Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 7, 2008
Author: P&S







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THIS WEEK’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • SA Port Statistics for August

  • Navy ships honestly obtained, says Mbeki

  • Navy Fleet Review in pictures

  • Robben Island Ferry back in service

  • Cabinet approves new automotive programme to replace MIDP

  • SA's second quarter GDP reaches 4.9 percent

  • Ships in our ports

  • New terminal opens at OR Tambo Airport

  • News from the Shipping Lines

  • NENA J safely in Cape Town

  • American pleads guilty to bribery charge in Nigeria

  • Ships in our ports

  • Sunday Times backtracks over Transnet Table Bay story

  • Namibia Railways grinds to a halt

  • Rift Valley railway unveils recovery plan

  • Mombasa dock workers set for 40% wage hike

  • Mombasa to auction cars and containers

  • Light on a distant horizon for SA / Mozambique rail agreement

  • NSRI elects new chairman as Hennie Taljaard steps down

  • Piracy report – ten ships seized in two months

  • MSC looks at the airline business

  • Pic of the day – Presidential Fleet Review




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    SA Port Statistics for August

    Port cargo figures for August 2008 are now available, courtesy of Transnet Ports Authority.

    The figures indicate a marked increase in actual cargo handled, due principally to a substantial increase in import bulk cargo at Saldanha.

    Containers handled across all ports showed a small decrease on July, indicating a continued downturn in this area as the economy retracts.

    This decrease in containers handled comes despite August being traditionally one of the busier months for container traffic.

    As is customary the figures shown in this report reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – this is necessary because Transnet NPA no longer measures containers by weight, but does so by counting the number of TEUs - for which PORTS & SHIPS makes an estimated weight adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to reflect tonnages. This figure may however be considered as conservative with 14 tonnes or more perhaps being a more realistic figure. With more bulk cargo being loaded in containers this figure may soon have to be adjusted upwards.

    The increase on total cargo handled at all ports is largely a result of a sharp increase with bulk imports through the port of Saldanha, including oil products.

    During August 2008 the respective ports handled the following (with July figures between brackets for comparison):


    Cargo handled by tonnes

    Richards Bay               6.283 million tonnes (July 5.986Mt)
    Durban                       6.120 Mt (July 6.885)
    Saldanha Bay              6.548 Mt (July 3.872)
    Cape Town                 1.154 Mt (July 1.169)
    Port Elizabeth              1.099 Mt (July 1.033)
    Mossel Bay                  0.157 Mt (July 0.244)
    East London                0.249 Mt (July 0.226)

    Total monthly cargo in August 21.610 million tonnes (July 19.415 Mt)


    Containers (measured by TEUs)
    (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA)

    Durban                       210.236 TEU (July 219,059)
    Cape Town                   67.491 (July 65,229)
    Port Elizabeth                38.117 (July 43,658)
    East London                   5.246 (July 5,668)
    Richards Bay                  0.108 (July 2.244)

    Total containers handled during August 320,935 TEU (July 335,858)


    Ship Calls for August

    Durban:                 368 vessels 9.163m gt (July 358 vessels 8.371m gt)
    Cape Town:            262 vessels 4.383m gt (July 303 vessels 4.278m gt)
    Port Elizabeth:        108 vessels 2.880m gt (July 110 vessels 2.606m gt)
    Richards Bay:          148 vessels 4.706m gt (July 133 vessels 4.271m gt)
    Saldanha:                37 vessels 1.944m gt (July 40 vessels 1,944m gt)
    East London:            33 vessels 0.981m gt (July 32 vessels 0.825m gt)
    Mossel Bay:            172 vessels 0.272m gt (July 178 vessels 0.211m gt)

    - source TNPA, with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container weights



    Navy ships honestly obtained, says Mbeki


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    Dawn at Simon’s Town 5 September 2008; the Fleet lies at anchor in False Bay whilst the Hydrographic Survey Vessel A324, SAS “Protea”, her white paint and fittings in immaculate condition, is prepared to welcome the President on board. Picture by David Erickson


    by Luyanda Makapela and Vivian Warby (BuaNews)

    Cape Town, 5 September - President Thabo Mbeki has assured South Africans that the new Navy fleet shown to him on Friday was obtained without resort to corrupt means, but informed by the outcome of the widely-consultative Defence Review that decided the needs of the National Defence Force, and the Navy.

