Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 16, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

Reach out to this dedicated maritime audience by advertising here with your Banner - contact info@ports.co.za



Click on headline to go direct to story – use the BACK key to return

  • First View – GEOHOLM

  • Transnet places dry dock units on the market

  • Piracy – Somalia hands down stiff sentences

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Eskom can’t be a player and referee - Zuma

  • Freight Forwarding – FedEx expands worldwide operations

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Pics of the day – German Navy warships arriving for Exercise Good Hope 4


    First View – GEOHOLM

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    The Norwegian-owned but Isle of Man-flagged offshore support vessel GEOHOLM (4,454-gt, built 2006) arrived in Cape Town yesterday (Monday) for repairs. Picture by Aad Noorland

    Transnet places dry dock units on the market

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    Durban Dry Dock – image courtesy Gary Pulford/Dormac Marine

    The long awaited decision by Transnet to offer up the country’s ship repair facilities for private operation appears to have been reached, with a public notice appearing in various newspapers yesterday (Monday) calling for proposals.

    In terms of the document, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is inviting interested parties to submit Requests for Proposals (RFP) to become the operator or operators of existing ship repair facilities in a number of South Africa’s ports.

    There are eight (8) facilities on offer:

  • Durban Prince Edward Dry Dock

  • Durban Floating Dock

  • Cape Town Sturrock Dry Dock

  • Cape Town Robinson Dry Dock

  • Cape Town Synchrolift

  • East London Princess Elizabeth Dry Dock

  • Port Elizabeth Slipway

  • Mossel Bay Slipway

  • Of the eight facilities the Durban floating dock is currently out of order having had a fire among its electrical installation.

    TNPA is holding a compulsory briefing session in Durban on 15 March, attended only by those parties that have purchased RFP documents. Compulsory site visits will be scheduled during the period 16 – 31 March 2010.

    The closing date for RFP submissions is 29 June 2010.

    In its notice TNPA advises that preference will be given to BBBEE compliant companies in terms of its policy and in line with the BBBEE Act.

    A spokesman at one of the ship repair companies said he believed that all the major local ship repairers would have an interest in this development. He added that he thought it likely that TNPA would want a spread of different operators across the various facilities rather than having one or two firms creating a monopoly.

    Other sources remain slightly sceptical of the proposal, saying that they don’t believe a suitable operator or operators will be found that is acceptable to Transnet. They also pointed out that Transnet has a poor record of carrying through the privatising of its strategic functions. Others questioned why any operator would want to pay out a considerable sum for one of the ship repair facilities when it was preferable to hire them for short required periods.

    Further details are available from Mr Nico Walters (technical matters) tel 011 351 9024 or email nico.walters@transnet.net or to Mr Deon Tobias (issuing of RFP documents) tel 011 351 9088/9 email deon.tobias@transnet.net

    Piracy – Somalia hands down stiff sentences

    A Somali court on Sunday handed out 15 year prison sentences to 11 men convicted of piracy. Charges of piracy and attempted armed kidnapping had been brought against the accused in the Berbera court in the semi autonomous region of northern Somaliland.

    The pirates were captured by NATO forces while attempting to highjack a ship at sea. Their initial mistake was that the ship in question was a naval vessel and the pirates were swiftly disarmed and taken into custody. Although the military ship subsequently released the 11 men after confiscating their weapons, they were later arrested by the Somaliland Coastguard in a coastal village near Djibouti.

    During their court case which lasted a week some of the men admitted their guilt while others pleaded not guilty throughout the trial. The judge handed down his sentence of 15 years for each pirate at the conclusion of the trial.

    Taiwanese fishing vessel WIN FAR 161 released after 10 months

    After ten long months in pirate custody, 17 Filipino seafarers had their first taste of freedom last Thursday when they were released from custody by Somali pirates.

    The fishing vessel had been highjacked on 6 April 2009 near the Seychelles and became the longest-held vessel involving Filipino crew. A spokesman for the Philippines government quoted the ship’s owner as saying the crew are in good health. The vessel, he said is now sailing to Mauritius from where arrangements are being made to repatriate the seafarers back to the Philippines.

    News from the shipping lines

    Hapag-Lloyd, Zim, Hanjin, Wanhai and CCNI combine with new service

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    Hapag-Lloyd image

    Five shipping companies have agreed to cooperate on the service between the Far East and East Coast South America via South Africa.

    They are Hapag-Lloyd, Zim Integrated Shipping Services, Hanjin Shipping, Wanhai Lines, and Compania Chilena de Navegacion Interoceanica (CCNI) who will combine to provide a service between Korea, Central and South China, Singapore, South Africa, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.

    The new service will operate with eleven container ships in the 4,200-TEU range. It will commence from April this year.

    Maiden calls

    It’s not unusual for ships to make their maiden visits to South African ports although many go unnoticed and unremarked, which is a pity as shipping is in danger of becoming more impersonal.

