Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 17, 2008
Author: P&S







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THIS WEEK’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • SA port statistics for July

  • Eleven marine pilots graduate in Durban

  • Trawler breaks up in Table Bay surf

  • No capacity problems as Durban Car Terminal secures 14,000 parking bays

  • Svitzer Salvage will recover overboard logs

  • Diesel-electric locomotives return to South Africa

  • Transnet may increase loco order

  • Sturrock introduces its Man in Angola

  • Mombasa goes 24/7

  • Somali piracy goes on and on and on

  • Africa holds the dubious hot spot title

  • West and Central Africa to establish coast guard

  • China slowdown forecast

  • Large shipment reaches Richards Bay

  • MSC places orders for another two cruise ships

  • Pic of the day – STELLENBOSCH




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    SA port statistics for July


    Port cargo figures for July 2008 are now available, courtesy of Transnet Ports Authority.

    The figures indicate a small decrease in actual cargo handled at all ports including a slight drop in containers.

    This comes at a time of the year when volumes usually begin to rise as South Africa’s so-called ‘busy season’ advances – the time of year when the ports come under increased pressure and congestion. So far there is little indication of this.

    As is customary the figures shown in this report reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – this is necessary because Transnet NPA no longer measures containers by weight, but does so by counting the number of TEUs - for which PORTS & SHIPS makes an estimated weight adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to reflect tonnages. This figure may however be considered as conservative with 14 tonnes or more perhaps being a more realistic figure. With more bulk cargo being loaded in containers this figure may soon have to be adjusted upwards.

    During July 2008 the respective ports handled the following (with April figures between brackets for comparison):


    Cargo handled by tonnes

    Richards Bay                 5.986 million tonnes (June 7.665Mt)
    Durban                         6.885 Mt (June 6.802)
    Saldanha Bay                3.872 Mt (June 3.775)
    Cape Town                   1.169 Mt (June 1.235)
    Port Elizabeth                1.033 Mt (June 1.176)
    Mossel Bay                    0.244 Mt (June 0.106)
    East London                  0.226 Mt (June 0.226)

    Total monthly cargo in July 19.415 million tonnes (June 20.985 Mt)


    Containers (measured by TEUs)
    (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA)

    Durban                         219 059 TEU (June 241,313)
    Cape Town                     65,229 (June 72,448)
    Port Elizabeth                  43,658 (June 43,446)
    East London                      5,668 (June 5,505)
    Richards Bay                      2,244 (June 1.217)

    Total handled during July 335,858 TEU (June 363,929)


    Ship Calls for July

    Durban:             358 vessels 8.371m gt (June 387 vessels 8.790m gt)
    Cape Town:        303 vessels 4.278m gt (June 319 vessels 5.309m gt)
    Port Elizabeth:    110 vessels 2.606m gt (June 122 vessels 2.649m gt)
    Richards Bay:      133 vessels 4.271m gt (June 151 vessels 5.110m gt)
    Saldanha:            40 vessels 1.944m gt (June 38 vessels 1,645m gt)
    East London:        32 vessels 0.825m gt (June 35 vessels 0.774m gt)
    Mossel Bay:        178 vessels 0.211m gt (June 174 vessels 0.267m gt)

    - source TNPA, with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container weights


    Eleven marine pilots graduate in Durban


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    Front Row: 3rd from left: Mthunzi Bota, Yael Wearly, Xoliswa Bhekiswa, Gcina Mantsho, Erik Hietbrink (STC, Rotterdam), Bongi Mbambo, Gugu Dube, Snr Pilot Donald McGhee
    Back Row: 1st from left Capt Mike Brophy, 4th from left: David Keller, Sydney Minnaar, John Pretorius, Bernard Murphy, Patrick Wells



    Durban 14 August 2008 - It was a proud day for 11 young marine pilots who graduated at a ceremony held in the port of Durban last Thursday.

    The six men and five women were the successful graduates from the first intake of trainees that underwent extensive training in the ports of Durban and Cape Town and under the tutelage and supervision of STC Africa, a division of the Dutch company STC (Netherlands Shipping Training Centre). A second group is expected to graduate later this year.

