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Ports & Ships Maritime News

12 March 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

 

57,105 readers and over one million hits were recorded on PORTS & SHIPS during January 2012 and 55,000 readers in February, the shortest month – thank you readers.

Yet another excellent reason to consider advertising your company or services on these pages. info@ports.co.za for details

Improve your branding with your banner on this site and tap into our large readership - contact info@ports.co.za

 

TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

Click on headline to go direct to story – use the BACK key to return

 

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News continues below...

 

FIRST VIEW – CROWLEY AMERICAS

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The RoRo cargo ship Crowley AMERICAS arrived in Cape Town during January this year and while in port underwent a name change, becoming the Indian-owned and flagged NAVDENHU SWIFT (13,925-gt, built 1988). A member of the crew told the photograher that the shipwas not going to scrap but had changed hands hence the name change and that she was going to continue trading. When built her original name was Rosa Dan and since then has carried the names Stean Dan, Caracas Und Marmara, and Tjoet Nya Dhien. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

Image and video hosting by TinyPic News continues below…

 

E-TOLLING TO GO AHEAD, DISCUSSIONS COME LATER

Pretoria, 8 March - Government is forging ahead with the implementation of the e-tolling system on Gauteng’s freeways but discussions with stakeholders to explain the move will continue, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said on Thursday.

Speaking in Cape Town following this week’s ordinary Cabinet meeting, Chabane said government had noted the overwhelming number of people who turned out for the protest marches organised by the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Wednesday against e-tolling and labour broking, but the decision to implement the system on 30 April has not changed.

“Government has over a long period, consulted various stakeholders in business and civil society on the issue of e-tolling on Gauteng upgraded freeways and these discussions will continue,” Chabane said.

Cosatu wants the government to scrap the system while it is also demanding the ban of labour brokers. This week the union’s General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi argued that e-tolling in the province would seriously affect the poor, a claim that has been challenged by government.

Chabane said: “The fact that government has taken steps to mitigate in the form of R6.8 billion from National Treasury is recognition of the importance to reduce the burden not only on the poor but all the affected road users.”

As a result of the Treasury’s intervention toll fees were slashed by almost half of the original price.

The reduced fees will see cars with e-tags pay 30c per km, motorcycles charged 20c per km, while non-articulated trucks pay 75c per km and articulated trucks will be charged R1.51 per km.

There will also be a frequent-user cap of R550 a month for light vehicles and motorcyles, as well as a "time-of-day" saving of 20% for heavy vehicles. Drivers of motorcycles will pay 20c per km and non-articulated and articulated trucks would pay 75c and R1.51 per km respectively.

To help ease congestion, heavy vehicles will qualify for a 20 per cent discount if they use the roads during off-peak times in the day. Taxis and other public transport operators will be exempt from toll fees.

Chabane said the fact that taxis and busses, a mode of transport used by the majority of the workers, will be exempted from paying fees, was further testimony to government’s willingness to lessen the financial load on regular road users.

Government has consistently said the e-tolling system would go a long way in addressing the backlog in road construction and maintenance programmes throughout the country. It said although the system has been criticized and opposed by political parties, individuals and civic organizations, no attention has been paid to the benefits of this system.

These benefits include, among others, a high quality road network, improved road safety, and reduced travelling distances, which result in substantial savings on the running costs of their vehicles.

They also eliminate delays, unreliable travel times, and levels of discomfort and inconvenience.

In Gauteng fees collected would also help the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) pay back a R20 billion loan that was granted to the agency for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.

SANRAL has in a statement dismissed media reports that it will gain uncontrolled access to motorists’ bank accounts if they register for e-tolling.

On the issue of labour brokers, which Cosatu has labelled “an exploitation of the worst form”, Chabane said discussions on the matter were heading towards finalisation in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

“We have said the matter (of labour brokers) is being discussed and finalised in the processes of Nedlac,” Chabane said, adding that a positive result was in sight.

Apparently the discussions have centred on eliminating abuse practices within the labour brokering industry with Chabane acknowledging that some within the industry were involved in exploitative practices. – BuaNews

 

News continues below…

 

ZUMA UNVEILS DUBE TRADEPORT

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John Dube, after whom the trade port is named

By Kemantha Govender

Durban, 8 March – President Jacob Zuma says he is impressed by developments at the Dube Trade Port, namely in the areas of agriculture and food security.

The President officially launched the Dube Trade Port at Durban’s King Shaka International Airport on Thursday.

Prior to the launch on Thursday morning, Zuma joined by national ministers, visited the Agrizone site which is one of many projects that have been completed in the past 22 months - the Cargo Terminal, the Trade House, the Trade Zone, Dube City infrastructure and the IT and Telecommunications platform are the others.

“I am impressed by the developments. The focus on agriculture and food security in this airport city is a very progressive step. The advantage of the Agrizone is the use of limited growing space for the production of high volumes of high quality produce.

“As this project demonstrates, there is real scope for growth and finding new markets for the produce, including exports. Other than improving food security, agriculture is an important source of exports,” said Zuma.

For Zuma, this launch was a special occasion because he pioneered the construction of the Dube Trade Port and King Shaka International Airport during his days as the provincial MEC for Economic Development.

