Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 22, 2007
Author: P&S




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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Maputo rail up and running by July


  • Coastwatch: Somali pirates attack UN ship as US warns of mother ship operation


  • Another giant enters service with Maersk LIne


  • MSC Napoli cleared of cargo


  • Pic of the day – MAURITIUS TROCHETIA






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    Maputo rail up and running by July

    Rehabilitation of the railway line between the port city of Maputo and the South African border at Ressano Garcia/Komatipoort should be completed by July, CFM-Sul said last week.

    When completed CFM-Sul, which operates the railway in the south of Mozambique, expects to increase the number of trains from 30 to 35 per week and rising to 60 a week by next year. It believes this will be achieved by increasing the cargo exported through Maputo harbour from neighbouring countries including South Africa, Zambia and the DRC.

    Refurbishment of the railway commenced in 2006 after CFM cancelled Spoornet’s contract to both refurbish and operate the Maputo rail corridor. Since then the work has largely entailed replacing sleepers and repairing culverts and generally improving the quality of the line which had deteriorated during the Mozambique civil war.

    According to CFM-Sul traffic along the line from South Africa should increase to 4.5 million tonnes this year, made up of 2.5 million tonnes of bulk cargo (mostly coal and magnetite sourced from the Witbank and Phalaborwa regions in South Africa respectively), and 2 million tonnes of general cargo consisting largely of sugar, granite and ferro-chrome.

    The rail operator says the line can easily double in capacity to 9 mt by 2009 by which time new and refurbished locomotives and wagons will have been introduced on the network. Recently a small number of secondhand locos arrived from India and are in the process of entering service while another 42 diesel-electric locomotives are being refurbished in South Africa.

    CFM is also having its fleet of 2100 wagons refurbished of which only 600 are currently serviceable. Like other railway companies in the southern African region it has experienced setbacks caused by theft of wagon components but has taken steps to counteract this by means of an electrified fence surrounding the port and marshalling yards.

    A number of the rail wagons will have to be repaired outside the country.

    CFM-Sul is also experiencing a shortage of passenger coaches and has made arrangements to import additional coaching stock from Portugal, with the first cars due to arrive in October.

    According to CFM-Sul the cost of the refurbishment programme will be covered by a US $ 7 million loan from the World Bank and through self financing by CFM-Sul.

    source - AIM



    Coastwatch: Somali pirates attack UN ship as US warns of mother ship operation

    Rome, 20 May (UN News Service) - Following a deadly attack on an aid ship in the waters off Somalia, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today appealed for international action against piracy, warning that it is seriously threatening relief deliveries to the country.

    "We urge key nations to do their utmost to address this plague of piracy, which is now threatening our ability to feed 1 million Somalis," said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran from the agency's Rome headquarters.

    On Saturday, a Somali guard was killed when he helped repulse a new pirate attack on a ship that had just delivered WFP food assistance to the Somali port of Merka. As a result, the agents of a WFP-contracted vessel this morning refused to allow the ship loaded with food to sail for Somalia.

    "This attack underscores the growing problem of piracy off Somalia which, if unresolved, will sever the main artery of food assistance to the country and to the people who rely on it for their survival. Unless action is taken now, not only will our supply lines be cut, but also those of other aid agencies working in various parts of Somalia," she warned.

    Shipping is the main and fastest route WFP uses to move large amounts of food to Somalia. Despite the challenges, the agency recently began a new round of food distributions to 122,500 people forced to flee fighting in Mogadishu.

    The Jordanian-registered MV Victoria sent out a distress call when it came under attack yesterday from pirates aboard boats about 60 nautical miles from Merka, south of Mogadishu, en route to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam after discharging 4,000 metric tons of WFP food.

    The owner relayed the message to the Merka agent of the Somali contractor who chartered the Victoria to carry WFP food. He sent out guards in two boats who intercepted the pirates before they could board the ship. One guard was wounded in an exchange of fire and later died in Merka hospital. The Victoria returned to Merka port after the attempted hijacking.

    "WFP is very saddened and alarmed by the death of the guard, who showed
    great courage while the ship came under attack," Ms. Sheeran said, offering condolences to the victim's family.

    Pirates have hijacked at least five ships off Somalia this year. The UN estimates that since February between 300,000 and 400,000 people fled Mogadishu, where fighting has flared between the Ethiopian-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and anti-TFG forces.

    In addition to the people displaced from Mogadishu, WFP aims to feed 850,000 people in other parts of Somalia during 2007.

    Mother vessel

    Meanwhile, the US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) said that Somali pirates are probably making use of a larger mother vessel to carry out their attacks on shipping off the Somali coast.

    Some of the recent attacks have taken place up to 180 n.miles off the coast, which is in the zone recommended by the International Maritime Bureau as being the transit distance for vessels not calling at a Somali port. The IMB suggests a distance of between 75 to 200 n.miles off the coast as being in the ‘safe’ zone but recent attacks have resulted in a rethink of this.

    According to the ONI the offshore attacks have taken place in the region of 01.20N, 049:00E which is where they believe a mother ship may be operating. The pirates operate with small white speedboats and international shipping is therefore warned to stay at least 50 n.miles from this position, suggests the ONI.



    Another giant enters service with Maersk Line

    On Monday 21 May 2007 Odense Steel Shipyard presented its latest newbuilding, an 11,000 TEU container vessel, for the AP Moller - Maersk Group.

    The new ship, named EBBA MAERSK (not to be confused with Emma Maersk, the first of the 11,000-TEU class ships), was named by Mrs Gunilla Numan, wife of Mr Andres Dahlvigm CEO of the IKEA Group.

    Like her four predecessors, EBBA MAERSK becomes part of the series of the world’s largest container vessels and like her sister vessels is introducing new standards for safety and environment. Environmentally friendly silicone paint covers the hull of the vessel below the waterline – reducing water resistance and, it is claimed, cutting the vessel’s fuel consumption by 1,200 tonnes per year.

    With her 14-cylinder Wärtsilä RT-flex diesel engine which develops 110,000 BHP, the ship will enter Maersk Line’s worldwide service.

    EBBA MAERSK will be registered in Copenhagen and is to be commanded by Captain Sverri Asmund Kjærbæk with Peter Planch Jørgensen as Chief Engineer.



    MSC Napoli cleared of cargo

    The last of 2,200 containers has been removed from the stranded container ship MSC NAPOLI, which went aground off Lyme Bay on the English Devonshire coast while on a voyage to South Africa in January.

    The ship suffered structural damage during a heavy storm which resulted in the crew abandoning ship. A salvage crew later went on board and subsequently elected to run the ship aground to prevent her from sinking in waters close to the English coast.

    More than 100 containers washed overboard – with 58 of them going ashore at Branscombe Beach where boxes were broken into and contents removed before law and order could be enforced.

    After the grounding the salvors first priority was to remove oils and pollutants from the stricken ship and only subsequently did they turn their attention to removing the remainder of the containers.

    In a lengthy process using barges brought alongside all containers have now been safely removed leaving an empty ship aground on the coast and awaiting a decision about refloating and towing her away - possibly into deep water to be sunk.



    Pic of the day – MAURITIUS TROCHETIA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice



    The cargo/passenger ship MAURITIUS TROCHETIA arrived back in Durban recently after a gap of four years, to undergo routine maintenance that includes a visit on Elgin Brown & Hamer’s Eldock floating dock. The 5,492-gt ship carries up to 112 passengers accommodated on aircraft-type seating and another 52 in cabins while journeying between Mauritius, Reunion and Rodriguez. The ship also accommodates up to 165 TEU. Picture Terry Hutson



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