Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 4, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • News from the shipping lines

  • Nigeria unhappy with low number of local seafarers

  • Debmarine’s sea diamonds success

  • SA, Italy to strengthen bilateral ties

  • Special Feature: Horn of Africa people traffic set to escalate

  • Pic of the day – SANTA ANNABELLA

    News from the shipping lines

    Safmarine is withdrawing from handling cargo to and from Australia with effect 1 January 2008. The shipping line has been active in Australia since 2001 where it says it has developed a good working relationship with Australian importers and exporters.

    The last sailings for which Safmarine cargo can de accepted out of Australia are:

    Australia to Southern Africa, West Africa and East Africa

    Voyage 0802 Maersk Denton Sydney 18-20 December
    Melbourne 21-22 December
    Adelaide 24-25 December
    Fremantle 28-29 December

    Australia to Asia

    Voyage 7249 MSC Sonia Melbourne 24-26 December
    Sydney 27-28 December
    Brisbane 30-31 December

    From 1 January Safmarine’s sister company, Maersk Line will continue offering the services similar to Safmarine in and out of Australia.

    In other Safmarine news the names of the four 12,000-DWT Chinese-built tweendecker multi purpose ships that are being taken on charter for the company’s West Africa service are now available (see our News Bulletin for 30 August http://ports.co.za/news/article_2007_08_29_5828.html#five.)

    The ships have been named SAFMARINE AKWABA, SAFMARINE ANDISA, SAFMARINE ANGELA and SAFMARINE ANITA and appear to be on charter from Switzrland’s Enzian Shipping

    SA Independent Liner Services (SAILS) which recently received a R41 million injection of capital from Lonhro giving the mining group a 45 percent shareholding, has announced it is doubling its fleet to four ships with the charter of the 966-TEU HEINRICH SIBUM (9981-gt) and the 1100-TEU TAGA BAY – the latter ship is still fitting out in China.

    The two larger ships will operate on SAILS’ South Africa – West Africa – Europe while two smaller 650-TEU vessels already in service, the BERTA and EMILIA, will focus on the South Africa – West Africa service.

    According to a company spokesperson the Taga Bay has been chartered for two years while Heinrich Sibum will operate on a round voyage basis with options for further voyages.

    Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics recently had charge of a very special cargo between Japan and the UK when it delivered the UK’s first Bullet Train from Kobe, Japan.

    The Bullet Train, consisting of a number of Hitachi Class 395 units (locomotive and coaches) was shipped on board the Norwegian-flagged 67,140-gt TARAGO and discharged at the port of Southampton after a six-week, 10,760 mile sea journey. The train is to be joined by a further three consists and will go into service in the UK on its Southeastern Railways High Speed 1 line between Ashford in Kent and London’s newly refurbished St Pancras Station.

    The bullet trains will enter service in December 2009 and are intended to play a key role during the 2012 London Olympics with a time of just 7 minutes between St Pancras and London Olympic Games at Stratford. Testing of the new train and the rail network will commence in October this year.

    Nigeria unhappy with low number of local seafarers

    Nigeria’s Minister of Labour Dr Hassan Muhammed Lawal has spoken out about the shortage of Nigerian seafarers and says the number is a far cry from what is required.

    Nigeria is estimated to have a total of 5,000 seafarers employed in the West African country’s maritime sector, compared with a total of 6,000 vessels of all types operating in Nigerian waters.

    Speaking to representatives of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Lawal there are about 100,000 seafarers working within Nigerian territorial waters, of which less than 5 percent are local Nigerians, which he described as ‘grossly inadequate and unacceptable.’

    He warned that the situation would be reversed when the maritime Labour Convention 2006 is ratified.

    “Nigerians would have a lot of benefit in terms of employment generation, and better condition of employment for seafarers. As soon as the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) is constituted, the ratification and domestication of the convention will be concluded,” he said.

    source – Daily Champion

    Debmarine’s sea diamonds success

    The De Beers diamond mining vessel PEACE IN AFRICA seen in Cape Town in January this year where the ship underwent final fitting. For another view of this ship see our News Report SHIP OF THE DAY for 17 January 2007. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    De Beers’ new sub-sea mining venture, the Peace in Africa, which was put together at a cost of close R1.2 billion to mine diamonds off the Namaqualand coast, has the making of a sparkler of size, writes Cape Business News.

    Cape Town-based De Beers Marine’s general manager Burger Greeff says full production started on 16 June and the vessel has recovered 22,000 carats during the first month of production.

    Although it is early days yet, this equates to an annual production rate of around 264,000 carats – 10 percent higher than the initial projections. And, says Greeff, “the crawler performed well and early indications are that the vessel will exceed the planned mining rate and utilisation.”

    De Beers Marine is responsible for the operational side of this mining venture, the first by De Beers Consolidated Mines in South African waters.

