Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 14, 2005
Author: P&S







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SOUTH AFRICA – dramatic chase snares Chinese fishing vessel

Air Force helicopter called in to assist

The Victoria Mxenge, one of the environmental protection vessels of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, is escorting the Da Yuan Yu No.139 a fishing vessel registered in the Peoples Republic of China to Port Elizabeth harbour after it was apprehended earlier today (Wednesday).

The Victoria Mxenge was undertaking a routine patrol when it came across the Da Yuan Yu 139 approximately 3 nautical miles off Cape St Francis on the east coast. The Da Yuan Yu 139 was requested to stop for an inspection but ignored the call. After repeated calls and signals to stop were ignored, the Victoria Mxenge requested the assistance of the South African National Defence Force.

A South African Air Force helicopter airlifted two Departmental Fishery Control Officers from the Victoria Mxenge, Sifiso Xaba and Leon le Roux, and deployed them on the Da Yuan Yu 139 to carry out the apprehension.

The vessel is being escorted by the Victoria Mxenge to the Port Elizabeth harbour where a full inspection will be conducted. Both vessels are expected to dock in the harbour later tonight.

The Da Yuan Yu 139 has a permit issued by the Department to be in possession of fishing gear but has no authorisation to fish in South African waters.

The Department took delivery of the Victoria Mxenge in September this year. The Victoria Mxenge and her sister vessels the Lillian Ngoyi, Ruth First and the off-shore protection vessel Sarah Baartman were commissioned at a cost of R440 million to strengthen the Departments ability to protect South Africa’s valuable fish resources. The Department has initiated a high visibility compliance strategy for the festive season and has deployed all of its environmental protection vessels along the South African Coast to combat illegal fishing.

In another incident, the Lillian Ngoyi, which was called in to assist the Victoria Mxenge in the apprehension of the Da Yuan Yu 139, was forced to break off to intercept a vessel suspected of poaching abalone. A high speed inshore craft, together with diving gear and other equipment was seized and nine persons on board were arrested.

- report from Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism


SOUTH AFRICA – Cape Town hours

The acting harbourmaster of Cape Town has issued the following notice:

‘Please note that on the Sunday, 25 December and Sunday, 01 January normal shipping will NOT be handled by Marine Operations between 11.00 to 16.00; except in the case of an emergency.’ (see Ports & Ships notification dated 8 December 2005)


SOUTH AFRICA – seafarer swept overboard

An unnamed seafarer has been swept overboard from the bulk ship Princess Katherine while off the coast near Durban this week and is reported lost at sea. The accident occurred when a large wave washed across the vessel. The seafarer was on the deck at the time.

The ship is en route from Richards Bay for Spain.


SOUTH AFRICA – Fuel shortage continues

Certain petroleum fuels remain in short supply particularly in the Western and Eastern Cape with diesel fuel the most affected. A tanker sailing from Durban was expected at East London overnight to relieve the diesel shortage in that city – the vessel is expected to also supply Port Elizabeth.

Oil companies have meanwhile admitted they underestimated the time needed to convert to unleaded fuel, which combined with the annual shutdown at the various refineries has resulted in the problem including a shortage of marine gas oil which is expected to continue to several days. Durban with its two refineries appears the least affected area.


INTERNATIONAL – P&O Nedlloyd loses prefix

Ian Shiffman of Cape Town reports that ships of the P&O Nedlloyd line have begun painting out their prefix from the side of ships, ahead of the absorption of the company into Maersk Line. This was noted when P&O Nedlloyd Adriana was in Cape Town at the recent weekend.


P&O Nedlloyd Adriana in Cape Town harbour - picture courtesy Ian Shiffman

This raises a pertinent question. Which container line was the first to ‘advertise’ in this way? Our guess is that it might be Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) which was already practicing this in the early to mid 1990s.

Soon after several other container lines followed, at least among those calling at southern African ports, as the practice became widespread. The Malaysian line MISC was another to place the prefix on the side of their vessels quite early, but did any other line carry its prefix on the side of the vessel before this.

No prizes but we’d be interested to know.


