Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 9, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson


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  • First View – TITUS

  • Apapa port operations threatened by ministerial order

  • Walvis Bay to host Holland America cruise ship WESTERDAM

  • South Africa’s coal exports to the east now top 50 percent

  • Cruising: MSC sets new destinations for SA summer season

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Nigeria and why so many vessels are abandoned

  • Pics of the day – SELI 1, the fire


    First View – TITUS

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    The Wallenius Wilhemsen’s car carrier TITUS (55,598-gt, built 1994) sailing from Durban one December day in 2003. Titus was the first of a long series of streamlined car carriers to be built for WW by the South Korean yard of Daewoo. Picture by Terry Hutson

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    Apapa port operations threatened by ministerial order

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    Bull Nose corner, Apapa port. Picture UAL

    by Andrew Airahuobhor

    Lagos — Port operations at the Apapa Container Terminal, operated by APM Terminals Apapa Nigeria Limited, reputed to control over 60 percent of container traffic in Lagos, may experience disruptions that will result in monumental congestion if the order by the ministerial task force on port charges and efficiency in port operations to seal off the city office by 15 June is carried out.

    The city office, situated at the Polysonic Mall, Point Road, Apapa, handles documentation processes for cargo clearance at the port.

    The Ministerial Task Force had at the weekend ordered APM Terminals up till 15 June 2010 to close down its City Office or be forcefully closed down.

    Leader of the task force, Mrs Chinwe Ezenwa, a deputy director in the ministry of transport, reminded the management of APMT of the inhuman condition in which licensed customs agents are being subjected to at that office. She also reminded APMT of an earlier order by the minister of transport for the terminal compny to relocate its city office to a more conducive area.

    “You have till 15th of June to relocate from Polysonic Mall failing which it will be shut,” she declared, adding that as a task force it has a duty to ensure that its mandate was executed.

    The task force, which was inaugurated by the minister of transport, Yusuf Suleiman, gave the order when it went on an on-the-spot assessment of cargo delivery activities at the APMT concessioned area in the port.

    While conducting the task force members round the APM Terminal by the company's commercial officer, Koer De Baker, he had explained the difficulty involved in relocating the City Office owing to what he called the need to have a new functioning office to replace the one to be shut.

    In a press statement signed by the media adviser, Bolaji Akinola on behalf of the company, stated that “Relocation of the APM Terminals City Office operation in less than two weeks will be impossible to carry out.”

    The issue of relocation, he said, goes beyond merely moving out people and office furniture, saying that “We also have to deal with issues of interconnectivity with Customs and with the banks and more. It is a whole lot. It'll take several weeks to achieve any meaningful relocation. Besides, we need to secure a suitable location. All of these cannot be done in two weeks.”

    Earlier the minister had expressed displeasure when he paid an unscheduled visit to APMT office where licensed customs agents were seen being subjected to long hours on the queue as well as long waiting times for documentation and issuance of the all-important terminal delivery order (TDO).

    He expressed shock at the number of people on the queue and the rowdiness which characterised activities at the hall, a discovery which led him into directing that APMT should relocate to another office, although management of APMT has described the rowdiness at the city office during the minister's visit as stage managed by the agents' leadership, who want to give a wrong impression to the minister.

    The task force was constituted by the minister after he personally intervened to avert an earlier threat of withdrawal of service by licensed customs agents who were agitated by alleged arbitrary charges and unwholesome practices by APMT.

    Members of the committee who were on a working visit round the port included: the executive director, marine and operations, Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms Aina Egharevba, Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex, Joshua Asanga, and leaders of the three freight forwarders associations. - Daily Independent

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    Walvis Bay to host Holland America cruise ship WESTERDAM

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    Vista class MS Westerdam. Picture Holland America

    By Albertina Nakale

    Walvis Bay — NamPort is to host the passenger vessel, MS WESTERDAM, for three weeks, starting on June 13. The vessel will depart for Cape Town on 13 July.

    NamPort's corporate communications officer Jo-Ann Stevens says initially, the MS Westerdam was supposed to berth at the port of Cape Town to provide additional accommodation as a floating hotel during the World Cup.

    Namibia, and more specifically the Erongo Region, will now also benefit from the FIFA World Cup, which gets underway in South Africa this week.

    The vessel, which will anchor within Walvis Bay port limits, has a crew complement of 800.

    “It is anticipated that the local economy will benefit from this, as numerous activities, such as dolphin tours, township and desert tours, fishing trips, etc, are being organised for crew members.

