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Ports & Ships Maritime News

2 September 2014
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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 – SARAH BAARTMAN

SARAH BAARTMAN 

aad noorland CT (3) rotcro 470

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) research vessel SARAH BAARTMAN photographed in Cape Town harbour recently. The research ship is due to undergo a routine dry docking for maintenance and survey next month (October) which will probably be done in East London. Nautic South Africa is the appointed management company responsible for the operational management of the vessel and whose senior engineering superintendent will carry full oversight of planning of docking, and will be onboard overseeing all workscopes. Damen is the preferred ship repairer and will carry out all work related to docking through arrangement of third party support (ie tailshaft measurements, steelwork renewal etc). Picture: Aad Noorland

News continues below…

MYSTERY SURROUNDS SCUTTLING OF GUN-RUNNING SHIP AT DAKAR

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The Romanian-owned cargo ship Sea Soul 1, under a previous name Terry Dos. Picture: Fleetmon

There’s still an air of mystery about the scuttling of the Romanian-owned cargo ship SEA SOUL 1 (3,050-dwt, built 1985, IMO 8502377) outside the port of Dakar in Senegal.

The ship is owned by a Romanian company and managed by Lale International Srl of Constanta, Romania. She flies the Tanzanian flag and at the time of her scuttling was manned by an Egyptian crew.

It appears that the ship arrived off the port of Dakar on 9 August, and because of congestion at the container terminal the ship was told to go to anchor in the roadstead outside.

At some point the authorities realised that two containers on the ship had disappeared. According to some reports the Senegalese Navy investigated with the Customs and discovered that the ship was carrying guns and ammunition supposedly in transit for a client in Mali, where an insurrection by Tuareg and Al-Qaida groups has been ongoing since 2012.

Why the ship wasn’t then brought into port and the containers discharged is a mystery. Instead she was left outside.

What happened next …
… deepens the mystery. On 12 August the crew of the Sea Soul 1 upped anchor and took the ship, without hindrance, to a position off Goree Island which is off the Senegalese mainland, where they scuttled the ship.

The 12 crew members were all rescued and are presumably now under some form of detention and being questioned by the local gendarmerie, but a security clamp down on news appears to have been imposed, although whispers of Interpol interest and the involvement of the Americans is being heard.

According to sources, the cargo manifest listed the cargo as being in transit for a customer in Mali and consisted of hunting gear and equipment. 45 containers in all!

The insurrection in Mali in 2012 caught everyone by surprise, not least the Mali government which itself had not been in power for long. It required the intervention by the French to reverse the situation and place the elected government back in control of much but not all of the country. Over 3,000 French soldiers remain in Mali on active duty, and several African countries have also sent troops to help bolster the legitimate government. The African Union has pledged a total of 6,000 soldiers though whether this will be achieved remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, answers will have to be forthcoming as to who sent the cargo of weapons, and to whom. Were they legitimate or was the ship running guns? If not then why did the crew see fit to scuttle the ship and attempt to hide the evidence?

Don’t hold your breath waiting to hear the answers.

News continues below…

DRUG SHIP AL NOOR BLOWN UP BY KENYAN NAVY

AL NOOR under detention 

in Mombasa 470
Al Noor under detention in Mombasa

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) destroyed a ship carrying US$11.3 million (1 billion shillings) worth of heroin off the coast of Mombasa on Friday (29 August), Kenya's Capital FM reported.

The ship, the freighter AL NOOR, was packed with explosives under the control of the Kenyan Navy and taken to anchor south of Mombasa, where the ship was safely detonated, while President Uhuru Kenyatta watched from a hovering military Puma helicopter.

“The port of Mombasa will no longer be a passage for the importation of illicit drugs,” the president said.

He said this will serve as a lesson to those “who are bent on ruining our children. We do not care who owns the ship or the drugs. We will not allow drug barons to destroy the future of our young people. We will track and deal with them decisively.”

This was in defiance …
… of a court ruling that there was no good reason why the ship had to be destroyed. Earlier, Chief Magistrate Maxwell Gicheru rejected the state’s request to destroy the ship. Then on the day of the destruction the Mombasa High Court confirmed the chief magistrates finding. This was at 1.30pm. Three hours later the destruction of the ship took place at 4.30pm.

The court had stated that it was proper for the state to destroy the drugs but not the ship. Justice Maureen Odero said that although no one has claimed ownership of the ship, it was in order to wait for the completion of the proceedings.

The ship was sunk in about 350 metres of water some 16 n.miles off the coast.

Al Noor was detained …
… by the Kenyan Navy while sailing near the port of Lamu in July. The ship which sailed between Madagascar and the African coast had been under observation for some time. After being detained, authorities discovered the cache of heroin hidden inside a filled diesel fuel tank.

Earlier this year the Australian Navy ship HMAS DARWIN, on patrol with the counter piracy forces off the Gulf of Aden, seized another haul of drugs weighing over one tonne that was hidden on a suspicious dhow. It was estimated that the drugs, which were hidden in sacks stowed among bags of cement, were worth $290 million. The heroin was taken on board the Australian warship but the dhow survived to sail another day.

