Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 28, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – MAURANGER

  • US Navy ships heading for South Africa

  • Mbeki addresses Africa’s relationship with Africom

  • News from the shipping lines

  • December CPI increases to 6.3 percent

  • Kenya’s rail tender to be launched next week

  • Piracy – US security company introduces fast patrol boats into Horn of Africa

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Today’s Recommended Read – A year of global shipping routes mapped by GPS

  • Pics of the day – OCEANIC and MAMOSA CHAMPION


    First View – MAURANGER

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    The Norwegian oil and chemical products tanker MAURANGER (41,109-dwt, built 1995) at Lyttelron harbour, New Zealand on 17 January, discharging petroleum products from Singapore. Picture by Alan Calvert

    US Navy ships heading for South Africa

    Two US Navy warships that have been visiting East African countries on behalf of the US Africa Partnership programme are due in South African waters in the next 24 hours.

    USS SWIFT (HSV-2), a high speed catamaran-hulled vessel and USS NICHOLAS (FFG-47), a frigate of the Oliver Hazard Perry class will be arriving in Durban on Friday morning (tomorrow) and at Cape Town on 8 February. It is presumed that the ships will conduct exercises with their counterparts in the South African Navy, although no announcement has been made that we are aware of.

    This week the two ships wrapped up a weeklong training engagement in Tanzanian waters involving members of the Tanzanian Navy, with the finale being a graduation ceremony held on the flight deck of the High Speed vessel Swift. Earlier members of the Tanzanian Navy joined various other East African naval personnel already on board the vessels.

    “I am encouraged and inspired by what we, together, have been able to achieve during this APS visit to Dar es Salaam,” said Capt. James Tranoris, commander, Africa Partnership Station (APS) East. “It truly exemplifies the spirit and commitment of the US Navy, the Tanzania Peoples Defence Force and all our African partners toward enhancing their own regional maritime capacity and capability through collaborative partnerships.”

    The various naval personnel including 130 members of the Tanzanian Navy received maritime training in basic ground skills, instructional theory, law of war/ethics, medical response, pier security, small boat maintenance, and visit, board, search and seizure. The training was conducted by APS instructors from the US Navy and US Marine Corps. The graduation ceremony showcased the maritime partnerships between Tanzania, regional African partners and the United States.

    During its mission along the east coast of Africa, USS Swift and USS Nicholas have also visited or will call at ports in Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique and Seychelles. The ships are on scheduled deployments within the US 6th Fleet area of responsibility and the visit to South Africa does not form a part of the APS East function.

    APS East is being conducted in cooperation with Commander, US Naval Forces Africa, a component of US Africa Command.

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    USS Swift in Durban in November 2003 Picture by Terry Hutson

    In other navy news, the US Navy frigate USS SAMUEL B ROBERTS (FFG-58) has concluded a visit to the port of Point-Noire in the Republic of Congo, during which a number of military inter-actions between the two countries were conducted.

    It is also reported that ships of the French Navy will arrive in Durban next week. This information has not been confirmed in official circles.

    Mbeki addresses Africa’s relationship with Africom

    By Staff Sergeant Amanda McCarty

    Moeletsi Mbeki is the deputy chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs, an independent think tank based at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He recently addressed nearly 150 members as part of the US Africa Command (US AFRICOM) Commander’s Speakers Series, at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart.

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    Stuttgart, Germany, 25 January 2010 — Nearly 150 US Africa Command staff and community members gathered at the Kelley Theatre on 20 January to listen to well-known guest speaker and author, Moeletsi Mbeki, discuss security and development issues across Sub-Saharan Africa.

    The event was part of the US AFRICOM Commander's Speakers Series, which invites visitors with diverse viewpoints to share ideas and thoughts. Mbeki, a political economist and the deputy chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs at the University of the Witwatersrand, is the younger brother of former South African President Thabo Mbeki. He has also written articles about the political and economic situation in South Africa, as well as regional and Africa-wide issues. Mbeki stressed that he was expressing his own views.

    Mbeki began his talk by explaining the history of insecurity in Africa, starting with its colonial roots.

    Africa's colonial legacy and Slave Trade

    “The challenge facing Sub-Saharan Africa is not state-building as many analysts believe,” said Mbeki. “The immediate challenge most of Africa faces is society building.”

    Building a sustainable and stable society requires social groups that can then build a viable state, he explained.

    European colonial powers left behind a semblance of states, which often had no social anchors, what Mbeki said led to Africa's instability during the last half a century and continues today in many countries.

    Although colonialism has roots in Africa's instability, causes also tie back to before this period.

    “The African continent has been in turmoil for half a millennium since Europeans started to settle in the New World in the 16th century.”

