Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 3, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • SMIT to introduce new tug on coast

  • SA and Zimbabwe agree to reopen old Limpopo Bridge to facilitate a one-stop crossing

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Piracy update – Pirates move north into the Red Sea

  • Kenya gets go-ahead to build new container terminal

  • Pic of the day – MOL FORTITUDE



    The 124m long Norwegian offshore supply vessel NORMAND INSTALLER (14,506-gt, built 2006) seen sailing from Durban last weekend. Picture by Trevor Jones

    SMIT to introduce new tug on coast

    The SMIT LOMBOK (1,727-gt, built 2006), an offshore supply tug will shortly be on her way to South African waters to enter service on the PetroSA offshore operation near Mossel Bay, reports SMIT Amandla Marine in its latest news bulletin.

    The report says that following a process of tendering and negotiation, PetroSA has confirmed their intent to award the key offshore contract to SMIT Amandla Marine which entails the provision of support services to PetroSA’s offshore operation for a minimum of three years plus two years of options.

    “The introduction of the SMIT Lombok to the fleet forms part of SMIT Amandla Marine’s structured fleet renewal programme, launched in 2007 with the building of the bunker barge SMIT LiPuma and in 2008 with the construction in China of the new terminal tug for SAPREF’s terminal operation off Durban.”

    Further announcements are understood to be in the pipeline.

    SA and Zimbabwe agree to reopen old Limpopo Bridge to facilitate a one-stop crossing

    In an effort to introduce the one-stop border post concept as a matter of urgency to alleviate congestion at one of sub-Sahara’s busiest ports of entry, South Africa and Zimbabwe have agreed to reopen the old Limpopo Bridge, reports the (Harare) Herald newspaper.

    The report says that there are also plans to build a new four-lane bridge at the crossing, although this is still at the planning stage.

    The move was apparently agreed two weeks ago at a workshop held in South Africa.

    The plan is to use the old Limpopo Bridge for south-bound traffic while the new Limpopo Bridge will service north-bound traffic. It is intended to have both bridges in operation together by the time of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

    “The move came following numerous complaints of delays at the border post, with travellers spending an average of a day to two to be cleared, especially on the part of commercial transporters,” an official told the Herald.

    The meeting was attended by officials from the ministries of Industry and Commerce, Home Affairs, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, and the Association of Cross-Border Transporters and their South African counterparts. Among the proposals is that the railway line between the two countries should also be reopened to help ease congestion.

    The report said that an average of 2,000 trucks pass through Beitbridge Border Post on a daily basis and it can take up to six days to make the crossing. There are also concerns over safety because numerous fuel tankers are among the vehicles queuing at the crossing.

    The selection of the Limpopo border crossing as a pilot project for a one-stop border process was the choice of SADC, while COMESA has selected the Chirundu crossing over the Zambezi River between Zimbabwe and Zambia for a similar trial. source The Herald

    News from the shipping lines

    Hamburg Süd has taken delivery of and named its latest and final Monte class container ship at a ceremony in Hong Kong. The 5,552-TEU MONTE ACONCAGUA (68,132-gt, built 2009) ship is to enter service on the company’s Asia – South Africa – East Coast South America service (New Good Hope Express). A total of ten Monte class ships have now entered service with Hamburg Süd. Monte Aconcagua is named for the highest mountain in South America which is situated in the Argentine Andes close to the Chilean border.

    Hamburg Süd also announced that it intends adding three additional 5,900-TEU ‘Rio’ class container ships to its fleet – the type is one bay longer than the Monte class but otherwise similar in appearance and design. The Rio class ships are being phased into the company’s Europe – East Coast South America service, replacing the Monte class which are then being transferred to the New Good Hope Express service.

    Chile’s large container line CSAV has been rescued from possible closure by a financing deal with a Hamburg shipowner’s group. According to some reports CSAV, the world’s 16th largest container carrier was on the verge of bankruptcy, a situation aggravated by the economic downturn. The company has 20 container ships on order, of which four are in the 12,600-TEU class.

    In exchange for financing from the Hamburg group CSAV has been offered shares and a lowering of charter rates.

    Piracy update – Pirates move north into the Red Sea

    Somali pirates have extended their operations into new waters north of the Gulf of Aden with reports of an attack on the Norwegian products tanker STOLT STRENGTH (33,209-dwt, built 2005), which ironically was released by pirates only in April after spending almost held a year in custody following a highjacking. In the latest attack the ship came under attack some 50 n.miles north of the Bab-al-Mandab waterway which opens into the southern end of the Red Sea. There were no warships nearby when the attack took place although the tanker managed to make her escape despite coming under fire from automatic weapons. Warnings have been issued to shipping to take precautions in the lower reaches of the Red Sea.

    Malaysian container line MISC Berhad has made one of its feeder container ships, the 699-TEU BUNGA MAS LIMA available as an auxiliary naval vessel for Malaysian naval ships presently operating in the Gulf of Aden region. This follows the capture of MISC tankers in the area last year by pirates – the BUNGA MELATI DUA and BUNGA MELATI 5. This is the first time a commercial ship has been modified and turned into an auxiliary naval vessel to help counter piracy.

    “MISC Berhad, in collaboration with the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) and the National Security Council (NSC), has successfully modified its container ship Bunga Mas Lima into a RMN Auxiliary Vessel for the purpose of escorting and protecting MISC's ships sailing through the Gulf of Aden,” said MISC Berhad in a statement.

    Kenya gets go-ahead to build new container terminal

    Kenya has sourced a US$200 million loan from Japan for the construction of the new container terminal in the port of Mombasa.

    The agreement, signed by the governments of Kenya and Japan will result in the expansion of the port of Mombasa to handle a further 1.2 million containers each year. The new terminal is expected to be completed by 2013.

    It will be capable of handling fourth generation container ships up to 4,500-TEU capacity, said a Kenya Ports Authority spokesman. The current port and terminal is undergoing dredging of the channels to facilitate the use of larger ships.

    In 2008 container volumes grew by 5.2% to 615,733 TEU while the port handled a total of 16.41 million tonnes of cargo – up 2.8% on 2007.

    The Kenya Ports Authority is also giving consideration to the building of a new port at Lamu, north of Mombasa to serve Northern Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

    The news of the go-ahead for Mombasa’s second container terminal comes as congestion in the port has been greatly relieved – partly as a result of measures taken by the port authority to alleviate the problem and also a result of the downturn in the economy.

    Pic of the day – MOL FORTITUDE

    The Japanese container ship MOL FORTITUDE (12,004-gt, built 1999) in Cape Town harbour recently. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    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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