    These thoughts came to mind after reading an article in an East London newspaper which featured an interview with the master of a ship that has been in the Eastern Cape port for a little while, the offshore service tug TOISA PUMA (2,906-gt, built 1985). Now for such a ship to visit Durban or Cape Town, or possibly even Port Elizabeth, it is almost certain to be ignored, and perhaps that is with good reason, given the variety of ship calls experienced in those ports. Yet in East London, where ships staying over in port are in danger of becoming a rarity, it warranted a visit on board by a press team and the next morning a photograph in the Dispatch along with the interview with the master. Somewhere in our bigger ports we’ve lost this human ‘touch’ – on Sunday Durban welcomed one of the world’s top cruise ships, CRYSTAL SERENITY and hardly anyone noticed. It certainly went unreported in the city’s various newspapers. Also in port that weekend was the cable later ILE DE BATZ and had this special ship not been involved with an important and rather expensive local undersea communications cable, her visit might have passed equally unremarked (more about this ship visit in tomorrow’s News Bulletin).

    So with these thoughts let it be recorded that last week saw the arrival in Richards Bay of the new capesize ore carrier SCYTHIA (164,400-dwt, built 2010) which loaded coal for China at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal. A small ceremony marking the maiden visit was held at the coal terminal. The ship which is owned by Sharman Holdings SA is flagged in Valetta, Malta and is 292m long with a beam of 45 metres. Did anyone get a picture?

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    Picture courtesy Hoegh Picture Library

    Another maiden call although not the ship’s maiden voyage involved the arrival in Durban yesterday (Monday) of the car carrier HOEGH ST PETERSBURG (68,392-gt, built 2009). The ship’s cargo capacity is listed as 7,800-ceu (motor car units), which makes this one of the bigger capacity car carriers to call at a South African port, if not the biggest. Well worth a mention.

    The 228m long Hoegh St Petersburg with a Panamax beam of 32m was named on 17 November 2009 at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering yard in South Korea.

    Ships agents could play a role in tipping off their local newshounds of future maiden visits.

    Eskom can’t be a player and referee - Zuma

    Cape Town, 15 February - President Jacob Zuma says state-owned enterprises like Eskom are so riddled with problems that a serious review of the parastastals is necessary.

    This, as the chaos that led to the resignation of both CEO Jacob Maroga and Eskom board chairman Bobby Godsell is still fresh, so do the shenanigans at Transnet and Denel.

    “Certainly we cannot continue with them like that, it’s a problem with the leadership and we are looking at that,” said Zuma.

    Speaking during an interview which the SABC broadcast on Sunday night, Zuma acknowledged that there was a crisis in some of the state-owned companies and said a review was needed to address this.

    He referred to power utility Eskom as both a “player and referee”, something he felt should not be allowed. “We are creating a situation that in this area of energy which is so important that a player must come in and participate so we don’t have Eskom doing everything,” said Zuma.

    He said if Eskom was allowed to dominate the energy sector, the issue of tariff increases will become a regular feature. Eskom has come under constant heavy criticism over tariff increases.

    Last year, it revised its tariff application to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to 35 percent over the next three years from an initial request of 45 percent.

    Zuma implied that there needed to be vigorous competition in the sector to avoid situations like this. – BuaNews

    Freight Forwarding – FedEx expands worldwide operations

    FedEx Trade Networks, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp says it has opened six new freight forwarding offices across its Europe, Middle East and Africa region as well as its Latin America region as part of a global expansion plan. In the past nine months the company has opened 20 international forwarding offices, bringing to 22 the total new international offices since 2008.

    The new offices are located in Brussels, Manchester and London, Mumbai and Chennai while in the Latin America region the new office is in Mexico City.

    "We listen carefully to our customers," said Fred Schardt, president and CEO, FedEx Trade Networks.

    "They told us they prefer doing business with providers who have offices in the regions where they trade. With our global expansion efforts, shippers can get the flexible and reliable freight forwarding solutions they need from a name they trust, "FedEx."

    The statement said that India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and presents tremendous potential in terms of market growth, capacity, and expansion.
    These locations are the latest additions to the company's expansion of its presence in key markets throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. In 2008, FedEx Trade Networks opened freight forwarding operations in Hong Kong and Shanghai, followed by offices in Brazil, Singapore, Taiwan, The Netherlands, France, and the Chinese cities of Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Tianjin, Xiamen, Dalian, and Ningbo in 2009.

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Aden port to be expanded

    A major expansion of the strategic and historic port of Aden is being planned by Yemen and its port operator DP World. In years gone by Aden was one of the major ports, largely because of its position at the southern entrance to the Red Sea and was also a major bunker station. In recent years with larger ships capable of going greater distances without refueling Aden’s ranking has slipped in importance. In 2009 the number of ship calls was only 315, down from the 438 of the year before.

    Piracy and the threat and activities of terrorist groups such as al Qaeda have not helped Aden’s cause either but despite these setbacks the port authority and operator see Aden in a positive light and plan to spend USD270 million in widening and deepening the entrance channel to enable access for larger ships. They also have ambitions for turning the port into a hub for regional traffic and into East Africa. The port is also home to Yemen’s oil industry - last year Aden and the French oil company Total commenced a USD4.5 billion project that will export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from south Yemen.


