Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 15, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) expansion approved

  • Maersk Line launches world’s largest container ship

  • World Bank to assist East African logistics

  • Japanese seaman goes overboard with his bottles

  • Cameroon flag hoisted over disputed Bakassi as Nigerian troops pull out

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    Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) expansion approved

    Phase Five of the Richards Bay Coal Terminal expansion passed another and probably final hurdle last week with the stamp of approval from the company’s board and shareholders.

    The R1.2 Billion expansion programme, which is aimed at increasing the capacity of the terminal from the current 72 million tonnes to 91 Mt per annum, will also make it possible for a range of emerging mostly black economic empowered coal miners to participate in exports for the first time.

    Until now emerging miners and small operators have been restricted in their exports to making use of Durban and Maputo, without the benefit of lower transport costs by using the Richards Bay coal line (CoalLink) or the modern facilities at the Zululand port.

    Much of the additional 19 Mt extra capacity at Richards Bay will be taken up by emerging and empowered coal producers, with South Dunes Coal Terminal, which was once envisaged as a separate terminal operating within the port, taking up six million tonnes of the expansion each year - South Dunes is seen as becoming a 66.66 percent BEE-owned company. Another four million tonnes will be allocated to emerging BEE miners outside of South Dunes while the remaining nine million tonnes will be open to tender with again an emphasis on black economic empowerment as the industry seeks to transform itself.

    RBCT chairman Kuseni Dlamini pointed out at the meeting that RBCT is South Africa’s second largest foreign income generator.

    Maersk Line launches world’s largest container ship

    Maersk Line’s latest container ship – also its largest – was ‘handed over’ at a ceremony at the AP Moller-Maersk owned shipyard at Odense, Denmark on Saturday 12 August.

    While other ‘largest’ ships have been creeping up on each other in the 8,500 - 9,500 TEU range, Maersk Line’s EMMA MAERSK sets a completely new standard by leapfrogging to a nominal 11,000 TEU. The company is normally conservative when issuing details of ship sizes, so the latest building is unique in that respect as well, unless of course the figure of 11,000 TEU proves to be yet another conservative figure!

    The Odense Steel Shipyard in Denmark

    The new ship was named by Mrs Ane Maersk Mc-Kinney Uggla, wife of Peder Uggla and the ceremony was attended by the directors of AP Moller-Maersk as well as directors of the shipyard, a subsidiary of AP Moller-Maersk. Also in attendance was the 92-year old Mr Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller.

    Emma Maersk itself has been named for Mr Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller’s late wife Emma, who passed away last December.

    The ship will set new standards, says the company in a statement accompanying the launching ceremony. Environmentally friendly silicone paint covers the hull below the waterline, reducing water resistance and cutting fuel consumption by 1,200 tonnes a year, it is claimed. The vessel is powered with a 14-cylinder Wartsila RT flex diesel engine developing 110,000 BHP.

    Emma Maersk is set to enter Maersk Line’s worldwide service. The ship is registered in Taarbaek and her master is Captain Henrik Solmer and Michael Thomassen is chief engineer.

    World Bank to assist East African logistics

    Thanks to a World Bank grant worth US $ 199 million, transit cargo between the Kenya port of Mombasa and other centres and its landlocked neighbour Uganda will be speeded up as soon as new computer logistics systems are incorporated into the Kenya and Uganda Revenue Authorities from September.

    The two electronic networks will be interlinked for the first time to allow more efficient monitoring of transit cargo between the two countries arriving or departing at the Mombasa port.

    Authorities hope the new system will assist with the collection of customs duties while also helping to clamp down on smuggling and fraud syndicates that take advantage of present inadequacies.

    According to a report by the Kenya Ports Authority, transit cargo to another neighbouring country, Sudan, has shown a marked increase in the first half of 2006. The reports says that a total of 77,684 tones of import and export transit cargo for Southern Sudan was handled by the port compared with 51,407 tonnes in the same period for 2005. Grain sorghum comprised the larger proportion of this cargo – 31 percent, followed by motor cars and other commodities.

    In total the port of Mombasa handled 3,535,714 tonnes of transit cargo in 2005, compared with 2,890,597 tonnes during 2004. Uganda cargo amounted to 75.8 percent followed by Tanzania with 8 percent, Rwanda with 6.2 percent, Sudan with 4.2 percent, DRC with 3.8 percent, Somalia 1.2 percent and Burundi 0.8 percent.