The Dube Trade Port Corporation - a state owned enterprise - is in a position to boost economic development and job creation. The construction phase alone generated close to 20,000 jobs in each of the past two years.

Government looks at its strategic airports to help promote the African Agenda by opening up new routes or expanding. Zuma, therefore, welcomed SA Express’s decision to identify Durban as a base in which to grow its footprint into the SADC region.

SA Express has concluded an agreement with the Dube Trade Port Corporation, which will see a connection of King Shaka airport to the region, especially to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique.

There are also plans for SA Express to expand into countries such as Namibia, Malawi, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“There can only be positive results from this strategic move. You will recall ... that there is a major African Union move to develop a continental free trade zone.

“Three regions alone - SADC, the East African Community and COMESA - bring together about 600 million people. Added to this, Africa provides a market of one billion people. The focus on our continent is therefore a step in the right direction in terms of the country’s strategic goals,” Zuma said.

The President said the King Shaka Airport, officially opened ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, must aggressively market itself as a key entry point for international routes and attract various international carriers to Durban via additional bilateral air service agreements.

Passenger traffic at the airport has been steadily growing since its move from the old Durban International Airport.

“It is anticipated that the airport’s passenger traffic for the 2012 financial year will surpass the five million mark.”

Premier Zweli Mkhize said the King Shaka International Airport had resulted in the province being a preferred destination for conferencing, tourism and leisure.

“The new Dube Trade Port will greatly expand the capacity of KwaZulu-Natal to import and export goods. The principal component of the Dube Trade Port is a new international passenger and cargo airport, but it is the new facility’s proximity to the harbours of Durban and Richards Bay that give it the edge as a transport and logistics hub,” said Mkhize.

With its strategic location between two of the largest seaports in the southern hemisphere – Durban and Richards Bay - the Dube Trade Port will contribute to key economic objectives in the province.

“The Trade Port is also set to be Southern Africa’s premier logistics platform, given that the Port of Durban provides connectivity to 53 international destinations and access to local distribution networks,” said Zuma.

The Dube Trade port will form an important part of the pipeline of development projects, one of which is the improvement of the movement of goods and economic integration through a Durban-Free State-Gauteng logistics and industrial corridor.

“This project is intended to connect the major economic centres of Gauteng and Durban/Pinetown, and at the same time, link these centres with an improved export capacity through our sea-ports and improved railway lines.

“We expect this corridor to also stimulate growth in the KZN Midlands, a major agricultural and industrial region through which this route will pass,” said Zuma.

After the launch, Zuma joined the Dube family to unveil a statue of the ANC’s founding president John Langalibalele Dube, at the Dube Trade Port offices. – BuaNews

 

News continues below...

 

NGQURA PORT TO BE OFFICIALLY OPENED ON FRIDAY 16 MARCH

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MSC Catania on her berth during that ‘other’ port opening back in 2009

More than two years after the first ship, the MSC Catania docked under a trio of new Liebherr ship-to-shore cranes at the port of Ngqura and began working cargo, Transnet has arranged for the port to be officially opened. President Jacob Zuma will do the honours and while Transnet will no doubt make the most of the occasion, it remains odd that so much time has had to pass before an official 'blessing' could be arranged.

Guest speaker at the function which is to be on Friday 16 March, is Captain Salvatore Sarno, head of MSC in South Africa which was among the first shipping lines to agree to redirect some of their ships to call at Ngqura. On 4 October 2009 that became a reality when the MSC Catania went alongside and discharged her first containers.

Since then MSC and MOL, and now several other lines have made the port a call on the South African coast, to the extent that in 2011 the port of Ngqura handled 523,597 TEUs (twenty foot container equivalents), which amounted to 7.112 million tonnes of cargo

When MSC Catania called at the port on 4 October 2009 the ship was on the Northern Europe – South Africa service. The ship arrived in Ngqura from Durban on the return leg of her voyage.

Transnet has invested more than R10 billion in opening the port in spite of sometimes fierce controversy and derision. After being designed as a bulk-handling port, Ngqura became a container port almost by accident, with a single quay in action and two berths providing a capacity of over 750,000 TEUs. Even before construction of the container terminal was complete the decision was taken to extend the terminal with a further two berths although work on this appears to have slowed down.

Transnet’s attention has turned now towards developing the bulk side of the port on a second quay in preparation for anticipated increased exports of manganese and other minerals including magnetite. The quay for this was completed when the port was built – indeed it was the reason why the port was built - and what is required now is rail access and stacking facilities, as well as the equipment for loading the ores onto Capesize bulkers.

Ngqura boasts a four-storey port control and administration building housing modern equipment including Vessel Tracking Management Information Systems, Automatic Identification System (AIS), CCTV, radios and radar valued at approximately R5.5 million. In addition, a camera costing R1 million and boasting a range of 11 to 15 kilometres has been installed to monitor the anchorage area and serve as a Harbour Watch between the metro’s two ports of Nqgura and Port Elizabeth. Ngqura is the first Transnet port to possess such a high-tech camera.

Three powerful harbour tugs were built and supplied by Southern African Shipyards and have taken up their duties at the port. They were delivered in October 2009 and in 2010. Before the port went into service a total of 46 marine personnel underwent intense training at the Port of Port Elizabeth in preparation for the Ngqura’s commercial launch, with specific emphasis on marine and port operations. These critical positions included Tugmasters, Marine Engineers, Vessel Traffic Control Assistants, Marine Pilots, General Purpose Ratings, Motormen, Berthing Masters, Marine Shorehands and Pilot Boat Masters.

