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Ports & Ships Maritime News

19-20 December 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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HAPPY HOLIDAYS We are taking a short break and this will be our final news bulletin for 2013. Any important breaking news may be added to this page as it occurs, otherwise, we’ll see you in early 2014 (7 January). In the meantime, we wish all our readers an enjoyable festive season and a happy new year.

News continues below...


nadeshiko gas 470

The Japanese gas tanker NADESHIKO GAS (53,003-dwt, built 2013) which called at Cape Town this week for bunkers. Picture by Ian Shiffman

News continues below…


DDOP option 470
One of several layout options for the Durban Dig Out Port

report by Terry Hutson

Plans to deepen three berths on the Durban Container Terminal’s North Quay have been put on hold following an environmental impact assessment rejection.

The assessment, which has not been made public, apparently rejects the proposal to deepen and widen berths 203, 204 and 205 on the North Quay on account of a potentially adverse affect on the nearby central sandbank.

The extensive sandbank is considered to play a key role in the marine ecosystems of Durban Bay and even the KZN coast as it provides an important habitat for marine fishes along the KZN coastal zone.

The rejection of the EIA becomes a major setback to plans of having deepwater container berths capable of handling laden ships of up to 12-15,000 TEU. At present the port has already handled ships of up to 12,000 TEU but only when they came into port partly laden instead of fully laden.

A number of shipping lines, including MSC, Hamburg Süd and Maersk have ships of 8,000 and 10,000 TEU capacity deployed on the South Africa trades, either to the Far East or to Europe, mostly as a result of the cascade effect on shipping from the ultra large container ships being introduced into service on the Far East – Europe and North America trades.

Several shipping companies have indicated that they would prefer continuing using the port of Durban but only if it is possible to introduce the bigger ships with fuller loads.

Durban Dig Out Port (DDOP)

Meanwhile, in a series of news briefings held this week, Transnet says it is going to be necessary to relocate the single buoy mooring (SBM) off Isipingo once construction starts on the new dig-out port on the site of Durban’s former International Airport.

Marc Descoins, programme director for the DDOP, said that relocating the SBM to avoid the new port’s entrance channel is turning out to be a major challenge, fraught with legal complications not the least of which being the concerns of the two oil refineries, Sapref and Engen, situated near the old airport site as well as the Department of Energy and the National Energy Regulator who have all made it clear that security of supply is non-negotiable.

The SBM lies 2km off Isipingo Beach, with its exclusion zone that surrounds the SBM within the path of the proposed new port entrance channel.

A number of options have been prepared for consideration including having a berthing facility within the new port where supertankers can berth to discharge their cargoes into nearby tanks for the adjacent refineries, thus avoiding the need for an offshore mooring. Other options involve continuing with the SBM but moving it to a position either to the north or south of the new port’s entrance channel. Each of these raise environmental issues.

An environmental impact assessment process on the relocation of the SBM is due to begin in January. This EIA will be independent of the EIA for the dig-out port, which also has to be held.

Descoins confirmed that at this stage it is intended to build the new port in four phases over a period of around 30 years, with the first phase commencing in 2016 and leading to the port being commissioned by 2020. The intention remains to attract private enterprise into becoming involved even to the extent of funding the development of the new port itself.

In which case Transnet National Ports Authority would remain as the port authority, while private enterprise would run the marine services and operate the respective terminals. The latter will, at this stage, consist of one or more container terminals, a car terminal and a liquid bulk terminal.

A special task team has been established to oversee alignment of back of port, road and rail logistics infrastructure required to support the Durban Dig-Out Port.

The development of the DDOP is not going to be plain sailing for Transnet and nor are any of the plans cut and dried. Several NGO’s and other community organisations have mustered to fight the project on various grounds including the anticipated impact on nearby residential areas, traffic and transportation (congestion) in various parts of Durban and the effect on the marine and terrestrial biodiversity on the site.

Transnet has in fact already held several interactions with local communities, alerting people to the development and gaining an understanding of their concerns and needs. “Community members are encouraged to participate in any discussions organised by Transnet regarding the proposed project,” says Descoins.

Some Fast Facts

  • Once completed the Durban Dig-Out Port will be the largest deepwater port in Africa.

  • It will be the first green port in South Africa, balancing environmental challenges with economic demands and providing socio-economic opportunities to surrounding communities.

  • Total cost of developing the port is expected to be between R75 billion to R100 billion in today’s money.

