Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 6, 2007
Author: P&S





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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Wallenius Wilhelmsen introduces world’s largest car carrier - an 8,000 unit carrier to the fleet

  • SA sub causes red faces during Nato exercise

  • Hutchison opens Egyptian port terminals

  • World Bank commits $ 5.7 billion to Africa

  • Thousands flee from E Congo fighting

  • Pic of the day – OPERATION AMAZOLO





    Wallenius Wilhelmsen introduces world’s largest car carrier - an 8,000 unit carrier to the fleet

    In a manner reminiscent of the growth in size of container ships (and super tankers before them), pure car carriers just keep growing, with no real idea of where there is a limit. Already big and cumbersome at least in appearance, the trick is now to find fresh ways of packing even more cars into one ship to achieve that magical economy of scale.

    The latest and, so it is claimed, largest car carrier to be built is the Wallenius Wilhelmsen vessel FAUST, 228 metres in length and capable of carrying up to 8,000 cars at a time, which entered into service in May.

    Before this WW’s largest ship was TOMBARRA, which has already completed several calls on the African coast and on which we reported on 21 May 2007 – see
    http://www.ports.co.za/news/article_2007_05_20_0219.html#three. The 61,320-gt Tombarra carries an impressive 6,800 motor vehicles, but this now diminishes in insignificance next to the latest ship.

    Faust stands tall at the equivalent of 13 storeys but can also maintain a speed of 19 knots. She is the first of seven new builds of a completely new series of Large Car Truck Carriers (LCTC – yet another acronym for us to remember) ordered by the owners Wallenius Lines and Wilh. Wilhelmsen and was christened on 17 May at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in Korea.

    Her typical route is likely to be between Europe and the United States with a mixed cargo of cars and heavy equipment. This flexibility is made possible because five of the ship's thirteen decks can be moved.

    In addition to her considerable size and capacity, Faust has also been equipped with the latest in environmentally sound technology designed to reduce emissions into the air and sea. She will also be fitted with a ballast water treatment system, PureBallast, to treat water before releasing it into the ocean, as well as an onboard recycling system for materials used by the crew. The ship also uses diesel-based oil to reduce emissions and operate more efficiently.

    With a 21,500 horsepower engine, the new vessel can reach a maximum speed of 19 knots. However, despite her tremendous size of 71,500 gross tonnes, the M/V Faust's captain, Björn H. Larde, comments that she is easy enough to steer and says that he can manoeuvre the ship with the aid of just a joystick and a dial. The latest navigation equipment is, of course, also available on board.



    SA sub causes red faces in Nato exercise

    Exercise Amazolo, the first multi-navy exercise to involve ships of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the South African Navy (SAN) got underway on Monday in the waters off Cape Point and will continue for most of this week.

    A total of ten ships are taking part, six from NATO and four from South Africa. The NATO vessels are USS Normandy, FGS Spessart, HNLMS Evertsen, HSCN Toronto, HDMS Olfert Fischer and FRP Alvares Cabral (Details available in our Naval Review section at
    http://ports.co.za/navalnews/article_2007_08_25_5748.html). The ships form what is known as SNMG1 or Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 which is usually based in the Mediterranean but is currently engaged in a 12,500 mile circumnavigation of Africa.

    The participating SA Navy ships are the frigates SAS Amatola and SAS Isandlwana, the strike craft SAS Galeshewe and the submarine SAS Manthatisi. Earlier the NATO ships spent a week in Cape Town’s V&A harbour undergoing some welcome R&R and re-equipping for the second half of the journey round Africa through the Indian Ocean.

    Apart from a photo exercise for the benefit of media on board the vessels, including a classical ‘starburst’ normally associated with an aerial display plus a more typical line astern formation the ships later got down to the serious business of exercising together – the first time that the SAN has been able to sail and perform with ships from NATO. These exercises continued into Monday night involving attempting to protect a surface ‘target’ while detecting and attacking submerged South African submarine – something in which the surface ships came off second best, according to navy reports.

    According to these reports the submarine managed to penetrate an anti-submarine screen of seven ships, including the two South African Valour class frigates SAS Amatola and SAS Isandlwana and the US Navy guided missile cruise USS Normandy. After having ‘sunk’ the target being protected by the surface screen, the submarine turned on the surface warships and ‘sank’ each of them as well.

    “The significance of this for the South African National Defence Force and the SAN in particular is profound. The force-multiplying effect of a submarine was clearly demonstrated during this exercise. This proves that the area off Cape Point is an ideal submarine hunting area – and our submarine crews are good hunters indeed!” says the navy on its website.

    One is reminded of the repeated successes of the former submarine fleet of the SAN consisting of three Daphne class boats that also enjoyed a number of similar successes in exercises involving international and South African naval surface ships.

    The alternating layers of warm and cold currents of the mingling oceans off the southern Cape coast make for good submarine warfare, it seems.

    During the second day of the exercise a number of other training serials took place including gunnery and other fleet exercises. The exercises are continuing.



    Hutchison opens Egyptian port terminals

    Alexandria International Container Terminals (AICT) this week celebrated the official opening of its two new container terminals at Alexandria Port and El Dekheila Port, Egypt.

    Speaking at the ceremony, John Meredith, Group Managing Director of Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) said he was pleased with the development progress of the two container terminals and made special mention of the support given by the Government of Egypt.

    "HPH applauds the Egyptian Government's commitment to develop the Port of Alexandria into a world-class port facility to support the expanding industrial base in the region. AICT will strengthen Egypt's position as a centre of trade in the Mediterranean Sea and serve as a gateway to international trade for the Port of Alexandria", said Meredith.
    The two terminals have been converted from general cargo facilities to container terminals with a depth alongside of 12 metres and quay lengths of 380 metres and 510 metres in Alexandra Port and El Dekheila Port respectively.