Included in the Port Control’s marine services is the planning of vessels sailing and docking in the port and sea rescue operations. The Port of Ngqura will complement Port Elizabeth Port Control in the management of vessel traffic within Algoa Bay.

 

News continues below…

 

FURTHER PLANNED DISRUPTIONS FOR DURBAN’S BAYHEAD ROAD

Durban’s Roads Provision Department says it is planning roadworks on Bayhead Road, probably the most congestion piece of road anywhere in the greater Durban area.

The road, as its name suggests links the Bayhead region of the port with the rest of the city and is the only access road leading to the Durban Container Terminals on Piers 1 and 2, as well as to the strategically important Island View complex and the Bluff coal terminal. The port’s ship repair and building sector is also located along this road.

The work is a holding action which involves the milling out and replacing of an existing asphalt surfacing layer. The section of Bayhead Road affected by the planned roadworks starts from South Coast Road (near the dry dock) to the Langeberg Road turnoff to Pier 2 Durban Container Terminal and includes both carriageways.

The work is to be undertaken at night between the hours of 18h30 and 05h00. Nevertheless, considering the nature of traffic using Bayhead Road and the port’s 24- hour activity, road users can expect delays during the construction period and are urged to exercise extreme caution and patience while travelling through the work zone.

The roadworks commenced on Wednesday, 7 March with completion expected by the end of April, weather and availability of bitumen permitting.

 

Old Durban transport company closes

DTB Cartage, which is said to be Durban’s oldest port cartage company, has decided to call it a day and is closing down. DTB - Dan Taylor & Beningfield to use its original name, has operated since the early 20th Century and is situated in the Hunter and John Milne Streets’ area of downturn Durban, operating road cartage and warehousing including bond storage.

It is understood that the company’s fleet of road transport has been sold to another long-established Durban company, the Gantrans Group.

 

News continues below…

 

NEWS FROM EAST AFRICA

Maersk to Launch India-East Africa Service

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Maersk Kendall. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Maersk Line is to introduce a new container service between the Indian sub-continent, the Middle East and East Africa, the Mawingu Express.

Deploying four container ships each averaging 2,500-TEU capacity, the service will offer a 14-day transit between Nhava Sheva and Mombasa. The port rotation will be Nhava Sheva (Jawaharlal Nehru), Karachi, Salalah, Mombasa, Victoria, and back to Nhava Sheva.

The Mawingu Express service, which replaces Maersk Line’s Indian Ocean Islands Service covering the Middle East and East Africa trades, is due to start with the sailing of the ER BREMEN from Nhava Sheva on 10 April.

 

Kenya and Ethiopia sign agreement to build railway

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Map of Kenya, showing position of Lamu where a new deepwater port is planned. Map courtesy IRIN

Kenya and Ethiopia have signed an agreement to build a railway from the new port of Lamu to Addis Abba in Ethiopia.

The railway will be one half of the planned Lamu Port – South Sudan Ethiopia Transport logistics corridor (LAPPSET) between Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia met to sign the agreement and also explored opportunities of expanding bilateral trade. These plans include the proposed removal of trade barriers between the two countries.

“It is necessary to reconfirm border lines and sensitise the communities residing along the common frontier to ensure they understand where they can go and where they can't under the trade agreements between Kenya and Ethiopia,” said the joint statement.

Meanwhile China has undertaken a feasibility study into the proposed new port of Lamu which would turn it into the largest port on the East African coast.

The new US$24-billion port as planned will be able to handle tankers of up to ULCC size – obviously this is targeting the oil exports of the South Sudan but there is also talk of marketing Lamu as a container transhipment port in addition.

Apart from oil exports derived from South Sudan, the port at Lamu is seen to have the potential of becoming a transhipment hub for containers, being strategically situated for the north-western Indian Ocean region.

The idea of a new port at Lamu and a broad gauge railway linking it with South Sudan and Ethiopia is not without its critics, who point out that Lamu is a World Heritage Site which faces having damage to its mangrove swamp areas and to its old African-Muslim architecture. Critics also cite the proximity of Lamu to the Somalia border and the threat of pirates, who have on several occasions raided the coast nearby.

A group of seven Lamu councillors meanwhile is taking the matter to court in an attempt to prevent the project from going forward on the grounds that the approval given in favour of the new port was not procedural because the proposal did not go through a full council meeting. With the government ignoring the processes, divisions have resulted in the council.

In Tanzania the Tanzania Shipping Agents Association (TASAA) regards the development of the new port at Lamu with something approaching alarm, saying that Tanzanian ports may soon become idle unless plans to develop new ports in Tanzania are implemented immediately. TASAA chairman, Emmanuel Mallya, said that if construction of the Mwambani Port in Tanga wasn’t begun immediately, Tanzania’s ports many soon become feeder ports to Lamu.

He said that while Mwambani was the best choice for such a port due to its proximity and connectivity to the hinterland, it was a question of which new port would be ready first, Lamu or Mwambani.

