Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 5, 2006
Author: P&S

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Renewed fighting in Mogadishu forces people to flee by sea


  • NIGERIA: Gunmen seize eight oil workers in latest violence in impoverished delta


  • Antarctic Month – celebrating South Africa’s involvement


  • Nepad should facilitate relations between Africa, China and India





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    Renewed fighting in Mogadishu forces people to flee by sea

    Hundreds of Somalis have been forced to flee Mogadishu in small boats after renewed fighting broke out among warring warlords and their supporters last week.

    Some of those who took to the sea to escape certain death at home made it as far as Yemen but many others may have drowned or been murdered by the smugglers who extorted their money with a promise of freedom.

    According to some reports the pirates offer to take refugees to Yemen and later resort to attacking yachts and other small craft in the Horn of Africa area on their return.

    Yemeni’s coastguard has been instructed to tighten up on security and prevent further illegal landings on its coast but their task is difficult and the coastguard has few resources in which to patrol the country’s entire coastline. On the other hand if they turn away the human traffickers it is tantamount to signing the death warrant for all the refugees on board the traffickers’ boats, as the refugees will most likely be thrown overboard once they are away from the attention of the coastguard.


    NIGERIA: Gunmen seize eight oil workers in latest violence in impoverished delta

    Port Harcourt, 2 Jun 2006 (IRIN) - Gunmen raided an offshore oil rig in Nigeria before dawn on Friday, abducting eight foreign oil workers, police and oil company officials said.

    “They were attacked and kidnapped by a group of militants and include six Britons, one American and one Canadian,” Nigerian police spokesman Haz Iwendi told reporters. “No group has claimed responsibility and no demands have been made,” he added.

    Violent attacks on foreigners and international oil companies has peaked in recent months as armed militias protest what they call the marginalisation of the oil rich Niger Delta, which remains one of the poorest regions of West Africa despite its valuable reservoirs of crude.

    The rig named Bulford Dolphin, operated by Norway firm Fred Olsen on behalf of Peak Petroleum Industries of Nigeria, was located some 42 kilometres offshore at the time of the attack.

    “Drilling operations have been temporarily suspended,” the company said in a statement, adding that it was working with the Nigerian authorities to secure the release of the seized workers.

    Since the beginning of the year militia attacks have forced operators in Nigeria to cut oil production of 2.5 million barrels a day by more than 20 percent.

    Militant group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) have claimed responsibility for previous hostage takings, but so far no group has claimed the latest attack. In recent years decades of restiveness in the impoverished Niger Delta, where inhabitants feel cheated out of the oil wealth produced in their area, has transformed into a new armed militancy represented by groups like MEND.

    In addition to local control of oil wealth the group is also demanding the release of ethnic Ijaw militia leader Mujahid Dokubo-Asari of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF) held by President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government on treason charges.

    Joseph Evah, a campaigner for the rights of the Ijaw, the biggest of the ethnic minority groups that inhabit the delta, said continued detention of Dokubo-Asari and failure to address the demands of MEND remained the key cause of continuing militia attacks.

    “As long as [Dokubo-] Asari is in detention that attacks are likely to continue,” said Evah, who added that MEND may not be the group responsible for the latest attack.
    “There are countless numbers of groups. If the government focuses too much on one group, they choose another name.”

    (This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)


    Antarctica Month - celebrating SA's involvement

    With climate change becoming one of the foremost challenges facing the global world, the necessity to gather more information and conduct more research on mitigating measures to respond to this phenomenon, becomes a worldwide priority.

    The Antarctica continent with the surrounding Southern Ocean provide natural laboratories in which to study climate change and the likely impacts that this change will have on the earth and the life its supports. This statement highlights one of the important roles of the South African presence on the icy continent.

    Launching National Antarctica Month (on Friday 2 June), the Departments of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and Science and Technology seek to raise awareness of this continent where the ice sheet covers 95 percent of the continent with an average dept of 2.2- 5 kilometres. The ice sheet plays a crucial role in controlling the earth's heat balance as it reflects more than 80 percent of the sun rays.

    South Africa, as the only Africa signatory of the Antarctic Treaty, maintains a permanent presence in Antarctica. South Africa's presence places it in a unique position to participate in the decision-making processes that affect the future of the continent.

    On a scientific level South Africa supports a diverse scientific programme in Antarctica as well as on the sub-Antarctic Islands. Because weather conditions on the Antarctica and the surrounding Southern Ocean have an influence on the weather of South Africa, an understanding of the influence of Antarctica weather phenomena on South Africa weather is crucial for management and predictive purposes. To this extent South African scientists undertake important meteorological observations in the Southern Ocean, at Antarctica and on the sub Antarctic islands.

    South Africa's base in the Antarctica, the SANAE IV, which can accommodate up to 80 people, was the first base in Antarctica to undergo a comprehensive environmental assessment which was conducted in accordance with strict international guidelines, which were adopted as benchmark for construction of new bases in Antarctica.

    South Africa is in the process of constructing a new base on Marion Island which is near completion and expected to be completed in 2007. Due to extreme weather conditions, scientific research, which often involves the use of delicate and highly sophisticated equipment, requires intricate logistical support and infrastructure.

    The Department of Science and Technology is responsible for managing South Africa's scientific research on the Antarctica. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism provides logistical and infrastructure support for South Africa's scientific missions to the Antarctica and sub-Antarctica islands.

    A learner programme will be held during Antarctica Month aimed at encouraging more students to enter science disciplines.

    - source Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Department of Science and Technology.


    Nepad should facilitate relations between Africa, China and India

    Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa says Nepad must play a central role in the relationship the continent is seeking to establish with emerging economic giants, China and India.

    Addressing the World Economic Forum Africa Summit in Cape Town on Friday 2 June, Mpahlwa urged African countries to ensure their relationship with these emerging economic powerhouses was not only mutually beneficial but also sustainable.

    The WEF summit, whose theme is "Going for Growth", started on Wednesday and ended on Saturday.

    The summit seeks to come up with ideas on what different stakeholders can do to advance the objectives of the African Union (AU) socio-economic recovery plan in the interest of servicing various constituencies.

    Nepad is the AU strategic framework developed in 2001 to deal with challenges such as poverty and underdevelopment.

    Minister Mpahlwa indicated that a relationship between African countries and China and India was important and "advantageous", noting that these countries understood the developmental challenges facing the continent.

    "There are various concrete opportunities for co-operation on Nepad between the African countries and China and India through the multilateral forums.

    "It is especially important that the multilateral processes are aligned with Nepad to avoid duplication of programmes and to ensure that Africa's development needs are addressed," he said.

    On Friday discussions revolved around how China and India could help transform Africa.

    Western Cape Premier Ibrahim Rasool, one of the panellists in the discussions, noted that there was a need for discussions on China and Africa to be broadened beyond "the negative impact of the Chinese imports on the local textile industry".

    "We need to be less defensive and negative and become more aggressive in competing for access to markets in the Chinese economy that will benefit Africa," said Rasool.

    "We can learn a lot from the Chinese and Indian economies and utilise those lessons to our advantage."

    Other panellists on Friday’s discussions included Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete and Firmino Mucavele, Chief Executive of the Nepad Secretariat.

    The session was chaired by the chairperson of India-based Tata International, Syamai Gupta.

    - BuaNews



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