Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 14, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – FJORD

  • Port statistics for December 2009 now available

  • China may finance new Lamu port

  • Cruise News – Queen Elizabeth hits the water and Silversea considers another newbuild

  • Mauritius gives the nod to armed guards on ships

  • SAMTRA to hold Ship Security Officer’s Course

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Today’s recommended Read – Carriers move full speed into slow steaming

  • Pic of the day – SELI and LOVESTAR II


    First View – FJORD

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    The heavylift vessel FJORD returned to Cape Town this week, having last been in Cape waters during November 2009. Operated by Fairstar Heavy Transport, the semi-submersible has completed the transport and discharge of modules for Escravos Gas-to-Liquids (EGTL) plant in Escravos, Nigeria, which is under development by Chevron Nigeria and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company. On completion of this contract Fjord sailed immediately to Lobito to load a number of FPSO topside components for Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co (DSME) which are being carried to the shipbuilder’s facility in Okpo, South Korea. Arrival there is scheduled for early February.

    Acknowledgements to Heavy Lift International for information on the Fjord’s movements.
    These pictures by Dave Johnson of General & Marine, Cape Town.

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    Port statistics for December 2009 now available

    South African port statistics for the month of December 2009 are now available, courtesy Transnet.

    As is customary the figures shown in this report reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers in terms of the number of TEUs and no longer by weight - for which PORTS & SHIPS estimates an adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to reflect tonnages. This figure is on the conservative side with 14 tonnes or even more being a more realistic figure, particularly in view of the increasing quantity of bulk cargo which is now being handled in containers.

    For comparative purposes readers can see statistics from 12 months ago (December 2008) by clicking HERE

    Figures for the respective ports during December 2009 are (with November 2009 figures shown bracketed):

    Cargo handled by tonnes during December

    Richards Bay 6.403 Mt million tonnes (Nov 8.342Mt)
    Durban 6.493 Mt (Nov 6.528)
    Saldanha Bay 3.964 Mt (Nov 3.675)
    Cape Town 0.943 Mt (Nov 1.169)
    Port Elizabeth 0.843 Mt (Nov 0.898)
    Ngqura 0.040 Mt (Nov 0.057)
    Mossel Bay 0.125 Mt (Nov 0.110)
    East London 0.170 Mt (Nov 0.193)

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    Cape Town Harbour. Picture by Steve McCurrach, http://www.airserv.co.za/maritime.htm

    Containers (measured by TEUs) during December
    (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Tranship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA)

    Durban 194,831 TEU (Nov 232,153)
    Cape Town 57,235 (Nov 68,009)
    Port Elizabeth 17,919 (Nov 32,727)
    Ngqura 2,963 (Nov 4,230)
    East London 3,483 (Nov 4,206)
    Richards Bay 1,761 (Nov 2,302)

    Total containers handled during December 278,192-TEU (Nov 343,627)

    Ship Calls for December 2009

    Durban: - 363 vessels 9.952m gt (Nov 420 vessels 11.064m gt)
    Cape Town: - 221 vessels 4.129m gt (Nov 217 vessels 4.140m gt)
    Port Elizabeth: - 85 vessels 2.154m gt (Nov 86 vessels 1.985m gt)
    Ngqura: - 7 vessels 0.397 gt (Nov 8 vessels 0.554 gt)
    Richards Bay: - 155 vessels 4.846m gt (Nov 183 vessels 5.954m gt)
    Saldanha: - 38 vessels 2.217m gt (Nov 31 vessels 2.195 gt)
    East London: - 19 vessels 0.508m gt (Nov 21 vessels 0.554 gt)
    Mossel Bay: - 64 vessels 0.211m gt (Nov 40 vessels 0.127m gt)

    Total ship calls for December 2009: 945 ships for 24,018,795-gt
    (Nov 1,007 ships for 26,018,634-gt)

    - source TNPA, with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container weights

    China may finance new Lamu port

    Reports that China will finance the construction of a new port at Lamu in Kenya may prove speculative rather than factual. Last week reports indicated that a statement issued by the Kenyan President’s office had said the deal was on, replacing an aborted deal with Qatar which was shelved for reasons not provided.