 

News continuesbelow…

WEST AFRICAN NEWS

Bolloré to upgrade Lomé

Bolloré Africa Logistics says it has awarded a €42.5 million contract to the French construction giant Vinci to build a third quay at the port of Lomé, in Togo, West Africa.

Work on constructing the 450 metre quay will commence in May and is expected to take 18 months to complete. Bolloré said the project would result in Lomé becoming the premier transhipment hub in West Africa for large-capacity containerships from Asia and the favoured gateway for land-locked countries in Togo’s hinterland, such as Mali, Burkina-Faso and Niger.

Bolloré Africa Logistics operates container terminals in three other West African ports - Conakry in Guinea, Freetown in Sierra Leone, and San Pedro in the Ivory Coast. It also operates the container terminal at the Libyan port of Misrata.

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TinyPic

 

Twenty petroleum tankers wait to discharge at Lagos

Nigeria may be on of the world’s leading oil producers but it continues to import petroleum products. Yesterday no less than 20 tankers were waiting outside the port of Lagos to discharge petroleum products.

According to the Nigerian Ports Authority, nine of the tankers are carrying petrol, six were loaded with diesel, three with aviation fuel, one is carrying ethanol and two are loaded with kerosene.

A spokesman for the Association of Maritime Truck Owners said that the arrival of the 20 ships would ease the long queues of motorists at filling stations in Ogun.

Lagos had no less than 67 other ships waiting outside and carrying a variety of cargoes ranging from rice, general cargo, bulk malt, bulk wheat, bulk urea and empty containers.

Before one expresses surprise over Nigeria’s petroleum predicament, take a moment to consider that on any day this week the South African port of Durban, which boasts two large refineries, has had an average of around 20 tankers waiting outside for a berth at Island View. The cargo carried by these tankers is largely petroleum imports despite the country boasting a total of five refineries.

 

News continues below…

CRUISE NEWS: NEW DESTINATIONS FOR MSC STARLIGHT CRUISES

MSC Starlight announces new destinations for coming 2012/13 cruise season

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MSC Sinfonia arriving in Durban. Picture by Trevor C http://www.nauticalimages.co.za

MSC Starlight Cruises recently announced the return of MSC SINFONIA, and the addition of MSC OPERA to South Africa for the 2012/13 summer season. Now comes news of select new cruise destinations as part of the summer 2012/13 itineraries.

MSC Opera will arrive in Cape Town on 20 November 2012 and will proceed onto Durban where she will be based for the summer season, operating the popular three and four night cruises to Maputo, Portuguese Island and Barra Lodge in Mozambique.

However, the ever popular Christmas cruise has been changed slightly, sailing to Portuguese Island and then on to the tiny beach village of Anakoa in Madagascar. This unspoilt port of call is known for its diving, fishing and surfing alongside a quaint fishing village where the locals still craft seaworthy dhows right on the beach.

Anakao lies about 30 miles to the south of the small town and port of Toliara, also known as Tulear.

An 11 Night festive New Year cruise on board MSC Opera has also seen a new addition with New Year’s Eve celebrated under the Reunion skies. MSC Opera arrives in Mauritius on New Year’s Day where the ship will remain in port for 3 nights.

MSC Opera also has Port Elizabeth as a port of call towards the end of her season and will perform a couple of cruises out of Cape Town to Mossel Bay, Walvis Bay, and Luderitz before leaving South African shores for the European summer.

MSC Sinfonia will arrive back in South Africa on 28 November 2012 for her 4th season, allowing the Cape Town market a more luxurious cruising option out of their home port. A firm favourite in South Africa, she will operate a series of cruises to Mossel Bay, Hermanus, Walvis Bay, Luderitz, and, for the first time ever, an 11-night roundtrip cruise to Walvis Bay and St Helena.

Long a requested destination for MSC to visit, St Helena is one of the most isolated islands in the world, and used to serve as an important rendezvous point and source of food for ships that were travelling from Asia en route to Europe. French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to, and is buried on the Island.

MSC Sinfonia will take over the Portuguese Island, Maputo and Barra Lodge cruises from MSC Opera on 18 February out of Durban and will operate an extended season, only ending on 12 April 2013. This includes school holidays and Easter which is sure to be in huge demand.

Another new destination for the ship will be Anakoa (Madagascar) as part of a 7 night cruise including Portuguese Island and Maputo. This departure is scheduled for 25 March 2013.

For the real cruise enthusiasts there is a long cruise scheduled to Mauritius, Reunion and Ile St Marie in Madagascar on the 6th of February or, the ultimate cruises – those to and from Italy to Cape Town, 18 and 19 night itineraries from Venice or Genoa to the fairest Cape with calls at Valencia, Toulon, Lisbon, the Canary Islands & Walvis Bay.

MSC Starlight Cruises says that bookings for the new season are already open for both MSC Opera and MSC Sinfonia, with attractive offers for early bookings as well as special promotions for senior citizens and honeymooners.

The ships

MSC Opera has 856 cabins of which 172 are balcony cabins and 28 are balcony suites. The ship has four restaurants, eleven bars, two pools, and two whirlpools. The vessel boasts the MSC Aurea Spa and Solarium, a disco, video games room, internet café, casino, team building facilities and a medical centre. The ship has an array of duty free shopping and caters for kids with the Buffalo Bill children’s play area. Additional facilities include the ‘Cotton Club’ bar and a stage on deck for outdoor entertainment.

