Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 4, 2008
Author: P&S

Reach out to this dedicated maritime audience by advertising here with your Banner - contact info@ports.co.za



Click on headline to go direct to story – use the BACK key to return

  • First View – BLACK EAGLE with talons bared

  • Navy unveils plans for new patrol ships

  • South African waters not a playground for pirates - Navy chief

  • Zeppelin Group takes stake in Skysails

  • Piracy report – AU expresses concern and UN extends Resolution 1848

  • Pic of the day – DAINTY RIVER and ACECHADOR


    First View – BLACK EAGLE with talons bared

    Further to our report and picture (2 December) showing the former US Military Sealift Command vessel BLACK EAGLE which is in Durban discharging agricultural food aid, reader Mike Bennett went out on the water at the weekend and took a series of pictures of the ship.

    Among these were several stern shots showing what appears to be a mounted weapon that he thinks is a machine gun, presumably there to deter unwanted visitors and boarders.

    If so it seems a little over the top to have such weapons on display while in a South African port, especially given that the ship is manned by civilians and is supposedly operated by a civilian company. Have there been other examples of this in our ports?

    As a point of interest can anyone identify the 'weapon'?

    Navy unveils plans for new patrol ships

    The Chief of the South African Navy, Vice-Admiral Johannes Mudimu has reiterated the navy’s intention of acquiring additional ships for patrol purposes.

    Speaking at a media conference in Pretoria on Wednesday, during which he explained the state of the navy’s readiness, Admiral Mudimu said that six ships costing nearly R2 billion will be ordered in the next few years to help sustain the country’s strategic readiness.

    The ships will consist of 55m long inshore patrol vessels armed with a light gun, probably a 30mm cannon, and costing R200 million each, an 85m long counterpart for longer range use armed with a 76mm gun and having helicopter capabilities which will cost approximately R400 million each, and a multi-purpose strategic sealift vessel. The total cost of the six ships is currently estimated at R1.8bn.

    He said the patrol ships will be utilised in the prevention of drug smuggling, human trafficking and poaching exercises. Sound familiar? That’s exactly how the navy and government justified the order for four large frigates and three submarines some ten years ago. That was also close to the time when the Department of Environmental Affairs placed orders for three inshore and one offshore patrol vessels, very similar in size and general description to the proposed new navy patrol vessels. The DEAT vessels are now in service and are all based in Cape Town.

    The admiral gave no indication as to where the ships would be built or when tenders would be issued but said construction was due to commence within the next four to six years. The programme is listed as Project Biro.

    Future plans include the formation of a Maritime Reaction Squadron divided into three sections – an operational boat section utilising harbour patrol and landing craft, a company-sized reaction force and four operational diving teams.

    South African waters not a playground for pirates - Navy chief

    By Edwin Tshivhidzo (BuaNews)

    Pretoria, 3 November - South Africans need not fear about piracy incidents off the country's coast, says the Chief of the Navy, Vice-Admiral Johannes Mudimu.

    Admiral Mudimu said the Navy was prepared to ensure that South African waters were not a playground for piracy.

    The chief was responding to questions raised by journalists at a briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday regarding the recent piracy attacks occurring around the horn of Africa, specifically off the coast of Somalia.

    Two large ships transporting weapons and oil have been taken over by Somali pirates demanding high ransoms in the last few months.

    However, the Navy chief said there were submarines which were constantly monitoring the waters. "We have submarines that monitor our waters, nothing to fear."

    The Navy has in recent years engaged in the purchase of state-of-the art submarines and frigates to be used in protecting the country's maritime borders.

    Admiral Mudimu said the Navy must take the lead in issues threatening the country's economy.

    Defence spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said if South Africa was requested to assist in combating piracy off the Somali coast, they would do so.

    He said while the matter was being handled at a top level in the Presidency, they had not received any such request so far.

    The navy is, however, looking at strengthening the Mozambican Navy.

    Earlier this year, former President Thabo Mbeki conducted a Presidential Fleet Review where the Navy put all its acquisitions on display. At that time the Navy demonstrated its capabilities and indicated its readiness in defending the country's coastline.

    Zeppelin Group takes stake in Skysails

    Zeppelin Power Systems GmbH of Hamburg, a subsidiary of the Zeppelin Group, and the towing-kite manufacturer SkySails GmbH also of Hamburg have each confirmed plans to join forces to market SkySails propulsion systems.

    The Oltmann Group, which played a key role in financing the establishment of SkySails now assumes the role of strategic partner in order to create the optimal basis for the next step of the development – the market entry.

    Staring next year, the two partners will combine their expertise and competence through the joint marketing of diesel-wind hybrid power systems for shipping.

    Zeppelin has been a partner of Caterpillar, the world’s largest independent manufacturer of diesel engines for over 50 years and is one of the leading sales and service organisations for marine engines.

