Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 24, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • SA west coast has Tsunami scare

  • Southern Africa Free Trade Area is launched

  • Durban Pier 1 pipeline bunkering ends

  • Still no sign of Richards Bay dry dock

  • New Draft Revenue Amendments & Buying Commission

  • Grindrod increases interim headline earnings by 95 percent

  • Update: Salvage operation – Seawin Sapphire

  • Islamists retake Port of Kismayo

  • Dar es Salaam opts for pre-shipment inspection

  • Mombasa to auction uncleared cargo


  • Rift Valley Railway promises results

  • Another Lake Victoria ship sinks

  • Djibouti suspends port tariff increases

  • Lobito port upgrade to cost 1.8 billion dollars

  • Four ships seized by Somali pirates in two days

  • SA Navy asked to intervene in Somalia

  • NSRI sea rescue update

  • New name for SA Shippers’ Council

  • Rotterdam’s Maasvlaakte begins

  • London Gateway to become world’s most technically advanced container port

  • Pic of the day – SALVERITAS

  • Second Pic of the day – NORTH STAR


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

    SA west coast has Tsunami scare

    On Thursday last week (21 August) the NSRI was alerted by listeners of a local radio station to a sudden change in the water level at Hout Bay harbour. The eye-witness reported the water level to have subsided by 1 metre and risen again by 1 metre over a period of about 20 minutes at around 10h00.

    The NSRI immediately put out a general enquiry to its coast watchers and to maritime authorities and various marine experts.

    Later that day at around 19h00 the NSRI received further reports from at least 12 eye-witnesses of three sudden tide changes at approximately 09h30; 11h30; 14h00 at Hout Bay harbour, St Helena Bay, Saldanha Bay and Lamberts Bay. Each of these reports were received by reliable and contactable eye-witnesses including members of the public and NSRI volunteers and all indicated sudden tide changes.

    Also at around 19h00 on Thursday it was reported via Shane Kempen, NSRI Agulhas Station Commander and NSRI’s member of the Tsunami Early Warning Network, that at 09h33 (SA time) a NO TSUNAMI WARNING had been sent via the Hawaii Tsunami Early Warning Command Centre relating to seismic activity (earthquake) that occurred on land at Tongo, West Australia and that at 11h30 (SA time) a second NO TSUNAMI WARNING had been sent by Hawaii relating to seismic activity (earthquake) on mainland China and Myanmar. The NSRI said it did not believe that these incidents caused the effects witnessed on the West Coast although they formed part of the enquiry.

    It was learned that Metro Ambulance Control – West Coast had contacted NSRI Mykonos (Saldanha) at around 14h30 on Thursday to enquire if the NSRI were aware of a Tsunami in St Helena Bay as sea water levels had changed considerably over a short space of time followed by factories being damaged by large waves accompanied by an unusual high tide.

    An eye-witness in Lamberts Bay also reported a 6 hour, unusually low, low-tide on Wednesday evening (20 August) between approximately 18h00 and 00h00.

    According to the NSRI it investigated the possibility of the Spring tide, brought on by the full moon a few days earlier, and any possible astronomical activity that may have caused this tidal effect.

    “We learned, through NSRI Mykonos volunteers, that 102 times between the years 1999 and 2020 there is a phenomenon called Proxigean Tide, known to cause major flooding, but the next Proxigean Tide is only on 12 December, 2008.

    “We also learned that on 27 August, 2008 Mars is due to be very close to the earth and will only get this close again in the year 2227 although this lead appears to be a rumour.

    Uncertain as to what caused this tidal phenomenon and based on the number of reliable eye-witness accounts the NSRI pressed on with enquiries and by Saturday morning was fortunate to track down Professor Geoff Brundrit, retired Professor to the Department of Oceanography at the University of Cape Town.

    The Professor had been in Maputo until Friday evening on a sea-level change conference with Mozambican Authorities.

    Professor Brundrit surmised, based on the information that the NSRI had on hand, that possible causes could have been a mid-ocean slump (similar to a mudslide); extreme thunder and lightening storms; or a mid ocean earthquake.

