Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 20, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – KNOCK ALLAN

  • MOL suspends launch of South African express loop

  • Japan’s Sanko provides new training berths for SA cadets

  • South Africa still reluctant to sign EPA with Europe

  • Cape Town’s Edgin welcomes new operations specialist

  • UNCTAD organises expert meeting on maritime transport and climate change

  • Pic of the day – GLOBAL OJI and SOUTHERN HARVEST


    First View – KNOCK ALLAN

    FPSO’s (Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading) vessels hardly qualify as the most attractive looking of sea-going vessels, and the FPSO KNOCK ALLAN is no exception to the rule, although the work and productivity usually obtained out of them certainly makes up for any loss of good looks. Owned by Fred Olsen Production, the 145,242-DWT Knock Allan is currently in Cape Town to undergo completion of her conversion as a FPSO. The massive ship can store just over one million barrels of oil and has a production capacity of 35,000 bpd.

    The ship was built at the famous Harland & Wolf shipyard in 1992 as a suezmax tanker. On completion of her conversion she will move to the Olowi oil field offshore of Gabon in West Africa. Picture by Aad Noorland

    MOL suspends launch of South African express loop

    19 January – Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) today announced it is suspending plans for an independent South Africa Express service (ZAX) and has revealed a revised coverage for its Asia – East Coast South America service (CSW) to provide cover for the cancelled service.

    The revised coverage on the Asia - ECSA service will make an additional westbound call at Durban and instead cancel calls at Yantian. The revised port rotation is Kobe, Yokohama, Nagoya, Pusan, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Durban, Santos, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Paranagua, Sao Francisco Do Sul, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Singapore, Hong Kong and Kobe.

    The suspension of the planned independent new service, first announced on 31 October 2008, is due to “market demand decrease”. Instead MOL will now continue its joint operation with PIL.

    The new service rotation will go into effect with the MOL Destiny, Voyage 8101 (ETD Singapore 17 January 2009).

    According to MOL General Manager, Liner Division TK Konishi, MOL’s long term strategy of expanding in these promising trade lanes remains unchanged.

    “MOL remains committed to providing a full complement of options to our East Coast of South America trade and South Africa trade customers through our ongoing services. MOL’s commitment is also exemplified by our CX1 service that provides industry leading transit time to and from the Brazilian Amazon region,” he said.

    Meanwhile MOL South Africa has announced a revision to the present bunker surcharge applicable in the USA and Southern Africa trades.

    With effect from 1 February 2009, the revised bunker surcharge will become as follows and will be effective as of the B/L date: -

    To/from South Africa (via Europe)

    To/from the U.S. via Atlantic and Gulf coast ports

    Per 20 ft container : $ 194.00
    Per 40/45 ft container : $ 388.00

    Japan’s Sanko provides new training berths for SA cadets

    A further group of marine navigating and engineering cadets have been offered training berths on ships of the Sanko Steamship Company of Japan.

    A spokesman for Cape Town-based Marine Crew Services said this represented another milestone – the company was established five years ago to seek and develop new opportunities for prospective South African seafarers with the world’s shipping fleets. But despite steady progress and some notable achievements, the venture has been hampered by a lack of support from the South African government.

    Deanna Collins, MSC director of Crewing & Training said the company was still struggling to get funding to expand the programme more rapidly. She said that so far a number of cadets for whom MCS had secured training berths had completed their three to four year cadetships under the MCS training programme and had successfully obtained their SAMSA Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competency.

    “They are now serving as Officers in the Sanko fleet or with other international shipping companies,” said Ms Collins. She says a further number of entrants to the MCS programme over the past two to three years will soon complete the required MCS minimum of fifteen months experiential training at sea on board large Sanko foreign-going vessels. They too should be successful in obtaining their Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competency.

    The cadets taking part in the MCS/Sanko programme all completed their studies at either the Durban University of Technology or the Cape Town University of Technology and most of them originate from rural regions in the Northern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, the Eastern and Western Cape.

    “The success of this programme can be seen in the increasing number of MCS/Sanko cadets from South Africa who have now completed their sea time and who have recently graduated to the rank of Officer of the Watch and who are now taking on permanent positions within the Sanko fleet as junior officers,” says Ms Collins.

    “We now have six cadets who will soon graduate to officers in the Sanko fleet while two are already qualified and serving as officers. A further four will soon qualify.

    “While the programme is obviously a major success, we are still struggling to get funding to expand the programme more rapidly.”

    Ms Collins says the success to date demonstrates the huge potential to grow the South African merchant navy pool of certificated officers for employment in the world wide merchant navy fleets. “MCS continues to build on this and to help facilitate an annual intake of trainee seafarers.”

    Of the new intake two young KwaZulu Natal marine engineering cadets, Neeresh Bholai and Raphael Konzapi, have now joined their first vessel, the SANKO SUMMIT, in Dammam in Saudi Arabia. The Sanko Summit, a bulk carrier cross trading worldwide, has also had several MCS cadets from previous intakes training on board.

    At the same time two trained navigating cadets, Frederick Piyoos and Sihle Mthembu, both former Durban University of Technology students, are ready to join Sanko vessels as Officers of the Watch after completing their final courses and examinations. “Both are now junior officers with huge potential and are setting their sights on developing through the ranks within the Sanko fleet to ultimately becoming a Master of a Sanko vessel,” said Ms Collins.

    “Our cadetships represent a constant learning curve and as cadets you must understand that you are constantly being evaluated by the officers on board,” said Sihle Mthembu. “It is really up to you, the more enthusiastically you approach your duties and the more you show officers that you are prepared to work and learn, the better for you.”

