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Ports & Ships Maritime News

December 13, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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PORTS & SHIPS will be taking a break during the December holidays and our final news service of the year will appear this Wednesday, 15 December. We return on 10 January 2011. During the shut-down period we will continue with Ship Movement reports except for the period 30 December – 6 January. Any urgent news items will be posted online as separate stories.

Click on headline to go direct to story – use the BACK key to return




First View – CLELIA II

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The Greek-owned mini cruise ship CLELIA II has limped back into an Argentinean port after experiencing an engine failure in horrific seas about 500 n.miles from Ushuaia.

According to the Argentine Navy the Clelia II declared an emergency last Wednesday after one of its engines failed, leaving the ship to struggle in the enormous seas, which the master of the vessel later described as the worst he had experienced in over 150 trips to the Antarctic.

Later reports said that a heavy wave had broken some windows and causing a number of electrical malfunctions, including communication equipment. The wave had also affected the ship’s engine performance although later on ships’ engineers were able to restore power. Only minor injuries were reported.

A Chilean Navy vessel later escorted the passenger ship, with 88 passengers and 77 crew on board, back to a safe harbour in Ushuaia. Clelia II is operated by Travel Dynamics International of New York and owned by Helios Shipping of Piraeus, Greece.


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EU’s 24-Hour Rule draws nigh

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DCT by night

The South African Association of Freight Forwarders-KZN (SAAFF-KZN) has reminded its members (and other exporters) that on 1 January all European Union countries including Norway and Switzerland will implement Commission Regulation (EC) No 1875/2006, better known as the ‘24 Hour Rule’.

The rule, similar to that implemented in the United States some time ago and known as the Cargo Security Initiative (CSI), requires that for all cargo entering the EU, shipping companies (carriers) must submit an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the first port of call in the EU, at least 24 hours before cargo is loaded onto the vessel bound for the EU, at the non-EU port of loading.

This declaration includes comprehensive information on the cargo, including, inter alia, shipper, consignee, container and seal number, cargo description, HS number, package type and number.

Several of the shipping lines serving the European-Southern African trade route have posted similar information on their web sites at the hyper links listed below.

Maersk Line: HERE
Hapag Lloyd: HERE

SAAFF-KZN says that it recommends to members and their export clients that they make themselves aware of these requirements and make any operational changes necessary to ensure the required information is submitted to carriers within the time limits.

Dave Watts of the Association says that he will be circulating all SAAFF-KZN members once again and has asked the SA Shippers Council to do likewise, “as I am not sure all exporters are aware of this requirement or realise the consequence of non adherence.

“Providing ocean carriers with the required information in time will mean exporters need to know in advance of loading the details of the shipment, consignee, product, quantities etc. but also the container and seal number. Naturally at some point an exporter will be aware of all these details the difficulty is supplying this information 24 hours before loading.”

Watts said that a useful document prepared by SAAFF in Cape Town had the following comment: “The Shipping Instruction will have to be submitted probably 36 to 48 hours prior to commencing loading at load port. This is to enable carriers to process the information in time for them to comply with the 24 hour rule. We can anticipate that this may vary from carrier to carrier, and some may require as little as 26 hours, but it is safe to assume that the period will not exceed 48 hours.”

Watts adds that each carrier will have specific timing requirements so exporters must ensure they know what the carriers requirements are at the time of booking and whether they will have to change their container packing procedures to ensure they have all the necessary information in time.” “I understand that lines operating to Europe are in the process of engaging with major clients whilst those currently exporting to the USA will already have procedures in place to comply with the similar CSI requirements for US destines cargo. I notice Hapag Lloyd indicate 72 hours prior to loading on their web site which will mean having all information available prior to delivering to export stacks.”

He said he was investigating the status of the rule as it applies to air cargo.

