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Ports & Ships Maritime News

December 6, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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First View – DUNCAN BAY

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After discharging a cargo of fertiliser loaded in Vancouver, the bulker DUNCAN BAY (28,414-dwt, built 2006) sails from New Zealand’s Lyttelton harbour. Picture by Alan Calvert


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IMO asked to take action on overweight containers

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picture by Terry Hutson

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has been asked to establish an international legal requirement that all loaded containers be weighed at the marine port facility before they are stowed on board a vessel for export.

“The issue of overweight containers has been a subject of industry, insurance, and at times government, concern over the years, and has from time-to-time become an issue of concern to the general public after incidents involving overweight boxes,” the World Shipping Council (WSC) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) said in a joint statement.

“Most recently, the Maritime Research Institute of the Netherlands has concluded a joint industry-government research project about cargo securing, including collapsing container stacks, and included in its recommendations a call for compulsory weighing of containers prior to vessel loading.

“The conclusions and recommendations from the research project (‘Lashing@Sea’) were recently reviewed at the 15th meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers Subcommittee. The Subcommittee agreed that, in the interest of safety, there is a need to consider ways and means to ensure that the correct weight of the containers is declared to the carrier and communicated to the ship’s master in order to allow for correct and well-informed handling and stowage. The Subcommittee then invited Member Governments and international organizations to submit further information to the Committee for appropriate action.”

The report suggests that currently there is no reliable data available regarding the number of overweight containers, but the two organisations state they believe the problem to be significant and widespread, even rampant at places.

In a statement the organisations said: “Shipping lines have reported that in severe cases, the overweight or incorrectly declared weights reach 10% of the total cargo on board a vessel. Some carriers report that it is common for actual total cargo weight aboard ship to be 3% to 7% greater than the declared weight.”

Among the problems arising from this abuse of the system are damage to ships, cargo liability claims, collapsed container stacks, boxes lost overboard, stability and stress risks for ships, risk of personal injury or death to seafarers and workers ashore, supply chain delays and impairment of service schedule integrity. Overweight containers also result in lost revenue and earnings, liability for accidents and fines on roads, leading to time and administrative efforts and costs to seek reimbursement, and impairment of vessels’ optimal trim and draft, thus causing impaired vessel efficiency, suboptimal fuel usage, and greater air emissions.

According to the WSC and ICS, they are ready to work with other parties towards reaching agreement at the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee in May 2011 that will include the issue of overweigh in the IMO’s work programme, so that a specific proposal is introduced to amend the Safety of Life at Sea convention.

The full statement can be read HERE


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UK commits to double trade with South Africa

by Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - British Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham, promised to double trade volume and bolster economic ties between South Africa and the UK by 2015.

Bellingham made the pledge during his bilateral discussions with International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister, Ebrahim I Ebrahim, last week in Pretoria.

The trade goal was set by President Jacob Zuma during his state visit to the UK in March earlier this year.

Britain is one of South Africa's major trading partners, while the former remains one of the top two largest foreign investors in South Africa. There are over 200 South African companies that have established a presence in the UK.

Total trade between the UK and South Africa increased by over 173% between 1998 and 2008, from R25.492 billion to R69.63 billion.

Minister Bellingham also congratulated South Africa on its return to the United Nations Security Council after a short absence and with such an overwhelming vote in its favour.

He also expressed Britain’s firm commitment to closely collaborate with South Africa and to share views on matters of mutual concern.

Ebrahim expressed appreciation for the UK’s commitment to maintain International Development assistance at a level of 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI), even in the harsh economic times.

Ebrahim’s meeting with Bellingham took place within the context of strengthening North-South relations and consolidating the African Agenda.

Bilateral relations between South Africa and the UK are strong across the board, covering fields as diverse as defence, trade liberalisation and development co-operation. – BuaNews


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YESTERYEAR – those classic chips - BLUMENTHAL

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”The photo was taken in November 1969, just over 41 years ago, but it still ranks for me as one of the single most interesting bunker callers I ever photographed here in Durban,” writes Trevor Jones.

“The vessel is Union Partenrederei's (Scipio & Co's) BLUMENTHAL, the former JAMAICA of United Fruit Co, and the last survivor of the yacht-like 99-passenger United Fruit Co ‘mailships’ of circa-1930. I realised only recently, when looking at Bill Miller's ‘Passenger Liners American Style’ that this was in fact the last of these vessels. It must also be one of the last photographs of the ship, as it shows her arriving for bunkers on her scrapping voyage. It was also a quite stunningly beautiful summer afternoon, such as Durban sees only on three or four days per summer.

“I did also photograph sister BLEXEN (ex-Chiriqui), also on her scrapping voyage a little earlier that year, and must find this slide and scan it, although it's nothing like the quality of this view.

“I took this photo shortly before my 21st birthday, and on one of first few Kodachrome II slide films I put through my first Pentax Spotmatic camera, which itself was a 21st birthday present from my parents. I also still consider the Takumar lens on that camera to have been better than any later Leica or Nikon lenses that I've used.”