  • During the construction phase, approximately R23 billion will be realised in job-related income in KZN.

  • During the construction stage 64,000 jobs will be created and around 28,000 full-time jobs when fully operational.

  • South Africa’s GDP will be positively impacted by approximately R47 billion through the capital expenditure necessary to construct the port. Once fully operational, the nation’s GDP will be positively impacted by around R56 billion per year.

  • The envisaged 16-berth container terminal will add additional annual capacity of around 9.5 million TEU once fully commissioned. The new port will also have berths for car carriers at the Car Terminal and berths for several tankers near the Sapref refinery.
  • News continues below…


    DSC7528 470
    The Turkish bulker SELI 1 aground near Bloubergstrand in September 2009. Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za

    The City of Cape Town says Seli1 wreck reduction operations have been successful.

    The South African Navy has been dismantling the vessel piece by piece, using explosives, since March this year.

    The Turkish carrier ran aground in 2009 and has caused two oil spills over the past three years.

    In a statement, the city said a recent follow-up assessment of the Seli 1 wreck off the Table View coastline has confirmed that the operation has been a success.

    The City's Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, expressed thanks to the Navy for their assistance with the wreck reduction operation. “We are extremely grateful to the Operational Diving Team of the South African Navy for their effort and time in assisting with the wreck reduction. The results to date indicate that the operation has been a huge success. The Task Team is looking to address the remaining two areas of concern, given the fact that Table View is a key recreational area and the safety of recreational users is a priority,” said Smith.

    The city appealed to the public to not approach the submerged wreck.

    The wreck area is identified by means of an orange buoy, which has been positioned as a precautionary measure to prevent injury.

    “The public and in particular recreational users such as kite surfers are warned to not approach within 100 metres of the wreck from any direction as it remains dangerous,” said the city.

    The assessment revealed that the hull has completely split apart and collapsed and is lying on the sea floor with most of the hull up to a depth of eight to 10 metres below the sea level. The bow section has been successfully reduced, with the highest point 5 metres below the sea level.

    The reduction of the wreck is expected to limit the erosion of the Table View coastline, which was being caused by the wreck. More significantly, it appears that there is no further threat of oil spills, onshore pollution and contamination of marine life as there are no remaining pollutants trapped in the wreck.

    The assessment has, however, identified two portions - the aft and crane sections - which require further intervention to ensure that these do not pose a hazard to recreational users. In the interests of the safety of recreational users, the Task Team is currently looking at ways to address these portions, including possible further reduction by means of cutting. source - SAnews.gov.za

    News continues below...


    MSC Maeva sailing 470
    Just 10 years ago it would have been inconceivable for anyone to seriously think that ships like the 100,870-dwt MSC MAEVA, capable of carrying 8,089 TEU, could operate a service to South Africa, and enter Durban to work cargo (see picture of MSC Rita below). Yet ships even bigger than this, right up to 12,000-TEU are already calling at the port, posing challenges that the port authority is not yet ready to handle. Picture by Trevor Steenkamp

    In the past ten years ships have become progressively larger, but as if to balance the odds, the number shipping lines operating these ships have become fewer.

    So says a report published by the United National Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on maritime transport.

    According to UNCTAD, the number of shipping lines sailing into each country has on average decreased by 27 percent over the past ten years, from 22 shipping lines in 2004 to 16 in 2013. However, during this time the average size of the container ships has almost doubled.

    As might be expected, the biggest ships are deployed on the busy Far East – Europe and to North America routes, causing smaller ships to cascade onto the secondary trade lanes such as the North-South trades and also to the intra-regional routes.

    However, the average size of a containership has almost doubled during the period, with the largest vessels deployed on the busiest trade lanes, such as on the Asia-Europe route. “As regards vessel sizes, since 2004 the average container-carrying capacity of the largest ship has almost doubled, from 2,812 TEU 10 years ago to 5,540 TEU in 2013. The size of the largest existing ships has also almost doubled during these 10 years (from 8,238 TEU to 16,020 TEU),” said the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report, which is based on a database of 159 countries.

    The preparation of the report obviously predates the advent of the Triple-E class of 18,000-TEU container ships that have recently begun operating on the Far East – Europe service.

    The effect of this development has seen ships of over 8,000-TEU capacity cascading onto the North-South trades as shipping companies seek new markets in Latin America, Africa, India and South Asia. The effect of this has yet to be measured on most of these services.