    Speaking at the Presidential Fleet Review in SimonsTown, President Mbeki said the modern equipment of the National Defence Force and the SA Navy was obtained honestly, based on the decisions of the national government, and informed only by the Defence Review.

    "As Commander-in-Chief of the South African Navy and the SA National Defence Force, I am privileged to commend our new Fleet to the Nation, as well as convey to all the officers who sail its ships on guard for peace, and operate their weapons of war," the President said.

    During the Presidential Review, the SA Navy displayed the rejuvenated and transformed Fleet to Mr Mbeki, and to the people of the country.

    The President said the presence of SANDF has been appreciated in countries such as Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others, where it has supported peace processes aimed at permanent stability democracy and development.

    Speaking ahead of the event on Thursday, Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said the event marked the culmination of almost a decade of "hard work, dedication and commitment on the part of all the young men and women who crew our ships and submarines, those who support them ashore, and those who lead the SA Navy" and was “light years ahead of its predecessors”.

    "The generation of ships that we have brought in, places us in a new era. We are greatly advanced in terms of capacity," he said.

    Lekota said it would be some time before the country acquired any new ships, but said that negotiations were still underway on whether to convert the original contract which allowed for the acquisition of a fifth warship, to instead allow for the acquisition of a sealift.

    The last time the Navy Fleet was reviewed was by former President Nelson Mandela in 1997.

    Mr Lekota said considerable transition had taken place since that last Fleet Review, which also took part as part of the SA Navy's 75 Anniversary celebrations.

    President Mbeki boarded the 36-year-old SA Protea which then proceeded to meet the rest of the ships at sea.

    The reviewing ship then sailed past the rest of the ships in formation and received the naval ceremonial marks of respect from each ship.


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    Two of the navy’s three submarines and one of two inshore patrol boats head out into False Bay during the Presidential Fleet Review on 5 September. Picture by Clinton Wyness



    Navy Fleet review in pictures

    Pictures and story by David Erickson

    CLICK ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE

    The South African Navy Fleet Review was held on Friday 5 September 2008 in False Bay outside the Simon’s Town Naval Harbour. David Erickson reports:

    A “dry run” was performed on Thursday 4 September 2008 utilising all of the vessels, most of which remained at anchor in formation in False Bay overnight. The dry run was so realistic it even included the firing of the 21-gun salute – prompting telephone calls from puzzled residents who wondered if they’d got the day wrong!



    It’s now almost 08h00, and the crew are ready at the jack staff and the stern, waiting for the dockyard bell to sound, closely followed by the ships’ bells and the bosun’s calls signalling the end of the morning watch at “8 bells”, which is also the signal to hoist the ship’s flags. Security personnel with dogs patrol the quayside.



    The flags catch the early morning breeze whilst the ‘Namacurra’ class Harbour Protection Boats patrol at the harbour entrance.



    VIP’s are starting to arrive; the Honour Guard gets a final briefing whilst a helicopter climbs skywards.



    Aerospatiale SA-330 Atlas TP-1 Oryx, 1235, South African Air Force.



    Fleet Combat Support Vessel A301, SAS “Drakensberg” hurries past Roman Rock Lighthouse to take up her position.



    The Navy Band and Honour Guard are at attention. The VIP guests are gathered on Protea’s stern; the tug “De Neys” is ready to ease her away from her berth, and at far left the four saluting cannons are prepared and waiting.......



    A trio of helicopters roars in above Roman Rock lighthouse with the Fleet behind, quietly proceeding to the review location.



    One Lynx breaks formation and descends swiftly...........



    .......to land at the Bullnose in front of the Harbourmaster’s Control Tower.



    The President alights.



    The cannon roar their 21 gun salute for the Commander in Chief.



    The President is aboard; the Band plays whilst the Honour Guard march away.



    “De Neys” eases “Protea” away from her berth.



    As “Protea” leaves the harbour entrance, four “Namacurra” class Protection Boats close up to her quarters as escorts for the review.



    Some of the Fire Crew get a better view of the proceedings from the ‘Simon Snorkel’ hydraulic platform. To the left is the decommissioned ’Daphne’ class submarine S98 “Assegaai” –destined to come ashore as a Museum exhibit next year.



    Through the haze, three fixed-wing aircraft and three helicopters dangling weighted flags shadow the route of the Fleet. In the background are two of the three Heroine Class submarines, S102 Charlotte Maxeke and S103 Queen Modjadji I.



