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Ports & Ships Maritime News

August 11, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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Correction:  In yesterday's News we reported that ships of the Indian Navy were due to arrive in Durban that day, ie on Tuesday. In fact the Indian Navy will be arriving in Durban on 8 September before departing on 13 September for Simon's Town.



First View – SYRIA STAR


In the news this week is the general cargo ship SYRIA STAR (10,968-gt) which was highjacked by Somali pirates last Thursday and then suddenly released the next day. SYRIA STAR had been travelling through the Gulf of Aden along the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor when the attack came. Shortly after being released the crew of mostly Syrians radioed for medical assistance, saying that crew had been injured in the initial attack. The German frigate SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN rallied to the call and dispatched a helicopter to medivac the two injured crewmen – see report below. Picture courtesy EU NAVFOR


News continues below...

Mumbai ports to reopen following collision


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The collision at the weekend off Mumbai between the 2,314-TEU MSC CHITRA (33,113-gt, built 1980) and the bulk carrier KHALIJIA 3 (45, 798-dwt, built 1985) has resulted in further disruption to an already severely congested port of Nava Sheva (Mumbai), where in mid-July three lines, OOCL, NYK and Hyundai imposed congestion surcharges of USD 150 per TEU.

The collision left an oil spill for authorities to contend with in addition to approximately 300 containers which fell off the MSC ship and have dispersed across the port approaches, effectively closing the port.

MSC Chitra is deployed on MSC’s East Africa – India service. After the collision the container ship took on an 70-80° list during which the approximately 300 containers fell off.

In a statement issued yesterday (Tuesday) MSC said their ship had suffered extensive damage and was grounded close to where the collision took place. Salvors had been immediately appointed to stabilise the vessel and cargo and deal with the consequences and efforts were underway to recover the containers lost overboard.

There were no injuries to crew or salvors on board either of the two vessels.

MSC added that it was a priority to prevent further pollution – MSC Chitra’s fuel tanks have been ruptured and fuel was spilling into the water, although the amount was reducing and may now have stopped. The vessel is reported to be stable although there are spring tides at Mumbai and this situation may change.

The statement said that it was MSC’s understanding that KHALIJIA 3 had recently been salvaged from a three-week grounding.

“We have performed a preliminary review of the vessel’s black box recorder. From the recording it is clear that the MSC CHITRA was properly proceeding outbound within the main navigation channel when the KHALIJIA 3, with salvors’ escort tugs in attendance, left what we believe was the KHALIJIA 3’s anchorage position, and crossed the fairway ahead of the MSC CHITRA heading generally southbound and turning to port.

“For reasons not known to us the KHALIJIA 3 unexpectedly continued turning to port, and came back to cross the fairway again, now heading in a generally northbound direction, and struck the MSC CHITRA on the port side while the MSC CHITRA was still properly navigating in the main channel. Therefore, it would appear that under the rules of navigation the KHALIJIA 3 was significantly in error. We of course await the results of the full inquiry in due course.”

An official enquiry has been launched into the cause of the accident.

In the financial year ended 31 March the Mumbai ports, which is port-run with two private terminals, recorded a throughout of 4.06 million TEUs.



News continues below…

Maersk cancels South Africa – Oceania dry cargo service


The global shortage of dry containers has resulted in Maersk Line saying it is cancelling the further movement of loaded dry containers from southern Africa to Oceania destinations “due to an urgent need to position dry equipment.”

The ruling takes effect immediately to shipments from southern Africa to American Samoa, Australia, Fiji Islands, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and Vanuatu. Reefer boxes are not affected.

Earlier Maersk said that it expected the container shortage to last through the third quarter of the year. It said that during the recession of 2008 and 2009 many container shipping and leasing companies stopped sourcing and producing containers. “As carriers and shippers did not expect the current demand surge, the necessary equipment has not been ordered in 2010, ultimately resulting in the global shortage in equipment.”

Maersk said that in response to this shortage it has initiated production and leasing of new containers and has re-activated laid-up container ships to assist in repositioning containers as fast as possible.

Meanwhile Maersk Line and Safmarine are altering the rotation of their Samba service between Europe, North and West Africa and the East Coast of South America. Calls at Tangier, Dakar and Vittoria have been dropped and are being replaced with a call at Tilbury and a double call at Santos.

The new rotation as from 18 August is: Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Tilbury, Algeciras, Santos, Paranagua, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santos, Pecem and Rotterdam.

Currently Maersk provides five container ships to the service and Safmarine two, each with an average TEU capacity of around 3,000 TEUs.


News continues below...

Pirates abandon highjacked ship SYRIA STAR

FGS Schleswig-Holstein closing in on the Syria Star – see story below

NATO reports that a pirate attack on the tanker ICE EXPLORER in the Gulf of Aden yesterday (Tuesday) was successfully averted thanks to the arrival of a NATO helicopter.

The 146,427-dwt tanker sounded the alert after coming under attack, following which the US frigate USN KAUFFMAN responded by sending a helicopter to the scene. On arrival overhead the pirates were seen dumping weapons and other objects into the sea, although NATO claimed that a subsequent search of the pirate boat revealed other ‘pirate paraphernalia’.

Further south Puntland forces say they captured seven pirates in an operation near Sunajif, a village 60km east of the administrative capital Garowe, reports Garowe Online.

One of the pirates was injured in the attack and is being treated in hospital. It appears the government forces attacked the pirates who were travelling by road in a vehicle. The Puntland news service said it had reliable information that the seven captured pirates belonged to a gang holding a ship between Gar’ad and Haradere and were heading to the Red Sea coast to launch another attack against ships sailing in the Gulf of Aden.