    The men and women, who have already taken up their posts in the respective ports, received their training in the two training ports (Durban and Cape Town) with the assistance of the School of Ports (formerly Transnet Academy) at Bayhead which incorporated the use of a simulator. Pilots also spent time with the Safmarine and Grindrod Groups of companies while a number of senior pilots were involved with their mentoring.

    Transnet Chief Harbour Master Captain Mike Brophy compared the situation to a recent report that South Africa has over 27 000 chartered accountants. By comparison, he said, the ports though which almost all of the country’s imports and exports arrive or leave, are reliant on the experience and expertise of less than 70 marine pilots. He therefore welcomed the new pilots saying they were joining a proud tradition of service and that he looked forward to working with them.

    Brophy said that South Africa’s ports required a complement of about 75 pilots but currently has in the region of 65 pilots on its roster.

    He also thanked the various partners involved with the training programme, including the Durban Institute of Technology, the Grindrod and Safmarine group of shipping companies, the Netherlands government and STC Netherlands, the Transnet School of Ports (Durban) and several senior pilots in the marine service and others who had already retired who made themselves available to assist with the training.



    Trawler breaks up in Table Bay surf
    Trawler breaks up


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    Picture: Glenn Kasner, SMIT Marine South Africa


    Cape Town, 12 August 2008 - As a result of continual wave action over the past 10 days, the grounded fishing vessel 'Weskus I, broke up today (Tuesday).

    Debris from the vessel is in the process of being removed from the beach by the on-site salvage team from SMIT Marine. All fuel was removed from the vessel within three days of the grounding. Heavy pieces of equipment from the vessel will be moved to the high water mark and then transported from the beach.

    The two fishing vessels - the 'Seawin Sapphire' and the 'Weskus I' - ran aground in the vicinity of Derdesteen, south of Melkbosstrand, on the afternoon of Thursday 31 July. The vessels’ owner Indo-Atlantic Seafoods Limited appointed SMIT Marine South Africa to proactively protect the marine environment by removing all possible pollutants from both vessels. The Owners also appointed contractors to utilise a winch arrangement to pull the 'Seawin Sapphire' up the beach towards the parking lot at Derdesteen in a controlled technical operation for which necessary equipment is already being mobilised. The vessel will then be lifted onto a flat bed trailer and transported by road to the synchrolift in Cape Town.

    This method is deemed to be the most appropriate manner in which to remove the remaining vessel from the beach and was agreed upon by all parties, including relevant local authorities. It is anticipated that this operation will commence towards the end of the coming week.

    A full environmental impact assessment has commenced this week to ensure that the operation will have as little impact on the environment as possible and that where sand dunes are affected, suitable rehabilitation plans will be put in place. Owners are in the process of appointing consultants to undertake the EIA.

    • This story first appeared in PORTS & SHIPS on 12 August 2008

    The two fishing vessels – ‘Weskus I’ and ‘Seawin Sapphire’ ran aground in the vicinity of Derdesteen, south of Melkbosstrand, on the afternoon of Thursday 31 July. Salvors SMIT Marine South Africa were appointed by the vessels’ owner Indo-Atlantic Seafoods Limited to protect the marine environment by removing all possible pollutants from both vessels and then removing the vessels from the beach. All gas oil was removed by the end of Sunday 3 August. The ‘Weskus I’ unfortunately broke up on Tuesday 12 August. Debris and machinery from this vessel is being removed from the beach.



    No capacity problems as Durban Car Terminal secures 14,000 parking bays


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    Durban Car Terminal with the E/F and G berths in the foreground (large car carrier on berth G). R berth is at top right. The two blue roofed sheds are being incorporated into the car terminal, providing additional undercover parkades
    Picture by Steve McCurrach
    http://www.airserv.co.za/maritime.htm


    Durban’s car terminal situated down at Cato Creek will have 14 000 parking slots by the end of the year, giving it sufficient capacity for the motor industry’s anticipated import and export programme through to 2015 and maybe beyond.

    That’s the word from Graham Braby, Chief Operating Officer for the Car and Multi Purpose Terminals with Transnet Port Terminals. Conducting a group of journalists around the terminal last week Braby and Bev Masson, Automotive Channel Manager and Business Unit Executive explained that it had become necessary to secure additional space for increasing volumes of motor vehicles passing through the terminal. To this end additional sections of the City Multi Purpose Terminal (MPT) have been allocated to the Car Terminal, with some of the breakbulk cargo previously handled at the MPT being diverted either to Durban’s Maydon Wharf MPT or to Richards Bay.