    “Professor Brundrit then investigated the hydrographic monitoring equipment and it has been established that the hydrographic graphs show considerable change and activity over 3 days (the Walvis Bay monitor) since Wednesday night (20 August) and the Simonstown hydrographic graph shows activity relating to sudden tide changes on Thursday 21 August only (the Simonstown monitor only shows changes in graph activity on the one day).

    “It appears that based on the constant change over 3 days of the Walvis Bay hydrographic monitor, Professor Brundrit confirms that this can only point to seismic activity (earthquake) – possibly mid Atlantic Ocean, resulting in a Tsunami (a Mini Tsunami).

    “We are now waiting to hear of the readings on the hydrographic monitors in Luderitz, Port Nolloth and Saldanha Bay to extract if those monitors can confirm similar findings based on the Walvis Bay and Simonstown hydrographic monitors.

    “We are also waiting to hear from Ascension Island, St Helena Island and Rio De Janeiro to confirm if they have experienced similar circumstances and to compare hydrographic findings on hydrographic monitoring equipment at Rio De Janeiro.

    “We believe that it is possible that Hawaii won’t pick up Seismic activity under the measurement of 7 on the Richter Scale for the Atlantic Ocean and/or (will) not send out an early warning Tsunami alert if the seismic activity is under the measurement of 7 on the Richter Scale. (This is still under investigation)

    “At this stage while we have not been informed of any major damage and no injuries nor fatalities, there is so far every indication that what was experienced on the West Coast on Thursday was a Tsunami. Investigations, in consultation with a host of organisations, are continuing.”

    Southern African Free Trade Area is launched

    Cape Town, 20 August 2008 (BuaNews) – The South African Cabinet has described the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit held at the (previous) weekend, a success, noting the launch of the Free Trade Area (FTA) and the adoption of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development as some of the key highlights of the Summit.

    In a statement issued after Cabinet held its ordinary meeting on Wednesday, Government Spokesperson Themba Maseko said the launch of the FTA would lay a firm foundation for regional economic integration.

    It is expected that the FTA will create a larger market, releasing potential for trade as well as create employment in the region.

    Eleven countries in the 14-nation SADC signed the document which will see all tariffs and non-tariff barriers on trade fall away.

    Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Malawi did not sign as they are still addressing challenges in the implementation of the Protocol on Trade.

    The FTA agreement is the largest free trade zone agreement in a region which is home to about 250 million people.

    The idea to drop trade tariffs between the countries first came about in 1996, when leaders signed the SADC Protocol on Trade. The Protocol aimed to further liberalise inter-regional trade, ensure efficient production among member states while improving the climate for domestic and cross border and foreign investments.

    Mr Maseko said Cabinet had also welcomed the signing of the Protocol on Gender and Development by member states, especially as South Africa was celebrating August as Women's Month.

    "This Protocol calls for far reaching changes in the SADC countries including the repeal of all discriminatory laws; the inclusion of gender equality and equity in national constitutions and the adoption of the goal of 50 percent representation of women in political and decision making structures in SADC countries by 2015," said Mr Maseko.

    He said the implementation of the Protocol will be monitored by the Executive Secretary of SADC, who will table progress reports to the Summit of Heads of State and Government every two years.

    "The next step is for all SADC countries to develop national plans of action to implement the Protocol."

    Moreover, the agreement will boost the struggling regional economic muscle and exempt 85 percent of trade from tariffs.

    The FTA which includes economies growing by up to 7 percent is expected to create a regional market worth USD360 billion. According to South Africa’s President Mbeki it is a milestone towards reaching the SADC goal of a common regional integration based on political, economic and trade interests.

    SADC comprises Angola, Botswana, the DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    Durban Pier 1 pipeline bunkering ends

    One of Durban’s new bunker barges, SMIT LiPuma underway in the harbor during June 2008. Picture L Rip Riphagen

    Some of Durban’s last remaining pipeline bunkering points are due to close on 15 September.

    On that date the pipeline to New Pier berths 101, 102 and 103 will cease operations, leaving only Island View berths available by this method.

