Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 17, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – INGWENYA

  • Capacity boost for Cape Town goes well

  • Great Lakes border posts to provide 24-hour operation

  • Piracy update – pirates seize ship off Oman

  • Navy news – Chief of the Navy responds to allegiance allegations

  • Trade news - Wilhelmsen Ships Service introduces new lifejacket

  • Pic of the day – JUTHA SIAM


    First View – INGWENYA

    The departmental hopper dredger INGWENYA (4420-gt, built 1981) has recently undergone dry docking in Durban and now appears reslendent in a new coat of paint and red livery on her funnel and ventilators. Picture by Trevor Jones

    Capacity boost for Cape Town goes well

    Cape Town – 15 June 2009 - The Cape Town container terminal’s R4.2 billion expansion project has seen several milestones for the port in recent months, and the upward trajectory is set to continue as the country’s second largest container terminal ramps up its capacity over the next five years.

    Oscar Borchards, Transnet Port Terminals’ Business Unit Executive, said ongoing expansion works and procurement of state-of-the-art equipment would ensure the facility is better prepared when the global market picks up again in the near future.

    “In May we took delivery of four rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs) manufactured by Kalmar Industries. By the end of the expansion programme, 32 RTGs will be operational within the terminal, together with eight Liebherr ship-to-shore cranes, four of which have been delivered and assembled to date,” he said.

    The RTG crane is the preferred container handling system at world class, high-tech terminals and will replace the terminal’s current straddle carrier operations. It lifts to 18,2 metres high and 26,5 metres wide, and is used to transfer containers from road vehicles into the stacking yard. The RTG can stack five containers high and spans a roadway of five rows of containers. It optimises terminal space by enabling denser stacking of containers in the stacking yard.

    Borchards said the equipment required skilled operators and an aggressive training programme had been put in place for this.

    “The terminal has to date trained 40 Operators of Lifting Equipment (OLE’s), with 24 employees having completed theory, simulation and practical training on the ship-to-shore (STS) Liebherr cranes. This will ensure adequate operator resources to man the new cranes,” he said.

    To assist further with training, the terminal will take delivery of a R6.7 million MasterLift™ 4000 advanced training simulator in June 2009. The technologically advanced software and hardware system, housed within a standard shipping container, is able to simulate weather conditions, environment and situations that cannot be safely replicated using traditional training methods. It offers identical controls to that of the RTG and ship-to-shore cranes used in the terminal, so that operators are able to hone their skills to achieve set productivity targets without interrupting normal operations or causing damage to equipment.

    In September 2009 the terminal will cross over from the COSMOS terminal operating system to the web-based SPARCS N4 operating system, which governs the movement of all container logistics and operations from gate to yard to vessel. It offers users improved customer support, lower operating costs and increased stacking yard capacity.

    All four berths together with the Ben Schoeman Basin are being deepened to 15.5m to accommodate larger new-generation vessels, which require deeper water and upgraded quay facilities. Work on the four berths is being staggered over the five-year programme to minimise disruption.

    Berth 601 will be the first of four to come on-stream and will be handed over in July 2009 once dredging, deepening and quay wall refurbishment are completed. It will serve its first vessels in July 2009 with four Liebherr cranes due to be commissioned during July and August. Berth 602 would be the next to be taken out of service for deepening and quay refurbishment.

    In its entirety the expansion programme will increase capacity from 740,000 twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 1,4 million TEUs by the end of 2012. The key aspects of the project are:

  • Construction of a deeper terminal with new quay wall suitable for Super Post Panamax cranes

  • Replacement of the old ship to shore cranes with Super Post Panamax cranes with twin lift capability

  • Increasing stack capacity by moving from straddle carriers to a Rubber Tyred Gantry crane (RTG) operation

    The five-year construction programme is an element of parent company Transnet Ltd’s R28 billion investment into port-related projects, from an overall R78 billion planned for investment over the next five years.

    Great Lakes border posts to provide 24-hour operation

    Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have agreed in principal to operate each of their border posts on a 24-hour basis with effect 1 September 2009.

    The three countries are members of the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL), which met last week to resolve various trade matters.

    According to the Executive Secretary of CEPGL, Gabriel Toyi, issues relating to limitation of trade, the free movement of labour and the opening of new border posts formed part of the meeting. In future travellers holding CEPGL documents, national passports of the three member states, or a Laisser Passer (temporary travel document) will be exempt from visas.

    Rwanda’s Director of Immigration and Emigration, Anaclet Kalibata said the free movement of people and goods posed no threat to Rwanda’s security. He said there were adequate mechanisms for controlling the border posts.

