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Ports & Ships Maritime News

3 September 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002

TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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News continues below...

FIRST VIEW – LOTHENI

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The Durban harbour tug LOTHENI returns to base after assisting a ship into the port, just one of up to 30 or more ship movement jobs that the harbour fleet of tugs face each day. The Durban fleet of tugs is to be expanded by another two, possibly three tugs from the next tugbuilding contract, which still awaits final signature. As a result the overcrowded tug basin will have to be expanded and a tender process is now in the pipeline. This picture is by Terry Hutson

News continues below…

SHIPWATCH: MAERSK KAMPALA FIRE STILL BURNS

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Maersk Kampala. Picture is by Shipspotting

The fire that broke out in a container on board the 6,800-TEU MAERSK KAMPALA (80,654-gt, built 2001) has spread to six containers which crew and firefighting tugs are struggling to extinguish.

The fire began on Thursday last week in a container situated at the bottom of a stack on board the ship and then spread to a second container. It has since spread into at least another four boxes in the two foremost cargo bays of the ship.

Bad weather has interfered with efforts to fight the fire, making it difficult for tugs to come close alongside. According to Maersk the firefighters on board the ship are attempting to douse the fire by cutting holes in the fire-affected containers as well as hot containers nearby to flood them with water.

The fire began not long after the ship had sailed from the Saudi port of Jeddah in the Red Sea.

There have been no injuries to crew on board the ship and Maersk appears confident the fire will soon be out. However, the condition of the ship remains uncertain, with the vessel not underway and drifting in the Red Sea with no AIS signal being observed.

The spate of fires in containers again highlights the risk and dangers facing shipping lines and even port terminals in accepting sealed containers whose cargo they are unable to verify.

Smart’s bunker fuel to be recycled

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Seen near the FFS Refiners tank farm in Richards Bay harbour are some of those involved in the safe recovery and recycling of the bunker fuel: from left, Mike Irwin (FFS), Elva Martin (FFS), Francois Putter (Spilltech), Dwayne Pretorius (Haz Risk Solutions), Mike Holder (Subtech), Nic du Preez (Drizit), Justin de Gusti (Subtech) and Tommy Sikhakhane (FFS). The tugs on one side are NDONGENI (nearest) and TERAS HYDRA (far side). Picture courtesy FFS Refiners

With the fuel oil having been removed safely from the shipwrecked coal ship SMART, which went aground outside the Richards Bay harbour entrance and began breaking up, one of the risks to the local environment has been overcome thanks to the salvage team led by Durban-based Subtech Salvage working closely with SAMSA.

The next priority for the salvors will be the removal of the cargo of 148,000 tons of coal before the ship breaks up further, spilling its cargo into the sea. Fortunately the ship appears to be firmly aground on the sandbank and with its huge cargo intact in the holds is likely to remain there until lightened. It will be then that the risk increases of the ship moving about and breaking up further.

In the meantime, Durban-firm FFS Refiners has announced that with the oil now removed from the ship and being discharged from the salvor barges at FFS Refiners’ tank farm in Richards Bay harbour, it will be recycled back to fuel oil quality, further minimising the environmental impact of the shipwreck.

“On Wednesday (28 August) night we started receiving about 1500 tons of fuel oil at our depot in Richards Bay harbour. We had to quickly make storage for 1000 tons available, and we then brought 15 of our road tankers into play to transport the fuel to our Jacobs (Durban) refinery. There, the fuel will be re-refined to remove any sea water and other contaminants,” said FFS’s Andrew Canning.

“All this would not have been possible without our depot, which is adjacent to the Tuzi Gazi Small Craft Harbour in Richards Bay. It is proving to have been a crucial link in the chain to avert a potential marine disaster and to dispose of the bunkers and other fuels safely.”

News continues below…

NIGERIAN NAVY SHIP THUNDER ARRIVES IN PORT LOUIS

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The Nigerian Navy frigate NNS Thunder, now en route to Australia

The Nigerian Navy frigate NNS THUNDER has arrived in Port Louis in Mauritius from Cape Town, en route to participate in this year’s Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review, which is to be staged in Sydney between 3 and 11 October.

