Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 5, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson


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  • First View – OCEAN PRINCESS

  • Radioactive waste dumped off Mozambique coast

  • UAL opens direct SA – Nigeria express route

  • Islamist group capture pirate port of Haradhere

  • Maputo container terminal introduces 24-hour cut-off points

  • Trade News: SA shipping company goes global

  • Mozambique loses USD 35 million a year to illegal fishing

  • Pics of the day – HARBOUR WORK BOATS


    First View – OCEAN PRINCESS

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    Princess Cruises’ OCEAN PRINCESS (30,277-gt, built 1999) arrived in Durban on Monday under her new name for the first time – the ship was last here in October 2009 as Tahitian Princess, a name she has carried while cruising in the Pacific, mainly among the French Polynesian islands. With her transfer to cruising elsewhere it was felt another name might be more suitable, hence the change.

    Ocean Princesss was launched in 1999 for Renaissance Cruises as their R4. When the company defaulted and went into liquidation in 2001 the ship was placed in laybye for a short time, but was then chartered by Princess Cruises for a two year period during which they obviously found her suitable for she was purchased outright and renamed Tahitian Princess.

    After sailing from Durban Ocean Princess visited East London (yesterday) and is now due in Cape Town tomorrow (Thursday). Picture by Trevor Jones

    Photographer identified: Ian Shiffman informs us that the picture we published on Tuesday under YESTERYEAR was taken by Kenny White – a very keen ship photographer who died in 1987 and whose collection he acquired.

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    Radioactive waste dumped off Mozambique coast

    According to a report by the Mozambique news agency AIM, Mozambican authorities have discovered a small vessel about 20 miles off the coast of Vilankulo in the southern province of Inhambane which is laden with 13 containers loaded with what the authorities suspect is radioactive waste.

    The vessel is named ANCHORAGE and was discovered abandoned with no sign of any crew and authorities believe the craft may have been taken to the area by a larger ship and dumped. Radio Mozambique quoted government authorities as saying the ‘mother ship’ probably came from Singapore.

    A tug has been summoned to take the abandoned vessel with its suspected radioactive material in tow. Meanwhile a close watch is being kept on the vessel and containers, which a government official said could contain up to 300 tons of the suspect material.

    The long Mozambique coast has frequently been used for smuggling purposes involving drugs and other contraband and also to dump waste material. It has long been suspected that Mozambique is used as a transhipment region for the movement of drugs into Africa and elsewhere.

    Illegal fishing is also a major problem

    AIM reports that in 2009 a number of parcels containing drugs were discovered floating off the coast of the southern province of Gaza and Inhambane. Various individuals thought to be involved with the drugs were seen in the vicinity but were not apprehended.

    The Mozambique Navy has been provided with several small patrol boats that has considerably improved the country’s ability to patrol its coastline and react to situations but requires greater resources including patrol aircraft to be fully effective. – source AIM

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    UAL opens direct SA – Nigeria express route

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    Apapa, Bull-Nose point

    Universal Africa Lines (UAL), the specialist shipping line to the West African oil and gas fields, ended its first year in South Africa in bullish mood, opening an express direct shipping route to Nigeria.

    The new route makes UAL-SA the first break-bulk (non-containerised, packaged cargo) shipping service from South Africa to call directly on Nigeria – an oil-rich country and one of Africa’s leading economies, says Haakon Røstad, MD of UAL-SA.

    Previously, UAL’s ships dotted down in Durban, Cape Town, Walvis Bay, Lobito, Luanda (Sonils), Soyo, Pointe Noire , Port Gentil, Malabo, Onne (Port Harcourt) and finally, Lagos.

    The new route comes at a time of accelerating growth for UAL-SA. After setting up in Cape Town early in 2009, the company set out on its maiden voyage in May of that year. Since then it has completed 21 fortnightly sailings up the West coast of the continent, and says it has built up a loyal client base of South African industries supplying exploration projects, mines and the secondary industries around them.

    UAL’s customers are from industries as diverse as steel, paper, explosives, heavy equipment manufacturing, construction material and chemicals. Their numbers have increased sufficiently over 12 months to provide a solid basis for growth, starting with the Nigerian connection, says Røstad.

    The announcement further comes at a time of strengthening diplomatic ties between South Africa and Nigeria and predictions of an imminent boom in bilateral trade.

    Indirect (European) trade via SA into Nigeria is also set to flourish. On President Zuma’s recent return from the UK, the South African government announced plans to double trade with the UK over the next 12 to 24 months, and for SA to become a gateway for European companies into Africa.

    These two developments coincide with increased tensions in the Niger Delta, which has led to Nigeria-based companies relocating to the southern tip of the continent. Cape Town has become a refuge for these companies.

