Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 12, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Use of Angola Shuttle Service slashes groupage service by more than half

  • First Coega factory begins production

  • Wärtsilä buys out Cape Town propeller company

  • IMO and ICS hit back at Guardian article on carbon dioxide emissions

  • Calling all Navy trained divers

  • SPECIAL FEATURE : Who will help the next stranded migrant ship?

  • Pic of the day – SAFMARINE CUNENE

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
    WEB SITE: www.hugheship.com

    Use of Angola Shuttle Service slashes groupage service by more than half

    By replacing its former weekly transshipment service via Abidjan with the OT Africa’s Angola Shuttle Service, Ecu-Line of Antwerp has been able to slash the transit time of its groupage service to Luanda from 35 to 15 days.

    Ecu-Line began using OT Africa’s Angola Shuttle Service at the end of January.

    In a statement Ecu-Line says that all Bills of Lading instructions must be in the possession of OT Africa Line ahead of the departure date to avoid high penalties raised on manifest corrections at the port of destination.

    Ecu-Line is represented in Angola by SDV-AMI Luanda.

    source - Shednet

    First Coega factory begins production

    The first factory in South Africa’s first industrial development zone (IDZ) at Coega has gone into production.

    The factory involved is Dynamic Commodities which manufactures sorbet (ice cream), cupped in frozen fruit shells and exported to countries like America, Canada and Korea. The same product is available in Europe but just packaged differently and sold under a different brand.

    Staff began moving into the new premises last week and it is expected the new factory will have a 140 percent increase in production with a resultant 90 percent increase in employment opportunities.

    The move from the old premises at Deal Party in Port Elizabeth is expected to be completed within two months.

    “Moving to the new IDZ building means the company will be able to expand its international market and create employment opportunities for the rural and unemployed people in the region”, said Dynamic Commodities Operations Director Ray Holmes.

    There are three other production facilities under construction at the Coega IDZ – a R70 million biomass fuel pellets project which is due to start operations in July; a R50 million automotive component operation due to open by the end of 2007; and a R85 million relocation and expansion of an agro-processing plant.

    According to the Coega Development Corporation the pace of construction will increase even further in 2008 with the facility for the Coega Aluminium Smelter project, three speculative warehouses and the 1500 Coega BPO Park, which is a first for South Africa, coming on stream.

    Wärtsilä buys out Cape Town propeller company

    Wärtsilä, the Finnish ship power supplier has agreed to acquire the entire business interests of Cape Town-based South African company Marine Propeller (Pty) Ltd.

    Marine Propeller is privately-owned and focuses mainly on repairing propellers but also casts small propellers.

    This acquisition will expand Wärtsilä’s already significant presence in South Africa to include propeller repair.

    Marine Propeller will be moved to Wärtsilä’s new premises in Cape Town by mid 2007 and its personnel will become Wärtsilä employees.

    Internationally Wärtsilä, which was founded in 1834, employs more than 13,000 people manning 130 Wärtsilä locations in close to 70 countries around the world.

    In 1997 Wärtsilä Diesel took over New Sulzer Diesel (NSD) from the Swiss-based Sulzer Bros to form Wärtsilä NSD although in 2006 the brand name Sulzer was dropped from the company’s engines.

    source – Cape Business News

    IMO and ICS hit back at Guardian article on carbon dioxide emissions

    Maritime Global Net reports that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) have both reacted to an article in a recent UK newspaper, The Guardian, which claimed that “carbon dioxide emissions from shipping are double those of aviation and increasing at an alarming rate which will have a serious impact on global warming”.

    The IMO described the attempt to compare the shipping industry against aviation as ‘futile and meaningless’ while an ICO spokesman described the article as ‘unfortunate and unfair’ which missed the point and that in terms of carbon dioxide emission per kilometre, shipping is by far the cleanest form of transport, two or three times cleaner than road or rail and perhaps 20 times cleaner than aviation.

    “The figures quoted are at variance with other estimates, such as that in the recent UK Stern report. The article also misses the point that, unlike air travel, shipping carries 90 percent of world trade by volume.”

    source MGN

    Calling all Navy trained divers

    Navy divers undergoing training in Durban harbour. Click image to enlarge. Picture Terry Hutson

    Calling all divers trained by the South African Navy Diving School between the years 1957 and 2007.

    The South African Naval Diving Association (SANDA) and the South African Navy (SAN) is organising a Golden Jubilee Celebration (50th) and wishes to invite all those trained by the SAN Diving School to attend the celebration being held between June 28 and July 1, 2007.

    All enquiries to Lorna Rynhoud, tel 021 782 5672 or to Nic at 021 780 1023 (tel and fax).

    Alternately you can email them at kudu57@xsinet.co.za

    SPECIAL FEATURE : Who will help the next stranded migrant ship?

    Nouadhibou, 9 March 2007 - Diplomatic fallout over 400 mostly Asian migrants who had drifted for weeks in a ship off the coast of Mauritania has left governments less likely to assist the next group of migrants that gets into difficulties and raises the prospect of having a humanitarian emergency in which no one will be willing to help.

    "The fundamental problem of what will happen in the future to migrant ships close to Mauritanian waters that are in distress and need assistance has not been solved," the United Nations' most senior representative in Mauritania Cécile Molinier told IRIN.