    Ironically this development comes at a time when the motor industry appears to be facing a downturn in volumes, with lower imports already obvious. However both Braby and Masson are confident the pendulum will swing once again and by that stage the terminal will be fully geared.

    These developments come in the face of ongoing comment from certain of the shipping lines over delays at South African ports and reports of them moving their activities to the port of Maputo.

    The Durban terminal has shown continued growth in the more than ten years since it first developed at a single shared berth on Pier 1. As the automotive industry began to benefit from government subsidies through the Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP) and from the effects of globalisation on the industry, volumes particularly at the Durban terminal shot up, rising from 19,000 units in the 1996/97 fiscal year to 34,000 units in the following year. Subsequent volumes have increased even more dramatically and were just short of 400,000 units during the 2007/08 financial year. These figures excluded used vehicles which are not handled at the Durban Car terminal.

    The terminal currently makes use of three dedicated berths, R berth which was the only car terminal berth available when the terminal moved to Cato Creek from Pier 1, and berths G and M. In addition berths E/F are used for certain vessels, while sheds L, M, and G have been taken over as covered parkades and fitment centres with F shed due to join the terminal shortly.

    “We’re on track for the next five years,” says Braby. He explained that the Durban terminal currently has parking bays for 4 500 motor vehicles under cover and 8 700 open bays with an additional 800 bays coming on stream by the end of 2008. The terminal will also have additional fitment centres – areas where final fitting out of motor vehicles can be carried out as a sort of one stop service. This includes items such as minor paint touch ups, fitting of radios, tow bars, air conditioners, micro dot installation and mechanical servicing and carried out by specialists appointed by the manufacturers. The terminal also provides wash bays for the vehicles ahead of delivery.

    Delivery to and from the terminal is carried out either by road, using special truck and trailer combinations that carry multiple vehicles, or by rail. Transnet is placing strong emphasis on winning back more of this traffic to rail, with additional car trains coming on stream. There are currently several shuttle trains running daily between the Toyota plant at Isipingo and the Car Terminal and other car trains operating inland to Kaalfontein in Johannesburg and Rosslyn near Pretoria

    Security at the terminal is impressive – in more than ten years only one car has been ‘lost’ and that was soon recovered. In addition to secure fencing throughout the terminal all areas are monitored with CCTV cameras from a control room and anyone accessing the terminal is carefully checked using biometric access control (fingerprints and breathalyser) at all gates and entry points.

    Strong emphasis has also been placed on quality control and the terminal is the proud ‘owner’ of ISO 9001, ISO 14000, 5-Star NOSA and ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security Code) certification and is a recipient of the international Top 100 Companies award.

    But the proof of the pudding remains always in the eating and just so with Durban’s Car Terminal. It’s what the clients think and say that matters and these are the motor manufacturers and their agents and the shipping lines that service the port. As regards the latter seven lines call regularly at Durban – Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Eukor, K Line, Eudor, Hoegh Autoliners, NYK and MOL, and all seven have ranked the terminal at 3 (matching that planned) or higher, with one line giving the terminal a top ranked 5 (far exceeded planned) and another a 4.

    Braby says the terminal enjoys a zero waiting time for ships waiting to berth, thanks to what Bev Masson, Transnet’s Automotive Channel Manager and Business Unit Executive at the terminal described as outstanding co-operation from the marine division of the Port of Durban.


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    Bev Masson and Graham Braby from the Durban Car Terminal. Picture Terry Hutson



    Svitzer Salvage will recover overboard logs


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    The cargo vessel LOLA in Cape Town harbour after losing between 200 and 300 logs in Table Bay. Picture Ian Shiffman


    Cape Town-based Svitzer Salvage Africa has been appointed by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) to search for and recover logs lost overboard from the cargo vessel LOLA.

    An estimated 200 - 300 logs went overboard on the night of 9 August while the ship lay at anchor in Table Bay in the vicinity of Robben Island. A number of the logs have since been spotted from the air and by ships between Slangkop and Hout Bay in the South, and to Dassen Island & Ysterfontein in the North.