    News continues below…


    Angolan Shipyard Paenal Yard 470
    The Paenal shipyard and FPSO CLOV at Porto Ambroim in Angola

    Angola’s oil production is expected to reach 2 million barrels per day in 2015, the chairman of state oil company Sonangol, Francisco Lemos said in Porto Amboim on Monday.

    After the naming ceremony for the CLOV floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit, Lemos said that his projections already took into account investments carried out and projects that are underway.

    In relation to projects that are underway, the Sonangol chairman said the target would be reached once the CLOV FPSO unit and others such as POLO ESTE and MAFUMEIRA SUL start operating, the components for which will be built at the Porto Amboim Shipyard (Paenal).

    The CLOV FPSO unit is one of the largest floating production, storage and offloading units in the world and is due to start operating on 14 January, off the coast of Angola 140 kilometres to the northeast of Luanda.

    Angola is currently the second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, after Nigeria, with a daily production of around 1.7 million barrels. source – macauhub

    See related story Angolan shipyard PAENAL’s measure of success – use your BACKSPACE key to return to this page.


    Nacala Corridor 470
    Locomotives working a train on the Nacala railway linking that port with Malawi in the west. The two sets of tracks are not indicative of a double-track railway but rather that this train is leaving a station along the line.

    State-owned rail and port company, Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM) says that in order to improve CFM’s transport and cargo handling capacity, an order for 15 new diesel-electric locomotives has been placed with US company, General Electric (GE).

    The first loco is expected this month and by the end of the first quarter of 2014 another four will have been delivered.

    Speaking during the visit to CFM of the Minister of Transport, Gabriel Muthisse, the President of CFM’s Administrative Council, Rosário Mualeia said that the new locomotives are intended to improve capacity and productivity in the south of the country.

    Mualeia said that another ten locomotives have been ordered which will be allocated to CFM-Centre and deployed to a region depending on where the demand is greatest.

    “The main objective behind the purchases is to move CFM away from its reliance on South African and Indian rented locomotives, and additionally improve its productivity,” he said, adding that the cost of renting locomotives was not less than $800 per day.

    Transport Minister Muthisse confirmed that new railway lines are to be built in the Centre and North regions of Mozambique. It was necessary for CFM to grow at the same rate as the private sector, the minister said.

    Improvements to the Sena Railway in the Centre region will allow for traffic volumes to be increased from 6 million tonnes a year to 20mt a year.


    Armada Perkasa 470
    The FPSO Armada Perkasa

    Malaysia-based international offshore oilfield services provider, Bumi Armada Berhad announced this week that Afren Energy Resources Limited has extended its contracts with Armada Floating Solutions Limited and Bumi Armada (Singapore) Pte Ltd for the bareboat charter and the operations & maintenance respectively of the FPSO ARMADA PERKASA for another two years, with effect from 1 July 2014.

    The extension of the contracts for the Armada Perkasa, which has been operating offshore of Nigeria in the Okoro-Setu field, is estimated at approximately RM 221 million (US$ 68m) in total.

    “Our Armada Perkasa, has been operating for Afren since 2008 with more than 98% uptime,” said Hassan Basma, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of Bumi Armada.

    “The extension of the two-year contract by Afren is for the second and third optional extension years and underscores the quality of the asset and the operations and maintenance services provided by BAB Group,” he said.

    The Armada Perkasa, which is 211m long and has a deadweight of 58,557 tonnes (dwt), has a production capacity of 27,000 bbls/day* of liquids and storage capacity for 360,000 barrels. To date, the FPSO has lifted over 32 million barrels of oil.

    The original contracts were first awarded in 2007, to take effect from 1 July 2008, for a fixed term of five years with five one-year extension options thereafter. The initial optional extension of the contracts was extended in October 2012, for a one year period with effect from 1 July 2013.

    The extension of these contracts is expected to contribute positively to Bumi Armada’s revenue and earnings from 2014 through to 2016.

    * bbls/day – barrels per day


    Luba Freeport 470
    Luba Freeport in Equatorial Guinea acts as a logistics centre for the burgeoning oil and gas industries in the Gulf of Guinea. Picture by Lonrho.com

    by Alex Benkenstein
    South African Institute of International Affairs (Johannesburg)

    Somalia-based piracy attacks have decreased significantly in the course of 2013.

    As international efforts to combat Somali-based piracy begin to deliver results, however, there is growing concern over the marked increase in piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly targeted at the region's oil and gas sector.

