Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 24, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson




















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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • First View – SEVAN DRILLER


  • Controlled explosion to free the wreck called MARGARET


  • South Africa’s GDP exceeds market expectations


  • News from the shipping lines


  • Damco expands into strategic Horn of Africa


  • North Korean arms shipment intercepted by South Africa


  • Piracy update – US Navy grabs eight pirates, stops attack


  • News clips – Keeping it brief


  • Pics of the day – MARY ARCTICA and BOW HARMONY





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    First View – SEVAN DRILLER

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    The cylindrical drillship SEVAN DRILLER made an unusual sight on arrival off Cape Town last week en route to Brazil. While at anchor in Table Bay the drillship, which was completed and handed over by her builders, Cosco Qidong in November 2009, underwent a scheduled crew change and servicing from the launch North Star and standby tug Pentow Salvor. According to Sevan Marine, the vessel has the ability to drill wells of 40,000 feet deep in water depths of up to 12,500 feet, and has a variable deck load of more than 20,000 metric tons and high storage capacity of bulk materials. Sevan Driller is equipped with an internal storage capacity of up to 150,000 barrels of oil. She become the world’s first circular drilling unit and once in Brazil will operate in the pre-salt area of the Campos Basin for Petrobas. Picture by Aad Noorland.



    Controlled explosion to free the wreck called MARGARET

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    The pontoon barge MARGARET on the rocks at Jacobsbaai. Picture by Colin Clegg

    In our recent report (11 February) we recorded that the barge carrier MARGARET, which went aground while being towed around the Cape of Good Hope behind the tug SALVALIANT, had been abandoned by her owner. This left the maritime authorities of South Africa to sort out the problem of removing the wreck from a rocky grave on the west coast’s Jacob’s Bay. See that report HERE along with our original report of the shipwreck.

    It now transpires that the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has given the salvors, Smit Amandla Marine the go-ahead for a controlled sequential explosion using a total of 125kg of explosives in several small delayed blasts designed to loosen the barge Margaret from the rocks and topple her cargo of smaller river barges and two docks into the sea.

    A section of one of the floating docks on the barge has already been cut away and towed to Saldanha for scrap. This is intended to clear a path for the other barges to fall free and float off following the explosions.

    The big bangs are scheduled for the end of this month. Local inhabitants have been advised and roads to Jacob’s Bay will be closed three hours ahead.

    Meanwhile, another barge named LAVENIR, similarly loaded with smaller river and canal barges has arrived in Durban on tow behind the tug SALVIGOUR. Both are currently berthed at Pier 1 where it is possible that repairs are being carried out, as the barge was noticed as having a small list on arrival. This has however not been confirmed.



    South Africa’s GDP exceeds market expectations


    Pretoria, 23 February - South Africa's Gross Domestic Product in the fourth quarter of 2009, which is up 3.2 percent, has exceeded market expectations.

    “The seasonally adjusted real GDP at market prices for the fourth quarter of 2009 increased by an annualised rate 3.2 percent compared with the third quarter of 2009,” Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) announced on Tuesday.

    In the third quarter, the economy grew by 0.9 percent signalling that South Africa was technically out of its first recession in 17 years.

    Contributing factors to the GDP figure was the growth in the manufacturing sector (contributing 1.5 percent points), general government services (contributing 1 percent) and the construction sector.

    Market expectations were that the economy would grow by 2.5 percent quarter on quarter.

    Nedbank economist Carmen Altenkirch said: “It beat market expectations with manufacturing rising by 10.1 percent quarter on quarter. In contrast, domestic retail trade is lagging in the recovery because households are remaining cautious.”

    Altenkirch however added that the economy would gain momentum with GDP accelerating in the first, second and third quarter of 2010.

    Standard Bank economist Danelee van Dyk described the data as “encouraging” but warned that this would not translate into massive job creation.

    “One should not be too optimistic that the figures will infuse new life in the labour market, the recovery is still tentative,” she said, adding that in some sectors there will be employment.

    “It is not all doom and gloom but it is not an absolute booster of employment,” she told BuaNews.

    She said 2010 will be the foundation year for the consolidation of the economy, adding that income growth would gain momentum in 2011.

    The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) welcomed the improvement in figures saying it had been its opinion that the recovery would be led by the manufacturing sector.

    “This also reinforces the Department of Trade and Industry's focus on manufacturing in its Industrial Policy Action Plan that was recently released for comment.” However, he said the economy still remains vulnerable.

