Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 9, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Durban port helicopter out for 12 weeks – Richards Bay chopper doubles for both ports

  • New Walvis Bay floating dock arrives

  • Port Elizabeth harbour gets a double boost

  • Docking of Sea Prince completed

  • New men to man the bridge at RBCT

  • The An Yue Jiang saga continues

  • New oil field is largest in West Africa waters

  • Cape Town floating crane unavailability

  • Pic of the day – SMIT LOIRE


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    Durban port helicopter out for 12 weeks – Richards Bay chopper doubles for both ports

    With effect from yesterday (Thursday, 8 May) the Richards Bay port helicopter has begun operating from the Durban port heliport where it will continue for the next 10 to 12 weeks.

    The move to Durban has been necessitated by the Durban helicopter undergoing a major service – on account of the high number of flying hours incurred at the port of Durban these tend to come round more frequently.

    During this period the Richards Bay chopper will provide a 24 hour service to both ports, with the primary service being provided to the Port of Richards Bay and Durban being treated as secondary.

    The rationale behind this decision is that Richards Bay will provide the Durban port with its vessel movement schedule and its intention of using the helicopter service at least two hours before the schedule movement. The Port of Durban will then release the helicopter no later than one hour before the confirmed movement at Richards Bay so as to allow for flying time between the ports.

    Transnet National Ports Authority says that during this period the Pilot boats at each port will be kept ready at all times so as to ensure continuous seamless services are maintained.

    New Walvis Bay floating dock arrives

    Namdock 2 arriving off port limits yesterday morning, 8 May 2008. Picture courtesy Elgin Brown & Hamer

    After a voyage of 40 days, the Namibian port of Walvis Bay’s second floating dock arrived off port limits yesterday (Thursday) on tow behind the tug De Zhou and will shortly be placed in service.

    The dock, a near sister to the existing floating docks at both Walvis Bay and Durban, which is owned and will be operated in a joint venture between Elgin Brown & Hamer and Namport, was acquired ‘secondhand’ from the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda.

    Rob Deane, managing director of Elgin Brown & Hamer said in Durban yesterday that the reason for the dock’s disposal by the Lithuanian port was that Klaipeda was being converted into a ‘tourist port’ rather than one with heavy commercial use and ship repair yards.

    He told Ports & Ships that dredging at Walvis Bay was necessary to accommodate the second dock before it could go into service.

    For our related story of 31 March CLICK HERE

    a close up of the new dock outside the port at Walvis Bay yesterday – picture Elgin Brown & Hamer

    Port Elizabeth harbour gets a double boost

    The recent introduction of a 24-hour marine service at Port Elizabeth as well as the advent of a new post panamax ship-to-shore crane has provided the port with a welcome boost, says harbourmaster Captain Neil Chetty.

    Speaking to the Herald newspaper Capt Chetty said the port has experienced q 105 percent increase in operational levels when compared with the same period last year. As a result of the improved services it was noticeable that certain categories of ships ranging from car carriers to container and general cargo vessels were now arriving at all hours of the day, with a resulting escalation particularly overnight between 20h00 and 06h00 hours.

    “Previously, shipping lines were subjected to a costly slot charge fee for using our marine services during this period. The tanker vessels were also subjected to a tanker watch fee. These fees are now no longer applicable,” Chetty told the Herald.

    He said the availability of a 24-hour service had resulted in improvements to vessel turnaround time and had created the need to recruit an additional 43 marine staff.

    “Due to limited marine skills, appointments will be considered in all marine grades based on the relevant qualifications of the applicants,” he said. At least 20 percent of these positions would be taken up by women despite the critical shortage of skilled women in both the lower and higher marine grades.

    Meanwhile the port is enjoying the benefits of its new R70 million post panamax ship-to-shore crane even though it hasn’t fully completed the 100-day testing period as prescribed. The crane arrived in the port in February and is helping achieve the initial target of 25 moves an hour. This was also assisting in improving ship turnaround time at Port Elizabeth. – source The Herald

    Docking of Sea Prince completed

    Sea Prince in Cape Town during April this year. Picture by Robert Ravensberg

    The dry docking of the bulk vessel Sea Prince in Durban was completed recently by the firm of Dormac Marine – the second time this year the vessel had spent time at the shipyard.

    While alongside the Dormac repair quay Sea Prince underwent tank cleaning to the fuel and oil tanks including steel works and repairs to hatch coamings and stools. Later when the ship entered the dry dock she received sandblasting and a complete repaint of her hull.

