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Ports & Ships Maritime News

December 1, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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Overshadowed by the mass of Cape Town’s resident rig, the newbuild offshore supply vessel NORDIC GRACE (227=gt, built 2010) rests alongside her berth. Picture by Aad Noorland


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Big expansion forecast for Maputo

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Port of Maputo. Picture by Terry Hutson

The capacity of the port of Maputo may increase from 10 million tons per year at the moment to 48 million tons per year by 2025, the chief executive of the Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative (MCLI) said in Johannesburg.

Speaking to Portuguese news agency Lusa, Brenda Horne also said that the new one-stop border post between South Africa and Mozambique at Komatipoort/Ressano Garcia was due to start operating, and that it would mainly be used by buses and mini taxis, with enormous time savings in crossing between the countries.

Horne said that the one-stop border post for the logistics industry (freight transport), which had opened at the beginning of the year, had led to significant time savings for operators which, in increasing numbers, use the port of the Mozambican capital for exports and imports, rather than using South African ports.

“Trucks equipped with satellite location systems allow us to calculate that the journey between the border and the port, unloading and return now take around five hours, which is fantastic, if we compare it to the 10 hours that were needed previously,” Horne noted.

The company also has plans, together with concession holders and the authorities involved, to increase the volume of goods handled at the port of Maputo from 10 million tons currently to 48 million tons per year over the next 15 years.

The MCLI, which is a public-private partnership, aims to improve logistical effectiveness of the main regional routes, focusing on roads, border posts and other facilities, which allow for quicker journeys for people and good in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). source: macauhub


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Hapag-Lloyd for sale again by TUI

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Hapag-Lloyd’s Berlin Express

The container carrier Hapag-Lloyd, which has joined those shipping lines in experiencing remarkable turnaround of fortunes as the year 2010 progresses, is back up for sale.

That much remains clear as Hapag-Lloyd’s largest shareholder and Europe’s largest travel operator, TUI gives out every indication that the sale of the shipping division remains on the cards and perhaps sooner rather than later.

According to several sources investment banks are advising the German travel company on the sale which may be through an initial public offering (IPO) in the second quarter of 2011. TUI currently holds a 43% stake in the shipping company but is keen to focus on its core business within the travel business.

This is not the first time that TUI has tried to sell off Hapag-Lloyd. In 2008 it agreed to sell its complete stake, worth an estimated €2.5 billion at the time, to a consortium of investors headed by Albert Ballin. The sale appeared to be heading for a conclusion when the global economic crisis struck and the investors withdrew. Now following strong quarterly results Hapag-Lloyd has again become an attractive opportunity.

Reuters reported late last week that a major shareholder and former owner of the line was interested in acquiring TUI’s 43% stake. The remaining 57% of shares is held by a consortium of Hamburg-based investors that fought hard and successfully to keep the company out of the hands of a foreign owner.

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News of ships and shipping lines

New Red Sea service launched

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The Sultanate of Oman, a country and nation with rich historic shipping interests stretching back for centuries, has revealed details of a new container service – Oman’s first – which will initially be operated by a single ship, the 1,000-TEU FANJA between Oman, Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

Oman Shipping Company currently trades in the field of liquefied natural gas, with six LNG tankers in addition to a joint service operation with MOL with a very large crude carrier (VLCC) and a smaller products tanker.

The new containerized service will commence operations from 26 December with port calls at Muscat, Port Said, Beirut, Lattakia, Mersin, and Tripoli.

Moody upgrades outlook on NYK

Rating agency Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the outlook of Japanese shipping giant NYK Line from negative to stable after its positive results report, reports Schednet.

This is in line with upgrades enjoyed by other container shipping lines this year, after ratings tumbled in the 2009 global downturn, leading to widespread industry losses. But in NYK's case Moody's made no change to the company's bond issuing rating, keeping it at its old Baa1 rate.

Two new giant bulk carriers for MOL

Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd. (MOL) has announced the signing of a long-term transport contract with Vale International SA, a subsidiary of Brazil’s Vale SA for two very large ore carriers (VLOCs).

Two 300,000-dwt class newbuilds, which will be built at Universal Shipbuilding Corporation and slated for completion in 2012 and 2013, will serve the Vale-China shuttle service, transporting iron ore for 25 years, says the MOL statement.

Long-term contracts with stable and large iron ore mining companies will help secure cashflow stability for MOL and allow the company to develop more stable portfolio strategies as it moves ahead. Vale is the second largest metals and mining company being amongst the 30 largest publicly traded companies in the world. Vale is also the largest iron ore producer in the world with an expected production of 311 million tons in 2011 and the largest private sector company in Latin America.

The two new ships will join MOL’s fleet of existing five 300,000-dwt VLOCs already in service with MOL, one of the world's largest Cape-size bulker operators. MOL says it intends to continue taking a proactive stance in VLOC operation to meet growing demand for iron ore transport and to optimize the use of large vessels.

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New Year's worshippers in the Hanshin district view the year's first sunrise, with the torii gate of Kotohira Shrine as a backdrop. Also in view is the 1,280 GT Ohtomo Maru, launched for the Osaka-Tianjin route and put into service between Osaka and Tadotsu in 1928. At the time it was one of the largest ships in domestic service. Ichiro Okubo's distinctive drawing technique makes this 70-metre vessel look like a behemoth. – from the MOL Poster Series


Maersk denies reports of 18,000-TEU containerships

Maersk Line says it has not signed any contract for the building of new container ships, despite recent reports to the contrary – see one of those reports HERE. According to Maersk Line spokesman Michael Storgaard, the line has not signed any deal with any builder and he said he could not comment on whether the company was in negotiation with a shipyard.

