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Ports & Ships Maritime News

2 August 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

 

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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FIRST VIEW – PHOENIX

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The grounded tanker PHOENIX on Sheffield Beach, KwaZulu-Natal. Efforts to refloat the vessel last evening were unsuccessful although the ship did move 45 degrees as the tide rose, which is promising. See report below. Picture by Anup Rampiar

 

News continues below…

 

FIRST EFFORT TO REFLOAT PHOENIX UNSUCCESSFUL

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The fury of the sea! Phoenix being battered by waves shortly after going aground at Sheffield Beach. Contrast this with other images on this page, showing a tranquil scene so typical of KZN’s winter weather. Picture by Rogan Ward

SAMSA reported yesterday that the operation to remove fuel oil and other pollutants from the grounded Phoenix had proceeded smoothly and by late afternoon all oil had been pumped off the ship while the pumping of tanks holding residues had commenced, with a skimmer being used to remove the oil from any water.

In addition about four tonnes of drummed pollutants has been flown ashore using the chartered Puma helicopter.

In his press release report late yesterday afternoon SAMSA’s Captain Nigel Campbell reported:

“The Smit Amandla has connected a towline to the vessel and the tug Smit Siyanda has been despatched to the site to act as a standby and safety vessel. This tug will also be used for additional power when the re-flotation attempt occurs.

“A bathymetric survey with a dive survey is currently being undertaken to understand the nature of the seabed on the seaward side of the casualty. This will inform us of whether there any obstacles or obstructions that would hamper the towing off of the vessel.

“The naval architects on site have confirmed that the vessel is in a stable condition and will not capsize when the re-float operation commences.

“The vessel was searched again yesterday and the stowaway could not be found.

“At 1600 today (Monday) the tugs Smit Amandla and Smit Siyanda commenced attempting to re-float the vessel. Initially the Phoenix refused to move but as the tide rose she started to move, albeit very slowly, and then swung 45 degrees from her initial position starting to move offshore. At this stage the ships anchor chain parted. The emergency towing gear was deployed but is not strong enough to tow on. The vessel settled back in her original position.

“At first light tomorrow (Tuesday) the salvage team will rig a wire bridle to connect to the towing wire and another attempt will be made at high water in the afternoon.


Separately, we can report that the Phoenix is flagged in Equatorial Guinea.

 

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PIRACY: ANOTHER TWO SHIPS SEIZED OFF BENIN IN WEST AFRICA

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Two ships seized briefly in Gulf of Guinea

GAC World reports that a maritime security alert has been issued after pirates in the Gulf of Guinea seized two Panamanian-registered ships on Sunday (31 July), staging the second attack in the area in just under a week.

Nearly a dozen heavily armed pirates boarded the two vessels which were carrying diesel off the coast of Benin, but they fled on the approach of a naval vessel.

Piracy is rising in the Gulf of Guinea and while it is not likely to hit the levels seen off Somalia where law-enforcement is far worse, the issue is likely to intensify further unless the West African region's weak naval and coastguard defences are increased.


Little improvement on number of ships and seafarers held by pirates

Ecoterra, the independent eco-marine group reports that as at Saturday, 30 July at least 34 large and 18 smaller foreign vessels plus one stranded barge remain in the hands of the Somali pirates. There are at least 593 hostages being held by the same pirates, including one South African yachting couple and a Danish yachting family that includes three children and two friends.


Jubba XX is released

The small Emirates petroleum products tanker JUBBA XX, which was reported captured by Somali pirates on 16 July, has been released along with its crew. This followed negotiations involving Somali tribal elders and Puntland government officials. Jubba XX is partly owned by Somali interests, which may have been influential in the ship’s early release. Jubba XX (IMO 7916260) is loaded with a cargo of 4,000 tonnes of refined fuel. The 17-man crew comes from Somalia, Sri Lanka, India, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Sudan and Bangladesh.


Not all quiet on the eastern front

Although there have been no reports of ships seized by pirates off Somalia or in the western Indian Ocean for several weeks, it does not mean that the battle with piracy has been won or that pirates have taken a holiday. NATO reports a number of unsuccessful attacks of shipping in the area, which indicates that the pirates are out on the ocean and remaining active. In the week ending 28 July there were five attacks or approaches and three suspicious incidents.

NATO reports that although the South West monsoon is now established it appears the pirates are still willing to accept higher risks and to push the capacities of the vessels being used to commit acts of piracy.

 

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CABINDA PORT EXPANSION TO BE COMPLETED BY NOVEMBER

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Cabinda, Angola – Work to modernise and expand the port of Cabinda in Angola is due to be concluded by November of this year, after which two large ships will be able to berth at the same time, the chairman of the port’s management company told Angolan newspaper Expansão.

