Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 16, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – RAINBOW PORT

  • Transport strike ends

  • US and Kenya sign maritime security pact

  • Shipping company news - New Svitzer tug calls at Durban

  • Piracy update – More Somali attacks and Nigerian militants kill three Navy ratings

  • IMO MARPOL Annex VI, NOx Tech Code publication now available

  • UN bodies tackle alien species in ballast water

  • Pics of the day – Barque EUROPA


    First View – RAINBOW PORT

    This unusual view of Durban Bay was presented to the photographer recently as a perfect rainbow formed over Durban Bay. The picture was taken from one of the penthouses at the new Point Waterfront development, which is still under development but which promises some of the more spectacular views across Durban Harbour and the outside ocean. The thin steel structure in the centre of the picture is a modern replica of the timeball that once stood in this vicinity. Picture by Hylke Wierenga

    Transport strike ends

    The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) announced late yesterday that the 9-day strike of transport drivers and workers had been ended following a satisfactory outcome of negotitaions with the Road Freight & Logistics industry.

    According to General-Secretary Randall Howard across the board 11% wage and salary increases had been agreed while a danger allowance had been introduced for the first time to apply to drivers who transport hazardous cargo. A number of other benefits were also agreed.

    US and Kenya sign maritime security pact

    Kenya and the United States yesterday (Wednesday, 15 April) signed a ‘mega-ports initiative’ aimed at boosting security at the port of Mombasa.

    Reporting on the signing the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation described the partnership agreement signed by the US Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger and Kenya’s Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, as being directed towards providing increased maritime security for international shipping.

    The report said the US ambassador signed the agreement on behalf of the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration – one of the objectives being to deter, detect and interdict illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials within the global maritime system.

    According Ambassador Ranneberger, the effectiveness of the programme is dependent on the co-operation of multiple ministries including the Kenya Revenue Authority Customs Service Department, which falls under Kenya’s Ministry of Finance, the Kenya Ports Authority and the Kenya Maritime Authority, both of which report to the Ministry of Transport, as well as the Kenya Radiation Control Board which reports to the Ministry of Health.

    Shipping company news - New Svitzer tug calls at Durban

    The latest C-class ERRV (emergency response & rescue) tug, Esvagt COBRA put in at Durban yesterday (Wednesday, 15 April) for bunkers and to effect a crew change. The tug sailed later in the day for Cape Town to enable a visit by the local SVITZER team in the Cape Town office and other crew changes necessary, after which the vessel sails to Europe to begin a long-term contract with Statoil in the North Sea.

    The 46m tug, with a beam of 11.5m and a draught of around 4.6m has a tonnage of 850t and a deadweight of 400t with a bollard pull of approximately 15 tons. The vessel carries a minimum crew of six for safe manning.

    According to Capt Nick Sloane, managing director of SVITZER Africa, the Cobra was built at Ang Sing Lee shipyards in Singapore and is the fourth new-build of her class to pass around the Cape in the past year.

    He explained that Esvagt is a dedicated Emergency Response division of the SVITZER Group, which will be providing training for the PetroSA ERV tug through Cape-based SVITZER-Mendi, which has been awarded the ship management contract for the new-build vessel to be built at the Damen shipyards in Cape Town.

    In other company news Maersk Line has taken delivery of the latest in a series of 1708-TEU container ships of the ‘Imbari 1700’ class, the MAERSK WINDHOEK, the sixth so far for Maersk-Safmarine. The vessel is on charter from her Japanese owners and will be joining Maersk Line’s Kenya – Middle East relay service.

    The previous new-build of this class to enter service with Maersk was the PENANG BRIDGE in March this year.

    Piracy update – More Somali attacks and Nigerian militants kill three Navy ratings

    According to NATO reports the container ship SAFMARINE ASIA (21887-gt, built 1985) is the latest vessel to have come under attack by pirates who attempted to board and seize her. The pirates fired automatic weapons and grenade launchers at the ship which managed to out-manoeuvre its pursuers and escape. There were no injuries to crew or damage to the ship reported.

    Another American ship, the bulker LIBERTY SUN (35,944-gt, built 1986) with a crew of approximately 20 American seafarers on board, also came under attack on Tuesday morning as the ship sailed towards Mombasa, about 300 miles off the African coast, with pirates opening fire using rocket-propelled rifles and automatic weapons. Like the MAERSK ALABAMA before her Liberty Sun is carrying food aid parcels from Houston in the USA into East Africa.

    By the time the ‘cavalry’ in the form of the US Navy destroyer USS BAINBRIDGE had arrived some six hours later the pirates, finding themselves unable to halt the Liberty Sun or to board her had abandoned the chase and left the scene. The destroyer is now escorting the bulker during the remainder of her journey to Mombasa.

    Liberty Sun is owned by the Liberty Maritime Corp of Long Island, New York and is one of seven ships owned by this independent American shipping company.

    Meanwhile, Security Minister for the semi-autonomous region of Puntland in northeastern Somalia, Abdullahi Sa’id Samatar told a press conference in the port town of Bosaso that Puntland remained firmly against piracy and was looking for assistance from the international community to combat piracy. He said Puntland needed to form a strong marine force that could act against pirates and help prevent highjacking of ships off the coast and in the Gulf of Aden.

