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Ports & Ships Maritime News

November 3, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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First View – KOTA LAHIR

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Pacific Internatioinal Line’s (PIL) container ship KOTA LAHIR (39,906-gt, built 2006) was a recent visitor at Cape Town container terminal, but it was while outside the port that this picture was taken. Picture by Ian Shiffman


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Chris Wells resigns from Transnet

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Transnet acting Chief Executive Officer Chris Wells has resigned and intends leaving office at the end of the current financial year, 31 March 2011.

This was announced on Monday, along with the statement that Wells has indicated that should a permanent chief executive officer be appointed and be able to take up his office sooner, then he was willing to stand down earlier.

In a statement announcing his resignation, Transnet said the following:

Mr Wells’ leadership and commitment to the company, far beyond what might have been anticipated, have been profoundly beneficial to Transnet. The publication of the pleasing half-year results a few days ago bears testimony to his clear direction and focus on improving operational performance – an indication of the success of the Quantum Leap strategy he initiated over a year ago. Despite being in an acting position for a considerable period of time, Mr Wells has not hesitated to act decisively - both with regard to determining strategy and in providing hands-on management.

During his tenure as CFO, Mr Wells was responsible for the financial aspects of both the turnaround and growth strategy which entailed, among others, the strengthening and strategic management of the balance sheet as well as strengthening the internal control environment.

He will leave in place a strong executive team, well equipped to support his successor. The Board records its heartfelt appreciation for all he has done in leading the company with such ability and integrity and its gratitude for his willingness to continue until the completion of the current financial year.

Wells joined Transnet as Chief Financial Officer in January 2005. In March 2009 the Board, with the support of Transnet’s only shareholder, the State, asked him to take the reins as acting group chief executive following the departure of Ms Maria Ramos, then chief executive.

Thankfully, Mr Wells, who had previously indicated that he did not wish to be considered for permanent appointment, was able to put his career on hold and take charge, assembling a team of capable professionals around him. [end quote]

The timing of Wells’ resignation, coming within days of the firing of the Minister of Public Enterprises Barbara Hogan, to whom Transnet reports, will inevitably lead to some speculation as to whether Wells too was encouraged to make this announcement. Apart from the reshuffling of the cabinet there has been strong union pressure to have him (and several others on the Transnet Board) replaced with candidates deemed to be ‘more suitable’.

Wells will be best remembered for the calm order and financial direction that he helped give Transnet, particularly during the legal battles with the former CEO of Transnet Freight Rail, Siyabonga Gama who clearly coveted his job. The government owes it to all port and maritime stakeholders to ensure that Wells is replaced with someone equally qualified and capable.


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Piracy: British yacht feared captured by pirates

A maritime security alert has been issued following the possible hijack of a civilian yacht in the Indian Ocean. Preliminary reports indicate that the vessel has three British nationals on board and was seized in the vicinity of the Seychelles.

According to Andrew Mwangura, head of the Kenyan-based East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, which usually has accurate information of pirate activity in the region, his group had been advised that the yacht was boarded by pirates near the Seychelles.

“We do not yet know the name of the yacht and the gender of the crew, but we are trying to verify this information which we learned this evening (Monday),” he said. A separate report says the yacht was captured off the Kenyan coast near Lamu.

Two other British yachtsmen, Paul and Rachel Chandler were captured by pirates while sailing from the Seychelles for Tanzania in October 2009 and have been held hostage for ransom for over one year. The pirates abandoned their yacht which was subsequently returned to Britain but the British government has steadfastly refused to enter into negotiations with the pirates for their release, despite impassioned appeals that Mrs Chandler is in ill health.

Naval authorities continue to warn yachtsmen of the dangers of sailing anywhere in the area under threat by Somali pirates, who range more than a thousand miles from Somalia in search of rich pickings. Anywhere within 80 degrees east and 10 degrees south of Somalia is considered risky.


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News of ships and shipping

Transnet’s latest dredger ISANDLWANA sets sail for Africa

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South Africa’s new harbour dredger, the ISANDLWANA (4,885-gt, 6,155-dwt, built 2010) has departed from the IHC Merwede yards in the Netherlands and is now on her way to South Africa.

The trailing suction hopper dredger (THSD) was built as a turnkey project for Transport & Offshore Services (TOS) on behalf of her future owners, Transnet National Ports Authority. The dredger is sailing with a crew from TOS and South Africa and can be expected to arrive later this month.

ISANDLWANA is the first dredger to be built for the South African port system since INGWENYA entered service in 1981.

Tanker disabled and adrift near Sakhalin Island

The diminutive Russian products tanker OSTROV MONERON (9,033-dwt, built 1989) was adrift near Sakhalin Island yesterday after experiencing engine failure. The salvage tug RUBIN was reported to have left the port of Korsakov and was steaming towards the disabled ship, which has a crew of 22 on board.

CSAV returns to profitability Chilean container line CSAV reports vastly improved results for the third quarter with net profits of US$149.5 million, after having posted losses of $147.4m for the same period last year. Net income for the nine months of this year totaled $188.7m compared with a loss of $549.9m a year ago.

