Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 2, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • Four African countries elected to IMO Council

  • Hutchison Port Holdings invests USD60 million in Dar es Salaam port to ease pressure

  • Piracy - Security Council mandates another year of international action against pirates

  • Nissan SA planning to expand exports beyond Africa

  • SA chemicals industry must pursue West African exports

  • News clips – Keeping it brief – Umhlanga Lighthouse now a giant condom

  • Pic of the day – Pic of the day – NEFTEGAZ-61 and FPSO SHIRAZ



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    The Russian antarctic research ship AKADEMIK FEDOROV (also spelt Fyodorov, 12,660-gt, built 1987) seen in Cape Town harbour yesterday. Picture by Aad Noorland

    Four African countries elected to IMO Council

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    At its assembly in London the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has elected 40 members to be Members of the Council for the 2010-2011 biennium. The IMO Assembly, which is holding its 26th session at IMO headquarters in London, ends on Friday.

    Four countries from Africa were among those elected – Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

    Council members are elected in three categories.

    Category (a)

    10 States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services:
    China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States.

    Category (b)

    10 States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade:
    Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden.

    Category (c)

    20 States not elected under (a) or (b) above, which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world:
    Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey.

    There is only one change among the 40 elected – Belgium replaced New Zealand after the latter did not stand for re-election. Perhaps one of the more significant exclusions was that of Liberia, one of the largest flag-states which stood unsuccessfully in category a.

    The Council is the executive organ of IMO and is responsible, under the Assembly, for supervising the work of the Organisation. Between sessions of the Assembly, the Council performs all the functions of the Assembly, except that of making recommendations to Governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention.

    Background to the Assembly

    The Assembly is IMO’s governing body. All 169 Member States and three Associate Members are entitled to attend, as are the intergovernmental organisations with which agreements of co operation have been concluded, and non-governmental organisations in consultative status with IMO. The Assembly normally meets once every two years in regular session and is responsible for approving the work programme, voting the budget and determining the financial arrangements of the Organisation. It also elects the Council.

    The IMO is the United Nations specialised agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

    Hutchison Port Holdings invests USD60 million in Dar es Salaam port to ease pressure

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    Port of Dar es Salaam

    Tanzania Ports Authority has announced that concession holder parent company Hutchison Port Holdings would be investing USD60 million at the Dar es Salaam Container Terminal managed and operated by TICTS to help relieve chronic congestion.

    The announcement of the investment came a month after Tanzania Ports Authority revealed its intention of opening further sections of the port of Dar es Salaam to private operators to encourage competition and further investment. To achieve this TPA cancelled an exclusivity clause in the 25-year concession granted to TICTS, the Hutchison-controlled operator at the Tanzanian port.

    In a less than veiled warning a government spokesman said, “government wants to have more investors and those who will not be able to cope, are free to go.”

    This followed a period when parliament was calling for the cancellation of the concession awarded to TICTS. It took the intervention of President Kikwete to encourage the continuation of discussions, although this became apparent after it was realised that any cancellation would cost Tanzania dearly.

    It is understood the USD60m investment will be made over the next five years improving infrastructure and equipment at the container terminal.

    TPA administers the Tanzanian ports in a landlord capacity while encouraging private investors to lease the port terminals and systems on a concessionary basis. Where that proves to be not viable or commercially attractive the TPA will continue in the role of running the ports. Tanzania’s seaports consist of Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara and the inland ports of Mwanza, Kemondo Bay, Bukoba, Musoma (all on Lake Victoria), Itungi (Lake Malawi) and Kigoma (Lake Tanganyika).

    Piracy - Security Council mandates another year of international action against pirates

    New York (UN News) - The Security Council on Monday renewed for another 12 months the authorisation for States and regional organisations fighting piracy off the Somali coast to enter the strife-torn country's territorial waters and "undertake all necessary measures that are appropriate in Somalia" provided they have the transitional government's consent.

    In a resolution adopted unanimously under Chapter VII of the UN Charter authorising the use of force, the 15-member body also noted with concern that escalating ransom payments and the lack of enforcement of the arms embargo imposed by the Council in 1992 are fuelling the growth of piracy.

    It called on all States to fully cooperate with the monitoring group on the embargo and reiterated its appeal to countries and regional organisations with the capacity to do so to deploy naval vessels, arms and military aircraft in the fight again a scourge that has over the years frequently disrupted the delivery of UN humanitarian aid as well as routine shipping*. This year the pirates have been operating ever further out to sea, sometimes hundreds of miles away from the coast.

    Noting the "crisis situation in Somalia," which has been without a functioning central government and plagued by factional conflict since 1991, "and the limited capacity of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG)" to interdict or prosecute pirates, the Council renewed earlier calls to those States fighting piracy off the Somali coast to help plug the vacuum.

    They should do so by concluding arrangements whereby countries willing to take custody of pirates, particularly those in the region, would station law enforcement officials on the patrol ships to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of persons detained as a result of the international operations, provided the TFG consents.

    The Council called on Member States at the request of the TFG "to strengthen capacity in Somalia, including regional authorities, to bring to justice those who are using Somali territory to plan, facilitate, or undertake criminal acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea."

    Earlier this month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that piracy would not be defeated by military means alone. "We will find a solution only by addressing the broader political and security situation," he said in a message to the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO), stressing the need to support the "fragile" TFG.

    He noted that since the start of the international naval escort system two years ago, not a single ship heading to Somalia with UN World Food Programme (WFP) aid has been attacked. "WFP has been able to scale up its operations, providing much-needed food assistance to nearly 3 million people," he pointed out.

    * In our News Bulletin yesterday PORTS & SHIPS quoted the South African defence minister, Lindiwe Sisulu as saying that South Africa would not make its warships available for anti-piracy patrols because these actions were not mandated by the UN and that any cost therefore would have to be carried by South Africa.

