Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 18, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – EQUINE

  • South Africa-bound Maruba ship held up in Rio de Janeiro over bunkers

  • São Tome and Príncipe port construction delayed

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Piracy at six year high, ICC-IMB reports

  • Trade News – Sleepers for Saldanha

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Today’s recommended Read –
    World’s first fuel cell ship docks in Copenhagen

  • Pics of the day – SEVEN NAVICA


    First View – EQUINE

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    Is this is the ugliest ship to visit a South African port this year - or should we be more polite and say ’unusual looking’? The year is young and there’s plenty of time for other contestants but our guess is that it will be some time before anything so ungainly comes calling. The ship is the Ro-Ro Carrier EQUINE (16,948-gt, built 1979) which was built for Oden Lines as their EVA ODEN for the service between Sweden and the UK. She was chartered to Tor Line in 1982 and rebuilt with extra capacity in 1987, with her name changing in 1988 to TOR BELGIA. The charter ended ten years later and the ship reverted to the name Eva Oden. Tor Line chartered her again from 1999-2000 but retained this name.

    In 2000 Eva Oden was chartered to Cobelfret, who subsequently purchased her in 2003. Two sister ships are ANNA ODEN and BRITTA ODEN which were renamed VULPINE and URSINE respectively in 2006 at eht time when Eva Oden became EQUINE. Picture and research Aad Noorland

    South Africa-bound Maruba ship held up in Rio de Janeiro over bunkers

    Further indications of the financial squeeze being experienced by the Argentine container carrier Maruba comes with reports of one of their vessels, the 3,234-TEU MARUBA SIMMONS (37,394, built 1997) which has been delayed in Rio de Janeiro unable to load bunkers since 18 December 2009 and preventing the ship from sailing for South Africa.

    There are a number of containers intended for Durban on the ship, Ports & Ships has learned.

    The vessel is currently on voyage 942 which commenced in Buenos Aires on 1 December followed by calls at various east coast South American ports including Santos on 17 December. After that the ship stopped at Rio de Janeiro apparently to load bunkers before the crossing to South Africa and Durban but has been unable to acquire fuel and has remained in port with no indication when she would continue her voyage.

    This follows the arrest of another Maruba vessel, MARUBA MARINA in the French port of Le Havre recently that also has a bearing on the reported breakup of Maruba’s membership of the SEAS service with CMA CGM and China Shipping – see our report of 12 January HERE.

    Apparent confirmation of our report comes with an article by the British shipping journal Fairplay which reported that a corporate finance house has been appointed to manage Maruba’s restructuring and credit issues. The report also confirmed that Maruba was considering bucking the trend towards mergers with other lines and would go it alone as a means of getting itself out of trouble. The line’s service co-ordinator said that Maruba intended getting back to basics, “back to the old days”.

    Maruba is meanwhile hoping that the Argentine government will intervene with a financial package in the region of USD30 million initially followed by a further USD20-USD40m to enable the line to expand operations.

    Meanwhile South African importers with cargo on the Maruba Simmons say they are unable to get any answers about when the ship will sail from Rio de Janeiro.

    São Tome and Príncipe port construction delayed

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    Construction of the proposed new deepwater port at São Tome and Príncipe will only begin in 2011, a year later than originally announced. See our original report of 23 February 2009 HERE.

    Speaking to the Portuguese news agency Lusa last week, Oliver Tretout of the Terminal Link company said the project remained solid and viable despite the downturn in the economy. Terminal Link is a subsidiary company of the financially troubled French shipping line CMA CGM.

    Tretout had just concluded discussions with the São Tome and Príncipe’s prime minister, Rafael Branco. He said to the news agency that negotiations were underway with the European Investment Bank, which is one of the investment partners.

    Preliminary work would now begin in February. “Before we enter the construction phase, so to speak, there will be a number of technical jobs to do, besides finishing arrangements with the involved companies and potential project financers so that we can effectively begin the execution phase in 2011,” he said.

    The estimated cost of the project is given as USD570 million, with funding coming from Terminal Link, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the French Development Agency (AFD), and the World Bank.

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    News from the shipping lines

    Hapag-Lloyd increases security fee

    German carrier Hapag-Lloyd says it has undertaken a review of security measurement costings and to be able to partially recover rising costs the line will apply an increased Carrier Security Fee of USD 10 per container (€ 8) for all trades with effect from 1 March, 2010. Security fees at terminals will continue to be handled separately, Hapag-Lloyd said.


    Wilhelmsen Ship Services provides new liferaft for training

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    Wilhelmsen Ships Service has donated a range of the company’s Unitor branded safety equipment including a brand new liferaft in support of the Nautical Technical Training Academy (NTTA), which is based in Groningen, Netherlands. The liferaft will be used in the academy’s crew training facility to teach the Basic Safety course and is a replacement for a tired second-hand liferaft which has been extensively used for training over the last couple of years.

