Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 30, 2006
Author: P&S





MONDAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

  • Transnet reacts to transport strike


  • Kenya shipping lines goes south


  • Safmarine ship attacked in Santos


  • Obasanjo pledges to restore law and order to Delta


  • Piracy report a false alarm


  • Clipper race restarts







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    Transnet reacts to transport strike

    In full page advertisements in weekend newspapers Transnet presented its version of the dispute with the four trade unions which embarked this morning on a rolling strike action.

    Apologising for any inconvenience that may result, Transnet said it will continue talking with the unions but would also continue to run the company according to the mandate of its shareholder, the government. This mandate was about growing the economy.

    ‘Transnet’s restructuring is about ensuring that the group can play a role in the country’s aim to grow the economy at 6%. Transnet can make a positive contribution in the country’s project to accelerate and share economic growth.’

    It said it had two roles to play, to reduce the cost of doing business in South Africa, and to invest in infrastructure and the development and training of its people.

    ‘As a state-owned company, we know that progressive rights for workers are at the heart of our democracy. While Transnet supports the right of unions to use industrial action as a form of bargaining, we are disappointed at the union’s chosen course of action. We believe we are making progress in the ongoing talks with union leaders.’

    The four trade unions representing nearly 85,000 workers within Transnet on Friday announced their intention of a series of strikes beginning in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) and the Free State from today (Monday). The KZN strike is intended to last until Wednesday when a mass march is planned, while that for the Free State is a one-day affair.

    Further strikes are planned for the Eastern Cape on Monday 13 February, the Northern and Western Cape on the 14th, and Gauteng and the remainder of the country on 20 January. If the dispute remains unresolved at that time then a national strike is scheduled for 6 March.

    With three days marked down for KZN, the unions - Satawu, Utatu, Sarwhu and Uasa, clearly intend targeting the country’s economic Achilles heel – the strategic ports of Durban and Richards Bay along with their two supporting railway lines – Natal Main Line and the Richards Bay coal line. Block these and you interrupt the economy.

    A spokesman for Transnet said on Friday that the company was taking steps to minimise the effects of any industrial action.


    Kenya shipping line goes south

    Kenya shipping company United African Feeder Line (UAFL) has recently begun an East African – South Africa service with the introduction of the first of several ships calling between Mombasa and Durban.

    The 3,784-gt UAFL Express called in Durban last week and is to be followed shortly by a larger 12,000 ton vessel, with the intention of introducing a three week rotation and taking advantage of South Africa’s developing trade with East Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.

    United Africa Feeder Line has a strong presence on the islands and in particular the Comores where the company holds a concession to operate the port of Mutsamudu on Anjouan Island. With a direct Durban – East Africa service UAFL can now offer feeder services to the various islands that the line also covers.

    The South African agent for UAFL is the firm of Seaclad Maritime in Durban.


    Safmarine ship attacked in Santos

    The Safmarine container vessel Safmarine Zambezi is reported in Brazilian newspapers as having been robbed by thieves (pirates?) while the ship was berthed at the Tecondi Container Terminal in the port of Santos, Brazil.

    According to these reports the thieves arrived alongside in a motor boat and stevedore accomplices on board began throwing cargo taken from one of the containers down to them. An alert guard noticed what was going on and sounded the alarm, leading to a high speed chase across the harbour with the port’s water police in hot pursuit.

    The robbers in the motor boat manage to get away by running their boat into the mangrove swamps on the other side of the bay and escaping on foot. However the accomplices on board the vessel were not so fortunate and have been taken into custody.


    Obasanjo pledges to restore law and order to Delta

    Nigeria’s president Olusegun Obasanjo has given a pledge that law and order will be restored in the Niger Delta, following the recent attacks on personnel working on oil platforms and the blowing up of a pipeline.

    This was followed last week by gunmen attacking the offices of the Italian energy company Agip at Port Harcourt where they killed nine people, seven of them policemen, before escaping with a large amount of money.

    The gunmen, estimated at about 30 strong, arrived and made their escape by speedboat.

    Oil worker unions have threatened to withdraw their members if strong action to halt the attacks is not taken. Meanwhile, foreign companies operating in the Delta region of Nigeria, an area as large as KwaZulu Natal, have been warned that further attacks are likely as the insurgents increase their profile and jostle for power.


    Piracy report a false alarm

    Reports that an Emirate ship named Al Manara had been highjacked by Somali pirates turned out to be a false alarm caused when the ship’s master panicked on seeing two armed Somali militiamen come aboard his ship.

    It turned out that the vessel was boarded with the full permission of the ship’s owner who had unfortunately neglected to advise his captain. The concerned master, seeing the armed men coming on board, pushed sent out an alarm by way of a radio transmission advising that his ship had been highjacked off the Somali coast.

    All ended well after the armed ‘pirates’ identified themselves but by then the whole world knew that another ship had been highjacked off Somalia.

    - source ICC International Maritime Bureau


    Clipper race restarts

    Due to a technical fault there was no 17.00 report yesterday (Sunday) but at 05.00 that morning the position was that Durban Clipper had opened up a 3 nautical mile lead over second placed yachts Liverpool, Westernaustralia.com and Victoria in joint position, with Liverpool having had the best 12-hour run of 101 miles.

    Behind these came Jersey, Qingdao, Singapore, New York, Cardiff and Glasgow.

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


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