Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 14, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – FNS LA GRANDIERE

  • African port news

  • US says no to reviving talks on free trade agreement with southern Africa

  • Another milestone for training of Angolans

  • Thieves scuttle loaded oil barge in Niger Delta

  • US Navy takes delivery of tenth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier

  • Pic of the day – USS GEORGE HW BUSH


    First View – FNS LA GRANDIERE

    The French Navy landing ship LA GRANDIERE (L9034) seen arriving in Durban last Friday for an official visit to the city as part of ’Reunion Week’ – an ackowledgement of the cultural and economic ties between the island of La Reunion and the City of Ethekwini (Durban). The quite basic lines of this ship can be seen in this picture as she sailed from Durban earlier yesterday morning (Wednesday). Picture Hylke Wierenga

    African port news

    The port of Banana in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is to undergo dredging and will also have five new berths totalling 1,400 metres in length constructed - two for container ships and three which will become general cargo berths. The cost of the development is estimated at US$404 million and will be financed and overseen by the South Korean government. The first step in the process will be a feasibility study which will be followed by the DRC preparing support measures for private South Korean companies to enter into the venture. South Korea says it also wants to look at developing natural resources with the DRC.

    The port of Banana is situated about 8km from Muanda in the Banana Creek on the north bank in the mouth of the Congo River, separated from the open sea by a sandspit, and consists of a single short quay of about 75m with shallow water alongside – less than 6 metres. There is also an oil terminal four kilometres upriver that handles tankers which anchor in the creek. Banana was used as a harbour for the slave trade during the 19th Century.

    Namport (Namibia Ports Authority) has taken delivery of a fifth mobile harbour crane at the port of Walvis Bay costing N $ 40 million (R40m). With a lifting capacity of 104-tonnes the LHM 500 mobile crane, which weighs in at a hefty 441t comes equipped with a Litonic computer system and self-levelling undercarriage. The crane is fitted with twin-lift spreaders to handle two 12m (40ft) containers at the same time. A spokesperson for Namport said the port of Walvis Bay is now well equipped to handled gearless container ships and other vessels requiring shoreside cranage.

    A range of Taylor container handling equipment has recently been delivered to the Tanzania Road Haulage container depot and packing facility in Dar es Salaam. The new Taylor machines, assembled by Big Lift Trucks of Durban include three Titan RS reach stackers and six empty container handlers. The Titan RS reach stackers have centre mounted aluminium cabs with sky view windows that can be manually moved to access components. Ergonomic features include tinted and laminated front windshields, front and rear washers and wipers, as well as heaters and defrosters. Adjustable, air-suspension seats are equipped with flip-down, angled arms and operator seat belts. Other safety features include an optional rear visibility-aid camera system and standard warning lights and an audible alarm which automatically activates in unsafe conditions.

    Double-acting hydraulic cylinders provide precise movement of the high strength steel telescopic boom. These reach stackers have Tier compliant electronic turbocharged diesel engines, with a four speed, fully reversing, modulated powershift transmission. De-aeration tanks optimise engine cooling and for simple maintenance, coolant levels can be checked from ground level. Hydrostatic power steering, with a priority valve system, provides constant response at all engine speeds.

    Taylor TEC empty container handlers are fitted with air inching and electric shift controls for precise vehicle positioning.

    US says no to reviving talks on free trade agreement with southern Africa

    The United States, South Africa’s largest export trade partner and third largest for imports, said this week it would not re-enter talks on a free trade agreement with the Southern African Custom Union (SACU), which have been suspended since 2006 on account of claims by SACU members that the US was unwilling to make concessions..

    Instead the US intends focusing on implementing separate agreements with the members.

    US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said on Monday that it was apparent that participants were approaching the matter differently. He said the US would concentrate on the trade and investment development co-operation agreement that was signed in July of last year.

    A new round of discussions with Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa Florizelle Liser is now likely with South African officials to find new ways forward.

