Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 2, 2006
Author: P&S





TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Durban stowaways nabbed in Nacala


  • Nigerian militants attack tanker


  • Namibia introduces inshore research vessel


  • EWATA drops Sierra Leone war risk surcharge


  • DP World sends delegation to the US for talks


  • More lives lost in Gulf of Aden


  • Cape Town’s Chevron Refinery shuts down






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    Durban stowaways nabbed in Nacala

    Three Tanzanian stowaways, who boarded the coaster Songo in Durban harbour on or about 19 February, have been taken into custody by Mozambique police at the northern port of Nacala, shortly after the Mozambique-flagged vessel docked earlier this week.

    The men admitted stowing away on board ship in Durban, saying they hoped the vessel would take them to Europe. Instead Songo plies its trade between Durban and the Mozambique ports and at time to Tanzania as well. The men told police they boarded the ship by pretending to be dock workers.

    While in Durban Songo was berthed at Maydon Wharf, her usual place of docking. Maydon Wharf is known as a sieve as far as ease of access is concerned, despite efforts by port security to tighten up. According to regular users of Maydon Wharf the security guards on duty at the boom gates place their full attention on motorised traffic and worry more about whether legitimate people working in the harbour have valid permits, while ignoring the pedestrian traffic that wanders in an out of the area with little hindrance.


    Nigerian militants attack tanker

    Nigerian militants carried out an attack on a tanker operating in the Niger Delta and escaped with an amount of money, reported variously as between US,000 and ,000.

    The attack came less than two weeks after militants attacked a work barge and kidnapped nine foreign workers who are still being held hostage. At the time the militants threatened to attack any tanker approaching the coastline and gave warning to the oil companies that they meant to further disrupt operations in the Delta.

    Meanwhile at least one of the hostages has been shown to journalists. The man, an American named Macon Hawkins who is 69 and suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure told journalists (while under guard) that he was being well treated and had received medication.

    The militants claim the attack, which included armed attacks on other oil installations in the area, was in response to the Nigerian military using a helicopter to open fire on local villages. They claimed that Shell had assisted the military by permitting the use of an airport under Shell’s control but Shell has pointed out that the airport is in general use including by the military.

    Meanwhile Shell is appealing a fine of US.5 Billion that was imposed last week on the Anglo-Dutch company by a Port Harcourt court for environmental pollution. The court’s ruling stipulated that the fine be paid to the local communities affected by the pollution.

    In 2005 Shell declared a profit of US.94 Billion, which is ascribed to escalating oil prices. The amount is said to be the highest ever recorded by the company.


    Namibia introduces inshore research vessel
    Namibia has added an inshore research vessel to its fleet of coastal survey vessels in response to a need for close inshore environmental monitoring and in particular the north flowing Benguela Current.

    The new vessel, a King Cat ski boat named Nostiluca (the name means Night Light) was donated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and will be used to study toxic organisms causing red tide and other harmful algal blooms and sulphur eruptions along the Namibian coast, while also monitoring migratory bird species along the coast.

    According to the report in The Namibian the other member countries of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem Programme, namely Angola and South Africa are to receive similar vessels from the UNDP to enable close monitoring of the entire Benguela Current stretching from Cape Agulhas to northern Angola.

    Nostiluca was built at the Durban Z-Craft boatyard.

    - source The Namibian


    EWATA drops Sierra Leone war risk surcharge

    An improved situation in the West African country of Sierra Leone has resulted in member lines of the Europe West Africa Trade Agreement (EWATA) agreeing to cancel the Sierra Leone War Risk Surcharge.

    The cancellation took effect from yesterday (1 March). Member lines are CSAV, Delmas, Libra, Lykes, Maersk Sealand, Nile Dutch Africa Line, OT Africa Line, Safmarine and TMM.


    DP World sends delegation to the US for talks

    A delegation from Dubai Ports World (DP World) is on its way to the United States to hold talks with officials and legislators regarding the furor over the takeover of P&O Ports terminals in the United States by the Arab company

    Dubai’s ruling Makktoum family, which owns DP World has agreed to defer the US takeover for 45 days to give American officials time to review their security requirements. DP World was due to become the legal owner of P&O Ports assets as from today (2 March). The assets include port terminals in 19 countries.

    However the takeover has received fierce opposition from several quarters in the US, citing security risks based on DP World being a Dubai-based company. President Bush said he will veto any legislation preventing the takeover but has since welcomed the 45-day ‘cooling down’ period afforded everyone. DP World says it hopes that by agreeing to further scrutiny this will demonstrate its commitment to a long-term relationship with the US.

    P&O Ports operations in the United States include a 30-year lease with the Port of New York to operate the port of Newark (one million TEU turnover) and a 50% share of the Port of Miami Terminal Operating Company.


    More lives lost in Gulf of Aden

    UN Seeks Urgent Action

    source - UN News Service (New York)

    In the latest grim episode of asylum seekers and migrants dying while trying to cross the Gulf of Aden from Somalia to Yemen, the United Nations refugee agency reported today that smugglers forced 137 men, women and children into deep waters off the Yemeni coast, killing at least 33, with another 30 missing.

    "The latest tragic incident once again highlights the urgent need for joint international and local efforts to address this problem and minimize the flow of desperate people who fall victim to ruthless smugglers," UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva.

    Thousands of Somalis, many fleeing violence in their homeland, arrive in Yemen every year, averaging an estimated 100 people a day during the annual September to March period of good sailing conditions, after making the perilous crossing in the hands of smugglers who often beat them or force them overboard while still far from shore, sometimes with their hands tied behind their backs, leaving them to the mercy of the seas.
    On Saturday, the UNHCR office in Aden, Yemen, received information that a smuggler's boat sailing from Somalia had forced all of its 137 passengers - 134 Somalis and three Ethiopians - into deep waters, before turning around and heading back to Somalia.

    By Monday evening, 84 people had managed to reach shore safely, while 33 had been found dead on the Al Hodeiya shore on the southern coast. Another 30 passengers including children are still missing and we fear their chances of survival are now extremely slim," Ms. Pagonis said. "Our team in Aden is taking care of the survivors, giving them medical care, food and non-food items."

    Despite the hazards, smugglers still find ready customers. From 12-17 January alone, 22 boats carrying an unknown number of Somalis and Ethiopians arrived in Yemen. Of those, UNHCR registered 1,217 Somalis and 39 Ethiopians. On 16 January, a boat carrying 65 people and six dead bodies arrived in Yemen. Another 14 people had reportedly died during the voyage.

    UNHCR has been working with the authorities in Puntland, in north-eastern Somalia to inform people about the dangers of using smugglers. In January it produced a video to raise awareness among Somalis and Ethiopians of the risks involved and is now working on a radio programme in local languages to reach more people.

    "At the same time, we are also calling on donors to support the international community in its efforts to improve protection and assistance to internally displaced persons in Puntland who live in very difficult circumstances," Ms. Pagonis said in the latest of a series of appeals the agency has issued over recent months. "Without addressing the root causes of the outflow, progress in stemming the smuggling will be extremely limited."


    Cape Town’s Chevron Refinery shuts down

    Officials at Cape Town’s Chevron Refinery are hoping to reopen today after operations were shut down on Tuesday, following further power cuts in the Western Cape.

    The refinery is relatively small at 112,000 barrels a day but is the only such facility in the Western Cape and even a two day shutdown is likely to affect supply of fuel, including bunker fuel at the port of Cape Town which has already suffering with shortages.

    With further power disruptions likely it may be some weeks before the Western Cape fuel supply is able to return to normal.


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