Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 1, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Dredger Pinocchio to leave Durban on semi-submersible Enterprise

  • Concessioning of Mombasa Container Terminal a step closer

  • It’s cruise season again….well almost

  • Commission says expect further fuel shortages

  • Chevron plans huge Angolan oil platform for Cabinda

  • Gales hamper port operations - Richards Bay closed

  • Hapag-Loyd slots in with MSC

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    Dredger Pinocchio to leave Durban on semi-submersible Enterprise

    The semi-submersible heavylift barge carrier Enterprise sailed from Reunion yesterday for Durban where she is to upload the dredger Pinocchio and barge Pennylane and return to the Indian Ocean island where a contract awaits the Dredging International vessels.

    Enterprise, owned and operated by Dutch company Dockwise is expected in Durban on 6 September and will berth at Pier 1, most likely on berth 104 where there is sufficient water to submerge and load the dredger and barge.

    Both dredger and barge have been undergoing fitting out and adjustments at Bayhead undertaken by Elgin Brown & Hamer, after the dredger completed a contract earlier at Richards Bay. Prior to that Pinocchio was rebuilt in Durban by Elgin Brown & Hamer – see our earlier News reports and pictures of the conversion.

    The dredger started out life as the Toshka, operating a dredging contract in the desert near Lake Nasser in Egypt, far removed from the open sea. Once that contract was completed she was broken down and taken by road to a Red Sea port for shipment to Durban to be rebuilt and renamed.

    Following her arrival next Wednesday the heavylift Enterprise will submerge down to 10.3m after which the Pinocchio and Pennylane will be floated on board. The latter two vessels will be brought to Pier 1 by NPA harbour tugs and once in position on board the Enterprise will de-ballast and ‘resurface’.

    Following this operation, which is expected to take the best part of a day, the NPA floating crane will come alongside to load additional equipment on board the Enterprise, after which the crew will commence with sea fastening and preparing the vessel for the voyage back to Reunion.

    Enterprise was built in 1984 and has a gross tonnage of 17,395-gt and a deadweight of 8,727t. The ship is 157m in length and has a beam of 29m. She is registered in the port of Willemstad and flies the Netherlands Antilles flag. Enterprise carries a crew of 22.

    The ships agents in Durban are Rennies Ships Agency who act on behalf of Dockwise and will be responsible for the vessel while in port as well as berthing and sailing.

    Messrs Mainport Africa Shipping is the agent for the cargo (the dredger and barge and other equipment).

    Acknowledgements to Rennies Ships Agency for much of the above information.

    Concessioning of Mombasa Container Terminal a step closer

    Concessioning of the port of Mombasa has moved a step closer with the appointment of a committee to oversee the privatisation of the container terminal.

    But Kenya’s finance ministry has also made it clear that the port will not be privatised in its entirety. Instead various cargo operating terminals will be concessioned off with the aim of improving productivity levels.

    The Kenya government says that following the concessioning of Kenya’s railways, which it says it proceeding smoothly, it has the confidence to proceed with concessioning off the container terminal and has appointed a committee headed by Finance Investment Secretary Ms Esther Koimett. The balance of the committee is made up of representatives from the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), the Ministry of Transport, the Attorney General’s Office and the Treasury. The committee may co-opt other members from the KPA as required.

    A government spokesman said there was little point in privatising Kenya Railways while leaving the delays at the port unattended, “For the Kenya Railways operations to be smooth, we must have efficient cargo operations at the port.”

    He emphasised the intention is to concession the terminal operation while the KPA would remain as landlord of the port itself, in the same manner as Rift Valley Railways (the concession company) operates the railway in which the government-owned railway corporation retains ownership.

    Mombasa Container Terminal currently handles about 430,000 TEU annually and occupies an area of some 20 acres.

    It’s cruise season again…well almost

    The first of a series of cruise ships is expected in South African ports early next month, signaling the start of another summer season that will be slightly different. Not only will there be the usual arrival and departure of visiting ships but this year two cruise ships will be on station in South African waters for the summer months, with one of them remaining here throughout the winter and into next summer.

    This offers local holidaymakers a welcome choice of cruise options. Not only are some berths going to be available on other visiting ships travelling one way towards their destinations, but it will also be possible once again to cruise along the South African coast to Cape Town.

    The two ships on station (in Durban) are the Melody, by far the biggest cruise ship to remain in local waters, which will be here for the summer months, and the well-known Monterey which will also offer cruises out of Durban and Cape Town (to the southern Cape and to Namibia) but will later remain cruising from Durban for the rest of 2007.

