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Ports & Ships Maritime News

September 29, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The Singapore-based and flagged handysize products and oil tanker OCEAN WINNER (37,224-dwt, built 2002) arriving at Lyttelton, New Zealand this week to discharge petroleum products from Singapore. Picture by Alan Calvert

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Cape Town tanker basin berth goes out of commission for 3 months of repair

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Aerial view of Cape Town harbour. Picture courtesy Keith Quixley: The Aerial PerspectiveSales@aerialphoto.co.za

Cape Town’s tanker berth 1 has been taken out of service for a period of approximately three months.

This is to permit the renewal of loading arms and other refurbishment to take place.

Once completed the second berth at the tanker basin will be taken out of commission for similar refurbishment.


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Tanzania calls for coordinated effort including regional powers against piracy

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map courtesy IRIN

United Nations, New York – Tanzania’s Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda this week told the General Assembly that a coordinated response is required to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia, stressing the need for the international community to work more closely with countries in the region to combat the menace.

“A coordinated, coherent, comprehensive and integrated response which includes political, military, financial and legal support is needed,” Mr Pinda said, adding that the United Nations and the wider international community should work closely with the African Union and Eastern Africa’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on a joint strategy to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

“In the United Republic of Tanzania, we have recently amended the criminal code to allow our courts to prosecute suspected pirates under universal jurisdiction,” Pinda said.

He urged the international community to help strengthen the criminal justice systems of countries around the region where piracy is rampant to enable them to effectively prosecute apprehended piracy suspects.

“The international community must also accept to share with affected States post prosecution custodial responsibilities,” he added.

The Prime Minister said Tanzania has offered to train 1,000 soldiers from Somalia because of its firm belief that the task of restoring peace and security in Somalia lay primarily with the people of that country.

At a meeting with Mr Pinda, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the recent successful referendum in Tanzania’s semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar and pledged the UN’s continued support to both the national and Zanzibar’s electoral commissions as they prepare for the general elections next month.

In the referendum, residents of Zanzibar voted for a constitutional change that provides for the formation of a government of national unity if different parties won the elections in the islands and in mainland Tanzania.

The Secretary-General also expressed appreciation for Tanzania’s contributions to the UN’s peacekeeping efforts in Somalia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sudan. He further congratulated Tanzania for its leadership on climate change and development.


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Pirates move south into Tanzanian waters; and how the Lugela escaped

Pirates attack on ship off Tanzania’s south coast foiled

Tanzania’s small navy intercepted and prevented a pirate attack on an oil and gas exploration vessel off the Mtwara coast in the far south of Tanzania, near to the Mozambique border.

The engagement took place about 70 n.miles from the coast where a UK-based oil exploration company, Ophir Energy is exploring for oil and gas. According to the Tanzanian Navy, the pirate boat opened fire on the Tanzanian vessel with automatic weapons, striking the Tanzanian vessel at least 50 times and causing serious damage to the patrol vessel and injuries to two Tanzanian soldiers on board. The pirates were subsequently pursued by other Tanzanian units in the area and one pirate was captured – the others escaping.

Slightly further south of where this attack took place is an area in Mozambican waters under increased exploration for offshore oil and gas.

Pirate attack reported near Zanzibar In an as yet unconfirmed report, another pirate attack took place between the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam and the island of Zanzibar early yesterday morning (Tuesday).

Details are sketchy but it appears a merchant ship came under attack from suspected pirates but was able to out-manoeuvre the attackers.

The two reports above represent some of the most southerly attacks by pirates yet reported along the African east coast.

LUGELA escape

We reported previously of first the capture and then the escape of the general cargo ship LUGELA, with a crew of 12 Ukrainians on board. The ship was seized by pirates while en route to Mauritius.

It now appears that the reason why the pirates abandoned the ship in mid ocean and made a disgruntled departure in the same skiff on which they came, was that the Lugela’s crew, on realizing their ship was about to be seized, had locked themselves in the engine room where they took control of the direction in which the ship could sail. Once the pirates realised the crew was still in effective control of the vessel, they opted to leave, but not before trashing the accommodation and setting fire to the bridge.

Once they were aware that the pirates had gone the crew emerged, in time to extinguish the fire and to sail away from the African coast. The ship is now heading for Mumbai where repairs are to be carried out.


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Africa becoming more important to Maersk Line, says CEO Kolding

Africa and South America are becoming increasingly important to the world’s biggest container carrier, Maersk Line, which says it now has ships sailing directly from Asia to tap into the accelerating growth in those markets.

