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Ports & Ships Maritime News

6 November 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

ADVERTISING AMONG THESE PAGES: Great rates, large maritime sector readership averaging over 50,000 readers each month and still growing….. b.t.w., Ports & Ships is 10 years old this year.
- just another couple of reasons to promote your company and services on Ports & Ships with a Banner linked to your Website. Contact us atinfo@ports.co.za info@ports.co.za for a Rate Card.



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The cruise ship EXPLORER (24,318-gt, built 2002) which operates as a floating university and which visited Cape Town in October, was photographed by Ian Shiffman


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The member states of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IORARC) met at Gurgaon in India last week for the 12th Meeting of the Council of Ministers.

This followed a number of preparatory meetings including that of the IOR Academic Group, the working group on Trade and Investment and the Business Forum. The association is 15 years old this year, having been set up in 1997 for the primary objective of promoting sustained growth and balanced development of the region and of its member states, and the creation of common ground for regional economic cooperation.

IORARC is the leading pan-Indian Ocean multilateral forum with its membership open to all sovereign States of the Indian Ocean rim that adhere to the principles and objectives of its Charter. Over the years, IORARC has helped build and expand understanding and mutually beneficial cooperation among its members, and has facilitated the creation of a regional climate conducive to peace and prosperity.

IORARC said in a post-meeting statement that the time had come for IORARC to take the necessary steps, “through an inclusive approach and in conformity with its Charter, to strengthen its institutions and enhance their capabilities, to play its due role as the apex organisation in the Indian Ocean region that can effectively deliver on issues of contemporary relevance to its members.”

At an earlier meeting in November 2011 in Bengaluru, IORARC identified six priority areas for its cooperation agenda: maritime security and piracy; disaster risk reduction; trade and investment facilitation; fisheries management; academic and S&T cooperation; and tourism and cultural exchanges.

“We believe that the outcome of the Bengaluru meeting has helped bring greater focus to our Association's work. We are pleased to note that a number of useful cooperation initiatives have since been and are being taken in each of these priority areas.”

Read the remainder of this report click here Gurgaon Communiqué: The Next Decade. Use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page.


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by Dennis Cruywagen

Cape Town – As part of an initiative to reduce the vacancy rate of at least 45,000 jobs in the maritime industry, 12 FET colleges across the country will start to offer courses aimed at equipping young people for a career in the industry.

Addressing media on Friday at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Deputy Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said 12 Further Education and Training colleges (FETs) will from next year begin to offer courses.

“Some colleges will tweak the courses that they’re offering, while others will start afresh. This initiative will affect unemployment immediately. The jobs are there but our nationals don’t have the skills to fill them. That’s why we import labour.”

While Chikunga was excited by the prospects presented by the initiative, she was equally worried about the situation which necessitated the project.

“It’s … worrying that we can’t fill these jobs. We have to work to ensure that we do it because skills development is a priority. It’s important that we identify people and fill these positions. We can’t delay. The maritime sector has the potential to fight unemployment and poverty.”

The FET colleges will meet at least 80 percent of the industry’s skills demands, producing artisans such as riggers, welders and boiler makers.

Chikunga said not many countries were in South Africa’s position of having two oceans, the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, on its coastline. “We can’t take these things for granted. The initiatives we are driving will help us take our place as a leading international maritime nation.”

The CEO of the SA Maritime Safety Authority, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, said presently, between 1,200 and 1,600 students entered the maritime industry after completing their studies every year. But this total was not enough to meet the industry’s immediate needs.

“At this rate, we won’t be able to fill all the vacancies,” he said. “And we’re only talking about the shortage in the maritime industry. We’re not even talking about the needs of the fishing industry.”

The deputy minister was in Cape Town, South Africa’s oldest working harbour, to bid farewell to Africa’s first-ever training vessel, the SA Agulhas, which will go to Ghana, Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire, before docking at Canary Wharf in London.

