Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 26, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – SAINTY 8 and SALVAGE CHAMPION

  • Maersk opts to send Far East – Europe containerships the long way round Cape

  • Updates on Interesting ships and their cargoes

  • Piracy update – UN task force begins patrols

  • Madagascar: Cyclone damage becomes clear

  • NSRI assists sick passenger from containership

  • Pics of the day – SALVAGE CHAMPION and ASTOR


    First View – SAINTY 8 and SALVAGE CHAMPION

    The barge SAINTY 8 with a cargo of of smaller vessels stacked one on top of the othe and side by sider, all bound for the Dutch port of Rotterdam and eventual use on the rivers of Europe. The two vessels put into Cape Town last week for bunkers and supplies. Picture by Aad Noorland

    The second picture shows the barge under tow behind the tug Taiwanese tug SALVAGE CHAMPION (1,830-gt, built 1976) which is towing SAINTY 8 to Europe. Picture Ian Shiffman

    Maersk opts to send Far East – Europe containerships the long way round Cape

    In a development of some proportion and with potentially far-extending ramifications Maersk Line will re-route its Asia – Europe 7 service (AE7) around the Cape of Good Hope on the eastbound leg as from this month, reports the PR News Service.

    The AE7 service is operated with eight container ships each of around 11,000-TEU capacity and one 8,500-TEU ship which until now have operated between Algeciras and Shanghai via the Red Sea and Suez Canal.

    The ships are unlikely to stop at any South African port even for bunkers. Savings are expected to be affected by slow steaming and from avoiding Suez Canal fees of around $ 600,000 per transit.

    The longer journey will take an estimated additional five to seven days, meaning that the voyage from Algeciras to Shanghai will take 32 days instead of 25.

    The previous rotation for the AE7 service was Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Yantian, Algeciras, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Zeebrugge, Algeciras, Tanjung Pelepas, Hong Kong, Yantian, and back to Shanghai. But now six consecutive eastbound voyages commencing with the departure of the ELLY MAERSK from Algeciras on 22 January will drop the Tanjung Pelepas, Hong Kong and Yantian calls while using the route around the Cape.

    It is not clear whether Maersk will revert to using the Suez Canal thereafter including reinstating calls at the three Asian ports.

    PR News Service says that other lines are giving consideration to a similar move.

    Updates on Interesting ships and their cargoes

    Last Thursday (22 January) Ports & Ships featured an aerial photograph of the port taken by Steve McCurrach, which included a glimpse of a blue mobile crane standing at the corner of G berth at the Durban City Terminal.

    Steve McCurrach is able to update this report with the news that shortly afterwards the MACS line vessel BLACK RHINO arrived and loaded the crane for a destination north of Durban.

    Picture by Steve McCurrach

    SEA ELEGANCE – for the record

    On 21 January Ports & Ships related the story of the containership SEA ELEGANCE, which was damaged by fire while offshore of Durban in 2003.

    Nick Sloane, who was involved in the salvage of the vessel points out some inaccuracies in our initial and subsequent report.

    “A slight correction to the story on the Sea Elegance, which had the fire offshore Durban,” he writes.

    “She arrived off Durban expecting to berth on arrival, but due to a ship delayed on her berth, was sent to the outer anchorage. Shortly after anchoring, around 08h05 on the Saturday morning, cargo in No.5 hold – just abaft the accommodation - blew up, resulting in a fire-ball sweeping up the aft section of the accommodation and setting all on fire.

    “As salvage master, I led a 10-man salvage team, and along with two shifts of fire-fighters from the Durban Fire Brigade, the tug Pentow Salvor and port tugs, fought the fire for almost a week – finally bringing her into port the following Saturday.

    “After investigation, it was found that a mis-declared cargo of calcium hyper chloride had been stowed on top of the FO service tank at the bottom of No.5 cargo hold, which was a heated tank. This cargo slowly heated up on passage from Singapore and then went into self-combustion, resulting in the explosion.

    “The force of the blast lifted the hatch-covers on top of the hold – with several hundred tonnes of cargo loaded on top of the covers!

