Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 30, 2007
Author: P&S





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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Kenya’s road and rail lacks capacity to clear port - IMF

  • Gulftainer adds new barges at Moroni

  • Coastwatch: Piracy continues off Somalia

  • Back on the surface – the semi submersible Mighty Servant 3 is refloated

  • Prime Minister Tony Blair visits SA this week

  • Pic of the day – STELIOS B




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    Kenya’s road and rail lacks capacity to clear port

    Kenya’s road and rail networks lack the capacity to handle increasing volumes of cargo coming through the port of Mombasa and intended for the country’s hinterland and neighbouring states. So says Scott Rogers, International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative in the East African country.

    Quoted in the East African newspaper Rogers described the road and rail networks as being a drag on the development of the entire transport infrastructure. He suggested that joint policies involving both forms of transport and that of the port were required to ensure that cargo logistics did not hamper the economic potential of East Africa.

    He said it was gratifying that a programme of modernising the port of Mombasa was enjoying success with estimates indicating that the port is now handling more cargo than forecast by the Kenya Ports Authority.

    According to KPA’s container terminal manager Joseph Atonga Mombasa is experiencing growth of 30 percent in volumes, which is placing a strain on resources. “Off-take of cargo continues to be a big impediment," Atonga was quoted by the newspaper.

    The port recently introduced a 24-hour operation to help relieve some of the congestion at the container terminal, where according to KPA’s managing director Abdalla Mwaruwa the average turnaround time for vessels at the terminal has been reduced from between five and seven days to two days, with ship delays reducing from an average of 2.8 days to 1.5 days.

    According to Mwaruwa the port is aggressively marketing itself but this is adding to its success as well as the congestion. The KPA also wanted to see the Northern Corridor converted into an economic development corridor to enable it to compete in worldwide markets through Mombasa.

    In 2006 Mombasa Container Terminal handled 477,000 TEU, up 9 percent on 2005. The terminal has a design capacity of 250,000 TEU per year which will be increased to 1 million TEU by 2012.

    source - East African



    Gulftainer adds new barges at Moroni

    The recent joint venture involving Gulftainer in the port of Moroni in the Comoros has already begun to show an improvement with cargo handling, says the Emirates-based company. “The handling of ships, containers, cars and general cargo is now taking place more rapidly and efficiently than before,” it said in a communiqué this week.

    A major problem for this island group is the high cost of imported commodities due, in part, to the high freight rates charged as a result of long port stays previously encountered by ships.

    ’The joint venture - Gulf-Com - has already introduced 24 hour working 7 days a week - at no extra cost to lines or companies, with the aim of making the Port of Moroni more efficient and attractive to potential shippers - thus improving the economy and ensuring that the reduced costs resulting from improved efficiency have a beneficial effect on the lives of all Comoriens.’

    ‘The latest stage in this process is also to improve the handling and logistics operations in Moroni Port by supplying two 22m x 7m barges capable of carrying 120 tons of cargo, which together with a newly supplied tugboat will dramatically improve the ability of the port to move containers and other cargo from larger ships (which have to use the anchorage) to the quay. Further back-up equipment including terminal tractors and trailers were also included in the shipment.’

    “We undertook to improve performance at Moroni to remove some of the bottlenecks impeding the port's ability to handle volumes of cargo quickly and efficiently. We have already made a sizeable impact on productivity and the supply of this new equipment is the next step,” said Gulftainer director and general manager, Peter Richards.



    Coastwatch: Piracy continues off Somalia

    According to this week’s bulletin by the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur, heavily armed pirates opened fire with machine guns on a general cargo ship sailing between Merca and Kismayo in Somalia on 19 May. One seafarer was reported to have been injured.

    The ship put out an emergency broadcast which was picked up by the Merca port authority which sent off two patrol boats to assist the merchant ship. The pirates made off at the approach of the patrol vessels.

    On 21 May a small vessel began following a tanker in position 07:08N - 054:36E and continuing to follow when the tanker altered course and began taking evasive action. After several hours the small craft abandoned whatever it was up to and left the scene.

    Meanwhile the Piracy Reporting Centre had forwarded messages to Coalition forces operating in the region to render assistance.

    The captured UAE cargo vessel MARIAM QUEEN, which was seized by pirates on 3 May off Somalia has been released along with the 16-man crew.

    It is believed the ship’s owner negotiated a ransom of US $ 100,000 for the release of the ship and crew. Mariam Queen is now en route to Mogadishu but four other vessels including a cargo ship remain in the hands of Somali pirates.

    In Nigeria militants released a Polish national on Sunday night after holding him hostage since Thursday last week. The unnamed man is described as being an engineer working for a dredging company and he was released following the efforts of a local ethnic negotiator who journeyed to the militants’ hideout in the Delta swamplands.

    Meanwhile in Walvis Bay two more stowaways have been discovered hiding on board the general cargo ship BLUE SKY (see Ports & Ships News Bulletin for yesterday, 29 May 2007). They have been identified as Hussein Ibrahim Mohamedhi Janga (18) and Khaudi Kaseka Abdallah Mpwag (26) and have joined the other five stowaways in custody in police cells while awaiting further investigation. According to Namibian media reports the seven men have embarked on a hunger strike in police cells and, say the police, are proving difficult to handle, with accusations that the food offered is not fit for dogs to eat.