    As a result of these factors, there has been a general increase in procurement within South Africa, an opportunity that local firms should embrace, says Røstad.

    The first direct sailing will be at the end of May, starting in Durban and calling at Cape Town and Walvis Bay before sailing into Apapa Harbour, Lagos, 12 days later.

    The route will operate every three weeks, and will on its return offer round-trip export shipments out of Nigeria to other West African countries and East Africa, via Durban.

    To streamline the service, UAL has secured an exclusive berth at the Apapa oil base facility belonging to logistics firm Eko Support Services. In terms of this arrangement, UAL customers benefit from immediate berthing, speedy clearance in a customs-free zone, two weeks’ free storage and special tariffs for unloading and delivery to clients.

    The Eko facility offers 50 reefer plugs and a depot with capacity for 300 containers, operating around the clock with full guarded security.

    In addition, the door-to-door service offers barge delivery to Niger Dock on Snake Island across the Niger River.

    UAL has signed Premier Logistics Services as its shipping agent, which offers heavy-lift capacity of up to 300 tons.

    “Never before has trade between SA and Nigeria looked this good,” says Røstad. “We hope the new route will further stimulate trade and commercial activities between SA and Nigeria as well as the rest of Africa.”

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    Islamist group capture pirate port of Haradhere

    Reports coming out of Somalia indicate that the Hizbul Islamist group has taken possession of the port town of Haradhere, long a stronghold of pirates operating off the coast of Somalia.

    The moderate Islamist group has been gathering strength outside the town for several days but on Sunday they began moving in, meeting little opposition although large numbers of local inhabitants fled the city. Those fleeing included known pirates who loaded large motor cars with television sets and other expensive equipment before driving away.

    According to one report the town had been under threat from the al-Shabaab militants, the group which the US calls a terrorist organisation with close links to al-Qaeda. It appears that town elders invited the rival group Hizbul Islam to enter the town as an alternative to the more militant al-Shabaab.

    Puntland’s director-general, Abdiwahid Mohamed Hersi said in an interview recently that al-Shabaab has been guilty of taxing pirates and benefiting from their activities. This led to fears that the lure of pirate money might prove too great for the Hizbul Islam group as well.

    The effect that the town’s recapture will have on pirate hostages held on ships off the coast of Haradhere is not yet clear. Andrew Mwangura, who heads up the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Program in Mombasa, Kenya, which keeps close contact with the piracy situation north of Kenya, said he feared for the lives of hostages as a result of the latest development.

    In 2006 when an Islamist group captured Haradhere from warlords then in occupation, one of the first things they did was to abolish and prosecute acts of piracy. However American-backed Ethiopian forces retook most of the Islamist regions except in the deep south of the country and piracy quickly returned across large sections of the country.

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    Maputo container terminal introduces 24-hour cut-off points

    Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative (MCLI) reports that MIPS, (DP World Maputo) the container terminal at Port Maputo, is advising that in a further effort to improve their operational efficiency, they will be introducing a formal 24 hour “Cut-off Rule” for all export shipments through Maputo with effect from the 1st June 2010.

    The introduction of this basic discipline, in place in almost every container terminal in the world these days, is fundamental to provide for minimum timing for loading/discharge sequence planning and thus ensuring faster operations.

    In terms of this “Cut-off Rule” all full and empty export containers must be stacked in the terminal ready for shipment (ie. including completion of Customs formalities) at least 24 hours prior to the arrival of the export vessel.

    “We trust that 6 weeks notice will be ample for our valued clients to make the necessary arrangements to enable compliance with this new “Cut-off Rule” and we look forward to your continued and valued support,” said Jan Bekker, New Business Development Manager at MIPS. –source MCLI

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    Trade News: SA shipping company goes global

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    Andrew Sturrock

    Sturrock Shipping, a leading Ships’ Agency and Clearing & Forwarding company in sub-Saharan Africa has announced the acquisition of a successful and established ship’s agency business in Australia.

    The deal will provide Sturrock Shipping with an immediate nationwide presence in Australia as well as improved access to the burgeoning Asian and sub-continental markets.

    Sturrock Shipping has acquired 100% of the share capital of the operating companies held by Meware Pty Ltd. These companies include Hetherington Kingsbury Shipping Agency Pty Ltd and the McArthur Shipping & Agency Co Pty Ltd – the two largest companies – as well as Pacific Shipping Agencies Pty Ltd and West Coast Shipping Agencies Pty Ltd.

