Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 16, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – GROWTH RING

  • Other port authorities take note: Singapore cuts port fees

  • Despite govt measures Dar es Salaam port congestion still causing problems

  • Piracy update – Navies active as weather window favours pirates

  • CMA CGM/Delmas expand Mozambique, IOL, India service

  • Trade News: Lloyd’s Register accepts NMEA 2000 Standard

  • Pics of the day – PRETTY FLOURISH


    First View – GROWTH RING

    A picture from the recent past – The NYK wood chips carrier GROWTH RING (35,387-gt, built 1989), since renamed STELLAR JUPITER, completes discharging cargo at Maydon Wharf. A new bulker vessel named Growth Ring carries the name for NYK. Picture Terry Hutson

    Other port authorities take note: Singapore cuts port fees

    Other port authorities including those closer to home might want to take note - Singapore Maritime Port Authority (MPA) has taken the lead in reaching out to shippers and to shipping lines that are increasingly feeling the strain of the economic downturn by reducing port fees for ocean-going ships and harbour craft. In a statement the port authority describes the cut in port fees is being... “to help the shipping industry during the current economic downturn”.

    The new measure means that ocean-going ships remaining in port for not more than 10 days will now get a 10% reduction on port fees while harbour craft engaged in commercial activity in the port can expect a 20% reduction. Both reductions take effect from 1 April and will hold firm for one year.

    “The 10% concession in port dues to ocean-going vessels will be extended over and above existing port dues concessions already enjoyed by the industry, such as the 20% port dues concession for containerships and 20 per cent port dues rebate scheme for vehicle carrier operators,” says the MPA statement. “This concession will broaden the spectrum of vessels like bulk carriers, tankers and other types of ocean-going vessels benefiting from the financial relief.”

    It adds that the reduction for harbour craft is intended to assist the domestic sector and seeks to “lower the business costs of port and marine services providers, such as bunker suppliers, ship chandlers, tug boat operators and domestic ferry operators.”

    MPA continues: “The 20% concession in port dues for harbour craft is targeted at helping the domestic sector. This concession seeks to lower the business costs of port and marine services providers, such as bunker suppliers, ship chandlers, tug boat operators and domestic ferry operators.”

    The President of the Singapore Shipping Association, SS Teo says he welcomes these measures.

    “The SSA is grateful that the MPA has expediently adopted the industry’s feedback and suggestions through our regular dialogue sessions," says Teo. "We will continue to work closely with the MPA to explore how we can further reduce costs and enhance the competitiveness of Singapore’s maritime industry to ride out the current economic downturn. I also take this opportunity to urge all private and public sectors to take heed of MPA’s example on how they can help reduce business costs for the shipping industry to survive this economic crisis."

    He added that the SSA hopes that some of the savings will be passed on to ship operators.

    Despite govt measures Dar es Salaam port congestion still causing problems

    In spite of pressure from Tanzania’s president and government departments, congestion at the port of Dar es Salaam remains an overriding problem with more than 20 ships waiting outside harbour for a berth last week.

    Part of the problem is caused by the slowness of relocating containers from the port container terminal to inland terminals, or container depots. Reports say that as few as 200 to 300 uncleared containers are moving across daily, whereas the port remains capable of offloading up to 1,000 boxes a day. The net result is that the backlog of uncleared and unclaimed containers continues to rise, placing further pressure on the terminal and port’s capacity to operate efficiently.

    Measures taken by the Kenya Ports Authority, acting under pressure from the government including the country’s president to have decongested the port within three months, has however seen 18,000-TEU transferred to inland container depots although the backlog remains as new boxes arrive.

    Nigeria: Lagos ports reopen after strike

    In Nigeria activity at the port of Lagos was beginning to return to normal on Saturday after clearing agents called off their three-day strike.

    The agents were protesting about high charges being raised by terminal operators.

    In a statement issued by Joseph Nnomocha, public relations officer of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents at the port of Apapa, the clearing agents agreed to call off their strike following a directive from the Federal Government that no ships of Maersk Line or MSC should berth until all empty containers were evacuated from the terminal.

