Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 25, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson


















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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • First View – LAMNALCO TERN

  • Bulker Pride Trader update - latest

  • South African citrus crop looking strong for 2009

  • Piracy update – two ships evade capture

  • Corrosion team unravels wire rope problem for Cape consulting engineers

  • Luanda, Angola – new container depots to be opened to relieve port congestion

  • Pic of the day – TOLEDO




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    First View – LAMNALCO TERN



    The Emirates-owned tug LAMNALCO TERN (454-gt, built 2006) alongside Landing Wharf No.3 in Cape Town harbour, 21 May 2009. Picture by Aad Noorland



    Bulker Pride Trader update - latest

    Sunday, 24 May 2009 - Salvors have successfully contained a water leakage in the engine room of the bulk carrier ‘Pine Trader’ and today (Sunday) will begin a process aimed at reinforcing the affected area – a previously patched 2.5 metre crack in the vessel’s structure. A survey of the structural integrity of the rest of the hull is also underway.

    On Saturday, a senior South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Surveyor and NDT Technician were taken out to the casualty with the kind assistance of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and examined the vessel’s shell plating.

    Safety of life and protection of the environment are top priorities during this operation and co-operation between SAMSA, Marine & Coastal Management (MCM), relevant authorities and salvors SMIT Salvage continues to be excellent. MCM’s Inshore Patrol Vessel ‘Ruth First’ remains on the scene and plays a critical role as a proactive safety measure to protect life.

    Following an injury sustained by a member of the salvage team yesterday, the ‘Ruth First’ assisted by transporting him to Cape Town for treatment. His injuries were minor and he has subsequently rejoined the salvage team.

    The salvage tug ‘SMIT Amandla’ has the casualty under tow and the convoy is presently some 60 miles west of Robben Island. The salvage team on the ‘Pine Trader’ consists of 7 personnel including a Salvage Master, Salvage Engineer and dive personnel. The shoreside support team includes naval architects, diving specialists and technical advisors. 10 ‘Pine Trader’ crew members remain on board, with all non-essential personnel having left the vessel.

    On Monday 18th May, the Master of the ‘Pine Trader’ advised the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) that the vessel had lost main engine power and that there was flooding in the engine room. The ‘SMIT Amandla’ was dispatched from False Bay and successfully connected up to the ‘Pine Trader’ shortly after midnight on Monday, preventing her from running aground in the vicinity of Cape Infanta.

    PetroSA had earlier on 18th May released the ‘SMIT Lloyd 33’ to assist as she was at the ‘Orca’ and located closest to the stricken bulk carrier. On Tuesday 19th May, SAMSA requested that MCM’s Inshore Patrol Vessel ‘Victoria Mxenge’ be dispatched to the casualty to standby and she took 12 non-essential ship’s crew from the ‘Pine Trader’ onboard yesterday, landing them safely in Simon’s Town. An additional 2 personnel and the ship’s captain have been flown off of the casualty.

    The ‘Pine Trader’ has 220 tonnes of fuel onboard and is carrying a cargo of 20 500 tonnes of bagged rice, destined for Abidjan. The vessel was built in 1979 and has a gross tonnage of 18,220-gt. The vessel’s managers are based in Croatia.

    (See previous reports of this casualty in PORTS & SHIPS News Bulletins)



    South African citrus crop looking strong for 2009

    by Bob Luder, published in The Packer (see below for link)

    South Africa’s 2009 exports of summer citrus to the US might well fall under the category of “less is more.”

    While overall supplies of the country’s most popular commodity, the navel orange, should be slightly lower than a year ago, the size of the fruit should be larger.

    “The crop is a little lighter than last season,” said Piet Smit, managing director for the Western Cape Citrus Producers’ Forum, Citrusdal, South Africa. “Last year, we had a heavy crop for the western region. It was a heavy crop, but smaller fruit size.

    “But we’ll have a far better crop this season for the US We’ll send bigger fruits to the US and smaller sizes to other markets.

    “The trend is to send the best quality to the US - that will be the case again.”

    Smit said South Africa shipped about 1.9 million boxes of navels to the US last year. He anticipates that number to drop to about 1.6 million in 2009.

    Mayda Sotomayor, chief executive officer at Seald Sweet International, Vero Beach, Fla., said a recent trip to South Africa validated Smit’s assertions the quality of fruit is top-notch.

