Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 10, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson




















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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • First View – MEIN SCHIFF


  • DP World shares plummet but no restructure of port terminal division is likely, says company


  • Shipping Industry Supports Global Controls on CO2 at Copenhagen


  • Piracy – Somalis take Iranian ship


  • EU Naval Forces (NAVFOR) warns shipping not to sail in the Dangerzone


  • Trade News: Wilhelmsen seals 39-ship liferaft exchange agreement


  • Training - SAMTRA concludes successful Security Officers course


  • India plans oil refinery in Nigeria


  • Eskom signs 17-year contract for Majuba coal


  • Maersk raises USD704 million to repay banks


  • MOL looks to refocus on oil and LNG


  • South Africa and Switzerland hold trade talks


  • Today’s recommended Read – Challenging times lie ahead for the shipping industry


  • Pics of the day –MAERSK BROOKLYN





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    First View – MEIN SCHIFF

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    The TUI Cruises ship MEIN SCHIFF (76,998-gt, built 1996) seen in Palma, Majorca during the photographer’s recent Mediterranean cruise. The ship, which is perhaps better known as the former GALAXY of Celebrity Lines, entered service with TUI Cruises in May 2009. Picture by Ian Shiffman



    DP World shares plummet but no restructure of port terminal division is likely, says company

    Shares in Dubai Ports World (DP World) plummeted 4.93% yesterday as reaction set in to parent company Dubai World’s financial problems.

    Dubai World has gone to some length to explain that DP World is not affected by the proposed restructuring of the parent company’s debt and assets, although the markets remain apparently unconvinced.

    It was reported on Al Jazeerah TV that Dubai World may sell assets in the UAE and abroad to repay its debt. A week ago Dubai World said that DP World, which is the world’s fourth largest port terminal operator, was not part of any restructuring plan. Dubai World owns 80% of DP World which has considerable port and stevedoring assets in Africa.

    Dubai World has been anxious to play down the financial crisis it faces although it recently issued a statement saying that it wanted a six-month moratorium on its debt which needed restructuring. The group faces a USD59 billion debt obligation.

    Egyptian banking analysts say that a broad range of assets could be liquidated at Dubai World. There has also been speculation that neighbouring UAE state Abu Dhabi might come to the rescue with additional loans.

    Meanwhile the company says it has not frozen any projects although those already underway and planned are under review.

    On Tuesday Dubai World said that Drydocks World and its subsidiaries were not to be included in the restructuring process for Dubai World and its various real estate subsidiaries. The latter includes Nakheel, which in turn controls the group’s investment in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront and a number of other South African tourist-related investments.

    Somewhere in all this is included the project involving the former Cunard liner QE2 which had been mooted for Cape Town as a floating hotel and tourist attraction. This idea appeared soon after Nakheel and Dubai World’s financial problems began to manifest with an announcement that the conversion of the ship as a floating attraction in Dubai had been placed on hold.

    Since then QE2 has moved to a drydock in Dubai, apparently to prepare the vessel for its transfer to Cape Town although this now appears very unlikely.

    Drydocks World is involved in ship repair, shipbuilding, rig building, ship conversion, offshore fabrication and fleet operations with facilities across the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

    In a related matter Singapore-based shipping trust FSL Trust Management says that it has decided ‘not to proceed at this time’ with a USD200 million senior notes issue which it announced two weeks ago, citing the recent events in Dubai.

    FSL Trust has 23 vessels on long-term sale and leaseback deals and says it remains strong despite the setback in the shipping sector. “The start of the investor roadshow coincided with the outbreak of the Dubai World credit crisis. This impacted fixed-income investor sentiment, particularly in Asia and Europe,” said FSL Trust Management chief executive Philip Clausius.



    Shipping Industry Supports Global Controls on CO2 at Copenhagen


    In the final run up to the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and its member national shipowners’ associations have issued a strong statement in support of global measures being adopted to reduce shipping’s CO2 emissions significantly.

    In its statement the ICS says there is consensus amongst the global shipping industry, which transports about 90% of world trade – as well as most of the world’s transport ministries – that the most effective means of reducing CO2 emissions by ships will be for the Copenhagen Conference to give the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) a mandate to finalise the comprehensive package of technical and economic measures which it has already developed.