INTERNATIONAL – will the WTO deliver?

By Sello Mabotja

The current WTO talks in Hong Kong, where 149 countries are gathered, will hopefully deliver a blueprint of reforms that will spur on growth in the developing countries through increased trade. However, the issue of agriculture, in terms of the subsidies that are granted to farmers in most Western countries, has proved to be a major obstacle towards sealing a treaty.

The WTO was set up to negotiate the rules governing international trade, with a view to promoting and ensuring fair competition, and to open up optimum market options for producers in both the rich countries – such as the United States and European Union member states – and the developing world. The latter largely comprise the so-called G20 countries including South Africa, India, China, Brazil, African countries and other non-Western countries such as Saudi Arabia.

The pervasive belief among most development economists is that the removal of global trade barriers will benefit the developing countries immensely and raise the living standards of an estimated 500 million people while developing countries would collectively gain about US200-billion a year in income. In addition, in the African continent alone, the income of more than 60 million people will be uplifted.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that subsidies and tariffs for farmers in the developed world are reducing the earning capacity of the developing countries' export sector. This is not the first time agriculture has been such a contentious issue. In 2003, at the Cancun ministerial meeting, the trade talks failed to deliver. The painful reality is that about 37 African countries are WTO members but that the Sub-Saharan Africa region accounts for a paltry 2% of world trade.

There is fierce debate as African countries seek to maximise the benefits that accrue from international trade, especially in the agricultural sector. Four leading African cotton producers- Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad have called for the elimination of at least 80% of subsidies enjoyed by the Western countries' cotton farmers by the end of 2005 and the remainder (20%) should be scrapped by 2009. They also called for an establishment of an emergency fund to help the poor cotton producers tackle the depressed international prices of the product.

According to the WTO the sensitive issue of cotton should be treated 'ambitiously, expeditiously and specifically' within the next Doha Round negotiations that deal with the abolition of subsidies and the lowering of barriers to farm trade.

Xavier Carim, South Africa's trade negotiator at the talks, thought the poor countries expected a lot from the talks. 'The general consensus is that we are not going to achieve what we thought we would. There has been a scaling back of expectations, but one should not discount the possibility that there could be some advances or last-minute offers made.'

Carim believes that a credible outcome would include substantial progress on issues related to the least-developed countries (LDCs), particularly in the areas of quota-free access that will allow them greater flexibility in meeting their obligations and reaching agreement on developing an 'aid for trade' programme.

Carim adds that with progress on the issue of market access for agricultural products and the proportions offered by both sides – the developing countries and the rich countries – the Doha Round of talks could be successfully concluded in 2006.

The World Bank estimates that the successful conclusion of the trade talks will bring about the following benefits:

• Global incomes will be boosted by US7-billion a year by 2015, with US1-billion, or 70 % of that income, accruing to high-income countries, provided all tariffs, subsidies and domestic programmes are abolished
• The number of people living on less than US a day would drop to about 32 million.

- this article can be found at
http://www.tradeinvestsa.co.za/Newsletters/December 2005.html#Notes


CLIPPER RACE UPDATE

Wednesday 14 December 2005

With little more than 24 hours to go before the first yachts reach Fremantle, it is neck and neck between Durban Clipper, which has led so far all the way across the Indian Ocean, and second placed Victoria, which is catching up fast.

The latter yacht has moved to a more northerly approach to the Australian destination and has been steadily overhauling Durban’s lead for the past day or so. At 17.00 today she was a mere 8 miles behind in the race although sailing some distance to the north. Either yacht can win this leg.

In third position is Westernaustralia with the remainder of the yachts in similar positions to our last report, albeit all closer to the finish. With this leg likely to finish late tomorrow (GMT) or early Friday morning the current position is as follows:

Race position at 17.00 today (with distance to finish)

Durban (311)
Victoria (319)
Westernaustralia (398)
Qingdao (448)
Jersey (482)
Liverpool (506)
New York (547)
Cardiff (603)
Singapore (684)
Glasgow (760)

- source http://www.clipper-ventures.co.uk


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