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Ports & Ships Maritime News

4 October 2016
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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One final look at the Royal Navy type 23 frigate HMS PORTLAND sailing from Durban on Saturday morning, 1 October, bound for Simon's Town and ten days of welcome R&R for the ship's complement after an extensive period of counter piracy work in the Arabian Sea region. The ship is on a 9 month deployment and her next opportunity of some real R&R is going to be on the southern coast of South America. The picture was taken shortly after the frigate turned after pulling away from the quayside of Salisbury Island Naval Base. Making a habit of being in the right spot to get the shot free of pilot boats and tugs, the picture was taken by Ken Malcolm.

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BigOceanData and Maersk Line, the world's largest container shipping company, have entered into a two-year agreement whereby BigOceanData will deliver vessel tracking services to Maersk Line.

The initial system went live on 1 August 2016 and is already in use in operation centres around the world on both desktop and mobile devices. BigOceanData is now working with Maersk Line to optimise the vessel tracking system for their in-house systems.

BigOceanData is initially being used to track Maersk Line's fleet, a total of approximately 630 owned and chartered vessels, using fused satellite and terrestrial data feeds to deliver a reliable service capable of providing consistent position reports. Maersk Line uses this information to optimise the performance of the fleet.

The BigOceanData system also supplies a wide range of additional environmental, navigation and security data which can then be integrated with clients' in-house systems, thereby reducing costs and increasing efficiencies. Implementation of this service with Maersk Line will allow a secure, two-way exchange of data between Maersk Line's systems and the BigOceanData interface.

"This contract was awarded following a competitive tender, and we are pleased to welcome BigOceanData as a supplier to Maersk Line," said Stephan Martinussen, Head of GVPC at Maersk Line.

"We were impressed by the BigOceanData system during the evaluation process," he said. "It delivers a wide range of functionality and at the same time offers an interface that will integrate with our own systems with minimal disruption and maximum effectiveness. We also welcome its ability to combine multiple inputs within a single system which improves overall end-user experience."

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The German carrier Hapag-Lloyd says it will be enhancing its West Africa Express Service (WAX) by including a new call at Casablanca, Morocco as from the beginning of November 2016.

The new call will be made on the southbound voyage.

"The new call at Casablanca combined with the existing calls in West Africa emphasises Hapag-Lloyd's strength in the African Market and offers a competitive, weekly, fixed day connection between North Europe, Morocco and West Africa," Hapag-Lloyd said in a statement.

Starting with the sailing of MV LUDWIG SCHULTE DP 39430 (voyage 1644S), the WAX service will operate with the following port rotation:

Antwerp; Hamburg; Tangier; Casablanca; Dakar; Apapa; Tema; Abidjan; Tangier; Antwerp.

The MV Ludwig Schulte, voyage 1644S reads as follows:

ETS Antwerp: 1 November 2016
ETS Hamburg: 4 November 4 2016
ETA Casablanca: 9 November 2016

WAX southbound 263

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Hanjin Buddha

Speculation continues to be rife over the fate of the bankrupt South Korean container giant Hanjin, which has nearly one hundred ships either at sea or caught up in various ports around the world, with cargo on board belonging to shippers and worth massive amounts.

Korean authorities are saying that most of this cargo will have been offloaded by the end of October, which is poor consolation for those waiting desperately for their goods.

From another angle, the ships have crew on board numbering about 2000 who are not being paid, cannot get off their ships and are quickly running out of food and essential supplies.

On the rumour front there's news of interest in buying out the crippled shipping line. One story has it that Maersk is interested in buying both Hanjon, which has already sought the protection of the courts, and Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) which is struggling to avoid the same fate. According to Bloomberg, the Danish company, the world's biggest container line, is interested in a consolidation of both companies and their takeover.

The theory on what this is based is the belief that only Maersk has the financial clout to buy out both companies.

That's ignoring the potential of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the world's second biggest container carrier. MSC however has a record of growing organically rather than through acquisitions.

On the other hand Maersk, like most container lines, is hurting and has recently undergone a cleanout of top executives, and may not have the stomach to absorb two other major shipping lines right now.

Or maybe not.

Meanwhile, from Korea comes the news that HMM, which at one stage recently looked like it could easily have gone to the wall, is being reported as preparing to take over its former rival, Hanjin. That of course could easily be a part of the consolidation already mentioned.

Other lines whose names have been mentioned as potential buyers of Hanjin include the Chinese consolidated carrier, COSCO, although this has been denied by the Chinese line's chairman, Xu Lirong.

