Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 10, 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 – SAFMARINE ASIA

  • Maersk reinstates Farrell Lines

  • Kenyan-flagged Spanish fishing vessel highjacked by pirates

  • UBT Ocean reported off Haradere in Somalia

  • Call on African countries to help prosecute Somali pirates

  • SkySails sets sail on a fishing trawler

  • East London port’s future hanging in the balance

  • Sea Rescue – NSRI rescues divers from sinking craft

  • Walvis Bay synchrolift back in service

  • Zambia identifies Glencore as preferred bidder to supply petroleum feedstock

  • Pics of the day – PRISCO ABAKAN


    First View – SAFMARINE ASIA

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    The container ship SAFMARINE ASIA (21,8870gt, built 1987) in Cape Town port yesterday. Picture by Aad Noorland

    Maersk reinstates Farrell Lines

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Farrell Lines, an American shipping line once well-known on the African coast, has been revived by Maersk Line.

    The Danish company inherited the brand when it acquired P&O Nedlloyd in 2005, which in turn had bought out Farrell in 2000. Farrell Lines was founded in 1925 and operated a general cargo service between the United States and South and East Africa.

    Maersk Line recently reflagged two Ro-Ro ships into US colours, sister car carriers ALLIANCE BEAUMONT and ALLIANCE CHARLESTON (68,871-gt, built 2004 and 2008) which will operate the new Farrell Lines service together with two slightly smaller US-flagged vessels, the Alliance St Louis and Alliance Norfolk.

    The fleet of four Farrell ships will operate a joint service with Höegh Autoliners and its US affiliate, Alliance Navigation on behalf of the US government and commercial customers.

    The two larger Farrell vessels are capable of carrying up to 7,900 motor vehicles and have over 250,000 square feet of deck space available for military cargo. The Alliance Norfolk and Alliance St Louis are slightly smaller vessels which can carry up to 6,500 car units.

    John Reinhardt, president and CEO of Maersk Line Ltd holds the same position with Farrell Lines.

    Kenyan-flagged Spanish fishing vessel highjacked by pirates

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    Spanish/Kenyan fishing vessel Sakoba, highjacked off Dar es Salaam. Picture EU NAVFOR

    The European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) operating off the Somali coast reported yesterday (Tuesday) that the Kenyan-flagged Spanish-owned fishing vessel SAKOBA has been reported highjacked by Somali pirates 400 n.miles east of Dar es Salaam. The pirated vessel was observed on a heading for Haradere and EU NAVFOR said it was continuing to monitor the situation. There were no reports of the number or nationality of the crew.

    This highjacking took place a couple of days after another vessel, the tanker UBT OCEAN (9,224-dwt, built 2009) was similarly highjacked off the coast of Madagascar.

    UBT Ocean reported off Haradere in Somalia

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    UBT Ocean – picture by EU NAVFOR

    The chemical tanker UBT OCEAN (9,224-dwt, built 2009), which was hijacked on Friday 4 March, is now reported by EU NAVFOR as being in the vicinity off the pirate stronghold east of Haradere. The tanker which has a crew of 21 Burmese on board, was captured while sailing from the United Arab Emirates to Nigeria, according to some sources. Others reported the ship was heading for Dar es Salaam.

    What is agreed is that the ship was captured off the coast of Madagascar. The information from EU NAVFOR comes amidst other reports saying that the company operating the ship has lost all contact with the vessel. UBT Ocean is owned by a Norwegian company Ugland Brovig Tankers which maintains offices in Singapore from where the ship is managed.

    In an unrelated case, a report of an unsuccessful attack on the Greek bulker MELINA 1 off the coast of India is being touted as the work of Somali pirates. The attack took place 200n.miles west of the Lakshwadeep Islands and was only thwarted by the timely arrival of an Indian Navy coastguard vessel and helicopter.

    According to these reports the armed pirates were operating from two small skiff and three larger vessels. After the attack was aborted the Melina 1 was escorted out of the area.

    Call on African countries to help prosecute Somali pirates

    The US envoy in Tanzania has urged African countries to assist with the prosecution of Somali pirates captured in the Indian Ocean, saying this would be a way of tackling the continent’s growing piracy problem. US Ambassador Alfonso Lenhardt said that only Kenya and the Seychelles were prepared to act by prosecuting pirates. “More countries need to come forward. This is how to stop it,” he said.

