Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 8, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

Reach out to this dedicated maritime audience by advertising here with your Banner - contact info@ports.co.za



Click on headline to go direct to story – use the BACK key to return

  • First View – !GARIEP

  • Latest SA port statistics for September now available

  • Transnet welcomes judgement in Gama case

  • Removal of exclusivity clause at Dar es Salaam port welcomed

  • Final SAMSA statement on PINE TRADER

  • PetroSA, Coega Development Corp sign agreement for oil refinery

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Pics of the day – FAIRPLAY 30 and JASCON 21


    First View – !GARIEP

    The diamond recovery vessel !GARIEP (8,133-gt, built 1983), owned and operated by De Beers Marine of Namibia which arrived back in Cape Town recently. Incidentally that exclamation mark in the name is not a gremlin – it acts as a symbol for one of the click sounds in the San language. Picture by Aad Noorland

    Latest SA port statistics for September now available

    South African port statistics for the month of September 2009 are now available.

    As is customary the figures shown in this report reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers in terms of the number of TEUs and no longer by weight - for which PORTS & SHIPS estimates an adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to reflect tonnages. This figure is on the conservative side with 14 tonnes or even more being a more realistic figure, particularly in view of the increasing quantity of bulk cargo which is now being handled in containers.

    For comparative purposes readers can see statistics from 12 months ago by clicking HERE for September 2008 figures

    Figures for the respective ports during September 2009 are (with August 2009 figures shown bracketed):

    Cargo handled by tonnes during September

    Richards Bay                        5.455 Mt million tonnes (Aug 7.347Mt)
    Durban                                6.652 Mt (Aug 5.973
    Saldanha Bay                       5.080 Mt (Aug 4.663)
    Cape Town                          1.086 Mt (Aug 0.899)
    Port Elizabeth                       1.008 Mt (Aug 0.877)
    Mossel Bay                           0.154Mt (Aug 0.163)
    East London                         0.191 Mt (Aug 0.222)

    Total monthly cargo in September 19.626 million tonnes (August 20.144 Mt)

    Containers (measured by TEUs)
    (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Tranship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA)

    Durban                               220,548 TEU (Aug 205,434)
    Cape Town                           64,568 (Aug 52,335)
    Port Elizabeth                        42,645 (Aug 25,981)
    East London                            2,541 (Aug 3,896)
    Richards Bay                              671 (Aug 112)

    Total containers handled during September 330,973-TEU (August 287,758)

    Ship Calls for September 2009

    Durban:                         408 vessels 10.257m gt (Aug 413 vessels 10.490m gt)
    Cape Town:                   266 vessels 5.302m gt (Aug 252 vessels 4.733m gt)
    Port Elizabeth:                102 vessels 2.588m gt (Aug 114 vessels 2.830m gt)
    Richards Bay:                 169 vessels 5.354m gt (Aug 175 vessels 5.534m gt)
    Saldanha:                       47 vessels 3.011m gt (Aug 49 vessels 2.813 gt)
    East London:                   23 vessels 0.602m gt (Aug 22 vessels 0.526 gt)
    Mossel Bay:                     46 vessels 0.214m gt (Aug 56 vessels 0.258m gt)

    Total ship calls for September 2009 1,061 ships for 27,328,799-gt
    (August 1,081 ships for 27,185,629-gt)

    - source TNPA, with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container weights

    Transnet welcomes judgements given in Gama case

    Transnet says it welcomes the ruling given yesterday (Wednesday) by Judge Brian Spilg in the South Gauteng High Court to dismiss with costs the application by Siyabonga Gama to have his suspension lifted.

    “We are pleased that this public episode, which has been painful and disruptive to the business, is now behind us. It is important now to focus on service delivery. The disciplinary hearing, in relation to the chief executive of Transnet Freight Rail (Gama), will now take its course with an independent chairman,” the company said in a statement.