    “They’ve already started picking the early satsumas,” Sotomayor said. “They are looking at a 15% reduction in total volume and yield per hectare.

    “Last year, they had a large crop, but small sizes, which is not good. We’re feeling a lot better about the size being more normal this year.”

    Sotomayor said she expects the South African navels to be in the range of 56s-72s for a 15-kilogram, or 33-pound, carton. Last year, sizes ranged from 72s-88s.

    South Africa isn’t expecting smaller crops for all commodities, however. While navels are down slightly, Smit said his country, which shipped 2 million boxes of clementines to the US last year, expects that number to be closer to 3 million this year. Late-season mandarins also should see major growth.

    “The normal (clementine) season is slightly down,” said Matt Gordon, Chilean program manager at DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla. But late season, the mandarins are expected to increase as long as they don’t get any late rains.”

    Smit said he expects clementines to ship the first or second week in June and continue through the end of September. He said he even plans to ship 300,000 boxes of valencias and midnight valencias at the end of September and early October.

    “The main commodities are oranges and clems,” said Marc Solomon, president of Fisher Capespan, Philadelphia, the leading US importer of South African fruit. “We’ll see the first clems in early June. We’re looking for an increase in volumes, at least 20% growth. Last year, there was a shortage of clems, so we’re looking to rebound from those volumes.

    “In late June, we’re expecting navels. We’re looking at a slightly smaller crop, but that’s OK. Last year, at times, there was too much fruit on the market. The quality looks very good.”

    Prices also appear to be holding fairly steady from last year.

    To read the full article in The Packer click HERE



    Piracy update – two ships evade capture

    A second Maersk Line ship has come under attack from Somali pirates. The MAERSK VIRGINIA (50,686-gt, built 2002) was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden but managed to avoid being captured thanks to the timely arrival of helicopters from nearby patrolling Canadian and Italian warships. Earlier the same pirates had been intent on capturing a Lebanese flagged bulk carrier, the MARIA K (7,244-gt, built 1976) but broke off the attack and diverted their attention on the American/Danish ship with its crew of 19 American seafarers.

    Italian sailors later boarded the pirate boat but by that time the pirates had thrown their weapons overboard.

    The attack on the Maersk ship appears to indicate that the pirates are either not aware of the ownership of vessels being attacked or if they are have not been deterred by the response of the US to a previous pirate attack on the MAERSK ALABAMA.

    This is also the second time that Maersk Virginia has come under pirate attack – the other occasion being in November last year when the ship managed to evade capture by out-manoeuvring the pirates.


    Meanwhile the European Union says it will extend its anti-piracy operations to include the waters around the Seychelles, following a series of attacks by Somali pirates on ships much further south and east than previously.

    French junior defence minister Jean-Marie Bockel said the extension of the operational area to include the waters around the Seychelles will require the deployment of an additional two ships.

    In another development pirates have released the Maltese-flagged bulk carrier PATRIOT along with the ship’s crew of 17 seafarers, who are all reported as being safe and in good health.



    Trade news - Corrosion team unravels wire rope problem for Cape consulting engineers

    A team of Cape based corrosion specialists has solved a major corrosion problem for a national firm of consulting engineers. The solution was developed as a joint initiative between The Centre for Materials Engineering at the University of Cape Town and Chemical investigation Services an independent technical investigative practice.

    The problem appeared when specially developed galvanized steel wire ropes installed in a Cape marine application subject to very severe in-service conditions started showing signs of significant visual corrosive activity. The corrosion began to appear within a relatively short period after installation. The design engineers were very concerned that the corrosion potentially threatened the wire rope integrity and their safe usage under load.

    The supplier had originally provided the wire ropes on the basis that they could function for at least 30-50 years in the chosen marine environment.

    Says Professor Rob Knutsen: “The Centre for Materials Engineering and Chemical Investigation Services has done a number of joint test projects and we compliment each other very well. We were approached in 2007 to comment on the premature corrosion activity seen on these galvanized wire ropes and after making a proposal to the engineering consortium, were contracted to carry out accelerated corrosion studies with a view to establishing the underlying failure mechanism. This we successfully did and presented our findings to the consulting engineers in July 2008.”

    The wire ropes that were at the centre of this investigation were galvanized with a special zinc alloy known as Galfan. This galvanizing alloy consists of zinc, aluminium and other special alloying elements. Galfan as a galvanizing treatment is supposed to provide far better corrosion resistance than conventional galvanizing.

