Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 11, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – ORCA

  • Maputo ramps up the volumes as more ships arrive

  • Disappointing coal results for Richards Bay

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Piracy Report – ships captured and released over New Year

  • IMO message to all seafarers

  • Today’s recommended Read – Nigeria as a terror ground – Africom says commander says he is “not aware”

  • Pics of the day – ALIOTH and LIAN CHUAN SHENG 66


    First View – ORCA

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    Last week saw the launching of the second of seven new tugs for Transnet National Ports Authority at the Durban Southern African Shipyards. Given the name ORCA, the latest tug, Hull number T307 is destined for the new port of Ngqura where she will join Hull T306 named SHASA which has already entered service. Because of a lack of tug basin facilities at Ngqura the tugs will initially be stationed at the nearby Port Elizabeth harbour.

    In the image above ORCA leaves the construction hangar for the first time under tow to the floating dock SASDOCK 1, which will be used to lower the vessel into the water. Pictures by Jurgen Cobarg of Southern African Shipyards.

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    Propelled on a special rig, ORCA is loaded onto the floating dock named SASDOCK 1 which was acquired from Japan last year by Southern African Shipyards to handle the launching of ships built at the Durban shipyard.

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    On the following morning, Wednesday 6 January ORCA entered the waters of Durban Bay after a successful launch that went off like clockwork. The new tug, which has a designed bollard pull of 70 tons, is due to be handed over the TNPA in Port Elizabeth on 15 March 2010. Pictures by Jurgen Cobarg

    Maputo ramps up the volumes as more ships arrive

    It may be that we in the midst of an economic downturn but if you are in the Mozambique port of Maputo you may be excused for thinking it has passed on by.

    Volumes at the port’s container terminal known as MIPS (Mozambique International Port Services) exceeded all records in November after the terminal chalked up record months in the preceding three months.

    MIPS is operated by DP World, a partner in operating the port with South Africa’s Grindrod.

    In August 2009 MIPS recorded 8,500 TEU moves at the terminal, which was then a record high and followed this by achieving 12,500 TEU moves in September and 11 400 TEU in October.

    Come November and the terminal peaked at 13,700 TEUs, its highest number ever. This followed on from an average of 6,000 TEU per month during the January – June period of 2009.

    According to Jan Bekker, Business development Manager at MIPS, this was due to an increased commitment by importers and exporters and service providers, as well as increased shipping line services to the port of Maputo. He said MIPS was ready to implement further investment in the terminal to immediately refurbish cranes, expand the terminal area and invest in more new equipment to ensure that it copes with the increased container volumes being experienced.

    “Let’s continue to focus on improving operational efficiencies and supporting the Maputo Freight Corridor by yet more increased cargo volumes,” added a spokesperson for the MCLI – Maputo Corridor Logistics Investment.

    MCLI announced that the following shipping lines were now calling at Maputo:

    Ocean Africa Container Lines (OACL) – weekly feeder service to and from Durban.
    Maersk Line & Safmarine – Weekly express service to and from Far East via Tanjung Pelepas. Feeder service with OACL to and from Durban.
    MSC – 10-day feeder service to and from Durban.
    Ignazio Messina - fortnightly service to Durban and Mediterranean via East Africa and Jeddah.
    MOL - 10-day service calling to and from Far East and West Africa.
    Delmas – CMA CGM - fortnightly WAX service to Far East. Fortnightly Mozambique Express Service to Far East via Port Kelang.
    MACS - Tri-monthly feeder service to and from Durban connecting with company’s fortnightly UK/NWC service.
    Gulf Africa Line (MACS) - Monthly direct service to and from US Gulf.
    United Africa Feeder Lines - Fortnightly multi-purpose service to and from Durban, Madagascar, Comores, Quelimane and Beira.
    PIL - Fortnightly Asia Luanda Service (ALS) from Singapore en route to Luanda.

