Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 18, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Coega embarrassment as red tape blocks first ship arrival

  • SAMSA and IMO to host World Maritime Day in Durban

  • Erwin confirms state support for Coega

  • Richards Bay and Durban choppers back in service

  • RDC ‘Out of Africa’ … for now!

  • DP World keen to take over Port Mombasa, but KPA a reluctant bride

  • HMS Liverpool arrives in Cape Town

  • Mombasa gets tough with overstays

  • Walvis Bay trawler to be refloated this week

  • Praise for France as hostages are rescued

  • New ferries for Mozambique

  • Kenya’s Royal Star cruise operation folds - ship to be sold

  • Pic of the day – MSC FRANCE


    Coega embarrassment as red tape blocks first ship arrival

    Image 7207 BBC Langeland arriving in port, with Port Elizabeth in the distant background. all pictures by Brian Hawkins/Mainport Africa Shipping

    What ought to have been a proud and successful moment for the Eastern Cape region and the developers of the new port of Ngqura on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth turned into a bureaucratic mess this week when two ships were denied entry.

    The two vessels, BBC BELUGA INDICATION and BBC LANGELAND were carrying project cargo for an Eskom power station development in the adjacent Coega industrial development zone. However they were denied entry to the new port and made to go to anchor outside awaiting clearance.

    BBC Langeland coming alongside the container berth.

    An official from Transnet National Ports Authority told PORTS & SHIPS that the problem lay with security clearance and the ISPS code. The TNPA had applied for special clearance some two weeks ahead of the vessels’ arrival. Cargo detail and date of arrival had been confirmed.

    However it turns out that the port is currently still a construction site and officially in the hands of the contractor, not the port authority but also does not comply with ISPS requirements, including a lack of perimeter fencing, proper gate security and no patrols. In addition the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) had not conducted a security assessment.

    BBC Langeland alongside.

    If these were the reasons for delaying two ships for several days outside an otherwise empty port then the system in place governing such operations as well as the departments involved need to be seriously looked at. Had the equipment been discharged in nearby Port Elizabeth and brought into the port precinct for some reason by road none of the above nonsense would have been raised but because it was on two ships all the red tape and unnecessary bureaucratic bungling and busy-bodying that government bodies are capable of came to the fore.

    In some ways it was reminiscent of another fiasco in the Eastern Cape involving the official opening of the Kei Railway project, in which the provincial government, which has taken over operation of the railway between aMabele (near East London) and Umtata, was unaware that it required suitably qualified and licensed locomotive drivers with knowledge of the track to drive the train. As a result of that boo-boo the opening of the enterprise was put back by several months.

    At Ngqura this week however, clearance was finally received from the National Department of Transport and the two ships duly berthed yesterday (Wednesday, 17 September) in Ngqura harbour, the first commercial vessels to do so. The vessels had been at anchor outside since Friday last week.

    Beluga Indication over at the liquid bulk berth.

    The first vessel to berth was the Beluga Indication which entered port shortly before 08h30 Wednesday morning and went alongside at the liquid bulk berth. For those interested in having on record such details the following timings were provided courtesy of the ships agent, Mainport Africa Shipping.

    Vessel: Beluga Indication Date 17 September 2008
    Entered Port: 08h28
    First line ashore: 09h06
    All Fast: 09h12
    Gangway Down: 09h25
    Port clearance granted: 09h45

    Draft on arrival:
    FWD - 6.22 m
    AFT - 6.48 m

    Vessel Operation:
    - Port allocated Liquid bulk berth for the discharge operation.
    - Vessel to sail during daylight hours only.
    - Vessel's total port stay anticipated to be approximately 24 hours.

    Cargo Operation:
    - Vessel to discharge 1 x Transformer & 29 cases = 276.280 mt / 482.20 cbm.
    - Heavy lift to be discharged during day light hours only.
    - Discharge operation is scheduled to commence around 12h00 Wednesday with one gang utilising ships gear.

