Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 13, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – GOLAR FROST

  • TPT cuts back at Richards Bay

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Money troubles for TAZARA

  • Port congestion costs Nigeria $ 7 billion in 3 months

  • Luxury yacht Lady Michelle visits Knysna

  • Pics of the day – PETER THE GREAT


    First View – GOLAR FROST

    The LNG tanker GOLAR FROST (115,156-gt, built 2003) has been exciting considerable attention while riding at anchor off Cape Town for the past month or so. Owned by a Cyprus registered company the ship flies the Liberian flag and is managed by a Singapore-based shipmanagement group. How’s that for being international! The ship is on laybye.         Picture Ian Shiffman

    TPT cuts back at Richards Bay

    In an action that has taken many Transnet customers by surprise, the Richards Bay Multi Purpose Terminal (MPT), which has come under strong criticism over its productivity levels in recent years, has announced that all weekend and public holiday ship working has been cancelled.

    As from 16 January 2009 (this coming weekend) anyone wanting to work a ship at the terminal during the weekend or on holidays must be prepared to pay overtime rates.

    The announcement was made in a letter sent out by Transnet Port Terminals (Richards Bay MPT) to clients, which reads:

    “All Stakeholders, please take note of the following;

    Due to the current changes in the economy and markets, a decision has been made to amend the weekend working hours.

    As from Friday 16 January, no shifts will be scheduled to work on weekends and Public holidays until further notice.

    If a Client requests a vessel to work on weekends, overtime costs will be for the Client / Agents / Vessels account.

    In line with the above, vessels commencing work on a Friday will be worked until 06h00 Saturday, where-after the vessel will stop working until 06h00 Monday, or the Client / Agent / Vessel agrees to pay overtime cost for the Saturday / Sunday.

    i.e. New MPT hours will be from 06h00 on Mondays, to 06h00 on Saturdays.

    We apologise for any inconvenience caused during this trying economic situation.”

    The unsigned letter is on a MPT Customer Services letterhead.

    It was confirmed yesterday that the Dry Bulk Terminal (DBT) at Richards Bay was not following suit and would continue offering normal services to shipping over the weekends.

    News from the shipping lines

    Safmarine and Maersk suspends Safari 2 Service

    With effect from mid January Safmarine and Maersk Line is to suspend the Safari Loop 2 service between Asia and Southern Africa. The service, in which Hamburg Süd had charter slots, was operated with six vessels each of 4,700-TEU.

    The Safari 1 service, made up of seven vessels of 4,800-TEU capacity will continue to operate a weekly service calling at Hong Kong, Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian, Tanjung Pelepas, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town.

    In addition a second shuttle service of three vessels offering a weekly service between the ports of Tanjung Pelepas and Port Louis will now serve the Indian Ocean islands. This replaces the Safari 2 service.

    “The current weekly service on the Safari 1 service is able to cover current customer capacity needs and maintains our offering of an unmatchable service in terms of frequency and reliability together with the second string shuttle service between Malaysia and Mauritius,” says Africa Trades Executive Alex de Bruyn.

    UAFL introduces East Africa-Comoros-UAE-Pakistan service

    United Africa Feeder Line (UAFL) has introduced a direct service connecting Pakistan and the UAE to the Comoros Islands and East Africa, reports AXS Alphaliner. The new service will make use of two chartered in ships, the former SAILS container vessel ORINOCO RIVER (9,940-gt, 1,118-TEU, built 2007) and the AINAFTIS (7.970-gt, 812-TEU, built 2000).

    Port calls will include Karachi, Jebel Ali, Longoni, Mutsamudu, Pemba, Zanzibar and Mombasa. UAFL also provides feeder services between South Africa, East Africa, Madagascar, the Comoros, Reunion and Port Louis utilising three container ships in the range 350 – 650-TEU.

    MOL acquires new ship on SA service

    Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has acquired the services of the 4,2590-TEU newbuild EBBA RICKMERS on charter from owner Rickmers Maritime, the 10th ship of its class ordered from the old Dalian shipyard. The new vessel is to join MOL as the MOL DESTINY on the Asia – South Africa – East Coast South America service which MOL operates with Singapore-based PIL.

    New ship for CSAV

    Another newbuild to enter into service calling at South Africa is the German-owned 3,534-TEU NORTHERN DIAMOND, which was built in China at the Shanghai Chengxi Shipyard. Owned by Norddeutsche Reederei the container vessel has been chartered to CSAV as CSAV RANCO for service between Asia – South Africa – East Coast South America.

