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Ports & Ships Maritime News

21 October 2014
Author: Terry Hutson

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

TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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SEND NEWS REPORTS AND PRESS RELEASES TO info@ports.co.za

News continues below...
FIRST VIEW – HARBOUR POLLUTION

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It’s not often that we lead with a story and pictures like these, but every time there is heavy rain in the Durban area, this is what happens in Durban Bay.

Pollution comes not from people dropping or tossing away their rubbish into Durban Bay, but from the many rivers and stormwater drains that empty into the bay. Where else would this be tolerated, where you can throw your KFC carton into the gutter in the Albert Part area of Durban (Durban’s Hillbrow) and later that day it will be found bobbing on the waters of Durban harbour.

There are more than 50 rivers and drains emptying their filth into the harbour. Some of the drains are built like sewers – big enough to run through. Others are little more than small outlet pipes. The time has come perhaps for the municipal authorities to take responsibility for the rubbish that is accumulated in the city and to re-direct their drains elsewhere – away from the harbour.

There are also three river systems emptyinng into the bay at the Bayhead – the Umhlatuzana, the Umbilo and the Amanzimyati. Here the problem is more complex as two of the rivers begin their meandering path to Durban Bay from some distance inland – the Umbilo near Pinetown and the Umhlatuzana further inland.

Rubbish including sewage and industrial pollution can be found in the rivers especially during flood time. At other times all three rivers are mere trickles and pollution is less of a problem to the bay.

The top picture shows rubbish in the Bayhead area on the weekend, after heavy rains had fallen. Much of this is caught up in the roots of the mangrove trees, in what is supposed to be a national heritage site.

The second picture shows some unknown grey or white substance discharging into the bay at the Port Natal Maritime Museum, where a large drain from the city centre empties. This liquid visibly discoloured the water as it merged with seawater in the bay, the discolouration spreading around the moored tug, JR MORE which is a floating exhibit at the museum. This discharge was noticed over two weekends recently.

If such scenes annoy you and you live in the Durban area, then pass this report to your city councillor or to your MP. By creating awareness maybe we can force the authorities to do something about the problem.

Top picture: Harbour pollution in the Durban Bayhead after heavy rains, Picture: Richard Brook-Hart
Lower picture: The bay being polluted from some unknown substance that drained into the harbour at the maritime museum. This is one of 52 drains and rivers emptying anything from rainwater to pollutants and everyday rubbish directly into the bay. "It doesn’t matter, it’s someone else’s problem and no-one will know where it came from" seems to be the attitude that is adopted. Picture: Terry Hutson

News continues below…

RICHARDS BAY BULK TERMINAL EXCEEDS TARGET THANKS TO QUICK VESSEL TURNAROUND

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Bulker working cargo at TPT’s Bulk Terminal in Richards Bay. Picture: TNPA Richards Bay

The Richards Bay Bulk Terminal (not to be confused with RBCT, the Richards Bay Coal Terminal) recorded an outstanding performance of loading a total of 1.49 million tons versus a monthly target of 1.32 million tons in the month of September.

Transnet Port Terminals, which operates the terminal says that contributing to this positive achievement is the reaching of vessel targets ahead of deadline thus creating capacity for the handling of even more exports – which resulted in more volumes being shipped.

Imports also played a vital role with their vessels performing exceptionally well despite the current conditions in the markets worldwide.

“Teamwork effort yields good results. An improvement of availability of equipment and the contribution by the operators driving these machines has brought dynamic results. The investment in our human capital is starting to pay off as we are seeing perfection in our operational efficiencies,” says Mandla Mpungose, Terminal Manager at the Bulk Terminal.

19 vessels both from Import and Export performed well, with an average gross loading rate of 905. This also saw some of the vessels loading an average of 1300 tons per hour, showing a steady and improved loading rate from our export loaders.

Credit is also attributed to the storage section for quick turnaround of wagons at the tipplers, especially with magnetite. They were the key contributors to the achievement of the bulk performance last month. A total of 571 wagons were offloaded in 24 hours on 20 September 2014, which equalled 24 wagons being handled per hour. This kind of performance doesn’t sail on TPT’s shores every day, which is why the technical team’s dedication in maintaining the tipplers has shown off highly in this instance.

This outstanding performance has led to the terminal catching up on their targets. “Our employees have shown a great deal of commitment and credit also goes to them,” says Mpungose. “They have been consistent in the performance output. We want to sustain our current performance and make sure that we achieve our targeted volumes.”

News continues below…

HONG KONG AND SOUTH AFRICA ENTER INTO TAX PACT

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Hong Kong and South Africa last week signed an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income, a spokesman for the Hong Kong government announced.

