Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 27, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson
















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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • First View – MAERSK CONSTELLATION

  • Navigation warning in southern Cape waters near Wilderness

  • SA Air Force to the rescue of seafarers off bulk carrier

  • Piracy update – ship released and pirates captured

  • Seafarer missions to hold important workshop on trauma councilling

  • Unusual cargo for Cape Town

  • Trade news - Terex Corp acquires control of Fantuzzi Group

  • Trade news - India, SA to intensify partnerships to address recession

  • Economic downturn will not change SA's development - Zuma

  • Pic of the day – ALLEN GARDINER




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    First View – MAERSK CONSTELLATION



    Maersk Line’s MAERSK CONSTELLATION (22,626-gt, built 1980), which is on charter to the US Military Sealift Command, arrived in Cape Town recently to take bunkers. Picture by Ian Shiffman



    Navigation warning in southern Cape waters near Wilderness

    A navigational warning has been posted advising seafarers and shipping to keep a look out for a 90 metre long pipe, 200 mm wide, black in colour and heavy in weight, which is believed to be floating semi-submerged off-shore in the vicinity of Wilderness in the southern Cape.

    The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said at the weekend that bathers, boaters, surfers, fishermen, paddlers, sailors and seafarers are warned of this maritime hazard which is believed to be in the sea off-shore or in the surfline, between Mossel Bay and Sedgefield.

    NSRI Wilderness were informed on Friday evening (24 July) of an approximately 90 metre long, 200mm wide, plastic pipe believed to have been washed out to sea, during the early hours of Thursday morning, at Wilderness Beach between Leentjies Klip and the NSRI rescue base in Wilderness. The pipe is black in colour and is expected to be floating semi-submerged.

    A contractor who is believed to have been assembling the pipe, a sewerage pipe, at the beach on Wednesday confirmed that the pipe had been washed out to sea during Wednesday night or during the early hours of Thursday morning.

    An NSRI volunteer who lives near to where the incident took place was informed by the contractor of the pipe adrift at sea and the NSRI volunteer immediately raised the alarm fearing that the pipe may pose a maritime hazard to small craft and vessels in the area.

    The pipe is made up of 12 metre sections welded together to a length of 90 metres.

    The Transnet National Ports Authority and Maritime Radio Services have been informed.

    The NSRI said it was hoping that the pipe would be washed ashore but in the meantime has appealed to the media to increase awareness of the floating pipe to warn boaters and seafarers to be on the lookout in order to avoid any possible collision with the pipe.

    Anyone encountering the pipe should call the NSRI emergency number for Wilderness on 082 990 5955 (please do not call this number unless you are reporting a sea rescue emergency or if you have information on the location of the pipe).

    The weight of the pipe has not been determined but it is believed that each 12 metre section is too heavy to be lifted by eight adults.



    SA Air Force to the rescue of seafarers off bulk carrier

    The Panamanian-registered bulk carrier IOANNIS NK (IMO 7700946, 14,498-gt, built 1977,) which began taking on water on Thursday (23 July) has sunk in deep water in a position approximately 98 miles off Cape Columbine near Saldanha Bay, the South African Maritime Safety Authority has announced. See our report of last Friday HERE

    The ship was sailing from Brazil to India with a cargo of 22,500 tonnes of sugar. On approaching the southern African coast the crew reported the ship was taking on water in number 4 hold and beginning to list.

    South Africa’s Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) despatched the salvage tug SMIT AMANDLA to the scene but following reports that the ship’s position was worsening and that a list of 45 degrees had developed, the South African Air Force was also called in to assist.

    Two SAAF Oryx helicopters from 22 Squadron flew from Ysterplaat Air Force Base in Cape Town to a position some 98 n.miles offshore of Cape Columbine where the ship was sinking, and evacuated 16 of the crew at 3pm, returning to take off the remaining four once it was clear there was no hope for the vessel. None of the crew suffered any injuries.

    The ship sank shortly afterwards at 5.24pm and has gone down in deep water, according to the MRCC. There have been no reports of pollution as a result of the sinking.




