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Ports & Ships Maritime News

23-24 June 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 – NORDIC EXPLORER and AQUARIUS

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The Norwegian research vessel NORDIC EXPLORER (3,861-gt, built 1986) seen in Cape Town harbour yesterday. Picture by Aad Noorland

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The research vessel AQUARIUs (above) which we featured here yesterday. Thanks to a number of readers from all over for their responses which have provided some further background to this most attractive vessel. It turns out that she was built in 1977 as a German sea fishery surveillance vessel (also described elsewhere as being for the coast guard). The builder was the German shipyard of Lurssen Werft, and the ship was then named MEERKATZE. In July 2009 she was sold to RS Research Shipping of Bremen, Germany, renamed Aquarius and underwent conversion as a survey vessel. As per the picture above she is currently in Buchanan, Liberia. Picture by ’Stevedore’

News continues below...

ARRIVAL IN MOTHER CITY OF HMS EDINBURGH TINGED WITH TRAGEDY AND SADNESS

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HMS Edinburgh arrives in Cape Town yesterday under leaden skies. Picture by Alex van Heerden

The arrival in Cape Town yesterday of the Royal Navy destroyer HMS EDINBURGH was tinged with a degree of sadness because of the tragic death on board of one of the ship’s officers, Lieutenant Sara Hellawell, 26, who was found dead in her cabin by a shipmate. It is thought that she died from an overdose of pills.

HMS Edinburgh arrived from Luanda in Angola, where Lieutenant Hellawell’s body was discovered last Thursday, 16 June 2011. She was a ship’s engineer officer and was described by her friends as a really lovely girl, gifted and bright.

According to a Royal Navy spokesperson, the circumstances of her death while the ship was in the Angolan port are under investigation. “Our sympathies are with her family,” he said.

The type 42 destroyer, which left Portsmouth on 26 May for a seven month deployment in the South Atlantic, is currently berthed at Jetty 2 in the Waterfront but will not be open to the public for the duration of her visit.

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MSC CELEBRATES 40 YEARS IN SOUTH AFRICA

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The 8,402-TEU MSC Maeva (94,483-gt, built 2005), which in March this year became the largest container ship to enter the port of Durban – a far cry from the 4,249-dwt Raphaela of almost 40 years earlier. Picture by Clinton Wyness

In what is planned as a gala evening in the port of Durban tonight (Thursday), Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) will be celebrating 40 years since the arrival in the port of one of its first ships, RAPHAELA.

The gala function will be attended by hundreds of guests including MSC customers and various people from the maritime industry in South Africa. Hosts for the evening will be MSC’s chairman and managing director in South Africa, Captain Salvatore Sarno and his wife Mrs Sandra Sarno.

It was on the 23rd June 1971 that the tiny cargo ship MV Raphaela, of 4,249 tons deadweight, arrived in Durban for the first time, which was the start of a long and happy connection with the port and city for what was to quickly become one of the world’s leading container lines. The story of her voyage round Africa at that time is worth a column all by itself.

For many years Durban was homeport to the entire MSC fleet, with all ships being maintained and dry docked here but as the fleet grew to beyond the hundred ship mark by the late 1990s, Antwerp was included as a homeport and gradually most of the ships employed on the Europe to Far East or to USA routes made use of the Belgian port and Durban’s role in that connection diminished.

Nevertheless Durban has continued to have a significant standing with the Swiss Italian shipping company. The city is the headquarters of MSC in South Africa and the port has become the home to MSC Cruises’ South African operation during the summer months and remains an important port of call for MSC ships operating to the Far East, to northern Europe, to the Mediterranean, North America and to India and the Middle East and Indian Ocean Islands.

Tonight’s function is being held in the N-Shed Passenger Terminal building.

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CRUISE NEWS: EUROPE HEADS FOR ANOTHER YEAR OF STRONG CRUISE GROWTH

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Columbus 2, which is due to enter service in the third quarter of this year

It used to be that the cruise industry remained centered in the Caribbean, with Miami and Florida providing the connection for the vibrant United States supply of cruise public. Not quite so any more!

As the European cruise industry reports another year of strong growth in 2010, the line-up of speakers at Seatrade Europe 2011 conveys the significance of the region to the world’s cruise lines.

During the summer months close to 50% of the world’s cruise ships are deployed in Europe, with the region now accounting for 30% of all cruise passengers worldwide.

As the industry plays out its key role in Europe’s economic recovery, delegates gathering at its biennial meeting place, the Seatrade Europe Cruise & Rivercruise Convention in Hamburg, will be hearing from industry leaders on the state of the market now and the way forward.

The recently announced line-up of speakers for the event is a clear reflection of the importance given to this continually expanding market by the world’s cruise lines. Opening session speakers include:

Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio - Chairman, European Cruise Council & Chairman, Silversea Cruises (keynote speaker)
Sebastian Ahrens - Managing Director, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
Michael Bayley - EVP, International, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. & Managing Director, RCL Cruises Ltd
David Dingle - Chief Executive Officer, Carnival UK
Costakis Loizou - Executive Chairman, Louis Cruises
Michael Thamm - President, AIDA Cruises
Pierfrancesco Vago - Chief Executive Officer, MSC Cruises
Richard J Vogel - Chief Executive Officer, TUI Cruises GmbH

In addition to some 30 conference speakers, over 60 senior cruise line executives have already registered to attend the event, taking place from 27-29 September 2011 at Hamburg Messe in Germany.

