Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 4, 2007
Author: P&S




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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Cyclone Jaya comes ashore at Madagascar

  • AFRICA MERCY sets sail

  • Another ship seized off Somalia

  • Audit ordered over sale of patrol boat EAGLE STAR

  • SA's trade deficit down to R2.7 billion

  • Pic of the day – MALOJA




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    Cyclone Jaya comes ashore at Madagascar

    based on information provided courtesy Ian Hunter, SA Weather Service

    Tropical Cyclone Jaya came ashore on the north eastern coast of Madagascar yesterday and was expected to move across and into the Mozambique Channel north east of the port of Mahajanga during Tuesday night. The warning issued from the weather station on Reunion said the storm was expected to pass south of Nosy Be during the night.

    “Jaya should come back over sea at Tropical Depression stage within the next night south of Nosy Be.”

    At this stage ‘Jaya’ is not expected to intensify significantly over the Channel, due to an increasingly unfavourable upper air circulation.

    In March the previous cyclone Indlala also came ashore on the north eastern coast of Madagascar, destroying 80 percent of the island’s vanilla crop, Madagascar’s biggest earner of foreign exchange.


    Cyclone Jaya moving across northern Madagascar where it battered Antalaha yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon. Picture courtesy Navy Research Lab (NRL)  CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE




    AFRICA MERCY sets sail


    AFRICA MERCY crossing the Tyne – picture courtesy Mercy Ships

    AFRICA MERCY, the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship, successfully completed sea trials this week enabling it to sail on its inaugural trip to Africa.

    The former Danish rail ferry was converted into a state-of-the-art hospital ship at a cost of over £30 million and will provide free healthcare and community development services to the poorest people of Africa.

    The sea trials took place in the North Sea under the supervision of Bureau Veritas.

    All systems onboard were checked and the trials took approximately 24 hours led by the ship’s Captain and his technical crew.

    The Africa Mercy will return to Blyth for another four weeks where hospital supplies and materials will be loaded. The ship is now free to start final preparations for its first field service in Africa where more than 400 volunteer crew will provide free medical care, capacity building, relief aid and community development programmes to the people of war-torn Liberia.

    The Africa Mercy is the fourth ship to be operated by the international charity, Mercy Ships, which has provided more than £350 million worth of services since its inception in 1978.

    Statistics include treating more than 200,000 people in village medical clinics; performing more than 26,000 surgeries and 162,000 dental treatments; and completing more than 800 construction, agriculture and water development projects.

    Don Stephens, Founder of Mercy Ships, said: “Every ship has life savers, but this ship is a life saver in itself to thousands who wait for her arrival in Africa. Without this ship so many of the poorest of the poor face lives without hope. This huge white hospital ship docked in an African port is a strong symbol of hope.”

    Judy Polkinhorn, Executive Director, Mercy Ships UK, said: “This is a momentous day for everyone involved in Mercy Ships. Hundreds of people have worked tirelessly on this project over the last several years and we owe each of them a huge debt.

    “Our focus is now to complete the loading of supplies and volunteer crew over the next few weeks in order that she can start service in Liberia.”

    All the crew on board the Africa Mercy will be volunteer professionals from around the world. Doctors, dentists, nurses, community developers, teachers, builders, cooks, seamen, engineers, and many others will donate their time and skills to the effort.

    source – mercyships.org.uk


    Another ship seized off Somalia

    Yet another cargo ship has been seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia, reflecting the state of lawlessness that has once again descended across this country.

    On Sunday an Indian-registered ship, the NIMATULLAH, with a crew of 14 Indian nationals on board was attacked and seized while at anchor off the port of Mogadishu.

    The ship has arrived earlier from Dubai under charter to a Somali businessman and was waiting for permission to enter the port. After taking over the vessel the pirates forced the crew to sail the vessel to Puntland.

    A second ship, the Kenyan cargo vessel ROZEN remains in pirate hands after having been seized in February. The Rozen was carrying a cargo of food and other aid parcels for the WFP at the time.

    Meanwhile in Nigeria thieves armed with knives went on board a products tanker at anchor off the port of Lagos on the weekend, according to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

    The thieves used grappling hooks to climb on board the unnamed vessel after approaching in a motor boat. Watchmen on board the ship sounded the alarm but the thieves made their escape. It was reported that mooring ropes were the only items stolen.

    After the attack the vessel weighed anchor and moved to a new drifting position 35 km off port limits.


