4.0 A CRITICAL SURVEY OF THE FISHING PORT OF LÜDERITZ

4.1 TECHNICAL PORT FACILITIES

 4.1.1 LOCATION OF PORT, HYDROGRAPHIC CONDITIONS, SEA ACCESS

Lüderitz is located approximately 400 km south of Walvis Bay, and 250 km north of the southern border of Namibia. The coastline in this area is generally rocky, with low hills leading straight down to the sea. The area around Lüderitz contains several bays and islands, but the commercial harbour and the jetty are located within Menai Creek, which is protected from the prevailing swell by Shark Island. Occasionally heavy swell from the north-west can cause problems for vessels using the jetty. There are in toto three islands in the Bay, viz. Seal Island, Penguin Island and Halifax Island.

Lüderitz is situated at the south shore of the most eastern of the four bays of the Lüderitz Bay which are all opened into a northerly direction, approximately 26o38' south and approximately 15o10' east, due west of Keetmanshoop.

The Benguela current is passing Diaz Point in a northerly direction and causes in the Lüderitz Bay by diffraction a rest flow which can expressively be observed during strong south westerly wind conditions. These currents can affect the port installations, especially at the eastern side. The tides are semidiurnal tides. The difference in tidal ranges is between 0,6 m at neap tide and 1,7 m at spring tide. The rise of the tide is referred to the zero reading of the Chart Datum for the lowest spring tide low water.

The principal wind direction is south east to south west with 70% probability, for approximately only 1% there are no winds. Gale force winds can be encountered, especially in the summer season with a strength of wind in excess of eight. During the winter season the strength of wind will normally not be stronger than five.

The mean annual precipitation is 42 mm per year, on 16 days per year a rainfall height of 1 mm or more can be experienced. Reduced sight distances (sight distance less than 2 sm) due to fog can be found during approximately 1.000 hours per year.

The main navigation aid to approach the Port of Lüderitz is the light house at Diaz Point. Some distance north of Diaz Point is a spar buoy which has to be by-passed to the north in order to approach the radio navigation line in 120o which leads to the approach channel to the port. The navigation aids are provided under the rules of the "International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), System A".

The water depth at the anchorage in Lüderitz Harbour (between Angra Point and Shark Island) is approx. 16 m CD, whilst the depth in the inner harbour (Robert Harbour) is 7,5 m. The depth within Menai Creek is less than 3 m, so a dredged channel has been formed to provide access to the jetty. The approach channel has a length of 1 km, a width of 60 m and a depth of 6,75 m CD. The maximum accepted length of vessels for the port is 110 m, this relates to a ship with 5.500 t GRT. Exemptions can be approved.

The silting up of the bay is caused by the transport of fine sediments and sandy materials which are windblown into the bay and which is mixed with some organic residues form the fish factories in Lüderitz. Dredging the approach channel and the port is therefore required for every three to four years. 20.000 m3 material per year have to be removed.

4.1.2 STRUCTURAL FACILITIES, LAND ACCESS

 The subsoil conditions in the port area can be described as silt with fine to coarse sands as well as gravels on a rockbed. The thickness of this sand/gravel layer was recently established and it was determined that the harbour can without difficulties be dredged to at least - 10 m. This was established through geophysical measurements of the "Council for Scientific and Industrial Research: Division of Earth, Marine and Atmospheric Science and Technology, Stellenbosch/South Africa". These measurements had the objective to investigate the wave and subsoil conditions. These measurements were confirmed by the dredging of the harbour in 1994.

The off-loading facilities consist of two jetties at the south end of Menai Creek. The main jetty is 242 m long (usable length: 190 m) by 19,5 m wide. The outer 80 m were dredged to 6,1 m water depth, the next 50 m were dredged to 5 m CD whilst the remainder of the jetty has a draft which decreases from 5 m CD to 2 m CD. Due to the endangered structural stability of the docking structures a lowering of the depth of more than these water depths is not possible. The jetty was extended to its present size in 1968, and is in a satisfactory condition, while it seems that the foundation conditions have to be investigated to withstand horizontal loads. The jetty is constructed in reinforced concrete supported on circular concrete piles. The original load bearing capacity of 2 t/m2 is reduced with the result that the jetty cannot any more approached by heavy trucks. The jetty is too small during full peak activities on both sides. Crane rails (4,12 m gauge) are installed on the jetty deck, on which run two aged 4 t electrically operated quay cranes. Three railway lines also run down the jetty. The jetty is provided with water, fuel oil and electrical services. The jetty´s railway tracks can only be used if the access railway line (for more details and recommendations: see Appendix 6) form Aus to Lüderitz will be kept open by TransNamib Limited (see below)(appendices 5 and 7).

The other jetty is a wooden jetty, constructed in the 1940s in conventional carpeting. The jetty is 168 m long and 7,5 m wide, with a depth alongside up to 3,5 m CD which decreases to 0 m CD at the shore. The jetty is structurally in a unsatisfactory condition. A survey carried out in 1988 by "SATS" indicated that about 35% of the piles were in poor condition, and the cost of maintenance was estimated by then at R 80.000. This jetty is only used by fishing boats at present. It cannot be used by any trucks.

