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Ports & Ships Maritime News

12 May 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

 

 

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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

 

SEND NEWS REPORTS AND PRESS RELEASES TO info@ports.co.za

News continues below...

 

FIRST VIEW – GEO SERVICE 1, EDDA FIDES and THEO

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The newly built offshore service vessel GEO SERVICE I (1376-gt, built 2012) which was in Cape Town harbour last week. Picture by Aad Noorland

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Another view of the new ship repair quay in Cape Town harbour, with the Singapore-flagged offshore vessel Geo Service I, the offshore accommodation vessel EDDA FIDES (20,333-gt, built 2011) and the offshore supply vessel THEO (2954-gt, built 1982). Picture by Aad Noorland

 

JAPANESE TRAWLER AGROUND OFF CLIFTON BEACH

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As the fog lifts the Japanese fishing vessel EIHATSU MARU can be seen aground off Clifton Beach in Cape Town on Saturday. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Report by Ian Shiffman

The Japanese trawler DEIHATSU MARU ran aground at 1st Beach Clifton this morning (Saturday 12 May) in thick fog.

First reports said there are 18 people on board. Some crew members could be seen on the bridge waiting to be rescued. The vessel is in soft sand and is very close to the beach as can be seen by the children playing in front.

By midday the fog was still very thick and as a result the Port of Cape Town has remained closed to shipping.

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Later in the day as the fog lifts the ship can be seen more clearly. Picture by Ian Shiffman

The NSRI reports as follows:

At 06h15 (Saturday 12 May) NSRI Table Bay duty crew were called-out by the Transnet National Ports Authority following reports of a fishing trawler running aground at Clifton.

On arrival on-scene our NSRI mobile units searched for the vessel from the shore-line in thick fog. When the motors of the vessel were heard we realised the vessel was off First Beach Clifton said Paula Leech, NSRI Table Bay station commander.

NSRI Table Bay launched Spirit of Vodacom and Rotary Endeavor and NSRI Bakoven launched Spirit of Rotary Table Bay. On arrival we found the Eihatsu Maru, a 50 metre Japanese registered fishing trawler, 50 metres off-shore, in the wave-line, with 18 Taiwanese fishermen and the Captain’s dog, a cross border collie named Alley, on-board. The generators of the vessel were still running and all crew onboard [were listed as] safe so we monitored the vessel gradually being pushed closer to land until she came to rest on a sand bank about 35 metres from the beach line. said Bruce Davidson, NSRI Bakoven station commander.

METRO EMS rescue crews, the SA Police Force, Disaster Management, Law Enforcement, Metro Police, a Police Dive Unit, members of the SA Navy, members of the Cape Town City Department of Environment and Cape Town Traffic Services joined the rescue operation maintaining safety of the scene and preparing to assist the NSRI if any of the crew had decided to abandon ship.

It became evident that the vessel was hard aground at a slight list and there was minimal risk of any injury occurring to any of the crew on-board.

The NSRI Commanders instructed the Captain of the ship not to let any of his crew abandon ship while the situation was being assessed based on the evidence that the vessel was hard aground and showed no risk of capsizing and appearing not to be damaged.

SAMSA (The South African Maritime Safety Authority) arrived on-scene to assess damage to the vessel and to assess options to get the vessel back out to sea.

A tug is en-route to the scene from Simon’s Town and efforts to tow the vessel out to sea may be made at around 21h00 today (Saturday) at high tide.

Two NSRI rescue swimmers were placed onboard the vessel and Taiwanese Consulate staff and the ships agent assisted the NSRI with language interpretations between the casualty vessel crew and NSRI rescuers. NSRI rescue craft on the scene then successfully evacuated 19 of the fishermen off the casualty vessel, bringing them to Table Bay harbour. Nine crew remain onboard their vessel (as a skeleton crew) and the Captain has insisted that his dog stays with him onboard. They are all safe.

A salvage company has made a damage assessment on behalf of SAMSA and it appears that the integrity of the hull has not been compromised and authorities are cautiously optimistic that the vessel will be able to be towed out to sea tonight.

