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Ports & Ships Maritime News

11 August 2015
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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3 car carriers 6645 by Chris Hoare Morning Lynn R,

A regular scene at the Port of Durban car terminal is to have two or three car carriers in port at the same time. Fortunately the port can handle this and such was the case last Friday (7 August) when photographer Chris Hoare overflew the terminal and captured this aerial view of a very busy section of the port. In the picture are (top, distant) Eukor’s MORNING LYNN is at R berth, K Line’s VIKING DIAMOND at M on the T-Jetty, and Hoegh Autoliner’s HOEGH AMERICA at G berth. The Durban terminal handles around half a million motor vehicles each year, both imports and exports and with containers is one of the port’s most important cargoes. Also in the picture is the Baltic Reefer vessel BALTIC PRIME at O/P, and partly obscured is the German-owned bulker VEGA GRANAT with a cargo of logs. Picture is by Chris Hoare / www.aerialphotosetc.co.za

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Further to our report of last week that the South African government, or its Department of Energy branch, is looking at the use of power ships to provide some of the required electricity needs of the country CLICK HERE, it is now being reported that wave energy could be another alternative source of power generation in the country.

The report, purportedly from the same department, but possibly emanating from a foreign source, says that an agreement has already been signed for a 500 MW wave power station to be built on the South African coast by the firm of Blackbird International Corporation. Blackbird is acting through its wholly owned affiliate, WERPO, while a South African partner Wadamba Technovations will provide the local constituent.

No official statement has been made so we cannot guarantee the authenticity of this report, but if it proves correct then it could prove the be revolutionary in its application but at the same time will provide a common sense solution to the world’s (and South Africa’s) need for more clean energy from renewable resources.

South Africa has a long coastline and on both the Indian and Atlantic sides are two powerful ocean currents, possessing more energy than anyone could ever harness. The alternative that Wadamba/Blackbird is apparently providing is that of harnessing wave power rather than ocean current.

Either way the principals are the same – that of tapping in to an enormous force of energy right on the doorstep of the country. Blackbird describes South Africa as having the perfect landing site for waves that are perfect for electricity generation, using WERPO’s sea-wave technology.

Blackbird says it is in the process of engaging in more similar projects in Africa, where South Africa’s shortages are duplicated in many places on the continent.

Unlike the Turkish Karadeniz power ships, wave energy would become a permanent feature if successfully implemented and would not only create a new industry but would perfectly meets the aims and ambitions of the government’s Operation Phakisa programme.

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Front Row Timi Alaibe ( Zomay Chairman ), Muyiwa

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Timi Alaibe (Zomay Chairman ), Muyiwa Odufalu (Zomay MD), and James Fisher (Nautic Group CEO) on board one of the patrol vessels (top picture). In the lower photo, Princess Ebikenie goes through her paces in Table Bay harbour, showing off her effective water cannon. Both pictures: Nautic Africa

Featuring significant upgrades to meet the vessel owner’s requirements, Nautic Africa, a Paramount Group company, launched two new bespoke 35m Sentinel vessels in Table Bay Harbour last week. The vessels were custom designed and manufactured for a Nigerian logistics provider.

Nautic’s latest builds, AUGUSTINA II and PRINCESS EBIKENIE, are capable of top speeds of 29 knots, and can reach 26 knots when fully fuelled – even with the weight of additional ballistic panelling throughout the deck level.

The aluminium-hulled 108-tonne vessels have been designed with versatility in mind and feature a number of significant improvements to Nautic’s standard Sentinel model.

Both vessels are capable of staying at sea with a full crew and security team complement of 16 to 18 people for four weeks at a time without refueling when conducting a security patrol or escort function.

This capability is facilitated by the four main fuel tanks and day tank with a combined capacity of 56,000 litres. In addition, a large walk-in fridge and freezer provide capacity to produce 3,000 litres of water a day using the onboard desalination plant.