According to Maersk Line’s Eivind Kolding and quoted in the Financial Times, many of the ships that Maersk Line have on order over the next two years are designed to meet growing African and Latin American demand.

“The tonnage that we have on order and will get delivered over the next two years is very much suited for the South America and Africa market, so that’s the direction that we already are moving,” he said in the interview.

Kolding said that it was really the west and the ‘old economies’ that have a growth issue – “it’s not the rest of the world.”

In the article the Financial Times suggested that the fast emerging market growth could reduce the importance of hubs such as Algeciras in Spain and Salalah in Oman where Maersk’s Asia-Europe services have traditionally collected or discharged containers coming from or going to Africa.


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Transnet refutes privatisation rumour but unions say smoke means fire

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Not for Sale! Durban Container Terminals

Sources within Transnet have spoken out against a report in yesterday’s Business report which suggested that the company was once again on the privatization path.

The somewhat speculative article made use of concerns by trade unions arising from the privatization of railway branch lines and ship repair facilities at certain ports, which have been advertised widely. The South African Transport & Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) used this to claim last week that it had on good authority that Transnet was working towards reintroducing the privatisation of the ports “contrary to its developmental mandate”.

According to the Business Report the union is threatening action if privatisation plans are not halted.

In its press release issued last week Satawu accused Transnet of running amok with privatisation plans, “…at a time when our ANC is seriously debating expanding national ownership.”

Satawu claimed that it had information that Transnet was “cooking up plans to privatise South Africa’s ports.” It said that none of these plans had come up for consultation “and yet we have learned that they are at an advanced stage.”

Satawu said it was appalled at the absence of any integrated maritime strategy which supports the growth and development of the ship repair sector. “The facilities should remain in Transnet’s hands and be part of a strategy to grow and develop this sector.”

The union said it was mobilizing its membership (50,000) on the privatisation issues and formal disputes were in the pipeline.

A source within Transnet told PORTS & SHIPS yesterday that there were no plans to further privatise the company outside of the branch lines and ship repair facilities already announced. This was in line with stated policy of selling off non-core activities to focus on essential transport services. It was also pointed out that Transnet Port Terminals had agreements with outside companies such as terminal operators from Sri Lanka to provide onsite training at the container terminals, but this didn’t constitute a move towards privatizing the operations.

The source also suggested that the proposed privatizing of the branch lines and ship repair facilities were not a done deal and depended on workable propositions being made by outside operators – deals that would enhance the remainder of Transnet’s business, it was said.

Trade unions claim that they have not been properly consulted over the branch line and ship repair proposals and have promised to fight the issues.


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News from the shipping lines

MSC warns of delays at ‘heavily congested’ Beira

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MSC warns of congestion delays at Beira. Picture by Terry Hutson

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) says that the congestion occurring at the Mozambique port of Beira has reached the stage where all shipments may be subject to lengthy delays. This includes containers already discharged at the port for onward transportation to inland destinations.

Hapag Lloyd and MOL link with Europe-West Africa loop

German container line Hapag-Lloyd is joining Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) on its existing service operating between Europe and West Africa. The combined service, known as ARN by MOL and WAX2 by Hapag-Lloyd, has a rotation of Thamesport, Antwerp, Dakar, Lagos, Abidjan, Vigo, Thamsport. The Vigo call is subject to demand while the WAX2 service will offer seasonal calls at Takoradi. The service has been operated with three MOL ships each with a capacity of 2,022-TEUs. Although it hasn’t announced that it will be providing a vessel, Hapag-Lloyd has indicated a deviation from the existing rotation with calls at Zeebrugge and Tangiers, which suggest that it will provide an additional ship or ships.

Hapag-Lloyd currently operates another Europe-West Africa service with ZIM Integrated which Hapag-Lloyd refers to as WAX, which has a rotation of Amsterdam, Hamburg, Dakar, Lagos, Tema, Abidjan, San Pedro, Amsterdam.


Pics of the Day – INS MYSORE and INS ADITYA

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One last look at the ships of the Indian Navy that have been visiting South Africa to take part in IBSAMAR 2, a bi-annual naval exercise involving ships from India, Brazil and South Africa. In the picture above the impressive looking destroyer INS MYSORE prepares to sail from Cape Town earlier this week. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Naval fleets at sea require refueling and re-supplying of essential equipment which is where INS ADITYA comes in. The supply tanker proved efficient at refueling the ships at sea throughout the various stages of the two-week long exercise. Picture by Ian Shiffman


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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