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Ports & Ships Maritime News

September 2-3, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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The Chinese-built New Zealand owned combination bottom and surface longline fishing vessel SAN ASPIRING (1,508-gt, built 2001) entering the port of Lyttelton for dry docking on 24 August 2010. Picture by Alan Calvert


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Piracy: new ships join piracy patrols

Three warships from navies on opposite sides of the world are joining existing fleets patrolling the waters of the Gulf of Aden and offshore Somalia.

On Tuesday, 31 August, the Spanish amphibious ship SPS GALICIA joined the EU NAVFOR Task Force 465 to start her tour of operations. SPS Galicia is a 160 metre long, amphibious landing vessel with a displacement of 13,000 tons. She is carrying 3 helicopters and 2 landing craft, which will be considerable assets to the Task Force in the fight against piracy. In addition to this she carries hospital facilities.

SPS Galicia took part in alleviating the damage caused by hurricane Mitch, and in the operation against pollution caused by sinking of the tanker Prestige. The ship also provided humanitarian aid in Iraq during the war of 2003 and participated in Operation ‘Respuesta Solidaria’, alleviating suffering in Indonesia resulting from the tsunami of 2005, and Operation ‘Libre Hidalgo’ in Lebanon the following year, under the auspices of the UN.

Yesterday, 1 September, the Greek ship HS ADRIAS and her crew joined EU NAVFOR on the area of operation. HS Adrias is a multiple role frigate that has been in the service of the Hellenic Navy since March 1994. She has a displacement of 3,630 tons and a crew of 192.

The third ship due to enter service off Somalia on anti-piracy service sailed recently from South Africa. This is the South Korean destroyer WANG GEON which has been visiting Simon’s Town and Cape Town as part of the 60th anniversary commemorations marking the Korean War, in which South Africa was a participant.

In other news from the waters off Somalia, the French flag ship FNS DE GRASSE, after ten days chasing and disrupting suspect skiffs in the Gulf of Aden, headed south to the Somali Basin to conduct the EU NAVFOR primary task: protection of merchant vessels chartered by World Food Program (WFP) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Under the coordination of the Force Headquarters Afloat, warships FNS DE GRASSE and FGS SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN took over the escort duties of three merchant vessels transiting the area.

FGS Schleswig-Holstein left Mombasa, escorting both MV Victoria (WFP) and MV Alfa Kirawira (AMISOM). She dropped off MV Kirawira in Mogadishu before continuing the protection of MV Victoria north to the Somali coastal port of Bossasso.

FNS DE GRASSE escorted MV Alfa Kirawira on the return transit from Mogadishu to Mombasa, before heading north again to Mogadishu, protecting MV Petra I (AMISOM).


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Enviro ministers to discuss Benguela Current Commission

Pretoria, 1 September - Ministers responsible for marine industries management and marine environment in South Africa, Namibia and Angola are to gather in Cape Town later this week for the 2nd Ministerial Conference of the Benguela Current Commission.

The ministers will among others, discuss progress made by the commission which was established in 2007 to promote the optimal and sustainable utilisation of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME). This is the coastal area that stretches from Port Elizabeth to Northern Angola.

The commission has a mandate from the three countries to work towards restoring, maintaining and conserving the biological integrity of the area.

Among its key focus include the management of shared fish stocks, environmental monitoring, biodiversity and ecosystem health, mitigation of pollution, minimising the impacts of marine diamond mining and oil and gas production.

During the meeting on Thursday, South African Minister for Water and Environmental Affairs, Buyelwa Sonjica will meet with her ministerial counterparts in Angola including Deputy Minister of Environment Anibal Actavio Da Silva, Deputy Minister of Petroleum Sianga Kivula Samuel Abilio and Secretary of State for Fisheries Victoria de Barros Neto.

The Namibian delegation will include Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau, Mines and Energy Minister Isak Katali and Minister of Works, Transport and Communication Erkki Nghimtina.

The delegates will also discuss the setting up of organisational structures and the implementation of the science plan and training and capacity building initiatives.

One of the most important objectives of the meeting will be to chart the way forward for the commission and it is expected that the ministers will begin discussions around a legally binding multilateral convention that will formalise and entrench the commission.

The three countries are hoping to sign the convention in 2012 and in doing so, they will recognise the unique character of the BCLME and commit themselves to taking joint responsibility for its sustainable management. – BuaNews


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CMA CGM recovers to post half year profit of US$ 864 million

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new 13,800-TEU container ship CMA CGM Christophe Colomb

French shipping line CMA CGM has joined a number of other lines registering remarkable turnabouts of fortune with the posting of a half-year profit of US$ 864 million, compared to a loss of $ 518m for the same period last year.