    A spokesman for the striking agents said they were including a new demand that demurrage should not be charged on cargoes that were delayed in the terminal by the strike.

    Piracy update – Navies active as weather window favours pirates

    Gulf of Aden, 12 February - Hands aloft in surrender, nine suspected Somali pirates prepare to be taken prisoner by US Navy personnel, who arrived on the scene shortly after the Indian freighter Premdivya called for help, saying that it was under attack by pirates. The captured men were taken on board the US cruiser USS Vella Gulf and later transferred to the USS Lewis & Clark. Picture courtesy US Navy

    As international naval forces gathering in the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa region become more proactive in countering the pirate threat, Friday 13 February proved to be a lucky day for the crew on board the Panama-flagged tanker CHEMSTAR VENUS when they were released along with their ship.

    The release followed protracted negotiations between the ship’s owners and the pirates. The Japanese tanker had been captured on 15 November last year and has being held while a ransom deal was thrashed out. In the end there were no dramatic helicopter flights and ransom drops using parachutes – the money was delivered by tug and after counting to make sure it was all there the pirates began to leave the ship, with being all off by 22h030 that night.

    According to the European Union’s Maritime Security Centre for the Horn of Africa region a Chinese fishing vessel, Tianyu No. 8, was also freed last Sunday after being held by pirates for nearly three months and has been escorted to safety by Chinese warships. “This brings the total number of hijacked vessels (still in pirate hands) down to six,” the EU said.

    Meanwhile a US Navy spokesman has confirmed that US Navy ships have for the second time in a single day arrested a boatload of pirates in the Gulf of Aden. The capture of the suspects took place after an Indian ship, the PREMDIVYA reported it was under attack from pirates travelling in an open skiff who had opened fire on the ship and were trying to board.

    Quickly on the scene was a navy helicopter which assisted in keeping the pirates at bay until the arrival of two US warships, the guided missile cruiser USS VELLA GULF and the destroyer USS MAHAN. Shortly afterwards the pirates surrendered and were taken into captivity on board the USS Vella Gulf before being transferred to a third ship, USS LEWIS & CLARK.

    The successful capture of the pirates followed a previous action involving the USS Vella Gulf which intercepted another skiff thought to have been involved in an attack on the tanker POLARIS (13,107-DWT). After a search of the skiff revealed AK47 weapons and rocket grenades, the suspects were taken into custody. A Russian naval vessel had meanwhile also gone to the assistance of the Polaris.

    In a separate matter involving the Russian Navy, the nuclear-powered cruise PETER THE GREAT went into action this past week by apprehending and detaining 10 pirates after they attempted to board a Iran-flagged fishing trawler. The pirates were captured with a supply of rifles and grenade launchers, illegal narcotics and a sizeable sum of money.

    The EU Centre says that improving weather conditions makes more pirate attacks likely, as could be seen from at least six attempts on ships in the past week. These had been thwarted mainly due to the presence and quick action of EU and US naval forces operating in the area, it said.

    Singapore and Turkey have both confirmed that they will be sending warships to the Gulf to assist in anti piracy activity. In Turkey’s case the TSG GIRESUN, a former Perry class frigate will deploy to the region at the end of this month with a mandate to remain on duty for up to one year.

    In the case of Singapore an unnamed naval landing ship and two transport Super Puma helicopters will head for the Gulf on a three-month deployment.

    CMA CGM/Delmas expand Mozambique, IOL, India service

    CMA CGM and its associated company Delmas have announced the expansion of their Mozex service between Mozambique, the Indian Ocean islands and India.

    In future three ships each with a container capacity of 450-TEU will provide an enlarged port coverage in Mozambique, and offering calls at Port Kelang in Malaysia, Pointe des Galets in Reunion, Maputo, Beira and Nacala in Mozambique, and Longoni in Mayotte.

    A statement from the joint companies says that the service will guarantee new transport opportunities between the Indian subcontinent, the Arabian Gulf, Far East, South East Asia, Indian Ocean islands and Mozambique… “thanks to regular direct connections in Port Kelang and Longoni on the Delmas and CMA CGM group services”.