    The port has two new bunker barges in service, each capable of delivering at rates of 1000 tonnes an hour with a third barge under construction. The port also has an older and smaller barge in current service.

    Still no sign of Richards Bay dry dock

    Richards Bay – Developers told a Zululand newspaper last week they have no idea when work will commence on the much hyped dry dock facility at the port of Richards Bay.

    The dry dock and ship repair facility, to be built by a Chinese and South African BEE consortium at a cost of around R2 billion was announced in early 2004 but apart from occasional reports little or no progress has so far been revealed.

    The article in the Zululand Observer quoted a spokesman for Imbani Construction, the BEE element in the consortium as saying that they were waiting for the finalisation of the memorandum of Understanding from the National Ports Authority.

    “In the light of protracted delays we instructed our attorneys to write to the NPA and received a prompt reply inviting us to a meeting in Durban.

    ‘We are now negotiating new lease agreement issues that have been raised which have significant cost implications,” he told the newspaper.

    He called the delays ‘one sided’ and said Imbani and its partners were ready to begin with construction.

    “All our partners, including funders IDC and the Development Bank as well as the consortium from China and Singapore are still 100 percent committed.”

    The article added that an NPA spokesman said that plenty was happening behind the scenes in meetings with the developers and that progress was anticipated within two weeks. – source Zululand Observer

    New Draft Revenue Amendments & Buying Commission

    Hester Hopkins of attorneys Shepstone & Wylie

    South Africa is a signatory to the WTO GATT Agreement which contains various articles addressing technical topics such as Rules of Origin and Customs Valuation. Of particular importance at the moment is Article VII which relates to Customs Valuation and the interpretation thereof.

    The crux of the colloquial application of the provisions of Article VII is that, generally signatories to the GATT Agreement would align their local legislation to that contained in Article VII. However, where the local legislation differs from the provisions contained in Article VII local legislation takes precedent over that contained in the agreement, writes Hester Hopkins, National Manager of Customs @ Wylie, an initiative of Shepstone & Wylie’s International Trade Department

    Buying commission is one such deviation. The GATT Agreement considers buying commission to be a fee paid by an importer to his agent for the service of representing him abroad in the purchase of the goods being valued.

    In contrast to this, South African Customs has extended the meaning of this definition by allowing the buying agent to also pay for the goods. Thus in SA buying commission is considered to be any fee paid by an importer to his agent for representing him abroad in the purchase of and payment of the goods.

    This deviation is due to be stubbed out in the new Draft Revenue Amendments Bill currently out for comment. SA Customs is proposing that their current definition be aligned with that of the GATT Agreement by removing reference to "payment". Thus for buying commission to be considered not dutiable the buying agent may not pay for the goods on behalf of the importer.

    The change in definition will trigger a review of buying agents' contracts en masse. Not reviewing whether buying commission will be dutiable or not might leave importers at risk of contravening the Customs Act by deducting buying commission from the transaction value, when in fact, it is not legally allowed.

    Comments on the draft amendments are due between 20 August and 5 September 2008.

    • This article first appeared in our Legal Review section of PORTS & SHIPS on 21 August 2008

    Grindrod increases interim headline earnings by 95 percent

    Alan Olivier, Grindrod CEO

    Grindrod Limited released its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2008 last week. The company generated earnings of over 1 billion rand (R1 104.5 million) for the six months ended 30 June 2008, relative to the R570.5 million of the same period in 2007, up 94%. Headline earnings per share increased by 95% to 242,8 cents per share (H1 2007: 124.6 cents). Interim ordinary dividend per share has increased by 100% to 68 cents (H1 2007: 34 cents). The board also declared a preference share dividend of 589 cents per share (H1 2007: 498 cents). Return on ordinary shareholders’ funds was 68% (H1 2007: 52%).

    Chief Executive Alan Olivier said that “the results were achieved against the backdrop of a continued buoyant shipping market and substantial demand for commodities. The strong markets have enabled the group to secure substantial contracted profits at very favourable rates and the strategies that have been put in place to acquire and charter in a modern shipping fleet at low costs over prior years, continue to pay dividends.”