The port area is fairly confined, being bounded by a road and the town. An area of about 40.000 m2 is available at the head of the two jetties, which at present is used for railway sidings. This area also contains a goods shed 78 m long by 11 m wide with a transit store capacity of approximately 4.000 m3 and some oil tanks by oil companies which were recently considerably expanded. A further oil tank is located in the railway station area, and each tank is connected to the jetty by a 3 or 4 inch diameter pipeline. The total oil storage capacity is estimated with 3.000 m3. The port area also contains small offices and stores.

Lüderitz is connected to the road and rail systems of Namibia, via Seeheim. The railway comes directly into the harbour area. The railway from Aus to Lüderitz is, however, a substandard line as far as maintenance and permissible axle masses are concerned. The railway line is currently not used by TransNamib Limited due to its under utilisation. This is a matter of dispute between the Ministry of Works, Transport and communication and TransNamib limited which is presently (February 1995) not resolved (see appendices 6 and 7 for more details and recommendations). The road from Goageb to Aus (approx. 100 km) was recently (mid 1994) completed and is connected at Keetmanshoop to the north-south trunk road B1. It is in an excellent condition.

The road access to the port is not crossing the main residential area of Lüderitz.

4.1.3 CARGO HANDLING AND TRANSPORT EQUIPMENT

The cargo handling is still managed by TransNamib Limited. The port was equipped with one 780 hp tug, constructed in 1939. This tug has been well maintained, but was near to the end of its economic life when it sank in 1992. It has been replaced by a new tug in the mean time (Tug: 900 hp, traction power 13,2 t, year of manufacturing: 1993, excellent condition). The port also has a 250 hp launch, constructed in 1963 which is in a bad technical condition, and six 150 t lighters which are presently not used (apparently not any more for the last four years) [17].

Cargo handling on the jetty is by ships gear or the two aged 4 t electrically operated quay cranes. The only other cargo handling equipment operated by the port are three fork lifts (load bearing capacity 3 t, 4 t and 7 t) and ten trailers (load bearing capacity: 5 t) and three tractors (also used to shunt railway wagons). All these pieces of equipment are in a satisfactory condition.

4.2 PORT THROUGHPUT AND TRAFFIC YIELD

4.2.1 IMPORTANT CARGO AND QUANTITIES OF GOODS

Table 19 shows the import and transit goods passing the Port of Lüderitz for the last three years (period 01 April 1991 to 31 March 1994).

TABLE 19 THROUGHPUT OF CARGO IN LÜDERITZ PORT

Pos.

Cargo: Imports (t)

1991/92

1992/93

1993/94

1

2

3

4

General Cargo

Liquid Fuel

Frozen Fish

Diamond Products

387

10.792

9.515

293

940

13.601

6.684

1.051

741

16.510

10.393

1.114

Total: Imports

20.987

22.276

28.758

Cargo: Exports (t)

1

2

General Cargo

Frozen Fish

3

9.946

2.142*

5.135

6.510*

4.028

Total: Exports

9.949

7.277

10.538

Cargo: Transshipment

1

2

3

General Cargo

Frozen Fish

Liquid Fuel

147

6.349

1.152

15.188

12.217

Total: Transshipment

7.648

15.188

12.217

Cargo: Total

1

2

3

4

General Cargo

Liquid Fuel

Frozen Fish

Diamond Products

537

11.944

25.810

293

3.082

13.601

27.007

1.051

7.251

16.510

26.638

1.114

TOTAL

38.584

44.741

51.513

Nota: * approximately 90% ice
                Frozen fish includes crayfish, crab, tuna and bait

4.2.2 SHIPS TRAFFIC

The number of ships landing at Lüderitz Port is pictured in table 20:

TABLE 20 NUMBER OF SHIPS LANDING AT LÜDERITZ PORT

1991/1992

211

1992/93

333

1993/94

826

The high increase from 1992/93 to 1993/94 can be attributed to the increase of fresh fish trawlers (one landing per week) in contrast to trawlers with frozen fish (one landing per month).

Table 21 shows the number of vessels landing at Lüderitz Port for the first four months 1994:

TABLE 21 LANDINGS AT LÜDERITZ PORT EARLY 1994

Type

Number

%

Fishing vessels

Diamond dredgers

Cargo ships

Survey and research vessels

70

12

3

5

78

13

3

6

Total

90

100

4.3 CARGO HANDLING IN THE LÜDERITZ PORT

The Port of Lüderitz is presently still owned and managed by the Namibian state owned corporation "TransNamib Limited" [18], which also provides ancillary services such as pilotage and cargo handling. As in the case of the Commercial Port of Walvis Bay the working hours in Lüderitz Port are from 07.00 to 17.00. Normally three additional hours are worked per shift resulting in a brutto working time of 12 hours per day. Effectively ten hours are used for the loading and off-loading of ships.

The handling is normally arranged directly to trucks because Lüderitz Port has no storage facilities to its disposal and, as mentioned before, the railway line between Aus and Lüderitz is presently not in use due to maintenance and economic arguments (see appendices 6 and 7 for more details).

