Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 23, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Somali pirates release Taiwanese ship

  • Importers and agents urged to clear cargo from Mombasa port

  • Naval news

  • DRC food security threatened

  • Maintenance shut down for Ports & Ships

  • Pic of the day – GENCO RELIANCE

    Somali pirates release Taiwanese ship

    Another vessel has been released by Somali pirates after payment of a ransom.

    The vessel is the Taiwanese fishing vessel CHENG FONG HWA 168 which was seized by armed pirates in April and has been held at an anchorage in Somalia while negotiations continued for the release of the crew and ship.

    One of the crew was tortured and later murdered by the attackers. The remaining 15 crew members were then held in custody but report all their belongings stolen by the pirates.

    Reports from Mombasa indicate that a ransom of US$200,000 was paid to secure the vessel and crew’s release. The payment of ransom for seized ships and crew has drawn considerable criticism with accusations that it acts as an encouragement for pirates to continue their attacks which, it is believed, is being done with the tacit approval and support of Somali clan leaders.

    The Mombasa-based Seafarers’ Assistance Programme has meanwhile appealed to the Kenyan government to act against fishing vessels that operate in Somali waters despite all warnings. The association says it wants to see a ban against these ships from using Mombasa port facilities and says that all foreign fishing vessels should in any case stay well clear of Somali territorial waters.

    Recently the French navy began an escort service for two Kenya-based ships carrying World Food Aid parcels to Somalia, sailing with the two ships until they had safely docked in Mogadishu.

    The French Navy will continue this service for a period of two months and an appeal has been made for other navies to provide similar services. Without these escorts it is unlikely that the WFP, a UN organisation, will continue shipping food aid to Somalia by sea.

    Importers and agents urged to clear cargo from Mombasa port

    In a notice issued by Mombasa’s harbour master and chief operations officer, yet another appeal has been amde to importers and clearing agents to remove containers from the Mombasa Container Terminal.

    Captain Twalib Khamis said in a notice just issued that the port now has nearly 1,300 containers which have remained uncleared and at the port for 21 days or more.

    “Kenya Ports Authority is appealing to importers, clearing agents and consignees to clear their overstayed containers from the port of Mombasa,” the notice reads.

    “The port has a total of 1,293 containers which have stayed in the port for over 21 days and remain unclaimed. These containers are occupying valuable space in the port and causing congestion.

    “The listed of consignees for the overstayed containers has been posted in our website www.kpa.co.ke ‘Today at the port: long stayed containers at the port’.

    Khamis said that cargo owners are therefore required to make immediate arrangements to remove their containers from the port within one month as from 21 November 2007.

    In the event of the containers not being cleared the Kenya Ports Authority in conjunction with Kenya Revenue Authority will take “appropriate action to dispose of the containers as required by law.”

    He said that the KPA is willing to consider requests for waivers on all or portion of the storage charges accrued, which will be considered on a case by case basis.

    The Port of Mombasa is under strong pressure from shipping lines to improve productivity levels at the port, which is being complicated by the large percentage of uncleared and overstay containers in the terminal. The imposition of a surcharge by some of the container lines was recently postponed after a delegation of port and revenue department officials made personal appeals to the shipping lines, who agreed to delay the surcharge until December when it will be reviewed.

    Naval news

    A fire on board the Nigerian Navy ship NNS AMBE (L1312) this week was extinguished before too much damage could be done. NNS Ambe was in the Nigerian Naval Dockyard at Wilmont Point on Victoria Island, Lagos when the incident occurred.

    It is believed the fire was confined to an above deck section of the ship and the damage is considered to be minor.

    NNS Ambe was built in Germany in 1979 and has been out of commission in a poor condition for a number of years but is undergoing a refit pending her return to service.

    The warship displaces 1,750 tons fully loaded and has a length of 87m and a beam of 14m. The ship is powered by two diesel engines each driving twin shafts and can maintain a speed of 17 knots. She would normally carry a crew of 59. Armament is light, consisting of several anti aircraft guns and two 20mm machine guns.

    Although the naval dockyard has been in commission from 1990, it was only in 2003 that a comprehensive and structured programme of refitting the entire fleet began in earnest.

    In other naval news
    The Royal Navy reports via its Newsletter that HMS DUMBARTON CASTLE will return to her Portsmouth home this week before retiring from service.

    HMS Dumbarton Castle has been the guard ship on duty at the Falklands Islands in rotation with her sister ship, HMS LEEDS CASTLE. The latter vessel was decommissioned in 2005.

    On arrival in Portsmouth HMS Dumbarton Castle will fly a decommissioning pennant in keeping with RN tradition. Her return home was taken the long way via the Pacific coast of South America and Panama Canal with visits made at Tobago in the Caribbean and at Dakar, Senegal.

    The ship was built as a guardship to the North Sea oil platforms but the advent of the Falklands War in 1982 changed things, with the ship arriving off the islands at the tail end of that conflict. She subsequently returned to the UK for refits and also took up duty with the fishing fleet around the UK.

    Guardship duty at the Falklands has been assumed by HMS CLYDE for at least the next five years.

    DRC food security threatened

    Kinshasa, 22 November 2007 (IRIN) - Many tens of thousands of displaced people in Democratic Republic of Congo's conflict-ridden South Kivu province face serious food shortages in the coming months after their crops were destroyed by heavy rainfall in the region, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.

    "In the forest areas of Mwenga and Shabunda, more than 150,000 newly and previously displaced will not have sufficient food because of the bad harvest," said WFP spokeswoman Aline Samu.

    According to Kemal Saiki, spokesman for the UN mission in Congo (MONUC), thousands of hectares of crops in the hilly zones of the area had been destroyed by a hailstorm.

    Recent torrential rainfall also prevented farmers from harvesting what was left of their crops, he added.

    "Those who had fled [violence] in the area in the past received food and seeds to allow them to return to their villages of origin, but since the harvest has been lost, they are now in danger [of a food crisis]," said Samu. "By January 2008, they will face general food shortages. Food assistance will be necessary during the first quarter of next year."

    Meanwhile, in the neighbouring province of Maniema, 10 therapeutic and supplementary feeding centres, where 4,500 severely malnourished children have been receiving care, have been closed down after transport problems cut off supplies, Saiki said.

    Centres in Kindu, the main town in Mainiema, had not received supplies for more than a month and half.

    According to Samu, 500 tonnes of food destined for the feeding centres and to be transported by rail from the city of Lubumbashi, was stuck at Kabongo because there was no locomotive to haul the wagons to Kindu.

    "Mothers do not bring their children to the centres any more for care and food. They are preoccupied with their daily chores of looking for food for the rest of the families, leaving their severely malnourished children to their own devices," Samu added.

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

    Maintenance shut down for Ports & Ships

    Please note that PORTS & SHIPS will be offline for approximately one hour between the hours of 4am and 6am (SA Time) this morning (Friday 23 November). We apologise for any inconvenience.

    Pic of the day – GENCO RELIANCE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The handysize bulk carrier GENCO RELIANCE (29,952-dwt) at Cape Town harbour on 11 November 2007. Genco Reliance is owned by US-based Genco Shipping which specialises in drybulk cargoes, operating with a fleet of 19 Japanese-built bulk carriers. The company currently has a further 15 ships on order for delivery between this year and 2009. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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