Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 12, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Border grounding closes Beira port

  • Sapref announces bunker barge contracts

  • ITF calls for Nigeria Delta area to be declared a war zone

  • US task force in Horn of Africa has new commander

  • Ghana to diversify exports to EU

  • Pic of the day – USNS BRITTIN


    Border grounding closes Beira port

    The port of Beira in central Mozambique has remained closed following the grounding on Saturday night (9 February) of Ocean Africa Container Lines’ (OACL) vessel Border (first reported in yesterday’s News Bulletin).

    According to OACL the 19,191-dwt container ship went aground in the Macuti channel at 17h49 while approaching Beira port under pilotage. There were no injuries to crew members on board the ship and there has been no sign of pollution.

    The 163m long ship is owned by Peter Rickmers and managed by Rickmers Reederei and is under charter to OACL.

    The port of Beira which is built in the mouth of the Pungwe River is notorious for shifting sandbanks.

    Several efforts to pull the ship clear on Sunday and again on Monday morning proved unsuccessful. During the course of yesterday the harbourmaster Tomo Mandava advised that further efforts would be suspended as the pilot was unable to board the vessel due to extremely bad weather.

    He said the port would remain closed to all shipping until the weather cleared and the Border had been refloated.

    Border was carrying a cargo of 483 containers for Beira and Nacala. Initial reports indicate no threat to the environment or damage to the ship or cargo. An effort is being made to refloat the vessel on each high tide.

    OACL’s chief executive Andrew Thomas told PORTS & SHIPS that the line was fortunate in having spare capacity at present and he didn’t envisage any great disruption to the Southern African coastal service. Another company ship, the Barrier has immediately moved into the slot occupied by the Border and is due in Nacala today (Tuesday).

    Referring to another OACL vessel that has experienced problems, the Umgeni, he said she is currently en route for Walvis Bay, having sailed from the southern Angolan port of Namibe after one of the ship’s deck cranes collapsed. Thomas said the ship owner’s superintendent was already on board the vessel making an assessment and a decision would be taken whether to immediately repair the crane or continue in operation utilising just a single deck crane until a later date.

    Sapref announces bunker barge contracts

    The following announcement has been received from SAPREF regarding the contract to supply bunker fuels in Durban.

    In a deal worth some USD 75 million over five years, two BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) barge operators are to take over the supply of bunker fuel to ships in the port of Durban for SAPREF. Presently about 60 percent of bunker fuel is supplied by pipeline in the port and the contracts will enable a move to full bunker barge delivery.

    This follows previous notification from the National Port Authority and Transnet Port Terminals (NPA/TPT) that the use of pipelines for delivering bunkers in the Container Terminal and New Pier would cease.

    Smit Amandla Marine (Pty) Ltd and Unicorn Calulo Bunker Services (Pty) Ltd were the successful bidders and will provide barges to supply ships with bunker fuel in the port of Durban. The contracts, with a combined value of USD 75 million, will run for a period of five years, with the option of extensions thereafter amounting to a further USD 75 million. SAPREF will manage the contracts on behalf of BP, Shell and Engen and will supply about two million metric tons of bunker fuel per year to ships in Durban.

    In commenting on the contracts, SAPREF’s MD Bart Voet said: “We encourage our contractors to migrate towards BEE compliance and I am pleased to say that both these companies are compliant with the new BBBEE Code of Good Practice.”

    Other benefits emanating from the move to full bunker barge delivery are the improved ability to manage safety and environmental risks during bunkering, and improvement in the rate of delivery of bunkers. Additionally, the new barges will fulfil the MARPOL Annex I requirement for double hull barges for bunker fuel delivery. MARPOL (regulations legislated by the International Maritime Organisation) provides regulation for the phasing out of single hull tankers carrying fuel oil.

    The barges have been built to international standards, one of which was built in Durban with the objective of resurrecting local ship building business and supporting skills development in the shipping industry.

    SMIT Amandla Marine’s locally built bunker barge, SMIT LiPuma, has been designed with maximum fuel carrying requirements in mind. The barge will be able to deliver bunkers at rates of up to 1000 tonne/hr. Characterised by manoeuvrability, safety features and the capacity to carry some 5,000 tonnes of marine fuel (fuel oil, gas oil and diesel oil), the SMIT LiPuma epitomises the latest in international barge design.

    Features inherent in the design of the barge include diesel-electric propulsion, closed loop loading, a bunker gantry and wheelhouse control of the whole cargo operation. Barge master and crew are an experienced team drawn from SMIT Amandla Marine’s existing bunker delivery operation.

    The Unicorn Calulo bunkering barges, better described as miniature tankers, represent probably the most advanced vessels of the type afloat today. They embody many “big ship” features of the latest Unicorn series of high-specification oil/chemical tankers.

    Specified by Unicorn Shipping to meet or exceed current and envisaged tanker safety legislation, the barges have been robustly built and properly-equipped to provide many years of safe around-the-clock operations within the tight confines of a busy harbour environment.