* See related articles

Al Noor arrest yields 342kg of smuggled heroin

Al Noor intercepted off Lamu

News continues below...

INDIA’S ICV STARTS RECRUITING STAFF FOR MOZAMBIQUE COAL

image benga16 Jan12 350
Benga coal mine at night

International Coal Ventures Limited (ICVL), a consortium of state-owned companies in India, has started the process of recruiting Indian staff for various positions in Mozambique, Indian newspaper the Economic Times reported.

Recruitment of new staff follows the acquisition of coal assets in Mozambique owned by Anglo-Australian group Rio Tinto for US$50 million.

Before launching its activities in Mozambique ICVL wants to send a team of two dozen staff from the companies that make up the consortium to draw up a business model.

ICVL’s assets in Mozambique include the Benga mine in full operation and two other coal projects still to be explored, all in the province of Tete. - macauhub

News continues below…

EBOLA: LIBERIA BANS SHORE LEAVE AT ITS PORTS

liberia magellan 428

Liberia’s National Port Authority has banned all shore passes at its ports in an effort to restrict the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

At present no-one associated with the ports has been affected by the disease, which has been described as spinning out of control. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the actual number of Ebola cases could be up to four times higher than reported, with 20,000 people in total that could be infected before the outbreak ends.

NPA managing director Matilda Parker said that measures taken at the ports include screening all people entering or leaving the port precincts. “The international community has a phobia, so do we in the port,” she told the Monrovia newspaper New Dawn.

Parker added that stevedores and others going on board ships in the harbours are having to go through three layers of screening. Once on board they are being instructed not to have any contact with crew or others also on board. How effective that will be is anyone’s guess.

Other measures taken to limit or prevent the spread of the Ebola virus include the use of chlorine, bleach, handwash/alcohol based hand sanitizer upon entering and leaving and all staff on buses have to wear long trousers and long sleeve shirts. Buses will be sprayed before each departure.

Cleaning staff have been issued with suitable clothing and equipment including long sleeve overalls, rubber gloves and surgical masks.

Port personnel have also taken part in a simulated exercise to raise awareness even higher than it already is, and to test responses to reported outbreaks.

Parker said the measures being taken and the threat of the disease being spread through the ports has not had any impact on the number of ships calling at Liberian ports.

“We believe that the port is safe, vessel traffic has been maintained. I think the message that should go out is that the NPA has put stringent guidelines in place, that safe guard all port users: employees, visitors, crew members etc,” said Binyan Kessely, head of the Liberian Maritime Authority (LMA).

News continues below…

SENEGAL LATEST VICTIM ON EBOLA

Senegal magellan 470
Senegal

Senegal has become the latest West African country to be hit by the deadly Ebola virus outbreak. And according to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola cases rose last week at the fastest pace since the epidemic began in March this year.

The Senegalese man who has contracted the disease arrived at a Dakar hospital for treatment last week. The man, a student from neighbouring Guinea, had been in contact with victims in his home country. He has been living in the densely populated Dakar suburb of Parcelles Assaines.

The global charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), has meanwhile called for the UN Security Council to step in and take charge of preventing its further spread.

The death total has now reached 1,550 with over 3,000 cases reported, although this is said to be grossly under-reporting of the true situation. And while new untested drugs appear to have provided successful cures for several mostly western patients, there is no known cure readily available in quantity. Also on Friday, the director of the United States Center for Disease Control warned of a "catastrophe" if emergency action were not taken immediately to reverse the trend of rising cases. “There is time to avoid a catastrophe but only if immediate and urgent action is taken at every level,” Tom Frieden said.

DUTCH TREAT FOR THE CAPE!

ROTTERDEAM600 470
Rotterdam

Holland America Line's 59,855gt ROTTERDAM will call at Cape Town on 14 November, as part of its 85-night Africa Explorer sailing.

The vessel will depart for Southampton, sailing along the west coast of Africa, on 16 November. Fares for the 35-night northbound cruise are from R63,070 pps.

The interior decor of the sixth Holland America vessel to bear this name is what sets the line apart from other cruise operations. Layouts are in bright, warm colours and art and objects are used to great effect…and its focal point is a huge ‘one-of-a-kind’ custom-made clock, based on an antique Flemish original.

There are large murals of sea battles in the main lounges and plenty of other paintings that add to the country house ambiance.

Holland America enjoys a loyal following from this popular operator that has a long legacy in Dutch maritime history.

Vernon Buxton for Ports & Ships

EXPECTED SHIP ARRIVALS and SHIPS IN PORT

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Gateway port

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 container 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.

PICS OF THE DAY – CALTEX CAPE TOWN and EASTERN SATURN

CALTEX CAPE TOWN 470

EASTERN SATURN September 

1977 470

Two ships from Yesteryear, when everything seemed more simple, or was it just an illusion. At least the ships were beautiful … mostly, and plentiful, thanks to events such as the Suez crisis that help keep South African ports busy in those days before the container revolution.
The two ships featured today are the oil tanker CALTEX CAPE TOWN (above) seen sailing from the port of Durban while the lower picture is of the freighter EASTERN SATURN, whose picture was taken in 1977. Pictures: Trevor Jones

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