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Ports & Ships Maritime News

December 2-3, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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Among the first of the summer’s cruise ships to arrive on South African shores is the lovely SEVEN SEAS MARINER (48,075-gt, built 2001) shown here arriving in Cape Town on Thursday this week from the Indian Ocean and via several other South African ports. The 720-passenger ship leaves later for Walvis Bay and then St Helena in the South Atlantic before crossing to the Americas. Picture by Aad Noorland


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Ships and shipping news of interest for Africa

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Caribbean Express sails from Cape Town on 31 October 2010. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Ian Shiffman reports that the former passenger ferry CARIBBEAN EXPRESS (19,292-gt, built 1976), which was a surprise caller at Cape Town in October when the ship developed mechanical problems, arrived at Bhavnagar in India on Thursday this week, for an appointment with the ship breakers. He says he is pleased to have made use of the opportunity in Cape Town when he went to some length to take pictures of this once fine ship. See our initial report HERE

Dredger ISANDLWANA arrives today

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picture IHC Merwede

The new Transnet dredger ISANDLWANA (4,885-gt, 6,155-dwt, built 2010) has arrived off the South African coast and has been sailing this past week towards Durban where she is expected to arrive at 10h00 on Friday (today), 3 December. It doesn’t appear as though Transnet has put out any pre-publicity about this vessel, the first new departmental dredger in nearly 30 years, but we have so far tracked her at Mossel Bay and then at East London earlier this week. The trailing suction hopper dredger was built in the Netherlands at the IHC Merwede shipyard. See our report HERE

As far as can be ascertained, Isandlwana will be based at Durban and available to work at all the South African ports on general maintenance dredging.

Two bulk carriers in difficulties off eastern seaboard

Two bulk carriers have reported being in difficulties off the eastern coast of South Africa this week, both experiencing engine failure.

The Greek-owned Capesize GO PATORO (150,108-dwt, built 1991) reported having lost engine power in the Indian Ocean on 1 December off the coast of East London and by Thursday was drifting while awaiting the arrival of a salvage tug.

The Liberian-flagged Greek bulker NIKOLAOS (75,539-dwt, built 2009) was also reporting engine failure a little further west opposite Port Elizabeth but was expecting to effect own repairs and did not require immediate attention.

Rickmers takes delivery of 10th new multi purpose ship

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Rickmers/Hyundai Masan

The Rickmers Group of Germany has added a tenth multi purpose ship to its fleet, the RICKMERS MASAN which will go on long-term charter to Hyundai Merchant Marine as their HYUNDAI MASAN. The 30,000-dwt, 190m long ship was built at the Chinese Jingling yard, the first in a series of four Superflex Heavy multipurpose ships that are going on long- term charter to Hyundai for a period of eight years. They will operate a new HMM servcie linking the Far East with the Middle East.

The ship is similar to Rickmers’ Hamburg class vessel that has been in service since 2002 and is equipped with two 320-tonne cranes capable of twinning for a maximum load of 640 tonnes.

CMA CGM makes reduced emissions a mission

French shipping giant CMA CGM says that in the last five years, the group has taken numerous measures which have enabled it to reduce CO2 emissions from its fleet (both owned and chartered) by 35%.

Saying that it is keen to stress its full commitment to continuing with an environmental strategy of reducing emissions, CMA CGM says that the most notable action taken was the line’s decision to equip its new vessels with the latest environmental technologies (electronically controlled engines, improved hydrodynamics, waste recycling, etc) with the result that these vessels discharge only 52gr of CO2 per km/TEU.

The Group also decided to optimise the energy performance of its fleet by reducing vessel speed whenever possible, a decision that has cut both carbon emissions and the consumption of fuel, a fossil energy.

“Since 2005, we have been steadily reducing our CO2 emissions down from 116 to 86 gr per km/TEU. In line with our environmental strategy, we aim to continue our efforts to reach 82gr by the end of 2011,” explains Philippe Borel, Environment Director CMA CGM Group.