    The Presidential Fleet Review begins, with the four Valour Class Frigates leading. As the helicopters make another pass, the frigates fire a salute to the Commander in Chief.



    “Drakensberg” prepares to make her turn to join the Line Ahead.......



    .......as the lead frigate makes her turn.



    The frigates head off, whilst in the distant haze “Protea” commences her turn for the return leg. The Presidential Fleet Review is complete.



    As “Protea” prepares to re-enter Simon’s Town harbour, the tug “Umalusi” sprays her fire fighting monitors in tribute.

    All pictures by David Erickson



    Robben Island Ferry back in service

    Robben Island’s new ferry SIKHULUKILE – the word means ‘We are free’ is living up to its name after having been released from detention by her builders.

    The R26 million ferry was attached by court order on account of an unpaid debt following a dispute between the owner Robben Island Museum and the builder, Farocean Marine. The museum still owes R750,000 which is being withheld pending the repair of certain defects with the multi-deck ferry.

    Sikhululekile has been dogged by problems since being launched, including a leak and an engine break-down, with delivery of the vessel being delayed by one year. However the boat subsequently passed its sea trials. A spokesman for the museum said however that there remained significant defects which needed taking care of.

    There have also been claims of mismanagement with finances among the Robben Island Board which administers the museum, which members of the board have described as over emphasised.

    While the new ferry was attached last week other arrangements for the carrying of tourists to the island had to be hurriedly made.



    Cabinet approves new automotive programme to replace MIDP

    by Luyanda Makapela

    Pretoria (BuaNews) - Cabinet has approved the new Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP), the Department of Trade and Industry announced on Thursday (4 September).

    The new APDP, which will replace the Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP), is expected to stimulate growth in the automotive vehicle production industry to 1.2 million vehicles per annum by 2020 with associated deepening of the components industry.

    This will further provide an opportunity to increase the local content of domestically assembled vehicles.

    "The revised MIDP would seek to provide industry with a reasonable level of support in a market neutral manner. There would be no discrimination for products sold domestically and those exported," Department of Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mphahlwa said.

    Automotives is a strategic sector for the South African economy and the largest and leading manufacturing sector.

    He said the APDP will provide appropriate levels of support for these targets while achieving a better balance between domestic and export sales to supply growing domestic demand.

    With import tariffs in mind, the APDP will further create stable and moderate import tariffs from 2012 while aiming to achieve 25 percent for Completely Built Up Vehicles (CBVs)

    The APDP will also seek to attain 20 percent for components used by vehicle assemblers from 2012.

    "Close working relations have been vital for the industry and given the strong interaction that has been shown so far, there is no doubt that we will make a remarkable impact on manufacturing broadly," said Mr Mphahlwa.

    The new APDP is structured in four key elements namely, tariffs, local assembly allowance, production incentives and automotive investment allowance.

    The APDP programme will include a Local Assembly Allowance (LAA) which will allow vehicle manufacturers with a plant volume of at least 50,000 units per annum to import a percentage of their components duty free.

    The LAA will come in the form of duty credits issued to vehicle assemblers based on 18 to 20 percent of the value of light motor vehicles produced domestically from 2013, the minister said.

    Manufacturers will also receive value-add support which will help encourage increased levels of local value addition along the automotive value chain with positive spin-offs for employment creation. The duty rebate credit will replace the current export based scheme.

    The APDP comes after a review of the MIDP was undertaken, which noted that although the MIDP had recorded successes since 1995, the industry faced a number of challenges.

    South Africa and the sub-region remained a relatively small market in global terms, isolated from larger markets and shipping routes.

    The review revealed that challenges of major domestic infrastructure and logistical inefficiencies were identified while there was a severe skills shortage, among other things.

    The review further noted that the revised programme needed to be comparable with major competitors and consistent with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.



    SA's second quarter GDP reaches 4.9 percent

    by Michael Appel

    Pretoria (BuaNews) - South Africa's second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rebounded somewhat to 4.9 percent for the second quarter of 2008 after recording 2.1 percent in the first quarter.

    "This improvement in growth in the second quarter of 2008 reflected strong increases in real value added by the primary and secondary sectors,” said the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) on Thursday.

