Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 21, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • CDN intends investing $ 150 million in Nacala port and corridor

  • Interesting year ahead as cruise ships rock up

  • Piracy update – Nigerian militants extend cease-fire

  • SELI 1 update: recovery of oil continues

  • Panama opens shipping office in Durban

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Ships for sale....

  • Pics of the day – CONCORD 1



    The container ship SAFMARINE KOMATI (74,642-gt, built 2008) departing Suez Canal southbound last week. Picture by Captan Ken Ellam

    CDN intends investing $150 million in Nacala port and corridor

    The Nacala Development Corridor (CDN) which holds the concession to manage and operate the port of Nacala in northern Mozambique as well as the railway corridor between the port and the Malawi border, says it intends investing US$150 million over the next five years to upgrade and refurbish port and rail infrastructure.

    The aim, says CDN, is to increase the port capacity to four million tonnes annually, up from the 900,000t annually currently being achieved.

    In the process this will assist CDN in its aim of becoming a regional transhipment centre and port with access to the markets of Malawi and Zambia in addition to northern Mozambique.

    Nacala holds a priceless advantage over most other ports along the eastern seaboard of eastern and South Africa by being a natural deepwater port - probably the deepest natural harbour in sub-Saharan Africa.

    The railway to Malawi, with branches in Mozambique however requires considerable refurbishment to handle increased volumes of traffic.

    There has been speculation that future ramping up of coal exports from the Moatize region of central Mozambique might be routed via Nacala along an extended section of railway.

    Port of Nacala from the air - Google Earth

    Interesting year ahead as cruise ships rock up

    The South African port can expect a bumper crop of foreign passengers to flock ashore this coming summer, as some of the world’s leading cruise ships follow the birds by heading south for the northern winter.

    Durban so far has 53 port calls scheduled, including the multiple calls of Mediterranean Shipping Company’s cruise vessel MSC SINFONIA which will be based in Durban between November and April 2010.

    Other highlights include the maiden visit to South Africa of the giant 150,000-gt QUEEN MARY 2, calling at Cape Town and Durban, the P&O cruise ship AURORA, Crystal Cruises’ CRYSTAL SERENITY, Fred Olsen’s BALMORAL and SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER, Holland America’s AMSTERDAM and later in the year their two Vista class cruise ships NOORDAM and WESTERDAM, both of which will remain in South African waters for the duration of the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup.

    A full list of cruise ship calls and each date of visit will appear shortly on the Cruise page of PORTS & SHIPS.

    It is not certain how much influence the recently formed Cruise Indian Ocean Association is having in bringing additional cruise ships to South African and East African ports. James Seymour of Tourism KwaZulu Natal attended last week’s Seatrade Europe convention held in Hamburg, Germany and one of his tasks was to secure a Seatrade Africa workshop to be held on the African continent for the first time during 2010, which would market and promote the region among cruise ship operators.

    Cruise Indian Ocean Association was formed in May this year to market and promote the mainly eastern seaboard of Africa and western Indian Ocean islands as a cruising destination. In many respects this is one of the last undiscovered areas for cruise ship operators to explore with untapped opportunities lying in wait ashore providing the region can get its act all together.

    An approximate 14 million people are expected to go cruising during the current year, making this still one of the fastest growing tourism activities. Southern Africa’s share of this market has always remained minimal and remains a challenge for the various role players to act in concert and turn the area into one of the most popular areas of the future.

    Seven Seas Voyager – heading to Southern Africa this summer. Pictured here in Lyttelton, New Zealand   Picture by Alan Calvert

    Piracy update – Nigerian militants extend cease-fire

    Nigeria’s Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has extended by a further 30 days a crease-fire across the Niger Delta region.

    MEND has claimed responsibility for much of the unrest including the attacks on offshore oil installations and a considerable number of ships off the Nigerian coast in recent years. People are abducted and held for ransom, although this doesn’t receive the same amount of publicity or attention as happens with pirates off the Somali coast. Yet the incidents off Nigeria are as serious if not more so in that a significant number of people have died in the attacks, most of them being crew on the ships or installations who got caught in the crossfire between Nigerian military and militants.

    The cease-fire extension follows a 60-day halt in attacks during which the Nigerian Federal Government declared an amnesty in which militants would receive an unconditional pardon provided they laid down their arms.

    A number of militants took up on the government offer but not everyone. The latest extension offer by MEND nevertheless offers hope that an end to the conflict and piracy in the Delta area may be in sight.

    SELI 1 update: recovery of oil continues

    FOR THE RECORD – a reader has pointed out that the stranded Turkish bulker SELI 1 has gone aground at Table View opposite the end of Blaauberg Road which he says is nowhere near Dolphin or Sunset Beaches as most media, including PORTS & SHIPS said earlier on.

    He asks two questions – one being why tugs did not go to the aid of the ship and prevent it happening – perhaps the salvage people who read this column could comment although we suspect it was because a call for assistance went out too late, or not at all, as was the case with another celebrated grounding near this beach not too many years ago.

    The second question concerns how the cargo of coal will be removed assuming the ship becomes a total wreck and is unable to be towed away. “Is it envisaged to use a stream of ladies with baskets on their heads going up and down ladders to remove the coal as used to happen in the old days in the Kiddapore Dock in Calcutta?” he asks with tongue probably firmly in cheek.

    By yesterday at 13h00 some 500 tonnes of the 660t of bunker fuel on board had been removed from the ship and the threat of a significant spillage from the casualty is now considered past as remaining oil onboard the vessel is residual in nature and located in small quantities in fuel tanks, the engine room and topside tanks. Skimming of oil in the engine room has been continuing.

    Salvors are moving pumping equipment from tank to tank in an effort to access these remaining pockets of oil, the salvor report said yesterday.

