Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 27, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Scrap ship Lady East sells for unprecedented figure

  • Mauritian freight rates set to increase from April

  • News from the sea lanes

  • APM Terminals and Port of Rotterdam undertake joint research

  • UN says nearly a million Southern Africans hit by floods and cyclones this season

  • Mozambique and Portugal agree to boost trade

  • Greenpeace block New Zealand coal ship departure

  • Pic of the day – COMBI DOCK 1


    Scrap ship Lady East sells for unprecedented figure


    A 1978-built bulk carrier Lady East, detained in Richards Bay since mid 2007 with a number of serious deficiencies, has been sold at auction for more than three times the reserve price.

    Auctioneer Captain Roy Martin of Admiralty Shipsales told PORTS & SHIPS the ship had been knocked down to a Syrian company, Marmori Shipping for the unexpectedly high figure of USD 6.575 million. The reserve price set for the vessel was USD 2 million and it was widely expected the ship would be going to the breakers. However this wasn’t to be the case and of the seven parties bidding for the ship, three went beyond USD 5 million before the final offer was accepted.

    Lady East (33,588-DWT) was arrested in May 2007 when charterer Island View Shipping brought action against the owners (Premier Navigation, operated by Golden Transport) on account of the vessel’s condition on arrival. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) subsequently inspected the 170m vessel, finding substantial wastage of side shell frames in all holds, perforations in transverse watertight bulkheads, and perforations in No.5 port hopper tank lower plating.

    Since then the ship has remained under attachment at the Richards Bay small craft basin. The crew were paid up until November 2007 but when their wages stopped they advertised their plight by painting a message along the side of the ship asking for assistance, which was widely publicised at the time.

    It is not yet known what action will be undertaken to bring to ship to readiness for either sailing her out of port or towing her to a repair yard. According to SAMSA the vessel will have to be strengthened before any towing can be undertaken.

    For the 11 Ukrainian crew members and the Russian master who remained on board the sale marked the first stage of their keenly anticipated return home. Several other crew members left the ship earlier but those remaining stayed because they feared losing their wages. For them it is now a welcome journey home after nearly a year in a foreign country.

    For the ship’s purchaser, this is not the first time that Marmori Shipping has acquired a ship under judicial auction in a South African port. The successful buyer reminded Captain Martin that he had bought the Atlantic Mercado at a similar sale in Durban in 2005. This ship remains in Marmori’s service, he advised.

    Cruise ship Madagascar sale coming up

    Madagascar arriving off Durban for the first time in 2005. Picture Terry Hutson

    Another ship which is under arrest in the port of Durban, the cruise ship Madagascar (former Viking Bordeaux, former Stella Maris II) is expected to come under auction within three weeks, Ports & Ships has learned.

    The vessel has been in Durban harbour since 2005 when an attempt to start a new cruise line failed after a couple of cruises. A second attempt by another company also failed late in 2007 following which the ship has been moved to various vacant berths in Durban harbour.

    Conditions of the sale are not yet known but it is understood Admiralty Sales will also handle the auction.

    Mauritian freight rates set to increase from April

    by Alain Malherbe (AeroShip – Port Louis)

    From 1 April sea freight relative to container transportation to the island of Mauritius (and adjacent Indian Ocean Islands) is to be subject to new tariffs affecting both import and export cargoes.

    The increases follow in the wake of constant escalations in the price of crude oil with shipping lines having had to re-examine their respective BAF (Bunker Adjustment Factor) surcharges.

    Maersk Line will apply new rates of Rs13.200 (approx USD470) for 20ft containers from Asia, against Rs12.000(approx USD428) currently. 40ft containers will also be subject to proportional increases.

    Mediterranean Shipping Company (Mauritius) Ltd (MSC), which, with Maersk Line controls 70 percent of the sea traffic, will follow with similar steps. MSC applies almost the same rates for import containers from Europe while export 20ft containers to Europe will be subject to a surcharge of Rs15.690 (approx US$ 560).

    A spokesman for France Maritime Agency (FMA), Brajen Hazareesingh, estimates that the increase will be approximately between Rs1,000 (US) and Rs1,200(US) for 20ft containers.

    “The adjustment which occurs on a regular basis is due to the rise in the price of oil on the international market,” emphasises Hazareesingh. “The BAF is applied by all shipping lines. There are also adjustments by the airline companies and this has an inevitable impact on the price of the air ticket.”

    Robert Hungley, president of APT (Clearing & Forwarding Agents Association) calls it “a very anxious situation.” APT represents 46 of the 80 forwarding agents who are active on the island.

