Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 2, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – OASIS OF THE SEAS

  • Durban maritime cluster back in the news

  • Getting ready to Groove on board MSC Sinfonia

  • South Africa says it is ready to deal with search and rescue 2010

  • Second coal mining export programme for Mozambique gets the nod

  • World’s biggest cruise ship OASIS OF THE SEAS sets sail

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Pic of the day – WIND STAR & CARNIVAL DREAM


    First View – OASIS OF THE SEAS

    The world’s largest cruise ship, OASIS OF THE SEAS (225,282-gt) has set sail from her builder’s yard in Turku, Finland on her madien voyage across the Atlantic Ocean and is expected in Florida for her naming ceremony and welcome later in November. See article below for details. Picture courtesy Royal Caribbean International.

    Durban maritime cluster back in the news

    After a hiatus of over a year, the Ethekwini (Durban) Maritime Cluster is set to be launched at the end of November when the name of an operating officer will also be announced.

    This was revealed at a maritime awareness seminar held in Durban on Friday (30 October) with over one hundred delegates attending – many of them from emerging black empowered shipping businesses in the Durban area.

    The maritime cluster is an initiative of the Ethekwini Municipality Economic Unit which held a series of workshops during 2008 to introduce the concept among Durban maritime firms. The objective of the cluster is to foster improved communication among the respective stakeholders and to ensure that Durban maintains its position as a leading maritime centre.

    Motivation for the cluster came from a perceived lack of liaison among stakeholders – in particular between the Transnet port authority and terminal operating divisions and the city but also involving the private sector, which often feels left out of decision and policy making. The city has encouraged the formation of a number of clusters among the various industry sectors, again with the objective of establishing better communication and coordinated action that will ensure Durban remains a significant force in each industry sector.

    Towards the end of 2008 a board of directors of the maritime cluster was elected but for several reasons – funding being one of them, it hasn’t been in a position to move further forward until now but with funding now available the maritime cluster is able to make its first appointment with an operating officer who will take the project forward.

    By bringing all the various elements together it hopes to act as a true champion for Durban as the country’s leading port city, and will focus on specific programmes including business planning and transformation services while providing marketing and information services to the advantage of Durban both as a port city and leading economic hub. Strong emphasis will be placed on maritime education where Durban has the opportunity to perform a unique role on the continent of Africa by way of providing maritime education facilities right up to university level.

    Getting ready to Groove on board MSC Sinfonia

    They exploded onto the music scene with their debut hit single “Get Down Saturday night”, held the Number 1 spot on 94.7’s & Kfm’s Homebrew for over a month and now Tokyo Groove will be in Durban to play live on deck under the stars aboard MSC Sinfonia!

    Rated as one of the country’s top cover bands, Tokyo Groove will bring their extensive repertoire of rock, reggae and classic party song tracks to the invitation only 13 November function where almost 2,000 guests from around the country will be on board to celebrate MSC Sinfonia’s first visit to South Africa, her arrival in Durban and the launch of her maiden cruise summer season in the Indian Ocean.

    Mesmerizing is the word used to describe Tokyo Groove’s on-stage performances while lead vocalist Sangoma (formerly the front man of the successful group Denim) continues to amaze audiences with his range and versatility. Sangoma has had the opportunity to perform for the crème de la crème of society both locally and internationally, has had a string of hits, and produced various tracks for television but it is with Tokyo Groove that Sangoma has finally come into his own and adds a phenomenal energy to the seven piece band bringing the music to life.

    Focusing on classic party tracks like September, Lady Soul and more, Tokyo Groove appeals to a wide audience and will get guests dancing the night away. Having performed at the most prestigious functions and sporting events in Southern Africa and enjoyed repeated corporate bookings with the country’s top Blue Chip corporate companies - all of which endorse the band’s reputation for professionalism, quality and really getting a party going.

    2009 has been a landmark year for the band with the release of “Get Down Saturday Night” which is still charting on all major radio stations nationally while a second single looks set to go even bigger and better. Already these singles have managed to encompass both the sophistication and vibe of the band and boost their reputation as one of South Africa’s Top Party Bands.

    While Tokyo Groove will play out on deck on 13 November the remainder of the ship’s entertainment will be on show as is when she is cruising.

    The various shows are truly international with artists coming from the United Kingdom, Australia, Ukraine, Brazil, Italy, Spain and South Africa. The line-up is quite fantastic and includes from aerial acrobatics, juggling, magic and illusion, dance, Spanish Flamenco to comedy and song.

    Those who enjoy more of a local flavour should look out for the special theme cruises which will have additional South African guest artists performing on board. They include Kurt Darren, Danny Fisher, Ian von Memerty, Gino Fabbri, Victor Siljeur, Lana English, Max Kaan, Adrian the Magician, Henk Grimsell, Santiago and DJ Black Sparrow.

