Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 6, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson




















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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • First View – HMNZS CANTERBURY


  • TPT postpones Navis until mid year


  • Gale force South-Easter prevents Cape Town cruise ships from sailing


  • Richards Bay toll road shock


  • Piracy – another fully loaded supertanker SAMHO DREAM captured


  • Shipping lines raise rates for Indian Ocean islands and Africa


  • NYK bubbles with excitement as new ship is named


  • Results show economy is recovering


  • Pics of the day – BLUE SKY and BOURBON LIBERTY 218





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    First View – HMNZS CANTERBURY

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    The multi role naval vessel HMNZS Canterbury arriving at Lyttelton, New Zealand on 2 April 2010 to load NZ Army stores and equipment for deployment to Noumea to take part in the ANZAC Day commemoration there later this month. Picture by Alan Calvert



    TPT postpones Navis until mid year

    Citing the need of limiting disruption to port terminal operations, Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has postponed the switch-on of its Navis operating system until mid year.

    In a letter to clients Siyabulela Mhlaluka, TPT’s divisional executive manager of Containers said the decision was not taken lightly as much work had already been done together with industry to prepare for going live with the system, which is designed to replace the Cosmos operating system in use at most of the terminals.

    The Navis Synchronous Planning and Real-time Control System (Sparcs) N4 was introduced earlier at Durban’s Pier 1 Container Terminal, and followed at the Port Elizabeth Container Terminal and the East London Multi Purpose Terminals, and was centrally controlled from TPT’s Durban head office. The idea was to go live at all port terminals and rail terminals early this year but it appears that teething problems with the volume of input from the Durban Container Terminal has proven a greater challenge than expected.

    Mhlaluka indicated that TPT and Navis personnel were not confident that that the system could cope with the additional volume and load that the large Durban Container Terminal will introduce. “Efforts have been ongoing on this front as well to stabilise the current production environment after the upgrade on 14 February 2010. These however in our opinion are not yet at the desired level and would place a go-live decision as an unacceptably high risk to the organisation,” he wrote in a letter to clients.

    TPT claims to be the first port operator in the world to manage the paperless web-based Navis Sparcs N4 from a central location across multiple terminals.



    Gale force South-Easter prevents Cape Town cruise ships from sailing


    A gale force South-Easter that gusted up to 90km an hour on Sunday afternoon disrupted ship movements in the port of Cape Town.

    Among the vessels whose sailing was delayed were three cruise ships, AURORA, EXPLORER and MSC SINFONIA.

    MSC Sinfonia was due to sail for Europe having completed a summer season of cruises out of Durban, during which the vessel is reported to have operated at something like 94 percent occupancy.

    Ian Shiffman reports that two harbour tugs were dispatched during the afternoon to assist with holding the Sinfonia at her berth as the wind was threatening to blow the 58,625-gt ship off her berth.



    Richards Bay toll road shock

    Richards Bay port users and residents have been told that the only way the John Ross Highway can be completed is by making it a toll road.

    This follows years of indecision and slow progress with the upgrading of the two-lane road which is the main access to one of South Africa’s leading and most important ports. The John Ross Highway connects Richards Bay with the N-2 national road to Durban and to the north and in the west with the nearby town of Empangeni, which with Richards Bay forms the city of uMhlathuze.

    Although work commenced on improving and widening the highway several years ago, progress has been slow and residents and users have been told that at the present rate of progress it will take another three years to complete the first stage of the project, and at least eight years before the road can become a two-way highway.

    The mayor of uMhlathuze said in the Zululand Observer that “We cannot afford to wait until then.” Cllr Zakhele Mnqayi said that uMhlathuze needed to be ready when the recession lifted. The road was a vital factor in any growing economy, he pointed out.

    The mayor appeared to be in favour of the road becoming tolled, saying that charges would be minimal. “We have negotiated a deal with the SA National Roads Association whereby we will share the income from the toll fees,” he said, adding that by tolling the road the completion date could be brought forward to something like three years.

    Apart from traffic to and from the many factories and plants at Richards Bay, the John Ross Highway carries a huge volume of heavy lorries with cargo destined for the harbour.



    Piracy – another fully loaded supertanker SAMHO DREAM captured

    A South Korean VLCC (very large crude carrier) has been highjacked some 1,500km east of the Gulf of Aden, South Korean authorities have advised. The 300,000-dwt SAMHO DREAM with a crew of 24 on board was sailing from Iraq for the USA when pirates attacked the ship on Sunday (4 April).

    The vessel has altered course and is now heading towards Somalia, which confirms the belief that the giant ship has been highjacked by Somali pirates. A South Korean warship has been ordered to sail towards the supertanker but no contact had been established by Monday midday. The tanker was carrying no security guards as it was considered to be in a safe area away from the threat of piracy.

