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Ports & Ships Maritime News

7 May 2013
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

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

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News continues below...

FIRST VIEW – OCEANRIG POSEIDON

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The drill ship OCEANRIG POSEIDON in the Port of Saldanha undergoing maintenance repairs and an upgrade. Here she is seen on the berth of what looks like the multipurpose terminal. Oceanrig Poseidon was previously drilling off Tanzania and her next assignment will be on site off Angola. Picture by Patrick Veenstra, Lloyds Register Energy – Drilling

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DP WORLD RECORDS US$749 MILLION PROFIT FOR 2012

DP World, the company that holds the concession to operate the Maputo Container Terminal, recorded a global profit of US$749 million for 2012.

Speaking to AIM after the meeting, DP World's senior vice president Mohammed Al Muallem explained that this profit came from the company's 65 marine terminals located across six continents. In total the company handled 56 million TEU (twenty foot container equivalent units).

Key to its worldwide operations, he said is avoiding congestion.

In Maputo Port there have been severe traffic delays with trucks waiting to get into the port tailing back onto the EN4 highway. This has mainly been due to a huge increase in the number of trucks using the port because the railway line from Ressano Garcia was closed after damage to a railway bridge. The line has since reopened.

In response to the congestion, Maputo Port is working on a $2 million project to improve the access roads, increasing the number of lanes from two to five.

DP World's flagship operation at Jebel Ali Port, just outside the city of Dubai, last year handled 13.3 million TEU of cargo without any delays to trucks. Every day the port handles 3,500 trucks and the company is committed to ensuring that any truck arriving at its gates is able to leave those same gates, having deposited or picked up its container, within half an hour.

Mohammed Al Muallem explained that this was only possible by making sure that capacity is always greater than demand. In addition, the company has invested heavily in installing technology so that all the necessary paperwork, from paying the port, customs and insurance to clearing imports with relevant authorities, can be done online. As long as everything is completed, the system recognises a truck's number plates and it can pass all the port's barriers without even stopping.

He told AIM of the Emirates' historic link with east Africa, with older members of his family being fluent in Swahili due to their frequent trips along the African coast.

In March Jebel Ali Port was visited by Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, and Al Muallem stressed that “we were very happy with what President Guebuza said about developments in Mozambique.”

Worldwide, the company employs 30,000 staff and plans to expand capacity so that by 2020 it can handle 103 million TEU. It is looking in particular to growth in the emerging markets of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

DP World holds a 30-year concession to operate the container terminal at Maputo Port until 2033, with an option to extend for a further 10 years. Source – AIM

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Maputo Container Terminal

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NIMASA LIFTS BLOCKADE ON BONNY CHANNEL

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The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has lifted a blockade that it imposed on the Bonny channel to prevent LNG tankers from accessing the Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) loading bay on Bonny Island.

“By this blockade, all Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company vessels operating in the area are neither permitted to leave nor enter the area until all statutory obligations are met,” NIMASA said in a statement on Saturday.

The action was brought by NIMASA on Friday (3 May) because of a dispute with NLNG over what NIMASA says are unpaid levies.

NIMASA said NLNG Limited totally disregarded Nigerian maritime laws and was unwilling to abide by them. The safety authority referred specifically to the NIMASA Act which mandates payment of levies on gross freight on exports and imports and the Cabotage law.

“Since its inception, the NLNG has cherry-picked our laws,” NIMASA said.

The NLNG argues that it is exempt from paying levies and said that the dispute could better be settled by referring the matter to the courts.

To create the blockade NIMASA made use of boats and facilities belonging to Global West Vessels Specialists Limited, which is thought to be owned by a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Mr Government Ekpemupolo, who goes by the nickname Tompolo.

It is believed that three LNG tankers were affected by the action.

The blockade was lifted on Sunday (4 May) after the intervention of the Nigerian ministers of Petroleum Resources and of Transport Mrs Diezana Alison-Madueke and Senator Idris Umar respectively. The Nigerian Security Adviser was also involved in having the blockade lifted.