The report said that despite this and other actions taken against pirates, the Puntland government receives no support from the international community in the fight against piracy.

Meanwhile, the SYRIA STAR (18,838-dwt, built 1977) which on Thursday, 5 August reported that pirates had fired on the ship and were boarding the vessel, has been mysteriously abandoned by the attackers leaving the ship once again in the hands of its mostly Syrian crew.

When EU NAVFOR aircraft overflew the ship last week they reported seeing an empty skiff nearby and the vessel on a heading towards the Somali coast. The ship had been sailing in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor when it was seized.

The following night the crew on the ship called on the radio asking for medical assistance for two of the seafarers who had been injured during the attack. They indicated they were in control of the ship, with the pirates having left of their own accord on their skiff.

The EU NAVFOR warship FGS SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN was in the vicinity at the time and sent her helicopter with a medical team onboard in order to assist the vessel. On arriving on the SYRIA STAR they found a third member of the crew who had been injured in a work related incident. FGS SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN was standing by to conduct a medical evacuation if required.

Comings and Goings

EU NAVFOR’s capacities have been reinforced with the arrival of the French frigate FASM DUPLEIX in the area of operations.

DUPLEIX is an anti-submarine frigate of the F70 class, which has been in service with the French Navy since the early 1980s. She has a displacement of 4,500 tons and besides her two diesel main engines she is also equipped with two gas turbines.

DUPLEIX and its 312 crew members will be part of the EU NAVFOR Task Force for just six days. She will be leaving the force a few days before French frigate FASM DE GRASSE takes over command of the Task Force. According to EU NAVFOR, one of the operation’s success factors is without any doubt the great number of European warships enabling an ongoing presence in the area.

In another replacement exercise yesterday, the Spanish frigate VICTORIA (F-82) handed over to Spanish patrol craft INFANTA CRISTINA (P-77) in the area of operation. INFANTA CRISTINA will now serve as an EU NAVFOR warship and solve all kind of tasks in the anti piracy Operation Atalanta until 7 December.

INFANTA CRISTINA is a patrol craft of the Descubierta class, which has been in service with the Spanish Navy since the early 1980s. She has a displacement of 1,510 tons and a crew composed of 89 members.

Meanwhile, the Greek frigate HLS ELLI has completed her final task as part of the EU NAVFOR task force. On Friday (6 August) she completed escorting the MV PETRA 1, which was transporting supplies for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). HLS ELLI has completed 114 days in Task Force 465 during which she conducted the full range of tasks in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin.

AMISOM and World Food Programme escorts are tasks that ELLI has conducted on a number of occasions over the last few months. During the most recent escort she was able to concurrently conduct an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance task along the Somali coast.


News continues below…

Rehabilitation of Namibe Port underway

Japan’s ambassador to Angola, Kazuhiko Koshi Kawa, has indicated that Japan is prepared to further assisting the enlarging of the southern port of Namibe, formerly known as Mossamedes.

Angop, the Angolan news agency reports that while addressing the inaugural ceremony marking the first phase of the rehabilitation of the Port of Namibe, which is being financed by the government of Japan, the diplomat recalled that in 2009 his government financed a viability study of the project for the expansion of the port, which would be carried out by Japanese companies.

He highlighted the importance of the Port of Namibe to maritime transport in the west coast of Africa and said that the Japanese government is ready to cooperate technically and financially, through the state-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation, if the Angolan government agrees to increase the project.

The first stage of the rehabilitation of Namibe port is costing USD 25 million and according to the ambassador it is being paid for as “a gift from our government to the Angolan people.”


News continues below…

Kenyan transport companies fail to comply with tracking equipment instruction


A deadline for truckers to install electronic cargo tracking devices in their vehicles has been largely ignored, reports The Nation in an article yesterday.

It said that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) had given truckers up to 30 June to install the devices on more than 20,000 trucks carrying cargo from the port of Mombasa. But by early this week only about 500 trucks had been fitted with the device, according to Kenya’s commissioner of customs Ms Wambui Namu.

In an interview with the newspaper, Ms Namu said KRA had extended the deadline to 31 August.

“We are considering transporters case by case. Those who have already ordered for the devices are being allowed an extension,” she said.

However, according to Kenya Transport Association secretary, Paul Maiyo, the extension has had minimal impact on compliance. He suggested that the taxman should allow transporters to install the device and deduct the cost from tax returns. For more transporters to be able to comply, other finance-friendly strategies should be adopted.

“KRA should also explore ways of linking the system with other tracking devices operated by transporters, which will reduce the initial cost of installation,” he said. source Daily Nation


News continues below…

Damco appointed as logistics provider to Ghana cocoa producer

The firm of Damco, which already manages the logistics services of two of the four top Ghanaian cocoa processing companies, has been appointed to manage a third producer, Barry Callebaut.

Barry Callbaut exports around 2,500 TEU of cocoa product each year to its main markets in Europe, including France, Belgium, Italy, Poland and Switzerland. It also exports to the USA, Canada and to Asia.

In terms of the agreement Damco will provide trucking, customs clearance and airfreight services. – source eye for transport

Pics of the Day – LUDWIG SCHULTE


The container ship Ludwig Schulte (18,32—gt built 2008) passed fairly close to Schoenmakerskop near Port Elizabeth (just beyond to Cape Recife) on Tuesday, 10 August 2010, in what appears to be moderate seas. Pictures by Luc Hosten


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