Once the work has been completed, the quay will be 319 metres long and 12 metres wide. The port will also have refurbished support facilities, including the administrative and social buildings and a paved container park.

The chairman of Porto de Cabinda, Manuel Nazareth Neto said that in future 20 containers per hour could be unloaded from a ship and that the port would have the capacity to store between 4,000 and 5,000 containers.

The port of Cabinda is currently similar to that of Sao Tome in that it is able to receive only medium-sized ships that are anchored offshore, with cargo is transported to land on barges.

“In future, the ships will be able to be directly unloaded without using the barges,” said Neto, who noted that over US$20 million was being invested in the work.

One of the aims of this project is, according to Neto, to attract back to Cabinda sea traffic lost to the port of Ponta Negra in the Republic of Congo, and to reduce the dependence of the province’s importers on the neighbouring port. (macauhub)

 

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SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGE PRESENTED WITH A R500,000 FOOD GARDEN

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The SOS Children’s Village Food Garden, proudly sponsored by Transnet Port Terminals, is the first of its kind nationally and incorporates organic and hydroponic gardening methods accommodated by greenhouse tunnels.

Cape Town - Transnet Port Terminals, which operates port terminals in the country’s commercial ports, has proudly handed over a sustainable food garden worth over a half a million rand to non-profit organisation, SOS Children’s Village Cape Town on 27 July.

On the doorstep of Langa Township, this food garden aims to benefit both the families of SOS Children’s Village as well as the residents within the surrounding community.

According to Leigh Swartz, Fund Development Manager for SOS, Transnet Port Terminals and SOS Children’s Villages first discussed the idea of a sustainable food garden in early May. A mere four days later, Transnet Port Terminals had not only agreed to do the project but had already begun the digging.

“The speed and vigour with which they drove this project was impressive and moving,” said Swatrz. “We are thrilled at the idea of having a food garden that is both sustainable and cost effective. But, even more exciting is the fact that we are able to share this gift with the rest of the local impoverished community through our Family Strengthening Programme.”

Formally known as the SOS Children’s Village Food Garden, the garden is the first of its kind nationally and incorporates organic and hydroponic gardening methods accommodated by greenhouse tunnels. The benefits of having a food garden such as this is endless - the most obvious being that families will now have access to free fresh organic produce daily. There are however, a number of additional spin-offs including skills development, environmental awareness and education.

Velile Dube, Terminal Executive Manager for the Ports of Cape Town and Saldanha and also the Chairman of TPT’s Regional CSI Committee, explains, “We are hoping that the food garden will also instill a sense of ownership in the children in addition to developing them socially. Gardening is said to be therapeutic; improving self-esteem and reducing signs of depression, ADHD, social isolation and aggression. Our greatest aim however is to empower the children, the SOS mothers and aunts by providing them with healthy food choices thereby promoting overall health and wellness.”

The recipients of this generous sponsorship will be responsible for the overall care and maintenance of the garden in the weeks and months to come. They will be taught how to look after the food garden so that it will continue to be a source of essential foodstuff for years to come.

The handover event was attended by invited guests including representatives from the South African Police Service, the Department of Social Development, the Local Ward Councillor, SOS’s National Director and the acting COO for Transnet Port Terminals.

“On behalf of the children, youth, mothers and aunts in SOS Children’s Village Cape Town, I would like to thank Transnet Port Terminals for the generous and considerate sponsorship. Today, we set a benchmark within our organisation and hopefully this will be the start of many ‘green’ things to come,” said Swartz.

“As the major cargo handling and logistics management company in South Africa, we have a fundamental responsibility to assist in improving the lives of disadvantaged individuals in South Africa,” said Dube. “We trust that this will be the beginning of a strong partnership with SOS Children’s Village Cape Town that will ensure the community is better able to counter food insecurity. Only then can we help in addressing malnutrition, chronic illness, and child and adult mortality and morbidity.”

 

News continues below…

 

PICS OF THE DAY – PHOENIX

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Puma drop off

 

We hadn’t planned on using any more pictures of the grounded tanker PHOENIX, thinking that by now you the reader had seen enough. Then these three images arrived, from a Durban photographer who explained she had set off before dawn on Sunday to arrive in time to catch the first light and to avoid the crowds of onlookers expected that day. No further explanation is needed, as the pictures speak for themselves. Pictures by Sharon Scott

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Sun’s up

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Surf’s up. Pictures by Sharon Scott

 

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