    “All cargo in the hold was destroyed, and the fire spread into the engine room & accommodation, resulting in major fire-damage, and the loss of one crew member (who was never found).

    “I believe that the ship was sold shortly thereafter, but can you imagine the potential damage had the ship suffered the explosion as she entered the harbour entrance? It could have been a far-worse situation!”

    Piracy update – UN task force begins patrols

    The multinational naval task force known as Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) has begun patrolling the waters off Somalia in an effort of deterring pirates who are seeking to highjack merchant ships sailing in the region.

    At present the task force consists of just three warships, all American, but other navies are expected to participate in the dedicated task force that will seek out pirates and hopefully deter them from further operations in the region.

    There are already numerous other ships from various countries operating in the area, but they are there specifically to provide patrol services for their own national merchant vessels, or to assist with escorting food aid shipments into Somalia. Up until now these ships have stood down from actively pursuing pirates although they have responded to distress calls from ships under attack and have successfully beaten off quite a large number of ship attacks and taking some pirates into captivity.

    The delay in ships of other navies joining CTF-151 is thought to be a matter of navies waiting for mandates from their governments to take part. Admiral Bill Gortney, the commander of the US 5th Fleet operating in the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf, says the setting up of the task force is a step in the right direction that will deter and disrupt pirates and eventually to bring them to justice. Earlier in January the admiral said the plan was to actively go after the pirates and drive them from the area while making it safe for shipping. He said they would make it “unpleasant” for the pirates to continue their criminal activities.

    In West Africa a Rumanian seafarer has been seized by armed men after his ship, a fully laden products tanker was attacked off the coast of Nigeria. The tanker MEREDITH (3,592-gt, built 1981) and flying the Panamanian flag was en route from Lagos to Port Harcourt when the attack took place.

    There are also reports that two other ships have come under attack by armed men off the Nigerian coast in which several Nigerian crew were taken hostage.

    Madagascar: Cyclone damage becomes clear

    Antananarivo (IRIN) — New figures from Madagascar's National Office for Natural Disasters Preparedness (BNGRC) indicate that cyclone Fanele claimed eight lives and affected some 40,400 people.

    Fanele, a category four cyclone, made landfall at the town of Morondava on the west coast of the Indian Ocean island in the early hours of 21 January. Only two days earlier tropical storm Eric caused severe destruction when it approached the island's east coast near Toamasina, Madagascar's largest port, and left one person dead.

    “We now have eight people dead as a result of cyclone Fanele,” Dia Styvanley Soa, spokeswoman for the BNGRC, told IRIN. “In the district of Beroroha one person was killed, and seven in the district of Ihorome [all on the western side of the island]. Eric killed one person in Amoron’i Mania, [on the eastern side], so the figure for Eric and Fanele is now nine dead.”

    In the worst affected region of Menabe, on the west coast, over 28,000 people have been affected by Fanele, including nearly 3,000 people left homeless in Morondava. “I lost my house when a tree fell over, destroying it,” Bravo Rahajaharison, who lives in the town, told IRIN by phone. “We are without electricity - the situation is bad.”

    The BNGRC said a further 63,000 people were at risk in Menabe if heavy rain continued to fall. Relief teams are still assessing the damage caused by the two storms, and figures are expected to rise as more information on the full extent of the damage is gathered.

    “The main problem now is getting clean water and nutrition to people in the most badly damaged areas,” BNGRC deputy executive secretary, Dr Raymond Randriatahina, told IRIN. Cases of dysentery have already been reported in some areas.

    The main problem now is getting clean water and nutrition to people in the most badly damaged areas.

    “Where you have acute flooding there is always the concern that contaminated water will spread disease,” Aurélien Demaurex, country director of international relief NGO, MedAir, told IRIN.

    “People have to use whatever water is available to them for cooking and drinking. The most common illness is diarrhoea, but if the situation is very serious, cholera can also be a problem.”

    Out of the blue

    Cyclone Fanele started as a storm in the Mozambique Channel and very quickly grew in intensity. “The problem with this cyclone is that it appeared very close to the coast, and in a very short time it gathered strength and hit the coast,” said Demaurex. “That was a little surprising.”

