Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 28, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Fresh pirate attack off Somalia

  • Unicorn Calulo’s new bunker barges arrive this weekend

  • Asia’s demand denudes Africa’s forests

  • Concargo joins the heavyweights

  • South Africa’s economic growth at 2.1 percent low

  • Angola now Africa’s top oil producer

  • Militants strike at Nigerian oil flow station

  • Pic of the day – OFFSHORE LAUNCH


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    Fresh pirate attack off Somalia

    27 May - No sooner has the crew of the Jordanian cargo ship Victoria been released unharmed by Somalia pirates (with still no confirmation whether a ransom was paid – see below), comes the news of a fresh attack, this time on a Dutch-owned Antigua & Barbuda-flagged ship, the 2,546-gt AMIYA SCAN.

    The vessel with a crew of four Russian officers and five Filipino seafarers was seized while voyaging from Mombasa to Constanza (Romania), having departed Mombasa on 19 May. The ship has a cargo of knocked-down drilling rig components.

    The Dutch owners, Reider Shipping issued a statement saying that the ship had been attacked in international waters in the Gulf of Aden.

    “All relatives of the crew members have been informed and have been offered every support available. The shipowner has been in contact with the vessel. As far as we know there are no injuries and all crew members are treated well. The ship owner stresses that its first and foremost priority is the security of the crew members.”

    According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reporting centre the attack took place on Sunday (25 May) at approximately 22h30 Malaysian time (the IMB is situated in Kuala Lumpur).

    Victoria pirates killed

    In another report it appears that the pirates who released the Jordanian ship Victoria and its crew last week subsequently came under attack from Islamist militia, resulting in the death of several of the pirates as well as two militiamen. Other pirates were captured and taken into custody by the Islamists who have begun reasserting themselves in some areas of Somalia.

    The vessel had been held off the harbour of Hobyo, which is about 500km northeast of Mogadishu. Jordan’s Transport Ministry continues to deny any knowledge of a financial deal leading to the release of the ship and crew. The Victoria is owned by Marwan Shipping and Trading Co.

    Nigerian attack

    In another report this time from West Africa thieves are reported to have boarded a tanker at anchor outside Lagos on 29 April, according to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre. The thieves contented themselves with taking ship’s stores before making their escape once the ship’s alarm was sounded. The IMB says the unnamed ship subsequently moved to a position 30m.miles offshore before going to drift while waiting to berth in port.

    Unicorn Calulo’s new bunker barges arrive this weekend

    Two bunker barges, built in China for Unicorn Shipping are due to arrive in Richards Bay on Sunday, 31 May. They will arrive on board a semi-submersible deck barge Zhong Ren 1501 under tow behind the tug Sui Jiu 201.

    The two barges will herald the arrival of a new bunker barging operation in South Africa, operated by Unicorn Calulo Bunker Services, which is a BEE joint venture between Unicorn Shipping and Calulo Petrochemicals. Unicorn Calulo has entered into five-year contracts with the oil majors to provide bunkering services by barge in the ports of Durban and Cape Town.

    Once discharged and checked out from the Zhong Ren 1501 the barges, which have been named Southern Valour and Southern Venture, will make their way from Richards Bay to Durban under their own power. One of these barges is to remain in Durban to take up duty at this port, while the other will subsequently sail also under its own power to Cape Town.

    The third barge, which is to be built in Durban by Dormac Marine for a figure of R80 million will in all likelihood be stationed at Durban as well.

    The contracts awarded by the oil majors are worth USD 75 million over a five year period with options for renewal. Smit Amandla Marine was the other successful tenderer and has had a new double-hulled bunker barge Smit LiPuma built in Durban with two existing barges undergoing double-hulling also at the Dormac shipyard.

    Unicorn Calulo opted to build the first two barges in China with a third barge to be built locally at Dormac’s Durban yard.

    See related report Details of new Unicorn bunker barge CLICK HERE

    Asia’s demand denudes African forests

    Rising demand in Asia for Africa's timber is fuelling corruption and environmental damage - especially in post-conflict countries

    Asia's interest in Africa's forests is booming. Figures for 2003 showed that 42 percent of timber exports from West and Central Africa went to China, from almost nothing only a few years earlier: Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon were the main sources.

    The Africa-Asia forestry trade has expanded even faster. Indian companies have developed relations in West Africa, where Côte d'Ivoire is an important source of teak, while Nigeria, which in theory has a ban on the export of logs, has a healthy trade with India. – the above report appears in the current edition of Africa-Asia-confidential.com

    Editor’s note – In recent months Mozambique authorities have made a number of arrests in the northern Mozambique port regions of Pemba and Nacala involving the smuggling of large numbers of logs hidden in containers. The logs had been prepared for export to China without the necessary permits and one particular discovery led to the Chinese buyers abandoning the containers of logs.

    Mozambique legislation aims at enforcing a degree of beneficiation which usually amounts to logs having first to be sawn into timber before being exported.

    Environmentalists have long raised concern at the number of hardwoods that are being indiscriminately and often illegally cut for export, mainly to Asian destinations. The use of containers to smuggle these out of Africa is but one manifestation.

    Concargo joins the heavyweights

    Concargo, specialists in Supply Chain Management activities, have successfully qualified in becoming the first African member of The Heavy Lift Group (THLG), a group of specialist heavy transport companies that combine to offer the best expertise and service in Abnormal Out-of-Gauge Project Cargo according to customer needs.

