Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 16, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – TANCRED

  • Pirates release Greek bulker after payment of ransom

  • Questions raised over lake survey vessel

  • New maritime shipping law firm for Durban

  • PINE TRADER departs for the breakers

  • News from the world of shipping

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Pic of the day – MAIDO


    First View – TANCRED

    The Wallenius Willhelmsen car carrier TANCRED (48,676-gt, built 1987) at the Durban car terminal in July this year. Picture by Steve McCurrach

    Pirates release Greek bulker after payment of ransom

    The Greek-owned, St Vincent-flagged bulker IRENE EM (21,947-gt, built 1980) which was captured by Somali pirates in April this year was released this week along with the crew of 23 Filipinos after the owners agreed on the payment of a ransom.

    It appears that an amount of US$2 million was settled for the release of the ship and crew and was handed over on Monday – the money being delivered by means of a helicopter. The ship was captured in a night-time raid by pirates, which at the time indicated a growing sophistication among the pirates as this was one of the first successful attacks on a merchant ship during the hours of darkness. See our original report HERE

    In another pirate-related incident, a North Korean ship, which has not yet been identified, is reported to have successfully fought off pirates who tried to board the vessel off the Somali coast near Mogadishu. The Korean vessel had experienced engine trouble and was adrift when the pirates began their approach in two speedboats. The seafarers on the North Korean ship however used a selection of Molotov cocktails (fire-bombs in bottles) to discourage the attackers. The Koreans were able to restart their ship’s engine and began moving away, at which the pirates opened fire with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles, injuring one of the crew and causing some damage to the vessel. At this point the Korean master radioed the International Maritime Bureau in Kuala Lumpur to report the incident and request assistance. In response to the appeal a US warship was sent to the scene but by the time it arrived the pirates had departed.

    Three Seychellois seafarers who were exchanged for 23 suspected pirates in a controversial swap in Puntland (northern Somalia) earlier this month have been released. The three sailors were among ten men arrested by Puntland officials when their aircraft landed to refuel. Earlier the aircraft had flown the pirate suspects from Kenya to a remote airfield near Gara’ad in Puntland, where the exchange took place. Those remaining in custody are the aircrew and two mediators – a Briton and a Kenyan.

    Questions raised over lake survey vessel

    Tanzania’s minister for East African Co-operation, Dr Diodorus Kamala has raised questions over the effectiveness of the East African Community (EAC) research vessel, RV JUMUIYA.

    According to the minister the vessel does not appear to have undertaken any recent research and what it has was confined to surveying in the immediate region of the ports of Mwanza and Kisumu on Lake Victoria, instead of a wider area of the lake. He said he intended taking the matter up with the EAC Council of Ministers.

    Questions have also been asked about the maintenance record of the vessel, particularly after funds had been provided by donors to the replace the vessel’s engine. He said those responsible appeared to be dragging their feet on this issue.

    The Jumuiya carries meteorological equipment to enable the vessel to provide weather forecasts for the lake area, for the benefit of the approximately 30 million people living in the Lake Victoria basin region.

    The vessel, not much larger than a launch, was dismantled in Lake Nyasa and transported some 2,200 kilometres by road to the southern port of Mwanza on Lake Victoria in 2006. It was intended that the Jumuiya would carry out hydrographic surveys of Lake Victoria, in particular the approaches to the respective ports of Mwanza and Bukoba in Tanzania, Kisumu in Kenya and Port Bell in Uganda. The last full hydrographic survey was carried out in the 19th century.

    Funding for the vessel became available following the tragedy involving the sinking of the MV BUKOBA in July 1996, in which more than 600 people died. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) immediately set up a workshop in Mwanza to identify maritime safety issues on the lake.

    Lake Victoria covers an area roughly equivalent to that of Ireland.

    New maritime shipping law firm for Durban

    Prominent Durban maritime lawyers Andrew Pike and Mark Van Velden will be merging their current firms, Andrew Pike & Associates and Van Velden Attorneys, into Van Velden Pike & Partners, with effect from 1 October 2009.

    Previously partners together in a leading local law firm, they each set up their own firm about five years ago, but have decided the time is ripe to join forces. Pike and Van Velden each have over 20 years experience in the shipping, transport, logistics and insurance fields, including time in London in the legal and P&I sectors. Pike also has significant experience in corporate and commercial law matters.

    The firm will maintain two offices, a Highway Area office run by Andrew Pike and a North Coast office by Mark Van Velden. The legal team will initially comprise of five lawyers, including David Richter, also an experienced maritime lawyer, Aneta Pillay and Richard Johnson.