Of all the potential buyers, if anyone is going to buy out the failed Korean carrier, Maersk certainly adds up as the most likely. Maersk has gained much of its strength and position through acquisitions and not that long ago Soren Skou, AP Moller-Maersk's recently appointed chief executive officer told investment analysts that Maersk was interested in considering acquisitions at this time.

"We want to make sure we maintain our leading position in the industry," Skou explained. So it appears that the giant's huner for opposition lines is not yet satisfied.

More recently, when asked for comment, a spokesman for the Danish company said that Maersk does not comment on rumours and speculation.

In July this year HMM said it had a memorandum of understanding to join the 2M Alliance which consists of Maersk and MSC. If this follows through the alliance will presumably become the 3M Alliance, so who knows what exactly the future holds. But stranger things have happened -- if one remembers back 15 or so years, when MSC and Maersk were fierce rivals and could even be considered as sworn enemies. Now they operate in alliance. Its all a bit like politics -- anything is possible in shipping.

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The Dutch offshore vessel specialist Vroon Offshore Services has established a local presence in Pemba, in northern Mozambique -- a strategic move ahead of the developing oil and gas industries in the Rovuma Basin.

"It's an important step in our company's development," said Vroon in a statement. "Vroon Offshore Services Mozambique Limitada is now open for business, offering the high-quality VOS vessels, services and expertise we are renowned for. We see this as an important strategic move, providing us the opportunity to fully participate in this region's offshore market.

"We are very proud that Vroon is one of the first offshore-vessel suppliers active in Mozambique. It illustrates the company's dedication to contribute to the future success of the Mozambique offshore market. Together with our existing business partners, we look forward to establishing mutually rewarding business relations with new partners in the area."

The Dutch company said it wanted to extend its appreciation to the Cornelder and Eunite organisations, both in the Netherlands and Mozambique, for providing them with valuable guidance during their first steps in this new market. Cornelder operates the port at Beira and has obvious experience in the local conditions.

"Vroon Offshore Services Mozambique Limitada is now in close contact with business partners and clients, to start offering services in the coming months," the company said.

Deails of the Vroon vessels and services on offer with Vroon Offshore Services Mozambique Limitada -- and for general information about the VOS fleet, is available from chartering-vroonoffshore@nl.vroonoffshore.com

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A tanker with OMC engineers on board heading into the port of Geelong. Picture: OMC

Melbourne firm OMC International has signed a strategic alliance agreement with New Zealand-based MetOcean Solutions to coordinate research and development efforts and offer an expanded level of maritime forecasting and hydrodynamic services to port and harbour clients.

"We are very pleased to announce that we have agreed to align our ongoing research and development efforts to maximise the benefits of our respective technologies to our clients," CEO Peter O'Brien said yesterday (3 October).

"Over the years we have come to recognise MetOcean Solutions as a world-leader in providing port-specific environmental models and forecasts of waves, tides and currents, and these are already inputs into our DUKC systems* at several of our client ports.

"Accurate weather forecasts and experience applying those forecasts to operational decision making in ports and harbours are critical components of OMC International's unique reputation for safe and efficient Under Keel Clearance (UKC) management.

"The recent successful implementation of a DUKC system at the Port of Geelong is a good example of the value of the alliance in producing an optimum outcome for the client. OMC International and MetOcean Solutions provide their respective services and the port's client, Viva Energy, benefits by saving around $3 million per year in reduced shipping costs. Aligning our research and development efforts will help OMC extract additional economic benefits for our clients.

"At OMC we pride ourselves on the close and long-lasting relationships we have built with ports and harbours around the world and continuing to offer the highest levels of service to OMC International's operational customers remains our top priority. However, we are pleased to be able to offer both our existing and new clients the additional services available through our strategic alliance with MetOcean Solutions."

Combined, OMC International and MetOcean Solutions employ more than 80 staff, including engineers, naval architects, scientists and software developers. In addition, the alliance will receive support from MetraWeather, the international brand of the Meteorological Service of New Zealand, which is a 49% shareholder in MetOcean Solutions. MetraWeather have offices in Sydney, the UK, Southeast Asia and New Zealand and employs more than 240 staff.

Maritime engineering firm OMC International, founded in 1987 by Executive Director Dr Terry O'Brien, is the recognised world-leader in real-time UKC management technology. OMC's innovative maritime technology, which enjoys an unblemished 23 year safety record, continues to win international accolades, including the prestigious IBJ Safety in Bulk Handling (Marine) Award in 2015.

