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Ports & Ships Maritime News

28 October 2014
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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The general cargo freighter NEDLLOYD KIMBERLEY (16,653-dwt, built 1971) sailing from Durban during the mid-1970s, in this YESTERYEAR shot. Nedlloyd Kimberley was built at the Japanese shipyard of Mitsui Tamano Engineering and became the centrepiece in a highly publicised boycott of the ship by American stevedores, or longshoremen as they prefer to be known.

The boycott was an action of solidarity between the stevedores and black South African workers against the then apartheid South African government and system. In 1990 the late President Nelson Mandela made a point, shortly after his release from prison, of thanking the longshoremen for their action of refusing to unload or load this ship in San Francisco harbour.

The picture is by Trevor Jones

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Djibouti container terminal Port of Djibouti pic
Doraleh container terminal by night

DP World chairman, Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulaymen, says the group remains committed to increasing the port operator’s footprint in Africa, despite the ongoing issues with the Djibouti concession.

DP World, which holds the concession to operate the Doraleh container terminal, stands accused of corruption by the Djibouti government, which says the Dubai-based port operator used bribes to obtain the concession in 2000.

The matter has now been referred to the London Court of International Arbitration Dubai-based operator but Sultan Bin Sulaymen of DP World says it is all a matter of misunderstanding. “We reject their accusations,” he said while commenting that the relationship between his group and the Djibouti government was now ‘tarnished’.

In spite of this the international port operator still has hopes that the matter can be resolved, or “repaired” as Sulaymen put it. The concession has meanwhile been withdrawn by the Djibouti government pending the results of the London arbitration.

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trillion project inside 470

Kenya’s much vaunted standard gauge (4ft 8 ½ ins) railway from the port at Mombasa to Nairobi and eventually into Uganda and later Rwanda, has come to another grinding halt even before actual construction could get underway.

The Chinese contractor awarded the US$ 3.8 billion contract has had to down tools after the Kenya High Court ordered a halt. This was on account of a case brought by local communities living along the planned route of the track who are refusing to give up their land until they are properly compensated by the government.

This is just the latest in a number of challenges opposed to the construction of 406km of new railway from the port to the country’s capital Nairobi. The Kenyan government on the other hand appears determined to push through with the project and this is where many of the objections have been raised, with people accusing government of adopting bulldozer tactics in order to get its way.

Among the challenges are questions about how the contract to came to be awarded to the China Road and Bridge Corporation. The Chinese contractor has already shipped in more than 2,000 Chinese to work on the project, saying they are indispensable and that no suitable local talent is available.

The company says it expects to employ up to 30,000 local people in various positions once the construction begins.

On the other hand many local people see the coming of the railway as an opportunity for them to benefit and are demanding prices for their property that are way beyond market value. Then there are claims that some local politicians are inciting affected people to resist the building of the railway.

“We are facing a serious challenge especially when you find that locals have been incited against the project,” said Kenya’s Land Commission chairman, Mohammed Swazuri, in an interview with the Kenya newspaper East African Business Week. “Some people want to be paid as much as Kshs10 million for an acre of land, which is just not practical. Kenyans must be told that this is a project that will benefit the whole country and region and therefore their cooperation is required,” he said.

Having said that, there are accusations that the government has budgeted far too low a figure to adequately compensate those affected.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that 133km of land belonging to the Kenya Wildlife Service has been handed over to the contractor and that an additional 142km in in the process of being acquired by the Nation Land Commission.

President Kenyatta is leading the charge of having the standard gauge railway built all the way into neighbouring countries, on the basis that Kenya’s economy will only prosper if an efficient railway logistics network is established.

“We are committed to delivering this project for the benefit of the people of Kenya and the East African region. We must hasten the pace of its implementation,” President Kenyatta said.

He said the land issue must be resolved quickly to avoid delaying implementation of the project. Source – East African Business Week

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Tromp and highjacked Iranian dhow 470
A boarding party from the Dutch Navy ship HNLMS Tromp approaches an Iranian dhow for inspection – on this occasion the dhow had been captured by Somali pirates and was in the process of being liberated.

The United Nations Security Council has authorised the inspection of vessels in territorial waters and on the high seas which they had “reasonable grounds” to believe were carrying charcoal from Somalia, in violation of the charcoal ban from 2012, or weapons or military equipment, in violation of the arms embargo.

The Council authorised States, for a 12-month period, to inspect vessels and to seize and dispose of any prohibited items. Such authorisations applied only with respect to the situation in Somalia, the Council said, deciding to review those measures after six months.

Speaking after action, Britain’s UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant welcomed the resolution’s adoption, stressing that the fight against Al-Shabaab was at the heart of the naval operation discussed in the text. Since the ban had been put in place, the illegal charcoal trade had increased, with the Monitoring Group estimating that Al-Shabaab had kept up to one-third of the revenue from the US$ 250 million trade.

The resolution was supported by 13 Council members, with Russia and Jordan abstaining from the vote.

Jordan’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Mahmoud Hmoud said that operative paragraph 15 outlined that any State could inspect ships, both in Somali waters and on the high seas — a matter that was subject to legal constraints and considerations. Such actions on the high seas could be used for political aims that went beyond the goal of the resolution.

Further, the scope of authorisation in the paragraph went beyond what had been requested by the President of Somalia, which raised questions, as did the insistence on giving open authority to any State, he said. For inspections to be conducted on “reasonable grounds” was not a sufficient guarantee to prevent the abuse of the authorisation.

