Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 21, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson


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  • First View – SAS MENDI

  • Kenya Shipping Report Q2 focuses on Lamu

  • Nigeria starts clearing sunken vessels in Lagos harbour

  • Piracy: new head of EU NAVFOR Op Atalanta takes over

  • Noose tightens IRISL following new UN, US and EU sanctions

  • NSRI: Seriously ill seaman airlifted from bulk carrier at sea

  • Online courses contribute to port performance

  • Three new tugs for Luanda

  • Pics of the day – BOLERO and CHANG JIANG BRIDGE


    First View – SAS MENDI

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    The South African Navy frigate SAS MENDI on patrol off the coast opposite Sea Point and Green Point during last week’s soccer games at the Cape Town stadium. Ships of the navy are providing patrolling duties and radar cover for the games being held at the coastal cities of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban. Picture by Aad Noorland

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    Kenya Shipping Report Q2 focuses on Lamu

    Despite the global downturn in trade, which we believe had an impact on Kenya's shipping sector, with an estimate that the country's main port of Mombasa's total tonnage throughput fell by 2.96 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) and its container volumes dipped by 3.71 percent, the country is still pushing ahead with plans to expand its maritime sector with a new port, the port of Lamu, says companiesandmarkets.com in its 2nd Quarter report.

    The planned project would see the port of Lamu developed into a major cargo port, which one day might usurp Mombasa's position as the nation's main port. The completion date for the project, which would see Lamu offering a draught of 18m, enabling Kenya's maritime sector to handle larger ships, has been set for 2016. China is to conduct studies to determine the feasibility of the port project, which is estimated to cost USD 4bn. The new port will help the port of Mombasa to cater for Kenya's growing trade demands.

    The country risk team believes that the total trade decline for the country of 3.15 percent in 2009 was a blip, and that the country's trade is set to recover. Kenyan ports also cater for the needs of Kenya's landlocked neighbours, southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    In 2010, we predict that on the back of the country's trade recovery, Kenya's port of Mombasa will post strong y-o-y growth of 7.72 percent for tonnage and 9.9 percent y-o-y growth in box throughput.

    The Q210 Kenya Shipping Report not only analyses the environment in the Kenyan shipping market in 2010 but looks at developments going forward into the mid term (2011-2014) and considers whether the country's trade volumes will increase adequately to allow Kenya's ports to reclaim their pre-downturn throughput levels.

    The report also contains an in-depth analysis of Kenya's main port, Mombasa. We offer an overview of the port's infrastructure, and consider whether it will be able to cope with cargo growth or whether congestion could become an issue. The port's expansion and development plans are also reviewed, along with the facility's links to the rest of the country's freight transport.

    The Q210 Kenya Shipping Report contains detailed company overviews of the top 11 global container lines. Our shipping desk has prepared an analysis of these companies' varying downturn strategies, and we offer our views and predictions on what 2010 holds for these lines. - companiesandmarkets.com

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    Mombasa channel

    In other Kenyan news, stakeholders in the port of Mombasa have complained that they were not consulted before the World Bank drew up its report on the future of the port of Mombasa and efficiencies should be improved.

    “Lack of consultation by the bank is not unusual but its recommendations are already inclined towards its own interests,” argued Kenya Shippers Council (KSC) CEO Gilbert Langat.

    The report emphasises the need for the Kenya Ports Authority to move towards becoming a landlord authority and handing cargo handling over to private operators. “As port users, there are many issues that affect us that we could have recommended and when it is said there were consultations we do not know who was involved since KTA was not aware there was such a report being prepared," said Kenya Transport Association (KTA) secretary Paul Maiyo.

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    Nigeria starts clearing sunken vessels in Lagos harbour

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    Apapa terminal, Port of Lagos. Picture by OTAL

    Four grounded vessels in Lagos harbour have been refloated under the supervision of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). In a statement issued last week by the state maritime organisation, it was reported that four of the 16 vessels that were washed ashore earlier this year following a large storm and high seas have been refloated.

    The vessels ARCTURUS No.3, MT PENIL, MT ODYSSEY and MT KENTASTEM were all refloated after a two-week operation off Lighthouse Beach which involved the use of bulldozers on the beach and dredging offshore with tugs ultimately pulling the grounded vessels into deep water.

    The exercise comprised the first phase of the operation to refloat the 16 vessels. A decision has now to be taken as to when Phase 2 will commence.

    Another salvage job facing Nigerian maritime authorities involves the Nigerian Ports Authority Floating Dock V which could not be raised during routine tests of the 6,000-ton dock. NPA Marine general manager Captain Iheanacho Ebueogu put his spin on the report by saying that the dock could “only complete half of the circle of its routine test.” He blamed pump and valve malfunctioning for the dock being unable to refloat.

    The dock which is owned by the Nigerian Ports Authority is kept at the Continental Shipyard at Apapa in Lagos

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    Piracy: new head of EU NAVFOR Op Atalanta takes over

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    The outgoing Operation Commander Rear Admiral Peter Hudson CBE (left, above) recently handed over the responsibility of Operation Commander of the European Union Naval Force Somalia, Op ATALANTA to Major General Buster Howes OBE. The handover was conducted in the Operational Headquarters in Northwood near London.

