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Ports & Ships Maritime News

July 26, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

Shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa


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The German-owned offshore supply vessel HELLESPONT DRIVE (2,177-gt, built 2010) which arrived in Cape Town last week for supplies. Picture by Aad Noorland


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Saldanha ore train derailed

An iron ore train travelling between Sishen and the port of Saldanha derailed last week, causing the export line to be closed while clean up operations took place. Fortunately there were no injuries.

One electric and one diesel locomotive, situated at the rear of the 300-plus wagon train according to one report, and 107 loaded wagons came off the tracks near Vredenburg on Thursday afternoon. Initial reports said there was considerable damage to the derailed locomotives and wagons and to the track.

An investigation into the accident has begun and repairs to the track began last week. There is no immediate indication of the cause although with it reportedly occurring well down the length of the train it suggests a failure with one of the wagons.


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CMA CGM takes delivery of second giant ship this month

At one stage less than a year ago efforts were being made to cancel or postpone the ships, but now French shipping container line CMA CGM is proudly taking delivery of some of the world’s largest container ships.

The latest to be accepted is the 13,800-TEU AMERIGO VESPUCCI, a 365m long giant with a beam of 51.2m and a 15.5m draught. She is a sister ship to CHRISTOPHE COLOMB which CMA CGM took delivery of earlier this month – read that report and see a picture HERE.

Amerigo Vespucci is the second of eight sister ship on order from the South Korean shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine (DSME) and like her siblings is named after famous explorers. She will enter service on CMA CGM’s FAL service (French Asia Line) operating between Asia and northern Europe.

A distinctive feature of the ship is that the superstructure is located towards the front of the vessel, which maximises space utilization while providing better visibility from the bridge. The engine compartment is situated towards the rear of the vessel along with the expected smokestack.

CMA CGM now has 14 different services operating between Asia and Europe and the line reports a growth of 22 percent on these since the start of 2010. It says the same trend is being witnessed on all markets which is confirmed by the 19 percent growth being reported by the main container ports over the same period.

“Thanks to its size and equipment, this modern and competitive vessel, which completes the Group’s fleet, enables CMA CGM to meet the steady customer demand on this key market”, says Nicolas Sartini, Senior Vice President Asia / Europe Lines, CMA CGM Group.

Amerigo Vespucci will start its rotation on 31 July in Ningbo, before going on to Shanghai, Yantian, Tanjung Pelepas, Port Klang, Le Havre, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Port Klang, Singapore and completing the rotation at Ningbo.


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Chevron cancels plans to extend Durban Island View project

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Durban port with Island View in the foreground. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Golder Associates Africa, charged with undertaking the environmental impact assessment for oil company Chevron, has announced the cancellation of Project Phoenix at the sprawling Island View oil tank complex in Durban Harbour.

According to Golder Associates Chevron has decided the project is not a viable option at this time and all Project Phoenix activities on the EIA have been stopped.

The project involved developing a fuel terminal in the port of Durban capable of importing and distributing 100,000m³ of diesel and petrol a month to the coastal and inland regions. It required an investment of up to R400 million at the Island View site already occupied by Chevron and would be linked into Transnet’s new multi-product pipeline. Imported product would be drawn largely from Chevron’s refinery at Cape Town.

Chevron already operates a lube manufacturing plant at Island View where branded lubricant products are manufactured, packaged and distributed throughout southern Africa.

Durban’s Island View complex was begun shortly after the end of the First World War, and the first of what would ultimately become over a thousand storage tanks was erected in the mid 1920s at Fynnlands. Today the tanks store and hold fuels and chemicals and are served by eight berths at Island View tanker terminal.

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RBCT strike comes to an end

The nine-day strike at Richards Bay Coal Terminal came to an end last week when South African Transport & Allied Workers Union members accepted RBCT’s original offer of a 9.5 percent increase in their wages and signed a three-year wage agreement.

It is not clear just what effect the strike, which involved about a hundred workers, had on productivity at the terminal, which exports an average of more than five million tonnes of coal each month.

