Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 18, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Bayhead development has immediate impact on ship builders

  • Further upgrades for MOL Indian Ocean services

  • Call for international intervention over Somali pirates

  • Liberian Port Authority riddled with corruption

  • Zambia cancels railway concession

  • Pic of the day - SAIGON 5

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
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    Bayhead development has immediate impact on ship builders


    An aerial view of the Durban Bayhead ship repair complex, which is under threat from a proposed container terminal extension of the area. The two ships in the dry dock are the SD14 SAIGON 3 nearest the entrance and reefer BRASIL STAR at the top of the dock. Beyond the dry dock can be seen the dredger PIPER on the Shop 24 quay, the cruise ship MADAGASCAR on the opposite side, then the two floating docks, the heavylift CHEYENNE (red ship straight on at Dormac yard) and another SD14 SAIGON 5 at the ship repair jetty. On the other side of the jetty is the MALAGASY and a number of small service vessels at the Elgin Brown & Hamer and SA Shipyard quays. In the distance is the Silt Canal and beyond that the mangroves of Bayhead. Picture Gary Pulford / Dormac Marine.      

    The proposed Bayhead container terminal development will have an immediate effect on Durban ship repair and shipbuilding company Dormac Marine, says Chris Sparg, Dormac's managing director (see Ports & Ships News Bulletins 11 May and 30 April 2007).

    He told Ports & Ships that the company has tendered on projects that extend beyond the proposed start-up date.

    "We're in discussions with the consultants [acting on behalf of Transnet] on the impacts. It's my sincere opinion that a resolution can be found provided parties are able to agree on suitable alternatives and provided these alternatives are phased in to avoid the impact between now and the proposed effective dates."

    Sparg said that increasing the harbour throughput without developing the ship repair activities within Durban harbour makes no sense.

    "Relocating the ship repair activities to Richards Bay is moving the required service from the real core to a vastly reduced requirement to the detriment of ship owners and Durban ship repairers."

    Dormac is currently engaged on building a bunker barge at its Bayhead yard for the Cape Town-based bunker supply company SMIT Amandla. Construction is on schedule and the barge has taken a recognisable shape.

    The awarding of the contract to a local firm was a much-needed boost to shipbuilding ambitions in Durban, which have suffered a series of setbacks in recent years with lots of hype and promise but little actual result.

    According to Sparg, the successful completion of the project will place Dormac in a position to re-enter the world market with a track record. He said there are a number of potential contract opportunities including additional bunker barges, harbour tugs, supply vessels, fishing vessels and dumb barges.

    The yard has made substantial investment in respect of cranes, building areas, slipways and a modern welding system, but equally important the project has created employment for something like 80 direct and indirect artisans which will increase to 200 once piping and outfitting commences.

    Fifteen boilermakers are undergoing learnerships and the development and training of women is taking place with three female welders being successfully trained on bulkhead panel welding and eight female artisans being trained on the electrical, electronic and piping work scopes.

    "We have also seen in the last four months that industry sectors such as steel supply, steel cutting and nesting, blasting and painting, transport, electronics supply and NDT (non destructive testing) have been stimulated," he said.

    A section of the new barge under construction - picture Terry Hutson

    Further upgrades for MOL Indian Ocean services

    Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) is continuing with the strategic expansion of its Indian Ocean services, which in July will see an upgrade of the India-Pakistan-UAE-East Africa Service (MRX) [see Ports & Ships News Bulletin 23 May 2007].

    Now comes news of further Indian Ocean upgrades, in which is the announcement that also beginning July 2007 MOL will offer a new service connecting India directly with the United States.

    The new East Coast service, the India-America Express, (IAX), will offer competitive transit times by taking full advantage of the Suez Canal and is designed to appeal to high value time-sensitive cargoes.

    IAX marks the fourth new Indian string since MOL launched the Singapore Chennai Express (SMX), last October. November saw the introduction of the New Nhava Sheva / Strait Area Service (NS2), and also in July comes the upgrade to the India-Pakistan-UAE-Africa Service (MRX).

    The Suez Express service (SZX), also slated to debut in July, together with the IAX, will provide a comprehensive network for the Asia - US trade via the Suez Canal, while the IAX will open trade to/from Egypt and the East Mediterranean via Damietta and Port Said.

