Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 22, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson


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  • First View – DOLPHIN COAST

  • Shearwater to be sold in Durban on Friday

  • German company buys into CSAV

  • YESTERYEAR – those classic ships: MEDITERRANEAN STAR

  • Ethiopia, Djibouti row erupts over new port directive

  • Maersk slams Hamburg costs and productivity

  • IT boost to Damco Freight Logistics

  • Maritime Renaissance

  • CMA CGM takes delivery of new ship

  • Piracy: bulk carrier VOC DAISY highjacked east of Salalah

  • RedPrairie opens on the veld

  • Pics of the day – ATLANT REGINE and PENTOW SALVOR


    First View – DOLPHIN COAST

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    Where do old tankers go when they retire? Mostly to Africa of course, might well be the refrain, and adding West Africa to be more specific. Remeber the DOLPHIN COAST (2,575-dwt, built 1977), which for many years performed bunker deliveries along the South African coast while sailing in the colours of the now defunct FFS Bunkers. Near the end of her time in South Africa she operated as part of KZN Oils, which had taken over FFS Bunkers. After ’retirement’ in South Africa on account of her age and single skinned hull, the Dolphin Coast relocated to Nigeria where the gallant little ship is now registered to a Nigerian company but is still working hard and earning a living for her owners. Go Dolphin Coast! Cruella de Villiers of Port Elizabeth came across Dolphin Coast while in Douala, Cameroon last week, and took the picture of the ship in her new colours. Picture by Cruella de Villiers

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    Shearwater to be sold in Durban on Friday

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    Shearwater – a date with destiny tomorrow. Picture courtesy Admiralty Sales

    A little ship with an interesting history on the African east coast is due to be sold at auction tomorrow (Friday, 23 April), with the strong likelihood that she will be scrapped thereafter.

    The ship is the SHEARWATER (1733-gt, built 1976), now listed as a general cargo vessel but originally a Rhine River barge, which was converted for unrestricted trade by Fred Keeley of Keeley Granite, who purchased the vessel to carry the building materials necessary for developing an island that he had purchased in the Seychelles in the late 1990s.

    It appears that Mr Keeley sold the vessel in 2005 to a Maydon Wharf, Durban-registered company of the name Shearwater Shipping Lines, who operated her to carry containers and general cargo to the Indian Ocean islands and soda ash from Mombasa to Durban.

    Shearwater has remained in Durban harbour since arriving on 27 September last year for a dry docking, which occurred between 12 October and 6 November, with repairs continuing at the repair quay until 21 December when work on her was stopped on account of non-payment to the ship repairers, Elgin Brown & Hamer.

    As a result it appears the little ship may have reached the end of her days, with a strong possibility that she may be broken up for scrap here in Durban, subject of course to the sale in the morning. Captain Roy Martin of Admiralty Sales is conducting the auction and is not optimistic that a generous price will be realised.

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    Shearwater’s unusual bridge, designed to be lowered telescopically to allow the vessel to motor under European river bridges. Picture courtesy Admiralty Sales

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    German company buys into CSAV

    Chilean shipping group CSAV has successfully concluded the sale of 21% of the company to a group of German ship owners that agreed to slash charter rates at the height of the last year’s box sector crisis.

    The deal, which was struck in May 2009 but only completed last week, saw shipowners with container ships on charter to CSAV invest USD 360 million in the company to cover the equivalent of a 36% cut in charter fees.

    The group of German owners which includes Peter Döhle, Rudolf Schepers, Hammonia, Rickmers and F. Laeisz, now represents the second largest shareholder grouping after Maritima de Inversiones, which is controlled by the family of CSAV chairman Jaime Claro.
    German shipowners agreed to the investment at the end of May 2009 in a last-gasp bid to stave off the company’s collapse.

    Shipowners have paid Peso583 (USD1.13) per share for 318m shares, representing a 33% premium to this week’s share price of Peso436.

    As part of the deal, the German owners have insisted on changes in management. Two new executives have been appointed to the board as a result.