Enhancements for PLC alarm monitoring and tank level sensing are accomplished throughout the vessel via colour Human Machine Interface (HMI) touch screens.

Six CCTV cameras feed directly to the Captain and Chief Engineer’s cabins as well to the bridge. This, coupled with the intercom system, gives the crew the ability to communicate well in any emergency. The Captain is also able to view the chart plotter display in his cabin.

Built for versatility
A fire-fighting pump further increases the versatility of the platforms. Coupled to the forward side of the centre engine via a main crank shaft PTO (power take off), the pumps are able to deliver 1200 m?/hour of seawater on to a vessel, shore or rig fire. Capable of propelling a jet of seawater 120 metres and 45 metres high, the vessel is able to combat fires at a safe distance.

Augustina II, the OPV (offshore) version of the Sentinel, is fitted with one of Nautic’s Guardian craft. This fast interception craft can be launched in under 90 seconds from the aft deck in emergency or threat situations. The inclusion of the high speed guardian interceptor provides state of the art equipment to satisfy far reaching independent control of patrolling duties.

In addition, the surveillance capacities of the Augustina II are enhanced with the fitment of a 92-nautical mile range S-Band Radar. This technology gives the crew the ability to detect objects in areas during heavy rainstorms – a capability critical to the equatorial waters where she will be operational.

Outfitted for safety during crew transfers, Princess Ebikenie features a ballistically protected crew transfer seating area containing 40 IMO (International Maritime Organisation) rated seats. Access at the forward section of the seating area provides entry to the vessel’s bow, which has been specifically designed for the safe transfer of crew via platform-access ladders.

To facilitate safe docking and transfers, two 35 kW electric bow thrusters have been fitted, providing redundancy and fine bow control in windy conditions or areas with strong currents.

The vessels are expected to arrive in Nigeria on 25 August 2015.

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One of the new STS cranes (in red) taking shape at the assembly yard next to DCT. Picture is by Chris Hoare / www.Aerial Photos etc

The Durban Container Terminal’s Pier 2, which is operated by Transnet Port Terminals [TPT], has received a major boost recently with the delivery of two new generation Ship-to-Shore Liebherr cranes.

The cranes arrived in in knocked down form, which is in compliance with TPT’s procurement policies regarding assembling of internationally sourced equipment locally for skills transfer to local artisans and engineers.

They are to replace two 20-year old single lift Noell cranes. The two new cranes have a twin-lift capability, with a boom reach of 52 metres as well as an total operating height of 43m.

This will enable them to operate vessels with a width of 18 boxes across deck, as well as 9 boxes above deck, which is in line with the size of new larger vessels now calling at DCT.

KwaZulu-Natal Operations General Manager for Containers, Brenda Magqwaka, described the injection of the two Liebherr cranes at the East Quay (Berths 200-202) as a long awaited relief to berth productivity.

“Terminal management cannot wait to deliver excellent customer service for shipping lines, road haulers and rail as there is a lot of improvement initiatives riding on the arrival and availability of these new cranes,” she said.

According to Magqwaka, KZN Containers is “charged with a responsibility to deliver excellent performance for TPT as per shareholder compact and the new cranes will afford the region an opportunity to exceed this expectation.”

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TNPA’s grab hopper dredger Italeni. Picture is by Trevor Jones

Progress has been made in finding an urgent solution for the Port of Durban's berth draught issues, with TNPA receiving approval to build a new grab hopper dredger and in the meantime to hire one. Both vessels will be dedicated to Durban.

This follows recent media highlighting of shortcomings in this regard, including in PORTS & SHIPS, in which a number of ships grounded or ‘touched bottom’ inside the port and, on at least two occasions in the past 12 months, in a narrowed entrance channel.