    The group said that shipping continued to be the major profit contributor at 90% of total earnings. Its profits were up 107% on the corresponding period. Freight Services experienced good growth in earnings of 65%. Trading did not perform as expected, but is positioned for a strong second half. Financial Services results were impacted by the reduced shareholding, declining equity markets and the slowdown in local economic activity.

    As at 30 June 2008, 64% of Grindrod’s owned and chartered fleet was contracted for the remainder of 2008, 51% for 2009 and 35% for 2010. The group will look to further expand this base for 2009 and beyond. Grindrod’s current core fleet of 37 ships is also contracted to increase to 51 ships by the end of 2012.

    The group has continued its investment in growth, with capital expenditure and commitments totalling R2,169 million for 2008, R1,192 million for 2009 and R1,128 million thereafter. These commitments will be funded by cash resources, cash generated from operations and bank financing facilities. Its cash generated from operations reflected a growth of 83% during this period, to R1,342 million. The group’s debt:equity ratio decreased from 23% to 14%. The strong balance sheet, conservative gearing and high cash generation provides the platform for the group to continue to seek investment opportunities.

    In terms of the outlook for the remainder of 2008 and beyond, the company said that shipping market fundamentals continue to be positive and consequently earnings are expected to remain at firm levels for balance of the 2008 financial year. The group has significant contract cover and will continue to add to this base. Further improvement is also expected in the performance of the Trading, Freight Services and Financial Services divisions which are being expanded through investment, mainly in infrastructural development opportunities.

    The group indicated in a trading statement released earlier today, that it expects headline earnings per share for the 2008 financial year to be 80% to 100% higher than the 263.1 cents achieved in 2007.

    • This article first appeared in the news section of PORTS & SHIPS on 20 August 2008

    Update: Salvage operation – Seawin Sapphire

    Seawin Sapphire and the remains of Weskus I on the beach at Derdesteen opposite Cape Town, now being prepared for salvage. Picture Nick Sloane

    The salvage operation to remove the grounded fishing vessel ‘Seawin Sapphire’ from the beach at Derdesteen (south of Melbosstrand) is being conducted in accordance with an approved Environmental Management Plan and an Environmental Control Officer is overseeing its implementation.
    In the past few days, plants located on dunes between the parking lot at Derdesteen and the grounded vessel have systematically been identified, removed, preserved and transported to a temporary and suitable storage facility in Melkbosstrand where they will be maintained until they can be replanted once the dunes have been reinstated. The area affected will be rehabilitated to the satisfaction of the Bio-Diversity Branch of the City of Cape Town.

    Meanwhile, technical preparations continue for the removal of the casualty. The 'Seawin Sapphire' will be moved up the beach towards the parking lot in a controlled manner utilising a strand jack pulley system. During the operation, which should begin towards the end of this week, the vessel will be moved approximately 1 metre every 7 minutes and the operation will take place over two days. The vessel will then be lifted onto a flat bed trailer utilising a gantry system and transported by road to the synchrolift in Cape Town.

    Members of the public are requested to stay well clear of clearly demarcated areas which are being monitored by security and the City’s Bio-Diversity staff. An area extending some 600 metres away from the operation and including the parking lot at Derdesteen is out of bounds to non-essential personnel until such time as the ‘Seawin Sapphire’ has been removed. Restricted access to Derdesteen is a precautionary measure and has been implemented for reasons of public safety as well as to protect the environmentally sensitive sand dunes adjacent to the beach. Members of the public are thanked in advance by the relevant authorities for their co-operation in this regard.

    Two fishing vessels – ‘Weskus I’ and ‘Seawin Sapphire’ ran aground in the vicinity of Derdesteen, south of Melkbosstrand, on the afternoon of Thursday 31 July. Salvors SMIT Marine South Africa were appointed by the vessels’ owner Indo-Atlantic Seafoods Limited to proactively protect the marine environment by removing all possible pollutants from both vessels and then removing the vessels from the beach. All pollutants were removed by the end of Sunday August 3rd. The ‘Weskus I’ broke up on Tuesday 12 August and debris and machinery from this vessel has been successfully removed from the beach.