    Rwanda provides a 90-day visa free stay for CEPGL nationals and waves the need for work permits for East African Community nationals. source The New Times

    Meanwhile an increase in the movement of cargo on Lake Victoria around the Uganda area is being reported, with much of the cargo being steel reinforcing bars, wheat, fuel and general breakbulk being imported.

    Exports consist of mainly scrap metal and small amounts of breakbulk cargo. There is however a massive discrepancy between imports and exports owing to the current poor state of Ugandan infrastructure, although Uganda has an excess of fresh produce available for exporting to neighbouring EAC countries.

    Recently a new service was introduced on the lake by Uganda-based Power Marine, operating a refurbished ship, the PATRICIA which operates between Kisumu (Kenya), Mwanza (Tanzania, Port Bell (Uganda) and the Sesse Islands (Uganda). Power Marine says it hopes to have several ships in operation on Lake Victoria by the year end.

    MV PATRICIA on the slipway in northern Lake Victoria

    Piracy update – pirates seize ship off Oman

    Pirates, believed to be Somalis, have attacked and captured a small cargo ship off the coast of Oman, considerably further from their home base than any previous attack.

    The Antigua and Barbuda-registered CHARELLE (2,800-gt, built 1985) is owned by a Samoa-based German company, Tarmstedt International and managed by Tradex Marine of Auckland, New Zealand. According to the Portuguese Navy’s Lt Cmdr Alexander Fernandes, the ship has to cross international waters which are heavily patrolled by NATO, EU and other warships, but said he didn’t think the vessel would be intercepted and stopped for fear of endangering the crew. Fernandes confirmed the ship was heading towards Somalia.

    A Portuguese Navy frigate recently rescued a number of sailors off a dhow who had been held hostage by pirates. According to reports the hostages had been beaten by the pirates before being released. The incident took place close to the Somali coast near Hobyo. The Portuguese warship, NRP CORTE-REAL provided medical assistance, water, food and fuel to enable the dhow to continue its voyage towards the island of Socotra. The dhow is carrying a cargo of charcoal.

    Concern is mounting at the apparent complacency of many ship owners over piracy in the Gulf of Aden area, with indications that some ships are continuing to sail by themselves in areas known to harbour pirates. The pirate attacks continue to mount – there have been far more attacks in the first months of 2009 than in the entire year of 2008 and pirates are operating at will further afield than ever before. Close to a quarter of all attacks have been successful and this is despite the large presence of international warships, a convoy system in place and some ships carrying guards or some form of additional security. But because a number of pirate attacks are never reported to the International Maritime Bureau, it is believed that the official numbers put out by this body remain understated.

    The US Navy has added its voice saying that pirates may soon move into new unchartered waters (see report of Oman attack above), saying that pirates have already commenced attacking ships in Seychelles waters and beyond and that the southern end of the Red Sea has now become vulnerable, particularly as the pirates were also operating at night. The US Navy advisory suggests mariners should use the weather to their advantage by planning new routes due to the start of the southwest monsoon season along the east African coast.

    Meanwhile the European Union (EU) has agreed to extend its anti-piracy mission off the Somali coast by another 12 months. At a meeting of EU foreign ministers it was also agreed to extend the ranges of patrol to include waters around the Seychelles. The operation which was to have ended in mid-December this year will now run to the end of December 2010.

    And news from Somalia is that Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdirahman Ibbi says foreign warships are not operating off the Somali coast to fight pirates. According to Ibbi, warships operating off the Somali coast are there to divide the resources of the sea among themselves. He announced that the Somali government has appointed 500 recruits to receive anti-piracy military training. The recruits have been selected from among the coastal areas and based on their knowledge of coastal matters. They will begin to work along the coast as soon as their training is completed, he said, adding that South Africa, Egypt and the US have agreed to provide weapons and equipment to equip the new force. In addition another unnamed country has supplied speedboats which will be used by the anti-piracy force.

    Navy news – Chief of the Navy responds to allegiance allegations

    The Chief of the South African Navy, Vice-Admiral Refiloe Mudimu, has responded to allegations that he made disparaging remarks about serving under President Jacob Zuma. The president of the SA Security Forces Union (SASFU), Bhekinkosi Bantu Mvovo was quoted in the Argus as saying that the union has lost confidence in Admiral Mudimu and wanted him relieved of his post. Mvovo claimed the admiral had been overheard telling navy personnel that he refused to pay allegiance to the country’s president because President Zuma was an uneducated man.