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Govt and industry welcomes R2bn Mercedes Benz investment

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East London Car Terminal, with the Mercedes Benz SA plant immediately above on the West Bank

The announcement by Mercedes Benz to invest a further R2 billion in South Africa to build the next generation C-Class at its East London plant has been welcomed by the South African Cabinet and by local industry, if not the whole of East London.

“This investment will reportedly increase the East London plant's capacity from 50,000 to 65,000 units per annum and create up to 1,500 urgently needed jobs,” said Collins Chabane, the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation on Thursday, as reported by BuaNews.

He was briefing the media after Cabinet's last ordinary meeting for the year.

Cabinet commended the Mercedes Benz SA management, staff and workers for running one of the most successful and world-class production plants, saying that it had demonstrated the capacity to compete with any production line in the world.

The news of the new contract will be welcomed also by Transnet and the Port of East London, providing as it does a further lifeline to the port by way of container imports and exports, as well as the two-way movement of motor vehicles by way of pure car carriers.

Mercedes Benz SA announced on Tuesday (7 December) that, following extensive planning, the company would be investing R2 billion in preparation for the production of the new C-Class. The new model would be introduced to global markets in 2014.

Dr Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Daimler AG management board, said: “Daimler AG is delighted to include South Africa among the four manufacturing locations around the world to build the next-generation C-Class - the most popular model within the Mercedes Benz passenger cars range.”

He said the plant in East London had been repeatedly recognised for its excellent production quality and was one of the best manufacturing plants in the industry.

“This success is not least due to the great efforts of the East London plant's team and its stringent application of the Mercedes Benz production system, with its robust processes and rigorous quality standards,” said Dr Bernhard.

The three other Mercedes Benz plants selected to produce the next-generation C-Class are located in Germany, China and the USA.

Mercedes Benz South Africa said the investment was expected to provide for extensive skills development and training locally and in Germany, as well as for new plant and equipment and the introduction of some of the very latest manufacturing technology.

It will bring more than a dozen new technologies to South Africa in the car and production processes as well as localise more than 40 percent of the components for the new vehicle.

Mercedes Benz South Africa has been producing the C Class at the East London plant for a number of years.


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Durban shipyard to build barges for Moma Mineral Sands

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Moma Heavy Sands site in Mozambique - note the jetty on the coast

Durban-based Southern African Shipyards has been awarded a contract to build 15 new pontoon barges for the Moma Heavy Sands mining project in northern Mozambique.

The contract which was signed last week has a value of around R70 million and will involve approximately 1800 tonnes of steel. The barges will have a length of 48m, a width of 5m and a depth of 2.7m.

The Moma heavy sands project, which dredge mines titanium, rutile, zircon and ilmenite in a sand dredging project near the coast at Moma, approximately halfway between Quelimane and Nacala, has an expected life of 120 years, according to surveys completed in 2007. The consortium involved in the project is headed by Irish company Kenmare. When the project was originally awarded it was thought to have a lifespan in the region of 20 years.

One of the challenges facing the project is to load large vessels with titanium at the mine’s quay, which is opposite the initial mining project which itself lies a short way inland. The consortium ordered a 4,000 ton ore carrier that could come alongside the quay and ferry the cargo out to sea where larger ore carriers could anchor.

The initial cost of the project was said to have been US$ 460 million, with loans arranged from various financial organisations led by the World Bank.

Apart from SA Shipyards, several other South African companies have benefited from the project, including Transvaal Rubber Company (Truco) which was awarded a contract to supply UV stablised low-density polyethylene floats valued at R1.6 million.

Dredge mining such as at Moma involves an artificial mining pond in which the natural sand including the heavy minerals is dredged into separator plants for processing. These are separated into ilmenite, zircon and rutile. The process is similar to that employed at Richards Bay Minerals north of the port of Richards Bay.


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Moma mining pond


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Piracy: MSC PANAMA latest ship with SA connections to be highjacked

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MSC Panama in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

In a weekend of further drama involving piracy on the high seas, at least two ships have been highjacked, one of them with South African connections.