    The number of illegal migrants heading to Spain's Canary Islands from West Africa has mushroomed in recent years, reaching an estimated 30,000 in 2006. Most are Africans who come up the Atlantic coast on large fishing canoes but an increasing number are Asians who fly to West Africa and then board ships that sail north.

    One such ship, a rusty shrimp trawler called Marine One, left the port in Guinea Conakry in December but broke down along the way.

    From Guinea to Spain

    A Spanish rescue boat found the ship in January but it sat off the coast of Mauritania for weeks with Spain and Mauritania at loggerheads over who should take responsibility.

    On 12 February Mauritania allowed Spain to tow the ship to the port of Nouadhibou, on condition that Spain flew the migrants out within four hours. But most of the migrants, who are believed to be Indian or Pakistani, did not present identity documents and refused to state their country of origin so there was nowhere for Spain to fly them to.

    For the last month they have been held in a warehouse in the port as various governments try to work out what to do with them. Pakistan government officials are expected to arrive next week while Indian officials from the nearest embassy in Senegal have already visited.

    In recent days around 200 acknowledged their Indian nationality and as of Thursday about a third had left Mauritania on commercial flights.

    Regret involvement

    But while this crisis appears almost over, both Spain and Mauritania say they regret having ever gotten involved and that they will avoid getting involved in the future.

    "I think it was a mistake for our maritime authorities to have come to their rescue," said a Spanish diplomat who did not want to be named. "Next time we will make sure that Spain is not compromised."

    International conventions of the International Maritime Organisation legally oblige countries to provide ship wreck survivors with "a place of safety [and to meet their] basic human needs (such as food, shelter and medical needs)" but Mauritania, one of the poorest countries in the world, has not signed all the agreements and says it is already overwhelmed with thousands of West Africa migrants who are trying to pass through its territory to get to Europe

    "These [Asian] migrants are not our problem and this is the last time we will take them in," a senior Mauritanian official told IRIN. "Next time we will just call the owner of the ship and the government of the country under which it is flying to tell them to fix the boat while it is on the high seas," he said.

    Such a solution would not have worked in the case of the Marine One as the ship was not flying under any flag and the owner has not yet been identified. Officials are not sure if the crew jumped ship or melted in with the migrants.

    Denying responsibility

    In February IRIN tried to ascertain the humanitarian situation at the warehouse after hearing from the head of the Spanish Red Cross in Mauritania that conditions for the migrants there were "not good."

    However Mauritanian authorities said only Spain could authorise IRIN's access as Spain is wholly responsible for them. Spain, on the other hand, said it is operating under the authority of the Mauritanian government thus it could not authorise IRIN's access either.

    Why both governments are so averse to taking responsibility has a peculiar political logic.

    Spain has an effective rescue service ready to assist all vessels in distress in the area but the government is concerned about what would happen if migrants were brought to its shores. Under Spanish law, authorities must free anyone held in its territory if the person's identity cannot be established within 40 days.

    Tens of thousands of migrants illegally enter Spain this way each year but aiding disabled migrant ships on the high seas could potentially open up more loopholes, a Spanish diplomat said.

    He said the migrants on Marine One initially hid their identities hoping that the 40 day-rule would apply in Mauritania as Spanish authorities appeared to be in charge. "But under no circumstances will we allow them to get into Spain," he said. "They are manipulating humanitarian imperatives to their advantage... it is important that we send them a message of strength."

    Such a message did not appear to have been on the minds of the Spanish rescue crew when it received Marine One's distress call in January, which did its job of tracking down the ship and towing it to shore.

    Looking for solutions

    Several Mauritanian government officials said they believed that the Spanish rescue boat found the Marine One in waters off the Canary Islands under Spain's jurisdiction and towed it down to Mauritanian waters.

    Mauritania did sign an agreement with Spain in 2003 which obliges it to take back all illegal migrants arriving in Spain from Mauritania's shores no matter which country they come from.

    That agreement was signed before the wave of migration had begun. In 2006 Spain agreed to provide Mauritania with boats for coastal surveillance to as well as other technical assistance to stop and repatriate migrants.

    However the Marine One left from Guinea not Mauritania and as far as Mauritanian officials are concerned Asian migrants were never part of the deal. "We never agreed to become Europe's gendarmes," one official said.

    The Marine One is reportedly the fourth ship this year attempting to bring Asian migrants to Europe and some say there are signs that they are victims of organised crime.

    "These people may not be smuggled but trafficked," said one official, suggesting that they could be under an obligation to work to pay back the cost of getting them to Europe once they are there.

    Bodies such as the International Organisation for Migration and the UN Refugee Agency can assist people to return to their countries but only when they are willing and able to do so voluntarily.

    "We need to understand the dynamics of migrant communities in order to create both push and pull factors," said an international official arguing for the different parties to brainstorm solutions to the problem before there is a humanitarian catastrophe.

    "Madrid is working on a solution," said the Spanish diplomat, "but so far no solution has been found."

    For the UN's representative Molinier, more countries than just Spain and Mauritania need to get involved. "This is an issue that involves all of Europe and much of Africa and we need to discuss what we can all do," she said.

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

    Pic of the day – SAFMARINE CUNENE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    SAFMARINE CUNENE sails from Durban on an early January morning, outward bound for West Africa. Picture Terry Hutson

    NB Shipping pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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