    Nissan SA planning to expand exports beyond Africa

    Rosslyn (Pretoria)-based Nissan SA says it is planning for an increase in production and aims to export outside Africa.

    Nissan SA currently exports a limited number of vehicles into Africa but the company says that government’s Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) means that it may be possible to focus more on exports.

    The MPDP programme is aimed at encouraging the export of South African manufactured motor vehicles by way of providing volume-related incentives to plants that produce 50,000 units or more a year. Nissan SA currently produces less than 40,000 units a year.

    Nissan says that it will not benefit from any incentives by relying only on local and African markets and has therefore taken the decision to target export markets beyond Africa. It sees the Middle East and Europe as suitable targets with high potential.

    Counting against Nissan SA is the high local logistical costs – Rosslyn is more than 400 miles from the nearest sea port and South African landside transport costs are notoriously expensive.

    SA chemicals industry must pursue West African exports

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    UAL AFRICA, one ship of a specialised fleet servicing African ports

    “The chemicals industry is in an excellent position to satisfy growing West African demand for a wide spectrum of chemical products. In UAL it has a partner with intimate knowledge of the market, established routes, reliable schedules and specialist know-how of chemicals cargo,” says Haakon Røstad, MD of UAL-SA

    According to UAL, there are exciting new export opportunities emerging every day along the oil and gas-rich West African coastline.

    Among them is a growing demand for chemicals used in various industry activities such as exploration and production, the downstream refineries that spring up around them and a range of secondary industries further inland.

    UAL, the specialist shipping line into West Africa’s ‘oil and gas theatre’ (stretching from Namibia and Angola in the south to Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea up north), has tapped a rich vein of opportunity in this market, which it says is still picking up steam.

    Endless applications

    Røstad says the applications for chemicals are virtually limitless, but a few stand out in the region. “The chemicals most often associated with exploration include drilling cement and fluids, lubricants and greases used in the day-to-day running of machines, and mine grits, used to clean equipment.

    “Another product, bitumen, is one of the fastest-growing export chemicals in our experience. It is used in tarring roads in growing African economies - we ship 30 containers per month on average,” he adds.

    As African countries develop their oil and gas riches, secondary industries develop around exploration and production projects, Røstad observes. These, too, he says, will have an increasing requirement for chemical products - and most of it will come from within Africa – specifically South Africa.

    Why is that? According to Røstad there is a growing insistence in Africa on doing trade with other African states. As Africa’s biggest and most technologically advanced economy, South Africa is the most important export hub feeding Africa.

    “As a result, the SA chemicals industry is on the cusp of a momentous African opportunity, which it must grasp while it is in its infancy,” he says.

    Why UAL?

    For over 30 years, UAL has been shipping a vast range of break-bulk cargo into the region, including speciality freight like corrosive chemicals and explosives. Originally shipping from the US, Europe and South America, it recently added a Cape Town office.

    Røstad explains that this has helped the company comply with the aforementioned African preference for ‘local content, but points out that the company has a proud existing record of investing in Africa. It has full ownership of the K5 Oil Centre in Equatorial Guinea as well as a 33 year-old wholly-owned subsidiary in Nigeria.

    “The chemicals manufacturing and distribution industry is in an excellent position to satisfy growing African demand for a wide spectrum of chemical products,” he says.

    “In UAL it has a partner with intimate knowledge of the West African market, established routes, reliable schedules and specialist know-how of chemicals cargo.”

    UAL can be contacted at Cape Town tel 021 422 3210 or from the website www.ual-sa.co.za

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Umhlanga lighthouse now a French letter

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    In a bizarre way of observing World Aids Day the famous red and white Umhlanga Lighthouse, situated on the beach at one of South Africa’s favourite resorts on the north of Durban, has been draped in a giant white-coloured condom. It carries the message know your status.

    What effect the new lighthouse décor is having on shipping at anchor opposite Umhlanga in the Durban outer anchorage is not yet known. Frustrated sailors will presumably be made aware that this is not a new condom kiosk on the beach awaiting their visits.


    Maran Tankers confirms their tanker was highjacked

    Maran Tankers Management Inc, operators and managers of the Greek Flag, crude oil tanker MARAN CENTAURUS, have confirmed the highjacking of their 300,300 dwt tanker by Somali pirates on Sunday, 29 November. The ULCC was en route from Kuwait to the United States with a load of crude oil and is carrying a crew of 28 comprising nine Greeks, 16 Filipinos, two Ukrainians and one Romanian. The crew are reported to be in good health and unharmed.

    See our related report HERE


    SA ports bar barred wire

    South African ports will not admit ships fitted with barbed wire screens along the sides and installed to deter pirates from boarding – this despite that fact that many ships visiting South African ports trade in areas under threat from piracy. Local port harbour masters claim the barbed wire poses a risk to marine services having to access the ship and hinders cargo working. At least one shipping company, PIL has been advised not to send ships to South Africa so adorned.

    Pic of the day – NEFTEGAZ-61 and FPSO SHIRAZ

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    The Murmansk-based Russian offshore supply tug NEFTEGAZ-61 (2,723-gt, built 1989) arrived in Cape Town yesterday towing the FPSO SHIRAZ (lower picture, 34,000-DWT), an ex-naval fuel supply vessel used by the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS WESTRALIA.

    Shiraz was built in 1979 at the Cammel Laird Shipyard in the UK as a commercial tanker and given the name HUDSON CAVALIER but was then taken into service with the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary as RFA APPLELEAF. She was subsequently sold to the AGR Group and Helix Energy Solutions Group for conversion as a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) platform and renamed Shiraz. Both pictures by Aad Noorland

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