    Audit ordered over sale of patrol boat EAGLE STAR

    In a case of shutting the door after the horse has gone the Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism (DEAT) says it will appoint independent auditors to investigate the background to the sale of the fishery patrol vessel EAGLE STAR, which was sold on auction recently for a paltry R300,000. In 2004 Eagle Star, then operating as a fishing vessel was estimated to be worth R15 million.

    The Sunday Times of Johannesburg broke the story last Sunday of how the ship, which recently underwent a refit costing R3.5 million and was carrying bunker fuel worth R230,000, had been sold to a South African businessman for a little over R300,000.

    The businessman, who immediately sold the bunker fuel for R230,000 and has since chartered the Eagle Star to Mozambique interests for a period of several years, is apparently smiling all the way to the bank.

    The Eagle Star was seized by DEAT some years ago and forfeited to the state in 2003 in a plea bargain case after its previous owners were caught using the 50m vessel for illegal fishing (see Ports & Ships News Bulletin dated 26 March 2004). The vessel was subsequently used by DEAT as a patrol vessel until four new patrol boats were completed at various shipyards and taken into service.

    On 13 March 2004 we reported in our News Bulletin how the ship had been instrumental in the arrest of several foreign fishing vessels operating off the Mozambique coast.

    According to a DEAT spokesperson the audit will be carried out this week including the choice of auctioneer and what advertising was carried out prior to the auction.


    SA's trade deficit down to R2.7 billion

    by Oupa Segalwe, BuaNews

    South Africa's trade deficit fell to R2.7 billion in February 2007 after rising to R11.9 billion in January.

    The South African Revenue Services (SARS) said the country recorded exports of R37.4 billion, a R.97 billion increase (23 percent) and imports of R40.1 billion, a R2.3 billion decrease (5 percent).

    SARS said the lower deficit was mainly as a result of "a month-on-month decrease of R2.3 billion in imports of mineral products, base metal, machinery and electrical equipment."

    A month-on-month increase in exports of mineral products, vehicles of vehicles, machinery and electrical equipment also contributed to the decrease.

    However, ABSA economist Chris Hart told BuaNews on Monday that the deficit was still high.

    The country still had a long way to go Mr Hart said, as there were no improvements on the deficit, adding that it fluctuated on a monthly basis.

    "Figures go up and down from month to month and there is just no evidence that the trend is improving," he said.

    Last week Mr Hart identified the high trade deficit as one of the remaining factors that could influence the Reserve Bank's Monetary Policy Committee to hike interest rates, if any, after both the consumer and producer inflations slowed down.

    Although he was clear that a rates hike was not on the cards for South Africa, he cited the high trade deficit and credit growth, which was also "very high" as factors that could also determine the outcome of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting.

    The MPC is expected to sit on 11-12 April.

    On the world trade front, the deficit with Asia decreased from R7.9 billion in January to R3.5 billion in February.

    Exports increased by R3.5 billion to R11.3 billion, while imports decreased by R945 million to R14.78 billion.

    The deficit with Europe, South Africa's largest trading partner - decreased to R2.7 billion in February compared to R4 billion in January.

    Exports increased by R1.3 billion to R13.2 billion, while imports decreased by R64 million to R15.8 billion.

    Regarding America, which is South Africa's second largest trading partner, the month-on-month deficit for February decreased from R1.7 billion to R123 million.

    Exports increased by R427 million to R4.7 billion, while imports decreased by R1.1 billion to R4.8 billion.

    SARS said trade deficit with Africa had been revered to a surplus of R659 million in February from a deficit of R316 million in January.

    "Exports increased by R1 billion to R4.3 billion and imports increased by R48 million to R3.7 billion," according to SARS.

    Compared to the same period in 2006, cumulative imports increased by R22.8 billion (38 percent) and exports increased by R23 billion (48 percent).

    The increase in imports was mainly from Europe by R9.7 billion, Africa by R5.1 billion and Asia by R3.9 billion.

    Export trade increased mainly from Asia by R9.3 billion, Europe by R8.3 billion and America by R2.8 billion.

    The year-on-year growth in imports was driven mainly by machinery, mechanical and electrical appliances, vehicles and mineral products.


    Pic of the day – MALOJA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice


    The Croatian-flagged bulker MALOJA (16,419-gt) carrying a cargo of logs put into Cape Town on 28 March 2007 for bunkers. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

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