Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 27, 2008

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  • Ship collides with Durban’s North Pier

  • Kuiseb forced to return to Richards Bay

  • Xstrata gives Richards Bay MPT the thumbs up

  • Little joy for stowaways on Chinese ship

  • South Africa’s sealanes are economic lifeline, says navy

  • Oil rig Pride Cabinda departs Walvis Bay as others line up

  • Industrial unrest comes to Nacala

  • Beira and Nacala ports to have scanners by December

  • Make better use of AGOA opportunities, advises US diplomat

  • Mombasa switches to KWATOS operating system

  • Rail closure won’t affect Uganda cargo, says RVR’s Puffet

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Dormac completes large cofferdam repair to HEBEI WISDOM

  • Piracy report – Somalis release Amiya Scan and crew

  • NSRI sea rescue reports

  • Audacious attack on FPSO Bonga

  • Pic of the week – QSM SHARJAH


    Ship collides with Durban’s North Pier

    The diminutive CLIPPER, en route to the Bayhead repair yard to have cracks and indentations in the vessel’s hull remedied, following the ship’s collision with a section of the North Pier on Friday night, 20 June 2008. Picture Terry Hutson

    The tiny North European-style coastal ship CLIPPER of 548 tons collided with what remains of the Durban North Pier last Friday night while sailing from the port in the early evening.

    According to reports the harbour pilot had just left the vessel when the incident occurred. The former JENCLIPPER was able to disengage from the rocks and make her way to the outer anchorage where she remained until 13h00 on Sunday (22 June) when she returned to port, going to Pier 1’s berth 104b where a further inspection was possible.

    The ship appeared to be carrying just a few containers at the time – these have been subsequently discharged while the vessel is at the Bayhead repair quays awaiting a full repair. It is understood the 1976-built ship has cracks in her hull along with several indentations.

    Kuiseb forced to return to Richards Bay

    KUISEB, Photograph copyright SHIPHOTO INTERNATIONAL (Email: shack@iafrica.com)

    The Unicorn bulk carrier Kuiseb, which operates the salt trade between Walvis Bay in Namibia and Richards Bay, experienced mechanical failure at sea this week shortly after sailing from the Zululand port.

    The 18,964-gt Kuiseb, which was acquired a few years ago by Durban company Unicorn Shipping expressly for the purpose of delivering salt from the Namibian port, was towed back to Richards Bay by the Durban-based support tug Pentow Service. Repairs were subsequently effected.

    Kuiseb is named after one of Namibia’s dozen or so mostly dry (ephemeral) rivers that flows through western Namibia.

    Xstrata gives Richards Bay MPT the thumbs up

    pictured from left Garth Wilson (Xstrata Alloys) - Ferro Chrome Port Superintendent; Sean Edwards (Xstrata Alloys) - General Manager Marketing and Logistics; William Buenk (Xsrata Alloys) - Services Manager; Deon Dreyer (Xstrata Alloys) - MD Chrome Division; Jeff McLaughlan (Xstrata Alloys) - Marketing Director; Roy Dhaver (Transnet Port Terminals) - Customer Services; and Mandla Mpungose (Transnet Port Terminals) - Operations Manager

    Richards Bay, 25 June - A thumbs up for Transnet Port Terminals multi purpose terminal has been given by a high-powered delegation from Xstrata Alloys, a major industry producer of ferrochrome in South Africa.

    The delegation recently visited the port of Richards Bay, where time was taken to explore the multipurpose terminal’s ferro slab and the chrome vessel operations at the port.

    Mr Deon Dreyer, Managing Director of Xstrata Alloys – Chrome Division, said he was happy to see such positive and drastic changes taking place at the multipurpose terminal, amongst others, the quality handling of the ferrochrome exports.

    “In my view, the visible upkeep of the ferro slab at the port of Richards Bay is the best in the world and I hope that that these continued improvement initiatives are driven and sustained at terminal level,” he said.

    Roy Dhaver, Customer Services Representative at the multipurpose terminal, thanked the Xstrata Alloys delegation for taking the time to meet the terminal’s operations personnel, particularly on the shop floor where operational activities take place.