NNS Thunder will take part in a multi-national exercise at sea off the Australian coast as well as taking part in the International Fleet Review, providing the Nigerians with an ideal opportunity of showcasing the West African navy. NNS Thunder is the former US Navy Coastguard Hamilton-class cutter CHASE that has been upgraded to that of a coastal frigate in service with the Nigerian Navy.

Thunder’s next port of call after departing Port Louis will be Fremantle in Western Australia and then Hobart in Tasmania before she goes on to Sydney for the Review. Her deployment away from home is approximately six months. On completion of the International Fleet Review NNS Thunder will call at Melbourne, Albany, Le Reunion, Durban, Walvis Bay and Pointe Noire.

News continues below...

LÜDERITZ HANDLES 152-METRE LONG SHIP

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The Namibian port of Lüderitz, or to give its local name, !Nami≠Nüs, recently received an unusual cargo from the 152 metre long heavylift vessel, LENA (9,544-dwt, built 1998) with a draught of 6.7 metres.

The ship was calling at the Namibian port to discharge out-of-gauge cargo, namely two heat exchangers weighing about 335 tons each. These were destined for the KaXu Solar One Project site near the town of Pofadder in the Northern Cape of South Africa, Lüderitz being the nearest and most appropriate port.

Due to bad weather conditions, operations involving the discharge had to be suspended for a period of nine hours and was only resumed at 18h00, before being completed at 22h20 that night.

The KaXu Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Photovoltaic Technology generates renewable energy through infrastructure equipment comprising a heat collection system and a conventional generating plant. This is a system of parabolic collectors, a receiver tube/heat collection element, a sun-tracking system and support structure. The collected energy in the heat transfer fluid will thus be used to generate steam through a conventional heat exchanger system, which in turn is used for electricity generation in a conventional steam turbine and generator.

The remaining ‘out of gauge’ cargo is scheduled to make its way via the Port of !Nami≠Nüs (Lüderitz) during the course of this year and extending, if all goes according to plan, up to the end of January 2014.

This is a positive indication of Namport’s commitment and unwavering effort to attract business to its ports, and thus also making the Port of !Nami≠Nüs (Lüderitz) the preferred port of entry for export/import goods to and from the Northern Cape, said a Namport spokesman.

Port Manager, Max Kooper could not hide his excitement stating that with the establishment of the !NamiNüs Trade Corridor Initiative, business is set to grow from strength to strength with major benefits to both the town and southern Namibia’s development, SADC as well as the economic growth of the country as a whole.

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Port of Lüderitz tug and workboat

News continues below…

GULF OF GUINES PIRATES: NEW AND OLD CHALLENGES

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by Martin Edwin Andersen
Editor-in-Chief, Piracy Daily

Read this in conjunction with the article in PORTS & SHIPS on 28 August 2013 Piracy: Looking to West African states for help

Maritime pirate advances in the Gulf of Guinea have sparked a growing debate on both the weaknesses of many (but surely not all) government responses in West Africa, as well as on the overwhelming need to quickly reinvent policy and operational prescriptions different in many key respects from those solutions that have worked so well in the fight against Somali marauders.

As German Rear Admiral Jurgen Ehle, the head of a European Union military working group for West Africa, told Agence France-Presse, the Somalia situation and problems faced by West Africa are “totally different.”

The deadliness of the threat was again front and centre when it was announced that six sea pirates died in a gun duel with the Nigerian Navy, a dramatic codicil that came little more than a week after its sailors killed 12 other armed thieves. The uptick in repression took place as African littoral states sought to “fine-tune” efforts against pirates, while the Nigerian Air Force promised to deploy its war planes against them.

The newest battles and other attention helped to underline the critical importance of West African states signing, in June, a Code of Conduct concerning the prevention of piracy, armed robbery against ships, and illicit maritime activity. Just five days ago, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated the call on Central African leaders to combat those threats by taking advantage of the “unique opportunity to find concerted and innovative solutions to [these and other] problems that threaten peace and security in the Central African sub-region.”