    The collapse of the free trade agreement has been described as a blow to SACU member countries.

    Another milestone for training of Angolans

    The investment by Oilfield Production Services (OPS) of Luanda in training of new entrant deck and engineering cadets is paying handsome dividends.

    Cape Town based Marine Crew Services is playing a crucial role in this programme which is aimed at boosting the pool of new Angolan seafarers working with OPS along the Angolan Coast.

    OPS Training Manager Ms Nilsa Lopes recently visited Cape Town where she met with Director of Crewing & Training at Marine Crew Services, Deanna Collins to discuss the progress made to date with the MCS/OPS cadet training programme. She also met the students at the MCS head quarters in Cape Town.

    While in Cape Town the students rely very much on Deanna Collins and her team. When they arrive, many of the students speak little or no English “Their success in passing the theoretical examinations for the Officer of the Watch Certificate course, all conducted in English, is truly amazing and exemplary to their fellow students whose mother tongue is English,” says Deanna Collins.

    Of the eighteen OPS students (14 are pictured above) with a proud Training Manager of OPS, Nilsa Lopes and Deanna Collins of MCS, the majority have passed the final examinations for their STCW05 Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competency. They are now embarking on their sea time phase of 12 to 15 months and ultimately their Oral examination with SAMSA to obtain their internationally recognised Certificate of Competency.

    Thieves scuttle loaded oil barge in Niger Delta

    An estimated 2,000 tonnes of crude oil is leaking into the Niger Delta after thieves scuttled the barge they were using to carry the oil away, after learning that military forces were approaching.

    The barge sank near the Shell Forcados oil terminal in Delta State and is reported to be leaking into the river. At the time of the report no efforts were being made to contain the damage to the environment.

    The thieves on board the barge made their escape by swimming away before government forces could approach. Security forces believe the crooks were tipped off through their network of informants within the security and political forces themselves.

    Shell estimates that 100,000 barrels of oil are stolen each day in the Niger Delta – approximately 5% of Nigeria’s total production or equivalent to about $2.2 billion a year at current prices. One of the methods of stealing the oil is to drill into the many pipelines that criss-crosses the Delta, inserting valves and tapping off the oil – a highly dangerous action that causes many explosions and fires.

    US Navy takes delivery of tenth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier

    Newport News, Va. USA - Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) delivered the newest and most advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS GEORGE HW BUSH (CVN 77), on Monday (11 May). It is the 10th and final Nimitz-class aircraft carrier and was constructed by the company's Shipbuilding sector in Newport News, Va.
    “We are proud to be part of history by delivering the final Nimitz-class carrier to the Navy today,” said Ken Mahler, vice president of Navy programs at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News. “It represents the culmination of years of hard work, craftsmanship and dedication by thousands of shipbuilders, whose work will remain with the fleet for the next 50 years.”

    USS George HW Bush is the nation's 10th and final Nimitz-class aircraft carrier constructed by shipbuilders at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's shipyard in Newport News, Va. At 1,092 feet (333m) in length, USS George H W Bush is nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall. It weighs 97,000 tons, can carry more than 80 combat aircraft and its top speed exceeds 30 knots. Powered with two nuclear reactors, it will operate for more than 20 years without refueling.
    New design features for the USS George H W Bush include new propellers, a new underwater hull-coating system, an updated aviation-fuel distribution system, and modernised aircraft launch and recovery equipment. Environmental upgrades have also been designed into the ship, including a new marine sewage system. It is the second carrier to have a modernised island and a new bulbous bow design that provides more buoyancy to the forward end of the ship and improves hull efficiency. The ship's keel was laid 6 September 2003, it was christened 7 October 2006 and was commissioned 10 January 2009.

    Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. Source: Northrop Grumman Corp

    Pic of the day – USS GEORGE HW BUSH

    The US Navy’s latest Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS GEORGE HW BUSH was delivered to the navy this week. Picture Northrop Grumman

    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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