Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 17, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson


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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • First View – SPIRIT OF ENDURANCE

     
  • Gama says he will go to court to set aside hearing

     
  • Briefly from the ports

     
  • Piracy: Somali pirates become more daring and sophisticated

     
  • Port Maputo concession extended to 2033

     
  • Thomas Miller helps renovate Africa’s oldest ship

     
  • Australian firm signs contract to process coal in Mozambique

     
  • Mauritius joins 3PL heavy-lift network

     
  • China faces prospect of widespread strikes

     
  • Road to Maputo: Nelspruit Northern Bypass now open

     
  • Pics of the day – ORCA VI




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    First View – SPIRIT OF ENDURANCE

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    The coastal container ship SPIRIT OF ENDURANCE arriving at Lyttelton, New Zealand earlier in May. Picture by Alan Calvert



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    Gama says he will go to court to set aside hearing


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    Siyabonga Gama – picture Terry Hutson

    Suspended Transnet Freight Rail CEO, Siyabonga Gama, has given notice of his intention of challenging the findings of a Transnet disciplinary hearing in a court of law, and will in the process cause the question of his position within Transnet to be extended for an even longer period.

    The matter of who runs Transnet Freight Rail has already dragged on since September 2009 when Gama was suspended following accusations that he was guilty of misconduct over the awarding of a number of sizeable contracts.

    Two weeks ago a disciplinary hearing found him guilty on three out of four counts of misconduct, leading to Transnet announcing that it would motivate for his dismissal from the company.

    Two of the four misconduct charges involved Gama in the awarding of a R800 million contract for the refurbishment of locomotives for Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and a security contract given to a firm owned by Siphiwe Nyanda, the current Communications Minister. Gama was suspended on full pay pending a hearing and in the interim Transnet appointed Tau Morwe, the chief executive of Transnet Port Terminals as acting CEO of TFR.

    On Monday this week Gama’s attorney advised Transnet that his client had instructed him to prepare a court application to have the disciplinary hearing declared null and void.

    Also on Monday, Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan said in a reply to a parliamentary question that Transnet would move to have Gama dismissed.

    “Transnet will motivate for dismissal as the appropriate sanction, however, that issue will be finally decided by the respective appointed presiding officers,” Hogan said.

    On Tuesday Transnet responded to the news of Gama’s intention of appealing to the courts to have his suspension and possible dismissal set aside. The company said in a statement that Gama’s action of emailing the media to advise it of his (Gama’s) intention of bringing court proceedings against Transnet was an effort to prevent the finalisation of the disciplinary hearing that would determine the sanction that could be brought against him. Transnet said this showed that this was “a transparent attempt by Gama to avoid dealing with the consequences of the misconduct of which he has been found guilty.”

    “There is no substance whatsoever to the latest complaint raised by Mr Gama, and Transnet will continue to deal with this internal matter through its own internal processes,” the statement concluded.



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    Briefly from the ports

    Westerdam delayed in Cape Town

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    Picture by Aad Noorland

    The Holland America cruise ship WESTERDAM, which arrived in South Africa last week on a positioning cruise ahead of the FIFA Soccer World Cup, remained in Cape Town for much longer than expected, resulting in some speculation that she was indeed going to take up a role as a hotel ship. However, the 82,348-gt ship departed for Walvis Bay yesterday (Wednesday) where she is to lay up until mid July and the end of the soccer tournament and will then return to Cape Town to embark passengers for the positioning voyage back to Europe. The reason for the delay: to load reefer containers of stores which were arriving by container ship.

    Durban: The navy’s in town

    Instead of the grand sight of a luxury cruise ship gracing the passenger terminal (the cancelled Noordam), Durban is playing host to a trio of ships from the South African Navy which are on guard duty during the Fifa Soccer World Cup. The ships, the frigate SAS SPIOENKOP, the submarine SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE and the mine detection vessel SAS UMKOMAAS are providing patrol services offshore and radar cover overhead for the matches being played in Durban. As a result of all this ‘action’ the vessels are coming and going from port on a regular basis. While in port they are berthing at the Salisbury Island Naval Station.



    Piracy: Somali pirates become more daring and sophisticated

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    German Navy ships in Africa, prevented from fighting piracy – see below

    International efforts of combating piracy off the coast of Somalia continues to face important operational challenges, the chairman of the UN-led Contact Group has reported.