    The case revolved around an attempt by Transnet Freight Rail CE Siyabonga Gama to have his suspension lifted, which he said formed part of a measure aimed at preventing him from being appointed as Transnet chief executive. He faces a disciplinary hearing and took his suspension to court in an effort to have it overturned. The court’s decision was deferred by one week to give the judge more time to consider the matter.

    Gama’s application was dismissed with costs.

    Removal of exclusivity clause at Dar es Salaam port welcomed

    The agreement reached earlier this week to scrap the exclusivity clause held by TICTS, the container terminal operator at the port of Dar es Salaam, has been generally welcomed in Tanzanian business circles. See our report in yesterday’s News Bulletin Tanzania ends exclusivity clause with TICTS, opens door to other operators HERE.

    The Citizen newspaper of Dar es Salaam said in an editorial that the expunging of the exclusivity clause has ended TICTS’ monopoly in handling containerised cargo at Tanzania’s principal port. It said that many hoped that this marked the beginning of greater efficiency at the port.

    TICTS – Tanzania International Container Services, consisting of Hong Kong-based Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) (70%) and Tanzanian-based Harbours Investment Limited (30%), acquired the 10-year concession from the Manila-based International Container Terminal Limited. In 2005 the concession was extended for a further 15 years.

    However, for the past two years the matter of the concession has become the subject of fierce debate in parliament and outside, centred largely on claims that the concession has not led to improvements in performance and productivity. Strong calls were made in parliament for the concession to be cancelled, a move that President Jakaya Kikwete admitted was not possible because of the cost involved. He said the important thing was for the port to be free to attract other investors “because there are many other services at the port that need improvement.”

    The president said he believed that Dar es Salaam would now be able to regain its status in East Africa that it once enjoyed.

    The development also highlights what is becoming apparent across much of Africa – a growing dissatisfaction with the overall progress of privatisation wherever it has been granted. In Tanzania there have been suggestions that the railway concession awarded to India’s Rites Limited should be cancelled or re-drawn, and further north both Kenya and Uganda have taken steps to annul the concession held by the Sheltam-led consortium that operates the former Kenya and Uganda national railway systems.

    In each instance there was an expectation that private enterprise would quickly restore efficiencies and productivity to the respective railways and port systems. What has become apparent though is that the concession holders haven’t always been able, or willing, to improve performances with investments sufficient to make the moribund systems work.

    In West Africa criticism has also been leveled at the privatisation process, despite the success of certain operators. In South Africa, where political forces buckled to strong union pressure, the government turned completely away from concessioning any of its port terminals, despite its parastatal Transnet having prepared 13 of them for privatisation, while the railway privatisation project was dead before it started.

    In Dar es Salaam the expectation now is that with the cancellation of the exclusivity clause other developers and investors will make themselves available to create healthy competition which in turn will lead to improvements in productivity and performance. In terms of the new agreement TICTS retains the four container berths it holds under the concession, while a further seven berths will become available for either a government or another private terminal operator or operators to become involved.

    The Citizen sums up the matter by saying that having resolved the thorny monopoly issue, the authorities should now turn to fighting graft and corruption and improving transport links with the interior. Tanzania’s landlocked neighbours will be watching developments closely and with great interest.

    Port of Dar es Salaam   Picture from Google Earth

    Final SAMSA statement on PINE TRADER

    On the 18 May 2009, a Coastguard aircraft under contract to the Department of Environment Affairs spotted the Panamanian registered bulk carrier PINE TRADER stopped in the water some 30 miles east of Cape Agulhas. Contact was made with the Master who informed the aircraft that he had a small engine problem and would be underway in 30 minutes.

    The Pine Trader had 400 tonnes of fuel onboard and was carrying a cargo of 20,500 tonnes of rice, destined for Abidjan. The vessel was built in 1977 and has a gross tonnage of 18,322 tonnes. The vessel’s managers were based in Croatia.

    The situation was monitored by Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town.

    The standby salvage tug Smit Amandla, on contract to the Department of Transport and under the direction of SAMSA, was instructed to sail from False Bay towards the Pine Trader.