Dutch ports to reward clean ships

As from January 2011 the Dutch ports of Amsterdam, Moerdijk, Dordrecht and Rotterdam will commence rewarding clean ocean-going ships by discounting their port dues. Each ship will be evaluated on the basis of the Environmental Ship Index (ESI), a new international standard for ships’ emissions into the atmosphere. Ships that perform better than the legal norm will be rewarded

The ESI has been designed by the ports of Le Havre, Bremen, Hamburg, Antwerp, Amsterdam and Rotterdam and reflects the environmental performance of ships in terms of the emission of air pollutants (NOx and Sox) and CO2. The system is available to other ports throughout the world, which can also reward ships in the same manner to encourage sustainable behavior in the shipping industry.

ESI certificates will be presented by the World Port Climate Initiative, which is a collective of 55 prominent ports that are working towards reducing air pollution and the reduction of CO2 in particular. This is being done under the auspices of the International Association of Ports & Harbours (IAPH), a division of the IMO and UN.

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New Disney ship floats out

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Disney Dream floating out from her hangar at Papenburg

Disney Cruise Line’s third and latest ship DISNEY DREAM floated out from the Meyer Werft Shipyard at Papenburg, Germany this week in preparation of final fitting out and sea trials.

The 128,000-gt ship was greeted by thousands of onlookers who defied the inclement weather, while at the VIP viewing area senior executives from the Disney Cruises mingled with media and other guests as the 14-storey, 4,000-passenger ship slowly backed away from her building berth, guided by three tugs. Once the ship was fully clear the twilight sky was filled with a display of fireworks.

Disney Dream will make her debut on 26 January 2011, when she sails from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas. With twin black-topped red funnels, the liner-like ship is 40% larger than the other two Disney ships, DISNEY MAGIC and DISNEY WONDER, and provides for Disney Cruise fans a whole new array of entertainment and activities. The ship carries a crew of 1,450 to ensure that passengers are pampered and catered for.

Disney ships are designed with the family in mind, unlike many other cruise ships that cater for ageing baby-boomer generation passengers.

Staterooms on the Disney Dream are spacious and contemporary, with an elegant yacht-like décor. Most have split bathrooms, a cruise line first which should appeal to families.

With the emphasis on family cruising, the ship also features Youth Clubs to fulfill the recreational needs of the younger guests, with a number of facilities throughout the ship to cater for varying age groups.

Dining on board Disney Dream includes elegant adults-only dining if required and themed restaurants capable of changing settings and colour schemes. One of the features is rotational dining in a ‘new’ restaurant each night as the restaurants change colours and evolve from day to night settings. Entertainment includes live shows, first-run films, digital 3D movies and fun-filled deck parties for each and every cruise day. There are a number of swimming pools that provide for kids, another for families and one just for adults. For night-time entertainment the ship has five distinct night clubs and lounges in The District, an adults-only area.

Disney Dream’s initial itineraries include 3-night, 4-night, and five-night Bahamians cruises.


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Cockett expands South African operations

[Press Release] The growth of Cockett Marine’s customer base in South Africa has seen it relocate its team to larger offices as part of its ongoing strategy to expand its trading and bunker supply operations in the region.

The Cape Town office, managed by James Nash, is home to an expanded team of five, with plans to recruit further traders over the coming months.

Working closely with Cockett Group’s head office in London, the South African team trades bunkers worldwide and has long standing relations with most of the large shipping operators serving south, east and west African trade routes.

Commenting on the move, which will see the new offices double in size, James Nash, said: “This expansion is part of the Group’s ongoing growth and reflects our commitment to the South African market.

“As part of the Grindrod Group and given our location, we are ideally placed to help bring together the obvious synergies that exist in terms of linking our expertise in trading with the physical supply and barging capabilities within the Group.”

The team’s most recent recruit is Adam Lutzno, a trader previously based in Singapore and Dubai with an extensive background in risk management within the bunker market.

Karl Beeson, Managing Director at Cockett Group, said: “In the last year we have seen a further increase in the level of business we are doing through our Cape Town office, which is the result of our commitment to our customers in terms of quality of service and price, but also down to the team we have built in South Africa.

“As part of the Grindrod Group we have also extended our offering to now include a bunkers-only physical supply service operating in the English Channel, which our South African office is also helping to promote. In today’s competitive global shipping marketplace, if you stand still you quickly get overtaken, and we are determined that won’t happen to Cockett Marine.”

Cockett Marine is operating from Suite 605 Buitenkloof Studios, 8 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town 8001 and can be contacted via email enquiries@cockett.co.za or telephone +27 (0)21 422 1111.


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More Lake Victoria fatalities as vessel capsizes

Another boat has capsized on Lake Victoria, leaving 15 people missing and feared dead. The boat was operating in the Mbiti District and was reportedly overloaded – a common reason for boating accidents on the lake. Only five people from the 20 on the boat were rescued by other boats nearby.

The boat, loaded with furniture and other household goods in addition to the 20 passengers, left Sena on Mfangano Island in the early afternoon. Local fishermen said an unexpected sudden storm, known locally as a ‘nyakoyi’ blew up and overwhelmed the boat and its passengers. – source The Nation


Pics of the Day – ORANGE ISLAND

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Two views of the Japanese newbuild general cargo ship ORANGE ISLAND (29,105-gt, built 2010) sailing from Cape Town recently. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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