Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 1, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – JOLLY VERDE

  • Soccer fans have two luxury ships to enjoy

  • Piracy – Somali govt turns to diplomacy

  • Egypt says Costa Cruises must pay for damage to quay

  • Cruise industry weathers storm - confident with new ships and innovation, part 2

  • Will the new Customs Control Act dig into your pocket?

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Today’s recommended Read –XXXXXXXX

  • Pics of the day – RONALD H BROWN and STELLAR CUPID


    First View – JOLLY VERDE

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    Ignazio Messina Lines Ro-Ro general cargo vessel JOLLY VERDE (30,969-gt, built 1983) which operates on the Italian company’s southern Europe to Durban service via East African and Red Sea ports, working cargo at the City Terminal in Durban. Picture by Terry Hutson

    Soccer fans have two luxury ships to enjoy

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    NOORDAM – image courtesy wiki commons

    Oh to be a soccer fan! That was the thought when leaving the cruise ship AMSTERDAM (60,874-gt, built 2000) late on Friday night after an afternoon and evening spent soaking up some of the atmosphere and character of this ship and the Holland America Line.

    The purpose of my visit, along with a few other hacks and tour guides was to acquire a taste of what soccer fans might look forward to during the 2010 FIFA soccer world cup. The secheduled visit to Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban of the Amsterdam, which is on a 114-day world cruise, was the perfect opportunity for One Ocean Club, the German organisation that has chartered two Holland America Vista class ships as floating hotels during the big event, to arrange this opportunity and show off what Holland America and OOC has to offer.

    The big soccer event is now just on 100 days away and although there are confusing reports about bookings, arrangements are continuing in full swing with most of the new soccer stadiums completed on time and ready for action. Some of the towns and cities may experience a shortage of 4 and 5-star accommodation, which is where One Ocean Club has stepped in with the charter of the two Vista class ships, NOORDAM and WESTERDAM (both 82,000-gt built 2006 and 2004 respectively).

    The ships will be stationed at Durban (Noordam) and Port Elizabeth (Westerdam), with the Westerdam sailing to Cape Town for three games later in the competition and the Noordam to Port Elizabeth for just one night. So far it appears that bookings are matching some of the reports of the games themselves – I learned that the ships are a little over half full for the month they will be in South Africa.

    Boris Leyck, operations manager for One Ocean said that an aggressive marketing programme was about to be launched to address this. One of the ways to fill the ships involves the chartering of aircraft to fly whole groups in from Europe. Durban, which by then will have its new King Shaka International Airport to the north of the city in operation, will be used as the South African base for these charter flights, with some groups going on by domestic flight to Port Elizabeth or Cape Town. Others choosing to stay in Durban will be transferred direct to their ship at the Durban Passenger Terminal.

    “The ships act as a base camp for the fans,” said Werner von Molkte, CEO and founder of One Ocean Club. “We will help fans bypass the risk of delays and the expense and organisation involved in attending games and at the same time allow them to have a good time in a unique setting.”

    Unique setting it certainly is. The ships offer genuine luxury, with none of the plastic look and feel that so many other visiting cruise ships seem to have. While on board fans will have full use of all facilities, the pubs, clubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sport courts, gyms, spas and conference centres for those who can’t manage to leave their work at home.

    Local business is not being neglected here and a large fleet of private exclusive vehicles will be available for the transfers and to convey guests on tours to places like the Hluhluwe Game Reserve and World Heritage Site at St Lucia in KZN, the Addo game park near Port Elizabeth and in Cape Town to the winelands and other tourist attractions including Robben Island.

    The use of cruise ships as floating hotels at international events like the Olympic Games and now the Soccer World Cup is not new, with ships having been used in Sydney, Athens and more recently in Vancouver, with One Ocean having been involved in several of these. It will be a new experience for South Africa, and Transnet National Ports Authority has given its full blessing and will be cooperating in every way to make the visits a success.

