Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 2, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Transnet Port Terminals announces key strategic appointments

  • US aircraft carrier unable to enter Cape Town harbour

  • Dormac shipyard abuzz with activity

  • Piracy Report: close watch kept on arms-carrying Faina

  • Tug Wolraad Woltemade makes brief visit to Cape Town

  • Ships lining up outside Lagos

  • Hapag-Lloyd’s fate to be known in a fortnight

  • Pic of the day – AN SHUN JIANG


    More coals to Newcastle - the bulker MINING STAR arrives at Lyttelton New Zealand on 17 September 2008 to load coal for Richards Bay. picture by Alan Calvert

    Transnet Port Terminals announces key strategic appointments

    Transnet Port Terminals has announced several strategic personnel transfers in support of the Transnet Group’s four-point growth strategy aimed at increasing total freight volumes by 25% over the next three years.

    Graham Braby: General Manager, Richards Bay Corridor (Transnet)

    Graham Braby, who served as Chief of Operations for the Bulk and Automotive Sectors at Transnet Port Terminals since 2005, has transferred to a new position within Transnet Group, that of General Manager for the Richards Bay corridor with effect from 1 October 2008. The Richards Bay corridor is one of four intermodal routes of port-rail integration where Transnet has specifically committed to improving productivity and efficiency to meet the future long term demand for freight transport.

    Since 2005 Braby has played a pivotal role in ensuring the continued strong performance of the Durban and East London car terminals, as well as tackling the challenges faced at the Richards Bay and Saldanha terminals.

    Solly Letsoalo: Chief of Operations

    Taking over the reins as Chief of Operations for all sectors with effect from 1 October is Solly Lekau Letsoalo, whose portfolio has been extended from COO: Container Sector, a role he has fulfilled since 2005. Letsoalo has been instrumental in driving TPT’s continued efforts to create capacity ahead of demand within the country’s container sector. He has experience in industrial engineering, manufacturing, logistics, projects and general management. Prior to joining TPT in 2005, Letsoalo held management positions in Nampak, Divpac and South African Breweries.

    Reporting to Letsoalo with effect from 1 October will be a team of Divisional Executive Managers, each tasked with managing a separate sector of operations: Siyabulela Mhlaluka as Divisional Executive Manager for the container sector, Zeph Ndlovu as Divisional Executive Manager for the bulk sector and Victor Mkhize as Divisional Executive Manager for the multipurpose and automotive sectors.

    Siyabulela Mhlaluka: Divisional Executive Manager: Container Sector

    Mhlaluka had held the position of Development Executive at the Ngqura container terminal since 2007 and brings with him a wealth of experience garnered from his early days as a Key Accounts Manager for the then Portnet in Port Elizabeth, followed by a promotion to Business Unit Executive at the then SAPO’s four Port Elizabeth terminals during 2003. His major success was the integrated transformation of the four PE terminals (container, car, break-bulk and bulk), focusing on streamlined business processes, customer service delivery and improved profitability of all the sectors. He also serves as the President of the Port Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce and Industry and provides an advisory role to the Nelson Mandela University Council regarding business skills requirements.

    Zeph Ndlovu: Divisional Executive Manager: Bulk Sector

    Ndlovu, formerly Terminals Transformation Executive, spearheaded the restructuring of the Durban and Cape Town multipurpose terminals, as well as the Richards Bay dry bulk and multipurpose terminals. He was responsible for introducing programmes aimed at performance management, change management and continuous improvement in the bulk, break-bulk and automobile sectors, with a key emphasis on improving margins, building sustainability competencies and reducing costs.

    Victor Mkhize: Divisional Executive Manager: Multipurpose & Automotive Sectors

    Mkhize, as Business Unit Executive at the Richards Bay multipurpose terminal, has likewise been commended for his strong leadership and resulting high levels of staff morale at Richards Bay MPT.

    Prior to joining the terminal, his experience in human resource management, accounting, sales and marketing and operations management led to numerous milestone achievements when he served as BUE at the Maydon Wharf terminal. These included the establishment of the woodchip export facility and fruit export terminal, as well as the terminal’s turnaround from a loss-making entity into a profitable business. Mkhize has performed similarly well in managing Richards Bay MPT and has been commended by customers for the changes he has slowly made there.

