Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 28, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Kenya to get tough on smuggling

  • Remember the VIARSA

  • Madagascan patrol vessel launched in Mauritius

  • Coega thrown a lifeline past the energy impasse

  • Ships and shipping news

  • Pic of the day –NEPTUNE DISCOVERER


    Kenya to get tough on smuggling

    Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) intends tightening up on smuggling along the East African country’s coastline including Lake Victoria and has acquired four patrol boats for the purpose.

    At least one of these will be deployed on Lake Victoria where smuggling of contraband has increased in recent years. According to Kenyan authorities smuggling also takes place along the sea coast where small craft rendezvous at sea with ocean-going ships to obtain goods and land them at illegal entry points.

    "The purchase of the boats is aimed at enhancing our surveillance capabilities to curb smuggling activities that result in revenue losses," the department of customs commissioner, Wambui Namu told The Nation newspaper last week, in an article carried by the paper.

    Adding to the problem are the large number of islands and potential landing places, both on the sea coast and the lake, making it difficult to police. The report said that goods are collected from ships at sea and taken ashore on dhows after which they are transported to Nairobi and Mombasa where they enter the black market both locally and cross border into neighbouring countries.

    The newspaper referred to an ongoing investigation into the smuggling of sugar into Kenya, in which branded pre-packed sugar has been smuggled into the country.

    source – The Nation

    Remember the VIARSA?

    Viarsa 1 fleeing across the Southern Ocean. Picture Australian Fisheries Management Authority

    VIARSA 1 was a Uruguayan fishing vessel that ended up being chased halfway round the world in the latitudes of the great Southern Ocean before being arrested and escorted back to Australia on charges of having poached Patagonian Toothfish. When apprehended the ship had on board nearly 100 tonnes of the prohibited fish along with another 90t of bait.

    If you don’t recall the story or perhaps are new to these pages you can find some of the reports here:

    Dramatic chase across the Southern Ocean CLICK HERE

    Pursuit of Viarsa 1 nears end                           CLICK ON THIS LINK

    Dramatic high seas pursuit ends in arrest CLICK HERE

    Very briefly, an Australian sea fishery patrol vessel SOUTHERN SUPPORTER took up a relentless pursuit of the Uruguayan fishing vessel in the Australian economic exclusive zone around Heard Island after the Viarsa 1 refused to stop and be boarded.

    Fleeing almost 5,000 n.miles westwards, ships from South Africa and later the Falklands were called in to help before the Viarsa was finally halted and boarded by Australian and South African fishery officers, after what had been one of the longest pursuits ever of this nature. The crew of 40 offered no resistance and the Uruguayan fishing vessel was later escorted back to Australia and confiscated pending the trial.

    Now, after a two-year legal dispute an Australian court has found the skipper and several of his crew not guilty as charged after which they were released. A Perth jury took just two and a half days to come to this decision, leaving the crew from Uruguay, Chile and Spain free to go home.

    Australia’s foreign minister expressed his surprise at the court’s decision but said he accepted it as that was how the system worked. Viarsa’s skipper meanwhile said he was happy and thanked the Australian people for being so nice to him and his crew during their enforced stay in Australia. He would now go home and relax on the beach with his son, he said.

    However it wasn’t such good news for his boat - nor for the Australian taxpayers who paid millions of dollars for the chase across the world. The Australian Fisheries Management Authority confirmed that the boat, worth an estimated US$5 million if it had been sold had been forfeited to the state prior to the court case and been sent to an Indian ship breaker where it has already been cut up.

    Ships involved in the chase across the Southern Ocean included the Australian fishery patrol vessel SOUTHERN SUPPORTER, South Africa’s supply ship SA AGULHAS and the SMIT Amandla tug JOHN ROSS and the Falklands patrol vessel DORADA.

    sources – sartma.com and Australian news and government services

    Madagascan patrol vessel launched in Mauritius

    by Alain Malherbe (AeroShip – Port-Louis)

    ATSANTSA, the largest boat built by the Chantier Navale De L’Ocean Indien in Port-Louis (CNOI), has been delivered to Madagascar. This patrol ship of 35 metres is intended for the monitoring of illegal fishing within the region and is to be homeported at Mahajanga.