    This follows the attack last Wednesday (31 March) on a North Korean cargo ship off the coast of Kenya, in which Somali pirates opened fire on the crew and wounded nine seamen. The pirates used RPGs and automatic rifles to try and force the North Korean ship to stop. Despite the severity of the attack the pirates failed to board the ship, according to the International Maritime Bureau, who confirmed that nine crew members had been seriously injured.


    India has meanwhile banned all Indian motorised vessels from sailing south or west of a line between Salalah and Male in the Maldives, in an effort to avoid further pirate attacks from taking place in this area. It follows several recent attacks and indicates that Somali pirates are now operating closer to India than to Somalia. The Indian decree states ‘‘All sailing vessels registered in India are prohibited with immediate effect from plying south or west of the line joining Salalah and Male.”


    Meanwhile, Kenya says it wishes to stop prosecuting pirates captured by naval forces. This follows a number of prosecutions in Kenyan courts in which Somali pirates have been found guilty and sentenced to terms in jail. Kenya says it does not have the facilities to jail more pirates – more than a hundred Somali pirate suspects have been handed over to Kenyan authorities for prosecution.

    The head of the European Union delegation in Kenya said that two agreements have been cancelled with the embassies of Denmark and the United States and that he was expecting a similar letter. This leaves the Seychelles and the Puntland as the only African nations which have agreed to take action against piracy. The Seychelles Coast Guard is on active anti-pirate patrol with EU forces and the island nation has agreed to prosecute suspects in its courts.


    In what might be seen as related to Kenya’s reluctance to continue with the prosecution of pirates, a United States Navy ship which attacked and sank a pirate ‘mother’ ship has released the 11 pirates taken into custody. A Pentagon spokesman denied that the navy had a ‘catch and release’ policy.

    The US Navy ship USS FARRAGUT was involved in the capture and destruction of pirate skiffs that had earlier attacked the Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship EVITA. The commercial vessel evaded capture by firing flares and increasing speed until the arrival of a Swedish patrol aircraft followed by an aircraft from the Farragut. On arrival on scene of the warship the pirates threw ladders and other equipment into the sea but when boarded were still found with grappling hooks.

    The pirates were later released into the two smaller skiffs but the mother ship, a larger skiff was sunk.

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    USS Nicholas in Durban in January 2010. Picture by Terry Hutson

    On Thursday, 1 April pirates in two skiffs mistakenly attacked the US Navy frigate USS NICHOLAS during the night, after somehow confusing it for a commercial ship. The frigate responded by pursuing and later sinking a skiff and taking five pirates and one skiff into custody. According to reports an unmanned drone operating out of the Seychelles was involved in tracking the pirate skiff.

    The US is now left with the problem of what to do with the captured pirates.


    Other commercial vessels to evade capture this past week after coming under attack by pirates include the Italian container ship ITAL GARLAND (53,240-dwt) which was attacked by two skiffs on Friday, 2 April about 250 n.miles off the Horn of Africa, while en route to Mombasa from Salalah. The ship took successful evasive action with minimal damage and experienced no injuries to crew.

    On the same day the Liberian-flagged ship WESTERMOOR (35,654-dwt) came under attack 120 n.miles off the northern coast of Madagascar. Although attacked with RPG and automatic weapons the ship managed to escape using evasive action. The ship’s master also used flares to fire on the attackers and the ship was protected by razor wire. There were no injuries or significant damage on the ship.

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    Delmas Nacala. Picture by EU NAVFOR

    Last week another vessel well-known on the East and South African coasts, DELMAS NACALA (22,525-dwt) was attacked by pirates on the evening of Wednesday, 31 March while 600 n.miles east of the Seychelles. Two skiffs took part in the attack and chased the Delmas Nacala while firing small arms and RPGs at the vessel. Although determined efforts were made to place ladders alongside, the French ship managed to evade being boarded through the use of speed and counter manoeuvres. There were no injuries on board the cargo ship.

    At almost the same time and 600 n.miles to the North West a separate pirate group attacked the Taiwanese fishing vessel REIMAN, crewed with Indonesian and Taiwanese nationals. The fishing vessel which came under fire from the pirates nevertheless managed to take evasive action and escape with only a slight injury to one crewman.



    Shipping lines raise rates for Indian Ocean islands and Africa

    French container carrier CMA CGM and the Swiss/Italian line MSC have each announced a spate of freight rate increases that include the Indian Ocean islands and parts of Africa.

    CMA CGM has increased the following rates as of 1 April 2010:

    From Europe to the Indian Ocean Islands (La Réunion, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mayotte, Seychelles and Comoros), USD 250 per TEU for all container types.