The discharge speed of fishing vessels can be estimated with 10 t/h, the discharge of diamond gravel in 1 t bags amounts to 15 to 20 t/h. Normally the cargo is loaded directly on light delivery vehicles which can move on the main jetty. Due to the restricted jetty width of only 19 m and due to the fact that the jetty cannot be negotiated by heavy trucks port-owned tractors and trailers are also used. The two quay cranes are still in a working order, but aged and not reliable any more. Therefore the handling and discharging of ships is handled normally with ships´s own equipment (cargo booms over hatch).

The discharge rate of the coastal tanker which approximately every three weeks provides Lüderitz with liquid fuel amounts to 100 to 120 t/h. The six 150 t lighters are not used any more. They were utilised for the landing of guano in the past.

For the loading of freezer trawlers two to three working shifts are required with a resulting loading rate of 400 t per day and vessel. This conforms to a hourly shift rate of 13 t. This rate is not only determined by the cargo and vessel type but also the storage capacity of the cold-storage facilities of the fishing factory "PESCANOVA" which has a total storage capacity of 2.000 t.

The high capacity rate of the main jetty of 130% results in very high waiting periods. The high percentage can be explained by the fact that ships are handled by means of double banking or in the case of supply ships by stern to jetty loading and unloading. The high capacity rate can also attributed to the fact that the main jetty is not only used for loading and unloading but also for the supply, equipment and bunkering of ships.

The Port of Lüderitz is not visited by general cargo ships on a regular basis but only as required due to the small traffic and loading yields at this port. Swakop Lines (Pty) Ltd, a joint venture shipping line between TransNamib Limited and Unicorn Lines form South Africa which undertake a regular shipping service between Walvis Bay and the South African ports is planning to expand this service to Lüderitz Port. It can be envisaged that after the termination of the civil war in Angola such a service would be a feasible undertaking.

4.4 PORT ADMINISTRATION, ORGANISATION AND PORT SERVICES

The Port of Lüderitz is administered and managed by the head office in Windhoek of TransNamib Limited as a Profit Centre [19]. It seems that presently a serious problem regarding efficient and economic operation of the port exists with a lack of progressive vision for the development of the port to meet the challenge of future expansion. The port administration and cargo handling is managed by a port captain who simultaneously also fulfils the function of the port pilot. The port captain is assisted by two port assistants and a general secretary for the collection of port fees, statistics and general office works.

TransNamib is still (January 1995) legally responsible for all port services and also provides ancillary services such as pilotage and cargo handling [20]. The port administration consists of 23 employees including the crew of the tug and the launch. During peak periods additional staff from fishing trawlers and the fishing factories are employed in excess to the core staff of the port administration. If required additional equipment in addition to the above mentioned gear will be rented from private enterprise. The disposition of the forklifts is done in co-operation with the Lüderitz railway station which is still in service for truck services in spite of the temporary closure of the railway line between Aus and Lüderitz (see appendices 6 and 7).

Approximately three hours before entering the harbour the ship announces his arrival via FM radio to the Port Captain (Port Control). There is a duty for pilotage. Exceptions can only be approved for ships with less than 70 m length. Exceptions are possible. The pilot is boarding the ship 1 sm north of Angra Point. There is also a duty to make use of the tug service. For ships with less than 70 m length exemptions can be made. The maintenance of the navigational aids is also undertaken by TransNamib Limited (as from 01. April 1995 by NamPort) Lüderitz.

Smaller vessels can be repaired at two slipways (400 t; 150 t) which belong to private fishing factories [21].

Waste removal for ships is only organised for the usual kitchen and household garbage. For this purpose, garbage bins which are removed by the Municipality of Lüderitz are provided. No removal of wastewater, liquid fuel or old oil is currently in place. Some moderate fire distinguish equipment is located in a small shed at the head of the main jetty. For repair works of port equipment and structures a small workshop is in existence in the same building. Works which cannot be executed in this workshop can be done by private enterprise in Lüderitz with satisfactory results.

ENDNOTES

[17] Burckardt, Ole and Morisse, Manfred: Hafensektor Namibias mit Schwerpunkt Walvis Bay, Schleswig, 1994

[18] The Port was transferred from TransNamib Limited to NamPort on 01. April 1995

[19] The former Port Captain who resigned at the end of November 1994 complained bitterly to the author of this memorandum, in the presence of the Minister of Health and Social Services as well as the Mayoress of Lüderitz (November 1994) that TransNamib Limited has deliberately neglected the Port of Lüderitz in the years since the Independence of the Republic of Namibia. According to the Port Captain TransNamib only maximised the profits without making provision for sufficient development and rehabilitation of port assets with the result that the Port now is run down and cannot cope any more with the increasing traffic. A crisis situation will develop early in 1995 before the new Port Authority manned by NamPort will be able to address the situation. The Port was taken over by NamPort on 01. April 1995.

[20] The Port of Lüderitz was handed over to NamPort on 01. April 1995

[21] Burckardt, Ole and Morisse, Manfred: Hafensektor Namibias mit Schwerpunkt Walvis Bay, Schleswig, 1994

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