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Ports & Ships Maritime News

July 20, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

Shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa

 

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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First View – MORNING CALM

 

Eukor’s pure car carrier MORNING CALM (57,692-gt, built 2004) offloading cargo in Durban at the R-berth car terminal. Picture by Terry Hutson

 

News continues below...

Seychelles and the US sign Piracy Agreement

 

The government of Seychelles has signed a Transfer of Suspected Pirates Agreement with the United States of America at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as part of Seychelles’ regional leadership in the fight against piracy.

The Memorandum of Understanding concerning the conditions of transfer of suspected pirates and seized property in the Western Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea is a result of ongoing cooperation between the two governments to ensure regional security and was signed by the Minister for Home Affairs, Environment and Transport and Chairman of the High Level Committee on Piracy, Mr Joel Morgan and the US Ambassador to Seychelles, Mary Jo Wills.

“Piracy is a scourge. It is a challenge that cannot be addressed without cooperation in the region and indeed in the international community. We believe that countries which are being victimised by piracy should prosecute them and in the case that they don’t prosecute them we are very grateful to countries like Seychelles and Kenya who take upon themselves the responsibility to prosecute pirates. We look forward to ongoing cooperation with the government of Seychelles on maritime security.” said Ambassador Wills.

Mr Morgan explained that this MOU was the culmination of many months of work and that it was evidence of the excellent cooperation between Seychelles and the United States of America on combating piracy as well as strengthening broader maritime security.

“The ability to prosecute pirates and to make them pay for the crimes they commit on the high seas… and specifically against the economic interests of the citizens of Seychelles is something that we have all along been very active in promoting. We have always taken a very proactive role in pushing forward the agenda in combating piracy, not only in our interest but also in the interest of stability in the whole region,” said the minister.

Morgan went on to explain that Seychelles’ leadership on the prosecution of suspected pirates does not mean that Seychelles will permanently bear the burden of the convicted prisoners but that mechanisms were in place to eventually repatriate the pirates to their home country.

The minister added that the recently concluded Symposium on Maritime Security called for an enhancement of the regional approach against piracy, and that the signing of this agreement was one of many similar initiatives being discussed with countries such as Mauritius, Kenya, and Tanzania.

 

News continues below…

Nigeria detains nine illegal bunker barges

In its ongoing effort to curtail illegal bunkering and the theft of bunker and other fuels in the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s Joint Task Force (JTF) has seized nine barges loaded with substances that are suspected to be stolen crude oil.

Eight men on the barges were taken into custody.

The JTF media coordinator, Lt Col Anthony Antigha said that the JTF had been focusing attention on the menace of oil thieves and the vandalism of pipelines, along with other criminal activities since the amnesty granted by the Federal Government.

According to the JTF more than 1,000 illegal refineries have been destroyed and six vessels arrested with their crew. The task force did not identify or describe the vessels seized but said the activities of the illegal refineries and vessels had resulted in severe losses in federal revenue. – source Vanguard

 

News continues below...

SAMTRA to run more auxiliary boiler familiarisation courses

SAMTRA (South African Maritime Training Academy in Simon’s Town recently conducted its first Auxiliary Boiler Familiarisation Course.

The three day course was developed in accordance with aspects of the STCW code for Engineer Officer of the Watch at Operational level and is aligned with IMO model course for engine room simulator. The course is SAMSA accredited.

The objectives of the course are to provide proper familiarisation of marine auxiliary boilers, shipboard steam system installations and associated equipment. As well as the knowledge and skills to operate, supervise and monitor the safe operation and control of a ships auxiliary boiler and steam system in accordance with applicable STCW code requirements. Watch keeping procedures and routines associated with auxiliary boiler operation are also covered in the course content.

SAMTRA advises that feedback from participants has been very positive and it was felt that a great deal of benefit was derived from attending the course.