    Other maintenance repairs included the taking of tailshaft and rudder clearances, double bottom steel repairs and the removal of the old length anchor chain and a new section installed. The ship’s cargo crane hooks and grabs were dismantled, with new bushes for the grabs being manufactured and crane hooks repaired in the Dormac marine shop.

    The ship’s sea valves were reconditioned including piping repairs and thickness gauging performed with a total of about 19,000 gaugings being taken.

    Another ship to visit the Dormac repair quay was the general supply vessel Bourbon Altair during April in order to have some afloat repairs undertaken to her crane pedestal. This included the fitting of a 45-ton crane with a 24-ton capacity.

    The Bourbon Altair was en route for the West African coast direct from the Bharati Shipyard in India. Dormac installed a new hydraulic system that had just arrived from the Netherlands and also conducted a 100 percent scan on all welds.

    The vessel will take up service operating from Pointe Noire in the Congo.

    For a related 29 April story of this vessel together with picture CLICK HERE

    Acknowledgements to Dormac News

    New men to man the bridge at RBCT

    A number of new appointments at Richards Bay Coal Terminal were announced yesterday. They follow the recent resignation of Executive Chairman Kuseni Dlamini.

    Ben Magara, the Anglo representative in the RBCT Board of Directors becomes the interim non-Executive Chairman of the RBCT Board until a new chairman is appointed.

    Terry Howarth, becomes new RBCT Chief Executive Officer

    Terence Paul Howarth, the current Chief Operations Officer, has been appointed as RBCT’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Howarth joined RBCT in 1984 and has occupied various senior positions within the company.

    “I am delighted to be entrusted with this new challenge and look forward to contributing further to the growth and transformation of RBCT,” he said.

    Raymond Lawrence Chirwa has been appointed RBCT Chief Operating Officer (COO). Chirwa joined RBCT in 2004 as the General Manager Engineering and in January 2008 moved to General Manager Operations. Before joining RBCT, Ray held a senior position at Eskom.

    “I aim to continue to enhance the reliability and efficiency of the Terminal also ensuring a smooth completion of Phase V and the integration of new users upon commissioning,” says Ray Chirwa

    Kuseni said he was delighted to be leaving RBCT in safe and capable hands. “I have no doubt that Terry and Ray will continue to work towards making RBCT a world class company at the forefront of transformation and progressive change in South Africa,” he said.

    The changes become effective on 1 July 2008.

    The An Yue Jiang saga continues

    Further to our report in yesterday’s News Bulletin, an eye-witness in Luanda has reported to Ports & Ships that the Cosco ship An Yue Jiang which is carrying arms and ammunition for Zimbabwe definitely spent much more time in the port than the 80 minutes as was suggested by Lloyds MIU.

    According to our source the vessel arrived alongside the berth in Luanda sometime during the night of Friday 2 May, prior to sunrise. The ship was observed working cargo all through Saturday and again when this person went past the ship late on Saturday night she was still in port and still working the cargo.

    Meanwhile, in a related report the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), which spearheaded the moves to prevent the ship from discharging the shipment of weapons in Durban by refusing to handle the cargo, says it can confirm the ship remains in African waters attempting to offload the controversial weapons.

    “The latest reports through our global trade union federation, the International Transport workers Federation (ITF), confirm that she docked in the Port of Lobito in Angola and off loaded building materials only. The report further confirms that the lethal weapons were not handled by Angolan dockers and therefore not off loaded.”

    Satawu said the vessel is now on its way to Congo Brazzaville where it (Satawu) believed a further attempt will be made to off load the weapons. “The Durban based ITF inspectorate working with Satawu has been monitoring its movements and will leave for Congo Brazzaville on an urgent basis to ensure that the weapons are not off loaded there,” said Satawu yesterday.

    “Satawu condemns both the Chinese government and the Chinese ship owners, COSCO for creating a false impression globally that they had recalled the vessel. This so-called recall was clearly only intended to deceive and remove the massive groundswell of political pressure that had built up in a very short period of time. Both the Chinese government and COSCO have regrettably demonstrated that ‘profiteering’ remains the over riding consideration over human solidarity and ‘saving lives’.

    “It appears a judgement call has been made by them to wait around until the Zimbabwean electoral crisis is over, it will be a long wait in the context of avoiding a return trip and wasted expenditure.”