    Sectors that contributed negatively to the GDP were wholesale, retail, motor trade, accommodation and agriculture among others. - BuaNews



    News from the shipping lines

    AWATA hikes Asia-West Africa rates

    Member lines of the Asia – West Africa Trade Agreement (AWATA) have announced a double whammy increase on freight rates. On 1 April the lines will introduce an additional USD250 per TEU for all shipments between Asia and West Africa, to be followed by an additional USD250 per TEU increase on 1 June 2010. According to AWATA the increases are necessary in order to continue meeting the requirements of their clients (and no doubt their own). The nine members of AWATA are China Shipping Container Lines, CMA CGM, Delmas, Gold Star Line, Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), Pacific International Lines (PIL), and Safmarine Container Lines.

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    Hanjin demands that CMA CGM pays for ship

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    Rodolphe Saade, new chief executive of CMA CGM

    South Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries is demanding that troubled French container carrier CMA CGM pay for the first of four 6,500-TEU ships that it (CMA CGM) has on order, failing which Hanjin intends selling the vessel to another buyer. This follows the sale of another newbuild by Hanjin after CMA CGM failed to pay the balance owed on the vessel. Hanjin reportedly sold the ship, CMA CGM KESSEL (73,779-gt, built 2010) to Greek interests for the bargain price of USD41 million, this being the balance due and leaving the French carrier to suffer a considerable loss on the amount already paid. The ship has subsequently been renamed the MIRAMARIN. CMA CGM remains in talks with various South Korean shipyards over the delay or cancellation of container ships on order for the French carrier, which is seeking to restructure massive debts. According to new CEO Rodolphe Saade, CMA CGM is moving in the right direction although it is not quite out of the water just yet. He said CMA CGM will make a profit in 2010.


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    UASC raises USD275m for three giant containerships

    United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) has successfully raised a multi-currency loan of USD275 million to pay for the acquisition of three 13,100-TEU (type A13) container ships. The Dubai-based line is expected to deploy the ships on the Asia-Middle East-Europe service together with an additional six A13s previously ordered from Samsung Heavy Industries in Korea, valued at USD1.5 billion. Each vessel is equipped with environmentally friendly Waste Heat Recovery technology.


    Damco expands into strategic Horn of Africa

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    map courtesy CIA Factbook

    Damco, the AP Moller logistics subsidiary, has announced the opening of its new offices in Djibouti, bringing the number of offices in sub-Saharan Africa to 32 across 26 countries.

    Explaining the move, Nils Havsager, CEO of Damco Africa said: “Djibouti is the key gateway into the Horn of Africa, in particular for Ethiopia, and benefits from modern shipping terminals and an array of shipping lines servicing the port. Furthermore, it is very closely linked with the economies of the Middle East where Damco also has a strong presence. The opening of the Djibouti office follows on from Damco's expansion into Zimbabwe and Mozambique at the end of 2009 and re-affirms Damco's commitment to Africa as well as our strategy of expanding the company's presence in emerging markets.”

    The head of Damco’s Djibouti operations, Mandeep Singh said that trade through Djibouti has been growing steadily over the years. “We believe that there is a gap here in terms of complementing this growth with a professionally managed company providing efficient landside services. Damco will be launching a number of reefer solutions, providing a competitive mode of transport, supporting customers in Ethiopia. One of the exciting developments witnessed in the Ethiopian market is the huge growth in Floriculture.”

    He said that customers were previously reliant on air freighting flowers to the global market in Holland. “Now we will be able to run reefer containers via land from Addis Ababa into Djibouti and from there, via ocean freight, to Rotterdam. As well as significantly reducing transportation costs, this will also allow us to remove a substantial amount of CO2 emissions out of their supply chains. We strongly believe that our entry into this market will be well received by the trading community in Djibouti as well as land-locked Ethiopia.”

    Djibouti's position on the major East-West trade lane between Europe, the Middle East and Asia has turned the port into a key transportation hub in the area. The country also benefits from its status as a free-trade zone and is thus a key transhipment location for the region.



    North Korean arms shipment intercepted by South Africa

    According to reports circulating yesterday, South Africa was involved in the interception of a North Korean arms shipment bound for Central Africa in violation of Security Council resolution 1874 which bans all North Korean arms exports.

    The report, which was handed to the UN Security Council committee, says the seizure took place last November and involved cargo loaded on board a vessel bound for Malaysia, from where the cargo was transhipped on board a CMA CGM vessel bound for Africa. It appears that the French shipping company alerted authorities of the suspicious cargo which was intercepted once the vessel docked in a South African port – most likely Durban.

    The cargo consisted of parts for military T54/T55 tanks which fell within the definition of conventional arms. Documentation accompanying the cargo described the consignment as spare parts for bulldozers.

    It appears the cargo was destined for the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville).



