Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 4, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • Piracy report – Saudi products tanker captured

  • News from the world of shipping

  • Tanker detained at Dar es Salaam for unloading dirty fuel

  • MAGNIFICA – The world’s most modern fleet continues to grow

  • Marine police training facility planned for Lake Victoria

  • News clips – Keeping it brief: Namibian Marine Corps graduate, and Tanzania has problem with rail contract

  • Today’s recommended Read – Shipbreaking: fears that clampdown in Asia will send toxic trade to Africa

  • Pics of the day – STENA FR8 1



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    The type 122 German Navy frigate FGS NIEDERSACHSEN in Cape Town harbour on 1 March. The ship and three others are in South African waters to take part in Exercise Good Hope with the South African Navy. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    Piracy report – Saudi products tanker captured

    Despite unfavourable weather recently Somali pirates have captured another tanker. This time it is a smallish Saudi products tanker, the AL NISR AL SAUDI (5,136-dwt, built 1993) which was seized by Somali pirates on Monday this week in the Gulf of Aden.

    According to EU NAVFOR the ship was not registered with local maritime forces operating in the Gulf and was not sailing within the designated route suggested by naval forces.

    The ship is owned by a company registered in Jeddah and is reported as having a Greek master and a crew of 13 or 14 seafarers, who are unharmed and well. The ship has been taken to an anchorage near Garacad.

    Naval authorities have warned of an increase in pirate activity as the weather becomes more favourable for their activity.


    In an unrelated development, seven Indian crew members from the Panamanian-registered vessel LEILA, which has been held in a Somali port over a business dispute, have been allowed to leave Somalia after being detained in the country for more than six months. Five of their colleagues, three Sri Lankans and two Pakistanis, remain in custody on board the ship. It is believed that the Indian High Commission in Kenya paid for the Indian seafarers’ repatriation.

    News from the world of shipping

    Maersk chief calls for relation-building between shippers and carriers

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    Maersk Brooklyn. Picture by Trevor Jones

    Shippers and shipping lines need to develop long-term relationships if they want to ensure rates and services, says Evid Kolding, Maersk Line chief executive officer speaking at the annual JOC Trans Pacific conference.

    Kolding says the shipping lines have collectively lost almost USD20 billion over the past year. During this period rates fell 29 percent compared with a 10 to 13 percent decrease in global container volumes. As the demand for cargo recovers, shippers and carriers will have to find ways of developing what he dubbed a “new, efficient, less volatile and sustainable industry.”

    According to Kolding that means long-term contracts to provide rates and service reliability, while giving the shipping lines an opportunity to eliminate unnecessary costs and waste. This can be achieved by improving the cooperation between shippers and the lines, with incentives for accurate forecasting and penalties for overbooking. Lines should also increase the use of automation so as to reduce documentation errors and simplify shipping processes. He said it should be as easy to book a container as it now is to order a book from Amazon.


    Horizon bucks the trend by speeding up

    US container carrier Horizon Lines intends bucking the trend towards slower steaming by introducing a high-speed trans-pacific container service between Asia and the US west coast. This, it says, will take advantage of a shortage of capacity and the increased transit times of slow-steaming container lines.

    According to Horizon’s chairman, president and CEO, Chuck Raymond, container rates in the Pacific have bottomed out and are rebounding and studies undertaken by Horizon reveal opportunities for a niche operator that can offer faster transit times.

    “We believe the timing is right. Container rates in the Pacific trade lane have bottomed out and are rebounding. China’s economy is showing solid signs of recovery and many major importers have reported that their service needs are not being met.”

    The weekly service will be launched using the company’s five 2,824-TEU Hunter-class container ships that are capable of 23 knots. The ships have been operating as part of a space-charter agreement that Horizon has with Maersk Line. Both companies have agreed not to renew their current Asia space-charter agreement when it expires. Horizon has meanwhile entered into a new six-year US terminal services agreement with APM Terminals North America.

    What Horizon seems to be suggesting is that slow-steaming, while having obvious benefits including being environmentally-friendly, is largely a result of over-capacity and the American company is gambling that the ‘novelty’ of a faster service is going to win it business. One wonders how long it will be before other lines see things the same way and all revert to fast steaming?