The Department of Environment and Disaster Management will maintain a presence at the scene to evaluate any environmental risk, there is reportedly 90 tons of fuel onboard and there is reportedly also ammonia on-board – used in the refrigeration.

They will continue to monitor the situation while SAMSA, the Salvors, the ships agent, the ships captain and the ships owners negotiate salvage options and prepare their efforts to try to tow the vessel out to sea tonight.

One crewman has a minor laceration to his hand and was treated by the NSRI. It is reportedly a laceration sustained 5 days ago while the vessel was at sea. The patient has been advised to be seen to by a medical facility.

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The sailor with the injured hand is helped off the fishing vessel. Picture Paula Leech.

It is still not known what caused the vessel to run aground. The engines and the generators continue to work and while it is suspected that the thick fog may have played a role a formal investigation will be conducted by SAMSA to determine the cause and the sequence of events that led to the grounding of the Eihatsu Maru on Clifton’s First Beach today.

The rescued crewmen have been taken to immigration services and their ships agent will arrange accommodation for them.

 

News continues below…

 

PORT STATISTICS FOR APRIL ARE NOW AVAILABLE

 

Port statistics for the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority are now available for the month of April 2012. During the month the combined ports achieved a total throughput of 23.241 million tonnes reflecting a busy month by most of the ports.

To compare the 2012 April figures year on year with those of 2011, please go to the following link HERE for the previous April figures. Use your BACK button to return to this page.

As is standard with figures reported in PORTS & SHIPS, these reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to those provided by Transnet. This is to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers by number of TEUs and does not show the weight.

To arrive at such a calculation, PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13,5 tonnes per TEU, which may involve some under- reporting but until such time as the IMO enforces the weighing of containers at all ports we will have to live with these estimates. Nevertheless, we continue to make this distinction, without which South African ports continue to be under-reported internationally.

Figures for the respective ports during April 2012 are:

 

Cargo handled by tonnes during April 2012

PORT APRIL 2012 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.589
Durban 6.576
Saldanha Bay 5.663
Cape Town 1.657
Port Elizabeth 0.923
Ngqura 0.426
Mossel Bay 0.231
East London 0.177
   
Total all ports 23.241 million tonnes


CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during April 2012
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT April 2012 TEUs
Durban 238,164
Cape Town 88,920
Port Elizabeth 16,138
Ngqura 31,532
East London 4,385
Richards Bay 607
   
Total all ports 379,746 TEUs


SHIP CALLS for April 2012

PORT April 2012 vessels gross tons
Durban 310 9,395,654
Cape Town 359 4,154,521
Richards Bay 148 5,580,202
Port Elizabeth 87 2,262,526
Saldanha Bay 50 3,068.103
Ngqura 27 1,479,970
East London 17 501,411
Mossel Bay 69 372,547
     
Total ship calls 1064 26,814,934

- source TNPA, but with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container tonnages

MONTHLY STATISTICS FOR RICHARDS BAY COAL TERMINAL

 

  Month's exports YTD exports Annualised estimate Ships Trains
January 2012 4,463,987 4,463,987 52,56mt 44 813
February 2012 6,087,111 10,551,098 64.19mt 63 678
March  6,239,646 16,790,744 67.35 58 810
April  5,174,739 21,965,483 66,26 48 778

source: RBCT

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Durban Harbour Bayhead scene. Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za

News continues below…

 

PORTWATCH: NEWS FROM THE PORTS

Engen partially shuts Durban refinery

The 125,000 barrels-a-day Engen Petroleum refinery in Durban has been partially shut for maintenance and to coincide with maintenance on the single buoy mooring (SBM) which has cut crude oil supplies.

The SBM is expected to be out of commission for much of the month of May and as a result the Engen refinery, the oldest in South Africa, has shut down some unspecified units between 5 May and 24 May, ‘for maintenance,” said a spokesperson.

