Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 20, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – MSC BARBARA

  • Nigeria introduces cargo tracking levy

  • Further USD852 million wanted for Cameroon’s Limbe port development

  • Uganda lake ferry breaks down in mid lake

  • Piracy – Greek bulker evades capture

  • Cruise ships continue calling at Haiti

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Pics of the day – EQUINE / WINNER 6 and MARIA ELISE


    First View – MSC BARBARA

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    The 6,724-TEU container ship MSC BARBARA (73,819-gt, built 2002) which displaces 112,636 tonnes is, along with several of her sister ships, among the largest container ships so far to have called in South African ports on a scheduled basis. Others of this class to have called in South Africa are MSC Loretta, MSC Marina and MSC Michaela. The remaining sister ships in the fleet are MSC Marianna, MSC Melissa, MSC Stella and MSC Viviana. Picture by Trevor Jones

    Nigeria introduces cargo tracking levy

    A cargo tracking levy (CTL) on all imports and exports through Nigerian ports has been introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority, which said the levy was to cover the cost of tracking shipments.

    This decision, said the NPA had been taken in early December by the Nigerian Federal Executive Council and forms part of the introduction of a cargo tracking note (CTN) system that came into effect on 11 January 2010. As such the Bill of Lading for each container must in future correspond to a CTN issued by the NPA’s authorised representative.

    A CTN is now required for the clearance of all cargo loaded or unloaded in a Nigerian port with Nigeria as the final destination and must be obtained at the Port of Load (POL).

    The CTL ranges from €50 to €120 depending on the origin of the cargo, and there is a €25 surcharge on necessary documentation.

    Nigerian shippers are unhappy with the introduction of the CTN, saying that it has further increased the already high cost of trading through Nigerian ports.

    Further USD852 million wanted for Cameroon’s Limbe port development

    A feasibility study released by the Limbe Port Development Corporation and its Korean partners has revealed that an additional USD852 million is required to build the deepwater port of Limbe, in southwest Cameroon.

    According to OT Africa, the study shows a projected cargo traffic consisting of five million tonnes of cargo and 200,000 containers in its launch year of 2012.

    The new port will handle cement manufactured at a new plant built in partnership with South Korean interests. Ultimately Limbe is expected to expand into Cameroon’s largest port handling 40mt a year by 2050.

    The deepwater port will have four areas of commercial and industrial activities, coastal shipping, a container terminal and the export of oil through the National Society of Refining (SONAR).

    Cameroon’s principal port is currently Douala which is on the southeastern bank of the Wouri River estuary some 24km upstream from the mouth and approximately 210km west of the country’s capital, Yaoundé. Douala is linked by a road and rail bridge over the Wouri with the banana port of Bonabéri.

    Douala is also the principal industrial centre of Cameroon. The port has 11 cargo berths of which nine are for general cargo. The port also has a large timber terminal with 280,000m² of stacking space.

    In a separate development, research into the construction of Cameroon’s deepwater port project at Kribi has reached the final stage, reports OT Africa.

    Uganda lake ferry breaks down in mid lake

    More than 50 passengers on board a ferry crossing Lake Victoria were stranded on the water this week when their ferry, the MV KALANGALA broke down to due to engine failure.

    The vessel had departed from Kalangala Island en route to the Nakiwogo landing site for Entebbe. According to reports various small boats were pressed into rescuing the passengers who spent several hours becalmed on the lake. Reports of their distress reached the land through the medium of cell phones.

    The vessel, which has been the subject of recent discussion after a contract was awarded for the construction to two new ferries on this particular service, was carrying over 50 passengers and six light motor vehicles at the time.

    This week Uganda’s Works and Transport Minister John Nasasira announced that once the new ferries entered service, the older vessels would be withdrawn to allow necessary maintenance.

    Reports in Uganda say that last week another ferry operating on the Kachanga to Bugoma service also broke down, paralyzing business in the region.

    Piracy – Greek bulker evades capture

    A Jamaican-flagged, Greek-owned bulker MILTIADES (28,126-dwt, built 1983) came under attack by Somali pirates off the coast of Yemen on Sunday (17 January) but managed to evade capture.

    The vessel came under attack from a skiff some 130 nautical miles southwest of the Yemeni port of Al-Mukalla, with the pirates opening fire with AK-47 automatic rifles. A security team posted on the ship used red flares to ward off the attack while the ship took evasive action. The pirates eventually abandoned the attack and left the scene.

    Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the Yemen Navy has for the past two years had an unofficial arrangement with a British security company to provide armed escorts for ships sailing through pirate infested waters. The cost of escorting the ships was given as USD55,000 per ship, which was split between the moonlighting Yemeni naval crew and the security company according to the reports.

    The Gulf of Aden is one of the world’s busiest sea lanes with between 1,500 and 1,600 ships passing the Horn of Africa each month. Over the past two years a steady percentage of those ships were captured and held for ransom by pirates. But in recent months the cost of each ransom has escalated and reached the record figure of USD 7 million for the VLCC Maran Centaurus which was paid this week.

    Cruise ships continue calling at Haiti

    Cruise ships of the Royal Caribbean Line are continuing to call at Haiti’s Labadee, which lies on a peninsular on the northern coast of Haiti and wasn’t affected by last week’s devastating earthquake.

    In addition to bringing tourists to an area that benefits economically from tourism, Royal Caribbean has embarked on a programme of providing at least USD 1 million in humanitarian relief to Haiti.

    “The effect of the earthquake on Haiti has been catastrophic, leaving the country in need of not only immediate support, but assistance in their long-term recovery. Royal Caribbean wants to do its part to help out not only the general response, but also our hundreds of Haitian employees and their families through this disaster,” said Richard D Fain, chairman and chief executive officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

    He said that in addition to its financial contribution, Royal Caribbean will continue to provide economic support through the continuous business it brings to Labadee.

    A spokesman for the United Nations in Haiti said the action of continuing ship calls at Labadee was welcome as it provided a continuation of positive economic benefits to Haiti.

    Ships that will call include NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS which arrived at Labadee on Monday 18 January, LIBERTY OF THE SEAS which arrived yesterday (Tuesday), and CELEBRITY SOLSTICE due on Friday 22 January. Celebrity is an affiliate company of Royal Caribbean.

    The continuation of cruise ship calls has sparked considerable debate about the sensitivity of the matter.

    Meanwhile Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company has announced it will be donating USD 5 million towards Haiti earthquake relief on behalf of Carnival and its affiliate cruise companies.

    “We are saddened by this tragedy, one of the worst natural disasters of our lifetime and we are deeply concerned for the people of Haiti and hope that this donation will help provide much-needed assistance,” said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by this catastrophe,” he added.

    The money has been earmarked for a number of relief organisations assisting with the relief effort in Haiti.

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    New Hamburg Süd ship named

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    Rio de la Plata, a sister ship to the Rio Madeira

    Hamburg Süd’s latest container ship, RIO MADEIRA was officially named at a ceremony held in the Uruguayan port of Montevideo last week (14 January). The 84,000-DWT ship with a container capacity of 5,900-TEU has a length of 286m and a width of 40m and is deployed on the company’s East Coast South America – Europe service. The ship was built at the Daewoo Mangalia Heavy Industries yard in Rumania and completed in mid-November 2009. The vessel is named after the Amazon’s largest tributary, the 1,500-km long Rio Madeira.


    No change for Suez Canal transit fee

    The Suez Canal Authority announced yesterday (Tuesday) that transit fees for 2010 will remain unchanged. The terse announcement said simply: “SCA announces that the transit dues for 2009 shall remain unchanged.”

    In addition the new maximum draught of 66ft comes into effect from today (20 January), replacing the previous maximum draught permissible of 62ft. The new depth is expected to attract vessels with more than 220,000 tonnes through the canal.


    US Marines Pre-Positioning vessel at Durban

    A US Marines pre-positioning vessel, PVT FRANKLIN J PHILLIPS (T-AK 3004) arrived in Durban port yesterday to take bunkers and supplies – the first pre-positioning vessel to call at the port on a long while. The ship was being attended to at B Berth at the Point.

    Pics of the day – EQUINE / WINNER 6 and MARIA ELISE

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    Further to Aad Noorland’s picture of the rather plain-looking Ro-Ro-vessel EQUINE in the 18 January 2010 News Bulletin comes news of the latest development - the ship has undergone a change of ownership and also changed names, with her new name WINNER 6 hastily and crudely painted on the vessel ahead of her scheduled departure last night. Picture and news by Ian Shiffman

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    The Liberian-registered general cargo vessel MARIA ELISE (4,255-gt, built 2009) with a cargo of steel pipes was in Cape Town this week. 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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