Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 22, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Dock strike hits Lagos port operations

  • News from around the SA coast

  • Taking tally services to a higher level

  • Wallenius Wilhelmsen inaugurates new Vehicle Processing Centre

  • Over 500 containers seized at Nacala

  • Kingsley Holgate’s latest blog is now up

  • Pic of the day – MARIEKE

    Dock strike hits Lagos port operations

    An indefinite strike by dockworkers crippled port operations across Nigeria on Friday as members of the Dockworkers branch of Maritime Workers Union (MWUN) went out over alleged anti-labour practices by terminal operators.

    According to Nigerian media reports dock work across Lagos came to a standstill while certain maritime related businesses in the port city were also affected. MWUN members say the strike is over an absence of a formal condition of service agreement, an unbearable working environment and the refusal by concessionaires to allow union activity.

    According to the MWUN the strike will continue indefinitely. They accused the concessionaires now running most of the country’s port terminals of employing ‘slave labour practices and of encouraging the use of casual labour as opposed to unionised permanent personnel.

    Entrances to Tin Can Island and Apapa ports were blocked from 6am on Friday, preventing any access, while union members paraded outside with placards. The union says it wants the federal government, which it claims is aware of the grievances, to revisit the activities of the concessionaires and to explain who exactly all the concessionaires are, as the process was not transparent.

    According to MWUN the port terminals operated more efficiently when under the control of the Nigerian Ports Authority.

    They called the working environment within the port terminals without conditions of employment “21st Century slavery”.

    source – Vanguard

    News from around the SA coast

    The container ship MAERSK NAPLES has sailed from Durban after undergoing repairs incurred earlier last week when a number of containers on board the vessel collapsed. The vessel was first noticed in this condition while at the outer anchorage.

    The incident resulted in the ship being brought into harbour and taken to the repair wharf at Bayhead. An eyewitness described the scene on the ship while at the outer anchorage as having several stacks of containers toppled over with at least one box appearing to be hanging over the starboard side.

    In Cape Town there is concern over how long the synchrolift will remain out of service after the hoisting cable parted company with the structure. As a result considerable damage was done to the lifting table, which requires extensive repair.

    The accident or mishap places an additional burden on Cape Town’s Sturrock and Robinson dry docks, given the recent increase in ship repair traffic at the port.


    The NSRI rescue boat VODACOM RESCUER keeps station with the Mossel Bay fishing boat ULANDA 2 which earlier began taking on water and then requested assistance. Picture NSRI

    At Mossel Bay members of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) were requested on 18 October to give assistance to a fishing trawler, the ULANDA 2 which was reported to be taking on water fast from an unconfirmed cause, resulting in the crew of seven having to pump water free of the vessel using water extrication pumps. The trawler was at the time 14.5 nautical miles offshore from Mossel Bay Point.

    "We launched our rescue craft VODACOM RESCUER and on arrival on-scene found all seven crew on-board had brought the situation under control and were all wearing life-jackets and successfully extricating water from the vessel and gradually heading towards Mossel Bay harbour under their own engine power,” reported the NSRI Mossel Bay’s station commander Dave Zwiegelaar .

    "We stood-by on-scene ready to assist if required and we escorted ULANDA 2 towards Mossel Bay harbour in calm sea conditions.”

    The fishing vessel later motored safely into Mossel Bay Harbour under her own engine power and required no further assistance.

    The port of East London was the scene last week for celebrations of National Maritime Week, during which the Marine & Coastal Management patrol vessel SARAH BAARTMAN arrived in port for the occasion. Other organisations taking part included Transnet Port Authority, SA Police Services and the East London Aquarium.

    The big day of the week as far as the public was concerned was last Saturday which started with a Fun Walk for members of the public, and which among other things granted access to the harbour to visit the patrol boat, a rare event given the current security restrictions.

    In Durban this past week an unusual cargo arriving at the port was a consignment of diesel-electric locomotives for Grindrod Sheltam, completing the delivery of new locomotives on order from Brazil’s General Electric division. The locos were observed on the dockside at Maydon Wharf.

    Taking tally services to a higher level

    The expansion of Durban-headquartered Magnum Shield Security Services, a division of the Bidvest Group of companies, into the field of Cargo and Tally services, is hardly unusual.

    The company has after all been providing maritime security alongside and on ships for some little while and last year took the next step by introducing a Stowaway Search section using trained personnel and dogs to go on board ships and physically detect unwanted passengers. In this they have proved highly successful and have begun receiving many enquiries from international and local ship owners and agents seeking the Magnum team to be on duty whenever their respective ships arrive in South Africa.

    “It’s the knowledge that we provide a fully professional service that makes such a difference to them,” says Rob Hill, Magnum Shield’s regional sales manager. And now the company has taken the next step by providing another allied service – that of Cargo and Tally services.

    “There are strong synergies between stowaway and other ship security services and cargo tallying, so it was obvious that we should move into this allied arena,” he says.
    Hill explained that the company has an established framework involving highly trained personnel, with the emphasis on ‘trained tally personnel’ as opposed to making use of casuals as has often been the case in the local industry.

