Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 24, 2006
Author: P&S


  • MSC and Starlight to replace Rhapsody with Melody

  • Derailment closes southern African railway

  • East Africa to get new undersea cable link

  • New port boss urged to increase capacity

  • Refugees die as boat sinks

  • Final hurdle cleared for Rift Valley Railway

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

    MSC and Starlight to replace Rhapsody with Melody

    Starlight Cruises confirmed today that they will be replacing the cruise ship MSC Rhapsody with a larger ship later this year, the MSC Melody. Rhapsody is in the midst of her current Southern Africa summer cruise season and has operated successfully out of Durban for the past few summers.

    The replacement ship MSC Melody will arrive in Durban on 11 December for a slightly shortened cruise season until 15 March 2007.

    According to Allan Foggitt, Starlight Cruises’ managing director, the larger Melody, which was acquired by MSC in 1997 and fitted out in MSC colours in Durban, would prove as successful and popular as had been the Rhapsody. “We need the flexibility of the bigger ship which Melody offers us plus it has so much more with numerous four bed cabins and even five and six bed cabins, which are ideal for our market.”

    He confirmed that MSC Monterey would be arriving on permanent station in Durban from 19 October to perform all-year cruising in South African waters. Between mid February and mid March the Monterey will move to Cape Town to provide Cape Tonians with a taste of their ‘own’ cruise ship, operating cruises on the east coast to Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth and on the west coast to Luderitz and Walvis Bay.

    Monterey would also focus on the longer cruises out of Durban to Mauritius and the Seychelles, while Melody would concentrate on the popular shorter cruises of two, three and four day duration to the Mozambique islands.

    Foggitt said Starlight was targeting to carry between 55,000 and 60,000 passengers during the coming season. The current season with just one ship, the Rhapsody was proving highly successful and many of her remaining cruises before returning to the Mediterranean are already fully booked.

    From later this year Rhapsody will revert to operating for MSC Cruises in the Mediterranean during the northern winter.

    Derailment closes southern African railway

    Once again rail traffic on the Maputo to Zimbabwe railway through the Limpopo valley has been suspended, this time owing to a derailment last Friday night, according to the Maputo newspaper ‘Noticias.’ The line had reopened earlier that day after flooding caused washaways and mudslides.

    The derailment occurred in the Chicualacuala region nearly 500km from Maputo and the line is only expected to be reopened later this week.

    East Africa to get new undersea cable link

    East African countries as far north as Sudan are to be connected to a new submarine fibre optic communication cable that is being laid between South Africa and Port Sudan.

    The new US0 million cable, known as the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), connects at Mtunzini on the KwaZulu Natal north coast with an existing fibre optic cable running between Portugal and Singapore via South Africa.

    There will be six landing points between Mtunzini and Port Sudan and the cable is expected to revolutionise communications for the entire region. However the project is already a year behind schedule and the latest completion date is now the end of 2007.

    New port boss urged to increase capacity

    The incoming managing director of Liberia’s National Ports Authority, Togba Nganganah has been urged to focus his attention on building capacity at the port of Monrovia.

    This advice came from his immediate predecessor in the position, Joe Gbala who advised that sentiment should play no role in how the port was managed. The challenge, he said was to return the port to its former full capacity last attained during the pre-civil war days.

    The new management has announced a moratorium on further employment and says that all contracts and leases will come under a full review. The security situation within the port is receiving high priority with a report to government to be made within seven days.

    - source The Analyst (Monrovia)

    Refugees drown as boat sinks

    A boat carrying an estimated 120 people overturned off the coast of Yemen leaving at least 22 passengers dead and another 28 missing, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

    The emigrants were being smuggled from Ethiopia and Somalia to Yemen to seek work and better opportunities. The accident occurred during the mid afternoon on Saturday (21 January) and according to survivors the boat sailed from the Somalia coastal village of Shimbirale near the town of Bossaso bound for the Yemeni coast, where the refugees were to have been put ashore.

    22 bodies have so far been recovered by Yemeni authorities

    This is the second mishap to take place within a week involving the smuggling of Ethiopians and Somalis.

    Final hurdle cleared for Rift Valley Railway

    The contract for the concessioning of the former Kenya Railways was finally signed in Nairobi yesterday, after delays following the sacking of the entire Kenyan cabinet late last year.

    The concession was awarded to South African rail operator Sheltam, which is part of the Grindrod Group of companies and is to be renamed the Rift Valley Railways. The concession is for a period of 25 years and involves both passenger and freight traffic and includes a section of the former Uganda Railways system.

    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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