Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 22, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • New CEO of SAMSA appointed

  • Coega smelter still on track – Rio Tinto

  • Stowaways hide in rudder compartment and survive long voyage

  • Shipping line news

  • Rift Valley Railway suspends Uganda operations

  • Pic of the day – GRACE ACACIA


    New CEO of SAMSA appointed

    Tsietsi Mokhele has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer for SAMSA – the South African Maritime Safety Authority.

    His appointment took place with effect on 1 January but has only now been announced.

    Mokhele is a former Executive Manager with the National Ports Authority where he also served as Head of Marine Business at all ports. During this period he participated at international forums such as IAPH (International Association of Ports and Harbours), IMO (International Maritime Organisation) and the Tug and Salvage Conference.

    It was under his leadership during which South Africa won the bid and hosted the conference of IHMA (International Harbour Masters Association) for the first time on African soil.

    Mokhele obtained his ship command qualification in the then Soviet Union and prior to 1994 led the naval integration process as a co-chairman within the South African Transitional Executive Council (TEC), which had been charged with managing the country’s transition to full democracy.

    He subsequently served in the South African Navy before leaving to join the National Ports Authority where he led a turnaround strategy aimed at transforming and modernising South Africa’s marine business into an effective competitive service.

    Mokhele holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ship Navigation and Command from the Caspian Higher Naval College, Soviet Union (Russia), a Board Leadership Qualification from GIBS Business School, a Port and Terminal Management Certificate from Holland, and is currently completing a Master of Management Degree at Wits University.

    SAMSA was established in 1998 in terms of the South African Marine Safety Authority Act as a national maritime safety agency charged with the stewardship of South Africa’s maritime interests as its primary objective.

    Coega smelter still on track – Rio Tinto

    Rio Tinto says its R18.9 Billion aluminium smelter remains on track despite warnings from South Africa’s energy utility Eskom that large-scale industrial projects should be placed on hold until the country has the ability to produce sufficient electricity.

    According to a Rio Tinto spokesman the organisation had been promised the necessary electricity power and it regards Eskom as a responsible supplier.

    Eskom was yesterday involved in talks with South Africa’s leading industrial electricity users and the day before held talks with President Mbeki. Last week Eskom’s financial director Bongani Nqwababa said South Africa should hold back on large future projects even if it meant paying penalties for broken contracts. “You don’t sell what you don’t have,” he said.

    Rio Tinto ‘inherited’ the Coega smelter project from Alcan when it bought the Canadian company last year. Shortly afterwards Rio Tinto gave assurances that it intended honouring the contract and that the smelter would go ahead. However on Friday last week the Business Day newspaper quoted Eskom’s Nqwababa as saying that Rio Tinto/Alcan would be asked to reschedule the smelter to take into account Eskom’s current shortage of capacity. Reminded that Eskom faces penalties if it is unable to supply the required energy for the smelter he commented that it was cheaper to pay penalties than build new power stations.

    Contracts have in the meantime been signed between Alcan and Eskom for the supply of electricity which would have to be either transmitted by overhead cable over hundreds of kilometres from Mpumalanga Province, or manufactured in new power stations still to be built in the Eastern Cape.

    The cost of this delivery has not been divulged but the amount of electricity required for the smelter is more than is currently used by the entire Port Elizabeth region.

    Under current plans the smelter is due to open phase 1 (360,000 tonnes of aluminium a year) by 2010 with phase 2 coming into operation by 2014 with a total capacity of 720,000 tonnes.

    Rio Tinto is also facing a possible takeover by rival company BHP Billiton whose initial offer has already been rejected as being too low. Rio Tinto said however that in terms of applicable laws BHP Billiton has the right to increase the bid within a set period.

    Stowaways hide in rudder compartment and survive long voyage

    Two teenage stowaways who boarded a ship in Mombasa have been taken into detention in Port Elizabeth after being discovered hiding on a Panamanian-registered Taiwanese-owned bulk ship, NEW AUSPICIOUS at the weekend.

    According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), a call was made from the ship shortly after arrival in Algoa Bay, saying that crew were hearing voices coming from the vicinity of the rudder. The National Ports Authority requested the NSRI to investigate and on sending a rescue craft to the ship, which was at anchor waiting for a berth in port, discovered the two young men who’d survived eight days at sea on a precarious shelf above the rudder.

