Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 18, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson



















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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • First View – EAST and BARGE EIDE 42


  • Delays under the hot sun at Durban Container Terminal


  • Refinery or bust for Coega – now it’s up to Pretoria


  • Pirate or hero? New Zealander remains on Japanese whaler


  • News from the shipping lines


  • The Budget: New model of growth, job creation identified


  • Trade News - New US Coast Guard cutters to be protected with Cathelco systems


  • News clips – Keeping it brief


  • Today’s recommended Read – SA Inc would use rail if capacity were available, survey shows


  • Pics of the day – NAKSKOV MAERSK and BRITISH CHIVALRY





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    First View – EAST and BARGE EIDE 42

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    Two more views of the Dutch tug EAST, this time as she leaves the calm waters of Cape Town harbour with the barge EIDE 42 in tow. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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    Delays under the hot sun at Durban Container Terminal

    As Durban sweltered in typical mid summer heat and humidity, spare a thought for the truck drivers trying to collect or deliver containers at the port’s main container terminal, DCT.

    On Saturday 13 February trucks were made to wait up to 7 hours in the hot sun at the staging facility outside the terminal. Things improved the following day and again on Monday but on Tuesday once again the vehicles were told to park and wait. The reason was later given as a terminal operating glitch with the COSMOS operating system, which was exacerbated later on Tuesday when winds increased ahead of a summer storm system that swept across much of KwaZulu Natal before lambasting Durban with all its fury in the early evening.

    Not only were freight haulers made to wait almost an entire working day with little in the way of explanation, they were also denied access to the staging facility’s toilets – apparently staff at the facility informed the drivers the loos were for staff only.

    Eventually things reached a head and later on Tuesday Malcolm Sodalay, the chairman of the Harbour Carriers Association, which is an affiliate of SAAFF (South African Association of Freight Forwarders, KZN) was forced to email Transnet Port Terminals threatening to either go to head office level or, as a last resort, he would take the matter up with the media (he didn’t, but someone else did – thank you), because, said Sodalay, he was left with the impression that the please of Harbour Carrier and SAAFF were falling on deaf ears.

    This brought swift action and a meeting was hurriedly arranged on Wednesday morning (yesterday) at which Reggie Mthembu, the acting terminal manager at DCT explained (for the first time) that the problem had been a breakdown of the COSMOS operating system on Saturday, which had recurred on the Tuesday. He gave assurances that the question of access to toilets and drinking water would be taken care of.

    An unidentified TPT spokesman later gave this emailed response to questions posed by PORTS & SHIPS:

    “DCT did experience intermittent IT interruptions over the weekend and customers were informed of this. The terminal is investigating corrective action including improved communication between the A-check and ITZ or exchange area, adding additional bays at tower 205 and redeploying maximum resources on the landside where possible.”

    PORTS & SHIPS will continue to monitor the situation.

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    Durban Container Terminal - pressurecooker



    Refinery or bust for Coega – now it’s up to Pretoria

    One trusts that this will not become yet another set of ambitious hopes and promises that later serves only to disappoint, but according to a financial news service this week the decision regarding a new oil refinery at Coega has been made and it is now up to government to decide whether to go ahead.

    According to PetroSA spokesman Thabo Mabaso a decision has been made, although he declined to say what that decision was except that it had been referred to government “....and they will now look at that decision.” Nor could he say when government would take a decision. One has to assume that PetroSA’s decision was in favour of the new refinery.

    Last week Jorn Falbe, vice-president of new ventures at PetroSA told an energy conference being held in Sandton that South Africa needed to build the new refinery immediately, as further delays would make it no longer viable. Referring to it as “now or never” he said it offered South Africa a sustainable solution to its liquid fuel challenge.

    The proposed 400,000 barrel per day Mthombo refinery has been under discussion and planning for three years – a familiar scenario with projects and proposals at Coega. It had been anticipated that the refinery would go into production by 2014.

    If given the go-ahead it has the potential of creating 18,500 permanent jobs in a region that badly needs viable job creation projects. The refinery could also save South Africa about R18.5 billion on imports, although we are unsure how that works out. The refinery could cost up to USD9 billion (R65bn) to build, with one of the major side benefits being a desalination plant.