    Tanker detained at Dar es Salaam for unloading dirty fuel

    The British products tanker PRIYA (44,128-dwt, built 1996) has been detained in Dar es Salaam after unloading a cargo of 14.1 million litres of contaminated jet fuel, according to a report in the Citizen newspaper (Dar es Salaam).

    The vessel was prevented from sailing by officials from the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), the Tanzania Revenue Authority, the Tanzania Police and an official from the High Court who delivered papers ordering the ship to remain in port.

    In documents shown to the media the TBS said it had inspected and tested Jet A1 fuel imported by MGS International and Camel Oil Tanzania Ltd and Oryx of Dar es Salaam and had recommended that the fuel be barred from entering the Tanzanian market.

    The fuel has a value of USD3.2 million.

    A spokesman for the two importing companies said the quantity and quality of the fuel loaded by the Priya was tested and certified at the port of loading by a loading inspector and acknowledged by the master of the ship, based on the standards stipulated in the contract between them (the Tanzanian oil companies) and the vessel owners.

    The Citizen relates a similar case of two years ago involving the tanker ASIA LION that was also detained in the port of Dar es Salaam because of a dispute over contaminated fuel. The respective parties in that case eventually agreed to settle the matter out of court and the ship was allowed to sail.

    MAGNIFICA – The world’s most modern fleet continues to grow

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    MSC Magnifica

    MSC Crociere has officially taken delivery of its new ship MSC Magnifica from the STX Europe shipyard at Saint-Nazaire (France).

    In the traditional “flag ceremony”, the shipyard’s pennant and the French flag were first lowered, accompanied by the French national anthem, before Jacques Hardelay, General Manager of STX Europe, formally handed the ship over to MSC Crociere shipowner Gianluigi Aponte. Mr Aponte then gave command of the ship to Captain Giuliano Bossi, and the flags of Italy and MSC Crociere were raised to the sound of the Italian national anthem.

    The honour of cutting the ribbon fell to MSC vice-president Mrs Alexa Aponte Vago, daughter of Mr Aponte and wife of MSC Crociere CEO Pierfrancesco Vago, who was also in attendance, as was the Manager of MSC Croisière France & Belux Erminio Eschena. After the traditional breaking of a bottle of champagne, three blasts from the ship’s siren signalled the end of the ceremony.

    On behalf of MSC Crociere, CEO Pierfrancesco Vago said: “We are delighted and proud to take delivery of this magnificent new ship, bringing the MSC Crociere fleet to 11 units. Our capacity has increased 10 times in just 7 years to reach 1,200,000 passengers in 2010, an unprecedented rate of growth.

    “But our growth is not just a question of numbers, he continued. “MSC Crociere has earned worldwide recognition for its industry-leading innovations in ship design, and MSC Magnifica is the perfect demonstration. Based on a tried and tested model, she introduces previously unseen levels of sophistication and comfort, and does so in total respect for the highest environmental standards.”

    In his speech, STX Europe’s General Manager Jacques Hardelay said: “We are honoured that STX France has once again contributed to the growth of the most modern cruise fleet. MSC Magnifica brightly displays the know-how and constant improvement capacity of both the STX France SA’s teams and our partners. This new cruise ship illustrates the excellent and exceptional collaboration between Saint-Nazaire and MSC Crociere teams.”

    MSC Magnifica is the eleventh ship in the fleet. 293.8m long, 59.4m tall, 32m wide, and capable of carrying over 3,000 guests, her elegant design is once again the work of award-winning naval architects De Jorio Design International. With respect to her sister vessels in the ‘Musica’ class, her 22,000 square metres of public areas contain numerous innovations, from the Magrodome sliding roof over one of the pools to the 10-pin bowling, vintage billiard room and interactive 4D cinema.

    After an inaugural visit to Southampton dedicated to the UK market, MSC Magnifica was scheduled to begin her pre-christening cruise from Saint-Nazaire on Monday 1 March, calling at Cherbourg (Tue 2nd), Dover (Wed 3rd) and Amsterdam (Thu 4th) before reaching the port of Hamburg (Fri 5th) for the official christening ceremony on Saturday 6 March.

    This grand event will be attended by an array of show business stars, including UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and international singing sensation Nana Mouskouri, world-famous Italian singer-songwriter Eros Ramazzotti and platinum-selling German artist Sasha.