 

New coal link to Port of East London

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Port of East London – could be handling coal exports by the end of 2012

According to a Reuter’s report the South African coal mining company Strategic Natural Resources (SNR) is to open a new coal export route between its Eastern Cape mine at Elitheni and the Port of East London.

The route to East London is considerably closer than if the mining group was to ship via Richards Bay or Maputo. The report says the venture is expected to get underway with the first shipment due in December. It does not mention the method to be used to load coal at the harbour from the rail wagons into the ship holds. Because of its draught restrictions East London will not be able to use panamax or Capesize bulkers and the shipments will instead be handled using handymax vessels of around 30,000 – 35,000 tonnes each. The coal is to be exported into Indian ports.

SNR is involved in a joint venture with Swiss-based Trasteel to sell SNR’s anthracite coal.

Masters Course helps TNPA employees to target senior management positions

Silindile Mkhabela, 34, who works for Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is aiming towards an executive position in marine operations. A mother of two, she is one of four TNPA employees who recently returned from overseas where they studied for a Masters programme in Shipping and Transport.

The Masters in Shipping and Transport helps equip participants to fulfil senior management positions in the maritime industry.

Together with Mpho Elliot Hadebe she enrolled at the Netherlands Maritime University in Rotterdam in the Netherlands while Julia Ramishana and Thandiwe Ntuli studied at the Netherlands Shipping and Transport College in Korea, located in the Marine Centre in Gwangyang Free Economic Zone.

Tau Morwe, Chief Executive of TNPA, said employees who took the Masters programme in Shipping and Transport overseas, returned with valuable experiences to share.

“The Masters programme is in keeping with the philosophy of continuous learning and the important Transnet Culture Charter of ‘We empower our employees’.

“The various programmes provide participants with the opportunity to see a world-class port system in operation and interact with port employees from all over the world whilst also bringing back learnings in best practice,” Morwe said.

 

News continues below...

 

SHIPWATCH: NEWS OF SHIPS AND SHIPPING LINES

Maersk talks of extending its ‘Daily Maersk’ service

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Maersk Eindhoven – Daily Maersk ships setting news world standards of predictability. Picture by Shipspotting

Maersk Line says it is considering developing its Daily Maersk Asia-Europe concept across more trade lanes.

This was the word from Lucas Vos, Maersk Line’s Chief Commercial officer when addressing delegates at the recent Containerisation International 14th Global Liner Shipping Conference held in London.

Vos said that Maersk would like to take the concept on other routes as well. “Our ambition in 2012 is to achieve a rate of 95% of on-time delivery on the major east-west trade lanes and also in some Oceania and Latin America markets,” he told delegates during his keynote speech.

According to Vos Maersk was extremely proud of its success and with the customers’ reaction, which he said had helped increase Maersk’s market share from 21 percent to 25 percent.

Vos (pictured) revealed that the Daily Maersk Europe service had offered an average rate of 99% for containers arriving on time in February.

However, he said that the focus needed to be on the customer and not on rates. “Let’s make the environment, reliability and ease of doing business the new rate war,” said Vos.

 

Vale hits back at Chinese over Valemax bans

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One of the giant Valemax iron ore carriers, VALE BRASIL (402,347-dwt, built 2011) discharging cargo in Sohar, Oman. Picture by Frank Verheij

Brazil’s Vale, the world’s largest iron ore producer, has hit back at China over its ban on the 400,000-dwt Vale bulkers from entering Chinese ports, by stopping the hiring of ore carriers from selected Chinese firms.

This is in response to a ban on the Vale superbulkers from entering Chinese ports, imposed earlier this year by Chinese ports in support of Chinese shipowners who campaigned to keep out the giant ships. The Chinese shipowners claimed the new Brazilian ships posed safety risks and would impact on domestic shipping firms. According to a Hong Kong iron ore trader, Vale stopped using Chinese iron ore carriers about four months ago as a ‘get-even’ with the Valemax ban by the Chinese government.

