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Ports & Ships Maritime News

November 8, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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



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First View – MSC MAEVA

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The largest container ship to enter regular scheduled service in South Africa, the 8,100-TEU MSC MAEVA arrived in Durban harbour on Friday, 5 November from Singapore and the Far East. Although lightly laden the ship is expected to depart either today or tomorrow with a cargo of about 7,000-TEU. In this picture taken from the Millennium Tower Durban’s latest harbour tug PHOLELA is dwarfed by the ship alongside, which makes even th Point Waterfront and dockland beyond look small in comparison. Picture by Debra Steenekamp of www.nauticalimages.co.za


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October port statistics now available

South African port statistics for the month of October 2010 are now to hand, courtesy Transnet. Once again it has been a relatively busy month, although as the year tapers to an end so the volumes (tonnages) begin to reduce. The port of Ngqura continues to show steady growth but some of this is obviously at the expense of Port Elizabeth whose container numbers a decreasing. See details below.

As is customary the figures shown in this report reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers in terms of the number of TEUs and no longer by weight - for which PORTS & SHIPS estimates an adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to reflect tonnages. This figure is on the conservative side with 14 tonnes or even more perhaps being a more realistic figure, particularly in view of the increasing quantity of bulk cargo which is now being handled in containers. Were we to use this the actual tonnages achieved would be considerably higher.

For comparative purposes readers can see statistics from 12 months ago by clicking HERE for October 2009 figures.

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Figures for the respective ports during October 2010 are (with September 2010 figures shown bracketed):

Cargo handled by tonnes during October 2010

 PORT  Oct 2010  Sept 2010
 Richards Bay  9.556  6.524
 Durban  6.340 5.930
 Saldanha Bay  4.729  4.049
 Cape Town  1.028  1.156
 Port Elizabeth  1.092  0.967
 Ngqura  0.656  0.648
 Mossel Bay  0.184  0.173
 East London  0.172  0.199
 TOTAL all ports  23.757  19.645

Containers (measured by TEUs) during October 2010 (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Tranship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

 PORT  Oct 2010  Sept 2010
 Durban  211,031  232,411
 Cape Town  54,037  58,835
 Port Elizabeth  26,558  33,096
 Ngqura  48,609  47,991
 East London  4,190  6,206
 Richards Bay  1,754  1,388
 TOTAL all ports  346,179  379,927

Ship Calls for October 2010

 PORT  Oct 2010 vessels  Gross tonnage  Sept 2010 vessel  Gross tonnage
 Durban  376  9,671  456  11,978
 Richards Bay  176  6,670  166  5,810
 Cape Town  230  4,222  209  4,913
 Port Elizabeth  100  2,137  107  2,398
 Ngqura  34  1,470  33  1,410
Saldanha Bay  37 2.714  41  2,729
 East London  22  0,560  22  0,566
 Mossel Bay  58  0,206  127  0.226
 TOTAL all ports  999  26,179  1128  27,901

- source TNPA, but with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container tonnages


Coal exports for October 2010

Coal exports through the port of Richards Bay Coal Terminal reached a new all time record of 7.381 million tonnes for October. Then previous record of 7.238mt had been set in December 2005. RBCT has so far exported 52.09mt this year, with two months to go.


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Cape Town container depot introduces 24 hours service

In response to calls for warehouses and container yards to remain open 24 hours and facilitate the smooth flow of traffic at the Cape Town Container Terminal, Edgin Logistic Solutions (ELS) has decided to introduce a 24-hour operation at its full container storage yard in Cape Town.

With effect from 1 November the yard is now open from 06h00 on a Monday until 14h00 on Saturdays. Sunday trading remains unchanged on an ‘as needed’ basis. The good news is that from a cost perspective no additional overtime charges are being passed on to the clients who make use of the facility after normal trading hours.

“Our handling and storage rates are already amongst the lowest in the industry, something we’ve achieved by streamlining operations,” says Edgin director Dave Johnson.

“The decision to move to a 24 hour operation is based on the fact that the Cape Town Container Terminal operates in that way, and we see no reason why as an industry we can’t follow suit and assist in smoothing the peaks and valleys experienced at the terminal.”

Johnson said that Edgin pioneered the instant drop-off and collect system which enables the container yard to operate outside normal office hours. “Once our clients have opened their account, they can collect and drop off containers any time without sending tedious e-mail or telefax notifications beforehand.”

A ‘blue slip’ is collected as evidence of storing the container, and upon presentation the bearer is able to collect the container at any time, day or night.

The blue slip is in effect a negotiable instrument, much like a bill of lading presented to a vessel, or a CTO presented in the port.

The move will be welcomed by TPT which has for some time encouraged the private sector to extend their working hours to avoid peak period delays.


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Piracy: Hostage shot dead was not a South African

The man who was shot dead by Somali pirates after refusing to leave a yacht was not a South Africa, the Department of International Relations said on Sunday.

The other two hostages from the yacht are however thought to be South Africans, Saul Molobi, a spokesman for the department said.

“We are, however, with our international partners in Somalia, investigating the identity of the other two kidnapped individuals who are thought to be South African citizens. We will communicate more information as soon as our investigations are concluded,” he said.

The man who was killed apparently refused to leave the yacht which had been captured by pirates while sailing near the Kenyan coast. The incident occurred near the town of Baraawe after the yacht and pirates reached the pirate lair. He had been ordered to leave the yacht and go ashore with his captors but refused.

