Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 4, 2008
Author: P&S







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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Transnet National Ports Authority appoints woman as Ngqura’s first port manager

  • SA Navy takes possession of third submarine

  • Trans-Kalahari Highway to receive R310 million upgrade

  • Snip and the world goes silent

  • Kenya Ports Authority delays introduction of new levies

  • Pic of the day – ROGER REVELLE




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    Transnet National Ports Authority appoints woman as Ngqura’s first port manager

    It’s not likely to be a matter of any great inconvenience for Port Elizabeth’s port manager Ester Goosen as she takes up her new appointment this week, considering that her second office is only 20 minutes up the road.

    Goosen, who has been in charge at Port Elizabeth since 2001, is the first port manager to be appointed for the port of Ngqura (Coega), which is situated about 20km from Port Elizabeth.

    Her appointment is not necessarily a permanent one and will extend until the port becomes operational in 2009, by which stage one assumes that separate port managers for the twin ports will evolve, but her attention in the meantime will be divided between both ports for the next 12 or so months.

    Goosen has said on record that she sees the new port of Ngqura as not being in competition to Port Elizabeth but complimentary, with Ngqura catering for bulk cargo and containers. Manganese ore and petroleum products which are currently handled at Port Elizabeth are intended to transfer to Ngqura but the question of containers has not been fully answered although it appears that both ports will handle this commodity in the future, with Ngqura looking to be established as a container hub port.



    SA Navy takes possession of third submarine


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    SAS MANTHATISI (S101), the navy’s first Meko class 209 submarine arrives in Simon’s Town in April 2006 to a large welcome. The third and final submarine of this order, SAS QUEEN MODJADJI was handed over officially to the South African Navy last week and will arrive home in May, a little over two years after the first. Picture courtesy SA Navy


    SAS QUEEN MODJADJI (S103), the third and final submarine to be built in Germany for the South African Navy, was handed over to a South African crew at a ceremony in Kiel, Germany last Thursday (31 January 2008), who will now complete their training in her before sailing the boat out to South Africa.

    The submarine is expected to depart Germany on 2 April, arriving in Simon’s Town on 22 May where she will join her two sisters, SAS MANTHATISI (S101) and SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE (S102).

    The new submarine is one of three Meko class 209, Type 1400MOD and is 62m in length and 7.6m wide. She displaces 1450 tons surfaced and about 1590 tons submerged. The sub is powered by four MTU 12V 396 diesel engines which give her a speed of 10 knots surfaced and 21,5 knots dived.

    For weapons the submarine is armed with 14 torpedoes. She carries a crew of 30.

    Delivery of the submarine completes the controversial naval element of the arms deal, although four Lynx helicopters for the frigates are still awaited.

    The boat is named for the legendry Rain Queen Queen Makobo Constance Modjadji (pronounced Moo-jad-chi) who died in 2001 and who, it is said in some quarters, was descended from the house of the kingdom of Monomotapa, the kingdom credited with the creation of the Zimbabwe Ruins. In her lifetime Queen Mudjadji was ruler of the Balobedu people and known internationally as a rain-maker. The role of the rain queen was immortalised by 19th Century writer Rider Haggard in his book ‘She’, as ‘She who must be obeyed’.



    Trans Kalahari Highway to receive R310 million upgrade

    Namibia’s Trans-Kalahari Highway is to undergo a N$310 million (R310m) rehabilitation by the Namibian Roads Authority. The project will commence this month (February) and is expected to be completed by April 2011.

    The Trans Kalahari Highway is a vital link from the port of Walvis Bay via a tarred road connecting with Johannesburg and the Gauteng region in South Africa, crossing landlocked Botswana in the process and providing an alternative route for shippers, particularly those with time sensitive cargo.

    Stage 1 of the rehabilitation involves widening the first 77km between Walvis Bay and the town of Okahandja.

    Since the commencement of the Trans Kalahari Highway project 10 years ago cargo volumes through the port of Walvis Bay and along the highway have increased steadily, with an improvement of 58.4 percent reported over the past couple of years. The project has also seen an increase in confidence in the region, and the commencement of additional highway projects such as the Trans Caprivi Highway from Walvis Bay to the Zambian border on the Zambezi River in Caprivi.

    The Namibian Roads Authority is a member of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group.

    source – corridor.net



    Snip and the world goes silent

    It required just a single ship doing a pretty ordinary thing like going to anchor to bring about communication chaos across a large chunk of the globe and leaving in its wake a new awareness of the vulnerability of industry and commerce to such incidents.

