Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 3, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – AFRICAN EAGLE

  • SA to host 3rd Sea Power for Africa Symposium

  • Piracy update – highjacks averted and IMO holds more meetings

  • Broström AB and Maersk Tankers announce merger restructure

  • Alang scrap may force down steel prices

  • Pics of the day – SALVAGE GIANT and H40


    First View – AFRICAN EAGLE

    A long way from home – that’s the MUR bulker AFRICAN EAGLE (17,994-gt, built 2003), seen here arriving at Lyttleton, New Zealand on 27 February from San Lorenzo, Argentina to discharge soya bean meal at the port for Christchurch. Picture by Alan Calvert

    SA to host 3rd Sea Power for Africa Symposium

    by Edwin Tshivhidzo (BuaNews)

    Pretoria - The South African Navy will next week host (in Cape Town) the 3rd Sea Power for Africa Symposium which will focus on the challenges facing navies throughout the continent.

    Navy representatives from more than 30 African countries are expected to converge in Cape Town to attend the symposium themed: Towards Effective Maritime Governance for Africa.

    Speaking at a briefing on Monday ahead of the symposium, Chief Director of Maritime Strategy, Rear Admiral Bernard Teuterg, said the symposium will also look at ways to promote cooperation between the navies on the continent.

    “The inaugural Sea Power Symposium for Africa was in recognition of the need for greater coodination and cooperation in matters dealing with maritime security on our continent,” Rear Admiral Teuterg said.

    He said the symposium sought to build on the successes of the first two symposia and to go beyond creating maritime security for the continent.

    One of the 2005 Sea Power Symposium resolutions was a need to employ a continental early warning system linked to regional early warning systems of Africa to ensure the pro-active, effective and efficient use of Africa's collective maritime assets in order to assist in the prevention of conflicts.

    Delegates will also use the opportunity to forge partnerships in various areas such as working and learning from each other.

    Among other issues to be discussed at the symposium includes piracy and drug trafficking.

    According to the South African Navy, the symposium will give the chiefs of African navies an opportunity to discuss matters of mutual maritime importance in order to create greater understanding, co-operation and friendship within the continent.

    Piracy update – highjacks averted and IMO holds more meetings

    Warships from China and Denmark have successfully intervened to frustrate efforts by Somali pirates intent on highjacking cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden.

    According to a report issued by the Chinese news agency Xinhua, an unidentified Chinese warship responded to calls for assistance from the 74,000-dwt tanker LIA (42,210-gt, built 2008), which reported being under attack by suspected pirates.

    After the Chinese Navy ship responded the pirates aborted their attack, leaving the Liberian-flagged, Dutch-managed ship to continue its voyage in safety. Lia had loaded a cargo of naphtha in Amsterdam and Limassol and was en route to China at the time of the incident. However, despite having joined a convoy and sailing with a naval escort, the Lia experienced engine problems causing the vessel to leave the convoy. Later two high-speed craft were observed on radar approaching the tanker, leading the crew to begin action in accordance with the standard vessel security plan. Help was also requested from the Chinese warship that was escorting the convoy and the latter dispatched a helicopter which was on scene within a short space of time. The suspected pirates then aborted their approach and left the scene.

    Maritime Global Net reports that the managers of Lia, Dutch-based Seaarland Shipping Management last year said they would re-route all their ships around the Cape unless military escorts were available. The managing director of Seaarland said after the latest incident that the Lia would have become another vessel in the hands of pirates had it not been for the intervention of the warship and the helicopter.

    “These initiatives were available primarily as a result of strong political support, and for this we express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all involved.”

    In a second incident the Chinese merchant ship YANG DANG HAI called for assistance after coming under threat from suspected pirates last week. The Danish warship HDMS ABSALOM responded and on approaching the scene came across a skiff carrying seven heavily armed pirates. The men in the skiff were disarmed but later released on account of there being no absolute certainty that it was the same skiff that had posed the threat to the Chinese ship.