It was initially reported that he too was South African. The other two taken into captivity are a woman and child, both thought to be South African citizens. They have been taken to a hideout in the bush away from the town.

Two ships released

Two ships captured earlier by Somali pirates have been released, presumably after ransoms were paid. The 319,360-dwt tanker SAMHO DREAM, with a crew of 24 including 19 Filipinos and 5 South Koreans, which was captured on 4 April this year was released by the pirates late last week. A second ship also released is the Singapore-flagged chemical tanker GOLDEN BLESSING (14,445-dwt) which was captured on 28 June this year. The ship is crewed by 19 Chinese.

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Golden Blessing

BELUGA FORTUNE arrives in Durban

Meanwhile, the German general cargo ship BELUGA FORTUNE which was captured by pirates recently but then abandoned after the crew hid in a safe room after disabling the ship, arrived in Durban on Friday morning and after discharging her cargo has gone to the Dormac ship repair yards in the port.

A quarter end report and definitions

by Paul Ridgway
Correspondent London

According to a statement issued by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) towards the end of October Somali pirates intensified attacks away from their own coast and were responsible for 44% of the 289 piracy incidents on the world’s seas in the first nine months of 2010. Carrying out 35 of the 39 ship hijackings worldwide from January to September 2010, Somali pirates used ocean-going fishing vessels to reach as far as the southern Red Sea, where they hijacked a chemical tanker in July 2010, the first such hijacking recorded in the area. Pirates are heavily armed with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades, IMB reported.

The Kuala Lumpur-based IMB Piracy Reporting Centre’s worldwide figures show that in the past nine months pirates boarded 128 ships and fired at 52. A total of 70 vessels reported thwarting attacks. Pirates used guns in 137 incidents and knives in 66, killing one crew member, injuring 27 and taking 773 hostages. Globally, the number of vessels hijacked was higher than the 34 recorded in the same period last year, despite a slight fall in the number of piracy incidents, down from 306 in the first nine months of 2009.

IMB said navies from around the world helped prevent numerous attacks off the Horn of Africa, where their presence is vital in protecting merchant shipping against piracy. But despite a fall in the number of attacks in this piracy hotspot, the level of hijackings remained similar to that of last year. “The actions of the navies in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali basin have to be once again commended”, said Captain Pottengal Mukundan, IMB Director. “Increased intelligence gathering coupled with strategic placement of naval assets has resulted in the targeting of suspected Pirate Action Groups before they become operational. However, this is a vast area and the navies cannot realistically cover it. The naval presence does however remain vital to the control of piracy in this area.”

Captain Mukundan added that more vessels had strengthened their anti-piracy measures thanks to awareness raised by the industry’s Best Management Practices. In the Gulf of Aden attacks were greatly reduced, with only 44 reported this year compared with 100 for the same period of 2009. The monsoon weather that had been deterring piracy further out to sea ended in mid-September, opening the way for renewed attacks, warned IMB.

A new area of increased piracy is the South China Sea, which suffered 30 piracy attempts in the last nine months, resulting in 21 successful boardings. This is triple the number of incidents reported in the same period last year. Captain Mukundan said, “The pirates in this area use almost identical methods of attack, suggesting that a small number of groups is responsible. The fact that vulnerable vessels are boarded by pirates whilst steaming is a matter of concern.”

Other parts of the world to note a rise in piracy include Chittagong, Bangladesh, where IMB warned ships’ Masters to be particularly vigilant. Here an increasing number of thieves boarded vessels at anchor or approaching anchorage. Around Indonesia, 26 incidents were recorded, up from seven in 2009.

In Nigeria 11 piracy incidents were reported, although real figures may be much higher in this particularly violent area.

The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) is the world’s only office to receive reports of pirate attacks 24-hours-a-day from across the globe. IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to report all actual, attempted or suspicious piracy, and armed robbery incidents to the IMB PRC. Captain Mukundan said this first step in the response chain is vital in ensuring that governments allocate adequate resources to tackling piracy. He said that transparent statistics from an independent, non-political, international organization act as a catalyst to achieve this goal.

The Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur is financed by contributions from Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association Limited, Den Norske Krigsforsikring for Skib, Norway, Standard Steam Ship Mutual P&I Association, Steam Ship Insurance Management Services Limited, Japan P&I Club, Japan, The North of England P&I Association Limited and Tsakos Shipping.


Piracy is defined in Article 101 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and Armed Robbery defined by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in its 26th Assembly session as Resolution A.1025(26).

Article 101 of UNCLOS defines Piracy as:
Definition of Piracy consists of any of the following acts:
a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft and directed-
(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;
(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;
b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;
c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).

The IMO defines Armed Robbery in Resolution A.1025(26) “Code of Practice for the Investigation of Crimes of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships” as:

Armed robbery against ships means any of the following acts:

.1 any illegal act of violence or detention or any act of depredation, or threat thereof, other than an act of piracy, committed for private ends and directed against a ship or against persons or property on board such a ship, within a State’s internal waters, archipelagic waters and territorial sea;
.2 any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described above.


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Pics of the Day – MSC MAEVA

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MSC MAEVA arriving in the entrance channel to Durban harbour on Friday, 5 November 2010. Picture by Trevor Steenekamp of www.nauticalimages.co.za


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The above view of MSC Maeva arriving in the entrance channel was taken from the Millennium Tower. Picture by Debra Steenekamp of www.nauticalimages.co.za


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MSC Maeva in Durban Harbour and being turned prior to going alongside on berth 108. Picture by Trevor Steenekamp of www.nauticalimages.co.za


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