    See their website at www.vanveldenpike.com

    PINE TRADER departs for the breakers

    Picture by Ian Shiffman

    The bulker PINE TRADER (18,322-gt, built 1979) left Cape Town harbour under tow to the tug SALVALIANT yesterday, bound for the breakers in China. The ship had suffered engine failure and flooding of her engine room and narrowly missed going aground near Cape Infanta in May this year.

    The ship, with a cargo of 20,500 tonnes of bagged rice for Abidjan, was subsequently towed to Cape Town by the salvage tug SMIT AMANDLA, where the cargo was discharged. You can read our original report HERE. Use your back button to return to this page.

    Picture by Ian Shiffman

    The tow to the breakers is being undertaken by the tug SALVALIANT, which was in Cape Town following the loss of her earlier tow, the barge MARGARET off the west Cape coast in June. See that report HERE.

    Picture by Ian Shiffman

    News from the world of shipping

    Landlocked Swiss researchers are confident that they will shortly perfect a system of providing electrical power to ships by means of high-altitude kites. Known as the KitVes venture, the principle works on the basis of a 100m² kite flying at an altitude of around 1,000 metres above the ship at sea, attached by strong cables that will be wound and unwound constantly to create a yo-yo effect. This will generate energy converted into power that can be used to support onboard electrical systems and auxiliary services.

    The developers claim the device will be able to generate between 60 kilowatts and 30 megawatts of electrical power for the ship, depending on its setup. Two ships have apparently been identified and tests at sea are due to be carried out next year.

    The development is not connected to another using a kite to assist with the ship’s propulsion, which has successfully carried out cross-Atlantic tests but is still under development.

    SA AGULHAS in rendezvous with South Atlantic islands

    The South African Antarctic supply vessel SA AGULHAS arrived last week at Tristan da Cunha with a number of passengers for the remote island, before leaving for the even more remote Gough Island where the annual inspection will be carried out by the Tristan Conservation Department in terms of the lease agreement between the island administration and the South African government.

    South Africa maintains a meteorological station on Gough and another reason for the ship’s visit is to exchange meteorological crew and to perform various servicing duties.

    Tristan da Cunha’s Shipping News reports that the SA Agulhas is scheduled to return to Tristan da Cunha and will sail for Cape Town on 7 October. With the ship’s ability to carry up to 30 passengers she proves popular with visitors to the island compared with the slower fishing vessels that normally perform this duty, says the site. The current voyage to Tristan and then on to Gough is allowing visitors to Tristan to spend up to 27 days ashore.

    Some 28 visitors and returning medevacs were involved with the current voyage, with the ship’s helicopter carrying out the transfer ashore. – source Tristan da Cunha Shipping News

    Picture by Ian Shiffman. Click image to enlarge

    Agreement on carbon emissions by 2011

    The World Shipping Council says in a paper released this week that it anticipates International Maritime Organisation (IMO) agreement of carbon emissions from ships by 2011. The Council represents 29 container lines and has consultative status at the IMO and participates in the creation of international regulations concerning international shipping.

    Governments and the IMO are working toward reducing sulphur oxide emissions from ships. A regulatory regime has already been established for vessel emissions that affect human health and is contained in Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (Marpol).

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    The Port of Cape Town has advised that the oil rig PRIDE SOUTH PACIFIC is due to dock in Cape Town harbour on Thursday, 17 September, weather permitting. In a notice to shipping the port harbour master, Captain DD Naicker says that shipping delays will be kept to a minimum.

    The first of seven new harbour tugs for Transnet National Ports Authority is due to be launched into the water at Southern African Shipyards in Durban this Saturday (19 September) during the morning. The as-yet unnamed Voith Schneider-propulsion tug will be launched by means of the new floating dock, SASDock that was delivered to Southern African Shipyards from Japan at the end of last month. See that report and pictures HERE.

    Salvage work continued on the grounded Turkish bulker SELI 1 in Table Bay yesterday and approximately 250 tonnes of the 660t of bunker fuel on board the ship had been removed ashore, having been pumped into storage tanks carried on the vessels OCEAN PRIDE and KUSWAG IV. This is then taken to Cape Town harbour for discharge ashore. Pumping operations are continuing 24 hours a day as weather and sea conditions allow and skimming of oil in the flooded engine room space is nearing completion. When sea conditions prevent the removal of fuel off of the casualty, the pumping of fuel from low lying double bottom tanks to topside tanks continues. There is concern that high seas predicted until Friday may cause some residual oil to be released from the casualty and proactive precautionary measures put in place to reduce the environmental impact of any oil pollution remain in effect.

    Pic of the day – MAIDO

    The German-owned, French-flagged LPG carrier MAIDO (4201-gt, built 1999) called at Cape Town this week for bunkers. Picture by Aad Noorland

    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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