Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 12, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – MSC NEW YORK

  • Bolloré Group wins concession to manage Cotonou port

  • Nigerdock completes second module of giant Usan FPSO

  • Piracy report – tug Buccaneer released but dispute over ransom

  • Rift Valley Railway concession still in place

  • SAMTRA upgrades bridge and engine room simulators

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Pic of the day – SAFMARINE HOUSTON


    First View – MSC NEW YORK

    The container ship MSC NEW YORK (42,323-gt, built 1994) in Durban harbour this past weekend. Picture by Trevor Jones

    Bolloré Group wins concession to manage Cotonou port

    The French Bolloré Group has been awarded a 25-year concession to manage and operate the Benin port of Cotonou as a public-private partnership.

    “Bolloré's bid offer was exceptional and the fullest. It fully met our development vision. And that was why we are concessioning the port to Bolloré,” said Benin's Minister of Ports, Issa Badarou.

    The concession is to operate and manage the South Wharf Container Terminal for 25 years. Bolloré says it will pay fees of US$200 million over the first eight years of operation, while investing $256m in infrastructure during the life of the concession. A fee of close to $27 million was to be paid when the concession was signed.

    According to Bolloré Africa Logistics it aims at increasing container traffic in the port of Cotonou from the current 312,000 TEU to one million TEU by 2030. This will be done by way of boosting trade for Niger, where the port handles the export of uranium to France’s leading nuclear company Areva, and to Northern Nigeria, Lagos, Burkino Faso, Mali and Chad, turning Cotonou into one of the more important transit ports in the Gulf of Guinea.

    The aim is to boost Cotonou’s role as the second Lagos port in anticipation of future growth in Nigeria.

    Nigerdock completes second module of giant Usan FPSO

    In what is being seen as a pinnacle of accomplishment for a local company, Nigeria’s Nigerdock has completed the second module of the topsides for the Usan floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel at its yard in Nigeria.

    The second module, which involved the fabrication of 1,524 tons of steel, will be shipped to the South Korean Ulsan yard where the FPSO is under construction.

    In terms of the contract order a certain percentage of the FPSO has to be built making use of local (Nigerian) labour and material. The first module of 981 tons for the riser supports was completed also on schedule in April this year and has been shipped to Hyundai Heavy Industries in Korea. A total of 7,500 tons of steel fabrication at Nigerdock is involved in the overall contract, spread over five topside modules.

    This is the first time that fabrication of this scale has been undertaken in Nigeria, and possibly in Africa. The second module involved fabricating the crew boat landing stair and secondary riser support – a third module is for the water casing, crane pedestal and collation platform and is due for completion in October this year.

    Module number 4 involves the heli-deck support which is due in January 2010 followed by the fifth and final module for the mooring protection structure and certain other topside items which are due for delivery in June next year.

    When completed the FPSO will have a storage capacity of two million barrels of oil.

    The contract, which was awarded by Total, was signed in July 2008. A spokesman for Nigerdock said that if Nigeria decided that 100% of any FPSO being constructed to work off the coast should be constructed in Nigeria, “we will be the first company to go out and invest in the acquisition of the equipment and facilities.”

    The completed FPSO is due to go into service in the Usan Field 100km southeast of Bonny Island. The FPSO will be 320m long and 61m wide, with a draught of 32m and will have a production capacity of 160,000 barrels of crude oil and 5 million cubic metres of natural gas a day.

    Piracy report – tug Buccaneer released but dispute over ransom

    The Italian tug BUCCANEER (1,672-gt, built 1981) owned by Micoperi of Ravenna has been released by its Somali captors along with its crew of 10 Italians, five Rumanians and one Croatian. After being release the vessel was reported to be heading for Djibouti along with a naval escort.

    The announcement of the tug’s release was made by Italy’s foreign minister who denied that any ransom had been paid. However other reports from Somalia quote a figure of US$4 million in cash as having been paid over to the pirate group. It would have been unusual for any ship to have been released without any ransom being paid.

    Meanwhile, another ship recently released, the German container vessel HANSA STAVANGER (15,988-gt, built 1997) arrived in the Kenyan port of Mombasa at the weekend along with the crew of 24. Earlier a ransom of $2.7 million was paid to the pirates who captured her in April. A hoard of journalists was on hand to try and photograph the ship and interview the crew but were kept at bay by the ships agents and port authorities.

