Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 28, 2006
Author: P&S

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Saldanha tanker berth out of service


  • Relief at hand for Durban bunker supplies


  • Curtain comes down on European conference lines


  • AGOA Workshop on foodstuffs for Cape Town


  • Don’t resort to weapons, IMO chief tells maritime industry


  • Panama to vote on canal improvements


  • Shocking report on asbestos poisoning among Indian shipbreakers


  • Picture of the day






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    Saldanha tanker berth out of service

    According to PetroSA and GAC the tanker terminal at the port of Saldanha Bay has been rendered inoperable on account of an appliance breakdown on the ore jetty.

    As a result the tanker terminal, which is situated at the end of the ore jetty, will be affected by berthing delays and there is no indication at this stage how long repairs will take.


    Relief at hand for Durban bunker supplies

    Relief is at hand for the beleaguered South African bunker supply business, if reports are correct.

    Not only is the Durban Shell/BP refinery known as Sapref - the country’s largest – returning to production after two months of downtime for general maintenance, but now comes a report that the tanker New Conquest is steaming towards Durban with 50,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil on board which it is anxious to sell.

    The ship has diverted to Durban after oil trader Mercuria failed to find a buyer for his oil in Singapore, forcing it to divert the ship to Saldanha where it was hoped the fuel oil could be pumped ashore into the Saldanha oil tanks for storage. However this permission was not forthcoming as the Saldanha tanks are restricted to crude oil only and rather than incur additional costs the ship is now reported to be on its way to Durban where there is known to be a shortage and where they hope to sell the product.

    The tanker was originally fixed for Singapore until market fundamentals changed,


    Curtain comes down on European conference lines

    The European Commission has welcomed Monday’s (25 September) proposal by the European Union to end anti-trust immunity laws giving shipping lines the right to fix prices and other trade agreements involving shipping cargo to and from Europe.

    The cartels have been in existence since the 1870s and until now enjoyed worldwide immunity from anti-trust laws – an anomaly that became unique to the shipping industry in recent years as anti cartel legislation tightened up in other areas of industry and business.

    Now, according to the European Union, the European economy stands to benefit from lower transport costs once the cartels have been outlawed and more competitive rates result. The EU says it expects the cost of shipping a container will drop accordingly once price-fixing has fallen away.

    The new agreement will apply to liner shipping services to and from Europe and within the same European country. Acknowledging that liner conferences are still recognised elsewhere in the world, the EU says it will urge other non European governments to follow in the same direction.

    Approximately 40 percent of European external trade by value is transported by liner carriers. EU competition rules already apply to European cabotage and tramp shipping.

    The EU has accepted the liner conferencing proposal less than a year after it was first proposed by the European Commission.


    AGOA Workshop on foodstuffs for Cape Town

    An AGOA Workshop (African Growth & Opportunity Act) dealing with food exports to the United States is to be held in Cape Town between 11 – 12 October 2006.

    The workshop will look specifically at export opportunities in the processed and specialty food and ingredient sectors with the aim of expanding exports of these commodities from the Southern African region to the United States.

    Attending to conference will be a delegation of United States experts including American food distributors, brokers, and marketing experts who will share their expertise with participants. The workshop includes sessions on retailing, distribution, marketing and trends in the United States, as well as discussions on US regulatory requirements.

    The workshop is to be held at the Le Vendome Hotel in Cape Town and is being sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development and the United States Trade Representative.


    Don’t resort to weapons, IMO chief tells maritime industry

    It would be a mistake for merchant ships to start carrying weapons in an effort to deter piracy on the high seas, warns International Maritime Organisation (IMO) secretary-general Efthimios Mitropoulos.

    The IMO chief said that ships carrying weapons would themselves become a target of pirates and simply make matters worse as this would encourage attacks for the purpose of seizing those weapons.

    In addition to these fears, the IMO is also concerned that crews would be at greater risk of injury due to a lack of proper training in the use of weapons.

    “The position of the IMO is that merchant ships should not carry firearms,” said Mitropoulos. He said that the shipping industry has to continue being alert and has to train people to make use of existing preventative measures that have been put in place. He called for a co-ordination between coastal states which should be strengthened by industry.


    Panama to vote on canal improvements

    Panama goes to the vote on 22 October to decide on a US $ 5.2 Billion project of upgrading the Panama Canal to enable the waterway to handle the latest and next generation container ships.

    At present the canal is restricted by length and width of the locks, which ahs led to the term Panamax vessel, meaning one small enough to fit through the canal. The maximum width of these ships is 32.2m and the proposal is to create new larger locks alongside the existing ones so that the canal would not have to go out of service during the construction period.

    The necessity for upgrading the canal, on which construction began in 1881 and was opened to use from 1914, has been heightened by pressure on the United States Pacific coast ports which are unable to cope with the volume of containers coming from Asia.

    This year the canal is expected to generate .4 Billion in revenue, up 15 percent on last year but container ships using the canal are of necessity confined to the earlier generation Panamax vessels. Many of the latest generation ships carrying upward of 8,000 TEUs have beams of 40 metres and more. (The largest ship, Emma Maersk which this week crossed the Suez Canal en route to South East Asia on its maiden voyage, has been reported to be capable of carrying 15,000 TEU.)

    The proposed upgrade of the Panama Canal, which is being personally driven by Panama’s president Martin Torrijos will require other facilities to similarly be upgraded, including port berthing facilities at either end of the canal and such things as bunker facilities.

    When Torrijos entered office in 2004 he announced he would call a referendum on the question of widening and upgrading the canal. Torrijos' late father Gen. Omar Torrijos - a former dictator of Panama - signed the deal with US President Carter that led to the handover of the Panama Canal from US to Panamanian authority.


    Shocking report on asbestos poisoning among Indian shipbreakers

    A panel of experts appointed by India’s Supreme Court, has found that almost one in six workers involved in dismantling old ships at India’s famous Alang shipyard, are suffering from asbestos poisoning.

    The panel also found a fatal accident rate six times higher than at the country’s mining industry, which itself is regarded as being notoriously unsafe.

    And yet despite the evidence, the Alang Ship Breaking Associations says it rejects the findings.

    Asbestos poisoning is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres and normally takes many years to develop, making it difficult to pinpoint the cause. Recent court cases in South Africa and the UK involving asbestos poisoning arising from mining operations in South Africa have however been found in favour of the claimants and large payouts by the mining houses have been ordered.

    According to the Indian report 16 percent of workers may have asbestosis, for which there is no cure. The report also said that that fatal accident rate among Alang workers is several times higher than the 0.34 per 1000 of the mining industry.

    Environmentalist bodies have long accused First World countries of sending their ships to Third World countries knowing that toxic substances remain in the ships.


    Picture of the day


    Pacific International Lines (PIL) container ship Kota Arif outside Durban. Picture Terry Hutson. Click image to enlarge

    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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