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Mozambique’s Hi-Tech Security Could be Africa’s Model

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Mozambique’s Hi-Tech Security Could be Africa’s Model

The threat of piracy has waned around the Horn of Africa in recent years, a fact that mariners attribute to the “Djibouti rules.” Countries with coastlines on the West Indian Ocean and the Red Sea abide by the Djibouti Code of Conduct, a regional response to security, environmental and administrative challenges that have confronted shipping for many years.

In even better news, there’s now a chance for “Djibouti 2.” This wouldn’t be a diplomatic accord. Rather, advanced technology offers the promise of new dynamism to cooperation and surveillance, which we can see as a follow up to the Djibouti rules. A model for the kinds of high-tech equipment and systems that can help protect assets in the seas is now in the hands of a southern signatory to the code, Mozambique.

To be precise, the model in this case are the high-speed maritime security vessels and an accompanying set of seven unmanned radar sites and VSAT satellite surveillance services that Mozambique took delivery of a few years ago.

The wide range of threats to mariners and commercial enterprises on Africa’s East coast demand not only multinational cooperation but also real-time intelligence to inform and direct law-enforcement efforts. In its recent report on maritime security, DefenseWeb, notes that the Djibouti code has been amended to cover illicit maritime activity beyond piracy and armed robbery, such as weapons, drugs, human and wildlife trafficking; illegal waste dumping; illegal fishing; and crude oil theft. Satellite and radar are needed to pinpoint these threats.

International organizations like the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime have focused resources on the Horn of Africa, specifically in Somalia and Somaliland. But trouble has a way of migrating down the coast. Indeed, the root causes of piracy are often ignored. According to the Africa Center for Security Policy, piracy is problem that is primarily  land-based with maritime symptoms. Many of the people who were involved in piracy and other criminal activity a decade ago are still engaged in maritime crime.  

These elements are converging in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province. With marauding terrorist gangs crossing Tanzania’s southern border into Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique, spikes in violence have already been seen, including an attack there earlier this year on contractors for the U.S. energy giant Anadarko. One person was beheaded. As Anadarko and other oil and gas firms develop offshore natural gas fields, terrorists and criminals will no doubt put their sights on these target-rich environments at sea. That is the moment when satellite surveillance and radar arrays will prove valuable.

Mozambique has a state-of-the-art capacity at its disposal, even if the radar systems have not yet been deployed in some cases. This equipment, provided by the global shipbuilding company Privinvest, can be used to protect and monitor the estimated $30 billion worth of gas reserves now under development in Mozambique’s territorial waters.

In addition, the country is losing an estimated $60 million in revenue each year to illegal fishing, mostly by foreign-owned ships, according to Mozambican minister of oceans and fisheries Agostinho Mondlane. Many millions more worth of ivory, minerals, alcohol, narcotics and sugar are smuggled out of Africa through scantly-monitored ports in northern Mozambique. Tighter monitoring of its ports and maritime traffic would help the country crack down on all these crimes.

Satellite and radar tracking would complement one another especially when it comes to monitoring the Exclusive Economic Zones of coastal states in Africa. Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) aboard ships, which track vessels, can also be picked up by satellite. Illegal fishing, smuggling or pirate vessels have every reason not to turn on their AIS systems. That’s where radar systems capable of running Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) become essential to law enforcement. Setting up VMS with equipment already purchased by Mozambique and running them through a unified command center would make Mozambique a model to be replicated across the continent.

The Djibouti Code of Conduct depends on meaningful contributions from its signatory states. By standing up its radar stations, operationalizing its satellite services and integrating its high-speed patrol boats and interceptors into this technology-driven network, Mozambique could provide the living blueprint for maritime security in Africa.

Gregory Tosi is an attorney practicing international trade law in developing countries. He also builds personal submersibles and small boats

Pros and Cons of Maritime Shipping

For a long time in human history, maritime shipping was the best way to transport your goods across the world. About 71% of Earth’s surface is covered in oceans. Therefore, transporting your goods on a ship to another continent was a relatively straightforward operation in comparison to land shipping. However, with the advancements in technology, air-shipping has become a dominant form of long-distance transportation. Still, this doesn’t mean that maritime shipping doesn’t come with its own unique pros that make it a better choice in some cases. Of course, the cons of maritime shipping exist as well.

The pros of maritime shipping

We’ll begin by discussing the positive aspects of maritime shipping. As we said, in some situations, these advantages will be enough to tip the scales in favor of choosing maritime freight services.

