Ports & Ships Maritime News

July 1, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson


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  • First View – USNS SUMNER

  • Transnet dismisses Gama

  • Cape Town’s new harbourmaster appointed

  • Transnet to evaluate ship repair proposals

  • Second container terminal lined up for Dar es Salaam

  • Full steam ahead for Petrel’s fishing gear on Icelandic vessels

  • Zambian president visits new Walvis Bay port facility

  • Pics of the day – LUDWIG SCHULTE


    First View – USNS SUMNER

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    The Pathfinder class oceanographic survey vessel of the US Navy Military Sealift Command, USNS SUMNER T-AGS 61 (displacing 4,762t, built 1995), seen departing Simon’s Town where the ship visited on 29/30 June 2010. In the background is the Roman Rock lighthouse. USNS Sumner is one of seven oceanographic survey ships in the MSC fleet of Special Mission Ships. Picture by Bob Johnston

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    Transnet dismisses Gama

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    Siyabonga Gama – picture by Terry Hutson

    Transport parastatal Transnet has summarily dismissed the suspended CEO of Transnet Freight Rail, Siyabonga Gama, it was announced on Tuesday night.

    In a statement, the company said that following the findings in the disciplinary hearing and the recommendations of the independent chairman on the appropriate sanction to be meted out to Gama, Transnet had “terminated his employment with the Company with immediate effect.”

    The dismissal, which was recommended by the independent chairman, followed a 200-page finding in which Gama was found guilty of all the charges of misconduct that were brought against him, including one of an irretrievable breakdown in his relationship with Transnet.

    “The latter charge, which was added during the hearing, arose from sustained public attacks mounted by Mr Gama, through his attorney, on the Company's Board and Executive, whilst the other charges related to two procurement contracts (one for specialised security services and the other for the refurbishment of 50 locomotives) by TFR under Mr Gama's watch.

    “The chairman of the hearing recommended that the appropriate sanction in each of the three charges and cumulatively against Mr Gama is summary dismissal.

    “After studying the chairman's recommendation contained in sanction findings, the Company served Mr Gama with notice of his summary dismissal from his post as chief executive of TFR this afternoon,” Transnet said.

    “The conclusion of this protracted matter paves the way for the Company, in consultation with its shareholder, to make permanent appointments in place of the acting positions that were necessitated by the suspension and disciplinary action of Mr Gama. The closure of this matter enables Transnet's top management to focus exclusively on the running of the business,” the parastatal added.

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    Cape Town’s new harbourmaster appointed

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    Dennis Mqadi, new Harbour Master at Cape Town

    The port of Richards Bay took their farewell of Harbour Master Dennis Mqadi this week, following his appointment as the new Harbour Master at the port of Cape Town.

    Mqadi, who comes from a small town in southern KZN called Izingolweni, has previously served as port captain/harbourmaster at East London and before that as pilot in the port of Durban, where he became the first African in Transnet port services to obtain his open unrestricted pilot’s license in 2003. He also has a B Comm degree and began his career at sea when he joined the South African Navy in 1990.

    Cape Town has been without a permanent harbour master since the resignation of Captain Ravi Naicker in January 2010. A former port captain of Cape Town and Chief Harbour Master of South Africa, Captain Eddie Bremner has been acting in the Cape Town capacity for several months and will now be able to return to his retirement near Langebaan.

    Vernal Jones has been appointed as acting harbour master at Richards Bay pending a permanent appointment.

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    Transnet to evaluate ship repair proposals

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    Durban dry dock and ship repair yards. Picture by Gary Pulford

    Wednesday was the final day to receive proposals regarding the concessioning of Transnet ship repair facilities around the country.

    In February the parastatal called for interested parties to submit proposals for the possible taking over of ship repair facilities including the Durban Dry Dock (Prince Edward Graving Dock), Durban Floating Dock and adjacent repair workshops, the East London Dry Dock (Princess Elizabeth Graving Dock), the Port Elizabeth Slipway, the Port of Mossel Bay Slipway, the Cape Town Dry Dock (Sturrock Graving Dock), the Cape Town Robinson Dry Dock and Cape Town Synchrolift.

    In terms of the document published Transnet will now begin a process of evaluating the respective proposals, with a technical evaluation to be undertaken during July, followed by a presentation from tenderers at the end of August and in September the announcement by Transnet of its respective preferred tenderers. Transnet will then complete the process during October before any handovers which have been set for 20 November 2010.

    Information garnered by Ports & Ships indicates that there has been limited interest shown with the chief concern centering on Transnet’s insistence that future operators must provide services on a common usage basis, i.e. each facility may not be retained for exclusive use by the operator. It has been suggested that this policy is unlikely to create a formula where the new operator can recoup investments in an acceptable quick manner. “Why spend large sums of money acquiring and returning each facility to serviceability if it doesn’t provide any competitive advantage,” is one argument put forward.

    A similar comment made is that the whole economic model doesn’t make any sense.

    On the other hand if the status quo remains Transnet is unlikely to invest in further maintenance or improvements without some form of levy being instituted.

    The Ports Act appears to make a case that Transnet National Ports Authority is obliged to provide the basic ship repair facilities.

    It appears that something in the order of three proposals were made for the Durban facilities and up to six for those in Cape Town. A number of consortiums have been created in making these proposals but several have been submitted by individual companies. It is not known if any offshore interest was shown. These numbers have not been confirmed and are speculative.

