Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 26, 2007
Author: P&S







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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Panama reopens embassy in SA and will strengthen shipping ties

  • CMA CGM and Delmas consolidate SA operations

  • Nigeria rejects US Africom Command overtures

  • Wärtsilä opens new workshop in Cape Town

  • Lighter side of MSC Napoli’s grounding

  • Pic of the day – DELMAS ABUJA





    Panama reopens embassy in SA and will strengthen shipping ties

    After an absence of some years the government of Panama has reopened a fully accredited embassy in South Africa.

    The new ambassador, H.E. Roberto Cordovez has already presented his credentials to President Mbeki and one of his first tasks was to visit Durban and Cape Town and call on shipping companies, agents and port officials. And in an interview with PORTS & SHIPS Snr Cordovez explained that what the Panamanian Embassy in South Africa was doing was to reopen its doors to everyone in the maritime industry.

    “Panama has the largest and one of the world’s oldest open ship registers, with approximately 60 percent of all ships being registered in Panama. Because of the importance of South Africa as a shipping nation and the large number of ships calling here at your ports, especially at Durban, my president decided it was important that we reappear and make ourselves available to your maritime industry. We’d also like to offer our assistance not only to South Africa but also to other African maritime interests,” he said.

    He pointed out that Panama is also the most widely chosen jurisdiction for yacht and ship registration in the world, with very flexible terms and affordable costs for vessels registered in the Republic of Panama.

    The ambassador said that Panama intends opening offices in Durban and Cape Town to facilitate its maritime interests. These could be followed by offices in the other port cities.

    Contact details for the Embassy of the Republic of Panama are:

    229 Oliver Street, Brooklyn, Pretoria 0181
    Telephone 27 012 460 6677
    Fax 27 012 346 5474
    Email panamaembassy@vodamail.co.za



    CMA CGM and Delmas consolidate SA operations




    The Long and the Short of it - Philippe Fozzani (left), managing director in SA of French shipping giant CMA CGM (left) and Ronnie Govender, the general manager of Delmas Shipping SA. Picture Terry Hutson

    It’s all systems go for the big move on Friday (30 November) when two French shipping lines, Delmas Shipping South Africa and CMA CGM South Africa move into combined new premises in Durban.

    CMA CGM bought Delmas Shipping in September 2005, becoming the world’s third biggest container shipping line in the process but since then the two companies have continued operating locally from separate addresses.

    From next Monday (3 December) however both companies will share the 21st floor of Durban Bay House at 333 Smith Street. Individual telephone and fax numbers will however remain unchanged.

    CMA CGM’s managing director in South Africa is Philippe Fozzani, who previously spent a number of years with Delmas in Nigeria and Ghana, told PORTS & SHIPS that combining the offices does not mean that Delmas is to be absorbed into CMA CGM.

    “This will not become a joint venture, Ronnie Govender remains general manager for Delmas Shipping and I am in charge of the CMA CGM South African operation where we also act as agents for Delmas Shipping. We will continue selling two brands, just as we do in West Africa,” he said.

    Fozzani said that with CMA CGM providing some of the back office functions for Delmas (as agents) it simply made sense to be under one roof.

    Since the take-over by CMA CGM however the Delmas South Africa line office has relocated to Le Havre in France, where the other Delmas line offices are situated. In the case of CMA CGM all its line offices have remained situated in Marseilles.



    Nigeria rejects US Africom Command overtures

    Nigeria’s rejection of having a proposed US AFRICOM based in the country, which would have amounted to a build up of US military forces including naval ships in the West African region, raises again issues surrounding the motivation behind the request.

    Nigeria’s president Umaru Yar’Adua said last week he would not permit the United States to establish an AFRICOM base on Nigerian soil. The Liberian government on the other hand, with possibly the security in mind that a strong US military presence could bring, almost immediately countered this by saying it would welcome having AFRICOM established in its country.

    Several other African countries including Libya and South Africa have indicated they do not want foreign military presences establishing themselves in Africa (the US already has a base at Djibouti). At the same time the African nations have not rejected co-operation with US forces, particularly in the field of training and several joint naval exercises have already taken place in recent months.

    A US naval ship USS Fort McHenry is currently on station off West Africa, ostensibly to provide training on maritime security, drug control and anti-drug smuggling and human trafficking exercises.

    A number of military, economic and political analysts say they believe the reason for the sudden US interest in Africa, and West Africa in particular is oil. Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, with Angola quickly catching up.

    The US sources an increasing amount of its oil requirements from Africa, including supplies from Chad, Nigeria and Angola as it seeks to lessen its dependency on the Middle East.

    But many African states are learning to regard this interest with ambivalence. Yar’Adua says that rather than have an American military presence in West Africa he’d prefer an African Standby Force. The problem is that there are only a handful of African countries capable of contributing meaningfully to such a force and even less capable of providing any purposeful naval forces, although several countries have begun refurbishing ships and retraining personnel.