The container ship MSC PANAMA (26,288-dwt, built 1989) was seized on the afternoon of Friday, 10 December by Somali pirates operating from two skiffs 80km east of the Mozambique border with Tanzania, in one of the more southerly attacks and seizures so far. MSC Panama had sailed from Tanzania’s port of Dar es Salaam and was en route for Beira in central Mozambique when the pirates boarded the ship.

The ship has a crew of 23 seafarers from Myanmar – there is no information about their condition or safety but EU NAVFOR, the European Union naval force in the area reports that a RPG was fired at the ship. EU NAVFOR says it is monitoring the situation. The ship was attacked in position 09:57S 041:46E in an area approximately opposite the town of Lindi.

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MV Renuar, pirated on Saturday 11 December 2010

A second ship reported highjacked is the bulker RENUAR (70,156-dwt) which came under attack in the mid Indian Ocean about 1050 n.miles due east of Eyl in Somalia. This places the ship about 550 n.miles from the coast of India.

The ship reported having come under attack on Saturday 11 December from two skiffs supported by a third vessel acting as a mother ship. The pirates opened fire on the bulker using small arms and rocket propelled grenade launchers (RPGs) before managing to get on board and take control of the ship, which is now under way and heading towards Somalia. The ship was en route from Port Louis to Fujairah in the UAE and has a crew of 24 Filipinos on board. The condition of the crew is not known

Sailor rescued after being thrown overboard

A Thai crew member has been rescued by an Indian warship after surviving being thrown overboard from a highjacked vessel near the Lakshadweep Islands off India.

The vessel concerned, the PRANTALAY 12 was reported pirated some months ago and was being used as a mother ship by Somali pirates to operate in waters close to the Indian sub-continent. An Indian warship, INS KRISHNA had noticed the Prantalay 12 and was keeping the vessel under observation when the seafarer was thrown overboard by the pirates. The seaman has been taken to Kochi. It is thought possible that the man was tossed overboard to delay the Indian warship from following the pirates, who by that stage were making way westward at full speed.

Recently the captured ship POLAR was observed in the area approaching the Indian coast and being used as a mother ship by pirates. The Polar has since moved away back towards Africa.

Ships ransomed and released

The Saudi tanker AL NISR AL SAUDI (5136-dwt) which was highjacked in March this year has been released, Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarer’s Assistance Programme said at the weekend. He disclosed that the ship and its crew of 13 Sri Lankan seafarers were freed on Tuesday last week. Although the crew was safe, he said, the ship was in need of fresh supplies.

Another ship to be freed is the 72,000-tonne Greek bulker ELENI P which was captured by pirates on 12 May this year. The ship is carrying a cargo of iron ore loaded in the Ukraine and was bound for China. The ship has a crew of 23, all of whom are presumed to be in good health. The ship was released this past Saturday, 11 December.


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For the Record

Comoros highjacking
Our story last Thursday/Friday of the highjacking of the Comoros ferry ALY ZULVECAR was out on two counts – the ferry was in fact highjacked a month ago, on 3 November and not last week as reported. Secondly, the ferry’s name is ALY ZOULFECAR.

The two Cathays
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picture by Uli Wessmann, taken on 23 December 1968

The caption to the two photographs of the liner CATHAY in the same edition was similarly off beam. Both pictures were taken on the same day, but from opposite sides of the Durban port entrance channel and with each photographer in ignorance of the presence of each other. The B&W picture was taken by Uli Wessmann from the North Pier, while the colour pic was taken by Trevor Jones from the South Pier. Apologies to both concerned.

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picture by Trevor Jones, taken on 23 December 1968


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Pics of the Day – SAIPEM FDS

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The French-owned, Dutch managed pipe layer SAIPEM FDS (20,988-gt, built 2000) was recently in Cape Town and was photographed sailing from the port by Aad Noorland

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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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