MSC Sinfonia has 777 cabins, of which 132 are balcony suites. The ship also boasts four restaurants, 10 bars, two swimming pools and the luxurious MSC Aurea Spa. Guests can enjoy world class performances in the San Carlo Theatre and take advantage of the state-of-the-art fitness centre, golf simulator, casino, mini club, teen's club, disco, internet arcade and luxury shopping. Additional facilities include a business and conference centre and medical centre.

For more details visit: MSC Cruises or MSC Starlight Cruises. Use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.

 

US$155 million refit and rename for Carnival Destiny

Imagine spending $155 million just to refit a ship! That’s what Carnival Cruises is doing with its CARNIVAL DESTINY (101,353-gt, built 1996), which is set to emerge next year as the CARNIVAL SUNSHINE.

The ship’s reconfigured layout includes the addition of a partial deck and the expansion of two other decks in the forward section of the ship, which has made possible the incorporation of a number of new and exciting on-board spaces.

More importantly from the cruise company’s perspective, 182 new cabins will be added which will generate additional income.

The makeover is Carnival Cruise Line’s most ambitious refit and transformation project ever. The redesign will be so extensive and wide-ranging that the ship will be renamed Carnival Sunshine following the 49-day dry dock, which will take place from February to April 2013. The refit work will be completed by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri.

Once back in service the Carnival Sunshine will take on a schedule of a nine- and 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona and Venice from April to October 2013 before transferring across the Atlantic to introduce year-round seven-day Caribbean departures from New Orleans beginning November 2013.

“This is our most ambitious ship conversion project to date and it will radically transform the Carnival Destiny into essentially an entirely new ship offering a variety of exciting dining and beverage choices, spectacular outdoor spaces and entertainment options, and on-board innovations not available anywhere else,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.

 

Keeping an eye on the Queen

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Queen Mary 2 in Sydney harbour

In case you were wondering where the QUEEN MARY 2 had got to, she arrived in Sydney this week after completing her first circumnavigation of Australia which took 30 days to complete.

Welcoming the ship, NSW Ports Minister Duncan Gay said he was very pleased to welcome the ship into the heart of the city.

“This is the first time that a ship of this size has berthed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal,” he remarked.

To ensure safe berthing of the giant 345m long ship, a heavy-duty anchor was sunk into the seabed at Campbell Cove.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, there were 150 cruise ship visits to Sydney in 2010/11, and 216 ships this season. Next season Sydney expects to welcome 264 cruise ships.

 

Clipper Odyssey due in South Africa

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The American-owned and operated expedition cruise ship CLIPPER ODYSSEY (5,218-gt, built 1989) becomes an unheralded visitor to South African ports when she arrives next week (18-19 March in Richards Bay/ 20 March Durban). The four-star rated Clipper Odyssey is generally regarded as be one of the better expedition ships offering cruises suited to those who like their adventures to be undertaken in comfort and luxury.

Carrying a maximum of 128 passengers in 64 well-fitted double occupancy cabins, the Dutch-designed, Japanese built Clipper Odyssey is able to sail to less frequented places where bigger ships cannot go. The ship has made several calls in Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius on her current cruise and among her visits are to the Comores, Zanzibar, Pemba Island, the Quirimbas, Ibo Island, Inhambine and Bazaruto, Inhaca and Maputo.

On her present cruise she will call at Richards Bay (18/19 March) and Durban (20 March) where one segment of the cruise comes to an end and where another begins. Then it is on to Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay, Hermanus and Cape Town before sailing on to Luderitz and finishing another segment at Walvis Bay. From there Clipper Odyssey heads for West African ports.

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News continuesbelow…
 

YESTERYEAR - THOSE CLASSIC SHIPS, SA SHIPPER, AFRICA AND CLAIRWOOD

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The cargo steamer SA SHIPPER, which eventually became the victim of rising fuel prices, seen sailing from the port of Durban in April 1975. Before donning the Safmarine plumage she was one of a number of ships taken over from Springbok Lines, havingbeen Springbok Lines’ ROOIBOK. Prior to that she operated with Bullard King & Co as their UMZINTO, which is another local name and before that she was the CLAN ROBERTSON of Clan Line. Picture by Trevor Jones

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One of a pair of popular and handsome passenger ships on the South Africa service was the AFRICA, seen here off Durban in January 1975. Built in 1952 the 11,434 -gross ton liner made her maiden voyage to South Africa in February 1952 with Lloyd Triestino Soc. For whom she operated a 3 - 4 week service between Italy and South Africa with a port rotation of Trieste, Venice, Brindisi, Port Said, Suez, Aden, Mogadishu, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Beira, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban, Beira and returning via the same ports as on the outward voyage. Her sister ship on this service was the EUROPA. Picture by Trevor Jones

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Durban Lines’ CLAIRWOOD entering the port of Durban in April 1975. One of a number of ships named for Durban suburbs, in some respects she could be considered as one of South Africa’s first container ships, after having been built as the MARGARETA to carry containerised coffee from Brazil to Europe. Once acquired by Durban Lines, Clairwood operated between Durban and Lourenco Marques (Maputo) and Beira during which time she carried containers among her cargo. Picture by Trevor Jones

 

SHIPWATCH: NEWS OF SHIPS & SHIPPING LINES

Maersk wants to expand ‘Daily Maersk’ service

Just four months into the introduction of its revolutionary ‘Daily Maersk’ service, in which Maersk Line guaranteed daily sailings between selected Far East ports and northern Europe, comes news that the Danish shipping giant is looking to possibly expand her popular ‘conveyor belt’ designed to provide dependable services.

