Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 1, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Egypt puts cameras along Suez Canal after shooting

  • New piracy warnings on African coast

  • Picture images of new Walvis Bay floating dock

  • Hapag-Lloyd reorganises Africa – North America service

  • IBIA aims at establishing professional bunkering qualifications

  • Safmarine takes delivery of new ship

  • For Sale sign goes up at Hapag-Lloyd

  • Pic of the day – CORINTHIAN II


    Watch a short 4.5 minute video clip about ship stowaway searches CLICK HERE and follow the link

    Egypt puts cameras along Suez Canal after shooting

    Following the incident recently when an American security team embedded on a civilian transport ship, Global Patriot, opened fire on and killed a man in a small boat approaching the ship near the entrance to the Suez Canal, canal authorities have begun installing cameras along the banks of the canal.

    A spokesman for the canal company said the cameras will help achieve a better vision of all ship and small boat activity along the canal. Installation of the cameras began last week, days after the shooting and the cameras will be monitored on large screens housed at the company’s offices in Ismailia.

    The American ship was under charter to the US military and carried on board a security contingent which claims it challenged the occupants of several small boats approaching the ship. When one boat continued its approach warning shots were fired and although the Americans initially denied that anyone had been hit, it is now conceded that one man was killed.

    The boat was carrying several traders who were hoping to sell goods to the crew of the Global Patriot, which was waiting to enter the canal. Observers said the traders operating from small boats knew they should not approach warships but had no way of knowing the freighter was under military command.

    The US has since admitted the shooting and has expressed regret to Egypt and the family of the deceased.

    New piracy warnings on African coast

    Five oil workers on an oil platform belonging to Express Oil Nigeria were kidnapped at the weekend by armed men at Awoye in the Ilaje region of Ondo State in Nigeria.

    In a phone call to newsmen after the attack a person claiming to be the leader of the armed group said the attack and kidnapping had been carried out on account of unpaid royalties owed to the local communities.

    According to the Vanguard newspaper about 100 armed youths swarmed on board the platform and removed the oil workers. The youths said they would not release their captives until meaningful negotiations over royalties owed to the local community took place.

    Meanwhile the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Commercial Crime Services division has issued further warning about attacks on ships and shipping off both Nigeria and the Somali coast. It advises ship’s masters to brief their crews on the risks associated with patrolling the decks at night and to impress upon the crew the need to be vigilant and to report anything suspicious. “Keeping in mind hours of rest Masters should consider increasing the number of watch keepers to the maximum available, thus enabling them to work in pairs.”

    The ICC advises ship’s masters to exercise caution while proceeding to render assistance to dhows or fishing boats while approaching or transiting the Somalia coast. “Reports received have indicated vessels as far as 390 n.miles from the Somali coast are called up by drifting dhows or fishing boats requesting assistance.”

    Picture images of new Walvis Bay floating dock

    In yesterday’s News Bulletin we reported the departure under tow of the second floating dock for Walvis Bay, which has been acquired by the firm of Elgin Brown & Hamer in partnership with Namport, the Walvis Bay port operator.

    The dock ‘sailed’ under tow behind the tug De Zhou last Friday, 28 March and weather permitting will be at sea for 45 days before arriving in the Namibian port. This gives an ETA of around 12 May 2008

    The 140m floating dock, which is a near replica of another dock already in service at Walvis Bay, is seen in this picture leaving the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda.

    Judged purely on appearances floating docks appear to defy the laws of nature and certainly don’t appear capable of being towed long distances across the oceans. Yet the record of these wonderful vessels is just the opposite even if the first dock to come to South Africa sank at sea near Mossel Bay while en route from Scotland to Durban in 1902.

    Nothing daunted the Natal Harbour Board ordered a replacement dock capable of lifting 8,500 tonnes, which this time successfully completed the voyage from the UK. This is incidentally the same size of dock as the one now on its way to Walvis Bay. So special was the arrival of that second dock in 1904 that a holiday was declared in Durban and the dock was greeted with a seven gun salute in its honour (but then again in those far-off days it required very little for a celebration). In appearance there is not much difference between those of more than a hundred years ago and the present day variety, save perhaps in size.

    One of the distinguishing aspects of both Walvis Bay floating docks, as with another close sister at Durban, known as Eldock, is the concrete floor or base. This is considered to be far more serviceable than a steel base and a good example of this viewpoint may be found with another all steel floating dock also based at Durban and owned by Transnet, which arrived at about the same time as Eldock but which has from all accounts experienced serious maintenance problems, resulting in the dock being out of commission for much of last year and so far this year.

    The open sea of the Baltic lies ahead, with the long journey into the South Atlantic.

