Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 8, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – BOA SUPPLIER

  • Turkish bulk carrier GULSER ANA goes aground off Madagascar

  • Dramatic rescue of fishermen off southern Cape coast

  • SA, EU to strengthen relations at summit

  • Somalia: Who is Fighting Whom

  • Trade news - AP Moller – Maersk’s logistics services now trading as Damco

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Pic of the day – TAKARA


    First View – BOA SUPPLIER

    In yesterday’s News Bulletin we carried pictures of the tug and barge BOA MIGHTY and BOABARGE 35, which called at Cape Town. The ’cargo’ being carried on board the Boabarge consisted of a tug, the BOA SUPPLIER and several smaller barges, presumably destined for Europe. Today’s First View features another look at the tug BOA SUPPLIER on the deck of the Boabarge 35. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    Turkish bulk carrier GULSER ANA goes aground off Madagascar

    Madagascar, 7 September – The Turkish bulk carrier GULSER ANA (23,602-gt, built 1985) went aground off the Madagascan coast at Faux Cap, the ship’s operator has announced.

    According to the operator, Mardeniz Denizcilik of Istanbul, all 23 seafarers on board have been safely rescued by the Madagascan coast guard and taken ashore uninjured.

    However the ship’s bunker tanks have ruptured and fuel oil is leaking into the surrounding sea and the nearby beach.

    “The owners, through ITOPF (International Tankers Oil Pollution Federation), pollution clean-up experts, are carrying out beach cleaning operations to remove any bunker oil residues arising from the initial escape. Anti pollution experts are working with local residents who are receiving training, equipment and payment in order to assist with this task and we would like to thank them for their hard work and efforts,” Mardeniz Denizcilik said in a statement.

    The company claimed that currents are carrying the oil eastwards and away from the Cap Ste Marie Marine reserve and the coral reef, “which should avoid any long or medium term environmental damage to the area.” The casualty is being monitored from the air.

    Svitzer Salvage has been contracted to remove the remaining fuel oil and any other pollutants on board the stricken vessel.

    Gulser Ana is carrying a cargo of 40,000 tons of rock phosphate, which Mardeniz says “is a naturally occurring substance and does not pose a threat to the environment. Given the sea conditions in the area it is very unlikely that the rock phosphate will encourage any algal growth.”

    The company says it will continues to work with the local authorities and other concerned parties in order to establish the cause of the initial incident, “including the possibility that the vessel struck an underwater obstacle just prior to the flooding of the engine room and loss of power.”

    Dramatic rescue of fishermen off southern Cape coast

    In a dramatic rescue off the Cape south coast on Sunday the National Sea Rescue Institute was involved in a search and rescue operation after two eye-witnesses noticed a single red distress flare out at sea off Riebok, which is approximately halfway between Mossel Bay and Glentana. Meanwhile, two recreational fishermen were being forced to spend six hours on the upturned hull of their ski-boat as a great white shark circled them.

    Andre Fraser, NSRI Mossel Bay duty coxswain picks up the report:

    “Despite no reports of anyone reported overdue or missing at sea we launched our rescue craft Vodacom Rescuer and our NSRI rescue vehicle was dispatched to begin scouring the shoreline while investigations began to try to determine if there were any reports of any paddlers at sea that may be overdue. Yachting and boating clubs and commercial fishing outfits were contacted in an effort to determine if any vessels were outstanding or overdue.

    “Sea conditions were improving as night fell, and with the rising full moon, but at the time of launching the swell was 2 to 2.5 metre choppy seas and a South Easterly 10 knot wind.

    “While these investigations were underway a sea and shore search revealed no sign of anyone in any kind of difficulty in the vicinity of where the red distress flares had been sighted.

    “Our investigations then led us to a query from the Mossel Bay Yacht Club who had raised concerns of a possible fishing ski-boat which should have returned but was still overdue. These concerns were raised as a direct result of our enquiry (after informing them of the search we had launched following the flare sighting) and after family of two fishermen were contacted it was confirmed that the 20 foot ski-boat Rossi carrying owner and skipper Daan Thomas, 65, and his crewman Hannes Le Roux, 62, both from Mossel Bay, was overdue from a day fishing voyage and all attempts to raise them on the Marine VHF emergency frequency and on their cellphones had failed.

    “As a result the search intensified and knowing that the overdue boat had red distress flares, aerial support was requested but was not immediately authorised, despite our efforts to request an aircraft to assist in the search immediately. This was due to the possibility of an aircraft being more able to spot a red distress flare from the air at night, but we were informed that an aircraft could only be made available to the search from first light and then only if nothing had been found during the night search from our rescue craft at sea and rescue personnel on the shoreline.