    Islamists retake Port of Kismayo

    Armed supporters of Somalia’s Islamic Courts movement have seized control of the southern port city of Kismayo, according to Garowe Online.

    The radio service said on Friday that reliable sources had confirmed that the Islamic Courts and al Shabaab now controlled the port and city. Former clan rulers of the Marehan clan and allied to the interim Somali government have fled, it said.

    Kismayo fell to interim government forces supported by US and Ethiopian military in 2007 after Ethiopia took a decisive hand in overthrowing the Islamic Courts movement that had exercised control over much of Somalia. The latest battle took place over two days and involved hard fighting, said the radio service.

    It said that Marehan forces suffered heavy losses in the fighting. Somali’s interim government has not yet commented on the news.

    Dar es Salaam opts for pre-shipment inspection

    Tanzania Bureau of Standards says it intends replacing the Destination Inspection (DI) system in use at the country’s ports of entry with the Pre-Shipment Verification of Conformity to Standards (PVoC) system that is in use in several parts of Africa as well as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

    The director-general of Tanzania’s Bureau of Standards, Charles Ekerege says it has proved difficult to detect sub-standard goods being imported using the former method (DI). In addition there were inadequate storage facilities at the Tanzania Ports Authority premises for rejected consignments, he told the East African.

    Pre-shipment inspection would therefore prove more effective and was in harmony with Tanzania’s Customs reforms and would also reduce congestion at the Dar es Salaam port.

    Tanzania’s Bureau of Standards is mandated to inspect all imports into the country, issuing certificates for products meeting required standards. However the DI system has not worked because of inadequate facilities to make these inspections after arrival in Tanzania. With pre-inspection ahead of arrival in Tanzania this problem will be overcome, he believed.

    The new system would also prevent dumping of sub-standard goods in Tanzania. – source East African

    Mombasa to auction uncleared cargo

    Cargo that remains uncollected at the port of Mombasa will be auctioned in future.

    This follows a directive from the Kenya Minister of Transport, Chirau Ali Mwakwere who said the port was not in the business of storing cargo for owners who refused to collect. The port was experiencing severe congestion made worse by uncollected cargo which would now be disposed of by auction, he ruled.

    The port of Mombasa has undergone a number of changes aimed at clearing cargo including the introduction of a 24-hour service with immediate effect. According to the acting managing director of the Kenya Ports Authority, James Mulewa the round the clock operations at the port have begun well and Mombasa would soon experience the results of improved efficiencies.

    He acknowledged that the Kilindini Waterfront Terminal Operating System (Kwatos) recently introduced had experienced teething problems that added to the congestion and delays but said these were temporary.


    The Hoegh Autoliners pure car carrier HOEGH DETROIT arrives in Durban on her maiden port call. The 6,100-vehicle ship was launched in May 2006 but this was believed to have been her first call in Durban. In the background behind the ship can be seen the project involving the widening of the port entrance channel. Beyond that stretches Durban’s Golden Mile of beachfront
    Picture by Steve McCurrach

    One of Safmarine’s latest newbuilds is SAFMARINE Ngami, seen in Cape Town harbor during July this year. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    Rift Valley Railway promises results

    New chairman of Rift Valley Railway, Brown Ondego says it may take up to six years to completely turn around the former Kenya and Uganda railway systems but says results of the revitalisation will become apparent within the next six months.

    Ondego, the former managing director of Kenya Ports Authority said that lack of equipment, vandalism and a disgruntled work force was to blame for the poor results so far. However he said the new management would be able to come up with solutions and would make changes that would bring about rapid changes.

    Port users have complained of little improvement with the railway network saying that it is carrying less than 10% of the port’s cargo, despite the higher costs of road transport.

    Rift Valley Railway operations suffered earlier this year as a result of the political upheaval following the elections, which saw sections of track torn up and other railway equipment damaged. Subsequent vandalism has also taken its toll on the railway while heavy rains caused disastrous washaways in Uganda, isolating that country’s rail connections with the port of Mombasa for a number of weeks.