    “The vessel will also berth twice during its stay to take on supplies,” she added.

    The MS Westerdam cruise ship belongs to the Holland America Lines and is one of its Vista class ships. The ship is 285 m long and can accommodate 1,848 passengers.

    “The rooms are highly spacious and most of the staterooms have private verandahs.
    The ship is decorated with beautiful paintings and sculptures that reflect the Dutch heritage and culture.

    “The observation deck has a golf simulator, while the main deck has a video arcade," she said. - NEW ERA

    A spokesman for One Ocean Club, the German company responsible for the attempt to market Westerdam and Noordam in South Africa as ‘floating hotels’ based in Port Elizabeth and Durban respectively, said he understood that the decision to place the ship on layby at Walvis Bay was based on cost, after a comparison between using either Cape Town or the Namibia port. It is believed that less than 40 percent of available accommodation on the two ships was sold when One Ocean made the decision to cancel.

    Westerdam however was required to continue her positioning cruise to South Africa as the southbound and northbound cruises had proved highly popular and were heavily booked, not necessarily by World Cup soccer fans. – Ports & Ships

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    South Africa’s coal exports to the east now top 50 percent

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    Prices for coal shipped from South Africa’s Richards Bay, the continent’s biggest export facility for the fuel, were little changed near an 18-month high because of strong European demand in May. Richards Bay Coal Terminal export prices fell 0.4 percent to an average USD 92.41 a metric ton in the four days through 4 June, according to IHS McCloskey. They reached USD 95.75 at the end of April, the highest since 7 November 2008.

    “Fundamentals for Western European coal-burn remained strong, with May coal-burn coming in at about 4 percent higher, year-on-year, supported by unusually colder weather,” Amrita Sen, an analyst with Barclays Capital in London, said in a report e-mailed on 4 June. “In addition to China, demand from other Asian countries remains robust. Even Japan is showing signs of recovery. India remains the other key bright spot in the Pacific market.”

    South Africa is boosting exports to the East as India and China recover from last year’s slowdown. More than half its production is now going to Asia, according to McCloskey. The Richards Bay terminal is owned by South Africa’s largest coal exporters, including BHP Billiton Ltd., Anglo American Plc and Xstrata Plc.

    Barclays cut its estimate for Richards Bay’s coal exports this year by six million tons to 64 million tons following a strike at Transnet Ltd, South Africa’s state-owned transport company, that started 10 May. The dispute was called off at the end of May after unions accepted an 11 percent wage increase and a one-time payment of 1 percent of workers’ salaries.

    Richards Bay exported 4.57 million tons of coal in May and received 1.95 million tons by rail. Stocks at the terminal fell to 2.04 million tons, their lowest level since December 2007, the terminal said on its website. - Hellenic Shipping News

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    Cruising: MSC sets new destinations for SA summer season

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    MSC Sinfonia arrived in Durban Harbour on 13 November 2009 at the start of her first cruise season in southern African waters. The popular ship is due to return for an even longer period cruising from Durban in November this year. Note the new Durban soccer stadium in the background. Picture courtesy MSC Cruises

    MSC Cruises says it will set a new cruising record in South Africa this coming 2010/11 summer season with two cruise liners scheduled for a bumper 69 departures out of local ports to offer the greatest variety of destinations ever.
    The 2,087 capacity MSC SINFONIA, which enjoyed an immensely successful first season of cruising in South African waters earlier this year, will be back for a second extended season cruising mainly from Durban to Mozambique and the Indian Ocean Islands from November through to May 2011.
    Cruising simultaneously and offering new Atlantic and Indian Ocean destinations from December through to March 2011 out of Durban and Cape Town will be the more intimate 1500 capacity MSC MELODY. Already known locally this well loved ship sets the standard for classic cruising comfort.
    MSC Melody will be a regular visitor to Cape Town this coming season and offer new cruise destinations and a total of 11 departures out of the Mother City. Included are 3 x four-night cruises to the old whaling port of Walvis Bay on Namibia’s famed Skeleton Coast and 2 x three-night cruises to the Southern Cape’s popular holiday resort of Mossel Bay with views en route of the world renowned Cape Point and Africa’s most southerly point, Cape Agulhas.
    Other shorter cruises aboard MSC Melody include four scenic three night cruises between Cape Town and Durban and three fun two-night ‘cruises to nowhere’ out of Cape Town promising sightings of dolphin and whales and glorious Atlantic ocean sunsets.

