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Ports & Ships Maritime News

6 May 2014
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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


Wednesday, 7 May (tomorrow) is a public holiday in South Africa as the nation goes to the polls. PORTS & SHIPS will be back on Thursday, 8 May

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AKADEMIK TRYOSHNIKOV aad noorland (3) 1 470

The Russian research and survey vessel AKADEMIK TRYOSHNIKOV (12,711-gt, built 2012) called at Cape Town this week for bunkers and supplies. The ship was built for the Russian government at the Admiralty Wharves shipyard in St Petersburg and is managed by Arctic & Antarctic Research also of that port city. Picture: Aad Noorland

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Friday is to be a red letter day in the life and history of the Port of Walvis Bay when the ground breaking ceremony for the Namibian port’s new container terminal project takes place.

The new container terminal on reclaimed land at the port is a project that will see the creation of 40 hectares of land reclaimed from the bay within the Port of Walvis Bay’s current port jurisdiction.

The land will be linked to the existing port land by a causeway and a new modern container terminal will emerge consisting of quay walls, paved areas, buildings, roads, railway lines, ship-to-shore quay cranes and rubber tyre gantry cranes (RTG’s).

The new container terminal will have a capacity of at least 750,000 TEU’s pa compared to the 355,000 TEU pa capacity of the existing container terminal. While providing an increased container handling capacity in Walvis Bay, the project will also increase the port’s bulk and break handling capacity.

In terms of the financing agreement reached with the development bank AfDB the cost of the project is expected to run to N$3.38 billion (R3.38-bn). According to Bisey Uirab, Namport CEO, the development of a logistics hub will support the government’s stated intention to develop an industrialised economy by fast- tracking manufacturing activity which is already growing at 6% per year. The multiplier effect of this growth is around 2½ times in the supporting sectors thus enabling Namport to reach Namibia’s Vision 2030 goals.

“The new Container Terminal will be a facility that will make Namibians proud for decades to come,” he said last year when announcing the appointment of the contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

The ground breaking ceremony is to take place at the port this Friday, 9 May before an invited audience of clients, government officials and other VIPs. The new terminal is expected to be inaugurated during 2017.

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TCG Heybeliada (F511) arriving in Cape Town at the recent weekend. Picture: Ian Shiffman

Several ships of the Turkish Navy have arrived in South African waters, with two frigates, TCG HEYBELIADA (F511) and TCG ORUÇ REIS (F245) taking up berths in Cape Town’s Duncan Dock at the weekend.

These are the first Turkish naval ships to call at the Cape in 148 years – remarkable that it has taken so long for a country that has such a large navy at its disposal.

The ships form part of the Barbaros Turkish Naval Task Group - 2014 (TMTG-14) which is circumnavigating the continent of Africa in an anti-clockwise direction lasting 102 days. Along the way they are calling at a number of ports where joint exercises and exchanges are taking place with the respective navies.

The remaining two ships of the task force are the frigate TCG GEDIZ (F-495) and the replenishment tanker TCG YARBAY KUDRET GUNGOR (A-595).

While in South African waters the task group will conduct weapon firings using live ammunition and guided missiles at the Denel Overberg Test Range. Weapons to be exercised include the SM-1 Standard medium-range surface-to-air missile, the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow ship-borne short-range anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapon system, the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) infrared homing surface-to-air missile and the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) systems.

After returning to Simon’s Town on 9 May the three frigates will move to the Cape Town V&A Waterfront between 10 and 15 May during which it is expected that they will be open to the public, though details of this have not been confirmed.

The task force then moves up the east coast of Africa visiting Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya among other countries. They will return to the Turkish naval base at Gölcük on 17 June 2014.

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Port of Ngqura, operating despite a strike by some workers

As the strike by members of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) enters its 12th day at the Port of Ngqura, Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) advises that a decision has been taken that the no work, no pay rule applies.

As a result a lockout is in place and striking employees will be allowed to return only if their union withdraws its demands. In addition, striking employees will forfeit their annual incentive bonus and the container incentive bonus for the period they were on strike.

TPT said yesterday that it wished to thank its colleagues, management and the leadership of the recognised unions – SATAWU and UTATU SARWHU, for their guidance and counsel during this period.

Transnet has meanwhile undertaken to repair the damaged houses of all employees who chose not to heed the Numsa call to strike at Ngqura Container Terminal.

“For those colleagues who have already fixed damages to their properties, Transnet will cover the cost of repairs,” the company added in a statement yesterday.

The strike has seen intimidation and senseless violence accompanying the work stoppage by a small minority of employees at the terminal. This has resulted in houses belonging to those of employees who chose to not to take part in the strike being firebombed, stoned and attacked. Some of the staff have reported being intimidated.

“All these acts have been reported to the police and it is our view that arrests are imminent. Transnet will take the necessary disciplinary measures against any employee implicated. We encourage everyone to report any incidents of criminal behavior or conduct that is contrary to our values at Transnet.

“The decision to cover the cost of repairs signals our commitment to protect the rights of our colleagues who chose not to join the Numsa-organised strike action. It also signals our resolve to stand firm in the face of such intimidatory tactics and violence,” said TPT

A reward of R100,000 has been made available for information that may lead to the arrest and successful prosecution of the perpetrators.

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The Port of Richards Bay marine helicopter delivering a marine pilot on board a bulk general cargo ship outside the Zululand port. Picture: Terry Hutson

The Port of Richards Bay marine helicopter, used to ferry marine pilots to and from arriving and departing ships, will return to service this Friday, 9 May, the port harbour master, Sabelo Mdlalose advises.