Welcoming the agreement, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K C Chan, said that it sets out clearly the allocation of taxing rights between the two jurisdictions and thus will help investors better assess their potential tax liabilities from cross-border economic activities.

The agreement will bolster the economic and trade connections between the two places, and offer added incentives for companies in South Africa to do business or invest in Hong Kong, and vice versa, he added.

Previously, income earned by South African residents or businesses in Hong Kong were subject to both Hong Kong and South African tax. Under the agreement, tax paid in Hong Kong will be allowed as a deduction against tax payable in South Africa in respect of income.

Additionally, in the absence of a CDTA (agreement for avoidance of double taxation), the profits of Hong Kong companies doing business through a permanent establishment in South Africa may be taxed in both places if the income is Hong Kong-sourced. Under the agreement, double taxation will be avoided in that any South African tax paid by the companies will be allowed as credit against the tax payable in Hong Kong in respect of income, subject to the provisions of the tax laws of Hong Kong.

Under the agreement, South Africa's withholding tax on royalties, currently at 15 percent, will be capped at 5 percent. South Africa's dividend withholding tax on Hong Kong residents will be reduced from the current rate of 15 percent to 10 percent or 5 percent, depending on the percentage of their shareholdings. South Africa's interest withholding tax on Hong Kong residents will be capped at 10 percent.

Shipping profits
Under the CDTA, profits from international shipping transport earned by Hong Kong residents that arise in South Africa, which are currently subject to tax there, will not be taxed in South Africa under the agreement.

The CDTA will come into force after the completion of ratification procedures on both sides.

News continues below...

NIMASA CLAMPS DOWN ON NON-ISPS COMPLIANT PORT FACILITIES

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The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is clamping down on all port and jetty facilities that are not ISPS code compliant.

This follows severe criticism from the US Coast Guard in 2013 when after an audit of Nigerian ports, the USCG issued a 90-day ultimatum to Nigeria to get its act in order with regards the requirements of ISPS, or face having ships that have visited Nigerian ports being banned by US ports.

The sheer economic implications of this warning forced the Nigerian government into taking steps to bring the country’s many port access points into compliance. At a press conference called by NIMASA, the director-general Patrick Apobolokemi said that NIMASA would be taking steps to ensure that Nigeria did not suffer the indignity and embarrassment of sanctions imposed by the American authorities.

According to NIMASA, the ports, terminals and jetties that have so far failed to comply with the ISPS code will no longer be allowed to function unfettered. The D-G said NIMASA had exhausted all intermediate measures aimed at compelling the deficient port facilities into meeting with ISPS code requirements.

“The withdrawal of maritime services, which implies the stoppage of ship calls at such facilities, shall remain in place until the agency is satisfied that the minimum requirements for compliance with the ISPS Code have been met in the facilities,” NIMASA stated.

According to reports only 22 port facilities in Nigeria are currently compliant with the ISPS code, leaving another 58 to face sanctions in the coming weeks.

In 2004, shortly after the ISPS code came into force internationally, Nigeria’s then minister of transport claimed that Nigeria was the first port authority in Africa to be compliant. “Almost all the country’s oil and gas installations and other shipping facilities are ISPS code-compliant,” he said while adding that the federal government had placed security agencies at the ports on full alert to prevent any unlawful acts in shipping and maritime operations.

News continues below…

EBOLA: DRC TO TRAIN 1000 VOLUNTEERS TO FIGHT EPIDEMICS

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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) intends training a thousand volunteers to be available to fight future outbreaks of Ebola or other epidemics.

The DRC is the one African country outside of West Africa to be affected by Ebola this year, although the outbreak experienced in the DRC is said to be unrelated to the strain being experienced in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The DRC has experienced six previous outbreaks of the Ebola virus but never on the scale of the present outbreak in West Africa where over 4,500 people have already died and thousands more are infected. In each case in the DRC the outbreaks were confined to small areas and kept localised.

Now the central African country says it wants to train up a corps of volunteers who can not only fight any future outbreaks in the DRC, but in a spirit of ‘African solidarity’ be available to go to other African countries to help in controlling the spread of the disease. The country is inviting other African counties to send volunteers to Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, to become trained as well.

African countries that closed their borders on account of the outbreak have come under criticism from the World Health Organization (WTO), saying this made matters worse by cutting off supplies that could have helped.

The DRC’s Minister of Health Felix Kabange said that “We have seen how the international community mobilised by deploying the means to intervene in West Africa.” Africa has to learn to mobilise, he said. “We need to see African solidarity in action.”

