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Ports & Ships Maritime News

October 19, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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The South African Navy submarine SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE (S102) photographed at sea off Durban last week. This week two South African Navy ships, the combat support vessel SAS DRAKENSBERG and the patrol ship SAS GALASHEWE are on their way from Simon’s Town to South America where it is believed they will pay a visit to Chile. The picture above is by Clinton Wyness


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Bulker ATTALAYA still missing off Eastern Cape coast

The whereabouts of the bulker ATTALAYA is still a mystery after it was reported to have broken its tow earlier last week.

The vessel was off Port Alfred at the time and although the tug doing the towing began a search it was unable to find any trace of the dead ship in the difficult conditions.

According to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MCCM) the ship’s owners have chartered an aircraft from Port Elizabeth to find the vessel, also to no avail.

Bad weather and rough seas were being experienced in the area at the time.


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New MSC head appointed for Indian Ocean

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USNS ALTAIR, US Navy Military Sealift Command pre-positioning ship. Picture by Terry Hutson

The US Military Sealift Command has announced the appointment of Navy Capt. Wesley Brown to commander of the Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron Two, based at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

Brown replaces Capt. Gene ‘Fred’ Harr, who held the post since November 2009. Brown was executive officer of Tactical Training Group Atlantic in Norfolk, Va. He also served aboard guided missile cruiser USS VALLEY FORGE, amphibious dock landing ships USS HARPER’S FERRY and USS OAK HILL, and as commanding officer of amphibious transport dock ship USS PONCE.

MPS Squadron Two is a fleet of nine government-owned and US-flag commercial ships under charter to the Military Sealift Command that strategically preposition US military cargo and supplies at sea in the Indian Ocean for rapid delivery to shore when needed.

All nine ships in the squadron are crewed by civilian mariners working for private companies under contract to MSC who operate and navigate the ships.

The Military Sealift Command in total operates about 110 noncombatant, merchant marine-crewed ships that replenish US Navy ships at sea, conduct specialised missions, strategically preposition cargo at sea and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed US and allied forces. – source American Shipper


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DP World to double Egypt port operations

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DP World has signed an agreement with the Red Sea Ports Authority that opens the way to increase the size of DP World’s container operations in Sokhna Port, Egypt, according to TradeArabia.

The new terminal at Sokhna Port, which is located at the southern end of the Suez Canal, will have a quay length of 1,300m and a capacity of 1.75 million TEUs, more than double its present capacity.

DP World wants to increase Sokhna’s existing capacity to match the rapid increase in volumes at the port. It is anticipated the new capacity will be available within four years.

The new agreement replaces the original concession agreement awarded to DP World Sokhna and further extends the concession to 35 years after the construction of the new terminal.

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to further develop Sokhna Port. The new agreement is recognition of the contribution DP World Sokhna has made to the local economy,” said DP World

Sokhna Port is the closest container port to Cairo and one of Egypt’s busiest. It is located within the 90 sq km North West Suez Economic Zone, the first of its kind in the country. TradeArabia News Service


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Ngqura to add extra 100m of berthing to terminal

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Ngqura Container Terminal

As it celebrates its first year in business, the new port and container terminal of Ngqura (NCT) in South Africa’s Eastern Cape is going to be given an additional 100m of quayside.

Announcing this yesterday, Transnet Port Terminals, which operates the Ngqura container terminal at the port, said the additional 100 metres of quay will allow the terminal to simultaneously berth two large container ships of 305m each in length. NCT is currently able to berth one 305m ship and one 275m vessel at the same time.

TPT said the expansion would be completed by July 2011.

It was originally scheduled to double the berthing capacity at NCT with an additional two berths, increasing the annual capacity from 800,000-TEU to two million TEUs, but apparently this is a decision that must be taken by Transnet National Ports Authority, which governs the 60ha Port of Ngqura.

According to Nosipho Damasane, TPT’s chief operating officer, volumes at NCT have outstripped projections during the terminal’s first year of operation. “Year to date figures show 259 vessels handled since October 2009 with an average of 1,100 TEUs each.

“NCT has handled a total of 288,812 TEUs from October 2009 to October 2010, of which 61% was transhipment cargo brought into South Africa for transfer to other vessels and ports. The remaining 31% was a mix of imports and exports,” she said.

By the end of this financial year (end March 2011) NCT hopes to have handled about 410,000 TEUs.