    The NTTA trains ships’ crew in the use of safety appliances, to benefit them in their future careers. The Academy also represents Wilhelmsen Ships Service in the northern part of Holland by offering training facilities at their location. The two organisations work closely together when organising symposiums and the support of Wilhelmsen Ships Service enables these symposiums to be offered to participants free of charge.

    Piracy at six year high, ICC-IMB reports

    A total of 406 incidents of piracy and armed robbery have been reported in the 2009 annual piracy report issued by the ICC International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC).

    The last time piracy figures crossed 400 incidents was in 2003.

    2009 is also the third successive year that the number of reported incidents have increased. The report states that worldwide in 2009, 153 vessels were boarded, 49 vessels were hijacked, 84 attempted attacks and 120 vessels fired upon – compared to 46 ships fired upon in 2008. A total of 1052 crew were taken hostage. Sixty eight crew were injured in the various incidents and eight crew killed. The level of violence towards the crew has increased along with the number of crew injuries.

    The total number of incidents attributed to the Somali pirates stands at 217 with 47 vessels hijacked and 867 crewmembers taken hostage. Somalia accounts for more than half of the 2009 figures, with the attacks continuing to remain opportunistic in nature.

    In 2008, 111 vessels were targeted by Somali pirates resulting in 42 hijackings. Whilst the number of 2009 incidents has almost doubled, the number of successful hijackings is proportionately less.

    This can be directly attributed to the increased presence and coordination of the international navies along with heightened awareness and robust action by the Masters in transiting these waters. IMB Director, Captain Pottengal Mukundan stated that, “The international navies play a critical role in the prevention of piracy in Somalia and it is vital that they remain.”

    2009 has however seen a significant shift in the area of attacks off Somalia. While the 2008 attacks were predominantly focused in the Gulf of Aden, 2009 has witnessed more vessels also being targeted along the east coast of Somalia. Since October increased activity has been observed in the Indian Ocean with 33 incidents reported, including 13 hijackings. Thirteen of these last quarter incidents occurred east of the recommended east of 60° east – including four hijacked vessels. Many of these attacks have occurred at distances of approximately 1000 nautical miles off Mogadishu.

    According to Captain Mukundan, “Motherships have traditionally posed as fishing vessels or dhows to avoid detection. Reports of such crafts so far from the coast should be questioned and investigated.”

    Twenty eight incidents were reported for Nigeria in 2009. Of these 21 vessels were boarded, three vessels were fired upon, one vessel was hijacked and three Masters reported an attempted attack on their vessel. One crew was reported killed as the robbers tried to escape after looting the vessel.

    Vessels attacked include general cargo, bulk carriers, reefers, and all types of tankers. The majority of incidents related to the oil industry and fishing vessels go unreported. Information from external sources would suggest at least a further 30 unreported attacks occurred in Nigeria in 2009.

    “The Nigerian attacks are however much more violent in nature than Somalia, localised but with the capacity to attack vessels and installations further from the coast. The incidence of violent attacks against ships has also spilled over into neighbouring states,” Captain Mukundan added.

    Trade News – Sleepers for Saldanha

    During a three month period between mid-June and mid-September last year Infraset Railway Products, a member of the Aveng Group, supplied 48,000 precast concrete sleepers to Transnet Freight Rail (TFR). Weighing a cumulative 12,400 tons, the sleepers were used in a routine maintenance programme on the 860km Saldanha/Sishen ore export line.
    Comprising 31,000 PY pressed-steel shoulder and 17,000 PY galvanised-steel shoulder units, each sleeper weighs about 300kg. Rated at 60MPa, this latest batch was used to replace sleepers where the line forges inland for some 33km off the Cape’s west coast near Strandfontein. The galvanised units were installed on the 12km portion nearest the coast where sea spray can cause rusting.
    The sleepers were manufactured at two of Infraset’s factories, 30,000 units in Brakpan, and 18,000 units in De Aar, Northern Cape. The De Aar factory is jointly owned by Infraset and Empowa Investments through BEE joint venture company, Empowa Grinaker-LTA.
    Although it took three months to manufacture and deliver the sleepers to site, the actual process of removing the old sleepers and installing new ones took only 10 days, a period during the second half of September when the line was shut down completely. Two heavy-on-track sleeper replacement machines, a P190 and a P811, both purpose-built for mechanical sleeper installation were used on the project. The P190 is owned by Lennings Rail Services – which like Infraset, is an Aveng Group company.
    Infraset Railway Products product manager, Sizwe Mkhize, says the sleepers will have to perform consistently well over the next 50 years and handle the anticipated increases in iron ore exports.
    Delivery of 12,400 tons of product, over great distances to site presented its own set of challenges.
    Rail was deemed the most effective transport method and flat-bed NZ wagons were used to carry the sleepers. This called for integrated scheduling between the manufacturing and delivery processes.
    There were several factors which complicated the delivery process. Unlike in previous years when Transnet averaged three shutdowns annually, last year it had to contend with seven, and this placed resource scheduling under considerable additional pressure. NZ wagons weren’t always readily available. Moreover, the lines were often being used for the delivery of revenue generating goods which were obviously given precedence over goods for in-house maintenance, as important as that was.
    Good logistical planning and of course timing were crucial to the success of the delivery programme. Once loaded, at either Brakpan or De Aar, the sleeper wagons had to be integrated with Transnet’s goods schedule. Ideally it aimed to deliver sleepers in discrete sleeper-wagon blocks of between 30 and 40 NZ wagons. For quantities lower than 30, the wagons were mixed with other goods wagons, either at the Sentrarand Marshalling yard near Babsfontein or at Beaconsfield near Kimberley.
    Scheduling had to allow for delays of up to three days before dispatch from the marshalling yards took place. Besides the availability of NZ wagons, other factors such as the availability of locomotives, line space and crews to man the trains, all had to be coordinated. The last load delivered to site coincided with the shutdown period and this enabled these sleepers to be off-loaded and installed in a single operation.
    TFR currently deploys 207 NZ wagons. An order has been placed for further 100. – source Infraset

