Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 21, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • First View – SNOW CRYSTAL

  • News from the shipping lines

  • CMA CGM and Delmas expand into Indian Ocean Island trades

  • Belgian trade seminar for Durban

  • Piracy report: ships and sailors ransomed

  • News from the cruise lines

  • Pic of the day – MSC ORIANE


    First View – SNOW CRYSTAL

    The reefer ship SNOW CRYSTAL loading citrus at Durban’s Fresh Produce Terminal in June this year. Picture by L Rip Riphagen

    News from the shipping lines

    SAECS vessel omitted from Durban

    Because of delays affecting the South Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS) vessel SAFMARINE MBASHE during her South African coastal voyage as well as ongoing berthing delays in Durban, SAECS member lines (Safmarine, Maersk Line, MOL and DAL) have decided to omit the Durban call from her current voyage.

    All Durban Imports will be discharged in Port Elizabeth and will instead be shipped to Durban on the MOL CALEDON voyage 807B with an ETA of 8 November 2008.

    All Durban Exports will be transferred to the vessel DAL KALAHARI voyage 807B. All Lisbon and Le Havre destined cargo will be discharged in Cape Town for loading onto the vessel SAFMARINE MBASHE in Cape Town.

    The new ETA/ETDs for SAFMARINE MBASHE are:


    081027 East London 081029
    OMIT Durban OMIT
    081030 Port Elizabeth 081031
    081031 East London 081102
    081102 Port Elizabeth 081103
    081105 Cape Town 081105
    081121 Lisbon 081122
    081126 Antwerp 081127
    081128 Bremerhaven 081129
    081130 Le Havre 081130
    081203 Lisbon 081203
    081219 East London 081220

    DAL KALAHARI, on which Durban export containers booked originally for Safmarine Mbashe are to be transferred – see report above. Picture Terry Hutson

    Hamburg consortium gains Hapag-Lloyd

    A Hamburg-based group of investors has become the successful bidder for fellow German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd AG, which was sold to them for €4.45 billion.

    Known as the Hamburg Alliance, the consortium outbid Singapore’s Neptune Orient Line (NOL) which has been the front runner for some months. NOL inexplicably withdrew its bid late last Friday (17 October) leaving the way clear for the Hamburg Alliance to take control. The supervisory board of TUI, which owns Hapag-Lloyd has approved the sale.

    TUI chief executive Dr Michael Frenzel said the price realised represented fair value for the container shipping company. A clause allows TUI to buy back one third of the company in the form of an entrepreneurial investment. It has since transpired that the Alliance consists of a single investor, Klaus-Michael Kuhne along with several banks and the city of Hamburg’s Senate.

    CMA CGM and Delmas expand into Indian Ocean Island trades

    CMA CGM TEMA in Cape Town harbour November 2007. The French line will shortly introduce a new weekly service between Europe and the Indian Ocean Islands. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    French shipping company CMA CGM together with its subsidiary Delmas is to introduce a new weekly service into the Indian Ocean island trades as from the end of November 2008.

    To be known as the Mascareignes Express the new service will provide weekly calls in Port Victoria (Seychelles), Pointe des Galets (Reunion), Port Louis (Mauritius), Tamatave (Madagascar) and Longoni (Mayotte). Four 1,700-TEU ships are being deployed and will be operated from a new agency based in Djibouti.

    “The service will guarantee new transport opportunities between North Europe, the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, thanks to weekly direct connections in Djibouti on CMA CGM’s Europe, Pakistan, India (EPIC) and the Mediterranean – Asia (MEX) services”, says the company.

    It adds that cargo from North Europe will be transhipped with the EPIC service calling at Southampton, Hamburg, Antwerp, Le Havre, Port Said and Djibouti.

    Mediterranean containerised cargo will be transhipped on the MEX service calling at Valencia, Barcelona, Fos, Genoa, Malta, Damietta and Djibouti.

    Belgian trade seminar for Durban

    Flanders Investment and Trade and Transnet are jointly hosting a seminar in Durban next week (Wednesday, 29 October) which will focus on the theme ‘Belgium, your European distribution platform’.

    Following an introduction by Mr Yves Lapere, Trade Commissioner of Flanders Investment & Trade, the speakers will include Dr Francis Rome, director of business development of the Flanders Institute for Logistics who will present a paper on the Flanders Port area titled “Our hinterland is called Europe”.

    Jan Vannieuwenburg and Paul Verkoyen will give presentations on the ports of Zeebrugge and Antwerp respectively, while a South African perspective will be provided by Jason Smith, head of Logistics and Order Process at Mondi, the South African paper manufacturing company operating in Belgium.

    Finally, tax specialists Terry McCrathy and Marie Godenir will talk about EDC Taxation: The European Distribution Centre.

    The seminar is being held at the Durban ICC starting at 14h30. Interested parties should contact the Belgian Commercial Attache Yves Lapere at 011-783 4732 or email at Johannesburg@fitagency.com

    Piracy Report: ships and sailors ransomed

    Two ships captured by Somali pirates have been released along with their crews following the payment of a ransom. But several other ships and their crews remain in captivity along the Puntland and Somali coasts, including the Ukrainian Ro-Ro vessel FAINA which is carrying a cargo of Russian tanks and other weapons thought to be destined for South Sudan.

