Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 14, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson


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  • First View – HMS SCEPTRE

  • Slow steaming, rising peak season demand draw ships back into service

  • Nigeria: Lekki Port to service sub-regional consumers

  • Fog disrupts Cape Town port movement

  • Next IBSA summit kicks off Thursday

  • Cargo owner loses court claim for total loss after pirates seize ship

  • Piracy cuts oil production in Cameroon, threatens future investment

  • Pics of the day – SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER and MSC FABIENNE


    First View – HMS SCEPTRE

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    Another somewhat unusual view of the Royal Navy nuclear submarine HMS SCEPTRE sailing from Simon’s Town on Monday morning. The tug in the picture is the South African Navy tug De Neys. This picture by Bob Johnston

    News continues below...

    Slow steaming, rising peak season demand draw ships back into service

    by Bruce Barnard (JOC Online)

    The number of laid-up container ships above 5,000 20-foot equivalent units capacity has shrunk to the lowest level in over 14 months, largely due to slow steaming.

    And the number likely will fall even further in the coming two months as the peak shipping season gets underway and ocean carriers launch new line haul services to cope with rising cargo demand, Alphaliner, the Paris-based consultancy said.

    The number of unemployed box ships is expected to fall below 20 by June from a peak of 82 in March 2009 with the introduction of ten new services on the Far East-Europe and Far East-North America routes in the March-May period.

    Rising cargo demand also is expected to absorb all the large new containerships coming on stream during the first half of the year.

    All 20 container ships over 5,000 TEUs delivered since 1st January have found work.
    “However, with more than 100 new ships of over 5,000 TEUs scheduled for delivery in 2010, the idle capacity could rise again at the end of the peak season,” Alphaliner cautioned.

    Larger container ships have benefited most from the move by carriers toward slow steaming since the second half of 2009.

    Extra slow steaming has absorbed more than 50 vessels over 5,000 TEUs, according to Alphaliner.

    All 28 Asia-Europe strings have adopted slower sailings speeds and twenty five of these are deploying ships over 5,000 TEUs. Source Journal of Commerce

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    Nigeria: Lekki Port to service sub-regional consumers

    By Godfrey Bivbere (Vanguard)

    Management of the Lekki Port (LFTZ) Enterprises has said that the deepest port in the continent when completed would service consumers in the West and Central Africa subregion.

    Disclosing this in Lagos, Executive Director of the firm, John Mastoroudes, said apart from having the advantage over Calabar Free Trade Zone in terms of consumer base, the port would also provide a development platform for investors through the company-oriented operation mode of sea port infrastructure.

    “Unlike the Calabar Free Trade Zone, the Lagos zone has the advantage of having the largest consumer market in Africa with over 500 million potential consumers in both Nigeria and the surrounding countries. The Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) will also provide a perfect development platform for investors, by using the company-oriented operation mode which is a sea port infrastructure. The Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise will cover an area of 500 hectares when it is fully developed. It will also have the capability of handling all types of cargo including containers, liquid bulk and dry bulk,” he said.

    Mastoroudes also explained that the port would be the first deepwater port in Nigeria that will allow Suezmax ships to enter Nigerian waters. He pointed out that the size and scale of the port combined with its modern cargo handling and storage infrastructure would make it the ideal transhipment hub with the capacity to service the entire West African coast.

    He further noted that the new port, when completed, would lay the foundation for a significant shift in Nigeria's position from an exporter of natural resources into a regional industrial powerhouse. The project which will be operational in phases and will be fully operational by 2014, employs 350 people with a foreseeable 5,000 more to be employed over the next few years, he stated.

    The Lekki Port boss also disclosed that the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) Act is to be amended to allow private ports in the country. He however complained about the non existence of the legal frame work and the enabling legislation for the full operation of a private port.

    He noted that since about 3,000 containers are expected to be moved from the port daily, it is imperative for good road network to be on ground before the port becomes fully operational while other infrastructure are also expected to be ready.

    Mastoroudes who expressed concerns about the political and economic uncertainties in the country, however reinstated his faith in Nigeria, noting further that “we are dealing with government, not people.”

