Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 4, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Safmarine Agulhas – focus now on lightening ship

  • Agreement reached over East African submarine cable

  • Penta Shipping Group adjusts

  • Oil and fuel shortages ahead

  • China wants its own cocoa

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

    Safmarine Agulhas grounding – focus now on lightening ship

    East London, 3 July 2006: The owners of Safmarine Agulhas, the container ship deployed on Safmarine’s intermediate service between South Africa and Europe, have declared general average (GA).

    The ship is carrying a cargo of 469 loaded containers and 112 empties.

    This news comes a week after the ship went aground on the western breakwater of East London port following engine failure shortly after she sailed for Durban.

    Safmarine Agulhas aground close to the East London western breakwater – picture courtesy EB&H. Click image to enlarge

    Salvors from SMIT Salvage said yesterday they hoped to commence with the cargo removal operation later in the day. This was made possible following the arrival from Johannesburg of one of Johnson’s 550-tonne mobile Liebherr cranes. Once the crane has been erected on the breakwater it will be possible to begin removing the containers onto either road or rail transport, which will then be taken to a secure area within the port.

    Johnson’s 550t Liebherr crane on arrival at East London by road from Johannesburg, Sunday 2 July 2006. Picture courtesy EB&H – click to enlarge

    According to Smit Salvage a total of 180 tonnes of fuel oil has been removed from the ship by early yesterday and loaded into rail wagons brought onto the breakwater alongside the ship. Safmarine Agulhas had a total of 662 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and a smaller quantity of diesel on board when she sailed from East London.

    fuel wagons propelled alongside the stricken ship by a Spoornet diesel class 36 shunter. Picture courtesy EB&H – click to enlarge

    The ship has developed a small leak which is however not considered serious at this stage and is being controlled by the salvage team.

    Smit Salvage’s latest report dated yesterday can be found in the SMIT Amandla Marine profile page on Ports & Ships – see the main menu.

    Agreement reached over East African submarine cable

    Consensus has finally been reached over the laying of the East African Submarine Cable System known as EASSy, with Kenya and one or two other countries that threatened to derail the project and go it alone now agreeing to rejoin the project.

    The underwater cable commences at Mtunzini in KZN, South Africa where it interconnects with the Europe – South Africa – South East Asia fibre optic cable, and will come ashore at a number of landing stations along the East African coast as far north as Port Sudan. Ultimately the cable will connect also with the landlocked states of Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the DRC.

    EASSy links to the global submarine cable network through other regional undersea systems including SAT3, SAFE, SEA-ME-WE3 and SEA-ME-WE4 and will provide the last link of completely encircling Africa by high capacity optic fibre telecommunication networks.

    Penta Shipping Group adjusts

    Following the recent tragic death of founder and CEO Kieran Sullivan, the Penta Shipping Group has regrouped, making several new appointments.

    Wayne Lambson has been appointed as managing director of Penta Shipping Holdings, and will look after the group’s interests in the various subsidiaries. He will retain his position as financial director of PIL South Africa and Nile Dutch South Africa.

    Ivan Naik becomes managing director of Ships Agencies, including PIL South Africa and Mercury Ships Agency incorporating Nile Dutch South Africa.

    Louis McGregor Langley retains his position as ships agency operations director.

    Oil and fuel shortages ahead

    The South African Petroleum Association has issued warnings that additional oil imports are going to be necessary in the second half of this year to compensate for the planned shutdowns of the country’s biggest refinery, Sapref in Durban for two months, and other shutdowns by Sasol, Petro-SA and Caltex.

    Towards the end of 2005 when the respective refineries went on planned shutdowns it led to shortages of certain types of fuel, including bunker fuel for ships. The Western Cape was worst affected of the regions when the Caltex refinery in that city exercised it annual shutdown for maintenance.

    Annual shutdowns are, as their name suggests, nothing unusual but it appears that the oil majors got their sums horribly wrong in 2005 with insufficient imports. The port of Cape Town went long periods without bunker fuel and Durban at times ran dry of certain commodities. The country will be looking to the oil industry to make amends this time round.

    China wants its own cocoa

    Further evidence of the growing influence of the East on the economies of Africa can be seen in recent approaches to the Ghanaian government by China, India and Iran to buy cocoa directly from Ghana instead of having to go through the usual middlemen.

    Ghana’s Finance Minister said last week that China wanted to buy cocoa direct from Ghana, the world’s second largest producer, without having to involve western-based brokers.

    Minister Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu said Ghana would have to consider carefully the request and study its international cocoa agreements and commitments in the light of Ghana’s own national interest.

    The request to Ghana came during the recent visit by Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.

    While not ruling out any change of policy, Baah-Wiredu said that any agreement reached with China would have to be long-term. “But we’re very interested in processing more cocoa here,” he indicated.

    India and Iran are reported to have also made similar approaches to Ghana.

    Did you know that 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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