Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 1, 2005
Author: P&S







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Durban oil spill

A quantity of bunker fuel spilled into Durban harbour last night during docking operations for the container ship Doria.

Because a boom was in place most of the spillage was fortunately contained. A port spokesperson said the accident occurred as the Eldock (floating dock) was in the process of being raised with Doria on board. It is common practice for the NPA Pollution department to place a boom in position in case of spillage, which in this event proved to be both necessary and fortuitous.

Doria has gone onto the dock for repairs to hull damage suffered when the Ocean Africa Container Lines vessel grounded in Angola recently (see out News Bulletin report of yesterday).

According to the NPA the spillage has been contained within the floating dock area and cleaning up operations are in progress with teams from the NPA, Drizit and Metro Services on hand.


Unicorn orders new ships

It was learned today that Unicorn Shipping (a division of the Grindrod Group) has placed orders with a Chinese shipyard for two products tankers of 16,500-dwt.

Unicorn already has four 12,800-dwt tankers on order with South Korea’s Samho Shipyard and five handysize chemical/oil tankers on order with another Korean yard, Shina shipyards, all for delivery between 2005 and 2007.

The latest order will be delivered in 2007 and is the first order placed by Unicorn with this shipyard.


BEE partnership for MUR Shipping

Increasing pressure on local cargo owners to ship goods on South African vessels received further impetus yesterday with the announcement by Metall und Rohstoff (MUR Shipping) that it is entering into a joint venture with black economic empowerment (BEE) group Ndonsa Investments to create Southern Chartering.

The announcement was made at this week’s official launch of the maritime transport and service industry BEE Charter.

MUR, which operates with an owned and chartered fleet upwards of 50 ships, is jointly owned by steel manufacturer Mittal Steel and steel trading group Macsteel (part of the global Macsteel Holdings Group). The MUR vessels are regular callers particularly at Durban and Richards Bay as well as some of the country’s other ports and many are identifiable by the prefix ‘African’ in the name , viz ‘African Leopard’.

According to Southern Chartering’s chairman, Mathews Phosa, the new venture would go a long way in reducing the dependency of local companies on foreign-owned shipping.

The new company’s managing director Neil Lepine-Williams revealed that Southern Chartering already has annual contracts to ship 1.5Mt of cargo which he aims to increase to 5Mt by the end of 2006.

A typical cargo carried by MUR consists of steel products and ferro alloys but also includes mineral sands and timber as well as project cargo. Most cargo is shipped between Southern Africa and the Far East.


Lindsay enquiry begins

The official enquiry into the loss of the fishing chokka trawler Lindsay nine miles off the coast near Sardinia Bay in May this year has begun in Cape Town.

Lindsay, with a crew of 16 on board was run down in the darkness by the Brazilian fruit juice tanker Ouro do Brasil shortly after the trawler had gone to anchor for the night.

The court heard yesterday how the skipper of the vessel, who was one of only two survivors rescued, retired for the night leaving two junior seamen on duty to keep watch. The crewman who survived told the court that shortly after midnight he and the other seaman saw a red light approaching their vessel but were too late to avoid the collision.

The Lindsay capsized within 20 seconds of the collision and sank soon afterwards, taking 14 of the crew to their deaths. The skipper was sucked out of his cabin and was later picked up, while one of the two seamen on duty was knocked overboard and rescued.


Mozambique talks about reopening oil refinery

Mozambique is giving serious thought to re-opening the oil refinery at Matola south of Maputo to help reduce the cost of fuels in the country.

The country is currently dependent on petroleum products imported mainly from South Africa.

Minister of Energy in the Mozambique government Salvador Namburete says that with the refinery back in business there will be enormous savings in foreign exchange because the country is now importing finished products. He said the strategic location of Matola close to existing railway and port infrastructure provides Mozambique with the right conditions for two or even three refineries that could also serve other adjacent countries.


Tall Ships group takes award

At a gala diner held in Paris during the recent 25th Anniversary Coaltrans Conference, an award for the Logistics Service Company was given to the LBH Group of companies, of which in South Africa Tall Ships (Pty) Ltd of Durban is the local LBH service company specialising in the bulk transportation and agency of coal.

The LBH Group was founded by the Lagendijk brothers, Jan and Bert, and now operates with their local partners in 24 countries worldwide. The group took an extremely strategic and long term view in establishing agency and logistic services in both the resources and consuming countries, a process that has taken 25 years to reach its current and now acknowledged status.

The South African partner Atholl Emerton said this week he is delighted by the group’s achievement and Tallships’ contribution to achieving this prestigious award.