    A chieftain of the firm, Peter Banham, had in the past told Vanguard that the terminal once competed will require about 1200 employees and this equates to about 5,000 additional indirect jobs. In addition ancillary port and transport related industries will also benefit.
    Banham had said then that they would curb congestion by investing in the latest state of the art container handling equipment, as well as modern handling practices to ensure congestion would not be an issue at Lekki Port.

    On when the port is expected to commence operations, he explained that “by late summer 2011 the port will be fully operational and ready by 2012 to allow tankers access”. Source The Vanguard

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    Fog disrupts Cape Town port movement

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    The oil rig Neptune Finder with tug Salveritas – ready to go but delayed by Cape Town’s fog. Picture Aad Noorland

    The office of Cape Town’s acting harbour master, Captain Eddie Bremner has advised that the scheduled sailing of the oil rig NEPTUNE FINDER yesterday (Tuesday) had to be postponed because of fog conditions across Table Bay.

    The sailing is now scheduled for today (Wednesday) 15 April at 07h00, weather permitting.

    The harbour master’s office says that shipping delays will be kept to a minimum.

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    Next IBSA summit kicks off Thursday

    Pretoria, 13 April (BuaNews) - The upcoming IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) summit will provide an opportunity for India, Brazil and South Africa to coordinate their country positions on areas of global importance.

    Their positions on UN Security Council reform, climate change, and the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, among other issues, will be discussed by Presidents
    Zuma, Lula da Silva of Brazil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India. The three will seek to arrive at a common view on several global issues that will be reflected in a document.

    The fourth IBSA summit which gets underway on Thursday is seen as a trilateral developmental initiative to strengthen cooperation, policy dialogue and coordination among these major emerging countries.

    "The summit is expected to produce a Leader's Joint Declaration, which will reflect common views on several global issues. A number of trilateral Memoranda of Understanding in various fields will be signed," President Jacob Zuma's office said on Tuesday.

    Memoranda are expected to be signed in the areas of science and technology, solar energy, intellectual property and cooperation between diplomatic academies.

    The three countries will also share experiences on how to address similar socio-economic challenges as well as to strengthen cooperation between the countries.

    Zuma will travel to Brazil directly following his participation at the nuclear security summit in Washington. He will be accompanied by six cabinet ministers.

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    Cargo owner loses court claim for total loss after pirates seize ship

    Whether act of piracy amounted to actual or constructive total loss

    A British judge has rejected a cargo owner's claim that he was entitled to total loss insurance payment after the ship carrying his goods was seized by pirates, reported London's International Freighting Weekly.

    “The case provides welcome clarification of legal issues. . . [and] useful guidance on issues concerning shipowners, cargo owners and their insurers arising from piracy off Somalia,” said a review of the judgment by London international law firm Clyde & Co.

    Clyde & Co lawyers Andrew Preston, Simon Culhane and Mike Roderick wrote of the US-based trading company Masefield Group's suit against Amlin plc, a UK-based insurer, claiming USD 7 million payment for a total loss of the ship's cargo under the Marine Insurance Act 1906.

    The cargo, since recovered after ransom was paid, was aboard the tanker Bunga Melati Dua together with its crew and cargo, when captured by Somali pirates on 19 August 2008 in the Gulf of Aden while bound for Rotterdam from Malaysia.

    The ‘Dean versus Hornby’ case of 1854, said Masefield lawyers, established that if cargo is captured by pirates, it is deemed to be an immediate total loss ‘even if it is later recovered’.

    Masefield lawyers argued that because ransom payments to pirates were contrary to British public policy, they should not be taken into account in considering the prospects of cargo recovery for which the company sought the USD 7 million, that being the alleged loss suffered after the sale of the recovered cargo in Rotterdam.

    Said the Clyde & Co lawyers: “The judge accepted that, when read in isolation, ‘Dean versus Hornby’ might be viewed as determining that a capture by pirates as such would constitute a total loss. However, following an extensive review of the authorities he concluded that this was not in fact the case.”

    Pirates of the 1850s would be expected to sell stolen cargo and use captured ships for their own purposes, but Somali pirates almost always seize ships and crews to exact ransoms and their return is expected, said the judge.

    “Given the history of previous cases of capture by Somali pirates, there was ample evidence before the court that, in reality, there was a reasonable hope - and perhaps even a likelihood - that the ship and cargo would be recovered by payment of a ransom.” said the Clyde & Co team.

