Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 12, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • First View – TORM HELENE

  • News from the world of shipping

  • QE2 says farewell with a thump

  • Piracy report – Stolt tanker seized but Indian Navy prevents another

  • Tough times for Dar es Salaam clearing & forwarding industry

  • Pic of the day – GREEN CAPE and SAFMARINE CONGO


    First View – TORM HELENE

    The 57,031-gt oil tanker TORM HELENE was in Cape Town during August. Built in 1997 the Danish ship is owned and managed by Torm and flies the national flag of that country. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    News from the world of shipping

    The bulk carrier DISCOVERY II has been placed under arrest yesterday shortly after arriving at the Durban outer anchorage yesterday. The 21,550-gt ship was detained on behalf of an overseas bank, according to sources. The local representative of the International Transport Federation, Sprite Zungu told PORTS & SHIPS that on behalf of the crew he also intended to have an arrest order served on the vessel for unpaid wages.

    As the world’s economic woes continue, AXS-alphaliner reports that up to a dozen container ships of between 5,000 and 8,000 TEU are lying idle at Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

    The report said it expected idle ships in the 3,500 – 5,000 TEU range to begin building up in the coming weeks as a result of service closures. However the most affected size container ships to be affected are those between 1,000 and 2,000 TEU, the report said, with about 50 ships idle according.

    It estimated the idle fleet at 150,000-TEU, representing approximately 1.25% of the current cellular fleet and said that at the deepest extent of the 2002 crisis it had counted 180,000-TEU of idle ships, which then represented 3.2% of the total fleet.

    QE2 says farewell with a thump

    QE2 in Southampton - picture Shiplovers.com

    It was supposed to be a grand, dignified and highly emotional farewell yesterday (Tuesday, 11 November) when the queen of the seas, QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 sailed for one last time from Southampton, which has been the liner’s homeport for the last 41 years.

    Unfortunately everything didn’t go quite to plan and the 70,000-ton ship went temporarily aground on a sandbank off the Isle of Wight while approaching Southampton in the early hours.

    Fortunately it wasn’t to prove too embarrassing and with the aid of five tugs and a rising tide the ship was quickly refloated, with no injuries except to pride. Proceedings were able to continue without disruption and many of the 1,700 passengers weren’t even aware of the grounding, having been asleep at the time.

    A spokesman for Cunard said the ship touched a sandbank called Brambles.

    “We are not aware at this stage of any damage to the vessel and everything is proceeding today as planned. We don’t know exactly what happened for the vessel to get stuck,” he said. It is thought the Force 7 winds blowing at the time may have been partly responsible.

    Proceedings did in fact continue as planned, with the ship entering port to load her passengers for the final voyage out to Dubai. Shortly afterwards one million poppies were dropped over the ship from a Tiger Moth aircraft, honouring the 90th anniversary of the Armistice.

    QE2 was named by Queen Elizabeth II in September 1967 after the previous Cunard ocean liner, QUEEN ELIZABETH, which in turn had been named for Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, King George VI’s consort and Queen and later the Queen Mother. For this reason the ship has always used the Arabic numeral 2 instead of the Roman II, which is used by the reigning monarch.

    QE2 is destined to become a floating 5-star hotel on a specially constructed pier on the world’s largest man-made island, the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. She was sold to Istithmar, the state-owned tourism division of Dubai World for approximately £50 million. QE2 arrives in Dubai on 26 November 2008.

    Piracy report – Stolt tanker seized but Indian Navy prevents another

    A 33,000-DWT products tanker, STOLT VENTURE is the latest victim of Somali pirates who continue their daring attacks in the Gulf of Aden and southern Somalia despite the presence of a considerable force of naval ships. This is the second Stolt-chartered ship to be seized by Somali pirates.

    Yesterday morning Stolt Tankers BV issued a statement acknowledging that the Stolt Venture had been taken hostage. The ship was within the recognised Coalition corridor at the time, said the company’s statement.

    “There has been limited communication between the master and the ship manager and it has been confirmed that the fully Filipino crew is safe and accounted for. Stolt is in close communication with the vessel’s managers and owners and will do all it can to ensure the timely and safe return of the crew on board,” Stolt Tankers said.

    The ship was en route to Kandla after having loaded a cargo of phosphoric acid in Dakar.

    Another ship, the 38,2145-gt Great Eastern bulk carrier JAG ARNAV was more lucky after coming under attack from pirates. In this instance the Indian Navy was on hand to lend one, by way of an armed helicopter from the frigate INS TABAR which is on patrol with Coalition forces. Alarm signals transmitted by the merchant ship were intercepted by the Indian vessel which launched a helicopter with marines (known as Marcos) on board. The Jag Arnav was approximately 60 n.miles east of Aden and eastbound at the time.

    Indian Defence sources said the helicopter opened fire on the pirates.

    "The naval helicopter fired on the pirates, who then fled from the scene. INS Tabar thereafter closed in on the Indian merchant ship and escorted her to safety. Timely intervention by the Indian naval ship thereby prevented another attack of piracy in the Gulf of Aden," the report said.

    The Indian Navy has had a presence in the Gulf since 23 October after a number of Indian seafarers and ships came under attack.

    Meanwhile the Danish general cargo ship highjacked last Friday has been identified as CEC CLIPPER (see our News Report dated 10 November). According to the ship’s owner the crew of mainly Russians is safe and unharmed.

    Tough times for Dar es Salaam clearing & forwarding industry

    Twenty-five Tanzanian clearing & forwarding agencies have had their operations suspended by the Tanzanian Revenue Authority via its Customs & Excise department due to violations of customs law and procedures, reports the East African Business Weekly.

    In an article the paper quotes Mr Walid Juma, TRA’s acting Customs and Excise Commissioner as saying that during the period of suspension none of the affected companies may deal with any customs transaction, nor are their employees allowed to enter any customs office or customs controlled area for the purpose of carrying out customs related transactions.

    "Stern measures will be taken against any of the above agents who will not heed to the orders," he said.

    Pic of the day – GREEN CAPE and SAFMARINE CONGO

    In 2005 it was still possible to spend a couple of happy hours in the early morning on one of the breakwaters forming the entrance to Durban harbour while photographing a stream of ships entering or sailing from Africa’s busiest port. On this particular January morning ships included the Ro-Ro vessel GREEN CAPE of Macs Line followed shortly afterwards by one of the old SD14 freighters, SAFMARINE CONGO, then deployed on the Durban West Africa service. Other ships observed and photographed in a matter of just a couple of hours included the cruise ship Astor, the car carrier Don Carlos, the general cargo ship Pro Asia, the container ship P&O Nedlloyd Teslin and the Russian stern trawler Umurga. Hopefully such passing parades will again be accessible once the channel widening project has been completed early in 2010. Pictures Terry Hutson

    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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