    "The expansion was concentrated in mining and manufacturing, and could partly be attributed to base effects as electricity supply improved considerably in the second quarter, following severe disruptions, which weighed on production in the preceding quarter."

    The central bank in its quarterly bulletin report highlighted that the price of Brent crude oil which reached record highs of USD146 per barrel in early July 2008, has stabilised and is currently sitting at the USD105.64 per barrel.

    High oil and food prices placed intensified pressure on many emerging-market economies which in most cases resulted in a tightening of monetary policy with the hiking of interest rates.

    "However, in a few instances, concerns about decelerating economic growth and continued dislocations in the credit markets prompted central banks to reduce policy interest rates.

    "Net oil exporter countries have been experiencing more favourable growth than the oil importers. As elsewhere in the world, food price inflation worsened considerably in most parts of Africa during the past year," said the Bank.

    On the African continent real growth is expected to exceed 5 per cent for the seventh consecutive year in 2008

    Commodity export volumes benefited considerably from the recovery in mining and manufacturing production in the second quarter of 2008.

    Coupled with this was an increase in global commodity prices which were very favourable for South African producers.

    "Consequently, the trade deficit narrowed significantly in the second quarter.

    "... these developments brought about a significantly smaller deficit on the current account of the balance of payments in the second quarter of 2008," said the Bank.

    Inflationary pressures in the first half of 2008 led the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to raise the repo rate in both April and June 2008 by 50 basis points on each occasion.

    "With the economy seeming to be responding to the tighter monetary policies, and given the signs of moderation in some of the largely exogenous drivers of inflation such as the prices of crude oil and agricultural foodstuffs, the Bank did not raise interest rates further at the August 2008," to the relief of many cash-strapped South Africans.

    Adding to the much needed financial relief the price of all grades of petrol fell with between 69c and 78c on Wednesday (3 September) dropping the price for a litre of 93 unleaded petrol back below the R10 level.



    Ships in our ports


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    This unusual looking vessel seen in Cape Town harbor on 4 September 2008 is the pipe-layer SEVEN OCEANS, owned by Subsea 7 Ltd and flying the Isle of Man flag. The 18,201-gt ship was built in 2007. Picture by Aad Noorland



    New terminal opens at OR Tambo Airport

    Johannesburg (BuaNews) - A new R2.3-billion central terminal building at the OR Tambo International airport outside Johannesburg opened last week.

    Passengers can now be processed through the new international arrivals facilities, which includes a more user-friendly customs control process, reports SouthAfrica.info.

    Once arriving passengers have been processed through customs, they will be received into a new international arrivals public concourse, which is two and a half times larger than the previously used international arrivals hall.

    "Members of the public collecting incoming international passengers should take heed of the new signage in order to orientate themselves," said OR Tambo General Manager Chris Hlekane.

    "Passengers and meeters and greeters will also be assisted by Airports Company South Africa's [ACSA] new i-Help Agents - identifiable by their orange waist coasts - located along the new route for any other queries."

    ACSA will also open the central terminal building's retail facility, which is designed to link directly into the domestic terminal's retail level, next month.

    "The opening of the 18,000 square metre space will also boast some retail facilities including a post office, cellular phone shops and foreign exchange services, with various eateries expected to open by December this year," according to ACSA.

    The international and domestic terminals at the OR Tambo airport will be fully linked by April next year, when the central terminal building's departures facility becomes operational.

    The new departures hall will contain 75 new check-in counters, effectively linking the airport's international and domestic check-in facilities.

    At this point, passengers will be able to enjoy a fully complete multi-level terminal building located between the international and domestic terminals.

    In line with existing airport flow, departures activity will predominantly be on the upper level with arrivals activity on the ground level.

    The mezzanine levels of the central terminal building will offer retail facilities and basements will be in use for services and baggage handling.

    The project will be fully complete in December next year following the complete installation of the new baggage management system at international arrivals.

    Once the system is complete, a total of ten new baggage reclaim carousels will be in operation, four of which are 90 metre baggage carousels specifically designed for the massive new generation aircraft such as the Airbus A380.

    "[The] opening is an important milestone as it marks the start of the completion of the final piece in our massive infrastructure development programme in the run-up to 2010," said Mr Hlekane.

    "It gives me great pleasure to declare that OR Tambo is on track for 2010 and beyond."