    He also urged all stakeholders linked to the ferro corridor supply chain to work continuously at exceeding customer expectations.

    Little joy for stowaways on Chinese ship

    Claims that three stowaways who boarded a Chinese ship in Richards Bay did so on account of xenophobic attacks have been dismissed by several professional stowaway search companies. It has been pointed out that no attacks on foreigners in the Richards Bay area have been reported.

    One the other hand stowaways are known to be adroit at ‘seizing the moment’ when justifying why they jump a ship. That’s only if and when they are caught, of course. In the case referred to above the three men, two Tanzanians and a Mozambican were discovered on board an unidentified Chinese ship which reportedly sailed from Richards Bay earlier this month. Once discovered at sea and by now off the Mozambique coast, the ship’s master came close inshore and put the men overboard into the sea. Each was given a lifejacket and a bottle of water tied to the jacket with cord and told the current would take them inshore.

    Two men survived the ordeal, according to Mozambique authorities. The third is thought to have drowned.

    Patrick Mooney of Stowaway Search Dogs, a stowaway search firm based in Durban and Richards Bay said this week that he had been told a similar story by another Chinese ship’s master. The master claimed that the current off that part of the coast always took people ashore so there was little danger, although he claimed that his ship remained on standby until it was clear the stowaways were going to be safe. He justified his action by saying it wasn’t worth the trouble taking stowaways to whatever was the next port of call.

    In another incident Mooney said that four stowaways had hidden themselves on board the bulker ADAMASTOS in Durban harbour last week. The ship, carrying a cargo of bagged rice put into Durban to effect repairs which were carried out at the City Terminal. Not knowing this the stowaways remained in hiding during the period that the ship was in port. Eventually after a week two men gave themselves up, suffering from dehydration.

    Stowaway Search Dogs was then called in to check if there were any others. Another two men were discovered during the search hiding in the vessel’s bilges and have been detained. The ship sailed the following morning.

    South Africa’s sealanes are economic lifeline, says navy

    South Africa’s sea lanes are the lifeline of the country’s economy, with the majority of imports and exports being transported by sea. As a result ensuring the safety of the sealanes is crucial to the South African Navy, says Rear Admiral Moseou Magalefa.

    He said the seaways were an important passageway for South Africa, its neighbours and the continent.

    The admiral was addressing guests at a banquet held at the International Conventional Centre in Durban commemorating World Hydrographic Day.

    He referred to criminal activities which remained a challenge for many countries.

    “The safe passage of the mariners is therefore essential and requires capable maritime resources to ensure maritime security at sea. Global challenges faced at sea include criminal activities such as poaching, arms and drug smuggling, human trafficking, piracy and sea robbery,” he said.

    The admiral pointed out that by exercising sea control such activities could be eradicated, resulting in safety at sea and prosperity for South Africa.

    He called on young people of all races to heed the call of the sea and join the South African Navy.

    Those attending the banquet were entertained by the South African Navy Band, which has performed internationally to great acclaim. The band also gave a public performance at one of the city’s parks.

    During the weekend the frigate SAS AMATOLA was in Durban and open to the public at the passenger terminal.

    Oil rig Pride Cabinda departs Walvis Bay as others line up

    After dominating the Walvis Bay waterfront skyline for a number of months, the oil rig PRIDE CABINDA departed recently after completing numerous repairs as well as a maintenance programme, reports the Namib Times.

    But if anyone fears the harbour may now appear empty it won’t be long before another rig takes its place. The semi-submersible TRANSOCEAN RICHARDSON is due in Walvis Bay within a matter of weeks and is expected to be in port to undergo maintenance over a period of two months.

    In January last year Transocean Inc announced that a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation had awarded the Transocean Richardson a three year contract for exploration and appraisal drilling offshore in global Chevron operating areas which may include Southern Africa. The contract commenced in July last year, following the completion of a contract offshore Angola. The three year contract was expected to generate revenues of approximately USD 493 million.