    Says Greeff: “After construction and installation of the mining system and the treatment plant was completed in the port of Cape Town, the vessel headed for the mining license area ML3 on 2 May.”

    “Technical personnel from various suppliers joined the project team from De Beers Marine on board for six weeks of commissioning and testing.”

    “The mining system, a crawler based dredge system, was tested in various geologies at depths of up to 130 m.”

    “The crawler utilises a 2.4MW dredge pump to vacuum diamond-bearing gravels off the seabed.”

    “The remotely operated crawler performed well in all the tests, and as the new operators, called crawler pilots, became used to it, the mining rate and utilisation increased. The new sonar-based subsea visualisation system has proven to be extremely beneficial to the successful operation of the crawler.”

    “During commissioning, swells of up to 11m were experienced accompanied by gale force winds. The master and crew were very satisfied with the vessel’s performance under such conditions.”

    “The same however can not be said for some of the land based technical personnel who never found their sea-legs,” according to Greeff.

    The Peace in Africa, at 176 metres long and 28 wide, with a displacement of approximately 20,000 tons, is far bigger than any of the offshore diamond mining vessels De Beers Marine or De Beers Marine Namibia have operating off the Namibian coast.

    It is also the second largest South African flagged ship.

    At the heart of the project is a 265 ton underwater crawler. It is not only its size though that impresses.

    The new crawler will also be very efficient, thanks to high technology electronic equipment for positioning and visualisation, says Jones.

    It will mine 24 hours a day, day in and day out throughout the year.

    The underwater vehicle is mounted on twin Intertractor tracks and equipped with an anterior suction system that will process the sea-bed at 10 000 metres cubed of water and gravel an hour.

    Of this about 250 tons will be screened for diamonds.

    The venture will take place in the ML3 mining licence area, just south, but adjacent to, the Namibian Atlantic 1 licence area where De Beers Marine Namibia has been fruitfully harvesting gem diamonds for a number of years.

    The gem quality of the diamonds in the ML3 area is lower than in the Namibian waters and until now the cost of mining marine diamonds off the South African coast had deferred starting operations.

    But recent technological innovations, as represented in the latest crawler, have brought down the costs and made the operation viable.

    The ML3 mining licence area is situated some 500km north of Cape Town with the inshore boundary 5kms seaward of the coastal towns of Kleinzee in the south and Alexander Bay in the north.

    The ML3 area covers roughly 8,600 square kilometres. Prospecting and mining activities will take place in water depths from 100m to 160m and between 17 and 32km from shore.

    The estimated lifespan of the mine is 19 years.

    source – Cape Business News (CBN) http://www.cbn.co.za

    SA, Italy to strengthen bilateral ties

    Pretoria 3 September (BuaNews) - South Africa and Italy are to strengthen bilateral ties as Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, supported by Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad undertake a working visit to the European nation.

    Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka and Mr Pahad leave on Tuesday (4 September) for Rome, Italy where they will focus on strengthening political and economic relations with Italy.

    The visit from Wednesday to Saturday, says the Department of Foreign Affairs, is in pursuit of implementing South Africa and Africa's development agenda.

    On Thursday, Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka will pay a courtesy call on His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and hold discussions with her Italian counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Massimo D'Alema.

    The deputy president will also address the Ambrosetti Forum on the theme "The World: Key Current Challenges'' at Lake Como, Cernobbio, on Friday.

    Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka's visit with the Italian Government is expected to include:

    * the current status of political, economic and trade relations, and prospects for increased relations;
    * co-operation within the framework of AsgiSA and JIPSA;
    * preparations for the official visit of Italian Prime Minister Romani Prodi to South Africa in 2008;
    * a briefing on developments within the European and African Unions;
    * the main outcomes of the recent SADC Summit,
    * preparations for the European Union - Africa summit in Lisbon in December; and
    * enhanced co-operation within the United Nations as both countries are presently on-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

    Established in 1975, the Ambrosetti Forum is Italy's version of the World Economic Forum and sees Heads of State, top representatives of European institutions and Italian cabinet ministers come together to discuss issues of greatest impact for the global economy.

    Earlier this year, a South African delegation, comprising government and business representatives, visited Italy to discuss training and investment opportunities in the agriculture sector.

    This prospect emanates from a meeting between Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, Minister Lulu Xingwana, and the Italian Ambassador in South Africa, Alessandro Cevese.

    In a series of trade missions between the two countries, Minister Lulu Xingwana lead the delegation to further explore possibilities of business and joint ventures in agro-processing, the cold-chain (refrigerated goods) and agriculture product distribution.

    An evaluation of the Italian economy by South Africa led to the identification of the following sectors for investment promotion purposes:

    * Agro-processing
    * Textiles and Clothing
    * Leather and Footwear
    * Furniture
    * Automotive
    * Tourism
    * Jewellery and
    * ICT

    Italy ranks amongst South Africa's top ten trading partners.