    The Master advised MRCC that the vessel had lost main engine power and that there was a small hole in the engine room plating and flooding was continuing. The vessel subsequently lost electrical power and only the emergency generator was operational; this subsequently failed. It was estimated that the vessel would ground at the same time as the Smit Amandla would arrive on scene, in the area of Cape Infanta.

    Negotiations were initiated with PetroSA, who released the tug Smit Lloyd 33 - on station at the ORCA oilfield - to steam to the Pine Trader as the vessel would arrive on scene prior to the arrival of the Smit Amandla. As the weather moderated and the rate of drift slowed, the Smit Amandla was able to attach a tow rope to the Pine Trader in the early hours of 19 May 2009. The Smit Amandla commenced towing the Pine Trader away from the coast.

    The following morning a senior SAMSA surveyor, with a Smit salvage team, boarded the vessel. It became apparent that the hull had not cracked but had corroded, due to a lack of maintenance. It was also readily apparent that the vessel was in very poor condition and was not seaworthy.

    A repair was designed so as to re-establish the integrity of the hull and work commenced immediately. The vessel was kept offshore amid fears that she may not survive the adverse weather being experienced.

    When the vessel was within helicopter range it was decided to evacuate non essential crew members. DEA were requested to provide a patrol vessel to standby the vessel to mitigate any pollution should the vessel sink and also to act as a rescue vessel for the remaining personnel. DEA had a vessel present at all times until the Pine Trader was safely in port.

    Negotiations were commenced with TNPA to allow the vessel into a port.

    Ten days later, due only to the excellent seamanship skills of the Master of the Smit Amandla, the vessel was ready to be docked - a subsequent heavy cold front had caused further concerns over the safety of the vessel. On arrival at the pilot station off Saldanha Bay, the swell conditions exceeded the parameters for a safe entry into port and the tow was ordered towards Cape Town. Two days later, on 31 May 2009, the vessel safely docked in the Port of Cape Town.

    It was subsequently decided that the cargo of rice would be transhipped for onward carriage to its final destination. While the vessel was in port, a Smit salvage team was onboard to safeguard the vessel and the port. A US $ 7 million guarantee was raised with the vessel’s insurers to cover costs in the event that the vessel sank alongside and the wreck had to be removed or there were pollution cleanup costs. To mitigate this possibility all pollutants were removed from the vessel.

    Early in the process the Joint Response Committee came to the conclusion that they were dealing with disreputable owners - the Master had seriously fractured his wrist and required surgery and owners initially refused to put up funds for the operation, the crew had not been paid for months, there was no food onboard and the costs of services rendered while the vessel was in port were not paid.

    On completion of the cargo discharge and with debts mounting, the vessel was arrested and subsequently sold through the High Court for scrap. The Pine Trader left Cape Town under towage on 15 September and cleared the South African EEZ on 22 September bound for breakers in India.

    SAMSA, as chair of the Joint Response Committee, wishes to acknowledge those parties who through their efforts ensured there was no loss of life, no pollution to the South African coast and that 20,000 tonnes of food was saved:

    Smit Amandla Marine, executing the State’s standby tug contract;
    Department of Environment Affairs;
    National Sea Rescue Institute;
    Transnet National Port Authorities;
    The maritime legal profession; and
    Service providers who rendered commercial services.

    Capt. NT Campbell
    Regional Manager: Southern Region

    PINE TRADER, departing Cape Town on tow for the breakers. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    PetroSA, Coega Development Corp sign agreement for oil refinery

    Eastern Cape, 7 October (BuaNews) - PetroSA and the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) today signed a cooperation agreement for the planned Coega oil refinery.

    The Coega refinery will be a major tenant in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) near the new deepwater port of Ngqura and a catalyst for future development in the Eastern Cape.

    Chief Executive Officer and President of PetroSA, Sipho Mkhize, said the agreement between the two parties clarifies their roles and responsibilities in the Coega IDZ during the construction and operation of the 400,000 barrels per day crude oil refinery.