    “Pirates have become more sophisticated and more daring, especially concerning their operations away from lands, the theater has shifted,” said Franciscos Verros, chairman of the Contact Group’s sixth plenary. He said at a press conference that Somali pirates were expanding the scope of their activities from the Horn of Africa to the Western Indian Ocean and anti-piracy forces were unable to cover such a vast area because of a lack of resources.

    “We need more helicopters, we need more patrols,” he said.

    The Contact Group was established by the UN following the Security Council’s adoption of a resolution aimed at fighting piracy in the region in 2008.

    Meanwhile, the European Union has agreed to extend the mandate for Operation Atalanta for a further two years until the end of December 2012. Operation Atalanta involves having naval ships of the EU on patrol and guard duty in the Somali region, primarily to escort food and other aid vessels delivering aid to Somalia and other destinations in the region, but also to help combat or prevent piracy.

    In a statement issued in Brussels the Council for the EU said it noted with concern the impact that piracy was having on regional and security issues.

    “The council reiterates its determination to strengthen the EU’s overall engagement to enhance regional capacity to fight piracy,” the council said.

    According to a German report, a number of German ships are choosing to flag out their vessels with the Liberian flag in order that they can adopt more stringent measures in securing their ships while sailing off the coast of Somalia. Liberia encourages shipowners to place armed guards on board their vessels whereas Germany adopts a more passive attitude.

    Under German federal law, combating piracy is a police matter and not for the navy. As a result German Navy ships are not permitted to accompany German commercial ships at sea through pirate-ridden waters.



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    Port Maputo concession extended to 2033























    Port Maputo - picture Terry Hutson

    The concession contract on the Mozambican port of Maputo to Companhia de Desenvolvimento do Porto de Maputo (CDPM) has been extended for 15 years, from 2018 to 2033, a Mozambique government spokesman said this week.

    According to government spokesman and Fisheries Minister, Victor Borges, the extension aimed at making it possible for the concession-holder to carry out the necessary investments to increase processing capacity to 48 million tons per year as of 2032, as compared to 10 million tons currently.

    By 2033, the minister said, an estimated investment of USD 750 million is expected, which should be enough to increase the port's cargo processing capacity to 48 million tons per year.

    The spokesman said that part of the USD 750 million would be provided by the State but added that most of it would be provided by the three companies that made up the CDPM partnership.

    CDPM, which has a stake of 51 percent, is made up of South Africa’s Grindrod and DP World from the United Arab Emirates, sharing 48 percent and Mozambique Gestores with 3 percent.

    State company Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM) has a 33 percent stake in the port and the remaining 16 percent is owned by the Mozambican state. (macauhub)



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    Thomas Miller Helps renovate Africa’s oldest ship

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    Thomas Miller's Chairman, Hugo Wynn-Williams

    Thomas Miller celebrates its 125th anniversary by supporting the renovation of Africa's oldest ship

    Built in Glasgow in 1898, Chauncy Maples will become a floating clinic serving the health needs of villagers living around the shores of Lake Malawi.

    Believed to be the oldest ship still afloat in Africa, the 38m long motor ship Chauncy Maples is to be renovated as a floating clinic to bring primary health care to half a million of the world's poorest people living around Lake Malawi. The necessary funds are now being raised by the Oxford-based Chauncy Maples Malawi Trust with considerable support from Thomas Miller, a London-based specialist insurance company, which has chosen to make the renovation of Chauncy Maples the focal point of its 125th anniversary celebrations.

    The Trust needs to raise up to £2m in order for the planned refit to be completed within a 12 month time frame. Thomas Miller is contributing £250,000 from its own resources and has already raised a similar amount from its friends, employees and business associates even before the official launch of its appeal on 17 June. The Government of Malawi is also expected to make a substantial contribution towards the local labour costs.

    Half a million people living along the coastline of Lake Malawi, which is 560km long and 75km at its widest point, have neither access to health care nor medical protection from malaria, tuberculosis, dysentery and HIV-Aids. Malawians seeking medical attention currently paddle dugout canoes up to 80km to reach medical aid, risking fatal attacks by hippos and crocodiles.

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    SS Chauncy Maples as she was in her heyday, on the occasion of the Jubilee Celebrations

    Chauncy Maples was built in Glasgow in 1898 for British missionaries working in Central Africa and was named after the 6th Bishop of Nyasaland who drowned in a storm on Lake Malawi. Shipped to Mozambique in 3,481 small parts plus an 11 ton boiler mounted on wheels, the vessel components were subsequently moved by river and then overland, local tribesmen carrying and dragging them the final 100 miles to the lakeside for assembly.

