Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 12, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – MSC LEILA

  • Piracy – another ship with South African connections, FILITSA is highjacked

  • Mozambique ports of Nacala and Beira deny Malawi claims of congestion

  • Mombasa port privatisation proposals under scrutiny

  • Transport forum agreed for the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor

  • Final outstanding payment detains tug OSAYAME in Cape Town harbour

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Today’s recommended Read – East African Community trade skyrockets just five years into Customs Union

  • Pics of the day – ALAKNANDA and DONG WON 519


    First View – MSC LEILA

    Mediterranean Shipping Company’s 928-TEU MSC LEILA (13,315-gt, built 1987, ex Tiger Cloud) is a regular caller at Durban where this picture was taken as the ship sailed from port. Picture by Terry Hutson

    Piracy – another ship with South African connections, FILITSA is highjacked

    Yet another merchant ship sailing either to or from South Africa has fallen victim to Somali pirates.

    The latest ship to be highjacked is the bulk carrier FELITSA (14,431-gt, built 1996) which was bound for Durban with a cargo of bulk urea loaded in Kuwait. The ship came under attack some 500 n.miles north-east of the Seychelles, emphasising once more that this is the new danger zone as far as Somali piracy is concerned.

    The Filitsa has a crew of 24, comprising three Greek officers and the balance Filipino seafarers. According to Somali pirate sources the crew resisted capture and in the process three pirates received injuries but did not elaborate. He said the crew were safe and did not mention any injuries to them. The ship is expected to be taken to the coastal town of Haradheere.

    Yet another ship with South African connections to come under attack is the Maersk Line container ship NELE MAERSK (27,773-gt, built 2000) which managed to out-manoeuvre pirates not far from where the VLCC BW LION was seized earlier this week. Nele Maersk is a regular caller at South African ports.

    NATO forces operating in the area on anti-pirate patrol issued a warning this week advising all shipping not calling at ports in Somalia, Kenya or Tanzania to avoid the area by keeping as far from the coast as possible. The problem ships’ masters may be asking is, how far is far?

    Another vessel to be highjacked yesterday was a Yemeni fishing boat. Only sketchy details are available – the vessel may be named AL HALIL, and was off the north-east Somali coast near Hafun when seized. The pirates now hold 13 ships for hostage along with more than 230 crew.

    Meanwhile the Seychelles government and the European Union have signed an agreement authorising EU naval forces to hunt and detain suspected pirates operating in Seychelles territorial waters. The agreement formalises what has already been in place but which is becoming increasingly necessary as the pirates switch their attention to waters away from the heavily patrolled Gulf of Aden.

    The arrangement is also intended to assist the Seychelles with developing its own coast guard and anti-piracy services. Seychelles has similar agreements with France and the United States.

    In another development the owners of the UAE vessel that was captured recently while reportedly carrying arms and weapons intended for the Somalis, as well as a Somali police spokesman have denied that the vessel is carrying guns. Talking to journalists the policeman said the ship is carrying a cargo of motor vehicles and other small items.

    Mozambique ports of Nacala and Beira deny Malawi claims of congestion

    Nacala port - no congestion, says CDN boss

    Management from the Mozambique ports of Beira and Nacala have denied allegations from Malawi that the current shortage of fuel in that landlocked country is a result of congestion at the two ports.

    Interviewed on Radio Mozambique Carlos Mesquita from the Port of Beira and Fernando Couto from Nacala said the claims were untrue. Dr Couto said the real cause for Malawi’s shortage of fuel is its chronic shortage of foreign exchange. He said the Malawians had asked to borrow fuel and said that tankers arriving in Nacala were always given priority in berthing. His company had no interest in delaying deliveries of fuel or other commodities to Malawi as this was the port and corridor’s lifeblood, he said.

    Both he and Mr Mesquita denied their ports were congested, saying the opposite was true.