    ITF calls for Nigeria Delta area to be declared a war zone

    The International Transport Federation (ITF), which represents something in the order of 4,500,000 transport workers worldwide who are members of over 680 individual trade unions, has called for Nigerian territorial waters to be declared a war zone.

    The ITF said in London last Friday (8 February) that it has embarked on a campaign of pressurising shipping associations and the principal shipping companies to give recognition to the dangers of operating ships off the Nigerian coast.

    The organisation said this is in response to the increasing number of attacks and kidnappings involving seafarers by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

    ITF spokesman Sam Dawson pointed out that declaring Nigeria to be a war zone would change terms and conditions for seafarers operating in those waters. He said that seafarers would be entitled to higher wages, which was akin to danger money.

    Such a declaration would also result in insurers raising war-risk rates for shippers in the area.

    Even the threat of this declaration raises serious economic consequences for Nigeria and is a step that the West African country is expected to resist strenuously. But oil companies and shipping lines involved in sending ships into the region are having to cope with increasing violence in what has become a largely lawless region. Efforts by the Nigerian Navy to prevent further attacks have so far proved fruitless – in the last week three Nigerian soldiers were killed in an attack on a navy outpost.

    Large scale corruption linked to widespread poverty across the Delta area is making it almost impossible for the military to cope.

    US task force in Horn of Africa has new commander

    The US Task Force based at Camp Lemonier near the port of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa region has a new commander. He is Rear Admiral Philip Greene, who took over from Rear Admiral James Hart at a change-of-command ceremony last Friday (8 February).

    More than 750 service members and guests were present.

    Camp Lemonier represents the only position on African soil where US armed forces are stationed on a permanent basis. The base is however responsible for US operations in 13 countries across the Horn of Africa region, conducting military to military training medical and veterinary civil action projects and various humanitarian missions.

    Camp Lemonier is also strategically positioned to the Gulf of Aden and Somalia.

    “I am honoured, humbled and privileged for the opportunity to command the Combined Joint Task Force here in Africa. I want to offer a special thanks to the Djiboutian leadership for the warm welcome to myself and our staff that's here, and also for the gracious hospitality the community of Djibouti extends to our men and women serving here,” Admiral Greene said.

    He said he was proud to lead “a great team of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and civilians”, and to be associated with a highly talented group of military professionals from coalition nations.

    During Admiral Greene’s tenure of office the Djibouti task force is scheduled to transfer its reporting functions to the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), probably later in 2008.

    Admiral Greene, a graduate of the National War College and the Naval Postgraduate School, previously held the position of Director for Policy, Resources and Strategy, US Naval Forces Europe/Africa, in Naples, Italy. He has also served as the commander for Destroyer Squadron 31 and the USS Fletcher, a Spruance class destroyer.

    source – US Africa Command

    Ghana to diversify exports to EU

    Accra, 11 February 2008 (BuaNews-NNN) - The Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC) and the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) of the Netherlands have signed a pact to boost the export of non-traditional exports to countries in the European Union.

    The agreement covers market access for fresh processed food and vegetables, timber and wood products, services exports and specific programmes such as business process outsourcing.

    Within the framework of the deal, CBI would help in the provision of information on EU market developments to the Ghanaian business community, offer training on market access and doing business in the EU; and EU market entry requirements as well as institutional development activities.

    Additionally, both the GEPC and CBI will make available their network of contacts for acquisition activities for each partner; their database on market information; their resource network of marketing and sector experts and trainers.

    Edward Collins Boateng, executive secretary of the GEPC and Ton Lansink, managing director of CBI, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations.

    Commenting on the agreement, Mr Boateng said the cooperation would help boost non-traditional exports to the EU, which currently accounted for about 54 per cent of market share.

    He said although GEPC and CBI had been collaborating over the years in building the capacity of selected exporters and staff of GEPC, the current framework would go a long way to enhance the cooperation.

    Besides, the GEPC had also benefited from access to and training on the use of CBI databases on the EU markets. This has enhanced the capacity of staff to respond to market information needs of Ghanaian exporters.

    Mr Boateng said the partnership, which aimed at creating synergies between the two organisations for the benefit of their clients was built on the common mission of the two organisations to contribute to trade-led development by strengthening the competitiveness of firms and promoting their participation in international trade with EU and EFTA countries.

    The purpose of the partnership is to contribute to creating economic prosperity through direct support to the private export sector and their intermediate support organisations in Ghana, he said.

    Mr Lansink said the agreement would enable CBI to provide information on the consumer trends in the EU to assist Ghanaian exporters meet the changing demands.

    Pic of the day – USNS BRITTIN

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The Bob Hope class pre-positioning ship USNS BRITTIN (T-AKR 305), which called at Cape Town in mid January 2008 for bunkers and supplies. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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