    BBC Langeland berthed on one of the container berths. A harbour tug from Port Elizabeth transferred to Ngqura for the operation

    another view of BBC Langeland with Indication visible behind the bows. All pictures by Brian Hawkins/Mainport Africa Shipping

    SAMSA and IMO to host World Maritime Day in Durban

    The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) together with the Department of Transport (DOT) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will host the National World Maritime Day 2008 celebrations in Durban on Thursday, 25 September 2008.

    SAMSA is the custodian of all maritime matters within South Africa and champion of the domestic maritime industry and was founded in 1998 to ensure the safety of life and property at sea, prevent pollution of the marine environment by naval activity and promote South Africa’s maritime interests. SAMSA regulates and promotes an industry accounting for well-over 95% of South Africa’s total trade.

    The Authority provides a wide range of services on behalf of Government as well as a maritime search and rescue function on behalf of the DOT through the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC).

    The International Maritime Organization was established in 1948 with the primary task of developing and maintaining a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its responsibilities include safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.

    This year is an auspicious date in the maritime calendar as it marks the IMO’s 60th anniversary.

    Every year, the IMO and its affiliated organisations around the world celebrate World Maritime Day and, the exact date is left to individual Governments but is usually celebrated during the last week of September.

    The day is used to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO's work. This year the theme of World Maritime Day is “IMO: 60 years in the service of shipping”.

    The theme for World Maritime Day 2008 in South Africa as hosted by SAMSA under the IMO’s auspices is “Celebrating our past successes, showcasing our future.”

    National World Maritime Day 2008 in Durban kicks off with a showcase of maritime related role-players on 25 September at the ICC, during which delegates will hear an address read on behalf of the Secretary-General of IMO, Mr Efthimios Mitropoulos. Delegates will also be taken on a tour of Durban Harbour.

    In the evening at a Gala Dinner at uShaka Marine World, key players within the industry will be able to acknowledge and reflect on the important role played by the IMO, SAMSA and DOT in the maritime industry.

    Speakers at the dinner include Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe who will give a keynote address, KZN Minister of Transport Bheki Cele, SAMSA CEO Tsietsi Mokhele; CEO Port Regulator Riad Khan, CEO: South African Association of Ship Operators and Agents (SAASOA) Thato Tsautse and Chairperson of the SAMSA Board, Mohlolo Siko.

    “This is an important opportunity for people within the maritime industry to come together, network with key role players, and to gather updated information a variety of areas with the scope of what we represent.” said SAMSA CEO Mokhele.

    Erwin confirms state support for Coega

    Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin has reaffirmed government’s commitment to the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) project and says the manganese ore and oil tank farm at the present Port Elizabeth harbour will be relocated to the new port of Ngqura.

    Erwin told the Port Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce and National African Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc) that he was aware of concerns that certain projects in the Eastern Cape appeared to have been forgotten. He referred specifically to the aluminium smelter at Coega as well as manganese and oil handling at Port Elizabeth harbour.

    The latter two would be relocated only on completion of existing contracts that the leaseholders held with Transnet, he said, saying it was too expensive to cancel these and bring about a relocation sooner. He didn’t have available the costs involved.

    As far as the smelter was concerned he said that a task team was having another look at the contract with Alcan to build an aluminium smelter at Coega, which was on hold because of the shortage of electricity in the country. He said a re-evaluation would take place and the metro would be advised of its outcome before the end of this year.

    Richards Bay and Durban choppers back in service

    back in service, RRB, the Richards Bay port helicopter which transferred to Durban while that port’s chopper was in for a maintenance refit Picture Transnet

    Following a routine maintenance refit the Port of Durban helicopter used for pilot transfer has returned to service, allowing the helicopter from the Port of Richards Bay to officially assume its normal duties at Richards Bay as from 12 September.

    The Richards Bay helicopter transferred to Durban during this period and was only available on limited call for marine pilot operations at Richards Bay.

    Port Harbour Master at Richards Bay Dennis Mqadi said he wished to thank port users for their patience during the past few months whilst the helicopter was operating between the two ports.

    He said that during this period Transnet had built capacity for a 24-hour helicopter service at the Port of Richards Bay.

    RDC ‘Out of Africa’ … for now!

    Railroad Development Corporation (RDC), which is based in Pittsburgh, USA this week announced the sale of its interest in the Nacala Corridor to Mozambican investor group INSITEC.

