Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 9, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – ALBATROS

  • MSC SINFONIA arrives in SA tomorrow

  • Richards Bay coal exports hit a high note

  • USS San Juan arrives in Simon’s Town

  • Piracy – Greek ship DELVINA seized off Tanzania

  • Shipping Line news

  • Today’s good read –Visiting the Ghost Fleet

  • Pic of the day – Pics of the day –USS SAN JUAN


    First View – ALBATROS

    The 2,800 tonne French Polar Fisheries patrol vessel P681, ALBATROS entering Simon’s Town Naval Harbour at 16h44 on Friday, 6 November 2009. The 2,800 tonne vessel was commissioned in 1984 and conducts fisheries patrols from Réunion to Kerguelen, Crozet, St. Paul and Amsterdam islands with occasional deployments to the South Pacific. The vessel can carry 200 tonnes of cargo and is fitted with a 6-berth hospital and operating room. The crew consists of 49 (7 officers) + 15 passengers. Diesel-electric propulsion gives a speed of 15 knots and a range of 14,700 miles at 14 knots. The Abatros was formerly a trawler called the Névé, and was converted to her current duty in 1983/4. Picture and story by David Erickson

    MSC SINFONIA arrives in SA tomorrow

    It’s only a day before MSC SINFONIA arrives in Cape Town tomorrow morning and less than a week before she reaches her final destination, Durban.

    The 58,714-gt ship is on a 20-night positioning cruise from Italy, bound for Durban where she will take up residence for her upcoming summer season schedule of cruises to Mozambique and the Indian Ocean islands which continue through to April 2010.

    Those on board the ship for this maiden voyage to South Africa have so far enjoyed not only cruising in the Atlantic Ocean but visits to Monte Carlo, in Monaco, Valencia in Spain, Casablanca and Agadir in Morocco, Dakar in Senegal and Walvis Bay where she arrived yesterday (Sunday).

    Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain is likely to give passengers their first view of South Africa early tomorrow morning (Tuesday 10 November) while still some 40 kilometres or more out to sea!

    MSC Sinfonia’s arrival at Africa’s southernmost port and her first ever visit to South African shores will be celebrated at a special evening reception on board the ship during this brief but important one day stop-over in Cape Town.

    In keeping with maritime custom, a traditional Exchange of Crests ceremony will be carried out by officials of the South African government and port authorities and the ship’s Captain Ciro Pinto to signify the occasion.

    Guests will include key officials of the National and Western Cape Provincial government, the city of Cape Town, the media, travel agents and special invited guests who will also have the opportunity to tour the luxury ship and enjoy some of her facilities.

    MSC Sinfonia departs Cape Town late at night on Tuesday 10 November to continue her cruise along the country’s southern shores to Durban where she will dock for the first time on Friday, 13 November.

    In Durban a gala onboard function for almost 1,500 invited guests from around the country will be held to celebrate the ship’s arrival at her final destination in South Africa and the start of her maiden summer cruise season in the Indian Ocean.

    Described as the finest floating hotel ever to visit South Africa, MSC Sinfonia’s summer cruise schedule of long and short cruises to Mozambique and the Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar, Comores, Mauritius and Reunion continue through to April 2010. 

    Richards Bay coal exports hit a high note

    Richards Bay Coal Terminal has enjoyed a good month during October with exports peaking at 6.751 million tonnes.

    On a year to date basis the terminal has reached 49.944mt of coal exported so far up to end October. If annualised the terminal will reach 59.80 million tonnes for the year.

    A total of 81 bulk ships were handled by RBCT for October and the number of trains handled was 790.

    Coal stockpiled at the terminal at month end was 2.819 million tonnes.

    USS San Juan arrives in Simon’s Town

    Picture by Dean Wingrin

    by Dean Wingrin

    The Los Angeles-class nuclear powered attack submarine USS SAN JUAN (SSN 751) pulled into the Simon’s Town naval dockyard in Cape Town on 4 November 2009.

    The purpose of the first US submarine visit to South Africa is to participate in Exercise Flower III, a series of joint South African and American naval exercises. The aim of Exercise Flower III is to conduct submarine exercises and at-sea engagements between the submarines of the two countries.

    The objectives of the exercise for the South African Navy (SAN) includes interoperability of surface and sub-sea communication, operational testing and evaluation, operator skills and benchmarking the Heroine class submarine.

    The exercises will be conducted west of Hout Bay, Cape Town, approximately 50 n.miles off the coast in international waters. The SAN submarine that will be participating with the USS San Juan will be QUEEN MODJADJI (S103). Although the at-sea exercise consists of only three days, there will be on-shore briefings and debriefings prior to and after the at-sea event.

    Under the command of Commander Ollie Lewis, the USS San Juan departed her homeport of Groton, Connecticut in the USA on 1 June this year and transited the Mediterranean before entering the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal. Her previous stop before South Africa was the Seychelles and the submarine is due to return home before Christmas.

    Piracy – Greek ship DELVINA seized off Tanzania

    They’re moving south! Pirates, presumed to be Somali have captured a Greek bulk ship DELVINA (31,261-gt, built 2007), owned by a Greek-owned company Midway Shipping registered in the Marshall Islands.

    The ship, with a crew of seven Ukrainian and 14 Filipinos and carrying a cargo of wheat, was seized by pirates while 280 n.miles east of the Tanzanian coast.

    Later reports confirmed that the ship had turned north and was heading along the Kenyan coast in the direction of Somalia. After the initial alert when the ship was attacked there has been no contact established.