    Mkhize said the agreement will give potential investors confidence that the project was developed by major stakeholders in the country's economy, adding that the project was ready to move to the Front End Engineering Design phase.

    The agreement provides for the CDC to recognise PetroSA as the official developer and promoter of the proposed refinery, the establishment of a joint project team as well as a land allocation agreement for Coega.

    Additionally, the two agreed on roles and obligations with regards to future and downstream activities while also considering other opportunities in secondary industries like the establishment of the Coega IDZ as a petrochemical hub serving Southern Africa.

    “The refinery will generate close to 27,500 temporary jobs during the construction phase and 18,500 permanent direct, indirect and induced jobs once operational,” said PetroSA.

    Welcoming the agreement, Chief Executive Officer of CDC, Pepi Silinga, said the planned refinery will be a major economic boost not only for the South African economy post 2010, but also for the Eastern Cape.

    “Most current infrastructural developments in the country are in support of the world cup tournament, but the country needs to look beyond that to other major projects for sustained growth and economic development.

    “The Coega refinery is a project which will provide economic stimulus, revitalise and redirect the automotive sector and re-skill and up-skill the key artisan employment sector,” said Silinga.

    A technical feasibility study for Project Mthombo has been completed and PetroSA's Board will decide by the end of the year to proceed to the next phase of the project while the final investment decision is expected in 2011.

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Richards Bay Coal Terminal shipped a total of 4.16 million tonnes of coal during the month of September, which is about 22% down on the same month of 2008 when 5.22mt was shipped. There are no figures available for the amount of coal railed to the terminal.


    India says it intends introducing measures aimed at preventing foreign ships from taking part in coastal trade, saying that the practice is open to abuse by terrorist movements. India has limited protection for its domestic shipping trade, which consists of approximately 3% of its shipping activity in tonnage terms. Under existing law foreign companies are currently unable to operate in areas where sufficient local shipping resources exist and have to seek permission from the Directorate-of-Shipping before commencing coastal operations.


    The Turkish bulker HORIZON 1, which was captured by Somali pirates in July with 23 Turkish seafarers on board, has been released following the payment of a USD1.5 million ransom. The ship was released on Monday (5 October) and all crew are believed to be in good health. The ship was on a voyage from Jordan to Saudi Arabia when taken.


    You have to give credit to those Somalis, they have plenty of gumption (or is it stupidity). According to the French Navy two small skiffs took on the might of an 18,000 tonne French Navy command ship, FNS LA SOMME, which is also the flagship of the navy’s Indian Ocean fleet and which carries a complement of special forces personnel. After opening fire with AK47 rifles the pirates realised their error when the warship returned fire, leaving them to beat a hasty retreat. The French pursued and after a one-hour chase one of the skiffs and five men were captured. French Admiral Christophe Prazuck said he thought it a case of mistaken identity by the pirates.


    Danish shipping company Maersk has announced plans to replace 170 Danish deck officers with foreign ‘competent officers at a much lower price’, quotes a Danish newspaper, the Copenhagen Post. The shipping company said it wasn’t firing the officers but they were being offered voluntary retirement.

    Pics of the day – FAIRPLAY 30 and JASCON 21

    The number of tugs arriving in Cape Town, either with tows or on their own continues to increase and the port is becoming one of the places to be if tugs and workboats are your thing. Among recent arrivals are the Spanish/German tug FAIRPLAY 30 (778-gt, built 2008 - above) and the British Virgin Island owned, Nigerian managed JASCON 21 (1163-gt, built 2008 - below).
    Pictures 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

    Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all southern African ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Mombasa on the East Coast?

    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.


    South Africa’s most comprehensive Directory of Maritime Services is now listed on this site. Please check if your company is included. To sign up for a free listing contact info@ports.co.za or register online

  • Google

    Web ports.co.za

    Click to go back

      - Contact Us

      - Home