    All seven men are now believed to be Tanzanian nationals and their plight is highlighted by there being no Tanzanian embassy in Namibia.



    Back on the surface – the semi submersible Mighty Servant 3 is refloated



    MIGHTY SERVANT 3 in Luanda Bay on 4 December 2006, ahead of floating off an oil drilling platform for the Angolan oilfields. The vessel subsequently sank in more than 50m of water. In the past week she has been successfully refloated thanks to the efforts of the salvage firm of SMIT Salvage. Picture courtesy Willem Krug/Elgin Brown & Hamer

    The Dockwise semi submersible vessel MIGHTY SERVANT 3 has been successfully refloated from the seabed in Luanda Bay, Angola.

    The salvage of the 27,720-dwt heavylift vessel, which sank into 52 m of water on 6 December 2006 shortly after floating off the drilling platform ALEUTIAN KEY, was accomplished by the salvage firm SMIT Salvage using the sheerlegs TAKLIFT 7 and by pressurising the ship’s own ballast tanks and other compartments with compressed air.

    Prior to this a full diving survey was undertaken.

    Mighty Servant 3 is to be taken to Cape Town during June to undergo further survey and repair.

    There were no injuries when the ship sank.



    Prime Minister Tony Blair visits SA this week

    Pretoria (BuaNews) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to pay an official visit to South Africa from Thursday (tomorrow) to Friday, to hold discussions with President Thabo Mbeki at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

    "This will be Prime Minister Blair's last visit before stepping down as Prime Minister of Great Britain," said the Department of Foreign Affairs.

    The visit is significant since it takes place on the eve of the G8 Summit scheduled for Germany to which President Mbeki has been invited as part of the African group.

    In addition it is anticipated that Prime Minister Blair will deliver a major policy speech focusing on Africa.

    Prime Minister Blair has consistently emphasised the importance of Africa's development by designating the year 2005 as the Year of Africa.

    As a consequence, said the department, Africa's development was a primary item on the agenda of the G8 Summit held in Gleneagles and many of the recommendations of the Commission for Africa were taken up at the Gleneagles Summit building on the G8 Africa Action Plan launched at Kananaskis in Canada in 2002.

    Much of this was incorporated into an agreed, detailed set of commitments by the G8 to address the areas of poverty, covering aspects such as peace and security, good Governance, human development and growth.

    "The British Government views South Africa as a major strategic partner in Africa and South Africa expects that this relationship will be consolidated by Prime Minister Blair's successor," the department said.

    Mr Blair is expected to be succeeded by Gordon Brown, current Chancellor of the Exchequer.

    "Accordingly Prime Minister Blair's visit will afford us an opportunity to review our bilateral political, economic and trade relations and how they can be deepened."

    Mr Blair was born on 6 May 1953 in Edinburgh, but spent most of his childhood in Durham.

    He studied law at Oxford, and went on to become a barrister.

    After standing unsuccessfully for the Labour Party in a by-election, Mr Blair went on to win the seat of Sedgefield in the 1983 General Election, aged 30.

    The Labour Party won the 1997 General Election by a landslide, after 18 years in Opposition. At the age of 43 Mr Blair became the youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812.

    The government began to implement a far-reaching programme of constitutional change, putting the question of devolution to referendums in Scotland and Wales.

    An elected post of Mayor of London was established at the head of a new capital-wide authority, and all but 92 hereditary peers were removed from the House of Lords in the first stage of its reform.

    The UK government has also implemented an investment programme of 42 billion pounds in its priority areas of health and education.

    Mr Blair was re-elected with another landslide majority in the 2001 General Election.

    His second term was dominated by foreign policy issues - notably the 'war on terror' which followed the September 11 attacks in New York, and the war in Iraq.

    The Labour Party went on to win a third term for Mr Blair in May 2005, albeit with a reduced majority.

    Outside Number 10 on the day after his victory, the PM said that 'respect' would play a big part in his third term agenda.

    He said he wanted to bring back "A proper sense of respect in our schools, in our communities, in our towns and our villages."

    Mr Blair is married to the barrister Cherie Booth QC, and they have four children. Their youngest, Leo, was the first child born to a serving Prime Minister in over 150 years.

    The favourite for incoming Prime Minister, Mr James Gordon Brown was appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer on 2 May 1997.

    He was born in 1951 and educated at Kirkcaldy High School and Edinburgh University, where he gained First Class Honours and then a Doctorate.

    He was Rector of Edinburgh University and Chairman of the University Court between 1972 and 1975.

    From 1976 to 1980, Mr Brown lectured at Edinburgh University and then Caledonian University before taking up a post at Scottish TV (1980 - 1983).

    After becoming an MP, Mr Brown was the Chair of the Labour Party Scottish Council.

    Before becoming Shadow Chancellor in 1992, he held two other senior posts on the Opposition front bench - Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary.



    Pic of the day – STELIOS B

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice



    A second view of the Greek bulker STELIOS B loading coal at Durban’s Bluff Connections (coal terminal) in May 2003 – yesterday’s picture showed the stern view. Picture Terry Hutson



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