As an interim measure Vale has taken to transshipping iron ore from the 400,000-dwt Valemax carriers into Capesize ships in the Philippine port of Subic Bay, from where the iron ore is shipped into China. This however defeats the purpose of the Valemax economies of scale.

 

New SA polar research ship arrives

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Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, at the welcoming ceremony for SA Agulhus II. Picture by Dean Wingrin

by Dean Wingrin

South Africa’s new polar research and supply ship, the SA AGULHUS II, arrived at its home port, Cape Town last week, Thursday 3 May 2012.

Built by the STX Finland Rauma Shipyard, she departed Rauma in Finland for South Africa on 6 April. The SA Agulhas II will take over from the 34 year-old SA Agulhas as South Africa’s new Antarctic research and supply vessel, supporting and undertaking research in Antarctica and on Marion and Gough Islands.

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SA Agulhus II nears the quay at Cape Town harbour for the first time. Picture by Dean Wingrin

The current polar supply ship, the SA Agulhas, presently on her final cruise in Antarctica, was originally designed as a supply ship with limited scientific capability.

“SA Agulhas II was designed from scratch as a sophisticated scientific platform”, said Henry Valentine, Director: Antarctic and Islands at the Department of Environmental Affairs.

“She will not only take over the logistic responsibilities of the old ship, but she will also do scientific research because she has all the scientific equipment to so that,” Valentine continued, “this ship is particularly well equipped to do climate change research. The big advantage is the Southern Ocean is on our doorstep. The Southern Ocean is key to understanding the climate change processes.”

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The firing of a salute to the new ship. Picture by Dean Wingrin

The new ship, at 134 metres, is significantly bigger than the ship she is replacing, about 20 metres longer and has a crew of 45. While the number of passengers carried (100) is similar, the new ship has a vastly increased scientific capability. There are eight permanent laboratories, plus six containerised laboratories, making 14 laboratories in total. When undertaking logistic cruises, the six container laboratories are removed to make space for more cargo. SA Agulhas II is also more powerful than her predecessor, with the ability to break one meter thick ice at five knots.

“That is significant for the scientists,” Valentine emphasis, “what that means is that we can go earlier in the season to Antarctica and come back later. It gives the scientists an extended research period.”

Other special research facilities include a 2.4 m x 2.4 m Moon Pool, installed in the Environmental Hangar and extending through to the ship’s bottom. It has hydraulically operated upper and lower hatches which can be used to deploy and recover sampling devices when working in the pack ice.

Another feature is the Drop Keel, a device that houses a variety of sound transducers. When steaming in open water, the keel is lowered to protrude three metres below the ships bottom, so as to place the transducers below the turbulence created by the hull. When navigating in ice, the unit is retracted so as to be flush with the ship’s bottom, thereby reducing the risk of ice damage. A big advantage of the Drop Keel is that it allows the Keel to be withdrawn into the trunk to a height that allows access to the transducers from inside the ship, thus eliminating the need to dry dock for transducer maintenance.

The ship is also equipped with a hanger capable of taking two medium-sized helicopters.

Freddie Ligthelm, Master of the SA Agulhas II, said that “the ships ability in ice covered waters will shorten journey times to the Antarctic Ice Shelf and will allow for onboard scientific research in the Southern Oceans during winter months.”

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Picture by Dean Wingrin

At the arrival ceremony, Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, said “today’s arrival ceremony of the SA Agulhas II completes a journey our government started back in 2005 when the decision to acquire a new polar ship was taken. The SA Agulhas II provides South Africa with a golden opportunity to address important issues facing us.

These include protection of our population and property from extreme weather events, such as, increasing frequency and severity of storms and climate impacts on biodiversity. The ship will enable us to go to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean to conduct oceanography and biodiversity work. This will lead to the revival of science on the continent. We will use our endeavours in the Southern ocean in order to contribute to the fortunes of the continent.”