    News from the Shipping Lines

    Chilean shipping line CSAV is to take delivery of the German-owned newbuilding, the 3,426-TEU CSAV RUNGUE on completion of a positioning voyage from Rotterdam to Brazil, after which the vessel will join CSAV’s East Coast South America – Asia via South Africa service (ASAX).

    The Rungue will be joined by a second vessel of the same stretched Thyssen 3400-design named CSAV ROMERAL, which delivers in October.


    SMIT Amandla Marine reports in its latest Newsletter that following a successful double hulling in Durban, the bunker barge SMIT ENERGY has returned to service delivering bunkers in the port of Durban. Meanwhile SMIT Amandla’s newbuilding SMIT LIPUMA was taken out of service for five days as from 1 September for some post-commissioning modifications aimed at further enhancing her effectiveness.

    Tony Hill now fulfils the role of Senior Barge Master in Durban as from 1 September. In other bunker barge news the Richards Bay barge SMIT BONGANI will undergo double hulling at the Dormac Marine shipyard in Durban at the end of the first quarter of 2009. The barge will be replaced in Richards Bay by SMIT ENERGY during that period.


    News from India, where there is growing concern over the decreasing number of recruits is that shipping companies will be liable to a fine and the possible loss of tax benefits from 2009 if they do not employ at least 15% of their crew as trainees. The Indian Government has made it mandatory for shipping companies enjoying tax benefits to employ trainees passing out from Indian maritime academies.

    Shipping companies in India pay only 5% tax under India’s tonnage tax regime (TTR) instead of the usual 30% corporate tax.

    The new ruling is expected to have an adverse effect especially on the bigger shipping companies operating with large numbers of ships.



    Bulker NENA J safely in Cape Town


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    NENA J, the bulker safe in Cape Town harbor. Picture Aad Noorland


    A Greek bulker NENA J bound for Chile with a cargo of steel pipes from India has entered Cape Town harbour after experiencing engine failure off the Cape coast.

    At one stage there were strong fears the ship would founder and go aground near Gansbaai but fortunately the vessel was able to go to anchor. The salvage tug SMIT AMANDLA went to assist and remained on standby before eventually towing the stricken vessel into port last Monday (1 September 2008).

    Repairs are being carried out inside Cape Town harbour.

    The ship began experiencing engine troubles during the previous weekend’s heavy storm which saw huge seas being thrown up along the south coast. Initial attempts to get another line aboard from the tug Smit Amandla were unsuccessful after the tow line snapped as a result of the mountainous seas.

    During the ordeal the ship’s crew of 16 remained on board the vessel. There were no injuries reported.



    American pleads guilty to bribery charge in Nigeria

    An American engineer has pleaded guilty to charges of having bribed Nigerian officials in the awarding of construction contracts on Bonny island.

    Texan Albert Stanley (65) entered the plea last week on charges of having conspired to violate Nigeria’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and to commit mail and wire fraud. He was an employee of Kellogg, Brown & Root, an engineering and construction company and previously a subsidiary of Halliburton.

    The bribery charges related to the paying of bribes to Nigerian government officials in the awarding of contracts. Stanley faces up to 10 years in prison and a half million US dollar fine which can be reduced to 7 years and the payment of USD10,8m in restitution in terms of his plea bargain. He will also have to assist prosecutors in continuing their investigation.



    Ships in our ports


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    The products tanker STOLT VESTLAND in Cape Town harbour on 4 September 2008. Picture by Aad Noorland



    Sunday Times backtracks over Transnet Table Bay story

    Johannesburg, 7 September – The Sunday Times has retracted a story it published two weeks ago saying that “Transnet sold our sea to foreigners”.

    In a statement in this weekend’s newspaper (7 September) the Sunday Times admitted that its headline and story about the extent of the area of sea that was sold “went too far.” It also admitted that other aspects of the report were not correct.

    This follows a formal complaint lodged by Transnet lawyers with the Press Ombudsman against the Sunday Times following the failure by the paper to (initially) retract its ‘false, misleading, malicious and defamatory lead under the headline “Transnet Sold our Sea to Foreigners”’.

    After the piece’s publication, Transnet issued a detailed rebuttal of what it called all the falsehoods published by the paper and through its lawyers asked that the paper publish a retraction and an unreserved apology in its edition of 31 August 2008 (the next publishing date after the offending article).

