Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 19, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson


















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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • First View – AQUAMARINE

  • Third floating dock en route to Durban

  • Kenya, Tanzania get together to fight piracy

  • Piracy - Turkish-led task force makes first suspected pirate capture

  • MCS recruits new intake of South African deck and engineering cadets for Sanko

  • Gotta hand it to those Aussies

  • Pic of the day – US Navy versus Pirates in Gulf of Aden




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    First View – AQUAMARINE



    The small coaster AQUAMARINE (5380gt, built 1975) which docked in Durban from Punta Arenas on Thursday last week (14 May) with a cargo of containers and breakbulk. The ship was photographed at M berth while her owners are attempting to secure a cargo from Durban, presumably for her home port of Valparaiso, Chile. The vessel, originally in Norwegian hands was sold the present Chilean owner in 2003 while retaining her original name. Picture copyright Shiphoto International



    Third floating dock en route to Durban

    On Friday a small 50m floating dock left Japan under tow for Durban where it is expected to arrive in approximately two months time.

    This will bring to three the number of floating docks resident in Durban harbour – the new dock however is intended primarily as a launch vessel for a fleet of new tugs now nearing completion at the Southern African Shipyards at Durban’s Bayhead.

    Confirming this news yesterday Mr Louis Gontier, Managing Director of Southern African Shipyards said he had just returned from Japan to finalise arrangements for the sailing of the 20-year old dock, which was expected to take 65 days.

    He said the dock would be used as a launch vessel for the five tugs nearing completion in the shipyard main hangar. Three of the tugs, each of 70-ton bollard pull are destined for the new port of Ngqura while the remaining two of 65t bollard pull will enter service in Durban. The first tug is expected to be completed for launching in July and will be followed at intervals of two to three months.

    This was the first time that five tugs have been under construction in the same hall at the same time in South Africa. The contract value was in the region of R400 million.

    Southern African Shipyards has also confirmed having been awarded the contract for two additional harbour tugs each with a bollard pull of 70 tons. It is believed these tugs will enter service in Richards Bay and Durban. This brings the number of tugs under construction in Durban for Transnet to seven. The latest contract is subject to final financing arrangements.

    Although permission will have to be sought from the port authority, it seems inevitable that the new floating or caisson dock will be made available at a later stage for ship repair, where it will provide additional facilities for small ship and fishing vessel repair and maintenance, thus improving the appeal of Durban for ship repair. In such a scenario the dock is likely to be positioned next to the existing two floating docks, one owned by Transnet National Ports Authority and the other by Elgin Brown & Hamer. Durban also has in service a graving or dry dock which is currently under the administration and operation of Transnet National Ports Authority.

    The Transnet floating dock was returned to service this week for an emergency docking of the asphalt carrier ASPHALT VENTURE. The Transnet floating dock has been out of service for some considerable time and recently returned to service, only to be taken out once again.



    Kenya, Tanzania get together to fight piracy

    Kenya and Tanzania are looking at holding joint naval patrols to ensure the safety of territorial waters as piracy moves closer to both countries.

    This emerged from a meeting in Zanzibar at the weekend where Kenya’s Vice President met with the President of Zanzibar, Dr Aveid Amani Karume. The question of rising numbers of pirate attacks in Kenya and Tanzania waters came under discussion, as was the resultant diversion of ships around the Cape of Good Hope.

    The effect that piracy is having on shipping charges was discussed, with President Karume saying that shipping companies have raised the cost of transporting a 20ft container by more than US $ 30 to cover these additional sea miles.

    He said the problem of piracy was now so serious that it was hurting the economies of both Kenya and Tanzania. “We are requesting that Kenya and Tanzania participate in joint naval activities in the region,” he said.

    Vice President Musyoka said both he and the Zanzibar president were concerned over the destruction and upheaval that pirates are bringing to the region and to Somalia. “Every effort must be put in place to deal with piracy decisively,” he said.

    The matter of Kenya’s request to the International Maritime Organisation to expand its territorial waters was also discussed.

    Meanwhile in South Africa there is still no indication how the new government of President Jacob Zuma will respond to suggestions that ships of the South African Navy be made available for anti-piracy patrol in Somali and Seychellois waters. This follows an increasing number of ships that have come under attack while en route or coming from South Africa. Recently the cruise ship MSC MELODY came under automatic gun and rocket fire while en route from Durban to Genoa via the Seychelles. The cruise ship, with a large number of South Africans on board managed to evade the pirates but required a warship escort for the rest of her journey through the endangered waters.

    Another vessel, the Belgian specialist dredging vessel POMPEI, en route from the Persian Gulf to Durban where the vessel is required for a contract with the widening of the Durban harbour entrance, came under attack by pirates and was seized and is being held for ransom. Contractors and port authorities in South Africa have declined to comment.