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    Having tankers in port delivering crude or loading refined could make Ngqura look less desolate. The port currently handles an average of less than one container ship a day. Picture by Terry Hutson



    Pirate or hero? New Zealander remains on Japanese whaler


    The man who climbed aboard the Japanese whaling vessel SHONAN MARU 2 believes that his desperate measure will embarrass the Japanese whaling industry over the loss of his trimaran ADY GIL which was run down by a Japanese whaler in the Antarctic on 6 January.

    While admitting his courage and determination, others may take a view that his actions are akin to piracy, and at least constitute an illegal action of boarding a ship at sea.

    New Zealander Pete Bethune clambered on board the Shonan Maru 2 on Monday night from a jet ski driven by a South African volunteer, Larry Routledge, who braved the 4.5° Celsius seas to bring the New Zealander alongside the moving ship without detection. After three attempts Bethune was able to climb aboard, cutting his way past netting and spikes designed to deter boarders. He later communicated with the Sea Shepherd Greenpeace vessel nearby and said that the first the Japanese knew of his presence was when he walked into the Shonan Maru 2’s bridge.

    He timed his arrival on the bridge with the first light of dawn, which allowed the Sea Shepherd helicopter to be alongside filming the event.

    The purpose of his stunt is to claim redress for the loss of his yacht – a matter that is still under investigation by Australia and New Zealand authorities. He had hoped to effect a ‘citizen’s arrest’ of the master of the Shonan Maru 2 and to demand payment for the loss of the Ady Gil, failing which Sea Shepherd would be taking legal action in Japan.

    The boarding took place in Antarctic waters southwest of Perth. Australia’s prime minister called his action “downright dangerous” while the leader of Australia’s Green party said it showed extraordinary courage. New Zealand has said it has informed the Japanese that it is anxious to offer consular support to Bethune.

    His boarding of the Japanese vessel followed two weeks of harassing the Japanese whaling expedition to the Antarctic by the Sea Shepherd, which has forced the whalers to steam more than 400km off course in an effort of avoiding the activists.



    News from the shipping lines

    Relief for South African shippers as MARUBA SIMMONS allowed to sail

    Shippers in South Africa and Asia will be relieved to hear that the detained Argentine container vessel MARUBA SIMMONS has been released from detention outside the port of Rio de Janeiro, where it has been at anchor since 18 December 2009.

    The 3,234-TEU ship is now headed for Durban after being detained by Brazilian authorities owing to a legal dispute concerning bunker and charter fees. This followed the arrest in the French port of Le Havre of another Maruba vessel, which was later allowed to sail.

    While the ship lay at anchor off Rio de Janeiro, cargo owners in South Africa were left angry and unable to take any action to secure their containers. They claimed the matter had been conducted under a veil of secrecy with little information forthcoming from Maruba.

    The Maruba Simmons sailed from Rio de Janeiro on Monday (15 February). After calling at Durban the ship will sail to Port Kelang, Hong Kong, Busan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Chiwan and back to Port Kelang, before heading east once again for South America.

    See our related report of 18 January HERE


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    Healthy profit for Ethiopian Shipping Lines

    State-owned Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL) has made a 203.8 million birr (USD16.123m) profit during the first six months of the current financial year, which represents a 32 percent increase on the same period the year before. ESL has nine ships on order from China’s Taizhou Kouan shipyard as well as having signed a letter of intent for a series of multipurpose ships with the same shipyard.

    ESL was founded in 1964 and began operations two years later with three newly built ships – two general cargo and one tanker). The fleet currently consists of nine vessels which includes one Ro-Ro ship, the Omo Wonz. Other ships in the fleet are Abbay, Abyet, Admas, Andinet, Netsanet, Tekeze, Sebelle and Gibe. They operate various services to the Black Sea, Middle East and India, and the Far East.

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    Africa a good trading place for Bollore

    The French Bollore Group says that business in Africa has “increased significantly” and is driven by the continent’s economic activity, particularly in Central Africa. It said this growth could also be reflected in the high capital investments made in stevedoring and the logistics of mining and oil-sector projects.

