Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 17, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • First View – BERG’s maiden visit

  • TPT makes new appointments

  • Durban port remains open during Christmas and New Year

  • PPECB explains 10.5% fee increase

  • Piracy update – Indian frigate takes pirates prisoner

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Nacala railway damaged by heavy rain

  • Pics of the day – SAFMARINE ORANJE and MSC AFRICA


    First View – BERG’s maiden visit

    Unicorn Shipping’s latest newbuild, the 11,271-gt products tanker BERG (built 2008) SAILED into Durban harbour on Monday morning on her maiden visit to her home port. The ship, which is owned by Petrochemical Shipping is registered in London but managed by Unicorn Shipping.

    After a short delay outside the port BERG was able to enter harbour where departmental tugs were waiting to greet the new ship with the customary spraying of water from their fire fighting nozzles. No doubt passengers on board the cruise ship MELODY which preceded the tanker must have thought it was all for their benefit.

    Pictures by Steve McCurrach

    TPT makes new appointments

    Durban, 15 December 2008 - Due to the restructuring of its Chief of Operations (COO) role in October 2008 and the subsequent appointment of three sector-specific Divisional Executive Managers reporting to a single COO, Transnet Port Terminals has introduced further changes among the management of three of its terminals with effect from 1 December 2008.

    Nikki Mbengashe, formerly the Business Unit Executive (BUE) at Saldanha multipurpose terminal (MPT), has taken up the position as BUE at Richards Bay MPT. This follows the October promotion of Victor Mkhize from BUE at Richards Bay MPT to Divisional Executive Manager for the multipurpose and automotive sectors.

    Louis Du Toit replaces Mbengashe as BUE at the Saldanha MPT, having transferred from his recent position as BUE at the Transnet Academy School of Port Operations in Durban.

    Finally, Hector Danisa, former BUE of the Port Elizabeth terminals, has assumed the equivalent role at the Ngqura Container Terminal. This follows the appointment of the terminal’s former BUE Siyabulela Mhlaluka as Divisional Executive Manager for the container sector in October this year.

    The BUE role at the Port Elizabeth terminals currently remains vacant but will be advertised to identify a suitable candidate.

    TPT’s GM: Human Resources, Welcome Ntshangase, said each of the these individuals has demonstrated their experience in securing new business for their respective business units, growing terminal revenue, retaining and growing the customer base and developing core competencies within the workforce.

    “At a time when the entire world appears to be experiencing an economic meltdown, we will be looking to each of these individuals to bring their established expertise to addressing the financial and human capital challenges of their new terminals and ultimately working to reduce the cost of doing business for our customers,” he said.

    Durban port remains open during Christmas and New Year

    Durban’s port manager Ricky Bhikraj says that every effort is being made to minimise any effect the coming festive season may have on port operations or service delivery.

    “It is out intention that operations will continue, as usual, on a 24 hour basis with minor staffing adjustments to afford some individuals the opportunity to share some valuable time with their loved ones,” he said in a memo to customers.

    Christmas Period 25 – 26 December

    To facilitate this the port will have 5 tugs on duty until 18h00 on 24 December, following which 2 tugs will remain on duty from 18h00 on 24 December until 06h00 on 26 December. From that time, ie 06h00 on 26 December normal working will resume with 5 tugs.

    The berthing staff of 4 gangs on duty will reduce to 2 gangs for the period 06h00 on Christmas Day (25 Dec) until 06h00 on 26 December when normal working resumes.

    Launch services will apply as normal until 06h00 on 25 December when one launch will be on duty until 06h00 on 26 December. The floating crane will be unavailable on 25 December but normal working hours will apply on 26 December if the service is required.

    A pilot boat will provide a 24 hour service throughout the entire festive season. General marine services will be provided on Christmas Day from 06h00 until 10h00 and thereafter will be available for essential work only.

    New Year Period

    On New Year’s Day the port will have 2 tugs on duty between 06h00 and 18h00, after which normal working will resume from 18h00 on 1 January.

    Normal working hours will apply to berthing staff until 06h00 on 1 January, with 2 gangs on duty until 18h00, after which normal services will resume.

    Launch services will provide a normal service until 06h00 on 1 January. From that time until 18h00 on the same day one launch will be provided, with normal services resuming from 18h00. The floating crane will be off duty on New Years Day.

    Pilots will follow normal shift patterns throughout the festive season.

    Queries should be referred to the Deputy Harbour Master, Avish Sinath on 031 361 8401.

    PPECB explains 10.5% fee increase

    A 10.5% increase in it inspection fee has been introduced by the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB), with a review of all other PPECB fees and levies to be undertaken in April.

    The organisation says the increase remains below the expected CPIX and in times of a high inflation in the South African economy, which it says will place the PPECB under severe pressure.