This expansion could be on several other services operated by Maersk but Soren Skou, Maersk’s new CEO says that there are no concrete plans for now.

The most obvious candidate service for a ‘Daily Maersk’ is that between the Far East and North America. On the Asia-Europe trades the Daily Maersk service is credited for helping Maersk to increase its market share to a record 19.4 percent by the end of 2011, although this assumption might be premature given that the daily service was only four months old at the end of the year. Maersk has dedicated 70 large container ships to this service.

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Maersk Edinburgh, one of the jumbo 13,000-TEU class of ships on the Daily Maersk service

 

UASC takes delivery of third of nine jumbo container ships

Kuwait’s United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) has taken delivery of its third 13,470-gt container ships, the UNAYZAH which will be deployed on UASC’s Far east – Middle East service that UASC shares with CMA CGM and CSCL (coded respectively as the AMA, CIMEX and for UASC, the AGX 1 service).

The new ship will replace two smaller ships currently on the service. UASC has nine similar ships on order and has already taken delivery of the AIN SNAN as recently as January this year. The first vessel in the class was delivered by the Samsung Heavy Industries yard in April last year.

 

VALE BEIJING on South African coast

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Vale Beijing on berth in Sao Louis in late 2011, where hull fractures were discovered as the ship was completing loading nearly 400,000 tons of iron ore

When you read this the world’s largest dry bulk carrier, the 400,000-dwt VALE BEIJING will have completed sailing past the KZN coast and out of South African waters. The giant ship was in the news last year when she experienced hull fractures in several places while being loaded at the port of Sao Louis in Brazil.

Vale Beijing is one of 20 400,000-dwt dry bulkers ordered by Brazilian mining group Vale to carry iron ore from Brazil to China. Unfortunately it seems someone forgot to negotiate with the Chinese who have shown reluctance to handle these super bulkers in their ports, despite some of them being built in Chinese shipyards. The difficulties experienced with the Vale Beijing would have added ammunition to some of the Chinese concerns about handling the ships.

As a result Vale has arranged for the use of a transship facility at Subic Bay in the Philippines where cargo is transshipped onto smaller vessels. On 4 March the Vale-owned Capesize bulker ORE PANTANAL arrived in Subic Bay to begin loading iron ore transshipped there earlier by one of the ultra large bulkers, VALE BRASIL for China.

With NYK also beginning to upload Vale-delivered iron ore at Subic Bay for Japan, it’s possible the Philippines’ arrangement could become permanent unless the Chinese relent and allow the giants back in.

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Vale Brazil in Oman late last this year. Picture by Frank Verheij

 

Tug, tows, heavylifts and other unusual visitors

A tug and tow that arrived in Durban in the past week is the tug SOPHIA III which delivered the 80m long barge PEG to Durban for dry docking.

When first noticed on the port ETA charts it was thought to be another tug and tow; instead the two ships turned out far more interesting. The 86m long seismic research vessel SANCO SPIRIT (4396-gt, built 2009) is being accompanied by the standby safety vessel, TORSVIK (370-gt, built 1979) and both these vessels appear to have taken up operations offshore of Durban. Seismic research vessels are usually engaged in the search for offshore oil.

Yet another ship of interest and at anchor outside on Friday was the heavylift vessel TARGET (42,515-GT, built 1990). The heavylift didn’t enter port and nor was its cargo observed before the ship sailed again at the weekend.

The port’s outer anchorage remains crowded with tankers of various sizes. During the week up to 20 tankers could be counted in the roadstead on any one day. According to a Durban ships agent this is a result of ongoing shortages of refined fuel resulting in the oil companies having to import petrol, diesel and avgas.

 

Warships in Durban

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SAS Isandlwana. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Two warships were at the Salisbury Island Naval Station in Durban this week. The first to arrive at the previous weekend was the frigate SAS ISANDLWANA which has been on anti-piracy deployment in the northern section of the Mozambique Channel.

The second frigate to arrive is the German ship FGS LUEBECK F214 which has also been deployed with the anti-piracy fleets operating in the Gulf of Aden region. Luebeck is on her way back to Germany via southern Africa and has called at Durban for some short R&R and to refuel and resupply. She sailed on Friday and her next port is likely to be Simon’s Town or Cape Town.

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FGS Luebeck

SA Agulhas returns home after final Antarctic voyage

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SA Agulhas. Picture by Trevor Jones

With little fanfare the Antarctic supply ship, SA AGULHAS has returned to Cape Town bringing home members of the South African Antarctic team that spent the last 14-months at the SANAE base in Antarctica.

Among those returning were members of the South African National Space Agency (Sansa) space science team, supported by the South African National Antarctic Programme (Sanap). A replacement team travelled with SA Agulhas on her outward voyage. SANSA provides opportunities for graduates from outside South Africa and one of those accompanying the team was Ugandan Nicholas Ssessanga, believed to be the first Ugandan to visit the ice continent.

