Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 8, 2006
Author: P&S



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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • ITF launches Ports of Convenience campaign

  • Tender for removing wreck of Safmarine Agulhas closes tomorrow

  • Johny Smith becomes Walvis Bay Corridor development executive

  • New lease of life for Savannah, world’s first nuclear powered commercial ship

  • Ethiopia – Djibouti railway to be privatised by September





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    ITF launches Ports of Convenience campaign

    The International Transport Federation (ITF), which is holding its international ITF Congress in Durban, voted yesterday to launch a worldwide ‘Ports of Convenience’ campaign aimed at ensuring decent standards apply at all world ports.

    The campaign will focus on what the ITF refers to as the four GNT’s – Global Terminal Operators. Without identifying them, it says the largest GNTs are regarded as standard setters which have in their power the ability to make a difference to dockers’ work internationally.

    The delegates at the ITF Congress represent 624 affiliated unions of which 200 are said to represent dock workers.

    “They (the GNT’s) have in their power to make a huge difference to dockers’ work across the world and our first calls will be on the ‘big four’ GNT’s,” said Frank Leys, Secretary of the ITF Dockers’ Section.

    "This is an exercise in dialogue and co-operation to ensure across the
    board good conditions. Working with the GNTs we aim to develop global
    framework agreements which national unions will know set certain basic
    standards they can rely on when negotiating locally."

    He continued: "Allied to this industrial strategy is a political one, by
    which networks of support and communication are built up to tackle
    crises, events and trends such as casualisation - replacing experienced
    dockers with temporary workers - at a global or regional level. These
    will extend beyond dockers' unions."

    The 2006 ITF Congress, which is held every four years, is meeting at the ICC in Durban between 2 and 9 August. It elects the ITF Executive Board, its President, Vice Presidents and General Secretary. The South African delegation are hoping that Randal Howard of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) will be elected as one of the vice presidents, but a spokesman for the local union said yesterday there was general concern over the number of contestants nominated for these positions, which they said did not augur well for Howard’s chances.


    Tender for removing wreck of Safmarine Agulhas closes tomorrow

    With an audible ‘bang’ the container ship Safmarine Agulhas snapped in half early on Saturday morning – the result of weeks of relentless action by the sea battering against the side of the vessel where it is lodged firmly against the East London port breakwater.

    The snap which occurred at about 7am on Saturday morning left the ship lying broken in two very distinct halves with a 4m gap between the front and rear sections, exposing the central holds 2 and 3 to the sea and already at least one container has gone overboard into the surf.

    The ship has about 80 containers remaining on board, inaccessible in holds 2 and 3 because of the slippery, oily conditions that made it impossible for divers to operate while attempting to secure the boxes for removal to the shore.

    Several companies are believed to be interested in the contract to remove the remains of the ship. The tender closes tomorrow (Wednesday). Among those with an interest are Smit Salvage based in Cape Town, which handled the originally salvage attempt to refloat the ship and then later to remove the fuel oil and containerised cargo.

    Another Cape Town-based company thought to be bidding is SvitzerWijsmuller which took over the removal of cargo and breaking up of the logger Kiperousa which went aground south of East London.

    At least two other companies are also understood to be bidding. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has set the end of February as the date by which the wreckage should have been removed.


    Johny Smith becomes Walvis Bay Corridor development executive

    Johny Smith, who was until recently a marketing executive with the Walvis Bay Port (Namport), has been appointed Business Development Executive of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG).

    Smith’s task is to establish new business along the three main corridor routes in Namibia – in essence he has to make the Corridor a success.

    His focus will be on the Trans Kalahari Corridor, which links the port of Walvis Bay with Gauteng in South Africa by crossing Namibia and Botswana by road; the Trans Caprivi Corridor which links the port with Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo via the Caprivi strip in northern Namibia – essentially a road route that crosses into Zambia on a newly constructed bridge across the Zambezi; and the Trans Kunene which is a less publicised venture linking Namibia with southern Angola.

    A railway is in the process of being developed that will form an essential part of the Trans Kunene Corridor.

    The three corridors provide Smith with the challenge of establishing new business along the routes, each having the ability to help transform the port of Walvis Bay into a vibrant entrepôt for the region.

