Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 20, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – USS ARLEIGH BURKE

  • Global Patriot sold at auction for $2.65 million

  • Massive outreach by Customs to cut costly delays

  • Cape shipyard completes two new pilot boats for Port of Durban

  • Growth forecast for Maputo but challenges remain

  • Pic of the day – USS ARLEIGH BURKE


    First View – USS ARLEIGH BURKE

    USS ARLEIGH BURKE (DDG-51) which arrived at Simon’s Town on Saturday morning from exercising with ships of the South African Navy while en route from Durban. Earlier this week the ship paid a visit of several days at Durban. On completion of her Simon’s Town call USS Arleigh Burke is expected to sail back to Mauritius. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    Global Patriot sold at auction for $2.65 million

    At an auction sale held in Durban last week the former Military Sealift Command Ro-Ro vessel GLOBAL PATROT (26,409-gt, built 1978) was sold to a company registered in the Marshall Islands for US$2.65 million. The sale was subject to payment of a further $552,000 for 1200 tons of bunker fuel on board.

    The ship which is listed as being owned by Redstone Shipping in the United States has been under arrest in Durban for some months. A court order instructing that the ship be sold was issued recently and the auction took place in the offices of attorneys Deneys Reitz under the hammer of Captain Roy Martin of Admiralty Sales.

    The sale attracted a fair degree of interest with five bidders taking part, of which two proceeded beyond the $2 million mark until the ship was knocked down for $2.65m, making a total of $3.202 million for ship and bunkers.

    The future of the ship has not been disclosed – she may be taken to India or Bangladesh for scrapping, either under her own power or under tow, or the new owners may opt to trade with the vessel. There was some surprise at the amount paid for the ship reaching beyond the two million dollars mark.

    The reserve price had been $1.875 million.

    According to Capt Martin there are at least three ships awaiting sale by judicial auction in the near future.

    Massive outreach by Customs to cut costly delays

    Durban, 17 July 2009 - Within the next two months shippers and forwarders should see significant changes in Customs processes as the Department of Customs and Excise rolls out the first phase of its modernization programme that it believes will encourage cross border trade nationally and increase revenue.

    A key aspect of the modernization programme, which it is hoped will reduce frustrating Customs clearance delays at all ports including airports, is a shift in focus to pre- and post inspection audits. This will reduce the number of inspections during Customs clearance and streamline the procedure, says Mark Boucher of Customs@Wylie, an initiative of Shepstone & Wylie Attorneys.

    As many as one thousand additional auditors will be employed by Customs to carry out the increased number of pre- and post inspection audits. In addition Customs will use a new risk engine which they believe will improve consistency in branch office decision making as, in most instances, it removes the discretionary powers of officers.

    Client information will be automatically updated on the risk engine thus forming a comprehensive, reliable and factual database free of human bias. According to Customs this will prevent repetitive, unnecessary stops and queries which are costly and time consuming for both Customs and the client.

    The programme also aims to eliminate manual submissions. Documents called for by Customs when details pertaining to a shipment are queried, will be submitted via facsimile, e-mail or online through the SARS' website. This seems to indicate that manual submissions of any kind will not be permitted and clients will have to use the EDI facility, says Boucher.

    Vouchers of correction, as they are known, in the import/export sector are also soon to be a thing of the past. Although details are sketchy, the intention is that corrections will be done online, says Boucher.

    Furthermore Customs are working on a single registration document for all client types, thus significantly simplifying the current licensing and registration process.

    It is expected that the modernization programme will save customs clients millions in storage costs as a result of delays, with the greatest effect on air cargo which is usually expensive and urgent and where there are strict time constraints.

    “Theoretically it makes sense to focus on pre- and post audits and free up Customs officials to focus on other important issues including criminal activity such as smuggling, but whether it is practical or viable remains to be seen,” says Boucher.

    Cape shipyard completes two new pilot boats for Port of Durban

    VEECRAFT Marine last month launched two 27-metre pilot boats, LUFAFA and JOJOSI in Cape Town for use at the Port of Durban.