    Piracy update – ship released and pirates captured

    Nigerian militants have released the six crew abducted off the Norwegian-owned Singapore-registered products tanker SICHEM PEACE (5,451-gt, built 2005) that was attacked on 4 July near Escravos in the Niger Delta area.

    The ship later moved into deeper water away from the coast while negotiations were entered into for the release of the crew.

    In a statement late last week EMS Ship Management said that all six crew had been released and were being taken to Lagos where they would undergo medical checks before being repatriated to their respective countries.


    Meanwhile, off the Somali coast the Turkish frigate TCH GEDIZ has reported having captured five suspected pirates who, it was believed, were about to attack a merchant ship using a motorized skiff. The capture was assisted by a helicopter from a second Turkish warship, the frigate TCH GAZIANTEP.


    And from the Yemen comes a report that the country’s armed forces have prevented a pirate attack on a Yemeni-flagged tanker, identified by the Yemeni news agency SABA as the YEMEN OIL 7. The attack reportedly took place while the ship was sailing in the southern Red Sea. Yemeni Marines clashed with the pirates forcing them to flee the area, the report said.


    In a further development involving anti-piracy activity in the Somali region, the European Union’s anti-piracy force Atalanta has announced it is transferring some if not all its surveillance activities from the Gulf of Aden to the Indian Ocean to counter increased pirate activity south of the Gulf during the Monsoon season. The relocation takes advantage of an offer by the Kenyan authorities to make its airfields and naval facilities available to European and other naval forces combating piracy off Somalia.



    Seafarer missions to hold important workshop on trauma councilling

    A four-day conference and workshop, organised by the combined Durban Seafarer chaplains which is to be staged under the auspices of the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA), will take place in Durban next week with the aim of providing trauma councilling training for Africa’s seafaring chaplains.

    The aim of the conference and workshop is to provide specialised training for chaplains and to equip them to assist traumatized seafarers, in particular those that have been taken hostage by pirates or other militants, or those that have undergone recent shipwreck.

    The workshop will take place at the Durban Frere Road Presbyterian Church hall from 2 – 6 August, with chaplains attending from ports in South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Seychelles, Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and even the Philippines. It will be led by Dr Marion Gibson from Belfast in Northern Ireland, a specialist in trauma councilling, whose focus will fall on three main aspects:

    1] Trauma councilling for seafarers such as those who have been held hostage by pirates, or others who have lost their ships due to shipwreck or sinking.
    2] Bereavement trauma councilling.
    3] Training chaplains to take care of themselves i.e. pastoral self care after coming into continuous contact with seafarers who have undergone drama and tragedy.

    Also speaking at the conference will be Ivan Clark, chairman of the Grindrod Group, South Africa’s leading shipping company, who will give an overview of the current position of international shipping, and Fr Bruno Cicero, the Vatican representative for the Apostleship of the Sea, the Catholic seafarers mission, who will talk about the issues faced by seafarers within the international fishing industry.

    Trauma councilling has been shown to be largely outside the present experience of many chaplains and another aim of the workshop is for the chaplains to develop models of ministry. Ships recently released from a hostage situation often arrive suddenly with little or no warning at a port where the chaplain is based and he or she may be called on to assist with the crew.

    Two of the organising committee, the Revd’s Boet van Schalkwyk and Des Forbell described the necessity of having a network of chaplains who can work across all denominations and even faiths to create a regional or even international network of trained councilors. At times it may be necessary for ships and their crews to be ‘passed’ from one port to another where similar experienced councilors will be available to continue the work.

    The Durban workshop and conference has been made possible through a generous sponsorship made by the European Foundation Centre which has covered transport costs for the various chaplains to travel to Durban. Accommodation is being provided in private homes.



    Unusual cargo for Cape Town

    An unusual but not completely unique cargo arrived in Cape Town recently, consisting of two Saab Gripen D advanced light fighter aircraft for the South African Air Force.

    The jet fighters are the last of an order for nine of this type ordered for the air force, all of which have arrived by sea. A total of 26 Gripens of two types are on order.

    The latest arrivals, aircraft serial numbers 3908 and 3909 were unloaded in the harbour and towed through Cape Town’s streets to the nearby Ysterplaat Air Force Base. At the air force base they were to be prepared for flight to their final destination at the Air Force Base Makhado in Limpopo Province, in the north of the country.