    The ambassador pointed out that in February a US warship had helped prevent pirates from capturing a ship flying the Tanzanian flag. The vessel turned out to be a North Korean-owned ship leaving the US with the question of who might now prosecute the suspects.

    He said that Tanzanian law allowed suspects to be prosecuted only when Tanzanian citizens or a Tanzanian ship was attacked. “The Tanzanian government has to decide what it wants to do and how it is going to deal with this problem,” he said, adding that it was in everyone’s benefit to keep the sea lanes open.

    SkySails sets sail on a fishing trawler

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    The trawler Maartje Theadora under SkySails propulsion

    Practical tests have begun on using SkySails’ towing kite with Germany’s largest fishing trawler, Maartje Theadora. The tests took place on the North Sea near Ijmuiden, Netherlands on Tuesday, using the innovative wind-propulsion system developed by the Hamburg-based manufacturer, SkySails.

    The maiden voyage of the ROS-171 Maartje Theadora with SkySails propulsion will take the ship across the Atlantic to South America and then into the South Pacific, and according to the manufacturer it heralds the use of regenerative energy sources in deep-sea fishing.

    “As one of Europe’s biggest fishing companies, we consider it an important duty to not only promote sustainable fishing, but to take a leading role in making it a reality. For us, sustainable in this context means acting in a manner that makes both good economic and ecological sense. And so, by combining our MSC-certified pelagic shoal fishery with the innovative SkySails propulsion system, we intend to realise major savings in fuel and costs, while at the same time significantly reducing the adverse effects on the environment caused by harmful emissions – first by employing the system during those long transfer runs and then, looking to the future, during direct fishing operations,” said Dr Uwe Richter, the Managing Director of Westbank Hochseefischerei GmbH, which belongs to the Parlevliet & Van der Plas BV Group and is responsible for the technical and commercial operation of the ROS-171 Maartje Theadora.

    “Because operating conditions on a fishing vessel differ greatly from those of a commercial cargo ship, especially during trawling operations, our key focus during this phase of trials will be on technically adapting the system to the circumstances specific to fishing operations,” explained Stephan Brabeck, the Technical Managing Director of SkySails. “Working hand in hand with our customer Parlevliet & Van der Plas, we will be further enhancing and developing the technology in practice, and in turn devising a wind propulsion system that is optimised for use on fishing vessels.”

    The 141m long Maartje Theadora sails literally under the flag of Germany and makes use of two MaK engines producing a total of 8,640 kW. The ship carries a crew of 40 during fishing trips. The 160m² SkySails towing-kite propulsion system will be used to relieve the ship’s main engine.

    SkySails propulsion is already in use on the cargo ships Beluga SkySails of Beluga Shipping, as well as on the Michael A and Thesus of the Wessels Shipping Co and is currently being installed on another two cargo ships being built. Having proved its capability on several tests before installation on these ships, the manufacturuer SkySails says it has several additional orders on its books.

    Tractive forces measured have shown that the towing kite system is the most powerful and effective sailing system available, producing between 5 and 25 times more power per square metre than conventional sail propulsion. A 160m2 SkySails generates a tractive force of 8 metric tons, which is comparable to the thrust of an Airbus A318 engine.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    Germany’s largest trawler Maartje Theadora

    East London port’s future hanging in the balance

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    East London’s car terminal with the ramp and road leading to the Mercedes-Benz plant directly above the cliffs and overlooking the port

    The future of East London as a viable port hangs on a set of decisions still to be made by government that will influence whether the German car manufacturer continues building C-Class Mercedes-Benz motor cars in the Eastern Cape city.

    It all depends on whether government’s automotive investment scheme (AIS) and the revised Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) will provide the incentives for Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) to secure a contract from its parent company in Germany to continue producing the model at its East London plant.

    This is not the first time everything has resolved around similar issues, which have gone in East London’s favour in the past. When the last contract came East London’s way the town was able to breathe a sigh of relief, figuratively speaking. Not without reason is it joked that when MBSA gets a cold, everyone in East London reaches for a tissue, such is the town’s strong dependence on the car manufacturer.

