Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 21, 2007
Author: P&S





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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • News from the shipping lines

  • Top terminal operator retires

  • NATO ships on the move round Africa

  • NIGERIA: Lull in Port Harcourt fighting is likely to be temporary

  • Pic of the day – MOL CULLINAN




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    News from the shipping lines

    Maersk Line and Safmarine which jointly operate a weekly service between the Far East and West Africa (WAF 10) are adding a second weekly string known as FEW 2), in which Far East calls will be limited to Port Kelang and Tanjung Pelepas, which thus act as Asian transhipment hubs for the service. WAF 10 will at the same time be recoded as the FEW1 service.

    The new service will operate with eight ships in the 2,200 to 3,000-TEU range – Maersk Petersburg, Annabelle Schulte, Nedlloyd Adriana, Ocean Promise, Maersk Valencia, Maersk Navia, ER Santiago and ER Hamburg. Six of these ships have been displaced by the cascade effect of larger vessels entering other Maersk services.

    FEW 1 (the former WAF 10 service) will operate with the nine ships in the 2,500-TEU range that are currently deployed on that service.

    The respective rotations will be:

    FEW 1:
    Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Tanjung Pelepas, Walvis Bay, Tema, Lagos/Apapa, Pointe Noire, Durban (bunker call only), Guangzhou (Nansha).

    FEW 2:
    Port Kelang, Tanjung Pelepas, Lome, Cotonou, Lagos/Apapa, Durban (bunkers only), Port Kelang.



    Close encounter: BAHIA and BAHIA BLANCA, both newbuilds in the Hamburg Süd Far East – South Africa – South America service, cross outside the port of Santos. Picture Hamburg Süd

    Hamburg Süd The Bahia Negra (50,800-DWT), the last of a total of six identical 3,752 TEU Hamburg Süd container ships was christened last week at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd (DSME) yard in Okpo, South Korea.

    The ship is named for a small town in northern Paraguay, near the joint border with Brazil and Bolivia and following delivery on Thursday, 23 August, the Bahia Negra will be phased into Hamburg Süd's liner service between Asia, South Africa and South America East Coast.

    Bahia Negra is 254m long, 32.2m wide and has 610 reefer plug points. With a draught of 12.4m she is designed to maintain a speed of 21.5 knots.

    The six ships in the Bahia series are in order of launching: Bahia, Bahia Blanca, Bahia Castillo, Bahia Grande, Bahia Laura, Bahia Negra.

    The delivery completes the series of ‘Bahia’ ships from DSME, but between now and 2010 Hamburg Süd will take delivery of a further 16 container ships in the range from 5,500 – 6,300-TEU. These are being built at DSME and its sister yard of Daewoo Mangalia Heavy Industries, situated in Romania.


    The popular SAFARI 2 Service, the South Africa – Far East second string service operated jointly by Safmarine and Maersk Line is to be bolstered in capacity by replacing three smaller 2,352-TEU ships transferred to the new FEW 2 service (see above) with three 4,200-TEU capacity vessels – Maersk Delano, Maersk Dartford and Maersk Delmont. As a result SAFARI 2 will in future operate with six ships in the 3,100 – 4,200-TEU range.

    The sister SAFARI 1 service between South Africa and the Far East will have the addition of the fourth Safmarine newbuild, the 4,800-TEU SAFMARINE MAKUTU, which joins the service in September.

    The changes will increase the capacity of both strings to 8,450-TEU weekly or 440,000-TEU annually.

    sources – Hamburg Süd, AXS-Alphaliner, Ports & Ships



    Top terminal operator retires

    The impending retirement of Pieter Klinkradt, Business Unit Executive for Transnet Port Terminals at the port of East London has been announced.

    Klinkradt’s last day with Transnet Port Terminals (formerly SA Port Operations) will be 30 September 2007. He spent most, if not all his working life in the service of the ‘railways and harbours’ administration, rising to be in charge of the Car Terminal at East London when that was developed in conjunction with the adjacent Daimler motor assembly plant.

    Under his management the terminal has been acknowledged as one of the best anywhere. More recently Klinkradt was appointed in charge of the Multi Purpose Terminal which included jurisdiction of the car terminal, and was subsequently promoted as Business Unit Executive when that title and position was created by SAPO.

    In order to maintain continuity, his replacement has already been announced. She is Nikki Mbengashe, the current Business Unit Executive at the port of Saldanha.



    Nato ships on the move round Africa

    The Portuguese naval frigate Alves Cabral (F331) arrived in the Angolan port of Lobito at the weekend to pay an official visit to Portugal’s former colony.

    Alves Cabral, which displaces 3,200 tonnes, is a Vasco da Gama class frigate of the Portuguese Navy, one of three German Meko 200 types built in the early 1990s. She is equipped with a helicopter and is taking part in the joint NATO exercise that sees six ships from the NATO force normally based in the Mediterranean which are on a circumnavigation of Africa (see our earlier report in Ports & Ships of 8 August http://ports.co.za/news/article_2007_08_7_0402.html#one.

    Alves Cabral has a top speed of around 33 knots utilising her gas turbines or a more relaxed cruising speed of 18 knots when operating with twin diesels. She carries a crew of 182, although Angolan media are reporting that there are 196 on board at present.

    From Lobito the frigate is expected to link with other units of the NATO force which are calling at the Cape to partake of exercises with the South African Navy, before proceeding up the East Coast for more exercises off Somalia and a visit to the Seychelles.