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    GOLDEN ISLE (23,132-gt, built 2001) of MACS Line in Durban harbour. This particular ship has since been renamed RED CEDAR but remains on the same services with MACS Line including those mentioned above. Another vessel of similar type has meanwhile entered service with the company and is sailing as Golden Isle. The company makes regular calls at the Mozambique port of Maputo. Picture by Terry Hutson

    Disappointing coal results for Richards Bay

    Richards Bay Coal Terminal ended the year at a disappointing 61.14 million tonnes of coal exported during 2009, down slightly on the 2008 figure of 61.7mt.

    It’s not easy to get at the reasons why this is so – RBCT says it has handled slightly more coal than was delivered to it by Transnet Freight Rail but that doesn’t explain whether the fault lay with TFR or with coal producers who either couldn’t produce sufficient export coal or chose not to.

    During the year TFR suffered several derailments that resulted in delays in delivery although shipping of coal from the port was never affected due to RBCT’s policy of holding a sizeable stockpile. But Raymond Chirwa, RBCT’s chief executive says that TFR’s poor performance levels were the only constraints in the coal chain.

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    Raymond Chirwa, RBCT chief executive

    However there have been suggestions that certain coal producers may have chosen not to export or were unable to produce coal from open cast mines because of adverse weather or other factors.

    Chirwa said that technical commissioning of the terminal has resulted in RBCT having a capacity of 81mt as from the end of 2009. Technical problems with terminal system controls have been experienced which have resulted in delays but RBCT is working on the problem and expects to reach a capacity of 91mt during the first quarter of 2010 by which time the terminal will be 30% black owned.

    “It is my belief that the remaining agreements will have been concluded before the end of December 2009 so that all new exporters will join the existing shareholders in exporting coal as early as January 2010. I commend the existing RBCT shareholders for walking the talk. They have curtailed their export capacity to the new entrants, a bold, magnanimous and commendable step that accentuates their commitment to the transformation agenda and the success of a workable venture,” said Chirwa.

    He said that Transnet Freight Rail’s non-performance in meeting the terminal’s rail capacity requirements was responsible for RBCT’s Phase V expansion programme not having progressed as expected.

    “This bottleneck has delayed the integration of black players into the system and has threatened our competitiveness, a situation we cannot permit. More than 80% of our coal exports land in Europe and the Indian sub-continent. Government, existing shareholders and ourselves are keen to ensure entrants share in these lucrative markets and become a part of the South African coal story,” says Chirwa.

    For its part, TFR has admitted it has not delivered on its mandate and is now engaging with industry and drawing in additional technical resources in order to ramp up capacity.

    “We do realise that growing our coal exports requires a collaborative effort. RBCT and its shareholders are appreciative of TFR’s genuine efforts to finding a solution to the problem of limited throughput capacity while also fast-tracking the social agenda,” Chirwa says.

    He said the clearing up bottlenecks and improving scheduling and efficiencies was of key importance. “Coal is one of South Africa’s strategic selling points. At RBCT we are committed to maintaining this position and playing our part in meeting customer demand in all of our markets.”

    News from the shipping lines

    MOL and Hoegh take delivery of new green friendly SRV

    Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) and Höegh LNG have taken delivery of their first co-owned shuttle and regasification vessel (SRV), GDF SUEZ NEPTUNE from Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea. The vessel will serve on a long-term charter between the two companies.

    GDF Suez Neptune (96,000-gt, built 2009) is the first of two SRVs to provide LNG transportation services to the Neptune LNG Deep Water Port off the US coast and to other projects around the world.

    The ship, the first of its kind to be owned by MOL, forms part of the Japanese carrier’s new strategy announced last year of focusing on a diversified range of services. The ship, which is still to be commissioned received Det Norske Veritas’ ‘Green Passport’ certifying a high degree of environmental considerations incorporated into the ship’s construction.


    MOL buys another chunk of Gearbulk

    Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has increased its investment in Gearbulk Holding Ltd (Gearbulk) taking its share from 40% to 49% at the end of December 2009. MOL has been a shareholder in Gearbulk since 1991.

    Gearbulk, which is owned jointly by the Jebsen family and MOL, is the world’s leading open hatch shipping company and has a fleet of 64 ships in service as well as a renewal programme consisting of approximately 20 ships on order. The company is expecting sales for 2009 of USD941 million. In its statement announcing the further acquisition, MOL said the deal demonstrates its firm future commitment to Gearbulk.