    While that may be somewhat of an exaggeration, the future of the port of East London is certainly heavily reliant on what happens in the West Bank factory overlooking the river and harbour. The modern car terminal is used virtually as an exclusive car park and storage facility for Mercedes-Benz and if the stories are true, it took the intervention of MBSA back in the late 1990s to prevent Transnet from closing East London as a commercial port.

    But now the future of port’s main customer hinges on a decision to be taken by the German parent company. The decision is simple - where to build the new C-Class. Also in the running are Mercedes-Benz production plants at Atlanta in the USA and in China, but South Africa still has a chance, according to MBSA CEO Dr Hansgeorg Niefer. He said discussions were ongoing and that the automotive industry was awaiting an announcement from the South African government about AIS.

    AIS is intended to replace the current Motor Industry Replacement Programme (MIDP). The latter was introduced as a grant to support investment in new plant and machinery within the local motor industry and it enabled the South African motor industry to lead the way in South Africa’s economic triumphs of the 1990s and 2000s.

    Sea Rescue – NSRI rescues divers from sinking craft

    The National Sea Rescue Institute in Port Elizabeth has been involved in the rescue of nine men in a sinking rubber inflatable off Cape Recife.

    Ian Gray, NSRI station commander takes up the report: “At 20h28 NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following a request for urgent assistance from a 7 metre rigid inflatable rubber duck, with 9 local men on-board, reporting to be taking water 4.5 nautical miles West of Cape Recife, 1 Nautical Mile off-shore, (12 Nautical Miles from our NSRI rescue base), in 3 to 5 metre swells.

    “Our NSRI duty crew launched our 5.5 metre rigid inflatable rescue craft Eikos Rescuer I, with our NSRI duty coxswain and three NSRI duty crew on-board, and on arrival in the search area white illuminating flares were used to find the casualty craft whose skipper had reported having no battery power to his craft and only one torch to use as a signalling means.

    “Following a brief search the casualty craft was found semi-submerged and all 9 men, 8 of whom were wearing wet-suits, were transferred on-board our rescue craft and were brought safely to our rescue base where they required no further assistance.

    “Daniel Heimann, NSRI Port Elizabeth duty coxswain, said that according to the skipper of the casualty craft his boat had become heavy laden with water from unknown means and as the craft got lower in the water she started to take water over the bow causing battery and motor failure and causing the boat to begin sinking, forcing the men to call a distress.

    “Daniel said that after the men were taken on-board the NSRI rescue craft, the semi-submerged inflatable was left at anchor, with all gear on-board including dive cylinders and breathing apparatus sets. However, a Police helicopter that later searched for in the vicinity of where the boat was left, found no sign of the semi-submerged casualty craft and its fate is unknown.

    “The NSRI’s mission is to save lives at sea and under the circumstances the casualty craft and her gear could not be brought back to shore with her crew.

    “The casualty craft’s owner will attempt to find the semi-submerged boat at day break.”

    Walvis Bay synchrolift back in service

    Following a month-long repair, the Walvis Bay port synchrolift has been returned to service. The lift was taken out of service to enable necessary repairs and an upgrade project to be completed.

    Costing in the region of ND8 million (R8m) the synchrolift has had new rails fitted, its concrete resurfaced and the repair bays replaced. Recondition of moving parts and motors was also undertaken and a new ballast tank outlet installed.

    The first vessel to go on the refurbished synchrolift, a small fishing vessel, has already been lifted.

    Zambia identifies Glencore as preferred bidder to supply petroleum feedstock

    Zambia’s Public Procurement Authority said yesterday that Glencore Energy has been chosen as the preferred bidder to supply 1.4 million tonnes of petroleum feedstock over two years for Zambia’s copper industry.

    As the continent’s leading producer of copper Zambia requires a large volume of diesel fuel in its mining operations. The country’s Ministry of Energy and Water Affairs has been given the go-ahead to enter into negotiations with Glencore Energy UK Ltd over the supply of the fuel, which will be shipped in via the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. From there it will presumably be railed to Zambia along the Tazara railway.

    Pics of the day – PRISCO ABAKAN

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    The Cypriot-flagged, Singapore-owned and operated bulker PRISCO ABAKAN (57,334-dwt, built 2009) in glorious sunny weather in Cape Town this past week. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    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