Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 16, 2007
Author: P&S


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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Bunker barging introduced at Port of Maputo

  • West African port news

  • It’s an ill wind that blows…

  • Country faces prolonged power cuts

  • WFP starts helicopter relief to Mozambique flood victims

  • The not so surprising Chinese aircraft carrier

  • Pic of the day – HNLMS TROMP





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    Bunker barging introduced at Port of Maputo

    Maputo-based oil supply company, Kangaroo Bunkers Mocambique Limitada has introduced with immediate effect a bunker barge at the port of Maputo capable of delivering intermediate fuel oil (IFO) with a viscosity range of 30 to 180 centistroke.

    This is the first bunker barge to be introduced in the port – vessels previously had to sail to Richards Bay or Durban to refuel. Until now bunkering in the port was available by road tanker.

    Initial response to the new service has been of the order of ‘topping up’ but the demand is expected to increase once ship owners and agents become aware of its availability.

    We hope to feature details of the barge in a future News Bulletin.

    source - OceanIntelligence


    West African port news


    Pointe Noire (Congo) closures

    The port of Pointe Noire will close on a number of days in the coming weeks to facilitate the removal of a shipwreck from the harbour area. Port authorities have advised that a crane barge was due to arrive in Pointe Noire this week to assist with the lifting of the wreck, and says port closures can be expected between 24 – 27 February and again between 4 – 7 March. The authority says it expects normal operations to resume as from 8 March.

    Conakry port shut as emergency worsens

    The port of Conakry has been closed to shipping following a state of emergency and curfew which has been declared across Guinea (see our News report of 12 February ‘Clashes bring Guinea close to insurrection’). On Monday the country’s president declared martial law and said a state of siege existed in Guinea, while confining citizens of Conakry to their homes for all but four hours a day.

    The US is said to be organising an evacuation of some of its diplomatic staff and US citizens in the West African country.


    It’s an ill wind that blows…

    Weather shuts Richards Bay

    The port of Richards Bay reopened to shipping yesterday after having closed late on Tuesday and for most of Wednesday because of heavy seas and strong winds. Waves of up to 6 metres pounded the port’s breakwaters and National Ports Authority’s marine personnel opted for closing the port to shipping after considering that the excessive wave heights being felt in the entrance channel made safe passage to the berths unlikely.

    Port users however decried the lack of a helicopter for the transfer of marine pilots (the port helicopter crashed in September 2005 and has not been replaced), saying that not only does the port now close more frequently with the helicopter service unavailable, but it takes longer to berth a ship.

    The port closed at 22.00 on Tuesday and reopened later during Wednesday night.

    For Durban a mixed blessing

    The strong south-easterly wind that blew for much of Wednesday may have added to the difficult conditions for incoming shipping (see Richards Bay report above) but such a wind has another side as well.

    Because of the shape of Durban harbour much of the flotsam and jetsam that accumulates in the harbour (the port has over 50 storm outlets emptying into the bay plus three rivers) is blown into corners where anti-pollution staff are able to ‘get at it’ for removal purposes.

    Such was the case this week at Wilson’s Wharf marina where a large collection of weeds, plastic bottles and other accumulated rubbish awaited removal. PORTS & SHIPS happened to be passing while the ‘cleanup’ was taking place and was bemused to observe a single cleaner having to cope with the help of two medium size plastic rubbish bins and one pool skimmer – the latter being of the smallest variety available.

    Perhaps someone can be persuaded to donate a larger leaf skimmer, one with more capacity and more fitting for use in South Africa’s wealthiest port!


    picture Terry Hutson


    Country faces prolonged power cuts

    Businesses and private users including the ports can look ahead to continued power cuts and a ‘tight’ electricity supply for the next four to five years.

    That’s the word given to a parliamentary public enterprises portfolio committee which was told that the cabinet should be blamed for having taken a decision in 2001 not to allow Eskom, the power supply utility to build new generating capacity.

    South Africa, and business in particular is paying the price for that decision, the committee heard from Professor Anton Eberhard of the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business who said it had become clear that South Africa’s security of supply was inadequate. The root cause was policy uncertainty and a prohibition on Eskom from building new capacity.

    "A cabinet memo in 2001 actually prevented Eskom from building and we had this critical period between 2001 and 2004 where there was this hiatus.”

    He said there had been an expectation that privately produced power would become available but in fact nothing was done to facilitate that from happening.

    "It's not so much that the policy was basically wrong; the policy wasn't actually implemented,” he said, adding that because there was no legislation in place none of the competitive measures expected were able to take place.

    The committee was also advised by Eskom’s CE, Thulani Gcabashe that Eskom was operating with a current reserve margin of between eight and ten percent, compared with the global benchmark figure of 15 percent.

    Adding to Eskom’s problems was a growing customer base that had doubled from two million to four million customers since 2001.

    With significant increases in demand ahead it is clear that Eskom will again experience difficulties in meeting with the demand. In the Eastern Cape alone Eskom is committed to providing a huge amount of energy to power Alcan’s aluminium smelter which is to be built at Coega, in addition to other industrial requirements arising from the developments in the region.

    At a media briefing recently in Durban SA Port Operations chief engineer Hamilton Nxumalo said he was seriously considering having to install generators at the two Durban container terminals to meet anticipated outages. He said provision had already been made for the Cape Town Container Terminal but in view of the ongoing shortages it might be necessary for SAPO to make the investment at the strategic Durban port.

    With the development of a large container terminal at Ngqura, adjacent to the planned smelter at Coega in the Eastern Cape, similar provision is likely.