Beyond these actions, CMA CGM has also developed innovative solutions such as eco-containers. Today its fleet includes 130,000 eco-containers with bamboo flooring, low energy reefers (reducing energy consumption by up to three times) and light steel containers, made of a highly resistant and much lighter steel. A few weeks ago, the Group launched a trial of new “eko-flor” containers made with a composite flooring containing no wood.


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Zuma disappointed with Europe-Africa partnership

Pretoria, 2 December - President Jacob Zuma says the economic partnership that Africa entered with Europe 10 years ago has not produced the intended results for both regions.

“We are concerned that after ten years of this partnership we have very little to show in terms of tangible implementation of the undertaking we made in both Cairo and Lisbon,” he said at 3rd Africa-European Union Summit which ended in Tripoli on Tuesday.

He cautioned the summit against committing on another Action Plan when commitments made in the past in this partnership have not been implemented.

Having established the partnership in Cairo a decade ago, the time had come for leaders to jointly review the structural paradigm of the partnership as well as its follow-up mechanism and funding.

“We recognise that the European Union (EU) has made great strides in its integration agenda since the 1950s. Likewise, the African Union (AU) has also made significant progress in the integration of our continent,” Zuma said.

The slow pace of rural infrastructure development in Africa also hampered the marketing and movement of agriculture products from one region to another.

Despite the fact that Africa has abundant arable land and human resources that could potentially be translated into increased production, income and food security, the continent remained a region with the highest proportion of people who suffer from hunger, including the largest population of people living below the poverty line.

“Africa faces unique challenges with regard to agriculture and food security. These range from low productivity and poor infrastructure, to weak market access as well as weak institutions and policies.

“Nearly all of Africa’s farming systems were dependent on rain-fed agriculture, and this makes our agricultural productivity entirely dependent on the environment and vulnerable to the effects of climate change.”

Zuma noted that the AU Summit in July launched the NEPAD priority infrastructure initiative, which focuses on agriculture and food security, amongst others with South Africa championing the North-South Corridor. This, he added, is a “concrete step” Africa has taken to become food secure.

But the emphasis on agriculture and food security cannot be considered without addressing the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals that were adopted by the United Nations.

“In adopting the MDGs, we also emphasised the special needs of Africa. Two months ago the world convened again in New York at the UN to review performance in meeting the targets in the MDGs, and to recommit ourselves to doing more in the remaining five years to achieve those noble goals”.

Zuma and his delegation further reaffirmed South Africa’s commitment to developing mutually beneficial relationships with its partners in the developed countries of the North and the continent. These would include fostering of partnerships to ensure a combined effort in defeating the ills of poverty and underdevelopment, particularly in relation to South Africa and the continent.

Meanwhile, the UK and South Africa seek to consolidate Africa’s agenda.

At the centre of UK Minister for Africa’s visit to South Africa this week will be strengthening North –South relations and consolidating the African Agenda.

Minister Henry Bellingham’s five-day official visit to South Africa will kick off with bilateral, political and economic discussions with International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim.

Other issues on the agenda include climate change and international institutional reform including the G20 and UNSC.

The UK remains one of the top two largest foreign investors for South Africa with over 200 South African companies having established a presence in the UK. Between 1998 and 2008 trade between the two nations increased by 173 percent from R25.492 billion to R69.630 billion.

The development co-operation between South Africa and the UK has resulted in the UK Government through its Department for International Development (DFID) providing aid to developing countries across Africa. DFID contributes £20 million a year towards regional programmes in South Africa as part of its Southern African programmes.

The DFID has several operational projects in SA in both government and civil society including promoting growth, jobs and equity as well as HIV and Aids programmes to support government and its civil society partners. – BuaNews


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News out of West Africa: Forwarders call CTN fees at Nigerian ports a scam

The introduction of the cargo tracking note (CTN) system by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), to bolster cargo security and safety, is a continuing source of controversy amid claims that the system is having "dire consequences" on the country's import trade.

This comes as foreign shipping lines under the aegis of the Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN) are threatening to stop accepting sea freight destined for Nigeria unless the CTN fees are paid in advance.