    The union said that it, Cosatu, ITF and ITUC have already been vindicated with regard to the moral stance that had taken given what is taking place in Zimbabwe now in the build up to the presidential run off.

    “We again strongly call on all African governments and dock workers to refuse the vessel docking access and to refuse handling the weapons with a view to ensure that the vessel leaves African shores immediately.

    “We call on the United Nations to bring pressure to bear on the Chinese government to practically demonstrate their commitment to recall and stop using the politics of deception.

    “Satawu’s interest lies only with the six containers of lethal weapons on board being boycotted and returned to Beijing until the political crises in Zimbabwe is resolved in the context of the possibility of genuine democracy reinstated based on the will of the people there. To this extent local, African and global media must ensure that this important humane story remains in the public discourse until the vessel returns with the weapons on board as the struggle did not end in Durban on 18 April 2008 ”, said Randall Howard Satawu General Secretary.

    New oil field is largest in West Africa waters

    Accra, 8 May - Kosmos Energy says its oil field at West Cape Three Points is the largest discovery in deep water West Africa.

    It is also potentially the largest single field discovered in the region, which includes oil major Nigeria.

    According to a report in the official Government of Ghana portal, an appraisal of one of the wells drilled at the West Cape Three Points Block, christened Mahogany-2, had encountered a substantial light crude oil column, based on what it described as “the results of drilling, wireline logs and reservoir fluid samples”.

    “The success of the Mahogany-2 appraisal well is certainly great news for the people of Ghana.

    “The well confirms Jubilee as a giant field, the largest discovery in deep water West Africa since the inception of Kosmos in 2003.

    “It is one of the largest finds ever made here and potentially the largest single field discovery in this region,” Kosmos Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James C. Musselman, told a news agency in Dallas in the United States.

    The announcement comes at a time when global prices of oil are at their highest ever of 120 USD a barrel.

    Kosmos said the results showed that the Mahogany-2 well was in communication with the Mahogany-1 discovery well on the West Cape Three Points Block announced in June 2007 and the company's Hyedia-1 confirmation well on the Deepwater Tano Block announced in August 2007.

    The successful wells validated that the Jubilee Field discovery was a significant oil field, the company said.

    It added that the Mahogany-2 well, the field's second appraisal well, confirmed a major filed extension.

    During the remainder of 2008 and early 2009, Kosmos and its field partners plan additional appraisal drilling of the Jubilee Field (formerly known as the Mahogany Field).

    The development sanction of the Jubilee Field project is expected this year, followed by first oil production commencing as early as late 2009 to early 2010.

    Kosmos also plans to delineate the company's nearby Odum Field, discovered in early 2008.

    The company said it would conduct a high-resolution 3D seismic survey over the southeastern portion of the West Cape Three Points Block covering the Odum discovery and the adjacent area this summer.

    In addition, it expects to drill additional high-impact exploration prospects on its offshore Ghanaian acreage during the second half of 2008 and in 2009.

    Kosmos Energy is the operator of the West Three Points Block in which the company holds a 30.875 per cent interest.

    Anadarko WCTP Company, an affiliate of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, has a 30.875 per cent interest, Tullow Ghana Limited, an affiliate of Tullow Oil plc, has a 22.896 per cent interest, the E.O. Group has a 3.5 per cent interest, while Sabre Oil and Gas Limited has a 1.854 per cent interest in the block.

    The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), which has a 10 percent participating interest in the project, will be carried through the exploration and development phases.

    The West Cape Three Points Block comprises 1,761 sq km in water depths ranging from 50 metres to 1,800 metres.

    The Jubilee Field discovery well, Mahogany-1, is located 63 km from the Ghanaian coastline and 132 km southwest of the port city of Takoradi and is situated in the Tano Basin. - BuaNews-NNN

    Cape Town floating crane unavailability

    The harbourmaster’s office at the port of Cape Town advises that the port’s floating crane will not be operational for the minimum period between 07h00 Tuesday 1 July and 16h00 Friday 5 July 2008.

    During this time the vessel will be undergoing its annual load testing. Any interested parties requiring to know when the vessel will be available following the load test are advised to consult with the Marine office at the port.

    Pic of the day – SMIT LOIRE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The tug SMIT LOIRE which was in Cape Town earlier this week to take bunkers and supplies. Her previous port of call had been Luanda in Angola. Behind the tug on the opposite side of the quay is the deep sea salvage tug SMIT AMANDLA. Picture by Aad Noorland

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