    In November this year a third oil rig, HERCULES 185 will take up residence for a period of four months.

    The presence of these rigs are an example how the Namibian port has embraced ship repair on a large scale. Recently a second floating dock, NAMDOCK 2 arrived on tow from the Baltic having been acquired by the joint venture between Elgin Brown & Hamer and Namport.

    News Bulletin continues below….

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

    Industrial unrest comes to Nacala

    The port of Nacala and town. Picture Google Earth

    Industrial action came to the northern Mozambique port of Nacala last week when about 100 dock workers staged a demonstration what they said was over a lack of compensation following the change in terminal management at the port.

    The demonstration involving former casual workers at the port took the form of a march through the town’s streets leading to the harbour and remained peaceful throughout, although a later rally at a football field saw attempts to draw in other local people not involved in the dispute.

    Fears had been expressed that the dispute might lead to delays at the container terminal.

    The dispute dates back to the awarding of a concession for operating the port to the Northern Development Corridor (CDN) company. Previously the port was operated by the state-owned Mozambique port and railway company CFM.

    Police are reported to be looking for a man thought to be the instigator of the demonstration. The same person is believed to have been previously involved in similar activities in Durban over a three year period. – source AIM

    Beira and Nacala ports to have scanners by December

    Non-intrusive scanners will be installed at the ports of Beira and Nacala by December this year, says a report in the Maputo newspaper Noticias.

    The ports will join Maputo in being equipped with electronic scanners capable of examining containers and other types of cargo moving through the port. In addition the airports at Maputo, Beira, Nampula and Pemba are also to receive the equipment.

    An additional scanner is to be installed by the end of October at the Ressano Garcia road and rail crossing into South Africa.

    Noticias quoted Mozambique’s Tax Authority (ATM) president Rosário Fernandes as saying that the scanners were urgently required as “there continued to be great losses in tax revenues.”

    The scanners are being installed by US company Kudumba Investments at an estimated cost of USD25 million.

    When the first scanner was installed at Maputo it caused a storm of protest because of exorbitant charges levied against every container moving through the port, regardless of whether it was scanned or not.

    Make better use of AGOA opportunities, advises US diplomat

    Mozambique businesses are not taking full advantage of opportunities of entering the US market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), says the US charge d’affaires in Maputo, Todd Chapman.

    Chapman said that after eight years Mozambique is still only exporting two of its traditional exports – prawns and cashew nuts – to the United States, despite there being many other opportunities.

    AGOA, which was signed into American law in 2000 provided eligible African countries with easier access to the US market.

    Chapman said this was a challenge to the Mozambique business class.

    “To be frank, Mozambique is not making use of the facilities created under AGOA. It’s a challenge for the private sector to exploit these opportunities. Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and several other countries are making use of AGOA.”

    He suggested that Mozambican could follow in the footsteps of South Africa, Ethiopia and Kenya by exporting fabric to the US.

    However the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA) has a negative outlook on the issue, saying that there are constraints with regards the quality of products and certification that prevent Mozambique companies from making use of AGOA. – source AIM

    Mombasa switches to KWATOS operating system

    Port of Mombasa Container Terminal, RTG section

    On Tuesday, 1 July the port of Mombasa launches its new automated IT operating system known as KWATOS.

    The system comes into effect not only at the container and conventional terminals at Mombasa but also the inland container terminals in Nairobi and Eldoret.

    “It is all systems go on 1 July. We have already trained 2,000 people on how to use the system. They include 1,000 members of the port staff and 1,000 external users,” said port spokesman Bernard Osero.

    The system was delayed from going operational at the end of February this year by the post-election violence which rocked large parts of Kenya. The consultants responsible for implementing the system, Total Soft Bank of South Korea were forced to stay away until the unrest ended.

    KWATOS stands for Kilindini Waterfront Automated Terminal Operations System.

    Rail closure won’t affect Uganda cargo, says RVR’s Puffet

    The closure of the Kenyan railway line between Nakuru and the Lake Victoria port of Kisumu will not affect the flow of cargo between Mombasa and Uganda, says Rift Valley Railway (RVR) managing director Roy Puffet.

