Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 13, 2008
Author: P&S

Reach out to this dedicated maritime audience by advertising here with your Banner - contact info@ports.co.za



Click on headline to go direct to story – use the BACK key to return

  • South African port statistics for September

  • Ins-and-outs of the global economic crisis explained

  • Mozambique wants SA to think again over power cuts to Matola

  • Coega oil refinery fully operational by 2015

  • The Queen makes her final voyages


  • Piracy Report: Comings and goings in Somalia

  • US ratifies MARPOL Annex VI


  • Date set for slashing of maritime sulphur emissions

  • Seychelles says global trade regime is detrimental to developing countries

  • Pic of the day – KETY II


    South African port statistics for September

    Port cargo figures for September 2008 are now available, courtesy of Transnet Ports Authority.

    The combined seven ports enjoyed a small increase in total cargo tonnage handled against the previous month, including an increase in the number of containers processed through the terminals.

    As is customary the figures shown in this report reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – this is necessary because Transnet NPA no longer measures containers by weight, but does so by counting the number of TEUs - for which PORTS & SHIPS makes an estimated weight adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to reflect tonnages. This figure may however be considered as conservative with 14 tonnes or even more perhaps being a more realistic figure as more bulk cargo is handled in containers. In the future this figure may have to be adjusted upwards.

    Figures for the respective ports during September 2008 were (with August figures shown bracketed for comparison):

    Cargo handled by tonnes

    Richards Bay                    7.340 million tonnes (Aug 6.283Mt)
    Durban                            6.996 Mt (Aug 6.120)
    Saldanha Bay                   5.158 Mt (Aug 6.548)
    Cape Town                      0.946 Mt (Aug 1.154)
    Port Elizabeth                   1.137 Mt (Aug 1.099)
    Mossel Bay                      0.130 Mt (Aug 0.157)
    East London                     0.283 Mt (Aug 0.249)

    Total monthly cargo in September 21.991 million tonnes (Aug 21.610 Mt)

    Containers (measured by TEUs)
    (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA)

    Durban                            232,951 TEU (Aug 210,236)
    Cape Town                        59,491 (Aug 67,491)
    Port Elizabeth                     42,480 (Aug 38,117)
    East London                         5,580 (Aug 5,246)
    Richards Bay                         2,015 (Aug 108)

    Total containers handled during September 342,517 TEU (Aug 320,935)

    Ship Calls for August

    Durban: 392 vessels 9.060m gt (Aug 368 vessels 9.163m gt)
    Cape Town: 254 vessels 4.109m gt (Aug 262 vessels 4.383m gt)
    Port Elizabeth: 120 vessels 2.861m gt (Aug 108 vessels 2.880m gt)
    Richards Bay: 150 vessels 5.289m gt (Aug 148 vessels 4.706m gt)
    Saldanha: 46 vessels 2.515 gt (Aug 37 vessels 1,944m gt)
    East London: 19 vessels 0.641m gt (Aug 33 vessels 0.981m gt)
    Mossel Bay: 69 vessels 0.273m gt (Aug 172 vessels 0.272m gt)

    - source TNPA, with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container weights

    Ins-and-outs of the global economic crisis explained

    The causes and effects of the US mortgage crisis on world markets is often lost in financial jargon and economic terminology, with many South Africans left wondering whether they are being directly affected by it, writes Michael Appel (BuaNews).

    Put plainly, the economic woes in the Unites States began a few years back when banks and other financial institutions - not acting within the confines of good lending practices - extended home loans to almost every person walking through their doors.

    No proper credit checks were done on prospective lenders and financial institutions continued lending in the face of a diminishing housing market in which the value of assets began dropping sharply.

    Econometrix economist Russell Lamberti explained to BuaNews that when, for example, a bank has USD500 million in housing mortgages on its balance sheets, but the value of houses has dropped by 20 percent, the bank can no longer extend as much credit as it did.

    "If you have USD500 million on your balance sheets as a bank, but the assets have lost 20 percent in value, it needs to be reflected in the books," he said.