    The Department of Trade and Industry reported earlier this year that South African exports to Italy are dominated by precious and non-ferrous metals; basic iron and steel and ferro-alloys; coal; and quarried stone/granite.

    Some value added South African products are increasingly penetrating the Italian market.

    In the food sector these include processed and preserved fish and fish products; fruit and vegetable crops and the production, processing and preserving of meat and meat products.

    South African imports from Italy consist mainly of machine tools, auto vehicles and their components, industrial machinery, jewellery and telecommunications equipment.

    Principal Italian investors in South Africa include FIAT Auto, dairy and processed food supplier Parmalat, Costantini (furniture), Silmar (gold jewellery) and airport operator Aeroporti di Roma.

    Special Feature: Horn of Africa people traffic set to escalate

    Ethiopia – Somalia – Yemen

    Hargeisa, 3 September 2007 (IRIN) - At least 3,000 Ethiopians, and an unknown number of Somalis fleeing ongoing fighting in and around Mogadishu, the Somali capital, have gathered in the northern port town of Bossaso to attempt a perilous journey across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, according to a report by the UN Refugee Agency.

    "The bad weather that kept smugglers' boats ashore in July and August is coming to an end and the people traffic is expected to begin in earnest in the next few days," the UNHCR report noted.

    Small boats are used to smuggle people from the Somali coast across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen. Picture courtesy UNHCR

    The smuggling season runs to December. At least 367 people have died crossing from Bossaso to Aden since January.

    The port of Bossaso has been widely documented as a point of departure for migrants and asylum seekers from East Africa, with some coming from as far away as the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most are seeking employment in the Gulf states - particularly Saudi Arabia.

    "Tens of thousands of people will pass through Bossaso in a single season," the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) head of office in Hargeisa, Iulian Circo, told IRIN. "This is not something that happens underground. The trafficking infrastructure is there, and the authorities in Bossaso are profiting from this route."

    To reduce the flow of irregular migrants and asylum seekers, the IOM and UNHCR have formed a ‘mixed migration task force’ comprised of other UN agencies and international NGOs. The task force will station teams of Ethiopian and Somali staff members at known transit points - Tug Wajaale, Burao, Las Anod, Garowe and Bossaso.

    The immediate purpose of these stations is to provide health assistance and voluntary return options to the most vulnerable migrants; to differentiate between genuine asylum seekers and irregular migrants; and to collect data and map movement trends along the route.

    The Ethiopian link

    These outreach/monitoring stations are in part the result of interviews the IOM conducted with Ethiopian migrants detained in Bossaso last year. While the danger of boat crossings from Somalia to Yemen has been widely reported, the IOM interviews shed light for the first time on the risks faced by Ethiopians crossing through the self-declared republic of Somaliland en route to Bossaso.

    The interviews reveal a well-established brokerage route running from northern Ethiopia through Addis Ababa, Harar, Hartishiek, and then across Somaliland via Burao. Interviewees reported being kept under house arrest for up to two weeks at a time while brokers collected more migrants for the journey, and going up to five days without food. Would-be migrants pay US$300 for the journey, usually obtained through a loan, which is then repaid with 100 percent interest upon arrival in Saudi Arabia.

    The typical migrant travelling from Ethiopia to Bossaso is male, single, uneducated, in his early 20s and alone. Women most often travel with male relatives and are usually in their mid-20s, though girls as young as 15 also make the journey. Migrants are transported in mini-buses, private cars and, most often, livestock lorries. Interviewees reported that brokers demand more and more money as the route unfolds. Those who do not pay are strip-searched and robbed of all their money.

    Danger money

    A 22-year-old male farmer from northern Ethiopia recounted the elaborate, sadistic and ultimately effective method used by one broker to extract money from migrants.

    "[The broker] has two holes dug in the ground; one for male and one for female travellers. He would ask for money gently at first. Those who refuse are put in holes and are threatened with fire. His men put firewood on either side of the hole and put the people in the middle; [they] then raise a torch and go around making gestures of setting the fire. People generally pay at this point."

    But perhaps most dangerous of all is the last leg of the journey, when migrants are often dumped in the desert outside Burao and left to find their own way to Bossaso.
    "They abandoned us in the desert," a 20-year-old female student from northern Ethiopia recounted. "Somali nomads found us and robbed us. We walked for five days trying to find the paved road. We finally found the town of Qarlu. We paid 50,000 shillings ($3) to a taxi to get to Bossaso. The driver told us to go around the border [between Somaliland and Puntland] and meet up with him on the other side. As soon as we got off, he turned back and went away. We walked another six days to get to Bossaso."

    (This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)

    Pic of the day – SANTA ANNABELLA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The well-loaded container ship SANTA ANNABELLA (25,294-gt) in Cape Town harbour. The ship is on charter to Maersk Line and Safmarine on the West Africa service. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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