    “Our rescue craft and shore crews continued to search and scour the ocean and Maritime Radio Services requested on the Marine VHF emergency frequency for all vessels in the area to assist in the search.

    “At approximately 21h00 a hand-held red distress flare was sighted by our NSRI rescue crew (aboard our rescue craft) in the vicinity between the Klein Brak River and Hartenbos, approximately one nautical mile off-shore, and our rescue craft came across the two casualties sitting on top of and clinging to the upturned hull of their capsized boat.

    “Both men were taken aboard our rescue craft and were found to be in good spirits and they were treated for mild hypothermia but required no medical assistance. They had drifted over six nautical miles from where they had first capsized.

    “A tow-line was rigged to their capsized craft and we towed their boat to Mossel Bay harbour and on arrival at the harbour the men were reunited with their families. Their boat was righted and recovered in the harbour.

    “The men confirmed that they had capsized at approximately 14h45 four nautical miles off-shore of the Great Brak River mouth and had clung to the upturned hull of their boat sitting perched on a small one metre section of the boat which stuck out of the water despite waves crashing over them. Their boat had been capsized by a wave.

    “Daan had dived under the boat on five occasions to retrieve their emergency capsize kit and other equipment that they could use in an effort to survive.

    “They had six 1000 foot parachute red distress flares and two handheld red distress flares and each time they saw a boat pass relatively nearby they set off a 1000 foot parachute red distress flare, one of which failed to deploy, and it has now been determined that only the fifth, and their last 1000 foot parachute red distress flare was the one that was sighted by the two lady eye-witnesses, at two separate addresses at Riebock, who had both called in their sightings to the NSRI at just after 17h30 and which was the first alarm to be raised.

    “With only the two hand-held red distress flares remaining, and now well after dark, the two men decided to wait for a boat’s lights or an aircraft to be spotted by them before setting off their hand-held red distress flares. Daan said that at approximately 20h00 they had set off a hand-held red distress flare hoping it would be sighted from land. This hand-held red distress flare was not sighted.

    “After seeing a vessel with a search light shining in their vicinity at approximately 21h00, and with only their last hand-held red distress flare remaining, they set off the distress flare and that vessel, which sighted the hand-held red distress flare, was the NSRI's rescue craft.

    “Daan said that after they had capsized, the fish and their bait from inside their boat had spilled into the ocean and almost immediately a large shark, believed to be a White Shark, began circling their boat.

    “He said that before the shark came too close to their boat he had made a desperate effort to dive under the boat and had managed to recover their emergency capsize kit.

    “Because of the way their upturned hull was lying in the water they had an area on the upturned hull of approximately 1 metre by 1 metre on which they could sit. Because of the presence of the shark they remained perched on the hull despite waves crashing over them.

    “On four further occasions Daan said he had dived under the boat, despite the presence of the shark, to retrieve survival gear. They had kept their life-jackets handy on the upturned hull in case their boat had sunk.

    “Both men have expressed their deepest gratitude to the NSRI Mossel Bay volunteer duty crew for continuing to search for them so relentlessly.

    “Today they are effecting repairs to their boat Rossi.

    SA, EU to strengthen relations at summit

    Pretoria, 7 September (BuaNews) - South Africa and the European Union are set to strengthen relations and address shared bilateral, regional and global interests at the SA-EU Summit that kicks-off on Friday in Cape Town.

    A top level EU delegation will meet with President Jacob Zuma and his team to review the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA) that was set up between the EU and South Africa 10 years ago.

    “The discussions with the EU will focus on issues including climate change ahead of the UN conference in Copenhagen in December, the global economic crisis, and cooperation between the EU and South Africa on trade, regional development and crisis management,” Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Nomfanelo Kota told BuaNews.

    She said an important part of this meeting will be the signing of the amendment to the TDCA.

    “Essentially what has happened now is that there are about 35 new articles which had been negotiated to beef up the areas of cooperation with the EU.”

    This, she explained covers areas such as customs and revenue services and communications.

    Ahead of the summit on Thursday, President Zuma is expected to hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to further strengthen and deepen Sweden's relationship with South Africa.

    According to the department, key topics of discussion to be held on Thursday will include cooperation on climate change and the environment.

    South Africa's regional role for the promotion of democracy, peace, security and respect for human rights on the African continent will also be discussed.

    On Friday, President Zuma will be supported by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of Environmental Affairs, Minister Sonjica, Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, and the Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel.