    Ricardo de Tezanos Pinto, administrator of the fund manager Fondo Magallanes, and former CSAV general manager Francisco Silva will join the board to accelerate the Valparaiso-based shipping line’s ongoing restructuring.- Turkish Maritime

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    YESTERYEAR – those classic ships: MEDITERRANEAN STAR

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    Instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with the style and appearance of post war Union-Castle ships is the former BLOEMFONTEIN CASTLE (18,400-gt), which entered service between the UK, South Africa and Mozambique (as far as Beira) in 1950.

    After a mere nine years of Union-Castle service the ship was sold to Chandris Lines, who placed her on their Europe – Australia service, where she sailed with the name PATRIS.

    Subsequently the ship was sold again in 1976, becoming a passenger-car ferry for the Karageorgis company and operating between Greece and Italy under the name MEDITERRANEAN STAR. It is in this guise that she is appears in this photograph, arriving in Ancona in July 1984. Picture is by Trevor Jones

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    Ethiopia, Djibouti row erupts over new port directive

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    map courtesy CIA Factbook

    A row has erupted between Ethiopia and the government of Djibouti over the latter’s promulgation of a new directive, issued last week that will see Ethiopia lose millions of dollars in port operations.

    The directive establishes a monopoly, in favour of Maersk Djibouti Freight Station, over operations involving the stuffing and unstuffing of containers at the Djibouti port.

    The operation, which was hitherto handled by all forwarding companies, could cost Ethiopia some USD 9 million per year.

    Talking to a local newspaper, Fortune, Mekonnen Abera, director general of Ethiopian Port Affairs Authority said the directive violates a 2002 bilateral agreement between the two countries.

    Under the agreement, Djibouti is expected to provide Ethiopia with a 60 day notification prior to price increments or actions that affect the port’s operations.

    “It is a huge decision. We need to talk and want the case to remain pending in the meantime,” Mekonnen said ahead of a planned official visit to Djibouti next week to closely examine the issue with his Djibouti counterpart.

    Ethiopian Freight Forwarders and Shipping Agents Association have also complained about the directive.

    In a letter addressed to Aden Ahmed Dualeh, board chairman of Djibouti port authority, the association argues that third party handling in what concerns container stuffing and unstuffing operations could lead to confusion over who should bear responsibility in case of damage, shortage or mixing of cargoes.

    In line with the directive, Maersk has already imposed a 100 dollar tariff per container that enters its premises for stuffing or unstuffing.

    Ethiopia has an average of 100,000 in-bound containers unstuffed and an average of 30,000 – 40,000 out-bound containers stuffed at the Djibouti port per annum.- Afrik.com

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    Maersk slams Hamburg costs and productivity

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    Maersk Duisburg. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    The chief operating officer of the world’s largest container shipping line has lashed out at the port of Hamburg for being too expensive despite being less productive than its major competitors.

    “We see the difference between the well-performing terminals like Bremerhaven or Rotterdam and ports like Hamburg, Antwerp and Le Havre with somewhat lower productivity figures,” Maersk Line’s chief operating officer Morten Engelstoft told a meeting of Bremen’s freight forwarders’ association.

    Bremerhaven and Rotterdam were the best ports on the northern and western ranges, according to Mr Engelstoft.

    “At both places we have good performance levels and good efficiency,” he said.

    When comparing western European ports and German North Sea ports respectively, Bremerhaven performed better than Hamburg while Rotterdam performed better than Le Havre, Mr Engelstoft said.

    Mr Engelstoft’s preference for Bremerhaven came not completely as a surprise, as Maersk’s terminal operator APM operates a joint facility with Eurogate in Germany’s second-largest seaport. In Hamburg, on the other hand, APM failed in its attempts to set up a dedicated terminal in the past.

    But Mr Engelstoft’s critical remarks struck a nerve. Hamburg is trying to regain its competitiveness after suffering from the crisis more than its competitors and it is often criticised for being too expensive.

    However, the port has always argued that it is one of the most efficient ports. Mr Engelstoft’s statement has now cast doubts upon this.

