Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 18, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – MONA LISA in Cape Town

  • Container ship layups reach 484 and new high of 1.41 million TEU

  • Seal alert for US-bound containers

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Tanzania alerted to fishing piracy

  • It’s Navy Festival Week again

  • Pic of the day – DE NEYS in Simon’s Town


    First View – MONA LISA in Cape Town

    The Japanese Peace Boat MONA LISA (28,891-gt, built 1978 as the Kungsholm) visited Cape Town during February as part of her current tour of the greater Indian Ocean. Pictire by Ian Shiffman

    Container ship layups reach 484 and new high of 1.41 million TEU

    The number of container ships laid up and idle topped 484 late last week, reports the analyst group Alphaliner in its latest bulletin. This is equal to 1.41 million TEU capacity being taken out of the system and represents 11.3% of the word’s box fleet, with the number continuing to rise, albeit at a slower rate as shipping lines respond to shrinking volumes on most major trade routes.

    The 11.3% rate is three times as much as that for the last economic downturn in 2002 but the speed with which the drop has taken place this time round is what also makes this occasion unique. In late October the number of ships laid up was 70 for 150,000 TEUs and by 5 January this had reached 550,000 TEUs. Since then it has almost tripled.

    Alphaliner notes that there is a slowdown among ships in the 500-1,000-TEU range and above 3,000-TEU. However ships in the 1,000-3,000 TEU range are increasingly being laid up as they come off charter.

    Also included in the laid up fleet are 24 ships of between 7,500 to 10,000 TEU and 58 ships in the 5,000 – 7,500 TEU range.

    Seal alert for US-bound containers

    The US Department of Homelands Security now requires that all loaded maritime cargo containers entering the US must be secured with high-security seals meeting the ISO/PAS 17712 standard, reports Cape Business News.

    This regulation, the latest development in the Customs Trade Partnership against Terrorism initiative, includes foreign cargo remaining on board.

    In addition, the details of all seal numbers must be included in the Vessel Automated Manifest System sent to US Customs & Border Protection at least 24 hours before cargo is loaded aboard a vessel at a foreign port.

    For C-TPAT participants this regulation is not new – many maritime cargo containers entering the US are already secured with ISO/PAS 17712 compliant high-security seals. However, it is now required of all containers entering the US by sea. Some 90% of all general and breakbulk cargo worldwide moves by container, emphasising the importance of the announcement.

    ISO/PAS 17712 requires that container freight seals meet or exceed certain standards for strength and durability so as to prevent accidental breakage, early deterioration (due to weather conditions, chemical action, etc.), or undetectable tampering under normal usage. The standard also requires that each seal be clearly and legibly marked with a unique identification number.

    Some types of containers cannot be readily secured by use of a seal meeting the ISO/PAS 17712 standard.

    These containers – which include tanks, non-standard containers such as open top containers and some custom-built containers – are not subject to the statutory requirement.

    The new regulation has several implications for South African exporters to the US, says Kevin Norwitz, MD of Aluvin, South Africa’s leading manufacturer and distributor of security sealing products.

    “Firstly, the correct seal has to be used on a container. Secondly, proof is needed that the seal is genuinely C-TPAT compliant, requiring verification of test results at an ISO accredited test laboratory. Thirdly, seals have to be procured from manufacturers and/or suppliers that comply with the duties and responsibilities of ISO/PAS 17712,” says Norwitz.

    “Many seal suppliers are claiming compliance but do not have the supporting documentation to prove this,” says Norwitz. “Exporters and shippers should thus exercise caution in the purchasing of seals in order to avoid problems at US ports of entry.” – source CBN online

    News from the shipping lines

    Pass me a napkin, please

    Maersk Line means business when it says it wants to reduce overheads and maximise profits. In its latest cutback the Danish carrier, the world’s largest container line, is outlawing the use of paper napkins at the dining tables of its ships. The cost of these to the company amounts to the equivalent of three days time charter for a large container ship, it claims. By stopping the use of these items the carrier expects to save $ 70,000 annually, provided crews convert to using kitchen paper rolls instead!

    Wallenius Lines and Wilh Wilhelmsen, the two ship operators that own the ships operated by Wilhelmsen Logistics, will be transferring idled ships into cold lay-up status. This follows a dramatic drop in the number of vehicles being shipped – a decrease of between 30 and 40% in 12 months has been mentioned. Some of the vessels which were on charter have been re-delivered to their owners but others will go into cold layup in Norway and Malaysia.

