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Ports & Ships Maritime News

22 March, 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

 

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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First View – MSC RANIA

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The largest ever container ship to enter Durban is now MSC RANIA (94,483-gt, built 2005), which takes over the mantle worn by fellow MSC ships, MSC Maeva and MSC Lucy. The 8,402-TEU ship with 700 reefer slots called on Friday off the company’s Cheetah service (Far East-South Africa) and has since transferred across to the MSC South Africa-West Mediterranean & Northern Continent (Europe) service. MSC Rania is seen here on Durban Container Terminal berth 109. Picture by Clinton Wyness

News continues below...

Greek bulker Oliva breaks apart off Nightingale Island and spills 1500 tons of oil

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The stricken Oliva firmly grounded and prior to breaking up in the swells. Picture by Sean Burns/tristandc.com

The South African salvage tug Smit Amandla arrived off Tristan da Cunha yesterday (Monday) but was too late to be of any assistance with saving the stricken Greek bulker, OLIVA, which went aground off Nightingale Island last Wednesday and has since become a total wreck. See our News reports HERE (Click your return button to come back to this page).

The sad news is that Oliva has broken her back on the rocks following increased wave and swell activity and the job facing those on board the South African tug now becomes one of assisting with the mammoth job of cleaning up, and assessing how best to minimise any further pollution of the surrounding islands. Nightingale Island and the nearby Middle Island are already polluted with oil and others are threatened.

Oliva was carrying 1500 tons of bunker fuel when she inexplicably struck the rocks just south of Spinners Point, on the northern tip of Nightingale. An enquiry will have to determine just how a modern ship with good navigational equipment could have navigated onto the rocks in a channel between two islands that is less than one kilometre wide.

By Sunday environmental teams from Trustan da Cunha were reporting signs of oil coming ashore on Inaccessible Island, a World Heritage Site and only a few short kilometres away from the wreck. On Nightingale itself efforts are focussed on cleaning birds covered in oil, including an estimated 10,000 pairs of rockhopper penguins on Nightingale and another 100,000 pairs on Middle Island, less than one kilometre from Nightingale and the shipwreck.

Smit Amandla has on board Estelle van der Merwe, who was involved at a senior level with SANCCOB at the time of the TREASURE oil spill near Cape Town (June 2000), and she will be able to advise the Nightingale cleanup operation. The experience garnered by SANCCOB (South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) is invaluable to this remote area of the South Atlantic.

Fears are also turning to what effect the 60,000 tons of soya bean meal on board the ship will have on the islands’ marine environment, particularly the crawfish and other crustaceans, and on the effect it could have on the islanders’ fishing industry.

One of the problems facing the cleanup crew is the shear inaccessibility of Tristan da Cunha as far as obtaining necessary equipment and supplies. Just to clean thousands of penguins or other sea birds will require much in the way of chemicals that will have to be ferried in from Cape Town or further afield. The P&I Association said at the weekend that an airdrop by parachute was one option being explored.

The P&I Association is meanwhile attempting to charter another vessel to get additional cleanup equipment and 15 personnel to the island with as little delay as possible. Attempts to charter the South African marine environmental patrol ship Sarah Baartman failed due to issues of protocol – such a request must apparently come from the appropriate British government department rather than the insurers.

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Penguins covered in oil on Nightingale Island – thousands of the birds are affected by the disaster. Picture by Trevor Glass/tristandc.com


Graphic pictures of the shipwreck and the sequence of events can be seen HERE

News continues below…

Cruise News – Royal Princess is underway and Saga confirms name of Saga Sapphire

Princess Cruises announces a start to the new ROYAL PRINCESS

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Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess. Note the outdoor cinema on the top deck

The first steel has been cut for the 141,000-gt, 3,600-passenger ROYAL PRINCESS being built for Princess Cruises at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

“Princess passengers will easily recognise our next ship as a natural progression in our fleet. We’re taking the best features of our newest vessels that have been such customer pleasers, and taking them to the next level, said Princess President and CEO Alan Buckelew. “Just as the original Royal Princess ushered in a new era for our company with its innovative design, we expect our new Royal Princess to do the same.” The new ship will become the third to carry the name Royal Princess.

Eighty percent of the staterooms – all those on the outside of the ship - will have balconies. Royal Princess will also feature an over-water SeaWalk, which is a top-deck glass bottomed enclosed walkway on the ship’s starboard side that extends about seven metres beyond the side of the ship. This is to provide passengers with something of an adrenalin rush with dramatic views of the sea 39 metres below.