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    Second container terminal lined up for Dar es Salaam

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    Dar es Salaam

    Construction of a second container terminal for the port of Dar es Salaam is set to begin early in 2011, according to news reports in Tanzania.

    Dar es Salaam’s Daily News quoted Tanzania Ports Authority Director-General Ephraim Mgawe as saying that cargo volumes have increased at a rate of 15 percent per annum for several years whereas the available space at the port’s container terminal has not.

    Mgawe said that having a second terminal at the port would provide customers, particularly those from neighbouring countries, with the confidence to choose Dar es Salaam as the port of choice.

    “We have managed to lower the number of days of unloading ships from between 19 and 22 to between 11 and 12 days. This is a great achievement so far reached at the port,” Mgawe said. He added that by having the new USD 450 million container terminal erected at the Kurasini area, the port may further lower the days required to unload ships to five days only.

    Tanzania Ports Authority has indicated that in order to avoid the controversies that arose with the Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS), a different operator would be appointed for the new terminal. The terminal would have the capacity to handle twice as much as Dar es Salaam’s present terminal, which has a capacity of between 250,000 and 310,000 TEUs.

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    Full steam ahead for Petrel’s fishing gear on Icelandic vessels

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    Huginn - A Petrel equipped vessel similar to the Isfelag vessels repaired by Petrel in the Chilean shipyard of Asmar

    Cape Town-based Petrel Engineering says it is undaunted by damage caused to new machinery it had delivered for installation on a fishing vessel when the devastating earthquake hit Chile on 27 February 2010, flattening coastal towns.

    The net-handling gear was wrecked when a warehouse in downtown Talcahuano was hit by tsunamis caused by the earthquake which claimed more than 700 lives.

    Petrel specialises in design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of medium to heavy, with a bias towards custom-built deck equipment for the global fishing and shipping industries.

    In October 2008, Petrel was contracted by its long-standing customer, an Icelandic fishing fleet operator, Isfelag Vestmannaeyja, to supply net-handling machinery for two new 71.3 metre combination purse seine/trawler vessels that were being built at the Chilean shipyard, Asmar.

    The consignment on order included Trident 824 net haulers, long reach NCS7 net stackers, R550 intermediate rollers, KC40 fish pump cranes, KC60 main deck cranes, and HW110 hose and fish hose reels. Back stop winches, electro-hydraulic power packs and wireless radio remote controls were also to be supplied.

    When the net-handling gear for one of the vessels was complete in December 2009, it was shipped to Chile and was being warehoused in Talcahuano when flood waters caused havoc in February.

    Petrel Engineering sales executive Peter Coop said an assessment would be done of the extent of damage to the electrical, electronic and hydraulic systems of the machinery that had been sent to Chile.

    Depending on the severity of the damage, repairs would be conducted in Chile or the equipment would be brought back to South Africa for rebuilding.

    “Sensitive radio control equipment that may have been damaged will be sent back to the supplier for replacement,” said Coop.

    Meanwhile work was going ahead with identical equipment for the second vessel.

    Coop said the total cost of the project to supply and install the machinery on the two fishing vessels was in the region of R17 million and 30 workers were kept busy at the Cape Town engineering workshop.

    He added Petrel Engineering was the only manufacturer in South Africa - and one of no more than four around the world - that produced triple roller net haulers.

    He said the commissioning of the equipment on the two vessels in Chile would resume despite the disruption caused by the earthquake.


    Petrel Engineering (Pty) Ltd was formed in 1947 and is based in Epping Industria, Cape Town as a leading manufacturer and supplier of equipment for the marine industry. Petrel’s six decades of experience have also seen the company serve clients in diverse industries including mining, petrochemical and civil / structural engineering.

    Zambian president visits new Walvis Bay port facility

    Walvis Bay last year handled 5.4 million tonnes of cargo, 350,000 TEUs and a total of 350 ships.

    This was disclosed during a visit to the Namibian port of Walvis Bay by Zambia’s President Rupiah Banda, who was inspecting the site of Zambia’s new dry port facility adjacent to the harbour. A 30,000m² site has been made available and is being developed in the harbour precinct to encourage the use of Walvis Bay and the transport corridors into Central Africa by Zambia.

    The site is being developed by Africa Union Cargo, a division of South Africa Union Financial Services. Being developed in two phases, the site has rail access while a 7,000m² warehouse is to be built. Phase 1 is due to be ready for use within three months and full completion is expected in the second half of 2011. The project is costing R55 million to build.

    Namport’s CEO, Bisey Uirab told the visiting head of state that the dryport facility allocated to Zambia was a significant development for Namport and that the recently signed Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor initiative will lead to an increase in the flow of cargo through the port. He said the Trans Kalahari Corridor from Walvis Bay through Botswana to South Africa was an additional route to Namibia, giving the port a competitive edge over her neighbours. – source New Era

    Pics of the day – LUDWIG SCHULTE

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    When the Chinese (Singapore flag) container ship LUDWIG SCHULTE (18,321-gt, built 2008) came off berth in Cape Town yesterday the ship had taken on an unusual stowaway in the form of a seal perched on the exposed bulbous bow. Quite unconcerned at the ship’s progress across the harbour, the seal continued to enjoy the warm winter sunshine. Picture by Aad Noorland

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