Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 1, 2006
Author: P&S

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Diesel fuel to be imported as fire damages Durban refinery

  • Durban terminal delays show signs of lessening

  • Navy ratings want their beds

  • Tanzania now the hot spot for African piracy

  • Bimco calls for use of distillates

  • Suez Canal sets record

  • Picture of the day

    Ports & Ships has introduced a new column called The Shipping World which will carry comment and analysis, as well as a collection of interesting facts, figures and explanations about shipping and transport in general and of the people who make it tick. In fact anything that goes into making up the Shipping World. The topics will not be news as such, more the background to the news.
    The column can also be utilised to highlight companies that have made their mark in this industry, or who do things differently from the rest. Get in touch with us if you have an interesting story to tell or a success to share. Contact us at info@ports.co.za





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    Diesel fuel to be imported as fire damages Durban refinery

    South Africa is set to import more diesel supplies following the latest fire at the Durban Shell/BP Sapref Refinery.

    The blaze broke out on Saturday (28 October) in the diesel desulphurisation plant, a unit that removes sulphur content from diesel fuel. Quick action by the refinery emergency department brought the blaze under control but not before large clouds of dark smoke had filled the sky above the refinery, bringing further complaints and comment from nearby residents and from environmental bodies that closely monitor the activity of the two Durban refineries.

    Now it appears the fire was sufficiently serious to affect the supply of diesel fuel and as a result additional imports have been arranged. During the course of recent refinery shutdowns for maintenance and other breakdowns diesel fuel has been imported into South Africa in substantial quantities.

    In an unrelated matter SASOL has indicated it intends building a new refinery in South Africa to process fuel from coal. The Minerals & Energy minister confirmed this and said the department was waiting for SASOL to submit an application. There is no indication where the refinery will be built.


    Durban terminal delays show signs of lessening

    Delays at the Durban Container Terminal (DCT) are steadily reducing and operators are confident that without any further problems due to adverse weather the terminal will be fully back on schedule within a week.

    This morning six container ships were lined out outside port, a considerable improvement on the situation of several weeks ago. The improvement in ship berthing time and turnaround comes as shipping lines are gearing up for talks with port authorities and cargo owners about introducing a container surcharge – figures of US $ 50 per TEU have been mentioned by the MD of Maersk Line in South Africa. The talks in Durban are scheduled for 6 November.

    The problems at the terminal began in August with early windy conditions forcing the periodic closure of the port and the shutdown of cranes at the terminal. Since then the windy conditions have continued on and off but are now less frequent.

    A spokesperson for the terminal told Ports & Ships yesterday that SA Port Operations had introduced a number of contingency plans to overcome the delays, including additional gangs per ship. These crews had been brought in from other ports where necessary. The measures had begun making a difference and provided the weather held out the terminal should be back on schedule in about a week, he said.

    SAPO is also preparing to introduce additional reefer points at DCT after an increase in demand this past season. By the end of February SAPO hopes to have 1200 reefer points available, although whether this will prove sufficient is still in doubt.


    Navy ratings want their beds

    Oh dear, what is becoming of the modern navy? According to reports junior ratings in the South African Navy are up in arms over an order to vacate their comfortable accommodation in Navy barracks in Simon’s Town and move on board the ships in the naval base.

    The men (and women) are not pleased at having to move into what they say are crowded conditions simply in order that other newer recruits can be accommodated in the barracks. The problem it seems is that the navy has been taking on so many additional recruits on two year contracts that space is becoming a premium.

    As the new trainees complete their basics at Saldanha they are transferred to Simon’s Town, and now the military forces union is to take up the issue on behalf of those forced to move.

    The rating complain that space on board the ships is too restricted, making it difficult for them to study or even to stash their gear.

    Whatever happened to the days when recruits lived in tents, and sailors swung the night in hammocks?


    Tanzania now the hot spot for African piracy

    Tanzania is fast becoming the new hotspot for piracy in African waters, according to figures released by the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre.

    That’s according to figures released by the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre which reveals that six incidents of piracy have taken place in waters near Dar es Salaam since June this year.

    It seems it doesn’t matter whether the ships are in port or in the outer anchorage, all are fair game and the IMB has issued a warning to ships to take additional precautions while at Dar es Salaam.

    In the latest attack reported by the weekly bulletin, a chemical tanker was targeted when thieves went on board via the anchor chain while the ship lay at anchor outside port. This incident occurred near dawn on 25 October. The thieves robbed the ships store before making their escape and efforts by the ship’s master to raise port control proved unsuccessful.


    Bimco calls for use of distillates

    Bimco has lent its weight to the debate in favour of using distillate fuel (diesel) for environmental reasons, according to a report by Maritime Global Net.

    The article says that Bimco has called for the use of distillate fuel in ports and estuaries but of residual fuels with higher sulphur content on the high seas, subject to global cap restrictions.

    "This could easily be implemented without any major difficulties or delays," says Bimco. It also advocates the continued development and improvement of exhaust scrubbing techniques.

    In the statement Bimco says it recommends that all means of reducing pollution from the maritime sector are explored and none are excluded at this stage.

    It believes that the concept of Sulphur Emission Control Areas - SECA - is a pragmatic one and that all SECA should have the same sulphur cap so that the number of different fuels to be carried on board are minimised. However, Bimco believes that the goal of reducing the content of sulphur in HFO to below 1 percent may be unworkable in practice, as blending may lead to unsafe fuel standards having inadequate combustion properties.

    It also says it supports NOx reductions through ‘in engine’ improvements as a first step. But it says that the second step of reduction of NOx by the use of abatement equipment is ‘premature at this stage’ though Bimco adds that it is not convinced that the use of such equipment will lead to reduced engine efficiency resulting in increased air emissions.

    - source Maritime Global Net


    Suez Canal sets record

    The Suez Canal has logged a new daily record for cargo handled through the canal, when last week (26 October) 76 ships carried 2.8 million tonnes of cargo through the canal.

    This broke a previous record set in August when revenue from cargo handled on 21 August totalled US $ 14.3 million.


    Picture of the day
    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice


    The crude oil tanker Knock Muir (146,268-DWT) berthed on the dolphin at Island View 9 in Durban. Picture Terry Hutson


    Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Beira on the East Coast?



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