    The line was closed earlier this month due to ongoing vandalism, which has impacted on the safety and integrity of the permanent way. In one incident seven viaducts were sabotaged, leaving the structure weakened and a disaster-in-waiting, he said.

    “The vandalism has been expertly perpetrated by persons with clear technical know-how of the railway system. Most of the vandalism has been geared at causing fatal derailments on the railway, which could lead to deaths and damage clients’ property. They are also designed to tarnish the railway industry.”

    RVR revealed that in the past five months 127 incidents of vandalism have occurred.

    “Railway safety remains one of our greatest commitments. We can't afford to compromise. The suspension of the Kisumu line is aimed at safeguarding lives and national assets,” said Puffet. – source New Vision

    See related article in last week’s News Bulletin CLICK HERE

    News from the shipping lines

    Hull & Hatch Lines expands East Africa service

    Dubai-based Hull & Hatch Lines, a subsidiary of Hull & Hatch Logistics is to expand its shipping services between the Gulf, India, Kenya and Tanzania and the Red Sea with the introduction of a second loop.

    Hull & Hatch will now operate one loop between the Gulf, India and East Africa and the other between India and the Red Sea. An additional vessel, the 1,388-TEU MERIAN has been chartered in and will be renamed H&H WAVE.

    The rotation on the two loops will be as follows:

    India Gulf Africa Service (IGA): Jebel Ali, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Mumbai-Nhava Sheva, Mundra on a two-weekly cycle, utilising the 1,550-TEU HANSA St AVENGER and the 1,388 H&H WAVE.

    Red Sea India Express Service (RIX): Linking Aden and Hodeidah with Mundra, utilising the 1,277-TEU NINOS.

    A third service, the West Asia Express between India/Pakistan and Jebel Ali will continue unchanged.

    Hull & Hatch’s India Gulf Africa Service

    CSAV takes in new ship

    Chilean operator CSAV has taken on charter the 3,534-TEU newbuild Northern Delegation which it will rename CSAV RANQUIL and deploy to the company’s ASAX service between Asia, South Africa and the East Coast South America. The ship was built at the Shanghai Chengxi Shipyard as the 19th ‘Shanghai 3500’ series.

    Maersk orders 18 container ships for Africa trades

    Maersk Line has signed for the construction of 18 environmentally-friendly container ships each of 4,500-TEU capacity for delivery between 2011 and 2012. The contract is with South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries.

    The vessels are part of Maersk Line’s fleet renewal and development programme which will enable Maersk to offer competitive shipping based on a modern economical and environmentally friendly fleet, said senior vice president Michel Deleuran.

    Each vessel is equipped with a waste heat recovery system where the system reuses excess heat from the exhaust to generate energy for propulsion of the vessel or on-board electricity consumption. The reduction in fuel consumption results in a corresponding reduction of emissions.

    This will become the first time that an Asian yard will install a waste heat recovery system of this size and efficiency.

    The ships are expected to be deployed on the trades to and from Sub-Saharan Africa. “We have served the Sub-Saharan African market for more than 40 years, and we aim to continue to develop our services and support our customers’ increasing business in the trades between Sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas, Europe, and Asia. These vessels will support us in that ambition and also show our long term commitment to Africa,” said Deleuran.

    Dorman completes large cofferdam repair to HEBEI WISDOM

    The cofferdam under construction at the Dormac Marine yard in Durban

    Durban ship repair company Dormac has completed successful repairs using its deepest ever cofferdam repair in the port of Richards Bay.

    The repair involved the Hosco-operated Capesize bulker HEBEI WISDOM (182,212-DWT) on which the crew had detected water ingress while voyaging fully laden with iron ore towards the South African coast. It was subsequently decided to head for Richards Bay and undergo an examination.