    WFP starts helicopter relief to Mozambique flood victims

    CAIA, Mozambique – The United Nations World Food Programme said a WFP-chartered helicopter had started rescue and food delivery missions in central Mozambique where the worst flooding in years has forced an estimated 85,000 people to flee their homes.

    A WFP-chartered Mi-8 helicopter, flying from the town of Caia and coordinated by the government's National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC), delivered 2.5 metric tons of WFP food on Wednesday (14 February) to an accommodation centre in Shamrrucha for people displaced by the floods.

    The helicopter also began rescue missions yesterday, flying to Cocorico island, where 120 people were trapped by floodwaters. The Mi-8 is continuing food delivery missions from its Caia base today.

    WFP and its partners began distributing food aid this week to 2,000 people in temporary accommodation centres in Caia district and 6,100 people in Mutarara district of Tete Province.

    Some 10,000 litres of JetA1 fuel for the helicopter arrived today in Caia by road.

    Heavy rains in central and northern Mozambique and neighbouring Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe over the last month flooded the Zambezi, Chire and Rivubue rivers in Tete, Manica, Sofala and Zambezia provinces. The 800-kilometre-long Lower Zambezi River in Mozambique is above alert levels. Flood waters in Mutarara, Caia and Marromeu districts are nearing levels last seen during the catastrophic Mozambique floods of 2001.

    A total of about 10,000 people affected by the Zambezi Valley floods have so far received WFP food.

    The INGC said yesterday the situation was under control, but with nearly a month left in the rainy season and continued heavy downpours in neighbouring Zambia and Malawi, the situation could worsen in the weeks ahead. The INGC reports that the floods have displaced 85,000 people, of whom 29,000 are sheltering in accommodation centres.

    The Lower Zambezi is still being fed through tributaries by rains from neighbouring countries such as Zambia. The Cahora Bassa Dam in Tete province yesterday reduced its discharge rate to 6,000 cubic metres per second compared with 8,400 cubic metres per second at the weekend. Influx to the dam was 10,000 cubic metres per second last week but the discharge was then lowered both because of a reduced influx and to protect downstream dykes near communities.

    If the government can control the dam outflows and rains in neighbouring countries decline, flooding on a scale similar to 2001 could be averted.

    The Government of Mozambique has deployed troops to evacuate people from the worst-hit areas, but some people have refused to leave their homes, their land and their livestock. The INGC also has a dozen boats that are ferrying people to higher ground in Caia district.

    WFP and other in-country humanitarian agencies will soon launch an appeal to support the Mozambique government's efforts to contain the crisis. WFP's portion of the appeal is expected to include food aid, air operations to participate in the rescue and delivery of relief supplies, and telecommunications to facilitate government coordination of the humanitarian response.

    The INGC estimates that 285,000 people in Mozambique may need food and other assistance for the next few months in a worst-case scenario.

    An estimated 40,000 hectares of crops have been lost in Mozambique under the floods. Crops are currently in their peak growing and development period ahead of the April/May harvest.

    So far this year, flooding has also hit Angola, Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. WFP has responded across the region, but faces a critical shortfall in funding for all its operations in southern Africa, requiring US $ 105 million through to the end of 2007.

    - WFP


    The not so surprising Chinese aircraft carrier

    Remember the former Soviet aircraft carrier VARYAG, which was sold in an incomplete condition to so-called Chinese entrepreneurs who said they intended converting her into a floating casino?

    The ship was towed from the Black Sea to China where she arrived in March 2002, ostensibly to lay up until the workers could come on board and begin her conversion for more pleasurable activities than her designers anticipated.

    Later, surprise, surprise, the ‘owners’ of the former warship were unsuccessful in being awarded one of the casino licences from the Macao authorities, and so the aircraft carrier was allowed to sit and slowly rust away. An estimated US $ 30 million down the tubes, some may have thought.

    Think again. Suddenly in 2005 ship was brought back to life in a Dalian shipyard, where ship repairers began the task of sandblasting her hull while others disappeared inside to do what was necessary. After the sandblasting came the painters, with a clean coat of navy grey - the same shade of grey used by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) - restoring the ship in outward appearance to what the Ukraine builders originally intended.

    With that analysts turned their thoughts towards the idea that the ship might after all be used as a training facility or even for operational purposes. Adding to this scenario came the news late last year that Russia plans to sell up to 50 Su-33 navy fighter aircraft to China, aircraft that would be highly suitable for landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier such as the former VARYAG.

    source – Marcon International


    Pic of the day – HNLMS TROMP

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice


    The Dutch Navy destroyer HNLMS TROMP (F803) made an unannounced visit to Cape Town yesterday, arriving in the morning and proceeding to a berth on the V&A Waterfront. On her way into port Ian Shiffman was on hand to capture the moment.
    Unlike her neighbour Belgium, The Netherlands, which has a long and proud history as a seafaring nation, boasts a navy that carries quite a powerful punch. One of the latest ships, TROMP is by her size and role more correctly regarded as a destroyer despite being officially classified as a frigate.
    The ship displaces 6,044 tonnes fully loaded and has a length of 144m. Powered by two diesel engines with the expected boost of twin turbines driving twin shafts, she is reported to have a speed of around 30 knots through the water. In keeping with modern design thinking, the ship carries a low radar and heat signature.
    TROMP’s armaments consist of a large array of missiles, with a single gun on the foredeck and several lighter guns plus four torpedo tubes. She is equipped to carry two helicopters and has a crew of 220. Picture Ian Shiffman


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