    Delvina was en route to Zanzibar when attacked and seized.

    This is the most southerly reported of successful pirate attacks on merchant ships so far and is an indication of how far the pirates are prepared to go to achieve their aim. It also indicates the almost impossible task facing the naval forces trying to escort commercial vessels through pirate-ridden waters. In recent months Somali pirates have moved in force into waters around the Seychelles, attacking a number of ships with some success.

    Perhaps the time has now come for the South African Navy to waken from its slumber of inactivity and provide escort assistance, becoming in the process the first African navy to do so with blue water ships.

    A second Greek ship came under attack from Somali pirates late last week. The THEOPHOROS I was able to shake loose its pursuers using water cannons and evasive manoeuvring and continue its voyage to Hong Kong under escort of two international navy ships. A Turkish warship the GEDIZ sent to assist Theophorus prevented further attacks and seized several rocket launchers from the pirate boat.

    In another report Spain says it will not release two Somali pirates it is holding in exchange for any of the crew of the Spanish trawler Alakrana who were seized and have been held hostage for ransom since 2 October. Spain’s Defence Minister Constantino Mendez said on radio that the matter was not negotiable. Somali pirates have threatened to kill three Spanish trawlermen who were taken ashore last week if their demands are not met. The minister did not rule out the possibility of transferring the two pirates to another jurisdiction in Africa.
    In April last year the Spanish paid a ransom reported to be €1.2 million for the release of another Spanish trawler, the Playa de Bakio and its crew.

    Shipping Line news

    Wallenius Wilhelmsen loads BMWs at Maputo

    Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) has made its first call at the Mozambique port of Maputo to load BMW motor cars. The Maputo port call was made at the request of BMW in early October with the intent of setting up alternative and feasible supply channels.

    Over 200 units were loaded on-board the M/V OTELLO, via the Grindrod car terminal at the port on behalf of the motor manufacturer. Maputo is the closest port to the province of Gauteng, the most populous province in South Africa, and where around half of all BMW sales are made. Exports of BMWs were previously handled through the port of Durban.

    WWL, which has a supply chain management (SCM) contract with BMW, has been working with the motor manufacturer since 1999 when the logistics company was founded. WWL ships BMW's 3 Series, manufactured at BMW's Rosslyn plant outside Pretoria, for export to Australia and New Zealand.


    Maersk Line announces rate increases to West Africa

    Maersk Line has announced rate increases on services to West Africa. In its announcement the line says the trading conditions for the carriers operating in these markets are still subject to unacceptable rate levels and the situation is unsustainable in the longer term. “The rate increases are necessary to continue to operate our services with the high level of reliability our customers have come to expect from Maersk Line,” the company said.

    India and Sri Lanka to West Africa
    USD 250 per TEU effective 15 December 2009

    Asia - West Africa Trade Agreement (AWATA)

    The following rate increases to West Africa have also been announced by Maersk on behalf of AWATA, whose member lines consist of China Shipping Container Line, CMA CGM, Delmas, Gold Star Line, Maersk Line, Mitsui OSK Line, Pacific International Line and Safmarine.

    Far East to West Africa

    USD 250 per TEU effective 15 December 2009

    Middle East (U.A.E., Oman, Qatar, Iran, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen) & South Asia (Pakistan, Bangladesh) to West Africa

    USD 250 per TEU effective 15 December 2009

    Picture by Ian Shiffman


    OT Africa introduces direct call for German market

    OT Africa, the West African specialist has announced that its Nigeria Express Service now offers a direct call in Hamburg. The weekly service connects to Nigeria, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire with onward transhipment offering fast transits to all main West Africa ports, including calls at Tin Can and Apapa terminals in Lagos. Transit times from Hamburg are 14 days to Dakar, 20 days to Lagos (Apapa), 22 days to Tin Can and 22 days to Tema.

    The additional European call commences with the sailing of IGUACU voyage Z0025 on 27 November followed by the CONTI CARTAGENA voyage Z0027 on 3 December 2009.

    Today’s good read –Visiting the Ghost Fleet

    More than 500 ships line the waterways of Singapore, seemingly abandoned and deserted and have been the subject of several pictures emailed around the world showing this vast armada of ship waiting for work that doesn’t come.

    Britain’s Daily Mail recently featured an article on the subject of “the biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history,” in which the writer Simon Parry suggests it will help explain “why your Christmas stocking may be on the light side this year.”
    A local fisherman told him the people didn’t understand why the ships were there and said they were scared of them.

    Read Simon Parry’s account of this phenomena, the result of the sudden economic downturn of 2008 and 2009, and also perhaps of the over-confidence of shipping companies that went on a wild building spree. Read his article HERE.

    If you have any suggestions for a good read please send the link to info@ports.co.za and put GOOD READ in the subject line.

    Pics of the day – USS SAN JUAN

    Flanked by the South African Navy submarine S103 QUEEN MODJADJI the US Navy nuclear-powered Los Angeles class submarine USS SAN JUAN (SSN-751) approaches Simon’s Town on a visit in which it will conduct exercises with the SAN. Picture by Bob Johnston 

    Looking not unlike a giant whale basking in False Bay is the USS SAN JUAN as she approaches Simon’s Town Naval Base. Picture by Bob Johnston

    Assisted by a flotilla of navy tugs USS SAN JUAN prepares to enter the Simon’s Town Naval dockyard for an official visit. In the right foreground is another South African Navy submarine, S102. Picture by David Erickson

    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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