Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 21, 2005
Author: P&S







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SOUTH AFRICA – Upgrade for Richards Bay

The Richards Bay port manager-designate, Thami Ntshingila announced at the weekend a R600 million investment aimed at improving cargo handling in the port.

Ntshingila takes over from the current port manager Hlumi Mzamo, who leaves Richards Bay at the end of this month. Ntshingila said R443m will be spent on upgrading the coal terminal to increase volume capacity from 72Mt to 92Mt and R188m would be spent on improving berthing at the bulk liquid terminal.

He added that there would be an emphasis on developing human capital and appropriate management and technical skills at the port in order for Richards Bay to achieve the desired levels of efficiency.


SOUTH AFRICA – Greenpeace vessels head south

After a visit of about one week two vessels of the Greenpeace organisation, Esperanza and Arctic Sunrise sailed at the weekend for the Southern Ocean where the organisation intends harassing a Japanese whaling fleet.

The two vessels caused something of a stir while berthed at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, with police and navy keeping a close watch on the comings and goings of crew members and other visitors. Authorities apparently feared there would be a repetition of events of a few years ago when activists from a Greenpeace vessel in port ‘invaded’ the Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town, taking security guards by surprise and gaining access to the power station property without apprehension.

The two motor yachts will head off into the Southern Ocean to find and intercept the Japanese whaling fleet and cause as much disruption to the whaling activities as possible. The Japanese fleet sailed recently and is currently heading south towards Antarctic waters. This is despite an international ban on whaling – the Japanese excuse themselves on the matter by claiming they are engaged on ‘scientific research,’ using a loophole in the 1986 international moratorium on commercial whaling.

This so-called research involves the Japanese killing 1,000 minke whales, 50 fin and 50 humpback whales, all in the name of science. The latter two species are on the endangered list.


SOUTH AFRICA – Safmarine builds on its Africa – Asia services #1

Safmarine has announced a second string to its weekly Safari service between Southern Africa and Asia in addition to two new direct services linking East Africa and Asia and West Africa and Asia.

The second string to the Safari service, which becomes effective in the second quarter of 2006, will mean twice weekly, named day calls from Southern Africa to Asia, with five ships deployed each of 1,500 nominal TEU in capacity and calling at Port Elizabeth and Durban, Tanjung Pelepas, Singapore and Toamasina.

In addition the existing main Safari string will continue with a total of eight ships, including the four original Big Whites, calling Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Port Louis, Tanjung Pelepas, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Yantian, Tanjung Pelepas and Port Louis.

The new Cape Town call heralds the return of the Big Whites to the Western Cape and by avoiding transshipments more than halves transit times from the Far East for Cape Town clients.


SOUTH AFRICA – Safmarine builds on its Africa – Asia services #2

A new weekly West Africa – Asia direct service, commencing in early December this year and consisting on nine ships, will offer direct calls from Hong Kong, Singapore and Tanjung Pelepas into Cape Town, Tema, Lome, Apapa, Cotonou and Abidjan. In February 2006 the Cape Town calls will be replaced by Walvis Bay calls, reducing current transit times by a week and offering fast connections to Matadi and Luanda.

To complement these new changes, a new East Africa – Asia direct service will commence in March 2006 from Tanjung Pelepas via Jakarta into Victoria, Dar es Salaam and Mombasa. This means a transit of just over 12 days between Tanjung Pelepas and Dar es Salaam.


INDIA – Two stowaways from South Africa die on ship

Two African stowaways, who are believed to have boarded a bulk ship as it loaded coal at the Richards Bay Coal terminal earlier this month, were found dead from what appears to be asphyxiation after the vessel, the YK Taurus arrived off the Indian port of Paradip. The men’s bodies were found lying in one of the cargo holds.

A local police superintendent said crew members found the bodies when they opened the vessel’s hatches as the ship prepared to enter port. An unnatural death case docket has been opened and the vessel delayed outside port while the bodies were sent for autopsy and DNA and fingerprint collection.

Indian sources said the ship’s last port of call was Richards Bay and it is believed the stowaways may have thought the ship was headed for Europe, a popular destination among African stowaways.