TPT acting chief executive Karl Socikwa says these volumes are proof that Transnet’s strategy of positioning the port as a major transhipment hub for the region has been correct.

“The Port of Ngqura is ideally located at the centre of trade routes for both African and global markets,” he said. “Our strategy from the outset has been to position the port as a world class transhipment hub – the first of its kind in Southern Africa – as a means of growing the economy and bringing additional trade to our shores.”

Socikwa said Transnet shared the bullish business sentiment and projections of its anchor customers at Ngqura, the two shipping lines MSC and MOL SA. Both had been instrumental in ramping up performance at the terminal, directing how operations would be deployed, and assisting Transnet with planning and training.

The two shipping lines were running a total of 8 line services per week through Ngqura.

According to Damasane the container terminal is “more than recovering its investment” and is “the pride of South African ports.” She said that of R10 billion spent on developing the Port of Ngqura, only between R2.5 and R3 billion was spent on the container terminal.

TPT said that productivity during the first month of operation had averaged 20 GCH (gross container moves per hour). A year later it had notched up to 25 GCH. Ship working hours had improved from 41 SWH in October 2009 to 39 SWH in October 2010.

The Port of Nqgura remains a pivotal element of the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), which also features sophisticated road and rail connectivity to provide a full inter-modal service. The IDZ is potentially the largest in South Africa.


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KND builds R90m Anti-Piracy Boat

The sight of all kinds of rigs - from drill platforms to oil and gas mining vessels - has become common place in the Port of Cape Town, where they moor for maintenance or repair.

Many of these operate offshore of the West African coast, where exploration and mining of oil and gas are gushing at a nifty pace. A considerable sum of money is spent, much of which flows to local marine engineering companies.

Less notable so far, but very important, is a R90 million plus project by KND, which is nearing completion in Simon’s Town. The contract is for the design and build of specialist high-speed craft that will be owned and operated by a Nigerian company that holds a lease with Shell Oil.

Cape Town based KND Naval Design, founded in 1984 by Kobus Potgieter, has grown into a leading naval design architectural practice. Today its in-house staff consists of naval architects, mechanical engineers and industrial designers who are responsible for the development and design of ships and boats, including small craft, rigid inflatables, ferries, navy ships, high-speed craft and many other types of vessels.

KND Projects, founded in 2009 by James Fisher, has established its workplace on the SA Navy Dockyard in Simon’s Town. At present, KND Projects has a highly skilled team and is working with excellent facilities and equipment for building craft up to about 60 metres, utilizing cutting edge technology to meet the stringent requirements of customers and classification societies such as DNV, BV or Lloyd’s Register.

For the Nigerian company, KND has designed and is building two impressive crew transfer vessels with lengths of 30 and 24 metres respectively and a beam of 6.3 metre, both with a capacity for 24 seated passengers (12 berths are provided for passengers that may need to sleep onboard while the vessel is stationed off a rig). There are five berths for the crew. The 30m vessel is scheduled for launching in January next year, with commissioning and trials taking place in February.

The 30 metre vessel is powered by three CAT C32 engines of 1300 bhp each, coupled to a ZF3050 gearbox and MJP DRB 500 Jets. It has a roundtrip range of 350 nautical miles, achieving speeds of up to 30 knots as required.

KND’s project manager Greg Wessels says the vessels are being built to specific client requirements. “In conjunction with strategic specialist sub-contractors we have managed to develop a low weight ballistic protected superstructure to protect the crew and passengers.”

“The project required research and development over five months, which has been a challenge. The sub-contractor Materials, Mechanics and Structure was appointed to refine the ballistic panel design and build the structure,” Wessels says.

He points out that a number of sub-contractors are involved including specialists in joinery, electrical work, painting, insulation, and air conditioning, fitting of the propulsion driveline and fitting of the electronics equipment. Excitingly, further vessels are being planned, according to Wessels. – source CBN



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The Pakistan Navy destroyer PNS SHAH JAHAN which arrived in Durban yesterday morning. Shah Jahan is a converted Type 21 British frigate, the former HMS Active (F171). Picture by Trevor Jones

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The Pakistan Navy replenishment vessel PNS MOAWIN which arrived with the destroyer PNS Shah Jahan in Durban yesterday morning. The two warships are visiting the port for a few days before sailing for East Africa. Picture by Trevor Jones


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