    Mr Engelstoft also stressed that costs in Hamburg were high, especially for pilotage. “They are three times higher than in Bremerhaven and must be reduced for the port to stay competitive,” he said.

    According to Mr Engelstoft, port costs account for about 28% of a carrier’s total costs.

    Speaking about the new deep-water terminal Jade-Weser Port in Wilhelmshaven, which is currently under construction, Mr Engelstoft said that his group remains committed to the project. Maersk subsidiary APM will operate the terminal together with Eurogate. However, he stressed that timing was very important given a number of plans for capacity extensions at terminals.

    “It is important to get off to a good start,” Mr Engelstoft said. He added that it is hard for a port to recover from a bad reputation.

    Both, Eurogate and APM are understood to want to delay the start of the new terminal, which is currently planned for February 2012, as they expect overcapacities to persist for the next few years. The state of Lower Saxony, on the other hand, wants to prevent any further delay. - Turkish Maritime

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    IT boost to Damco Freight Logistics

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    Damco in South Africa has signed a contract with IT company Compu-Clearing to integrate its operational and financial systems into one platform. Seen signing the deal is (front) Margi van Gogh, Managing Director of Damco South Africa and Arnold Garber, Chairman of Compu-Clearing Outsourcing Limited. (Back) Mario Acosta-Alarcon, Managing Director of Compu-Clearing with Nadia Hewett, Project Manager, Damco South Africa.

    Damco in South Africa, the new, combined brand of the AP Moller - Maersk Group's logistics activities, has signed a contract with the IT-company Compu-Clearing Outsourcing Limited to integrate the operational and financial systems into one platform.

    This local IT solution provides Damco with integrated systems for customs clearing needs, freight forwarding, air cargo and finance while supplementing the overall IT infrastructure of Damco. It is a tailored and streamlined IT system with an open database and terminal sessions that can be connected to any location in the world. The solution facilitates improved connectivity between operations and finance, increase productivity as the system allows for an interface with Damco global systems and also avoids possible rejections on cargo dues submitted electronically with checks in place to warn when data entries are not acceptable.

    “Compu-Clearing was an obvious choice,” says Margi van Gogh, Managing Director of Damco South Africa. “Their 20-year track record of providing products and services specifically geared to customs’ clearing, freight forwarding, and air cargo means they understand the industry. The implementation of the innovative, multi-dimensional system will enable Damco International to work smarter as the local application interfaces with Damco global systems and avoid double entry.”

    Compu-Clearing is the leader in National Port Authority Electronic Data Interchange connectivity, and cargo dues are now paperless in Damco South Africa. It not only makes the communication with customers easier, it also benefits the environment by saving more than 20,000 cargo due prints yearly. Compu-Clearing experience with integrating systems in large enterprises means that they are au fait with enterprise resource planning systems and know the ideal points of contact. This knowledge leads to quicker delivery for the customers. In conclusion, the IT system is a win-win for both Damco and its customers, says van Gogh.

    Fact File

    Damco is an independent business activity within the AP Moller - Maersk Group. The company offers a broad range of supply chain management and freight forwarding services to customers all over the world, and has 10,500 employees in over 280 owned offices across 90 countries with representation in 120 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, North America, Europe, Middle East, and Latin America.

    In 2009, Damco had a net turnover of over USD 2 billion, managed more than 2.3 million TEU of ocean freight and supply chain management volumes and air freighted more than 60,000 tonnes.

    Maritime Renaissance

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    Queen Mary 2, fully booked for today’s departure for New York. Picture by Trevor Jones

    The recent disruption to global air travel has reminded travelers that, while it may take longer, travel by sea is reliable and enjoyable. With flights across Europe grounded and the prospect of further volcanic ash to come, something of a renaissance may be underway in the way we travel.

    Passengers have been increasingly reliant on alternative modes of transportation – and since busy crossings such as the English Channel and Atlantic Ocean have become no-fly zones, they have turned to ships.