    The qualification means that Concargo will facilitate all heavy lift transport and overland, outsize cargo movements, mobile crane operations, rigging, machinery installation, and large scale project forwarding into Africa on behalf of THLG’s members.

    THLG (www.theheavyliftgroup.com) was founded in 1987 by a number of West European Heavy Lift Operators in anticipation of the single European Market, and has since expanded into a worldwide group having members in the USA, Latin America, the CIS, the Middle East, Asia and now South Africa and into the rest of Africa by sea, air and road.

    In addition Concargo Sub-Saharan Africa in Zambia has been accepted as a member of Worldwide Project Consortium (WWPC) (www.wwpc.eu.com). As the world’s largest dedicated Project Freight Forwarding and Logistics Management Organisation, they operate under a strict Code of Conduct.

    Only the most dedicated, experienced and viable experts in project forwarding, with a proven track record, are admitted as members. Only the most experienced and viable experts in project forwarding and with a proven track record are chosen to be admitted as a member. Concargo will assist them in project management and logistics planning of large, extra heavy, dangerous and difficult cargo.

    “We are extremely proud to have qualified and been accredited by two of the most prestigious Abnormal Out-of-Gauge Heavy Lift organisations on the globe as their strategic partners and members of their network for South and Sub-Saharan Africa. With 21 years of Logistical services to Forwarding Agents’ and general business in Southern Africa, we can provide the Supply Chain Solutions and Logistics Planning our clients have come to rely on,” says David Kruyer, Concargo CEO.

    South Africa’s economic growth at 2.1 percent low

    by Bathandwa Mbola

    Pretoria, 27 May - South Africa has started the year on a slow growth with the first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) registering an increase of only 2.1 percent.

    This is the lowest growth since the third quarter of 2001, when the seasonally adjusted real GDP was 1.1 percent.

    Figures released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Tuesday showed that the increase is the lowest compared to the first, second, third and fourth quarters for 2007 that were reported at 5.1 percent, 4.4 percent, 4.8 percent and 5.3 percent respectively.

    “The main contributors to the increase in economic activity for the first quarter of 2008 were the finance, real estate and business services industry (1.0 of a percentage point); general government sector (0.6 of a percentage point); wholesale, retail trade, hotels and restaurants industry and the construction industry; (each contributing 0.5 of a percentage point), transport and communications (0.3 of a percentage point) and agriculture, forestry and fishing (0.3),” said Stats SA.

    The seasonally adjusted real annualised value added by the non-agricultural industries (excluding the impact of the volatile agriculture industry) increased by 1.7 percent from 5.4 percent, the report added.

    The country's electricity shortage can be attributed to the sharp decrease in the GDP.

    Since the start of load shedding in January it has impacted negatively on the mining and manufacturing sectors- GDP's major influences.

    Eskom, which supplies 95 percent of the country's power, has cut electricity supplies after the government delayed its plan to expand. The power shortage will probably last for seven years, according to the utility, while it spends R343 billion to build new power plants.

    At the same time, consumer spending on big ticket items waned following four interest rate increases last year.

    The GDP measures the national income and output for a given country’s economy.

    It is defined as the total market value of all final goods and services produced within the country in a given period of time.

    It is also considered the sum of value added at every stage of production (the intermediate stages) of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time, and it is given a money value. - BuaNews

    Angola now Africa’s top oil producer

    Angola has overtaken Nigeria as Africa’s leading oil producer for the first time, according to a platt survey.

    OPEC statistics for the month of April show that Angola achieved a production rate of 1.92 million barrels per day (bpd), whereas Nigeria, until now Africa’s biggest producer, achieved 1.88 million bpd. This was considerably down on Nigeria’s potential capacity which sits at an estimated 2.5 million bpd.

    By comparison Angola’s estimated capacity is said to be 1.93m bpd, only slightly above what is being achieved and this reflects something of the problem facing Nigeria with ongoing supply disruptions – many of them due to political unrest in the Niger Delta region. Recent strike action by oil workers at the Exxon Mobil site also had its effect.

    The downturn in Nigeria’s oil revenue is said to have caused Nigeria’s President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua more than a little displeasure. Until now Nigeria has remained unchallenged as Africa’s top producer since 1978.

    See next report

    Militants strike at Nigerian oil flow station

    Nigeria’s Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has claimed responsibility for the explosion at Shell Petroleum Development Company’s (SPDC) Awoba flow station, which it says has been put out of action. MEND also said it had killed 11 soldiers near the facility.

    A Nigerian Joint Task Force spokesman denied the claims saying the flow station was unmanned and no soldiers have been killed. He did confirm however that an explosion had taken place but said this had nothing to do with sabotage by MEND or anyone else.

    MEND claims that it not only attacked and caused the explosion but also while returning to ‘base’ came across a Nigerian patrol boat which it outflanked and killed all the occupants, excepting for a number of ‘girls’ that had been conscripted for the pleasure of the soldiers.

    “We flanked them in a counter-attack and killed in close combat all the drunken soldiers numbering eleven, collecting their weapons, ammunitions and bullet-proof vests before using dynamite to sink the gunboat with its dead occupants.

    “The two traumatized adolescent girls found in the company of the soldiers were hurt, not from the skirmish, but from gang rape by the soldiers of the Nigerian army. They were dropped off in the neighbouring village by our men who have since returned safely to camp,” a spokesman for MEND claimed.

    Pic of the day – OFFSHORE LAUNCH

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    We can’t think of a less inspiring name for a harbour service vessel but it certainly does describe its function. Taken in Cape Town May 2008. Picture by Robert Ravensberg

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