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Nigeria to use tankers instead of pipelines

    Nigeria’s National Petroleum intends making use of ships to move crude to refineries instead of overland pipelines in a effort of avoiding increasing numbers of attacks on the pipelines by militants. The company said this would solve the problem of providing feed stock to the country’s refineries. He said the vital Chanomi Creek pipeline between Escravos and Warri had borne the brunt of militant attacks that were aimed at crippling the fuel supply within Nigeria. The company is finalising arrangements to send oil by tankers, he said.


    Kenya Port Authority evaluating security tenders

    Kenya Ports Authority is currently evaluating tenders for the installation of a comprehensive USD18 million port security system. A total of 19 local and international companies have submitted tenders for the contract which will be awarded in April after the World Bank, which is a part funder, has evaluated the documents. The security system will incorporate digitalised automatic controls at port gates with all port users at Mombasa being required to obtained access cards, and CCTV coverage of the port perimeter. Once awarded the project will take an estimated 18 months to install and activate.


    Government agrees Mombasa ferries are outdated

    The Kenya government has agreed that the ferries in service across Kilindini Harbour between Mombasa Island and the town of Likoni are outdated and says the delay in replacing them is a result of the food shortage that hit Kenya last year. “I’m not surprised but I’m disappointed that they weren’t replaced 20 years ago,” said Transport Minister Ali Mwakwere. Two new ferries are due from Germany in March this year and will go into immediate service. Over 200,000 commuters and 3,500 vehicles use the ferries every day. Mwakwere said the older ferries would then be able to undergo much needed maintenance. Two of the younger ferries, MV NYAYO and MV KILINDINI were already “too old when they were bought 25 years ago,” he said. The three other ferries are each over 40 years old.

    See related reports HERE, and HERE


    Nigeria to ban foreign vessels from ship to ship transfers

    The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has taken steps to ban foreign vessels from undertaking ship to ship transfers. A notice to this effect has already been sent out stating that the action is illegal. The matter refers to the practice of refined products being imported to Nigeria in foreign-flagged vessels, usually from offshore platforms, with the products then transferred to smaller vessels and taken ashore to one of the jetties. A spokesman for NIMASA said the agency was acquiring the necessary means of enforcing the law, including patrol boats and at least one other helicopter. An existing helicopter is unavailable because of a faulty engine which has been returned to the manufacturer because it is within the warranty period.


    For the Record…

    Matthew Flynn of Flynn Consulting, Hong Kong writes:

    Minor point on a UT 755 PSV featured in your Wednesday (News) edition (13 January 2010). As far as I am aware, the Hellespont Defiance was sold on delivery from NFC to Hellespont, so that current owner is Hellespont Hammonia (not NFC).

    She was delivered to NFC , then immediately transferred to Hellespont Hammonia.

    Mr Flynn sent relevant confirming reports.

    Today’s recommended Read – World’s first fuel cell ship docks in Copenhagen

    Pleasure yachts and tall ships line the wharves and quays of Nyhavn here in the Danish capital. Shipping in Denmark goes back to the Vikings and their long ships that made perilous sea crossings even beyond Greenland. Now what may be the future of shipping is docked around the corner from Nyhavn at Kvaesthusmolen pier, a bright orange and yellow North Sea supply ship from Norway dubbed VIKING LADY — the first ship to employ a fuel cell in history. Norwegian shipping company Eidesvik and its partners have installed a 320-kilowatt molten carbonate fuel cell that operates on liquefied natural gas on the 5,900 metric ton ship.

    Read more 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 – SEVEN NAVICA

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    The variety of ships entering ports along the African coast seems endless and one often has to frequently scurry to the register to discover just what an individual ship does. One such example is the pipe layer SEVEN NAVICA (6,083-gt, built 1999) which called at Cape Town in the past week. Here are three views of the highly specialised ship. Pictures by Aad Noorland.

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    Registered in the Isle of man Seven Navica is owned and managed by Norwegian interests and is employed within the oil industry. Pictures by Aad Noorland

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    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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