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Ports & Ships Maritime News

26-27 May, 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

 

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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FIRST VIEW – FAIRMOUNT EXPEDITION

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The Dutch offshore supply tug FAIRMOUNT EXPEDITION (3239-gt, built 2007) in Cape Town harbour earlier in May. Pictures by Aad Noorland

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News continues below...

SOUTH AFRICA CELEBRATES AFRICA DAY

Pretoria, 25 May 2011 – On Wednesday South Africa joined the continent in celebrating Africa Day, a day to reflect on the proud achievements for the African continent and its infinite possibilities.

Africa Day is held on 25 May each year and is used to pay tribute to the continent's rich heritage, diverse languages, ethnicity and cultural backgrounds that make up its residents.

South Africa says it has high regard for this day as it marks an important sign of unity amongst the people of the continent and reaffirms the resolve to reconfigure the world along the values of human dignity, equality, and justice for all.

“In addition, the government and people of the Republic of South Africa acknowledge that the future of our continent is closely linked to our own future - as aligned in our foreign policy objective of establishing a better Africa in a better world,” International Relations said in a statement to mark the day.

The department said it continues to support regional and continental processes to respond to and resolve conflicts, strengthen regional integration, companions for an increase in intra-African trade and sustainable development of the continent.

“At the same time, South Africa continues to advance common African positions through its structured bilateral activities and other international fora.”

The department has also lined up week-long seminars at its head office, OR Tambo Building, to raise awareness and unpack the concepts of an African identity and culture, the economic emergence of Africa, as well as the empowerment of young African diplomats.

The seminars will see trainees, academics and members of the diplomatic corps engaging in constructive exchange of ideas, and will also be treated to samples of African art, music and poetry.

Africa Day is the annual commemoration on May 25 of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

On this day, leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In 1991, the OAU established the African Economic Community, and in 2002, the OAU established its own successor, the African Union. However, the name and date of Africa Day has been retained as a celebration of African unity.

The African Union, comprising 53 member states, has brought together the continent of Africa to collectively address the challenges it has faced, such as armed conflict, climate change, and poverty.

Africa Day is also used to reflect on the litany of problems troubling the continent which range from poverty, disease, conflict, wars and repression of people.

 

As the continent marked Africa Day, business highlighted the significance of South Africa as a gateway to the continent.

“As much as Hong Kong’s economy is so intertwined to your geographical and strategic link with mainland China, so is our existence as part of the African continent,” outgoing Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) CEO, Jerry Vilakazi, said on Wednesday.

He was addressing a business forum in Hong Kong hosted by the Consuls General of South Africa, Nigeria and Angola.

BUSA called for a shift from the extraction of raw material for export to China, to more investment into productive capacity as well as long term value add in Africa.

“The solution to Africa’s high levels of unemployment and poverty lies in us finding and agreeing on this new way of doing business through investing in value adding enterprises on the continent,” said Vilakazi.

The business relationship between Hong Kong and South Africa is already strong, with South Africa being Hong Kong’s largest import market on the continent. In 2010, imports comprising mainly telecommunication equipment and parts, computers, toys, games and sporting goods surpassed US$ 700 million.

Exports from South Africa, mainly silver and platinum, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, and fruit and nuts exceeded $600 million.

Vilakazi said he expected the number of South Africans visiting Hong Kong to increase in the coming years as South Africans continue to work closely with Hong Kong business leaders.

The Hong Kong Exchange and BUSA have been working together to promote capital raising for South African companies, particularly in the mining sector with the Exchange having adopted new rules for South African mineral companies looking at listing in Hong Kong to raise capital.

The rules include the creation of a platform for natural resource companies with a meaningful discovery to raise development capital provided they disclose their assets under recognised international standards, with the endorsement of independent experts.

BUSA said some of the South African companies with representatives in Hong Kong, who participated in yesterday’s celebrations included Sasol, Standard Bank, SAA and Barloworld. – BuaNews

 

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Africa’s true size in perspective, not always understood by those outside the continent

 

News continues below…

PIRACY: INDIA GIVES NOD TO ARMED GUARDS ON ITS SHIPS

The Indian government has given the green light to ships of the Indian flag carrying armed guards as protection against pirates in the Indian Ocean.