“It was really satisfying, it has been a long and sometimes difficult road but there is absolutely no doubt of the group’s commitment to the dry bulk industry. Tallships was the group’s first offshore venture from their base in the Netherlands and we are extremely proud of our contribution. We particularly would like to thank all our customers for their support.”

At the Paris event there were several other award categories. These included Coal Mining Executive; Power Sector Coal Consumer; Steel Sector Coal Consumer; Coal Trading Sector; and Shipping Industry Company awards.

Emerton says the LBH Group is extremely proud and happy to record that they provide services in one form or other to each and every other award winner, which he said clearly emphasises the global nature and the high service levels that the LBH Group has contributed to the industry over the last 25 years.


Clipper Race update 1 November

New York Clipper and Singapore Clipper have obviously decided that the way to go faster is to match race, with one boat pitted against the other all the way down the course. At the moment Joff Bailey and his crew on New York have the upper hand, but Richard Falk and the Singaporean crew are pushing him hard, and are getting closer all the time.

The ironic thing is that New York actually sailed 2 miles further overnight, doing 84 miles as compared to Singapore’s 82, but as this was on a course more northerly than Singapore’s they ended up crossing just ahead of Singapore and finishing up closer to them.

Through the rest of the fleet the other yachts will all be out of sight of each other. Durban and Victoria (another two who seem to be joined by a long length of bungee) are just under 20 miles apart, so too far to be seen even from the masthead.

Liverpool removed a length of barnacle-encrusted mooring line (not their own, Tim Magee was at pains to emphasise) from their keel. This would not have done their boat speed any good at all, and they will be hoping for an increase in daily runs from now on. They do not know when they picked it up, but are not putting the blame on sabotage at all.

The addition of even a hundredth of a knot to average speed can be very significant – that small increment adds up to 1.68 nautical miles per week, so about 5 miles over the course of this race. Remembering back to the finish into Salvador, 5 miles more or less would have changed the order of Liverpool and Cardiff finishing. This is why there is always such an emphasis on sail trim and concentration – it is the long term and continuous application of these which lead to consistent results. The occasional slice of good luck doesn’t go amiss either.

The yachts seem to have settled on to their new paths now after yesterday’s separation. The weather is proving tricky on board, with duty skipper Tim Magee on Liverpool reporting light winds (when they weren’t dragging lines off various underwater appendages). Western Australia has had an excellent day’s run, and overnight extended their lead over second placed Jersey by 15 miles. Glasgow, Liverpool and Qingdao have all had the same 12 hourly run, suggesting that the winds were slightly lighter in the west of the fleet.

Over the next couple of days the fleet will pass over the mid-Atlantic ridge, the dividing line between the continents of Africa and South America. This will not have much, if any, effect on the surface conditions, as the water depth is still over a mile, but is of some psychological importance. The water in this area will be incredibly blue, and going swimming is always a slightly eerie feeling, as the nearest land really is a mile or more away – straight down! The crews will not be swimming, of course, as they do not have the luxury that cruising boats do of being able to take their time.

- this report courtesy Clipper Ventures


Today’s seaside giggle

I was in a local tavern in a time-hidden little coastal town. There sat a crusty old pirate enjoying a grog in the corner. I was curious about his peg leg, eye patch and hook for a hand so I pulled up a chair to share a few drinks.
Tell me sir, I said. How did you come by your wooden peg leg? Welllll Maitey - he drawled. Me mates were havin a bit of fun and we were all drunk on deck one night. Before I knew it they threw me overboard to sober me up! As I swam back to the boat I seed a fin break the surface -- and before me mates could get me back onboard the shark had a piece of me leg!
Oh, I said. That must have been terrible. AYE mate, it were! - Then tell me sir, how did you come by your hook? - Argghhh! he says. That were the time a squall line were blowin in from the North. I's a working the foredeck and bringing in the sheets. Just as me pulled the belayin pin, a big gust of wind come up and blowed out the tall sail. The problem were me hand were caught in the line as the sail blowed out. It ripped her clean off me arm!
Well, I replied. Sounds like you've had some hard times. So tell me, how did you come by your eye patch. Well sonny, the old pirate went on, me was swabbin the deck one day when a frigate and lots of seagulls flewed over the masts. Me raised up me head to look and - SPLAT! - one of them birds pooped in me eye!
- I paused for a second waiting for more of a story, then asked. But sir, I don't understand. How is it that a little bird poop would cause you to lose your eye! ARRGGHH MAITEY!!! That were the first day me had me new hook!!

acknowledgements www.bootkeyharbor.com
p.s. if you have a nautical joke to share please email it to info@ports.co.za

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