    An estimated 18 million Africans were sold into slavery. It was so extensive it touched nearly every part of sub-Saharan Africa, he said.
    Slave trade is what Mbeki said brought about a large part of social, political and demographic instability to Africa.

    Colonialism, Liberation and Cold War

    The end of the slave trade in the 19th century, the second phase of instability in Africa started with resistance to colonisation and forced labour, said Mbeki.

    “The end of the Second World War brought into existence another global phenomenon that was to play an important role in the continued destabilisation of African societies and of sub-Saharan Africa.”

    African countries were the attention of western capitalist powers led by the United States and the communist powers led by the Soviet Union who competed to control the newly independent countries or to stop them from aligning themselves with their adversaries, Mbeki said. In his talk, he outlined documented US activities during the Cold War era that contributed to African instability.

    Intra-State Conflicts

    “African states as we know them today were not created by Africans,” stated Mbeki.
    African states bear many burdens because they didn't have ownership in creating their own states, according to Mbeki.

    “They suffer from weak allegiance by their citizens to these states and vice versa,” he said. “This explains why African countries during the past 50 years have been centres of many conflicts, in particular civil wars, inter-tribal wars, violent communal conflicts and pogroms, wars of secession, and more recently in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, attempts at genocide. These great conflicts have been accompanied by vast population movements in and out of different national boundaries. Africa, not surprisingly, is host to the largest number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world.”

    Mbeki also explained that Africa has been almost completely absent of inter-state wars - an important factor in nation building.

    “[Inter-state wars] strengthen the hold of the ruling class, and of the state it controls, over the general population, which, faced with an external threat, is compelled to surrender more and more of its autonomy to the state and its agents as a way of strengthening national defence and limiting dissension. This gives the rule of the rulers legitimacy, as they are seen as defenders of all the people.”

    Such conflicts force the state to become better organised in order to raise and equip its armed forces while at the same time maintaining or even increasing production to sustain both the war efforts and the civilian population, explained Mbeki.

    “Inter-state wars also compel the dominant ruling faction(s) to make concessions to more marginalised factions in order to build a united front with which to confront the foreign enemy. Inter-state wars thus contribute to reducing or moderating various forms of discrimination against minorities.”

    Development and the Modern African State

    Mbeki told the audience it is sometimes argued that most African countries are small, poor, landlocked, under-developed and therefore lack domestic markets. And, to compensate for these shortcomings, the argument is that it is necessary for African countries to remove barriers to trade amongst themselves. By this, African countries will be able to develop enterprises with the requisite economies of scale to make them competitive in the world markets, it is said.

    However, Mbeki said he believes it is not the size of a country's population that determines whether a country industrialises or not, rather a country's pool of skills and its control over its economic, social and security policies that, in the final analysis, determines whether a country industrialises or not.

    Results of Instability

    “An important factor that determines whether a country develops or not is its ability to generate a meaningful economic surplus on one hand and on the other hand its ability to direct a large part of that surplus to productive investment rather than merely to private consumption,” said Mbeki.

    Due to Africa's endemic instability, a large part of sub-Saharan Africa's economic surplus leaves the continent. The small amount remaining goes to finance elite consumption and to pay for the running of the largely unaccountable state, according to Mbeki.

    “Capital flight is both a result and a driver of Africa's lack of security. Another important driver of Africa's insecurity is the brain drain. Flight of skills undermines economic growth as we have seen by draining out technicians and other personnel needed to maintain social and physical infrastructure which makes development possible.”

    Mbeki told the audience he hoped he was able to convince them that the security problems in African aren't easily fixed by military means. However, he does believe the security sector can play a meaningful role in Africa. “That is why in my view the creation of the African Command by the US government was an important initiative,” Mbeki said.

    For the complete transcript of Mbeki's presentation, click HERE

    The prepared remarks are available at HERE

    News from the shipping lines

    NYK activates integrated operation management system on 680 ships

    Japanese shipping company NYK has implemented a seamless integrated operational management system called NYK e-missions which has been installed on 680 NYK vessels -roughly 90 percent of the company’s operating fleet.

    The system applies to moored vessels as well as those engaged on voyages.

    Until now NYK has made use of multiple systems of ascertaining a ship’s position and other relevant information concerning local weather and sea conditions. The new NYK e-missions system is capable of collating this information from and for the entire fleet thus providing a much more reliable and safer operational procedure.

    NYK emissions uses data gathered from weather and sea condition forecasts as well as from vessels at sea, thus providing a wider overall picture of possible risks and enabling prompt avoiding measures to be taken. The system can centrally manage all necessary information on weather and sea conditions for up to 10 days in advance providing conditions of waves, tidal currents, wind direction, atmospheric pressure, typhoons, etc.


