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Ports & Ships Maritime News

15 August 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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News continues below...

FIRST VIEW – F ELEPHANT

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The Taiwanese bulk ore carrier F ELEPHANT (275,984-dwt, built 1989) which arrived in Cape Town earlier this month. Picture Aad Noorland

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FOCUS ON WEST AFRICAN PIRACY GROWS

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The Nigerian authorities have come under the spotlight from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) over reports that the West African country has become pirate prone.

The IMB report was made in the wake of increased attacks by pirates off the Nigerian and Benin coasts. The coast bordering Lagos and the Bonny River have been identified by the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre as piracy attack-prone areas, with armed pirates targeting ships underway along the coast and river including anchorages and within port areas.

The Nigerian risk zone now extends to 200 nautical miles off the coast.

Concern has also come from the fishing fleets operating off the Nigerian and Benin coasts with Nigerian trawler owners complaining that their vessels are subject to pirate attacks within Nigerian waters. The President of the Nigeria Trawler Owners Association (NITOA), John Overo says the situation is capable of generating diplomatic rows between Nigeria and its neighbours.

These attacks have taken place despite the presence of the Nigerian Navy as well as the marine police in inshore waters. The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin said the navy was well aware of the pirate activities, especially on the Calabar waterways and that this was impinging of the country’s economic growth.”

“We are operationally ready and equipped to contain them,” he said. “Even though these boys are heavily armed, let me use this opportunity to warn them that we shall not tolerate any more attacks neither on any ship navigating these waters nor on legal seafarers.”

In a related report Captain Pottengal Mukundan, head of the IMB said that 15 pirate attacks off the coast of Benin have been recorded for the first six months of this year.

He said the method of attack was similar to that used off Nigeria, where pirates sailed previously highjacked tankers to an area where another tanker waited to collect its siphoned fuel. “The vessels are taken over by the armed gangs and then forced to sail to an unknown destination, where the cargo is discharged into a smaller tanker,” he told the BBC. “And then the vessel is brought back and released. In some cases two or three crew members have been kidnapped and are taken ashore and are held until a ransom is paid.”

Although often roughed up, the remainder of the crew is usually freed rather than being ransomed.

Last week Benin’s president, Boni Yayi met with Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan. He warned the Nigerian Federal president that pirates were threatening the security of Benin’s ports and urged Nigeria to take the lead in concerted action to stop the spread of piracy. – source The Independent (Nigeria) and BBC

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TUGS HEAD FOR MAURITIUS AND THE GROUNDED ANGEL 1

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The tug NDONGENI sailing from Durban while still owned by Smit. Picture by Terry Hutson

Two tugs, the 8,000bhp MAHANWARA and the Subtech tug NDONGENI have been mobilised to go to the aid of the grounded bulker ANGEL 1 off the north-eastern coast of Mauritius.

A spokesman for the ship bulker’s salvors, Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Five Ocean Salvage said the Mahanwara (we are unable to trace a tug under this name) has been mobilised from Sri Lanka and the Ndongeni from Mozambique with both tugs expected off Mauritius on or about 20 August.

“Tug enquiries were made to locate tug assistance. Salvors sought for tugs in the vicinity and all the way from South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Reunion and Mayotte to Sri Lanka. Salvors also made extensive enquiries for tugs that might be passing nearby Mauritius either on a ballast or repositioning voyage,” said Mitsotakis.

He said that the salvors primary target at this stage is to remove the bunkers from the casualty’s bottom tanks. “Negotiations are being made with local bunker suppliers for providing the local bunker barge MINORQUE to assist in receiving the bunkers.

“Bunker pumping equipment not available in Mauritius was found prompt available in South Africa and is being transported today (Friday, 12 August) to Mauritius on a private chartered Antonov AN-26 cargo aircraft arriving in the island tonight.” Mitsotakis said that enquiries for further specialised equipment that may be required in due course was being made as far as the UAE or Europe, with the intention of using private cargo aircraft to transport the equipment to Mauritius.