    Dormac sent a riding team to the northern KZN port and determined that the ship had a 1.5m crack on the portside 15m below the waterline. The operators then made the decision to have a permanent repair undertaken at Richards Bay using a cofferdam while the ship lay berthed at 306 at the coal terminal. Prior to entering port a SAMSA (SA Maritime Safety Authority) inspection was carried out to ensure the safety of the vessel before giving permission to enter port.

    the cofferdam is lowered into place alongside the Capesize bulker Hebei Wisdom on berth 306 at Richards Bay

    The repair required Dormac to build their deepest cofferdam so far – 18m long by 2.4m and 1.2m which would extend down the side of the vessel and underneath the bottom hull. Weighing in at 17 tonnes this is the first Capesize vessel to be repaired using a cofferdam inside a South African port – all other such repairs having taken place at anchorages outside.

    Working 15 meters below the waterline, the crack was cut out and a 2m by 0.6m (20mm) steel insert was fitted under the supervision of a Class NK Surveyor sent out from Australia. The repair was completed in record time causing little delay to the fully laden iron ore carrying vessel, which has now continued her interrupted voyage.

    looking down and into the fitted cofferdam provides another impression of the size of this temporary facility which allowed access to a ship requiring repairs without having to be discharged and dry docked. The ladder at bottom right leads down beneath the ship

    Piracy report – Somalis release Amiya Scan and crew

    Somali pirates this week released the Dutch operated, Danish chartered ship AMIYA SCAN which was seized on 25 May. The crew of four Russians and five Filipinos are reported to be safe and in good health on board the vessel which on Wednesday was heading northwards away from Somalia.

    It is believed that the Russian government had agreed to pay a ransom equivalent to one million US dollars by way of food aid to the Somali region, which was delivered to a neutral source in Djibouti.

    Another ship being held in captivity at the same anchorage where Amiya Scan was detained, the German LEHMANN TIMBER remains in pirate hands. Shortly before the release of the Amiya Scan the Russian master of Lehmann Timber managed to radio his wife who later told Russian news services that her husband had said the ship was running low on food and water.

    At least three other vessels are currently in Somali pirate hands, a Turkish cargo ship the ARENA, an Omani dhow type fishing boat, and the latest vessel to be captured, a yacht with four people on board, which was seized while approaching the town of Lasqorey last Sunday (22 June). The crew of the latter are believed to be German tourists – two men, a woman and a child. Reports said the yacht approached the shore with those on board taking photographs. After the seizure the yacht was abandoned on the shore in Puntland with reports of the hostages having been taken inland into the mountains.

    As the deadline approaches ending the arrangement for a Dutch warship to escort World Food Aid ships to and from Somalia, the UN organisation has repeated calls for navy ships to continue providing the security service, saying that food aid deliveries to the impoverished country is not possible without it. Because of high grain prices in Kenya the WFP intends shipping a consignment of grain from Durban in South Africa, where there is a surplus this year and prices are regarded as reasonable.

    According to the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, up to 3.5 million Somalis will need humanitarian aid this year if the situation in the war-wracked east African nation fails to improve.

    NSRI sea rescue reports

    Spirit of Vodacom, one of a number of NSRI rescue craft in service at 29 bases along South Africa’s long coastline and on three inland dams. The NSRI is operated on a purely voluntary basis by approximately 880 people, and relies on sponsorships to meet the R17 million annual operating expenses. The volunteers save the NSRI more than R185 million a year just on salaries. Picture Ian Shiffman

    The following National Sea Rescue Institute reports have been issued this week:

    St Francis Bay 9 fisherman evacuated

    Bob Meikle, NSRI St Francis Bay Station Commander reported: “At 17h55 we launched our rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II to rendezvous with the chokka (squid) boat ANGELEY two nautical miles off St Francis Bay to casualty evacuate a 35 year old Port Elizabeth crew member who had suffered epileptic seizures on-board.

    “On arrival at the vessel the crew member was stabilised, transferred aboard our rescue craft and brought to our rescue base where we were met by Private Care Ambulance Services who have transported the patient to hospital in a stable condition.”

