Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 19, 2005
Author: P&S

Strong winds close Durban port

The strong north-easterly wind that closed the port of Durban to all incoming shipping yesterday (Tuesday, 18 October) dropped considerably today allowing ship working to return to normal.

Strong gusting winds at this time of year in the Durban region are common and marine working or terminal operation stoppages are not unusual, although they seldom last as long as a day.

Early this morning 16 ships were at anchor in the outer anchorage including six container vessels.

Evergreen merges Red Sea services with Hapag Lloyd and Cosco Container Line

Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd and Cosco Container Line are merging the two Red Sea services – the Far East-Red Sea (FRS) and the Strait-Red Sea service (SRX) and will in future operate a single new FRS service linking China, South East Asia and the Red Sea.

The first sailing is with Ever Going departing Nansha on 7 November 2005. The new FRS service will consist of six ships each averaging 2,700 TEU, with Evergreen providing four and one each coming from the other partners.

Arnold Wang, Evergreen Corporation’s president said the Red Sea was becoming increasingly important for exporters in southern China. “To cope with the rising demand for space, together with our partners in the two existing services, we now introduce direct calls with larger vessels, providing greater frequency of sailings and better port coverage.”

The new port rotation is: Nansha – Hong Kong – Shekou – Singapore – Tanjung Pelepas – Aden – Jiddah - Aqaba – Sokhna Port – Singapore, Nansha.

Farocean awarded R100 million contract

Cape Town’s Farocean Marine, which recently completed three patrol boats for the South African Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism (DEAT), has been awarded a contract to build an inshore fishery research vessel to replace the aging Sardinops.

The contract won by Farocean came in the face of competition from five other shipyards. The new vessel is being designed in Norway by Skipsteknisk AS and will have a length of 43m. Farocean hopes to start cutting steel this month and will complete the as yet unnamed twin-engine vessel by the third quarter of 2007.

The Cape Town shipyard maintains a close relationship with Dutch shipbuilder Damen, which was awarded the actual contract for the four DEAT patrol vessels and opted for Farocean to build the three smaller craft in Cape Town. The fourth and larger ship, Sarah Baartman was built in Romania and completed in the Netherlands.

Sardinops, the research vessel that is being replaced with the latest order was built in 1958 by Globe Engineering of Cape Town and comes under the ownership of Marine & Coastal Management. The 36.6m Sardinops is a little smaller than her replacement will be.

Owner loses contact with highjacked ship

Just when you think a story is exhausted, someone pulls another thread and another chapter opens. That’s the case with the MV Torgelow, the Kenyan cargo ship seized by Somali pirates while shipping supplies to yet another vessel that had been highjacked earlier, MV Semlow.

Torgelow was supposedly released by the highjackers and allowed to sail once repairs to a faulty generator were completed, but yesterday the shipping agency managing the vessel said they had lost all contact with both the crew and the highjackers and didn’t know where the ship was.

The agency said the last contact with the ship indicated Torgelow was on a heading for the port of Haradhere and freedom but no recent reports had been made. There are ten crew on board the vessel along with the possibility of an unknown number of highjackers.

Speculation over fate of Jupiter 6 is just that… speculation

So-called ‘mounting speculation’ that the missing Indian tug Jupiter 6 has not sunk, but has instead been highjacked by pirates who are now negotiating with the owners, has appeared in the media both in South Africa and India.

Its natural and indeed in the nature of the sea for people to speculate whenever there is a mysterious disappearance, and the waters along the Southern African coast are no exception to unsolved disappearances.

The current crop of seemingly wild conclusions however will be adding to the distress that the respective families are experiencing, and the hope that is dangled only prolongs the misery being felt by those waiting without answers.

The speculation appears to have its origins in an unsubstantiated story that the tug took on additional fuel before sailing from Walvis Bay, leaving it noticeably low in the water (a factor that if true could have contributed to its loss in the heavy seas facing the tug and tow off the Cape).

The other factor is that no trace of the tug has been found, although there is a report of that oil was seen on the surface near where the Epirb emergency beacon transmitted its brief message on 8 October.

Even the transmission from the Epirb attracts its own set of questions. Designed to automatically send a signal when it comes in contact with water, the equipment can also be manually triggered. But the signal was received more than a month after the last report from the tug on 5 September.

The tow rope dangling over the side of the abandoned and drifting bulker Satsung, which Jupiter 6 was towing from Cuba to the breakers yard in India, suggested a sudden and dramatic end to the tow. This is enough for one newspaper to make the conclusion that the rope might have been deliberately cut because it was at almost full length leading from the Satsung. Again we fail to see what this proves, except that the tow was severed. Everything else depends on how much you want to believe.

But even assuming all the above to be correct it seems to us that the ‘evidence’ that the tug was highjacked, or at best stolen by the crew or by some of those on board, is highly imaginative. The Cape waters have no recent history of piracy. That leaves the alternative that the crew absconded with the tug. If so, why choose an elderly tug that had already experienced mechanical failure on the voyage.

It doesn’t make sense. On the other hand the record of ship losses in the wild seas across the area being covered by Jupiter 6 would offer a far more plausible reason for the mysterious disappearance.

Not for nothing was the name Capo Tormentoso originally attached to this area by the early Portuguese seafarers, much more descriptive than the later PR-speak of ‘Cape of Good Hope’.

Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Beira on the East Coast

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