    The two year rebuild was well documented and photographed. Since then, Chauncy Maples has served as a gunboat, a trawler and even a refuge from Arab slave traders. Until recently, she has been administering to the needs of the local population as a bar, a far cry from what is now envisaged for her future.

    According to Thomas Miller director, Mark Holford, the trust is not only seeking financial contributions:

    “Several potential donors have already come forward to ask whether they can offer more practical support by way of equipment or services. We are already in detailed discussions with a major manufacturer of diesel engines who we hope will offer us a new main engine on favourable terms.”

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    Chauncy Maples as she appears today at Monkey Bay on the shore of Lake Malawi

    Currently Chauncy Maples is fitted with a Crossley diesel engine that itself replaced the former steam plant in 1967. The original steam machinery is now in a museum in Malawi while the last boiler languishes in shallow water at the side of the lake. Originally Chauncy Maples was fired using local timber.

    Thomas Miller's Chairman, Hugo Wynn-Williams, explained the background to the company's decision to support the Chauncy Maples project:

    “In former days, organisations would celebrate major anniversaries with lavish parties and dinners but even before we all felt the full impact of the current global recession, there was a growing feeling amongst the more forward-thinking companies that it would be more appropriate to devote time and resources to projects that benefit the community.

    “In Thomas Miller's case, we were looking for a project that reflected not only our global reach and our maritime heritage but one that would appeal too to our UK clients such as members of the legal profession, patent agents, housing associations and pension fund trustees. The Chauncy Maples project ticked both boxes - and a host more.”

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    Sketch of how Chauncy Maples will appear as a clinic, drawing is by Naval Africa, Durban

    Chauncy Maples is owned by the Government of Malawi and Malawi State and President Ngwasi Dr Bingu Wa Mutharika has announced his full support for this unique undertaking in the fifth poorest country in the world.

    Patrick Zimpita, Director of Planning, Ministry of Health, Malawi, believes that the Chauncy Maples project is important because it fits into the Government's key objective to ensure access and availability of health services to all Malawians, regardless of income, status or geographical position:

    “The people who live on the lake shores have many socio-economic problems. Cholera is common in the wet season because the shallow wells become contaminated with sewage. These communities along the lake have no infrastructure and large numbers of people are still severely challenged for health care.

    “Chauncy Maples will go a long way in improving the lives of these people. Rainy season is October to March during which there is a high prevalence of malaria. Immunisation coverage is very low because it is expensive, or even impossible, for a mother to take her children to the nearest clinic. It might be only a mile away but with a mountain on one side, and the deep and stormy lake on the other, it's not a simple journey.

    “This is a Golden project. The demand for this service is huge - it will be several decades before roads will reach these sea-locked villages.”

    Qualified local marine engineers, supported by a number of apprentices, will renovate Chauncy Maples. With support from international donors, the floating clinic should be fully operational in one year.

    Janie Hampton, the Director of the Chauncy Maples Malawi Trust, is confident of success:

    “Sailing between the small village communities scattered around the lake, Chauncy Maples will bring free treatment for common diseases, dentistry, maternity care, immunisation for babies, family planning and information on safe sex. Presently, Malawi citizens have a life expectancy of just 36 years; with only one doctor for every 52,000 people, the infant death rate is 111 per 1,000 births - 20 times worse than Europe. We are certain that the team of nurses that will be living and working aboard Chauncy Maples will reduce mortality rates of both adults and children.”

    Despite their country's acute poverty, Malawians are slowly improving economic conditions by good management of minimal resources. Poor health is still a millstone to progress. The Chauncy Maples project on Lake Malawi combines health service delivery; preservation of Africa's marine heritage and training for local apprentices and will be a catalyst for both national pride and tourism.

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    The then Archdeacon Chauncy Maples, after whom the ship was named, with Revd WP Johnson, a fellow missionary of the Universities Mission to Central Africa

    Footnote

    Established in 1885 as the manager of the UK P&I Club www.ukpandi.com, Thomas Miller is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. A global leader in the management of transport mutual insurance clubs it provides insurance services to approximately 50 percent of the world's shipowners as well as many of the world's leading ports, terminals, logistic operators, ship brokers, ship agents and other types of transport intermediaries. In recent years, it has also extended into non-marine activities and today provides professional indemnity insurance services to barristers, solicitors, patent agents, housing associations and pension fund trustees.



