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Ports & Ships Maritime News

August 10, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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First View – DEEPWORX


Another addition to the workboats operating from Durban is this dive support vessel named DEEPWORX, fully equipped including with saturation diving equipment.

The vessel belongs to Professional Diving Centre and operates as a commercial dive school, mainly focusing on training divers for the oil and gas industry but also for divers focusing on shipping and civil’s. The owner is Grant Jameson, who also took the picture during training off Durban.


News continues below...

Port statistics for July are now available

South African port statistics for the month of July 2010 are now to hand, courtesy Transnet.

As is customary the figures shown in this report reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers in terms of the number of TEUs and no longer by weight - for which PORTS & SHIPS estimates an adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to reflect tonnages. This figure is on the conservative side with 14 tonnes or even more perhaps being a more realistic figure, particularly in view of the increasing quantity of bulk cargo which is now being handled in containers.

For comparative purposes readers can see statistics from 12 months ago (July 2009) by clicking HERE.

Use your BACK button to return to this page.

Port of East London, looking towards the West Bank and grain elevator

Figures for the respective ports during July 2010 are (with June 2010 figures shown bracketed):

Cargo handled by tonnes during July 2010

PORT July 2010 June 2010
Richards Bay 7.000 5.877
Durban 6,264 6.803
Saldanha Bay 4.759 5.186
Cape Town 0.894 1,258
Port Elizabeth 0.914 0.965
Ngqura 0.485 0.295
Mossel Bay 0.139 0.176
East London 0.207 0.155
Total all ports 20.657 mt 20.715 mt

Containers (measured by TEUs) during July 2010 (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Tranship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT July 2010 TEUs June 2010 TEUs
Durban 217,529 216,579
Cape Town 55,274 60,365
Port Elizabeth 36,674 29,851
Ngqura 35,928 21,865
East London 4,347 3,419
Richards Bay 1,027 1,480
Total all ports 350,779 333,559

Ship Calls for July 2010

PORT July ships gt June ships gt
Durban 438 11.321m 432 11.825m
Cape Town 229 3.944m 232 4.485m
Port Elizabeth 95 2,318m 102 2.409m
Ngqura 30 1.282m 34 1.517m
Saldanha Bay 49


40 2.788m
East London 28 0.752m


Mossel Bay 115 0.212m 121 0.275m
Total ship calls 1116 27.103m 1100 26.999m

- source TNPA, but with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container tonnages


News continues below…

PIL’s ten years in South Africa

Helping celebrate ten years in South Africa for PIL (Pacific International Lines) were, from left: Wayne Lambson, Yeoh Chin Tat, Tan CK, Sherilyn Robinson, Logie Naidoo (Durban’s deputy mayor), Louis McGregor-Langley, Lisa Teo, Adam Zhang, Ng Hui Khoon, and Ivan Naik

Ten years can be a long time or a short one, depending on different circumstances. Much can happen in that time and in the case involving a Durban company and one if Singapore, it can appear to pass in a flash.

Those were some of the thoughts that went through the mind of this observer last week when by invitation he attended the 10 year anniversary of PIL in South Africa.

PIL, or Pacific International Lines, is a Singapore-based shipping company that has risen rapidly since the days when it mostly worked coastal trade along the Malaysian peninsula. The company has since expanded steadily into the wider world and now ranks 19th among global container lines, with 123 container ships in service as at July.

All this would have been of interest but not of concern to this publication and its focus on things African had not the late Keiran Sullivan taken the bull by the horns, as he might have said, by going off to Singapore to secure the ships agency for his fledgling company, Foreshore Ships Agency in Durban.

At that time Sullivan and his three partners, Ivan Naik, Wain Lambson and Louis McGregor-Langley had just lost the NanTai ships agency after the Taiwanese company went into liquidation, leaving them with comfortable offices in the middle of Durban but no-one to represent.

According to the story told to this writer by Sullivan back in 2000, the principals in Singapore were rather taken aback when he arrived, more or less unannounced to inform them there were opportunities in southern Africa and that he and his company were the right people to partner PIL in its first venture into Africa.