    On Friday it was reported that as a result of high seas experienced at the casualty a small quantity of residual oil already pumped out of a settling tank had leaked overboard and was visible in the water. Investigation of the settling tank revealed an old crack at the top, repaired by the ship’s own crew on a previous occasion that had been dislodged by the action of heavy seas pounding the casualty in the past week and causing seawater to wash in and out of the settling tank. Salvors subsequently affected temporary repairs to the crack to enable the tank to withstand the effect of waves washing in and out.

    Panama opens shipping office in Durban

    Attending the launch of the Panama & South Africa Registry Services SA were from left to right: The Deputy Mayor of Durban Cllr Logie Naidoo, the Danish Consul in Durban Per Bjørvig, and their Excellencies the Ambassadors of Panama and Philippines, Roberto Cordovez and Virgilio A Reyes Jr. Picture by Terry Hutson

    When he arrived in South Africa in 2007 to reopen the Panamanian embassy in Pretoria, the new ambassador said one of his tasks would be to open offices in Durban and Cape Town to cater for the shipping community.

    On Friday at a function held in Durban H.E. Roberto Cordovez made true of his promise when he hosted a function in Durban to announce that as from 1 October an office of Panama & South Africa Registry Services would open in Canal Road in Durban’s harbour district, which would cater primarily for shipping enquiries.

    “Panama has the largest and one of the world’s oldest open ship registers, with a high percentage of all ships being registered in Panama. Because of the importance of South Africa as a shipping nation and the large number of ships calling here at your ports, especially at Durban, my president decided it was important that we reappear and make ourselves available to your maritime industry. We have a one-stop service and would like to be of assistance not only to South Africa but also to other African maritime interests,” he said.

    The ambassador emphasised that Panama welcomed registrar enquiries not only from ship owners by also owners of yachts and motor craft. In fact the first vessel to undergo re-registration in South Africa was the former fishing vessel SEA LION, which has been converted into a patrol vessel and will be taking up duties ‘somewhere in the India Ocean region’ under the Panamanian flag.

    Among the services offered are Registration of Ships; Mortgage registration; Extension of registration documents; Deletion of registration certificates; Minimum Safe Manning Certificate (MSMC); Bunker Convention Certificate (BCC); Maritime litigation; Competency certificate for seamen; Incorporation of Offshore companies.

    The Panama & South Africa Registry Services can be contacted at tel 031 301 7041 (as from 1 October) or by email to either
    psa.registry@gmail.com or info@psaregistry.com – the webpage can be seen at www.psaregsitry.com

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Future coal exports from Botswana offers new opportunities for the proposed new deepwater port of Ponta Dobela, south of Maputo, according to Rui Fonseca, chairman of the Mozambique rail and port company CFM. He said the potential of coal exports from Botswana was one more powerful argument for building the new port as the quantities involved far exceed the volume capacity of Matola near Maputo. Even under current expansion plans Matola/Maputo could never handle 25 million tonnes a year, he said, whereas the proposed port at Ponta Dobela could handle any size of ship. – source AIM and Noticias

    Ro-ro vessels with containerised cargo and used vehicles for the Angolan port of Luanda must in future divert to the port of Lobito, the Angolan port authority has instructed. In its notice No. 5/68/01/2009 it states that the Port of Luanda advises that there has been a tendency for ships to transport several types of cargo, generally without considering that there are specialised port terminals. “General cargo ships shall therefore avoid the transport of vehicles and containers in the same vessel, otherwise they may not be able to operate due to the operational setbacks they will cause to the unloading terminal. The new procedure will apply until the situation at the Port of Luanda is regularised. This decree relates to the commercial port and commercial cargo. All cargo for government projects, and vessels berthing at government terminal (5M Terminal), is not affected by this decree and may continue to berth at Luanda, 5M Terminal.” – source GACWorld, Angola

    All vessels sailing in Nigerian waters must in future have a functioning AIS system on board each ship by October, according to a NIMASA directive issued on 16 September 2009, which is aimed at ensuring that Nigeria complies with the SOLAS convention. The directive affects all vessels of 500-dwt and over of both passenger and cargo types. Work was due to start last week on a fibre-optic undersea cable connecting Lagos with Portugal for AIS tracking.

    South Africa’s Super Group went outside of its area of competence and lost control - these were the words of deputy chairman Phillip Vallet in explaining the losses incurred by the high-riding transport and logistics group which has reported a loss of R1.34 Billion for the year ending 30 June 2009. Vallet said Super Group had “finished with the adventures.” A number of loss-making divisions are in the process of being closed down but the group is confident that the remainder of the business is viable, particularly if the company focuses on its core supply-chain business.

    Ships for sale….

    Daewoo Frontier - up for sale by auction next week - picture by Trevor Jones

    A number of ships are due to be auctioned under judicial sale in South African ports within the next few days and weeks. They are as follows:

    SERAM WIND - Sale date Wednesday 23 September 2009.

    DAEWOO FRONTIER – Sale date Tuesday 29 September 2009.

    TRUST DUBAI – Sale date Tuesday 29 September 2009.

    EW COOK – Sale date Tuesday 6 October 2009.

    SARA V – Sale date Tuesday 13 October 2009.

    All sales are being conducted by the firm of Admiralty Sales – the web address for full details of these ship sales is www.admiralty.co.za

    More details will be available in Tuesday’s news bulletin.

    Pics of the day – CONCORD 1

    The elderly products tanker CONCORD 1 (22,519-gt, built 1980) sailed from Durban harbour yesterday after working cargo at Maydon Wharf and was observed proceeding along the Maydon Channel leading into the Esplanade Channel en route to the port entrance.    Pictures 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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    Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.

    Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.


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