Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 12, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Fifteen years of conflicts have cost Africa $ 284bn

  • Malaysia’s Northport invited to assist with developing Congo deep water port

  • Harbour incidents, terminal openings and an intriguing mystery at sea

  • South Africa to host second IBSA summit

  • The latest Cruise News & Reviews is now available on PORTS & SHIPS

  • New blogs from Kingsley Holgate and the Africa the Outside Edge expedition are now available on PORTS & SHIPS

  • Pic of the day – SAFMARINE NOMAZWE

    Fifteen years of conflicts have cost Africa $ 284bn

    The cost of conflict on African development was $284bn between 1990 and 2005, according to new research by Oxfam International, IANSA (International Action Network on Small Arms) and Saferworld which was released yesterday (Thursday).

    This is equal to the amount of money received in international aid during the same period.

    The study ‘Africa’s Mission Billions’ is the first time analysts have calculated the overall effects of conflict on GDP and comes as diplomats from around the world arrive at the United Nations to discuss an Arms Trade Treaty.

    It shows that on average a war, civil war or insurgency shrinks an African economy by 15 per cent. The continent loses an average of $18bn a year due to armed conflict.

    “Armed violence is one of the greatest threats to development in Africa,” said Irungu Houghton, Oxfam’s African policy advisor. “The costs are shocking. Our figures are almost certainly an under-estimate but they show conflicts are costing African economies an average of $18bn a year. This money could prevent TB and malaria, or provide clean water, sanitation and education.”

    The research also estimates that 95 percent of Kalashnikov rifles used in these conflicts come from outside Africa. Kalashnikovs are the most common weapon in Africa’s conflicts. The combatants who ignore the rules of war and commit human rights abuses are almost always supplied from outside the continent.

    Joseph Dube, IANSA Africa co-ordinator said: “This report describes some of the devastating economic impacts of the poorly regulated international arms trade and the shocking level of human suffering that this causes. As an African, I implore all African governments and weapons-producing governments to support a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty. This is a call for global cooperation and cannot be achieved working alone. The government whose factory produces the rifle is as responsible as the government who permits its ships to transport them. Similarly the states that unload the cargo must monitor whose hands these weapons end up in. Without this regulation, the cost and suffering borne by Africans will continue to be immense.”

    Between 1990 and 2005, 23 African nations have been involved in conflict. Oxfam, IANSA and Saferworld calculated what these countries’ GDP would have been if there had been no conflict, by comparing them to peaceful countries of a similar economic status. For example, during Guinea-Bissau’s conflict in 1998/99, the projected growth rate without conflict would have been 5.24 percent, whereas the actual growth rate was minus 10.15 percent.

    This methodology almost certainly gives an under-estimate. It does not include the economic impact on neighbouring countries, which could suffer from political insecurity or a sudden influx of refugees. The study only covers periods of actual combat, but some costs of war, such as increased military spending and a struggling economy, continue long after the fighting has stopped.

    In countries affected by war the direct costs of violence (such as military expenditure or the destruction of infrastructure) pale in comparison to the indirect costs of lost opportunities. These include:

  • Inflation, debt and high unemployment

  • Income from natural resources going to private individuals, rather than being invested in the nation as a whole

  • More people, especially women and children, die from the consequences of conflict than in the fighting itself

    The most common weapon used in African conflicts is the Kalashnikov assault rifle, the best known being the AK-47. Kalashnikovs are nearly all made outside Africa. African governments are convinced of the need to control arms transfers and have already taken encouraging initiatives at regional level. These are important steps but will not solve the problem on their own. The arms trade is global industry and needs a global, legally-binding Arms Trade Treaty.

    Oxfam, IANSA and other NGOs are campaigning for an Arms Trade Treaty which would prohibit arms transfers if they were likely to be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law, or undermine sustainable development. Such a treaty would not prevent responsible arms transfers for defence, policing or peacekeeping.

    In October 2006 the UN General Assembly passed a draft resolution to have a group formed that would study the scope and feasibility of an international arms trade treaty. The United States voted against the resolution – the only one to do so – while 24 countries including Russia, China and in Africa Somalia and Sudan abstained. The treaty would have helped identify and trace illicit small arms and weapons.

    In the foreword to the report, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whose own country has only recently emerged from years of conflict, said that as an economist she was acutely aware of the devastation to African economies due to armed violence.

    “In my own country, conflict has led to the squandering of rich mineral, agricultural, and human resources that should have benefited Liberia and its people. Although economic recovery has begun, it will take many years to recover from the destruction of infrastructure, the damage to businesses, and the loss of life and livelihood.”

    She said the cost to Africa was money that Africa could ill afford to lose. “The sums are appalling: the price that Africa is paying could cover the cost of solving the HIV and AIDS crisis in Africa, or provide education, water and prevention and treatment for TB and malaria. Literally thousands of hospitals, schools, and roads could have been built, positively affecting millions of people. Not only do the people of Africa suffer the physical horrors of violence, armed conflict undermines their efforts to escape poverty.”

    She called on the governments of Africa and the world to be bold in working towards the Armed Trade Treaty.

    Malaysia’s Northport invited to assist with developing Congo deep water port

    map – IRIN

    Malaysian port operator Northport has been invited to participate in the development of new ports in the Congo (Brazzaville).

    The invitation came about during the visit to Malaysia and Port Klang of Congo Transport Minister Emile Qussoo who said he’d like Northport to become the technical adviser and partner in the development of Port Mandingo-Kayes, which lies on the Kouilou River approximately 40km north of Pointe-Noire.

    Qussoo said he’d been very impressed with the state-of-art infrastructure, excellent world-class facilities and services at Northport and said he thought the Malaysian operator could offer important expertise to the Congo ports.