    Mesquita, who is the CEO of Cornelder Mozambique, the company holding the concession to operate the port of Beira, denied that the Malawi claims were true. He acknowledged that there were limitations of draught in his port but said that Beira is not congested. There had to be some other motive for the claims, he suggested. – source Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique

    Mombasa port privatisation proposals under scrutiny

    Congestion at the Kenyan port of Mombasa came under parliamentary scrutiny last week with a visit to the port by government representatives which led to a debate in the media and elsewhere about whether Mombasa should be privatised.

    Unions have flatly rejected any proposal for privatisation and are threatening to go on strike if these negotiations continue. Union leaders say they believe that privatisation will lead to between 4,000 and 7,000 workers being laid off.

    Kenya’s government has already indicated that the decision on whether to privatise or not will be made by parliament, while pointing out that finance is already available for the development of a new container terminal. At the same time Kenya Ports Authority needs to upgrade and modernize other port infrastructure in order to improve efficiencies and lower the cost of transporting goods through the port.

    Transport forum agreed for the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor

    The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Namibia and Zambia recently held discussions on the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi (WBNL) Development Corridor in Kinshasa, DRC on the development of a transport forum between the three countries. This meeting was a follow up on previous meetings held in Chingola, Zambia (September 2008) and Walvis Bay, Namibia (April 2009), all aimed at reaching consensus on the terms of reference and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the three countries.

    The aim of the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor is to promote economic development through transport, trade, investment and tourism for the mutual benefit of not only the DRC, Namibia and Zambia, but also for the benefit of the SADC region at large. The WBNL Corridor forms an important part of reducing transport cost and makes regional exports more competitive on world markets and will also in turn make imports to the region more affordable.

    The MoU aims at facilitating the growth of trade between the three countries to the benefit of the region.

    The meeting involved permanent secretaries and other top government officials from the respective Ministries of Transport, other transport related government agencies and departments and the private sector. A follow up meeting is to be held in Livingstone, Zambia in February 2010 where the three Ministers of Transport will sign the Agreement.

    The Terms of Reference and MOU are designed to address bottlenecks hindering trade along the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi corridor with a view to fostering increased economic activity through the promotion and facilitation of trade, movement of persons and goods, regional and international transport, and to stimulate economic and social development.

    It also aims at transforming the Corridor into a Development Corridor which, in addition to offering safe, fast and competitive transport and transit services that secure regional trade, will stimulate investment and encourage sustainable development and poverty reduction.

    Strategies for accelerating economic and social growth along the corridor will be implemented while ensuring environmental sustainability, while adequate, reliable, cost-effective, efficient and seamless transport, telecommunications and energy systems will be developed to ensure that the corridor is a competitive investment area.

    The Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi-Corridor Committee becomes the permanent secretariat to provide technical and analytical support to the Corridor Management Committee’s organs, and will set performance indicators and monitor their implementation.

    The Walvis Bay Corridor Group has taken responsibility to identify and resolve non tariff barriers to trade encountered by transport operators and traders on the various Walvis Bay Corridors. Focusing on the Trans Caprivi Corridor (from Walvis Bay to Ndola), the WBCG in 2005 embarked on a 3 year trade facilitation programme sponsored by United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Through the same funding, the Namibian and Zambian Governments established the TCC Cluster which is composed of members from customs authorities, immigration, shipping agencies, transport associations, and clearing forwarding agencies.

    Upon completion of the UNCTAD sponsored programme, the WBCG partnered with the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and extended the Trans Caprivi Corridor to Lubumbashi (now known as the Walvis-Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor) which links the Port of Walvis Bay through Lusaka and the Copperbelt in Zambia and enters the DRC via Kasumbalesa into the Katanga Region and also serves the Kasai and Maniema Provinces.

    The WBNL corridor is currently already importing and exporting various commodities such as copper, vehicles, frozen meat, frozen chicken and other consumables. During the past year this corridor route has grown its cargo throughout by more than 66% with lots of potential remaining in terms of developing imports and exports.