    They’d used clothing twisted into a rope to help secure themselves from falling off. All they had to eat for the journey was a little bread and some dry biscuits but no water. Fortunately for them the ship was travelling mostly in ballast and was high in the water. Sea conditions were also relatively calm and the two survived the journey wet, thirsty, hungry but otherwise in good health. A medical examination on shore in Port Elizabeth confirmed this and the two have since been placed in custody pending possible repatriation.

    The NSRI said the youngsters confirmed having boarded the ship at Mombasa but said they were both born in Tanzania where their families still live. They boarded the ship in the hopes of finding a better life someplace else.

    Shipping line news

    SAECS 2 returns to return to weekly frequency

    Member lines of SAECS (South Africa Europe Container Service) have begun the process of returning the SAECS 2nd string service to a weekly frequency with the hire of the vessel MAERSK VERA CRUZ (17,188-gt).

    The additional ship is due on the service as from next week and will arrive in South Africa in February. Details of her schedule are as follows:

    Maersk Vera Cruz Voyage 801B

    PORT:                 ETA:         ETD
    Bremerhaven   26/01/08 26/01/08
    Le Harve        27/01/08 27/01/08
    Lisbon            30/01/08 30/01/08
    Cape Town      12/02/08 13/02/08
    East London    14/02/08 15/02/08

    Maersk Line introduces new BAF formula
    Maersk Line has introduced a new formula for its floating BAF (Bunker Adjustment Factor). The new formula follows the tripling of bunker costs over the last three years to the point where nearly half the vessel costs are now for fuel, compared to fuel representing 20 percent of the costs 10 years ago.

    “Our aim with the new formula is to provide a simple, fair, and transparent BAF for our customers. In addition, allowing us to share and recover the extraordinary costs provided by the increasing bunker prices,” Maersk says in a statement issued yesterday.

    “Today, we only recover approximately 55 percent of the bunker expenses via BAF surcharges. Naturally, this poses a significant exposure to Maersk Line, and traditionally we have tried to recover this via rate increases," said Vincent Clerc, Vice President for Pacific Services.

    “With Maersk Line's BAF formula we will create more transparency and our customers will experience a simple and fair way of applying BAF. Amongst our customers, we see an increased understanding and acceptance of BAF as a floating mechanism, and our customers increasingly accept that we must share the extraordinary costs in a just way.”

    The statement said that the BAF formula has been built on principles common in other transportation industries like airlines and parcel services, where prices and rates reflect fluctuations in fuel prices. Customers accept this as part of doing business in an industry that is reliant on fuel.

    The formula builds on elements such as fuel consumption, transit time and imbalances of container flows. However, only changes in the oil price will entail changes in the BAF level.

    “Our customers will therefore only pay the variation in cost, and although the BAF rises when fuel prices climb, they will also benefit from downward trends as the bunker price fluctuates.”

    Maersk says the new BAF formula will be implemented into the various trades separately as from the first quarter of 2008, with each trade making an announcement of the transition on the
    www.maerskline.com/baf website. The rollout will be completed by January 2009.

    Rift Valley Railway suspends Uganda operations

    Roy Puffet, managing director of Rift Valley Railway says that rail operations between Kenya and Uganda have been suspended after rioters broke up a one kilometre long section of railway track on Friday near the shack town of Kibera outside Nairobi.

    As a result of the vandalism Puffet said large amounts of cargo as well as trains were trapped between the port of Mombasa and Uganda’s Port Bell on Lake Victoria. His announcement followed the setting alight of a railway wagon loaded with cargo bound for Uganda by rioters who used it to express their frustration over recent election results.

    According to Puffet it will take about five days to complete repairs to all damaged sections of the railway and in the meantime the only cargo moving between the port and Uganda is by road or as air freight.

    Rift Valley Railway has been under severe pressure from politicians and other interested parties over claims that the railway has not materially improved its performance since concessioning took place in December 2006. Some of that criticism also came from the offices of port officials – a move that analysts suggested was being made to redirect attention away from congestion at the port’s container terminal.

    In the aftermath of widespread rioting and over-reaction from the Kenyan police, which left more than 600 people dead, one opposition party has indicated it intends encouraging an economic boycott within Kenya aimed at ‘starving’ the Kenyan government from power.

    source – The Monitor

    Pic of the day – GRACE ACACIA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    100,341-gt of pure handsome looking LNG carrier, the Japanese ship GRACE ACACIA made a fine sight when she visited Cape Town this month. Owned by NYK the ship was built in 2007. Picture Ian Shiffman

    Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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