    The international response to Somalia-based piracy has been comprehensive, including political efforts through the United Nations Security Council and the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), best practice guidelines developed by the shipping industry, operational and intelligence cooperation among numerous naval forces, and the increasing role of private security firms in protecting vessels from attack.

    Counter-piracy maritime forces from the European Union (Atlanta), NATO (Ocean Shield) and the Combined Maritime Forces (Combined Task Force 151), as well as naval counter-piracy missions from several individual states such as India, China, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan and Russia have cooperated in the West Indian Ocean.

    During 2012 there were between 21 and 30 vessels engaged in counter-piracy efforts off the coast of east Africa and the adjoining areas at any given time.

    Efforts have also increasingly focused on addressing the illicit financial flows associated with piracy, the prosecution of captured pirates, and the targeting of alleged pirate kingpins such as Mohamed Abdi Hassan, who was arrested by Belgian police in a sting operation in October 2013.

    The decline in attacks has been dramatic: during the first nine months of 2012, 99 attacks took place, while during the first nine months of 2013 only 17 attacks occurred.

    The last large commercial vessel to be successfully hijacked by Somali pirates was the MT Smyrni, captured in May 2012.

    In the Gulf of Guinea, however, piracy attacks have increased significantly.

    In 2012, West African piracy attacks for the first time exceeded those off the Horn of Africa, with 966 sailors attacked in West Africa against 851 off the Somali coast. The tactics employed by pirates in West Africa differ from those of Somalia-based pirates.

    The term piracy covers a range of illicit activities perpetrated in domestic and international waters, ranging from 'robbery at sea' targeting equipment and the personal valuables of crew members to hijacking for ransom and the theft of high-value cargo.

    It should be noted that, according to international law and the definition of piracy provided by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the term "piracy" relates only to criminal acts committed on the high seas; when such acts are perpetrated within a state's territorial waters they are referred to as armed robbery against ships.

    This article, however, employs the wider definition of piracy formulated by the International Maritime Bureau which includes acts that fit the UNCLOS definition of piracy even if they occur in territorial waters.

    The vast majority of attacks by Somalia-based pirates have targeted yachts and large commercial vessels with the aim of securing ransom payments. Attacks generally take place while vessels are underway and may occur a great distance from shore, up to 1500 nautical miles.

    Such attacks are made possible through the use of larger supply vessels or 'mother ships', which are used as a base from which smaller crafts can attack passing vessels.

    While the crews of captured vessels may be ill-treated and forced to endure difficult conditions, serious injury or murder of crew members is rare as pirates rely on the vessel's crew to navigate the ship to a port on the Somali coast, while crewmembers also represent an opportunity to extract further ransom payments.

    Incidents of kidnapping and hijacking of vessels for ransom do occur in the Gulf of Guinea, but the recent surge in attacks has largely been driven by efforts to secure valuable cargoes of refined petroleum products.

    Such attacks generally take place within 120 miles from shore, within the territorial waters of West African states, and rely on the extensive illicit networks that have developed around land-based illegal oil bunkering, particularly in the Niger Delta. In 2012 seven incidents of oil theft by pirates were reported, with $2-$6 million of refined petroleum products stolen during each incident.

    The rise of West African piracy underlines the challenges faced in the development of Africa's "blue economy". In her opening address at the recent Mo Ibrahim Foundation Forum, African Union Chairperson Dr. Dlamini Zuma argued that "to the Green Economy, we must add the Blue Economy, namely maritime resources and all the economy around the maritime industry."

    The concept includes not only shipping and marine oil and gas reserves, but also fisheries, conservation, tourism and emerging industries such as seabed mining.

    In December 2012 African Ministers in charge of maritime affairs adopted the 2050 Africa's Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS), which seeks to establish a platform for a coordinated response to the challenges and opportunities presented by Africa's blue economy.

    The AIMS includes an assessment of threats and vulnerabilities in Africa's maritime domain which highlights a range of transnational organised crimes that occur in Africa's territorial waters and the adjoining high seas, including money laundering, illegal arms and drug trafficking, piracy and armed robbery at sea, illegal oil bunkering/crude oil theft, maritime terrorism and human trafficking.

    A key aspect of the AIM strategy is strengthening Africa's capacity to address maritime security concerns within its maritime domain. While the response to Somali piracy has been led by international institutions and various global powers, there has been a strong regional approach to addressing piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

    West African heads of state gathered in Yaoundé, Cameroon, in June 2013 for a summit on maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea.

