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Ports & Ships Maritime News

July 7, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

Shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa


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  • First View – TORM NAKSKOV
  • Zambezi River under scrutiny as means of moving coal to the coast
  • Nigeria tightens up legislation against toxic shipments
  • Durban shipping companies ring the changes
  • Piracy - Time to revisit the ship charter small print?
  • Cruise ship BREMEN completes refit, ready for cruising
  • Pics of the day – NOE

    First View – TORM NAKSKOV

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    The Singapore-owned, Hong Kong flagged chemical and oil products tanker TORM NAKSKOV (51,149-dwt, built 2008), seen in Cape Town this past week. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    News continues below...

    Zambezi River under scrutiny as means of moving coal to the coast

    Few of southern Africa’s rivers are considered navigable in the way in which rivers elsewhere in Africa, the America’s and in Europe are used for the transportation of people and goods over large distances.

    Now the Zambezi, once considered as navigable for some distance from the coast, is coming under serious consideration as an alternative to rail road for the export of large volumes of coal from mines in the Moatize and Benga regions of central Tete Province, Mozambique.

    In yesterday’s News Bulletin we reported that Brazil’s Vale and Australia’s Riversdale Mining had come to an agreement over the use of the rebuilt Sena railway, which connects the coal mining region with the port at Beira. Vale will enjoy 68 percent of the railway’s 5 million tonnes annual capacity and Riversdale the other 32 percent, but Riversdale had already announced some time back that it was looking into the possibility of barging coal down the Zambezi to the coast.

    This matter came up for discussion at a conference held in Maputo this past week, with one of the papers being presented by Martin Pepper, president of Global Marine Resources, a US-based company with experience in river barging.

    Pepper said barging the coal along the Zambezi was the best option for all parties. He argued that the river had been navigable in the past and could be so in the future. With the benefit of new technologies and new studies, plus an intent to develop the system, the Zambezi could become an important transport corridor for Mozambique in helping develop the future for Mozambique.

    Pepper described the Moatize Basin where the mines are situated as the world’s last great remaining unexploited coal basins. Already, he said it was clear that the forecast output of the mines exceeded the capacity of the newly refurbished railway and therefore other alternatives are becoming necessary. One of these is to build a new section of railway from Moatize into Malawi where it will connect with that country’s railway, which in turn connects with the Nacala – Malawi railway in the north and with the deepwater seaport of Nacala on the coast.

    Other specialists point out that barging coal down the river is likely to be cheaper than by using rail or road. The chairman of the Mozambican Coal Development Association, Casimiro Francisco said that not only did it appear that the Zambezi River was navigable along its entire required length to enable the barging of coal but that it could operate as a major highway for the region for other commodities as well.

    Mozambique’s Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, who was attending the meeting said the government would guarantee the creation of the necessary facilities to create a barging system along the Zambezi, provided studies showed that the environmental and social impacts of opening up the Zambezi to large scale traffic by barges was manageable.

    The minister said the Mozambique government was willing to cooperate with Malawi which is keen to use the Zambezi as a transport corridor to the coast. The Malawian proposal is to utilise the Shire River which feeds from southern Malawi into the Zambezi. Historically the Shire was used extensively as a transport lane into the then Nyasaland.

    A note of warning was sounded at the meeting by a representative of the NGO Justica Ambiental (Environmental Justice), Joao Nogueira who said that environmental impacts of the proposal were as yet unknown and that little consideration had been given to possible damage to the Zambezi ecosystems.

    He warned that by deepening the channels in the Zambezi it could cause some of the river banks to dry up, thus reducing its ability to sustain wildlife and could even have adverse effects on the human population living along the river.

    According to Pepper the environmental impacts are controllable. He said the Zambezi River bore a strong resemblance to the Parana River which extends from Brazil and Paraguay into Argentina and reaches the sea via the Rio de la Plate. He said his company had been moving 12 million tonnes a year down the Parana for the past 15 years and simply adapted the barges used to the seasonal flow of the river, with large barges alternating with smaller ones. – source AIM and own sources

    News continues below…

    Nigeria tightens up legislation against toxic shipments

    Nigeria has tightened up its legislation regarding contraventions of the Basel Convention which aims at preventing the transportation and subsequent dumping of toxic waste and other material in other parts of the world.

    By making use of a Bill entitled the ‘Harmful Waste (Special Criminal Provisions) Act of 2004, Nigeria intends cracking down on anyone attempting to import such material into the West African country. The Bill prohibits the carrying, depositing and dumping of harmful wastes on land and the territorial waters of Nigeria.

