Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 7, 2005
Author: P&S

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

SOUTH AFRICA – Cruise ship arrested

The cruise ship Madagascar, which arrived in Durban about a month ago to begin all-year cruising in the Indian Ocean from a base in Durban, has remained in port for the past week and has been placed under judicial arrest.

The ship has since remained at her berth near M Shed with no confirmation of if and when the detention may be lifted, although a spokesman for Indian Ocean Cruises said the delay was caused by ‘technical problems’ which he anticipated being sorted out shortly. However Ports & Ships has reason to believe the reason involves finance.

The ship has so far completed only one voyage with a party of amateur ornithologist (bird lovers) as passengers who travelled to Europa Island in the southern Mozambique Channel, the home of a unique species of bird. Apart from that several other voyages to Inhaca Island near Maputo have been attempted but aborted after the ship encountered rough weather. Another planned cruise to Inhaca last week was suddenly cancelled as a result of the detention order being served on the vessel.

SOMALIA – another ship highjacked as tension mounts over ‘war zone’

According to reports being received another merchant ship, as yet unidentified, has been seized by pirates operating off the coast of Somalia. The ship was reported to have been attacked on Tuesday (5 December) and has been taken to Haradhere where other seized vessels have been held.

This brings to 33 the number of ships highjacked since mid March this year. Three merchant ships, the Ukraine bulker Panagia, the Kenyan coaster Torgelow and the Thai Laemthong Glory were released by pirates after, it is thought although not confirmed, ransoms were paid. In addition three Taiwanese fishing boats remain in the hands of the pirates with no indication as to the welfare and safety of the crew.

Meanwhile the transitional Somali government and Kenyan port officials are trying to prevent the Somali coast from being declared a ‘war zone.’ The British shipping union Numast is reported to be taking steps to have the declaration made so that vessels sailing in the vicinity will have to have armed escort, which will result in additional insurance and other costs to the detriment of shipping in the East African region.

The Somali transitional government is believed to have contracted the US security company known as Top Cat (see our News report dated 1 December) to take action against the pirates. The Somali’s have signed a two-year US million contract with Top Cat Marine Security but serious questions are being asked in the United States and elsewhere concerning the financial ability of Top Cat to carry out its security responsibilities. It appears that Top Cat has a serious PR mountain to climb to convince its detractors, and the best way will be via taking the appropriate action off Somalia.

There are also reports that talks are underway with Germany to have ships of the German Navy resume patrols along the Somali coast.

MOZAMBIQUE – Zambezi to be bridged

The Swedish government has agreed to provide finance to help build a new bridge across the Zambezi River in central Mozambique, according to the Mozambique newspaper Noticias.

The 22 million euro grant will improve transport links from the Beira or southern side of the Zambezi and the northern bank of the river leading to Zambezia province. The four-lane bridge will be 2,376m long and 16 metres above the river and is due to be completed during 2008. Until now road transport has had to rely on a time-consuming ferry service from Caia on the southern bank across to the north bank.

KENYA – Railway concession delay

The lack of a Kenyan cabinet (Kenya’s president recently fired his entire cabinet after a vote of no confidence by the Kenyan electorate) is holding up the formal signing of the concession that will place the Kenya and Uganda Railways in the hands of South African-based Rift Valley Railway.

A spokesman for the Uganda government said this week that a new Kenyan cabinet was expected to be sworn in by Friday this week after which the signing of the railway concession can go ahead.

- source New Vision, Kampala

INTERNATIONAL – go-ahead for Delmas takeover

The European Commission has given the formal nod to the takeover of Delmas Line by another French shipping company, CMA CGM. As a result of the merger CMA CGM will be elevated into third position in the so-called ranks of container lines. Although it was expected that the EU would require some former Delmas services to be cut away from the merger and disposed of in the style used with the takeover of P&O Nedlloyd by the AP Moller-Maersk group, this has not happened and the various Delmas services will now be merged into those of CMA CGM, although no immediate changes are anticipated.

INTERNATIONAL – four large ones please

Wallenius Reederei has placed orders for four new pure car carriers with South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo. The four ships, which will be delivered during 2008 and 2009 will be capable of carrying up to 8,000 motor vehicles at one time and are reported to be costing US million each.


Wednesday 7 December 2005

Durban Clipper had the longest run over the past 12 hours up to 17.00 today, a run of 135 miles compared with 128 miles by second place Victoria, and as a result Durban has retained her lead. The ten yachts are now close to the point where the great circle route is halved and yachts begin their approach (from halfway out) to Australia, i.e. they will no longer be sailing further south. Weather and more importantly wind conditions are likely to alter as the Australian mass becomes more of a factor.

Jersey Clipper is no longer the most southerly yacht, and over the last 48 hours has moved up from 8th to 5th, and is a whole mile behind Qingdao in 4th position, which will be welcome news for Mark Taylor and his crew, if somewhat worrying for Danny Watson on Qingdao. Durban and Victoria are still leading the mileage runs, but Glasgow, Western Australia and New York are all averaging over 10 knots, so the difference in speed is minimal. This is where concentration pays such a large part. If a boat sails one hundredth of a knot faster, on average, that equates to 1.68 miles per week. Over a 3 week race that’s a shade under 5 miles – looking at the closeness of some of the finishes so far that could make a 2 point difference at the end of the race.

- source http://www.clipper-ventures.co.uk

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