    SAGA ROSE update

    Readers will recall the saga-like cruise of the once popular cruise ship SAGA ROSE along our Southern African coast recently, as the ship made calls at Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay and Maputo before ‘disappearing off the radar’ in an easterly direction.

    Later we reported the ship having been seen in the South China Sea and now comes reports of Saga Rose at Jiangyin, 100 miles up the Yangtze River in China. The ship has been plotted on commercial AIS tracking sites and this seems to confirm that Saga Rose is indeed to be cut up at the Chiangjiang Ship Recycling Yard.

    Why this particular yard? Chaingjiang was created with the encouragement and assistance of P&O Nedlloyd not long before that shipping company was sold to Maersk Line. P&O Nedlloyd was rather proud of the fact that they had come to an arrangement to have their older ships broken up in an environmentally friendly yard, where toxic materials are removed before the cutting torches are employed and where the safety and health of those doing the breaking up is of paramount importance.

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    News from the shipping lines

    Atlantic Container Line (ACL) has included the port of Savannah to its fortnightly multi-purpose container/breakbulk/Ro-Ro service to West Africa, using some of the world’s largest combination container/Ro-Ro vessels.

    ACL is a part of the Grimaldi Group of Italy and also operates services between the US and Europe.

    The addition of Savannah comes into effect during July when the rotation will become Savannah, Dakar, Cotonou, Lome, Lagos and Tema with feeder service to Banjul, Conakry, Freetown, Monrovia, Boma, Douala, Point Noire, Luanda, Lobito, Takoradi, San Pedro, Abidjan and back to Savannah.

    MOL announces bunker surcharge

    Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) has announced a revision of the current bunker surcharge that applies on the Europe/Southern Africa/Europe trade.

    With effect 1 July the revised bunker surcharge will become USD 430 per TEU for general purpose cargo and USD 569 per TEU for reefer cargo. The revised surcharge will be effective as of the B/L date and will remain in force until further notice.

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    Nigeria and why so many vessels are abandoned

    The Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) says a large number of arrested vessels were abandoned due to the high bonds and guarantees required to secure their release.

    Abdulsalam Mohamed, the NPA Managing Director, said this in Abuja in a paper entitled ‘Arrest and Detention of Vessels.’ Mohammed, represented by Mrs Obiageli Anubi, NPA Secretary to the Board/Legal Adviser, presented the paper at the 11th Maritime Seminar for Judges.

    He said the amount of guarantees or bonds imposed to secure release of vessels was inimical to smooth port operations. “This is one reason for high abandonment because it would be economically more prudent for a ship owner to do so than pay a fine twice or thrice the value of the vessel.

    “The owner faced with such a situation would be very willing to repatriate its crew and abandon the vessel which becomes a wreck thereby constituting a hazard to navigation,” Mohammed said.

    He said as a result of occupation of operational berths by vessels under arrest, smooth berthing operations of vessels were disrupted. The disruptions would invariably lead to congestion of vessels and give rise to demurrage and loss of revenue to the nation.

    “The concession contracts by private port operators are based on certain cargo and ship traffic projections which would be more difficult to meet when vessels are arrested and detained at berths,” he said.

    Mohammed said vessels were arrested at the berths without taking into consideration the fact that the port authority does not operate any lay-by berths.

    Mr Chidi Ilogu, a maritime lawyer, said it was important to maintain a high measure of uniformity in the administration of justice leading up to the arrest and detention of vessels. Ilogu, speaking on ‘Arrest and Detention of Vessels and Crew’, said, “This will be in the best interest of all parties concerned in the maritime adventure as each vessel plies its trade from one jurisdiction to another.”

    Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court, who spoke on the same topic, said an arrested ship might be blocking the berth thereby denying other ship the use of the facility.

    To avoid such a situation, Okeke said applications were usually made to the court by persons affected for a variation of the order to move the ship to another place. “In granting such an application, the court satisfies itself that the plaintiff, who secured the arrest, is aware of the application and that the safety of the arrested ship is guaranteed,” the judge said. - Daily Independent

    Pics of the day – SELI 1, the fire

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    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    The Turkish bulker SELI 1 on fire in Table Bay at the recent weekend. A salvage team was working on the vessel which went aground near Bloubergstrand and it is thought that sparks from a welding torch ignited flammable material. The blaze quickly spread through the accommodation quarters, forcing those on board to move near the ship’s bows until rescue teams from Cape Town could lift them off the ship. There were no injuries. These two pictures of the ship on fire are by Pat Downing

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    The aftermath: Seli 1 after the fire had burned itself out. Picture by Robert Ravensberg

    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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