Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 12, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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 – CGG SYMPHONY

  • SA should lead fight against piracy off Africa

  • News from the shipping lanes

  • Port Maputo goes on display

  • Djibouti port congestion peaks

  • Mombasa port congestion eases

  • Pic of the day – CIDADE DE SAO VICENTE


    First View – CGG SYMPHONY

    The Norwegian-owned, French operated seismic research vessel CGG SYMPHONY (10,043-gt, built 1988), the largest of her type in the world, was a visitor to Cape Town last week. Picture by Ian Sfiffman

    SA should lead fight against piracy off Africa

    Picture US Navy

    South Africa has the capability to lead in the fight against piracy off the African continent, says the Commander of the United States Naval Forces in Europe and Africa Admiral Mark Fitzgerald, writes Edwin Tshivhidzo.

    Piracy, poaching, armed robberies and other illegal activities such drug and human trafficking are becoming a major concern among many nations. In recent months there have been a number of ships hijacked for large sums of money off the Somali coast.

    Approximately 95 percent of the world's trade is conducted via the sea.

    Speaking to BuaNews at the 3rd Sea Power for Africa Symposium currently underway in Cape Town, Admiral Fitzgerald said South Africa had the capability to lead the fight against hijacked ships and piracy.

    He said, however, it would require all nations working so that pirates would be left with nowhere to hide.

    “It is time for governments to join forces against illegal activities in their waters. By sharing information, we will weaken their strategy, he said, adding that maritime played a major role in Africa's economic growth.

    He said it was imperative for governments to invest heavily on their navies and ensure they are well equipped. “Lack of proper training and resources has been identified as a major obstacle in the protection of maritime.”

    There was also the urgent need for the establishment of an early warning system to ensure adequate time and distance to detect, deter, interdict and defeat the array of maritime security threats, he said.

    One of the resolutions agreed upon during the 1st Sea Power for Africa Symposium held in Cape Town in 2005 was the need for the establishment for an Early Warning System to ensure pro-active, effective and efficient prevention of piracy.

    Training was also identified as a critical requirement to ensure availability of professionally skilled human resources.

    Rear Admiral Robert Higgs, Flag Officer Fleet of the South African Navy agreed that South Africa could play a leading role in fighting piracy.

    “South Africa is a significant role player on the continent; South Africa also has the strongest and the most powerful navy.”

    He said South Africa did not face any threat of piracy itself. "We do not have pirates operating on our waters," he said.

    Asked if the South African Navy was prepared to assist in operations off the Somali coast, Admiral Higgs said they were more than prepared to help but said the decision is made at a political level.

    Dr Paul Musili Wambua, a researcher from Kenya, emphasised the need for regional cooperation saying pirates take advantage of the instability in the vulnerable region to create safe havens from where they can further their criminal conduct with impunity and where it is near impossible to track them down.

    Traditionally, maritime patrols could be accomplished by boats, surface ships, submarines or aircraft that are adequately equipped to act against threats to security in an area of interest.

    In recent years, the South African government acquired state-of-the art frigates and submarines to patrol the sea.

    News from the shipping lanes

    Argentina’s Maruba shipping company launched its new ‘Benguela’ feeder service between South Africa and West Africa last week, enabling connections between Africa and Asia through the SEAS 1 service that Maruba shares with K Line and CMA CGM.

    The Benguela service operated by Maruba will use Durban as its hub port with calls at Walvis Bay, Douala, Libreville and Pointe Noire, handling containers and breakbulk cargo.

    Sailings will initially be on a monthly basis using the 537-TEU SENATOR, now happily released from recent legal constraints after police went on board in Durban harbour and found a quantity of drugs, leading to the arrest not only of a seafarer but the vessel as well. Senator was released only after bonds were posted.

    CMA CGM along with Delmas also connects with the SEAS service to West Africa by way of a single ship offering, the 543-TEU HANSEWALL operating from Durban to Luanda and Pointe Noire.

    SAECS (South Africa Europe Container Service has changed its terminal call in Bremerhaven and will in future stop at the Northsea Terminal and not the Eurogate Terminal. The changes take effect with the calls of SAFMARINE NOMAZWE which has an ETA in Bremerhaven of 1 April, and MOL KOMATI due in the port on 3 April 2009.

