Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 28, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • SELI 1 grounding – owners ‘walk’ away from responsibility

  • Piracy update – ships master killed by pirates

  • SA participates in Africa-South America Summit

  • News from the shipping lines

  • P&O Cruises sells ARTEMIS

  • World Maritime Day – 24 September

  • Today’s Good Read – Enter the gigayacht

  • Pics of the day – TRIESTINA



    The ofshore supply tug HIGHLAND COURAGE (3,160-gt, built 2006), owned and managed by Gulf Offshore of Aberdeen, Scotland, arrived in Cape Town last week towing the oil rig PRIDE SOUTH PACIFIC. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

    SELI 1 grounding – owners ‘walk’ away from responsibility

    Practically all the 660 tonnes of bunker fuel on board the grounded bulker SELI 1 has been removed from the ship, making any heavy pollution from that source now unlikely. The Turkish ship ran aground at Table View Beach on Monday 7 September with a cargo of 30,000 tonnes of coal loaded in Durban. The vessel was bound for Gibraltar and began experiencing engine problems while off the Cape coast.

    Due to the lack of commitment from the parties involved, it appears that the Turkish owner of the Panamanian vessel, his Russian P&I insurers as well as the owners of the coal and their insurers have seen fit to effectively abandon the vessel. The costs of the pollution prevention exercise (fuel removal operation) as well as the removal of both the wreck and the cargo from the South African shoreline may in all probability have to be covered by the State as a result of the owners abandoning the vessel.

    The authorities represented on the SELI 1 Joint Operations Committee, which is chaired by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), are in agreement that both the wreck and its cargo of coal must be removed from Table View Beach. To this end, authorities are co-operating to investigate different methodologies for cargo and wreck removal and the necessary funding. Estimations of the cost of cargo and wreck removal range between US$5 million and $15 million.

    Concern remains that residual oil and coal may be released from the wreck as a result of the impact of lingering winter storms and rough seas on structural integrity. As such, relevant authorities are seeking resolution in terms of methodology and funding as a matter of urgency. Authorities remain on standby to react to a release of residual oil or cargo from the SELI 1.

    As a proactive precautionary measure, an oil pollution boom remains deployed at Milnerton Lagoon and response teams remain on standby. Members of the public are reminded to kindly keep clear of the boom and other equipment on site. The pollution patrol aircraft Kuswag 9 continues to overfly the casualty daily.

    Piracy update – ships master killed by pirates

    Somali pirates who attacked a ship bound for Mogadishu shot dead the vessel’s master, according to news and African Peacekeeping Mission reports. The ship, identified as the Panamanian-registered BARWAQ was on course to enter Mogadishu when the pirates boarded the vessel, ordering the master to alter course away from the Somali port. On his refusal it appears he was shot. The BBC reported that soldiers from the African Union Peacekeeping Missions (AMISOM) intervened and opened fire on the two small boats used by the pirates. The pirates fled in the boats and the Barwaq was able to enter port. This incident marks an escalation in violence from Somali pirates who previously had not been known to deliberately kill any seafarer on ships they have attacked, although indiscriminate firing in the direction of a ship being pursued has led to some injuries.

    In another incident the Russian tanker PRISCO ALEXANDRA (29,967-gt, built 2008) was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden but managed to escape with the aid of a Portuguese warship. The ship, which is flying the Cyprus flag was en route for the Suez when attacked. Prisco Alexandra has a crew of 19 Russians on board and is carrying a cargo of 41,000t of aviation fuel. Russian news agencies subsequently reported that the vessel and crew have arrived safely off Port Suez.

    In Kenya an unusual development arising from the highjacking and subsequent release of the German container ship HANS STAVANGER is evolving. The owners who initially paid the ransom to have the ship and crew released are now demanding that the owners of cargo on board the vessel – 353 containers for the port of Mombasa – should make payment of an agreed 40% of cargo value which enabled the ransom to be paid. Due to non-payment the owners of the vessel have asked a Kenyan court to have the cargo owners arrested as a means of forcing them to pay the agreed surety and to enable the vessel to sail from Mombasa for her next port of call in Dar es Salaam. The cargo would be moved to an inland freight station under arrest, in terms of the appeal before the court. The dispute also involves the Kenya Ports Authority which wants the ship discharged in order to clear the berth and allow other vessels access. It is believed that an amount of US$3 million was paid to Somali pirates to secure the release of the ship. Cargo owners had apparently agreed to pay 40% of the value of the cargo, equal to approximately $3m before clearance. If this is correct it indicates that cargo owners are being involved as well in raising the ransom for ships held by pirates.

    At present approximately 35 naval ships from 16 nations are on patrol in the Somalia region.