There’s a lot of room on vessels and they can transport heavy goods

One of the biggest advantages of maritime shipping is that ships can carry all kinds of rather heavy goods. You will have to use ocean freight services if you’re running a business that imports or exports heavy objects, as airplanes usually cannot transport such goods. And if they can, the cost of shipping will be very high. Automobiles, various machinery, industrial parts, and so on, are just some of the things you won’t be able to transport by air (if you don’t want to spend a fortune, that is). 

Generally, maritime-shipping companies provide their customers with much more space than their air counterparts. Not only can they transport heavy goods, but they can transport a lot of them. This makes for high competitive rates and allows maritime shipping companies to easily take care of large demands. Whether you’re transporting heavy goods or a very large amount of lighter goods, maritime shipping is your best option.

Maritime shipping is highly affordable

The fact that there’s so much space on cargo transportation vessels means that it’s not hard to find the space for your goods. Then, there’s also the fact that all businesses whose goods are being carried will share the cost of the specific vessel arriving at its destination. It is primarily because of these reasons that maritime shipping is among the most affordable ways to move your cargo. And when compared with its biggest rival in terms of long-distance shipping (we’re talking about air shipping options, of course), maritime freight services are much (much) less expensive. What’s more, with maritime industry reshaping its supply chain, more accurate cost models are now being introduced. 

Vessels are more eco-friendly

When compared with aircrafts, vessels also provide much better options for eco-friendly shipping. Aircrafts use a lot of petroleum, leaving a very large carbon trail. This, in turn, damages the atmosphere. Such carbon trails disrupt the ecological balance and contribute to the negative effects of global warming. Even the slight cirrus clouds that form behind aircrafts contribute to impact these negative effects on Mother Nature.

As vessels don’t use a lot of petroleum, they leave a small carbon trail. In most cases, this makes them a better option for business-owners who are concerned with helping the planet Earth.

The cons of maritime shipping

Now it’s time to talk about the cons of maritime shipping. Depending on the situation, the advantages we’ve discussed sometimes won’t suffice, as these cons could make you choose another form of shipping.

Maritime cargo transportation is slow

If you need to transport your goods quickly, then maritime shipping will prove to be far worse for your needs than air shipping. Vessels usually have a long way to travel and they’re much slower than aircrafts. In a situation where an aircraft would transport your goods in a day or two, a ship would need an entire month to do so (and that is if there are no delays). While the situation is improving and maritime shipping is becoming faster, if you need fast shipping – vessels won’t do.

The key here is in deciding whether faster shipping will bring you more profit. If a much slower transportation speed won’t negatively influence the profits, then opting for much more affordable maritime shipping seems like the right thing to do.

Ocean freight services can suffer from delays

However, keep in mind that ocean freight shipping options can sometimes make your customers unsatisfied, as they’re not as reliable as air shipping options. Namely, ships operate on weekly schedules and different problems often occur. There’s always a good chance that your deliveries will be delayed. And your customers definitely won’t be pleased with that. While you will save some money if you opt for maritime shipping, you better learn how to communicate bad news to your customers

While their goods won’t get damaged, the possible delays will sometimes make your customers choose another supplier. However, if you don’t have a strict deadline and you don’t need to transport the goods very quickly, then maritime shipping could be the best option for you.

About the author: Originally from New Jersey, Alex Durick has been working for bfslebanon.com for three years now. He specializes in freight services related to relocation and also shares bits of knowledge on his company’s blog. Six years worth of experience in the freight business has made him an expert in many areas related to freight shipping, and he’s happy to share his findings with anyone who’s willing to listen.

FlowSafe Provides Shippers CO2 Solution with Minimal Costs

Flow Water’s team of marine engineers has created an innovative and cost effective solution designed specifically for shippers. FlowSafe, an eco-friendly, offset CO2 neutral ballast water management system provides a compliant and compact solution for hard-to-fit tankers or pump rooms, at almost no operational costs.

“We are launching an innovative ballast water treatment solution specifically for the shipping industry, especially for difficult to fit vessels, after extensive consultation with global ship owners and operators,” said Mark Hadfield, Chief Executive Officer, Flow Water. “Using innovative technology, we have developed a safe and compliant system that is offset CO2 neutral, simple to use, and which offers close to no operational costs.”

Additionally, the Flow Water Academy, which serves as the company’s very own training facility that opened this month, will provide students opportunities to learn about the water ballasting process with each FlowSafe purchase.

“The Academy will train Cyprus Maritime Academy Students, technicians, and clients who purchase FlowSafe,“ said Hadfield.

“It will become the first Academy in the world to offer International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certifications in water ballasting technology testing. Crew and owners will be able to work hands on with live ballast water using US Coast Guard (USCG) approved test equipment.”

Source: FlowSafe