    As the new Walvis Bay floating dock and its tug De Zhou leaves Klaipeda behind and heads off into the sunset, bound for warmer southern climes, we read in the dictionary that a floating dock is “a submersible, floating structure which can be lowered to enable a ship to enter and can then be raised to keep the ship above water.”
    Modern floating docks date back an extremely long way, with the first recorded having been built in Portsmouth, England in 1495 to the orders of King Henry VII. It is not known whether this was following an existing idea or was something original.
    Then there is a marvelous illustration in a booklet describing the city of Venice, published in 1560, that shows a woodcut of a floating dock, built entirely of wood, being used to raise a sailing ship in Venice. So floating dock technology is hardly new.

    All pictures courtesy Willem Kruk, Elgin Brown & Hamer

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    SHIP MOVEMENTS -- Ports & Ships is considering introducing an email delivery of daily ship movements by port. For interested readers a daily email with the relevant port details indicating ships in port on that day and expected arrivals further ahead will be sent as requested. This service will carry a small fee. If interested let us know so we can take it forward. Email signifying your interest and which port/ports to info@ports.co.za

    Hapag-Lloyd reorganises Africa – North America service

    Hapag-Lloyd intends rationalising its direct North America – Africa service (NAA), reports AXS-Alphaliner. The NAA will focus on the Montreal – South Africa sector and will therefore no longer call at US East Coast ports, nor in West Africa.

    The move will allow an improvement in transit times on the main Montreal - South Africa route which will also focus on containers in future with no more breakbulk carried. The service currently operates with two ‘Astrakhan’ class vessels.

    The service between North America and West Africa will continue however with Hapag-Lloyd offering connections by transhipment, using the company’s transatlantic services transhipping at Antwerp or Hamburg on Hapag-Lloyd’s Europe – West Africa service, which makes use of slot buying on the Zim-CSCL Europe – West Africa service.

    IBIA aims at establishing professional bunkering qualifications

    The bunker vessel Sophie Theresa delivering bunkers to the Oriana in Cape Town harbour. Picture Robert Ravensberg

    An independent study into the feasibility of instigating professional qualifications for the global bunkering industry workforce has been commissioned by the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA), reports Maritime Global Network.

    “IBIA does not wish to become a training establishment itself. But it recognises the need to improve the capabilities of the bunkering workforce by establishing a comprehensive training regimen and independent system by which people in the industry can be assessed,” said IBIA secretary general Ian Adams.

    Two levels of qualification have been discussed, but not finalised. These are the IBIA Foundation Diploma (IFD) and the IBIA Professional Qualification (IPQ). The IFD could be achieved by relative newcomers to the industry, or could be structured as a refresher course for those looking for career advancement. The IPQ is envisaged as a qualification widely respected and recognised throughout the bunkering and marine industry sectors and as an essential qualification for significant career advancement. It could comprise three parallel in-depth courses focused on buying, selling and services.

    The study will address, among other things, the format which these qualifications should take, and identify the courses to be studied, based on industry input into which syllabuses best respond to the present and future needs of the bunker industry.

    “IBIA will determine the form, content and level of detail of the syllabuses. It will decide on the structure of the teaching, examining and awarding of qualifications, and ensure that they are always up to date,” said Adams.

    Safmarine takes delivery of new ship

    Safmarine has taken delivery of its latest newbuild, the 2,478-TEU SAFMARINE NYASSA. The new ship was built for Safmarine at the German Volkswerft yards and is the second on ten similar ships under construction for both Safmarine and sister company Maersk Line.

    The class of ship is based on a modified version of VW’s 2500 design, of which 48 have been built at various German shipyards.

    For Sale sign goes up at Hapag-Lloyd

    TUI, which owns shipping company Hapag-Lloyd has opted to dispose of the shipping line to concentrate on its core business of tourism. TUI is Europe’s biggest tourism group, but by the same token Hapag-Lloyd has also grown to fifth place in the rankings of container lines.

    Michael Frenzel, TUI chief executive said at the recent annual press briefing that tourism was and remains TUI’s core business. The decision to sell comes after months of investor pressure and will go ahead despite a strong showing by Hapag-Lloyd last year.

    Frenzel said that continuing to expand in both business areas would present too much of a strain on resources, “in particular since we will have to invest significantly in shipping over the next few years in order to keep pace with market growth.” He said that all options for the separation of the shipping company would be explored.

    Speculators are suggesting that a merger with another carrier is the most likely outcome, with Neptune Orient Lines considered to be one of the favourites, but Kuehne + Nagel is being reported as a possible contender. Majority shareholder Klaus-Michael Kuehne would apparently like to see Hapag-Lloyd remain an independent shipping company based in Hamburg.

    Pic of the day – CORINTHIAN II

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    CORINTHIAN II is another of the cruise ships operating currently along the southern African coast and was photographed here arriving in Durban last Friday for a half-day stopover. One of the original Renaissance R-ships (number 7) the 4280-gt ship has distinct yacht lines. Built in 1991 the ship has 60 cabins for 118 passengers. Picture by David Shackleton

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