    Another seventeen Gripen aircraft of the single seat type C are due to begin delivery later this year. – source www.defenceWeb.co.za



    Trade news – Terex Corp acquires control of Fantuzzi Group

    Global heavy equipment manufacturer Terex Corporation has acquired the entire shareholding of the Fantuzzi Group in a deal that was finalised on Friday after about a year of negotiation. Full details of the sale are due to be released later today (Monday) and PORTS & SHIPS is looking to have details in our next News Bulletin.

    Terex operates more than 50 manufacturing concerns in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia and markets its products in over 170 countries. The company ahs over 18,000 employees.

    The Fantuzzi Group consists of a number of well-known brands including Fantuzzi Lift Truck Division, Reggiane Mobile harbour Cranes, Reggiane Cranes and Plants, Noell Straddle Carrier Division, and Noell China.



    Trade news - India, SA to intensify partnerships to address recession

    by Proffesor Ndawonde (BuaNews)

    Johannesburg, 24 July 2009 - The partnerships between South Africa and India must be used to address the current economic recession, says Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

    Speaking at the Doing Business with India Conference in Johannesburg on Thursday, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said the two countries need to fortify their bilateral partnership in rescuing the poor of both countries from the global economic meltdown.

    “Our relationship with India comes a long way and when the chips are down, we need to swiftly strengthen our relationship to rescue our people from the current economic meltdown.”

    The minister said that while trade and investment in both countries had grown remarkably, this development was becoming unnoticeable because of the economic crisis.

    “Therefore on behalf of government, I call on all businesses present here from both countries to form strong partnerships with both governments by increasing trade partnerships with the vision of improving both countries' economies,” Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said.

    Business people from the two countries, academics and government officials were attending the three-day conference, which kicked off on Wednesday. They discussed possible strategies to strengthen business and trade partnerships between countries.

    India and South Africa are two major emerging markets with strong, well-regulated banking sectors and no sub-prime hangover. Yet both countries have been hit hard by the international financial crisis.

    Therefore, the conference further discussed the impact of the global recession and the measures being taken by the two countries to minimise the fall out.

    Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said Indian businesses in South Africa and local business in India have played a major role in job creation in both countries thus contributing significantly well in the fight against poverty.

    High Commissioner of India to South Africa, Rajiv Bhatia, agreed that during such difficult financial times, there was a greater need of mutual international trade between South Africa and India.

    “It is vital to speed and implement our bilateral agreements in order to increase connectivity and improve our trade and investment relationships.

    “I want to assure you that, on behalf of Indian government, we will have these plans implemented through our great partnerships with South Africa and through the India Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) agreement,” he said.

    In 2008, during the IBSA Summit in South Africa, the three countries committed to increase trade amongst themselves to R142 billion by 2010. They also agreed that there was a need for more cooperation to reform the international financial architecture to serve better to the developing countries' interests.

    A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at the summit, focusing on core areas of women's movement like domestic violence, micro-finance and economic empowerment to be signed by the three countries.

    Proposed by South Africa, the MoU focussed on inclusive macro-economic policy and research, gender budgeting, micro-finance, violence against women, cooperative societies in women and cooperation at multilateral forums.

    The IBSA Women's Working Group was launched at the second IBSA summit in South Africa in October 2007 to facilitate joint efforts and collaboration in areas of women's development.

    The initiative forms part of and builds on the emergence and consolidation of IBSA and collaboration at regional and global levels for promoting good governance while strengthening South-South cooperation.

    A trilateral developmental initiative between the three countries aimed at promoting South-South cooperation and exchange, IBSA was launched in 2003.

    Since its formation, major areas of cooperation among the three countries include infrastructure, mining, information technology, pharma and healthcare, transport, agri-business, skills development and energy sector.

    Regarding science and technology, the three countries have six science agreements in place.

    India has already established itself as a major player in the field of internet technology in Africa.

    India's e-Network Project aims to provide instant connectivity between all 53 African countries via satellite and fibre-optic networks. It is expected that the project can further education and health projects.