    How much a bank lends needs to be proportionate to the value of its assets, Mr Lamberti explained.

    With banks over extending credit and debt-burdened Americans struggling to repay their mortgages, the US market plummeted, requiring all major world banks to inject billions of dollars into world markets.

    "These banks now either have to recapitalise or recall all their loans," Mr Lamberti said.

    The US government's USD700 billion bail-out plan passed by Washington 10 days ago is hoped to be the saving grace for world markets as the US government will effectively payoff financial institutions' bad debt.

    Problem being, however, that nobody seems to know the amount that needs to be paid off by the US government, with Mr Lamberti arguing that USD700 billion could simply not be enough.

    "There are many reasons for the markets not reacting more positively to the news of the US government bail-out plan being passed. Firstly, there is a deep worry that the bail-out package will simply scratch the surface of debt.

    "[And secondly] that long term consequences of the bail-out plan will further indebt US taxpayers," Mr Lamberti said.

    The US government is raising the USD700 billion through the issuing of bonds to anyone who will buy them, and will then use the funds to inject much needed liquidity into world markets.

    The USD700 billion will basically be used to buy the assets from the bank at a discounted rate, manage the assets and restore them to some sense of financial health, said Mr Lamberti.

    He also believes that the US government could possibly make a profit out of the whole bail-out plan, as the bought assets would later be sold back to the private sector, quite possibly yielding a profit.

    In terms of South Africa, despite a high inflationary environment currently with annual inflation in August hitting 13.6 percent, South African consumers are still in a much better position than their American counterparts.

    "South Africa's banks are properly capitalised and are in pretty good shape.

    "Absa and Standard Bank are the big banks in home loans, but our credit policies have always been rather strict.

    "The price of property in South Africa has remained pretty flat for the past year, but if it drops by another 10 to 15 percent in the future we could see our own credit crunch in South Africa," he highlighted.

    While many doomsayers have witnessed the recent All Share index drop to recent all time lows as the beginning of a local market collapse, Mr Lamberti explained that among developing countries, South Africa's not doing all too badly.

    The local currencies of other developing markets like Turkey and Brazil saw greater weakening than the South African Rand, he said.

    "The Australian Dollar was actually the hardest hit on Monday (6 October) losing more than the Rand, so in comparison we're not doing that badly.

    "Emerging markets fell 10 percent on Monday, while we fell 7 percent. We're holding up somewhat better with the Rand acting as a shock absorber," Mr Lamberti said.

    Mozambique wants SA to think again over power cuts to Matola

    map of Maputo Bay showing location of Matola (aluminium smelter) to the port of Maputo

    Mozambique is negotiating with South Africa for the full restoration of electricity to the MOZAL aluminium smelter at Matola outside Maputo, according to reports by the Mozambique news agency AIM.

    The supply of electricity to Matola was reduced when South Africa’s Eskom requested industry to cut back on demand by 10% in order to conserve energy. By some complex arrangement this included Mozal although the smelter is situated in a neighbouring country. BHP Billiton holds a controlling share in the Matola smelter, which consumes approximately 900 megawatts of electricity.

    Mozal buys its electricity from a company called Motraco, which was set up specifically to supply the smelter. Motraco is owned by a consortium made up of Eskom and its Swaziland and Mozambican counterparts, SEB and EDM.

    Mozambique says however that the fact that it sells more than a thousand megawatts of electricity to South Africa from its Cahora Bassa hydro-electric plant in central Mozambique should be taken into account.

    As an offset Eskom has permitted Mozal to cut its usage by 4% instead of 10% but the Mozambique government says it is not satisfied and wants the full amount restored.

    The Matola port facility

    Coega oil refinery fully operational by 2015

    by Michael Appel (BuaNews)

    Johannesburg, 10 April - The PetroSA crude oil refinery at Coega will be fully operational by 2015, says Director General (DG) at the Department of Minerals and Energy, Adv Sandile Nogxina.

    The 400,000 barrel per day refinery, which will be situated near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, is expected to create about 25,000 direct and indirect jobs.