    Cunard, which has operated a transatlantic crossing using passenger ships since 1840, says that its seven-day 3,000-passenger Southampton – New York crossing on Thursday April 22 is now fully booked, but passengers can join a wait list. The next scheduled voyage will leave on Thursday April 29, and is also sold out with a wait list.

    Princess Cruises, which will sail a 28-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale in the US to Copenhagen in Denmark on April 26 via Portugal, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Belgium, says that it is experiencing “unprecedented demand” for transatlantic cruises from the US.

    Meanwhile, the maiden cruise of the Celebrity Eclipse, a brand new 122,000-ton liner, has been put on hold so that the ship can set sail for Spain, where it will pick up stranded British and Irish tourists. The ship’s owner Celebrity Cruises is working with major tour operators to try to assist with getting passengers, some of whom flew into Europe using Madrid as it was the nearest available airport, to their destinations.

    “The events affecting air travel are completely unprecedented, and it is in times like these that the global travel industry needs to pull together,” said Richard D Fain, chairman of Celebrity Cruises.

    Cruise and Maritime Voyages, which operates liners within Europe, says that the demand for last minute travel has surged and that it is “flat-out answering calls.”

    Commercial ferry operators in Spain have said that they are now fully booked until next Thursday and hundreds were turned away by a British Navy vessel, which only had capacity to carry 200 people identified as vulnerable by officials.

    Ferry companies in Britain and France have also increased cross channel capacity to ease the backlog of thousands of travellers. P&O Ferries said that it had experienced ten times the number of daily bookings than was usual for this time of year. It is currently reporting, however, that there is limited space available for passengers. - SHIPTALK

    Here in South Africa PORTS & SHIPS has received a spate of enquiries from people enquiring about passenger ship services between here and Europe, including accommodation with cargo ships. Had there been a cruise ship about to do the northward leg of a line voyage right now, who knows, it might have been extremely popular.

    CMA CGM takes delivery of new ship

    French shipping line CMA CGM this week took delivery of its latest newbuilding, the 8,500-TEU container ship FIGARO. The new ship is registered in France and will sail under the French flag.

    According to CMA CGM, in compliance with CMA CGM’s environmental policy, and like all new vessels of this type ordered by the Group, the CMA CGM FIGARO is equipped with a combination of innovative environmental features, including the pioneering Fast Oil Recovery System, which enables bunkers to be rapidly recovered at any time, hence significantly limiting the environmental consequences should there be an incident at sea.

    Other refinements include an electronically controlled engine, reducing oil and fuel consumption by respectively 25% and 3%. Thanks to this new engine, the vessel can – if necessary – be operated at super eco-speed (14 to 15 knots). The ship also boasts a multi-chamber waste compactor to recycle garbage on board, and pre-equipment to connect to a port’s electricity supply during operations.

    CMA CGM Figaro will operate on the Asia / Middle East Gulf trade during the period when volumes and freight rates are recovering, says the French company, adding that Figaro is a strategic asset for CMA CGM and provides evidence of the group’s ability to move forward in the current economic market.

    CMA CGM Figaro is currently en route for Tianjin for phasing onto the CIMEX service on the following rotation: Tianjin, Busan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Shekou, Port Kelang, Khor Fakkan, Jebel Ali, Bandar Abbas, Port Kelang, Nansha, Tianjin.

    Piracy: bulk carrier VOC DAISY highjacked east of Salalah

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    VOC Daisy

    Yesterday morning (21 April 2010), the Panamanian Flagged (Liberian owned) M/V VOC DAISY, a bulk carrier of 47,183 deadweight tonnes, was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, 190 nautical miles East South East of Salalah, Oman.

    At the time of the attack, the VOC DAISY, owned by Middleburg Properties Ltd, Liberia, and operated by the Greek company Samartzis Maritime Enterprises, was heading west from Ruwais, UAE, making for the eastern rendezvous point of the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), for onward transit through the Suez Canal. She was 280 miles from the IRTC when she was hijacked.

    VOC DAISY was registered with Maritime Security Centre Horn Of Africa (MSCHOA) and was able to raise the alarm before the four armed pirates, carrying three AK47s and one RPG, stormed onboard and cut their lines of communication.