    The reports also suggested that China would assist with building a transport corridor to South Sudan and provide assistance with upgrading the railway between Mombasa and Uganda.

    The statement from the President’s office appeared after a meeting between President Mwai Kibaki and the Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi. The report said that China had also granted Kenya USD7 million for other projects in the country.

    "For Africa to further take off, it is very important to build up the infrastructure so that African countries can conduct intra-regional trade on a massive scale," Yang told reporters after the meeting.

    China has valuable oil assets in South Sudan and access to a port as strategically situated as Lamu would provide Chinese interests with a short and more secure route to the sea. South Sudan’s oil production is currently dependent on a pipeline that passes through northern Sudan to the Red Sea.

    However, a closer examination of what the Chinese minister said suggests that no firm commitments were made. Yang Jiechi in fact said his government was urging Chinese enterprises to explore the possibility of co-operation with Kenyan partners on these projects but the results of a feasibility study was still awaited.

    A spokesman for the Kenyan president agreed afterwards that no commitment had been made, “but they’ve shown a very strong commitment,” he said.

    Cruise News – Queen Elizabeth hits the water and Silversea considers another newbuild

    Silversea says it is considering another new ship

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    Silver Spirit on sea trials in the Adriatic

    Luxury cruise ship operator Silversea, whose SILVER WIND is currently visiting South Africa and Mozambican ports on an extended Southern African cruise, is giving consideration to an option on a new ship.

    Silversea President Amerigo Perraso said during the recent launching of the company’s latest ship, the 540-passenger SILVER SPIRIT (36,009-gt), that if the new arrival “sells well” an option on another vessel could be taken. He said Silversea needed time to digest the new ship but sales were indicating there is room for another.

    Perraso said the market was strong. Indications were that Silversea would exceed 70% of its 2010 revenue plan. “We are usually happy if we achieve 60%, so it shows how strong the (cruise) market is.”

    Silver Spirit is due to be christened in Fort Lauderdale on 21 January.

    New Queen Elizabeth takes to the water

    Special ceremonies were held at Italy’s Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard on 5 January to mark the launching of Cunard’s latest ship, QUEEN ELIZABETH (92,000-gt). On of these was the welding of three coins under the mast in time honoured tradition. The first coin was a 1938 half crown commemorating the launching in that year of Cunard’s first Queen Elizabeth. The second coin was a 1967 sovereign matching the launch date of Queen Elizabeth 2, and the third a 2010 sovereign acknowledging the new Queen Elizabeth.

    Afterwards the dignitaries moved to the dockside where a bottle of Italian prossecco was broken over the ship’s hull and the appropriate words spoken, before the dock gates opened to allow water to flood the dry dock.

    “It is only a little over six months since the keel for this great ship was laid. In that short time, a solitary block at the bottom of the dry dock has, as a result of the skill and discipline of the workforce here at Fincantieri, grown into this awe-inspiring vessel,” said Peter Shanks, Cunard’s managing director.

    “Even in her present unfinished state, devoid of the carpets and curtains, furnishings and facilities, paintings and porcelain that we associate with a Cunard luxury liner, she is awesome. Of our 170 years of history, there has been an 'Elizabeth' in the fleet for more than 70 and this ship - the second largest Cunarder ever built - will take the name far into the 21st Century.”

    Queen Elizabeth will begin her first voyage from Southampton in October this year, sailing to Vigo, Lisbon, Tenerife and Funchal. She will later take up cruising to the Mediterranean and the Caribbean before leaving on her maiden 103-day world cruise commencing on 5 January 2011.

    Mauritius gives the nod to armed guards on ships

    Mauritius has given the nod to ships operating in local waters with armed guards on board to deter pirate attacks.

    Although piracy has not occurred anywhere in the vicinity of Mauritius, the island has taken notice how the scourge has moved closer to the Seychelles and therefore to the extensive Mauritian exclusive economic zone of approximately one million square kilometres.

    “The risk that Mauritian vessels might be attacked is high,” said Foreign Minister Arvin Boolell. “We had already taken a number of measures but we also need to take exceptional action because the circumstances are exceptional.”

