Ports & Ships Maritime News

July 1, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – MARUBA AMERICA

  • Barge owners appoint Smit Salvage SA to remove grounded barge near Knysna

  • Tanzania goes all out to gain Uganda trade

  • Transnet lags behind with Richards Bay coal line upgrade, but does it matter?

  • NYK’s man in Southern Africa hangs up his hat

  • The case of the Foggy Pilot

  • Pic of the day – DOCERIVER


    First View – MARUBA AMERICA

    The Argetine container ship MARUBA AMERICA (36,007-gt, built 2008) arrived in Cape Town this week to glorious winter sunshine after a period of storms. Picture by Aad Noorland

    Barge owners appoint Smit Salvage SA to remove grounded barge near Knysna

    The Singapore registered tug HAKO 18 was on passage from Maputo to Port Harcourt, Nigeria, towing the barges GTO XXIX and GTO XXIV when heavy weather was encountered. The barges are owned by a Dutch company - see PORTS & SHIPS news report of this shipwreck HERE

    The barges were carrying construction equipment and were unmanned. There are no pollutants onboard.

    At approximately 02h30 on 24 June the tow wire to the barge GTO XXIV parted. The barge grounded one mile west of the Knysna Heads on rocks known locally as “Three Sisters”.

    The weather conditions experienced at the time have led to the barge breaking up. There is at present wreckage on the beach and rocks in the vicinity.

    The owners of the barge were instructed, in terms of the Wreck and Salvage Act, to remove the wreck and all debris.

    The owners have been proactive in appointing Smit Salvage South Africa to discharge their obligations. Their representatives arrived in South Africa on Monday 29 June and have inspected the area before meeting with Smit and SAMSA yesterday (Tuesday).

    SAMSA has approved the wreck removal plan submitted by Smit. The salient points of the plan are;

  • The area of the wreck is to be marked with red wreck marker buoys to warn water users of the presence of danger
  • A survey of the area is to be made by boat, divers and by foot in the area
  • Due to the inaccessibility and concerns over possible damage to the dunes and environment; debris will be removed from the seaward side of the location
  • Wreckage close to the surface will be cut down to avoid any possible future dangers to water users
  • Debris identified and where removed is to be recorded against the cargo manifest of the barges to measure the extent of the cleanup operation
  • Financial guarantees have to be put in place to cover the removal of debris that may come ashore in the future, and
  • The operation is only completed with the approval of the SAMSA Principal Officer Mossel

    The cleanup operation will commence as soon as the swell conditions in the area permit the safe operation of vessels.

    Capt NT Campbell
    Regional Manager: Southern Region
    South African Maritime Safety Authority

    GTO XVIV on the Three Sisters rocks west of Knysna Heads. Picture Andrew Aveley/NSRI Knysna

    Tanzania goes all out to gain Uganda trade

    Announcing that it is to create a Central Corridor from Uganda to the port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania has signalled its intention of gaining an additional four million tonnes of cargo annually from Uganda.

    Previously almost all of that cargo has moved through the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

    Not only will the central corridor handle an additional 4mt of cargo through Dar es Salaam, but Uganda and Tanzania have reached an agreement to build the Arusha – Mushoma railway connecting with the port of Tanga, where Tanzania has already announced ambitious plans to expand the port to handle deep draught ships for container handling and other commodities. Tanga will be marketed as a port for both Uganda and Southern Sudan, says the Tanzanian Ports Authority (TPA).

    Flavian Kinunda, TPA’s marketing director said the port of Dar es Salaam had spare capacity. It was currently handling 7mt annually against a design capacity of over 12mt but the TPA intends increasing the port’s capacity as well.

    “We closed the route (to Uganda) some time back because of problems. We want to come back and recapture the market,” he said.

    However, there was a need to attend to the matter of import taxes and discussions are due to be held with the Uganda Revenue Authority in this regard. Current taxes render the Tanzanian route slightly more expensive than through Mombasa. On the other hand the Kenyan route to the coast has suffered disruption in recent times because of political unrest in Kenya, which left Ugandan importers and exporters stranded with no available route to the sea for their cargoes. As a result Uganda also experienced chronic fuel shortages.

    The new central corridor from Dar es Salaam will consist of a rail, road and lake transport network, extending from Dar es Salaam through Morogoro, Dodoma, Manyoni, Singida, Nzega, Kahama, Biharamulo, Muleba, Bukoba, Mutukula and Masaka, a distance of over 1,700km, according to the TPA.