    Sturrock Shipping was founded in 1969 in South Africa. Over the last decade it has expanded its operations into Africa, establishing a presence in Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Angola and Sudan. The company is currently seeking to broaden its reach to include Namibia, Ghana, Sao Tome, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

    The Australian deal establishes the company as an international ship’s agency with significant experience in both the tanker market - Sturrock Shipping’s traditional specialisation - and the dry cargo and liner business (HKSA and McA’s specialisation).

    Sturrock Shipping Managing Director Andrew Sturrock says that Australia provides a compelling business case for investment, both in its own right and by virtue of its proximity to Asia.

    “Australia’s resilience through the global economic downturn has emphasized its credentials as one of the world’s strongest developed economies - one with good future prospects. It offers investors political and economic stability and a sophisticated and transparent business, legal and regulatory environment.

    “Key clients, however, are typically non Australian-domiciled and include the usual spread of international owners, charterers and traders. The international Principals represented are predominantly Asian with some companies having been represented for more than 35 years.

    “The global economic recovery bodes well for the future of these ships agency businesses as Australia is a large exporter of commodities (including coal and iron ore) and agricultural produce (including maize and sugar), and has Asia on its doorstep,” he says.

    Sturrock also notes that Hetherington Kingsbury Shipping Agency and the McArthur Shipping & Agency Co are two of the last big agencies left that could be acquired in Australia and that McArthur’s is a stakeholder of the international ship’s agency network S5, which is represented in South and East Africa by Sturrock Shipping.

    He says that in terms of the deal, Michael Phillips, current Managing Director of Hetherington Kingsbury and McArthur and a Director of Meware, has agreed to continue in the position of CEO of the operating companies going forward. All other members of staff will also be retained.

    “These businesses are fully functioning going concerns that are extremely well run. With 13 offices around Australia, they provide us with a nationwide presence and a platform to market Sturrock more effectively and efficiently in Asia. We have a wealth of experience in the international ship’s agency business and look forward to the opportunity to exploit the numerous synergies that exist between the southern African and Australian companies,” he concludes.

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    Mozambique loses USD 35 million a year to illegal fishing

    Maputo, Mozambique – Mozambique annually loses USD 35 million due to illegal fishing in its territorial waters, says the country’s Fisheries Minister, Victor Borges, as quoted by Mozambican newspaper Notícias.

    “There are no exact figures, but we estimate annual losses to be between US 30 and USD 35 million due to illegal fishing,” Borges said, adding that the government was developing activities with a view to gradually reducing those losses.

    Borges, who was speaking at the 4th Annual Meeting with Cooperation Partners from the Fishing Sector, said that the measures consisted of creating, in the short term, an inter-ministerial commission to supervise fishing, which would create mechanisms for territorial waters to be patrolled.

    Currently the patrol of the 2,470 kilometres of Mozambique’s coastline is carried out by just three vessels, and fishing officials and inspectors across the country.

    Borges said that the main challenge for the sector was to increase its contribution to Mozambique’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    According to the minister, this contribution currently stands at 2 percent, a level that reflects reduced catches due to several factors, including the low levels of exploration of some marine species, particularly prawns.

    Due to a combination of factors, fish exports in Mozambique are witnessing successive drops, with exports over the last five years totalling just USD 377 million, or an average of USD 75.4 million per year.

    Last year Mozambique produced over 160,000 tons of fish, as compared to an annual estimated requirement of over 400,000 tons, representing a deficit of around 240,000 tons. –source Macauhub

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    Pics of the day – HARBOUR WORK BOATS

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    Workboats are what keep harbours active and efficient, providing for a variety of jobs from tugboat duties to delivering water and supplies and even taking people to ships that are passing by. The little KORHAAN is one of the smaller workboats in Durban harbour and when off duty can be found alongside the fishing quay next to Wilson’s Wharf, which is where the little craft is headed in this view. Picture by Terry Hutson

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    The harbor tug UMZUMBE (295-gt, built 1982) is another old warhorse of the port of Durban, despite having East London displayed as her port of registry. Here she is in a 2002 picture of the tug preparing for an incoming ship in the old harbour entrance channel. Picture by Terry Hutson

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    We move to Cape Town for the next workboat, this time a newbuilt tug named DUMA seen in Cape Town harbor. Built by Damen in Cape Town for the Tanzania Harbour Authority and only recently launched, the newbuild has a bollard pull of 40 tons. Incidentally, the name Duma in Swahili means cheetah. Picture by Aad Noorland

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    VICKIE TIDE is another workboat that can be seen in Cape Town harbor. The 494-gt vessel built in 2003 caters operates as an offshore supply vessel and is owned by a Louisiana, USA company with the interesting name ‘Twenty Grand Marine Service’.

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