    Although Mauritian law does not prevent armed security personnel aboard ships, the latest measure has been welcomed by shipping companies who say it will make it easier for ship-owners to do so.

    Mauritius has at least one cruise operator using Port Louis during the summer months and sailing into Seychelles and Madagascan waters as well as along the African coast.

    SAMTRA to hold Ship Security Officer’s Course

    SAMTRA (South African Maritime Training Academy), working in co-operation with the International Ship Consultants Group, recently conducted a Ship’s Security Officer’s course at its facility in Simon's Town.

    The three day course, which is MCA approved, covers: Security inspections of a vessel, Implementation, modification and co-ordination of the Ship Security Plan with relevant authorities, Co-ordination of security aspects of handling cargo and ship’s stores, Reports to Company Security Officer, Shipboard Safety Management Structure, Enhancing security awareness and vigilance on board, Providing training to shipboard personnel, Reporting of security incidents, Testing of security equipment.

    It is also planned that further courses will be offered at regular intervals throughout the year. – source CBN

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    MSC adds East African congestion surcharge

    Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has announced a USD200 per TEU congestion fee on all cargo moving from Asia to the eastern African ports of Dar Es Salaam and Mombasa, effective 15 January 2010.


    Kenya ferry company says it will retain older vessels

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    The two ferries at launching in Dresden-Laubgast

    Kenya Ferry Services says it intends retaining the existing fleet of five ferries after the arrival of two newbuilds in March (see our report dated yesterday). According to the ferry company’s MD, there is a need to extend the quay length but other stakeholders say the present service is too constrained to achieve any real benefit from two new vessels. They point out that there are only two ramps available on either side of the crossing between Mombasa Island and Likoni town. The new ferries, which have been built in Germany, are 70 metres long with a width of 16.25m. Each can carry up to 1,550 passengers and 60 motor vehicles.


    USS SWIFT arrives in Mombasa

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    USS SWIFT on arrival in Durban on an earlier date. Picture Terry Hutson

    The US Navy HSV 2 SWIFT arrived in Mombasa on Monday as part of an Africom initiative, in which US Navy and other military forces are at work with African countries aiming to improve maritime safety and security generally. The high speed vessel has previously visited a number of West African nations on similar missions.


    British Nuclear sub to visit South Africa

    An application has been made to the National Nuclear Regulator to allow the visit to South Africa during March of the Royal Navy nuclear submarine, HMS SCEPTRE. The submarine, which is due to be withdrawn from service later this year, will visit Simon’s Town between 18 and 29 March provided permission is granted. According to the South African Navy the visit by the submarine will enable joint exercises between the two navies. In the past year or so a number of nuclear powered warships have called at South African ports, including a US nuclear submarine, a US aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and the Russian battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great).


    Zambia buoyant about copper output

    Zambia’s copper production rose 19% in the first 11 months of 2009 when compared with the same period of 2008 and could rise even further in 2010, says Zambia’s central bank. Copper mining is a major activity in Zambia on which the country’s economy is reliant, with the majority of its production available for export. Between January and November 2009 copper production rose from 536,460 tonnes in 2008 to 636,528 tonnes and the central bank has increased its forecast for the full year to 692,604t. Of the 11 months production in 2009, 612,000t of copper was exported.


    Today’s recommended Read – Carriers move full speed into slow steaming

    Rising fuel prices and overcapacity are spurring container ship lines to operate more of their ships at extraordinarily slow speeds – a trend that is expected to continue, according to Alphaliner Weekly Newsletter.

    Read the report HERE.

    Suggestions for a good or interesting read are always welcome. Please send the link to info@ports.co.za and put GOOD READ in the subject line.

    Pics of the day – SELI and LOVESTAR II

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    Picture above: The grounded and abandoned Turkish bulker SELI which was stranded off Table View beach in September 2009, remains firmly in the grip of Table Bay with little outward sign of breaking up. Meanwhile a private contractor is continuing with removing the cargo of 30,000 tonnes of South African coal from the ship. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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    The Greek owned and operated bulker LOVESTAR II (23,536-gt, built 1984) with a cargo of logs stopped briefly in Cape Town harbour on Monday to land stowaways discovered on board after the ship sailed from her previous port. Picture 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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