    Transnet said it had made available the two relevant agreements – one signed in 2001 and the sale and purchase agreement entered into in 2006 – to MPs who are members of the Portfolio Committees on Public Enterprises and Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

    The company noted that the retraction and apology had not (immediately) been forthcoming.

    “Given the scale of the damage caused to Transnet’s good name by both the article and, subsequently, the continued delay by the paper in entertaining our demand, we have decided to lay a formal complaint with the Ombudsman over the paper’s conduct because it is an effective and expeditious mechanism for the relief sought by Transnet: namely, to restore its good name and reputation, not monetary compensation in the form of a damages award that a Court of Law would make possibly two years from now.

    “Transnet is committed to the highest standards of corporate ethics and good governance. It is this commitment and our track record in upholding these standards that was assailed by the Sunday Times.”



    Namibia Railways grinds to a halt

    A national strike by TransNamib rail workers last Wednesday (3 September) has brought most rail operations in the country to a standstill.

    The two unions, National Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Natau) and the umbrella National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), said the strike was necessary to bring to the attention of those in power in Namibia the gravity of the workers’ complaints.

    The unions are calling for the reinstatement of the suspended Chief Executive Officer of TransNamib, Titus Haimbili and the removal of the current board of directors. Haimbili was suspended last month after allegations of corruption were levelled against him.

    TransNamib is reported to have a workforce of 2,025 of which at least 1,900 have gone on strike.



    Rift Valley Railway unveils recovery plan

    Rift Valley Railway (RVR), which has come under severe criticism for a perceived lack of results since taking over the former government-owned Kenya and Uganda Railway systems, says it will be investing USD206 million over the next five years.

    The money which is considerably more than the figure quoted when the concession was announced, will be used to rehabilitate the railway network. Brown Ondego, RVR’s chairman said the investment will be sourced through shareholder reserves, equity, shareholders funds and by raising loans.

    "The initial amount that was to be put in of Ksh1.6bn (USD23.3m) was very little and could not achieve much. With the new figures, we hope to transform the firm into a more reliable and efficient rail operator in the region," he told The Nation newspaper.

    It has been revealed that the first stage of the rehabilitation will focus on improving rail infrastructure on the strategically and economically important Mombasa – Kampala main line. The plans calls for the refurbishing of the classes 93 and 94 diesel-electric locomotives and to increase the average loco speed attained from 16 kmph to 50 kmph



    Mombasa dock workers set for 40% wage hike


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    Mombasa port channel. Picture KPA


    After lengthy negotiations between the Kenya Dockworkers Union and the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) the union announced last week that a 40% wage increase has been agreed for its members.

    The increase is to be spread over two years with 30% of the increase being awarded this year and the balance in 2009 backdated to January 2008.



    Mombasa to auction cars and containers


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    Port of Mombasa Container Terminal, RTG section


    The Port of Mombasa intends auctioning 1000 container and 700 unclaimed motor cars in an effort to reduce congestion at the harbour.

    The drastic measure follows attempts by the port to have importers clear their containers and vehicles within the stipulated time. However many of the 700 cars appear to have been abandoned and have become corroded from being too long in close proximity to the sea.

    Measures to be taken may include the option of scrapping the cars by means of a crushing machine.

    Mombasa has recently introduced a 24-hour working system to help clear the congestion that has dogged the port and its terminals in recent months. AN average of 1000 containers are now being cleared from the port daily, says the KPA’s acting managing director James Mulewa.

    He said the Kilindini operating system introduced recently would stabilise within a few months once its teething troubles are overcome.

    Despite a 24 hour working system having been introduced at the port, authorities are still concerned at the large number of lorries congesting the road network by parking illegally on the port approaches. The KPA says this problem is a result of the Kenya Revenue Authority not having sufficient parking facilities outside its single entrance.



    Light on a distant horizon for SA / Mozambique rail agreement

    AN agreement between South Africa and Mozambique regarding the movement of cargo between the two countries – crucial to the development of the port of Maputo and to cargo owners wanting to use their closest harbour – came a step closer this week according to a director of the Maputo Development Corridor, Blessing Manale.

    However an agreement to ease the movement of goods through the border remains a year away and may be signed only in September 2009.

    According to Manale the negotiations between Transnet and CFM, its Mozambique counterpart began three years ago. What is at stake is basically the exchange of cargo at the common border between the two countries with the emphasis on speeding up rail transport.

