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Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 2, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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First View – TWIN PEAKS


Two semi submersible rigs are now keeping each other company in Cape Town harbour following the arrival of the BLACKFORD DOLPHIN on the right, which is moored next to an older visitor, PRIDE SOUTH SEAS. Pictures by Aad Noorland


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South Africa closer to sending ships and troops to Somalia

SAS Isandlwana, one of four frigates that could find itself on deployment ‘up north’. Picture by Ian Shiffman

South Africa is coming under increasing pressure to deploy not only troops to Somalia as part of the African Union peacekeeping force active in that country, but naval vessels as well.

This has become more apparent following last week’s African Unit summit where an official call was made on African states to provide peacekeepers and naval elements to assist the transitional government of Somalia.

According to Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, there hasn’t been an official request from the AU for South African participation, but Pretoria has promised to assist if asked.

Sisulu warned of the dangers of getting involved in the Somali conflict, saying that it would invite terrorism to South Africa.

The French press agency AFP said last week that AU leaders at the summit in Kampala – scene of a suspected Somali terrorist attack that left 76 people dead – decided to take action aimed at stamping out lawlessness in Somalia. AFP said South Africa, the only sub-Saharan African state with the naval capability, was asked to deploy warships to prevent the terrorist group al-Shabaab from importing weapons into Kismayo port in the south of Somalia where they could be used against the United Nations-recognised Transitional Federal Government.

President Zuma is expected to brief cabinet on the summit and any request or appeal for help by the AU requiring peacekeepers or the presence of the navy. At present the under-strength AU contingent is reliant on soldiers from Uganda and Burundi. The Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab has already taken credit for the Kampala attack, saying this was in retaliation for Uganda sending troops to Somalia.

Last week’s AU summit agreed to the sending of a further 2,000 troops to join the 6,000 already in Somalia propping up the government.

The South African Minister of Defence raised several issues regarding South Africa sending peacekeepers. While saying that South African troops are combat ready she queried whether the army had enough soldiers to deploy additional troops to Somalia – South Africa already has soldiers keeping the peace in the eastern DRC, in the Sudan and in the Central African Republic.

She also raised the issue of whether it was right to expose South Africa to acts of retaliation by terrorist groups such as that experienced in Kampala. Her department has also differentiated between peacekeeping in the DRC, Sudan and CAR and that of the ‘peace-enforcement’ necessary in Somalia to shore up the existing transitional government.

Sisulu said it would mean little to act against piracy in Somali waters without tackling the question of the restoration of political stability in Somalia. “Patrolling the waters won’t stop the problem. The most important thing is to support the government of Somalia,” she said. On the other hand if South Africa rejected a request by the African Union to deploy to Somalia it could compromise the respect and standing that South Africa enjoys on the African continent. She said that such a mission came with high risks.

According to Sisulu the matter lay with President Zuma who would deal with it “quite soon”.


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News from the shipping lines

MOL goes direct with SA-East Coast US car service

Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) has quietly modified one of its dedicated car carrier services out of Durban to provide a more direct service between South Africa and the east coast United States. The change came about a month ago when the monthly car carrier service which used to operate via northern Europe switched to operating a direct service from South Africa to the United States ports of Jacksonville and Baltimore also on a monthly frequency. – thanks to Ed Feege, correspondent for The Examiner.com, Baltimore edition for this lead.

CMA CGM takes another big ship

French container line CMA CGM last week took delivery of yet another large container newbuild, the 11,400-TEU CMA CGM LEO from Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyards in South Korea. The new ship flies the Maltese flag, and becomes one of the largest ships in the Valetta registry. CMA CGM Leo is the fifth of a series of 12 super container ships ordered by the company for delivery between 2010 and 2011. A similar ship still to be delivered, CMA CGM PEGASUS will also fly the Maltese flag and is due for delivery later this month. CMA CGM Leo is 360m long, 45m wide and has a draught of 15.5m and is one of the first from CMA CGM to receive the new Bureau Veritas classification notations Clean Ship C and FORS, which confirm the environmental performance of the ship.

The new ship will enter service on the FAL 5 service between Europe and Asia.

New Chief Financial Officer for CMA CGM

Following the recent resignation of former Jean-Yves Schapiro as Group Chief Financial Officer of the group, CMA CGM has appointed Olivier Dubois as his replacement. Dubois joined the group on 30 July 2010 and will work with Schapiro until the end of August.

Hapag-Lloyd buys slots on Hanjin-UASC Africa service

Hamburg-based Hapag-Lloyd will buy up slots on a Mediterranean to West Africa service with Hanjin Shipping and United Arab Shipping. The number of vessels on the service (three from Hanjin and one from UASC) has been doubled with an average vessel size of 1,874-TEU. The new port rotation will be Algeciras, Lagos, Cotonou, Tema, Abidjan and back to Algeciras.

Maersk Line pays fine over US violations

Maersk Line has paid fines of USD 3.1 million for violating US sanctions barring shipments to Sudan and Iran. According to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) the offences involved unlicensed shipping services on Maersk Lines’ US-flagged ships for over 4,700 shipments originating in or bound for Sudan and Iran between January 2003 and October 2007.

By paying an ‘admission of guilt’ fine up front Maersk Line has apparently avoided the base penalty amount for the violations of US61.8 million, according to OFAC. The offences involved cargo on ships owned or operated by Maersk Line but time-chartered or sub-time-chartered to parent company AP Moller-Maersk on at least one leg of each journey.