Analysts however remain of the opinion that such a deal remains very possible and that for Maersk Line the timing would be most propitious.

Ship renamed in Durban harbour

The Greek-owned and Bahamas-flagged bulk carrier DELMAR (53,565-dwt, built 2006) has undergone a renaming since arriving in Durban to load sugar at Maydon Wharf, becoming MARINE STARS.

Hamburg Süd’s SANTA CLARA PE call cancelled

Due to severe congestion in the Brazilian port of Santos, the scheduled call of Hamburg Süd’s 7,100-TEU container ship SANTA CLARA at Port Elizabeth has been cancelled and the ship, the largest container ship in the Hamburg Süd fleet, will now call at Durban a day later, on 7 December to help maintain schedule integrity. See PORTS & SHIPS report of 23 November HERE.


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Piracy: further attacks on shipping off Somalia

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Pirates in two skiffs launch their attempt on the D&K 1

Pirate attacks on shipping in the so-called ‘Somali Basin’ are continuing although so far the pirates appear to be losing as crews make better use of Best Management Practices. In the past few days another three ships escaped being captured after using these methods, reports EU NAVFOR, the European Union Naval force operating in the area to provide escort for UN food aid programmes and general shipping.

On Saturday 27 November, the MV D&K 1 (47,262-dwt) reported it was under attack by two skiffs, approximately 760 nautical miles North East of Port Victoria (Seychelles). The captain of the products tanker immediately altered course, increased speed and mustered all non essential crew in a safe room. Fire hoses were rigged on the deck along with foam turrets. The vessel also fired ships parachute flares to deter the Pirate Action Group (PAG). The churning volumetric mass of water curtaining from the ship’s side, in conjunction with the zigzagging manoeuvres, made it impossible for the skiffs to board the vessel.

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some of the methods using fire hoses to deter pirates from boarding the D&K1 this week

On the following day, Sunday 28 November, the MV PISTIS (75,631-dwt, built 1984) with a crew of 35, was attacked approximately 800 nautical miles North East of Socotra Island by a skiff equipped with AK47s and ladders. While sending regular alerts on VHF 16, the captain of the bulk carrier started taking evasive manoeuvres and all crew not in duty were gathered on the bridge. The PAG, after a short while, aborted its attack, realizing this vessel would not be an easy target.

Early Monday morning, 29 November, the MV IVER EXACT (46,576-dwt) reported it was under attack by one skiff approximately 750 nautical miles off Socotra Island. The vessel was fired upon with Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and the captain of the product tanker was able to observe ladders onboard the skiff. The PAG attempted to board the vessel, which led to one of the pirates falling into the water. The skiff, forced to retrieve the individual, then abandoned the attack.

Two groups of arrested pirate suspects may have pirated South African yacht

Two groups of pirate suspects, detained by Dutch Naval forces in separate incidents off the Somali coast, could have been involved in the seizure and kidnapping of a South African yachting couple, Bruno Pelizzari and his partner Deborah Calitz earlier this month.

According to reports South African government officials are investigating the possibility of links between the captured pirate suspects and the highjacking of the South African yacht.

“We are just studying their report because they (the Dutch Navy) indicated that there might be links between those they have arrested and the kidnapped South Africans,” said the International Relations and Cooperation Department’s Saul Molobi.

US court convicts Somali pirates

In a landmark case a US federal jury in Norfolk has convicted five Somali men on charges of piracy after finding them guilty of having attacked a US Navy ship, the frigate USS NICHOLAS.

This is believed to be the first piracy trial conviction in the US since 1820. “Today marks the first jury conviction of piracy in more than 190 years,” said US Attorney MacBride. “These five Somali pirates were convicted of an armed assault on the high seas against what they thought was a merchant vessel, but turned out to be a US Navy frigate engaged in counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa. Modern-day pirates not only threaten human lives but also disrupt international commerce by extorting hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom payments. Today’s conviction demonstrates that armed attacks on US-flagged vessels are crimes against the international community and that pirates will face severe consequences in US courts.”

One of the men has subsequently been sentenced to 30 years in jail.

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Allure of the Seas named by princess

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In the often unreal world of cruising, where your imagination as well as your body is encouraged to take a break from the realities of life, comes this story of the ultimate in escapism.

No longer is it necessary for a real live person, usually of the female persuasion, to be invited to name a ship. In the land that created Hollywood, all that is out of the window. Now you call up an animated ‘star’ who will do your bidding while wowing the onlookers.

Such was the scene in Florida this week when Royal Caribbean Cruises’ newest and biggest ship, ALLURE OF THE SEAS was named by Princess Fiona. Princess Who?? Yes, Princess Fiona, star of the 3-D animated movie series Shrek. Her Highness appeared in 3-D on the screen in the 5,400-passenger ship together with Royal Caribbean’s chairman and CEO, Richard D Fain.

“Princess Fiona symbolises the fun and entertainment that is so extraordinary on Allure of the Sea,” said Fain afterwards.

The choice of ‘godmother’ for the latest 225,000-ton super cruise ship (a sister to Oasis of the Seas) remained a secret right up until the ceremony itself, and also gave the line the excuse to show off its new 3-D theatre experience installed on the ship.


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Pics of the Day – FALCON BAY and SA AGULHAS

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Seatrade’s reefer FALCON BAY (10,374-gt, built 1993) at anchor off Sea Point, Cape Town. Picture by aerialphoto.co.za

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The Antarctic supply ship SA AGULHAS seen leaving Cape Town harbour last week. Picture by aerialphoto.co.za


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