    According to an IBSA agreement, research and development projects include the use of open-source software in HIV management.

    India is also a leader in the field of providing low-cost anti-retroviral medications.

    India has staked its claim in the car market in South Africa with the introduction of Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra.



    Economic downturn will not change SA's development - Zuma

    Durban, 26 July 2009 (BuaNews) - President Jacob Zuma has reiterated that the economic downturn will not change the direction of South Africa's development.

    “The economic downturn will no doubt affect the pace at which our country is able to address the socio-economic challenges it faces and will slow down the creation of decent jobs.

    “But, as we said in the State of the Nation address, it will not alter the direction of our development, the policy priorities that we have identified and the plans that we placed before the electorate, will not change,” said President Zuma.

    Addressing members of the Durban Chamber of Commerce on Saturday night, President Zuma said while South Africa has not been affected to the extent that a number of other countries have been, the effects of the economic meltdown are now being seen in the economy as the country has truly entered a recession.

    He said the country's framework to respond to this crisis was concluded by government, labour and business in February this year and teams were established to work on this.

    “Some of the immediate actions were to be the introduction of a training layoff, workers who would ordinarily be facing retrenchments due to economic difficulties would be re-trained and kept in employment for a period of time.

    “The Industrial Development Corporation has also developed a programme to fund companies in distress.

    “We also have to ensure that government buys more goods and services locally, without undermining our global competitiveness or pushing up costs beyond acceptable levels,” President Zuma said.

    He added that government was paying serious attention to the protests and was sympathetic to the concerns of people who have genuine grievances.

    The President said government meant what it said during the election that for as long as people lived in such conditions, it would not rest.

    “We know what it is like to live in conditions of squalor without water, basic sanitation or electricity and are working hard to improve the situation throughout the country,” he said.

    He however, warned that whilst government also understands and accepts the right of people to take to the streets in protest if they are unhappy, they lose government support if the protests are accompanied by violence.

    “We are a listening government and working with our people, we will put in mechanisms of responding faster and effectively,” he said.

    Police, he said, have been instructed to respond with sensitivity towards protesters who act within the confines of the law and the Constitution, but to take swift action against those who break the law.

    “We urge employers and workers to negotiate in good faith and try to finalise the discussions speedily and amicably so that all sectors can get back to work,” said the President.

    President Zuma said that during the term of this administration, government will focus intensively on the local government sphere.

    He noted that while government is tempted to shout at colleagues in local government and say they are not doing their work, government needed to go deeper than that and check what kind of support government provides provincially and nationally to local government, especially in the very rural municipalities with no resources.

    He further urged businesspeople to form partnerships with municipalities in surrounding areas and to see what kind of support they could provide in terms of skills development and infrastructure.

    “I intend to have an intensive interaction with local government colleagues to hear first hand from them what the challenges are so that working together we can look for solutions,” he said.

    He assured business people that everything seemed to be going well, adding that government was on track and pleased with the progress made so far.



    Pic of the day – ALLEN GARDINER



    A reminder that not all vessels on this page have to be ocean going, although this little boat did originally do duty out at sea along the South African coastline. Nowadays the former South African Air Force crash boat, one of the last remaining of its kind, is a restaurant boat named ALLEN GARDINER operating in the calm waters of Durban Bay but in her earlier career during World War 2 the boat was a high-speed petrol engined rescue boat, one of the so-called ‘ Miami Boats’ named after the American city of that name where they were built.

    The purpose of these sturdy 20m wooden craft was primarily to assist with the training of aircraft crews over water during World War 2 and in particular to be available as a rescue craft in the event of an aircraft going down into the sea. The air force’s 12 Motor Boat Section was set up at Gordon’s Bay in December 1939 and in one form or another the SAAF continued to maintain a maritime element for another 30 years, until these duties were handed over to the South African Navy in 1969.

    During the war the crash boats were credited with saving the lives not only of downed airmen but also hundreds of sailors who lost their ships as a result of enemy action off the South African coast, in addition to other sailors in distress for one reason or another. It is a little known story that needs greater telling. Picture Terry Hutson




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