    Of course, the heart of the event will be the cutting of the ribbon and the naming of the ship by screen legend Sophia Loren, to a crescendo of champagne and fireworks.

    The christening ceremony can be enjoyed not only by those in Hamburg – onboard and ashore on two giant floating screens in the beautiful Landungsbrucken area of the harbour - but also by online spectators around the world seen here on MSC TV

    Mr Stefano Vigoriti, managing director of MSC Cruises in South Africa and responsible for the Sub Saharan region, said the addition of MSC Magnifica to the MSC Crociere fleet will provide South African travellers with an exceptional new state-of-the-art cruising option in Europe.

    “South Africans have been able to experience the high standard of cruising on offer from MSC Crociere through MSC Sinfonia which has been operating out of Durban in the Indian Ocean region this past summer. MSC Magnifica, positioned as it is at the top end of our stable of 11 cruise liners, is sure to deliver that “wow” factor for anyone choosing to cruise aboard her in Europe,” said Mr Vigoriti.

    MSC Sinfonia, which has been described as the finest floating hotel ever to operate out of a South African port for a full summer season, returns to Europe on 1 April. She will cruise in the Mediterranean during the Northern Hemisphere summer and return to South Africa for a second season from November this year until May next year, making it the longest season yet for a cruise liner in South African waters.

    Marine police training facility planned for Lake Victoria

    Tanzania has received an offer from the United States to build a marine police training facility at Mwanza on the southern shores of Lake Victoria. The promised assistance includes the supply of patrol boats for the lake.

    The US will equip Tanzania with ten patrol boats for Lake Victoria and the other waterways under its control. The building of the marine police college is aimed at creating a better trained and equipped police force capable of dealing with acts of lawlessness on the lakes and waterways, which the Tanzanian police has until now been largely powerless to counteract.

    These acts include robbery and what has been described as piracy on fishermen. The perpetrators are described as so-called ‘warlords’ who until now have been able to act free from retribution or reaction by the authorities. In a recent case 14 fishermen were murdered on an island in Lake Victoria – their murderers are mostly still at large although Tanzanian police claim to have made a few arrests.

    Tanzania and the United States have enjoyed a close relationship since the terrorist attacks on US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. With the onset of an Islamist movement fighting for control of Somalia in the north, which the US claims has links to Al-Qaeda and other terrorist movements, East Africa has in recent years become an area of strong US interest and influence. – source East African Business Week and own.

    News clips – Keeping it brief: Namibian Marine Corps graduate, and, Tanzania has problem with rail contract

    Namibian Marine Corps graduate

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    NS Brendan Sembwaye, new patrol ship introduced last year

    The 200 Namibian Marine Corp graduates who graduated at the Rooikop Marine Training Centre last week are set to become the first Marine Infantry Company in the Namibian Defence Force and will become the foundation of the first Marine Battalion. The recruits underwent 16 weeks of intense training at Rooikop. The Namibian Navy recently took possession of its first new patrol vessel which was built in Brazil, see that report HERE


    Tanzania has problem with rail contract

    The Tanzanian Government faces a quandary about how to get out of a binding contract with Rail India Technical Economic Services (RITES), the Indian company that holds a 25-year concession to manage and operate the Tanzanian Railway Corporation, which has since been renamed Tanzanian Railways (TRL). The government, which has informed RITES and TRL of its intention, now finds it is going to be prohibitively expensive to revoke the concession. The dispute is threatening to disrupt what services are still maintained, with threats from RITES to withdraw imported locomotives because of non-payment and re-export them elsewhere.

    Today’s recommended Read – Shipbreaking: fears that clampdown in Asia will send toxic trade to Africa

    Bangladesh recently announced it was not going to accept ships for breaking if they contain toxic materials. See that report Bangladeshi shipbreaking crackdown HERE

    Now there are fears that, following the clampdown on ship breaking in Asia, Africa will become the next destination for owners of older vessels filled with banned materials. That is unless measures are introduced to stop today’s dangerous and polluting practice of beach-breaking.

    Read this highly topical article HERE.

    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 – STENA FR8 1

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    The chemical products tanker with the unusual name (although it probably has a logical explanation) of STENA FR8 1 (46,846-dwt, built 2007) called at Cape Town last week. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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