    COSCO – China Ocean Shipping Company Group is now the fifth largest container terminal operator in the world, according to a study undertaken by Drewry Shipping Consultants. The group has achieved this in ten years and now operates 150 berths in China and abroad, with an annual throughput of more than 45 million TEUs. Ports where COSCO has terminal operations include Dalian, Yingkou, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai, Taicang, Zhangjiagang, Nanjing, Yangzhou, Ningbo, Xiamen, Quanzhou, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, all in China. Terminal operations outside China include Belgium, Egypt, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Singapore and the USA. Cosco is also China’s largest and the world’s second largest ocean shipping enterprise.

    Speaking of large shipping enterprises, Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) is to add direct calls at the ports of Durban and Maputo to its eastbound leg of the company’s Far-East-East Africa service (WA 1), in which Singapore-based shipping company PIL (Pacific International Lines) has a slot agreement.

    French operator Delmas, the subsidiary company of CMA CGM has announced two new services, both of which involve Africa. The first is the Black Pearl service between Boston on the US eastern seaboard and East and West Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. Commencing on 23 March Black Pearl vessels will call at Boston every fortnight, connecting with weekly transatlantic services via Kingston. Containers will then be transshipped in Europe onto Delmas lines to East and West Africa and the Indian Ocean. This service completes Delmas’ coverage of US and Canadian Atlantic coast ports – Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, Miami, and Houston in the US Gulf.

    The other service involves a new weekly container service to Cotonou in West Africa from the European Atlantic ports and the Mediterranean. CMA CGM EPIC vessels will carry boxes from Southampton, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Antwerp and Le Havre to Tangier, for transhipping aboard Battuta Express 1 vessels to Abidjan, Cotonou, Lome and Tema. From the Mediterranean, Delmas DIAMS vessels will carry containers from Barcelona, Marseilles, Genoa, Naples, Malta and Valencia, also for transhipment via Tangier.

    Tanzania alerted to fishing piracy

    The arrest of a flagless fishing trawler operating illegally in Tanzanian waters has alerted that country to the dangers posed on its fishing industry by pirate fishing craft catching tuna and other fish within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

    This came to the fore last week when the trawler TAWAQUAL 1 with a crew of 35 on board was arrested about 100 miles off the Tanzanian coast by a South African-led joint operation. The fishing vessel was towed into Dar es Salaam port by a tug where its arrival was met by approval from Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete, who praised the surveillance which led to the trawler’s arrest.

    The crew off the Tawaqual 1, made up of Chinese, Filipinos, Kenyans and Vietnamese were expected to appear in court last week but the case was delayed on account of the Tanzanian police failing to obtain the services of interpreters in time. The Taiwanese captain, Hsu Ching Tai is to be formally charged as soon as the police complete their investigation but police say the ship’s owners face a fine of up to US$20 million if found guilty.

    Within days of the ship’s arrest police also took into custody another Chinese national by name of Ho Hanquing, who claimed he was the ship’s agent.

    The operation was conducted jointly by South African, Mozambican, Kenyan and Tanzanian agents operating as part of the South African Development Community (SADC) and forms part of an agreement made last year to conduct joint patrols of the EEZs of member states bordering on the Indian Ocean. The patrols are intended to eliminate illegal and unregulated fishing activities involving both local and foreign fishermen. Tanzania has estimated that up to 70 foreign fishing ships are operating illegally within its EEZ. – source East African Business Week

    It’s Navy Festival Week again

    Picture SA Navy

    It’s Navy Festival Weekend time again, when from 27 to 29 March the Naval Base at Simon’s Town is thrown open to the people of South Africa and elsewhere to come and enjoy the annual military festival in the East Dockyard.

    During this time the gates will be open from between 10h00 and 18h00 each day, with free entrance granting access to various events and activities as well as close up inspections of the ships.

    Some of the attractions this year include:

    SA Navy ships and submarines open to the public
    Tug rides
    Flea Market
    Children’s activities

    Arena activities twice a day include:
    Gun run
    Navy Band
    Fire Fighting
    Naval Dog Display

    Various Static & Live Displays include:
    Ship boarding display by the Maritime Reaction Squadron
    Lynx and Oryx helicopters
    Live Cannon Firings

    On 26 March there is the annual Dry Dock Concert, starting at 20h00 (free entry)

    28 March sees the Right of Entry Parade through the streets of Simon’s Town, starting at 10h00.
    28 March Navy Choir performance in SAS Simonsberg Cinema at 18h45 (free entry)
    28 March Night Gunnery Shoot from Lower North Gun Battery at 20h00

    Pic of the day – DE NEYS in Simon’s Town

    Another of the South African Navy tugs based at Simon’s Town is DE NEYS (displacing 180t), which was built in Cape Town at the Globe Engineering Works between 1967 and 1969. The tug is propelled by two Voith-Schneider cycloidal propulsion units and has a bollard pull of 14 tons. Picture by Trevor Jones

    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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