    Rear Admiral Hudson, who joined the operation in June 2009, has been instrumental in the ongoing success of EU NAVFOR and the execution of the Op ATALANTA mission. He leaves EU NAVFOR to continue his appointment as Commander United Kingdom Maritime Force (COMUKMARFOR) in Portsmouth.

    Major General Howes has extensive operational experience within the United Kingdom Amphibious Force and the multi-national environment. He served with the US Marine Corps in the First Gulf War and with the Rapid Reaction Force Operations staff of UNPROFOR in Bosnia. In 2007, he served as Chief Joint Coordination and Effects in HQ ISAF X in Kabul. His staff experience has been gained exclusively within the Joint and Naval Staffs, where he held the appointment as the 1-Star Director of the Naval Staff.

    Operation ATALANTA's main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the World Food Programme (WFP) and vessels of African Unions Mission for Somalia, AMISOM and to protect vulnerable vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy. EU NAVFOR also monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.

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    The Dutch Navy amphibious dock landing ship HNLMS Johan de Witt which is playing a significant role in Operation Atalanta. Picture Netherlands Navy

    Meanwhile, EU NAVFOR amphibious ship HNLMS JOHAN DE WITT has conducted a training package for 50 members of the Yemeni Coast Guard. The training programme was a combination of classroom theory and practical exercises.

    The programme commenced with a tour of the ship and her capabilities before moving onto more practical and specialist topics. The specially tailored training programme covered fire fighting, store keeping, engine maintenance and small boat operations which were of particular benefit to the Yemenis as well as the conduct of operations and operation management.

    HNLMS Johan de Witt is ideal for training tasks and the capacity building of regional navies and coastguards, the combination of her embarked landing craft that can be used for practical exercises and the extensive facilities onboard make her an ideal platform. Only last year one of her main tasks was to conduct training with regional maritime units off the west coast of Africa.

    EU NAVFOR says that its boarding of a suspected pirate skiff at the start of the weekend once again showed that the proactive tactics of the European Union’s Naval Force Somalia (EU NAVFOR) is having increased success. “These tactics have been used in the Indian Ocean and along the east coast of Somalia to such good effect that they are now being employed within the Gulf of Aden.”

    In the early hours of Friday 18 June, an EU NAVFOR Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft from Germany clearly identified a suspected pirate skiff with ladders onboard. The EU NAVFOR warship HNLMS JOHAN DE WITT was tasked to move to the area.

    At 09h10 local time the JOHAN DE WITT located the suspect skiff. After being given several warnings the skiff failed to stop, resulting in warning shots being fired. On realising that they were going to be apprehended the occupants of the skiff threw ladders and weapons overboard. During the subsequent boarding and search of the skiff it was deemed that there was not the required level of evidence in order to prosecute the individuals, however they are being questioned.

    In a related matter in the Netherlands, a Dutch court has found five Somalis aged between 25 and 45 guilty of piracy and sentenced them to five years in jail. This was the first European trial of Somali pirates, the men having been convicted of attacking the 3,254-dwt general cargo ship SAMANYOLU in the Gulf of Aden in January last year.

    Prosecutors in Rotterdam had sought a seven-year jail term, however the judge reduced the sentence after taking into account the difficult conditions in Somalia that led the men to piracy.

    An increasing number of shipping lines and associations have reportedly begun dropping their ‘no armed guards’ policy for ships operating in pirate infested waters, particularly off Somalia. The German Shipowners’ Association VDR says it has made a ‘paradigm shift in that it is now recommending the deployment of German navy servicemen or federal police on board the ships during Gulf of Aden transits.

    According to NYK Line’s Area Marine Representative Captain Duncan McKelvie the IMO still does not recommend the use of arms on ships against pirates. “While the success of forces has had an effect on reducing piracy along the IRTC (in the Gulf of Aden), it has also resulted in displacing pirates into a wider area making it harder for the forces to track them. This has resulted in added concern for the industry,” he said.

    The United States is one flag state that is openly encouraging the use of arms to protect vessels in these waters. US Admiral Mark Fitzgerald recently stated that commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean should carry armed guards to help defend themselves against Somali pirates.

    “The area is enormous and we just do not have enough assets to cover every place in the Indian Ocean,” the admiral said.

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    Noose tightens round IRISL following new UN, US and EU sanctions

    Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL) director Mohammad-Hossein Daajmar says that IRISL will find ways to work around recently imposed UN sanctions on trading carried out by the state-owned shipping line.

    The UN Security Council introduced the sanctions following pressure from the United States and other nations, which accused IRISL of circumventing controls of weapons proliferation. The US says that Iran is using its state-owned shipping company, which it accuses of having created a number of shell companies, to move weapons and materials for weapons and nuclear development.

    Over the past 18 months or so IRISL has moved a significant number of its ships into these shell companies and has renamed 71 vessels and 27 new ships with western sounding names. This follows a listing of IRISL ships that were banned from operating to US and European ports.