    “Rising fuel costs and climate-change-related requirements and restrictions are forcing the shipping industry to change its way of thinking. The combination of cutting-edge diesel engine technologies from MaK and Caterpillar and the wind propulsion systems from SkySails will allow us to chart a new and much more promising course in our industry. This partnership not only fully accommodates the development of new market potential in the maritime industry, but also follows the future-minded tradition set forth by our company’s founder: the courage to try something new and to believe in its success,” says Ernst Susanek, the President and CEO of Zeppelin GmbH.

    “We want our customers to be excited about the SkySails-System,” says SkySails Managing Director Stephan Wrage. “This includes the kind of excellent service quality that we can guarantee our customers thanks to this collaboration with such an experienced partner as Zeppelin Power Systems.”

    SkySails propulsion is currently in use on two cargo ships belonging to Beluga Shipping and the Wessels Reederei as part of pilot trials along a variety of shipping routes. SkySails will begin series production in 2009 – with production capacity already booked for a year in advance.

    Depending on wind conditions, it is claimed that SkySails propulsion can save an average of between 10 and 35 percent of fuel costs on cargo vessels. Some 60,000 of the 100,000 ships at sea today can be retrofitted with such a towing-kite propulsion system. More than 150 million tons of climate-damaging CO2 emissions could be saved each year were SkySails technology to be used systematically throughout the world.

    BELUGA SKYSAILS, the ship that took part earlier this year in the first major use of a skysails system on a cross Atlantic voyage under combined diesel and sail, will be calling at Richards Bay on 18 December to work cargo. The ship will be conventionally operated.

    Piracy report – AU expresses concern and UN extends Resolution 1848

    Qatar - Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has expressed concern at the increased incidents of piracy off the Somali coast, saying they were now a threat to global peace.

    President Kikwete, who is also the African Union (AU) Chairman, said the international community should come in swiftly to save the country from further disintegration.

    The President was speaking during talks with the Kuwait Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Muhammad Sabah al Salem al Sabah, on the sidelines of the four-day United Nations Conference on Financing Development in Qatar, which kicked off on Saturday.

    "Piracy is not only a threat to peace and security to countries neighbouring Somalia, but to the entire world in general.

    "We are all worried. Many people are now thinking of optional routes instead of passing through the Suez Canal, which is short but highly risky because of its vicinity to the Somali Coast," President Kikwete said.

    He said the interim Somali government was on the brink of total collapse and the AU peacekeeping force now in Somalia was inadequate. More troops are needed to be sent to Somalia while Ethiopia has plans to pull its forces out of that country later next month.

    "If Ethiopia goes ahead with its plans to pull out from Somalia, then a major humanitarian crisis is likely to follow," he told the Kuwait minister.

    He explained that there were serious misunderstandings between the interim president and his prime minister, where the president and his government are operating from Libya.


    From New York comes news that the UN Security Council has renewed and extended Resolution 1848 allowing international naval forces to enter Somalia’s territorial waters to stop acts of piracy.

    The 12-month resolution allows foreign navies – with advance notice – to ‘use all necessary means’ to combat piracy in Somali waters.

    “This is a very welcome response to the efforts we’ve all made to get this resolution and the action it legitimises approved.” Said International Transport Workers’ Federation General-Secretary David Cockroft. “We’re also glad to see the UN backing an enhanced EU naval force and hope that while those ships will be safeguarding the desperately needed World Food Programme cargoes for the hungry of Somalia that they will also use the mandate this resolution gives them to pursue and arrest pirates.” (BuaNews report)


    From West Africa it is reported that Sierra Leone’s navy intercepted and prevented an attack on a Chinese fishing vessel off the West African coast last week. Four of the alleged pirates were killed and another four captured.

    According to Sierra Leone’s Assistant Inspector-General of Police for Crime Services, some of the pirates were Guinean nationals. He said the navy responded to a distress call made by one of the fishing companies in Freetown, which stated that one of its vessels was under attack by pirates.


    Meanwhile Japan says that Japan’s shipping industry will incur additional costs exceeding 100 million US dollars annually if its ships have to alter their routes to avoid the Horn of Africa. Approximately 2,000 Japanese ships use the Suez Canal each year.

    Pic of the day – DAINTY RIVER and ACECHADOR

    The COSCO container ship DAINTY RIVER (22,746-gt, built 1993) makes an entry into Durban harbour in 2005. The ship was renamed YA HE earlier this year. Picture Terry Hutson

    The Spanish fishing vessel ACECHADOR (230-DWT, built 1989), is a regular caller at Durban where she calls to discharge her catch and take supplies and bunkers. Picture 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

    Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all southern African ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Mombasa on the East Coast?

    Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.

    Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.


    South Africa’s most comprehensive Directory of Maritime Services is now listed on this site. Please check if your company is included. To sign up for a free listing contact info@ports.co.za or register online

  • Google

    Web ports.co.za

    Click to go back

      - Contact Us

      - Home