    Other ships intending to visit these parts are Pacific Princess, which begins the ‘season’ with twin visits to Durban from 9 October. Soon after that MSC Monterey arrives in Durban before sailing later that same day (27 October) on her first local cruise. After that she will be in and out of Durban every Monday and Friday until January when she relocates to Cape Town for about six weeks.

    Sister company ship MSC Melody arrives in Durban on 12 December and will cruise locally until 15 March but ahead of her is another familiar and always popular ship in the form of Marco Polo, which returns to South Africa in late November.

    December sees the visit to of Artemis, a former Princess Cruises ship now in P&O colours while in January Saga Ruby returns – she was last here in January this year. Also visiting the coast is Delphin Voyager, which makes a welcome first call. At 23,000 tons and 174m in length she has a modern design but still succeeds in looking different from the others. Delphin Voyager will be arriving in southern African waters from 1 January as part of her inaugural world cruise for Germany’s Hansa Cruise operator.

    In March Spirit of Adventure will be operating cruises along the coast and then in April, as if to wrap things up neatly comes QE2, due here in April and followed a few days later by the return of Pacific Princess.

    These are only the ships scheduled so far but there are likely to be a few others, details will be posted shortly on the cruise schedule page of PORTS & SHIPS.

    Meanwhile, forlorn in Durban harbour is the Madagascar, the former Stellar Maris II, on layby, for sale and seemingly unwanted after the collapse of another ill-conceived local cruise venture.

    Commission says expect further fuel shortages

    Further to our report in yesterday’s News Bulletin in which we reported that bunker fuel delays may continue, the Moerane Commission announced yesterday that fuel shortages affecting South Africa’s motorists may again become a problem later this year as more refineries approach their annual maintenance shutdown periods.

    The Moerane Commission is sitting to investigate the reasons why South Africa had a fuel crisis last year. It said it had concluded the shortages were a result of a ‘convergence of a number of events’ but said these events exposed underlying and regulatory weaknesses within the sector.

    There is a growing concern that South Africa’s existing refineries are not coping with the growth in the economy and the resultant increased demand for fuel and energy. In fact the Moerane Commission says that a new refinery may have to be built to cope with this increased demand. According to government such an announcement can be expected within a month

    Chevron plans huge Angolan oil platform for Cabinda

    US oil company Chevron is reported to be preparing the announcement of a new major oilfield off the Angolan coast and the anticipation is that this will lead to the ordering of one of the world’s biggest drilling and production platforms.

    The South Korean Daewoo Shipyard & Marine Engineering has already said it has won a tender to build a platform for operation off the Cabinda coast in Angola to enter service in 2009 in block 14. The platform will cost US $ 1.27 Billion to construct.

    Angola is Africa’s second largest crude oil producer after Nigeria and is moving upwards towards a daily output of 2 million barrels by 2008, which will put in on a par with the UK’s current production. Angola’s present production is 1.4 million barrels.

    Gales hamper port operations – Richards Bay closed

    The strong south-westerly gales that have blown along the east coast of southern Africa for much of Tuesday and Wednesday have resulted in delays to shipping at Durban and Richards Bay, as well as bringing icy cold weather to the region and a reminder that although today is officially the start of Spring, winter may well have a surprise or two still in store.

    Richards Bay port was closed shortly before 5pm on Tuesday afternoon as strong winds and a heavy swell posed a danger to ships in the channel. The port remained closed on Wednesday as winds reached 50 knots peaking to 60kn and at least three ships raised anchors in the outer anchorage and headed out to sea to ride out the weather.

    The outer anchorage at Richards Bay is in quite an exposed position.

    In Durban the wind and swells also hampered ship movements and port working and by late yesterday there were about 28 vessels in the outer anchorage.

    Hapag-Lloyd slots in with MSC

    Further to our News Bulletin of 3 July that Hapag-Lloyd intended introducing a new service linking ports in Northern Europe with ports in West and Southern Africa as from mid October, the German company has now announced it is to charter slots on Mediterranean Shipping company ships instead.

    The South Africa Express (SAX) service will now call at Felixstowe, Hamburg, Antwerp and Le Havre in Europe and Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban in South Africa. Originally Hapag-Lloyd was to introduce four ships of 1200-TEU capacity on a fortnightly frequency, making calls at the above ports plus Lisbon southbound and Dakar northbound.

    By coming in with MSC instead the company now has weekly fixed day reefer capacity on 4,000-TEU ships each with between 400 and 500 reefer points.

    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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