Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 11, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – QUEEN MARY 2

  • Transnet denies reports of a new coal terminal for Richards Bay

  • Hamburg celebrates newest jewel in MSC Crociere fleet

  • SA Navy to send frigates to guard soccer stadiums

  • Classics of Yesteryear - Boissevain

  • Up to 140 oil rigs for the Lagos coast

  • No way to run a railway - Tanzania Railways prepares to lay off 1,000 employees

  • Uganda streamlines vehicle importation process

  • Disappointing month for RBCT

  • Nigeria spends USD125m to fix roads leading to ports and refineries

  • Today’s recommended Read – New piracy levy to push up the cost of imported goods

  • Pics of the day – HESPERIDES


    First View – QUEEN MARY 2

    Queen Mary II

    Cunard’s flagship, the 150,000-ton QUEEN MARY 2 is due in South Africa on her maiden visit to these shores on Tuesday, 23 March when she arrives in Durban for a one-day call. Already the ship has excited considerable interest, in the same manner everytime the Queen Elizabeth 2 called in Duban. Following her visit QM2 will head along the coast for Cape Town, where she is due for an overnight two-day call on 25 March. Picture courtesy Cunard

    Transnet denies reports of a new coal terminal for Richards Bay

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    Port of Richards Bay. Picture TNPA

    Transnet has debunked claims in the media that it is intending building a new coal terminal at South Dunes in the port of Richards Bay. The reports which have been widely circulated overseas claimed that the new terminal was being built to cater for emerging black empowered miners and to handle 1.2 million tonnes a year. It said that British rail freight company Freightliner was prepared to partner with Transnet to provide the necessary rail resources.

    According to the story, the export coal would be sold mostly to India. “The terminal is going to be built. The National Ports Authority will make an announcement this month,” said one source.

    Transnet hasn’t waited one month to respond and yesterday a spokesman for the company said it had no plans to build a new coal terminal at South Dunes and that there was already a coal terminal in operation at the port. Transnet spokesman John Dludlu was quoted saying that he could confirm that Transnet was not in talks with anyone regarding a new coal terminal at Richards Bay.

    Exactly why these stories emerged is something of a mystery except that they seem to have appeared first in India but may be the result of frustration among emerging South African miners who feel themselves denied access to the export markets on account of having no contracts with Richards Bay Coal Terminal. An Indian coal user claimed that he had seen a presentation about the building of a terminal but dismissed the idea saying that proposed costs were far too high.

    RBCT recently announced that plans to increase the capacity of its terminal at Richards Bay were on line for an increase in capacity to 91mt by the end of the first quarter of 2010, and by which time RBCT would be 30 percent owned by black-owned mining houses. There are however delivery constraints involving Transnet Freight Rail which make these figures appear to be rather wishful at this stage. See report below.

    Hamburg celebrates newest jewel in MSC Crociere fleet

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    MSC Magnifica in all her glory at the grand Christening ceremony in Hamburg, Germany, at the weekend

    On Saturday 6 March 2010, in Hamburg, Germany, international legend of the silver screen Sophia Loren christened the newest jewel in the MSC Crociere fleet, MSC MAGNIFICA. The high-profile event included a carnival celebration in the company of international celebrities, selected guests and the top management of MSC Crociere.

    At the heart of the celebrations was the eleventh cruise ship in the MSC Crociere fleet. Built along the proven lines of the MSC Musica class, at 293.8m long, displacing 93,330 tons and hosting up to 3,010 guests, MSC Magnifica is a luxurious addition to the fleet offering a sumptuous variety of leisure and entertainment.

    Continuing MSC Crociere’s tradition of christening its ships in different international ports, the day’s celebrations paid homage to the centuries-old seafaring traditions of Hamburg and of Venice, MSC Magnifica’s home port. And they did so in fitting style for the time of year, with a recreation of the Venice Carnival, with the celebrations broadcast live on two giant floating screens in the beautiful Landungsbrücken area of the harbour.

    The Grand Christening Ceremony was attended by illustrious stars, including the peerless Sophia Loren - illustrious godmother of the MSC Crociere fleet who cut the ribbon and named MSC Magnifica to a crescendo of champagne and fireworks.

    MSC Crociere’s CEO, Pierfrancesco Vago, summed up the spirit of the occasion: “MSC Magnifica has Venice in her soul and Hamburg is the Venice of Germany. It’s the perfect city for her christening.”

    In the spirit of MSC Crociere, the Grand Christening Ceremony was not only followed in Hamburg but also online, where it can still be enjoyed on MSC TV HERE

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    A toast to MSC Magnifica. Raising a glass in honour of the new ship were from left to right : the Master of MSC Magnifica Giuliano Bossi, world famous Italian musician Eros Ramazzotti; the ship’s godmother, silver screen legend Sophia Loren, the French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Anne-Marie Idrac and the President of MSC Gianluigi Aponte

    SA Navy to send frigates to guard soccer stadiums

    The South African Navy will deploy three frigates to the port cities of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban to assist with air defences during the 2010 FIFA soccer world cup. A report in the DefenceWeb publication (see below) says the navy ships will use their Thales Navale MRR 3D E/F-band search radars to assist the South African Air Force build up a comprehensive air picture over each stadium and its environs. The South African Air Force is tasked with maintaining a 50-km ‘no-fly’ zone around each stadium on match days.

    The report says that the ships can transmit their radar-pictures real-time to the Air Force Command Post in Pretoria or to Gripen fighters.

    The defence force is to spend R235 million protecting the soccer spectacular, in addition to the R600 million the police have budgeted, the report adds.

