Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 19, 2007
Author: P&S





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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Ships in collision at Lagos


  • COMESA aims to cut transit costs by 25 percent


  • NSRI rescues Mossel Bay ski-boat


  • ACP group wins major trade battle with EU


  • EU to open its market to East, Southern Africa


  • Pic of the day – OSPREY EXPLORER






  • Ships in collision at Lagos

    The container ship MSC PILAR, which was under way in the port of Lagos with a harbour pilot on board, collided with another ship on its berth, according to a report in The Tribune of Nigeria.

    The container ship was heading towards the terminal at Tin Can Island when the collision occurred, and according to first reports the other vessel, the 35,000-ton handysize bulker JOSCO SUZHOU has received heavy damage. There were no reports of anyone on either ship being injured.

    According to the newspaper the bulker was discharging a cargo of gypsum at berth 19 of the Lagos Port Complex at Apapa. It said the container vessel appeared to have ‘lost control’ and in order to avoid an oncoming ship turned towards the berth where the collision occurred.

    An eye witness said he thought the pilot was bringing the container ship in at an excessive speed which may have contributed to the accident. But according to the Lagos Pilotage District harbourmaster, Captain Effiong Uwak, the MSC Pilar had lost steerage due to a malfunction.

    A Board of Enquiry is to be set up to investigate the collision.



    COMESA aims to cut transit costs by 25 percent

    Transit costs across COMESA countries (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) will be reduced by as much as 25 percent thanks to the launching of a transit bond.

    Known as the COMESA Carnet, the Regional Customs Transit Guarantee Bond will enable freight forwarders and transporters to purchase a single bond to cover goods moving between COMESA member countries.

    Until now a separate bond was required for each country involved in the movement of the cargo, which has become a costly item and require heavy deposits. The transit bonds are required to cover potential duty or taxes applicable while the goods are in transit, a practice that has become cumbersome, costly and time consuming.

    According to COMESA’s trade secretary Dr Sam Nahamya, having the Carnet will save forwarders or transporters much time and inconvenience while reducing the cost of the guarantee by as much as 50 percent.

    He said that as much as $ 1 Billion in bonds, which belongs to importers, freight forwarders and transporters, was tied up in the present process and could be freed up and used for more productive purposes. He added that high transport costs were limiting the region’s international trade.

    “A 10 percent increase in transport costs leads to a reduction in trade of about 20 percent,” he claimed.

    COMESA consists of the following East African countries: Burundi, Comores, DR Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascra, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

    Of these Kenya, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Burundi, Djibouti, Rwanda, Malawi and Madagascar had ratified the bond agreement to accelerate the region's economic integration.



    NSRI rescues Mossel Bay ski-boat

    Mossel Bay, 16 November, 2007 - Dawie Zwiegelaar, NSRI Mossel Bay Station Commander reports on the following incident at the weekend.

    “We were alerted at 19h25 (on Friday, 16 November) following a number of eye-witness reports of a ski-boat seen drifting upside down off-shore of the Hartenbos River Mouth with four people reported to be clinging to the upturned hull and drifting towards shore towards the breakers.

    “Sea conditions were choppy swells with 2 metre breakers in the wave line and a light South Westerly wind.

    “Our NSRI station volunteers were at Hartenbos at the time assisting with a Petro SA Function. We responded to the scene in one of our private vehicles while the duty crew launched our rescue craft Vodacom Rescuer I and Vodacom Rescuer IV.

    “On arrival on-scene we managed to raise the ski-boat Great White by Marine Radio and they also responded to the scene to assist but they were not able to enter the breaker line themselves for fear of capsizing their own boat and they stood-by on-scene beyond the breakers.

    “We found all four men, the boat’s owner Abraham Poole, 50, and his crew, son Brahm, 23, son-in-law Steve Denny, 37, and Uli Stander, 35, all from Mossel Bay, all clinging to the upturned boat as it drifted towards shore through the breakers.

    “Our rescue craft arrived on-scene as the casualty boat was washing in towards the shallows of the beach and all four men were escorted onto the beach by our NSRI crews and all survived the incident barring some exhaustion.

    “Steve Denny said that they had been fishing well behind the breaker line on their ski-boat Dividends when, from undetermined reasons, the boat filled with water and capsized. According to Denny they had been preparing to head home when they noticed water was filling up in the back of the boat and then the back sunk under the water and the nose of the boat was all that was left above water and then the boat rolled over and capsized. He said it all happened in five seconds. They then held onto the upturned boat using the capsize ropes and drifted for about an hour before drifting ashore.