    Tanzania’s central railway currently ends at the port of Mwanza on the southern tip of Lake Victoria, where lake ferries operate the balance of the distance to Uganda’s Port Bell and Jinja ports. A new service operating from Uganda was recently inaugurated by the Power Group while the Tanzanians also have a wagon ferry in service, the MV UMOJA, although according to some reports this vessel does not operate in Ugandan waters (confirmation of this anyone?).

    The TPA has meanwhile appointed a public relations company to market the transport corridor in Uganda.

    Transnet lags behind with Richards Bay coal line upgrade, but does it matter?

    According to Transnet Acting Chief Executive Chris Wells, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) is behind schedule to revamp the Richards Bay coal line but he says, this will have minimal effect on the port’s coal exports.

    TFR currently has the capacity to run 71mt of coal along the line annually he told a news conference although the volumes being exported by the mines do not reach even this figure.

    Richards Bay Coal Terminal announced last year that it had reached agreement with existing and emerging coal miners to increase the capacity of the terminal to 76mt and ultimately to 91mt annually. In the 2008/09 financial year however the terminal exported just 61.79mt, down by 6.6mt on the 66.19mt of the year before that. During the past financial year TFR delivered a total of 62.66mt of coal – 10mt shy of the immediate target of 76mt.

    Wells told the news conference that the key problem right now was a shortage of coal at the mines and he added that 2009 was also going to be a tough year, despite a growing demand for steam coal from India.

    In past years TFR has also experienced ongoing derailments along the rail corridor which has impacted on volumes delivered to the terminal.

    NYK’s man in Southern Africa hangs up his hat

    Jerry Hookins, NYK Lines’ Regional Representative in Southern Africa announced his retirement yesterday (30 June) after more than 40 years in the maritime industry – most of them with NYK Line.

    However, he won’t be completely lost to the industry – NYK-Hinode Line has appointed him an ‘Advisor in Africa’, a post which he takes up from today (1 July). Hookins says this entails mostly caring for their interests on the East African coast in the Durban to Mombasa range.

    “I much look forward to this new role,” he said in a communiqué to his colleagues and customers. He described his years in the business as having been most rewarding in every way, and said he was leaving it without a single regret.

    “However, I must take this opportunity of offering my most sincere thanks for everything which everyone has done for me, and/or together with me, and most especially for the friendships and warm relationships which I have enjoyed and appreciated over the years. I must hope that any contribution which we may have made together has been meaningful and that you have been left with the view that our relationship has been beneficial to you also.”

    Clint Carmichael has succeeded Hookins as NYK Lines’ Regional Representative in Southern Africa. Jerry Hookins can be contacted at jerry.hookins@gmail.com and mobile phone +2782 878 6434.

    The case of the Foggy Pilot

    Questions that were not asked the right way, or weren't asked at all, caused ambiguity on the bridge of the containership COSCO BUSAN and contributed to the vessel making contact with the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in fog (& November, 2007). It is one of the lessons featured in the latest Maritime Accident Casebook free podcast, The Case of the Foggy Pilot.

    Some 54,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil leaked into San Francisco Bay in the aftermath, leading to a massive clean-up, million of dollars in fines, the detention of six of the vessel's crew for more than a year as 'material witnesses' and ending the career of the Bay Pilot who had conduct of the vessel.

    One issue not dealt with by writer and narrator Bob Couttie is the alleged effect of prescription medications on the pilot's perceptions.

    “Like anyone else, pilots can underperform for a number of reasons, ranging from fatigue to the effects of medication. Given the right support on the bridge they can often still function: In the Cosco Busan case the pilot thought he needed to put the vessel through a red triangle and succeeded in doing just that. If he hadn't been so good at ship manouvering he might have missed the Delta Tower entirely.”

    Compounding the situation were cultural factors that made the master reluctant to question an authority figure such as the pilot about his intentions, shoreside decision-making, business pressures, inadequate training and a lack of familiarity with the vessel, the lack of a berth to berth passage, a poor master-pilot exchange which meant nobody knew where the pilot wanted to put the ship or how, and a lack of bridge team management to support the pilot.

    Couttie points out that these three elements are common to almost all incidents involving vessels being conducted by a pilot.

    “Unfortunately, a few pilots stifle bridge team management by a ‘go it alone’ attitude. Both ship's officers and pilots need to be aware that while he or she is aboard, the pilot is part of the bridge team.”

    If questions had been asked clearly, and the answers unambiguous then there is a good chance Cosco Busan would not have hit the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, says Couttie. “If you don't ask a question right, you're not asking the right question and you won't get the right answer.”

    The Case of the Foggy Pilot is available HERE - registration, which is free, is required.

    Pic of the day –DOCERIVER

    The Liberian-flagged bulker DOCERIVER (79,184gt, built 1986) in Cape Town harbour while undergoing repairs. 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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