Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 19, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson
















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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • First View – SAN ALESSIO

  • Mombasa port drops certain port charges for Uganda

  • Piracy – ARCTIC SEA found, crew safe and on way home

  • Maritime job creation links Singapore and Cape Town

  • Unity Bridge between Mozambique and Tanzania due to open in November

  • Trade News – first equipment under Terex Port Equipment banner handed over to MSC Rosslyn

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Pics of the day – MSC CONFIDENCE




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    First View – SAN ALESSIO



    The German-owned, Liberian-flagged container ship SAN ALESSIO (22,914-gt, built 2008) which was in Cape Town harbour last week. Picture by Ian Shiffman



    Mombasa port drops certain port charges for Uganda

    Kenya Ports Authority has announced it is to drop a number of port charges of between $75 and $110 on containers moving through the port of Mombasa.

    The charges were those levied against scanning, verification, inspection and associated stuffing or destuffing of containers for inspection, which cost $75 for a 20ft container and $110 for a 40ft box.

    “Some of these charges were not predictable for the owners of the cargo and therefore were a problem when they arose,” a port spokesman said.

    He said that congestion at the port of Mombasa was also a thing of the past. Pressure on the port terminals had been relieved following the implementation of 24/7 type operations. The addition of container freight stations (CFS) had also made a difference, he said.

    The freight stations act like agents for the Kenya Ports Authority by charging almost the same as does the port for storage but handle only Kenya-bound cargo. – source East African Business Week



    Piracy – ARCTIC SEA found, crew safe and on way home

    Russian authorities have placed under arrest eight people accused of having highjacked the general cargo ship ARCTIC SEA in July.

    Announcing this yesterday, Russian’s Minister of Defence Anatoly Serdyukov said the arrested men were not members of the crew of 15, who were in good health and were being taken to Sal island where a Russian aircraft would take them to Moscow.

    The Arctic Sea, which is believed to have been highjacked in the Baltic Sea on 23 July, was en route to Bejaia in Algeria from Finland with a cargo of timber. Initial reports said a group of masked men went on board the vessel while off the coast of Sweden. The ship later reported in to British maritime authorities while sailing through the English Channel and on 30 July was spotted by a Portuguese reconnaissance aircraft off the coast of Portugal. After that the vessel disappeared amidst speculation that it had been seized by pirates.

    The vessel was located on Sunday some 300 n.miles off the Cape Verde islands. Several Russian naval ships, which had been engaged to look for the missing ship then converged on her and made the arrests of the suspects – four Estonians, two Latvians and two Russians.

    “These people, after claiming that their boat was not working, boarded the Arctic Sea and using the threat of arms, demanded that the crew follow all of their orders without condition,” Minister Serdyukov said.



    Maritime job creation links Singapore and Cape Town



    Left to right: Jaco Rabie and Emily Tan of RKOffShore with and Deanna Collins

    A unique new initiative has been launched to develop a pool of South African merchant seafarers which could be deployed as navigation and engineering officers and deck crew members in the off-shore industry. The new initiative links a well-known Singaporean off-shore operator with Cape Town’s marine crewing specialist company, Marine Crew Services (MCS).

    “South Africa is definitely well placed to become one of our most important sources of suitably qualified staff for deployment in our growing fleet of off-shore supply vessels,” says Jaco Rabie, General Manager of RKOffShore in Singapore. Mr Rabie and RKOffShore’s Crewing Manager, Emily Tan, visited Cape Town to finalise plans for the initiative with MCS, a company which was established six years ago to coordinate training of South African seafarers in order to increase the country’s role in the maritime sector.

    RKOffShore presently operates 16 vessels in the oil exploration business off West Africa, in South East Asia and off Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. “We will be increasing this fleet to 30 with new buildings by mid-2010 and we need to ensure that we have a pool of staff to rotate and keep them working in a seamless operation,” says Mr Rabie.

    He says Marine Crew Services is the ideal partner to coordinate the South African pool and there are great opportunities to develop strong long term partnership between the two parties. “Our involvement in the oil and gas sector is part of a long term strategy,” he said.

    According to Mr Rabie, while the consumption of oil and gas is expected to increase, production in traditional fields remain stable. “There is no doubt that exploration activities will increase and we have positioned ourselves to become major players.”

    He says all exploration activities are driven by the oil price. With lower oil prices recently, exploration has declined because border-line operators could not afford it. “However, an oil price about US $ 70 will make them viable again and increase demand for exploration.”

    “The challenge is to find the right crews for the various vessels because we are working under demanding conditions and have to deliver services to the world’s largest companies. Human ability and precision to execute tasks under very strict safety conditions set us apart from other sectors of the maritime job market.”

    He says Marine Crew Services has already proven itself as very successful in identifying the people with the best potential and coordinating their training to eventually place them successfully in merchant seafarer careers. “We see the South African supply pool as being particularly important for our vessels operating off Africa. South Africans understand African conditions better and can also supply the staff requirements of these vessels more easily from Cape Town because of its location.”