    The EU is the world's largest trading bloc and generates about 30 percent of global GDP and 20 percent of global trade flows.

    It is the world's biggest aid donor to poor countries, contributing approximately half of global aid.

    Since the implementation of the TDCA, volumes of bilateral trade between the EU and South Africa have moved from about R56.5 Billion in 1994 to the current R313 Billion in 2007.

    Somalia: Who is Fighting Whom


    Nairobi (IRIN)— Somalia has experienced conflict since 1991 when the late President Mohamed Siad Barre's government was overthrown by opposition forces. Up to 2006, the fighting was largely between clan-based warlords clashing over territory and resources. In the process, one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world was created.

    In 2006, Islamic groups in Mogadishu fought fierce battles against a combined force of the warlords and defeated them. The groups, known as the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), initially enjoyed considerable civilian and business support from a community fed up with insecurity in areas controlled by the warlords, including the capital.

    The UIC ranks contained both radical elements, in the form of Al-Shabab, and moderate members, but the radicals were a small minority. From June-December 2006, it brought unprecedented calm to Mogadishu and other areas of south and central Somalia.

    In December 2006, Ethiopian forces, with backing from the United States - which regarded the UIC as a terrorist organisation - entered Somalia and installed the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu, where it had hardly made its presence felt since coming into being in 2004 after two years of talks in Kenya.

    Subsequently, fierce fighting continued between UIC remnants, including Al-Shabab and their supporters, and the combined forces of Ethiopia and the TFG. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were forced to flee their homes.

    In December 2008, the Ethiopians withdrew from Somalia, leaving a small African Union (AMISOM) force to defend the government.

    In January 2009, a peace deal signed in Djibouti between the UN-backed TFG and a faction of the opposition, the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) saw the creation of a parliament which elected Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed as president of the TFG. The former UIC chairman was considered by many as a moderate Islamist.

    Many Somalis hoped Ahmed's election and the departure of Ethiopian troops would end the violence and launch a new era of peace in the country. They were wrong.

    Ahmed's government was opposed by a breakaway group from his own ARS, led by his former ally Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys. Aweys, who was based in Asmara, Eritrea, returned to Somalia and set up Hisbul-Islam (Party of Islam).

    The Djibouti peace deal was also opposed by Al-Shabab, which had long split from the main UIC.

    Whereas previous struggles for power in Somalia were fought along the lines of the country's complex clan system, the current conflict is, ostensibly at least, a war between groups with different interpretations of Islam.

    The protagonists

    TFG forces comprise fighters who used to serve various warlords, former members of the UIC, clan militia and Ethiopian-trained forces. These disparate groups have weak central command and control, despite the government's efforts, so are rarely able to carry out a coordinated attack. There have been incidents of fighting between the different units.

    The main threat to the TFG is posed by Al-Shabab. It is on a US terror list and is accused of having links with Al-Qaeda. The group controls much of southern and central Somalia, including parts of Mogadishu. Al-Shabab is reportedly led by a shadowy figure who goes by the name of Abu Zubeyr. His real name, according to Somali sources, is Ahmed Godane and he is originally from secessionist Somaliland. His main contact is through taped messages given to Somali radio stations. The group's professed aim is to spread Islam across the globe.

    The movement has been accused of kidnapping, assassinating government officials and journalists, and other criminal activity.

    While a keynote of Al-Shabab's official rhetoric is that clan affiliation and geographic origin should play no part in governance, and that any Somali should be able to serve as "amir", or leader, in any part of the country, this policy does not appear to be followed in central Somalia, where only locals are appointed amirs.

    Al-Shabab views President Ahmed as a traitor to the Islamic cause and has described him and his government as "Murtadiin" (apostates). It believes in the strict application of Sharia law.

    Like Al-Shabab, Hisbul-Islam is also fighting the TFG but is not known to engage in kidnapping and assassinations. It also differs in outlook. Hisbul-Islam is inward-looking and concerned with local rather than international issues, according to Somali analysts. Aweys, its leader, considers the Djibouti peace deal a betrayal. The group is reportedly supported by Eritrea, a charge Eritrea consistently denies.

    Hisbul-Islam insists it will stop fighting if all "foreign forces" leave Somalia, including AMISOM troops.

    Ahlu Sunna Waljama is a Sufi sect, regarded as more moderate in its interpretation of Islam than Al-Shabab. It joined the fighting in late December 2008, dislodging Al-Shabab from the towns of Guri-Eil and Dusamareb in Galgadud region. It now controls all of Galgadud in central Somalia.