    Source TPT

    US aircraft carrier unable to enter Cape Town harbour

    The Chinese satellite tracking vessel YUAN WANG 3 in Cape Town harbour yesterday (1 October, 2008) shortly after the successful launch and recovery of a Chinese space capsule. The space mission included China’s first space walk by an astronaut. Yuan Wang 3 is a regular visitor to both Durban and Cape Town prior to and after the Chinese space missions, taking up her patrol area off the west coast. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    Once again a US nuclear powered aircraft carrier has been unable to enter a South African harbour. The USS Theodore Roosevelt was due to berth in Cape Town on Saturday (4 October) but will now instead go to anchor outside port in Table Bay for the duration of the R&R call at the Mother City.

    As far as can be ascertained the reason for the decision to remain outside port has to do with the carrier’s large overhang, which would have fouled quayside electric light poles and other equipment.

    In other areas of the port that were considered to be suitable dredging is taking place and the carrier’s visit would interfere with this programme.

    The accompanying cruiser, USS Monterey will however enter port today (Thursday), berthing at the V&A Waterfront.

    With something like 6,000 sailors on board the aircraft carrier tourism authorities in the city were naturally keen for the ship to dock. Arrangements are now being made for a flotilla of boats to ferry sailors ashore, ensuring that Cape Town doesn’t miss out on this welcome bonanza.

    Nor, one imagines, do the sailors want to miss out on having access to the sights and attractions of Cape Town.

    According to a report from Ian Shiffman local dignitaries will be flown out to join the Theodore Roosevelt when the US ship is some 200km from Cape Town and will return with her as she approaches Table Bay.

    Another shipping attraction approaching Cape Town at this time is the Chilean sailing ship LIBERTAD.

    Dormac shipyard abuzz with activity

    Dormac Marine shipyard in Durban is literally abuzz with activity at present. The following report courtesy of the company:

    The M/V Deep Constructor (ex CSO Constructor) currently occupies the Dormac Repair Quay and will shortly move into the Dry Dock for 40 days.

    While alongside the Dormac Quay, the Deep Constructor has been fitted with a new 38 ton, 16 sleeper Accommodation Module which was fabricated in the Dormac yard. Once ready for installation, the Accommodation Module was rigged from the fabrication grillage using the 50 ton shore side crane and fitted into position where outfitting would be completed.

    Other projects underway on the vessel include the blasting and painting of the helipad and complete refurbishment of the Bridge including additional office modules.

    Once the Deep Constructor moves into the Dry Dock, Dormac will undertake refurbishments to her 5 thrusters & VP propeller, including steel renewals and mechanical work.

    In other work, progress on the building of Bunker Barge ‘Hull 109’ for Unical Bunker Services is going along steadily with unit 1, weighing 130 tons, currently being assembled on the Dormac Slipway, and the trial assembly of unit 2 is near completion in the grillage area. Unit 3, wing tank, double bottom & main deck are now complete and ready for trial assembly. Completion of the steel work has passed the half way mark and all generators, thrusters, windows and fire & weather proof doors are due for arrival in early November.

    The project is on schedule with the completion date expected around March 2009.

    Dormac is currently servicing 14 vessels in and around the Port of Durban as well as the West Coast.

    Piracy Report: close watch kept on arms-carrying Faina

    Hobyo, Somalia (30 September, 2008) Pirates holding the merchant vessel MV Faina receive supplies Tuesday, 30 Sept, 2008 while under observation by a US Navy ship. The Belize-flagged cargo ship is owned and operated by Kaalybe Shipping, Ukraine and is carrying a cargo of Ukrainian T-72 tanks and related equipment. The ship was attacked 25 September and forced to proceed to an anchorage off the Somali Coast. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric L. Beauregard)

    Several US ships join mission to monitor Faina

    From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet Public Affairs
    MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Several US ships are now operating in the vicinity of motor vessel Faina, the Belize-flagged cargo ship, which was captured 25 September and is anchored off the coast of Somalia near the harbor city of Hobyo.
    The US 5th Fleet continues to actively monitor the situation.

    "We will maintain a vigilant watch over the ship and remain on station while negotiations take place," said Rear Adm Kendall Card, task force commander leading the efforts to prevent the weapons aboard M/V Faina from being offloaded from the ship.

    "Our goal is to ensure the safety of the crew, to not allow off-loading of dangerous cargo and to make certain Faina can return to legitimate shipping."