“Our geographic proximity, at the tip of the continent and immediately adjacent to the Antarctic and Southern Ocean means South Africa is a natural Antarctic gateway. Currently there are eight countries using South Africa as a springboard from which to launch their Antarctic expeditions and regular flights between South Africa and Antarctica. These provide South Africa with significant global competitive advantage,” said Molewa.

Molewa continued that, “South Africa has the geographical and strategic advantage but more importantly now with the arrival of this new ship specifically designed and equipped for climate change research, we have the appropriate tool to do so. Today our scientific efforts are redoubling as we turn to Antarctica for answers to one of the great challenges of our time – understanding and adapting to changes in our climate, ecosystems and oceans as a result of our high carbon dioxide emitting lifestyles. The search to understand the drivers and impacts of a changing climate leads inexorably to Antarctica and Southern ocean, which we now understand are sentinels of global change. Every citizen of this country will be affected by climate change. It poses a threat to our food security, vulnerable coastal properties and communities. It is therefore the responsible thing to do to invest in resources like this ship that will assist in us having better prediction, mitigation and adaptation capability.”

The SA Agulhas II has been designed to be at sea for up to 300 days per year, 180 days for logistic support and 120 days for dedicated research cruises. From a safety point of view, the SA Agulhas II is the first ship built in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) latest Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Safety Regulations for passenger ships. This means that even if the ship encounters difficulties at sea, it will always be able to get home.

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The new logo. Picture by Dean Wingrin

The ship has the following public facilities for Crew and Passengers:

 

  • 100 seat Auditorium for the purpose of lectures and presentations
     
  • Business Centre with eight workstations and printing facilities
     
  • Officers lounge
     
  • Two Passenger lounges, each seating 50 persons
     
  • Crew Lounge
     
  • Passenger and Crew Gymnasiums, with Saunas
     
  • Dining saloons and Duty Mess

    At the arrival ceremony, the SA Agulhas II was also officially dedicated to the life and work of singer Miriam Makeba.

    “I wish to thank the Department for keeping alive the memory of Mama Afrika through this dedication of this vessel to her work and life. Just occasionally history produces a citizen whose impact on people of a country and the world is so profound that this continues long beyond his or her physical demise. One such rare individual was the late Miriam Makeba whose impact was so profound that she became more than a citizen of this country, but that of the world,” said Molewa.

    Molewa explained that “this will ensure that, as she cruises the high seas and breaks through ice in the Southern Ocean, the memory and spirit of this great African icon and citizen of the world continues to live in our memories for generations to come. Mama Africa was a citizen of the world and like her this new vessel will be operating in the international arena.”

    The contract to build the new polar supply ship was awarded to STX Finland in November 2009. First steel was cut in September 2010 and the block laying ceremony was held in January 2011. The new ship was floated in September 2011 and sea and ice trials commence din March 2012. Formal handover to the Department of Environmental Affairs occurred on 4 April.

    Its logistic commitments include the servicing of the SANAE base on the Antarctic mainland and the bases on Marion and Gough Islands.

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    The impressive ship’s bridge. Picture by Dean Wingrin

    The laboratories and research facilities will allow for extensive, deepwater oceanographic and geological research voyages. They will also facilitate the rebuilding of South Africa’s deepwater oceanographic capabilities and will result i a high degree of international participation in research cruises.

    The older SA Agulhas will not disappear from the SA coast however. Upon her return to South Africa from Antarctica in September, she will transfer to another Government department and continue in a new role.

    N.B. This article has appeared in defenceWeb and in the author’s SAAF Forum found HERE and is republished with the permission of the author - use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.

     

    News continues below…

     

    EU STILL SOUTH AFRICA’S LARGEST TRADE BLOC

    Pretoria - The European Union (EU) is still South Africa’s largest trade bloc, with the composition of exports to the EU becoming more diverse, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

    Speaking at the Europe Day celebrations on Wednesday, dti Director General Lionel October said South African exports to the EU were steadily growing.

    “We are gradually moving from mainly commodity-based products to a more diversified export,” he said, adding that also included manufactured products.