*see http://omcinternational.com/

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Vale locomotives on the Nacala rail corridor

Brazilian group Vale expects to receive US$768 million dollars from the sale to the Japanese Mitsui & Co of stakes in the Moatize coal mine and Nacala Logistics Corridor in Mozambique, under the new terms of an agreement originally signed in 2014.

The new terms, disclosed to the market on Thursday, include the payment of US$450 million, including US$225 million for a 15% stake in the Moatize coal mine, in which the Brazilian mining group owns 95% and an additional payment of up to US$195 million, the final amount of which will depend on a set of criteria.

Mitsui & Co Group will also pay US$348 million for a 50% stake in the Nacala Logistics Corridor and also undertook to open a credit line of US$165 million for the corridor, which connects the Moatize coal mine to the deep water port of Nacala.

In a statement published in Rio de Janeiro, the mining group said the new terms of the agreement showed the commitment of both Vale and Mitsui in the transaction and reinforces the efforts of the parties to bring the project to finance the mining and logistics operations to fruition.

The two groups intend to raise around US$2.7 billion from financial institutions to expand the business in Mozambique. source: Macauhub

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Port Nolloth Shoreline Due for Revetment Works 4
Port Nolloth shoreline due for revetment works. Picture: TNPA

Transnet National Ports Authority has commenced a multi-million rand port infrastructure rehabilitation project at the small domestic seaport of Port Nolloth on the north-western coast of South Africa.

The project is aimed at improving infrastructure for offshore activities and forms part of efforts to develop the country's marine transport and manufacturing industry in line with the South African government's Operation Phakisa initiative.

"Port Nolloth has historically been overlooked, but this rehabilitation project has seen us invest R7.2 million to date of a budgeted project value of R39 million. The full project is expected to be completed in October 2017," said Cape Town Port Manager, Sipho Nzuza, whose portfolio includes Port Nolloth.

The appointed contractor, Steffanuti Stocks Marine Pty Ltd, commenced preparatory site establishment activities during August 2016.

Nzuza said Port Nolloth would continue to serve as a support facility to the fishing and offshore mining industries and would play an active role as part of the Western Cape port system.

The primary Transnet infrastructure at Port Nolloth consists of an L-shaped concrete deck on pile jetty which includes a landing quay with a length of approximately 67 metres and a useable area of 1450 m2.

The scope of TNPA's work includes refurbishment of the jetty structure, refurbishment or replacement of concrete where required, refurbishment of quay infrastructure and replacement of quayside fender systems by TNPA and De Beers. TNPA would also be undertaking revetment works to address erosion of the shore line.

Port Nolloth has operated under a 10 year lease agreement to De Beers Group Services which has used it as an offshore supply base for conducting diamond prospecting activity in Namibia. Smit Amandla supply vessels are stationed in Port Nolloth and are used for transferring supplies to De Beers' offshore prospecting vessels.

The port was founded in the late 1800s as an export facility for copper from mines located in the Springbok area. This activity ceased in the 1940's and the port has since acted mainly as a support facility to the fishing and offshore mining industries.

In line with Transnet's Supplier Development requirements, 25% of the contract value will be invested into local companies, predominantly black, women and youth-owned businesses.

Port Nolloth c 1905 loco was the Britannia Note
Port Nolloth circa 1905. Note the ship n the jetty. The loco in the foreground is the Britannia, an 0-4-0T locomotive built in Scotland by the firm of Dick, Kerr & Company of Kilmarnock. The loco was one of two bought for shunting at the little port, whch at that time was used for exporting copper from tne mine at O'Okiep. If the dating of the above photo is correct then the loco would have been recently arrived for it went into service that year. Picture from the National Library of South Africa-Moffatt Collection

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Port Louis - Indian Ocean 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.

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

We publish news about the cruise industry here in the general news section, but this is also available in a dedicated Cruise News section. This section will include various stories and news not covered in the general news so if you have an interest in this sector don't forget to check regularly on our CRUISE NEWS page.

This you will find here in CRUISE NEWS & REVIEWS

Naval News
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Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories which also have their own dedicated section, although some stories may be duplicated in the general news section.

Find the Naval Review section HERE

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LADY S (1137-gt, built 1971), a former De Beers diamond mining service vessel, which has been laid up for a number of years, is finally now being scrapped, reports Ian Shiffman. The ship, which has been laid up since July 2008, was owned and managed by Liechtenstein interests. Picture is by Ian Shiffman


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