    Frederick Piyoos says life at sea is always interesting but it takes some time to get used to being so far away from your family. “One naturally comes in contact with different cultures and you have to eat strange food, cooked in strange ways. The crews are usually dominated by people of eastern origin who enjoy eating rice three times a day, when all you do is dream of good old pasta and pap!”

    Ms Collins says Marine Crew Services would be pleased if the South African government would set targets for training of merchant navy seafarers. “We have always maintained that it is well within our reach to train 2,500 new merchant navy seafarers over the next eight years. This in turn would create approximately 25,000 new jobs over the same period within the maritime support industry. Without funding assistance, however, the opportunity to grow the South African merchant navy and offer this lucrative field of employment in the international market to potential new young entrants is sadly not possible. Such a programme to train 2,500 seafarers over an eight year period would cost in the region of R247-million. Expensive it may seem but the returns to the country are enormous.”

    In addition to its cadet training programme with Sanko, MCS has been able to place increasing numbers of South African ratings on foreign ships. “We are now also exploring opportunities along with RK Offshore Management which is based in Singapore to create further employment opportunities for South African cadets and ratings in off-shore operations,” Collins said.

    Since its inception MCS has also facilitated and assisted in the training of officers and ratings for Angola and Nigeria through its collaboration with shipowners in West Africa. Thus the pool of merchant navy officers and ratings from the African Continent as a whole is growing year on year.

    “More and more could and should be trained and MCS will also continue to drive this programme forward to the benefit of all,” concluded Ms Collins.

    Looking forward to a bright new future at sea in the Sanko fleet. From left to right Mcoseleli Msi (Matatiele in Eastern Cape) and Siyabonga Gumbi (Ulundi, KwaZulu Natal), who will both soon qualify as junior officers, and Frederick Piyoos (Durban) and Sihle Mthembu (Newcastle, KwaZulu Natal), new junior officers. - picture supplied

    South Africa still reluctant to sign EPA with Europe

    The ongoing dispute between the European Union and South Africa over the latter’s refusal to sign the interim economic partnership agreement (EPA), has reached a further stage with a letter being sent by South Africa to the EU reiterating concern over the current proposals and asking for more time.

    Namibia and Angola affixed their signatures to the South African letter.

    The other members of the South African Customs Union (SACU) have already signed interim agreements with the EU to maintain preferential trade conditions with the European Union countries, but South Africa has remained obstinately opposed. The country’s reluctance has placed the unity of SACU under threat with talk that continued disagreement could result in the breakup of the world’s longest established customs union.

    The EU says it wants to bring finality to the agreement before the end of the first quarter of this year and it is being reported that the new EU Trade Commissioner, Baroness Catherine Ashton will travel to southern Africa early in February to try and change the minds of the reluctant three.

    Namibia has already signed the deal but has since expressed concerns, leading to it adding its signature to the recent letter sent by South Africa.

    Cape Town’s Edgin welcomes new operations specialist

    Edgin Logistics Solutions, the Cape Town-based logistics provider has announced the appointment of Rob Brown, formerly the Operations Manager at SACD, Cape Town to the team, with effect from 1 January.

    Brown has been involved in containers, cargo handling and warehousing for the last 40 years and brings a wealth of expertise to our young company, says Edgin in its latest Newsletter.

    “Rob is highly respected in our industry, not only for his practical knowledge but also because of his unshakeable integrity. We wish Rob every success and look forward to our existing clients being able to reap the benefits of his vast knowledge.”

    His arrival coincides with the unveiling of Edgin’s new covered storage facility at Culemborg which adds an additional 6,600m˛ to its warehousing portfolio. Situated within 2km of the container terminal, this new warehouse is ideally suited to the stuffing and de-stuffing of containers and will be kept solely for the storage and handling of clean, dust-free cargoes.

    Edgin’s total available covered space in Cape Town is now just over 24,000m˛ and its open yard space for Full Container Storage stands at 6,500m˛. By utilising dedicated warehouse spaces for different cargoes the company is able to handle and store just about anything, from large bulk shipments of fertiliser or grains, to smaller containerised shipments of specialised commodities or products.

    Further details about Edgin Logistics can be found HERE

    UNCTAD organises expert meeting on maritime transport and climate change

    January 2009: The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is organising an expert meeting on “Maritime transport and the climate change challenge.”

    The meeting, which will convene from 16-18 February 2009, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, aims to help identify relevant policy actions for climate change mitigation and adaptation in maritime transport, while furthering other objectives such as transport efficiency, trade facilitation, trade competitiveness and sustainable development.

    The overall objective of the meeting is to gain a clearer vision of the format, scope and content of a potential new regime on greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, and to help ascertain the economic and policy implications of various mitigation measures, including on the trade competitiveness of developing countries.

    UNCTAD member States wishing to nominate experts, as well as specialised agencies and intergovernmental bodies and NGOs nominating representatives or observers, are requested to do so by 2 February 2009.

    Pic of the day – GLOBAL OJI and SOUTHERN HARVEST

    The wood chip carrier GLOBAL OJI (41,484-gt, built 1998), accompanied by two harbour tugs, makes her way along the Esplanade Channel leading into the Maydon Channel and a berth at Durban’s wood chip facility at berth 8. The Panamanian-flagged vessel is Japanese managed and operated and carries wood chips between South Africa and the pulp and paper factories in Japan.                 Picture L Rip Riphagen

    The NYKCool reefer ship SOUTHERN HARVEST (8,483-gt, built 1990) arriving in Cape Town harbour of a calm placid day, where there is hardly a ripple on the waters of the bay. Southern Harvest is managed by Wallem Shipmanagement of Hong Kong.             Picture Ian Shiffman

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