SA Agulhas is due to retire shortly and will be replaced with a new ice-breaking research and supply vessel, SA AGULHAS II, which is currently on sea trials in Finland.

 

ERRATIC DEADLY IRINA FINALLY FIZZLES OUT

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Storm generated waves come ashore at Durban. Picture IRIN

Abtabanarivo (IRIN) - Less than two weeks after being battered by Cyclone Giovanna, another violent storm named Irina swept over Madagascar killing at least 77 people and leaving 70,000 homeless, according to figures from the National Disaster Risk Management Agency.

Eight people died in Mozambique – five of them fishermen who were caught at sea off the coast of Beira while three died in the southern province of Gaza when a tree blew over on their house during the storm. In South Africa four people were reported to have died as a result of the Cyclone Irina making a rare visit to this country.

Tropical storms in the southwest Indian Ocean are responsible for approximately 80 deaths every season.

In Madagascar tropical storm Irina brought heavy rains, especially in the southeast of the country around the towns of Mananjary and Manakara, starting late on 26 February. While most people had been warned of Giovanna's destructive potential, Irina took the Indian Ocean island largely by surprise, destroying roads and houses already weakened by the first cyclone, reports the UN agency IRIN.

Most of the casualties are in the southeastern town of Ifanadiana, where a mudslide engulfed dwellings and caused a traffic accident involving a minibus.

Irina has brought the total death toll from Madagascar’s current cyclone season, which usually runs from January to March, to over 100.

“While our teams continue to respond to the needs of people who were left with nothing after Cyclone Giovanna, we are now also assessing the effects of Irina,” said John Uniack Davis, country director of CARE International, which is providing emergency assistance in affected areas.

The three main roads connecting the southeastern town of Vangaindrano to the rest of the country are still under water or mud, leaving a CARE team stationed there stranded along with the town's residents.

“Many houses are flooded and people are taking refuge in central locations. The population is at great risk from crop loss and people might well lose their livelihoods,” Davis told IRIN, adding that 90 percent of rice paddies in the area have now been under water for five days. Rice is Madagascar's staple crop.

Davis said his organisation usually distributes food for a limited amount of time after a natural disaster and then introduces food-for-work programmes in the medium term. “We want to provide support to restore people’s self-sufficiency. The problem is that it’s already quite late in the rice season, so we might not be able to salvage the rice harvest, even when using short-cycle seeds. We might intervene with helping the people grow other kinds of crops.”

Less than two weeks before Irina, Tropical Cyclone Giovanna caused flooding and led to the deaths of 35 people. Giovanna was a far more intense storm, the equivalent of a category 4 hurricane when it made landfall, but ample warnings kept the death toll comparatively low.

Far more unusual was for southern Mozambique and South Africa to feel the effects of a cyclone. In January this year southern Mozambique was visited by Cyclone Dando, which was the first tropical storm of the season to hit the area. In South Africa it was the first time since Cyclone Domoina in 1984 devastated large parts of KZN, including Durban, and leaving 214 people dead in its wake.

Meanwhile, although Cyclone Irina gave every impression of dissipating in the Indian Ocean at least 500 miles off the coast of KZN, some forecasters still warned that the storm might loop back towards the African coast, intensifying as it went. In such a scenario the storm would have revisited KZN and southern Mozambique by the weekend.

The NASA/Goddard Space Flight Centre however said that infrared satellite imagery showed that the strongest thunderstorms, located in the southeastern quadrant have weakened and are being pushed away from the center from wind shear. “Once a tropical cyclone is no longer ‘stacked’ vertically on top of itself, it weakens, and that's what is happening to Irina.

“In addition to increased wind shear, sea surface temperatures are below the 80 degree Fahrenheit threshold (26.6 C) needed to maintain a tropical cyclone, so the cooler waters are preventing evaporation and energy feeding into the storm. “The Joint Typhoon Warning Center expects that Irina will finally dissipate at sea over the weekend.” Sources Passageweather.com, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Centre

 

NEW COASTGUARD ESTABLISHED IN SOMALIA

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Somalia showing the Puntland region with the semi-autonomous Somaliland in the northwest. Among the difficulties facing those attempting to put an effective coastguard into service is the length of Somalia’s coastline – the longest of any African country.

Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Ministry of Defence has announced the establishment of the Somali Anti Piracy Task Force Coast Guard, in association with Halliday Finch International, a Nairobi-based private security company. The new force will be part of the Somali National Security Forces, and will consist of land, sea and air components.

In a press release issued this week, the Minister of Defence, Hussein Arab Essa announced the following:

“With the help of several members of the international community and in partnership with Halliday Finch International we will deliver, under the auspices of the TFG Ministry of Defence and through the TFG Anti-Piracy Task Force, a National Coast Guard capability with immediate effect.

“In developing a national capability we recognise that we need the help and assistance of our regional partners and we will establish many of the training facilities and bases in their areas. Halliday Finch International will provide training and logistic support as well as other services.

“Now that the contract has been signed, Halliday Finch is seeking both national and private donors to fund the operation. Qatar, Mauritius, Nigeria and Angola have expressed interest, and the firm has already secured the $52 million required for the first year of operation.