    Meanwhile in London the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is holding a series of meetings among working groups seeking ways of fighting piracy off Somalia and in particular the Gulf of Aden. The meetings relate to an intention of establishing a regional coordination centre to deal with piracy in that region.

    Broström AB and Maersk Tankers announce merger restructure

    The board of Broström AB has proposed a new organisational structure for the Swedish based tanker company, in connection with the merger of the activities with the Maersk Tankers activities.

    The purpose is to ensure that Broström will continue as a strong brand and further build on the Broström heritage. The new setup means that all vessels in the segment below 25,000-dwt from both companies will trade under the Broström name, commercially managed from Gothenburg, Sweden.

    It also means that all vessels above 25,000-dwt, except for tonnage managed out of Broström’s Paris office, are intended to be integrated into Handytankers, which is Maersk Tankers commercial vehicle in this segment. The Handytanker pool is managed from Copenhagen, Denmark.

    All technical and support functions in Broström and Handytankers are intended to be integrated with Maersk Tankers’ central organisation in order to have a cost-effective organisation.

    “With this business model we will create two leading brands within the product tanker industry and have a lean organisational structure strengthening our competitiveness”, says Kristian Mørch, Chief Operating Officer of Maersk Tankers.

    “The current state of the global economy represents extraordinary challenges in all industries, and as others we also have to reduce our costs significantly to remain competitive and make sure that we have the strongest possible platform for engaging those challenges”.

    He said the oil industry needs more flexible transportation solutions because of the world’s increased demand for energy, and the dislocation between consumption and production of energy.

    “We can offer a superior worldwide service by having a large homogenous fleet, and this merger enables us to combine the strengths and scale of Maersk Tankers and Broström. In addition, with a large fleet we can optimise our vessels so we on average end up discharging our cargoes closer to the next load port, and thereby increase utilisation”, says Mørch.

    It is the clear ambition that all the current partnerships of both Broström and Maersk Tankers will continue to exist in the new and combined structure. However, the proposed new joint organisation means that some of Broström’s current offices will close or be scaled down. The offices in Larvik and Holbæk are planned to close while Broström’s office in Singapore will reorganise and scale down. The office in Gothenburg is intended to end up with roughly the same amount of staff but the corporate functions and support functions will be scaled down, while the commercial functions will grow.

    Altogether, this means that around 70 positions are expected to be transferred or made redundant in Gothenburg, Larvik, Holbæk and Singapore, but new jobs will also be created.

    In the coming weeks, Broström will consult employee representatives and unions in order to finalise the specific structure of the new joint organisation.

    The above will not result in any changes for the seafarers in either organisation.

    The combination of Maersk Tankers and Broström will form the world's leading product tanker company with about 220 product tankers currently trading, of which about 130 vessels are owned and long term chartered

    Alang scrap may force down steel prices

    Increased ship breaking at India’s Alang and other breakers may help bring down the price of steel, Indian sources are predicting.

    An article carried by the Indian Economic Times says that with the large volumes of scrap steel from ships now being released into the market, steel prices in India have already begun falling to almost half the level of one year ago.

    At the same time the availability of scrap steel from Alang has quadrupled and more is becoming available all the time as older ships are sent for scrapping.

    Vishnu Gupta, president, Ship Recycling Industries Association (India) told the newspaper that the global economic downturn has had an opposite effect on activities at the breakers yards. The increase in ship breaking is directly related to the downturn in international imports and exports and to falling freight rates. In less than two months this year Alang already has 48 vessels lined up for scrapping and a further 25 expected before the end of March, compared with a total of 136 ships scrapped during the whole of 2008.

    A Mumbai-based analyst said that there was a direct correlation between steel prices and scrap steel prices. “If there is less demand for steel in the infrastructure sector, the scrap steel demand would be less. Moreover, an oversupply of scrap steel from Alang will have a negative impact in the overall steel market,” he told the paper.

    Pic of the day – SALVAGE GIANT and H40

    The tug SALVAGE GIANT enters Cape Town harbour at the recent week with the barge H40 in tow, with the latter carrying on board a quantity of river barges bound for Europe. Picture Aad Noorland

    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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