Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 19, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • First View - SEZELA

  • MOL and Maersk set to mothball ships

  • WFP reappoints SDTV to handle Djibouti commodities

  • US heightens its interest in Angolan maritime security

  • Pirates seized grain ship in Gulf of Aden

  • Nigerian customs intercept smuggled cars in containers

  • Pic of the day – KS COSMOS


    First View - SEZELA

    The container ship SEZELA (7970-gt) of the Durban-based Ocean Africa Container Lines, seen arriving off the port of Durban in 2005.
                                                                         Picture Terry Hutson

    MOL and Maersk set to mothball ships

    Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) says it may place some of its largest ships in mothballs because of the collapse of charter rates in the dry bulk market.

    Quoted in the Journal of World Online, MOL’s senior executive officer, Masafumi Yasuoka told Bloomberg that the company may scrap seven of its Capesize dry bulk ships from its fleet of 100 such vessels. He added that MOL faced the prospect of lowering its earnings forecast for a second time this year if rates remain near record lows.

    He revealed that 15 of MOL’s dry bulk carriers are operating on daily rates which have dropped 98% from a record USD233,988 in June this year and will now average USD30,000 for the six months to 31 March 2009.

    He said MOL has not mothballed Capesize ships since the 1980s. MOL was ‘suffering with short-term charters, Yasuoka said. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom and MOL still plans to expand its Capesize fleet over the next five years from 125 ships to 160 by the end of March 2014.

    The world’s largest boxship operator, Maersk Line says it is “very likely” to lay up container ships next year to counter the deepest downturn in three decades.

    Chief executive Eivind Kolding is quoted in the Copenhagen newspaper Berlingske Tidende as saying the ships will be withdrawn in the first half of next year and that he expects the global container shipping market to experience zero volume growth during 2009.

    WFP reappoints SDTV to handle Djibouti commodities

    The World Food Programme (WFP) and SDTV (Societe Dkiboutienne de Gestion du Terminal Varaquer, a local stevedoring company) have signed an agreement regarding the handling of food commodities through the port of Djibouti.

    The contract which comes into effect from January 2009 will lead to improved logistics with delivering the commodities into Ethiopia, says the WFP.

    In its statement the UN agency says the agreement will lead to improvements in the distribution of grain to vulnerable communities in Ethiopia. SDTV will have the responsibility not only to handle the offloading of cargo at the docks in Djibouti but also the transportation of the commodities by truck to locations in Ethiopia.

    The contract is a renewal of a previous agreement with the company. “We have chosen to work with the company because of its reasonable charge and the efficiency it demonstrated during the past year,” said Mohamed Diab, WFP Representative and Country Director.

    In 2008 SDTV will have handled nearly 700,000 tonnes of food products for the WFP including facilitating the delivery of the commodities to central hubs in neighbouring Ethiopia. – source Daily Monitor

    US heightens its interest in Angolan maritime security

    The United States is showing increasing interest in Angola’s maritime security, in particular the country’s economic and oil producing zones, says the visiting commander of US Naval Forces for Europe and Africa, Admiral Mark Fitzgerald.

    The admiral, who was on a two-day official visit to Angola, told media in Luanda that the United States felt a strong interest in Angola’s maritime security and that he hoped avenues for closer co-operation could be established.

    The US has a special concern with Angola’s exclusive economic zone and the country’s oil industry in particular ever since Angola has become one of the main suppliers of oil to the US.

    Meanwhile in Boeblingen, Germany the Marine Corps Forces, Africa (MARFORAF) has been established as the Marine Corps' newest command, which will support US Africa Command in its efforts to increase African security capacity.

    The ceremony was led by Brigadier General Tracy L Garrett, commander of Marine Forces, Europe (MARFOREUR), who stated, "The primary focus of the new command will be on engagement - through theatre security co-operation activities - bringing US Marine Corps competencies to the table in support of US Africa Command."

    General William E. Ward, commander of US Africa Command, welcomed MARFORAF to the Africa Command team and provided an overview of its mission, programs, and goals.

    "You already have a strong foundation as Marine Corps Forces Africa," Ward said.

    "Now it is time to build on those programs currently in place and creatively come up with programs that deliver results and help the Africans build and maintain their own security capacity, which in turn, maintains greater security for our American homeland." – sources Angola Press Agency and Africom News

    Pirates seized grain ship in Gulf of Aden

    In late breaking news last night it was learned that Somali pirates had struck again, this time in the Gulf of Aden where the bulk of combined naval forces are operating, and have taken a Hong Kong-registered bulker captive.

    The unnamed ship, which was en route to the port of Banda Abbas in Iran with a cargo of 36,000 tonnes of grain, has a crew of 25, mostly Chinese from the mainland or from Hong Kong.

    Meanwhile the highjacked VLCC SIRIUS STAR has gone to anchor at Eyl off the coast of Somalia and negotiations for its release along with the crew, who are all reported to be unharmed, has begun.

    The value of the cargo of crude oil which was destined for the United States is said to be USD100 million, which is likely to raise the ransom claim considerably above that of most other captured ships.

    Nigerian customs intercept smuggled cars in containers

    Nigerian Customs Service has intercepted 27 40-ft containers which were found to be carrying a total of 54 motor vehicles imported illegally into the West African country.

    The brand new motor vehicles, which originated in South Korea were falsely declared by the importer as used vehicles and entered the country through the Tin Can Island Container Terminal.

    The true nature of the contents were discovered when customs officers conducted a physical inspection of the boxes which were loaded in Korea directly from the manufacturer.

    In addition two of the 27 containers were found be carrying other items of contraband, including toiletries, television sets declared as refrigerators and furniture items declared as motor spares. – source Vanguard

    Pic of the day – KS COSMOS

    The Singapore-owned, Belize-registered general cargo ship KS COSMOS (15,296-gt) in Cape Town.                             Picture by Ian Shiffman

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