    Residents in the storm's path were warned of the danger in national radio broadcasts as the cyclone approached and local fishermen were told to stay home.

    The BNGRC is responsible for coordinating the efforts of the relief operation, and is implementing a new decentralised National Contingency plan for the first time this year.

    “Our plans to respond to cyclone catastrophes were already in place and we were well prepared for this,” Randriatahina said.

    Madagascar lies in the main path of storms crossing the Western Indian ocean and is battered by cyclones every year - as many as four of these destructive weather events may make landfall in the cyclone season between December and April. In February 2008 cyclone Ivan killed at least 83 people and left more than 200,000 homeless when it hit the east coast of Madagascar.

    [This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

    NSRI assists sick passenger from containership

    Cape Town, 24 January - At 09h07 National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Table Bay and the Metro Ambulance and Rescue Services were activated by the Transnet Ports Authority to casualty evacuate 73 year old Hugo Kloser, from Switzerland, suffering breathing difficulties aboard the Container ship DAL KALAHARI (50.736-gt, built 2005) at anchor in Table Bay.

    Pat van Eyssen, NSRI Table Bay station commander, said the ship was due to dock in the Port of Table Bay later in the day and had sailed from a European Port.

    He said a Titan helicopter was to perform the casualty evacuation with NSRI rescue swimmers and a Metro rescue paramedic but a thick fog hanging over Table Bay had prevented the helicopter operation and NSRI Table Bay's rescue craft Spirit of Vodacom was tasked.

    A Metro rescue paramedic accompanied the operation and a Metro ambulance was summoned to stand-by at the NSRI Table Bay rescue base.

    On arrival on-scene the Metro rescue paramedic and an NSRI rescuer were transferred aboard the ship and the patient was stabilised and lowered onto the rescue craft using the ships crane and secured into a Stokes Basket Stretcher.

    The patient, in a stable condition, was brought to the NSRI Table Bay rescue base and transported to the Vincent Palotti hospital by a Metro ambulance.

    The patient’s wife remained aboard the ship and joined her husband once the ship docked.
    It is believed that they are passengers aboard the ship.

    DAL Kalahari is one of the few cargo ships remaining on the South Africa service that still carries passengers.

    Shelly Beach (KZN), 24 January - At 09h24 NSRI Shelly Beach volunteers launched their rescue craft Caltex Endeavor to assist the crew aboard the ski-boat Deep Blue Pirate experiencing motor failure on one of her two outboard motors and requiring assistance to get ashore through the breaker line.

    Mark Harlen, NSRI Shelly Beach station commander, said that the skipper of the boat can be commended for calling the NSRI to assist and his actions are considered as the safest option and the right thing to do under the circumstances that were faced.

    He said that the skipper may easily have gotten his craft ashore on one motor but that an element of increased risk was present with only one motor operational.

    The skipper called the NSRI who launched through the breakers and took seven of the crew off the boat which then motored ashore quite comfortably on one motor without the weight of her crew who were brought ashore aboard the NSRI rescue craft.

    St Francis Bay, 24 January - At 08h10 NSRI St Francis Bay volunteers launched their rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II to go to the assistance of a 32 year old fisherman injured with lacerations to his arm and leg aboard the stern fishing trawler VONA ELITA 20 nautical miles South East of St Francis Bay.

    Bob Meikle, NSRI St Francis Bay station commander said that on arrival on-scene the patient, reportedly injured while retrieving fishing nets, was bandaged and stabilised and brought to the NSRI St Francis Bay rescue base and transported to a Port Elizabeth hospital in a stable condition by Private Care ambulance services. After receiving sutures he had been released from hospital.

    Pics of the day – SALVAGE CHAMPION and ASTOR

    The Taiwanese-owned tug SALVAGE CHAMPION (1,830-gt, built 1976) which arrived in Cape Town last week towing the barge Sanity 8 (see FIRST VIEW above). Picture Ian Shiffman

    The German cruise ship ASTOR (20,686-gt, built 1986) formerly of Safmarine, was another visitor to Cape Town last week. The ship is carrying out a cruise along the southern African coast. Picture Ian Shiffman

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