    “When we first went on site in 2007 to view the wire ropes in their marine application it was quite evident that they had not lived up to expectations,” said Simon Norton of Chemical Investigation Services.

    “Professor Knutsen and I designed an accelerated corrosion test pattern to stress test pieces made up of new wire rope, old corroded wire rope and coated wire ropes. We set out to test in the severe laboratory atmosphere for +1000 hours and then examined the corrosion attack process”, explained Norton.

    Wire ropes are complex machines with a range of mechanical, tribological and material properties at play when they are exposed to a harsh environment of sea spray, rain, dust grit, wetness and variable UV radiation from the sun.

    Wire rope is wound from many strands each of which consists of many individual wires which are often coated, for example with a Galfan layer. Wire ropes are used for winches, mine cages hoists, dragline equipment and drydock synchrolifts. Wire ropes thus fulfil a critical function while being exposed to dust, grit, rock fines and corrosive atmospheres.

    Explains Prof Knutsen: “After carrying out our first accelerated corrosion test pattern for more than 1000 hours, we cut open all the wire rope test pieces and after mounting and polishing them, examined them using powerful optical microscopes. This allowed us to clarify the mechanism of corrosive attack that had so severely affected the wire ropes. Our partners Chemical Investigation Services reviewed recent literature on aspects of marine corrosion and this led us to understanding the mechanism of corrosion that had occurred in the wires of these ropes. We reported our full findings to the consortium of engineers who were very intrigued by the intricacy of the wire rope corrosion process and the complexity of the marine environment in which the ropes had worked.”

    Zinc is normally used as a coating on steel surfaces or steel wires so as to act as a sacrificial material when the steel object is exposed to atmospheric corrosive conditions. Zinc galvanizing not only offers a barrier layer but also offers what is termed “galvanic” protection to the underlying steel surface.

    “Our next step in solving the problem was to subject new test pieces of wire rope to a carefully designed cyclic accelerated corrosion test pattern. Our objective was to select a suitable coating system which would provide an additional protective barrier on the wire ropes. This time before we started testing we coated the wire rope test specimens with a range of dedicated protective coatings. After running the cyclic accelerated test program for 28 days we could make a clear distinction between good and bad coatings,” Norton said.

    Laboratory based accelerated corrosion testing is often no substitute for field testing, where test panels or in this case test pieces of wire rope are placed at a specific site and exposed to the actual conditions of salt spray, drying cycles, wetness, rain washing, sand abrasion and ultra violet radiation from the sun. The combination of these factors can have devastating impact on materials and anti-corrosion coatings.

    “While our laboratory based work had clarified many things for us about the nature of the corrosion of the wire ropes and the role that coatings could play in either worsening corrosion or preventing it, it was only when we examined our first set of on-site test pieces that we saw the severe impact of UV radiation, time of wetness and drying on the condition of the wire ropes. We were able to inform our clients about the variability of the marine environment and how critical this was to their design process.” emphasised Prof Knutsen.

    Over a period of nearly 15 months the joint venture between the Centre for Materials Engineering at the University of Cape Town and Chemical Investigation Services has successfully solved a serious engineering headache for the consulting engineers who were responsible for designing and managing the wire rope project.

    A materials engineering problem of serious proportions and with serious financial and safety implications has been resolved and proposals for corrosion protection and mitigatory measures have been made.

    Further details available from Chemical Investigation Services, email:
    chemdetect@iafrica.com or at www.chemdetect.co.za



    Luanda, Angola – new container depots to be opened to relieve port congestion

    The Port of Luanda in Angola is to create several more dry ports, or inland container depots in an effort to relieve container congestion at Luanda port.

    Chief Executive Officer of the Commercial Port of Luanda, Silvio Ninhas said last week that as a short term measure additional dry ports would be created, with a large scale depot intended for Cacuaco district, another in Viana and one in the Petrangol area. He was confident these measures would help assist relieving congestion and delays at Luanda port.

    He said the congestion had come about as a result of increased ship calls at Luanda but acknowledged that overcrowding at the container terminal led to delays in merchants clearing their cargo.



    Pic of the day – TOLEDO



    Car carriers are only occasional visitors to Cape Town, the dedicated Ro-Ro vessels normally calling at the car terminal ports of Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban and Maputo while in southern Africa. Here we see the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Line TOLEDO (61,321-gt, built 2005) berthed in Cape Town harbour. Picture by Aad Noorland



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