CTN is a tool for tracking import/export cargo from the manufacturing factory to the port of destination. The Transport and Port Management Services (TPMS) is overseeing the programme's implementation.

According to comments made by freight forwarders to the Daily Independent, they will resist CTN and all tactics to force them to continue paying the charges “by any means possible.” They complain that the scheme is adding to already high cargo clearance costs in Nigeria.

“CTN is a scam,” Tony Iju Nwabunike, pioneer chairman of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), was quoted as saying in a report by Nigeria's Daily Independent. “If SAN says they are not going to load without CTN, we say we are not going to pay, there will be a total breakdown of import system in the country.” He added, “I will fight CTN to a standstill and make sure all the money they have fraudulently collected from Nigerians will be returned.” The Senate Committee on Marine Transport is said to have heavily criticised the management of the NPA over what it described as ‘misleading’ the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in approving the now controversial cargo tracking note (CTN).

Senate Committee on Marine Transport chairwoman Gbemisola Saraki slammed the implementation of the scheme, claiming what had been presented to the FEC for approval was different from what was actually being implemented.

“The presentation made to the Federal Executive Council was misleading,” she said. “NPA misled the Federal Ministry of Transport and the ministry in turn misled the Federal Executive Council into approving the CTN.”

According to the chairwoman, the FEC approved the scheme based on the recommendation from the NPA and the Ministry of Transport that its introduction in Nigeria would result in no extra costs for shippers and government. – shippingonline

Drug bust at Tin Can Island

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Tin Can Island Container Terminals – scene of the recent drug bust

In other Nigerian news, Nigerian drug enforcement and customs officers have intercepted another container of contraband from Iran, this time containing 130kg of heroin discharged at Tin Can Island off the CMA CGM MONTENEGRO.

The container was loaded in Iran and acting on a tip-off customs and drug enforcement officers swooped on the shipment shortly after its arrival and conducted a search. The heroin was hidden within some other equipment in the container. Reports said the drug would have had a street value of US$ 9.9 million.


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Piracy: Kenya wants more international support to prosecute pirates

Kenya’s prime minister, Raila Odinga is calling for more support from the international community when seeking to successfully prosecute Somali pirates arrested in the waters of the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia.

Speaking this week the prime minister said Kenya has tried dozens of pirates since signing agreements with the United States, the European Union and several individual states.

The agreements were concluded within the framework of various UN Security Council Resolutions that obligate the international community to collaborate in fighting piracy. However, there has been little or no corresponding complementary obligation on the other parties to this agreement,” he told lawmakers.

He said Kenya would be asking for UN help to build regional anti-piracy capacity and for the institution of a Somali Court sitting in a third state in the region. Because it is still engaged in civil war, Somalia lacks the ability to carry out trials on its own soil. The Seychelles is the only other African country to agree to hold trials on piracy, while more recently a US and a German court have conducted cases against pirates captured in the Western Indian Ocean.

Another ship evades pirates

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Oil tanker Kythira

The oil tanker KYTHIRA has reported that on 30 November it came under attack by a pirate group but was able to evade being boarded on two occasions. The attacks took place more than 1,000 n.miles east of Eyl on the Somali coast and were made by a single skiff that opened fire on the ship. By taking evasive measures the ship was able to outmanoeuvre the pirates and make its escape.

Britain’s Princess Anne commends those combating piracy

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The Princess Royal meets with EU NAVFOR flight crew in the Seychelles

Britain’s Princess Royal, HRH Princess Anne has commended the efforts of all those involved in helping to combat piracy in Seychelles during visits made this week when she met representatives from EU NAVFOR and the Seychelles Coastguard.

The Princess and Vice Admiral Laurence were accompanied by Seychelles Minister for Home Affairs, Environment and Transport, Mr. Joel Morgan and the British High Commissioner, Mr. Mathew Forbes, to a purpose built EU NAVFOR aircraft hangar at Seychelles International Airport, which is used by reconnaissance aircraft that fly anti-piracy patrols over the Indian Ocean.