    Ms Tan said she was impressed with the MCS operation. “We want South Africans in our recruitment programme because we have had such a good experience with the candidates that have already joined our fleet.”

    She says top quality crews are scarce and there is generally a shortage of suitably qualified maritime officers and ratings in the off-shore business and this presents a unique opportunity for South Africans.

    Marine Crew Services has already achieved much success in its efforts to open up new opportunities for South Africans seafarers to enter the commercial fleets of the world as fully certified navigational and engineering officers. In this respect the Cape Town-based company has a long standing partnership with Sanco Shipping Line of Japan.

    “The success of the Sanko programme can be seen in the increasing number of MCS/Sanko cadets from South Africa who have now completed their sea time and who have recently graduated to the rank of Officer of the Watch and who are now taking up positions as junior officers,” says Deanna Collins, Marine Crew Services Director of Crewing and Training.

    “We hope to achieve similar success in our partnership with RKOffShore,” she says.

    Ms Collins says Marine Crew Services have always maintained that its efforts in this field should receive more support from the South African government. “In a South African economy where unemployment is rampant and there is a need to stimulate new job opportunities, our efforts deserve more support.”

    “We have always maintained that it is well within our reach to train 2,500 new merchant navy seafarers over the next eight years. This in turn would create approximately 25,000 new jobs over the same period within the maritime support industry. Without funding assistance, however, the opportunity to grow the South African merchant navy, and offer this lucrative field of employment in the international market to potential new young entrants, is sadly not possible. Such a programme to train 2,500 seafarers over an eight year period would cost in the region of R247-million. Expensive it may seem but the returns to the country are enormous”.



    Unity Bridge between Mozambique and Tanzania due to open in November

    The new road bridge over the Rovuma River separating Mozambique from Tanzania, dubbed the ‘Unity Bridge’ is nearing completion almost one year late but is expected to be ready for the official opening in November this year.

    Maputo newspaper Noticias reports that the bridge should be handed over by the contractors on 30 November. Construction has been underway since October 2005 and was originally due for completion in November 2008. The main contractor is a firm called China Geo-Engineering Corporation.

    The delay came about last year when the main contractor announced that a sub-contractor had imported unsuitable materials and that the bridge needed to be redesigned as a result.

    The Unity Bridge linking Tanzania with northern Mozambique will be 720m in length and 13,5m wide and was budgeted to cost US$25 million. It is expected to have a significant effect on the economies of the two countries and will aid development in neighbouring regions.



    Trade News – first equipment under Terex Port Equipment banner handed over to MSC Rosslyn



    After nearly a year of negotiation the final Sale / Purchase agreement whereby Terex Corporation has purchased the entire shareholding of the Fantuzzi Group (Fantuzzi Lift Truck Division / Reggiane Mobile harbour Cranes / Reggiane Cranes and Plants / Noell Straddle Carrier Division / Noell China), was finalised on the Friday and announced on Monday 27 July - see our report HERE

    The first Fantuzzi reach stacker model CS45KM to be handed over under the Terex Port Equipment banner was to the Mediterranean Shipping Company depot in Rosslyn. Seen at the handover was Neill Clegg (on right), Fantuzzi Noell South Africa sales manager who is congratulating Jaco Reynecke, MSC depot manager at Rosslyn.



    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Transnet Freight Rail has revealed that it is currently operating an average of 16 container trains a day (8 trains Up and 8 Down) between the port of Durban and Johannesburg. Each block train consists of 50 container wagons capable of carrying up to 100 TEUs. This marks a significant improvement by TFR in winning back container traffic from the road – until recently TFR operated a maximum of 6 trains a day – three each way. In addition there are a number of container trains operating daily between Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg and Cape Town and Gauteng.


    Tanzania says it is seeking ways to recapitalise the troubled Tanzania Railways Ltd (TRL) and wants to inject about US$40 million into the equally problematic Tazara – the 1067mm gauge railway connecting Dar es Salaam with Zambia and the remainder of the SADC region.

    TRL is leased to India’s Rites, a division of India’s national railway corporation, for 25 years but in 2008 the Indian company failed to pay the concession fee, reported to be in excess of $6 million. Rites has claimed that Tanzania’s Railway Assets Holding Company misled it regarding the number of locomotives available for the service, saying it found only 55 working locos and not the supposed 92. This discrepancy led to Rites being unable to raise a loan of $20m from the International Finance Corporation.


    In Nigeria US railway engineers are examining modalities towards assisting Nigeria with refurbishing its existing railway network instead of building a completely new system. Earlier Nigeria’s Federal government announced it wanted to rebuild the country’s entire railway network to a European standard gauge – Nigeria currently uses mostly Cape gauge (1067mm). The estimated cost of refurbishing the railway is expected to be a fraction of the cost of rebuilding to a new gauge. (At last some common sense regarding the gauge issue! – editor)



    Pics of the day – MSC CONFIDENCE



    Two views of the container ship MSC CONFIDENCE (64,585-gt, built 2003), on charter from Hyundai Merchant Marine and seen in Cape Town harbour this month. Pictures by Ian Shiffman





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