    Australian firm signs contract to process coal in Mozambique

    Australian company Sedgman has signed a contract worth USD 80 million for construction of a mineral coal processing unit in Benga, Tete province, northern Mozambique, the company said in a statement.

    According to the report published on its website, the contract was signed with Riversdale Moçambique, a partnership of Australian group Riversdale Mining, with a 65 percent stake, and India's Tata Steel, with the remaining 35 percent.

    Sedgman also said that, with this new contract, the company now had contracts at the Benga coal project worth a total of USD 143 million.

    The coal processing unit to be built by Sedgman will process around 5.3 million tons of ROM coal per year and produce approximately 1.7 million tons of high quality metallurgic coal and 0.3 million tons of thermal coal per year.

    Last May, Riversdale Mining announced that confirmed reserves at the Benga project had risen 84 percent, with total estimated reserves now standing at 4 billion tons. (macauhub)



    Mauritius joins 3PL heavy-lift network

    Global 3PL project cargo specialists the Project Professionals Group has made a strategic appointment in Mauritius, a key trading hub for the Eastern and Southern African region.

    PPG general manager Kevin Stephens said Austral Transit International Ltd and Austral Shipping Agency Ltd had been appointed as a Project Forwarding Member and Project Support Member respectively. Both firms are members of the Austral group of companies operating in the Mauritius Freeport.

    Stephens said Mauritius had trade agreements which provided preferential access for goods of both Mauritian and African origin to the European Union and the United States.

    He said membership of Mauritius to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the Southern African Development Community regional blocks also allowed preferential access for goods that satisfy the origin criteria to a regional market of some 425 million consumers.

    Stephens said PPG members would have access to Austral’s general freight and project cargo capabilities, shipping services and warehousing.



    China faces prospect of widespread strikes

    Industrial labour action is not unique to South Africa. Strikes are flaring up in China with 900 workers walking off the job at the Brother sewing machine factory Xian and the Honda plant suffering another walkout, plus two Guangdong factory strikes ending with workers winning 25 per cent wage increases, reports HKSG Schednet.

    Last week truckers blocked the main road leading to Shenzhen port container terminals at Chiwan and Shekou to demand wage increases.

    Elsewhere, staff at electronics producer Foxconn - which has seen a spate of suicides - are also claimed to have won big pay increases following their protest, reported London's Containerisation International.

    Charles de Trenck, managing director of Hong Kong based transport consultancy Transport Trackers, said that wages were going up by as much as 50 per cent, and warned that claims that labour cost was only 10 per cent of a manufacturers' price were not accurate, adding that retail prices would inevitably rise in consequence.



    Road to Maputo: Nelspruit Northern Bypass now open

    Road users travelling along the N4 Toll Route in and around Mbombela (Nelspruit) now have the option of taking the N4 Nelspruit Ring Road around the central business district (CBD), reports the MCLI (Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative). The new N4 route will branch off at Mataffin, skirt Riverside Mall, bridge the R40 and the Crocodile River and continue through to Karino where it will rejoin the N4 on the eastern side.

    The new Nelspruit Ring Road is set to ease some of the traffic congestion through the city, and will provide a convenient bypass around the CBD, especially to heavy vehicles, and easy access to the many tourism destinations in the surrounding area.

    The N4 Toll Route (Maputo Corridor) links the financial hub of Gauteng with the Port of Maputo in Mozambique and extends from east of Pretoria to the Mozambican Port.

    One of the key objectives for the creation of the Maputo Corridor route, and its world class road infrastructure, was (and still is) to stimulate regional cooperation and economic development by reviving the trade and tourism route between South Africa and Mozambique, says the MCLI.

    Over the last decade, the Maputo Corridor noticed a steady annual traffic growth, including a 10 percent annual growth of freight vehicle traffic along the route.



    Pics of the day – ORCA VI 

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    The newbuild tug Panamanian ORCA VI (625-gt, built 2010, no relation to the new Ngqura port tug of the same name) which arrived in Cape Town from Singapore this past week to load bunkers, en route to Curacoa and ultimately Panama. The tug has a bollard pull of 70 tonnes (about the same as the Ngqura tug), an overall length of 40.75m, a beam of 11.22m and draws a draught of 5.11m. She is powered by twin Caterpillar 3516BTA HD/C engines and produces a total of 3,728bkW. Pictures by Aad Noorland

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