    “He said they were not prepared to risk trying to get the emergency equipment out from under the boat for fear of it sinking and then losing their only means of floatation to hold onto. According to Denny his father-in-law can’t swim so all focus was on keeping the capsized boat afloat and not trying anything that might cause it to sink so that they at least had the boat to cling onto. He also said that a number of boats were in the area at the time but no one saw them in peril.

    “An NSRI crew arranged to take the survivors back to the yacht club at Mossel Bay, from where they had launched earlier in the day, to fetch their trailer. Efforts are underway to recover the boat which has washed up on-shore at Hartenbos.

    “Abraham Poole has been taken to a doctor for a check-up.”



    ACP group wins major trade battle with EU

    by Judith Akolo (BuaNews)

    Nairobi, 16 November 2007 - The Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries have won a major trade battle against the European Union with a deal that was brokered to push the stalled negotiations on the renewal of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to December 2008.

    The EU has agreed to establish a framework that will ensure trade is not interrupted between January and December next year, thus giving a one-year extension before a new pact has to be reached.

    There had been growing tension between the EU and the ACP countries over the trade arrangement.

    Last week Kenyan civil society organisations claimed that 65 percent of the country's locally manufactured products would be adversely affected by the reciprocal free trade agreement between ACP countries and the EU.

    The civil societies said Kenya already belonged to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC), two trade blocks with separate Customs Unions.

    However, Kenyan Trade and Industry Minister Dr Mukhisa Kituyi was quick to reassure local traders that the government would ensure that the main pillars of the EPA are respected.

    Trade ministers and negotiators from the African region met their counterparts from the European Commission on Monday in Brussels where they agreed to push the deadline from the expected 31 December 2007-2008.

    Local exporters, mainly horticultural producers, had expressed fears that they would lose their market access should the two parties fail to sign a deal by next month.

    Zambian Minister for Commerce, Trade and Industry Felix Mutati led the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) delegation to the talks while EU Commissioner for Trade Peter Mandelson and his Commission for Development Louis Michel represented the EU.



    EU to open its market to East, Southern Africa

    Lusaka, 16 November 2007 (BuaNews) - The European Union (EU) will open up its market on a duty-free basis for products from countries in the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) region from 1 January 2008.

    The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretary-General Erastus Mwencha was addressing the media Thursday, on the outcome of the just ended ESA-European Commission (EC) meeting in Brussels.

    Mr Mwencha said ESA countries would be able to export their products to Europe on a duty-free basis except for sugar and rice.

    The ESA-EC negotiations had been based around six clusters namely, development, market access, fisheries, trade in services, trade-related issues and agriculture.

    He said the ESA would in the same period begin the process of liberalising its markets, without touching their tariffs, under a decade-long moratorium and a transitional period of up to 25 years.

    Under the agreement, the Least Development Countries (LCDs) would be allowed policy space and flexibility in opening their markets, he added.

    He said the meeting agreed on a development strategy on areas of joint infrastructure development, capacity building, institutional building, with detailed costing of some projects.

    Mwencha said the meeting also agreed that there would be increased resources which would have benchmarks, which would determine whether ESA countries would continue with their liberalisation of the market or not.

    "In short, if ESA falls below the yardstick, then they do not have to liberalise their markets. This will ensure development," he said.

    The ESA ministerial meeting also agreed on the need to unite as a region in order to facilitate regional integration, which is the basis of sustainable development.

    "Ministers in particular stressed the fact that the most important aspect for ESA is for ESA to strengthen regional integration as a long-term measure. The ESA also stressed the fact development should be at the core of development," he said.

    Mwencha said the ESA would continue to negotiate on the other clusters, which were not agreed upon during the meeting.

    He said for preparatory activities before implementing these agreements fully, the region needed about 27 billion Euros. He added that the EU had promised to release two billion Euros every year, starting from the year 2010.

    Out of the 16 countries in the ESA, 12 fall in the LCD category.



    Pic of the day – OSPREY EXPLORER

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice



    OSPREY EXPLORER is one of two source vessels in the service of Seabird Exploration, a company involved in seismic research and oil exploration surveys. Osprey Explorer was converted in 2006 from the Polish supply vessel GEPARD (built 1985) and has a length overall of 82m and a beam of 16m. Picture Ian Shiffman

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