    The New World Alliance (APL, MOL and HMM) are the latest shipping lines to consider using the longer Cape of Good Hope route from Europe to Asia instead of travelling through the Suez Canal and Red Sea.

    The alliance has selected to test the viability of the longer but reportedly cheaper route involving slower sailing and avoidance of canal fees and anti-piracy insurance premiums with one-off sailings on its AEX and SCX services. If these prove successful the alliance will increase the number of services using the eastwards Cape of Good Hope service to seven – the others being Maersk Line, MSC, CMA CGM, Evergreen and Grand Alliance.

    Meanwhile it is reported that Maersk Line and sister line Safmarine will operate their East Coast South America – Middle East (SAMBA) service via the Cape of Good Hope in both directions, as they did before May 2005.

    Port calls at Dakar and Algeciras are thus dropped but a new call at Walvis Bay has been included on the southbound leg, thus enabling Maersk/Safmarine to continue providing westbound sailings from Walvis Bay to Brazil following the closure of the ECSA – West Africa Express service (SAWA/WASADI). The change of direction also speeds up the rotation from 9 to 8 weeks. Eight vessels in the 2,800-TEU range are currently in service.

    French carrier CMA CGM has announced that the two SIRIUS loops between the Mediterranean, West Africa and East Coast South America are to be merged on account of decreased demand. The new single loop will be operated using seven ships in the 4,200-TEU range with a port rotation of Valencia (Spain), Taragona (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Livorno (Italy), Vado Ligure (Italy), Malta, Dakar (Senegal), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Santos (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Montevideo (Uruguay), Rio Grande (Brazil), Paranagua (Brazil), Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Pecem (Brazil) and Valencia.

    Port Maputo goes on display

    Nicole de Sousa-Fonseca and Yvonne de Kock on the MPDC stand at the Cape Town exhibition

    The Maputo Port Development Company, which operates and manages the Mozambique port of Maputo, stepped out in style last week as an exhibitor at the Railways & Harbours Conference & Exhibition which was being held at the Cape Town ICC, writes Nicole de Sousa-Fonseca.

    The conference and exhibition was staged between Wednesday 4 and Friday 6 March and attracted a wide group of visitors and delegates. The three days of the exhibition gave the MPDC the opportunity to network and meet various people in the industry.

    This is the first time that Port Maputo has had a stand at this conference, and it was great to get plenty of networking done and make many people aware that the Port of Maputo is in action.

    The MPDC CEO Captain Ron Herman presented a paper at the Conference on the Thursday and spoke about the Port of Maputo and the cross border focus, including giving a lot of interesting facts about the port. Some details about the Port of Maputo include:

    Company registered in Mozambique, was granted concession rights in 2003 by the Mozambique Government to finance, rehabilitate, develop, operate, manage, maintain, develop and optimise the Port Concession area.


    Has excellent road and rail links with major agricultural, industrial and commercial hubs.

    Is a natural transport route for SA cargo to Asia and EU Saving time, distance, and money.

    Economic Impact

    Import/Export trade flow and supporting infrastructure
    Tourism: 19 cruise ships expected for 2009
    Micro-business: taxis, street vendors, restaurants
    Employment: MPDC in 2009 employs 467 people and has a US$6.2 million payroll
    Employing locally and is building skills
    Training: 8,140 man hours
    Student interns: Operations and finances
    Succession planning
    Corporate citizen
    Pride of Mozambique

    Achievements & Infrastructure

    Channel Clearing - US$14 million port dredging and marine services
    55,000 ton bulk sugar terminal extension opened
    10,000 m² bagged sugar terminal
    Phase 1 bulk liquids terminal fully operational
    Ferro Terminal
    Car Terminal
    Road, Rail and Quay


    Maputo is ISPS compliant, being the first port in Africa to achieve this
    Access Control
    Fenced Port Area

    Work Force

    Well trained and empowered Mozambican work force

    Marine & Equipment

    New equipment worth US$24 million delivered since 2003
    World class Marine Services
    Two Gottwald mobile harbor cranes delivered to MIPS
    Mobile harbour cranes handling granite
    Fork Lifts
    Maintenance / Workshops

    Djibouti port congestion peaks

    Shipments of aid cargo and fertiliser are adding to the congestion problems currently being experienced at the port of Djibouti, reports Addis Fortune.

