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Ports & Ships Maritime News

November 1, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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First View – SA Navy in Argentina

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Picture by W/O Manny Gounden

Two ships of the South African Navy have arrived in Mar Del Plata, Argentina to take part in this year’s ATLASUR VIII naval exercise, involving ships of the Brazilian, Uruguyan, Argentina and South African navies.

Mar Del Plata is a small town situated 400km south of Buenos Aires.

The two ships on deployment from Simon’s Town are the combat support vessel SAS DRAKENSBERG and the submarine SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE S102.

On arrivial last Wednesday (27 October) the National flag of Argentina was flying at half mast in respect of the passing of former President Nestor Kirchner, the late husband to the current President Cristina Kirchner.

The two navy ships were welcomed by the Commander Task Force (CTG 19.2) for Atlasur VIII, Captain Andre de Wet, the South African Defence Attache, Captain Lesley Johnson, and a representative of the Argentine Navy. Later a courtesy call was made on the Argentine Naval Atlantic Commander, Rear Admiral Edgardo Anibal Garcia. The ships taking part in the exercise sailed to sea yesterday (Sunday) for the sea-part of the exercise. On completion of Atlasur VIII the two South African ships will visit the ports of Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

News continues below...

World’s newest biggest cruise ship heads for Florida

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Allure of the Seas

The world’s biggest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean International’s ALLURE OF THE SEAS has sailed from the Turku shipyard in Finland for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she is to be based for much of the year.

The giant ship, a sister to the already in service OASIS OF THE SEAS which entered service a year ago, scales in at just over 225,000-gt and can accommodate 6,360 passengers. Like her sister the new ship has a central park running down centrally with accommodation on either side, thus providing most cabins with an outlook either seaward or inward over the park.

The ship’s central park contains 12,000 plants, which will give some idea of the scale, these include 56 trees. The ship also boasts a variety of innovations such as a 3D equipped theatre, a surfing simulator, a half-mile track on which to jog, and a bar that moves 10m up and down between the decks, just so you don’t get bored looking at the same scenery.

Allure is 361m in length, has 16 decks and 2,700 staterooms. Fancy a swim – you have 21 swimming pools and whirlpools to choose from. Hungry? There are 24 restaurants to satisfy most tastes. Her theatre seats 2,600.

Like her sister, Allure of the Seas is fitted with six Wärtsilä engines – three 12-cylinder and three 16 cylinder Wärtsilä 46 engines in V-configuration. She also has Wärtsilä 7500-horsepower bow thrusters with a combined power output of some 20 MW to enable ease of manoeuvre.

The Wärtsilä engines installed in both Allure and Oasis of the Seas utilise common-rail injection. Combined with electronic control, this means that the fuel injection’s timing, profile and duration can all be controlled accurately and even take place in stages, to provide improved low-speed operation, better load control and longer periods between overhauls.

Wärtsilä common rail systems also ensure better combustion at all operating speeds and loads, lower fuel consumption, reduced NOx emissions and a reduction in exhaust emissions – giving smokeless operation at various engineloads. In engines of older design, it is practically impossible to optimize the fuel injection characteristics for different loads and different fuels.

Oasis of the Seas has operated now for a period of one year using similar propulsion and such has been her acceptance levels that no changes to specifications were required for the new ship. Everything worked fine and the loadings have been optimal for the engines installed, a spokesman said.

Allure of the Seas sails on her maiden voyage to Haiti on 1 December. According to the line’s website, inside cabins can be obtained for US$ 599 for the voyage, outside start at $ 799 per person while balcony rooms are from $ 849 a person. At 50% larger than the next largest cruise/passenger ship, QUEEN MARY 2, the two RCI sisters bring new experiences to those who enjoy going cruising. Without doubt the purists will remain horrified at what they see as vulgarity and bad taste but for Royal Caribbean it appears to have been a success story so far.

