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Ports & Ships Maritime News

November 2, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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It’s a long way from Durban! The Dubai-owned and operated bitumen tanker DURBAN QUEEN (1313-dwt, built 1983) seen in this photograph arriving at Jebel Ali, Port of Dubai. Picture by John de Bue, himself a former Durban port pilot.

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New coal export record for RBCT during October

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a section of Richards Bay Coal Terminal

Richards Bay Coal Terminal has set a new monthly record in October by exporting 7,380,737 tonnes of coal, which if annualised would be equal to exporting 85.22 tonnes per annum (mtpa).

The October exports were 142,985 tonnes higher than was exported in the previous best month, December 2005.

Looking at current export figures, RBCT has shipped 52.09 million tonnes so far this year, which points to reaching a possible total of 62,37mt for the year. If this is achieved it will represent an increase of just over one million tonnes on last year’s 61.14mt.

During October RBCT received a total of 5,860,363 tonnes of coal delivered from the mines by Transnet Freight Rail. The terminal has now received 53,036,11 million tonnes so far this year, which if annualised could bring the year end total of coal delivered to 63.33mt. Adding the coal received from TFR to that which was exported via the terminal, RBCT has handled a total of 13,375,649mt in October which exceeds the 13,241,150 million tons handled in December 2005.

Raymond Chirwa, RBCT’s CEO said the record achieved in October clearly indicated that the terminal was capable of handling its design capacity of 91 mtpa.

“It is also pleasing that the above records have been achieved while we have ‘teething’ challenges, especially on the new off-loading plant and while other machines were on planned maintenance,” he said.

Richards Bay Coal Terminal, one of the largest single export coal terminals in the world, opened in 1976 with a capacity of 12 mtpa. This has grown into an advanced 24-hour operation with a design capacity of 91 million tonnes a year.

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Of ships and shipping

Mining ship GRAND BANKS towed into port

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The diamond mining vessel GRAND BANKS (6,648-dwt, built 1872) was towed into Cape Town harbour yesterday. Details weren’t available as this issue went online but it has to be assumed that the ship, used in the subsea diamond mining industry off the Namibian coast, has experienced some sort of engine or propulsion problem. The ship was originally the Glomar Grand Banks and entered service with Debmarine in 1991. The two tugs in the frame are harbour tugs while out of sight but carrying out the main tow is SMIT AMANDLA. This picture by Aad Noorland

Freak wind de-masts sailing ship FRYDERYK CHOPIN

The Polish two-masted sailing ship FRYDERYK CHOPIN lost both its masts in gale force winds at the weekend while about 100 n.miles off the Scilly Islands, and has had to be towed into Falmouth harbour in the UK.

On board the 55m long square rigger were 36 teenage cadets in addition to the normal crew, who were on a sail-training exercise after boarding the ship at a Dutch port for a three and half month cruise to the Caribbean.

With the first mast, 37m high, down thanks to a freak gust, the master of the ship immediately called for assistance but before anyone could arrive the second mast was also lost overboard. Although the ship carries an engine its master was reluctant to use it on account of all the debris from the masts hanging overboard. A salvage tug was arranged to meet the crippled boat and bring it to safety.

The RNLI lifeboat from St Mary’s went out and spent the best part of a day alongside the sailing ship, which was rolling heavily in a big swell with all its rigging hanging overboard. The decision was made not to take anyone off as the ship was in no immediate danger but getting people off from such a high freeboard posed difficulties. An adult crew member said afterwards that the teenagers would have learned an awful lot from this particular trip.

Alphaliner says idle fleet set to grow

Alphaliner, the French maritime analyst firm says there are signs that shipping lines are ready to reduce capacities to match slackened demand as the year winds down, and that this will lead inevitably to an increase in the number of idle container ships.

By last week the idle fleet stood at 289,000 TEUs, compared with 243,000 several weeks ago.

Tanker fleet grows faster than demand for oil

The supply of new tankers is reported to be increasing nine times faster than the demand for oil, resulting in some concern for owners and operators of supertankers. The worldwide tanker fleet is expected to grow by almost 13% next year but the International Energy Agency is predicting that demand for oil will increase by only 1.4 percent.

Container ship briefly aground on Australian coast

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MSC Basel, seen here leaving the New Zealand port of Lyttelton, en route for Australia where the ship was to go briefly aground. Picture by Alan Calvert

The container ship MSC BASEL (34,231-gt, built 1991), which PORTS & SHIPS featured photographically in a recent news bulletin (Monday, 25 October), ran aground yesterday morning on the Yule Banks but a (Australia) Maritime Safety Queensland spokesman said the ship was able to come off the bank without assistance, although tugs had been dispatched. No oil or other leaks have been reported.