Port Authorities have offered the salvors the Port Louis-based tug SIR GAETAN (275-gt, built 1993) to assist in the operation. The National Coast Guard offered their stock of oil booms and antipollution equipment as well as trained Coast Guard personnel to deploy them. These were expected to be deployed on Friday 12 August.

The Police Commissioner has offered the police helicopter should this be required for transportation of personnel. The helicopter however has limited cargo carrying capability.

Meanwhile the bulker, with a cargo of 30,000 tonnes of bagged rice loaded in Thailand for West Africa and 900 tonnes of bunkers and lubricants remains firmly aground on a reef off the coast. Water which is reported to have begun entering the vessel suggests that cracks in the ship’s hull may have developed. Divers from the National Coast Guard have again inspected the vessel’s stern where it is resting on the reef and have not been able to spot the source of the water ingress. – source FOS and Maryse Hurot

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LIFEBOAT FALLS OFF TANKER STOLT MOUNTAIN

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The recovered lifeboat being towed in Durban harbour. Picture NSRI

A lifeboat fell off the products tanker STOLT MOUNTAIN offshore of the port of Durban last week Wednesday. Clifford Ireland, station commander at the NSRI Durban station takes up the story.

“At 11h00 on Wednesday, 10 August our NSRI Durban volunteer duty crew were activated following a request for assistance from the ships agent of the products tanker STOLT MOUNTAIN (39,005-dwt, built 1994) reporting one of the ships life-boats come loose and fallen off the ship, which was at anchorage about 5 nautical miles off-shore of Durban's Port. The lifeboat was reported to be unmanned and drifting away from the ship in the 20 knot Westerly winds.

“Our NSRI Durban volunteers launched our sea rescue craft EIKOS RESCUER II and our off-duty NSRI volunteer Paul Dawson, who was at sea at the time aboard the skipper training craft ALICE volunteered to go to the scene to investigate.

“On arrival on-scene he found the life-boat drifting, already 5 nautical miles from her ship, and in 2.5 metre choppy sea swells Dawson put a line to the life-boat to hold her pending the arrival of our sea rescue craft.

“On our arrival on-scene we put a tow-line to the life-boat and towed her to Durban's Port where we handed her to a Marine Repair Agent who, according to the ships agent, will effect some minor repairs to the life-boat before returning the life-boat to her ship.

“It is not known to NSRI what caused the life-boat to come loose from her ship.”

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CHINESE TO FINANCE NEW RAILWAY BETWEEN MOATIZE AND BEIRA

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Moatize Station

Beijing, 12 Aug – The China Kingho group is set to fund construction of a port in Mozambique’s Sofala province and a railway line between Moatize and the port of Beira, the chairman of the Chinese group, Huo Qinghua said Thursday in Beijing.

At the end of an audience with the President of Mozambique, on a six-day state visit to China, Huo said that the railway would begin in Moatize in Tete province, would pass through Chimoio, in Manica province and end at the port of Beira in Sofala province.

Armando Guebuza, who arrived Thursday in the city of Shenzhen to attend the opening of the 26th edition of the Summer University, at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, was also informed that the Chinese group in April had handed over the pre-feasibility studies for construction of the projects to the Mozambican government.

In July 2010 the group signed a memorandum of cooperation with the government for development of the mining industry, construction of infrastructures, agriculture and social support in the education sector and other areas. Initial investment in logistics and prospecting work for mining was expected to total US$20 million. (macauhub)

Provided the details of the above report are correctly translated this will be an entirely new line between Moatize and Beira, compared with the recently refurbished railway that runs through the town of Sena on the Zambezi River and joins the Beira – Zimbabwe railway at Dondo. Chimoio is some distance further up this latter railway and inland from Dondo. It appears the new line will run close to the tarred highway from Bandula to Tete and Moatize.

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PICS OF THE DAY – MOL SOLUTION

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Mitsui OSK Line’s container ship MOL SOLUTION (66,332-gt, built 2001) in Cape Town last week. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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