Yet the recent good news about pirate suppression out of Nigeria, in particular, was not welcomed uncritically by some on watch in the fight against the burgeoning threat to merchant trade and economic progress. Some critics said privately that the stories were likely part of a coordinated effort by the Lagos-directed government to help in their fight with the US Coast Guard concerning the level of the former’s compliance (or lack thereof) with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

In his most recent Piracy Daily column, Fending Off Pirates: Depending on West African States to Help Won’t Count For Much, Dr John AC Cartner ably enumerated the problem echoed by Rear Admiral Ehle. As Cartner showed, most of the countries on the West African coast shockingly lack those naval, coast guard and/or custom institutions and practices to deal with the threats ahead, as well as the financial resources to effectively do so.

Although West African piracy occurs in a region in which vessels carry almost 30 percent of US oil imports, and where recent discoveries of offshore oil promise even greater international commercial presence, the great majority of piracy takes place in territorial waters, necessarily largely off-limits to foreign naval vessels.

In addition, as Cartner noted, the West Africa expanse threatened by piracy is truly vast: “Assuming UNCLOS jurisdictional waters, this area comprises some 2.1 million square miles to mind. This is for some 40 craft and ships. That means each is responsible for an area 54,000 square miles or a box of 735 miles per side. That is neither practicable nor effective. Pirates are not very careful about UNCLOS limits. Pirates are opportunists who operate where naval forces do not operate. Getting caught makes for a bad day for a pirate.”

(The problem of national sovereignty, it should be noted, is not peculiar only to the African continent, now under often-deadly siege by clandestine filched-oil marketeers; the sovereignty of nations weighs heavily around the world in official diplomatic, and thereby also practical/operational, considerations. As an InsideCostaRica.com article noted, even though officials on the USS Rentz merely sought to hand over three prisoners — two Costa Ricans and one Nicaraguan — to Costa Rican authorities, together with nearly a ton of cocaine worth $78 million seized from their ship, a Costa Rican legislature vote was needed to allow the guided-missile frigate to dock in national waters.)

At the same time, while the possible presence of international navies—so key to calming the seas around East Africa—offers only circumspect opportunities in West Africa, international organised crime elements of the piracy trade in and around Nigeria are significantly greater.

Failed states like Somalia, in this sense, arguably provide less institutional protection to evil doers through corruption and social conflict than do West Africa’s better-organised and often barely-disguised official partnerships with seaborne criminals.

State-owned Offshore Patrol Vessels, where they exist in waters that nearly rival in size the expanse of the Gulf of Mexico, are only as useful as those who guide their use, an iffy proposition due to widespread corruption and other official failures of accountability.

At the same time, private maritime security companies (PMSCs) that engage contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) face problems both similar and quite distinct of those found in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, where as senior US officials have noted, they have played an exceedingly positive role.

The lessons learned off the coast of Somalia include, to some extent at least, how sovereign nations can avoid clashes over thorny issues such as Rules for the Use of Force), the extent to which operational best practices can result in real savings for owners, and which are the essential seafarer and security operator training programs necessary to assure that PCASP teams are truly part of the solution.

Cultural education and critical understanding about the customs and courtesies for those aboard shipping vessels remains key, and relations with local port authorities are arguably even more important—if that was somehow possible—than it is to the east.

PMSCs’ supporting role in West Africa will surely highlight skills that in some regards were lesser considerations when facing Somali pirates: the protection of waterways and port facilities; the specific needs of ships, oil rigs and other maritime systems, and spot-on contingency plans for improving readiness and responses.

Risk analysis remains key, but port and pipeline security appear noticeably in greater need, particularly as in many countries in the region, arson, sabotage and vandalism are already grave problems, particularly within the context of simmering ethnic and religious tensions.

Unlike Somalia, shore-side access by criminal elements figures among the top threats faced by local and international maritime authorities alike, while corruption among those local officials working hand-in-glove with transnational organised crime appears many magnitudes greater than that across the continent in the east.

