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Ports & Ships Maritime News

26 July, 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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FIRST VIEW – WBI TRINITY

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The offshore supply vessel WBI TRINITY (1159-gt, built 2008) in Cape Town harbour earlier in July. Picture by Aad Noorland

News continues below...

KENYA’S PORT PRIVATISATION PLAN SCRAPPED AS WORKERS STRIKE

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Mombasa container berth 16

Kenya Ports Authority on Friday agreed to scrap plans for privatising the port, according to the Daily Nation.

The about turn on ports policy came in the face of a workers strike that lasted a mere eight hours before management agreed on meeting most of the workers’ demands.

These included the employment of 500 contract personnel on a permanent basis plus another 247 who were previously employed on a casual basis after their one-year contracts had expired. They will return to work in August on new two-year contracts.

Workers at the port of Mombasa struck on Friday, promising to bring to a standstill all port cargo movements. Workers remained angry after the minister of transport said earlier in July that the privatisation programme would be going ahead.

“We want the government to tell us whether the port is being sold or not because what we have seen does not relate with what KPA management is telling us. If the port is sold, more than 3000 workers will be retrenched,” said union general secretary Simon Sang.

Workers demonstrated with placards calling for the management of the KPA to resign, accusing them of highhandedness in refusing to listen to their grievances. But after a meeting between union and KPA representatives, the strike was called off in the evening. Workers were told that privatisation plans had been cancelled and that 500 senior staff would be given permanent employment with pensions and another 247 would receive two-year contracts.

The dispute over privatisation of the container terminal and the use of casual labour came at a time when Kenya Ports Authority has embarked on an ambitious plan of enlarging container handling capacity at Mombasa by means of building a second container terminal and having the approaches and channels of the port deepened to accommodate larger ships.

News continues below…

PIRACY: ANOTHER SHIP HIGHJACKED OFF WEST AFRICA

Italian tanker highjacked

It has been confirmed that an Italian-owned tanker has been highjacked by pirates off the coast of Benin in West Africa, the second such attack in the area in recent weeks.

The RBD ANEMA E CORE (108,958-dwt, built 2010) with a crew of 23 on board was seized on Sunday, 24 July and as of Monday afternoon the fate of the ship and crew was still unknown.

On 16 July another tanker, the AEGEAN STAR was also attacked off Benin and taken over by pirates who later abandoned the ship. None of the crew was injured in the attack. Ship operators have been warned to exercise caution while sailing in the Gulf of Guinea with strict watch quotas and should have crews ready to employ evasive manoeuvres should suspicious vessels or craft be seen.


Rocket attack on Ethiopian ship

An Ethiopian ship, the ANDINET (15,000-dwt) has come under attack by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden while sailing through the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC).

Grenades fired from a rocket grenade launcher struck the ship damaging a crane on the deck. There were no injuries to crew and the vessel was able to evade the attack and make its escape.


US ‘friendly’ forces killed Taiwanese captain

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USS Stephen W Groves in Cape Town in February this year. Picture by Ian Shiffman

The Taiwanese captain of a long-line fishing vessel JIH CHUN TSAI 68 was killed by fire from a US Navy frigate, the USS STEPHEN W GROVES, it has now been learned.

Captain Wu Lai-yu’s body was found in his cabin aft of the bridge after US Navy forces boarded the vessel, which had been in control of pirates and was being used as a mother ship. The frigate opened fire on the vessel after receiving authorisation to use force to compel the ship to stoop and surrender. The pirates retaliated briefly with rifle fire before surrendering.

From official statements issued afterwards it would appear that the US ship was aware that there were hostages on board.

After a burial-at-sea ceremony was conducted by four US sailors Captain Wu’s body was placed on board his ship, which was then sunk by gunfire, because said the official report, the US ship lacked suitably trained medical personnel to conduct an autopsy or carry out forensic enquiries.

Why his body could not be returned to shore and taken back to Taiwan is not clear. His daughter Wu Hui-hwa told the Taipei Times that she did not find the report acceptable, because many questions concerning her father’s death remained unanswered. “They did not apologise for my father’s death,” she told the paper.