    Her mission is to prevent the plundering of Malagasy waters by poachers. The construction of the vessel was financed jointly by the Malagasy State and the European Development Fund.

    At the time of the Protocolar ceremony in November 2007, Claudia Wiedey, head of the European Commission in Mauritius underlined that the construction of this patrol boat was not only a sign of the potential of the private sector in Mauritius but was also a symbol of the success of regional co-operation. The Minister for Agro-Industrial and Fishing Arvin Boolell also stressed its importance, “to prevent those fishing vessels under foreign convenience flag states to practice an organised highly lucrative plundering of the seas of the sphere.”

    He said this was why Mauritius refused to allow the unloading of several fishing vessels not listed by the Tuna Commission of the Indian Ocean (CTOI). “These ships were suspected of devoting themselves to illegal fishing,” he said.

    The minister announced that he intended presenting the Fisheries and Marine Resources Bill at the next session of the National Assembly. “A bill in which the fight against illegal fishing holds a choice of place,” he added.

    Such surveillance is necessary in Madagascar where the marine resources represent “an enormous potential for the country,” according to Bruno Ranarivel, Madagascar’s Ambassador to Mauritius. “The ship will have a very important role so that our resources are not plundered by pirate ships.”

    The choice of the name Atsantsa is appropriate, meaning ‘shark’ in Malagasy.

    Following the handover of Atsantsa, Pascal Piriou, chairman of the shipyard said the CNOI intends expanding during 2008 and that the quays will be doubled in length to 350m. The commissioning of an elevator (syncrolift) of 1,400 tons is also envisaged which will allow the simultaneous dry-docking of two vessels of up to 55 meters in addition to those dry-docking the conventional way.

    Coega thrown a lifeline past the energy impasse

    The planned Alcan aluminium smelter at Coega has been thrown two lifelines following threats to electricity supplies on which the project is dependent. This follows last week’s statement by Eskom’s finance director that the project should be postponed because Eskom is unable to guarantee the supply of sufficient electricity.

    At the weekend government, while acknowledging for the first time that there is an energy crisis in South Africa, and simultaneously apologising for not listening to Eskom in 1998 when it was warned that the utility would run out of capacity by 2007 unless the go-ahead was given to build additional power stations, has stated that the project will not be delayed and should go ahead.

    The other lifeline comes from British company Ipsa which says it has reached an agreement with the Central Energy Fund to install gas turbines that can provide sufficient uninterrupted power to the Coega Development Zone (IDZ) for the smelter.

    The gas turbines that Ipsa says it will install will provide 1,600MW, enough for the energy needs of the aluminium smelter. It will also be the first public/private partnership in South Africa for an integrated liquid fuel and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to electricity project.

    Diesel for the initial stage of the project will come from PetroSA and iGas will provide the LNG for the second phase (iGas is the state-owned gas company) but with Eskom having signed contracts with Alcan guaranteeing the provision of electricity to power the smelter, Ipsa’s production will be sold to Eskom which in turn will provide the power to the IDZ for the smelter. While being powered by diesel in its initial stage it is expected that the power plant will run at a considerable loss to Eskom.

    According to Ipsa the first 1000MW will be available within 18 months. Ipsa’s chief executive officer Peter Earl pointed out that even if gas turbine-produced electricity was more expensive there would be a saving on transmission costs of bringing the power from upcountry.

    ”We are pleased to have taken these first steps towards making Coega South Africa's first integrated LNG to power project,” said Earl. “This is an important diversification away from the dependence on the country's northern coal reserves. We intend to produce electricity locally in Port Elizabeth to permit the development of the strategic metals processing businesses at Coega which will add considerable value to the raw materials currently being exported from South Africa in their basic state.”