    According to Capt Nick Sloane, managing director of Svitzer Salvage Africa, logs have begun coming ashore near Grotto Bay, Dassen Island, Robben Island, Sea Point and along the Cape Peninsular as far as Hout Bay.

    He told PORTS & SHIPS that Svitzer was deploying ski-boats and zodiac type semi-rigid inflatables, crewed by recovery teams including divers.

    “These boats shall be directed to the immediate location of the logs by aerial observations carried out by either helicopter or fixed wing aircraft, and from reportings made by shipping and the public. Logs already landed on the shore will be recovered by shore-teams and forestry equipment.”

    Sloane added that the public, small craft users and local fisherman are urged to be aware of the risks that these logs pose to fishing boats, bathers and recreational surfers. “They should not be approached in the surf zone, and life guards are urged to maintain a lookout and warn bathers of their presence,” he said.

    The logs are of Okoume species, of West African origin, and weigh between 8 & 20 tonnes each, with a length between 6 – 10m in length.

    • This story first appeared on PORTS & SHIPS on 13 August 2008



    Diesel-electric locomotives return to South Africa

    Seven South African-owned diesel-electric locomotives of the Class 35-400 series will be returning to South Africa from the port of Dar es Salaam towards the end of September.

    The original consignment ordered from the then Spoornet (now Transnet Freight Rail) was for ten locos, which suggests that three may have been scrapped through accident damage while in service in Tanzania.

    The locomotives will be shipped back to Durban on board the project cargo vessel BLACK RHINO towards the end of September.



    Transnet may increase loco order

    It appears possible that Transnet will exercise an option to increase an order placed with Electromotive Diesel (EMD) for 212 diesel-electric locomotives to 400 units.

    This is what some people are reading into a hint given by Transnet boss Maria Ramos while presenting Transnet’s annual report. In the report she said that the tender process for the initial order for 212 locomotives was underway and that any increase in this number in terms of an existing option would be pursued on the back of a supportive business case.



    Sturrock introduces its Man in Angola


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    Sturrock Shipping’s managing director Andrew Sturrock


    Local shipping company, Sturrock Shipping, has announced the opening of offices in Luanda, Angola. And the management team at Sturrock is so bullish about the opportunities in Africa that they believe that this move could double the company’s existing South and East African ship’s agency business.

    Sturrock Shipping is the first South African shipping services company to establish a presence in Angola.

    Managing Director Andrew Sturrock says the decision to expand into West Africa was prompted by the booming economy in Angola and the experience and success of the company’s recent forays in other countries in the southern African region.

    “Currently the Angolan economy, as measured by per capita GDP, is experiencing growth in excess of 20 percent per annum. Much of the growth can be attributed to oil revenues. As Sturrock Shipping has specific expertise in the handling of bulk liquid tankers, we are very well placed to take advantage of this growth phenomenon.

    “As the leading privately owned shipping company in South Africa, we took the decision some years back to expand our operations, firstly into English-speaking countries in East Africa and subsequently into Mozambique and Madagascar.

    “On the back of our success in these countries, we are now ready to do business in Angola, and in due course to explore other opportunities in the region,” he says.

    Sturrock notes that, as a result of rapid economic growth and relative political stability, Angola presents huge opportunities for South African companies.

    “Despite the relative proximity to SA and the presence of a few SA companies in Angola, however, the overwhelming percentage of that country’s trade is conducted with countries from Europe and elsewhere.

    “Clearly, the opening up of transport and communication lines with Angola is a pre-requisite to moving some of that business to South Africa, and Sturrock Shipping is pleased to be in the vanguard of this initiative” he says.

    Founded in 1969, Sturrock Shipping provides comprehensive ship’s agency services, customs clearing, international freight forwarding and the marketing of global tanktainer services. It has offices at all South African ports and in Johannesburg, as well as in Mozambique, Madagascar, Kenya and Tanzania. Internationally, it is part of the WIN organisation, consisting of 66 independent forwarding and logistics companies with 280 offices worldwide.

    The company recently announced the sale of 60 percent of its share capital to black-owned investment company, Calulo, in a major empowerment deal that has allowed the company to pursue aggressive expansion and development plans.