“EU NAVFOR is very honoured to welcome today Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Laurence as part of their visit to Seychelles. Seychelles is one of our most important partners in the region and we’re proud of the work we’re doing together to fight against the piracy threat in the Indian Ocean. I am working hand to hand with the Seychelles Coastguard, to ensure our forces operate jointly every day when in the vicinity of the Archipelago,” said EU NAVFOR’s Lieutenant Commander Richard Sturman. On arrival the Royal Party were given a briefing on EU NAVFOR’s operations by Luc Audoore Detachment Commander (EU NAVFOR Luxembourg Detachment) outlining the co-operation between the EU nations and Seychelles to combat piracy. The briefing included details of the joint EU NAVFOR/Seychelles Coastguard operation to rescue seven Seychelles fishermen on 19 and 20 November.

“Today we had the chance to visit the joint facilities at the airport that EU NAVFOR have and The Princess Royal had the opportunity to see for herself the types of work done and how the element of air surveillance contributes to the overall efforts against piracy. I think she has gained a greater understanding of the entire work done, which involves a very close partnership between the Seychelles Peoples Defence Forces and EU NAVFOR,” said Minister Morgan.

Not only is Seychelles a strong partner for EU NAVFOR on counter-piracy operations, but it also plays a major role on the legal aspects: eleven Somali pirates who were transferred by EU NAVFOR under the standing agreement were recently sentenced to six years each by the Seychelles Court.


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Port News: Luanda says port delays are reducing: Amsterdam to open inland terminal

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Port of Luanda. Picture courtesy OTAL

The time needed for customs processing at the port of Luanda this year has dropped from 80 to 28 days, the chairman of the port management company, Francisco Venâncio said Wednesday in Luanda.

Venâncio, who was speaking ahead of the 3rd meeting of Ports of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP), which began on Thursday in Luanda, said that customs processing now took less time, thanks to measures implemented by his administration which aims at reducing the cost of moving goods at the port.

He said that the measures introduced had discouraged cargo from remaining inside the port’s facilities beyond the set limit of 30 days and that a significant improvement had been achieved, with in some cases goods being transferred to second line terminals within six days.

Port Sales Director, Domingos Fortes, said that the measures implemented included increases in the daily charges for each container that remained at the facilities beyond the agreed time limit. In 2008 it cost US$ 6 per day but was now US$ 30 per day from the sixth to the 30th day, US$ 60 per day from the 30th to the 60th day and US$ 90 per day from the 60th day onwards.

He said that the average time for ships waiting to dock was now two to three days and time spent on the berth averaged three days, as compared to 15 days previously.

The Transport Ministry began to implement measures aimed at freeing up the port and reducing customs processing times in the port of Luanda in 2008. source macauhub


Port of Amsterdam to get inland container terminal

An inland container terminal is to be developed by the Dutch Port of Amsterdam to increase throughout and improve efficiency.

The 100ha intermodal and distribution facility will be built at Lelystad and work is due to get underway before the end of December, the port has announced. The terminal will be connected with the port by rail, road and barge but will mainly cater for intermodal traffic. It will be developed with the cooperation of the city of Lelystad.

A spokesman for the port said that if everything was picked up at the terminal by truck it would have a very inefficient operation. He said that by reducing a dependency on truck operation the port was also helping reduce emission levels. If a large container ship were to be entirely unloaded by truck it would be a disaster.

Asian container terminals have highest productivity – Drewry

According to London-based Drewry Consulting, container terminals in Asia and the Middle East achieve more intensive use of their resources, including berths, cranes and land, than European or North American terminals [or African].

The report entitled ‘Container Terminal Capacity and Performance Benchmarks’ says that the adoption of automation in the industry has slowed with no more than 15 worldwide described as automated, and even then there is a distinction between fully automated. The report is based on a sample of approximately 500 terminals worldwide handling at least 100,000 TEU annually and equipped with gantry cranes.