    Last week Admiral Mudimu broke his silence on the matter and issued the following statement:

    I have taken note of the allegations made by the South African Security Forces Union President, Bhekinkosi Bantu Mvovo (Argus of 7 June 2009) under the title “Will Navy chief be axed after Zuma comment?”

    I wish to place on record that I reject all allegations and aspersions contained in this article with contempt. I have dedicated my life to serving the country and its people in numerous capacities. I have, for much of my life, been a loyal member of the African National Congress and the People’s Army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, having been part of the 1976 June 16 Uprising Generation. During this time I dedicated myself to furthering of the Youth Movement, being deployed throughout the continent and working, amongst others, as an ordinance operative, and infiltrating weapons and personnel into South Africa. The costly sacrifices these activities required were supported by the abiding conviction that liberation of the South African people from the apartheid regime was possible; and that my life was being lived towards this end.

    With the attainment of our freedom in 1994, I pledged my loyalty to the Government of the day – a pledge that was founded, once again, in my belief in a democratic South Africa – a democracy which I, and many men and women far greater than me, had fought to obtain. In making this pledge of allegiance, I affirmed the centrality of the Deed of Commission and the Code of Conduct for Members of the South African National Defence Force in my life; and as a patriot of this country, I believe that I have lived in accordance with these principles and values to the very best of my ability.

    I therefore must reject, with the strongest contempt, any attempt to imply that I, as the Chief of the South African Navy, and a South African whose life has been dedicated to upholding the values of our constitution, have insulted or compromised the Commander in Chief of the South African National Defence Force, and President of the Country, His Excellency Jacob Zuma, in any way whatsoever.

    My history, and that of the South African Navy which I lead, speaks for itself. Since my assumption of duty in 2005, I have sought always to create hope, believing that through creating conditions for success, collective growth and development are assured. Passionate about youth and skills development, I have vigorously pursued these objectives, in support of broader Government initiatives.

    These, and the many other successes of the organisation speak of a disciplined, proud, transformed and legitimate force of men and women, able to support the agenda of the Government in realising the aspirations of all the people of South Africa. I am deeply proud of the collective efforts of the South African Navy, and believe that all these efforts have been, and continue to be, bound within the context of the pledge to serve and defend my country and its people in accordance with the constitution and the law and with honour, dignity, courage and integrity.

    I have consulted with my legal advisors to advice me on what legal recourse to take.

    Submarine visits East London

    In other navy news, a South African Navy submarine, SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE visited East London last week and for the first time in that port members of the public were permitted on board to visit the interior of the boat.

    The visit was part of a recruitment effort by the navy and was led by the Flag Officer Fleet, Rear Admiral Robert Higgs who stressed that the chief role of the submarine fleet was to “defend South Africa’s interests and territorial integrity” while adding to the country’s defensive capabilities.

    Trade news - Wilhelmsen Ships Service introduces new lifejacket

    A complete range of adult, child and infant lifejackets has been launched by Wilhelmsen Ships Service. The company says that the new range of lifejackets combines a safety, comfort and compliance together with a compact fit for cabinets on board.

    The Unitor Seaguard 2010 lifejacket exceeds the new IMO requirements which come into effect from July 2010 and carries the Wheelmark sign of approval. The lifejacket is available in adult, child and infant models and has been rigorously tested to comply with SOLAS standards and has out-performed the reference lifejackets in all parameters during the trials. The compact and standardised design allows for easy donning and reduces necessary storage volume, making it ideally suited to the requirements of passenger vessels.

    The Unitor Seaguard infant size addresses the new regulation that states that for passenger ships on voyages of less than 24 hours the number of infant lifejackets provided should be equal to at least 2.5% of the number of passengers on board. On longer voyages infant lifejackets should be provided for every infant on board.

    All lifejackets that are due to be replaced after 1 July 2010 must comply with these new regulations. Also ships built on or after this date are required to have this new design.

    The lifejackets are designed with a host of features including buddy line, whistle, adjustable chin strap and retro reflective tape.

    Wilhelmsen Ships Service provides the lifejackets as part of the company’s full range of ships services which include the global provision of safety and liferaft products, ships agency services, Unitor products, technical services and maritime logistics.

    Pic of the day – JUTHA SIAM

    The Thai general cargo ship JUTHA SIAM (9,334-gt, built 1982) is a frequent caller at South African ports and a ship of more than a little interest, a ‘rare conventional boomed freighter in Durban’ as photographer Trevor Jones described the ship. 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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