    The port authority said it has 22 million tonnes of capacity at the port of Mombasa, of which only 60 percent is being utilised. It is asking the Kenya government to facilitate trade with Ethiopia by building a road through Moyale and Isiolo linking the two countries.

    In the past year Mombasa handled at total of 13 million tonnes of cargo, with containers amounting to 430,000 TEU or 4.3 million tonnes.

    Japanese seaman goes overboard with his bottles

    According to a news report coming out of Hong Kong, Japanese coast guard officials are questioning a seafarer who either fell or jumped overboard from the products tanker Hosei Maru (2997-gt) several miles off the Japanese coast. The ship was at anchor near the Miyato Island at the time.

    Nothing too unusual in that report! People fall overboard all the time, don’t they? Read on…

    Officials became suspicious when they noticed the 20-year old seaman was wearing a life jacket and holding firmly on to a suitcase. He was also grasping three bottles of dish-washing detergent.

    After about an hour in the water, which was described as ‘warm – about 20 degrees’, the seaman is reported to have used his cell phone to alert coast guard at Shiogama of his plight. They immediately launched a search for the missing seaman but were hampered by poor visibility due to fog, causing them to abandon the search after a few hours.

    Twenty-four hours after going overboard the seamen swam ashore at a place named as Nobiru, none too worse for wear but officials insisted on taking him to hospital for observation.

    Coastguard officials are hoping he will be able to explain why he needed the three bottles of detergent.

    - source courtesy Merchant Navy Groups (yahoogroups.com)

    Cameroon flag hoisted over disputed Bakassi as Nigerian troops pull out

    Archibong Town, 14 Aug 2006 (IRIN) - Nigerian soldiers marched home on Monday as the Cameroonian flag was hoisted over the disputed Bakassi peninsula, ending a decades long row over ownership of the territory wedged between Nigeria and Cameroon.

    Despite calls from some of the peninsula’s residents for Nigeria to stay, its 3,000 troops stationed on the 700 sq km strip of land withdrew, closing the curtain on a dispute that has almost brought the two neighbours to war.

    Nigerian Minister of Justice Bayo Ojo and his Cameroonian counterpart Maurice Kamto signed the official transfer documents as United Nations envoy Kieran Prendergast and representatives of Britain, France, Germany and the United States looked on.

    The disputed Bakassi Peninsular – map courtesy IRIN/BBC

    Prendergast described Nigeria’s decision to cede the territory in accordance with a 2002 ruling by a UN court as an example of “the peaceful settlement of disputes and respect for international law”.

    Cameroonian troops will not immediately take over the northern part of the peninsula vacated by Nigeria under a deal brokered by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to implement the International Court of Justice ruling. After long negotiations, the deal was signed by Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo and Cameroon’s Paul Biya in June.

    The southern section of the peninsula known as West Atabong and Akwabana will remain under Nigerian administrative control for another two years, giving the mainly Nigerian population of the strip of land that juts into the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea the time to decide to opt for Cameroonian sovereignty or evacuate to Nigeria.

    No military presence by either country is expected in the area for a period of five years, when Cameroon is scheduled to take full administrative control under the terms of the deal.

    The estimated 150,000-300,000 inhabitants of the peninsula have condemned Nigeria’s decision to cede what they consider their ancestral land. Last week a group called the Bakassi Self Determination Movement declared its independence from both Nigeria and Cameroon.

    “We insist on our natural right to determine our future,” Tony Ene, the group’s leader, told IRIN on Monday. “If Nigeria does not want us, we choose to go it alone and not with Cameroon.”

    With the handover, many residents have declared their intention to evacuate to mainland Nigeria, expressing anxiety about what the future holds under Cameroonian rule.

    “It is a gross violation of our human rights that the United Nations decided to award our land to Cameroon without seeking our opinion,” Victor Ekang, a university student and resident of Bakassi, told IRIN.

    Decades of dispute over ownership of the peninsula, which is rich in oil and fish, brought the neighbours close to war in the 1980s. After Nigeria moved to fully occupy the territory in December 1994, Cameroon filed a case at the ICJ at The Hague seeking to determine legal ownership.

    The ICJ ruled that the land belonged to Cameroon on the grounds of a 1913 treaty between colonial powers Britain and Germany.

    Nigeria initially rejected the ruling as a “colonial conspiracy” but finally accepted it following the mediation of UN Secretary General Annan.

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

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