Ports & Ships Headline News
Oct 3, 2005
Durban expansion capped
A cap on future container growth at the port of Durban is believed to form part of the Port Master Plan that goes before the cabinet for government approval later this year. The final figure at which further container expansion will not extend is 8 million TEU, although it will take another 20 years before Durban is likely to reach this figure, based on existing growth of 8% per annum.
In order to reach these numbers port authorities will need to convert Salisbury Island, at present a military and naval base, for the handling of container and motor vehicles. A large section of the bay between Pier 1 and the present naval station will also have to be filled in and this will extend the current conversion of Pier 1 as an independent container terminal.
Further expansion will later become necessary in the Bayhead area to the southwest of Durban Bay, involving the digging out of a new waterway into the area of the original flood plains at the head of the bay, currently used as railway marshalling yards.
The plan will impact on future shipbuilding proposals for the Bayhead area but is not likely to affect existing ship repair facilities.
Lost at sea – one tug
After locating the drifting bulker Satsang south of Port Elizabeth on Saturday, the salvage tug Smit Amandla has secured a tow about 165 miles from the coast. Now the alert has gone out for the missing tug Jupiter 6, with a crew of 13 on board, which the owners say has not reported in since 5 September.
This was shortly after the two vessels sailed from Walvis Bay. Jupiter 6 was towing the Satsang to Alang in India for scrapping and had stopped at the Namibian port for emergency repairs. (See our News report dated 30 September)
Surprise development with Kenya-Uganda Railway bid
There was a surprise in store when bidding for the concession to run Kenya and Uganda Railways as a combined operation closed last week. After six companies had pre-qualified, four of them withdrew or failed to submit their final bids, leaving just two companies in the race.
Those remaining in contention are Sheltam Locomotive & Rail Services of South Africa and Rail India Technical & Economic Services (Rites). Among the companies failing to make the final bid were NLPI - a consortium that includes South Africa’s Spoornet.
The concessioning of the two railway systems, which will also include operating the railway ferry services on Lake Victoria, involves a combined rail network of over 2200km.
Lake ship to be privately operated
The Uganda government has decided to put out to private tender the operation of a new ship named mv Kalangala which is being built for operation on Lake Victoria, reports the Uganda newspaper New Vision. The 37.5m long ferry is under final construction by Dutch shipbuilder Damen at the Port Bell Pier and will be commissioned later this month. The decision to seek a private operator for the new vessel follows the recent sinking of mv Kabalega on the lake. Damen has been asked to undertake the operation of the vessel for a one year period while a more permanent charterer is sought. The report says the new ship will operate a passenger and cargo service between Lutoboka on Bugala Island and Nakiwogo in Entebbe.
South African refineries in partial shutdown
South Africa’s three oil refineries are undergoing full or partial shutdowns during the next month, but the fuel companies say enough bunker fuel has been stockpiled to last the period. The annual shutdown involves the Durban-based Sapref Refinery which is already in partial shutdown until 15 October. Another Durban refinery, Engen went into complete shutdown from 1 October until 31 October, while the Cape Town Caltex Refinery has closed between 1 October and 1 December. Concern is already being expressed that some ships are being diverted from Durban to Cape Town, amidst fears that this will hasten a shortage at that port.
Hostage ships released
The two ships held by Somali pirates were released on Saturday, according to reports being received. The Kenyan ship mv Semlow was captured by pirates in June while attempting to deliver rice to tsunami victims in northern Somalia on behalf of the UN’s World Food Programme. Despite efforts by the WFP, all efforts to obtain the ship’s release failed. Then a second ship, Ibn Batouta, carrying a cargo of cement from Egypt, was seized by the same pirates and also taken to Haradheere. According to a spokesman for the pirates elders from the Haradheere district interceded on behalf of the captured ships and crew and convinced the highjackers to release both vessels, which sailed for El Ma’an on Saturday. These reports say some pirates remained on board but left the ships the following day (Sunday, 2 October). The two vessels are now expected to arrive in El Ma’an, a port lying a few kilometres to the north of Mogadishu.
The Chinese freighter Shanhai, which had been held in Durban pending an enquiry into the death of a stevedore after one of the ship’s cranes collapsed on 14 September, has sailed (see News articles dated 15 September and 30 September). The 50-year old stevedore died when the ship’s crane he was operating sheered off and collapsed while lifting a cargo of steel at Durban’s Point berth A. The ship later moved to another berth where cargo loading was completed using shore-based cranes.
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