He said that due to unforeseen equipment breakdown, the port’s commitment to have provided the 24/7 port chopper service as from 1 May 2014 has had to be delayed until Friday 9 May.

In addition, he advises, the alternative helicopter which was expected to be back in commission by 6 May 2014, as per his advice to clients of 24 April, has unfortunately also been delayed to the Friday date.

The Port of Durban’s helicopter service has returned to service as from 1 May as per schedule.

Transnet operates a fleet of three Agusta 109 helicopters based at the two KZN ports of Durban and Richards Bay. Earlier this year the service was suspended following the contract with the former operator, Acher Aviation being not renewed. At the time it was advised that a new tender had been issued and that the service would be returned as soon as possible, with the ports in the meantime reverting to using pilot cutters to transfer marine pilots to and from ships.

Denel Aviation was appointed to operate this service for a period of five years, while providing training for Transnet National Ports Authority’s own pilots who would take over the service after that period. It was then announced that the new service would commence at both ports as from 1 May 2014.

In related news, the Port of Richards Bay was closed to shipping yesterday (5 May) from 13h00 until 06h00 this morning, 6 May 2014. This was due to the weather, the KZN coast experiencing gale force winds during that time.

In other related news, the coal-carrying bulker LEOPOLD LD which ran aground in Richards Bay harbour last Thursday after completing loading of 160,000 tons of coal for Israel, is due to re-enter harbour later today and undergo hull inspection.

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Port of Luanda, Angola

Two new cranes have been installed at the port of Luanda, Angola’s most important port, which has reduced the waiting time for ships by around 80 percent to three days, said the Luanda Port Company’s commercial, safety and environmental director, as reported by Macauhub.

Alberto António Bengue said that waiting time had fallen from 16 days in 2008 to three days last year, which compared well with the 2.5 days average wait at the container port in Durban, South Africa.

“Investments in modern loading and unloading facilities, in training human resources and an additional dock,” Bengue said, adding that the port’s management company expected the number of containers handled to exceed 1 million by the end of 2014.

Container traffic in Luanda has more than doubled over the last five years to 912,900 in 2013, or around a third of the number handled in Durban. However, Bengue noted that a new port was planned for the Barra do Dande area, 50 kilometres to the north of the current port of Luanda, which would make it possible to challenge South Africa as the main entry point into countries such as Zambia.

The port of Luanda processes around 80 percent of the cargo sent to Angola, which imports most of the industrial products it consumes. Of the 11.3 million tons of cargo that reached the country in 2013, around 70 percent arrived in containers and the remaining 30 percent in bulk.

The commercial, safety and environmental director of the Luanda Port Company (Empresa Portuária de Luanda) told financial news agency Bloomberg that this year the company expects a 4 percent increase in the number of ships arriving at the port. In 2013 the port received a total of 1,119 ships.



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NRP Bartolomeu Diaz, the Portuguese Navy frigate that ahs been visiting Luanda. Pictture Wiki Commons

The Portuguese Navy frigate NRP BARTOLOMEU DIAZ (F333) called at the port of Luanda earlier this month on a mission aimed at strengthening military ties with the Angolan Navy (MGA).

The 122.5m long frigate, which displaces 3,320 tons, arrived in port on 1 May and during the visit crew members have been able to visit a number of sites and participate in sports games with their Angolan counterparts. The helicopter-carrying ship has a crew of 176.

Talks were also held regarding the Portuguese Navy’s contribution to building the Angolan Navy and how the Portuguese Navy’s training system could benefit the MGA.

According to Captain Rui Marcelo Correia, captain of the Bartolomeu Dias, the visit is part of the ‘Open Sea’ initiative launched in 2008 and is aimed at taking naval units to Portuguese-speaking countries to serve as a platform for developing the maritime security systems of each country.

He said that the ‘Open Sea’ initiative aims to deepen bilateral cooperation with the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) nations, complementing the Technical-Military Cooperation activities with various actions at sea and on land.

Captain Augusto Paulo, the MGA’s Operational Naval Squadron operations chief, said that the visit by the NRP Bartolomeu Diaz would assist Angola in strengthening its maritime defences while boosting military cooperation.


F Wreath

by Capt. Eric Bismeyer
Richards Bay

Captain Simon Young, retired Master and Commodore of Safmarine, passed away in Ayr Hospital Scotland on 29 April 2014.

Many of us who sailed with him will fondly remember this soft spoken gentleman captain who was a mentor to many of us and eventually became a lifelong friend.

Captain Simon was a long-time member and great supporter of the Society of Master Mariners of SA.

He is survived by his daughter Ann and her family who live in Scotland.



Norwegian Breakaway

One of NCL’s latest cruise ships, the 146,600-ton, 4,500-passenger cruise ship NORWEGIAN BREAKWAY suffered engine problems on one of her side thrusters as she arrived back in New York from a cruise to the Bahamas and Florida. Once the tide had turned the Coast Guard was able to secure tug services to tow the ship into the port and have her docked so that passengers could alight.

According to NCL it was a slightly different story. “The ship was slightly delayed because of strong currents in the Hudson River,” it said, adding that on board were 4,500 passengers and 1,600 crew.

The ship was scheduled to sail later that day for another Caribbean cruise but was forced to first undergo inspection by marine investigators, according to the Coast Guard.


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East London harbour

Ports & Ships publishes regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENT reports including ETAs 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.


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The Polish built, German owned and operated feeder container ship CAECILIA SCHULTE (14,148-dwt, capacity 1162-TEU, built 1995) outbound from Cape Town on Saturday, 3 May 2014. Pictures: Ian Shiffman

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