    The Nacala Corridor, consisting of Malawi’s railway and the Nacala port and railway in Mozambique, was concessioned in stages, beginning with the creation of Central East African Railways (CEAR) in 1999 in Malawi and continuing with the concessioning of the Nacala Port and Railway in 2005. Together these represented the first private sector integration of ports and railways for general cargo in recent history.

    In addition to rail freight service, the Nacala Corridor provides passenger service in selected markets in both Mozambique and Malawi.

    “The sale of our economic interests to local investors represents a major development in the evolution of the Nacala Corridor. Having restructured and stabilised a patchwork of publicly-owned assets, the foreign investors have at this point created most of the value that we were in a position to achieve. This has ranged from equity investment and the arrangement of third-party debt financing to the streamlining and integration of the management of the infrastructure involved. Full integration of the Nacala Corridor into the local private sector represents the next logical step,” commented RDC Chairman Henry Posner III.

    RDC President and CEAR Chairman Bob Pietrandrea added, “With the sale of our interests and having received payments that represent a significant return on our investment, we have demonstrated that value and liquidity have been created in a difficult environment. This transaction will help to bolster RDC’s ‘war chest’ for future opportunities in Africa, and comes at a strategic time as economic opportunities on the continent, which have been perceived as ‘challenging’ to say the least, are likely to come from both increased interest in concessioning and the inevitable restructuring of some existing concessions.”

    DP World keen to take over Port Mombasa, but KPA a reluctant bride

    DP World, the Dubai-based port operator says it is keen to take on the operation of the troubled port of Mombasa, the third busiest port along the eastern African seaboard after Durban and Richards Bay.

    DP World is rapidly extending its involvement in Africa, and has partnerships at Sokhna in Egypt, Djibouti in the Red Sea, Dakar in Senegal and at Maputo in Mozambique. The Dubai company also operates the port at Jeddah in the Red Sea and at Aden as well as extensive operations elsewhere.

    A company spokesman said it was waiting for the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to complete a feasibility study that could open the way for private operators at some or all of the port terminals.

    However a Kenya government spokesman appears to have ruled out any possibility of concessioning in the immediate future if at all. He pointed out that the KPA was currently engaged with improving infrastructure at Mombasa which included building a second container terminal and dredging the port’s entrance channels for larger ships, using loans arranged with Japan.

    The man in charge of DP World’s operation for Africa, Anil Singh has been quoted as saying that DP World would like to be involved at Mombasa sooner rather than later.

    HMS Liverpool arrives in Cape Town

    HMS LIVERPOOL, a type 42 destroyer of the Royal Navy which arrived in Cape Town this week for a short visit. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    a view of the ship alongside in Cape Town harbour. This picture by Clinton Wyness

    another view of the destroyer alongside. Picture by Clinton Wyness

    Mombasa gets tough with overstays

    Following instructions from government that up to 7,000 containers and nearly 700 motor vehicles stored in the port of Mombasa must be disposed of to create space, the government now says it will charge the owners or importers for the cost of their destruction.

    “We will compel them to pay,” said acting finance minister John Michuki.

    Of the 7,000 containers identified as being overstays some 1,000 have been identified as carrying hazardous cargo and will have to be destroyed. The remaining 6,000 boxes contain a variety of goods including foodstuffs, electrical goods and tyres.

    Some of the containers were imported by speculators and appear to have been abandoned.

    The government said it wanted the motors cars, mostly used vehicles, to be crushed and sold for scrap. This has caused some outcry among the populace who say they should instead be donated to government departments including the police.

    A number of the containers and vehicles were intended for cross border destinations such as Uganda.

    Walvis Bay trawler to be refloated this week

    Work on salvaging a Walvis Bay’s shipwreck is due to get underway this week.

    The work of refloating the capsized trawler HOLMATINDUR is to be undertaken by the firms of Elgon Brown & Hamer and Namib Marine Sources.

    Holmatindur sank while en route to the syncrolift for an annual refit. The vessel is carrying some 2,000 litres of fuel but port authorities said there was little risk of this leaking into the harbour.

    Work has been carried out on making the vessel secure for the lifting process and it is hoped to have her back on an even keel later this week.