    The Director-General of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Ngeri Benebo quoted the law which states: “Any person found guilty in terms of a crime under this Act shall on conviction be sentenced to imprisonment for life, and in addition, any carrier, including aircraft, vehicle, container or any other thing whatsoever used in the transportation or importation of the harmful waste, and any land on which the harmful waste was deposited or dumped, shall be forfeited to and vested in the Federal Government.”

    She emphasised Section 8 of the Act which stipulates that: “Any person who attempts to commit any of the crimes under this Act shall be guilty of a crime and shall on conviction be sentenced to imprisonment for life.”

    Nigeria has become more sensitive to the dumping of waste on its soil following several recent cases where toxic material was exported into Lagos from Europe but was intercepted on arrival following cooperative policing and management between Nigerian and European officials. In both cases the ships carrying the toxic cargo were forced to return the containers to the European port of loading.

    Several years ago a consignment of toxic waste was controversially shipped from a Dutch port into Abidjan in the Ivory Coast and after disposal in the city’s water systems a large number of people became ill and died. The repercussions of that case are ongoing.

    News continues below...

    Durban shipping companies ring the changes

    A number of changes of senior personnel among Durban shipping companies have been announced.

    At Voigt Shipping, a countrywide ships agency business, Tony Schillaci is stepping down and will retire as CEO of the company. He is succeeded by fellow founding member Butch Preston who becomes Chief Executive Officer.

    Preston and Schillaci helped found the business of Voigt Shipping 21 years ago along with the late Paul Voigt, Rob Gardner and Geoff van Vuuren. Schillaci intends remaining available to Voigt Shipping on a consultancy basis until the end of 2010.

    His successor as CEO, Butch Preston has spent his entire working career with the shipping industry, having worked for Irving Shipping and Ocean Bulk, where he met his future partners Paul Voigt and Tony Schillaci.

    In a further move involving Voigt Shipping, the company’s Regional Manager in the Cape, Rob Gardner has been appointed General Manager Africa, Grindrod Ships Agency and will carry responsibility for the Group’s Namibian and Mozambican operations. He will relocate back to Durban from Cape Town in August.

    Voigt Shipping is a member of the Grindrod Group.

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    Tim McClure

    Another division of the Grindrod Group, Island View Shipping, pays its farewell to one of its founding members and Executive Director, Tim McClure later this month when he retires. McClure took over as chief executive of IVS when Grindrod acquired the shipping line from the Tiger Group towards the end of the 1990s. The acquisition was largely of McClure’s initiative and he played a major role in the expansion of the shipping line’s activities and its fleet, which in turn had a significant effect on the future success of the Grindrod Group.

    McClure has been succeeded by Martyn Wade who becomes a part of the executive committee of Grindrod but will not serve as a director of the listed company.

    In a further move of ‘men at the top’, James Reddy, Managing Director of Rennies Ships Agency since 2006, has resigned to join Safcor. Reddy spent 40 years with Rennies, which is one of Durban’s oldest companies of any description – Rennies was founded in 1849 and established in Durban not that much later. Before becoming MD Reddy was the director responsible for the Liner Division.

    He is being succeeded in the position of MD by Grant Stevenson, another long-time member of the Rennies ‘family’.

    News continues below…

    Piracy - Time to revisit the ship charter small print?

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    When pirates seize a chartered ship, effectively removing it from service, who pays the hire fee? Sharon Gill reports ...

    Last month, the English High Court ruled that in June, the SALDANHA, a 38,000 dwt Panamax bulk carrier that was captured by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, remained on-hire for the subsequent period of detention.

    According to the UK Defence Club, this was the first English Court judgment that specifically addressed the charterparty implications of piracy and provided guidance on an “issue of great relevance to owners and charterers alike.”

    The Saldanha, on a standard New York Produce Exchange charter, was en route from Indonesia to Kope, Slovenia with a cargo of coal when it was seized by pirates on 22 February 2009. The ship was taken to a location close to Eyl, Somalia and released two months later, on April 25th.

    The charterer did not pay hire during the detention, claiming that the ship was off-hire since its seizure, referring to clause 15 of the NYPE charter to support its argument: “... in the event of the loss of time from default and/or deficiency of men including strike of officers and/or crew or deficiency of stores, fire, breakdown or damages to hull, machinery or equipment, grounding, detention by average accidents to ship or cargo, dry-docking for the purpose of examination or painting bottom, or by any other cause preventing the full working of the vessel, the payment of hire shall cease for the time thereby lost."