    New directors take office at CMA CGM

    A new board of directors has taken office at French shipping company CMA CGM with Philippe Soulié becoming the new chief executive officer. His predecessor and company founder, Jacques Saadé (78) moves to the office of chairman. This follows the financial crisis that CMA CGM found itself in last year, during which it was forced to go to creditors and ask for a rescheduling of its debt. The French government subsequently stepped in with a substantial loan but creditor banks have insisted on a new board being formed.


    Changes at the top for K Line

    Japan’s K Line (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha) has also announced changes in top management, with Hiroyuki Maekawa, the company’s president and CEO becoming Chairman of the Board and Kenichi Kuroya, managing director of K Line Pte Ltd set to become the company’s new President and CEO. The appointments take effect as from 1 April 2010. Mr Kuroya became a Vice President on 1 January this year and will become Director at the end of June, subject to approval at the Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders.


    Maersk sells Norfolkline

    The AP Moller-Maersk Group has sold 100% of its shares in the logistics and ferry company Norfolkline to DFDS for the amount of €346 million. In terms of the sale, AP Moller-Maersk will acquire a 28.8% share in DFDS and will purchase shares in Lauritzen Fonden, bringing the Group’s shares in DFDS to approximately 31 percent. The deal excludes two Norfolkline vessels which AP Moller-Maersk has agreed to sell to another buyer.

    In its statement AP Moller-Maersk says there has been a need for consolidation in the European ferry industry and the combination of Norfolkline and DFDS will create Northern Europe’s leading ferry operator, spanning from Russia to Ireland, with 6,200 employees and a fleet of 75 vessels prior to the sale of the two Norfolkline ships.

    “We have identified both operational and commercial synergies, which will create value for the owners, and we look forward to becoming a major shareholder in DFDS,” Søren Skou, partner and member of the A.P. Moller–Maersk Group’s Executive Board said.

    Piracy Report – ships captured and released over New Year

    It may have been the season of goodwill but for Somali pirates it was business as usual, with a number of ship attacks and highjacks being reported. On 28 December the British-flagged chemical tanker ST JAMES PARK (7,926-gt, built 1993) was attacked and captured while sailing within the recognised International Transit Corridor. According to EU NAVFOR the ship issued a distress signal saying it was under attack and then advised it had been seized and was in the hands of Somali pirates. The ship has a mixed crew from Bulgaria, Georgia, Poland, Rumania, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, India and the Philippines.

    A second ship to be attacked and captured was the Panama-registered bulk carrier NAVIOS APOLLON (29,499-gt, built 2000) which was seized while sailing east-north-east of the Seychelles on 28 December. The ship was attacked by at least ten pirates in two boats and was taken to an anchorage off Somalia along with its crew of 19 seafarers. Navios Apollon is loaded with a cargo of fertiliser for a US port.

    Earlier in December pirates were reported to have captured the Yemeni freighter AL-MAHMOUDIA 2 shortly after departing from the port of Aden. The vessel has a crew of 15 on board.

    Starting the New Year off on a sour note, the Singapore-flagged chemical and oil tanker PRAMONI (12,105-gt, built 2008) with a crew of 24 on board was captured on 1 January in the Gulf of Aden while sailing between Genoa and Kandla in India.

    Later that same day the UK-flagged car carrier ASIAN GLORY (44,818-gt, built 1994) was highjacked approximately 900 miles north of the Seychelles and 600 miles east of Somalia. The car carrier has a crew of 25 on board.

    Meanwhile, Somali pirates released the Chinese bulker DE XIN HAI (40,892-gt, built 2008) after a ransom reported to be worth USD4 million was dropped onto the ship by helicopter. De Xin Hai was carrying a crew of 25 who were also released.