    And in a related issue, the International Maritime Bureau says that only active deployment of patrol vessels from African states can curb the menace of piracy. Noel Choong of the IMB told British newspaper Fairplay that combined action by Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar and Seychelles in providing patrols beyond their own territorial waters was required. He said that by the time the IMB is alerted by the crew of ships under attack, there was little that could be done as there were seldom patrol vessels in the immediate vicinity. The IMB records that up to 74 attacks off Somalia and the Gulf of Aden have taken place so far in 2009, as against a total of 111 for all of 2008.

    There is still no word from the South African government or the South African Navy of the possibility of SAN ships participating in anti-piracy patrols off the East African or Somali coast.

    In West Africa armed militants attacked and killed three Nigerian Navy ratings on duty at the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) facility at Nembe in Bayelsa State. The killings were said to be in retaliation of the killing of 14 militants by members of the Nigerian Joint Task Force on Sunday. The attack by the militants took place in broad daylight and resulted in soldiers and naval ratings fleeing the scene. The militants later left taking four Shell-owned speed boats with them. In response the Nigerian military high command has dispatched 30 gunboats from Warri Naval Base, Yenagoa and NNS Delta to the Delta area with orders to cordon off the southern Ijaw and Ekremor region and that of Nembe.

    In a related matter, the wife of Nigeria’s Federal President, Hajia Turai Yar’Adua has commissioned two 38-metre offshore navy patrol vessels, NNS ZARIA and NNS BURUTU as well as two helicopters at NNS Beecroft in Apapa, Lagos. She said it was important for the Federal Government to reform and reposition Nigeria’s armed forces in the face of instability and continued action by armed gangs of militants.

    A credible and powerful armed force was critical to the defence of Nigeria’s territorial integrity and its quest for national transformation, she said.

    “These are conditions that are coming at a time when criminal activities like pipeline vandalisation, illegal bunkering, and hostage-taking have assumed frightening dimensions.
    It is hoped that these ships and helicopters will enhance the effectiveness of the Nigerian Navy in tackling these security challenges,” she said. “The Nigerian Navy has recorded tremendous achievement in its capacity due to dedication to duty and professionalism often displayed by officers and ratings.

    “This commissioning is coming at a time when the nefarious activities of the Niger Delta militants have assumed frightening dimensions. With these newly acquired ships and helicopters, the Nigerian Navy is in a better position to tackle this menace along our waterways.”

    IMO MARPOL Annex VI, NOx Tech Code publication now available

    The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has made available a new publication on the revised international regulations on preventing and reducing harmful emissions from ships, including sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter.

    The revised MARPOL Annex VI (Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution
    from Ships) and the revised NOx Technical Code 2008 were adopted by IMO’s
    Marine Environment Protection Committee in October 2008, with an entry into
    force date of 1 July 2010.

    The Revised MARPOL Annex VI & NOx Technical Code 2008 (2009 Edition) is an
    essential publication for maritime administrations, classification societies, shipping companies (owners and operators), educational institutes, engine and equipment manufacturers and others with an interest in the prevention of air pollution from ships.

    The book includes:

    1] The revised MARPOL Annex VI (Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships), including emission limits and operational requirements.
    2] The NOx Technical Code 2008, which is made mandatory under MARPOL Annex VI for all marine diesel engines with a power output of 130 kW or more, and provides the requirements for the testing, survey and certification of marine diesel engines.
    3] Interim guidelines for application of the NOx Technical Code 2008 Standard specifications for shipboard incinerators.

    The Revised MARPOL Annex VI & NOx Technical Code 2008 (2009 Edition) is
    available from authorised distributors of IMO publications, and via IMO’s
    online bookshop www.imo.org/Publications/mainframe.asp?topic_id=429.

    UN bodies tackle alien species in ballast water

    The threats of marine bio-invasions, caused by the transfer of alien plants and
    animals in ships’ ballast tanks, will be fought by United Nations agencies partnered with shipping corporations, the UN International Maritime Agency (IMO) has announced.

    According to IMO’s findings, an estimated 10 billion tonnes of ballast water is being carried around the globe each year, and more than 3,000 species of plants and animals are being transferred daily.

    As a result, a serious environmental threat has developed, caused by the introduction of alien aquatic plants and animals to new ecosystems, which may not be able to deal with the imported species.

    In many areas of the world, the effects have been devastating, since, once these invasive species are established, they are extremely difficult to eradicate, the IMO said.

    In one example, the introduction of the comb jelly (mnemiopsis leidyi) to the Black and Azov Seas caused a near extinction of anchovy and sprat fisheries and the introduction of the zebra mussel (dreissena polymorpha) in the Great Lakes required multibillion dollar controls and the cleaning of underwater structures and pipelines.

    The Global Industry Alliance (GIA), launched recently at IMO’s headquarters in London to tackle this global environmental problem, is an innovative partnership between IMO, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and four major private shipping corporations. (UN News)

    Pics of the day – Barque EUROPA

    The Dutch barque EUROPA left her overnight berth in the Simon’s Town Outer Harbour at 11h00 hrs on Tuesday and, most unusually, without tug assistance made her way into the Still Water Harbour under her own auxiliary power, reports David Erickson.

    “With twin screws and a bow thruster at her disposal I guess she is pretty manoeuvrable, and the weather conditions were dead calm. The first picture was taken at 11h40 hrs and the second one at 13h53 hrs – the Dockyard Crew run a slick operation here at Simon’s Town!

    “It is however somewhat strange to see masts, yards and furled sails in amongst the modern naval paraphernalia of stealth technology!”

    Pictures by David Erickson

    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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