Other attractions will include an adults-only swimming pool surrounded by seven plush private cabanas that give the effect of floating on water. Another two pools will flank a tropical island that will offer pool seating by day, and by night will become an outdoor dance club, complete with a dazzling water and light show. Royal Princess will also have a poolside theatre, ‘Movies under the Stars’ which will dominate attractions amidships.

The first Royal Princess was introduced in 1984 and helped define a new era in innovative cruise ship design. While she left the fleet in 2005, the name was passed to one of Princess’ small ships in 2007, and this vessel is being transferred to a sister company at the end of April.

The latest Royal Princess will enter service in the spring (northern hemisphere) of 2013 and will be followed a year later by a sister ship.

Princess Cruises is part of the Carnival Corporation and operates as a global cruise and tour company. The company has 17 modern cruise ships in her fleet and carries 1.3 million passengers each year on cruises that range in length from seven to 107 days. Princess ships have called at South African ports briefly each year for the past number of years, the most recent to have been OCEAN PRINCESS (30,277-gt, built 1999) in November last year. In June 2011 SUN PRINCESS (77,441-gt, built 1995), a ship that has been based in Australian waters all year round, will be calling at several South African ports.

Acknowledgements to Kinecticnews.com and to Princess Cruises


Saga names new ship

British cruise operator Saga Cruises has confirmed reports that their latest purchase, the 750-passenger BLEU de FRANCE (37,301-gt, built 1981) will become SAGA SAPPHIRE when she enters service next year.

See PORTS & SHIPS’ original report of this in the News Report of 22 November 2010 Saga to expand fleet with additional ship giving details of Bleu de France and the ship’s history.

We also carried a report of the ship in a 2007 article in our Cruises News section RCCL eyes the French market

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Piracy: Another week, one ship captured, one ship released

Indonesian bulker pirated

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Sinar Kudus

An Indonesian general cargo ship, SINAR KUDUS (7,717-gt, built 1997) with a crew of 20 Indonesians on board has been pirated in the Arabian Sea 320 n.miles north-east of Socotra Island. Almost immediately the ship was turned into a ‘mother ship’ by the pirates and used for an attack on another ship, the Liberian-flagged bulker EMPEROR (38,870-dwt, built 1986).

A skiff with five pirates on board left the side of the captured Sinar Kudus and launched the attack on the Emperor, which however was carrying armed guards who opened fire on and repelled the oncoming pirates. The engagement was subsequently called off and Emperor was able to continue her journey.

It appears that something like between 30 and 50 pirates were used in the attack on the Sinar Kudus, and these have presumably remained on board the ship which will be used to hunt down further victims. It indicates that the pirates are now operating as large groups and no longer in small groups of four or five people.


Hannibal released

In other news the Tunisian tanker HANNIBAL II (23,404-dwt, built 1983) which was captured by Somali pirates on 11 November 2010, has been released, presumably after a suitable ransom was paid.

According to reports the crew of 31 are all in good health despite their 127 day detention.


West Africa – Pirates come ashore to rob bank in Douala

Modern day piracy differs little from olden day piracy, which is perhaps a lesson in itself in that we can still learn from the past. In Douala, Cameroon about 25 pirates came ashore on fast boats, parked them in the creeks and then walked to Bonaberi, a district of Douala, in order to raid the banks.

In the resultant attack on the banks nine people were shot dead as the pirates robbed not one but several banks before making their getaway in the waiting boats.

GAC which has published an Alert says this attack demonstrates the maritime capabilities of criminals operating across the Gulf of Guinea and highlights the general security risk in port towns across the region, particularly in Cameroon.

Shades of Henry Morgan who in 1671 crossed on foot the Isthmus of Panama with his band of pirates to sack the city of Panama on the Pacific side of the continent.

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Ships and shipping line news

Beluga’s troubles worsen

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Beluga Bremen in Singapore’s Eastern Anchorage, with the bunker vessel Supreme alongside. Picture by Piet Sinke

Following their filing to have Beluga Chartering declared insolvent and sent into administration, the beleaguered German shipping company’s main operating division Beluga Shipping has also filed for insolvency.

The latest development, which follows the arrest and fraud charges brought against the founder and former CEO of the company, Neils Stolberg, results in more than 200 employees who will probably lose their jobs. US investor Oaktree Capital Management, which bought control of the company before realizing the depths of its problems, said the reason for sending Beluga Shipping into administration was related to substantial irregularities concerning turnover and liquidity.