    Read the full DefenceWeb report HERE

    It’s perhaps just as well that the present Durban airport will have relocated to the new King Shaka International Airport from 1 May as the current flight path brings international flights as well as those from aircraft from Johannesburg almost directly over the Moses Mabhida stadium. For that matter the Port Elizabeth Airport is very close to the new stadium in that city - perhaps an indication that all commercial flights to and from the three cities are likely to be grounded during each game. As Snoopy would say, Good Grief!

    Classics of Yesteryear - Boissevain

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    For some time it’s been our intention to have a slot that features pictures of some of the classic ships of years gone by. This would be in contrast to pictures used to either illustrate news reports or feature in the ‘First View’ or ‘Pics of the Day’ spaces in each news bulletin. Our only reservation has been whether there would be enough support in maintaining an ongoing series, either weekly or more often.

    With the encouragement of Durban ship enthusiast Trevor Jones, we’ve chosen to have faith that enough of our growing number of readers will welcome the opportunity of sharing some of their collections with other readers.

    We’d naturally prefer pictures of ships with an African connection, although that won’t rule out ships in other settings.

    In that vein, here’s the first offering, one of the classic ships of its day, Royal Interocean Lines’ magnificent BOISSEVAIN (14,284-gt, built 1937) sailing from Durban for the last time in 1968, bound for Yokahama. Together with sister ships RUYS and TEGELBERG, Boissevain operated on RIL’s Far East-South Africa service, which was later extended to the east coast of South America. Picture is by Trevor Jones

    Up to 140 oil rigs for the Lagos coast

    Something in the order of 140 oil rigs will soon be operating off the Lagos coast in Nigeria, the Nigeria Oil & Gas conference 2010 heard last week.

    According to a report issued by the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), the potential of the region has already been manifest through the success of the Bonga and Agbami fields.

    Chief Executive Office of the Lagos Free Zone, Andre van Niekerk described the Lagos axis as having a bright future, which would lead to the number of rigs increasing over the next three or four years.

    The report issued by LADOL pointed out that in Lagos’ favour was the close proximity of the country’s two leading seaports.

    No way to run a railway - Tanzania Railways prepares to lay off 1,000 employees

    Tanzania Railways (TRL) says it wants to lay off most of its staff for a period of six months because washaways on the tracks have prevented TRL from operating.

    Heavy rains washed away sections of track in December 2009, including a railway bridge in the Morogoro region inland from Dar es Salaam. Following the washaway about 1,000 employees were sent on paid leave, which TRL now wants to make unpaid leave for the next six months. It says that repairs to the line and bridge will take six months.

    Tanzania’s troubled railway network remains the subject of a dispute between the Indian concession holder RITES and the government, which is seeking to cancel the concession. According to reports employees of TRL have had their wages delayed at times, leading to go-slows and unrest. RITES, which imported rolling stock from India has also threatened to withdraw some locomotives and coaches on lease to TRL because it says it has not been paid for their use.

    In January this year the Tanzanian government said it was seeking ways to revoke the 25-year concession awarded to RITES in 2007, because of what it claims is non-performance. Negotiations regarding the possible cancellation of the concession are believed to be ongoing.

    Uganda streamlines vehicle importation process

    Uganda has become the first country in the East African Community to launch a web-based application to facilitate the temporary importation of vehicles.

    The service code-named Temporary Importation of Motor Vehicles and Export System (TEVIES) is part of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA)'s Custom's Modernisation Project and will replace the manual system which had many challenges like failing to take vehicles back to their country’s origin.

    It has the potential to transform the clearance of temporary importation and exportation of foreign registered motor vehicles between URA and the public.

    You can read the rest of this New Vision report HERE

    Disappointing month for RBCT

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    It hasn’t been a confident start to the year for coal exports through the giant Richards Bay Coal Terminal and based on figures issued for February the terminal is unlikely to achieve some of its optimistic targets.

    Durban February shipments from the port dropped to 4.94 million tonnes (5.2mt in Feb 2009). On an annualised basis RBCT would export under 60mt for the year, compared with the disappointing 61.14mt it achieved in 2009. This is well below the stated capacity of 91mt pa that the terminal will have reached by the end of the first quarter 2010.

    Nigeria spends USD125m to fix roads leading to ports and refineries

    Nigeria is spending a record N18.7 billion (USD125 million) on repairing access roads to the country’s ports and refineries, the Federal Minister of Works, Housing and Urban Development has revealed.

    Speaking at the Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers in Abuja last Friday, the minister said that contracts for the repair and refurbishment of all roads leading to these installations have been awarded. These amounted to N18.7 billion, he said.

    The poor state of the access roads have been a bone of contention especially for the Nigerian transport industry.

    Today’s recommended Read – New piracy levy to push up the cost of imported goods

    Shipping lines have introduced a new insurance premium for goods destined for Mombasa port, piling pressure on the cost of imported products in the region.

    The new premium, known as the general cartage insurance, stems from a recent resurgence of piracy in the Gulf of Aden where more than 45 ships and 800 sailors have been hijacked in the past 14 months.

    Strong demand for South African coal in the fast-growing Asian economies is also taking up large fractions of the available shipping capacity and exposing more ships to pirate attacks adding pressure to the cost of sea transport.

    All this and more is contained in an article which you can access HERE.

    When finished click your return or back button to return to this page.

    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 – HESPERIDES

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    The Spanish Navy Antarctic oceanographic research vessel HESPERIDES (A33) (2,682-gt, built 1991) appears out of the mist/haze of a Cape Town morning before entering harbour for bunkers this week. The name Hesperides comes from the three nymphs or minor goddesses of the evening in Greek mythology, who were involved in one of Hercules’ tasks of atonement, that of retrieving golden apples in the garden of the goddess Hera to atone for his misdeeds. Pictures by Aad Noorland

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