    The reason for her capsizing has not been identified. Work on repairing the trawler is expected to be extensive with repairs or replacements to her engines and electrical components.

    Praise for France as hostages are rescued

    Praise has been showered on France for taking action to rescue two of its nationals who were being held hostage by pirates in northern Somalia. The two who are reported to be from French Tahiti were highjacked along with their yacht while sailing through the Gulf of Aden.

    French armed forces killed at least one pirate and captured six others who have been taken into custody. The attack was carried out under direct orders from French President Nicolas Sarkozy and repeats similar action to retake another French vessel, the luxury yacht Le Ponant and its crew recently.

    The International Maritime Bureau, a division of the IMO praised the action. IMB director Pottengal Mukundan described it as “precisely the sort of action a flag state should be taking in view of the absence of effective government in Somalia. We call on other governments to take a more active approach to pirates operating out of Somalia.”

    The French action is a far cry from that of other nations whose merchant ships have been attacked and captured before being held for ransom. Some of these have warships operating with the coalition forces in the Gulf but their commanding officers are on record as saying they lack the ability (or instruction) to prevent ships from coming under attack. Once a hostage situation has been created they say they are then powerless to intervene. One officer said that piracy was not his concern, that fighting terrorism was.

    This supposed impotency of the coalition forces operating off the coast of Somalia is at odds with the willingness of the United States to attack locations within Somalia that are thought to have so-called terrorist individuals or groups operating nearby. This has included bombing of villages irrespective of the presence of civilians.

    The news of the rescuing of the two French sailors and their yacht was measured by the announcement that another ship, the Stolt Tankers vessel STOLT VALOR with a crew of 22 had come under attack and had been captured by Somali pirates. The ship was seized on Monday at 13h16 while approximately 33 miles off the Yemen coast.

    Meanwhile it has been announced that two South Africans, taken hostage off an oil service vessel in the Niger Delta of West Africa, have been freed and are returning home. According to one report no ransom was paid – it said the men were released following a request from the wife of one of the militant leaders who is being held in detention in Nigeria. She said she regarded South Africa as having provided a safe haven for herself and her children where they had been well received.

    New ferries for Mozambique

    The Maputo newspaper Noticias reports that the Mozambique government has invested about USD7.5 million to acquire six new passenger ferries to be used at the port cities of Maputo, Inhambine, Beira and Quelimane.

    The six vessels have been acquired in Bangladesh and are due in the country in November. The largest of the six will be able to carry up to 250 passengers, 10 LDVs and four 10-tonne lorries and will operate between Maputo and Catembe. A second ferry for 80 passengers will operate between Maputo and Inhaca Island.

    Kenya’s Royal Star cruise operation folds - ship to be sold

    ROYAL STAR leaving Durban in January 2007. Picture by David Shackleton

    The cruise ship ROYAL STAR (5,067-gt) which is owned by Starline Cruises on behalf of the Africa Safari Club has been placed under arrest and is to be sold.

    The ship has operated for a number of years between Mombasa and the Indian Ocean islands and in recent years has undertaken an annual cruise down the East African coast calling at Maputo, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

    It is believed the company operating the vessel has been placed under judicial management. Papers read out in a Mombasa court stated that wages owing to crew had not been paid in several months and that there appeared little likelihood of the operation becoming successful.

    The failure of the cruise operation is thought to be a result of the political unrest in Kenya earlier this year, which saw tourists from Europe cancelling their planned visits to game parks and a cruise on the Royal Star.

    The ship is to remain in detention in the port of Mombasa until an auction sale can be arranged.

    Royal Star was built in Italy in 1957 and carries up to 250 passengers. The vessel was originally a combined passenger/cargo ship with the name San Giorgio. In 1976 she was sold and became the City of Andros being resold in 1984 and renamed Ocean Islander, sailing the Dalmation coast during the summer months and in the Caribbean during the northern winter. In 1990 the ship passed to her most recent owners who renamed her Royal Star and introduced the ship to cruising in the North Eastern Indian Ocean.

    Pic of the day – MSC FRANCE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The container ship MSC FRANCE seen in Cape Town harbour this month. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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