    The Port of Walvis Bay and the WBNL Corridor offers immense opportunities for importers and exporters since it provide a reliable and shorter transit route between the inland and the overseas market and can save importers and exporters up to more than 10 days in transit time to and from international markets. Further details are available from agnetha@wbcg.com.na

    Final outstanding payment detains tug OSAYAME in Cape Town harbour

    Picture by Aad Noorland

    A tug completed this year at the Damen Shipyards in Cape Town remains on a berth in the Mother City while the matter of payment is resolved.

    The OSAYAME (374-gt, built 2009) was launched recently and has successfully completed her sea trials but is being detained because of a dispute between the builders and the ships owners, registered as Starzs Marine & Engineering of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

    According to Nigerian reports the financiers of the new vessel reneged over paying the last instalment for the tug, leaving the vessel and crew stranded in Cape Town harbour. The report said that five earlier instalments were made successfully for the US$11.6 million vessel.

    Osayame was supposed to have been commissioned in Onne, Rivers State on 30 October before entering into a five year contract with French oil company Total, and was due to commence on 1 November 2009.

    It is believed that about $4 million remains unpaid for the tug and other costs.

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    New Khangela bridge to Durban container terminals opened

    The new Khangela Bridge, a joint venture between the city of Durban and Transnet and costing R200 million to build, was officially opened by the mayor of Durban, Cllr Obed Mlaba (centre) yesterday. On the left is the CEO of Transnet National Ports Authority, Khomotso Phihlela, and on the right the deputy mayor of Durban, Cllr Logie Naidoo, with the mayor doing the honours in the centre. Picture by Terry Hutson

    Durban’s long-awaited Khangela Bridge which will ease access to Durban Harbour’s Bayhead region, including the two busy container terminals and oil cluster, was officially opened yesterday by the Mayor of Ethekwini Municipality (Durban), Cllr Obed Mlaba. The R200 million bridge will be opened to traffic from this Friday.


    PetroSA reopens refinery after maintenance shutdown

    Mossel Bay’s PetroSA gas to liquids refinery and offshore natural gas rig, the FA Platform will restart production on Monday, 16 November following an intensive pre-planned maintenance shutdown. The restart was delayed from 9 November because of strong winds and high swells which delayed operations by several days. The refinery has been on shutdown since 25 September.


    Piraeus port strike ends

    The crippling strike at the Greek port of Piraeus has ended following a decision by the court that the strike, brought on by workers opposing the concession to operate the port terminals awarded to Cosco, was illegal. The court rule that workers have had adequate assurance that no jobs would be sacrificed by the 35-year concession. Work at the port has been at a standstill since 3 November.


    CMA CGM takes delivery of new flagship

    The embattled French shipping giant CMA CGM has taken delivery of its new flagship, the 13,300-TEU CHRISTOPHE COLOMB which will enter service on the company’s Far East – Europe service. The new 365-m long ship began its rotation at Shanghai yesterday (Wednesday) and is due in Europe in early December.

    Today’s recommended Read – East African Community trade skyrockets just five years into Customs Union

    East African Regional trade has hit US$2.7 Billion after just five years into the Customs Union, during which time trade within the East African Community has risen by 49 percent. Last year, it reached an all-time high of $2.7 Billion in exports and imports, against $1.8 Billion in 2005 when the region's Common External Tariff started. Read the rest of this Tralac report HERE.

    We welcome suggestions for a good or interesting read. You don’t necessarily have to agree with what is being said, so long as it is relevant to the region or to shipping in general – email the link to info@ports.co.za and put GOOD READ in the subject line.

    Pics of the day – ALAKNANDA and DONG WON 519

    The Indian bulk carrier ALAKNANDA (28,739-gt, built 1987), owned and operated by SCI of Mumbai, India, is seen arriving in Lyttelton, New Zealand to load coal for India. Picture by Alan Calvert

    The fishing trawler DONG WON 519 (665-gt), owned by Korea’s Dongwon Fisheries, is seen leaving Lyttelton harbour in this July 2008 photograph. Dong Won 519 is one of several trawlers operating within New Zealand waters from a base in Timaru. The vessel normally carries a crew of 38. Picture by Alan Calvert

    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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