    Wärtsilä opens new workshop in Cape Town

    Wärtsilä Corporation last week officially opened a new engine and propeller workshop in Cape Town, South Africa. From this workshop, Wärtsilä provides the full range of services to the owners and operators of ships and power plants with both two- and four-stroke engines.

    The new workshop includes an engine workshop, a propeller workshop and an office. The facilities are well equipped to serve the customers. There are 43 skilled employees at Wärtsilä in South Africa.

    The engine workshop has a ten-tonne crane with a lifting height of six metres. This workshop will extend its services during 2008 with the addition of a fuel injection workshop and a governor workshop.

    The propeller workshop is equipped with a 6.4-tonne crane with a lifting height of 3.6 m. There are three welding bays, all equipped with welding machines, and two special grinding bays. The workshop is also furnished with a casting unit able to cast new fixed-pitch propellers of up to 1.9 m diameter and 450 kg final weight of new blades for controllable-pitch propellers in classes 1 and 2.

    From the facilities at Cape Town and Durban, Wärtsilä provides services for marine and land-based installations over the whole Sub Saharan region, including Madagascar and Mauritius. A branch office with a workshop is being established at Walvis Bay in Namibia. From the South African bases, Wärtsilä is currently serving customers as far away as Nigeria, Cameroon and Ivory Coast for supporting local network companies in the marine industry.

    A flying squad of service engineers is available to serve customers in the region. This service is supported by fully equipped mobile container with special propeller repair tools and welding equipment.

    Wärtsilä began service operations in South Africa in 1994 with a staff of one person. This operation soon expanded and in 1996 a workshop was established at Paarden Eiland, Cape Town. A service depot in Durban was acquired through the merger with New Sulzer Diesel Ltd in 1997.

    Source – www.cbn.co.za

    Note: See our report of 11 March 2007 concerning Wärtsilä’s acquisition of Cape Town-based Marine Propeller (Pty) Ltd here:
    http://www.ports.co.za/news/article_2007_03_11_4807.html#three



    Lighter side of MSC Napoli’s grounding

    Actually, when we think of it there were several ‘lighter sides’ to the shipwreck of MSC Napoli. We all saw courtesy of television how cargo began coming ashore off the English coast, bring back memories of that hoary old movie ‘Whisky Galore’ based on Compton McKenzie’s book of the same title.

    The sight of looters – white men nogall… sis!, pushing away brand new BMW motorbikes that were intended for a Sandton showroom made one aware of just how thin the trappings of so-called ‘civilisation’ really are. Scratch us and we revert, it seems, but after all that’s what some of the inhabitants of South England were doing - reverting back to the manner in which many of their great grandfathers’ would have made a living.

    And who can say under similar circumstances how many of us might not have acted similarly?

    The report on what this is based was carried by the BBC News last week – you can read it here
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/somerset/7106971.stm but for now we quote the following from Bob Couttie’s Maritime Accident Casebook, www.maritimeaccident.org

    Incidentally, his website is well worth looking at for those interested in such matters.

    Couttie’s article entitled Odd Story - How Napoleonic Shipbuilders and Zulu Bible thumpers gave Somerset Cider the Napoli Spirit reads:

    Looking for a really cool seafarer-related Christmas gift? Somerset Distillery's Shipwreck Cider brandy sounds like just the thing not just because I spent enough years in Somerset to still have a faint Somerset twang but because it's aged in barrels salvaged from the ill-fated MSC Napoli.

    But there's more, a series of twists that must have Compton McKenzie chortling in the hereafter.

    When the Napoli grounded she was carrying empty wine barrels from France bound for vineyards in South Africa. Making wine barrels, coopering, is a job for experts and choosing the right wood is critical. As it happens these barrels were made from oak grown in the Alliers forest which was established 200 years ago by Napoleon Bonaparte to provide timber for ship-building.

    A barrel made of Alliers oak will set you back about $600 to $800, so when Julian Temperley of Somerset Distillery saw a few floating ashore at Branscombe Bay on TV they got his attention.

    As it happens, some containers floated ashore without the barrels being damaged by seawater because they were packed around with Zulu-language Bibles.

    After ageing a 10-year old cider brandy in the barrels the company came up with Shipwreck cider brandy. You can read the rest of the story here

    I'm too far away from Somerset to tell you what it's like but with a story stretching from Napolean's shipbuilders to 21st century containerships by way of Zulu Bibles the price tag of around a half litre bottle is a snip.



    Pic of the day – DELMAS ABUJA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice



    The 1664-TEU container ship DELMAS ABUJA working under ship’s own gear at Durban’s City Terminal – this is supposedly a multi purpose terminal for handling steel and other neobulk and breakbulk cargoes rather than containers. The terminal in fact handles a considerable volume of discharge boxes thereby helping reduce the pressure on the Durban Container Terminal. A section of the terminal also handles a large and increasing volume of motor vehicles and is in fact now regarded as part of the Car Terminal. Picture Terry Hutson



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