    Speaking at the Oil Summit on Friday, Deputy Director General (DDG) at the department, Jacinto Rocha explained the cost of the facility, saying that for every barrel that is produced, USD17,000 is needed in capital investment.

    Explaining why PetroSA, which is a state-owned oil and gas company, will build the facility instead of the private sector, the DDG highlighted that in the value chain, the international oil companies do not see much value in refining.

    "The margins in this business are upstream, especially at the rate at which the upstream prices have increased there has really not been an incentive for them [in the private sector] to build refineries and they are not building refineries.

    "In South Africa we either have a choice of not building a refinery or getting an international oil company to build one," said the DDG.

    Adv Nogxina said there was a need for the expansion of the refining capacity in South Africa, and that government had allowed the market to take advantage of that but the private sector did not respond.

    "Whenever the markets fail, the state must intervene, and at the end of the day, the government is responsible for security of supply.

    "[For example] when there is no fuel in South Africa, you cannot expect the government to come out and say we [as government] waited for the private sector to invest and they didn't.

    "The same happened in the electricity sector, when we waited for the private sector to investment in the electricity industry but they didn't and that's why we are in the situation we are in today.

    "... so we have learnt from our past mistakes that we won't allow a situation where the private sector has shown no appetite for investment, in particular on issues of infrastructure," said the DG.

    The consultative summit, the DG said, which was convened by his department, was held to discuss what players in the industry could collectively do in order to come up with a so-called roadmap on oil.

    "Given the volatility of the oil prices, it became necessary that we have to bring our heads together in order to come up with a solution," said Adv Nogxina.

    The DG said issues that have risen in discussions include those focussed on the security of supply of oil, something that is a topic of discussions worldwide, as well as pricing policy and pricing mechanism, and the role of the state in the oil industry.

    The summit was themed "South African Oil dialogue: Response to global challenges".

    The Queen makes her final journey

    Forty-one years after her launching and maiden trans-Atlantic crossing, the 70,000 ton passenger ship QE2 has completed a series of final visits to Scotland, her place of birth, and will sail for New York this week on her last double crossing before ending her days as a floating hotel and recreation centre.

    When she finally retires in less than a month’s time it will be to make one last voyage as far as the man-made island of Palm Jumeriah in Dubai, where the stately ship will be converted into a floating hotel and retail and recreation centre. This final voyage starts at 19h15 UK time, 11 November.

    What she will look like internally once her makeover is complete remains shrouded in some secrecy but it has been learned that the famous red funnel will disappear, to be replaced with a four-deck smoked glass penthouse, shaped like a funnel although equipped with its own swimming pool rather than flues and chimneys. This is set to become the most exclusive accommodation on the ship.

    The original funnel will however not disappear altogether but will be mounted alongside the ship on the quayside.

    Also disappearing will be her lifeboats, no longer required for that accident that never took happened. Instead the space will be utilised for a number of additional rooms, swelling her accommodation and other facilities. Existing cabins will be ripped out and replaced with larger bedrooms more suited to her new purpose.

    Downstairs in the engine room her giant equipment will also disappear – the area is designated for an entertainment centre.

    The purists can be expected to throw a few ‘cadenzas’ at the thought of what is to happen with one of the world’s favourite ships of all time, perhaps ignoring the alternative which was to have the ship follow the route of SS France and other famous liners and become rusting hulks stranded on some Indian beach while waiting for the cutters torch.

    SAS Charlotte Maxeke in Durban

    The South African Navy submarine SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE (S102) made her first call at Durban last week to take part in Exercise Oxide, involving a number of warships of the French, South African and US navies. At the recent weekend the South African ships returned to Salisbury Island Naval Station and were opened to the public. Picture by Trevor Jones

    Piracy Report: Comings and goings in Somalia

    It’s been a week of some coming and more than a little going in Somali shipping circles, as pirates seized another ship while releasing others.

    The ‘coming’ belongs to a Somali ship, the AWAIL which was taken by the pirates some 270km off the northern Puntland coast.