It would have been better to use “objective controls”, such as reliable information, rather than leave criteria open to subjectivity. He hoped the limits included in operative paragraph 20 would be included in the Monitoring Group’s report. Resolutions should not be used to manipulate international legal rules.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that his Government would have been ready to support the resolution if some provisions had not been based on statements in the last report by the Monitoring Group that were not supported by facts. Experts should be guided by verified facts and not make conclusions based on “assumptions and rash accusations”.

The way in which work on the draft had been conducted, especially in the final stages when the authors had made a point to disregard other members’ views, did not reflect well on the British delegation. More attention should have been paid to issues raised by Arab countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Russian Ambassador said.

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Floreal intercepts SA catamaran fishing illegal
The South African catamaran CASSINGA is about to be boarded by military personnel from the French Navy frigate FOREAL, which can be seen further out. Picture: French Navy

Earlier in October the French Navy frigate FNS FLOREAL, which later visited Durban, intercepted a South African owned motor and sailing catamaran named CASSINGA which it said was fishing illegally in the territorial waters of Bassas da India, a tiny atoll in the southern Mozambique Channel.

The atoll is part of the French Indian Ocean island dependencies and requires specific authorisation for anyone to visit, let alone fish over the coral reefs making up the atoll. After sending a boarding party to inspect the catamaran, which was manned by South Africans claiming to be on holiday, the navy claimed that the men had been fishing in the shallow waters without permission.

Based on the evidence discovered on the boat the French Navy confiscated all fishing equipment and catches. The action was performed on behalf of the Prefect of Reunion and, it said, is indicative of the close cooperation between the government departments and the navy and army, said a French spokesman.

Cassinga is a dive adventure boat which usually operates out of Inhambane in Mozambique, offering fishing and diving excursions in the Mozambique Channel. The people operating the boat advertise trips to Bassas da India which is described by them as “one of the five wildest places to dive in the earth.”

Located in the Mozambique Channel west of Madagascar, Bassas da India is a French island atoll of 0,2km2, under the administration of French Southern and Antarctic Lands, which represents 123,700 km² of exclusive economic zone (EEZ) belonging to France.

Later in October the frigate FNS Floreal visited Durban for several days of R&R.

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Diani beach 470
It was off Diani beaches that the dredger was reported to be mining sand and coral

A Chinese dredger named SI HANG CAI SHA 1 has been detained by Kenyan Maritime Authority (KMA) officials earlier this week, on suspicion of the vessel having dredged over sensitive coral reefs.

The KMA thinks the dredger crew were harvesting coral from the pristine Diani coastline, a protected coastal habitat. According to reports the dredger had been observed in the area for several weeks.

The dredger has been taken to the Kilindini harbour where a detention order has been placed on the vessel. From all accounts authorities are waiting for evidence to be discovered of degradation before any further action is taken. “We found some sand and coral in the dredger,” the KMA director general, Nancy Karigithu said.

According to the Kenya Coast Tourist Association, the Diani beach is one of the best beaches in the world. If the corals, which have taken thousands of years to develop, are being damaged by the dredger then those involved must be prosecuted, said the association’s chairman.

Kenya Ports Authority’s general manager operations, Capt Twalib Khamis said the dredger had operated previously in Mombasa, dredging the area in front of berth 19. It was going to be put in use at Lamu for the Lapsset project (Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor).

Permission had been given for the dredger to test its equipment, he told The Star. “The vessel belongs to the China Communication Construction Company.”


image benga9 3 Aug11 470
Open cast mine at Benga, bought for a song by Indian group

Indian state consortium International Coal Ventures Ltd (ICVL) plans to invest US$500 million in Mozambique to set up a logistical support network for mining operations in the next two to three years, said a senior official from the consortium.

The official told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that the consortium intends to hire a technician with experience in coal mines in Mozambique to lead the project and make the deal move from a loss to a profit.

On 28 July ICVL signed an agreement with Anglo-Australian group Rio Tinto to buy all of the group’s coal assets in Mozambique, including 65 percent of the Benga mine and 100 percent of two other projects for US$50 million.

“There are logistical problems. The mining operation is losing money now but as there are coal reserves estimated at one billion tons, it is a strategic investment to apply US$500 million in the next two to three years to resolve these problems,” he said.

The Benga mine, the only one currently in operation, produces 5 million tons of coal per year, which the consortium intends to increase to 12 million tons per year and “we have to build another 500 kilometres of railway lines and port facilities” – macauhub


near Ressano Garcia 18 02 13

Two freight trains, which are reported to be belonging to South African state-owned rail company Transnet Freight Rail, collided near Ressano Garcia, just inside the Mozambique border with South Africa, causing the line to be blocked for three days.

The accident involved two separate Transnet trains, one of which was carrying magnetite ore for export at the port of Maputo. Mozambique rail and port company CFM did not say what caused the accident, which happened at the entrance to Tenga station. CFM said five people were injured.

CFM estimated that the line would remain closed for three days.


East Lndn 470
Gateway port, East London

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nordic beijing 470

nordic beijing===470

The German-owned container ship NORDIC BEIJING which is on charter to Maersk Line and which was in Cape Town last week. The 228m long vessel with a beam of 32m is self-geared with four electric cranes and has a container capacity of 3,421 TEU. The ship has a speed of 20.5 knots and is registered in Liberia. Pictures: Ian Shiffman

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