    The single ship in question was coming to anchor off the Egyptian coast near Alexandria during bad weather last Wednesday (30 January) when it managed to snag and rip two undersea fibre-optic cables linking Europe with the Middle East and South Asia.

    The two damaged cables are the FLAG Europe-Asia cable which is operated by FLAG Telecom, and SeaMeWe-4, which services South East Asia, Middle East and Western Europe.

    As a result these regions suffered huge black-outs and loss of communication, causing computer snarlups that left 75 million people with limited access to the internet. Email messaging also ground to a near halt.

    It is believed that the ship, which was not named, dropped its anchor directly onto the cables.

    Business which is reliant on communications slowed to a crawl as across the world technicians and computer boffins scrambled to re-route connections. Even governments became directly involved and the Egyptians implored internet surfers to stay offline and give preference to businesses to continue at least some of their work.

    It’s been estimated that 70 percent of phone lines and internet connections in the Middle East and South Asia were reduced to limited access.

    “People just don't realise that all these things go through undersea cables - that this is the main way these economies are all linked,” said Alan Mauldin, the research director of TeleGeography, a data and analysis provider. “Even when you're using wireless internet, it's only really wireless back to your base station: the rest is done over real, physical connections.”

    Another specialist pointed out the vulnerability of governments and business to such incidents. He suggested more should be done in ensuring that critical communications systems are better protected, either from natural, accidental or terrorist attack.

    The repair ship being sent to attend to the Egyptian break is only expected to arrive tomorrow morning (Tuesday) but technicians were confident they would have rerouted 90 percent of the communications services by yesterday (Sunday).

    India was the worst affected country with an 11 billion dollar industry that provides call centre services and the processing of credit card and mortgage transactions through 1,250 individual firms and employing something like 700,000 people. Most of these services are to clients in Europe and the United States.

    On Friday, two days after the first incident, a third cable between the UAE and Oman was damaged, adding to the problems. This cable was cut about 35 miles from Dubai. It was not immediately known what caused the break. Kuwait meanwhile also reported that two cables near the Persian Gulf country had been damaged by maritime and storm activity.



    Kenya Ports Authority delays introduction of new levies

    New port levies at Kenya’s port have been postponed by one month, the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) announced last week. The adjusted levies were to have come into effect on Friday 1 February.

    According to KPA managing director Abdallah Mwaruwa the decision was taken in view of the post election violence and the problems this has brought to port activity. He said the decision was reached after consultation with the transport ministry and principal stakeholders. The new levy would instead now come into effect on 1 March 2008.

    “We hope this extension will give port users the much needed relief as they face the challenges posed by the current political crisis,” Mwaruwa said.

    He noted that the KPA would suffer a loss of revenue as a result of the delay as well as losses from having waived storage costs on cargo stored at the port terminals because of the security situation. He said the waiver had been intended to help decongest the port but this had been only partly successful in the wake of the post election unrest since when there had been minimal movement of cargo from the harbour.

    Mwaruwa said the decisions had been taken in the interests of port stakeholders and the country as a whole. He could not at this stage calculate the losses incurred as a result of the waving of charges nor the expected loss in revenue because of delaying the new tariffs.

    “We incur the losses everyday and we may not be able to give a definite figure now. We will be able to compile all the losses that are experienced here later," he said.

    By late last week the number of containers stored in the port terminal had dropped to around 14,500 from a peak of 19,000 three weeks ago. The number of ships being delayed had also decreased – on Saturday (2 February) there were no container ships waiting for a berth.

    Rail under repair

    In other Kenyan news work is underway on repairing the uplifted sections of railway line near Nairobi, torn up when protesters literally ripped up a 1km long section and various other lengths with their bare hands. They were voicing their displeasure and the incidents were captured on television.

    The worst damage is reported to be near Kibera and would take about five days to complete repairs, meaning the rail section could be reopened by early this week.

    According to reports Rift Valley Railway, the private company operating the former Kenya and Uganda Railways has been losing revenue at the rate of Shs360 million (US$5.18m) a day for the past 25 days.

    In addition to general cargo and containerised traffic, the movement of fuel from the port inland has been severely affected by the disruptions.

    source – The Nation (Kenya) and The Monitor (Uganda)


    Pic of the day – ROGER REVELLE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice



    The US research vessel ROGER REVELLE has been in local waters for some weeks, including some time spent under maintenance and repair at the Durban shipyard of Elgin Brown & Hamer. Last week the vessel, which is operated by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and has been employed on a survey of the Ninety East Ridge in the Indian Ocean, returned to Durban where Trevor Jones took the picture

    Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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