    This announcement was made as Bollore revealed a decrease in fourth quarter revenue of €1.65 billion, compared with €1.84 billion during the same period of 2008. During the full fiscal year Bollore had revenue of €6.01 billion, compared with €7.22 billion during 2008.

    The reduction was ascribed to lower petroleum prices and freight rates.



    The Budget: New model of growth, job creation identified

    Cape Town, 17 February - Government is looking at ways to boost employment creation and economic growth as South Africa emerges from the global economic recession, says Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

    "The recent crisis and its aftermath have led to a serious introspection and rethinking of what were thought to be robust and superior economic models," Gordhan said, delivering his maiden Budget Speech in Parliament on Wednesday.

    He said all South Africans shared a commitment to expand job creation and grow the economy.

    Chief among these are a need to reduce joblessness among youth, support labour-intensive industries through industrial policy interventions, improve the performance of the state and ensure that the country maintained a competitive exchange rate and low inflation rate.

    Other interventions that the government would look at in supporting growth and employment were skills development, public employment programmes, rural development, improving the savings level and ensuring a more inclusive labour market.

    Gordhan highlighted that the new industrial policy, developed by the Department of Trade and Industry, which was approved by Cabinet recently, would contribute to transforming the economy towards a more inclusive one.

    The Budget sets aside an additional R3.6 billion for industrial policy initiatives.

    Government was looking at ways to promote the country as an attractive gateway for businesses looking to extend operations into Africa.

    Looking at the economy as a whole, Gordhan said the economy is forecast to grow by 2.3 percent this year and at 3.6 percent by 2012.

    Unemployment has slacked off - from 27 percent in 2003 to 24.3 percent last year. Yet about 7 percent of South African workers lost their jobs last year.

    Inflation has fallen over the last year and is expected to average 6 percent during the current financial year.

    According to the National Treasury, an economic growth of six percent a year would create one million more jobs than growth of 3.5 percent a year, reducing the unemployment rate to 13.8 percent compared with 19.8 percent at the lower growth rate.

    Financial services remains the largest business sector of the economy - at 21.5 percent of GDP, followed by a steadily decreasing manufacturing sector at 14.8 percent of GDP and the trade and accommodation sector at 12 percent. – BuaNews



    Trade News - New US Coast Guard cutters to be protected with Cathelco systems

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    USCG Sentinel class cutter. Image courtesy Bollinger Shipyards

    A series of fast response cutters being built for the US Coast Guard will be protected against hull corrosion and marine pipework bio-fouling with a system manufactured by UK-based Cathelco Ltd.

    The Sentinel Class cutters, measuring 154ft (46.9m) in length and capable of speeds of more than 28 knots, are being constructed at the Bollinger Shipyard’s facility in Lockport, Louisiana. The order for the Cathelco equipment has been won by Russ Equipment Co Inc, Cathelco’s agent based in New Orleans.

    Cathelco will be supplying impressed current cathodic protection (ICCP) systems to protect the steel hulls of the cutters against corrosion. They will also be supplying marine pipework anti-fouling (AF) systems to protect the vessels’ seawater cooling lines against blockages caused by barnacles and mussels.

    “One of the priorities in the design was to reduce the weight and size of the equipment. The Cathelco modular control panel is a single unit serving both the ICCP and AF systems. It is already lightweight in design, but in this case we have carried out modifications which produce even greater weight savings using slim-line modules,” said Stephen Ellis, Engineering and R&D manager, at Cathelco’s headquarters in Chesterfield, United Kingdom.

    The ICCP system will consist of two elliptical anodes and two reference electrodes mounted on the hull surface, port and starboard, wired to a single control panel. In operation, the reference electrodes measure the electrical potential at the seawater/hull interface and send a signal back to the control panel which raises or lowers the output to the anodes, ensuring the optimum level of corrosion protection at all times.

    “High speed vessels can be vulnerable to hull corrosion because the speed of the craft generates greater turbulence and higher aeration at the stern as the propeller spins,” Mr Ellis explained.

    As part of the ICCP protection package, Cathelco will be supplying a shaft earthing system.