Taken aback or not, the directors of PIL listened and liked what they heard, and as a result the firm of Foreshore Ships Agency became the official agency for Pacific International Lines in South Africa.

The rest, as they say, is history and today, ten years later, Foreshore is a conglomerate of numerous companies with varied interests, while the partnership with PIL has strengthened and evolved into a joint venture known as PIL South Africa, headquartered in Durban and representing the shipping line in this region.

Keiran Sullivan lived to see his dream realised and his company becoming a significant player in the South African shipping circle. Unfortunately he died tragically in a motor accident, robbing not only his family and friends of a special person but his business partners of an innovative and far-seeing colleague and leader.

This much was recognised at the anniversary celebrations held at Durban’s ICC last week, when senior personnel from PIL in Singapore flew to South Africa to attend and enjoy the congratulations. Unfortunately PIL’s chairman was unable to travel due to health problems but sent his wishes, during which he made mention of the part played by the late Keiran Sullivan.

PIL today is one of South Africa’s more important shipping lines in terms of the number of calls and trades that it services. In the port of Durban alone an average of nine vessels call every week, while ships also call at Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

PIL currently operates the following services to Africa, most of them connected by Durban.

Africa Middle East India service
Angola Luanda service
Asia – South Africa service
East African service
Indian Ocean Mozambique service
South West Africa Container service x 2
South Africa – South America service


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The navy’s in town – Indian and S Korean navy ships arrive

Four ships of the Indian Navy are due in Durban this morning for a four day visit.  CORRECTION - THE SHIPS WILL ARRIVE ON 8 SEPTEMBER, NOT TODAY

The ships are the Delhi class destroyer INS MYSORE (D62), displacing 6,700 tons and with a crew of 360, the two frigates INS GANGA (F22) and INS TABAR (F44) each with crews of around 300 and a replenishment tanker INS ADITYA (A59).

They will berth at Durban’s T-Jetty, alongside the Passenger Terminal on berth N, with the tanker going to berth O.

Indian Navy ships are always given a warm welcome in Durban, not only because of the large Indian population of more than a million living in or near the city. This visit is unlikely to be any different and although PORTS & SHIPS has received no announcements, the ships are likely to be opened to the public on one or two days during the visit. They sail on Friday, for Simon’s Town it is presumed.

One of the ships, the frigate INS Tabar made world headlines for all the wrong reasons in November 2008 when on an anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden the warship opened fire on a vessel with pirates on board. The Thai fishing vessel Ekawat Nava 5 had been highjacked the day before and had already been ‘inspected’ by a Royal Navy ship which backed away and left the scene when the pirates held guns aimed at the Thai crew.

Later that afternoon the Indian Navy ship appeared and after a short altercation with the pirates opened fire, setting the vessel on fire and killing most of the crew. At least some of the pirates got away in one of the speed boats used for attacking merchant ships and were not seen again.

The Indian Navy reported having sunk a ‘pirate mother ship’ which is where the matter may have remained, except that five days later and 100 miles away Yemeni fishermen picked up a single survivor from the Ekawat Nava 5, a Cambodian fisherman, who lived by hanging on to a barrel to tell the story of what really happened. Later in a Yemeni hospital he said that most of the crew of 16 were killed by fire from the Indian ship but about six others had jumped with him into the sea.

The incident proved embarrassing for the Indian Navy and for other naval units operating in the area on anti piracy patrol, and highlighted the difficulties of identifying and dealing with pirates already on captured ships.

South Korean Navy arrives in Simon’s Town

A South Korean Navy warship, the destroyer WANG GEON (DDH-978), built in 2006 arrived in Simon’s Town on Sunday, 8 August for what is understood to be a two-week visit. Is this the first ever visit to South Africa of a South Korean warship? Anyone know?

DDH-978 Wang Geon arriving in Simon’s Town. Picture by Bob Johnston


News continues below…

TPT trainees soon to straddle the gender divide

The group of women currently completing training to become straddle carrier operators at Durban’s container terminal. Picture by Roy Reed

Twenty seven Durban women are well on their way to becoming certified operators of lifting equipment capable of driving the massive straddle carriers which transport containers within the Port of Durban.

