Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 7, 2006
Author: P&S


  • More survivors pulled from the Red Sea

  • US Navy assists troubled ship off Kenya

  • Greenpeace docks in Cape Town

  • Odfjell makes big bucks

  • Clipper Race 6 abandoned

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

    More survivors pulled from the Red Sea

    About 450 survivors from the Egyptian ferry al Salaam 98 have now been picked up by rescue ships operating in the area where the ship sank last Friday, but angry relatives of those still missing continued to vent their frustration today. The anger is aimed at the slow response of rescue efforts and the lack of information provided by officials to victim’s families.

    The ferry was officially carrying a total of 1,414 passengers from the Saudi port of Dubah bound for the Egyptian port of Safaga on the opposite side of the Red Sea when a fire broke out late on Friday night. For nearly two hours the ship continued sailing away from the Saudi coast while crew fought the fire until smoke eventually engulfed the ship and it became clear that all was lost. Those who survived now accuse the crew of having rendered very little assistance during this time, leaving passengers to panic and later to find their own way overboard.

    According to their reports the vessel had life rafts and lifeboats but there was no organised effort to launch these and show passengers how to evacuate the vessel. Had they done so many more might have been saved, they say. Several passengers claimed they saw the ship’s master, Captain Omar Sayed and some of his crew escaping in a lifeboat but this cannot be verified. The master has not been seen since and is feared to have been one of those who perished. Others say that none of the lifeboats were launched.

    Back on Egyptian soil relatives took to throwing stones at police after they were prevented from approaching the port and hospital. No official survivor lists were read out and a member of the National Human Rights Council described the lack of response by the authorities as part of a larger pattern of disrespect for human rights. Angry people broke into the offices of the ferry company and ransacked the premises.

    There are now strong indications that the fire began on the car deck which became flooded by the large amount of water used to fight the fire. This resulted in a loss of stability with the ship taking on a growing list before capsizing.

    US Navy assists troubled ship off Kenya

    When the United Arab Emirates-owned general cargo ship Al Manara issued a call for assistance about 680 miles off the coast of Kenya last week they little expected help to come swiftly in the form of helicopters and an aircraft carrier assault ship of the US Navy.

    The 1969-built Al Manara, registered in St Kitts but owned by a UAE company signalled that it required provisions, engineering assistance and medical attention. First ship able to respond was the USS Nassau (LHA 4), an amphibious assault ship of the Tarawa class which was operating in the area and was able to respond to the call.

    Image US Navy – click image to enlarge

    The ‘response’ took the form of helicopters placed in the air and utility landing craft in the water despite some rough sea conditions. Ferried across to the ship was several thousand gallons of water as well as food (rice, chicken, fruit and vegetables), while four of its crew were transferred back to the USS Nassau for urgently needed medical care. After treatment and a supply of medication they were able to return to their repaired vessel.

    - source US Navy

    Greenpeace docks in Cape Town

    The two Greenpeace vessels, Esperanza and Arctic Sunrise have returned safely to Cape Town after spending more than a month of harassing the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.

    During that time the two ships were replenished with supplies and fuel by the South African tanker Oranjemund of Unicorn Tankers (see our report dated 16 January in Ports & Ships’ SEA STORIES section).

    The Greenpeace vessels were able to disrupt the whaling activities to some extent although what effect this had on the actual ‘catch’ by the Japanese is not known; however Greenpeace remained confident that less whales will have been slaughtered as a result of their efforts.

    The organisation says it will now switch its focus on the board room by highlighting the corporate companies that benefit from the whaling industry. Particular focus will turn to Nissui, Japan’s large seafood company, which also has a controlling interest in a number of seafood companies in the US and Canada as well as interests in companies worldwide.

    Odfjell makes big bucks

    Odfjell, the Norwegian parcel tanker company has reported much improved profits for 2005 of US7 million, up from the m of 2004.

    According to the company, “The 2005 result is one of the strongest ever for Odfjell despite provisions, despite payments for customer settlements of USm that have been accounted for as reduced gross profit.”

    Operating expenses were considerably higher than last year, partly due to a higher number of owned ships and initial one-time costs related to the taking over of ships previously under external ship management. The company also noted the higher costs of bunkering.

    “During 2005 we have made substantial technical and operational upgrading of our fleet in order to meet the increasingly stricter industry requirements.”

    Odfjell also had to settle antitrust issues with most of its US based customers and said it was not possible to estimate the financial impact of future settlements. “We believe these have now peaked and will not have a material effect on future net result or cash flow.” It was continuing to co-operate with the EU Commission with the objective of resolving the anti trust issue in Europe.

    Odfjell is a regular user of the ports of Durban and Richards Bay and maintains an office in Durban.

    Odfjell’s Bow Cecil in Durban harbour in July 2005 – picture © Terry Hutson

    Looking ahead the company says: The world economy continues to be strong. The current upward trend in the chemical industry started late 2003 and is on track. Furthermore, we believe recently introduced legislation from the European Union and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will further favourably impact the supply/demand balance of quality chemical tankers in years to come.”

    Odfjell said it had taken note that far fewer yards were keen to build specialised chemical tankers and those that are still quote historically high prices. “Accordingly we expect a healthy chemical tanker market in the next few years as well as continued overall solid results from our tank terminal business.”

    Clipper Race 6 abandoned

    Race 6 of the Clipper Round the World yacht race has been abandoned following the discovery that a number of yachts have developed loose keel bolts.

    The problem was discovered shortly after 08.30 GMT on Saturday 3 February when Glasgow reported a loose keel bolt. As a precaution all yachts were asked to carry out checks and immediately both Durban Clipper and Victoria found similar problems. Eventually seven of the yachts reported some movement of the keel bolts and the decision was then taken to abandon the leg with all yachts heading for Subic Bay in the Philippines where inspection and repairs can be carried out.

    The first two yachts arrived on Sunday, Durban Clipper and Victoria and the balance began arriving through Sunday with the last arriving on Monday. The Race Committee emphasised that the yachts had not been in any danger. Meanwhile Craig Millar, skipper of Durban Clipper is investigating haul-out facilities at Subic Bay and an assessment of the problem will be made as soon as possible.

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

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