She said that through its involvement in the African Union, South Africa was leading the development of an integrated African Maritime Strategy.

It was for this reason, she said, that “we insist that this vessel is not solely for the benefit of South Africa but the whole African continent. Halala Africa halala!”

On her way to London, the SA Agulhas will pick up 12 cadets to join the 51 already on board. The 12 cadets represent a myriad of cultures from Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana and Ivory Coast.’ – SAnews.gov.za


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Rift Valley Railway objects to Kenya’s ‘secret deal’ with China

The privately operated Rift Valley Railways (RVR) says the 25-year concession from the governments of Kenya and Uganda gives RVR the mandate to operate the railway between Mombasa and Uganda.

RVR was speaking out after media reports of a ‘secret deal’ between the two East African governments and China to build a standard gauge railway between Mombasa and Nairobi.

Chief Executive Officer for RVR, Brown Ondego told the East African Business Week that the concession agreement takes into account the possibility of a new more modern railway line being built. He said the agreement clearly stipulates that in such an event RVR should be given the opportunity of operating the railway.

If another party is given the rights to operate a standard gauge railway this would have a negative effect on the operations of RVR, he said.

A Kenyan newspaper, Daily Nation reported that Kenya was in talks with China to fund and build a new standard gauge railway between Mombasa and Malaba.

“Negotiations with the Chinese are ongoing and we anticipate that work could commence by year end,” Kenya’s transport minister Amos Kimunya told guests at a lunch hosted by the Kenya Ports Authority in Nairobi. source East African Business Week


Dar es Salaam port expansion vital, Tanzania is told

Tanzanian port authorities have been told that unless they expand and upgrade the port at Dar es Salaam, landlocked neighbours will shift their attention to other ports in the region.

This was the warning given by Bollore’s Africa Logistics MD Tony Stenning, who told The Citizen newspaper (Tanzania) that the available space at the port in Dar es Salaam was taken up by uncleared cargo.

“The port needs to be expanded, if you ask me where the competition is, I would tell you that Beira and the port of Mombasa are now capitalising on that,” Stenning is quoted as saying.

According to Stenning, Tanzania is ideally situated for regional logistics to thrive and the expansion of the port is inevitable. He admitted that Bollore also had problems with overcrowding at its Inland Container Depot at Dar es Salaam, but said this had been solved through sound investing. source The Citizen

New port at Lamu raises some concern

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Lamu. Picture by Jimmy Kamude/IRIN

Lamu - A fledgling project to build a huge new port, oil refinery and transport hub on Kenya's northern coastline promises to deliver thousands of jobs and is a pillar of the government's long-term development agenda. But critics fear the project will displace tens of thousands of people in Lamu District, exacerbate decades of marginalisation, degrade marine environments essential to local livelihoods and increase the risk of conflict as the country gears up for elections in March 2013, reports IRIN.

“This project will displace many people from their homes… yet the government is not very clear on what plans they have for those who will be displaced,” Abubakar-Al Amudi, chairperson of Save Lamu, a coalition of organisations dedicated to saving the Lamu Archipelago from environmental destruction, told IRIN.

When complete, the project, known as the Lamu Port and Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET), is expected to provide a gateway to the Horn of Africa region. It is set to include building a port in Lamu's Manda Bay; a standard-gauge railway line to Juba, South Sudan’s capital; oil pipelines to South Sudan and Ethiopia; an oil refinery; three airports; and three resort locations in the Kenyan towns of Isiolo and Lamu and at the shores of Lake Turkana.

In Lamu, the government has set aside 1,000 acres of land for the project. But the Ministry of Lands says some 60,000 people will be displaced by the project. With just a few months remaining until the country’s presidential elections, human rights activists say the issue of land could be used by politicians to stoke violence.

Read the remainder of this report, published by IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks, a UN body) Disquiet over Lamu port project - use your BACKSPACE A key to return to this page.

