Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 2, 2006
Author: P&S

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Zimbabwe holds back Beira as tonnage increases


  • BOTSWANA: Foot-and-mouth threatens beef exports


  • NSRI to the rescue of sinking trawler near Port Elizabeth


  • DRC: Elections to be held on 30 July, polls body says


  • Dredger Pinocchio heads off for Richards Bay






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    Zimbabwe holds back Beira as tonnage increases

    The port of Beira in central Mozambique, which is operated by Dutch ports operator Cornelder de Mocambique, last year experienced a increase of 12 percent in port volumes, reports the Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo) news service.

    The news service quotes Felix Machado, marketing executive at the port as saying that Beira handled 1.5 million tonnes of cargo during 2005, which was up on the 1.37 million tonnes recorded in 2004. The port had also increased its profit margin from USD 2.9 million to USD 5.9 million.

    Cargo handled by the port included a small quantity of assorted products (almost 9,000 tonnes) from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the first such cargo from this country in some years after disruption caused by war in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa.

    Machado pointed out that the main customer for the port ought to be Zimbabwe but said that trade with the landlocked country was nowhere near previous levels as a result of the collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy. As a result Beira is operating at only 50 percent of its capacity. Zambia has since taken over as the port’s main customer, moving 601,815 tonnes of cargo during 2005 compared with 526,506 tonnes of Zimbabwe imports and exports.

    Malawi trade was next with 455,908 tonnes.

    - source AIM (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)


    BOTSWANA: Foot-and-mouth threatens beef exports

    Johannesburg, 1 May 2006 (IRIN) - The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) says the country could lose millions of dollars in beef earnings following an outbreak of the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), which has forced the closure of the country's two abattoirs.

    BMC chief executive Motshudi Raborokgwe said the shut-down of the abattoirs in Francistown and Lobatse would seriously affect exports to the European Union and other major markets, and could even threaten the survival of the beef industry.

    Raborokgwe said the BMC had been forced to recall six containers of beef en route to Europe, Reunion and South Africa. Although he could not give estimates of the possible losses due to foot-and-mouth, Raborokgwe said they would be heavy.


    Botswana in relation to neighbouring Zimbabwe and South Africa – map courtesy IRIN

    The outbreak has come as the BMC struggles to revitalise the beef industry, hard hit by droughts and a series of disease epidemics in recent years. Botswana has been unable to meet its export quotas to the EU because of the shortage of slaughter cattle, while the BMC has struggled to help farmers restock.

    The company, which has a monopoly on beef production, has made continuous losses since 2001, and the country's under-capitalised farmers have complained it has been stingy over its buying price and compensation payments. The BMC has also been criticised for failing to support farmer empowerment schemes and the transformation of the beef sector from communal to commercial-style management.

    The latest FMD outbreak was detected early last week in the Bobonong communal lands on the frontier with Zimbabwe. According to a notice issued by Musa Fanakiso, director of veterinary services, it is concentrated in the east of the country, a major beef producing area with an estimated 100,000 cattle.

    "Until further notice, the movement of all cloven hoofed animals in and out of the specified area is prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by a veterinary officer," the statement said. The traditional response to foot-and-mouth is quarantine and the destruction of suspected infected herds.

    Botswana's recent FMD outbreaks have been linked to neighbouring Zimbabwe. A shortage of dipping chemicals there, and the break-up of the large commercial farms and loss of fencing, has allowed the disease to spread. It is endemic among wildlife like buffalo.

    The current crisis has again been linked to Zimbabwe, which three weeks ago was forced to close its main abattoir while veterinary officers struggle to contain the disease. The outbreak was first reported at a cattle-fattening farm about 30 km northeast of the capital, Harare.

    Cross-border cattle rustling and unofficial trade between local communities have in the past led to the spread of FMD into Botswana. Police and veterinary officers along the border with Zimbabwe have consistently accused small-scale Tswana butchers of fuelling stock-theft and smuggling, buying stolen Zimbabwean stock at give-away prices.