    In a related matter MSC Cruises will re-route the MSC SINFONIA around the bulge of Africa and Cape of Good Hope when the ship’s repositions to Durban in November, following the attack on MSC MELODY. Saying that the company had learned a lesson that even 1,000 miles off the coast wasn’t safe from Somali pirates, a MSC spokesman said it wouldn’t be taking any further chances in the future.



    Piracy - Turkish-led task force makes first suspected pirate capture

    Ships from Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 prevented a piracy attack in the Gulf of Aden, which resulted in the apprehension of more than a dozen suspected pirates aboard an alleged “mothership” last week.

    At approximately 3:30 pm on Wednesday 13 May, the Republic of Korea Destroyer, ROKS Munmu the Great (DDG 976) and guided missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64) responded to a distress call from the Egyptian-flagged Motor Vessel AMIRA, which reported being attacked approximately 75 nautical miles south of Al Mukalla, Yemen.

    Several assault rifle rounds and one rocket propelled grenade round struck M/V Amira resulting in little to no damage to the ship. A rope was thrown from the skiff in an attempt to board but the attempt failed and the suspected pirates abandoned their attack.

    Gettysburg and Munmu the Great launched their helicopters which flew immediately to Amira’s location. During its flight, the SH-60B helicopter assigned to Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 46 located a dhow suspected of serving as a pirate “mothership” with approximately 17 people onboard.

    A Gettysburg visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team boarded the suspected “mothership” along with members of US Coast Guard Legal Detachment (LEDET) 409 and apprehended the suspected pirates after finding eight assault rifles, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and one rocket-propelled grenade. All 17 of the passengers were brought on board Gettysburg for further questioning.

    “This is another clear example of how coordination between the Combined Maritime Forces resulted in the successful disruption of pirate activity,” said Royal Navy Commodore Tim Lowe, Deputy Commander of the Combined Maritime Forces. “It is imperative that all maritime forces continue to synchronize their efforts to deter and disrupt these unlawful and aggressive acts.”

    Gettysburg and Munmu the Great are operating in support of CTF 151, a multinational task force established to conduct counterpiracy operations under a mission-based mandate throughout the CMF area of responsibility to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations. – source US Navy



    MCS recruits new intake of South African deck and engineering cadets for Sanko

    A new group of young entrant Merchant Navy officer trainees sponsored by the Sanko Shipping Co of Tokyo have joined their first vessels in the Sanko fleet.

    The new group, who were selected for training and subsequent employment in Sanko’s large foreign-going fleet, were interviewed and selected by a MCS panel for the MCS/Sanko Cadet Training programmes. They joined their first vessel, SANKO INNOVATOR at Brussels recently.

    Since commencement of the MCS/Sanko cadet training programmes, a number of cadets have completed their cadetships of 15 months sea time on board Sanko vessels and satisfactorily passed the SAMSA oral examination for their first level Officer of the Watch STCW certificate of competency.

    These new cadets hail from all parts of South Africa and have successfully passed the theoretical phase of their Merchant Navy Officers training course. They are now on the path towards completing the experiential, practical phase of their programme, thanks to Sanko and MCS.

    Before joining their vessel the new entrants paused for a photograph with the MCS crewing team.





    Gotta hand it to the Aussies

    Just have to admire the way the Aussies do things. No heavy handed belligerent threats here….

    A report distributed by GACWorld relates to the mining group Rio Tinto, which advises that fishing has been banned from vessels while moored alongside any company wharves at the following places - Port Walcott, East Intercourse Island, Parker Point and Mistaken Island (we’ll resist going down the road with those names).

    Rio Tinto says it is enforcing the ban because of reports of undersize fish being kept, excessive amounts of fish being taken, mistreatment of fish-finning (whatever that is), fishing line and other debris left behind to be caught up on dolphins and other structures (dolphin-lovers will be charmed to know the animals have been listed as ‘structures’), and fishing hooks left caught up in mooring lines.

    The notice goes on to advise that “Any visiting crew members being found in breach of this policy will result in negative reports being formally lodged against the specific vessels.”

    Ouch, in the old days they’d have had them in irons at the very least!



    Pic of the day – US Navy versus Pirates in Gulf of Aden



    Gulf of Aden, 13 May - Members of a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team from the US Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and US Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team South Detachment 409 approach a suspected pirate mothership after responding to a merchant vessel distress signal while operating in the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) area of responsibility as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151.

    CTF 151 is a multinational task force established to conduct counter-piracy operations under a mission-based mandate throughout the CMF area of responsibility to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations. Picture US Navy photo, by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric L Beauregard




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