But while the new grab dredger is being built, TNPA has called for interested parties to submit a ‘Request for Proposal’ to provide a suitable dredger for a one year period, which will work exclusively in Durban harbour. Ecstatic over these developments, Durban Port Manager, Moshe Motlohi said that this approval indicates the urgency that is being applied to address the situation. “These two dredgers will enhance the dredging capacity needed to maintain the permissible draught of our berths, considering the increased frequency of dredging that is now required,” he said.

TNPA said that Dredging Services is treating the symptoms of a problem caused by larger vessels now calling at the Port of Durban. These vessels' propulsions cause a build-up of sand and rocks alongside the berths, creating a need for more frequent dredging. The requirement for dredging in the berth pockets increases from a frequency of 3-6 months to every two weeks.

In June 2015 the grab hopper dredger, ITALENI, was deployed from the national dredging plan to remain in Durban to dredge more frequently.

“An update on our dredging programme is communicated on a weekly basis to our stakeholders, members of the SA Association of Ship Operators and Agents (SAASOA). This is to provide them with the comfort of knowing that we are continuously ensuring that dredging continues and that our port remains safe for operations,” said Motlohi.

Although no details have been provided about who will build the new grab dredger, it can be presumed to be that of the Dutch firm of Royal IHC Merwede, which has undertaken the construction of two previous recent TNPA dredgers. A third cutter suction hopper dredger, the 5,500m? ILEMBE is currently under construction by this Dutch shipbuilder and is due for delivery in January next year.

In addition, a Port Elizabeth firm is building a small bed leveller that will replace the existing bed leveller tug, IMPISI. This vessel usually works in conjunction with the grab dredger.

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The 19,000-TEU CSCL Globe

Beijing has ordered China COSCO and China Shipping group to create a roadmap towards merging, in order for them to recover from the current slump in the Chinese and international markets.

According to the South China Morning Post, the two beleaguered conglomerates between them control 11 listed entities in China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

On Friday China Cosco Holdings, China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) and China Shipping Development, the three listed flagships of the group, applied to have trading suspended after the close that day. They informed the Shanghai Bourse that they were planning on ‘material matters’.

This immediately led to share price increases of between 10 and 24 percent based purely on rumours of a merger. China COSCO and CSCL rank as the world’s sixth and seventh biggest container lines in terms of fleet size, and compete on similar trade routes. Making matters more complex, they also belong to different operating alliances with foreign companies.

By combining their fleets they will be propelled into having the world’s fourth largest container fleet.

Another source told the paper that a government-ordered merger will raise alarms among competition authorities worldwide. Just one year ago China was responsible in putting paid to ideas of three of the biggest shipping operators, Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM creating an alliance among themselves, on the grounds of it being monopolistic.

A Shanghai shipping site has meanwhile reported that the two groups have formed a working committee to study a merger plan.

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Design of Virgin cruise ships revealed by court

The futuristic design of Richard Branson’s Virgin Cruise ships has been revealed as a result of a law suit brought against him by Colin Veitch, former Norwegian Cruise Line CEO.

According to Veitch, Virgin Cruise line stole his ideas and plans for a new cruise line and he is now suing Branson and Virgin Group for more than £200 million damages while asking a judge to put a stop to the development.

According to Veitch he came up with the idea of the new design and looked for a well-known brand to help him action his plans. This, he says is when Virgin got hold of his ideas.

According to other reports a letter of intent has been signed by VSM Development which says that the two Virgin ships will be built by Meyer Werft. Curiously, it says that one of these will be delivered in 2015, which if so it means that construction is already well advanced, which seems unlikely.

Tom McAlpin, Virgin Cruises CEO however announced in Miami in late June that the first ship will set sail from Miami in 2020, a timetable that appears much more realistic. McAlpin said that a letter of intent was signed with Italian shipyard Fincantieri with the first ship to be available in 2020, followed by two others in 2021 and 2022. This contract however had still to be finalised.