    Ahlu Sunna Waljama has two branches. The first was formed by Sufi clerics and enjoys support from Ethiopia. This branch is mainly concentrated in central regions. The other is led by former warlords, who apparently are using the name to reinvent themselves. This group is mainly in the south around Gedo, Bay and Bakol regions. They have some links to the TFG.

    African forces

    AMISOM, staffed mainly by troops from Uganda and Burundi, has been in the country since 2007. In the past the force was confined to protecting the president and prime minister and vital infrastructure, such as the airport and port. In recent months its troops have been drawn into the fighting as insurgents targeted them. Somalis have accused the force of indiscriminate shelling when responding to attacks, a charge they deny.

    The 5,000 or so AMISOM troops, supported by the US and UN, are concentrated in Mogadishu.

    In January 2009, Ethiopia said it had completed the withdrawal of its forces from Somalia. Since then there have been reports, denied by the Ethiopians, of Ethiopian troops in parts of central Somalia. Local sources in Beletweyne town told IRIN Ethiopian forces entered the town on 28 August and are still there.

    [This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

    AP Moller – Maersk’s logistics services now trading as Damco

    Copenhagen, 7 September 2009 – The A.P. Moller – Maersk Group’s logistics activities started trading as Damco yesterday (Monday 7 September 2009).

    Damco is the result of the integration of the company’s supply chain management activities previously branded as Maersk Logistics and its forwarding activities previously branded as Damco.

    Rolf Habben-Jansen, CEO of Damco states, “Under the new brand, our primary drivers remain our passion for working closely with our customers and our dedication to reliable, high-quality service delivery.

    “Engaging with our customers to become and remain their preferred choice in the industry is at the centre of what we stand for as Damco,” he said.

    Damco is primarily known in the market for the consistency and quality of their global operations, and have through high growth in the past years become one of the leading players in the industry. They have taken leading positions with their supply chain development capabilities, as well as in the quest to reduce carbon emissions in supply chains.

    “The new brand gives us a much stronger platform to present and deliver our full service portfolio,” says Martin Thaysen, Chief Commercial Officer at Damco. “We have a strong global coverage, with particular strengths in emerging markets, and we deliver both single freight forwarding services or structure more advanced individual solutions for our customers, depending on their needs.

    “We are looking forward to working with our customers, business partners, and colleagues on making the new Damco a success.”

    Damco is the new, combined but independent brand of the AP Moller - Maersk Group's logistics activities. Damco offers a broad range of supply chain management and freight forwarding services to customers all over the world, and has 10,500 colleagues in 272 offices, covering over 93 countries in Africa, Asia, North America, Europe, Middle East, and Latin America.

    In 2008, the company had a net turn-over of US$2.8 Billion, shipped more than half a million TEUs ocean freight, air freighted over 60,000 tonnes, and handled over 50 million CBMs (equivalent to 2 million TEU) for its supply chain management customers.

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    The death toll in the ferry disaster in the Philippines reached nine yesterday, according to Philippine transport officials. Earlier it was reported that up to 80 of the 968 passengers on board the SUPERFERRY 9 remained unaccounted for. The 1986-built vessel developed a list and capsized in moderate sea conditions, which the Office of Civil Defense said was due to a “hole in the hull”.

    The Seychelles has repatriated 23 Somalis being held on suspicion of piracy because of difficulties in bringing about a successful prosecution. The suspects were flown back to Somali at the weekend after the Seychelles government decided there was not sufficient evidence to continue prosecuting them on charges of piracy at sea. The suspects were all captured by international naval forces at distances hundreds of miles from the nearest Seychelles land.

    Nigeria’s Federal Government has approved N27 Billion for the refurbishment and purchase of railway equipment including new locomotives, in a surprise about-turn of the suspended US$8.3 Billion railway modernisation programme which was previously awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corp. The project has been reduced from a double track railway to a single standard-gauge system, it was revealed. A total of 25 locomotives would be ordered.

    A planned return to service of the MV KALANGALA on Lake Victoria was cancelled without warning in Entebbe after surveyors failed to complete an inspection of the vessel. Scores of passengers who had arrived expecting the ship to sail from Nakiwogo waterway were left disappointed and angry. The Kalangala had been taken out of service after its license expired. According to a Ministry of Works spokesman, surveyors discovered mechanical problems that required further attention before the license could be issued.

    Pic of the day – TAKARA

    Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s car carrier TAKARA (48,547-gt, built 1986) made an unscheduled stop in Cape Town his week to unload stowaways, and in the process presented Ian Shiffman with an unexpected opportunity for photographing a vessel that doesn’t often call at the Mother City. 

    Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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