In a statement, the NLNG said: “Nigeria LNG Limited is a law-abiding corporate citizen of Nigeria and pays all its lawful dues and taxes. It has, in fact, in the recent past received commendations and won awards for its promptitude and honesty in payment of taxes to government. NLNG remains the arrowhead in the federal government's efforts to stop gas flaring in Nigeria, contributes significant revenues to the Nigerian government and accounts for four percent of Nigeria's GDP.”

Nigeria LNG Limited is jointly owned by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) (49 percent), Shell (25.6 percent), Total LNG (15 percent) and Eni (10.4 percent). Source This Day and Vanguard

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Bonny Island

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TRANSNET ATTENDS ANNUAL IAPH CONFERENCE IN LA

A delegation from Transnet is attending this year’s annual conference of the IAPH – International Association of Ports & Harbours, which is being held in Los Angeles, USA.

More than 200 ports are represented at the get-together making this the largest ever gathering of world port authorities, which is held in a different port city every two years. The IAPH has consultative NGO status from the United Nations and is active in developing international trade and maritime policy. IAPH member ports handle about 80 percent of world container traffic and more than 60 percent of all international maritime trade.

The conference commenced yesterday (Monday) with committee meetings, is then officially opened and conference sessions are held between Tuesday and Thursday. The conference officially concludes on Friday with a tour of the Port of Los Angeles. At least 88 port directors, presidents or chairman from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North and South America are attending. Issues that will be dealt with include piracy and efforts to curb piracy; best practices in port finance; the emergence of LNG-powered vessels and handling/transport through ports; global warming and climate change; Port Community Systems; port trucking logistics; zero emissions strategies among global ports; managing the landside of the cruise business; advancing women in the port and maritime industries.

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SOMALIA CALLS FOR A HALT TO ILLEGAL FISHING AND DUMPING

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has “put the world on notice” that illegal fishing and waste dumping in the country's waters is unacceptable.

The international community should respect the sovereignty of Somalia's territorial waters by refraining from these activities, Mohamud said during a visit to the Somali National Fishing Company headquarters in Mogadishu.

Mohamud said his government would demand that the international community formally recognise and help protect Somalia's territorial waters under international maritime law. Protecting the waters is essential so that the fishing and oil and gas industries can grow and generate revenue for the country, he said.

Iranian seafarers held for illegal fishing

In a related matter, the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) recently detained 78 Iranian seafarers and 12 Somalis for illegally fishing off the coast of Bosaso.

The Iranians were fishing from five vessels when apprehended and arrested. According to the PMPF the Somalis who were with the Iranians opened fire on the police but were overcome and also detained. It appears the Somalis were acting as armed guards for the Iranian fishing vessels.

“We have information that other foreign ships and boats are present in Puntland and are engaged in illegal fishing,” the PMPF commander said. Source – Sabahi

Editor’s note: When piracy off the Somali and Puntland coasts was first highlighted some ten or 12 years ago, the Somalis claimed that they were responding to illegal fishing and dumping taking place, saying that foreign fishing fleets chased them away from their own fishing grounds. As a result they turned to attacking the foreign vessels from where the matter escalated.

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A Chinese fishing vessel captured and subsequently used by pirates. Picture NATO

NAUTICAL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS THE MENACE OF FATIGUE

The current issue of the International Maritime Human Element Bulletin Alert! provides all the connections required to link issues of fatigue to the safe manning of ships and the way they are operated, reports the Nautical Institute.

After many years when the industry has been hesitating about the problem of fatigue, suggesting that so much about this menace has been ‘anecdotal’, the realities provided by real evidence now illustrates that it can no longer be ignored.

This issue, which begins with a cautionary Case Study of the background to the grounding of a short sea ship with two officers working watch and watch, is packed with advice about fatigue and how it can be sensibly countered. Noting there is still no mathematical formula for the assessment of a ship’s manpower requirement, the bulletin offers a seamanlike ‘rough guide’ to The Guidelines for the Determination of Minimum Safe Manning, taking into account the hours of shipboard duties and what might be described as ‘peak workload situations’.

Stemming from the EU-funded Horizon Project which sought to simulate the deterioration of performance as fatigue sets in, a fatigue-prediction software model MARTHA has been developed, along with a Fatigue Risk Management System, to assist managers to optimise operations and work schedules to moderate and minimise fatigue. Alert! No 32 also describes another useful tool in the US Coast Guard’s Crew Endurance Management System, which provides a very visual indication as to when crew endurance is being ‘stretched’.