    South Africa's primary exports to the EU are mining products, machinery and transport equipment and other semi-manufactured goods. EU exports to South Africa are dominated by chemicals, machinery and transport equipment and other semi-machinery.

    October said relations between the EU and South Africa have matured over time.

    Europe Day is an opportunity for activities and festivities designed to bring the EU's institutions closer to the public, and the bloc's peoples closer to one another. The ideas behind the EU were put forward on 9 May 1950. This date is celebrated as a key moment in the creation of the EU.

    EU Ambassador to South Africa Roeland van de Geer said the bloc would continue to offer support to South Africa in addressing its key programmes. He supported intra-Africa Trade as a means to grow the African economy.

    “We are fully committed to close corporation with all countries that foster peace, stability and foreign investment, and South Africa has been leading in this respect; 70% of EU investors are fully satisfied with how things are operating in the country,” said van de Geer. – BuaNews

     

    News continues below…

     

    MARITIME AND TRANSPORT NEWS FROM MOZAMBIQUE

    Bridge Shipping plans large warehouse at Beira

    The expansion of facilities at the central Mozambique Port of Beira has resulted in the port receiving another fillip with the news that Bridge Shipping intends building a new 7,200 square metre warehouse adjacent to the harbour.

    Bridge Shipping Group, one of southern Africa’s largest ships agents, freight forwarders, freight services and warehousing groups intends leveraging the Beira facility to maintain and increase its presence in central Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. The warehouse will have a 9,000 square metre yard adjacent to the warehouse.

     

    Tete – Nacala railway receives funding

    The future railroad linking Chiuta, in Mozambique’s Tete province, and Nacala, in Nampula province, has secured the funding it needs, says the resident director of the Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), José Eduardo Dai.

    Speaking to Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias, Dai said that negotiations between ERNC and the Mozambican government were at an advanced stage. He added that the line, which will require a large investment, would initially have an initial capacity of 60 million tons per year, increasing later to 125 million tons per year.

    Speaking after a meeting between the President of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza and the ERNC company directors as part of his visit to the United Kingdom, Dai said that by the time the line reached a capacity of 40 million tons per year, Mozambique would have become the fourth largest coal producer in the world.

    “The Chiuta/Nampula railway line will serve the coal operators as well as passengers and general cargo,” said the resident director of ENRC, noting that studies for construction of the line began three years ago.

    ERNC is involved in coal mining in Chitima, Tete province and expects to start exporting some 40 million tons of coal per year by 2015/16.

    The company is a world leader in the iron and chromium markets and is the world’s third-largest producer of aluminium. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange. source: macauhub

     

    Lack of infrastructure hinders Moatize coal production

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    Part of the Sena Railway before rehabilitation began

    The potential for coal production in the Moatize basin, estimated at 100 million tons per year, will be difficult to achieve due to the lack of transport and distribution infrastructure in the country, according to mining operators cited by Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias.

    A working document presented as part of a visit by the Mozambican President to Tete province noted that the coal producers’ ‘Achilles heel’ in achieving the necessary levels of production was the Sena Railroad, linking Tete to the port of Beira in Sofala province, which currently has the capacity to carry only 2 million tons of cargo per year.

    Although work is underway to increase the capacity of the railroad to 6 million tons per year, the minimum target for the mining companies is to raise the capacity to 20 million tons per year.

    The document shows that operators are waiting for the Nacala Railroad to start operating, which is expected to happen in 2015, in order that they can have a transport capacity of 30 million tons per year.

    As part of his visit to Tete province, President Armando Guebuza officially opened the Benga mine in the Cahora Bassa district and visited Brazilian company Vale at a unit that is this year expected to export 4.1 million tons of metallurgical coal, and which in 2013 is projected to rise to 11 million tons per year. source: macauhub

     

    Zimbabwe wants to increase oil imports from Iran

    Zimbabwe's Ambassador to Iran Nicholas Kitikiti says his country is ready to increase its crude oil imports from Iran, TREND news agency reported, quoting local media reports.

    The reports said that Zimbabwe has also requested low-sulphur diesel fuel from Iran.