With recruitment having already begun in the DRC, training should start by the end of the month, a spokesperson for UNICEF said.

The present outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever began in the forested area of Guinea last December, probably from the eating of bush meat that carried the virus. It then spread to Liberia and to Sierra Leone, with isolated cases reported in Senegal and Nigeria. These two latter countries have since been cleared of the virus.

The outbreak, which is still not under control, although there have been no new reported cases in the past fortnight, has affected various walks of life, including shipping. Last week a cruise ship was refused entry in Belize because a passenger on board had been in contact with one of the Ebola patients hospitalised in Texas. Across the world countries are introducing measures to ensure that precautions are taken with ships arriving that have recently visited a West African port.

News continues below…

CONSORTIUM AWARDED US$1.5 NILLION SUEZ CANAL DREDGING CONTRACT

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Royal Boskalis Westminster NV, Van Oord, NMDC of Abu Dhabi, and Jan de Nul have been awarded the contract worth US1.5 billion to dredger the second Suez Canal alongside the original.

Each partner has an equal share in the consortium, according to the contract papers.

The Suez Canal authority and Egyptian government are widening the canal by means of a second canal which is being dry dug adjacent to the existing canal, and in places will have to be dredged. The new canal will run side by side with the old for about 50 kilometres.

When the Egyptian government announced the project there was some scepticism but this has since disappeared as the contracts were rapidly awarded and work got underway. The government also issued a bond issue open to Egyptians only to help pay for the mammoth task. This was over subscribed within days.

The contract has a total cost of an estimated $4 billion and is expected to take between four and five years to complete. The work at hand together with the contracts awarded and money raised has seen most of the scepticism rapidly dissipate.

SEAMEN FROM ADVANFORT GUARD SHIP MUST FACE INDIAN TRIAL AGAIN

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The guard and armoury ship Seaman Guard Ohio. Picture Wiki Commons

Thirty-five men who have already spent a year in India must remain in India to face re-trial, despite having already been found not guilty after their armed patrol ship was blown into national waters in a typhoon last year.

The men were jailed for a year in Chennai, after their Liberian-flagged but US-owned 197-ton ship SEAMAN GUARD OHIO, fitted out as an armed anti-piracy support vessel, was arrested.

The ship may legally carry weapons and ammunition while at sea as long as it remains outside national territorial waters. It was being used as a floating armoury and guard ship from which guards would join other ships to act as security during their voyage.

The floating armoury ships have to be careful about where they dock as many countries have strict laws governing the possession of weapons and ammunition. Seaman Guard Ohio got into trouble after the ship was caught in a cyclone and sought shelter in the port of Tuticorin, where Indian police went on board and discovered 31 rifles and 5,000 rounds of ammunition. The vessel was immediately detained and the entire crew, which included the guards on board who, it could be argued were passengers, were arrested.

When they appeared in court in Madras in July all charges were dismissed except for those against the ship’s captain who was charged separately with purchasing bunker fuel illegally. The local bunker vendor has also been charged. But instead of allowing the rest of the men to leave India and return home, police re-detained them after the Indian prosecuting authority lodged an appeal to overturn the Indian High Court ruling setting them free.

Adding to the problems facing the men who were on the ship to perform guard duty on other ships is the fact that as contractors and not employees, they will receive no pay for the entire time they have spent in India.

EXPECTED SHIP ARRIVALS and SHIPS IN PORT

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Gateway port

Ports & Ships publishes regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENT reports including ETAs for ports extending from West Africa to South Africa to East Africa and including Port Louis in Mauritius.

In the case of South Africa’s container ports of Durban, Ngqura, Ports Elizabeth and Cape Town links to container Stack Dates are also available.

You can access this information, including the list of ports covered, by going HERE - remember to use your BACKSPACE to return to this page.

PICS OF THE DAY – IBSAMAR 2014 PREVIEW

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Ships of the Indian and Brazilian Navies arrived at the South African Naval Base of Simon’s Town yesterday (20 October) ahead of the 2014 IBSAMAR naval exercises, which will take part off the Cape coast over the next two weeks. The two visitors consist of the Brazilian corvette BS BARROSO V34 (top) and the Indian Navy guided missile frigate, INS TEG F45 (lower picture). They will join with elements of the South African Navy including the guided missile frigate SAS SPIOENKOP, the submarine S101 MANTHATISI, one of the former strike craft now utilised as offshore patrol boats, and the mine hunter vessel SAS UMHLOTI. Several aircraft of the South African Air Force will also take part in the exercise. Pictures: Louis Vosloo

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