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Ports & Ships Maritime News

November 30, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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First View – Cape Town Summer Anchorage

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Giving the impression of a full Cape Town summer anchorage, this quite spectacular view shows up the sheer magnificence of the scenery surrounding the port of Cape Town. Picture by Anthony Allen aerialphoto.co.za


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South Africa ripe for growing cruise ship industry, says head of MSC Cruises

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MSC Sinfonia enters Durban harbour at the start of a new cruise season. Picture by Trevor Steenekamp

Confidence in both their product and growth in the local cruise ship industry was behind MSC Cruises decision to not only deploy MSC SINFONIA, one of the bigger and finest cruise ships in the company’s stable, to South Africa for a second consecutive summer season but also to operate a second ship simultaneously in the region.

“The magnificent nine storey MSC Sinfonia with capacity for 2100 passengers, is almost double the size of previous ships we operated in South Africa and we are so confident of continued growth in the cruise ship industry that we have not only brought her back for a second season but will operate a second ship, MSC MELODY, simultaneously during this 2010/2011 season,” said Mr Stefano Vigoriti, managing director of MSC Cruises South Africa following the hi-profile launch of the Cruise Tourism Report by the Minister of Tourism Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk, aboard MSC Sinfonia in Durban on Friday. (see yesterday’s News Bulletin HERE.

Together the two ships are expected to set a new cruising record in South Africa with a bumper 69 scheduled departures out of local ports carrying over 100,000 passengers to the greatest variety of destinations ever.

MSC Sinfonia will cruise from Durban to Mozambique and the Indian Ocean Islands for a six month period through to May 2011 while the more intimate 1500 capacity MSC Melody will offer new Atlantic and Indian Ocean destinations from 18 December through to March 2011 out of Durban and Cape Town.

MSC Cruises sets the global standard for Italian style cruises. It can claim to be the world’s leading cruise company in the Mediterranean, South African and Brazilian markets and operates across the globe with a modern fleet of eleven ships. The company employs over 12,000 people in offices across 43 countries.

“In South Africa, the container division of Mediterranean Shipping Company is by far the biggest user of local ports while MSC (Pty) Ltd is the biggest shipping organisation. This provides extra insurance for exceptional holidays guests can expect on our cruise ships. We know South Africa well and she knows us well as the biggest user of her ports. The time was right to offer our guests both a more sophisticated ship as well as increased capacity.”

Mr Vigoriti said MSC Sinfonia offered South Africans their first opportunity to experience a ‘new build’ world class product which only a select few who travel abroad have had the chance to do.

“A distinctive feature of the ‘new build’ ships is the deck area which is designed like a water theme park. This, together with the high standard of facilities and sophistication allows MSC Sinfonia to lay claim to being the finest floating hotel ever to operate out of Southern Africa. It ushers Southern Africa into a new era of world class cruising and reveals an eagerness to embrace top of the range cruising standards in the region.”


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Zuma in Libya for Africa-EU Summit

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma and a high-level South African delegation are participating in the 3rd Africa-European summit, which kicked off in Tripoli, Libya, yesterday.

Issues up for discussion include intra-African trade, peace and security, governance and human rights, as well as climate change.

Attending Heads of State and Government are also expected to consider the progress made in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, the Action Plan and the Lisbon Declaration, which were adopted at the 2007 Lisbon summit.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says they will further define priorities for their continued cooperation in the years to come – and this will be outlined in the Second Action Plan, scheduled to be adopted during summit.

The department said President Zuma’s participation in the 3rd Summit is indicative of the high regard South Africa places in fostering relations with the countries of the North to enhance the priorities of the people of South Africa and the continent as a whole.

Guided by the South Africa-EU Strategic Partnership, the Republic’s relations with the EU and its member states seeks to identify, build and reinforce mutually beneficial relations to assist in defeating the ills of poverty and support the global development agenda, particularly Africa’s developmental priorities.

“South Africa recognises the urgent need to address these global issues in a rapidly changing world so that all people of our world are able to achieve their envisioned goals in the pursuit of happiness” said the department.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies are accompanying the President, along with other senior government officials. – BuaNews


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Walvis Bay dredging contract awarded – port will take 5,000-TEU ships

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a section of Port of Walvis Bay

Namport has announced the awarding of a dredging contract within a berth optimization contract given to the South African firm of Steffanutti Stocks Marine.