    The Dutch Navy ship HRMS Evertsen (F805), which is also apart of the NATO task force is shown on our PORTS & SHIPS port lists as due in Cape Town harbour on Tuesday 28 August. Evertsen is one of the latest additions to the Dutch Navy, a De Zeven Provincien class command and air defence destroyer displacing 6,044 tonnes and having a top speed of about 30 knots.

    Meanwhile two Nigerian Navy ships had left to take part in Brazil’s Bi-Centennial Navy celebrations and have called at Monrovia and Dakar along the way. The two ships are the frigate NNS Aradu (F89), which returned to service a few years ago, and the patrol vessel NNS Nwamba. NNS Aradu, a Meko 360 class frigate attended the Admiral Nelson fleet review in the UK during 2005 and is the flagship of the Nigerian Navy.

    NNS Nwamba is an interesting acquisition to the Nigerian naval forces, being the former US Coast Guard cutter Firebush which was decommissioned in 2003 and handed over to Nigeria by US authorities later that year.

    En route to Rio de Janeiro the two ships will also call at Recife.

    Altogether ships of 45 other navies are expected to take part in the celebration, including one South African Navy ship, the frigate SAS Mendi.



    NIGERIA: Lull in Port Harcourt fighting is likely to be temporary

    Port Harcourt, 20 August 2007 (IRIN) - Despite heavily armed government troops manning roadblocks and patrolling the streets of Nigeria’s main southern oil city Port Harcourt, many locals say the militias which the troops have been fighting, are still located in and around the city and that the current peace is temporary.

    “What we have here is a war over who controls the various rackets that are going on in this city,” Abel Wogu, a Port Harcourt resident and businessman, told IRIN.

    “Every evening you have people representing the most powerful gang leaders going round the filling stations to collect payments,” said Wogu, alleging that the owners of a large petrol station destroyed in August had either failed to pay one of the armed groups or had come under the control of a rival group.

    Analysts and human rights activists say the violence that has constantly threatened Port Harcourt in recent years has been perpetrated by militias competing for control of the illegal sale of crude and refined petroleum products, who are also involved in gun-running, kidnapping and narcotics trafficking.

    In the latest round of violence, which broke out on 11 August, fighters armed with automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and dynamite, launched attacks on various buildings. The violence has claimed at least 32 lives, according to the Rivers State government located in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

    Behind the violence

    The army said the fighting has been largely between supporters of the two biggest militias operating in the vicinity of the city, one led by Ateke Tom, the other by Soboma George.

    The most ferocious fighting occurred on 16 August when troops besieged a hotel where George and his supporters were believed to have been hiding. The troops razed the hotel.

    Maj Sagir Musa, spokesperson of the joint military task force charged with security in the Niger Delta, later told reporters that George had been killed in the attack.

    However the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a shadowy militant group that purports to be fighting to win more local control of oil wealth for the impoverished inhabitants of the oil region and claims George as an ally, denied the army’s claim.

    MEND said that those killed in the assault on the hotel were mostly innocent civilians. “The army fired rockets into a hotel where Soboma (George) was suspected to be hiding, disregarding the safety of other guests,” MEND spokesman Jomo Gbomo said in an emailed statement.

    “Soboma is alive and well and will speak whenever he chooses to,” he added.

    The price of elections

    MEND denied it was directly involved in the fighting and attributed the violence to rivalry between politicians who had funded different armed groups during Nigeria's general elections in April.

    That view is supported by the Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition, an association of civic groups. The militias were originally armed by politicians to help them win elections but have since turned their weapons to criminal activities, according to a statement on Sunday by the coalition chairman and human rights lawyer Anyakwe Nsirimovu.

    “Wiping out Soboma George and his followers cannot return peace or normalcy in Rivers State,” said the statement. “Dealing equally with the power holders who aid, abet, appease, motivate and - most of all - pay and benefit immensely from them, would.”

    The statement urged President Umaru Yar'Adua to crack down on local politicians linked to the various armed groups.

    Rivers State Governor Celestine Omehia has not directly admitted to having dealings with armed groups but has acknowledged politicians’ efforts to engage militia leaders in the past.

    “It is like the carrot and stick,” he told reporters after a meeting with top army and police officials in Port Harcourt on 18 August. “We gave [armed gangs] the carrot and they never changed. Now we are giving the stick and we will continue with the stick and it is going to be permanent.”

    Curfew

    Omehia, who declared a night-time curfew during the fighting last week, said the curfew would likely be lifted soon but he said he did not expect soldiers to leave Port Harcourt for another six months at least. “The peace in Rivers State is the peace in the Niger Delta,” he said.

    Many residents say they take little comfort from statements by the state authority claiming that the militias have been routed. “Expect some random skirmishes throughout Port Harcourt environs,” according to a text message Port Harcourt residents have been sending each other by mobile phone. “Advised to limit all non-essential movements and remain in a secured location. Please forward this message to friends and family,” the SMS continued.

    It is not known where the message originated.

    Many people in Port Harcourt are relocating from districts where some of the worst fighting took place to areas considered relatively safe.

    (This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)

    Footnote – As a result of the curfew it has been recommended that ships crew exchanges and other crew movements be curtailed at the ports of Bonny and Port Harcourt.



    Pic of the day – MOL CULLINAN

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice



    The 293m container ship MOL CULLINAN (53,453-gt) under the gantries of the Durban Container Terminal. MOL Cullinan is the former P&O Nedlloyd newbuild PONL Heemskerck, acquired on charter when the Anglo-Dutch company was bought out by AP Moller and absorbed into Maersk Line. Picture Terry Hutson


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