How the two men managed to board the ship unnoticed in a restricted security area of Richards Bay is not clear.

Paradip is one of 12 major ports in India and is situated on the extreme northeast coast in the state of Orissa, facing into the Bay of Bengal.


SOMALIA – Pirates release Greek tanker

Somali pirates this weekend released the highjacked Greek tanker San Carlo and its crew of 24 which was seized with the ship about a month ago.

According to reports the ship has sailed from the Somali coast and is resuming its interrupted journey to South Africa. It is not known whether the owners paid a ransom for its release – the fact that ship has been allowed to sail would suggest this is so.

Meanwhile the International Transport Federation (ITF) has given its support to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in its efforts to involve the UN Security Council in putting an end to international piracy.

The ITF says it has urged IMO secretary-general Efthimios Mitropoulos to involve the Security Council to secure naval intervention – Mitropoulos stated that the IMO already planned to do so.

Referring to Somalia, John Bainbridge of the ITF commented: “This latest attack (the Seabourn Spirit), coming hard on the heels of the shameful theft of two relief vessels, proves that the situation is almost beyond control. Even 100 miles offshore ships are unsafe. We must bite the bullet and admit that as a unified nation, Somalia has ceased to exist. That may well mean that other countries will have to enter its waters and take over the duties that it can no longer carry out.”


INTERNATIONAL – ISPS IS HURTING SEAFARERS

The ISPS code is improving security at the expense of seafarers who are increasingly overworked and treated with suspicion, according to an ITF survey released today (Monday). This is happening at a time when disproportionate security measures not related to the code are also having a negative impact on crews, the Federation says.

The ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security) Code was widely seen as a successful example of the ‘fast tracking’ of legislation when it was introduced in response to the 9/11 attacks in the USA. However the ITF survey shows that the welcome security gains are being undermined by lack of trust and support for the seafarers tasked with implementing it.

The ITF has been broadly supportive of ISPS and applauded the consultative manner in which it was drawn up. However, there have always been concerns about a possible negative impact on seafarers, as a result of which the Federation initiated the survey, which was sent to its 127 inspectors and 230 affiliated maritime unions - which represent around 700,000 seafarers - for them to consult their members and report back.

The results - published as the report Access Denied: Implementing the ISPS Code - can be viewed at www.itfglobal.org/infocentre/pubs.cfm/detail/1446 The overwhelming response to the survey was that ISPS had seriously increased seafarers’ workloads without any increase in staff, pay or training, and was associated with the grave problems experienced with shore leave, especially in the USA. Although the ISPS Code includes provisions to avert problems of access to ports, shore leave and welfare facilities, it is clear from the survey that these are being neglected in the Code’s implementation.

Serious areas of concern highlighted in the survey responses include:

  • Increased workload and responsibility

  • No commensurate increase in pay

  • Inadequate training

  • Restrictions on shore leave

  • Problems in obtaining United States visas

  • Difficulties for seafarers’ welfare and trade union representatives seeking to board vessels to provide services to crew


  • Jon Whitlow, Secretary of the ITF’s Seafarers’ Section, said: “All responsible parties back the aim of the ISPS code. But there’s a gap between principle and practice. The measures that were supposed to protect seafarers are too often being neglected. Combine that with other excessive security measures being implemented outside the code and you have a grave and counter-productive climate of distrust and suspicion being created out there.”

    “It would seem that ISPS Code is being implemented selectively. The delicate balance built in to the Code has, in the opinion of seafarers, been undermined in practice.”


    Clipper Race – R&R in Durban

    Monday 21 November

    With the conclusion of the 3rd leg of the Clipper Race at Durban, competitors are now able to relax in the sun and surf of South Africa’s favourite holiday playground and enjoy a well-earned rest. The race resumes on 14.00 local time Sunday, 27 November – until then if any reader wants to stay in touch with what is happening during the Durban stopover please go to http://www.clipper-ventures.co.uk/plc/index.php for a daily update.

    Ports & Ships will pick up the race again from Sunday.


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