Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 4, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson














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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • First View – MSC LISBON

  • Unions to block ship from offloading in Durban

  • Turmoil in shipping: claims and arrests rise

  • World’s first FDPSO heads for the Congo

  • Piracy update – Turkish ship released

  • K Line goes west

  • Pics of the day – MSC LISBON and CMA CGM TEMA




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    First View – MSC LISBON



    The biggest container ship ever to call at a South African port arrived in Cape Town yesterday morning. The 109,600-DWT ship, with a container capacity of 9,800-TEU arrived en route to the Far East via the Cape and was to load 2,192 empty containers for repositioning purposes. MSC Lisbon, which is 337m in length had four harbour tugs and two pilots in attendance, making sure that her arrival didn’t go unremarked. The ship berthed at 603 in the container terminal and is expected to sail on tomorrow, 5 February. Picture Ian Shiffman



    Unions to block ship from offloading in Durban

    Dock workers in Durban say they will prevent a ship, thought to have Israeli ties, from working cargo when she docks in port this week.

    According to a statement issued by the trade union organisation COSATU yesterday, members of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) will not offload a ship which they say is trading from Israel.

    The vessel, which is believed to be the feeder container ship JOHANNA RUSS (9,956-gt, built 2006) is scheduled to berth on Sunday, 8 February. Johanna Russ is registered to a German owner and is managed by German ship managers but is trading jointly with Zim, Laurel Navigation, Gold Star Line and Sea Consortium on the East African feeder service between Durban and Djibouti.

    The COSATU statement described the pledge by SATAWU members in Durban as “reflecting the commitment by South African workers to refuse to support oppression and exploitation across the globe” and refers directly to the situation in Gaza.

    COSATU says the action will be a part of the “proud history of worker resistance against apartheid” and quotes several instances where trade unions elsewhere refused to offload a ship from South Africa during the anti-apartheid years. It also refers to the more recent example of Satawu refusing to offload a shipment of arms that arrived on a Chinese ship which were destined for Zimbabwe.

    The trade union movement in South Africa is also planning a number of protests, marches and pickets elsewhere in the country to protest Israel’s action against Gaza.



    Turmoil in shipping: claims and arrests rise

    At the height of the economic boom the going rate for charters of the largest bulk carriers ("Cape Size") reached startling figures of up to 120,000 US dollars a day. The market downturn saw this plummet to as low as $3,000 a day. Although this rate has since risen (reportedly to the region of $20,000 a day) it is still a far cry from last year and players in the industry are hurting.

    The result is that on a daily basis chartering companies are going to the wall or simply trying to redeliver (hand back) ships on charter to them, says Shepstone & Wylie's Shane Dwyer, a partner in the International Transport, Trade and Energy Department and an expert in the shipping field.

    He referred to a recent Lloyds List report which said arbitrators estimate that appointments have surged by as much as 25% since last year.

    It went on to quote Mark Hamsher, a committee member of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association, as saying that he was seeing claims for non-performed contracts with losses of, say, $5m per month or a calculated loss over several years of $ 100m.

    The big question is how do you get your money back? How do the innocent parties get security for their claims, or having obtained a judgment or award in their favour, execute on it?

    Dwyer has been invited to shortly join British, French and US experts in an international video conference, arranged by the London Shipping Law Centre and Holman Fenwick Willan that will discuss the various international options of securing or enforcing maritime claims.

    Shepstone & Wylie is currently receiving on average two to three calls a day asking for advice on arresting ships or other assets, so that monies owed can be recovered or security obtained for pending proceedings abroad, says Dwyer.

    South Africa and France have advantageous jurisdictions to arrest ships for this purpose, while the US has developed a procedure called a Rule B attachment. This procedure enables a court order to be obtained to attach money being remitted in US dollars through the New York banking system, to an owner or charterer and freeze it as security.

    While there has been considerable Rule B activity in the US recently in consequence of the credit and trading crisis, says Dwyer, charterers and ship owners are finding ways around this, and legal observers suggest the use of this procedure to attach assets has become increasingly contentious, with defendants being more prepared to contest proceedings or lodge counter-claims.



    World’s first FDPSO heads for the Congo

    The world’s first FDPSO – that’s Floating, Drilling, Production, Storage and Offloading for the uninitiated – is on her way from the Keppel Shipyard in Singapore bound for the Republic of Congo, where the large vessel will go to work for Murphy West Africa in the deep-water Azurite development in the Mer Profonde Sud Block.

    Unlike standard FPSOs the AZURITE, as this one has been named, comes equipped with a modular drilling rig that can be removed for use elsewhere once production wells have been drilled. Normal FPSOs are brought in after the wells have been drilled and recovery of oil is underway.

    Azurite has a storage capacity of 1,4 million barrels of oil and a process capacity of between 40,000 and 60,000 bpd and will operate in waters at a depth of 1,400 metres.



    Piracy update – Turkish ship released


    Unconfirmed reports state that Somali pirates have released the Turkish-owned dry cargo ship BOSPHORUS PRODIGY (3,062-gt, built 1985) along with her crew of eight Ukrainians and three Turks. The ship has been in captivity since December off the Puntland coast.

    There is no indication whether a ransom was paid although this is assumed.

    In another incident being reported yesterday, a Comoros-registered ship JAIKUR II has disappeared somewhere off the Somali coast and while piracy cannot be ruled out it is thought possible that a commercial dispute may have led to the ship being ‘detained’ by other interested parties.

    Jaikur II had recently completed the delivery, under escort of the French naval patrol frigate FNS FLOREAL, of a World Food Programme consignment to the Somali capital and main port of Mogadishu. On arrival in Mogadishu on 24 January the French warship departed the scene while the stevedores got on with the discharging of Jaikur II’s cargo. Once this was complete there has been no reports of the ship.



    K Line goes west

    Japanese carrier K Line has announced the launching of a new service which will operate between Cape Town and West Africa.

    The service which commences in April will make use of four ships in the 1,000-TEU range and will operate as an independent service for K Line calling at Cape Town, Tema, Lagos, Cotonou, and Cape Town.



    Pic of the day – MSC LISBON and CMA CGM TEMA



    Another view of the mighty ship, the largest container ship so far to enter a South African port, MSC LISBON (109,600-DWT and 9,800-TEU). Even the birds on the water appear impressed. Picture Ian Shiffman



    The French container ship CMA CGM TEMA (21,531-gt, built 1996) seen in Cape Town harbour, where the vessel has been a regular caller for a number of years. Tema is German-owned and managed and is under charter to CMA CGM. Picture by Ian Shiffman






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