In all of this, the good news is that those close to the evolving story say that some West African leaders are quietly—and to the extent that they can, effectively—putting their houses in order to better face the coming storms.

© Martin Edwin Andersen 2013, all rights reserved; “New and old challenges posed by the pirates of the Gulf of Guinea” may be copied and distributed with attribution to Martin Edwin Andersen and Piracy Daily. The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author.

FAIRMOUNT TUGS DELIVER WORLD’S FIRST FSRU

FSRU TOSCANA SUMMIT ALPINE 

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Toscana under tow behind Fairmount tugs Summit and Alpine. Picture courtesy Fairmount

The world’s first offshore-moored floating, storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU), the FSRU TOSCANA, has been successfully delivered and permanently moored off the coast of Livorno, Italy, where it will be used as a terminal and export point for liquefied natural gas.

Two tugs from Rotterdam-based Fairmount Marine, the 205-ton bollard pull FAIRMOUNT ALPINE and FAIRMOUNT SUMMIT towed the floating gas plant from Dubai via Malta where final equipment was installed. After delivering the Toscana, the tugs assisted in mooring the unit to her six pre installed anchors.

Toscana is now moored 12 miles offshore Livorno and will be used as a terminal and export point for liquefied natural gas (LNG). The unit is the converted 2004 build 288 metres long LNG tanker Golar Frost. The conversion took place at Drydock World in Dubai for contractor Saipem and client OLT Offshore LNG Toscana SpA.

When fully operational the unit has a re-gasification capacity of 3.75 billion cubic metres a year (11 million cubic metres a day) and a storage capacity of 137,500 cubic metres of LNG.

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MOMBASA – KIGALI RAILWAY TO BE FINISHED BY 2018

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Map showing the current state of East African railways

The construction of the Mombasa-Kigali railway line will be completed in March 2018. That’s the word from Uganda.

Addressing journalists last week, Abraham Byandala, Uganda’s Minister of Works said the heads of state of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda meeting in June in Kampala had tasked Uganda to spearhead the development of the railway line from the Mombasa port.

“The leaders agreed to undertake the development of a standard gauge railway (SGR) as a regional project,” he said.

He said feasibility studies for the first phase of the railway from Mombasa to Nairobi covering 500 kilometres are complete and the ground breaking is scheduled for November.

The design for Phase II of the line covering 511 kilometres from Nairobi to Malaba is being undertaken by the Kenya Railways Cooperation and will be completed this year.

The design for the Kampala to Malaba line covering 250 km will be complete by October 2013 in which a second phase of the Tororo-Packwach railway line was completed in 2011.

Phase III of 344 km will cover Kampala to Kasese en route to Bihanga-Mirana hills (200 km).

The government of Rwanda will develop the 200 kilometre line from Mirama hills to Kigali.

“The Rwandan government has agreed to connect to the Kampala-Kasese line,” said Engineer John Byabagambi, the minister of state for Works.

The overall cost of the railway line is US$13 billion (about Shs33 trillion) and the governments are contemplating looking to China for the funding of this ambitious infrastructure.

Mr Byabagambi stressed that once completed, passenger trains will travel at 120 kilometres per hour while freight trains will operate at speeds up to 80 km per hour. Fate of RVR:

The ministers acknowledged that Rift Valley Railways (RVR) — the company with a concession to operate the metre-gauge Kenya-Uganda railway line — will remain operational.

RVR recently launched a Shs24 billion upgrade on the line that will introduce central traffic control along the entire railway.

Meanwhile, the Chinese contractor China Construction Engineering (CCE) has been awarded a contract to develop the Tanga-Musoma railway line, which is expected to link with the Bukasa port. source – Daily Monitor/Trademark East Africa

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PICS OF THE DAY – BLUE MASTER II

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MACS Line’s newbuild BLUE MASTER II (30,469-gt, built 2013) on her first visit to Cape Town, seen in these pictures at the end of her visit as she sailed from the port. Pictures are by Ian Shiffman

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