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Ports & Ships Maritime News

21 November 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 – SCARABEO 9

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The semi submersible drilling rig SCARABEO 9 which can work in waters up to 12,000ft deep entered Walvis Bay harbour last week for maintenance repairs at the shipyard. Picture by Paul van der Merwe

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NEWS OF SHIPS AND SHIPPING LINES

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Maersk Brownsville at the Durban Container Terminal. Picture by Trevor Jones

Maersk & Safmarine add second Port Louis call on Asia/SA service

Maersk Line and its subsidiary division Safmarine are adding a second westbound call at Port Louis in Mauritius on their joint Asia/South Africa service known as SAFARI 2.

One of the companies will deploy an additional 6,934-TEU ship to the service bringing the number to nine, of which Maersk operates eight ships (we can therefore assume the additional ship is a Maersk vessel).

The revised rotation becomes Hong Kong, Shanghai, Ningbo, Shenzhen-Yantian, Tanjung Pelepas, Port Louis, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Port Louis, Singapore and back to Hong Kong.


Another Chinese line gets sticky with its payments

According to reports coming out of China, a second major Chinese shipping line has begun halting payments to foreign ship owners because of the severe downturn in the shipping market.

The latest company to have withheld payments, according to these reports, is Grand China Logistics which withheld payments for months from dry bulk firm Golden Ocean and others, without offering any explanation.

“It’s not just us. It’s a number of others which are not being paid and this has been going on for some time,” said Anders Zorn, head of Golden Ocean’s Singapore office. And according to the Financial Times the Greek family-owned shipping Vafias Group, the Athens based Minerva Marine and Norway’s Spar Shipping have all experienced problems getting payment from Grand China.

Earlier the major Chinese shipping group COSCO stopped making payments to various ship owners in order to renegotiate better terms. After several owners held out COSCO eventually made payments but whether these had been re-negotiated is not clear. But before that the matter came before different courts around the world as ships were arrested, including one case here in Durban which involved a different Chinese shipping line (not Cosco). This case was eventually thrown out after the Chinese oil tanker had been detained for a lengthy period outside Durban.

With an oversupply of ships and low freight rates Chinese and other shipping companies are anxious to re-work the contracts they agreed for ships contracted when freight rates were much higher and ships were expensive. Now that prices have dropped they clearly do not enjoy paying top price.


SMIT AMANDLA due in dry dock in East London

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Smit Amandla leaves Cape Town on another mission recently. Picture by Glen Kasner

The South African salvage tug SMIT AMANDLA is due to enter dry dock in East London today for a general maintenance and repair lasting up to one month, according to the booking schedule at the Eastern Cape port.

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PIRACY: THREE KIDNAPPED OFF AMERICAN SUPPLY VESSEL OFF NIGERIA

An American oil supply vessel, the CHEVRON chartered ENDEAVOUR came under attack last week off the coast of Nigeria and three of the crew have been kidnapped.

The vessel, which is owned by Edison Chouest Offshore was attacked on Thursday at around 20h00 local time. There are no reports of injuries but the fate of the three kidnapped is not yet known. Chevron said that it was assisting Chouest to ensure the safe release of the men. They said the incident had been reported to the appropriate Nigerian authorities. The Endeavour was servicing Chevron’s Agbami field off Bayelsa State when it was attacked.


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CRUISE NEWS: MSC MELODY ON HER WAY – WHO’S THE BEST?

MSC Melody sailed from Genoa in Italy on Friday (18 November) on her return to South Africa for the start of the 2011/12 season. The classic ship will once again feature a program of short Atlantic Ocean cruises out of Cape Town to Walvis Bay and Mossel Bay, the exclusive 11 night cruise to Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius, as well as the ever popular Christmas cruise to Mauritius and New Year’s Cruise to Fort Dauphin. Her 2011/12 season in SA ends late February 2012, somewhat shorter than in 2010/11.

The 1,500 passenger cruise ship which has become the favourite of many South Africans during previous cruise seasons because of her elegance and luxuriously intimate appeal, as well as her spacious accommodation, is calling en-route at Barcelona and Cadiz in Spain, Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Dakar, and Walvis Bay in Namibia.

Cape Town will be her first port of call in South Africa on 6 December 2011.

Which ship is best – Cruise Critic names 2011 Editor’s Picks Awards

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Disney Dream – this editor’s choice of first prize

It’s subjective, and it’s American-oriented but the annual Cruise Critic’s Editors’ Picks Awards have become fun since they were launched four years ago. You will notice a number of absentees among those winners – whether this is because of parochialism or not we’ll leave to you to decide. Personally, who can disagree with the choice of winner for the ‘Best New Ship’?

The online publication chooses winners from various categories including ‘Best New Ship of 2011’, ‘Best for Evening Entertainment’, ‘Best Bar’, ‘Best for Families’ and even one for those who travel alone, ‘Best for Solo Cruisers’. Several European and Far Eastern/Australian cruise operators don’t appear to feature in the awards – whether they were judged is not clear but seems doubtful. One notices also that lines such as MSC Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd are not among the winners.

You can draw your own conclusions from this.

Cruise Critic says that 2011's 26 awards were hand-picked by its own editorial staff, “experts in the field who've collectively spent thousands of days at sea, and who've been known to mumble ship passenger counts and alternative-dining fees in their sleep. Arriving at the list of winners wasn't without its gale-force debates. While some categories had an obvious champ, other superlatives, including ‘Best River Cruise Line,’ were fought tooth and nail until the most convincing viewpoint prevailed.”

Here’s the link to see the 26 winners. It’s in the form of a slide show show - click on the arrow next to where it says ‘1 of 26’. EDITOR’S PICKS AWARDS. Use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.

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ANOTHER MOZAMBIQUE MINE PREPARES TO START EXPORTING COAL

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Newly arrived GT26CU-2 diesel-electric locomotives, loco numbers 2965 and 2961 for the Vale mining operation at Moatize. Picture by M Ribeiro

Beacon Hill Resources hopes to start exporting coal from its Minas Moatize coal mine in Mozambique’s Tete Province before the end of the year. The mine will follow Brazil’s Vale which began railing coal to the port at Beira in July for export by the end of August.

In the case of Beacon Hill the mine will be sending the export coal to Beira by road. The company says it has the capacity to deliver 500,000 tonnes of coal to the port by road each year.

“Our intention is very much to have our first shipment before the end of the year,” David Premraj, in charge of corporate development at Beacon Hill told a news agency recently. He said the initial export would be for 20,000 tonnes of thermal coal. Coking coal exports would begin early in 2012, he said.

Premraj said that Beacon Hill hoped to secure access to the railway line to Beira for one million tonnes in 2013, rising to 1.8mt a year in 2015.

News continues below…

PICS OF THE DAY – HMAS CHOULES

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The Australian Navy landing dock ship HMAS CHOULES seen arriving in Cape Town harbour at the weekend. The vessel which was sold to the Australians for £65 million is the former RFA Largs Bay. Picture by Aad Noorland

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A slightly different angle and view of the ship arriving in Cape Town on a lovely calm day. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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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