    Another Lake Victoria ship sinks

    Another of Lake Victoria’s ships, the ferry mv AZZA has sunk after developing technical problems while sailing near the Bukasa Islands.

    Earlier the Tanzanian-owned ship had departed from the port of Mwanza with a cargo of 200 tonnes of mineral water and 40t of cotton cake seed. The crew of 15 took to a liferaft and was rescued without suffering any serious injuries.

    The Bukasa Islands lie in Ugandan waters. Azza was en route to Port Bell at the time.

    Djibouti suspends port tariff increases

    After intervention by the Djibouti government a planned port tariff increase at the Port of Djibouti has been suspended, one day ahead of its implementation on 15 August 2008.

    The intervention by the government parastatal Djibouti Port Authority overruled a decision by DP World, the operators at the port to implement an average 15% hike in the tariff structure. The port authority’s intervention followed an executive order from the Red Sea country’s president, Ismael Omar Guelleh, according to media reports in that country.

    Port users based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia said they were pleased with the decision that would have added a further USD22.5 million expense to the Ethiopian economy. However the reaction of DP World was not quite as enthusiastic. A spokesman said the company would look at other tariff rates such as increasing the cost of container handling and stevedoring and reducing the free storage period from 15 to 8 days.

    Had the tariff increase been applied it would have been the first time since 2004 that tariffs had been adjusted

    Lobito port upgrade to cost 1.8 billion dollars

    Reconstruction and modernisation of the Angolan port of Lobito will cost USD 1.8 billion, Angola’s Transport Minister Augusto Tomás says.

    The minister announced this while undertaking an inspection of the port last week, where work has already begun on refurbishing the port.

    He said the aim was to increase the port’s capacity and improve efficiencies. This includes the construction of two new piers, one for discharging of bulk minerals while the other will serve the Lobito refinery.

    Four ships seized by Somali pirates in two days

    In a sudden spike in piracy off the coast of Somalia, no less than four ships have been reported highjacked in less than 48 hours in the past week.

    On one day alone, Thursday 21 August three ships were attacked – a German vessel, an Iranian ship and a Japanese vessel. Twenty four hours later a fourth ship was also attacked and captured, bringing the total number of ship currently in the hands of Somali pirates to eight.

    The ICC International Maritime Bureau’s Captain Pottengal Mukundan has described the situation as “out of control”.

    “We have not seen such a surge in pirate activity in this area previously. These pirates are not afraid to use significant firepower in attempts to bring vessels under their control. Over 260 seafarers have been taken hostage in Somalia this year. Unless further action is taken, seafarers remain in serious danger whilst navigating the Gulf of Aden,” he said.

    The increase in piracy has occurred despite the coalition government of Somalia having given its permission for coalition naval forces to enter Somali waters and take action against pirate ships and boats. In June this year the UN Security Council passed a resolution allowing UN naval forces to go in hot pursuit of pirates off Somalia.

    Earlier in the week a Malaysian tanker, the MISC BUNGA MELATI DUA loaded with palm oil was seized on 21 August and taken to the Somali coast where a ransom has been demanded. A MISC company spokesman said there were indications of one casualty among the crew, a Filipino. He was unable to confirm this but thought the remainder of the crew were safe.

    SA Navy asked to intervene in Somalia

    The World Food Programme (WFP), a division of the United Nations has asked the South African Navy to assist in guarding ships delivering food aid on behalf of the WFP to Somalia.

    The request was made direct to the navy and not through the normal channels of the Department of Defence. The request was made shortly before a shipment of grain was loaded in Durban for delivery to the Horn of Africa.

    However it appears the matter has received little or no attention owing to the request having been passed direct to the navy instead of using the so-called proper protocols.

    According to the WFP South Africa was just one of several nations requested to give assistance. The WFP has had several shipments of cargo detained or stolen after pirates seized ships making deliveries of food aid to Somalia.

    Observers suggest it will be interesting to see what the government’s reaction to the UN request will be, given that much was made of claims that South Africa needed modern ships to provide just this sort of assistance in Africa.

    NSRI sea rescue update

    The following reports have been received from the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).