    “The judge noted that while it might be said that payments of ransom encouraged further seizures, in practice there was little option but to pay a ransom where that is the only effective means (absent diplomatic or military intervention) to remove vessel crews and property from harm,” they said. Source Schednet

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    Piracy cuts oil production in Cameroon, threatens future investment

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    By Scott Stearns (VOA)

    Cameroon says its oil production is falling, in part, because of piracy. Our correspondent looks at the economic impact of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and how it differs from piracy off the coast of Somalia.

    Cameroon's National Hydrocarbons Corporation says crude oil production is averaging just over 73,000 barrels a day. That is down 13 percent from levels just one year ago as spending in the oil sector has dropped by more than one-third.

    The state oil firm says that is partly a result of the international financial crisis and partly a result of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea brought on by increasing piracy.

    As much as 95 percent of Cameroon's oil comes from a basin in the Gulf of Guinea, where attacks on commercial shipping and raids on government outposts have made the area increasingly lawless, threatening the region's export of oil, natural gas, and bauxite.

    Seven Chinese fishermen were kidnapped last month in international waters off the Bakassi Peninsula which separates Cameroon from Nigeria. The previously-unknown Africa Marine Commando group is thought to have been paid a ransom for their release.

    Days later, the group raided a gendarmerie post in Bakassi stealing weapons and ammunition. It then hijacked a Nigerian boat off the coast of Cameroon, demanding more than USD 1 million for its release.

    Raymond Gilpin is an associate vice president for sustainable economies at the US Institute of Peace. He says piracy is partly a result of the breakdown in a deal that resolved a long-running border dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon over the Bakassi Peninsula.

    “The issues have a lot to do with the fall-out from Bakassi and the apparent harassment of Nigerian nationals on the peninsula,” said Raymond Gilpin. “There is a lot of disaffectation in the communities. And as they have done in the Delta, the main way that they demonstrate how disaffected they feel and how wronged they feel they have been is by criminal activity.”

    Gilpin says piracy threatens the profitability of new oil exploration off Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria's Niger Delta. The interest in new sources of oil will always be there, but Gilpin says it is the quality of investment that will suffer.

    “You are less likely to see oil majors who have the capacity and the deep-pockets for the sort of exploration that will be required go in first,” he said. “You are more likely to see smaller concerns go in and test the waters. And what this does it costs the countries because when the oil majors come in later, the beneficiaries are the smaller companies that took the risk to go in in the first place, not the countries.”

    Gilpin says very few countries in the Gulf of Guinea have addressed what he calls vast gaps in maritime security from Nigeria to Angola. Pirate groups that withdrew after increased security in 2000 are now reemerging. But unlike the more-publicised piracy off the coast of Somalia, Gulf of Guinea pirates are less organised.

    “Somalia is a projection of lawlessness on land out at sea,” said Gilpin. “And therefore you have more organisation among the clans to support and sustain piracy. You also have more organisation out on the high seas with mother ships supplying and sustaining the skiffs. You also have a lot more organisation in terms of financial flows with business communities in Yemen and Kenya and some in Somalia financing, supporting and facilitating the whole chain of piracy through to the ransom.”

    In the Gulf of Guinea, Gilpin says most pirates operate individually or in less organised groups of small boats.

    “What they do share in common is a general trend toward non-lethality unless they feel that their lives are in danger because what both sets are after is the ransom,” he said.

    The US private security firm MPRI last month won a USD 250-million contract from Equatorial Guinea to provide nationwide coastal surveillance against piracy.

    Gilpin says there should be a broader regional approach to maritime security either through the Economic Community of West African States or the Gulf of Guinea Commission established by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo. Source VOANews.com

    Pics of the day – SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER and MSC FABIENNE

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    The cruise ship SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER is currently on the South African coast, having called at Durban on Monday and due later in Cape Town. Durban put out its best weather for the occasion - glorious autumn sunshine throughout the day. Picture by Trevor Jones

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    The container ship MSC FABIENNE (54,774-gt, built 2004) also called at the port of Durban on Monday to work at the Durban Container Terminal and made a fine sight with a goodly load of containers, though still far from fully loaded. Displacing 87,023 tons, the 294m long ship has a capacity of 5,059 TEUs at which time she will be drawing 13.5m. Picture by Trevor Jones

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