    Mining remains the main export earner for Botswana, a middle-income country. Although agriculture - including beef production - accounts for less than three percent of GDP, cattle rearing has enormous social and cultural significance.

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

    Footnote: South African veterinary officials confirmed yesterday that exports of beef from Botswana have been banned until further notice.


    NSRI to the rescue of sinking trawler near Port Elizabeth

    A NSRI rescue craft was able to rescue a trawler in danger of sinking off the coast near Port Elizabeth at the weekend.

    The 19m fishing trawler Ellis S, with 21 people on board reported it was sinking about 18 n.miles from Port Elizabeth, following which members of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) put to sea in the rescue boat Spirit of Toft and were able to place a portable pump on board the stricken vessel before talking her in tow.

    The Ellis S, which is registered at Cape St Francis was five n.miles off the coast at Schoenmakerskop at the time.

    The operation was conducted in 1.5 to 2m swells with a 10 knot easterly wind blowing at the time. After taking the much larger trawler in tow towards Port Elizabeth the NSRI crew later handed operations over to a Port Elizabeth harbour tug that had remained on standby.

    The NSRI at Mossel Bay was also involved in the rescue of a yacht named Freedom Fairy at the weekend after the yacht experienced engine failure.


    DRC: Elections to be held on 30 July, polls body says

    Kinshasa, 1 May 2006 (IRIN) - Presidential and parliamentary elections, the first in nearly 40 years since independence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, will be held on 30 July, Independent Electoral Commission Chairman Apollinaire Muholongo Malumalu announced on Sunday.

    "This is the most realistic date," he said.

    The elections will mark an end of a political transition to democracy that started in 2002 when Congolese political and rebel groups signed a peace agreement, largely ending a five-year civil war in which at least 3.5 million people have died and four million others have been displaced.

    Following Sunday's announcement, election campaigns are cleared to begin at midnight on 29 June and end at the same hour on 28 July. The Supreme Court has cleared 33 candidates to contest the presidency and 9,362 will vie for the 500 legislative seats in the country's Parliament.

    The announcement of the election date ends a bid by veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi to reopen the registration process for candidates. Tshisekedi, leader of l'Union pour la democratie et le progres social (UDPS), did not submit his candidature for the presidency, neither did his supporters for the parliamentary elections, demanding the reopening of voter registration. The UDPS had also demanded to be included in the Electoral Commission and the organisation overseeing fair media coverage during campaigns.

    When these efforts failed to materialise, he called for a boycott of the polls but ended that protest following overwhelming public participation in a constitutional referendum in December 2005.

    The elections had been fixed for 18 June but the Electoral Commission said polling would take place later and extended candidate-registration by another 10 days. When that period expired without Tshisekedi's registration, he said his party would take part in the polls, so long as the registration period was extended again. The commission refused.

    After this, the commission had to wait for parliament to pass the necessary electoral laws, and for the publication of the final list of presidential candidates before setting the final date.

    "Now, we have the electoral calendar; all the speeches, the secret meetings are over," Malumalu said.

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


    PHOTO FEATURE: Dredger Pinocchio heads off for Richards Bay

    The Belgian dredger Pinocchio, which was re-assembled in Durban by Elgin Brown & Hamer, was towed to Richards Bay last Thursday behind the Smit tug Pentow Service (see our news reported dated 28 April 2006).


    Headed by the tug Pentow Service, the backhoe dredger Pinocchio leaves Durban bound for a dredging contract at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, where an additional berth is under construction. Also in the picture is the pilot boat Tsitsikama. The tower on the Bluff in the background is the Millenium Tower, housing the port control and search and rescue offices. Picture Terry Hutson. Click image to enlarge



    The second image shows Pinocchio entering the Esplanade Channel in Durban Bay from the Maydon Channel. Note the large Liebherr grab crane on the stern. Click image to enlarge. Picture Terry Hutson



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