Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 25, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – OCEAN TRADER

  • South Africa shows signs of economic recovery

  • SELI 1 cargo sold and will be removed from wreck

  • ITF throws down gauntlet to shipping lines over pirate infested waters

  • DRC and Sudan express interest in joining East African Community

  • News from the world of shipping

  • Pic of the day – IVAN PAPANIN


    First View – OCEAN TRADER

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    The general cargo ship OCEAN TRADER (19,354-gt, built 1996) seen here while operating as a container carrier in Cape Town this week. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    South Africa shows signs of economic recovery.

    South Africa has emerged from its first recession in seventeen years.

    South Africa's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2009 increased by 0.9 percent, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) announced on Tuesday.

    “The seasonally adjusted real GDP at market prices for the third quarter of 2009 increased by an annualized 0.9 percent compared with the second quarter of 2009,” said Stats SA.

    The revised figure for GDP in the second quarter came in at 2.8 percent from an earlier 3 percent.

    “You should however keep in mind that the unadjusted number for the same quarter came in at -2.1 percent. So short term indicators seem to tell us that the economy is picking up but the long term indicators still remain negative,” said Stats SA's executive manager of national accounts, Joe De Beer.

    The South African economy had contracted for the last three quarters in a row, but the positive growth figure recorded, means that the country is not technically in a recession.

    Commenting on the results, Nedbank economist Isaac Matshego said: “We expected it. This means that the man on the street can start thinking of things getting better.

    “Initial signs are good but the outlook is not as rosy, it’s going to take some time.”

    SELI 1 cargo sold and will be removed from wreck

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    The Turkish bulker SELI 1 aground in Table Bay, with a coal discharge device already on board. Picture courtesy SAMSA

    Salvage experts SMIT have advised that Cargo Underwriters have sold the Turkish bulker SELI 1's cargo to businessman and property developer Mr Darren Rahme.

    Readers will recall that the Seli 1 went aground in Table Bay and the ship has since been abandoned by both the vessel owner and the cargo owners and underwriters, leaving the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) with the financial headache of dealing with the wreck removal.

    The new cargo owner’s priority is to remove the 30,300 tonnes of coal as soon as possible so as to reduce any environmental threat and to facilitate the ultimate removal of the wreck.

    Cargo removal is already underway and the entire operation is expected to take approximately 2-3 months. The operation is weather and swell dependent and the safety of all working onboard remains the top priority.

    Coal is being packed into 1 tonne bags which will be transported by barge to the Port of Cape Town, where coal distributors MacPhail will take responsibility for it at the quayside.

    Once the cargo has been removed, all efforts will be focussed on removing the SELI 1 from her present position at Table View Beach.

    ITF throws down gauntlet to shipping lines over pirate infested waters

    “Pirate-infested seas ‘not fit for seafarers’”

    The ITF has thrown down the gauntlet to those flag states and shipowners who have not taken action to fight Somali piracy to act now, before the threat makes it virtually impossible for seafarers to pass through the ever-widening danger area.

    According to the Federation, “save in exceptional circumstances, ships should not transit the (affected) area. The risk of attack is now so great that putting seafarers in harm’s way amounts to a breach of the shipowner’s duty of care.” It went on to describe a motion adopted by its Fair Practices Committee as a statement of intent that flag states and shipowners have to assess the risks and act definitively to combat them, or risk finding themselves outside the law.

    “There are countries actively fighting piracy and there are owners training and supporting their crews to resist it,” explained ITF Maritime Coordinator Steve Cotton.

    “Then there are others who are shirking responsibility and as good as accepting its steadily growing menace, which has now brought us to the point where one of the world’s great trading routes is now almost too dangerous to pass through. Today’s statement reflects the frustration of all those who work at sea at the dire situation we’ve reached. One where pirates act virtually unmolested and, even if intercepted, with virtual impunity from arrest.”