General cargo ships is run aground to avoid sinking

The Turkish general cargo vessel ANAFARTA (954-gt, built 1968) has been run aground deliberately to avoid capsizing. The ship encountered heavy seas in the Dardanelles and while near Kumburun point began to take water in the holds which are loaded with cement. After calling for assistance the master subsequently decided on grounding his ship as the only means of saving it.

Ship on fire in Red Sea

Unconfirmed reports say that a merchant ship is on fire in the lower Red Sea north of the strategic Bab al Mandeb, the ‘choke point’ leading from the Gulf of Aden into to Red Sea. The crew from the burning ship are reported to be safe, having been picked up by a passing ship, but the fire on the vessel continues to rage and the ship is drifting.

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Transport and Logistics news

Nigeria cracks down on importation of banned used electrical goods

The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA - www.nesrea.org) of Nigeria has increased its inspection and enforcement of the ban on the importation of used electrical items, reports OT Africa Line.

OTAL says that a number of shipping lines have recently had vessels impounded and fined for carrying ‘TOXIC WASTE’, arousing strong interest in the Nigerian press. Due to the implementation of more stringent controls covering the importation of used electronics/electrical equipment into Nigeria, OT Africa Line says it regrets to announce that it is required to introduce the following measures:

“With immediate effect we can no longer accept any booking of used electrical or used electronic equipment to Nigeria. Any cargo already booked or load ready, containing these commodities will not be loaded until further notice.”

Truckers will get toll road discounts, says Sanral

According to the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral), truck operators will receive significant discounts, either directly or indirectly, as soon as the Gauteng provinces’ freeways are converted into toll roads in April 2011. According to Sanral CEO Nazir Alli, toll tariffs will only be decided by the end of 2010. He said a number of truck operators have assumed a charge of R3.50 per km. This was based on Sanral having published a tentative fee of 50 cents/km before discounts for light vehicles, and that heavy trucks normally pay more on toll roads in proportion.

According to Alli, if Sanral works with this number, which he says hasn’t been decided, truck operators can expect to bring the cost down to R1.92/km as a result of savings on vehicle maintenance and repairs, resulting from the excellent condition of the toll roads. This calculation, he said, is based on the 2009 State of Logistics Survey for SA, which analysed additional costs to trucks through poor road conditions.

Registered toll road account users can further benefit from discounts that might see the toll charge set at R1.31/km. Alli said account should also be taken of speedier deliveries arising from less congested road networks.

Belcon sets standard for ‘inland’ depots

They’ve talked about it in KZN but nothing has been done, but now the Western Cape has stolen a march with regards establishing an inland container depot linked to the port container terminal by direct shuttle rail services.

The Cape inland depot is at Belcon – Bellville, which is very much a part of Cape Town but sufficiently far outside of the port and city street system to add strength to the claim that it has the ability to reduce traffic levels around the port. Belcon works on the principle of containers being delivered to the inland depot rather than the Cape Town Container Terminal, and also works in conjunction with port stack dates. Containers will be shuttled by train through to or from CTCT on a scheduled basis throughout the day.

This will provide a considerable benefit for truckers with a shorter and quicker turnaround time possible and less delays in heavy city traffic. Another of the advantages is that train deliveries can provide a steady movement of containers to and from CTCT during the night, when many truckers do not operate.

Belcon will provide ancillary services including container repair and cleaning and storage.

Now haven’t we heard all this before? Oh yes, it was with the proposal to build a similar inland terminal at Cato Ridge outside Durban, which was not received very enthusiastically by Transnet Freight Rail. You’ll be excused if you are left wondering why it should work in one port but not another!