    The summit agreed on the establishment of an Inter-regional Coordination Centre on Maritime Safety and Security for Central and West Africa to be headquartered in Yaoundé, and the adoption of a Code of Conduct on the repression of piracy, armed robbery and other illicit maritime activities in West and Central Africa. West African states are also currently developing an ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy, aligned with the AIMS.

    Nigeria and Benin, the two West African states most affected by piracy, have signed a bilateral agreement for combined patrols.

    The Nigerian navy recently took delivery of four new patrol craft and has reported that 14 vessels have been apprehended in the past ten months while engaged directly or indirectly in acts of piracy.

    Despite the progress made in combating piracy in both the West Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea, significant challenges remain.

    A recent World Bank study noted that Somali-based pirates are estimated to have received between $339 million and $413 million in ransom payments during the period 2005-2012. "Considering the amounts already collected by pirate financiers until the end of 2012, pirates' capacities to conduct operations are probably far from declining," the report observes.

    "In that sense, the declining activity of pirates at sea may well be only a temporary break." Emmanuel Ogbor, the Chief of Policy and Planning of the Nigerian Navy, noted at the recent Maritime and Coastal Security Africa conference that West Africa also continues to face challenges in its efforts to curb piracy, particularly the lack of capacity to gather timely intelligence about pirate or other illegal activities in the maritime domain and the lack of information sharing and inter-operability amongst countries in the region.

    The increasing role of private security firms in protecting vessels from pirate attacks has also raised concerns regarding rules of engagement on the use of force at sea.

    Anti-piracy efforts in Africa's territorial waters and adjoining high seas should be led by the African Union, African regional bodies such as ECOWAS, and national African naval forces.

    However, mounting an effective African response to maritime security concerns will require not only the strengthening of African naval capability but also increased cooperation with regards to information sharing and protocols for joint operations.

    Alex Benkenstein is senior research with SAIIA's Governance of Africa's Resources Programme.


    Gabon map CIA Factbook Bitmap file
    Map : CIA Factbook

    A new oil law will come into play in Gabon in early 2015. The new law will be more transparent and more rigid than the West African country’s previous law. “We are committed to a new and transparent direction,” said Etienne Ngoubou, Gabon’s oil minister.

    The minister hinted that that companies that do not respect their contractual obligations could have their concessions revoked. The government revoked the Obangue license of Sinopec subsidiary Addax after an alleged breach of contract. Addax has denied the allegations against it and the case went before the International Chamber of Commerce’s arbitration court. In September the court rejected a request by Addax to resume operations on the field. “If other companies don’t respect their obligations, they will also risk losing their contracts,” Ngoubou said.

    The new law was expected to be enacted this year but will now take effect on contracts from 2015. No reason was given for the delay and that is making some firms operating in the country nervous. In a Reuters report a source at Total said the new 2015 target date for the law was unsettling, as it left more time for current government thinking to change. “The fact that the government has delayed the publication is making us nervous,” the source said.

    Gabon is hoping to see its production, which has been declining, make a turnaround through new exploration and there is hope that recent pre-salt discoveries will aid in that. In October, 13 oil and gas blocks were awarded to 11 companies as part of a major deepwater licensing round. source – Petroleum Africa


    PECT aerial 470
    Port Elizabeth harbour

    Ports & Ships publishes regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENT reports including ETAs and Ships in Port for ports extending from West Africa to South Africa to East Africa and including Port Louis in Mauritius.

    In the case of South Africa’s container ports of Durban, Ngqura, Ports Elizabeth and Cape Town links to Stack dates are also available.

    You can access this information, including the list of ports covered, by going HERE - remember to use your BACKSPACE to return to this page.


    NESA 7 aad noorland 2 (2) 470

    An interesting conversion is taking place in Cape Town harbour involving the former long liner, TAIYO MARU 78, which is being transformed as an offshore supply vessel to operate in Angolan waters. She is renamed NESA 7 (482-dwt, built 1986) and was built at the Miho Shipyard Shizuoka in Japan. Her current owner/manager is Satomi Universal of Cape Town. Picture is by Aad Noorland

    MSC RITA aad noorland 2 470

    The 8,089-TEU container ship MSC RITA (100,870-dwt, built 2005) seen arriving in the port of Cape Town, bringing down the curtain on another year of reporting from the ports of Africa. Picture by Aad Noorland

    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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