The picture was taken in the Durban entrance channel. Picture is by Trevor Jones


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News from West Africa: CMA CGM increases rates to West Africa; MOL opens Abidjan office; illegal fishing in Sierra Leone puts jobs at risk

CMA CGM raises rates ex Asia and India

The French liner company CMA CGM has announced an increase of rates on a number of trades from Asia, all taking effect from 1 January 2011.

1] From Asia to all ports in Europe, US$ 250 per TEU.
2] To South America and the West Coast of Central America, $ 400 per TEU.
3] To Panama and the Caribbean (except for the French West Indies and Guyana), $ 280 per 20-foot container and $ 400 per 40-footer.
4] To West Africa, as part of CMA CGM’s involvement in the Asia-West Africa Trade Agreement, $ 250 per TEU. (The line will also implement an AWATA-recommended $ 200 peak season surcharge from 10 January through 1 February.)

CMA CGM will also hike rates by $ 100 from West Africa to the Far East, Middle East and India.

Sierra Leone say illegal fishing puts 300,000 jobs at risk

According to the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem Project, which is an organisation helping countries adjacent to the Guinea Current Ecosystem to achieve environmental sustainability, illegal fishing is pushing fishermen out of work.

Information sourced from the Interim Guinea Current Commission indicates that the “incursion of trawlers into the Inshore Exclusive Zone’ has had a major impact on the exploitation of fisheries resources.

Sierra Leone, which is also a member of the New Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem (GCLME) has reported that it is experiencing fishing problems because of over-fishing, pollution and illegal fishing.

MOL opens Ivory Coast office

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has opened its own office in Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire and says this is an indication of MOL’s growing commitment to the African continent.

“We believe that there is huge potential for growth, especially in West Africa,” said Jochen Veldman, Area Director for MOL.

MOL already has offices and agents in various parts of Africa, with a wide range of shipping services connecting the continent with the rest of the world.


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Kenya approves formation of coast guards

Kenya’s Minister of Fisheries Development, Japeth Ntiba has announced that the Kenyan cabinet has approved the formation of a coast guard to deal with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Kenya’s waters.

Included in the formation of the Coast Guard is the training in Europe of technical assistants from the Fisheries ministry.

Kenya believes its fishing stocks are becoming depleted as a result of illegal fishing of its coastline, involving fishing vessels from Kenya and from other countries. Minister Ntibi said the government was aware of the problem and would take steps to deal with the illegal fishing. Use would be made of the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation which has identified strategies to deal with illegal fishing activities.

In the past 12 months the navies of Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa have undertaken joint patrols along the Tanzanian coast to deter illegal fishing, during which a number of illegal fishermen were caught. These were taken before the Tanzanian courts to face prosecution.


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SAAF and NSRI evacuate casualty off bulk carrier at sea

On Friday, 3 December a seriously ill seafarer on board a bulker at sea was airlifted to hospital for treatment.

Andre Beuster, NSRI Air Sea Rescue (ASR) station commander, reports: “At 12h22 the South African Air Force (SAAF) 22 Squadron, NSRI Air Sea Rescue and Metro EMS (Emergency Medical and Rescue Service) were tasked by MRCC (the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) to airlift to hospital their 52 year old Bosun from the bulk carrier CAPE ZENITH reporting to be deep-sea West of Cape Town, sailing from Brazil to China, and requiring medical assistance for their Bosun who is suspected to have suffered a heart attack.

“Earlier in the day a Metro EMS duty doctor spoke to the ship’s medical team to offer treatment advice and the decision was taken, based on the reported condition of the patient, to have him casualty evacuated by rescue helicopter as soon as possible.

“The ship was instructed to head towards Cape Town and two 22 Squadron helicopters were prepared for the rescue operation to rendezvous with the ship once she was within range for the helicopter rescue.

“Each helicopter contains two SAAF pilots, a SAAF engineer, an NSRI rescue swimmer and a Metro EMS paramedic.

“Both helicopters were airborne from Ysterplaat Air Force Base at 18h15 and on arrival on-scene, 147 nautical miles West of Cape Town, an NSRI ASR rescue swimmer and a Metro EMS paramedic were winch hoisted aboard the deck of the ship where they stabilized the patient and prepared him to be hoisted into the helicopter.

“The patient was then hoisted into the helicopter and the paramedic continued treatment onboard the helicopter and upon arrival at Ysterplaat Air Force Base the patient was handed into the care of Netcare 911 paramedics and he has been transported by Netcare 911 ambulance to the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital for further treatment.

“During the operation a relief Bosun was hoisted onboard the ship to assume the duties of the ill sailor.”


Pics of the Day – MSC CARLA

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Mediterranean Shipping Company’s MSC CARLA (35,953-gt, built 1986) in Cape Town harbour recently. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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