“Halliday Finch predicts that the 10-year project will cost approximately $900 million, and the organisation hopes that some proportion of the funding will eventually come from domestic revenue streams, including the sale of fishing licenses.

“Puntland’s Administration is already on board, and has agreed to locating the initial training camp in Bosaso, according to Halliday Finch. In the first phase, 500 individuals (yet to be identified, but likely to come from the coastal communities) will be trained by international consultants and Somali security forces.

“The ultimate plan is to integrate the numerous maritime security efforts along the coast, which will require cooperation from the semi-autonomous region of Somaliland. Talks are ongoing, but coordination will likely be difficult given both Somaliland’s bid for secession and its immense pride over its own coastguard.”

The initiative is but the latest TFG bid to promote security on the Somali coastline. In 2010, the TFG contracted private security company Saracen International to train its anti-piracy task force. Following allegations that Saracen had violated a UN arms embargo, the contract was cancelled in February 2010. Saracen swiftly shifted focus to its operations in Puntland, where it works with the Farole administration.

 

PIRACY REPORT: TANKER HIGHJACKED AND DHOW RELEASED

Pirates take possession of tanker ROYAL GRACE

With the end of the monsoon pirates appear to have taken to the seas once more and after highjacking a dhow north of the island of Socotra, have succeeded also in highjacking a chemical products tanker, the Dubai-owned and operated ROYAL GRACE (6,813-dwt, built 1984). The ship was captured in position 21:27N - 062:37E approximately 150n.miles off Oman on 2 March, resulting in a maritime alert being issued. There was however some doubt about her capture but on 4 March this was confirmed when communications with the vessel was established.

 

Warship releases highjacked dhow

The German Navy replenishment ship FGS BERLIN A1411, on deployment with EUNAVFOR in the Gulf of Aden, successfully engineered the release of an Indian flagged dhow and crew, disrupting a Pirate Action Group and destroying two attack skiffs.

On 28 February 2012, FGS BERLIN received a distress call from a merchant vessel reporting that they had successfully repelled a pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden. The Berlin dispatched one of its helicopters to the position and quickly located a skiff and an Indian flagged and crewed dhow. The crew of the helicopter established that the dhow had been pirated and the crew of 25 Indian nationals were held hostage. The suspected pirates threatened to kill crew members if Berlin took any action against the dhow.

The following day FGS Berlin destroyed the two unmanned skiffs towed by the dhow, leaving the pirates unable to mount an attack against merchant shipping. The pirates on board the dhow then abandoned ship by boarding their remaining skiff and headed towards Somalia.

Because it couldn’t leave the hostages on board of the dhow, FGS Berlin was not in a position to prevent the suspected pirates escaping to the Somali Coast. Nevertheless an entire crew was rescued, two attack skiffs destroyed and the pirates denied the use of the dhow as a mother-ship and centre for a pirate attack group.

An investigation revealed that four crew members on the dhow required medical attention. Once this was provided and food and water was delivered to the Indian crew, the dhow was able to continue to her next intended port of call.

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The dhow that was released from pirate control. This vessel is typical of the hundreds if not thousands of dhows criss-crossing the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden and venturing further south to Mombasa and Zanzibar, precisely as their forefathers have over the generations. The only difference today is that many of the dhows are motor powered and lack sails. Picture by EUNAVFOR

Kismayo increasingly used by pirates

Not good news for Kenya, Tanzania and the Seychelles is that pirates from the lower Juba region have been assembling in Kismayo in order to launch attacks, reports www.somalireport.

Once the pirates successfully capture a ship, it is sailed to Haradhere and Hobyo higher up the coast, where there are safer anchorages. Somalireport says the major pirate bases in the region are Kaboora Beach, near Kismayo, and Koyame Island. Prior to this, pirates launched their attacks from Kudha, but were forced to relocate following military pressure from Kenya.

“Pirates here tend to have good relations with al-Shabaab, which is why they are able to continue to operate. In late 2011, it was widely reported that southern pirate gangs paid 20% of ransom payments to al-Shabaab, however this claim was never verified.”

 

Chinese Navy ships head for Somalia

Another flotilla of Chinese Navy ships, the 11th so far, have headed away from their home base at Qingdao bound for Somalia and anti-piracy patrols.

The flotilla consists of the destroyer QINGDAO, the frigate YANTAI and supply ship WEISHANHU. There are some 800 personnel onboard. Since the first Chinese mission to the region the Chinese Navy has escorted over 4,500 ships and offered assistance to more than 50 others.

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The Chinese frigate ZHOUSHAN arrives in Durban after completing her deployment in the Gulf of Aden in April 2011. Picture by Terry Hutson

Hostages Held By Pirates

Hostages held by pirates are as follows. Please note these figures can alter daily. Hostages held on vessel: 267
Hostages held on land: 26
Total: 293

 

PICS OF THE WEEK – BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF CAPE TOWN and PORT ELIZABETH

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Bird’s eye of Cape Town Harbour, looking across the Duncan Dock to the right and the Ben Schoemen Dock with the container terminal away to the left. Directly in front is the A berth facility, which is now a dedicated ship repair facility with the accommodation barge LANCELOT on the berth. Picture is by Aad Noorland. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Aerial view of Port Elizabeth and in particular its container and car terminal directly in front. 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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