The contract includes the dredging of the port’s outer entrance channel to a depth of 14.4 metres, and the area adjacent to berths 1 to 3 to a depth of 14m. The dredging sub- contract has been given to a joint venture involving Boskalis BV and Namibia Marine Engineering Ltd.

During the dredging project it is expected that Walvis Bay’s notorious sulpherous ‘smell’ will be prevalent and residents are being asked to be patient as the unpleasant odour is exposed by the dredging process.

In other contract work in the port, quay improvements will be made to berths 1 and 3 which will be lengthened to extend the operational length of the container terminal and enable access to two container ships each of 250m simultaneously for ships of up to 5,000-TEU capacity.

The value of the contract including dredging is in the region of R100 million. According to Namport it is compliant with an Environmental Management Plan and all environmental stakeholders will be kept informed. “In order to meet a strict deadline of end February 2011, dredging will be done on a 24 hour basis,” Namport said in a statement.

Namport also said that precautions on the dredger will be taken to guard against the release of gases such as hydrogen sulphide from the seabed during the dredging process. It claimed that the gases dissipate quickly in the open air and would not constitute a risk ashore, other than the smell.

“NamPort appreciates the patience of the public during this period as these enhancements to the port will provide further economic benefits to Namibia,” the statement said.

The port has not undergone deepening since 1999 when the container terminal berths were deepened alongside to 12.8m.


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Piracy: Mombasa-bound Container ship seized

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Albedo under a different name

Somali pirates have struck again, this time on a 1066-TEU Malaysian container ship ALBEDO (10,859-gt, built 1993) that was attacked about 900 n.miles off Mogadishu.

The ship has a crew made up of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Iranians and was sailing from Jebel Ali to the Kenyan port of Mombasa with a cargo of containers. The ship also came under attack by pirates in June this year but managed to escape on that occasion.

According to the European naval force operating offshore of Somalia, the attack took place in the early hours of 26 November.

Other reports say that the previously highjacked ship HANNIBAL II is the latest to be used as a mother ship to attack vessels at sea. Ships sailing in the area of the north- west Indian Ocean are warned to be on their guard when suspicious vessels appear. Even fishing vessels may not be what they seem and could be used as cover by pirates.

EU NAVFOR says that pirates are now holding 22 vessels and 521 hostages.

US destroyer chases pirates from Turkish ship

The US Navy destroyer USS SHOUP came to the assistance of a Turkish ship, the 26 AGUSTOS after the vessel reported that pirates were on board and that the crew was taking refuge in a machinery room.

After realizing that they did not have control of the ship, the pirates then came under attack from a US Navy helicopter flying from USS Shoup, which fired warning shots in their direction. The pirates then left the Turkish ship and fled the scene in their skiffs. The crew of the 26 Augstos was subsequently able to come out of their ssfe place and retake control of their vessel, which had been en route from Rumania to Bangladesh.


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NSRI Sea Rescue contact numbers

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NSRI at sea

As the summer holidays approach, the NSRI warns that the biggest challenge in a sea rescue emergency is often the delay in getting in contact with the relevant sea rescue authorities.

A delay of only a few seconds in the activation of sea rescue resources in any sea rescue emergency could determine the difference between life and death, the volunteer organisation says in a statement just issued.

The NSRI urges members of the public living along the coast or living in coastal towns and cities, and holiday makers visiting the coast this summer to have their nearest sea rescue emergency phone number handy.

“The biggest challenge facing a successful response to a sea rescue emergency is any delay caused in sea rescue authorities receiving the call for help.”

NSRI sea rescue telephone numbers are:

Saldanha Bay:         022-7141726
Cape Town:             021-4493500
Mossel Bay:             044-6046271
Port Elizabeth:         041-5071911
East London:           043-7002100
Durban:                    031-3618567
Richards Bay:         035-7531991 or 035-9053401 or 035-9043444

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Pics of the Day – SAIPEM 3000 and EXPLORER

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In addition to the gigantic and impressive HERMOD, another crane ship has been visiting Cape Town in the past week - SAIPEM 3000 (20,625-gt, built 1984). Picture by Aad Noorland

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The Belgian LNG carrier EXPLORER (100,325-gt, built 2008) in Cape Town harbour yesterday. Picture by Aad Noorland


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