Only 20 ships remain on Beluga’s books following the cancellation and recall of those on charter. All of these are now owned by Oaktree which in its first venture into German shipping has seen it turn into a severe case of burnt fingers.


Maersk Constellation released in Luanda

The container Ro-Ro ship Maersk Constellation, which was being detained in Angola harbour after four containers in its manifest were found to be carrying ammunition for Kenya, has been released and is continuing it voyage.

Maersk Constellation was detained for over two weeks even though Kenyan and US officials said the shipment was in full accordance with Kenyan and US government controls.

According to a Maersk Line spokesman, the four containers were never intended to have been offloaded in Lobito and were part of a through cargo destined for Mombasa. The ship was in port for 12 days discharging cargo, mostly food aid, when Angolan authorities began asking questions about the four containers and subsequently detained the ship.


Maersk Edison seen passing the Cape

The giant container ship MAERSK EDISON was seen recently by Ian Shiffman heading south of Camps Bay, Cape Town, and raises the question as to how many vessels from this line are continuing to round the Cape as opposed to using the Suez Canal and possibly utilizing slow steaming. The ship was en route from Zeebrugge to Port Klang.


Hapag-Lloyd and Zim tweak rotation of Europe/West Africa loop

German carrier Hapag-Lloyd and Israel’s Zim Line intend changing the rotation of their joint Europe – West Africa service as from 5 April 2011.

At that time the service, which Hapag-Lloyd refers to as the WAX service, will call at Antwerp, Hamburg, Thamesport, Antwerp, Dakar, Tin Can Island, Tema, Abidjan, Amsterdam and Antwerp. The service operates with three ships, two from Hapag-Lloyd and one from Zim, with an average capacity of 1,717 TEUs.

Thamesport and Abidjan are the new calls in the rotation although the Abidjan call will remain on hold until the European sanctions against Ivory Coast are called off. MOL has slots in this service.


MOL introduced fixed day schedule to weekly Europe-West Africa schedule

Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) says it has upgraded its container services between Europe and Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and, once the EU sanctions are lifted, Abidjan. The new rotation becomes Thamesport, Antwerp, Dakar, Tin Can Island, Tema, Abidjan (when practical), Antwerp, Hamburg, with the service commencing on 6 April with the Hamburg departure.

Transit will be seven days from Antwerp to Dakar and up to 31 days back to Thamesport.

“This reliable weekly service, with fast transit times, will be especially useful for customers shipping fresh produce from West Africa to Europe and further afield,” said Colin de Souza, MOL Vice President of MOL’s North South Trades.

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Training: Samtra hosts Nigerian ratings

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SAMTRA, the Simon’s Town maritime training academy recently hosted a group of 16 Catering, Deck and Engineering Ratings from Nigeria.

The group were sent to South Africa to attend a month long training programme which covered the mandatory STCW courses including First Aid at Sea, Personal Safety & Social Responsibility and Personal Survival Techniques, Tanker Familiarisation as well as Fire Fighting as part of a plan by Gulf Manning Services Nigeria, to upskill local seafarers.

In addition a 5 day Pre-Sea Induction course, which was developed by SAMTRA in collaboration with BW Fleet Management, formed part of the month long training programme. This included time spent on the Bridge simulators, where the Deck Ratings were able to assimilate typical bridge watchkeeping functions through various practical exercises. The Engineering ratings were put through their paces on the Engine room simulator which allowed them to experience various scenarios related to working in an engine room.

This latest initiative reflects the growing interest in South African training facilities by West African companies in the oil & gas industry as a cost effective solution to their training needs.

Apart from offering Simulator based and STCW courses for the Maritime Industry, SAMTRA also provides a Cadet Administrative service which includes selection and recruitment of cadets, co-ordinating their STCW Training, administration services, logistics and ongoing performance management.

Feedback received was extremely positive and the training programme was very well received by Gulf Manning Services.

Further details about SAMTRA and this or other training courses van be directed topmaurer@samtra.co.za

News continues below…

Pics of the Day – MSC VANESSA

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Mediterranean Shipping Company’s vessel MSC VANESSA (75,590-gt, built 2003) arrives in Durban to work cargo at the Durban Container Terminal. MSC Vanessa is one of six identical sister ships in the fleet, the others being MSC Florentina, MSC Laura, MSC Ludovica, MSC Luisa, and MSC Maureen. The 300m long ships with a 40m beam and a speed of 25.6 knots can carry up to 6,750-TEU and when built eight years ago were considered among the larger container ships then in service. With a draught of 14.5m it certainly never seemed likely then that they would soon become regular callers at South African ports. Pictures by Trevor Jones

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