    In a report given to the German paper Der Spiegel the Hansa Stavanger’s master said he and his crew had not been well treated and had gone without water, food or medicine during their detention. The crew was also threatened with execution when the pirates became impatient with ransom negotiations.

    Hans Stavanger arrived in Mombasa under escort of the German frigate FGS BRANDENBURG, which is normally on patrol with the European Union’s naval flotilla off the Somali coast.

    From the US comes a report of a new anti piracy system for ships, with the vessel HORIZON CHALLENGER being fitted out with the Nemesis 5000, which is a non-lethal extremely high pressure water system fitted around the ship to provide overall protection.

    The system was apparently developed by a former British Special Boat Service member and is being introduced by US-based company SAFE Solutions. It consists of equipment that can surround the entire ship with a wall of water, preventing pirates from coming alongside and boarding. The system is connected to the ship’s fire suppression system and being on the ocean the ship is guaranteed adequate water supply. The use of it does not interfere with the performance of the ship’s fire suppression system.

    The Norwegian frigate KNM FRIDTJOF NANSEN is the latest warship to head for Somali waters to take up anti-piracy patrols with the EU Operation Atalanta. The frigate will remain on station for six months.

    Another recent inclusion to the fleet is the Dutch Provincien class frigate HNLMS EVERTSEN which sailed from Den Helder on 2 August, bound for the Horn of Africa and a rendezvous with the EU naval force.

    Rift Valley Railway concession still in place

    Negotiations concerning the concession awarded to a South African-based consortium headed by Sheltam to manage and operate the railway network in Kenya and Uganda are still taking place and the concession has not been cancelled, Ports & Ships has learned.

    In yesterday’s news bulletin we reported that the concession had been ended but it appears this was premature. According to a source in Kampala negotiations were still being held into the weekend to find a solution and a way forward.

    SAMTRA upgrades bridge and engine room simulators

    In ongoing efforts to deliver high quality courses to international standards, the South African Maritime Training Academy based in Simon’s Town has recently upgraded the visual systems in its Bridge simulators and the capabilities of the school’s Engine Room simulation systems.

    A donation by the AP Moller Foundation, one of the benefactors involved in the establishment of SAMTRA, made the acquisition of the hardware and software possible.

    The upgrade to the visual system was made to all three Full Mission Bridge simulators to further enhance the realism of the bridge/ship simulation experience through high quality visual graphics.

    The upgrade to the Engine Room includes a brand new simulation system that provides an interactive, visual and schematic learning experience. The new system allows comprehensive training from component based through to system/plant operations level. The system is designed to provide the flexibility to meet the training requirements at every level of a vessel’s officer and rating structure.

    A short video preview of the new visual system will be available on the SAMTRA website shortly – look out for it HERE

    News clips – keeping it brief

    Clearing and Forwarding agents in Uganda are to be issued with identity cards in an effort at eliminating unauthorised agents from the industry. Uganda Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association (UCFAA) president Omar Kassim said there were too many ‘quack’ clearing agents in Uganda. “We hope the introduction of the digital IDs will eliminate them,” he said. This follows the introduction of ID cards at the port of Mombasa in November last year. The introduction there was opposed by agents who claimed it was intended to remove them from the business.

    In the Lagos port of Apapa in Nigeria a Federal High Court order has prevented the ship LOVELL SEA (25,692-gt, built 1983) from sailing pending a hearing under the country’s Cabotage Act.

    Staying in Nigeria, the introduction of a Coast Guard service has been welcomed by the Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, which called it a “good thing to happen for the nation.” The president of the Nigerian Maritime Association and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said the Coast Guard should not be seen to be in conflict with NIMASA as the Coast Guard would be unable to carry out the functions of port state control and flag control, which was largely an administrative duty. The Coast Guard on the other hand would undertake patrols of the coastline and would monitor fishing activities, illegal shipping and fight piracy in Nigerian waters.

    In the United States, DHL has agreed to pay a civil penalty of US$9.44 million for violating US export regulations, and will conduct external audits covering exports to Iran, Syria and Sudan for the period March 2007 through December 2011. The agreement with DHL followed allegations that on eight occasions between June 2004 and September 2004 DHL unlawfully aided and abetted the illegal exportation of goods to Syria, Iran and Sudan and failed to comply with record keeping requirements of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and OFAC regulations.

    Pic of the day – SAFMARINE HOUSTON

    The container ship SAFMARINE HOUSTON (10,069-gt, built 1999) was another visitor at the Durban Container Terminal during the recent weekend. 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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