    “Sanctions can be initially costly because of the need to set up mechanisms (to get around them) but these structures quickly turn into norms and business goes back to normal. It is a struggle but we are ready to fight and get around sanctions through appropriate measures,” Daajmar told the Financial Times

    Hossein Ebrahimi, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission warned last week that Iran will respond in kind even if one of its ships is stopped and searched. “We will act likewise and thoroughly inspect and ship (presumably of EU or US origin) passing through the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz,” he told IRAN’s state-run news agencies.

    Last week the US moved to broaden its sanctions against IRISL. A Treasury Department official said the Iranian company was falsifying ship documents and renaming vessels which it then tries to hide in a series of front companies. The US Treasury added five Iranian-owned companies to the US sanctions list. They are Hafiz Darya Shipping (HDS, which it claims has taken over IRISL’s container operations), Soroush Sarzamin Asatir Ship Management (said to have taken over IRISL’s ship management), Safiran Payam Darya Shipping Co (SAPID, alleged to have taken over IRISL’s bulk and general cargo operations), and two Hong Kong companies alleged to be affiliated with IRISL, Seibow Ltd and Seibow Logistics.

    US individuals and companies are prohibited from any transactions involving sanctioned companies or ships.

    On the same day last week, the European Union followed the US and UN lead by applying similar sanctions banning Iranian shipping and air cargo companies from operating in any EU state. Approving these sanctions, the EU states that it believes Teheran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has denied this, saying its nuclear programme is aimed at producing energy.

    The new sanctions follow the fourth round of sanctions applied by the UN the previous week, which are aimed at curtailing Iran’s nuclear programme.

    The updated US sanctions list can be found HERE

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    NSRI: Seriously ill seaman airlifted from bulk carrier at sea

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    A Denel Oryx helicopter of 22 Squadron, SAAF undergoing training with NSRI volunteers. Picture NSRI

    An Oryx helicopter of the South African Air Force 22 Squadron flew 90 nautical miles offshore from Cape Point at the weekend to medi-vac a 36-year old Filipino sailor from the bulk carrier MAGNUM FORTUNE, after the seaman suffered a suspected heart attack on board the ship.

    Accompanied by a NSRI swimmer, Metro paramedic Jason Higgins was winch-hoisted onto the deck of the bulker to stabilise the patient and then transfer him by way of a specialised NATO rescue stretcher which was winched back on board the hovering helicopter. After recovering the paramedic and swimmer, the helicopter returned to Cape Town where the seaman was taken to Groote Schuur hospital in a serious but stable condition.

    At Plettenberg Bay NSRI volunteers were activated over the weekend following a request for medical assistance from the fishing trawler St Lucia which reported having a fisherman on board with a fish hook embedded in his middle finger. The trawler was 25 n.miles offshore of the Bloukrans Bridge at the time.

    NSRI requested the trawler to head towards Plettenberg Bay and launched its rescue craft Sally Joan to rendezvous at sea. This was accomplished one mile off Plettenberg Bay where the fisherman was transferred across to the rescue craft which returned to the harbour. The injured man was then taken to the local hospital in a NSRI rescue vehicle.

    Online courses contribute to port performance

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    Port Logistics and Productivity Course Students in Maputo

    The development of information technology now means that Email, Websites, You Tube, Skype and Facebook can all be employed in the transference of knowledge. These electronic mediums, when coupled with field trips and study groups make on-line courses more attractive especially where no transport college exists. You turn their computers into classrooms.

    Recently, 12 Transnet employees were enrolled on a Port and Terminal Operations (Grain) course over 16 weeks. With the co-operation and support of the Canadian Grain Commission, the Ports College was able to deliver a course which brought the participants right up to date with current practices in quality control and productivity management.

    Likewise, in the Port of Maputo, 10 supervisors participated in an introductory course in Port Logistics and Productivity. The Port’s College is a division of the West Coast Maritime Institute, which is located in Victoria, BC in Canada.

    The West Coast Maritime Institute has now established links with the Ports, Freight and Shipping communities in the Caribbean, West and East Africa and in Canada and the USA.

    West Coast Maritime School is associated with SA Maritime College – see their banner on this page.

    Three new tugs for Luanda

    Luanda – The Port of Luanda in Angola has taken delivery of three new tug boats earlier in June. One of them has a bollard pull of 35 tons and the other two achieve 30 tons. They were acquired at a cost of USD 7 million and were purchased by the Epinosul company which operates tugging and other workboat associated services in the harbour. Epinosul is an associate of Intertransports Centre Angola.

    According to reports on of the tugs is a newbuild and the other two are refurbished vessels. As is common with news out of this country, detail is hard to find. Photographs of the tugs would be more than welcome.

    Pics of the day – BOLERO and CHANG JIANG BRIDGE

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    The Liberian-flagged US-owned chemical and oil products tanker BOLERO (44,999-dwt, built 1996) in Cape Town harbour during October 2008. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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    K Line’s container ship CHANG JIANG BRIDGE (48,237-gt, built 1992), also in Cape Town during October 2008. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    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

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