The next course is scheduled to run from the 11 - 13 August 2010. Details can be obtained from pmaurer@samtra.co.za

 

News continues below…

 

Tough new US regulations for cruise ships

The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act 2010, due to become US law very shortly, imposes substantial requirements on cruise ships carrying over 250 passengers on international voyages which embark or disembark passengers in any US port. They concern design and construction, medical facilities, passenger and crew information, training and measures to report and combat crime.

Non-compliance can result in denial of entry into US ports, civil penalties up to USD 50,000 per violation and criminal penalties up to USD 250,000 and/or one year’s imprisonment.

The Act’s requirements are set out by Lawrence W. Kaye and Andre M. Picciurro of Kaye, Rose & Partners in the latest issue of US Bodily Injury News, published by Thomas Miller (Americas) on behalf of the UK P&I Club.

Design and construction standards

All cruise ships must meet certain design and construction standards within 18 months of enactment. Rails must be 42 inches above the cabin deck, 2.5 inches more than the US Coast Guard’s existing requirement. Passenger and crew cabin doors must have a “means of visual identification,” such as peepholes. Ships must be equipped with technology, if available, to detect persons fallen overboard, and with a video surveillance system to document crimes. In certain high risk areas, ships must have acoustic hailing and warning devices. All new-build cruise ships must provide latches and time-sensitive key technology on all passenger and crew cabin doors.

Information

Cruise ships must provide passengers and crew with a list of all US embassies and consulates in the countries they visit. Congress is discussing whether ships should provide all passengers with lists of medical and security personnel and law enforcement agencies in the jurisdictions visited.

Sexual assaults

For treating and examining persons alleging sexual assault, the Act requires cruise ships to have on board medications to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., anti-retroviral medications); equipment and materials for performing post-assault examinations; and doctors and/or registered nurses with appropriate experience/certification in emergency medicine.

Cruise lines should make available to the patient a confidential examination report, with cruise ship personnel only entitled to see findings which will assist the master or colleague to comply with safety and reporting laws; contact information for law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, US embassies and consulates; a third party victim advocacy hotline; and private telephone and computer access to contact law enforcement, attorneys or support services. Ships must implement regulations about which crew members have access to passenger staterooms and when.

Log book and crime reporting

Ships must keep a log book (electronic or otherwise), detailing complaints of homicide, suspicious death, missing US nationals, kidnapping, assault with serious bodily injury, sexual assault, firing or tampering with the vessel, and theft of property over USD 1,000.

Ships must notify the nearest FBI office and send a report to the Secretary of Transportation about all such crimes (except for theft of property less than USD 10,000) in specific circumstances. These include where a vessel owner, regardless of his ship’s flag, is a US citizen; where an incident occurs within US territorial waters or on the high seas but involving a US national, whether victim or perpetrator; and where a US national is involved if a voyage embarks or disembarks passengers in the US, regardless of where the incident occurred.

The Transportation Secretary will maintain a public website to keep track of all such reported crimes for each cruise line whose own websites must provide a link to the Secretary’s.

Crime scene preservation

The Transportation Secretary is obliged to develop training standards and curricula for certification of passenger vessel security personnel, focusing “on the appropriate methods for prevention, detection, evidence preservation, and reporting of criminal activities in the international maritime environment” within one year of enactment. Two years after such standards and curricula are established, cruise ships may only enter US ports if they have at least one certificated crew member on board.

Larry Kaye has no doubt that this legislation is “a priority item for passenger ship operators. Upon enactment, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act will immediately address the issues of crimes and missing persons on cruise ships by imposing medical care and security protocols on cruise operators. It also imposes a rigorous timetable for a wide range of mandatory design and operational improvements to those ships within a two-year period.”

Louise Livingston, who leads Thomas Miller (America’s) Bodily Injury Team, added: “This review of the latest legislative developments for cruise operators has widespread relevance. All UK Club members should be aware of the speed and extent of regulatory change that can arise from a combination of high profile incidents and the political lobbying that is associated with them.”

