Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 13, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – MAERSK SEARCHER

  • SA port statistics for June 2009

  • South African Navy appeals to youth to join up

  • Transnet to call for branch line concessioning tenders

  • Piracy news – two more ships seized

  • Drama at sea – NSRI evacuate chief engineer – fire on ship in Suez Canal

  • Pic of the day – BM CHALLENGE


    First View – MAERSK SEARCHER

    While several fishermen go about their business from a nearby sandbank, the bulky mass of the Isle of Man-registered offshore supply tug MAERSK SEARCHER (4,013-gt, built 1999) heads off down Durban’s Esplanade Channel and the open sea last Friday. Picture Terry Hutson

    SA port statistics for June 2009

    South African port statistics for the month of June 2009 are now available.

    The figures show an increase in tonnages handled across the ports with a significant rise coming from Richards Bay. Regarding containers, a total of 13,000 additional TEUs were handled at all ports June versus May.

    During June the number of ship calls at all South African ports was 1,194, compared with 1,244 in May. Included in these are a higher than normal number of bunker calls at Durban and Cape Town.

    As is customary the figures shown in this report reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers in terms of the number of TEUs and no longer by weight - for which PORTS & SHIPS estimates an adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to reflect tonnages. This figure is on the conservative side with 14 tonnes or even more being a more realistic figure, particularly in view of the increasing quantity of bulk cargo which is now being handled in containers.

    For comparative purposes readers can see statistics from 12 months ago, ie June 2008 by clicking HERE

    Figures for the respective ports during June 2009 were (with May 2009 figures shown bracketed):

    Cargo handled by tonnes

    Richards Bay                    6.035 Mt million tonnes (May 4.990Mt)
    Durban                            5.786 Mt (May 5.760)
    Saldanha Bay                   5.445 Mt (May 4.323)
    Cape Town                      1.192 Mt (May 1.156)
    Port Elizabeth                   0.874 Mt (May 0.520)
    Mossel Bay                       0.224Mt (May 0.218)
    East London                     0.173 Mt (May 0.171)

    Total monthly cargo in June 19.729 million tonnes (May 17.139 Mt)

    Containers (measured by TEUs)
    (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Tranship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA)

    Durban                            210,164 TEU (May 204,430)
    Cape Town                        66,740 (May 70,941)
    Port Elizabeth                     33,561 (May 22,235)
    East London                        2,360 (May 2,654)
    Richards Bay                         211 (May 33)

    Total containers handled during June 313,036-TEU (May 300,293)

    Ship Calls for June 2009

    Durban:                        428 vessels 10.528m gt (May 425 vessels 10.952m gt)
    Cape Town:                   238 vessels 4.215m gt (May 257 vessels 4.291m gt)
    Port Elizabeth:                115 vessels 2.504m gt (May 82 vessels 2.279m gt)
    Richards Bay:                 172 vessels 5.423m gt (May 126 vessels 3.918m gt)
    Saldanha:                       39 vessels 2.617m gt (May 41 vessels 2.454 gt)
    East London:                   22 vessels 0.515m gt (May 20 vessels 0.494 gt)
    Mossel Bay:                   180 vessels 0.260m gt (May 293 vessels 0.347m gt)

    Total ship calls for June 2009 1,194 26,062,816-gt (May 1,244 24,734,608-gt)

    - source TNPA, with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container weights

    RBCT- Richards Bay Coal Terminal

    The following operating statistics are also available for coal handled at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal during the month of June 2009.

    Coal Received June 2009 – 5,251,059 tonnes – YTD 29,851,119t
    Coal shipped during June – 5,524,759 tonnes – TYD 27,994,806t

    Note: In May RBCT exported 3.76 million tonnes

    Annualised Rate
    Coal Received MT/a – 59,87mt
    Coal Shipped MT/a - 56,30mt

    Number of vessels YTD – 73
    Number of trains YTD   – 680

    South African Navy calls on youth to join the force

    By Edwin Tshivhidzo (BuaNews)

    Durban - Chief of the South African Navy, Admiral Johannes Mudimu on Saturday called on young South Africans to consider joining the navy as their career path.

    Speaking on board the SAS AMATOLA, Admiral Mudimu said the navy was in dire need of young men and women who were prepared to serve the country and its people.

    Also on board the SAS Amatola were high school learners, who were selected from various schools to witness the Navy's capabilities at sea.

    Currently, the navy is in a process of short listing young people who had applied to take part in the Military Skills Development (MSD).

    The Navy's MSD is a two-year voluntary youth empowerment programme initiated by the Department of Defence to provide military and essential skills to youth who aspire to follow a military career in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

    The MSD is also aimed at rejuvenating the SANDF, providing it with scarce skills as well as serving as a feeder system for the Defence Reserves.

    Since its commencement in 2003, more than 10,000 youth from all over South Africa have been recruited by the SANDF through this system.

    Rear Admiral Hanno Teuteberg also told learners on board the SAS Amatola that the navy was committed to serving the country and its people.

    “The strength of the Navy is determined by its partnership with the people,” he said, adding that the Navy needed highly competent and professional people, who were willing to serve the country.

    He discussed the navy's state-of-the-art ships, adding that they needed professionals to operate them.

    “Highly competent and qualified people are needed to operate the sophisticated machines in the navy,” he said.

    Applicants, who want to join the navy must have a matric certificate and be between the age of 18 and 22 with no physical disability. - BuaNews

    The Durban ship visit was made possible by the arrival of two frigates, SAS AMATOLA and SAS MENDI which arrived in port late Thursday. During the visit the navy made use of the opportunity to stage Project Blue Shield, in which a group of leading business people were taken on board the ships to gain experience of a naval vessel and to have a better understanding of the need for a naval reserve force.