    From all origins (excluding Europe) to the Indian Ocean Islands (La Réunion, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mayotte, Seychelles and Comoros), USD 350 per TEU for all container types.

    From the East Coast of South America to all destinations, USD 250 per TEU for reefer containers.

    From the U.S. East, Gulf and West coasts to the West Med, East Med, the Adriatic, the Black Sea and North Africa, USD 150 per 20-foot container and USD 250 per 40-foot container.



    Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) increases will take effect as from 1 May:

    From the US to Northern Europe, Mediterranean, India, Pakistan, Middle East, Red Sea, Turkey, Black Sea, and Africa, USD 200 per 20-foot container and USD 300 per 40-foot container.

    Please contact the respective lines direct for further clarity.




    NYK bubbles with excitement as new ship is named

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    NYK-Hinode’s innovative system for reducing friction with air bubbles

    Japanese shipping company NYK-Hinode had reason to ‘bubble with excitement’ on 25 March when a naming ceremony was held for the company’s latest ship, the module carrier YAMATAI.

    The reason for the excitement is that Yamatai is the first ship to be designed to operate on bubbles of air supplied to the bottom of the ship. The 162-metre long, 14,538-gt Ro_Ro is designed with an innovative air-lubrication system that will generate bubbles to the bottom of the ship to reduce the frictional resistance between the ship’s bottom hull and the seawater.

    The system is expected to result in 10 percent less CO2 emissions from the vessel. Although experiments have been conducted previously, Yamatai is the first ship to make use of a permanently installed air-lubrication system using an air-blower.

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    Riding on a sea of bubbles

    A module carrier is a ship designed as a special heavy load carrier with roll-on, roll-off rampway to transport thousand-ton prefabricated structures of plant facilities for installation on oil/gas development sites or industrial locations. The module carriers were chosen for the new air-lubrication system because they have wide, shallow bottom hulls that generate very little water pressure, therefore minimising the electric energy required by the air blower that supplies the bubbles. The flat bottom also helps retain the air under the ship for longer periods than would a curved hull.

    The naming ceremony was held at the Koyagi Plant of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Shipyard and Machinery Works in Nagasaki.



    Results show economy is recovering

    Johannesburg (BuaNews) - South Africa's revenue performance for the past year could be confirmation that the country's economy is on its way to recovery.

    The South African Revenue Service (SARS) on Thursday reported an impressive R598.5 billion revenue collection for the 2009/10 financial year. It is R8.1 billion more than the revised estimate announced by the finance minister during this year's budget speech in February.

    Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan attributed the increase in revenue to several measures introduced by SARS last year, including the tough penalty system for non-compliant tax payers.

    Gordhan said while consumption still remained low as a result of an estimated one million people losing their jobs last year, the SARS results came as good news for South Africa.

    “Clearly this is a phenomenal performance considering the conditions we find ourselves in.

    “It is a good story for the country and reinforces what we've been saying that the recovery is on its way...it's there and it's slow,” he said.

    He said despite the decline in revenue in the period 2008/09, South Africa's overall revenue performance since the start of the economic crisis was favorable compared to developed economies and other emerging markets.

    Over the past two year period, South Africa has seen an overall revenue growth of 4.5 percent while the United States experienced an overall decline of 14 percent for the same period. New Zealand recorded a 7.8 percent decline in revenue while Australia and India both increased their revenue by 4.5 and 8.1 percent respectively.

    “International experience has shown that times of economic hardship do not only result in lower tax revenues but also adversely affects the levels of compliance amongst taxpayers,” said Gordhan.

    SARS Commissioner, Oupa Magashule, said there had been a marked improvement in compliance by tax payers and attributed this to improved database and filing systems.

    He said SARS employees had also worked around the clock to ensure that people were compliant and filed their tax documents on time. SARS staff made more than 744,000 follow-up calls reminding tax payers of their obligation to file reruns on time.

    But it was not all good news - as the figures suggest a sharp decrease in tax collected from companies and other corporates affected by the world economic downturn. Company Income Tax declined by more than R25 billion of which about R12 billion could be attributed to the mining sector alone. Other sectors that were most affected included the financial sector which declined by R14.5 billion and the manufacturing sector by R6.5 billion.



    Pics of the day – BLUE SKY and BOURBON LIBERTY 218

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    The Angola South Line feeder vessel BLUE SKY sailing from Cape Town bound for Angola and the west coast yesterday. Picture by Aad Noorland

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    The offshore supply vessel and tug BOURBON LIBERTY 218 (1800-gt, built 2010) seen arriving in Cape Town last week for repairs. Picture by Aad Noorland


    Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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