    “This is not an ad-hoc type of business as far as we are concerned – the people providing the tally services must be properly and fully trained and as the company providing that service we are contractually bound to servicing the client,” he said.

    Partly as a result of this development Magnum Shield Security Services is in the process of establishing offices and proper personnel facilities within the Maydon Wharf area from where the entire range of maritime services can be provided – Gangway and Ship Security, Stowaway Detection, Crew Transport and Courier Services, Specialised Tours (for crew), Meet and Assist at airports, Cash to Master services (CTM) and now Cargo Tallying.

    All personnel work in identifiable uniforms and highly visible signage will be placed in position indicating when Magnum is on site. Services are currently available in the ports of Durban and Richards Bay but plans are in place to extend these to Cape Town, Saldanha, Port Elizabeth and East London.

    Wallenius Wilhelmsen inaugurates new Vehicle Processing Centre

    It’s not African news necessarily but should be of interest given the globalisation of the motor industry and could therefore have a message for Southern Africa.

    Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), one of the world's largest providers of outbound logistics for manufacturers of finished vehicles, has opened a newly expanded Vehicle Processing Centre (VPC) at Dundalk Marine Terminal in Baltimore, Maryland, United States.

    The new VPC is strategically located at the Port of Baltimore, the East Coast's number one port for roll-on roll-off cargo and number two port for car exports.

    This new facility provides WWL with a centralised preparation and distribution centre for receiving, processing and shipping vehicles inland and overseas, within close proximity to its ocean operations at the port.

    The company, which operates one of the world's largest ro-ro carrier fleets, also currently runs terminal operations and inland distribution management facilities at its Dundalk Terminal for cars, agricultural equipment, construction machinery, and project cargo.

    "A great VPC shares three things with all successful development projects: location, location, location. Having this centralised distribution centre on the US East Coast is a valuable asset for Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics and our customers," commented Christopher J. Connor, President of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics in Region Americas.

    "This VPC doubles the WWL footprint at one of the most important vehicle processing ports, and provides our customers with a more integrated, seamless 'factory to dealer' journey for their vehicles," Mr Connor concluded

    "Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics and the Port of Baltimore have had a long and productive relationship over the years," said Maryland Transportation Secretary John Porcari.

    "This new vehicle processing facility on the Dundalk Marine Terminal reflects the strength of our partnership and the confidence Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics has in the Port of Baltimore," he said.

    The newly expanded VPC spans a total of 72 acres (29.14 hectares) and the annual volume of vehicles passing through the centre is expected to reach 124,000 units, thanks to the site's 12,000 parking spaces and 25 truck loading spaces. The VPC site also includes a new state-of-the-art car wash, a body shop facility for mechanical rectifications, an environmentally-friendly paint shop and increased storage space.

    These new facilities will allow WWL to provide a broader array of technical services on a single site, including vehicle movement and storage, fitting of vehicle accessories, car washing, mechanical and body work, painting and under-coating, parts storage, and customer warranty work.

    In total, WWL's facilities at the Dundalk Marine Terminal cover about 150 acres (60.70 hectares) and include the newly expanded VPC and Mid-Atlantic Terminal, the company's marine terminal operations in the Port of Baltimore.

    source - WWL

    Over 500 containers seized at Nacala

    Not for the first time Mozambique authorities have swooped on a consignment of containers carrying allegedly contraband logs for a Far Eastern destination.

    Mozambique has had a total ban on exports of selected unprocessed timber since 2002 and a general ban on log exports since June this year.

    In July 2006 PORTS & SHIPS reported on Mozambique authorities ‘getting tough’ on log exporters when they seized 20 containers loaded with 232 logs of umbila and panga-panga, which under Mozambique forestry legislation are classified as grade one timber and can only be exported if processed within Mozambique. The seizure also took place at Nacala.

    In the latest incident however a record 531 containers were involved, with the containers already on the dockside. According to Mozambique television news local timber operators immediately staged a protest outside the Nacala offices of the provincial agriculture directorate, saying that Chinese importers only buy timber in log form, not sawn wood. They said the Chinese had not yet paid for the logs and as a result the timber companies would be unable to pay workers for their labour in cutting the trees.

    Mozambique’s Environment Minister Luciano de Castro however defended the country’s ban on exporting unprocessed hardwoods, which he said was having good results in terms of the country’s beneficiation programme. He said there were now 44 timber processing companies in Mozambique.

    According to Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique the consignment consists of 11,000 cubic metres of hardwood and is valued at US$5 million. The purchasers are reportedly eight Chinese merchants.

    In the case we reported last year the exporter was issued a ‘slap on the wrist’ fine of US$4,400.

    Kingsley Holgate’s latest blog is now up

    What happens when two South African expeditions meet

    The latest episode in the Kingsley Holgate Africa, the Outside Edge expedition is now available in our SEA STORIES section of PORTS & SHIPS.

    Go here to find this and earlier blogs….

    Pic of the day – MARIEKE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The dredger MARIEKE at work in the Durban area preparing for the widening of the harbour entrance. Picture by Steve McCurrach of

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