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Lamu. Picture by Jimmy Kamude/IRIN


Indian Navy ships visit Maputo

The two Indian Navy ships that took part in the recent IBSAMAR naval exercise off the Cape of Good Hope, paid a two-day visit to Maputo in Mozambique at the weekend.

Mozambique defence minister Filipe Nyusi announced the arrival on Saturday of the destroyer INS DELHI and the replenishment ship INS DEEPAK, saying that military officers from both countries would hold talks and exercises on anti-piracy missions.

“Piracy (in Indian Ocean) has reduced at the moment, but we are still concerned about it,” the minister said. The Mozambican government has a signed agreement with South Africa and Tanzania to fight piracy along their territorial waters, although the South African presence in northern Mozambique has been withdrawn, leaving no ships or aircraft on anti-piracy patrol out of northern Mozambique.

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INS Delhi. Picture by Trevor Jones


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text by Terry Hutson. Photographs by Trevor Jones

Farrell Lines’ AFRICAN STAR (above) (built 1946, 7971-gt), the first of a series of C-3 freighters to be built by the Federal shipyard at Kearny. Farrell took six of this class of ship, which were to prove highly satisfactory over many years of operation. Another American company, Lykes Line took five of this type also for the Africa service.

Far from accepting standard C-3 designs, Farrell specified a number of changes to their vessels although leaving the hull design, topsides and motive power as standard. The motive power consisted of two steam turbines generating 8,500-horsepower, with double reduction gear to the single-screw shaft. One of the major changes to the design lay with the provision of deeper fuel tanks, which enabled the ships to make round trip voyages to East Africa without refueling, on account of the high cost of oil in Africa. The ships also had enlarged reefer fridges for the perishable trade from the Cape and the holds were arranged to suit the type of traffic carried. Farrell later introduced dehumidifying and ventilating equipment to further protect the cargo carried through the extremes of weather encountered.

This was the second ship to carry the name African Star for Farrell Lines, the first ship of that name being sunk by a U-boat in the South Atlantic in 1943. The second African Star remained in service with Farrall until sold and scrapped in 1973. Pictures taken in Durban in 1970 by Trevor Jones

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Ellerman Lines’ magnificent CITY OF EXETER (13,343-gt, built 1953) seen arriving in Durban in 1970, a year before being withdrawn from service and laid up after just 18 years of plying her trade between the UK and South and East Africa. The ship was subsequently sold to Greek interests and converted into a car ferry with a capacity for 850 passengers. She was powered by Doxford type diesel engines driving twin shafts for a service speed of 16.5 knots. The ship was broken up at Aliaga in Turkey in 1998. Picture by Trevor Jones

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The Shell tanker ZARIA (42,500-dwt, built 1960) arriving in Durban 1969. The tanker remained in service with Shell throughout and was scrapped in Taiwan in 1984. Picture by Trevor Jones


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Blame it on low prices or whatever, but the Port of Richards Bay is once again unlikely to reach the figure of 70 million tonnes of export coal this year, despite confident estimates that 72mt was possible.

By the end of September, with three quarters of the year accounted for, Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) had reached 49,448 million tonnes, which if annualised would top 65.93mt for the full year.

In the last couple of years Transnet Freight Rail and RBCT have ramped up the volume of coal delivered and exported over the last few months of the year, often to make up for shortfalls caused by train derailments of problems at the collieries. Even if that is repeated this year however, 70mt appears out of reach for 2012.

Transnet Freight Rail has improved its ability to move greater volumes, thanks to better operating conditions and the advent of new locomotives and rolling stock. However it appears that market conditions are counting against any last minute surge to the finish line.

According to Siyabonga Gama, TFR’s chief executive the rail company was hoping to do 73 to 75 million tonnes but market conditions would have the final say.

“We've got the capacity to move about 76-million to 78-million tons, but just based on the first half, we will probably end at around 68 -million tons,” he said.


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The Japanese chemical and oil products tanker CHEMSTAR YASU (19,896-dwt, built 2008) was a recent arrival in Cape Town. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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