    “Our vision is to be the leading shipping and freight forwarding company in the southern African region and beyond. The opening up of Angola provides us with the platform for future expansion up the west coast of Africa,” concludes Sturrock.

    The Luanda office can be contacted through the country manager, Hussein Farhat, email husseinf@sturrock-angola.com and by tel +244 222 321 933 (mobile +244 926 057 853)



    Mombasa goes 24/7

    Acting on instructions from the level of the prime minister, the port of Mombasa will become a 24/7 port with immediate effect.

    The instructions have come down from Prime Minister Raila Odinga who says that in addition transit cargo must be released as soon as it is discharged from ships in the port.

    The latest developments are further efforts from government to get the port working and to clear backlogged cargo. In the past few weeks government has replaced the managing director of Kenya Ports Authority and shuffled several other top personnel in a clear message of making things happen.

    According to news reports last week there were over 16,000 containers waiting in the Mombasa Container Terminal while the number of ships waiting for a berth has exceeded ten for several days running. The resultant delays are impacting on Kenya’s neighbours Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and southern Sudan with them threatening to divert traffic away from Mombasa.

    In addition to the changes at the top of Kenya Ports Authority the privatised rail company Rift Valley Railway also recently announced that managing director Roy Puffett had been replaced as the man in charge of RVR.



    Somalia piracy goes on and on and on

    Incidents of piracy off the Somali coast continue to head the news, with reports this past week of a Nigerian ship being seized and held to ransom, a Thai-flagged freighter also being taken into captivity and a tug seized, while a German couple sailing on a yacht who were captured earlier have been released after a ransom was paid.

    Last week reports were received of a Nigerian merchant ship, YENAGOA OCEAN being seized by pirates who have demanded a ransom be paid for the release of the vessel and crew.

    According to a report issued by Nigerian news services the ship was seized while in Mogadishu harbor.

    In a second report the Thai-flagged ship THOR STAR was captured at sea by pirates while sailing in the Gulf of Aden. The vessel is carrying a crew of 28 and issued a distress call as the pirates came aboard. The ship is carrying a cargo of wood from South East Asia. Five years ago the same vessel was attacked by pirates in Indonesian waters near Bintan Island but after being robbed the vessel was allowed to proceed.

    The latest reports received indicate all crew on board the Thor Star are safe and in good health.

    In a third incident reported this past week a tug was highjacked on 4 August and has been taken into Somali waters. The tug has a crew of nine Nigerian seafarers.

    The only good news from the region is that the German couple from the yacht that was seized after the couple landed on the northern Somalia several weeks ago have been released. It is being reported that a ransom of one million US dollars was paid.

    Meanwhile there have been no further developments with another seized vessel, the STELLA MARIS.

    Finally, warnings have been issued about two so-called pirate Mother Ships thought to be operating in the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa waters. The two ships are described as being Russian-style stern trawlers and ships in the region are advised to give them a wide berth.

    They are thought to be named BURUM OCEAN and either EREAN or ARENA – a ship with the latter name was highjacked in June this year, reports Sea Sentinel.



    Africa holds the dubious hot spot title

    According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Africa is the world’s world’s hot spot for acts of piracy, with Somali and Nigerian waters identified as the most dangerous for seafarers.

    The IMB says 114 pirate attacks occurred worldwide in the first six months of this year, which is down on the 126 cases recoded for the same period in 2007.

    “The frequency and level of violence directed at seafarers is cause for alarm. The abduction of crew and the increasing use of automatic weapons remain unacceptable,” London-based IMB director Pottengal Mukundan said in a statement.

    During the second quarter of 2008 62 cases were reported, with Somalia recording 24 of these and Nigeria 18.

    “The rise is directly attributed to increased pirate activity off Somalia and the Gulf of Aden particularly,” says the IMB report.



    West and Central Africa to establish coast guard

    West and Central African countries have agreed to establish a coast guard service divided into four zones, reports the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

    The agreement is for coastguard centres to be established at Dakar, Abidjan, Lagos and Pointe Noire with two additional coordinating centres at Accra and Luanda.

    Participating nations are Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Republic of Congo, DR Congo, Cote D'Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo.

    In terms of the agreement provision has been made for hot pursuit of vessels. The IMO agreement provides guidelines for coastal surveillance and enforcement of international conventions. – source IMO



    China slowdown forecast

    China’s container ports are recording a much slower rate of growth in throughout for the first half of 2008, reports the authoritative magazine Containerization International.

