Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 9, 2005
Author: P&S

EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
WEB SITE: www.hugheship.com

Ships queue outside Durban

Twenty five ships lay at anchor at the outer anchorage off Durban this morning, as a result of strong winds and high swells that closed the port to incoming vessels on Tuesday. The build up of ships waiting to enter port further exacerbated the problem of delays at the container terminal – early this morning the container terminal had the unusual experience of only a single ship on berth while 13 container vessels waited outside – several other container ships in the meantime had ‘cut and run’ for another port.

Swells of between five and eight metres were reported along with strong gusting winds during Tuesday and a seafarer on board the tanker Wappen von Munchen at anchor in the outer anchorage had to be evacuated from his ship after injuring his hand when his ship rolled heavily. The sailor was taken to hospital in Durban where his injury could be treated.

Average expected berthing delays for the Durban Container Terminal over the next week is listed as 25 hours but this figure may well push further out following the latest delay. Productivity is said to be just under 16 TEU moves per gantry per hour, which is below the accepted norm, although container volumes had been averaging 4,250 per day.

Two berths at the Durban Bluff Connections terminal (Bluff coal terminal) are now available following completion of refurbishment work on berth 4. The terminal has a full schedule of coal ships due between now and the end of December.

Richards Bay Coal Terminal had an average of four or five ships at anchor this week and full occupancy inside, with berthing delays of between zero and 72 hours anticipated. Twenty vessels are due at the terminal by mid November.

Food Aid scheduled for Mozambique

Almost 30,000 tonnes of food aid cargo is due to arrive at Mozambique ports in the next six weeks for distribution to drought affected areas. The cargo will be discharged at Maputo and Beira.

According to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) there will be a serious shortfall across the southern African region as a result of a drop in donor aid. Currently the organisation is US7 million short of its appeal for 0m to feed the hungry through to end March next year.

Oxfam say rich countries are failing to learn the lessons of the Niger food crisis as between 10 and 12 million people in southern Africa face severe food shortages.

The organisation says the situation is critical across areas of Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and that over the last decade worsening poverty, lack of social welfare, economic decline and HIV/AIDS have made families and communities more vulnerable. It says it is these factors, together with poor and erratic rainfall, that has brought about the current situation.

The WFP said this week that about 800,000 people in Mozambique alone are in danger of ‘extreme food insecurity’ and will be at risk of severe hunger until the next harvest in March 2006.

PetroSA gets major share of oil concession??

Namibia’s ministry of mines and energy has awarded PetroSA a 70% share of the concession to explore for oil in block 1711 offshore, which lies on the international boundary between Namibia and Angola. The block is reported to have two defined hydrocarbon exploration prospects known as the Kunene and Hartmann.

The exploration entails site surveys, seismic reprocessing and a detailed technical review costing a minimum of US0,000.

The balance of the allocation was awarded to EnerGulf Resources Inc. (17%), Namcor, the Namibian state oil company (10%) and Namibian black economic empowerment (BEE) groups (3%). PetroSA has responsibility for carrying Namcor and the BEE groups during the exploration phase.

Russian tug heads home

The Russian tug Nikolay Chiker, which has been on station in South African waters for several years while on charter to the Greek salvage company Tsavliris, has been recalled to Russia by her owners, the Russian Federation, and will proceed to service in the White Sea.

The tug, one of the more powerful to ply the oceans for salvage work, came to South Africa in 2003 towing a vessel to Durban for repairs and subsequently remained on station based in Cape Town. During the period she was in these waters Nikolay Chiker assisted with several newsworthy salvages, including towing the crippled bulker CSK Tribute to Nacala in northern Mozambique in March 2004 where repairs were successfully carried out, and also assisted with the salvage of another bulker, Cape Africa in May 2004.

More recently the tug was unsuccessful in a protracted attempt to pull the grounded logger Kiperousa from a reef off the Eastern Cape coast. Kiperousa later became a total wreck and broke up in heavy seas.

Since the mid-1970s South Africa has retained the services of at least one large salvage tug on station on the coast at all times – the former Safmarine tugs John Ross and Wolraad Woltemade alternated on this duty on contract over many years before the Safmarine subsidiary Pentow Marine passed into the hands of the Dutch salvage company Smit. More recently John Ross was renamed Smit Amandla – this followed the creation of a joint venture between Smit Salvage and a black empowerment company, and today Smit Amandla remains on station for any emergency along South Africa’s coastline.

New Madagascar service launched

Madagascar’s national carrier SMTM (Societe Nationale Malgache de Transports Maritimes) is launching a new service between the Indian Ocean island and Durban from 25 November when the 3,810-gt vessel CEC Vision arrives to inaugurate the service.

The general cargo ship CEC Vision was built in 1994 and has a capacity of 350-TEU with 50 reefer plugs and is self geared with two 50-tonnes cranes. The service will include Mauritius, La Reunion and Madagascar ports.

class="h4">Clipper Race update

Wednesday 9 November

Having led the fleet virtually the entire way since leaving Salvador, Westernaustralia.com have finally had to concede their position. After pursuing them doggedly for the past several days, Richard Falk and the crew of Uniquely Singapore finally edged ahead at yesterday’s afternoon report and remain in the lead this morning. They have now been joined by New York and Liverpool, all gaining from the current weather conditions, which have forced a major course change over the entire fleet. After several hours of light and variable winds it finally filled in from the south east as predicted and is now blowing around 20 to 25 knots – exactly from the direction the boats want to go. Faced with the choice of steering virtually due south or off to the north-east, the entire fleet have elected to take the latter option and at least head more or less in the right direction.

These increased headwinds are making life very wet and uncomfortable on board, and the latest diaries have a common theme of damp clothing and awkward living conditions. However it has meant that the racing has a new twist and there is still everything to play for as the boats continue to push towards Cape Agulhas.

Positions can be deceptive though and although Singapore have taken the lead by being the most eastern boat, it could be argued that Westernaustralia.com, and indeed Qingdao and Glasgow, retain a slight advantage by being the most windward boats, i.e. the ones furthest to the south east where the wind is coming from. This means that in the long term they may, if conditions remain the same, benefit by being able to hold their current tack longer whereas the more northerly boats will be forced to change course earlier to clear the rather large land mass ahead of them. Even if the low pressure system to the north drifts south as predicted, and the winds swing round more to the south, the advantage in having a slightly freer sailing angle may well turn things round once more.

Overnight Jersey have continued to experience problems with their rig tension and although there is no immediate danger Skipper Mark Taylor has taken the decision to divert to Cape Town where it can be properly inspected by the manufacturers. They are currently about 500 miles west of Cape Town and should arrive in approximately 2.5 days time. After the rig has been fully checked and any problems rectified they will then continue on to Durban to join the rest of the feet. Mark has remained in close contact with the Race Office throughout this period, and plans will now be put into action for their arrival in Cape Town. The area off the southern tip of Africa is notorious for rough weather and as such Mark's decision to divert demonstrates sound seamanship and reinforces the "safety first" policy of the Clipper Race.

- this report courtesy Clipper Ventures

Nautical joke of the day

(apologies to any blonde readers – nothing personal, the editor is very fond of blondes)

Two Blondes in a Boat...Almost!

There was a blonde driving down the road one day. She glanced to her right and noticed another blonde sitting in a nearby field. She was in a boat rowing, with no water in sight.

The blonde angrily pulled her car over and yelled at the rowing blonde, "What do you think you're doing? It's things like this that give us blondes a bad name. If I could swim, I'd come out there and kick your butt!"

-acknowledgements www.myboatclub.com

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