According to reports the available staff which were not striking were able to make up the numbers and keep the plant operating. RBCT said that terminal operations remained unaffected by the strike action.

The strike came shortly after the ending of Transnet’s two and a half week strike that impacted on deliveries of coal to RBCT.

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Iranian shipping crippled by sanctions - report

IRAN SHARIATI sailing from Durban harbour in happier times. Picture by Terry Hutson

Just weeks after the United States and the United Nations imposed new rounds of sanctions on Iran, Teheran's ability to ship vital goods has been significantly curtailed as some of the world's most powerful Western insurance companies cut off Iranian shippers out of fear that they could run afoul of US laws, the insurers say.

The new measures pose a serious test for Iran. In particular, the US sanctions, which threaten to penalise foreign companies that sell fuel and other refined petroleum products to Iran, have forced ports and freighting companies across the globe to re-evaluate their Iranian businesses.

Dozens of Iranian vessels that transport crude oil, industrial equipment and other goods and supplies in and out of the Islamic Republic have been denied insurance coverage for weeks, insurance company representatives said.

“Iranian-flagged ships are facing problems all over the world as they currently have no insurance coverage because of the new sanctions,” said Mohammad Rounaghi, deputy manager of Sea Pars, an Iranian company that provides services for international ship owners and maritime insurance companies. “Basically, most ports will refuse them entry if they are not covered for possible damages.”

In a blow to Teheran, maritime insurer Lloyd's announced this month that it would stop underwriting petrol imports to Iran, a move that analysts say will probably prompt other insurers to follow. 'Lloyd's will always comply with applicable sanctions,' Sean McGovern, its general counsel, said in a statement.

“The US is an important market for Lloyd's and, in recognition of this, the market will not insure or reinsure refined petroleum going into Iran.”

But Russia and India have made it clear that they intend to continue legitimate trade with Iran, providing Teheran with hope that some nations will accept its solution for the insurance crisis: coverage guaranteed by the Iranian government.

“These sanctions have not affected us much,” said Mohammad Hussein Dajmar, the managing director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), which has 160 ships in its fleet. “The world has many ports. We will sail to those nations that want to do business with us.”

Read the remainder of this article from the Business Times HERE


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Seacom completes repairs to underwater cable

Seacom was able to announce on Friday that it had finally completed all repairs to the damaged submarine cable between South and East Africa and India/Europe.

“With the entire network now fully operational, our technical teams will continue to work closely with customers to reinstate their Seacom traffic to pre-outage configurations whilst an extensive investigation will take place to determine the exact cause of the outage,” the company said in a statement.

A day earlier Seacom said it was preparing to lower the cable back into the water once testing had been completed.

The break in communication came during the highlight period of the Soccer World Cup and users of the Seacom service were hard pressed to find alternative linkages.

The problem with the submarine cable, which connects South Africa with Europe via India was identified as being in one of the deepest points along the route, some 4,700 metres deep. Seacom said that it would probably require robotics to be deployed to locate and retrieve the cable for repairs to be undertaken.

At no stage was the identity of the ship involved revealed nor was the exact location of the repair given, which is understood to have been in a position opposite the southern border of Somalia with Kenya, but some distance out at sea and away from the coast. There were no reports of encounters with pirates.

The disruption to the new service, described as a repeater failure, began on 5 July.


Pics of the Day – KOTA MAWAR and FUMANA


PIL’s container ship KOTA MAWAR (16,266-gt, built 1994) leaving Maydon Wharf for the high seas, after completing cargo working. These days Maydon Wharf handles a considerable number of self-geared container ships, thus assisting with relieving pressure on Durban Container Terminal and Pier 1 Container Terminal. A number of container ships are also handled at the City Terminal (Point), where a mobile crane is available to assist with loading and unloading. Picture by Terry Hutson


Unical’s bunker tanker FUMANA (4,680-dwt, built 2009) which is used as a bunker barge in Durban harbour, seen heading off towards Maydon Wharf. Picture by Terry Hutson


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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