    He says that BAF has a direct influence on the manufacturing sector. “Consequently, it will become more and more difficult for Mauritian products to conquer the international market. All imported products will be subject to increase and it is finally the end of the chain, the consumer who will foot the bill.”

    Danielle Wong, director of Mauritius Export Association, adds that although she understands the situation, she suspects that it is practically impossible to guess where, when and how increases in the BAF will stop.

    David Tin, in charge of the air and maritime operations at Rogers Logistics, stresses that BAF is indexed on the price of the barrel of oil. “We have various long term contracts with customers all around the world. Sometimes the BAF is included in the contract, but sometimes it is not. We cannot always transfer the surcharge to the customer,” he says.

    News from the sea lanes

    Mombasa call reinstated

    Bridge Marine, agents for Sea Consortium (Seacon) in South Africa has advised the reinstatement of the call at Mombasa by Seacon’s container vessel JOHANNA RUSS for voyage 11N. Earlier it was reported that Johanna Russ would miss her call at Mombasa with all bookings transferred to the vessel RED SEA (voyage 114N).
    Seacon provides two services between Durban and Djibouti and Durban and Mombasa respectively, calling at ports in between. Bridge Marine can be contacted at 031 460 0700 or email seacon@bridgeshipping.co.za

    Iranian Shipping Line renames ships

    IRISL (the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line), the state-owned Iranian shipping line appears to be adopting a more anonymous tack by renaming at least some of its ships without the prefix IRAN in front of the vessel name. Some of the fleet of more than 100 ships are also being reflagged, with Malta appearing to be the flag of choice. Among ships recently affected is the first of six of IRISL’s largest container ships, the newly built 6,500-TEU IRAN ATRAK, which has been renamed FIFTH OCEAN.
    For several years IRISL maintained a fairly regular service to southern Africa and even had an office in Durban, but these have since closed and fewer company ships are now seen at ports on the southern end of the continent.

    Portline increases West African service

    Portugal’s Portline is increasing capacity between Northwest Europe, Portugal and West Africa by replacing two smaller vessels with a second 1,100-TEU ship, the RAHANA, which joins the MANX LION in operating from NW Europe and Portugal to Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde Islands. The two smaller ships were the HANNES (740-TEU) and CHRISTINA (655-TEU).

    American ship opens fire on bum boat in Suez Canal

    Is it a legacy of the Wild West or something perfectly justified in the light of the USS Cole – let the reader be the judge. A US Ro-Lo cargo ship on charter to the US Navy, Global Patriot opened fire on a small boat approaching it in the Suez Canal this week, leaving at least one man dead and two others injured. Reports from the American ship claimed that attempts to turn away several approaching boats with warnings were ignored and when one boat continued on its course towards the American freighter shots were fired in the direction of the small boat, with at least the one fatality. Apparently the Global Patriot was carrying a small navy security team which did the actual shooting.
    According to an Egyptian spokesman small boats frequently follows ships in the canal to sell cigarettes and other small items. Known the world over as bumboats they know better than to approach military ships in this day and age but in this case the vessel appeared to be a civilian freighter.

    APM Terminals and Port of Rotterdam undertake joint research

    APM Terminals and the Port of Rotterdam announced yesterday they have signed a five-year agreement of co-operation on research and development in global container terminal operations. The five year global agreement will work toward improved productivity and efficiency, land utilisation, environmental sensitivity and public awareness of the container terminal industry.

    In a statement after the signing APM said the main objectives were :

  • Support environmentally proactive terminal planning and operating procedures with sustainable development

  • Improve productivity and efficiency of terminal operations

  • Optimise land use

  • Help to increase public awareness of the major role container facilities play in creating jobs and prosperity in the global as well as in national, regional and local economies

    “We aspire to be leaders in innovation”, said APM Terminals’ Vice President, John Verschelden, “This is a very natural alliance between one of the world’s pre-eminent container ports - the largest in Europe - and APM Terminals’ Global Terminal Network, which includes 50 facilities in 31 countries and five continents; our scope is global, as are our goals, and it is our intention that the positive impact of our research projects shall be as well.”

    “Globalisation and economic growth generate a structural increase in goods transport,” said Rotterdam Port Authority CEO Hans Smits. “Our aim as a port authority is to make sure that this is facilitated within our port by increasing the productivity of existing terminals, by making new ones very efficient, and at the same time increase the sustainability of logistics. Because economic growth and sustainability must go hand in hand.”

    Under the auspices of the agreement, research projects will be undertaken worldwide and will focus on container terminal environmental best practices, sustainability, safety, cargo security, cost reduction, intermodal movements, supply chain integration, and information management.