    Ipsa says that the Coega combined cycle plant will be the most environmentally friendly large scale power plant in South Africa and will be eligible for certified emissions reduction carbon credits under the United Nations Framework Agreement on Climate Change established by the Kyoto Protocol.

    Ships and shipping news

    The container ship LUETJENBURG, which is currently deployed on Maersk Line’s West African service (see report immediately below). Picture taken in Cape Town last year when the ship was in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    New faces, new ships

    Pacific International Lines (PIL) has deployed its newbuilding KOTA NAZIM, the first of eight 1,802-TEU container ships ordered from the Dalian Shipyard to its South East Asia, South Africa and West Africa service which it shares with MOL (SWAC/WA 3).

    Another new ship expected on the West Africa service is MAERSK INVERNESS when the 3,450-TEU container ship becomes the largest newbuilding to be deployed on a West African service. Maersk Inverness is the same size as LUETJENBURG also on this service after having ‘filled in’ for the damaged SA HELDERBERG last year following that ship’s collision near Singapore. Maersk Inverness will handle the first sailing of the revised service that now includes calls at Walvis Bay, Abidjan and Lagos/Apapa. The ship is 239m in length with a beam of 32.2m and a maximum draught of 12m.

    Another Maersk ship, the Maersk Darlington has been chartered to MISC for the ASA service (Asia – South Africa) operated jointly by MISC, K Line and PIL. Now renamed MISC DARLINGTON the 4,230-TEU capacity ship becomes the largest container ship on the ASA service. She replaces the 3,600-TEU NORTHERN DIVINITY which has transferred to MISC’s India – Europe joint service.

    source – axsliner.com

    Chevron mum on new FPSO

    Texan oil company Chevron has clamped a tight seal on any news concerning one of their new floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) oil production vessels which has arrived at the Agbami field off the Nigerian coast. The news shutout is a result of recent security breakdowns in the troubled West African region, with Chevron obviously fearing that militants will target the new arrival as a high profile opportunity.

    Nigerian militants using high speed motorboats have already visited the deepwater site on a previous occasion, despite it being some 70 n.miles offshore. The Agbami field was discovered in 1999 and has an estimated recoverable potential of one billion barrels of oil.

    The new FPSO was built by Daewoo and arrived shortly before the year end and is currently being connected to oil wells on the seabed, a delicate task on which any delays could prove highly costly. The vessel which was recently launched in South Korea has a storage capacity of 2.2 million barrels of oil and can pump at a rate of 150,000 bpd.

    Engine trouble for RMS St HELENA

    A cracked exhaust manifold on one of the engine cylinder heads of the RMS St HELENA has not caused undue delay to the vessel’s recent voyage to the Atlantic Ocean islands. Temporary repairs were made at sea on board the passenger cum cargo mailship and arrangements made to fly spares to Ascension Island to await the ship’s arrival.

    New West Africa – Brazil Ro-Ro service

    Italy’s Grimaldi has announced a new Ro-Ro service between West Africa and Brazil commencing in March 2008. Two ships are to be deployed – CARMANIA EXPRESS and FAST ARROW with a port rotation taking in Lagos, Luanda, Dakar, Paranagua, Santos and Rio de Janeiro on a monthly frequency. The new service will specialise in project cargo for the oil industries of Angola and Nigeria. Grimaldi already operates a regular Ro-Ro service connecting North Europe to East Coast South America (ECSA) via West Africa with which the new service will interconnect, providing transhipment options out of Dakar and Casablanca – the latter port being a new call on Grimaldi’s Europe-ECSA service.

    Pic of the day – NEPTUNE DISCOVERER

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The drill ship NEPTUNE DISCOVERER in Cape Town harbour at the recent weekend. Picture by Aad Noorland

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