    “IMO will be best placed to apply these to all ships in international trade, rather than only to the 35% of the world fleet that is currently registered with nations that are Kyoto Annex I countries.”

    The ICS says it is vital that governments avoid ‘carbon leakage’ from within the shipping sector, and IMO has a successful track record of delivering environment standards for ships that are enforced worldwide.

    Additional information can be found HERE.

    ICS notes that the European Union is seeking agreement in Copenhagen for a very ambitious reduction of 20% in emissions by the global shipping sector by 2020 from a 2005 baseline. “While it is also noted that aviation, which is currently some 30 times less carbon efficient than shipping is being asked by the EU to cut its emissions by only 10%, the international shipping industry is committed to achieving whatever global target may be set for shipping by governments, provided that the same standards will apply to all ships trading internationally.

    “However, any targets for the shipping sector should ideally be set by IMO, which will be better equipped to take account of factors such as the predicted expansion of demand for shipping services, which is directly related to the long term growth of the world economy over which the industry has no control.

    “While ICS accepts that there be may a need for some form of global Market Based Instrument to encourage emission reductions (such as a fuel levy, an emissions trading scheme or a combination of the two) the industry firmly believes that it will be best left for governments, working at IMO, to determine the most effective economic mechanism, and which will have the best chance of being applied on a uniform and global basis and delivering maximum environmental benefit.

    The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is an influential international trade association for shipowners, with a membership of 33 national shipowners’ associations representing all sectors and trades and about 75% of the world merchant fleet.



    Piracy – Somalis take Iranian ship

    An Iranian fishing vessel with 29 crew members on board has been captured by Somali pirates and has been taken to a Somali port, Iran’s Maritime Affairs ministry has announced.

    The as yet unnamed fishing vessel was operating off the Somali coast at the time of the highjack but outside territorial waters, according to the Iranians. There is no clarity as to the welfare of the crew or exactly where the vessel has been taken. Several Iranian vessels have been highjacked in recent years by Somali pirates.


    The Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) President Sharif Sheik Ahmed called yesterday (Wednesday) for Somali marines to help protect Somalia from the actions of pirates. He was speaking to several hundred TFG marine recruits in the Banadir region and called on them to do their utmost to help solve the problem of banditry along the country’s long coastline.

    The president said the rest of the world believed all Somalis are involved in ship highjacking, which he described as a shameful thing for the Somali nation. He pointed out that his country also faced insurrection from Islamist groups fighting to prevent the establishment of his government.



    EU Naval Forces (NAVFOR) warns shipping not to sail in the Dangerzone

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    The French yacht being assisted by Dutch Naval forces. Picture EU NAVFOR

    On December 7th 2009, the EU NAVFOR Netherlands warship HNLMS Evertsen detected a sailing vessel in the Gulf of Aden. The region is considered a hotbed for piracy and is considered too dangerous for lone yachtsmen.

    In order to establish the intentions of the sailor, the yacht was approached by Evertsen. The French solo sailor was on his way to Madagascar and said to be fully aware of the dangers of this area. Because his engine and auto steering gear had already broken down and he had no money to buy food and stores after having been robbed in Aden, a French officer of the EU NAVFOR staff on board Eversten strongly advised him to return to Djibouti and have second thoughts on his planned journey.

    The staff officer was particularly motivated to have the sailor change his mind as he was involved in the rescue operation of the French yacht "Tanit" during which one of the captives died. The sailor finally took EU NAVFOR's advice and turned the sailing vessel towards Djibouti.

    HNLMS Evertsen is taking part in the EUNAVFOR mission Operation ATALANTA. The main tasks of Operation ATALANTA are to escort merchant vessels carrying food of the 'World Food Program' (WFP), the protection of vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy. – source European Union Naval Force



    Trade News: Wilhelmsen seals 39-ship liferaft exchange agreement

    Wilhelmsen Ships Service, one of the world’s leading maritime service networks has entered an agreement with German company DS-Schiffahrt / Quadrant Bereederung to supply liferafts to their entire fleet of 39 vessels.