    Uganda moves to refurbish Port Bell and MV Kaawa

    The refurbishment of the Lake Victoria ferry MV KAAWA as well as the harbour at Port Bell came a step closer this week with the announcement by Uganda’s Ministry of Works and Transport that three companies have been shortlisted. Funding for the refurbishment is coming from the World Bank and the ministry says that bids are in the final stages of evaluation. MV Kaawa has been out of commission since colliding in 2005 with another lake ferry, MV KABALEGA, which sank as a result of damages caused in the collision. Since then MV Kaawa has been berthed in Port Bell alongside another out-of-commission vessel, MV PAMBA.


    Aussie navy inquires into sex ring aboard HMAS Success

    A new enquiry has been called into allegations that male sailors on board the Australian Navy replenishment ship, HMAS SUCCESS (AOR 304), were running a sex ring on board the vessel. Last May four sailors from the ship were sent home for allegedly staging a contest to see how many women they could bed during an extended sea voyage. The rules of the contest were simple and results recorded in a document known as ‘The Ledger’. Dollar values were placed on each potential conquest, with larger amounts on offer should the sailors sleep with a female officer or a lesbian. Sailors also challenged each other to engage in sex in various locations, including the use of a pool table. An initial inquiry into the matter by the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service was termed disappointing because no findings were handed down and a new inquiry involving a retired senior judge is to be appointed to head the new investigation.

    And to think we naively believed the story of joining the navy to see the sea!

    Pics of the day – German Navy warships arriving for Exercise Good Hope 4

    by David Erickson

    Three German warships arrived at Simon’s Town Naval Dockyard yesterday morning (Monday 15 February 2010) to participate with the South African Navy in Exercise Good Hope 4.

    The lead vessel, type 123 frigate FGS Brandenburg (F215), was honoured with a 20 gun salute from Lower North Battery. The Brandenburg was commissioned in 1994, and carries 199 crew plus 19 aircrew for the two AgustaWestland Sea Lynx mk.88 helicopters aboard. The vessel is 138.9 metres long overall, 16.7 metres wide and displaces 4,700 tonnes at full load. Powered by a CODOG (combined diesel or gas) plant of two GE 2500 gas turbines and two MTU diesel engines, she is capable of speeds in excess of 29 knots using the gas turbines and has a range of 4,000 miles at 18 knots using the diesel engines. The vessel is a development of the Meko design which forms the basis for the four South African Valour class frigates that are based at Simon’s Town. The vessel is armed with two twin launchers for MM38 Exocet surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 42 km. A vertical launch system for 16 Nato Sea Sparrow medium-range surface-to-air missiles is also fitted – these have a range of 15.5 km. Further armament includes 76mm and 20mm guns and torpedo systems.

    The second vessel to enter harbour was the type 122 frigate FGS Niedersachsen (F208). She was commissioned in 1982, and carries a crew of 202 plus 20 aircrew for her two Sea Lynx Mk.88A helicopters. The vessel is 130.5 metres long overall, 14.6 metres wide and displaces 3,680 tonnes at full load. She is also powered by a CODOG plant and is capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots with a range of over 4,000 miles at 18 knots. She is equipped with 16 Sea Sparrow missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, 76mm and 27mm guns and torpedo systems.

    The third vessel was the type 702 multipurpose replenishment ship FGS Frankfurt am Main (A1412). She was commissioned in 2002, and carries 233 crew. The vessel is 173.7 metres long overall, 24 metres wide and displaces 20,240 tonnes. She is powered by two diesel engines and has a service speed of 20 knots. Armament carried includes 4x 27mm autocannons and a Stinger surface to air missile system.

    It is expected that the vessels will be open to the public during the Navy Festival at Simon’s Town, 5 – 7 March.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    German frigate F215, FGS Brandenburg, enters Simon’s Town Naval Harbour at 08h29 on Mon 15-Feb-2010 with the crew “manning ship”. The vessel is being escorted by the South African Navy tugs Umalusi and De Neys. The Bremen class frigate F208 FGS Niedersachsen is in the background, awaiting her turn to enter. The transport vessel A1435 FGS Westerwald arrived in Simon’s Town on Thursday 4 February and can be seen alongside the East Breakwater behind the Brandenburg.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    German frigate F208, FGS Niedersachsen, enters Simon’s Town Naval Harbour at 09h03 on Mon 15 February with the crew “manning ship”, escorted by the South African Navy tugs Umalusi and De Neys.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    German multipurpose replenishment ship A1412, FGS Frankfurt am Main, approaches her berth on the West Breakwater at Simon’s Town Naval Harbour at 10h00 on Mon 15 February with the crew “manning ship”.

    Pictures by David Erickson

    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

    Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all southern African ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Mombasa on the East Coast?

    Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.

    Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.


    South Africa’s most comprehensive Directory of Maritime Services is now listed on this site. Please check if your company is included. To sign up for a free listing contact info@ports.co.za or register online


    Web ports.co.za

    Click to go back

      - Contact Us

      - Home