    CMA CGM forfeits payment on ship

    CMA CGM Tema in Cape Town harbour. Picture by Ian Shiffman CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE – USE BACK BUTTON TO CLOSE NEW WINDOW

    French liner company CMA CGM has reportedly forfeited a USD60 million payment made against one of the container vessels it had ordered from Korean shipyard Hanjin Heavy Industries.

    A report in Tradewinds said the 6,500-TEU container ship, which was ordered in 2006 by CMA CGM, has been sold to a Greek buyer for a reported figure of between US40 and USD45 million, a real bargain price for the new buyer. With the French company forfeiting the USD60m paid as an advance against the ship, Hanjin has thus covered the original cost.

    Earlier CMA CGM tried to cancel an order for four 6,500-TEU ships due to the financial difficulties it is experiencing. In December founder and then chairman Jacques Saade said his company would take delivery of the bigger ships it has on order with Korean yards but would seek to cancel or defer delivery of smaller vessels, including the four in question. Hanjin is reported to be taking a strong stance on this and has told CMA CGM it expects it to honour the terms of the contracts.

    The American Shipper said in an article this week that CMA CGM had informed them it was in discussion with Hanjin over the ship orders and could not comment further. The shipping line said it was aware of continued media coverage of the matter.

    December CPI increases to 6.3 percent

    Pretoria, 27 January 2009 - The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased to 6.3 percent in December 2009, falling out as predicted of the inflation targeting range.

    On Tuesday, SA Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus said forecasts indicated that inflation could measure around 6.5 percent in both December and January, before moderating in the subsequent months.

    "The headline CPI (for all urban areas) annual inflation rate in December 2009 was 6.3 percent. This rate was 0.5 of a percentage point higher than the corresponding annual rate of 5.8 percent in November 2009," reported Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Wednesday.

    Stats SA said the food and non-alcoholic beverages index decreased by 0.3 percent between November and December 2009. "This decrease was as a result of monthly decreases in vegetables, other food, fish and sugar among other goods."

    The transport index increased by 0.6 percent between November and December 2009, mainly due to a 27c/l increase in the petrol price, Stats SA said.

    "It came out below market expectations, most predicted that it would come in at 6.5 percent with the main reasons being the low base in petrol prices but the other thing is the decline in consumer durable goods," said Nedbank economist Carmen Altenkirch.

    Market consensus was that it would rise to 6.4 percent year-on-year. She said it was likely that CPI would fall within the target range in March.

    Standard Bank predicted that it would come in at 6.5 percent. - BuaNews

    Kenya’s rail tender to be launched next week

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    Mombasa rail scene

    Kenya will launch its ambitious project to build a new high speed railway between the port of Mombasa and Uganda, the eastern DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and with Ethiopia and South Sudan.

    The project is based on constructing an entirely new standard gauge (1435mm) railway over a distance of approximately 1,300km to replace the meter gauge railway built in colonial times, which has fallen into disrepair over large sections. The metre gauge railway is currently being operated under a concession by Rift Valley Railway.

    In terms of the proposal, the new standard railway will be capable of handling 4,000-tonnes trains operating at higher speeds than is currently possible. Construction of the new railway should commence within two years and it has been estimated that the railway could cost USD4 billion – a figure that some think is highly optimistic.

    Piracy – US security company introduces fast patrol boats into Horn of Africa

    US company introduces fast patrol boats into Somali region

    An American security company has acquired its own fleet of patrol vessels to provide escort services to commercial ships operating in the Horn of Africa region.

    San Antonio-based Espada Logistics and Security, which already operates in the area with chartered vessels, says it has acquired five additional armed, fast patrol vessels due to increasing acts of piracy and a growing demand for protection services.

    Until now Espada has leased patrol vessels for use in the Gulf of Aden. The new 75-ft vessels are fitted with additional fuel tanks giving them a range of approximately 2,200 nautical miles. Each ship can carry a crew of six to eight people.

    Many of Espada’s employees are former military and ex-Special Forces personnel with anti-piracy and anti-insurgent operations experience.

    “Our customers have demanded a higher level of predictability when it comes to costs and scheduling, and it became clear that the only way to meet those demands was to acquire additional vessels,” Jim Jorrie, president of Espada Logistics and Security-Mena, said.

    “The added capacity will also allow us to extend our escort area beyond the Gulf of Aden to now include the East Coast of Africa down as far as Mombasa,” he added.

    “Many customers are requiring marine general liability insurance for their escorts; now, with these vessels, we’ll be able to provide the protective coverage they desire.”