The new ships are reportedly going to be of 172,900 gross tons each making them among the largest cruise ships in the world. Each ship would have 1,430 cabins for about 2,800 passengers, rendering them as relatively spacious. Branson says that Virgin Cruises and his new ships will move the cruise industry into a new era, while taking on the established might of Carnival and Royal Caribbean.

Responding to the lawsuit, Virgin maintains that Veitch’s claim has no merit. “Richard Branson and the Virgin Group first looked at the cruise market in the late 1970s and our current team has been exploring the opportunity for more than a decade. Over the years, we have been in discussions with a number of parties, including [Veitch], and those discussions ceased in 2012.”

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Jacob Sørensen in Pemba, Mozambique, at the launch of his 1,000km kitesurf challenge

A Hong Kong-based shipping executive, Jacob Bliksted Sørensen has taken up an unusual and unique challenge, of kitesurfing solo all the way from Mozambique to the Kenya/Somali border in order to raise funds for two maritime charities – Mission to Seafarers and Adeso (African Development Solutions).

Sørensen is a shipping executive at Hong Kong ship owner Pacific Basin and is the founder of Mission: Safe Ocean, a campaign to raise awareness of the root causes of piracy and to support long-term efforts to improve the safety of the Indian Ocean.

His goal is to kitesurf solo over 1,000 km along the coast of East Africa. With just a surfboard and a kite, he will be relying on the power of the wind and waves to make his way along the coastline of Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya.

“Through my work in the shipping industry, I see the threats to the safety of the ocean along the East African coast and the costs that are borne by all seafarers, local and international. We need to find long-term solutions that address the roots causes of piracy and help to make the oceans safer for all seafarers,” he said.

“My goal with Mission: Safe Ocean and this expedition is to shine a light on these root causes and to raise money for two charities that are doing fantastic work at the grassroots to support coastal communities in Somalia and the 1.5 million seafarers around the world.”

Sørensen began his epic kitesurfing adventure earlier in August and expects to complete it over a total of four weeks. All fundraising proceeds raised from his expedition will go directly towards the Mission to Seafarers and Adeso.

“I believe that we can make a positive difference to the lives of those who bear the brunt of the risks and costs of piracy. I hope that the international shipping community and everyone who cares about our oceans and our seafarers will get behind our mission and help us to raise funds for the vital work of the Mission to Seafarers and Adeso,” he said on setting out.

Among the companies that are supporting Mission: Safe Ocean are a number of leading shipping industry organisations, including Neptune Maritime Security, Pacific Basin, Sturrock Grindrod Maritime, Thuraya and Univan Ship Management.

Organisations wishing to get involved in supporting and sponsoring Jacob Bliksted Sørensen’s challenge can get in touch with the Mission: Safe Ocean team at missionsafeocean@gmail.com.

Donations to Mission to Seafarers and Adeso, the two causes supported by Mission: Safe Ocean, can be made at: www.justgiving.com

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Bressay Bank hulk IMG 0838 480

Here’s another short story from maritime attorney Alan Goldberg of Rose Street Chambers in Cape Town. It concerns the old fishing vessel BRESSAY BANK which had been lying derelict in Hout Bay Harbour for about 20 or more years.

Built in Poland in 1960, Bressay Bank was formerly a South Coast lobster boat named Pam Arlene D. She later changed ownership after which her name became Bressay Bank.

After all those years derelict in Hout Bay, it was arranged for the former fishing vessel to be made seaworthy before being towed to Simon’s Town, where she was handed over to the SA Navy, with the intention being that they would use her as a floating target to allow the little ship to be scuttled or blown up before going down into the deep.

The tow was undertaken by the Servest launch OCEAN PRIDE and the accompanying photograph was taken while tug and tow were off Noordhoek beach. The hill on the port side of Bressay Bank and the surrounds beneath it is Kommetjie with Slangkop lighthouse obscured.

Picture courtesy of Alan Goldberg of Rose Street Chambers, who was legal advisor on the project.


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