    SA participates in Africa-South America Summit

    Pretoria - South Africa has participated in the 2nd Africa-South America Summit which aims to further enhance cooperation between the two regions.

    The summit was held at the weekend on the island of Margarita, Venezuela.

    According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s spokesperson, Nomfanelo Kota, South Africa took part in the summit within the context of consolidating the African agenda through deepening South-South cooperation.

    “The summit will also strengthen the continental ties that were forged at the First Abuja Summit as well as reaffirm international solidarity between the people of Africa and Latin America.”

    The first summit between the two regions was held in the city of Abuja, Nigeria, in 2006.

    During the summit, leaders were due to among others things adopt strategies and measures that will translate the vision of the Africa-South America Cooperative Forum into concrete economic, political and social benefits.

    According to Kota, the meeting also aimed at intensifying cooperation and consultation at all levels to exploit the immense opportunities which bound the two continents.

    “The 2nd summit further aimed to explore and exploit opportunities for cooperation and collaboration in the areas of Agriculture, Trade, and Investment, Energy, Technology, Water Resources and Tourism.”

    The leaders will also develop appropriate common positions in multilateral negotiations such as the reform of the Global Multilateral System of Governance and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

    The South African delegation to the ministerial segment of the summit was led by International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

    The minister had been in New York accompanying President Jacob Zuma, who led a South African delegation to the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

    In Venezuela, the minister was supported by her deputy Sue van der Merwe as well as South African representatives to Venezuela and the African Union Ambassadors.

    President Zuma, who was in Pittsburgh, Pennysylvania leading a South African contingent to the G20 Summit, also proceeded to Venezuela at the weekend.

    About 30 Heads of State of the two regions as well as delegates from 60 countries attended.

    News from the shipping lines

    A MOL container ship, MOL WELLINGTON sailing from New Zealand’s Lyttelton harbour. The Japanese company has further downrated its forecast for 2009 as the economic crisis tightens – see report below.
    Picture by Alan Calvert

    Copenhagen - AP Moller - Maersk A/S has announced that Trond Westlie will take up the position as Group CFO of on 1 January 2010. He will become a member of the Executive Board of the AP Moller - Maersk Group.

    Trond Westlie, 48, is currently Executive Vice President and CFO of Telenor Group, Norway. Before joining Telenor in 2004, he was Executive Vice President and Group CFO of Aker Kværner for a number of years and brings to AP Moller - Maersk extensive international experience within business development and in dealing with external stakeholders, combined with strong management skills.

    “Trond has a proven track-record as CFO of Telenor and before that of Aker Kværner where he in both cases demonstrated strong leadership and professional skills. He has experience from asset intensive industries and has worked with the offshore and energy sectors as well as shipbuilding and the maritime industry. Trond has a strong background and I look forward to welcoming him to the AP Moller – Maersk Group,” said Group CEO, Nils S Andersen

    As of 1 January 2010, the Executive Board of the AP Moller - Maersk Group will consist of Nils S Andersen, Claus V Hemmingsen, Eivind Kolding, Søren Skou, Jakob Thomasen and Trond Westlie.


    Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) has downgraded its forecast for 2009 saying it now expects to post an operating loss of Y15Bn (US$165m), compared with a Y5Bn loss previously forecast. MOL says it anticipates making a net loss of Y9.5Bn this year. Revenue is expected to drop to Y620Bn from Y640BN. In 2008 MOL posted an operating profit of Y165Bn and a net profit of Y124Bn.


    BBC Chartering & Logistic GmbH & Co has announced that as of 21 September 2009 its former subsidiary Mediterranean Project Chartering (MPC) is now owned 100% by BBC under the new name of BBC Chartering Genoa Srl. Intermare remains as BBC’s agent in Italy and all contact details remain unchanged except for the email address.


    French analyst ASX Alphaliner says in its latest survey that the world’s top 100 shipping lines now comprise almost 6,000 vessels, of which almost 5,000 are fully cellular ships. The worldwide fleet of container ships has a capacity of 13.5 million TEU. Alphaliner says that at the end of August about 9.9%, or 1.27 million TEU of the container fleet was lying idle.

    The top lines are:

    1] AP Moller Maersk – 15% market share
    2] MSC – 11.2% market share
    3] CMA CGM – 7.6% market share
    4] Evergreen Line – 4.4% market share
    5] APL – 4% market share
    6] Hapag-Lloyd – 3.5% market share
    7] Coscon – 3.5% market share
    8] CSCL – 3.4% market share
    9] NYK – 3% market share
    10] Hanjin Shipping – 3% market share
    11] MOL – 2.5% market share
    12] K-Line - 2.4% market share
    13] OOCL – 2.4% market share
    14] Hamburg Süd – 2.4% market share
    15] Yang Ming Line – 2.4% market share

    P&O Cruises sells ARTEMIS

    Carnival Cruises has announced that the P&O Cruises ship ARTEMIS (44,588-gt, built 1984, 1260-passengers) has been sold to a European tour operator.