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Piracy’s list of shame

The following list has been doing the rounds and is repeated here – it contains details of all ships and crew in the hands of Somali pirates as at late October 2010. * SOCOTRA 1: Seized on Dec. 25, 2009. The Yemeni-owned ship was captured in the Gulf of Aden after it left the port of Alshahr in Yemen. Six Yemeni crew.
* AL NISR AL SAUDI: Seized on March 1, 2010. The Saudi-owned 5,136-dwt tanker was on its way from Japan to Jeddah with one Greek and 13 Sri Lankan crew members.
* ICEBERG 1: Seized on March 29, Roll-on roll-off vessel taken 10 miles from the port of Aden. 24 crew.
* AL-BARARI: Seized on March 31. The small Indian trade boat was captured after it left Mogadishu. 11 crew.
* SAMHO DREAM: Seized on April 4. The 319,000-dwt Samho Dream was en route to the United States from Iraq when it was hijacked 970 miles east of Somalia. The Marshall Islands-registered ship is South Korean-owned, had a crew of five South Koreans and 19 Filipinos and carried 2 million barrels of crude oil. On April 21, Somali pirates threatened to blow up the supertanker unless a $20 million ransom was paid.
* RAK AFRIKANA: Seized on April 11. The St Vincent and the Grenadines-flagged 7,561-dwt cargo ship was hijacked about 280 miles west of the Seychelles. Owned by Seychelles’ Rak Afrikana Shipping Ltd.
* Three Thai fishing vessels — PRANTALAY 11, 12 and 14 — were hijacked on April 17-18 with a total of 77 crew.
* AL-DHAFIR: Seized on May 7. Yemeni fishing boat seized off Yemen. 7 crew.
* MARIDA MARGUERITE: Seized on May 8. The chemical tanker en route from Kandla in Gujarat to Antwerp in Belgium was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden with crew of 22 — 19 Indians, two Bangladeshis and one Ukrainian.
* ELENI P: Seized on May 12. The Liberia-flagged and Greek-owned ship, carrying iron and sailing from Ukraine to China via Singapore was seized in the Gulf of Aden. Crew of 2 Greeks and 22 Filipinos.
* GOLDEN BLESSING: Seized on June 28. The 14,445-dwt Singapore-registered chemical tanker was seized off East Africa on its way from Saudi Arabia to India. 19 Chinese crew.
* MOTIVATOR: Seized on July 4. A 13,065-dwt tanker, hijacked in the Red Sea, with 18 Filipino crew and carrying lubricating oil. It is Marshall Islands-flagged.
* SUEZ: Seized on Aug. 2. The Panama-flagged cargo ship was hijacked in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden. The ship was carrying cement bags and had a crew of 23 from Egypt, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India.
* OLIB G: Seized on Sept. 8: Maltese-flagged merchant vessel seized in the IRTC. 18 crew — 15 Georgians and 3 Turks.
* LUGELA: Seized on Sept. 25/26: The Greek-operated 4,281-dwt cargo ship had a crew of 12 Ukrainians. It was sailing to Mauritius with a cargo of steel bars and wires.
* ASPHALT VENTURE: Seized on Sept. 29: The 3,884-dwt bitumen carrier was heading to Durban from Mombasa. 15 Indian crew. Managed by Mumbai-based Omci Ship Management Pvt and owned by Bitumen Invest AS of United Arab Emirates.
* FENG-GUO 168: Seized on Oct. 7: Fishing vessel, believed to be Taiwanese, seized 200 miles north of Mauritius. 14 crew.
* GOLDEN WAVE: Seized on Oct. 9. The South-Korean fishing vessel Golden Wave — formerly known as Keummi 305 — had a crew of 39 Kenyans, two Koreans and two Chinese.
* IZUMI: Seized on Oct. 10: The Izumi, operated by NYK-Hinode Line Ltd, The Panama-flagged ship was en route to Mombasa with a cargo of steel. 20 Filipino crew.
* YORK: Seized on Oct. 23: The Singapore-flagged, Greek managed, LPG tanker was seized 50 miles from Mombasa. The European naval force, EU Navfor, said the vessel had a crew of 17 — a German master, two Ukrainians and 14 Filipinos. The 5,076-dwt York was sailing empty after discharging her LPG cargo at the Shimanzi oil terminal in Mombasa.

Sources: Reuters/Ecoterra International/International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre/Lloyds List/Inquirer.net/www.eunavfor.eu

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German cruise operator Delphin goes bust

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Delphin Voyager

German cruise operator Delphin Kreuzfahrten has gone bankrupt.

According to the German operator, long running disputes over a 2006 refit of the cruise ship DELPHIN VOYAGER are responsible for the company’s failure.

“It was agreed that 77 balcony cabins be installed and suites as well as the indoor and outdoor areas be completely renovated. There were problems with the contract since the beginning of the relationship. The renovation was delayed considerably and was executed poorly,” Delphin said in its statement.

“Despite all the shortcomings the owner was not willing to adjust the charter rate accordingly. A legal dispute is pending,” Delphin said.

It added that the owner has taken over the control of the Delphin Voyager.

“Due to the situation that occurred Delphin Kreuzfahrten and Conpart Hotel Management and Catering Service have filed for bankruptcy. The management believes that the liquidator's operations will maintain and develop a sustainable solution for the group.”

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Pics of the Day – SMIT SIYANDA and SKY TETHYS

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The new offshore support tug SMIT SIYANDA arrived in Durban yesterday morning (1 November) to take up duties at the Single Buoy Mooring (SBM), replacing SMIT MADURA which is being deployed to Cape Town. SMIT SIYUNDA will be officially welcomed and named this Thursday at a function in Durban. Picture Smit Amandla Marine

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The former Dock Express 12 has called a couple of times at Cape Town in recent months. Now renamed SKY TETHYS (12,124-gt, built 1979) the Hong Kong-owned semi-submersible is another of the unusual ships to call at our ports. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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