It has been suggested that part of the problems stemming from the insidious onset of fatigue was the lack of any meaningful tools to assess and to counteract it. The centrespread of No 32 provides a whole list of downloadable aids to fatigue mitigation and management which can go a long way towards informing management about the realities of fatigue and its effects. It also makes clear the shared responsibilities of ship designers, owners and managers, along with seafarers themselves, for informing themselves about fatigue. This is an important reference document that illustrates a wealth of information on this important problem that continues to contribute to maritime accidents of all kinds.

Advice is also provided on the use of riding gangs aboard ship, noting that these additions to those aboard a ship cannot be used to bypass the regulations that apply to a ship’s crew.

The Alert! Project – launched in October 2003 – is a campaign to improve the awareness of the human element in the maritime industry. This is a Nautical Institute project, sponsored by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation.

Further information about the human element awareness initiative, and electronic copies of Alert! can be found at www.he-alert.org - use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page.

LESS SPARKLE THAN EXPECTED FOR AFRI-CAN

Marine diamond miner Afri-Can Minerals Corporation (Afri-Can,) which scours for gems off the Namaqualand and Namibian coastlines, has secured an option agreement with Diamond Fields International (DFI) to acquire a 90% interest in several diamond mining leases off Luderitz.

One of the leases, Mining Lease 111, reportedly hosts an historical diamond resource of 950,000 carats of gem quality diamonds.

Late last month Afri-Can said the option agreement was valid for two years, and to clinch the acquisition the company needed to spend US$800,000 (±R7,5m) on exploration in the first year, and another US$2,5m (± R23m) in the second year.

Afri-can said it planned to carry out a geophysical survey covering 1,000 line kilometers and a sampling program of a minimum of 400 samples.

The DFI deal follows news that Afri-Can’s lofty production ambitions have suffered an early setback at its much-mooted EPL 3403 concession.

The company has seen its share on the Toronto Stock Exchange fall from a high of 22c in late August, to just 6c at the time of writing. The weakness in the share price was no doubt prompted by mediocre results from the company’s sampling programme in December.

A good deal of Afri-Can’s exploration funding was raised from Cape Town investors (who have traditionally enjoyed the high risk/high reward nature of marine diamond mining with companies like Ocean Diamond Mining, Namco and Benco). While these investors must be miffed at the share price collapse, a cursory glance at the company’s website provides no evidence of hitches in the company’s development. Source – CBN

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Debmarine’s diamond mining vessel MAFUTA in Cape Town harbour after recently undergoing an extensive refit and survey in the dry dock. Mafuta will be employed off the coast of Namibia for Debmarine. Picture by Aad Noorland

SUCCESSFUL DRILL TESTS AT TANZANIAN OFFSHORE WELL

Drill tests at Tanzania’s offshore Mzia-2 well have been successful, the chief executive of the UK’s BG Group, Chris Finlayson said.

“This is more gas than we expected to flow from this well and therefore a positive development,” said Finlayson. “"The swift progress reflects the commitment of all stakeholders, particularly the government and the communities in which we operate, to ensuring the full benefit of the country's natural gas resources are realised.”

The G Group is also exploring suitable sites for an onshore liquefied natural gas terminal, which is necessary for the commercialisation of the resources, as well as continuing explorations in offshore fields. Source – Tanzanian Daily News

PICS OF THE DAY – FALCON EXPLORER and QUEEN VICTORIA

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The Norwegian research vessel FALCON EXPLORER (3649-gt, built 1985, in Cape Town harbour as seen from the decks of the passenger liner QUEEN MARY 2. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Same vantage point, different location, different ship! The Cunard cruise ship QUEEN VICTORIA sails in the English Channel together with QUEEN MARY 2. As the two ships drew abreast, and thousands of passengers and crew lined the decks of both ships, the horns of the Queen Mary and the Queen Victoria sounded in unison for at least 15 minutes. A fitting end to a memorable voyage from Cape Town. 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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