A preference has been expressed for the employment of retired naval officers in this capacity.

This emerged shortly after Indian officials returned from the IMO meeting in London which discussed the guidelines of allowing armed guards on merchant ships. According to the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee each merchant ship can have a group of five armed personnel – one officer and four others, with the shipping company having to carry the cost of their hire.


Somalia seizes two aircraft carrying US$ 3.6 million in ransom money

According to reports coming from Somalia, the government there has seized two aircraft being used to ferry $ 3.6 million in ransom money to a ship being held by pirates on the coast of Somalia.

The aircraft had just landed – one coming from Nairobi - and were in the process of transferring the money from one plane to the other when authorities swooped and arrested two Americans, two British and two Kenyans. The ship and crew being ransomed has not been identified but may be the Egyptian vessel SUEZ, which is thought to have been prepared for release once a ransom had been paid. Suez and its crew of 25 has been held by the pirates since August 2010.

According to Somali officials, the payment of ransoms encourages and perpetuates the practice of piracy.

 

News continues below...

 

 

CRUISE NEWS: NORWEGIAN DAWN COMPLETES MAJOR REFIT

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NCL’s Norwegian Jade, seen here in Livorno, Italy – see below. Picture by Trevor Jones

Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) 2,224-passenger NORWEGIAN DAWN has completed a major refit in the dry dock at Freeport, Bahamas and will be re-entering service on Friday, 27 May 2011 in Boston, her new seasonal homeport.

Included in the refit are a number of new suites and staterooms, upgraded flat screen televisions installed in all guest and crew staterooms broadcast on a digital signal, the introduction of a specialty Brazilian steakhouse the Moderno Churrascaria, which was first introduced on Norwegian Epic where it proved popular, and the relocation and renovation of the Spinnaker Lounge, the Gift Shop, Art Gallery, Photo Gallery, Conference Centre and Blue Lagoon Restaurant. “Norwegian Dawn's refurbishment is very similar to those enhancements made to Norwegian Star last year,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. “We have found Norwegian Star's updates very well received and we expect our guests will appreciate the changes made to Norwegian Dawn as well.” On the technical side, one engine has been replaced, in addition to preventative maintenance, the removal and replacing of both bearings on the port and starboard azipods, application of a new hull coating, and an upgrade to the hot temperature regulation which will reduce energy consumption.

Beginning on Friday, Norwegian Dawn will sail a series of seven-day Bermuda itineraries departing from Boston every Friday with three days in Bermuda through to 21 October 2011, followed by a two-night cruise on 28 October 2011. The ship will then reposition to Miami and begin sailing 10 and 11-day Southern Caribbean itineraries until 8 April 2012.

Norwegian Dawn is the second of three Freestyle Cruising ships scheduled for improvements this year. Norwegian Sun completed her dry dock renovations in March and Norwegian Spirit will enter dry dock on 26 September 2011.


Canary Island Cruising for Norwegian Jade

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Another view of the lovely Norwegian Jade at Livorno. Picture by Trevor Jones

Closer to home, Norwegian Cruise Line has launched a brand new Canary Islands itinerary for the northern winter 2011/12 and is marking its arrival with a special introductory offer.

Beginning 8 December 2011, NORWEGIAN JADE will be sailing a series of 15 nine-night Canary Island cruises departing Barcelona, Spain with ports of call including Funchal, (Madeira), Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Tenerife), Arrecife (Lanzarote) and Málaga (Granada) along with spending four relaxing days at sea.

Guests also have the option to board the ship in Málaga, Spain. Inside staterooms are available from €549 per person and the price for balcony staterooms starts from €789 per person.

For bookings realized before 30 June 2011, the cruise line offers an attractive on-board credit. Guests booking an Inside or Oceanview stateroom will receive $ 100 on-board credit per stateroom, those booking a Balcony Stateroom, Mini Suite or upper suite will receive $ 200 per stateroom.

“With this popular Canary Islands itinerary and our attractive launch promotion we offer clients an ideal cruise vacation and great value for money to escape winter,” says Jürgen Stille, Director Sales Continental Europe.