    Simonstown, 24 June, 2008. Man dies aboard fishing vessel

    Darren Zimmerman, NSRI Simonstown Station Commander reported: “At 12h10 we were alerted to respond to assist a 9 metre fishing vessel off Smitswinkel Bay with crew on-board reporting to be conducting Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) efforts on a crewman who had collapsed on-board from suspected medical causes.

    “Crew aboard the vessel reported to be making their way speedily towards Simonstown. We launched our rescue craft Spirit of Safmarine III and rendezvoused with the vessel off-shore of Boulders near Simonstown.

    “CMR (Cape Medical Response) paramedic Colette Botha was transferred from our rescue craft aboard the vessel and declared the man, believed to be approximately 56 years old, dead. The cause of death will be determined by autopsy.

    “We escorted the vessel to Simonstown harbour and were met by the SA Police Services who have taken responsibility for the body of the deceased man.

    “The vessel was then escorted by our NSRI rescue craft to Kalk Bay harbour where she has been berthed safely.

    “The vessel’s name and the identity of the crewman are being withheld until family of the man are informed.”

    Cape Columbine, 24 June, 2008. Capsized catamaran found afloat

    Darius van Niekerk, NSRI Mykonos Station Commander filed the following: “We launched our rescue craft Spirit of Freemasonry at 14h50 to investigate the upturned hull of a Catamaran found floating approximately 30 nautical miles off-shore of Cape Columbine.

    “A passing ship had photographed the upturned floating hull and reported the sighting to MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre).

    “Three days ago a similar sighting of an upturned Catamaran was reported by passing fishing trawlers 55 nautical miles West of Cape Town and it was assumed to be the upturned floating hull of the 37 foot Catamaran yacht Genii II which capsized off Cape Point on Sunday 15 June in which all four crew were rescued.

    “Sea currents and wind speed and direction calculated that Genii II had drifted to within the area of this sighting.

    “Photographs taken by the passing ship have been investigated by Maritime Authorities and by the owners of Genii II and although reasonably confirmed the National Ports Authority instructed NSRI Mykonos to launch to go to the capsized yacht to make absolutely certain that the upturned yacht is Genii II.

    “Our NSRI rescue craft is currently in the vicinity of the reported sighting and a search is being conducted in 2 to 3 metre swells to locate the yacht.

    “No reports of any other catamaran yacht overdue or missing have been reported.

    “A Maritime Safety Warning broadcast by Maritime Radio Services warning vessels in the area of the floating maritime hazard continues to be broadcast. Possibilities on the ultimate fate of the capsized yacht continue to be reviewed by the owners, the insurers and maritime authorities.”

    Audacious attack on FPSO Bonga

    The FPSO Bonga under construction and high out of the water - at present in operation off Nigeria

    In one of the more audacious attacks on oil installations and infrastructure in Nigeria, the militant group known as MEND last week staged an offshore raid on Shell’s 314,538-DWT FPSO, BONGA, which is lying at anchor 75 n.miles south-west of the Niger Delta in waters that are between 1,000 and 1,100m deep.

    The attack took place during the hours of darkness and involved shooting and has forced Shell to suspend operations at the adjacent oilfield, which normally has a production rate of 200,000bpd. The attackers approached the moored vessel, which is not a self propelled FPSO, in open boats with the intention of disabling the vessel’s communication centre which controls the oilfield operations. In this they apparently failed.

    Later that evening Shell declared a ‘force majeure’ effective from midnight, according to GAC World.

    The FPSO Bonga (floating production, storage and offloading vessel) has a length of 295m and a main breadth of 58m with a depth of 32m. The FPSO has an oil storage capacity of 2 million barrels. The name Bonga is taken from a small fish found in Nigerian rivers. (Vessel detail courtesy David Erickson)

    Graphic of Bonga location offshore Nigeria

    Pic of the week – QSM SHARJAH

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The general cargo ship QSM SHARJAH (Qawareb Ship Management) in a peaceful Cape Town harbour

    Stern view of the 9,836-gt vessel, with Table Mountain dominating the scene as always. Both pictures by Ian Shiffman

    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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