Issued by Dunelm Public Relations

 

News continues below…

 

Kenyan firms cash in on piracy

by Patrick Mayoyo (The Nation)

Nairobi — Piracy and the big money being made out of it is seeping into Kenya's economic fabric, presenting a serious threat to the economy as well as law and order, experts warn. Investigations by the Daily Nation suggest that Kenyan law firms, security, aviation and shipping companies are doing business with pirates rampaging in the Indian Ocean. More than USD 80 million (Sh6.5 billion) is paid to Somali pirates as ransom annually, some of which is thought to pass through Kenya.

Economy

The piracy, which is being fuelled by lack of an effective central government in Mogadishu, is costing the world economy up to USD 18 billion (Sh1.45 trillion) each year, according to International Maritime Bureau estimates.

Kenyan companies are acting as the link between the pirates and representatives of hijacked ship owners, facilitating ransom negotiations and payment.

The programme’s coordinator of the Seafarers Assistance Programme (SAP), Mr Andrew Mwangura, whose organisation protects the right of seamen on hijacked ships, confirms that millions of dollars exchange hands between pirates and ship owners, but declines to discuss details.

“It is true owners of hijacked ships are paying pirates to secure the release of their ships and crew members held hostage with most of the money passing through Kenya, but I cannot discuss details because we are not involved in this transactions as our role only concerns the welfare of seamen,” he said.

Seven syndicates

A report by the World Peace Foundation, an international think-tank bringing together scholars, diplomats, lawyers, military officers and maritime partners working on an initiative to combat piracy, claims that Kenya is among countries whose firms play a key role in driving piracy along the Somali coast.

The report says that piracy in Somalia is controlled by about 1,500 pirates, organised in seven syndicates with a ‘few bosses’ running separate but linked enterprises. They are all largely run from Kenya, Dubai, Lebanon, Somalia and some European countries, the report claims.

The report says the largest ransom amount the pirates had received so far was Sh574 million or USD 7 million paid for the release of a Greek- owned oil tanker early this year.

A maritime official, who talked to the Nation on condition that he is not named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said they were aware of the role a select few law, security, aviation and shipping companies in Mombasa and Nairobi played in facilitating the release of hijacked ships and payment of ransoms.

“The law and security firms facilitate negotiations and preparation of agreements, while aviation and shipping companies deliver ransom payments to the pirates in Somalia,” he said. He said ransom money is obtained from agents of hijacked ships either in Nairobi or Mombasa before it is taken either by air or sea to the pirates.

Tight security

“The money is either delivered to private airstrips around Nairobi from where it is flown and dropped to pirates on hijacked ships or is loaded on ships that go to Somalia from Mombasa port to deliver,” he said.

He said at times, the ransom payments are transported in the middle of the night under tight security from Nairobi to Mombasa before it is delivered to a ship to take it to Somalia.

“Once such missions have been accomplished, the pirates pay the law, security, aviation and shipping firms involved through their agents in Nairobi and Mombasa through an unofficial money remittance system called Hawala,” he said.

The Hawala system is based on trust and was initially widely used by a network of money brokers in the Middle East and Africa, but is now popular in Europe and even North America.

According to a US State Department report, Kenya is a money-laundering hub in Africa. The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report says Kenya's financial system may be laundering over Sh8 billion or USD 100 million annually.

Economists are now warning that piracy is impacting negatively on the economy by way of distorting critical socio-economic indicators of development like general price levels and inflationary trends.

The director of research, projects and programmes of Tax Watch Africa, a development and integrity watchdog, Dr Bani Orwa, said piracy money is creating ‘economic elitism’ in the country as only a few individuals control the earnings.

The piracy money is also said to be finding its way in the Kenyan economy through imports, real estate, forex bureaus and stock brokerages. Recently, Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya warned that the influx of billions of shillings from unknown sources could hurt the economy. - The Nation

 

Pics of the Day – Pics of the day – MSC LEILA and DELMAS KOMATI

Mediterranean Shipping Company’s container ship MSC LEILA (13,315-gt, built 1987) sailing from Durban harbour. Picture by Terry Hutson

The French Delmas Line container ship DELMAS KOMATI (8,203-gt, built 1998) working cargo at Durban’s City Terminal. Picture by Terry Hutson

 

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