The 2,402-passenger Norwegian Jade offers NCL’s signature Freestyle Cruising which gives guests the ultimate in freedom and flexibility. The ship offers a range of amenities such as 16 dining options, two swimming pools, a water slide, a casino, spa and fitness centre, as well as a range of stateroom accommodations, including a suite complex at the top of the ship complete with two luxurious 438 square-metre Garden Villas, a Deluxe Owner’s Suite, three Owner’s Suites and 10 Courtyard Villas, eight of which have a separate children’s bedroom.

For more information or to book a sailing on Norwegian Dawn or Norwegian Jade, call a travel professional or contact Triton Cape Sea Travel on 021 44390360.

 

News continues below…

SA NAVY MAY RE-ESTABLISH NAVAL BASE AT SALISBURY ISLAND

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SAS Amatola (F145) enters the port of Durban. Indications are that the navy may return to having a stronger presence in Durban instead of occasional visits. Picture by WO Manny Gounden

With the South African Navy looking at a bigger and more visible presence in the port of Durban, the South African Defence Force may halt talks with Transnet NPA about selling Salisbury Island to the port authority.

This emerged at a business breakfast in Durban yesterday sponsored by the Standard Bank and The Mercury newspaper, which focused on the shipping and maritime industry.

Port Manager Ricky Bhikraj said that the navy had indicated it might need to strengthen its assets in Durban, which could mean the naval station being upgraded back to a naval base. The former base was cut back to a naval station, without any ships, several years ago as a budgetary measure, while a large number of artisans and specialists were transferred to Simon’s Town or left the service. The navy ‘shrunk itself’ onto the quayside and adjacent buildings and the balance of the once considerable naval base facility including accommodation was closed up and left vacant.

At one stage the Army, having been moved under pressure by the city from Natal Command on the Durban beachfront, was supposed to take occupation of the island but then came pressure from Transnet which said it needed the area for cargo handling. This was initially intended as a car terminal but it too was abandoned and thoughts turned towards converting the area into an extension of the adjacent Pier 1 container terminal.

Now it would seem there is yet another rethink taking place, following the South African Government’s belated acknowledgement that piracy is a threat to the economic well- being of South Africa and its SADC partners.

“Our main priority is the continuity of trade and the smooth movement of cargo within the SADC maritime zone,” Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu announced recently.

Sisulu hinted that priority might be given to Project Biro, the acquisition of new patrol ships for the South African Navy. Biro was shelved last year as not being an immediate option for South Africa, Sisulu said, but now that had changed. What happened was the sudden presence of Somali pirates deep within the Mozambique Channel, culminating in the capture of the Beira fishing vessel Vega-5 on 28 December last year, which led to Mozambique turning to South Africa for assistance. This was one appeal South Africa couldn’t ignore.

Since then South Africa has established a naval and air force forward ‘base’ at Pemba in northern Mozambique, with a frigate and reconnaissance aircraft on deployment to patrol sections of the Mozambique Channel and coast. Sisulu has meanwhile said that the frigates were too large (and therefore costly) to operate, hence the need to bring Project Biro forward. And that in turn raises the matter of re-establishing a naval base at Durban to shorten the distance needed for regular patrols.

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Salisbury Island

 

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CONGESTION MOUNTS IN MOMBASA AS CUSTOMS’ OPERATING SYSTEM FALTERS

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Mombasa Container Terminal

News reports from Kenya indicate that congestion which has been building at the port of Mombasa is costing shippers millions of dollars.

The cause of the cargo piling up in the terminal and at the depots is said to be a breakdown of the Customs’ Simba computer system which is used to determine taxes by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

The Kenya Shippers Council said on Monday that some shipping lines have begun levying demurrage charges. On Monday the port container terminal was holding 15,571 TEUs, as against a design capacity of 14,500 TEU.

However, it is since been reported that the computer system is back in service and that the number of ships waiting to unload cargo has been reduced, although a shortage of personnel to clear the backlog is hampering efforts at reducing the stockpiles.

According to the KRA the computer system crashed because of a power outage.

 

News continues below…
 

PICS OF THE DAY – STAD CADIZ

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The container ship STAD CADIZ (35,878-gt, built 2010) made her maiden visit to the Mother City this week, as seen here leaving port yesterday afternoon. When launched the ship carried the name CALIDRIS. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

Image and video hosting by TinyPic 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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