    And the entertainment doesn’t end with the evening shows. Live music, including four South African bands in several venues and the nightly disco will sustain the mood until the early hours.

    MSC Sinfonia is being described as the finest floating hotel South Africa has ever seen. The nine storey, 58,600 ton cruise ship with her distinctive Italian design, style and service is the biggest and most modern cruise ship ever to operate out of a local port for a full summer cruise season.

    MSC Sinfonia is one of MSC Crociere’s stable of 10 ships. As leaders in the Mediterranean cruise market, the MSC cruise ships with their distinctive Italian design, style and service represent the most modern cruise fleet in the world and operate in top destinations around the globe.

    MSC Sinfonia begins her summer cruise season from Durban on Saturday, 14 November 2009.

    Contact MSC Cruises or Starlight Cruises for more information.

    Scheduling of the cruises is available in our Cruise Schedule section of PORTS & SHIPS - go HERE

    South Africa says it is ready to deal with search and rescue 2010

    by Nthambeleni Gabara (BuaNews)

    Pretoria - South Africa is ready to deal with any search and rescue situation that may arise during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, says Transport Deputy Minister Jeremy Cronin.

    Speaking at the opening session of the regional field Search and Rescue (SAR) exercise last week, the deputy minister said South Africa was ready to respond professionally and effectively in the event of an accident or incident.

    However, he warned that response times could always be improved on so that there is a high degree of proficiency and professionalism.

    “Readiness is about cutting down the time it takes to respond to a search and rescue situation. So far we can say we have that technical capacity and experience. But we must constantly improve, sharpen our readiness even more,” he said.

    It is estimated that a large number of fans will arrive in South Africa for the World Cup using maritime transport, while others will come from neighbouring countries by road (and mostly by air – editor).

    South Africa is responsible for a huge search and rescue area. The search and rescue region represents approximately 10 percent of the globe which is about 28.5 million square kilometres in total.

    To manage this vast area, the South African area is divided into two Search and Rescue Regions namely, the aeronautical and maritime Search and Rescue Regions.

    The Aeronautical Search and Rescue Region covers South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho and associated flight information regions.

    The Maritime Search and Rescue Region stretch approximately halfway between South Africa and South America on the Western side, and approximately halfway between South Africa and Australia on the Eastern side.

    Cronin said the department had planned activities to create awareness, educate and uplift the community’s search and rescue knowledge. Through the exercise the department also wants to raise the profile of the South African Search and Rescue organisation and to plough back into the community.

    The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has approached the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to consider funding the training requirements identified for the region.

    Together with the department of environment affairs, the transport department is planning to create search and rescue capacity at the Antarctic region.

    Second coal mining export programme for Mozambique gets the nod

    Australian mining group Riversdale Mining and India’s Tata Steel, its joint venture partner, have given the go-ahead to develop phase 1 of the Benga coal mine project in Tete province in central Mozambique.

    The US$270 million development will realise a production of 1.7 million tonnes of export coking coal a year in its first phase as well as 300,000 tonnes of export thermal coal. The partners hope to be in production by 2011. A coal-fired power station producing 500-MW is also planned for commissioning by 2013, adjacent to the mine.

    Construction of the mining development is due to commence once the environmental requirements have been taken care of.

    Of interest is that Riversdale says it is investigating shipping the coal to the coast using barges on the Zambezi River, which would thus avoid any bottlenecks on the railroad or at the port of Beira which will be used at least initially by Brazil’s Vale Group.

    World’s biggest cruise ship OASIS OF THE SEAS sets sail

    Oasis of the Seas on sea trials last Friday

    After nearly six years in the making, Royal Caribbean International took delivery last week of its newest and most revolutionary cruise ship, OASIS OF THE SEA, from STX Europe in Turku, Finland.

    Kicking off the 12-day countdown until her US debut into Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, 11 November 2009, Oasis of the Seas departed Turku on Friday (30 October) with Captain William S Wright at the helm.

    Her transatlantic crossing will be chronicled on OasisoftheSeas.com as new webisodes are posted daily and via Twitter by following @OasisandAllure. A new feature to www.OasisoftheSeas.com will allow visitors to view a Google Maps application and follow Oasis of the Seas journey. Richard Fain’s “Chairman’s Blog” on www.OasisoftheSeas.com and “Adam’s Blog” by President and CEO Adam Goldstein on www.NationofWhyNot.com also will provide personal updates.

    The purists may not approve, but there’s little question that Oasis of the Seas will set new standards. RCCI, the cruise line that revolutionized the industry with the FlowRider surf simulator, ice-skating rinks, cantilevered whirlpools, rock climbing walls and the Royal Promenade, an entertainment boulevard stretching nearly the length of the ship, says it is poised to unveil a range of new attractions and engineering marvels onboard Oasis of the Seas.