    Cargo to and from the Far East will be shipped via Mozex calling in Port Kelang, with transshipments from Delmas and CMA CGM direct services to the Chinese ports of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Nongbo, Chiwan, Tianjin, Xingang and Yantian.

    Cargo to and from the Indian Ocean islands will be shipped via the Mozex service calling at Longoni and Reunion then transshipped onto the Delmas Mascareignes Express (MAX) service calling at Port Louis (Mauritius), and Tamatave (Madagascar). A connection will be offered via the Indian Ocean (IO) feeder service calling at Longoni, Moroni, Diego and Nosi Be.

    Cargo to and from Australia and New Zealand will be shipped via the Mozex service calling in Port Kelang, and transshipped onto the ANL direct service to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Fremantle and Auckland.

    Trade News: Lloyd’s Register accepts NMEA 2000 Standard

    Lloyd’s Register EMEA has accepted the NMEA 2000® Standard as an acceptable National Standard for compliance with their Rules. In addition Lloyd’s Register EMEA has accepted the NMEA 2000® physical cable and connector system. NMEA 2000 has also been accepted by the International ElectroTechnical Commission (IEC) in the IEC standard 61162-3.

    “The acceptance of NMEA 2000® is very important to international customers and to boat and ship owners,” said Steve Spitzer, Technical Director of the National Maine Electronics Association (NMEA). “Lloyd’s acceptance has international and domestic implications for use of the NMEA 2000® standard. Among other things, it means that NMEA 2000® cables and connectors meet the Lloyd’s smoke and fire requirements for ships.”

    With regard to the construction of the cable, Lloyd’s Register EMEA advised that the FT4 Flame rating of NMEA 2000® cables would be considered an acceptable demonstration of flame retardance of cables.

    With regard to the construction of the cable, Lloyd’s Register EMEA also noted that IEC 61162-3 is essentially the same standard as NMEA 2000®. On that basis (NMEA 2000®) would be considered an acceptable standard of cables for ships, a spokesman from Lloyd’s Register EMEA noted.

    With regard to connectors, the NMEA 2000® connectors, being manufactured to a National Standard would therefore be considered acceptable as complying with the LR Rules. While the LR Rules do not preclude the use of other connectors, where particular connectors are specified by the system standard being followed as with NMEA 2000®, LR would expect this to be complied with.

    The NMEA 2000® Standard and its physical components have become increasing adapted by the maritime community, both in recreational boating and in the commercial marine sector, Spitzer said. “Every day we are having more and more manufacturers either inquiring, or developing NMEA 2000® certified products.”

    The NMEA 2000® Standard offers a safe, high-quality means for marine electronics devices to interface and communicate with each other. Benefits for the boat and ship operators include the following:

  • Marine electronics devices from different manufacturers can communicate with each other and operate efficiently and safely. Equipment built by manufacturers to the NMEA 2000® Standard can share data and commands on the boat’s network

  • The NMEA 2000® Standard, built by and maintained by industry leaders, includes message priority and collision avoidance

  • The NMEA 2000® Standard provides boat and ship operators with choices for their product needs. The NMEA 2000 is an extremely robust system that maximizes the ability for end users to make the choices of products that they want on one network
    NMEA 2000 products must be certified by NMEA. This assures that the products developed meet the NMEA 2000 standards providing a high level of confidence that the NMEA 2000 products will appropriately communicate on the network

    Founded in 1957, the NMEA has led the way in establishing technical standards for data exchange in marine electronics, with the widely accepted NMEA 0183 data protocol, NMEA 2000® and certification standards for marine electronics technicians. NMEA standards and programs focus on insuring that the boating consumer is provided reliable products and professional service. For more information, visit the NMEA Web site at www.nmea.org or call +(410) 975-9425. Local enquiries to SMD Telecommunications CC, Tel +27 31 205 1122

    NB: NMEA – National Marine Electronics Assocition

    Pic of the day – PRETTY FLOURISH

    Another picture from the 2003 files shows the Korean bulker PRETTY FLOURISH (27,792-gt, built 1997) being escorted out of the Island View basin by the harbour tug Tugela and ultimately towards the open sea. 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

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