    The ships will make their positioning voyages to and from Europe ahead and immediately after the world cup with the Noordam and Westerdam reverting to cruise ship operation on those occasions. This presents an opportunity for line voyages in either direction, travelling via Madeira and the Atlantic in both directions.

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    one of the staterooms on board the Noordam

    Piracy – Somali govt turns to diplomacy

    Somali appoints a diplomat to the US

    Somali has to improve its diplomatic relationships with the United States to help rebuild its country as well as to protect the security of both countries, says Abukar Arman, the first diplomat assigned to the United States in more than 20 years.

    Arman said the world has changed and the lack of security in one area does not mean it is contained in that neighbourhood. He said that anything that happened on one side of the world could affect the other. He pointed out that there are tens of thousands of Somalis living in the United States and that at least 20 living in the Minneapolis area have been recruited by Somali terrorist groups.

    Finding ways of addressing these issues without creating more problems is the challenge he faces, he said.

    Arman represents a country whose government controls only a small area of the capital, Mogadishu and which is propped up in power through the presence of 5,000 African Union peacekeepers as well as the threat of further Ethiopian intervention. However, pirates operate freely from several regions of the Horn of Africa country, despite a formidable armada of international warships on patrol nearby to counteract piracy.

    Russian sends new warships to Somalia

    Three new Russian warships have been dispatched to the region of Somalia to take up anti-pirate patrol duties. The three ships are the Udaloy class large anti submarine warfare destroyer MARSHALL SHAPOSHNIKOV, the replenishment tanker PECHENGA and a rescue tug. The Russian Navy customarily sends a tug on long-range missions with fleet vessels.

    This is the fourth exchange of Russian vessels since mid 2008 when the frigate NEUSTRASHIMY arrived in the Gulf of Aden from the Baltic Fleet.

    Mystery over release of Indonesian tanker PRAMONI

    Conflicting reports have been received over the release of the Indonesian tanker PRAMONI (20,000-dwt) which was seized by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden on New Year’s Day. According to the official EU NAVFOR naval mission a ransom was paid and the drop made to pirates. However the mission said it normally took 24 hours for the pirates to release a ship after receiving payment.

    Several other reports stated categorically that the ship had not been released. Pramoni is manned by a crew of 24 seafarers, including 17 Indonesians, five Chinese, one Nigerian and one Vietnamese. The ship was sailing to Kandla when seized.

    Egypt says Costa Cruises must pay for damage to quay

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    Red Sea Ports Authority says it will expect payment from the owners of the cruise ship COSTA EUROPA for repairs necessary to a pier after a collision at the port of Sharm al Shaikh on Saturday (27 February).

    The Costa Europa was entering port in poor weather and collided with a pier at Sharm al Shaikh. Three crew members, an Indian, a Brazilian and a Honduran died when they were submerged by incoming water in the lower front of the ship. Four passengers also received injuries and have been treated in a local hospital. They were three British women and an Italian woman.

    Cruise operator Costa Cruises confirmed the accident saying that the ship had later docked safely and that all passengers were being taken to hotels and would be flown home. The ship was halfway through a cruise from Dubai to Savona.

    According to witnesses that ship experienced high winds during the night. After the collision the vessel was left with a 2-metre hole in the starboard side.

    According to Costa chairman Pier Luigi Foschi the ship encountered exceptionally bad weather conditions and an unexpected wind which blew against the ship and led to the collision.

    Egyptian prosecutors are meanwhile questioning the crew.