In their class of 30, they far outnumber their male counterparts. The role has recently attracted an increasing number of female operators in line with Transnet’s human capital strategy and Transnet Port Terminals’ women in operations strategy.

Earlier this year, 29 more female operators completed their intensive training and took up employment in the southern hemisphere’s busiest container facility, Durban container terminal.

The straddle carriers are specialised mobile vehicles used for stacking and moving import and export containers between the terminal’s stacking yard and vessels berthed on the quayside. They can stack containers up to four high.

Functional Training Manager at the School of Port Operations, Mathemba Sauti, said, “Transnet Port Terminals has embarked on an aggressive recruitment drive to increase the number of gangs of operators in the terminals.

“This resource drive is part of Transnet’s quantum leap strategy, which emphasises the need for massive improvements in performance to achieve customer satisfaction. Each candidate is aware of the urgency of working quickly and efficiently to maintain good container turnaround times.”

The women started their training at the beginning of June and will complete the full course by the end of October. It includes five weeks of practical training as well as a theory component which gives candidates insight into best practice, port operations and container logistics.

The course ends with a final assessment and mentorship programme which allows the candidates to shadow established operators and receive hands-on advice.

Sauti said the minimum competency is to complete 20 container moves per hour. The candidates then have to ramp up to meet Transnet’s quantum leap target of 28 moves per gross crane hour (GCH). GCH is the common measure of competency in the container handling business.

Twenty five year old Philisiwe Nkosi of Kwa Mashu is one of the 27 women trainees. She is a qualified electrical technician who studied at Coastal KZN FET College.

Used to working at great heights from her days as a trainee technician working on Telkom’s telephone poles, she was undaunted by the challenge of climbing more than 20 metres high to carry out her new work.

Twenty seven year old Dorothy Smit relocated from Vanderbijlpark with her small family. A former credit controller, restaurant manager and VIP clerk with experience working in England, she and her husband both applied for the straddle carrier position but only she was accepted.

She says, “It was incredibly nerve wracking the first time being so high up and having to try operate the machine, but several months in I now can’t wait to complete training and get started.” – source TPT


News continues below…

Fishing vessels and submarine to be auctioned in Cape Town

mini submarine TAURUS

Several ships and fishing craft are to be auctioned this month, all of them in Cape Town. The most interesting, from a curiousity point of view, is a mini submarine, the TAURUS.

The larger batch of six vessels, to be sold by the Auction Alliance at the offices of attorneys Webber Wentzel at 10h00, will involve the following:

DIAZ II, a stern trawler located in the Eliot Basin
CLEANER, a fishing vessel, located on Quay 700
GOLDEN FIREFLY, described as a cargo vessel, located on Quay 500
CAPENSIS, a fishing vessel, located on Quay 700
EAGLE STAR, a fishing vessel, located on Quay 700
TAURUS, a mini tourist submarine, located on Quay 500

The second auction involves a shipping vessel and is being handled by the firm of Admiralty Sales and will be conducted at the offices of Aucor, 17 Dacres Avenue, Epping 2, Cape Town at 11h00 on 23 August 2010. The vessel being sold is the 71-ton SEVEN SEAS, capable of carrying 70 passengers and five crew and fully equipped with fishing gear. The vessel is located in Cape Town.




The latest cruise ship to join the expanding international fleet, is Holland America Line’s NIEUW AMSTERDAM (86,000-gt), pictured in Venice on 4 July, the day of her launching from the Fincantieri Marghera shipyard in the same city. She becomes the fourth ship to carry this proud name, following on from an illustrious line of Nieuw Amsterdam’s going back to 1906. Ports & Ships hopes to carry a write up of this ship in the next few days. Picture by Trevor Jones

The colourful NORWEGIAN JADE (93,558-gt, built 2006) of Norwegian Cruise Lines now sails all year round in the Mediterranean and when this picture was taken on 6 July the ship was in Livorno, Italy. Picture by Trevor Jones


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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Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.


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