    This incident highlights the complexity of the situation in the region. MV Faina is owned and operated by Kaalybe Shipping Ukraine and is carrying a cargo of T-72 tanks and related equipment. Its crew is comprised of citizens from Ukraine, Russia and Latvia. There is no indication that the ship had a security team aboard. Source: US Navy

    Reports of highjack ship ‘shootings are denied

    Reports that shooting took place on board the captured Ukrainian ship FAINA and resulting in the death of three pirates have been denied by Somali and other sources. The reports said that shooting broke out on board the captured vessel involving rival pirate gangs. Another report indicated the ship’s master had been killed but this has not been confirmed. The US Navy which has been monitoring the vessel from the destroyer USS Howard which is in a nearby position said it has no knowledge of a firefight on board the Faina. Meanwhile negotiations with the ships owners for the ransom and release of the ship and crew has been opened. The figure being demanded is understood to be considerably higher than for other vessels, owing to the nature and sensitivity of the cargo.

    Call for concerted military action against pirates

    InterManager, the International Ship Managers’ Association says it condemns the lack of a concerted international response to the actions of pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden.

    The association, which represents over 2,500 merchant ships and approximately 100,000 crew members, says it is unacceptable that crews are obliged to face this kind of danger while their ships are carrying essential goods, including food and commodities.

    InterManager has called for an increased military presence in the region that can protect shipping traffic. “What we need now is some meaningful action which will protect our mariners and act as a deterrent to the pirates,” said secretary-general Guy Morel. “It is no good saying ships should protect themselves. Historically the military has always protected merchant vessels during times of conflict. Now is the time for them to do much of the same – whether that be in the form of increased patrols or protected convoys. We cannot allow this situation, which gets worse by the week, to continue while our crews and their families suffer.”

    Morel said it was unclear why more swift action has not already been taken when the UN has obtained from the Somalian Government the right to pursue pirates in its territorial waters.

    Other international maritime bodies including BIMCO,, ICS/ISF, Intercargo and Intertanko, and the International Transport Federation has also been highly critical of comments by US-led naval forces in the area that it is not their job to protect merchant shipping and their crews from piracy.

    Tug Wolraad Woltemade makes brief visit to Cape Town

    WOLRAAD WOLTEMADE outside Cape Town harbour. Picture Aad Noorland

    SMIT Amandla Marine reports in its latest newsletter on a brief visit to the port of Cape Town of the tug WOLRAAD WOLTEMADE on Tuesday this week (30 September).

    The call was to take on stores, bunkers and for a crew change.

    Wolraad Woltemade is involved with the towing of the FPSO AKPO which is en route from the Far East to Nigeria, which we reported on in an earlier News Bulletin. Other tugs involved with the tow include DE ZHOU and SINGAPORE.

    Wolraad Woltemade has since left port to rejoin the tow which continued past Cape Town without disruption.

    Ships lining up outside Lagos

    According to the African News Agency no less than 92 ships are waiting to enter port at the various Lagos ports and jetties.

    The report said that 69 of these vessels are carrying petroleum products while the remainder have cargoes of soya bean, bulk cement, rice, fish, containers, used motor vehicles, and bulk grains.

    Meanwhile the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has entered into a joint venture agreement with the Lagos Channel Management and the Bonny Channel Management to undertake the dredging of the Lagos and Onne channels respectively.

    The announcement was made last week during the World Maritime Day celebration held in Lagos. NPA boss Mallam Obdullsalam said that there were no expansion plans for the ports, which was creating problems and restrictions. However the dredging programme would enable larger ships to make use of the ports.

    The offshore support vessel MARIDIVE 36 which arrived in Cape Town harbour this week. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    Hapag-Lloyd’s fate to be known in a fortnight

    A decision on the future of shipping line Hapag-Lloyd is expected by mid-October, says TUI AG, Europe’s largest tourism company and owner of Hapag-Lloyd.

    This follows several binding bids for the world’s fifth largest container carrier.

    Those in the hunt include front runners Neptune Orient Line (NOL) of Singapore and a Hamburg-based group of investors which says it is determined not to allow the company to pass out of German hands.

    TUI said in a statement this week it would examine the bids with the assistance of its investment bankers and would take a decision by mid-October. It said it would not sell Hapag-Lloyd unless it receives an ‘acceptable’ offer for the shipping line which it has on its books at €3.5 billion. German analysts suggest however that it will take in excess of €4 billion to clinch a deal.

    Pic of the day – AN SHUN JIANG

    The Chinese COSCO freighter AN SHUN JIANG in Cape Town during August 2008. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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