    The terminal located at the Alexandria Port commenced operations in March this year. Shortly afterwards in June, El Dekheila Port also became operational.

    Alexandria Port and El Dekheila Port are located on the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt, about 183 kilometres north-west of Cairo, the nation's capital.

    AICT is a member of the Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) Group, a subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL). HPH is the world's leading port investor, developer and operator with interests in 23 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas. HPH is one of the most technologically advanced port operators in the industry and has operating rights in 45 ports and owns a number of transportation-related service companies.



    World Bank commits $5.7 billion to Africa

    Addis Ababa (BuaNews) - The World Bank has committed a record US$5.7 billion, under the International Development Association (IDA) to Sub-Saharan Africa in the last financial year.

    The World Bank said the amount exceeded the development funds of the previous year by $1 billion.

    The IDA is the concessionary affiliate of the World Bank, which gives interest-free loans to the world's poorest countries.

    The International Finance Corporation, which is the Bank's private sector arm, provided $1.38 billion in financing for its own account and mobilised an additional $261 million in financing through syndications.

    The Bank said Africa, which it calls its "first priority," is in its third year of economic growth at levels above 5 percent.

    This is despite persistent constraints throughout the continent, arising from inadequate infrastructure, low investment and limited skills.

    Although there is significant variation among countries, and many countries are showing measurable progress in expanding the reach of education and attacking malaria and HIV and AIDS, most African countries are not yet on track to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015.

    "We are now seeing increases in African countries' per capita income consistent with those of other developing countries and African countries have made great strides in expanding access to health and education," said Obiageli Ezekwesili, the Bank's Vice-President for Africa.

    A significant factor in the Bank's increased commitment is its expanding investment in infrastructure, particularly electricity generation.

    Electricity is vital to sustain healthy growth in the higher-performing economies and to raise productivity in slow-growth countries.

    In the year up to 30 June 2007, the Bank committed $2.4 billion of IDA funds to infrastructure projects, $660 million of which was lent to the energy and mining sectors and $870 million to the transport sector.



    Thousands flee from E Congo fighting

    UN News – Thousands of Congolese civilians are on the move in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) strife-torn North Kivu province, fleeing their homes amid reports of renewed fighting, cases of rape, and rising tensions between Government forces, renegade troops and rebel groups, the United Nations refugee agency has reported.

    “We fear that the pursuit of a military solution to the problems in North Kivu would further worsen the province’s humanitarian crisis through the potential displacement of hundreds of thousands of additional Congolese civilians,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Ron Redmond said at a news briefing in Geneva.

    “We again call on all parties to the conflict in North Kivu to refrain from direct attacks and atrocities against the civilian population, and displaced people in particular.”

    Voicing deep concern, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the Government and all local stakeholders to persevere in their efforts to bring about a peaceful solution.

    A statement issued by his spokesperson said Mr Ban was “very concerned by the impact of the fighting on local populations and calls on all parties to ensure the protection of the vulnerable. He urges all stakeholders in the region to focus on resolving the underlying causes of the crisis through dialogue,” it added.

    In Kinshasa, the DRC capital, the top UN humanitarian relief official, Under-Secretary-General John Holmes, today discussed the situation with the country’s Foreign Minister, UN agencies and the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC).

    UNHCR reported that over the weekend and yesterday an inter-agency team found large groups of newly displaced people making their way on foot from Rubaya and other Masisi villages towards the town of Sake and the nearby Mugunga site for internally displaced persons (IDPs), 15 kilometres west of Goma, North Kivu’s capital.

    The newly displaced carried few belongings, mostly packed in bundles on their backs. Many said they left their homes fearing the ongoing military build-up in the area, although they had not witnessed direct fighting. Some have reported cases of rape and killings of civilians by armed men, Redmond said.

    The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted that overall more than 1 million people in the DRC have been uprooted due to armed confrontations and the presence of armed groups. The majority are in North Kivu (640,000), South Kivu (266,000) and the north-eastern district of Ituri (152,000). Since the beginning of the year, up to 224,000 people have been displaced in North Kivu.

    Eastern DRC remains the most violent region in the vast country, where MONUC has overseen the transition from a six-year civil war that cost 4 million lives in fighting and attendant hunger and disease – widely considered the most lethal conflict in the world since World War II – to gradual stabilisation, culminating in the first democratic elections in over four decades last year, the largest and most complex polls the UN has ever helped to organise.

    UNHCR is discussing the possibility of a new displacement site near Mugunga, which currently has as many as 18,000 people. On Friday, for example, at a school near Mugunga was reported to hold 600 IDPs seeking shelter in over-crowded conditions.

    “Our team reports there are now more than 2,500 people there,” Redmond said.

    “Unaccompanied children are also among the displaced, as well as parents desperately looking for their children,” he added.

    “The full scale of displacement is difficult to gauge as we and other humanitarian agencies face increasingly limited access to many areas in Masisi and Rutshuru districts. We fear there may be many more in areas we cannot reach. A growing number of Congolese are seeking shelter at more than 20 spontaneous IDP sites scattered across the province.”

    In a related development, some 10,000 Congolese crossed into Uganda’s Kisoro district on Monday evening, saying they were fleeing fighting between the DRC military and renegade troops. By Tuesday morning, the majority had already begun returning home. Due to general insecurity in North Kivu, especially at night, such rapid population movements are relatively frequent.



    Pic of the day – OPERATION AMAZOLO

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice



    Performing a ‘starburst’ more typical of an aerobatical display, ships of the combined NATO and South African Navy perform for the camera off Cape Point this week. Picture courtesy SA Navy



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