    The Promenade on board the ship

    The ultimate expression of Royal Caribbean’s legacy of imagination and innovation, Oasis of the Seas introduces unique industry “firsts” including a neighborhood concept – seven themed areas providing guests with the opportunity to seek out relevant experiences based on their personal style, preference or mood. Within these seven neighborhoods – Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone – are extraordinary elements such as the first park at sea, a thrilling zip line that races diagonally nine-decks above an open-air atrium, an original handcrafted carousel, 28 multilevel urban-style loft suites boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, an aquatic amphitheater – called the AquaTheater that serves as a pool by day and a dazzling ocean front theater by night; and an array of epicurean innovations that allow for new culinary experiences each day of a guest’s cruise vacation.

    This November, just in time for the US Thanksgiving holiday, Oasis of the Seas will be unveiled on ABC’s “Good Morning America” who will be there to welcome her into her home port in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. as well as give viewers an exclusive first glimpse of the ship during a special live broadcast on Friday, 20 November.

    The official naming ceremony for Oasis of the Seas will take place on 30 November during a one night inaugural celebration-fundraiser to benefit the non-profit Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

    Oasis of the Seas is the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world. An architectural marvel at sea, she spans 16 decks, encompasses 225,282 gross registered tons, carries 5,400 guests at double occupancy and features 2,700 staterooms.

    The ship will sail from her home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

    Additional information is available at www.OasisoftheSeas.com.

    Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 21 ships currently in service and one under construction. The line also offers unique cruise tour land packages in Alaska, Canada, Dubai, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, or visit
    www.royalcaribbean.com - travel professionals should go www.cruisingpower.com or call (800) 327-2056.

    Pictures courtesy Royal Caribbean Cruises

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    SA records trade surplus in September

    South Africa recorded a trade surplus of R3.9 billion in September, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) announced on Friday. SARS said the surplus was mainly due to an increase in exports of 12.77 percent and a decrease in imports of 1.65 percent. Exports of R45.53 billion and imports of R41.66 billion resulted in the surplus. Imports decreased by R0.7 billion to R41.66 billion and exports increased by R5.2 billion to R45.53 billion.

    In August South Africa registered a trade deficit that came in at R1.98 billion due to a decrease in exports and a decrease in imports. According to SARS, the August to September change in imports of goods reflected decreases mainly in mineral products and machinery and mechanical appliances and electrical machinery and equipment. – BuaNews


    Dates for recreational west coast fishing season announced

    Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica has announced the new recreational fishing season for west coast rock lobster. The new season will open on 15 November and close on 15 April 2010. From 15 November to 31 December this year, fishing will be allowed every day of the week, but from 1 January next year to 15 April fishing will be restricted to weekends and public holidays only. Fishing times for west coast rock lobster will be from 8am until 4pm and rock lobsters must be landed by 4pm. The bag limit is four lobsters per person per day and the size restriction is 80 mm carapace length.

    No person catching west coast rock lobster with a recreational west coast rock lobster permit may sell it. Any west coast rock lobster caught, collected or transported must be kept in a whole state. A maximum of 20 rock lobsters may be transported per day, on condition that all the persons who caught such rock lobster are present in the vehicle, vessel or aircraft during transportation, and that such persons are in possession of recreational west coast rock lobster permits. West coast rock lobster permits will only be sold to persons above the age of 12 years. - by Nthambeleni Gabara, BuaNews


    Third crew member of Atlantic Eland dies

    A Third member of the crew off the Russian-owned Ro-Ro cargo ship ATLANTIC ELAND has died in a Richards Bay hospital. Two of his shipmates, a Russian boatswain and a Ukrainian cook were discovered dead in their cabins on board the ship last week, shortly after the vessel arrived in port and began working cargo. According to hospital sources the cause of death of the three was alcohol poisoning.


    Pirates seized Thai cargo ship

    Somali pirates have seized another ship, this time the Thai cargo vessel THOR STAR (10,572-gt, built 1985) which was captured about 200 miles north of the Seychelles. The ship is operated by Bangkok-based Thoresen & Co. The number of crew on board is not as yet known.

    Meanwhile, Somali pirates have confirmed reports that they have the British yacht Lynn Rival in captivity with Paul and Rachel Chandler on board and are demanding a ransom of US$7 million be paid for their release. The yacht was seized over a week ago while being sailed from the Seychelles to Tanzania. The Chandlers, who are retired were on an ocean cruise and had spent the last seven months in the Seychelles.

    Pics of the day – WIND STAR & CARNIVAL DREAM

    Two pictures captured in Gibraltar harbour in the past week by Capetonian Ian Shiffman, who has been cruising in the Mediterranean. Above shows the wind-powered sailing ship WIND STAR (5,703-gt, built 1986) while below is the CARNIVAL DREAM (130,000-gt, built 2009). Both images were taken using the photographer’s Blackberry device and emailed to PORTS & SHIPS. 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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