years ahead,” Grove said.

    The school currently has 78 students in Grades one to 12 and aims to have 350 learners upon completion of its facilities.

    “Seafreight containers play an important role in growing trade between Zambia and the rest of the world, and it is therefore appropriate that shipping containers no longer required at sea are able to add value to the Zambian community by providing its children with safe, secure premises in which to further their education,” said Alan Jones, Safmarine Africa Region Executive.

    Jones said it was an honour for Safmarine to partner its customer, the Christian Mission in Many Lands (CMML), in this project. Sunny Brook Christian Trust (a joint venture of CMML and Liebenzell Mission International) coordinated the building project and also provided books and stationery for the school’s learners.

    The ‘recycling’ of seafreight containers no longer required at sea into permanent, land-based infrastructure is considered an important part of Safmarine’s activities, said Jones. “As global trade grows, so too does the world’s container fleet, which makes it important to find permanent, innovative and sustainable uses for retired shipping containers.”

    Jones says an estimated 90 percent of the world’s goods are currently transported in seafreight containers.

    The Amano Christian School is situated in Chingola, a mining town in the heart of Zambia’s copper belt and home to a community of around 2.5 million and the world’s largest open-cast copper mine. The school - which provides an education for mainly Aids orphans, children of Zambian Christian workers, missionaries’ children and other Zambian children – has plans to extend its activities beyond childhood education.

    Philip Grove says the school is hoping, as part of its future community outreach programme, to provide job opportunities for unemployed people from the local community. “Future plans include building a medical health centre with the emphasis on the care and support of AIDS sufferers, a Christian Conference Centre and youth camp facilities.”

    The container-based Amano Christian School is one of several container schools built in Africa by Safmarine as part of its renowned ‘Containers in the Community’ programme, which was established in South Africa in 1991.

    Norway boosts ties with Namibia, Angola

    Luanda, 19 September (BuaNews) - A parliamentary delegation from Norway has arrived here for an official five-day mission, to reinforce bilateral co-operation ties with the Angolan National Assembly.

    The nine legislators in the delegation, who arrived here Monday had just completed a visit to Windhoek, Namibia, where they carried out a similar mission.

    The delegation touring these two Southern African states is being led by the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Norwegian parliament, Olav Akselsen.

    The delegation's visit to the country ends on Friday.

    Mr Akselsen said the visit to Angola was to enable the legislators to learn about the country and meet Angolan MPs, with the aim of reassessing the bilateral co-operation in the parliamentary field.

    He added that during the meetings with members of the Angolan parliament, both sides would discuss various issues, especially on matters relating to human rights and corruption.

    Mr Akselsen, a former Norwegian oil minister who visited Angola in 2000 in that capacity, said the delegation would also get acquainted with the current developments in the country and the region.

    Expressing the hope that bilateral co-operation in the energy sector would continue to improve, he said that apart from oil, Norway also hoped to strengthen business ties with Angola in other fields as well as the political relations between the peoples and countries.

    The delegation is expected to meet the speaker of the National Assembly, Roberto de Almeida, members of various commissions of the Angolan parliament, and senior officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

    They are also scheduled to meet the State Ombudsman, Paulo Tchipilica, the Governor of Luanda, Job Castelo Capapinha, as well as directors of Norwegian firms operating in the Angolan oil sector, including Statoil Hydro and Aker Kvaerer.

    On arrival at the 4 de Fevereiro International Airport here Monday, the delegation was welcomed by the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Angolan Parliament, Domingos Ginga, and Norwegian Ambassador to Angola Arild R Oeyen.

    Pic of the day – CARIBBEAN MERMAID

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    As the 2007 citrus season draws towards a close at the end of October, the reefer vessel CARIBBEAN MERMAID makes one final entrance in Durban harbour to load fruit at the Fresh Produce Terminal on the T-Jetty. The ship has made several calls to South Africa during the past season. Picture by Arie Burgraaf

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