    Geoff McGregor, NSRI East London Station Commander reports: “We were activated at 05h45 (on 22 August) following a request from John Fish Agencies, local shipping agent for the 270 metre LPG Gas ship, GALLINA, to casualty evacuate a passenger from the ship, an approximately 25 year old female from Manchester, United Kingdom, suffering dehydration.

    “At the time of the request the ship, whose last port of call was Cape Town and next port of call the United Arab Emirates, was 175 nautical miles off-shore of East London and heading towards East London’s Port.

    “We launched our rescue craft ACSA Rescuer I accompanied by a Metro Rescue paramedic and a Netcare 911 paramedic and rendezvoused with the ship 10 nautical miles off-shore.

    “On arrival on-scene our NSRI rescue paramedic (who is also a Metro Rescue paramedic) was transferred aboard the ship to stabilise Rachel Weldon and she was then transferred aboard our rescue craft, accompanied by her boyfriend, who is an Officer on-board the ship.

    “The patient was brought to our NSRI rescue base in a stable condition and transported to a local hospital by private transport where she was treated for dehydration caused from motion sickness and released in a satisfactory condition by doctors.”

    Darren Zimmerman, NSRI Simonstown Station Commander reports of an unusual incident on the same day as the East London rescue: “We were activated at 14h43 following a request for assistance from CMR (Cape Medical Response) paramedics attending to 21 year old Owen Davies, from Simonstown, who had lacerated his right Femur with an electrical angle grinder, while working with his father on a construction site with his family’s construction company at a house at Smitswinkelbaai, near Cape Point.

    “CMR paramedics and an ER-24 ambulance crew were attending to the patient and requested NSRI assistance to evacuate the patient from the sea side rather than attempting to walk the patient quite some distance to the nearest road point where the ambulance was standing-by - after learning that the Metro Red Cross AMS helicopter was committed to another call elsewhere and was not immediately available.

    “The Metro Ambulance and Rescue Services and EMT (Emergency Medical Training) paramedics were placed on alert.

    “We launched our rescue craft Spirit of Safmarine III and Spirit of Mandela and on arrival on-scene our rigid inflatable rescue craft Spirit of Mandela took the patient on-board from the shore and once at sea he was then transferred onto Spirit of Safmarine III and in a stable condition, with a 15 cm laceration into muscle tissue of the right femur, he was brought to our NSRI rescue base and then transported to a local hospital by an ER-24 ambulance, where he is recovering after the injury was sutured.”

    Supercat being battered against the west breakwater at Port Alfred. Picture by Roger Bailey

    At Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape a yacht named Supercat which was being battered against West Pier, Port Alfred has been pulled clear by NSRI crew on board the rescue craft Kowie Rescue.

    The initial report from Keryn van der Walt, NSRI Port Alfred Station Commander said: “We were activated at 07h20 (on 20 August) following reports of the approximately 40 foot Supercat yacht Supercat in difficulty in the Kowie River Mouth, with one local male on-board, in 3 to 4 metre swells and moderate Easterly breeze.

    “The big surf has been brought in by strong Easterly winds that prevailed during the night.

    “We launched our rescue craft Kowie Rescue and Arthur Scales.

    “The SA Police Services and the Ndlambe Protection Services responded to stand-by on-scene to assist if necessary.

    “It appears that the yacht had broached in the big surf while approaching the harbour and had smashed against the West Pier (apparently while moving at a speed of 25 knots) and on our arrival on-scene the casualty yacht remained against the West Pier being battered against the Pier by the incoming waves. The port side bow and port side aft of the casualty yacht are smashed off.

    “Under extremely difficult circumstances an NSRI rescue swimmer, Juan Pretorius, was put into the surf from our rescue craft and he swam to the casualty yacht, climbed aboard the casualty yacht, and secured a tow-line to the casualty yacht and Kowie Rescue pulled her free from the West Pier but the casualty yacht, holed in both port side aft and on port side bow, was at risk of sinking.

    “We managed to tow the yacht onto a sand bank, made possible with an outgoing tide, and at present the casualty yacht is hard aground, but safe, on the sand bank.