    The going has involved several ships and their crews. According to the Philippines Foreign Affairs the crew of the Japanese products tanker IRENE, which was seized almost two months ago has been released. The report did not mention whether a ransom was paid or an indication of the fate of the ship. The seafarers are all in good health according to the report.

    Another ship released with its crew after a ransom was paid is the Japanese bulker STELLA MARIS, which has been held in captivity for several months.

    Yet another ship is the Iranian bulker IRAN DEYANAT along with the crew of 29 that was released last week. The vessel is owned and operated by Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and was seized in August. At the time there were questions as to the nature of the Iranian ship’s cargo.

    Iranian officials declined to comment when asked whether any ransom was paid, except to say the ship was released after ‘discussions’.

    Meanwhile several shipping organizations have issued a statement that says arming merchant ships to deter piracy would endanger their crews and increase levels of violence by the pirates. BIMCO, the International Chamber of Shipping, and the International Shipping Federation and Intertanko said it would be illegal under the national law of many ships’ flag states to arm themselves.

    "Since 9/11, the international shipping industry has spent billions of dollars to comply with stringent new security requirements. Yet when merchant ships are subject to attack by pirates, the response is that the ships should hire mercenaries to protect themselves. It would also be illegal under the national law of many ships' flag states and in many of the countries to which they are trading," the group said in a statement.

    "Pirates are attacking ships daily with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades, and are currently holding over 200 seafarers hostage. The pirates are operating with impunity and governments stand idly by."

    The statement added that if no action (by naval forces) is taken then major shipping lines will begin avoiding the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the Suez Canal by directing ships to use the longer route around the Cape of Good Hope.

    "The industry understands that military resources are stretched and that the Coalition Task Force is doing what it can, consistent with current rules of engagement provided by participating governments," said the statement.

    "If civil aircraft were being hijacked on a daily basis, the response of governments would be very different. This apparent indifference to the lives of seafarers is simply unacceptable. The shipping industry is amazed that the world's leading nations, with the naval resources at their disposal, are unable to maintain the security of one of the world's most strategically important seaways, linking Europe to Asia via the Red Sea and the Suez Canal," said the group statement.

    US ratifies MARPOL Annex VI

    The United States of America has become the 53rd state to ratify Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), with the deposition today of an instrument of ratification with the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

    Annex VI, which was adopted in 1997 and entered into force in May 2005, regulates the discharge of atmospheric pollutants from ships. Among other things, it set, for the first time, limits on sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from ships' exhausts; prohibited deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances and put a global cap on the sulphur content of fuel oil.

    This latest ratification, which brings to 81.88 the percentage of gross world merchant shipping tonnage covered by the aforementioned regulations, comes as a detailed review of the provisions of Annex VI is reaching a conclusion.


    It was the Torrey Canyon disaster of 1967 that focused the attention of the world on the real danger to the environment posed by the growth in tanker traffic. The Torrey Canyon ran aground while entering the English Channel and spilled her entire cargo of 120,000 tons of crude oil into the sea. This resulted in the biggest oil pollution incident ever recorded up to that time, and raised serious questions about measures to prevent oil pollution from ships.

    IMO's response was swift. The Organization embarked on a multi-faceted, ambitious programme of work, which, culminated successfully in the adoption, in 1973, of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, now known universally as MARPOL. Thirty-five years later, albeit much expanded, amended and updated, the MARPOL Convention remains the most important international convention covering the prevention of pollution by ships.

    Today, MARPOL has six separate annexes, which set out regulations dealing with pollution from ships by oil; by noxious liquid substances carried in bulk; by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form; by sewage, by garbage; and with the prevention of air pollution from ships

    Source: International Maritime Organisation Press Briefing No.44/2008


    The Astrakhan class Ro-Ro vessel ATLANTIC RUNNER seen sailing from Durban in October 2008. The ship is the former LYKES RUNNER Picture by Trevor Jones

    Date set for slashing of maritime sulphur emissions

    London, 10 October 2008 - The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) unanimously adopted amendments to the MARPOL Annex VI regulations to reduce harmful emissions from ships even further, when it met for its 58th session at IMO's London headquarters.