See a couple of related articles and pictures here:

World’s biggest cruise ship Oasis of the Seas sets sail

Oasis of the Seas breaks all barriers

News continues below…

Piracy: another ship highjacked but MSC ship fights free

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Yet another maritime alert has been issued, this time the reported loss of the Greek-owned, Liberian-flagged tanker POLAR (72,825-dwt, built 2005) which is reported to have been highjacked by pirates.

The ship was 580 n.miles east of the island of Socotra at the time of the attack on Saturday, 30 October. Polar has a crew of 24 on board and the ship’s owner has confirmed the vessel is in pirate hands. He reports that the crew consisting of 16 Filipino, 4 Montenegrin, 3 Greeks and 1 Romanian are safe.

Also on Saturday the Maltese-flagged bulker GO TRADER (45,693, built 1996) reported being under attack by pirates in a skiff about 280 n.miles south east of Salalah in Oman. Although the pirates gained entry onto the ship they later abandoned it after discovering that the crew had locked themselves in a ‘citadel’ (safe room) after shutting down the ship’s engines. The crew have since regained control of their ship

Another vessel to have an escape is the container vessel MSC AYALA on which it appears a number of security guards were on standby. Pirates approached the container ship in a skiff but were driven off by gunfire from the security forces on the MSC Ayala. There is no indication of any injuries, on either side. The attack took place last Thursday (28 October.

Awards for the fight against piracy

By Paul Ridgway
Correspondent, London

Henry Bellingham is the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Minister with responsibility for counter-piracy issues. On behalf of the British Government he acknowledged 12 Merchant Navy Liaison Officers for their work against piracy at an event at the British Chamber of Shipping in London on 28 October.

He congratulated the Merchant Navy Liaison Officers for their “professionalism and dedication” and said “co-operation between governments and industry is a vital part of our fight against piracy. We must continue to work together to keep the sea lanes open and trade flowing.”

In December 2008 the Merchant Navy Liaison Officer Scheme was established to assist European Union Naval forces interact with the needs of the merchant fleet. The scheme was established to support the efforts of European Union Naval Force’s (EU NAVFOR) Operation Atalanta at its headquarters in the UK. Officers are seconded from their parent companies and organisations at no cost to the naval operation, a significant industry contribution to the success of the operation.

The UK’s maritime sector is the largest in Europe with a turnover of over £56 billion. The sector employs approximately 410,000 people in the UK, with London being the world centre for maritime financial and legal services. Over 90% of the UK’s visible trade moves by sea with the UK’s maritime trade forecast to almost double over the next 15 years.

The UK government supports the shipping industry through protected group transits through the Gulf of Aden using the Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor, and providing advice to mariners through the Royal Navy manned UK Maritime Trade Operations office.

The UK government provide Operational Headquarters for the European Union’s counter-piracy task force, as well as providing ships and other assets to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Combined Maritime Forces operations. Pirates are prosecuted whenever there is a chance of success.

The UK and EU are also providing technical and financial support to Kenya, Seychelles and Somalia to support work in developing courts and prisons to accept more pirates.

News continues below...

Mozambique sends envoy to discuss Shire River incident with Mugabe

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Disputed river - Shire River near Nsanje – picture Wikipedia

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza's special envoy, Mr Paulo Zucula, has paid a courtesy call on President Mugabe to deliver a special message on the proposed Shire-Zambezi Waterway.

The waterway is a joint project between Zimbabwe Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania.

"I brought a special message from President Guebuza to President Mugabe regarding the Shire-Zambezi Waterway.

"We are currently carrying out feasibility studies and it requires about US$ 3,5 million. "We have approached a number of institutions for assistance," said Mr Zucula, who is Mozambique's Minister of Transport and Communication.

The Shire-Zambezi Waterway entails construction of an inland free port that will provide a direct link between Nsanje in southern Malawi and the port of Chinde in Mozambique. The harbour will have a minimum lifespan of 50 years when complete and has been designed to handle different types of vessels with a carrying capacity of up to 48 TEU.