    Later this morning (Monday) the US Navy destroyer USS ARLEIGH BURKE (DDG-51) is expected to arrive in Durban for a visit. The American warship is on a goodwill tour along the Western Indian Ocean seaboards and has already visited Mombasa, Victoria (Seychelles), Port Louis (Mauritius) and Reunion.

    Later in the week the American destroyer and the two South African frigates will sail for Simon’s Town and will be conducting naval training exercises en route. - P&S

    Transnet calls for tenders for concessioning of branch lines

    Transnet has revealed plans of concessioning the branch and secondary railway lines in South Africa.

    The announcement was made by Transnet Acting CEO Chris Wells in an interview with Sake24 in which he said the process still had to be ratified by the Cabinet before the tenders can be published. Wells said he thought this would be later this year or early next.

    He said the project had been developed in conjunction with the Department of Public Enterprises, whose minister, Barbara Hogan has already announced the branch line strategy to her portfolio committee.

    The minister did however come under attack from trade unionists over her privatisation comments to the parliamentary portfolio. The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) said in a statement on Friday that it had since met with the minister to discuss her privatisation comments. Although Randall Howard, Satawu’s General Secretary said later then the union was satisfied with the minister’s intentions, he added that Hogan has assured the union there would be no wholesale privatisation due to the global recession.

    The railway branch lines under question however have been closed for several years and it is unlikely that any union members would be affected by them through concessioning. The process has the likelihood of recreating employment rather.

    The question of concessioning the branch lines, which Transnet has systematically closed or stopped operating over a period of a number of years, has dragged on with little apparent urgency on the part of either Spoornet (now Transnet Freight Rail) or its parent body Transnet to pursue the process.

    If the tenders do go out potential rail operators will have to satisfy Transnet with their business plan showing their ability to manage the line successfully.

    The forest industry is known to have a strong interest in maintaining some of the branch lines already closed and others under threat.

    Piracy news – two more ships seized

    As if to cock their noses at those who say the monsoon season will make it unlikely for piracy off the Horn of Africa, Somali pirates have managed to go on board a Turkish bulker, the HORIZON 1 (21,630-gt, built 1980) and take the ship and her 23 crew hostage.

    This was achieved in spite of a shadowing Turkish frigate, the TCG GEDIZ which responded by following the ship as it turned towards the Somali coast.

    In a second successful highjack, Somali pirates captured an Indian cargo ship, as yet unnamed, off the Somali port of Bosasso. The ship has a crew of 15 on board and had just completed discharging cargo at the small Puntland harbour.

    The Kenyan coordinator of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, which closely monitors all pirate activity off Somalia, said the highjack may have been a business deal that “went sour”. The ship operates regularly between Saudi Arabia and Somalia.

    Drama at sea – NSRI evacuate chief engineer – fire on ship in Suez Canal

    The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) helicopter rescue team at Port Elizabeth was scrambled last week to respond to an emergency on board the handysize Odfjell products tanker BOW EAGLE, sailing from Indonesia to Brazil, which reported that the 60-year old chief engineer had suffered a suspected fractured hip in a fall.

    With the ship 26 nautical miles offshore of Eerste River (opposite Kareedouw), an SA Air Force 15 Squadron BK-110 helicopter from Charlie Flight, carrying two NSRI rescue swimmers and a Netcare 911 paramedic, responded to the vessel’s position while the NSRI St Francis Bay’s rescue craft was placed on alert.

    “All attempts were made to complete the operation before nightfall and on the helicopter’s arrival on-scene the two NSRI rescue swimmers were hoisted aboard the tanker and the patient was stabilised and secured into a specialised Stokes basket stretcher and hoisted into the helicopter, with one of the NSRI rescue swimmers attached, and then the second NSRI rescue swimmer was hoisted into the helicopter,” reported Ian Gray, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander.

    “En-route to a Port Elizabeth hospital further treatment was administered in the helicopter including the application of a traction splint device after it was determined that the femur was fractured and not the hip as had been suspected by the ship’s crew. The patient is recovering in a Port Elizabeth hospital. The ship will stop at Cape Town before continuing to Brazil.”

    In the Suez Canal a container ship, the MSC INES (107,551-gt, built 2006) reported a limited fire involving some containers that ignited as the ship was proceeding in the northbound convoy.

    The Suez Canal Authority immediately responded by isolating the MSC ship in Bitter Lake to protect the safety of the canal and navigation, thus minimising the delay to the convoy to just one hour and 20 minutes. The fire was later brought under control and there is no further risk to the ship.

    In another fire on board a ship, the 6,350-TEU container vessel MOL PROSPERITY (71,902-gt, built 2006) experienced a fierce fire which started in a container nine layers down in No.7 hold. The ship had sailed the day before from Hong Kong en route to Singapore and returned to the Chinese port, where she was isolated at the East Lamma Channel anchorage, with four fire boats in attendance.

    Containers were lifted off in hold no.7 down to the eighth level to expose the burning container, which was reported to be carrying garments, suitcases, plastic products and computer equipment. After one week the fire was eventually extinguished.

    MOL Prosperity is deployed on a service between the Far East and the Middle East ports of Jeddah and Damietta.

    Pic of the day – BM CHALLENGE

    The Italian-owned, Chinese operated general cargo ship BM CHALLENGE (11,913-gt, built 1980) sailing from a busy Cape Town harbour on 4 July 2009. 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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