    The charterer argued that the seizure by pirates amounted to a “default and/ or deficiency of men” or “detention by average accident”, and further claimed that the words “any other cause” could include an external event such as the actions of pirates.

    The UK Defence Club supported its owner member in his claim against the charterer, and a London arbitration tribunal found the ship had remained on-hire throughout its detention. The charterer appealed the tribunal's decision in the English High Court, where Mr. Justice Gross found that the appeal failed on all counts.

    In terms of “default or deficiency of men”, the judge agreed with the tribunal that this related to the owner's failure to supply enough crew or a refusal by a crew to perform their duties, and not to the negligent act or inadvertent performance of their duties.

    Nor did seizure by pirates amount to “detention by average accident”. This would have required some damage to the ship and an element of fortuity, neither of which was present.

    Further, the words “any other cause” in the NYPE off-hire clause could only refer to some sort of deficiency or detention of the vessel or crew, and not to some completely external influence.

    The judge concluded that if parties wished to treat seizure by pirates as an off-hire event under a time charterparty, there should be specific wording to that effect. He suggested that if the off-hire clause had been amended to refer to “any other cause whatsoever”, then this might have made a difference, but this was not certain.

    The charterer has since been refused leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

    UK Defence Club manager Daniel Evans commented: “The judgment is a very important one with wide ranging implications for the shipping industry, as pirate attacks remain prevalent. Unless there is clear wording to the contrary, this ruling means that a ship chartered on unamended NYPE terms will remain on-hire if seized by pirates. It is very much a landmark ruling.” - eye for transport

    News continues below…

    Cruise ship BREMEN completes refit, ready for cruising

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    Hapag-Lloyd’s Bremen

    Hapag-Lloyds ‘pocket’ cruise ship BREMEN has returned to service after completing a two week refit and maintenance stopover during June.

    During the refit some 46 of the cabins on the 6,752-gt, 184-passenger ship underwent a comprehensive makeover, the balance having been refitted during the ship’s previous shipyard visit in 2008. About 550 technicians, tradesmen and engineers were busy fulfilling the hundreds of tasks specified on the list in order to successfully complete the many upgrades and renovations on the 20-year old ship.

    Bremen is well-loved as a 4-star expedition ship, as classified by the 2010 Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships. The ship was designed to provide elegant surroundings for those who prefer to do their exploring in elegant surroundings. The ship has been built and fitted for travel in difficult waters and holds the highest ice class ranking for passenger vessels (E4). The ship has a shallow draught and is capable of high manoeuvrability to enable the Bremen to enter waters denied to larger cruise ships.

    Guests are able to explore the world’s best-kept secrets in zodiacs (small rubberized motor boats) with only 10 or 12 passengers on board. Onboard experts include a team of experienced scientists, expedition leaders and specialists who guide landings and offer guests the rare opportunity to observe plant and animal life up close. The ship also has warm parkas and rubber boots for all passengers on-loan.

    The 2011 season for Bremen offers the highlight of the very popular Northwest Passage in August, with the passage beginning in Nome, Alaska amidst signs of the Inuit culture, before sailing through the Canadian Arctic and thus the heart of the Northwest Passage, on a 25-day journey. This cruise starts on 13 August 2011 and ends on 7 September 2011.

    Even globetrotters who have traveled the world extensively will discover unknown territory on the Bremen in Alaska and the Chukchi Peninsula in Summer 2011. The Chukchi Peninsula is in the far northeast of Russia. It is a region far removed from western civilization, where unforgettable days full of expedition experiences and pioneering spirit await. The Bremen is one of only a few ships that can reach not only the east, but also the north coast of this peninsula.

    The cruise ship will be in making stops at the following new ports in the Chukchi Peninsula: Lorino, Cape Vankarem and Kolyuchin Island between 28 July and 13 August 2011.

    Further details are available at hl-cruises.com

    Pics of the day – NOE

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    It isn’t often that we see a Madagascan harbour tug in one of the South African ports, so the arrival of the tug NOE (269-gt, built 2010) last week held its own kind of interest. The tug is registered to the Toamasina Port Authority but flies the flag of St Vincent and the Grenadines. It is presumed that she was on a delivery voyage and called at Cape Town for bunkers and supplies. Pictures by Aad Noorland

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