    Piracy update – US Navy grabs eight pirates, stops attack

    US Navy stops pirate attack on Tanzanian tanker

    A US Navy Arleigh Burke class destroyer, USS FARRAGUT (DDG 99) has successfully intercepted a pirate attack on a Tanzanian tanker, the 3,204-dwt ABARAKAALE 1 which had radioed an appeal for assistance saying pirates were attempting to board it.

    The crew of the tanker adopted defensive manoeuvres which prevented the pirates from boarding, with one pirate falling overboard in the attempt. He was rescued by his accomplices in the skiff which again attempted to get alongside.

    That was when a helicopter from the US destroyer arrived on scene and fired a warning shot across the bow of the skiff, forcing it to heave to. US armed forces then boarded the skiff and disarmed the pirates who have been taken into custody.

    The commander of the US ship praised the crew of the Barakaale 1 for performing all the correct manoeuvres to prevent a boarding. Reports do not say where or when the attack took place.


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    The case of the missing WIN FAR 161
    The Taiwanese fishing vessel WIN FAR 161, which was recently released by its Somali captors after payment of a ransom, has ‘disappeared.’ The 56-m long line fishing vessel was reportedly heading for Port Louis for repairs and where the crew could receive councilling but it appears that instead the ship may be sailing back to Taiwan on orders of the owner. According to the environmental activist organisation Ecoterra, the vessel is carrying at least two dead seafarers who died while the vessel was being held for ransom. The organisation also described the action of not going to a nearby neutral port as irresponsible, particularly with regards the distressed sailors and because of the possibility that the ship requires repairs ahead of a long journey.


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    ASIAN GLORY may be freed

    Iranian reports are suggesting that the captured car Carrier ASIAN GLORY, which is being held off Somali for ransom along with its crew or 25, is about to be released. The ship has been used at least once as a ‘mother ship’ by the pirates and has on several occasions ventured back into open seas before returning to the Somali coast. The UK-flagged Asian Glory was seized on 2 January some 1,000 miles off the Somali coast. The crew consists of ten Ukrainians, eight Bulgarians, five Indians and two Rumanians.



    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Transnet highlights alleged irregularity with loco purchase

    Transnet says that its external auditors, Deloitte & Touche has reported an alleged irregularity concerning a contract for locomotives worth R867 million, concluded by the Chief Executive of Transnet Freight Rail. It also refers to ‘fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the amount of R18 million’, and says there are other outstanding matters that could increase this amount. Deloitte & Touche has reported the irregularity to the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors.

    Transnet said in a statement yesterday that it was satisfied that appropriate corrective action has been taken and that the alleged irregularity is no longer taking place. “The corrective action taken includes the allocation of engineering work to Transnet Rail Engineering as required by the Board resolution and also the institution of a disciplinary process against the Chief Executive of Transnet Freight Rail. In addition, the Board is satisfied that all reasonable steps have been taken to prevent loss to the Company.”

    The report does not name the Chief Executive of TFR but it s clear this refers to the suspended Mr Siyabonga Gama.


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    Open Day to mark Year of the Seafarer

    Chaplains representing all the Seafarers’ missions in Durban will host an Open Day to mark The Year of the Seafarer at the Seafarers’ Mission, Bayhead on Saturday, 27 February 2010 from 09h00 – 15h00. The event is open to the public and there is no entrance fee.

    A variety of displays will illustrate the work done by the Missions and chaplains will be on hand to give detailed information on projects past, present and future. The Open Day is the first of several events planned in Durban to mark this important year which is dedicated to the seafarers, the intention being to pay tribute to the world's 1.5 million seafarers - men and women from all over the globe. During the day food and refreshments will be served.


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    Transnet says no to bringing Doulos to Eastern Cape

    Transnet has turned down a request by a Port Elizabeth group who wanted to bring the retired floating bookshop ship DOULOS to the Eastern Cape to become a floating museum exhibit. The intention was apparently to berth the 1914-built vessel, which is currently decommissioned in Singapore, at Port Elizabeth for a period of five years. Harbour Master Neil Chetty responded to the group saying that having the Doulos in the port was not in line with the port’s long-term development plan. He added that the port’s ISPS status would be compromised by having the vessel berthed in a commercial area of the port.



    Pics of the day –MARY ARCTICA and BOW HARMONY

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    The ice-strengthened arctic supply vessel MARY ARCTICA (10,308-gt, built 2005, above) on her return this month from the Antarctic, where she has been engaged in taking supplies and personnel to various stations on the ice. With the rig situated behind the ship in this photograph you might be excused in thinking this a drill ship. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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    The Norwegian company Odfjell has a large number of ships, all product tankers that call at South Africa’s main ports on a regular basis and BOW HARMONY (33,619-dwt, built 2008) has already made several visits since entering service in 2008. Here she is seen in Cape Town on a warm February day. Picture by Ian Shiffman



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