Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 30, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • First View – MSC ROBERTA in Cape Town

  • Barges remain aground off Zululand coast

  • MOL withdraws from liner trade agreements

  • Oil rig due in Cape Town tomorrow

  • US gives Mauritius the nod on textiles under AGOA

  • P&O names new ship AZURA

  • Comments on the SADC-EAC-COMESA Summit

  • Pic of the day – ORIBI


    First View – MSC ROBERTA in Cape Town

    The container ship MSC ROBERTA is a regular caller on the South African coast. This picture by Ian Shiffamn was taken with the ship in the port of Cape Town.

    Barges remain aground on Zululand coast

    The two barges which ran aground north of Cape Vidal last week have so far resisted efforts to pull them into deep water and salvors will now wait until the arrival of a second tug from Cape Town.

    A spokesman for the salvors said yesterday that the tug THUNDERER, which lost the tow last Wednesday night in heavy seas north of Richards Bay, had not been able to pull either of the two barges away from the rocky ledge on which they lie stranded. A more powerful tug is on its way to assist and is expected to arrive in the next few days.

    In a Richards Bay hospital one of the two seafarers that were seriously injured on the Thunderer told the Zululand Observer that they had been in the wheelhouse when a massive wave swept over the vessel, sending them “flying.” One man suffered a fractured leg and the other a fractured ankle, facial injuries and an injured back.

    Because of the extent of the injuries the tug was forced to temporarily halt efforts to regain the tow of the two barges. The port helicopter from Richards Bay subsequently answered a call for assistance and efforts were made to winch a NSRI rescue volunteer onto the tug but such were the conditions with 8 metre waves buffeting the tug and strong winds overhead that this was abandoned, forcing the tug to make for Richards Bay and land the injured crew.

    The two barges are empty and were en route for Dubai when the grounding occurred and do not pose much threat to the environment.

    Meanwhile the fishing trawler DIOMED also remains aground further north near the KwaZulu-Natal and Mozambique border. The Cypriot-registered vessel went ashore also late last week.

    MOL withdraws from liner trade agreements

    MOL Drakensberg during her maiden call at Cape Town, March 2007. Picture Ian Shiffman

    Tokyo, 29 October 2008 – Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines, Ltd (MOL) has announced its resignation from two liner trade agreements, the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) and the Canada Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (CTSA), with effect from 27 November, 2008.

    “With the European Union’s abolition of liner anti-trust immunity, it has become extremely difficult to align the business processes of our entire organisation when its regional divisions must operate to differing standards,” said MOL Vice President Masakazu Yakushiji.

    “Having done a thorough analysis of marketplace dynamics and the roles of TSA/CTSA relative to our unique ability to differentiate, we concluded MOL and its customers would be better served by conducting business independently from transpacific liner agreements.”

    MOL has been a member of TSA and CTSA since their inceptions in 1989, but resigned from the westbound discussion agreements in June 2005.

    Yakushiji said the time had come for MOL to move beyond what can be offered through liner agreements.

    “MOL has several capabilities that move us ahead of the pack. These differentiators include our new rapid bid capability, enhanced sales and customer service organisations designed to focus on what truly adds value for our customers, and our round-trip yield management process which improves efficiencies.”

    He said MOL was committed to meeting the ever-changing needs of its customers, while providing them with maximum value for their transportation dollar.

    Oil rig due in Cape Town tomorrow

    The oil rig SCARABEO 7 is due off the port of Cape Town today (Thursday) and will be docked at A berth on Friday, weather permitting.

    Port Harbour Master Captain DD Naicker has promised that shipping delays will be kept to a minimum.

    Scarabeo 7 is a semi-submersible oil rig owned by Saipem and was built at the Tuzla shipyard in Turkey in 1999. The rig can operate at water depths up to 4,900 ft and drill down to 25,000 ft. The rig flies the Bahamas flag.

    US gives Mauritius the nod on textiles under AGOA

    The US Congress last Friday (24 October) passed the Omnibus Bill which includes a clause that will allow Mauritius to use raw materials sourced from third countries that are not members of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The clause refers to the manufacture of textiles and clothing for export to the United States.

    Mauritius will now enjoy the same privileges as those for less advanced countries and according to Mauritius Prime Minister Dr Navin Chandra Ramgoolam, this amounts to a victory for his government’s diplomacy.

    The Third Country Fabric (TCF), as the clause is labeled will give the island’s textile industry a new lease of life at a difficult time considering the state of world’s economy and will provide stability for its development, he said.

    The new clause will remain in effect until at least 2015 when AGOA comes up for review.

    Mauritius is now grouped alongside Botswana and Namibia as one of only three countries qualified to source third country fabrics for the manufacture of eligible garments. This is despite Mauritius not being classified as a lesser developed country under the Act.

    P&O names new ship AZURA

    P&O Cruises new 116,000-gt super cruise ship VENTURA, launched into service earlier this year. A second ship is to be named AZURA. Picture P&O Cruises

    Cruise company P&O Cruises has announced that its latest new ship is to be named AZURA.

    She will be similar to the VENTURA which entered service with P&O Cruises earlier this year. At 116,000-gt they become the biggest ships in the fleet, boasting 15 decks, 900 balconied cabins, 11 restaurants, four swimming pools and all the other attractions necessary on modern cruise ships to pamper up to 3,100 passengers.

    Construction of the new ship began last week at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard near Trieste. Azura is due to join the fleet in 2010.

    Ventura joined P&O Cruises earlier this year.

    P&O Cruises’ managing director Nigel Esdale described the name Azura as “very fitting for this most sophisticated of superliners.

    “It is also appropriate for a ship that will be a haven of serenity and the embodiment [of] the choice and service excellence for which P&O Cruises is renowned,” he said.

    The ship is expected to make her maiden voyage from Southampton in the late (northern) spring of 2010. Destinations and cruise schedules will be published early in 2009.

    Comments on the SADC-EAC-COMESA Summit

    by Paul Kruger, a tralac Researcher

    On the 22nd of October 2008, the regional trading blocs of SADC, COMESA and EAC adopted a communiqué which lays the foundation for the creation of a unified free trade area (FTA).

    The proposed merger will lead to the establishment of the largest FTA Africa has ever seen, involving 26 countries with over 527 million citizens. This unifying move has been commended by commentators and is seen by many as a solution to the sundry challenges plaguing the African continent.

    This plan has rekindled the notion of a united Africa. We have seen in the past, however, that the sheer size of the markets alone is not sufficient to generate increased trade or investment. The foremost argument in favour of the merger is that this fusion will solve the quagmire of overlapping membership in this region. Indeed, a great solution in the short term and on paper, with no country having to make the politically sensitive decision of choosing one regional bloc over another.

    We have been down this road before and know the challenges we are facing, especially when trying to accommodate the wide diversity of economies. More worrying however, is the intention of the Tripartite Alliance to ‘accelerate the process’ [of regional integration] and to approve the expeditious establishment of the FTA.

    Patience can be a virtue, and if there is one lesson we can take away from the SADC FTA, it is that economic integration takes time. Within the next six months, the three regional blocs will develop a road map to establish the FTA and possibly also articulate their intentions on deeper integration. Chances are we will see another ambitious roadmap with unrealistic targets following the linear model of regional integration. – source tralac

    Pic of the day – ORIBI

    The Unicorn Tankers ORIBI sailing from Durban one January afternoon in 2007. Picture by Terry Hutson

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