    The PPECB says that various other factors taken into consideration were:

    1] The consistent increases in petrol prices have considerably increased the cost of trave for PPECB personnel on dutyl.
    2] There has been a significant increase in the Assessor’s accommodation costs – in some cases as much as 50 percent.
    3] An increase in training initiatives to ensure PPECB complies with its mandate and requirements to the various trade protocols signed between South Africa and its trading partners.
    4] The mode of shipping has dramatically shifted from conventional to containerised loading and this has seen an increase in loading points and therefore an increase in input costs to be present at the time of loading.
    5] Fees are influenced by volume variations and there has been a limited volume growth forecast for the 2009-10 season.

    Piracy update – Indian frigate takes pirates prisoner

    The Indian frigate INS MYSORE has been instrumental in taking 23 suspected pirates prisoner after preventing an attack on a general cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden.

    The 23 men of mixed Yemeni and Somali nationality were aboard a dhow that was reportedly threatening the Ethiopian-flagged merchant ship GIBE (20,471-gt, built 2007) approximately 150 n.miles east of Aden on Saturday.

    There is uncertainty as to which of the 23 are pirates as some are believed to be the original crew – with the suspicion being that the Yemenis are the original crew of the dhow that had been captured by Somali pirates. The dhow was found to be carrying a quantity of arms and ammunition.

    A spokesman for the Indian Navy said the Indian external affairs department was investigating to which country the Mysore can hand over the 23 men.

    In other news the Panamanian-registered, Greek-owned products tanker ACTION (5,280-gt, built 1983) that was seized in October has been released by Somali pirates but according to reports at least three of the crew are reported to have died. It is not clear how the three died but Kenya’s East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme chief Andrew Mwangura says it was under suspicious circumstances.

    News from the shipping lines

    Malaysian carrier MISC Berhad has revealed details of a new service between Asia and South Africa commencing in March.

    This follows the announcement on Monday that K Line and PIL had withdrawn from an agreement with MISC and were introducing their own combined service at that time - see report K Line and PIL to go it together from March HERE

    "MISC has upgraded the South African organisation and the next step is to add improved coverage of the ASEAN market connectivity to South Africa," says MISC in a statement.

    The service introduces a new call at Tanjung Pelepas and will provide increased capacity.

    With a new call at Tanjung Pelepas, the service will provide more capacity with further details to be announced next month, including the likelihood of slot-charter cooperation with K Line and PIL.

    MISC’s new port rotation will be Shanghai, Ningbo, Kaohsiung, Shenzhen (Shekou), Hong Kong, Singapore, Tanjung Pelepas, Durban, Cape Town, Port Kelang, Tanjung Pelepas, Singapore, Hong Kong, and back to Shanghai.


    Denmark’s AP Moller-Maersk intends cancelling or postponing all new investment projects in order to free up cash and to take advantage of investment opportunities arising during the current financial crisis.

    AP Moller-Maersk’s CEO Nils Smedegaard Andersen announced this in an internal staff publication this month. "We want to free up cash to allow us to seize investment opportunities if they occur," he wrote, adding that the cancellations will not apply to the company’s container shipping unit.

    He said the company intended running the business over the next few years without having to borrow from the banks. AP Moller-Maersk will also initiate cost-cutting measures including the suspension of all business travel that is not deemed critical.

    He said AP Moller-Maersk would earn less money in the coming years as a result of decreasing container freight rates and falling energy prices which are expected to lower the group’s earnings of its oil and gas unit.


    French shipping operator CMA CGM, the third biggest container carrier in the world, is having talks with Germany’s state-owned rail company Deutsche Bahn.

    A German newspaper, Handelsblatt quoted CMA CGM chairman Jacques R Saade as saying, “I am going to meet the chief executive of Deutsche Bahn at the end of February to discuss whether both companies should look into a co-operation.”

    Deutsche Bahn is a leading container block train operator from northern European ports via Transfracht and Railion, while CMA CGM has a considerable intermodal presence in Europe and North Africa by way of its subsidiary companies Rail Link Europe, Rail Link Algerie and Veolia Cargo Link.

    Nacala railway damaged by heavy rain

    Heavy rains in Mozambique’s northern province has resulted in damage to the Nacala railway which operates between the port of Nacala and the Malawi border.

    According to the Maputo newspaper Noticias a culvert at the Mutivaze administrative post in the Nampula/Rapale district has been destroyed and ballast washed away, leaving the tracks suspended in mid air over a short distance.

    As a result of the washaway no trains are running between Malawi and the port while passenger and goods traffic in the Nampula and Niassa districts has also been curtailed.

    A spokesman for the railway company said that repairs have commenced but he was unable to say how long the line would remain closed.

    Pics of the day – SAFMARINE ORANJE and MSC AFRICA

    The South Africa-flagged container ship SAFMARINE ORANJE (27,103-gt, built 1991) in Cape Town harbour during early December. Picture Ian Shiffman

    Another container ship in Cape Town harbour but from a different company. The Maltese-flagged MSC AFRICA (16250-gt, built 1987) is owned and managed by a Danish company, Dania Marine and is under charter to MSC.
    Picture by Ian Shiffman

    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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