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Piracy – Turkish ship released

The Turkish freighter FRIGIA, captured by Somali pirates on 23 March this year, has been released, according to Turkish news broadcasts. Frigia (35,000-dwt) and her crew of 21 was taken by pirates almost 1,000 n.miles east of the coast of Somalia, closer to India than to Africa. The ship is Maltese flagged. A ransom was presumably paid for the ship and crew’s release.

Meanwhile the US Navy said at least five ships have evaded capture in recent weeks by taking evasive action. In one case involving a tanker a Spanish Air Force aircraft arrived in time to distract the pirates and force them to break off the engagement.

In another development, on 26 July, the Russian destroyer ADMIRAL LEVCHENKO began escorting a World Food Programme (WFP) shipment, in support of EU NAVFOR. “This is a clear demonstration of the excellent co-operation between our European Task Force 465 and the Russian Navy,” said Force Commander Jan Thörnqvist.

He said that EU NAVFOR welcomed the involvement of the Russian Navy in Operation ATALANTA’s main task of escorting World Food Programme (WFP) vessels. The WFP has provided more than half a million tonnes of food into Somalia since late 2007. The destroyer ADMIRAL LEVCHENKO arrived in the Gulf of Aden earlier in July to take part in the counter-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia in relief of the destroyer MARSHAL SHAPOSHNIKOV.


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US and Mozambique officials announce joint exercise SHARED ACCORD


Dock workers in Maputo harbour look on as gear bound for the support of Exercise SHARED ACCORD is offloaded from the BELUGA FUSION, a Liberian flag ship, 25 July 2010. The piece is one of more than 200 that will be used during the 10-day exercise for mission sustainment and humanitarian initiatives defined by US Africa Command's (AFRICOM) Marine component, US Marine Forces Africa. Shared Accord is an annual, scheduled, bilateral field training exercise aimed at conducting small unit infantry and staff training with partner nations for the purpose of peace and stability operations. This year's exercise is being held in Mozambique. Photo by US Marine Sergeant Lydia M Davey

by US Marine Sergeant Lydia M Davey

Spokespersons from the US Embassy in Maputo, along with Mozambique military officials, jointly announced plans for Exercise SHARED ACCORD during a press briefing at the Mozambique Ministry of Defence in Maputo last week.

“This exercise is part of a solid, long-term, multi-faceted partnership between the US and Mozambican militaries,” said Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Olson, defense attache at the US Embassy in Maputo. “Hundreds of members of both our armed forces will participate together in various types of military training, including command post, live-fire training, and peace operations, as well as sharing their experience.”

The troops will also jointly provide free medical and dental care to three local communities, and rehabilitate two schools during the course of the 15-day exercise, according to Olson.

“We are confident that this exercise will help develop Mozambique's capabilities to offer additional security for its neighbours, keep Mozambique itself more free from threats to its own security, such as illegal fishing, trafficking in drugs or other illegal activities, or even the threat of piracy, and enhance its ability to effectively fight against poverty here at home,” Olson added.

SHARED ACCORD is an annually scheduled, combined, bi-lateral US-partner nation event. This year, Mozambique is host for the event, which is designed to build partner nation capacity for conducting peace and stability operations, according to Captain Kate Vanden Bossche, public affairs officer for the exercise.

Previously, SHARED ACCORD has taken place in locations such as Benin, Ghana, and Senegal.

Members of Mozambique's Armed Forces for the Defence of Mozambique (FADM) also met with exercise planners last week to coordinate logistical and security support for SA10.

The exercise, which is coordinated for US Africa Command by its Marine component, US Marine Forces Africa, is scheduled to conclude on 13 August. All US service members will return to their home bases in Europe and the United States at the conclusion of the exercise.


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150-year mystery solved as ship is found in the Arctic

One of the more intriguing stories to appear at the weekend was that of a ship, lost for over 150 years, which had been found in the waters of the Canadian western Arctic.

The sailing ship, HMS INVESTIGATOR was abandoned by her crew in 1853 after becoming trapped in ice while trying to find traces of another ill- fated arctic expedition under the command of Sir John Franklin.

The ship was found in an upright position in about 11 metres of water in Mercy Bay, on the northern coast of Banks Island, and was clearly visible through the water. HMS Investigator was one of a number of British and American ships sent in search of HMS EREBUS and HMS TERROR, which were commanded by Sir John Franklin on his voyage of 1845.

Included in the discovery of HMS Investigator was that of three bodies buried ashore, presumed to have been sailors on the ship who died from scurvy. When the ship became trapped by ice in 1850 the crew was forced to winter over in Prince of Wales Strait on the east coast of Banks Island.

In the following summer HMS Investigator, commanded by Captain Robert McClure, set out again to find a way through the Northwest Passage but was again blocked by ice. They took the ship into a large bay on the island’s north coast, which they named Mercy Bay and there they remained until 1853 when they were rescued by HMS RESOLUTE.

HMS Investigator was abandoned where she lay at anchor and later apparently sank at her mooring.


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Pics of the Day – PHAYAO NAVEE and SANEI MARU 51


The Thai multi purpose freighter PHAYAO NAVEE (22,120-dwt, built 1978) on berth at Maydon Wharf and working cargo in this picture by Terry Hutson.


The Japanese fishing vessel SANEI MARU 51 is leaving Maydon Wharf after discharging her catch and taking on stores in Durban. Picture by Terry Hutson


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