    The agreement covers global port projects; five projects per year at the current APM Terminals Rotterdam facility, which surpassed a 2.6 million TEU annual volume in 2007 and the future APM Terminals Maasvlakte II facility, construction for which is scheduled to begin shortly. The facility will launch a new generation of eco-friendly ports while serving as the company’s flagship terminal for innovation and environment sustainability.

    UN says nearly a million Southern Africans hit by floods and cyclones this season

    25 March 2008 (UN News) – Almost a million people across Southern Africa have suffered as a result of floods, cyclones and heavy rains so far during the annual wet season, and although the worst of the weather is over for another year, problems could persist until the end of April, United Nations relief officials report.

    The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest update on the situation in Southern Africa that further heavy rains are still expected, including in central Mozambique, where the rivers are already swollen after two days of intense rainfall last week.

    In recent weeks heavy rains have also hit southern Angola, Namibia and the eastern part of South Africa, OCHA reported. But Cyclone Jokwe, which struck the Mozambican province of Nampula earlier this month, has since dissipated without causing further damage to either Mozambique or Madagascar.

    In total, local authorities estimate that 987,516 Southern Africans have been affected adversely by rains, floods and cyclones since October last year. The hardest hit is Madagascar, where several cyclones as well as rains and floods have affected more than 332,000 people. Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe have also been affected.

    Mozambique and Portugal agree to boost trade

    Maputo, 25 March 2008 – The three-day state visit to Mozambique by Portugal’s President Anibal Cavaco Silva got off to a prepared start with the signing of agreements of co-operation in transport and military sectors as well as an amendment to a 1991 agreement of scrapping dual taxation on each other’s nationals.

    The Portuguese president’s visit is aimed at strengthening economic ties with its former colony after having declined in recent years. Portugal currently ranks about 7th in trading partners with Mozambique.

    In the military sphere the Portuguese army will provide training for its Mozambique counterpart.

    Silva said at a press conference after the initial agreements were signed that he hoped his visit would open a new cycle of co-operation in business and economic matters.

    Greenpeace block New Zealand coal ship departure

    Another Greenpeace vessel, Esperanza was in Lyttelton harbour a few weeks ahead of the Rainbow Warrior when she arrived from the deep south, where the vessel had chased the Japanese whaling fleet. Picture Alan Calvert

    The following report comes from New Zealand reader Alan Calvert:

    The Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior arrived in Lyttelton harbour 16 March and was berthed at an inner harbour lay-by berth. The vessel is currently visiting NZ Ports to raise awareness of global warming. It seemed strange on Thursday when the ship was shifted to a working berth at the outer harbour behind the coal loading berth. Greenpeace spent the weekend bussing people thru the security gates to have guided tours of the Rainbow Warrior for a donation.

    The ship was due to sail at 10h00 Monday morning (24 March) but cancelled and delayed the sailing by 24 hours. In the meantime the bulk carrier Hellenic Sea arrived on Saturday to load coal for Europe and was berthed ahead of the Rainbow Warrior. The sailing was again delayed this morning to 16h00 Tuesday when it duly occurred and I'm not sure if a pilot was on board but she dropped a bow and stern anchor in the middle of the turning area for the coal ships.

    Hellenic Sea was due to sail at 18h00 but couldn't get out due to the positioning of the Rainbow Warrior. Police and the Harbour Master were called and boarded Rainbow Warrior. The crew refused to lift the anchors and a couple of attempts were made to push her out of the way but with no success. By this time protesters had boarded the coal ship from a zodiac and also attached themselves to mooring lines. These people were removed by the police in due course.

    With the tidal window closing the Pilots decided that they would try and sail the coal ship and squeeze her out through the gap. This they achieved and the coal ship was able to swing into the main channel and get away to sea. Rainbow Warrior remained anchored in the turning area with another coal ship, Cemtex Orient due at 04h30 tomorrow (Wednesday) so it will be interesting to see if she can get in. As the coal ship sailed a number of small speed boats circled her but these were kept clear by the pilot launch Canterbury.

    Ed’s footnote: Activists said the stunt was a message to politicians that it was time to get tough on climate change. They claimed they want government to wake up and ‘smell the carbon’ before it is too late. One can’t help wondering what they smell coming from the smokestack of their own vessel.

    Pic of the day – COMBI DOCK 1

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The 11,000-DWT heavylift semi-submersible Combi Dock 1 in Cape Town harbour last week. Combi Dock was delivered from the German Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven in January 2008 and is currently on her maiden voyage, having loaded two reactors in Marina di Carrara (Italy) for discharge in Houston, Texas and then two split barges each of 400t and a dredger weighing 1200t at Aden, which have been discharged in Cape Town. From the Mother City the heavylift is proceeding to Houston. Picture by Aad Noorland

    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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