    Transporting diesel to Zimbabwe will require special facilities on account of that country's difficulties with storing and transporting petroleum products, an issue Iran will have to address if it agrees to the proposal, Kitikiti said.

    The ambassador said his country is currently in the midst of talks with Iran for renovating an old oil refinery.

    In 2006, the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company signed an agreement to refurbish Zimbabwe's Feruka oil refinery. The project is yet to be implemented. Source: Bernama

     

    News continuesbelow…

    PIRACY: OIL TANKER SEIZED IN ARABIAN SEA AND TWO SHIPS ATTACKED OFF WEST AFRICA

    Supply vessels attacked off Nigeria

    A maritime security alert has been issued for the Gulf of Guinea after two supply vessels were attacked off Nigeria within 24 hours of each other.

    On 7 May a supply vessel carrying 17 crew was hijacked in position 04:26.19N - 004:58.44E approximately 40 nautical miles from the coast and held for around 11 hours before being released without harm.

    On 8 May six armed pirates launched a skiff from a fishing trawler, and boarded a supply vessel towing a barge in position 03:53.5N – 005:35.9; approximately 20 nautical miles south of Pennington oil terminal, and 45 nautical miles south east of 7 May's attack. The crew mustered in the citadel for 1.5 hours, before emerging to find possessions stolen and minor damage to the vessel.

    The two attacks demonstrate the increasing threat to supply vessels off West Africa; 8 May's attack in particular confirms previous AKE warnings of the increased use of motherships off Nigeria. Source GAC News Alert

     

    Nigeria takes possession of two patrol vessels

    As piracy and robbery at sea escalates in West African waters, Nigeria has taken possession of two patrol vessels – Armacraft Croq 1270 patrol vessels that have been provided by the Lagos government.

    The vessels were commissioned on 3 May and will be used to help police the state’s waterways.

    The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Aminu Ikioda, said that their arrival could not have come at a better time. He requested from the governor that more of the craft be provided in order for the security forces to confront the security challenges facing Nigeria’s waterways.

     

    Liberian tanker highjacked in Arabian Sea

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    The tanker Smyrni, highjacked this week by Somali pirates

    The operators of the Liberian-flagged products tanker SMYRNI, Athens-based Dynacom Tanker Management have confirmed that the vessel was highjacked on 10 May in a position about 285 nautical miles southeast of Masirah island, Oman. The attack took place at around 11h15 GMT and was later confirmed by UKMTO.

    The Greek-owned Smyrni is reported to be carrying 135,000 tonnes of crude oil and has a crew of about 17 – nine confirmed Indians and about eight Filipinos, according to Mombasa-based Andrew Mwangura, who has become a specialist on Somali pirates.

    The ship is believed to have loaded cargo in Turkey but her destination is not confirmed.

     

    Piracy & passenger ship safety on IMO Maritime Safety Committee agenda

    Piracy and armed robbery against ships off the coast of Somalia, in the Gulf of Aden and the wider Indian Ocean will be high on the agenda when IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meets at the Organization's London Headquarters for its 90th session from 16 to 25 May 2012.

    A High-Level Segment will be held on the opening day (16 May), intended to provide an opportunity for a full policy debate among member governments on how the international community should deal with issues related to the deployment of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) on board ships and the carriage of arms on board.

    The MSC has also received a number of submissions under the agenda item on "passenger ship safety", which was added to the agenda in the wake of the Costa Concordia incident in January.

    The busy agenda further includes the adoption of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and consideration of other items submitted by the IMO Sub-Committees....

    Source: GAC/Extract from International Maritime Organisation press briefing of 9 May 2012

     

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    PICS OF THE WEEK – RMS ST HELENA

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    The Royal Mail Ship RMS ST HELENA seen arriving back in Cape Town from the mid Atlantic island of St Helena. With the development of an airport on the island now confirmed it seems likely that the days of this ship plying a regular trade between Cape Town and its island namesake are numbered. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

     

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