    In an agreement worth USD200,000 per annum, the liferafts will be supplied within Wilhelmsen Ships Service’s unique Liferaft Exchange Agreement, which exchanges service-due liferafts off vessels and immediately replaces them with serviced ones. By avoiding a delay period where a vessel would have to wait for a liferaft to be serviced, the system both saves money and increases the operational efficiency of each single vessel.

    The customer, believing that the system was ’too good to be true’, tested the service on nine vessels earlier in the year, and has now entered the entire fleet into the scheme. The fleet comprises 39 vessels (28 from DS-Schiffahrt and 11 from Quadrant Bereederung), which are operating globally, said Wilhelmsen Ships Service in a statement.

    The service system provides a dockside exchange of liferafts, ensuring that each vessel is always prepared for annual inspection and meets safety legislation. After initial installation of their liferaft product Wilhelmsen Ships Service simply removes and services the due date liferafts and later installs them onto other vessels. The company handles all management and date alerts for each vessel to ensure that the liferafts are swopped in due time prior to service date.

    Wilhelmsen Ships Service supplies Unitor marine products, technical services, ships agency services and maritime logistics.



    Training - SAMTRA concludes successful Security Officers course

    a href="http://tinypic.com" target="_blank">Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    Front (L-R)– Ezra Simon, Ashley Badenhorst, Randall Donn. Middle – Course Facilitator John Taylor. Rear (L-R) – Emildene Micheals, Clinton Leonard, Dirk Black


    SAMTRA (the South African Maritime Training Academy), working in co-operation with the International Ship Consultants Group, recently conducted a Ship’s Security Officer’s course at its facility in Simon’s Town.

    The three day course, which is MCA approved, covers the following topics:

    Security inspections of a vessel;
    Implementation, modification and co-ordination of the Ship Security Plan with relevant authorities;
    Co-ordination of security aspects of handling cargo and ship’s stores;
    Reports to Company Security Officer, Shipboard Safety Management Structure;
    Enhancing security awareness and vigilance on board;
    Providing training to shipboard personnel;
    Reporting of security incidents;
    Testing of security equipment.

    Feedback received from course participants was very positive:

    It is also planned that the Company Security Officer’s Course be conducted early in 2010 and that both courses will be offered at regular intervals throughout the year.

    Contact Petula Maurer (pmaurer@samtra.co.za) at SAMTRA for further details.



    India plans oil refinery in Nigeria

    India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) plans to set up a Greenfield oil refinery in Nigeria as part of the Indian government’s efforts at broadbasing the activities of Indian companies in the West African country, the Economic Times of India has reported.

    The Indian government plans to set up a 180,000 barrels a day refinery in collaboration with Lakshmi Mittal. As part of the deal Indian companies would be granted several oil blocks in Nigeria.

    A cabinet minister said India is keen to expand the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Africa to meet India’s increasing requirements.

    “We are a stable, long-term and growing market for Africa’s natural gas,” he said.

    The plans were revealed during an India-Africa summit being held earlier this week.



    Eskom signs 17-year contract for Majuba coal

    Pretoria (BuaNews), 9 December – Eskom has signed a 17-year agreement with ARM Coal and Xstrata to supply coal to the Majuba Power Station.

    In terms of the agreement, the Goedgevonden Colliery will start supplying the 60 million tonnes of coal, or approximately 3.5 million tonnes per annum, this month through to 2026.

    The signing marks the conclusion of three years of negotiations between the parties.

    “Signing this coal supply agreement with ARM Coal and Xstrata heralds a partnership which marks a significant milestone in ensuring security of supply to our nation,” said Brian Dames, Eskom’s Chief Executive Officer: Generation Business.

    The agreement has further significance as it marks a shift for Xstrata, moving from being predominantly an exporter of coal to supplying a major player in the domestic market.



    Maersk raises USD704 million to repay banks

    AP Moller-Maersk has again gone to the markets to raise money to repay money owing to banks.

    The Danish shipping giant raised USD704 million in two bond issues, it has been revealed. The issue will be listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and was placed by Danske Bank, Nordea and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken.

    The money will be used to repay long-term debt to banks and for general corporate purposes, with the banking facilities thus remaining open as liquidity buffers, said AP Moller-Maersk.

