Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 8, 2006
Author: P&S





TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

  • SAPO places huge order for cranes


  • Large chunk of government’s R372 Billion to go on improving freight routes


  • Soldiers blockade Comoros port


  • Al Salam ferry turned back by Saudis


  • Somalis challenge Kenya arrest and trial


  • Clipper Race - 8 yachts have stress problems







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    SAPO places huge order for cranes

    South African Port Operations (Sapo) confirmed yesterday today that an order for 14 new super post panamax Ship-to-Shore (STS) gantry cranes had been placed last November with the German/Irish manufacturer Liebherr, and that an option for additional 25 straddle carriers from the Finnish firm of Kalmar had been taken up. The additional straddles will be added to last year’s order of 53 – of these 16 are intended for Durban, 26 for Cape Town and 11 for Port Elizabeth. The 25 additional straddles confirmed yesterday will all go to Durban.

    The cost of both the cranes and straddles has not been disclosed but constitutes the largest single crane and equipment order ever placed by a South African port operator. On Monday this week the country’s deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka revealed that the government intends investing R370 Billion on infrastructure development during the next three years, of which Transnet’s share is R47Bn for the ports, pipelines and railways. SAPO’s latest order no doubt forms part of this infrastructure upgrade.

    The order was actually signed with Liebherr last November but was kept under wraps pending Transnet’s board signing off of the deal. With deals of this nature usually being politicised the timing of the announcement coincided with last week’s State of the Nation speech in parliament by President Mbeki and the amplification this week by the deputy president.

    Eight of the new twin-lift STS cranes, which will span 52m in outreach and have a height under the spreader of 37m, are intended for the two Durban container terminals. One is to go on Durban Container Terminal’s South Quay, two on its East Quay and five to the Pier 1 Container Terminal.

    Six similar sized machines will go to the Cape Town Container Terminal.

    Delivery of the eight Durban cranes will be made in time for commissioning between March and October 2007, while all six Cape Town cranes are to be operational by July 2008. The machines, which will be capable of handling the largest new generation container ships will be shipped to South Africa in component form and assembled locally.

    The additional 25 straddle carriers that have been ordered include 15 that can stack containers three-high while the remaining 10 will be two-high machines.

    An order for 12 one-over-five rubber tyred gantries for the new Pier 1 Container Terminal at Durban was also placed with Kalmar.

    - now read the press release from SA Port Operations http://www.clipper-ventures.co.uk


    Large chunk of government’s R372 Billion to go on improving freight routes

    Government is expected to spend a large chunk of the R372 Billion infrastructure investment – announced by deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on Monday, in developing a new dedicated freight corridor along the busy trade corridor between the industrial heartland of Gauteng and the port of Durban. Government also intends a future new freight route between Polokwane and the port of Richards Bay.

    The Durban - Gauteng corridor is to have a new high speed rail link to assist with improving rail transport’s competitiveness with road transport. Durban port already handles in excess of 65% of the country’s container traffic and with Richards Bay the two KZN ports currently handle almost 75% of the country’s total imports and exports. Much of this is transported along the Durban – Gauteng or Richards Bay – Mpumalanga corridors.

    Among other details revealed at a media briefing was the news that Harrismith near the Free State-KZN border is to be the site of a trade hub aimed at improving freight links between the port of Durban and the rest of KZN and both Gauteng and the Free State.

    Government will also introduce a broadband network through its parastatal Sentech which will act in direct competition with Telkom, a former parastatal.

    Coincident to this announcement, bids are to be invited for the construction of the much debated Dube Tradeport on the north side of Durban, which includes the construction of a new international airport at La Mercy.


    Soldiers blockade Comoros port

    The port of the small independent island of Moheli in the Comoros group of Indian Ocean islands was blockaded this week by soldiers after unrest arising from the sacking of the man in charge of the port.

    It happens that the armed forces commandant is the brother of the person sacked. Soldiers moved into the port precinct at the weekend and closed down all operations, leaving the island cut off by sea from the rest of the island group and the outside world, although the island does possess an airport.

    Moheli is the smallest of three Comores islands that took independence from France in 1975, with the fourth main island of Mayotte opting to remain a ‘part’ of France. The three independent islands, Grand Comore, Anjouan and Moheli now share the presidency on a rotating basis in terms of the present constitution. In 1997 Moheli seceded from the Comoros but rejoined a year later and in 2002 ratified a new constitution that sought to decentralize the central government of the three islands. However coups and interventions from mercenary forces since 1975 has marked the short history of this independent group.


    Al Salam ferry turned back by Saudis

    Saudi port authorities at Dubah on the Red Sea coast have turned back a ferry owned and operated by the Egyptian ferry company El Salam Shipping & Trading, claiming that the ship is unseaworthy and in a bad state.

    The Al Salam Manzoni 94 was arriving at Dubah to load passengers just days after the tragic disaster involving another company ferry, Al Salam Boccaccio 98, which caught fire and sank shortly after leaving Dubah with over 1400 passengers. Nearly one thousand of those are feared to have died in the fire and sinking.

    Al Salam Manzoni 94 was built in 1971 and like her ill-fated sister was formerly an Italian Tirrenia vessel.


    Somalis challenge Kenya arrest and trial

    Lawyers acting on behalf of the ten Somalis captured by an American warship who face charges of piracy in a Kenya court have challenged the jurisdiction of Kenya’s legal system.

    The case comes before the Kenya court today (Wednesday) and lawyers say they will argue that Kenya lacks the jurisdiction to try the ten men on charges of being pirates. When the men were arrested by the US Navy they were on board an Indian motorized dhow, the Safinat Bisarat that had been allegedly highjacked and used for acts of piracy at sea. The original crew of 16 Indians substantiated this by saying they were made captive when the Somalis came on board and that their lives had been threatened. They claim a ransom demand was also made for their safety.

    Meanwhile Kenya police said yesterday that they, together with the American FBI and navy investigators had identified the mastermind behind many of the recent acts of piracy. The police however did not provide any indication whether they thought an arrest of this person was imminent.


    Clipper Race – 8 yachts have stress problems

    All ten yachts are safely alongside at Subic Bay in the Philippines after Leg 6 of the Round the World Clipper Yacht Race was suddenly abandoned.

    The decision to call off the leg was taken after a number of yachts discovered loose keel bolts. Instead of continuing towards the planned port of Qingdao the yachts headed for the nearest suitable harbour at Subic Bay where the necessary facilities exist. An inspection of the yachts has since revealed cracks in eight of them, caused it is thought by a failure of the bond between the hull and the internal strengtheners in the area of the keel. In the case of Glasgow this was leading to quite severe water ingress.

    Race organisers are now looking for a solution and suitable repair programme before the race can be continued.

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


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