Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 27, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Reluctant Kenya signs EU Trade Agreement

  • Nigerian Navy to shore up security off Bonny

  • Angolan transport a key economic factor

  • NSRI hard at work in flood ravaged regions

  • Pic of the day – INDOMITABLE

    Reluctant Kenya signs EU Trade Agreement

    Under less than ideal circumstances Kenya has gone ahead and signed the contentious Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union in order to preserve its export market.

    According to the Kenyan Trade & Industry ministry Kenya would have lost export business valued at more than US$1 Billion if it withheld its signature on the deal. The government would also have forfeited an estimated KSh2 Billion in taxes.

    The sectors most affected are those in agriculture including the cut flower industry and as many as 1.5 million direct jobs could be at risk, said Trade & Industry permanent secretary David Nalo last week.

    "It is an expensive price to pay by a country that is looking for more investments."

    Nalo said that Kenya had signed the interim trade agreement with the European Union pending the sealing of a comprehensive pact early next year.

    “The much-feared disruption of trade between the European Union and Kenya after 31 December has now been put to rest. Kenya, along with other East African Community (EAC) states, has sealed the first deal towards a full agreement,” he said.

    According to Nalo the EAC states (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi) will now be able to conclude negotiations on the comprehensive trade agreement with the European Commission while the transitional trade pact will guarantee continued trade with Europe from 1 January 2008.

    Had the agreement not been signed exports from the region into Europe would have been disrupted, leaving the five East African states more vulnerable to foreign exchange fluctuations because of a lack of incoming foreign currency.

    Opposition parties and NGO’s expressed their opposition to the agreement saying that it will now lead to a reduction in government revenue. Peter Agoa of EcoNews Africa, a trade watchdog agency said the EU had imposed impossible conditions on African negotiators, including linking the funding of development projects to signing the deal.

    "Dirty tactics, including things like withdrawing civil-society organisation from the debate and threatening tariffs hikes on imports into the EU unless Africa signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) all influenced the process negatively," he said.

    Oxfam’s EU office suggested the trade talks required more time.

    Nigerian Navy to shore up security off Bonny

    The Nigerian Navy intends improving security around the creeks and sea off Bonny to sort out the problem of rising piracy in the region.

    Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ganiyu Adekeye announced this at the weekend when he addressed officers and men of the navy during a three day visit to naval installations in Rivers State.

    Admiral Adekeye said that ever since the Joint Military Task Force had succeeded in chasing cultists from the Port Harcourt area, the criminals had relocated to the creeks off Bonny.

    He announced the navy had revived the concept of a special boat service for the Niger Delta in order to restore law and order and provide adequate security on the open ocean and in the creeks.

    He praised the men of the navy for maintaining the required standard of discipline and announced that new arms and ammunition would shortly become available. Naval authorities would continue making its assets more functional in order to perform its required tasks in maintaining law and order and a continued presence at sea.

    "In this regard, we are receiving a favourable response from the government in terms of new fleet acquisitions," Adekeye said.

    Angolan transport a key economic factor

    The transport sector is a key factor in Angola’s economic growth, says the country’s minister of transport, André Luís Brandão.

    He said that the transport sector had a duty to serve Angola’s citizens as well as the requirements of government (is there a difference? - editor) and in this regard government had embarked on a process of refurbishing and re-equipping the country’s transport systems.

    He highlighted Angola’s merchant navy and its ports where he pointed out the focus of attention is on rehabilitating and refurbishing the respective infrastructure or providing new equipment as required.

    source – Angola Press Agency

    NSRI hard at work in flood ravaged regions

    The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has been hard pressed in recent days to provide rescue services in the flood ravaged regions of the Eastern and southern Cape. While normally associated with rescue operations at sea it is sometimes overlooked that the NSRI performs valuable voluntary services onshore as well – at lakes, dams, rivers or anywhere water is involved.

    The following reports have been received:

    Southern Cape

    Ray Farnham, NSRI Station Commander Plettenberg Bay reported that the Plett NSRI volunteers were activated early on Saturday morning (24 November 2007) in a joint operation with the South African Air Force 15 Squadron, Charlie Flight BK-117 helicopters to rescue 10 people at De Vlugt who had been cut off by floods. Six of the 10 people were flown to Plettenberg Bay’s Central Beach aboard a private helicopter and four were airlifted to Central Beach on one of the Air Force helicopters.

    At the same time as the above operation, 14 farm workers were airlifted on two Air Force helicopters from De Vlugt, but were flown to their homes in Plettenberg Bay to be reunited with their families after being stranded by floods for over two days.

    Farnham said that mopping up operations were now underway but that the area had suffered severe flood damage.

    Hennie Niehaus, NSRI Wilderness Station Commander reported that at 07h00 on Saturday NSRI Wilderness volunteers were activated to assist in the body recovery of Charles Hiron, 65, of Diep River, who had been missing and presumed drowned the day before in the Diep River.

    A Metro Rescue team, Police Divers, and NSRI volunteers recovered the deceased from the Diep River bridge after a search party had nee launched at first light. His body was discovered near the bridge.

    Cape Town

    Peter Muzik was due to arrive at Royal Cape Yacht Club aboard his yacht Shoestring yesterday afternoon (Monday 26/11/2007). Muzik was nearing the end of a four-year round the world cruise, with at that stage a day’s sailing remaining.

    As reported in PORTS & SHIPS News on 5 November Shoestring ran over a reef at Chagos Archiplago, tearing off part of the yacht’s keel and the motor propeller. See story here

    It appears that following the accident the yachtsman found a keel on an old abandoned catamaran ski-boat on one of the islands and was able to fashion a makeshift keel for his yacht out of the ‘spare-part’.

    On arrival off the South African coast the NSRI has provided assistance as follows:

    NSRI Richard’s Bay assisted Shoestring into port at Richard’s Bay on 20 October.
    NSRI Port Elizabeth assisted Shoestring into Port Elizabeth harbour on 4 November.
    NSRI Mossel Bay assisted Shoestring into port at Mossel Bay on 22 November.

    NSRI Mossel Bay then also assisted the yacht out of the harbour at Mossel Bay to return to sea on Saturday morning (24 November) as the yacht headed out on her final stretch to Cape Town.

    The NSRI stations between Mossel Bay and Table Bay harbour remained on alert to go to Shoestring’s assistance if required, but with the good weather the yacht was expected in Table Bay by Monday (yesterday) afternoon, with possible assistance to enter the port at Table Bay.

    Port Edward

    NSRI Port Edward spokesman Ginger Stilwell reports that the NSRI Port Edward Station were activated at 07h08 on Sunday following reports of the local ski-boat Dream Team had capsized in surf while launching to go to sea with three men on-board.

    On arrival on-scene NSRI rescue swimmers assisted to right the vessel in the surf-line and all three men were found to be in no need of medical attention.

    It has not been determined what caused the ski-boat to capsize in the surf.

    All three men are locals from Port Edward and were wearing their life-jackets at the time that the boat capsized.

    Pic of the day – INDOMITABLE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The Svitzer salvage tug INDOMITABLE which has been on station off the South Africa coast in recent months, seen here in Cape Town harbour. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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