    It says the situation is exacerbated by a vast amount of cement imports and tens of thousands of tonnes of wheat imported by the Ethiopian government to help stabilise local prices.

    Approximately 18 ships were at anchor outside the port when this article was prepared – the largest single cargo so far having been 48,934 tonnes of wheat on the vessel MIGHTY MICHALIS, which was being discharged at a daily rate of less than 2,700t.

    The report said that in the past week a total of 291,000 tonnes of cargo had been discharged at the port, with the largest volume being cement imported on seven vessels, while another three discharged 107,000t of wheat. A further three ships had a cargo of fertiliser totaling 73,000t.

    The UN food aid organisation World Food Programme (WFP) confirmed that all local warehouses throughout Djibouti were full.

    “A large quantity of WFP’s food is at the port,” Paulette Jones, WFP spokeswoman in Addis Ababa, was quoted by IRIN. “These [food] commodities are needed urgently to assist beneficiaries who are still suffering from the impact of the drought, high food prices and [low] global food stocks.”

    As a result of the increased volumes and demand, the transport cost per ton has risen to a record high of 70 Br, the Addis Fortune report said, adding that there are conflicting opinions on what actually caused the congestion, with some blaming it on an insufficient number of road trucks operating on the corridor.

    Others however suggested the situation wasn’t as bad as a year ago and that the congestion would soon ease, but government departments admitted there was a problem and said efforts were being taken to alleviate the bureaucratic bottlenecks.

    The heads of the Revenue and Customs Authority (RCA), the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), the Maritime and Transit Services (MTS) and the Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL) were expected to sign an agreement to enable imports to enter mainland Ethiopia even though import formalities have not been fully completed.

    Cargo would be taken to a bonded inland dry port at Modjo, 73km east of Addis Ababa and would be the first time that Ethiopia had allowed imports to enter the country from Djibouti before customs duties had been paid.

    Mombasa port congestion eases

    Kenyan port authorities are getting on top of congestion problems at the port of Mombasa, a port spokesman has said. Total containers at the port have decreased from 15,000 in January to 10,000 TEU in early March, suggesting the back of the congestion problem has been broken.

    Although the spokesman attributed the decrease to improved efficiencies in road deliveries to and from the port, the drop in import and export volumes is probably also playing a significant role, said one of the port’s principal users, who asked to remain anonymous. He said the test would come if import and export volumes increased, but nevertheless the opportunity has been presented to sort out congestion in the port and maintain it that way.

    According to the port authority it is moving an average of 900 TEUs by road every 24 hours at present.

    Meanwhile the port of Mombasa has reinstated storage charges on rail-bound cargo as from 1 March. The charges were withdrawn last year to assist with easing congestion.

    In a related report the port of Mombasa registered a record 1,117 container moves in 24 hours on Wednesday, 4 March, involving the container ship MSC EAGLE. The ship was handled at berth 17 in the container terminal and had earlier recorded 555 container moves in a full shift of eight hours.

    Acting terminal manager Sudi Mwasinago described the performance as being way above the agreement between Kenya Ports Authority and the East African Conference Lines to deliver 200 moves in 24 hours. The terminal’s performance contract with the Kenyan government calls for the terminal to attain 136 moves per shift which translates into 408 moves every 24 hours.

    The previous record was in September 2006 with MSC SUDAN when 1,076 container moves were achieved over a 24-hour period.

    Pic of the day – BW CIDADE DE SAO VICENTE

    Two views of the FPSO BW CIDADE DE SAO VICENTE (137,684-dwt, built 1976) in Cape Town last week. The FPSO was formerly named BW PEACE. The top image by Aad Noorland was taken looking into the morning glare as the unusual vessel arrived off harbour, with several harbour tugs scurrying around to ensure all was in order.

    The lower picture by Ian Shiffman shows the vessel on her berth in harbour.

    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