    IAX Service Rotation
    Colombo (Thu / Fri) - Nhava Sheva (Sun / Mon) - Mundra (Tue / Wed) - Damietta (Tue/ Wed) - New York (Sat / Mon) - Norfolk (Tue / Wed) - Charleston (Thu / Thu) - Savannah (Fri / Fri) - Port Said (Wed / Thu) - Colombo (Thu / Fri)

    SZX Service Rotation
    Singapore (Tue / Thu) - Colombo (Sun / Sun) - New York (Thu / Fri) - Charleston (Sun / Sun) - Savannah (Mon / Mon) - Norfolk (Wed / Wed) - Jebel Ali (Sun / Mon) - Port Kelang (Mon / Mon) - Singapore (Tue / Thu)

    Call for international intervention over Somali pirates

    The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the worldwide watchdog for piracy at sea, has called for urgent intervention by international navies 'because of the surge in pirate attacks'.

    Pottengal Mukundan, the UK-based director of the IMB told reporters at a conference on maritime security last week that pirates were operating with impunity off Somalia.

    "The navies can actually intervene. Many of the pirates launch their attacks from 'mother ships'. They can interdict suspicious ships to prevent attacks," he said, adding that many of the piracy attacks took place 100 and more sea miles from the SomaIi coast, which gave patrolling naval ships plenty of time to react and intervene, especially to distress calls.

    The surge in pirate attacks has occurred since the assumption of power by the interim federal government, which with the aid of Ethiopia overthrew the Union of Islamic Courts early this year. While the Islamists appeared to keep piracy under control (there was only one reported case of piracy during the six month rule of the UIC, which was subsequently quickly dealt with), the pirates returned to attacking ships as soon as there was a shift in power and at least ten attacks in which pirates took control of foreign ships have been reported since January.

    At least one death has occurred involving a Taiwanese fishing vessel. In a recent attack on a Danish freighter which was seized by pirates operating from small speed boats a US warship opened fire but did not prevent the attack and seizure of the ship and its crew. A French warship meanwhile declined to become involved even though it was witness to the incident because it said the attack took place in Somali waters.

    Liberian Port Authority riddled with corruption

    Liberia's National Port Authority (NPA) is riddled with corruption and desperately needs someone to come and clean it out.

    That's the word from the NPA chairman, Moosa Bility, who said the company had been 'rotten over the years' which he said was due to poor port management.

    Bility was addressing the incoming managing director of the NPA, George Tubman, who, said Bility, would face huge challenges in changing the system. He referred to the disappearance of ships (see recent Ports & Ships News Bulletins) and the stealing of containers from the port.

    Bility assured Tubman of the Board's support and promised full co-operation and said there would be no interference in the way in which Tubman managed the job.

    "Your duty will not be interrupted by any government official - the Board is looking up to you to change the system at the NPA."

    source - The Inquirer (Monrovia)

    Zambia cancels railway concession

    The Zambian government has taken back control of the concessioned railway system in the landlocked central African country.

    Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa confirmed in Cape Town last week that his government had cancelled the 20-year concession awarded to Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ) for reasons of non-performance. His government intended inviting other investors to take over operation of the railway and run it properly to the "satisfaction of the Zambians," he said.

    Mwanawasa described the management style of RSZ as "tragic."

    Earlier this year the Zambian government expressed its concern about poor maintenance on the RSZ-run railway which it said was in a deplorable state and which dehumanised passengers using the service.

    The president confirmed his government's intention of proceeding with the construction of a new railway linking Zambia with Angola and another line to Chipata that will connect Zambia with Malawi (see Ports & Ships News Bulletins dated 4 May 2006 and 15 June 2006).

    Pic of the day - SAIGON 5

    Click on image to enlarge - with some browsers click twice

    The Vietnamese SD14 freighter SAIGON 5 which together with a sister SD14 SAIGON 3 arrived in Durban harbour during June to undergo a general maintenance inspection, is seen here on the ship repair jetty at Bayhead after finishing in the port's dry dock. Saigon 3 was due to exit the dry dock later that day (Friday 17 June) to join her sibling at the repair jetty. Despite having undergone a survey and maintenance inspection neither ship underwent sandblasting repainting. The contrast with another ship in the dry dock which had the full treatement, the reefer vessel Brasil Star was all to obvious. Picture Terry Hutson

    NB Shipping pictures submitted by readers are always welcome - please email to info@ports.co.za  Readers comments on articles are also encouraged.

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