Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 16, 2006
Author: P&S


  • Durban tanker returns from Greenpeace liaison

  • European ports hit by strike action

  • Kiperousa cargo to be auctioned

  • Shell denies it will withdraw from Nigeria

  • Now India holds up French aircraft carrier

  • Clipper Race update

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

    Durban tanker returns from Greenpeace liaison

    The Unicorn Tanker Oranjemund is due to return to Durban this week after an extraordinary voyage that took it more than 60 degrees south into wild Antarctic seas where she refueled and re-supplied the Greenpeace vessels hounding a fleet of Japanese whalers.

    According to Unicorn Shipping’s marine director Robert Young, the little vessel, all of 2,000-dwt, safely negotiated probably the most severe weather and sea conditions of her 30 year career by twice transiting the ‘weather factory’ latitudes of the vast Southern Oceans, where swells reached higher than the ship’s mast and the ship had to dodge ice bergs in snowy and foggy conditions.

    The ship was specially fitted out for a journey totally unlike any other she has ever made – Oranjemund was designed to operate along the west coast of South Africa and Namibia where for 25 years her regular calls were made to the desert port of Port Nolloth.

    Read the full story of this ‘Oranjemund Antarctic Adventure’ in the SEA STORIES column of Ports & Ships - http://ports.co.za/didyouknow/article_2006_01_16_5018.html

    European ports hit by strike action

    Limited strike action by dock workers hampered cargo working in a number of European ports today, as transport workers rallied in protest against European Union plans to liberalise port industry services.

    Among the ports affected are Piraeus, Patra and Thessaloniki where cargo working has been halted over a 24-hour period. The strike in the Greek ports affected only cargo working and passenger vessels continued to work normally. Other European ports affected included Antwerp and Rotterdam as well as ports in Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Portugal. In Antwerp marine working continued normally but all cargo working ground to a halt while at Rotterdam the strike was expected to last for four hours.

    Trade union protest against EU plans to further open European ports to increased competition have been planned for 29 ports across 10 countries. The EU intends debating this issue in the EU parliament this week.

    Kiperousa cargo to be auctioned

    An auction of about 20,000 tonnes of giant logs from West Africa is due to be auctioned in East London within the next few weeks, following a lack of interest from the original Chinese cargo owners.

    The logs were salvaged from the grounded bulker Kiperousa, after it went aground southwest of East London in June last year. Efforts to refloat the vessel were unsuccessful and she eventually began to break up in the surf. Some of the cargo of logs, loaded in Gabon in West Africa, were recovered from the ship using a helicopter and other logs were gathered from the beaches along the Eastern Cape coast after they washed overboard from the ship. However it appears a large number remain missing, either within the vessel or in the sea.

    The logs consist of a number of wood varieties and were intended for making into veneer.

    Shell denies it will withdraw from Nigeria

    Royal Dutch Shell said today there was no truth in reports that it intends a total staff pullout from the west of Nigeria’s Delta region, following the latest attack on one of its platforms. Four European expatriates were abducted by armed gunmen operating in speed boats and a pipeline leading to the Forcados export terminal was blown up ( see our report dated 13 January 2006).

    Reports at the weekend said Shell was considering the total pullout. Earlier the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta told news agency Reuters in an email that it had 5,000 fighters ready to cripple Shell operations in Nigeria, where Shell is the largest oil producer.

    Now India holds up French aircraft carrier

    No sooner had Egypt allowed the decommissioned French aircraft carrier Clemenceau to enter the Suez Canal en route to the breakers yard in India, than the Indian government bowed to environmentalist concerns and has banned the ship from entering territorial waters before 13 February, by which time it plans to have issued a final ruling on the matter.

    A two-judge bench this weekend ordered that the ship may not enter Indian waters until they make a final ruling in February. A panel will sit on 20 January to study whether the ship constitutes a toxic hazard to India. The report is due to be completed by 13 February.

    Yesterday Egypt approved the ship’s transit through the canal after having delayed permission for a number of days. Environmentalists from Greenpeace boarded the ship last week while off the coast of Egypt to draw attention to what they claim is more than a thousand tonnes of asbestos still on the 45-year old vessel. The French government claims this is nonsense and says there is little more than 45 tonnes remaining after most asbestos cladding was removed in Toulon. The government said the remainder cannot be removed without endangering the stability of the ship. Meanwhile the firm that helped remove the asbestos is quoted as saying there is still between 500 and 1,000 tonnes of the material on board.

    Meanwhile the world’s press is having a field day finding new expressions for the unwanted ship, once the pride and joy of the French Navy. French newspapers referred to it as the Flying Dutchman – in reference to the ghostly ship fated to circle the Southern Ocean forever around the Cape of Good Hope. Others have more unkindly described the vessel as the French Navy’s floating dustbin.

    India’s decision may have a bearing on another ‘French’ vessel which is also the subject of much conjecture and debate – the passenger/cruise liner SS Norway, formerly the SS France, which is believed to have been sold by its last owner Star Cruises to either an Indian or a Bangladeshi breaker. Norway is known to contain large amounts of asbestos cladding.

    Clipper race – time to relax and enjoy

    With the completion of Race 5 (Fremantle to Singapore), which was shortened owing to a general lack of wind, the competitors have time to relax and enjoy the hospitality of Singapore before Race 6 gets underway on 27 January. This next leg goes as far as Qingdao in China and during the race the halfway point around the world will be achieved. The race also makes a change from deep sea open ocean racing to something more like coastal sailing, calling for new tactics and skills. The ten yachts are expected to begin arriving in Qingdao on or about 13 February.

    With Race 5 officially completed (several yachts are still to arrive in Singapore where the prize-giving takes place tomorrow, Tuesday), the cumulative race positions are as follows.

    Westernaustralia.com 41.5 points
    Durban Clipper 33.0
    Liverpool 08 30.5
    New York 30.5
    Victoria 22.5
    Cardiff 22.0
    Qingdao 22.0
    Uniquely Singapore 21.0
    Jersey 15.0
    Glasgow 6.5

    - source and further details of this round the world race can be found at http://www.clipper-ventures.co.uk

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