It is expected to handle 10,000 containers annually. The project will significantly reduce transport costs for imports and create other business opportunities. Last week, Malawi's President Bingu waMut-harika officially opened the Nsanje World Inland Port at a ceremony attended by President Mugabe and other leaders.

It is understood that Mozambique has some reservations about the mechanics of establishing the waterway and the special envoy is believed to have communicated some of these concerns to President Mugabe.

Insiders said that Mozambique expressed support for the broad principles and goals of the alternative, but proposed alternative ways of managing and implementing it. source: The Herald

See previous articles on this topic:

Navigation on Mozambique’s Shire and Zambezi rivers depends on feasibility study

Malawi military attaché arrested for ‘cruising’ on the river Shire

News continues below…

News of ships and shipping lines

MSC giant is due tomorrow

MSC MAEVA, the biggest container ship to arrive on a scheduled service in any South African port, is due in Durban port tomorrow (Tuesday) during daylight hours.

The 8,100-TEU ship (89,994-gt, built 2005) is one of three sister ships in the MSC fleet. She has been deployed on the company’s Cheetah service between South Africa and the Far East.

The ship is to be met by harbour tugs spraying water in the traditional way of greeting vessels on special or maiden visits. A time for the arrival has not been given other than it will be in daylight. The arrival of MSC Maeva is considered an indication of how ship sizes on the South African services are increasing faster than anticipated, and gives weight to those who think the port authority may have delayed too long on deepening container berths within the port.

See related article: 8,100-TEU MSC ship heads for Durban

Japan’s big three score well in 1st half 2010

Japan’s big three container lines scored big first half and second quarter profits, according to half-year financial statements filed Friday.

‘K’ Line said its container division had US$ 2.9 billion in operating revenue in the first half and $ 304.9 million in operating profits. Comparable numbers for the first half of 2009 were not immediately available.

The carrier said that despite higher revenue and profits, its transpacific cargo volume fell 10 percent (a 2 percent fall eastbound and a 24 percent fall westbound). Two-way Asia-Europe volume rose 2 percent (an 8 percent increase westbound and 9 percent decrease eastbound).

MOL had $ 3.8 billion in operating revenue (a 42.6 percent increase) and $ 321.9 million in operating profits, a huge reverse from the roughly $ 500 million the container division lost in the first half of the 2009 financial year.

MOL is predicting revenue of $ 7.2 billion and operating profits of $ 433.2 million for the financial year for its container division.

NYK Line’s container division saw a second quarter revenue increase of 40.9 percent from the same quarter in 2009, to $ 1.6 billion. Its second quarter operating profits went from a $ 217.9 million loss to a $211.7 million gain. NYK didn’t release first half financial information on its liner business.

The Japanese lines report financials based on an April 1-March 31 financial year. Source American Shipper

Durban floating crane grounded briefly by wind

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Indlovu, in roughly the same position in the Maydon Channel where the giant crane was blown onto a sandbank. Picture by Terry Hutson

The Durban floating crane INDLOVU was caught in the sudden buster that struck Durban on Thursday last week. The violent wind and stormy weather arrived with a suddenness that caught many by surprise, including it seems the floating crane which was blown onto the sandbank near Wilson’s Wharf. Although a tug was called out the crane managed to extricate itself off the bank and resume its journey.

Ship aground in Azov-Don Sea Channel

The general cargo vessel SKIF (2186-dwt, built 1985) went aground in the Azov-Don Sea Channel on Thursday, for no immediately apparent reason but was later refloated safely with the assistance of a tug. The ship was en route to Rostov Mariupol at the time.

Turkish cargo ship aground in Black Sea Image and video hosting by TinyPic
HAKKI CILLIOGLU aground near Samsun

The Turkish general cargo ship HAKKI CILLIOGLU (6270-dwt, built 1978) has gone aground on a local beach near Samsun in Turkey, shortly after discharging her cargo of steel loaded at Constanta in Rumania. Initial attempts to pull the vessel clear using two tugs failed and at the weekend the ship remained aground.