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Jih Chin Tsai 68. Picture NATO

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BOTSWANA MAY SWITCH TO USING PORT OF MAPUTO

Maputo – Botswana importers and exporters may, in the next few days, start using the port of Maputo to export and import goods, said the chairman of Mozambican port and rail company, Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM), Rosário Mualeia.

Botswana has been using the port of Maputo as a transit point and now plans to use it as the final destination of its cargo, Mualeia said, commenting on the visit by the president of Botswana to the port of Maputo container terminal and quoted by the news agency AIM.

One of Botswana’s main interests is to develop the construction project for the deep water port of Techobanine, in the Matutuíne district of Mozambique’s Maputo province, including a 1,100 kilometre interconnecting railway, and costing an initial US$7 billion. This port would be used primarily for exporting coal from new mines to be developed in Botswana.

According to Camilo Abdul, a representative of the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), the company that holds the concession on the port of Maputo, the port has capacity to process 20 million tonnes per year, of which it currently makes use of just 12 million.

“They (the Botswana officials) talk about a potential of 20 million tonnes per year, but they will certainly not start out with 20 million,” Abdul said, adding that, “we are ready to start.”

The port of Maputo is also used by companies from South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. (macauhub)

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DHL AND ANGOLA SIGN MoU

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Deutsche Post DHL and Angola's national postal agency, Correios de Angola, have signed a memorandum of understanding to further explore possible links, using the international distribution of express mail shipments of DHL's global network and developing a domestic delivery network within south-central Africa.

“Correios de Angola would benefit from the well developed international infrastructure and expertise of Deutsche Post DHL and we would be able to draw upon the local expertise and infrastructure of Correios de Angola,” said DHL Global Mail chief executive officer Thomas Kipp.

“It is an agreement that would unlock growth opportunities,” said Correios De Angola chairman. Luisa Andrade.

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NAVAL NEWS: HMS EDINBURGH TAKES UP STATION IN THE FALKLANDS

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HMS Edinburgh arrives in Cape Town on 22 June this year, en route to the Falklands. Picture by Alex van Heerden

After a lengthy journey which included a call in Cape Town, the Type 42 Royal Navy destroyer HMS EDINBURGH has arrived on station in the Falklands where she will remain for the next five months of her deployment.

During her stay in the Falklands the destroyer will carry out a variety of patrols while also engaging with the islanders. The purpose of the ship’s stay is more than just showing the flag however, but serves as a reminder of British claims of sovereignty over the South Atlantic Territories.

The largest of the Type 42 destroyers, HMS Edinburgh was launched in 1983 and is based in Portsmouth.

On her 4000 n.mile journey across the South Atlantic from Cape Town the ship reported having faced some mountainous seas.

On completion of her Falklands deployment HMS Edinburgh will return to Portsmouth by way of South America, the Caribbean and the USA, arriving back in Britain in time for Christmas.

News continues below…

HEAVY SEAS AND GALE FORCE WINDS PLAY HAVOC WITH PORTS AND SHIPPING

Just as everyone was thinking that winter had begun relinquishing its grip on southern Africa, a sudden cold snap with snow across the Highveld areas and freezing temperatures even during the daytime has reminded everyone that it is still July and officially winter.

In Cape Town a South Easterly gale closed the port on Friday evening and only relaxed its grip on the city and port during Sunday night, leaving the port with another set of catch-up as ships were forced to anchor in Table Bay.

If the rest of the country thought it had escaped the bad weather it was mistaken, and strong gale force winds began sweeping along the east coast including as far north as Richards Bay, with warnings being posted of dangerous rough seas along the entire Eastern Cape Wild coast and KZN coasts.

The strong winds and heavy rain also disrupted cargo handling and ship movements at the port of Durban.

PICS OF THE DAY – THOR INGEBORG and THOR NEPTUNE

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The Danish general cargo vessel THOR INGEBORG (4078-gt, built 1997) in Cape Town on 5 July 2011. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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The Thai general cargo ship THOR NEPTUNE (15,520-gt, built 1989) which underwent a name change while in Cape Town on 19 July, becoming the KING FAITH. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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