The company said in a statement yesterday that the recovery in business began to emerge in late 2009 and has gained further momentum during the first six months of 2010. Revenue increased to $ 6.8 billion, up 41% over first half 2009, while freight volumes rose by almost 22% year-on-year to 4.4 million TEU.

The lower fixed-cost base has resulted in one of the shipping industry’s highest operating margins (EBITDA), at 15.5% for the first half and 18.8% for the second quarter alone.

CMA CGM says these results reflect the group’s strategic decisions to invest in large containerships and to deploy a cost-reduction plan. Other contributing factors were the upturn in the global economy, which drove an increase in both volumes carried and freight rates, and the strong commitment of all of the group’s teams.

Looking ahead at the remainder of 2010, the company says it is continuing to expand its fleet with the delivery of six newbuildings in July and August. Two of those already delivered are 13,800-TEU vessels and another two are 11,400-TEU. With new ships chartered in the fleet now numbers 394 vessels, of which 93 are owned.

CMA CGM says it will continue to reduce costs because of competition and a still uneven global economy. The company is also continuing in discussions with potential and existing investors with the objective of reinforcing its equity.


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Intertanko applauds US plea bargaining to send Somali pirate to jail

London, 31 August - Independent tanker owners' association Intertanko has applauded the result of a plea bargaining agreement in the US whereby a Somali national, who a few weeks ago escaped trial when a US federal judge threw out a case accusing him and five colleagues of piracy, has pleaded guilty to piracy-related acts and will receive a significant prison sentence.

Jama Idle Ibrahim, who took part 10 April in an attack on a US Navy vessel, USS ASHLAND in the Gulf of Aden after mistaking it for a merchant ship, has pleaded guilty to piracy-related acts including attacking to plunder a vessel, engaging in an act of violence against people on a vessel, and the use a firearm during a crime of violence. The more serious charge of piracy was dismissed a few weeks ago by a federal judge because the group did not rob, board or take control of the USS Ashland but only attempted to do so.

Under a plea bargaining agreement, the man is likely to receive a 30-year prison sentence, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

“This decision sends a clear warning to those involved in attacks on merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden, that such illegal behaviour will not be tolerated,” states Intertanko. “It may also encourage naval vessels to arrest pirates caught red-handed rather than letting them go because of difficulties in obtaining prosecutions under national and state jurisdiction.”


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Cruise News – Peter Deilman Cruises taken over

German cruise operator Peter Deilman Reederei has been effectively taken over by the listed Munich investment house, Aurelius in a deal believed to involve multi million euros.

At the end of October 2009 Peter Deilmann announced the news that it was getting out of river cruising – news which rather shocked the travel industry because it was considered that the German company not only owned all of its ships but provided one of the better river cruise operations available, including having some of the best itineraries.

Deilmann also operated the luxury cruise ship DEUTSCHLAND which had a strong following particularly among German and central European clientele. The ship visited South Africa on several occasions. Disaster struck the ship earlier this year however with a fire onboard while the ship was cruising in Norwegian waters, which left the company with a repair bill of several million euro at a time when it could least be afforded.

According to unconfirmed reports Aurelius has secured a majority stake in Peter Deilmann Reederei.


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Ceva Logistics secures R14 million a year Far East contract

Johannesburg – CEVA Logistics in South Africa, part of one of the world’s leading supply chain companies, has signed a new contract worth R14 million per annum with Rui Star Trading, a leading mining company focusing particularly on the carbon and iron trade.

CEVA will take charge of the ocean export of chrome ore concentrate from South Africa to the Far East, managing 4,600 TEUs of product every year, averaging 20,000 tons per month. In addition, CEVA will transport Rui Star Trading’s material by ground and store it in a depot facility located in Johannesburg, South Africa, where 100 sq m of space will be dedicated to the customer.

“We are delighted with this new important partnership; it demonstrates our capability to offer flexible and customized logistics solutions and our experience of delivering supply chain improvements across a wide range of customers and sectors,” said Pam Cornish, CEVA’s Regional Director for Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands. “Our complete ocean freight service means Rui Star Trading receive punctual shipments, get the most competitive prices and have global real time visibility on their customers’ orders.”

CEVA was created in 2007 from the merger of two well-known companies with complementary strengths, TNT Logistics and EGL.


Pics of the Day – AFRICA MERCY


The Mercy Ships hospital vessel AFRICA MERCY (16,572-gt, built 1980), a former rail ferry, arrived in Durban yesterday to undergo an extensive maintenance refit which will be conducted by Southern African Shipyards, during which the ship will also enter the dry dock for a period of approximately six weeks. Most of the staff on board the ship will meanwhile relocate to a hostelry on the northern outskirts of Durban while the refit takes place, which will enable schooling and other activities to continue uninterrupted. Pictures by Terry Hutson



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