    Cruise industry weathers storm - confident with new ships and innovation, part 2

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    We conclude last week’s article with the balance of the CLIA Cruise Line report – if you missed it you can find that section HERE

    The newest members of the CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) fleet will include:

  • Royal Caribbean International: Allure of the Seas (5,400 passengers)

  • Norwegian Cruise Line: Epic (4,200 passengers)

  • Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Eclipse (2,850 passengers)

  • MSC: MSC Magnifica (2,550 passengers)

  • Costa Cruises: Deliziosa (2,260 passengers)

  • Holland America Line: Nieuw Amsterdam (2,100 passengers)

  • Cunard Line: Queen Elizabeth (2,092 passengers)

  • Seabourn Cruise Line: Seabourn Sojourn (450 passengers)

  • Avalon Waterways: Felicity and Luminary (138 passengers)

  • Pearl Seas Cruises: Pearl Mist (110 passengers)

  • American Cruise Line: Independence (101 passengers)

  • Looking forward, CLIA member lines have 26 new ships on order between 2010 and 2012 - 23 ocean-going vessels and three built for river/coastal cruising. This represents a net increase in capacity of 18 percent, or 53,971 beds.

    Industry Trends

    At the end of 2009, CLIA surveyed its member lines and member travel agents to get a better picture of their outlook and level of optimism for 2010 and to identify major industry trends. These are some of the findings:

  • Travel agents are optimistic about the coming year, with 75.7 percent anticipating an increase in sales and another 11 percent expecting to hold even with 2009. Most agents surveyed looked forward to sales increases of approximately 15 percent.

  • Although the cruise selling season spans the entire year, the traditional "Wave Season" (January-March) will continue to be important for cruise sales, according to agents, with 83 percent predicting an increase in booking volume of 10-20 percent.

  • Consumers, according to agents, continue to express strong interest in all types of cruising. High interest in contemporary cruising was expressed by 73 percent of clients, followed by premium cruise lines (49.7 percent) and destination/niche cruise products (47 percent). One of the most dramatic findings was the high interest in river cruising by 34 percent of clients.

  • Cruising continues to rank number one among consumers for perceived value, vacation interest and, for travel agents, ease in selling.

  • The anticipated top cruise destinations for 2010, by volume of sales, according to agents, are: The Caribbean/Bahamas, including eastern Mexico, Alaska, Mediterranean and Greek Islands/Turkey, Europe, Hawaii, Panama Canal, West Coast of Mexico, Bermuda, European rivers and Canada/New England.

  • The top "hot" destinations (consumers increased interest) include: The Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Alaska, European rivers, Europe, Hawaii, Panama Canal, West Coast of Mexico and the Bahamas.

  • While remaining relatively short, the cruise booking window is lengthening. Agents report an average window of 5.04 months (compared to 4.6 months in 2009), with only 30 percent of clients booking less than four months out (compared to 39 percent in 2009).

  • Couples dominate cruise demographics although agents report continued growth in families, extended families, and friends traveling together as well. Seniors also continue to be an important segment.

  • Fifty-three percent of agents expect to book more new cruisers in 2010 while 37 percent expect their client mix of new and repeat customers to remain constant.

  • CLIA travel agents continue to be very optimistic about travel in the next three years, particularly cruise travel - 71.1 percent describe themselves as "very or extremely optimistic."

  • CLIA training remains extremely important for member agents. Eighty-eight percent have taken CLIA training; almost 70 percent are currently enrolled in some form of CLIA education, and 87.2 percent say training is important.

  • CLIA member lines, meanwhile, identify a number of trends that will help define cruising in 2010: Strong interest in group and affinity travel (for some lines more than 40 percent of business)

  • Popularity of theme cruises, notably music, food and wine cruises

  • Some lines are increasing their line-up of onboard speakers for enhanced enrichment programs

  • Cruise lines expect baby boomers and repeat cruisers to be the biggest growth markets

  • Historical and cultural shore excursions tend to be the most popular

  • Shipboard spas continue to attract cruisers, with some lines reporting use by 40-50 percent of passengers

  • New green, environment-friendly shipboard technologies being utilised, such as solar power, advanced water treatment systems, Alternative Maritime Power, fuel conservation, innovative hull treatments and others

  • It is also worth noting that many CLIA member lines have plans in place to boost marketing efforts for 2010 to ensure continued demand, including taking full advantage of social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

    CLIA travel agents agree with member lines that consumers have much to look forward to in 2010. In addition to new ships of every size and description, these are some of the innovations that are guaranteed to generate strong interest among vacationers:

  • New shipboard amenities and facilities such as themed "neighborhoods," full-sized waterparks, adults-only areas, comedy clubs, more and more dining choices and a greater choice of accommodations

  • Expanded and diversified shore excursions, including private excursions

  • Incentives to book in advance, such as gratuity packages and discounts

  • Approximately 30 domestic ports of embarkation mean that half the residents of the United States are now within driving distance of cruises sailing to all parts of the world, eliminating the cost and inconvenience of flying

  • "Vacations are needed now more than ever; everyone needs the time and space to relax and revitalise. Nothing makes that easier than a cruise and we are confident that with new ships and itineraries, innovative shipboard experiences and incredible value, 2010 will be a great year for cruising," Dale said.

    Will the new Customs Control Act dig into your pocket?

    Article by Mark Boucher/Customs & Wylie

    Whenever draft legislation is presented to us, our primary concern is how this legislation will affect us financially, either directly or indirectly.

    The direct costs are usually quite obvious. It is the hidden costs that are often overlooked or miscalculated due to lack of adequate attention, says Mark Boucher of Customs & Wylie.

    It is therefore of utmost importance that all business concerns pay the necessary attention to proposed legislation and comment thereon, providing alternative suggestions where possible.

    The draft Customs Control Bill is a case in point.

    Did you know that this Bill states that the Commissioner may impose processing fees for most applications, including licensing, registration, accreditation, tariff, valuation and origin determinations?

    Furthermore, it is proposed that current registration certificates will lapse within six months from the date on which the new Act takes effect, meaning that fresh applications will have to be submitted within this period. If not, current registrants face being in contravention of the new Act and will be in danger of operating "illegally".

    In terms of the Draft Bill, warehouse licensees will be required to submit monthly reports to Customs and will not be allowed to store bonded cargo for a period longer than 12 months.

    These are just a few of the proposed changes to the way in which matters are currently being administered in terms of the Customs and Excise Act, 91 of 1964.

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Nigerian shippers begin accepting cargo tracking system

    Despite initial scepticism cargo owners and their representatives are starting to accept the new Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) system introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority and to appreciate its value. Shippers generally were afraid the introduction of a CTN would introduce higher costs and make the clearance of goods more cumbersome. Coupled with the realization that most neighbouring West African countries were using the system, shippers and their representatives are reportedly starting to see some value in the system.


    Safmarine moves vessel management team to Singapore

    Safmarine intends uniting its Technical Vessel Operations with the Maersk Line Vessel Management operation in Singapore. As a result about 20 positions in Cape Town are likely to be lost. A savings in economies of scale is given as the reason for the move.


    Bangladeshi shipbreaking crackdown

    Bangladesh is enforcing a new law aimed at preventing ships without toxic clearance from entering Bangladeshi waters for breaking. As a result more than 30,000 people have been placed out of work and about 100 yards have shut. The regulation came into effect in January and calls for any ship being brought to Bangladesh for breaking to have a certificate from its exporting country as being free of any toxic materials. The chairman of the Bangladeshi shipbreaker’s association said that enforcing the regulation would mean the death of industry. Bangladesh recycles about 200 ships each year.


    Botswana to buy 160 salt wagons for railway

    Botswana Railway intends buying 160 open salt wagons to be used with railing salt to South Africa. The company requires the additional wagons for moving bulk salt from Botswana Ash to Durban harbour, from where it is exported to the UK, the USA and China.

    Pics of the day – RONALD H BROWN and STELLAR CUPID

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    The research vessel RONALD H BROWN (displacement 3,250 tons, built 1996), the largest in the NOAA fleet, which arrived in Cape Town at the weekend. Picture by Aad Noorland

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    The wood carrier STELLAR CUPID (34,021-dwt, built 1996) moves down the Esplanade Channel into the Maydon Wharf Channel and a berth at MW5 on Sunday afternoon. Picture by Trevor Jones

    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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