    In September the Danish company raised USD1.6 billion from a share sale to institutional investors in the UK, Scandinavia and the US and this was followed by a USD1.15-bn issue the following month. At that time AP Moller-Maersk spoke of using the money raised to fund acquisitions.

    Chief executive Nils Andersen recently stated that AP Moller-Maersk would move away from buying containerships into oil and gas, container terminals and retailing.



    MOL looks to refocus on oil and LNG

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    The K Line LNG carrier ARCTIC VOYAGER seen near Gibraltar in October this year. Mitsui OSK Line has indicated its intention of refocusing away from container ships towards LNG and oil in future. Picture by Ian Shiffman


    Mitsui OSK Line has become the latest shipping line to indicate its intention on refocusing away from container shipping into other areas. AP Moller-Maersk recently announced its intention to focus more on the oil industry, on its terminal operations and in retail, and now the Japanese company says it too will look to shipping more liquefied natural gas (LNG) and oil as a compensation for the decrease in container shipping.

    “We need to reduce our exposure to containers,” MOL senior managing officer Kuchi Muto is quoted as saying. One third of MOL’s sales is currently derived from container shipping.

    MOL has reduced its container fleet from 115 vessels to 98 since March this year but is anticipating making a profit this year – one of the few large shipping companies to be so bold in its forecasts.

    There are reportedly 322 LNG carriers in service at the moment and Mr Muto points out this means less competition and more stable markets than in container shipping.



    South Africa and Switzerland hold trade talks

    Pretoria (BuaNews) - International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim earlier this week co-chaired the 2nd South Africa-Switzerland Annual Consultations with the State Secretary of the Confederation of Switzerland, Michael Ambuhl.

    The department said consultations took place within the context of the North-South Dialogue - an endeavour to deepen bilateral relations between the two countries.

    South Africa and Switzerland sought to make an overview of the current state of bilateral relations in the areas of science and technology, cultural co-operation proposals and signing of the visa agreement.

    "In addition, the second session afforded the two countries [an opportunity] to exchange views on the African Agenda and the conflicts on the African continent about multilateral issues including the United Nations Security Council, Human Rights Council and Durban Review," the department said.

    The Annual Consultations forum was borne out of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between South Africa and Switzerland in May 2008. During the first level consultations held in Bern, a strong partnership between the two countries was reaffirmed together with the shared commitment to the values of democracy, good governance, peace and security and development on the African continent, especially with regards to South Sudan and the DRC.

    Relations between South Africa and Switzerland are based upon growing bilateral and economic ties. In recent years many bilateral contacts have taken place at a higher level, providing excellent opportunities to discuss relations between the two countries.

    During the 2008/2009 financial year, South Africa's exports to Switzerland peaked at around R15.4 billion, whereas Swiss imports to South Africa peaked at around R6.19 billion, with total trade peaking at around R21 to 22 billion.

    The trade balance is heavily in South Africa's favour, with a surplus of R9.2 billion. Trade with Switzerland accounts for 1.53% of all total South African exports. There are 150 Swiss companies investing in South Africa, including Holcim, Nestle, Credit Suisse and Schindler Lifts and there are also a few South African companies in Switzerland, such as South African Airways, De Beers, Sappi and Investec.

    Swiss products imported to South Africa are chemicals, vehicles, aircrafts and mechanical appliances. South African products exported to Switzerland include minerals, wood pulp, ammunition, precious and semi precious metals, prepared foodstuffs and beverages.



    Today’s recommended Read – Challenging times lie ahead for the shipping industry

    UNCTAD’s Review of Maritime Transport 2009 confirms that growth in international seaborne trade slowed as a result of the global economic downturn and financial crisis. At the same time an increase in the number of ships helped keep freight rates depressed.

    According to UNCTAD the year 2008 marked a major turning point in the history of the world economy and trade. Read more of this summary HERE.



    If you have any suggestions for a good read please send the link to info@ports.co.za and put GOOD READ in the subject line.



    Pics of the day – MAERSK BROOKLYN

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    The container ship MAERSK BROOKLYN (48, 853-gt, built 2007) made an imposing sight on this visit to Durban in 2008. The accompanying tug is the Port of Durban’s MKHUZE. Pictures by Trevor Jones

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