Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 10, 2006
Author: P&S





TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Safmarine and Maersk enhance South Africa-Far East service

  • Transnet issues R2.5 Bn paper

  • US legislators deal DP World body blow

  • Carnival buys Minerva II cruise ship

  • Nigerian crisis: mediator appointed, military leader recalled

  • Rain slows spread of Chikungunya among Indian Ocean islands





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    Safmarine and Maersk enhance South Africa-Far East SAFARI service

    The weekly named-day Safari service operated by Safmarine and Maersk Sealand between South Africa and the Far East has been enhanced.

    Safmarine is adding an eighth ship to the core service (Safari 1) along with a direct call at Cape Town. In addition the formation of a second Safari service, to be known as Safari 2 will include direct calls at Singapore, Tanjung Pelepas, Port Elizabeth and Durban.

    “Safmarine customers have welcomed the inclusion of Cape Town in the core Safari service and the return of the original ‘Big Whites’ to the Mother City,” said Alex de Bruyn, Safmarine’s Southern Africa Trades Executive.

    One of these, SA Winterberg is scheduled to make the first direct call at Cape Town on 17/18 March 2006.

    The port rotation for the Safari 1 service is now as follows: Shanghai – Kaohsiung – Hong Kong – Tanjung Pelepas – Port Louis – Durban – Port Elizabeth – Cape Town.


    Transnet issues R2.5 Bn paper

    Transnet is to meet its short term capital requirements by selling R2.5 Billion worth of commercial paper over a three-year period, which it says will provide the company with ‘low-cost and flexible funding to finance working capital needs of the issuer and for general corporate purposes.”

    The commercial paper will be allocated through a regularly announced tender process conducted by Transnet Treasury. A minimum bid volume of R25 million, with increments of R10m will apply, with notes having a standard maturity of 91 days.

    A commercial paper is a short-term unsecured loan and is normally used to finance accounts receivable.


    US legislators deal DP World body blow

    The proposed takeover of P&O Ports’ terminals in the United States was dealt a body blow today when the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee voted 62-2 in favour of an amendment blocking the Dubai-based company from taking over operations at the US ports.

    This is only step one in the debate which is expected to come before the entire membership of the House of Representatives next week. President Bush has gone on record saying he will veto any attempt by the legislators to block the sale but since his statement more and more influential US politicians including state governors have come out against the sale.

    The takeover is currently undergoing a 45-day review – a proposal that is believed to have been the idea of former President Bill Clinton who is reported to be acting as advisor to the Dubai company. President Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Clinton is one of those leading the charge to ensure the sale does not go through, citing security issues because Dubai is an Arab country with suspected ties to terrorist groups.

    The moves by American legislators may come back to bite the US in future dealings with the Middle East and with other regions, say people in the marine transport industry. Already voices within the shipping industry are speaking out against the moves to block the sale – the latest coming from the president of the World Shipping Council, Christopher Koch who accused opponents of the deal of ‘racial stereotyping’ against DP World and warned of its effects on world trade.

    The chief executive of the US’s second largest railroad operator, BNSF added his voice by warning of profound consequences in global trade if the deal was blocked. An article in the Financial Times suggested a need for greater public education about the benefits of global commerce.

    - sources own and Schednet


    Carnival buys Minerva II cruise ship

    US cruise giant has purchased the former Renaissance Cruise vessel R8, more recently operating for Swan Hellenic as Minerva II, to operate under the Princess Cruises brand.

    Minerva II was in South Africa for the first time a year ago and impressed greatly. The ship is to join other Princess Cruise vessels Tahitian Princess and Pacific Princess (the latter a regular visitor to South Africa) in April 2007 when she will be renamed Royal Princess.


    Nigerian crisis: mediator appointed, military leader recalled

    The Nigerian militant organisation Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) says it has appointed the ethnic Ijaw activist Oronto Douglas as mediator in the three month old dispute with the international oil company Shell and the Nigerian Federal Government.

    The dispute has seen a number of attacks on Shell installations and the kidnapping of expatriate oil workers, leading to the shut-down of several terminals and the loss of about one fifth of Nigeria’s oil production. MEND is demanding greater local control of their oil interests and share of the profits to be dispersed among local communities – the Nigerian constitution is supposed to guarantee the local region receives 13 percent of the gross oil proceeds which MEND claims it seldom receives.

    Meanwhile the Federal Government has removed from office the commander of armed forces operating against MEND, although this has been played down to some extent by the military saying that Brig-General Elias Zamani was due for transfer. Zamani is accused of having ordered last month’s helicopter attack on villagers sympathetic to MEND which resulted in the reported deaths of a number of innocent bystanders. The attack led to militants retaliating with heightening of tension and further attacks on several installations and the kidnapping of foreign workers.


    Rain slows spread of Chikungunya among Indian Ocean islands


    JOHANNESBURG, 9 Mar 2006 (IRIN) - Heavy rains have helped slow an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus on the islands of Reunion and Mauritius, but its containment depends on the effectiveness of recent public health campaigns.

    "We had very bad weather over the weekend and now we have seen only 38 new cases a day, compared to between 130 and 180 daily last week," Amita Pathack, regional public health superintendent at the Mauritius Ministry of Health, told IRIN.

    But stagnant water left after the rain will test the effectiveness of cleanup campaigns launched to reduce potential mosquito breeding grounds, Pathack warned.

    "Wastelands, dumping grounds and streets have been cleared of old tyres, empty cans and any potential breeding pool for the mosquito [Aedes Albopictus] that spreads the disease," a Seychelles Ministry of Health spokesperson said.

    "We have mobilised community workers and a mass media campaign was launched to get people to clean up - it has never been so clean here," he remarked.

    Pathack said Reunion had also experienced heavy rain over the past two days, washing away mosquito larvae. "But we will have to see what this means after a week, and whether [breeding grounds] have been removed, or else the situation could turn bad again within a week."

    Chikungunya has made its way across the Indian Ocean, arriving in Reunion, Seychelles, Mayotte, Mauritius and, recently, Madagascar. Although not officially acknowledged, it is believed that Comoros has also been infected. "Three women were recently diagnosed in France ... [after they] had just returned from the Comoros," Pathak said.

    World Health Organisation spokesperson Fadela Chaib said Chikungunya might have infected an estimated 157,000 people in Reunion since March 2005. Since the beginning of January this year Mayotte has reported 924 cases, Mauritius 2,553 and the Seychelles 4,650 "and Madagascar now has had one case confirmed by a laboratory".

    There is no vaccine or treatment for Chikungunya, Swahili for 'that which bends up', referring to the stooped posture of those afflicted by the disease. "It is not subtle, it is crippling and extremely painful", Chaib said.

    It seems likely that Chikungunya has established itself on all the islands and cases are no longer limited to persons coming from infected areas.

    "It is hard to determine where new cases come from. At the beginning we could tell, but now we have primary [a person infected abroad] and secondary [a person bitten by a mosquito on the island] infection," Pathak noted.

    Traders are most likely responsible for carrying the disease between the islands, according to Pathak. "They stay there a lot longer [than tourists] and the first cases we saw were traders that had just been in Reunion. They told us (Mauritian Health authorities) that everyone around them there seemed to be sick."

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

    - source http://www.IRINnews.org



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