    Money troubles for TAZARA

    The troubled TAZARA railway (Tanzania and Zambia Railways Authority) that operates between the two countries is deep in debt, TAZARA’s managing director has admitted.

    Speaking to the Tanzanian Daily News Mr Henry Chipewo said TAZARA owes US $ 60 million to various organisations and institutions for supplies and services. Included in the list of those who haven’t received payment are workers on the railway, the Tanzanian Revenue Authority as well as other service providers.

    Chipewo said his company was the victim of what he termed sabotage – theft, graft, misuse of company benefits and mismanagement.

    TAZARA has a staff complement of 3,000 whose monthly wage bill amounts to 1.7 million US dollars. Chipewo said an audit was underway and those responsible for the ‘sabotage’ would be prosecuted.

    Port congestion costs Nigeria $7 billion in 3 months

    Congestion in the Nigerian ports could cost more then US$30 billion in a year at the current rate, according to the National Council of Licensed Ships Agents.

    President of the council, Lucky Amiwero said last Friday that he estimated the Nigerian Federal Government had lost over 1 trillion naira (approx US$7 billion) because of ongoing port congestion at the Lagos ports over the last three months. He intimated the figure in fact could have been much higher but that it was difficult to judge because of a non-availability of statistics.

    Amiwero said he based his estimates on the partial sub-charge placed on importers by shipping companies as compensation for delays in discharging cargo from ships, general demurrage paid at the ports because of congestion as well as various other rates and charges.

    He described the clearing of cargo coming into Nigeria as cumbersome, as a result of which people preferred to import through neighbouring ports where the processes are easier and cheaper. He disputed claims that the congestion was a result of importers refusing to take delivery of their goods.

    Nigerian port authorities and terminal operators have been instructed to decongest their terminals within 60 days by order of the Federal President, Umaru Yar’Adua.

    Luxury yacht Lady Michelle visits Knysna

    It isn’t often that Knysna gets a mention in PORTS & SHIPS – the last time may have been during the visit of two South African Navy minesweepers last year.

    However the former commercial harbour nowadays sees mostly pleasure craft and her days of ships coming to load timber and other cargo have long since past. PORTS & SHIPS hopes to include a section on South Africa’s forgotten ports and harbours – this is one of the projects ‘in work’ and under research, and Knysna with its rich and fascinating history is sure to feature then.

    But recently the lagoon and small craft harbour was back in the news with the arrival in ‘port’ of the luxury motor yacht LADY MICHELLE. The 50 metre yacht, which was built in 2007 is actually a little larger than the minesweepers that visited the lagoon during the last Oyster Festival in 2008, but it wasn’t her length that attracted the attention of locals and holidaymakers. The yacht’s beauty saw to that.

    Lady Michelle had sailed up the coast from Cape Town where she had arrived during October last year, before moving on to Knysna on New Year’s day. Why Knysna, you ask? Well, five of the crew - the skipper Brett Gething and his wife Gillian, who is the chief stewardess, as well the first officer Craig van de Venter, the stewardess Candice Eaglestone and the bosun Vaughn Hoffman are all South Africans, with the two Gethings and Hoffman actually coming from Knysna, so it made sense to the yacht’s owner Mike Fernandez to spend at least a short time in such a beautiful place.

    Mr Fernandez is an American citizen but was born in Cuba, having left that island as a refugee with his family in 1964.

    You can read more about the Lady Michelle HERE

    Pics of the day – PETER THE GREAT

    As the pictures portray, she arrived in Table Bay on schedule yesterday (Monday), having cleared all the regulatory hurdles! The Russian nuclear powered cruise PYOTR VELIKY or Peter the Great in English, made a historic visit to the Mother City while en route to India where she will engage with the Indian Navy in exercises. Peter the Great, which was commissioned into service in 1998, displaces 25,0000t and is 250m in length. Amongst her armaments can be 20 Granit anti-ship missiles, including nuclear-tipped missiles, 96 S-300F long-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), 96 Kinzhal (Dagger) short-range SAMs, a 130-mm twin mounting gun, other short-range anti-aircraft weapons and various ASW weaponry, including three helicopters. She has a crew of around 730.

    All pictures 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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