    Readers may be excused by wondering what on earth it is that requires a minimum of four years to settle between two companies that each presumably have the same motive and desire of improving traffic flow. With vested interests in the South African ports one wonders if Transnet ought to be involved with negotiations that seek to improve services to a foreign port over a South African.

    According to Manale the South African National Department of Transport has now been enrolled to chivy up Transnet on the matter.



    NSRI elects new chairman as Hennie Taljaard steps down

    After 10 years of dedicated service to the NSRI its chairman Hennie Taljaard has stood down, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) CEO Ian Wienburg announced last week.

    “Hennie is saluted for his unwavering commitment in serving the NSRI over the past 10 years, he said.

    “The NSRI Board of Directors have voted Peter Bacon in as our new NSRI Chairman. Peter has served as an NSRI director since 2005 and is well respected in both the business and the boating community.

    “Like our 880 rescuers our NSRI Board of Directors are unpaid volunteers.

    “NSRI’s annual running cost is R17 m per annum funded by 10 platinum partners so that all donations and sponsorships go directly to rescue resources, rescue missions and equipment.”



    Piracy report – ten ships seized in two months

    Ten ships in less than two months. That’s the number of vessels highjacked off the Somali coast and Gulf of Aden since the end of July, again highlighting the impotence of coalition naval forces patrolling in the region.

    The naval forces have been granted limited clearance to enter Somali waters in hot pursuit and to safeguard commercial ships at risk but in several instances have withheld getting involved for fear of jeopardizing the lives of seafarers on the captured ships.

    The latest attack came against an Egyptian cargo ship named AL MANSOURAH with 25 crew members on board which was taken by pirates last Wednesday (3 September). Earlier that day a French sailing yacht with two crew on board was also captured, meaning the salutary lesson of probable French reaction has apparently not been learned by the pirates.

    Or maybe they believe that a less important French yacht (presumably – we don’t yet know the identity of the owner) is less likely to draw such strong reaction from the French government. The previous incidence referred to involved a cruise yacht owned by CMA CGM, one of France’s leading shipping companies.

    After a ransom had been paid to the pirates French armed forces stormed ashore in northern Somalia in April this year, killing a number of suspected pirates and villagers in the area where the French cruise yacht had been held. They also recovered some of the ransom money.

    Among other ships to have been seized in the past week is a second MISC tanker. Both the BUNGA MELATI DUA and BUNGA MELATI 5 are being held for ransom and Malaysia is reported to be sending a warship to join coalition forces in patrolling the waters in the Gulf of Aden. Earlier reports indicated that Malaysia was sending up to three warships but this has since been corrected. MISC meanwhile has banned its ships from entering these waters in future.

    "MISC has with immediate effect put a halt on all its vessels entering into the Gulf of Aden until additional security measures by MISC are in place to enhance the safety of its vessels and crew," the company statement said. It’s latest ship to be seized, Bunga Melati 5 has a crew of 41 and was carrying 30,000 tonnes of petrochemcials.

    Many of the highjacked ships are being held at the northern Somali coast town of Eyl, which is considered to be a pirate’s lair with a local population that benefits from their presence and the money that flows from their successes. Ransoms of in excess of USD1 million are routinely paid over, after which the ships and crew are released.



    MSC looks at the airline business

    Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) chairman Gianluigi Aponte says it would be a mistake for another airline to take a stake in Alitalia, the troubled Italian airline.

    Talking to an Italian newspaper Aponte said he was against Air France or any other airline getting control of the Italian carrier. “This would be a fundamental mistake,” he is quoted as saying.

    According to Aponte he is prepared to invest upwards of €100 million to help Alitalia restructure. Other media reports say that the head of MSC has made offers with his fellow investors of putting €400 million into acquiring some of Alitalia’s assets, including its passenger services but not the cargo section.

    In such an event it is thought likely that Alitalia would be merged with privately owned airline Air One.



    Pic of the day – Presidential Fleet Review

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    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    The mine counter measure vessel M1142 follows two strike craft and three frigates of SA Navy into the Presidential Fleet Review which was held in False Bay outside Simon’s Town on Friday, 5 September. Picture Clinton Wyness



    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    Picture by Clinton Wyness



    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    The mine counter measure vessel M1142, preceded by strike craft SAS Isaac Dyobha (P1565) and SAS Galeshewe (P1567) and three Valour class frigates. Picture by Clinton Wyness






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