Topics on the conference agenda include Europe’s Cruise & River Cruise Industries, European Rules, Newbuilds, Hotels at Sea, Deployment Drivers, Financing Options for Ocean & River Cruise Vessels, Cruise Port Development and Cruise Ship Operations. River cruise will also be given extra focus during ‘River Cruise Day’, a dedicated programme of sessions to examine this booming sector, organised in association with IG RiverCruise.

The Seatrade Europe Cruise & Rivercruise Convention incorporates conference, exhibition, a travel agent programme and social events. Seatrade Europe is organised by Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH and Seatrade.

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ROAD TRANSPORT - DECISION ON E-TOLLING EXPECTED BY END JULY

Pretoria, 22 June - A final announcement on the implementation of Gauteng's controversial e-tolling system is expected by the end of July, the Transport Department said yesterday.

The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project Steering Committee, which was formed by Minister of Transport Sibusiso Ndebele to address the proposed e-tolling on Gauteng's roads, was putting the final touches on the report to be submitted to the minister for consideration, the department's Thami Mgidi said in a statement.

“Given the number of issues which were raised during the stakeholder engagement, it is expected that once the report is handed over to the minister, there will be another round of consultation with the stakeholders,” she said.

Ndebele suspended the implementation of the system following a public outcry over the proposed fee structure. He then appointed a committee to look into the matter with the aim of addressing the grievances.

This week, the department said it is only after that consultation (by the end of July) that the minister will be in a position to issue a final decision on the new system for the province's roads.

“This matter, which has attracted an outcry from a wide-ranging number of stakeholders, has to be dealt with thoroughly and in a manner that addresses the concerns raised during consultations.”

The department said it was important that the process retains its integrity and that the outcome reflects the honest engagement “we have had with stakeholders across the spectrum.”

“In the interest of all our road users, officials cannot rush into hasty decisions on the e-tolling issue as this might, however well-intended; undermine the very aim of having engaged with all the stakeholders.” – BuaNews

The proposed e-tolling fees will have a significant effect on the cost of transporting goods by road, and it is expected that if implemented in Gauteng, similar fees will roll out cross the country.

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A WHALE OF A STORY - HUMPBACK FREED FROM LOBSTER NETTING NEAR CAPE POINT

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Picture Chad Chapman, NSRI

Members of the South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) were activated on Tuesday following reports from the rock lobster fishing vessel Biskop reporting a whale entangled in rock lobster netting, rope and floatation buoys approximately two nautical miles off-shore of Olifantsbospunt, Cape Point. The fishing boat reported that the whale appeared to be in distress.

Members of SAWDN responded to the scene aboard several NSRI sea rescue craft and on arrival on-scene confirmed that approximately three ropes, netting and flotation buoys were entangled around the 11 metre Humpback whale’s right flipper and torso in front of the flipper.

According to Mike Meyer of the SA Whale Disentanglement Network, the animal appeared to be tired. Flotation Buoys attached to the rope were keeping the whale buoyant and one long rope entangled around the whale’s flipper was still attached to rock lobster traps on the sea bed which effectively had the whale trapped although the whale appeared to still have some limited movement.

The Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries boat Victor Msenge arrived on-scene to assist and they launched a rigid inflatable rubber-duck to join the three NSRI sea rescue craft, from NSRI Kommetjie and NSRI Hout Bay, that were carrying the SA Whale Disentanglement Network members.

Members of SAWDN, carrying specialised whale disentangling equipment (cutting knives – hooked shaped – on long poles) were able to cut all rope, netting and buoys off the whale and once free the whale swam off appearing to be healthy and comfortable. During the operation two larger adult whales appeared and it looked like they were giving some encouragement to the whale while SAWDN members cut the rope and netting off the affected whale.

“They hovered around and swam alongside the casualty whale while our members worked to cut the whale free,” said Meyer.

The SA Whale Disentanglement Network is a specialised network of volunteers set up in 2006 to deal with this type of situation. It comprises volunteers from NSRI, the Department of Environmental Affairs – Oceans and Coasts, SA National Parks, Cape Nature, the SA Police Services, various aquariums from around South Africa, the Natal Sharks Board, Bayworld, various other organisations, and volunteers, with the support of Dolphin Action and Protection Group (DAPG).

SAWDN covers the entire South African coastline.

News continues below…

FOR THE RECORD: EU NAVFOR RETRACTS PART OF EJNAN STORY

In a correction to news report that we published yesterday, ‘LNG carrier evades attack by pirates’, EU NAVFOR, the European Naval force operating on anti-piracy patrols off the coast of Somalia, says that further analysis of the approach by a suspected pirate skiff to the MV EJNAN in the Gulf of Aden on 19 Jun indicates that the initial assessment that a pirate attack was underway was incorrect and that the VHF call made by the ship was not a distress call.

EU NAVFOR says it regrets any misinterpretation of the situation and thanks the Master of the MV EJNAN for reporting the location of the skiff which resulted in the suspect pirates being apprehended and their piracy paraphernalia being removed.

PICS OF THE DAY – PETER FABER

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The French cable layer PETER FABLE (2,854-gt, built 1982) which sailed from Cape Town on sea trials on Saturday after a stay in the Robinson dry dock. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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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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