    Veecraft Marine, now based in Paarden Eiland, was awarded the contract after a tender process to build these two steel pilot boats with aluminium wheelhouses.

    A proven hull design was used from Durban naval architect Peter Volschenk of Naval Africa with facility design input from Veecraft’s directors Andre van Niekerk and Edmund Erasmus. Erasmus was project manager for the contract. The build time was ten months.

    The company employed six BEE sub-contractors for the various sectors of the build and locally produced steel and aluminium were used for production.

    Pilot boats are specially designed with one purpose in mind - to get harbour pilots out to visiting vessels, which require safe passage in and out of the harbour.

    They need to be able to handle rough seas, as they will need to deliver pilots to vessels up to 6km offshore. A vessel tracking system will determine this point of delivering the pilot.

    The pilots normally disembark soon after clearing the harbour and after giving the ship’s captain advice for proceeding.

    These vessels have a relatively narrow beam of 6-metres overall. This includes the fender system, which allows the pilot boat to safely manoeuvre alongside large vessels so that the pilots can transfer to and from the larger vessel via rope ladder. At times they will have a step system. There is a gap in the fenders along the gunnels so that the rope ladder will not get stuck in the fendering.

    Each vessel has a crew of up to six. The vessels have twelve lockers, one water closet, one shower, a galley and a mess room. There is a cabin for the captain and one for the engineer.

    LUFAFA and JOJOSI are powered by 522Kw Cummins propulsion engines giving them a top speed of 14 knots. They also have Cummins generators. They weigh in at 115 tons at full load capacity– source Cape Business Report.

    Growth forecast for Maputo but challenges remain

    The port of Maputo is expected to reach 40 million tonnes within the next 50 years, up from the present 7.8mt, says Antonio Almeida Matos, co-chairman of the Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative (MCLI).

    In anticipation of the growth Port Maputo already has in place upgrade projects valued at US$300 million, he said at a media conference in the port city last week. $5 billion worth of investments has already been made in upgrading port facilities and for road and rail services to the port, including the motorway from Witbank in South Africa.

    Matos said more ships were now calling at Maputo than before and these included direct calls by vessels sailing from the Mozambique port to Asia and to Europe, without first calling at Durban.

    The next challenge however was to encourage the use of Maputo as a port of entry for South African imports. Up till now most rail wagons or trucks arriving at the port with exports from South Africa return empty, he said. “Our struggle now is to turn Maputo into a genuine transit port, catering for both exports and imports.”

    The MCLI was making significant strides in promoting the corridor and port, claimed Matos, with the aim of turning Maputo into the port of choice for South African companies operating in the provinces of Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

    Turning to the border crossing between South Africa and Mozambique, Matos said there was little point in having a fast road if trucks and people were held up for hours at the border. The dropping of visa requirements between the two countries had added to the problem because there has been an 80% increase in the number of people now making the crossing. The MCLI would continue to press for a one-stop border post at Komatipoort/Ressano Garcia. The two governments had agreed to this in principal but construction was running behind schedule.

    Turning to the Customs, Matos said the port of Maputo was losing out to Durban because of a Customs requirement of paying a guarantee on goods in transit.

    He said the guarantee, even though it refundable, was regarded as an additional cost by importers.

    The MCLI has called for the guarantees to be removed, in particular on large size consignments that it says are at less risk of entering the Mozambique market clandestinely. The Mozambique government is reported to be receptive to the proposal of reducing or doing away with the guarantee charges.

    The payment of a guarantee aims at preventing losses to the Mozambique state should the goods, ostensibly in transit, enter the local market without due customs having been paid.

    Pic of the day – USS ARLEIGH BURKE

    Another view of the US destroyer USS ARLEIGH BURKE (DDG-51) arriving off Simon’s Town at sunrise on Saturday, 18 July 2009. Picture by Dean Wingrin, http://www.SAairforce.co.za (The Unofficial South African Air Force Website)

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