    Northport’s Managing Director and CEO Datuk Basheer Hassan Abdul Kader welcomed the invitation for technical collaboration between the two ports and said Northport would be happy to provide and share experience in making Pointe-Noire a modern gateway port of Congo.

    source – Northport

    Harbour incidents, terminal openings and an intriguing mystery at sea

    In separate incidents in Durban harbour this week rescue services were called out to rescue a man who fell into a ship’s hold and in another they had to fish a large truck out of the bay.

    The man who fell into the ship’s hold was working on the bulker GLORIOUS at Maydon Wharf when he slipped from a ladder and fell into the cargo hold containing fertiliser. Netcare 911 paramedics and SA Police Services Search & Rescue personnel were called to assist and after first stabilising the injured man he was lifted out and taken to hospital with serious spinal injuries.

    Picture courtesy Chris Botha / Netcare 911

    In the second incident also at Maydon Wharf a large lorry drove into the harbour after its brakes apparently failed. There were no injuries and the driver was able to get out of the sinking vehicle but Chris Botha of Netcare 911 reports that the SA Police Search & Rescue team was called in to supervise the recovery of the vehicle, using a mobile crane for the purpose. Netcare 911 paramedics were in attendance to ensure the safety of the rescue team.

    Also in Durban berth 107 at the Pier 1 Container Terminal received its first ship yesterday when the container vessel NYK ESTRELA came alongside. This means all three berths at the terminal are now back in service, after undergoing extensive modification and being equipped with large ship-to-shore gantry cranes. Pier 1 terminal is now equipped with rubber tyre gantries – the only terminal in SA at present to use this method, and five STS cranes.

    Further afield the mystery of the iceberg reported off Cape St Francis remained just that – a mystery, with the South African Air Force unable yesterday to locate the growler. However weather conditions with choppy seas made observation difficult and in any case the aircraft was on a routine patrol and had simply been asked to keep a lookout for it. The fishing vessel NTINI which reported seeing the iceberg at about 6pm on Monday about 35 miles off the coast was due to arrive in port at Mossel Bay later today (Friday) but according to some reports the vessel may be delayed.

    There are conflicting reports as to whether photographs were taken of the object – perhaps now the only way to prove this wasn’t a big joke at the country’s expense. Even the experts are in sharp disagreement as to whether it is possible for a smallish chunk of ice to float so close inshore in the midst of a warm ocean current.

    South Africa to host second IBSA summit

    Cape Town, 11 October (BuaNews) - South Africa will be hosting the second India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Heads of State summit later this month, where several agreements on cooperation in strategic areas will be signed.

    Addressing reporters at the post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday, held in Pretoria, Government Spokesperson Themba Maseko said that the summit will kick off on 17 October in Pretoria.

    Already, the value of the trade volume among the three leading developing countries sits between US$6 billion and $7 billion (R41 billion and R48 billion) and the objective now is to reach the trilateral target of US$10 billion over the next three years, he said.

    At the summit, Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva of Brazil, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India are expected to sign a cooperation agreement on trade and investment.

    The first IBSA summit was held in Brasilia, Brazil on 13 September 2006.

    Other agreements likely to be signed at the summit include arrangements on international poverty alleviation and social development, trilateral exchanges of information, international best practices, technology and skills transfers, and tourism and transport.

    The summit, Mr Maseko said, will be preceded by a ministerial troika forum involving Cabinet-level meetings between the three countries.

    Earlier this month, Ambassador Jerry Matjila, the deputy director-general in the Department of Foreign Affairs, told reporters at a briefing on the upcoming summit that ministerial meetings will include Ministers of Trade and Agriculture.

    A number of other IBSA-related meetings, being held at the Sandton Convention Centre from 15 October, will precede the actual summit, with a strong focus on business ties.

    The summit, Mr Maseko said, comes after the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly where developing countries reaffirmed the need for collaboration and multilateral approaches in addressing development challenges.

    Other related activities include an IBSA parliamentary forum, an IBSA academics forum, an IBSA women's forum and a seminar dedicated to technology transfer between and across the three countries.

    Mr Matjila told reporters that mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that IBSA comprehensively addresses the concerns of its three members, with this process supported by the 14 working groups from various government departments that will be meeting their counterparts.

    At the IBSA business forum to be held in Sandton next week, more than 100 business leaders from South Africa will meet over 100 businesspeople from India, with over 60 business leaders expected from Brazil.

    Central to discussions will be increased aviation and maritime links, with on Indian airline expected to begin flights between India and South Africa shortly.

    Referring to this and maritime links as holding out the strong possibility of an "early harvest" from IBSA trilateral programmes, Ambassador Matjila said South Africa's strategic geographic location should see an increase in activity around its ports.

    Also on the agenda for talks is the question of a free trade agreement between the South African Customs Union, India and the South American trade bloc to which Brazil belongs, Mercosur.

    "If we can achieve [a FTA between these three parties], we can increase the trade figures to an excess of US$10 billion," Ambassador Matjila said earlier this month.

    India will be hosting the third IBSA summit next year, which will also mark the fifth year of the trilateral forum and one in which many of the programmes formulated will be in the implementation stage.

    The latest Cruise News & Reviews is now available on PORTS & SHIPS

    Cruise News & Reviews has been updated and is available on PORTS & SHIPS here

    New blogs from Kingsley Holgate and the Africa the Outside Edge expedition are now available on PORTS & SHIPS

    New Blogs from Kingsley Holgate’s Africa the Outside Edge expedition have been posted on PORTS & SHIPS. Find them here

    Pic of the day – SAFMARINE NOMAZWE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    Safmarine’s 5000-TEU (approx) container ship SAFMARINE NOMAZWE, which is one of seven vessels nowdeployed on the South Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS) after an additional vessel was added this week. See our news report for yesterday. Picture courtesy SAFMARINE

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