Comment: South Africa missed a one-off opportunity by not automating the port of Ngqura Container Terminal at its inception - Ports & Ships


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International: Grim outlook for 2011 global economy - UN

New York - The recovery from the global economic crisis has been faced with setbacks since the middle of 2010 and the outlook for growth in 2011 remains grim, states a new UN report pre-released on Wednesday.

The annual UN report titled the ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects 2011 (WESP)’ pointed to high unemployment rates, fiscal tightening and the risk of global currency wars as the primary threats to global economic recovery.

The full report will be released in 2011.

According to UN expectations, the world economy will expand by 3.1 percent in 2011 and 3.5 percent in 2012 - well below the figures needed to recover the jobs lost during the economic crisis.

Rob Vos, director of the development policy and analysis division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), told reporters that “we are not out of the woods yet and greater risks are looming.”

Recent tensions over currency and trade, a weakening dollar, and exchange rate volatility have all contributed to an uncertain forecast for 2011 and 2012.

“We foresee many downside risks in the next two years,” said Vos.

Countries have already begun to enact defensive monetary measures to keep capital flowing into their economies. “There is still much more finger pointing,” than concrete policies, said Vos.

As the major economies of Europe, Japan and the United States continue to pursue uncoordinated monetary policies, turbulence and uncertainty in global financial markets will persist.

“Failure to arrive at more coordinated policy responses aimed at a more benign global rebalancing will put the process of economic recovery and the stability of financial markets at further risk,” notes the report. Meanwhile, the WESP report highlights high unemployment worldwide as “the Achilles heel for the recovery.” The global economy will need to generate around 22 million new jobs in order to get to pre-crisis employment levels, said Vos.

In order to avoid further stagnation in the global economic recovery and a “double dip recession,” world leaders will need to confront major policy challenges, said Vos.

The report outlines five major challenges facing policy makers, including: providing additional fiscal stimulus, redesigning policies geared towards job growth, finding greater synergy between fiscal and monetary stimulus, ensuring the availability of development finance, and coordinating policies among major economies. – BuaNews-Xinhua


Training: STCW tanker oil and chemical specialisation course

Simon’s Town-based SAMTRA recently received accreditation from SAMSA to conduct the STCW Tanker Oil & Chemical Specialisation course, making SAMTRA one of the few institutions in South Africa accredited to run this course.

This training programme provides specialist training in subjects appropriate to the duties of any person with immediate responsibility for loading, discharging, care in transit or handling of bulk oil or chemical cargoes. The course complies with the STCW Code chapter V A-V/1 (2 -21).

Participants must have previous tanker industry or terminal operations experience and preferably have completed the Tanker Familiarisation Training course. The Course Content is:


  • Regulations and codes of practice
  • Design and equipment of oil tankers
  • Cargo characteristics
  • Ship OperationsRepair and Maintenance
  • Emergency Operations
  • Surveys and oil major inspections

    The course is run over 6 days and will be conducted in association with Captain Robin Gratjios of Safeship (Pty) Ltd. SAMTRA’s first course is scheduled to run from 7 to 12 February 2011.


    TNT plans to sell Express Business

    One of the world’s largest transportation companies, TNT says it intends demerging its express and mail operations and will sell off its express business.

    In a move that could have repercussions among the four or so top air express providers, the Dutch company confirmed previously announced plans to separate the mail and express divisions into separate entities and went a step further by notifying that it will sell a 70.1% stake in the express side of its operation.

    The demerger has to be approved by shareholders at its annual meeting in May next year. In a statement TNT said, “The main reasons for separation are the increasingly divergent strategic profiles of the two units and the limited synergies existing between them.”

    TNT has previously shed its contract logistics business to what is now CEVA Logistics and sold its forwarding side to Geodis. The company’s mail business handles the Netherlands’ postal service.

    TNT CEO Peter Bakker has indicated he will leave the group once the separation is final.


    Pics of the Day – HANSEN SCAN

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    The general cargo ship HANSEN SCAN (4,990-gt, built 2006) in Cape Town harbour this week. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za


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