News continues below…

South Africa, Mozambique build on relations

Pretoria - South Africa and Mozambique have taken their bilateral relations further after holding a successful meeting on Friday, where various issues of cooperation were discussed.

President Jacob Zuma and his Mozambican counterpart Armando Guebuza co-chaired the South Africa-Mozambique Heads of State Economic Bilateral Commission at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

The talks, which both Presidents labelled as "fruitful", reviewed a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Zuma reported on progress made regarding a number of issues the two countries were cooperating in or planning to do so in the near future.

Zuma was pleased with the progress of the Spatial Development Initiatives (SDI) -such as the Maputo Corridor, the Beria SD, the Limpopo Valley, Zambezi Valley and Nacala Development Corridor - which the two countries are to partner in.

The two countries agreed to continue working together in the energy sector, which Zuma said was an important sector in their bilateral relations, transport, communications and water for the mutual benefit of both countries.

They agreed to expedite promising projects, such as the Matola Phalaborwa Iron and Steel Project, in order to further boost economic cooperation.

Though data indicated that trade investments between the two countries have increased over the years, Guebuza called for even more investment from South African countries. This would help with skills transfer in his country.

"We are pleased with South Africa's investments to our country... but we need more," said Guebuza.

Zuma and Guebuza called on South African companies to look into this as they considered the two countries as partners, neighbours and friends.

They also agreed to partner in the fight against rhino poaching by implementing a regional response strategy. The slaughter of South Africa's rhinos by poachers has reached an unprecedented level.

Since the beginning of the year, 232 rhino have been poached, an issue Zuma and Guebuza said they will try to elevate.

"At bilateral level ...we have decided to take certain measures, including the training of rangers as well as involvement of Interpol and regional security clusters," said Zuma.

Moreover, it was agreed at the meeting that due to financial constrains, they would construct a one-stop border post at the Ressano Garcia / Lebombo border in an incremental basis.

It is envisaged that the border post will help ease the movement of goods and services at the border and in turn enhance trade, investment and tourism between the two countries, reads the communique.

The meeting called for attention to be paid to agriculture, in order to address food security. In this light, the country's agricultural ministers have been mandated to speedily implement projects.

They also agreed on building a monument with an "interpretative centre" in memory of the Matola raid in that country.

Recognising that increased bilateral cooperation and the growing ties in various sectors, the two Presidents agreed to transform the current Forum into a Bi-National Commission (BNC) to meet annually.

The BNC will not only focus on economic issues as it is currently the case but will also cover social and security issues.

Both leaders agreed to continue working together in the shared vision of political, economic and security stability in their countries and the region. -BuaNews

News continues below…

Arms shipment from Iran seized in Nigeria

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CMA CGM Everest in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Nigerian security agents have intercepted a shipment of 13 containers found to be loaded with an illegal arms shipment. The containers were shipped from an Iranian trader and loaded on the vessel in Bandar Abbas and were discharged at the port of Apapa from the container vessel CMA CGM EVEREST back in July.

Included in the containers, which were declared as building materials, were rocket launchers, grenades and mortars and a variety of other arms. The containers have remained in Lagos until last week when the shipper requested that the containers be shipped to the Gambia. Clearance was obtained from Nigerian Customs before the security police swooped and seized the shipment. The Iranian trader does not appear on any ‘forbidden persons’ list and CMA CGM said it has been the victim of a false cargo declaration. Two people have been detained in Nigeria for questioning and investigations are continuing.


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The CARIBBEAN EXPRESS which had engine problems while in Table Bay two weeks ago, curtailing the ship’s continued journey to India for probable recycling, finally got to sail from Cape Town yesterday (Sunday) after completing repairs to the satisfaction of the local authorities. Having also refueled while in port the next destination for the ship is listed as India, so these are probably among the last pictures that will ever be taken of this former ferry, once named Kronprins Harald and Oscar Wilde while in the service of Irish Ferries. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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