    Espada maritime security team members are trained to understand international laws and adhere to strict rules of engagement (ROE) to deter conflicts at sea. While the company’s highly trained and experienced team members can quickly and successfully defend customers’ assets from a pirate attack, its primary focus is on ways to discourage pirate assaults before they happen so clients can travel hazardous waters without incident, says Espada in its statement.


    Royal Navy soft on pirates

    Adding fuel to the impression that the international community is soft on Somali pirates (see our reports earlier this week in this regard), the UK Defence Minister Baroness Taylor has admitted that suspected Somali pirates, after being captured by the Royal Navy, are given food, water and fuel before being sent on their way.

    This is the practice even if hostages have been discovered on the pirate vessels. Baroness Taylor said there were at least four instance last year when pirates were given aid and released on humanitarian grounds, despite having been captured in possession with arms and ammunition commonly used in acts of piracy.

    According to the former Conservative chairman, Lord Tebbit, the Royal Navy appears to be hamstrung by the ‘morass of human rights laws and political correctness.’

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Dar es Salaam port congestion tightens

    An urgent revamp of Tanzania Railway Limited (TRL) is required to de-congest the port of Dar es Salaam, say Tanzania Ports Authority MD Ephraim Mgawe. Quoted in the Tanzania Daily News, Mgawe said an efficient and reliable railway system remained critical to the reduction of transportation costs as well as removing large quantities of containers from the port. He noted with concern the continuing deterioration of the railway network and said the business community preferred the railway to road because rail is [potentially] cheaper and faster. He said it takes up to 40 days to transport cargo by road from the port at Dar es Salaam to Zambia and the DRC, due partly to an “unjustly high number of road blocks” between the port and the borders. It was recently announced that the concession held by India’s Rites company to operate Tanzania’s central railway has been revoked.


    Tanzania Customs to track cross border cargo

    Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) intends introducing a monitoring system capable of tracking the movement of goods en route from the port of Dar es Salaam into neighbouring countries. The system will be used to curb tax evasion although the Commissioner for Customs and Excise, Mr Walid Juma admitted there were few instances of tax evasion taking place at present. “There is a significant change in the attitude of our agents, they respect the Customs Department much more now,” he said.


    Marshall Islands now world’s third largest fleet

    The Marshal Islands Registry has reached 2,101 vessels and 52.3 million gross tons in 2009, making it the world’s third largest ship’s registry after Panama and Liberia. According to Clarkson Research Services, the Marshall Islands is also the fastest growing registry of the big four and the youngest fleet of the top ten registries.


    TFR confident of reaching Richards Bay coal targets

    Transnet Freight Rail says it will send 65 million tonnes of export coal along the coal line to Richards Bay Coal Terminal in 2010 and is hopeful of increasing this to 70mt, despite the disappointing results of 2009 when only 61.1mt could be exported. General Manager Divyesh Kalan told the McCloskey Coal Exports Conference being held in Cape Town this week that TFR was ready to increase the line’s capacity to 81mt a year initially and was also working on a second project to match the terminal’s 91mt per annum capacity that RBCT says it will have reached by April. Until now TFR has refused to commit to handling such volumes without first signing firm contracts with the RBCT partners. In addition to new locomotives on order for the coal line, TFR is also adding 750 new jumbo coal wagons to increase the line’s capacity.

    Today’s recommended Read – A year of global shipping routes mapped by GPS

    Scientists have come up with the first comprehensive map of global shipping routes based on actual itineraries. The team pieced together a year’s worth of travel itineraries from 16,693 cargo ships using data from Lloyd’s Register Fairplay and the Automatic Identification System, which tracks vessels using a VHF receiver and GPS.
    A few hot spots logged the majority of journeys. The busiest port was the Panama Canal, followed by the Suez Canal and Shanghai.

    “There is a strong similarity of statistical properties between shipping and aviation networks,” lead author Bernd Blasius, a mathematical modeler at Carl von Ossietzky University, wrote in an e-mail. “But different ship types (e.g., container ships vs. bulk carriers or oil tankers) are characterised by different movement patterns.”

    Actually there isn’t a lot more reading matter, the graph is what is important although there are a number of associated links to follow. Find this fascinating study HERE.

    Thanks to Chris Sutton of IVS Durban for this interesting link.

    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 – OCEANIC and MAMOSA CHAMPION

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    The Japanese Peace Boat OCEANIC (38,772-gt, built 1965) docked in Cape Town harbour early yesterday morning and will be sailing later today. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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    The still new Swiss-owned offshore tug MAMOLA CHAMPION (1,527-gt, built 2009) alongside L berth in Cape Town harbour, with a number of railway hopper wagons in the background. Picture by Aad Noorland

    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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