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    The French Navy replenishment ship SOMME taking on board the pirate skiff

    In other pirate related news, on Monday (19 April 2010), while 400 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia, the French replenishment ship SOMME came under attack from two skiffs with six pirates on board.

    FS SOMME had been engaged in a support mission for the EU NAVFOR anti piracy Operation Atalanta, replenishing her supplies, when she was attacked during the night of 19th April 2010. The pirates, mistaking the SOMME’s silhouette for that of a merchant vessel, opened fire on the French ship.

    FS SOMME responded with warning shots, causing the two pirate skiffs to flee. During their flight the two pirate skiffs were separated.

    Whilst chasing one of the skiffs, FS SOMME detected another boat which turned out to be the pirate mother ship, the vessel which controls and resupplies the pirate skiffs. The mother ship was captured less than half an hour later with two pirates on board, and her fuel and pirate paraphanalia (weapons and grappling lines) were seized. The mother ship was destroyed and sank.

    FS SOMME then gave chase to the skiff which was apprehended with a further 4 pirates on board. The skiff and the six pirates are now being held on board FS SOMME.

    Note: FS SOMME was also attacked by pirates on 7 October 2009. The ship’s company then intercepted 5 pirates and their skiff.

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    Yesterday, Wednesday 21st April, a Portuguese Maritime Patrol P3 Orion Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) arrived in Victoria, Seychelles, to augment the other Maritime Patrol aircraft from Sweden and Luxemburg of EU NAVFOR’s anti piracy Operation Atalanta.

    During the next four months the Portuguese P3 Orion aircraft will monitor the waters off the coast of Somalia providing the Force Commander with essential information on the movements of ships in the area. This is the first time a MPRA from Portugal has participated in the EU NAVFOR operation.

    The aircraft is equipped with several advanced surveillance systems which will significantly enhance EU NAVFOR’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability in the Somali Basin. The MPRA is manned by a military crew of 41 support personnel from the Portuguese Air Force. – source EU NAVFOR

    RedPrairie opens on the veld

    Johannesburg– RedPrairie Corporation, a productivity solutions provider, has established its own operations in Africa with head office located in Johannesburg.

    For the last 10 years RedPrairie has been represented in Africa through its value added reseller and during this time, the American company has established a customer footprint in some of the largest and most complex warehousing and distribution operations in South Africa.

    Among these customers are Imperial Logistics, a logistics and supply chain management services provider; Clover, the largest dairy company in South Africa; and Simba, a snacks provider wholly owned by Pepsico.

    “It was important to us to maintain service levels for our existing South African customers, which is why experienced personnel have been transferred from the VAR to RedPrairie,” said Sandy Arundel, Regional Director, RedPrairie.

    “We are excited about the launch of our new office in South Africa, and look forward to helping manufacturers, distributors, and retailers manage their inventory, workforce, and transportation more efficiently,” said Peter van Merode, Executive Director, RedPrairie.

    “The new office gives companies across the continent access to RedPrairie’s full suite of productivity solutions. Local companies can also benefit from global best practices by tapping into RedPrairie’s experience of working with market leading companies for over 30 years,” said Peter van Merode.

    About RedPrairie Corporation

    RedPrairie delivers productivity solutions to help companies around the world in three categories – workforce, inventory and transportation. The company provides these solutions to manufacturers, distributors and retailers looking to support business strategies that increase revenue, reduce costs and create competitive advantage. RedPrairie has over 20 global offices and solutions that are installed at more than 34,000 customer sites in over 40 countries.

    Further details about RedPrairie can be seen HERE

    Pics of the day – ATLANT REGINE and PENTOW SALVOR

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    The Croatian-owned and managed general cargo ship ATLANT REGINE (5,799-gt, built 1996), which was in Cape Town yesterday. Picture by Ian Shiffman.

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    The Cape Town-based Smit Amandla Marine offshore supply tug PENTOW SALVOR (991-gt, built 1982) which was sailing from port earlier this week. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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