    He said it calls into question the very legality of continuing to send ships through much of the Indian Ocean. “It is therefore imperative that not only must protective escorts be used but that flag states immediately decide on the protective measures that they must recommend for the ships that are flying their flag and that those ships’ operators comply with them.

    “We, and many others, also want to see the end of what’s virtually an open secret in shipping – that many of the world’s largest ship registers have provided not one vessel to patrol an ocean that can only be made safe by an increase in the number of warships needed to aggressively patrol and police it. I am not aware of a single flag of convenience country that is acting in this way to protect the ships that are supposedly their responsibility.”

    Statement on Piracy

    The ITF statement on piracy released on Monday after being adopted by the Fair Practices Committee (a joint decision making committee of seafarers' and dockers' unions which, among other duties, considers war risks) is as follows:

    The ITF Seafarers Section having assessed the growing problem of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia and now in the wider Indian Ocean has determined that save in exceptional circumstances ships should not transit the area. The risk of attack is now so great that putting seafarers in harms way amounts to a breach of the shipowner’s duty of care.

    The exceptional circumstances relate to:

  • having close active protection from naval forces or being in a convoy which has an adequate naval escort; or

  • the ship can be classified as low risk and has a proven level of protection measures in place.

  • The ITF also considers that seafarers should suffer no detriment from refusing to take ships into these high risk areas. Seafarers have a right to refuse to put themselves in harms way and the right to be relieved before the ship enters a high risk area. The ITF calls on flag States and shipowners to uphold seafarers’ rights in this regard.

    The ITF re-affirmed the position that seafarers should not be armed.

    The ITF call’s on the wider shipping industry to support this position and to take all measures to ensure the protection of seafarers by not putting them in harms way.

    DRC and Sudan express interest in joining East African Community

    The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan have expressed interest in becoming members of the East African Community, says the EAC’s Secretary-General, Juma Volter Mwapachu.

    If this goes ahead the economic community will be increased to seven members – the others being Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

    Addressing a media conference Ambassador Mwapachu said that the DRC had discovered it had more in common with the EAC than further south, meaning the SADC, and was coming to rely heavily on the ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam for imports and exports for the eastern sector of the country.

    Sudan, he said, relied heavily on Kenya as a conduit for imports and exports including the economic aid programmes to South Sudan. He said it appeared likely that both countries would eventually become members of the EAC.

    News from the world of shipping

    Number of ships at anchor increasing

    Global Ports reports that 20 percent of available capesize vessels are stuck in port, waiting for cargo to be discharged in most instances. One week ago the number of capesizes delayed at larger ore and coal berths in China rose to 54, up by two from a week earlier, with another 64 due to arrive in China over the next fortnight.

    The number of capesizes, panamaxes and handysizes at anchor at major Australian ore and coal ports was reported to have risen to 146, up by ten from a week earlier with a further 178 expected to arrive in Australian waters in the next 14 days. – source Seatrade Asia Online


    Hapag Lloyd anticipates 2010 loss

    While saying that the worst is behind them, German carrier Hapag Lloyd anticipates a loss in 2010. That was the word from logistics billionaire and principal investor in the company, Klaus-Michael Kuehne, as quoted by the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

    Kuehne did say however that he thought the worst was over and that there were positive signs with rising transport volumes and freight rates. Cost cutting had also been effective, he said, saying that it was amazing all the things that money can be saved on.

    Referring to TUI, the German tourism group that holds a 43 percent in Hapag Lloyd Kuehne said he didn’t expect TUI to offload their interest in the shipping company in the near future. The remaining 57 percent in Hapag Lloyd is held by the Albert Ballin consortium of which Kuehne is the biggest investor.

    Kuehne said he personally was in favour of an eventual merger with another shipping line, so long as the merged entity remained Hamburg-based. – JOC online

    Pic of the day – IVAN PAPANIN

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    The Russian ice-class vessel IVAN PAPANIN (14,184-gt, built 1990), which is owned and operated by the Murmansk Shipping Co, has been in Cape Town harbor this week preparing stores and materials for yet another journey to the Antarctic. Picture 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

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