    Shaft earthing is a vital component in the protection of all vessels, especially high speed craft. The purpose of a shaft earthing system is to provide a return path for the relatively small, but nevertheless significant amounts of corrosion current which flows along the propeller shaft. With the ‘safe’ return path provided by a shaft slip-ring and brushes, the current does not reach the bearings and the risk of ‘spark erosion’ is avoided.

    It also prevents the problem of pitting in propeller blades where corrosion currents flow from the tips of the blades to the surrounding hull surfaces because there is no return path along the shaft line. As speed is increased and the propeller turns more quickly, air is introduced into the water and the effects of pitting are magnified through the process of cavitation.

    “Shaft earthing systems are sometimes seen as extras to ICCP systems, but they have an essential role in guarding against spark erosion in bearings and protecting propeller blades against corrosive activity on all types of vessels,” Mr Ellis concluded.

    Cathelco are world leaders in marine pipework anti-fouling and impressed current cathodic protection systems with a record of more than 20,000 installations over 50 years.

    Their systems have been used by the US Coast Guard since the 1990s and they have also supplied equipment to the Military Sealift Command, one of the most recent series of installations being on 14 Henry J. Kaiser Class fleet replenishment vessels.

    Cathelco Ltd can be contacted at sails@cathelco.com



    News clips – Keeping it brief

    East London boat operator fined for overloading

    AN East London boat operator has been fined R15,000 for overloading his catamaran in East London harbour. Ballyhoo Cruises was found to have overloaded its catamaran, on which pleasure cruises from the harbour are operated, on at least three occasions. Although licensed to carry 14 passengers, the boat was loaded once with 29 people and twice with 17 passengers on occasions dating back to 2008. Asked how he felt after being fined, the owner Graham Wentworth said “I am pissed off, that is how I feel.”

    He complained that bureaucracy prevented him from carrying more than the stipulated number although his boat was large enough to carry far more. He said it was not a viable proposition to carry just 14 people on his boat, but a new law brought into effect after 2004 limited the number of passengers to 14, no matter the size of the boat. His catamaran complied with all safety regulations and was designed to well in excess of that number. – source The Dispatch


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    Maputo takes in its largest container ship

    Going up…. The port of Maputo has received its largest ever container ship, the 3,538-TEU Delmas/CMA CGM vessel Northern Faith which called at the Mozambique port while operating between southern Africa and the Far East.


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    Credit agency says Dubai World will have to sell quickly

    Dubai World will have to sell more assets in order to restructure about 22 billion dollars of debt owed by the state-owned conglomerate's subsidiaries, global ratings agency Moody's said yesterday.

    “We believe that further major asset sales will constitute one of the conditions of any amicable restructuring agreement with Dubai World's creditor banks,” said Philipp Lotter, senior vice president of Moody's in Dubai. Moody's pointed out that Dubai World's investment subsidiary, Istithmar, had sold by the end of 2009 some of its real estate assets, including properties in London and the "W" Hotel in New York.

    It said in a statement that Istithmar was preparing to sell its shipping business, Inchcape Shipping Services. Moody's said Dubai Inc., the term used to refer to state-owned corporations, had “started to place some of its performing non-core assets up for sale” to address the mountain of debt accumulated by the emirate's firms.

    “The more distressed companies like Dubai World or some of the leveraged investment companies may not have a choice but to sell assets fast, particularly as banks press for tangible restructuring aimed at partially settling payments on extended terms,” Lotter said. – source GulfBase



    Today’s recommended Read – SA Inc would use rail if capacity were available, survey shows

    It seems transport parastatal Transnet would have more business knocking on its door were it able to provide more capacity to industry, a recent survey has shown. A disturbing statistic from the survey indicates that less than 10 percent of companies interviewed move their goods by rail. Read the rest of this Engineering News report 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 – NAKSKOV MAERSK and BRITISH CHIVALRY

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    The products tanker NAKSOV MAERSK (16,427-dwt, built 2007) which berthed in Cape Town this week. Picture by Aad Noorland

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    Another products tanker but in a different setting on the opposite side of the world in Lyttelton, New Zealand, where the BRITISH CHIVALRY (46,803-dwt, built 2005) heralded in the New Year of 2010. Picture by Alan Calvert



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