    The main changes to MARPOL Annex VI will see a progressive reduction in sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions from ships, with the global sulphur cap reduced initially to 3.5% (from the current 4.5%), effective from 1 January 2012; then progressively to 0.5 %, effective from 1 January 2020, subject to a feasibility review to be completed no later than 2018.

    The limits applicable in Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) will be reduced to 1.00%, beginning on 1 July 2010 (from the current 1.5 %); being further reduced to 0.1%, effective from 1 January 2015.

    Progressive reductions in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from marine engines were also agreed, with the most stringent controls on so-called "Tier III" engines, i.e. those installed on ships constructed on or after 1 January 2016, operating in Emission Control Areas.

    The revised Annex VI will allow for an Emission Control Area to be designated for SOx and particulate matter, or NOx, or all three types of emissions from ships, subject to a proposal from a Party or Parties to the Annex, which would be considered for adoption by the Organization, if supported by a demonstrated need to prevent, reduce and control one or all three of those emissions from ships.

    The revised Annex VI will enter into force on 1 July 2010, under the tacit acceptance amendment procedure.

    MARPOL Annex VI Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships entered into force in May 2005 and has, so far, been ratified by 53 countries, representing approximately 81.88% of the gross tonnage of the world's merchant shipping fleet.

    The MEPC also adopted amendments to the associated NOx Technical Code, to give a revised NOx Technical Code 2008. The amended Code includes a new chapter based on the agreed approach for NOx regulation of existing (pre-2000) engines established in MARPOL Annex VI, and provisions for direct measurement and monitoring methods, a certification procedure for existing engines, and test cycles to be applied to Tier II and Tier III engines.

    Revised Guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems and Guidelines for the development of a VOC management plan were also adopted.

    The revised measures are expected to have a significant beneficial impact on the atmospheric environment and on human health, particularly that of people living in port cities and coastal communities.

    Shipping analysts said the significance of the agreement will be seen with substantial reductions in the emissions of harmful sulphur by ships and a far greater use of distillates such as diesel fuel which are less polluting.

    Source: International Maritime Organisation Press Briefing No.46/2008

    Seychelles says global trade regime is detrimental to developing countries

    UN News Service (New York) - Seychelles’ President James Alix Michel has said that the distorted world trade regime is an obstacle to development. He addressed the UN General Assembly recently, calling for increased justice and fairness to recognise the specific needs of small island nations.

    “We should abandon ‘solutions’ which continue to enrich the rich and impoverish the poor and the vulnerable”, he said. Agricultural subsidies handed out by wealthy nations reduce the competitiveness of poorer nations’ exports, he added.

    “Yet developing countries are obliged to follow WTO [World Trade Organisation] rules to the letter, even to the extent that they may undermine domestic economic policies formulated to protect vulnerable sections of society.”

    Michel noted that foreign investors have exploited and profited from the natural resources in the Seychelles, while the Indian Ocean nation receives a ‘pittance’. “It is like taking a bowl of food from the poor and giving them back a spoonful as a generous donation!” he exclaimed.

    Only 7 percent of the revenue earned from tuna caught and shipped in the Seychelles by foreign fishing vessels annually goes to the country. “This, to my mind, is unacceptable”, the President said. “I ask you, is it unreasonable to fight for a better share of the proceeds?”

    The ‘middle-income’ trap is further impeding development in the country where donors withhold grants and soft loans to the Seychelles, he pointed out. The country ranks in 50th place in the Human Development Index, even after donor organisations have confirmed that all assistance given to the nations has been used to benefit its peoples.

    “It is as if we are being penalised for our success in raising the standard of living of our people”, Michel declared.

    Pic of the day – KETY II

    An old ‘face’ that reappeared a little unexpectedly on the eastern seaboard in recent weeks is the 1982-built general cargo vessel KETY II (12,811-gt), formerly DAL’s TAGAMA. Now under Greek ownership the former German vessel also operated for a few years as MATADI BRIDGE, during which period she also made calls at southern African ports. Picture by Trevor Jones

    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

  • Google

    Web ports.co.za

    Click to go back

      - Contact Us

      - Home