Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 11, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • First View – SAFMARINE SOYO

  • False alarm kills 20 on board Russian submarine

  • Australians called in to manage troubled Rift Valley Railway

  • Rwanda and Burundi to build rail link with Dar es Salaam

  • Mombasa resumes transhipments – Dar es Salaam still on hold

  • Good third quarter for international terminal operator

  • Pic of the day – Container ships at Durban – SAFMARINE MAFADI and STELLENBOSCH


    First View – SAFMARINE SOYO

    The general cargo ship SAFMARINE SOYO (10,478-gt, formerly AZTECA) in the Eldock floating dock at Durban on 8 November 2008. Note the unSafmarine-like marking on the funnel! Next to Eldock is the empty Transnet NPA floating dock, which has been out of use for more than a year.       Picture by L Rip Riphagen

    False alarm kills 20 on board Russian submarine

    In Russia’s worst submarine disaster since the Kursk in 2000, a false alarm on board a new nuclear-powered submarine being tested in the Sea of Japan is thought to have been the cause of the deaths of 20 people on the boat, with another 21 injured.

    The Akula II class nuclear submarine, which has tentatively been identified as K-152 NERPA, had 208 crew and technical personnel on board at the time, including a large number of civilian technicians and observers.

    The fatalities occurred as a result of Freon-112 gas poisoning after firefighting equipment was accidentally activated while the boat was at sea. The submarine suffered no damage and was able to return to port under its own power. According to Russian Navy reports the nuclear reactor is operating perfectly normally.

    Earlier the Nerpa sailed from Bolshoi Kamen, a military shipyard and naval base near Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific coast.

    The accident occurred in two sections of the submarine closest to the bow. Seventeen of those who died were civilian personnel. The 21 injured personnel were evacuated onto a Russian destroyer which took them ashore and to hospital.

    Nerpa was built at the Amur Shipbuilding Factory in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in 1991 but work on her was abandoned following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The vessel is now being completed and was undergoing commissioning trials – the reason why there were 81 technicians and observers on board at the time.

    Analysts say that if the submarine had been crewed entirely with navy personnel there would have been less chance of fatalities as the regular crew would have better prepared for such an emergency.

    The Akula II class is considered Russia’s quietest and deadliest class of nuclear submarine. There is also some speculation that this particular vessel is being completed for transfer to the Indian Navy.

    In August 2000 the Russian nuclear-powered submarine KURSK sank after a torpedo explosion while the boat was exercising in the Barents Sea, killing all 118 crew on board.

    Akula II class nuclear attack submarine

    Australians called in to manage troubled Rift Valley Railway

    An Australian management company, PD Toll has been appointed to the management of the troubled Rift Valley Railway which is operating under a 25-year concession awarded to a South African-led consortium.

    Indications are that the appointment follows a set of conditions laid down by the International Finance Company, which is another name for the loans section of the World Bank, and KfW, a German lending bank that has helped finance RVR. It follows a period of nearly two years in which the consortium, led by Sheltam Rail has struggled to make progress with the former Kenya and Uganda government railway networks.

    During this period RVR has been faced with political upheaval in which a section of the railway was closed as rioters tore up tracks and damaged rolling stock. Political pressure also rained down on the company after it took over the management and operation of the moribund railway system, with critics who called for the concession to be cancelled and the railway restored to government control, ignoring the condition to which it had deteriorated under state control.

    In terms of the concession RVR has to pay concession fees the equal of 11.1% of gross revenues each year to both Kenya and Uganda.

    Rwanda and Burundi to build rail link with Dar es Salaam

    In a much more sensible approach than those who are promoting the construction of a brand new broad gauge railway across the savannahs, mountains and deserts of East Africa, Rwanda and Burundi say they will start work in 2009 on building a railway connecting their landlocked countries with Tanzania.

    Burundian Transport Minister Philippe Njoni said the 691-km long railway, which will cost an estimated USD4 billion will take five years to complete and will then provide both countries with their first direct rail connection to a port.

    He said that economic studies indicated a saving of 40% on the cost of transporting cargo to and from each country.

    Funding is being provided by the respective countries and donors. source The Citizen (Tanzania)

    Mombasa resumes transshipments- Dar es Salaam still on hold

    After a three month suspension brought on by chronic congestion at the port of Mombasa, Kenya Ports Authority has reintroduced the handling of transhipment cargo to the Indian Ocean Islands.

    The resumption of services does not however include cargo for the Tanzanian ports of Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, which in recent months has constituted the largest amount of transhipment cargo handled by Mombasa.

    According to Kenya Ports Authority’s acting MD, Kames Mulewa, it has been possible to clear some space at the Mombasa terminal to handle the island transhipment cargo.

    He said the number of containers at the Mombasa Container Terminal had dropped from over 19,000 to 14,600 TEUs. In July, shortly after introducing its new Kwatos computer operating system the port authority was forced to suspend all transhipments as containers clogged the terminal. Since then however deliveries from the terminal by road have improved.

    Mulewu said that larger container vessels will not be able to make use of Mombasa port owing to draught restrictions (12m) and that attention should turn to developing new facilities at the port of Lamu which has a much wider channel compared with Mombasa. source The Nation

    Good third quarter for international terminal operator

    Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) has announced solid third quarter results for its international operations which include a terminal in Madagascar.

    “Despite a worsening global economic climate, ICTSI has delivered solid results for the quarter. We remain cautious concerning the outlook for the global economy and world trade, and are taking steps to position ourselves accordingly,” said Enrique K Razon Jr, ICTSI’s chairman and president.

    ICTSI handled consolidated volumes of 1,021,499 TEUs in the third quarter of 2008, 26% higher than the 811,049 TEUs handled in the same period in 2007. For the nine months ended 30 September 2008, total TEUs handled was 2,776,972 compared to 2,095,798 TEUs in 2007, a 33% increase over the same period last year.

    Foreign container volume grew 23% over the same period last year, driven principally by the addition of the company’s Ecuador, Syria and Georgia port operations, and exceptionally strong growth at the company’s operations in Brazil, Madagascar, and China. Container volumes from foreign operations accounted for 48% of total consolidated volume for the quarter.

    ICTSI is one of the leading developers of international ports and terminals with a global port network spanning 11 countries in four continents and is headquartered in the Philippines.

    Pic of the day – Container ships at Durban – SAFMARINE MAFADI and STELLENBOSCH

    Two aerial images taken in Durban harbour in the past fortnight. The picture above shows the container ship SAFMARINE MAFADI at work on berth 205 at the Durban Container Terminal.

    Pictured below is another vessel handling containers but this time at the City Terminal on the Point. The ship is the MACS vessel STELLENBOSCH which has completed cargo working on berth D, using ships own gear and Transnet Port Terminal’s mobile crane, which can be seen alongside. The City Terminal was developed as a multi purpose terminal but increasingly handles containers. In addition more than half its area has also been transferred to the car terminal.
    Picture by Steve McCurrach

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