    According to the report China’s ports handled 61.6 million TEUs during the first six months of this year, which is up by 17.1 percent on the same period for 2007 but well down on the 24 percent increase year-on-year between 2006 and 2007.

    This trend was measured across almost all the country’s container ports with the notable exception of the port of Lianyungang (Jiangsu province), which saw its box throughput soar by 59.2 percent to 1.3 million TEU.

    Another exception was with the Pearl River delta port of Guangzhou whose throughput jumped 36.4 percent to 5.9 million TEU. This has been accredited to the port’s Nansha terminal attracting more liner services although its growth was still not as impressive as the corresponding period last year, when its throughput surged by 42.6 percent.

    The report suggests that tightened financial and trade policies adopted by the central government, the impact of the US sub prime crisis and the appreciation of China’s currency are affecting the country’s container traffic volumes.

    ‘A recent report published by Credit Suisse (Emerging markets economics research) warned: “We think the end of an era in terms of China’s mighty export industry has just begun. Current conditions will likely go beyond the cyclical slowdown caused by the US recession.”’ – source Containerization International



    Large shipment reaches Richards Bay


    CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
    Power on the move – posing in front of one of the 17 trucks are from left Peter Roux -Manager of Sheltam Marine & Stationary Power, Joan Moulang - Purchasing and Logistics, Sheltam, Etienne Raath - Group Operations Manager, Sheltam, and Carl Booysens - Technical Engineer, Sheltam Marine & Stationary Power Power on the move – posing in front of one of the 17 trucks are from left Peter Roux -Manager of Sheltam Marine & Stationary Power, Joan Moulang - Purchasing and Logistics, Sheltam, Etienne Raath - Group Operations Manager, Sheltam, and Carl Booysens - Technical Engineer, Sheltam Marine & Stationary Power.


    After a voyage delayed by the breakdown of the ships’ engines while off Angola, a consignment of 10 Megawatts of OEM power has been delivered to the port of Richards Bay and taken inland to one of the mining houses by Sheltam Grindrod.

    The special consignment consisting of 4 generator sets, each of 2.5 MW to deliver 10 Megawatts of power, four mechanical rooms, four electrical rooms and eight 40ft containers of accessories arrived in the port on the vessel BELUGA FOUNDATION, which earlier experienced engine problems off Angola.

    After a Cape Town-based tug towed the vessel to Walvis Bay repairs were carried out in record time allowing the ship to reach Richards Bay only a few days behind the original schedule.

    The cargo has since left the port by road in a convoy of 17 vehicles bound for the client ‘somewhere inland’.




    MSC places orders for another two cruise ships

    Mediterranean Shipping Cruises (MSC) has placed orders for two new cruise ships of the Musica class with Aker Yards in Saint-Nazaire.

    The contract calls for the ships to be delivered in February 2011 and February 2012 but is still subject to financing. No price for the ships has been announced.

    The news follows last month’s floating out ceremony for MSC SPLENDIDA, the newest addition to the MSC Crociere fleet, during which the giant newbuild was floated out to where she will undergo final fitting out before entering service.

    MSC Splendida and her sister ship now nearing completion, MSC FANTASIA are at 133,500-gt the two largest ships to be built by a European shipowner. Each ship will have 1,637 cabins to accommodate 3,274 passengers and 27,000 square metres of public space including a theatre capable of seating 1,649 patrons.

    Among other innovations the ships will introduce the MSC Yacht Club concept, a VIP area with 99 elegant suites, dedicated butlers and communal spaces furnished to the highest standards (away from the riff-raff?).

    MSC Splendida is scheduled for launching into service on 18 December 2008 and will be christened in Barcelona during the European summer of 2009.

    A third ship MSC MAGNIFICA, the fourth ship of the Musica class (92,000-gt) is also under construction at the Saint-Nazaire yard and is due to join the fleet in December 2009.




    Pic of the day – STELLENBOSCH

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice



    The general cargo vessel STELLENBOSCH now in service with MACS line, seen here in the Esplanade Channel of Durban harbour en route to a berth at Maydon Wharf. Picture Terry Hutson





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