    “During the operation a 29 foot Supercat motor boat Sliver 29, (the motor version of the Supercat yacht), with the skipper of the casualty yachts son on-board, (who had launched earlier to go out and meet his dad who was returning from Mozambique), was attempting to assist in the rescue operation but Sliver 29 almost collided with the East Pier and was at risk of being battered against the East Pier. NSRI rescue swimmer Neil Burger was put into the surf, from our rescue craft, and he swam to Sliver 29 and climbed aboard to assist the skipper to bring Sliver 29 out of harms way and safely into the harbour.

    “The skipper of the casualty yacht, Dennis Schultz, 55, from Port Alfred, was not injured and is reviewing options of salvage. He reports that he had been returning to Port Alfred from Mozambique after a 5 month leisure voyage. Dennis’s son, Clinton, 29, from Port Alfred, has now joined his dad on-scene, to welcome him back from his voyage, and to assist with the salvage of the yacht. Neither Dennis nor Clinton were injured in the incident. We remain on-scene to assist as necessary.

    “Attempts are being made to secure floatation buoys to the holed port side and re-float the casualty craft as the tide comes in and hopefully get her safely into the harbour.”

    NSRI volunteers assisted the owners to float the craft. Pontoons and flotation buoys were placed and secured into the holed sections of the yacht and the two NSRI Port Alfred Rescue craft Kowie Rescue and Arthur Scales towed the yacht into the harbour where later, with high tide, the owners managed to get the yacht onto her trailer and she has been towed to the Supercat Factory in Port Alfred.

    Dennis Schultz, the skipper of the yacht Supercat is also the owner of the Supercat yacht and Supercat motor boat builders in Port Alfred.

    New name for SA Shippers’ Council

    The South African Shippers’ Council, which represents the interests of importers and exporters (cargo owners) within government and other decision-making bodies, is to undergo a change of name.

    This decision was made at a recent conference, the first ever held by the organisation. The new name for the council will be the South African Cargo Association.

    Rotterdam's Maasvlakte begins

    Construction of Maasvlakte 2, the latest extension to the Port of Rotterdam is due to begin at the start of September, following the issuing of all the necessary permits.

    The issuing of the permits had been delayed pending a number of appeals concerning the development and over compensation to nature issues.

    After 15 years of study and planning the project will finally get underway when dredging commences in the Yangtzehaven using the cutter suction dredger ZUIDERKLIP.

    London Gateway to become world’s most technically advanced container port

    In other international port news DP World has signed a £400 million contract for the construction of phase 1 of the new port at London Gateway, which is being claimed will become the most technically advanced container port in the world and integrated into Europe’s largest logistics park.

    The complete project is worth a staggering £1.5 billion and will take between 10 and 15 years to complete. Ultimately the terminal will handle 3.5 million TEU.

    The idea behind the integration of a logistics park with the port terminal is that instead of containers being delivered from the port to destinations around the UK, containers will be delivered direct to the logistics park for sorting ahead of direct delivery to retail outlets. It is believed this will remove up to 2,000 trucks from the roads around London each day, with the same vehicle often having to return back to the port with empty containers.

    London Gateway will transfer containers from the ship direct to an automated sorting area adjacent to the quay. The entire park will cover 1500 acres and is 25 miles from central London.

    The first ships are expected to berth in the first quarter of 2011.

    Pic of the day – SALVERITAS

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The tug SALVERITAS in Cape Town harbor on 24 August 2008 shortly after dropping her tow (the workbarge Jascon 28) in Table Bay to load bunkers. Picture Aad Noorland

    Second Pic of the day – NORTH STAR

    Two pics this week mainly because they are related. The workboat NORTH STAR seen here en route to the workbarge JASCON 28 which the tug Salveritas had just released in Table Bay. Picture 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

    Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all southern African ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Mombasa on the East Coast?

    The daily shipping report for Cape Town now includes a webcam view of the city across Table Bay

    Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.

    Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.


    South Africa’s most comprehensive Directory of Maritime Services is now listed on this site. Please check if your company is included. To sign up for a free listing contact info@ports.co.za or register online

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