    According to the Namibia Economist Smith has 14 years of commercial experience covering business development, marketing, advertising, public relations, market research, communications and customer service. He was previously with Namport at the Port of Walvis Bay so has an intimate knowledge of the workings of the harbour, and has also served in various capacities at Telecom Namibia and TransNamib.

    - source Namibia Economist (Windhoek)


    New lease of life for Savannah, world’s first nuclear powered commercial ship

    American reports indicate that the world’s first commercial nuclear-powered ship, Savannah, is to be taken from the James River ‘Ghost Fleet’ storage where she has been part of the reserve fleet and will be restored, possibly for museum purposes.

    It is not considered likely that the ship will be returned to any sort of operational duty. Savannah is understood to be heading for a Norfolk shipyard where restoration will take place which will include the removal of the nuclear plant and the scrubbing of all remaining radiation.


    click image to enlarge

    NS Savannah was launched in 1962, becoming the world’s first nuclear powered cargo and passenger ship and was at one time expected to be the forerunner of a fleet of nuclear powered commercial ships. This was at the height of the nuclear race between the United States and the Soviet Union, and NS Savannah was supposed to demonstrate the safe commercial use of nuclear energy in ships.

    Only two other nuclear-powered commercial ships followed. These were Germany’s NS Otto Hahn, which visited South Africa on commercial calls, and the Soviet container ships NS Sevmorput. None of these ships were expected to pay for themselves commercially; instead they were intended to demonstrate the feasibility of nuclear power in a commercial sense. In this none succeeded although technically each was successful.

    NS Savannah had a top speed of 23 knots and cruised at 21and an appearance resembling that of a sleek yacht, distinguished by the lack of a funnel. First proposed as part of President Eisenhower’s ‘Atoms for Peace’ programme, the ship was authorised by Congress in 1956 and launched into service in March 1962.


    Click image to enlarge. Pictures courtesy www.radiationworks.com

    A relatively small ship by modern standards, NS Savannah could carry 9,400 tons of cargo and 60 passengers but required a substantial crew of 124. Her real ‘saving’ came from being able to cruise 336,000 miles on a single fuel load.

    A spokesperson for the US Maritime Administration said when announcing the contract to begin refurbishing the ship that Savannah, with all her history was a most likely candidate for a successful museum.


    Ethiopia – Djibouti railway to be privatised by September

    The transfer of the Ethiopian-Djibouti railway to the South African private consortium consisting of Comazar and Sheltam is nearing completion and should be completed by September, according to a spokesman for the Ethio-Djibouti Railway Enterprise.

    Comazar, which currently operates in more than 15 other African countries, dubs itself as a private Pan African railway operator, and consists of South African (Transnet and Sheltam) and French (Bollore) interests. Sheltam, which owns a 47 percent shareholding in Comazar is in turn 50 percent owned by South African shipping and logistics group Grindrod and was recently awarded the concession to operate the Kenya and Uganda railway network, where the operational takeover has been delayed by three months.

    Railways in which Comazar has been the successful operator include Camrail in Cameroon, Sitarail which operates between the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, and Madarail, Madagascar’s Northern Railway network which includes the line operating between the capital of Antananarivo and the island’s principal port of Toamasina. Madarail also operates the line from the capital to Antsirabe and the line between Moramanga and Lake Alaotra.

    The Ethio-Djibouti Railway Enterprise manager Mr Tiume Tekie said it had been agreed to privatise the railway in order to provide greater efficiencies and improved service to clients. He said the concessioning process had been conducted by way of a public auction with the award going to the South African-headed consortium, which would operate the railway that links Ethiopia with the port of Djibouti for a period of 25 years. In terms of the contract the company will take over all aspects of the operation within six months of the final signing.

    Meanwhile trains had again begun running along the railway and traffic had increased from 15,000 tonnes to 20,000 tonnes monthly. Once the South African company takes over it is expected to increase annual traffic levels to 1.5 million tonnes within five years of commencement of the concession.

    Both Ethiopia and Djibouti have a signed agreement giving them joint use of the railway for a period of 50 years that commenced with Djibouti’s independence from France.

    - source own sources and The Ethiopian Herald (Addis Ababa)


    Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Beira on the East Coast?



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