Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 14, 2007
Author: P&S





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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Unexpected bonus payment for Transnet pensioners


  • Cape Town ship repairers appeal to government


  • Coastwatch: hostage oil workers released


  • Wallenius Wilhelmsen wins Thor Heyerdahl Award


  • Koko concessioned


  • Pic of the day – USNS CHARLTON





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    Unexpected bonus payment for Transnet pensioners

    Transnet pensioners received an unexpected surprise yesterday when group Chief Executive Maria Ramos announced the payment of one-off bonuses totalling R125 million to pensioners and their beneficiaries of the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund. The benefit also goes to widows of previously disadvantaged employees.

    She told a media briefing in Cape Town that the ex-gratia payment was in addition to normal benefits received from the fund. The payment will be sourced solely from Transnet’s own resources and was made possible by the company’s strong balance sheet, she said.



    Cape Town ship repairers appeal to government

    Cape Town ship repair companies are finding themselves in much the same boat as their Durban counterparts – high and dry in a manner of speaking.

    The Minister of Public Enterprises Alex Erwin said last month that there was little land available for ship repair in Cape Town port. He indicated the shortage of land was a result of the need to accommodate an expansion of the Cape Town container terminal. This in turn was as a result of ‘massive difficulties’ raised by the environmental impact assessment concerning the proposed expansion of the terminal seawards into Table Bay.

    Erwin said it appeared that government would have to reserve land elsewhere in the port for this expansion, which meant that ship repair and other harbour activity would lose out (see our News report dated 24 May 2007).

    Government had been planning to release a large section of land behind the port for ship repair and ship building.

    At a media briefing held in Cape Town this week Anthony Shkaidy of Cape Shiprepair emphasised that the industry required access to port infrastructure and was facing great difficulties as a result of the proposed container terminal expansion. He said the industry had taken up the matter with the Western Cape premier, Ebrahim Rasool who had been requested to lobby national government for support.

    Ship repair at Cape Town has been identified as one of the region’s growth points, largely because of the port’s strategic position in relation to the west coast oil industry.

    The problems faced by ship repair firms in Cape Town echoes those of their Durban counterparts, who learned recently that plans to expand the Durban container terminal into the Bayhead area meant that much of the port’s existing ship repair facilities would have to go.

    Addressing the Durban issue, Chris Sparg, MD of Dormac Marine told Ports & Ships that the Durban ship repairers needed to engage with the NPA and Transnet.

    “Increasing the harbour throughput without developing the ship repair activities within the Durban port makes no sense and relocating the ship repair activities to Richards Bay is moving the required service from the real core to a vastly reduced requirement, to the detriment of (ship) owners and Durban ship repairers,” he said.



    Coastwatch: hostage oil workers released

    Up to twelve hostages have been released by Nigerian militants operating in the Niger Delta region, according to news reports from the West African country.

    Among those released is a South African who was taken hostage on 25 May, as well as four UK citizens, three Americans, two Indians, a Filipino and a Nigerian.

    According to the BBC the South African hostage described his time in captivity, saying that his captors were mostly intoxicated with drink or drugs for much of the time and repeatedly carried out mock executions with their automatic weapons.

    The release of the men has since been confirmed by Nigerian and Philippines government officials.

    Also in Nigeria, representatives of the Nigerian Owners of Fish Trawlers reported a series of attacks on the fishing fleet by pirates.

    They said the pirates attacked the unarmed fishing vessels using speed boats in which several of the fishermen were killed. They claim to have lost up to N1 Billion in assets stolen by their attackers.

    According to a Nigerian Navy spokesman, Capt Amin Ikioda, only 11 fishing vessels have reported having been attacked by pirates in the past three months. He said there were long delays before the attacks were reported, up to several days at times.

    As a result of a meeting held to discuss the matter a committee has been formed between the fishing association and the navy to facilitate better communication.



    Wallenius Wilhelmsen wins Thor Heyerdahl Award

    Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) has been awarded the Heyerdahl Environmental Award 2007 for its commitment to improving the environmental standards in the shipping industry.

    Over a period of six years, WWL successfully reduced SO2 emissions by 75,550 tons. That is the amount of SO2, emitted by the city of London over a similar period.

    Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics says it actively seeks to reduce the environmental impact of its business operations and strives to use energy and natural resources sensibly. The company believes it is in the lead when it comes to reducing the environmental threat of ballast water and also provides environmental training for shore staff and seafarers.

    According to chairman of the award committee, Elisabeth Grieg, the company takes its environmental responsibility very seriously. She said that when deciding on WWL, the Award Committee emphasised the eco-friendly profile, proactive approach, and the company’s ambitious plans for more green operations in the future.

    “We are very thankful that after many years of intense and focused work to reduce the environmental impact of our business we have been publicly recognised for our work with such a prestigious honour as the Thor Heyerdahl Award,” said Arild B. Iversen, President and CEO of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics. “It has always been important for Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, together with our owners, to take a lead in driving the environmental agenda for our industry. This award will encourage us to push even harder in the future”.

    The Thor Heyerdahl award was established in 1999. The prize honours the spirit of the Norwegian explorer Dr Thor Heyerdahl and inspires the world maritime community to innovative actions to protect the environment. The winner receives a statuette by artist Nico Widerberg and 100,000 US Dollars. The prize is sponsored by The Norwegian Shipowner’ Association, DNV, Gard Services, Assuranceforeningen Skuld, Nor Shipping and Tradewinds.



    Koko concessioned

    The semi abandoned port of Koko on the Benin River in the south east of Nigeria has been concessioned to Greenleigh Ports.

    Greenleigh Ports which is headed up by Chief William Kpere Daibo paid a fee of US $ 4.61 million for the right to operate and manage the port. The new chief executive said he regretted that Koko had been neglected for so long but said the government had agreed to privatise the port in order to make it more productive.

    He said the new management would strive to bring industry to the town and region and to make use of the port facilities. He believed that within a few years Koko would be upgraded to serve Onitsha, Nnewi, Benin and even Abuja.



    Pic of the day – USNS CHARLTON

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice



    The US pre-positioning vessel USNS CHARLTON (T-AKR 314) called at Cape Town in the last few days to take bunkers. We also featured this ship in our Daily News report of 6 November 2006, taken on a previous call at Durban. The Cape Town picture seen here is by Ian Shiffman



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