    Artemis was built in 1984 by Wartsila in Helsinki as the Royal Princess.

    The sale was reportedly mainly for cash and the ship is to be leased back until the buyer takes delivery in the northern spring of 2011.

    In a statement Carnival initially announced, “P&O Cruises can confirm that it has signed contracts for the sale of its 45,000 ton ship Artemis to MS Artania Shipping, for an undisclosed sum. The sale will be completed on October 6, 2009 but P&O Cruises will continue to operate Artemis and her series of cruises as published until April 12, 2011.”

    The American company later issued a second statement advising that on delivery from P&O, MS Artania Shipping will charter the ship to the German tour operator Phoenix Reisen.

    World Maritime Day – 24 September

    by Ian Hunter (SA Weather Services)

    Last Thursday (24 September) World Maritime Day was celebrated. The theme was “Climate change - a challenge for IMO too!” – in essence somewhat similar to that for World Meteorological Day on 23 March (“Weather, climate and the air we breathe”). Both focused on the effect of air pollution, short and long term.

    ‘Marine pollution’ normally conjures up an image of an oil spill from a ship that has been involved in some kind of accident (in actual fact most of the oil pollution in the ocean comes from land-based sources) But in recent years it has become increasingly apparent that engine emissions from ships provide a very significant source of global air pollution. And the majority of ships remain within 200nm of the coast, not to mention their residence times in port: 

    In his message from the headquarters of the International Maritime Organisation in London, the Secretary-General indicated that there had indeed been some success during 2008 in reducing air pollution from ships (that is, particulate matter). However, there now needs to be more emphasis on greenhouse gas emissions as well.

    The particles emitted from the smokestack of an ocean-going vessel include carbon-related components (soot etc), sulphur and nitrogen oxides. In terms of other major sources of transportation-related pollutants, the world’s ~ 100,000 ocean-going vessels produce around half as much particulate pollution as the ~ 600 million cars. Compared with the aviation industry’s production of greenhouse gases, shipping produces twice as much – i.e. 4-5% of the global total. Yet somehow the shipping industry managed to stay ‘under the radar’ of major climate change issues for many years.

    According to several health studies, the effect of the particulate matter coming from ship exhausts is significant. Particularly in the vicinity of major shipping routes close to shore and around large ports - for example the English Channel and the busy ports of Asia. Due to the small size of these particles, they are able to pass through body tissue and enter the bloodstream, resulting in an abnormally high frequency of cardiopulmonary ailments.

    Solutions ?

    One of the main reasons for high sulphur content in ship exhaust fumes is the low quality of the fuel. Bunker oil is only one step above the toffee-like substance used to make tar. Anyone who came into contact with the fuel oil on Cape Town beaches after the sinking of the ‘Treasure’ (June 2000) will be able to testify to its asphalt-like viscosity (it is also highly toxic to the marine ecosystem).

    Thus one (partial) solution is to use a bunker fuel of better quality (lower sulphur content). In this respect legislation is improving. For example some ports have brought in a ruling that ships have to switch to a cleaner fuel when they come within a certain distance of the coast (winds?!) The efficiency of marine engines has been improved. At the port of Vancouver it is possible for a vessel to switch to (hydroelectric) shore-power whilst alongside.

    But something to bear in mind: Over 90% of the world’s trade relies on the shipping industry. A ship is an extremely cheap means of transport - over long distances. It is inevitable that pure economics will resist any rapid changes in the shipping industry. 

    This last graphic (above) is a pair of balloon soundings from Durban, showing the vertical changes in temperature, dew point and wind on 9 September last year. Between the early morning and the afternoon ascents a coastal low passed through: the NE’ly winds switched to SW’ly and the inversion level rose with a layer of moist air moving in underneath. With the strong temperature inversion level at only about 500m in the morning, most pollutants would have been trapped – including those from the vessels in the port.

    Today’s Good Read – Enter the gigayacht

    Come December and the world will witness the largest and the most expensive private yacht named ‘private gigayacht the Eclipse’. It is owned by none other than Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club and one of the wealthiest self-made billionaires…

    Read the full story HERE

    If you’d like to share suggestions for a good or interesting read please send the link to info@ports.co.za and put GOOD READ in the subject line.

    Pics of the day – TRIESTINA

    The Maltese-flagged bulker TRIESTINA (20,382-gt, built 1983) made an interesting sight on a cloudy overcast day in Cape Town harbour last week. Although registered in Valetta the ship is owned by Greek interests. Pictures 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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