    Another ship to be released after a ransom of USD4m was paid is the Singapore-owned PIL vessel KOTA WAJAR (16,772-gt, built 1997) which was seized while en route to Mombasa in October. The vessel has a crew of 21 on board who are also reported to be safe although a Canadian naval frigate, HMCS FREDERICTON (FFH 337) was reported to have rendezvoused to offer assistance with medical and logistic support

    IMO message to all seafarers

    The IMO (International Maritime Organisation) issued the following message to all seafarers on 23 December:

    The International Maritime Organization has decided to dedicate next year to you by choosing, as the theme for World Maritime Day, "2010: Year of the Seafarer". Our intention is to pay tribute to you, the world's 1.5 million seafarers - men and women from all over the globe - for the unique, and all too often over-looked, contribution you make to the wellbeing of all of us.

    We will do so with deep appreciation, in recognition of the extraordinary service you render every day of your professional life, frequently under dangerous circumstances, in delivering, to the more than 6.5 billion people of the world, the wheat that makes our daily bread, the gas and oil that warms our homes or moves our vehicles and the gifts we will share and enjoy with our families and friends over this Festive Season.

    At IMO, we are ever-conscious of the important role you play in helping us achieve safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans - the goals that we, as the United Nations specialized agency charged with the regulation of international shipping and as a member of the global maritime community, have set ourselves.

    And so, we will celebrate next year's World Maritime Day theme with much pride in your contribution to our objectives, to the facilitation of more than 90% of the world's trade, and to sustainable human development.

    In so doing, we also seek to reassure you, at the "sharp end" of the industry, that we, who are responsible for the international regulatory regime and who serve shipping from ashore, do understand the extreme pressures that you face and that, as a result, we approach our own tasks with a genuine sympathy for the work that you carry out.

    At the same time, we will seek to add impetus to the "Go to Sea!" campaign, which we launched in November 2008 to attract new entrants to the shipping industry and, in particular, to encourage young people to follow in your footsteps by becoming the seafarers of tomorrow. We launched that campaign in association with the International Labour Organization, the "Round Table" of shipping industry organizations (International Chamber of Shipping, International Shipping Federation, BIMCO, International Association of Independent Tanker Owners and International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners) and the International Transport Workers' Federation, all of whom will be joining us in celebrating the Year of the Seafarer.

    Last, but mostly importantly, we want to convey to you a clear message that the entire shipping community understands and cares for you - as shown by the efforts we make to ensure that you are fairly treated when ships on which you serve become involved in accidents; are looked after when you are abandoned in ports; are not refused shore leave for security purposes; are protected when your work takes you into piracy-infested areas; and are not left unaided when you are in distress at sea.

    1.5 million seafarers serving the daily needs of more then 6.5 billion citizens of the world! It is a fact that goes unnoticed or is taken for granted by most, but one that should be trumpeted loud and clear. For seafarers the world over deserve our respect, recognition and gratitude and, during 2010, we at IMO are resolved to ensure that the world does take notice of your exceptional role and contribution and of the special debt that all of us owe to you. We thank you for that!

    With best wishes for the Festive Season and the Year of the Seafarer - and a safe return home!

    E.E. Mitropoulos

    Today’s recommended Read – Nigeria as a terror ground – Africom says commander says he is “not aware”

    Nigeria’s emergence on the US State Sponsored Terrorism list has not gone without official criticisms and ultimatums from Africa’s most populous state. Claims over a possibly "rushed" United States directive, in the wake of a terrorist attempt on a plane carrying 284 people, have been rife.
    What influenced this crucial decision that affects a country of 150 million people? Was the decision only influenced by the mad act of one British educated and radicalised Nigerian?

    General William Ward, in charge of Africom, US-Africa military mission and therefore expected to be much aware of security issues on the continent, is seemingly “not aware” of the reasons why Nigeria was put on the list. Read the report HERE

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    General William Ward

    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 – ALIOTH and LIAN CHUAN SHENG 66

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    The Singapore-flagged, Swiss-owned container ship ALIOTH (16,162-gt, built 2006) which was in Cape Town recently. Picture by Aad Noorland

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    Of a different vintage and purpose was the Taiwanese reefer vessel LIAN CHUAN SHENG 66 (4343-dwt, built 1973), the former FRIO IONIAN was also in the Mother City port in the past week or so. Pictures by Aad Noorland

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