Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 9, 2006
Author: P&S





TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Tata Steel gets Richards Bay clearance


  • New branding for luxury cruise line


  • Flooding devastates large parts of Mozambique


  • Coega to undergo another EIA


  • MacGregor recalls fully automatic twistlocks


  • Kenya protests spill out into streets






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    Tata Steel gets Richards Bay clearance

    India’s Tata Steel has been given the environmental go-ahead to build a new R650 million ferrochrome smelter at Alton North close to the Richards Bay harbour.

    The proposed smelter has been the subject of close scrutiny and last year its developers had to change to a different location as a result of objections raised by a paper manufacturer. With the Alton North location residents in nearby suburbs raised their concerns over smoke and dust emissions from the smelter but this week the provincial Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs gave its blessing on the project.

    The approval comes in the wake of an announcement by the national Department of Trade and Industry that it plans a metals cluster for the beneficiation of mineral products at Richards Bay, of which the smelter would form one part.

    The decision has been welcomed by business interests and the city of uMhlathuze but environmental organisations say they intend appealing against the decision.

    About 1000 temporary jobs will be created during the construction phase and 129 permanent positions will become available on completion. Local and other suppliers will also benefit from the smelter’s operations. Earlier Tata Steel said most of the ferrochrome production would be exported to India.


    New branding for luxury cruise line

    Carlson Companies, the owner of the luxury cruise line Radissons Seven Seas Cruises is shedding its old name for the new brand identity of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

    Announcing this yesterday (Wednesday), Jay Witzel, president and CEO of Carlson Hotels Worldwide and Carlson Cruises Worldwide said the cruise line is evolving to a new higher level. Hi indicated the cruise division will be aligned closer with Carlson’s upmarket Regent Hotels group and will be marketed under the theme ‘The Regent experience.’

    Referring to the new Regent Seven Seas Cruises, he said that “some things will not change,” in reference to the line’s intimately small and mid-sized luxury ships and having the world’s only all-balcony suite vessels, award-winning cuisine and ‘an elegant ambience with gracious service that guests rave about.’ The line is evolving naturally to its next step, he said.

    In addition to the re-branding, Regent Seven Seas will make a multi-million investment to upgrade the fleet over the next 18 months, including refurbishing all soft furnishings in public and accommodation areas and the installation of new flat-screen television, high-speed wireless, onboard cell service and iPod music systems.

    Carlson owns a worldwide chain of hotels across 82 countries under the banner Regent Hotels, Radissons Hotels & Resorts, Country Inns & Suites, Park Plaza and Park Inn hotels, including existing and new hotels planned for South Africa. Carlson Companies has been named as one of Fortune magazine’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work for in America.’


    Flooding devastates large parts of Mozambique

    Heavy rains at the weekend have cut the main North-South highway in Mozambique, leaving a considerable number of heavy-duty lorries and people stranded.

    The rains have been falling across southern and central parts of the country and the section between Inchope in Manica Province and Muxungue in Sofala appears to be the worst affected while a number of rivers including the Zambezi, Limpopo and Incomati have reached or are reaching flood alert levels.

    According to Mozambique sources at least 16 people have lost their lives as a result of the heavy rains and storms. Mozambique authorities have issued warnings to people living along the banks of the Zambezi between the Zimbabwe border and the coast.


    Coega to undergo another EIA

    The first of what will probably become a number of individual environmental impact assessments (EIA) will begin shortly at the Coega Industrial Investment Zone (IDZ) opposite the new port of Ngqura.

    An EIA will usually be necessary each time a new plant is considered for the IDZ, in order to determine whether or how the local environment will be affected by its construction and operation. The Coega IDZ project itself has already undergone such an assessment, which was the subject of some controversy at the time. Large parts of Coega’s surrounding countryside are considered highly sensitive areas.

    The latest EIA concerns a precision stainless steel strip processing plant planned for the German company MAN-Ferrostaal as part of that company’s armaments offset programme.


    MacGregor recalls fully automatic twistlocks

    Somewhere between 400 and 500 containers have recently been lost overboard from container ships in around 20 separate incidents, according to various sources such as industry contacts and news reports. While the incidents are still being investigated, one common factor seems to be that the vessels involved all used so-called ‘fully automatic twistlocks’ (FATs) between the container corner castings.

    While there are no reported failures of any MacGregor FAT products, a preliminary review indicates that the similar approach – a single latch design – employed by all FATs on the market may not, when combined with ISO container tolerances and certain other conditions, always result in proper locking, and therefore contribute to failures in the field.

    Germanischer Lloyd has already instructed – in an addition to its Container Securing Manual – that visual confirmation of positive latching of all four FATs on all containers is required during loading operations, which may be difficult or costly to implement.

    Given the recent incidents involving FAT products, MacGregor believes it is in the best interests of all parties that:

    1) MacGregor withdraws the ALC-2 and ALC-2/1 FAT products from the market; and

    2) provides its customers and – subject to production capacities, all FAT users worldwide – with a timely and cost-effective transition plan to switch from the use of FATs to proven semi-automatic twistlocks.

    MacGregor says its affiliate All Set Marine Lashing is in the final stages of developing a new generation of automatic lock (the C8A). This employs a symmetrical design and is expected to address all design issues with the present generation of asymmetrical FAT units. All Set’s C8A is expected to be approved and available during the fourth quarter of 2006.

    MacGregor is meanwhile contacting customers to discuss and agree the replacement of FAT units already in use by semi-automatic twistlocks, as well as operational requirements to be observed until the FATs have been changed.

    - source MacGregor


    Kenya protests spill out into streets

    Nairobi, 8 Mar 2006 (IRIN) - Thousands of people took to the streets of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and several other towns across the country to protest last week's raid by policemen on the premises of one of the country's leading media companies.

    "The freedoms of Kenyans and those of the media are not favours from the government," William Ruto, secretary general of the opposition Kenya African National Union party, said in an address to the crowd at Uhuru park.


    The special edition of the Standard that was published after the raid

    The protestors were angry at Thursday's storming and vandalisation by the police of the offices of the Standard Newspapers and its sister television station, the Kenya Television Network (KTN).

    Internal security minister, John Michuki, said the police raided the newspaper's editorial offices, printing press and KTN studios to safeguard national security. He claimed that the newspaper was bent on inciting inter-ethnic animosity.

    The raid followed the questioning by police on 28 February of three journalists from the Standard group after the newspaper claimed in a report that opposition politician Kalonzo Musyoka had secretly met President Mwai Kibaki. Both the office of the president and Musyoka denied the report.

    "Anybody infringing on the freedom of the press go," charged Musyoka during the demonstration, demanding Michuki's resignation.

    Some of the protesters carried placards calling for the Kibaki's resignation.

    "Hitler burnt newspapers ... and the Jews," read one placard. "Operation Kibaki Out," read another.

    Protest marches were also held in the western town of Kisumu, Nakuru in the Rift Valley province and Mombasa on the Indian Ocean coast.

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

    - source http://www.IRINnews.org



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