    The two vessels released are a Thai vessel and one from South Korea. Local government reports indicate a ransom was paid over to Puntland pirates. The amount has not been disclosed.

    The Puntland government spokesman said the pirates would be hunted down. His statement came after criticism over the system that encourages ship owners to pay ransoms. Critics say this simply leads to further ships being taken.

    Little more than a week ago Puntland armed forces stormed a pirate-held Somali ship, killed several pirates and captured the remainder, who have been taken into custody. Questions are however now being asked why similar action wasn’t taken with non-Somali ships.

    Meanwhile another vessel, the bulk cargo ship ARICAN SANDERLING with a crew of 21 was seized by Somali pirates last week. The ship, which has been a regular caller at South and East African ports, is carrying a cargo of fertiliser. The ship had sailed earlier from Aquaba in Jordan. At least ten ships are currently in pirate hands off the Somali coast.

    Contradictory statements have been issued by Somali government officials with the Transitional Federal Parliament’s Deputy Speaker telling a news conference in Nairobi that foreign naval forces are operating illegally in Somali waters. Omar Dalha included those US warships holding a close watch on the Ukraine vessel FAINA. He said it was the responsibility of the Somali transitional government to rid the area of piracy. His government, he said, was not opposed to what foreign navies were doing on Somali’s coast, but they had to seek permission before taking action against the pirates. Nobody knew what the foreign powers were really up to with their ships, he maintained.

    But while he was telling journalists this in Kenya, his interim prime minister had a different version for journalists at a meeting in Mogadishu on Sunday. Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein said his government welcomed the presence of the international community to combat piracy off the Somali coast.


    Over in West Africa piracy is also seldom out of the news. Eight fishing vessels that were seized last week along with their crew of 96 remain in the hands of the pirates who are operating in the area of the Niger Delta. The president of the Nigerian Trawler Owners Association, Mrs Margaret Orakwusi said at the weekend that the trawler owners felt they had little option but to negotiate with the militants/pirates in order to prevent casualties. She said she feared that Nigeria’s navy was likely to rely on force to find and release the captives.

    “We appeal to the navy to allow the status quo to remain to enhance safety and for marine activities to thrive,” she said.

    According to Orakwusi the location of the eight trawlers is known although their captains have been taken to an unknown destination. The pirates had called representatives of the ship owners and threatened that harm would come to the crew members if their demands were not met. She pointed out that the Nigerian fishing industry had already lost several ships and crew to pirates and now felt they needed to respond to the demands to prevent further bloodshed.

    News from the cruise lines

    The popular but aging Fred Olsen cruise ship BLACK PRINCE is to be withdrawn from service in October 2009, Managing Director Mike Rodwell has announced. He said it was a sad moment but the 1966-built Black Prince has reached the end of the line, despite being one of the best loved ships catering for the UK market.

    “Many passengers have cruised on her so often that even they have lost track of the number of holidays they have taken. We know that there will be thousands of passengers who have sailed on her who will be very sad on that final day,” said Fred Olsen’s managing director Mike Rodwell.

    There is no immediate indication of the fate of the ship, which will require expensive SOLAS 2010 compliance to continue sailing. Nevertheless there is some speculation that the ship, which has a capacity of 440 passengers may be sold and not scrapped.

    Black Prince will finish her career with Fred Olsen with a series of final cruises including round Britain cruises and a final 14-day voyage to the Canary Islands.

    Fred Olsen currently operates a five ship fleet consisting of BALMORAL, BOUDICCA, BLACK WATCH, BLACK PRINCE and BRAEMAR. The company has been strengthened with the acquisition of the former NORWEGIAN CROWN (prev CROWN ODYSSEY), now renamed BALMORAL and the largest ship in the fleet (1400 passengers, 43,537-gt), which will complete her first World Cruise next May.

    EUROPA scores as ‘Best Ship’ once again

    Hapag-Lloyd’s EUROPA in Durban on a previous visit. For the ninth consecutive year the German ship has been judged by a leading travel publication as the best cruise ship for. Picture Terry Hutson

    Hapag-Lloyd’s EUROPA (28,437-gt, 450 passengers) has again scored highest in the latest (2009) edition of the Berlitz Cruise Guide. Voted the “best ship in the world” for the ninth year in succession, Europa, which will visit Southern African ports in December, recorded 1,852 points out of a possible 2,000.

    Europa is also the only ship to gain a ‘Five Star Plus’ category from British judge and cruise ship expert Douglas Ward who was evaluating cruise ships on behalf of the Berlitz publisher. The ship has taken the top honours every year since entering service in 1999.

    Second best ship, according to the guide is SEA DREAM II, which scored 1788 points. Never heard of Sea Dream II? Well she is one of those smaller boutique type cruise ships of just 4,260-gt which carries 116 passengers, and may be better remembered as the former Cunard ship SEA GODDESS II (later SEABOURN GODDESS II).

    Pic of the day – MSC ORIANE

    MSC ORIANE, launched earlier this year at the Samsung Heavy Industry yards in South Korea is currently in South African waters and making her maiden calls at local ports. On 16 October she was in Cape Town before heading along the coast to Port Elizabeth and then on to Durban, where she berthed yesterday (Monday). With a container capacity of 5,762-TEU the 277m long, 65,247-gt vessel is currently one of the largest on service to South Africa. Picture 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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