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Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 13-14, 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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First View – USNS HENSON

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The US Naval Ship oceanographic survey vessel HENSON in Cape Town harbiour on 3 January 2011. Picture by Ian Sfiffman


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Port Statistics for December are available here

South African port statistics for the month of December 2010 are now to hand, courtesy Transnet, and reflect that South Africa’s ports ended the year on a generally high note, handling a total of just over 20 million tonnes of cargo (December 2009 18.981mt).

This was achieved thanks to a good month’s throughout at Richards Bay where the port handled almost 7 million tonnes of bulk cargo in December (the derailment on the coal line on 31 December was too late to have an effect) and at Saldanha Bay where over 4.6mt of bulk cargo was handled.

Transnet may be less than happy with container throughput at Ngqura however, where just 26,000 TEU was handled in another less than impressive month for the new port. Overall just short of 306,000 TEU was handled at all ports compared with 278,000 TEU in December 2009, a pleasing increase for the month.

As is customary the figures shown in this report reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers in terms of the number of TEUs and no longer by weight - for which PORTS & SHIPS estimates an adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to reflect tonnages. This figure remains on the conservative side with 14 tonnes or even more perhaps being a more realistic figure, particularly in view of the increasing quantity of bulk cargo which is now being handled in containers. Were we to use this the actual tonnages achieved would be considerably higher.

For comparative purposes readers can see statistics from 12 months ago by clicking HERE for December 2009 figures.

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The port of Richards Bay, home to the world’s largest single coal terminal

Figures for the respective ports during December 2010 are (with November 2010 figures shown bracketed):

Cargo handled by tonnes during December 2010

PORT Dec 2010 mt Nov 2010 mt
Richards Bay 7.506 8.484
Durban 5.574 8.483
Saldanha Bay 4.658 5.117
Cape Town 0.917 1.134
Port Elizabeth 0.753 1,230
Ngqura 0.354 0.388
Mossel Bay 0.096 0.119
East London 0.212 0.265
TOTAL all ports 20.070 mt 25.218 mt

Containers (measured by TEUs) during December 2010 (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Tranship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA


PORT Dec 2010 TEUs Nov 2010 TEUs
Durban 202,459 266,549
Cape Town 52,552 61,393
Port Elizabeth 16,580 35,435
Ngqura 26,208 28,742
East London 3,650 7,340
Richards Bay 4,399 4,872
TOTAL all ports 305,848 TEUs 404,331 TEUs


Ship Calls for December 2010

PORT Dec 2010 vessels Gross Tons Nov 2010 vessels Gross Tons
Durban 363 10,238,018 369 10,146,182
Richards Bay 158 5,412,978 162 5,341,689
Cape Town 201 3,891,339 203 4,421,947
Port Elizabeth 111 1,919,656 93 2,044,407
Ngqura 29 1,137,514 28 1,261,211
Saldanha Bay 35 2,666,220 46 3,153,198
East London 29 656,768 28 647,917
Mossel Bay 48 300,917 44 194,058
TOTAL ship calls 945 25,085,896 945 25,949,398

- source TNPA, but with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container tonnages


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Rio Tinto launches takeover bid for Riversdale Mining

London, 12 January – Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto confirmed this week in London that it was launching a takeover bid for Australian group Riversdale Mining offering 16 Australian dollars per share.

The offer is valid until 7 am Sydney time on 18 February and if accepted by the Riversdale Mining shareholders it will allow Rio Tinto to control coal blocks that the Australian group has in Mozambique.

In a letter to shareholders, the board of directors of Riversdale Mining said that the Rio Tinto bid offered a substantial premium on the value of shares ahead of the announcement, on 6 December, of the Anglo-Australian mining group’s first proposal, and advised the offer be accepted.

Riversdale Mining, which is headquartered in Sydney, is 22 percent-owned by India’s Tata Steel, which owns a 35 percent-stake in the Benga coal block in Tete province, Mozambique.

Riversdale also has a concession on the Zambeze coal block next to Benga, and controls the Zululand anthracite company in South Africa. (macauhub)


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Piracy Report: Ship attacked off Nigeria


In a breaking news report, the cruise ship SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE lived up to its name, despite having a large number of elderly passengers on board (the operator is a division of SAGA Cruises, which caters specifically for people over 50), was chased by pirates in a skiff while sailing between Madagascar and Zanzibar, the ship's immediate destination. Passengers were taking their evening meal at the time and were required to sit on the floor while doors were barricaded and crew assembled. Although the pirate skiff drew up alongside, the Spirit of Adventure was able to increase speed and outpace the pirates, who broke off any attempt at boarding. A spokesman for the company downplayed the incident and said the soup may have gotten a bit cold but the staff were on hand to re-heat it once again. The ship has continued with its voyage which ends at Mombasa.



In West Africa, pirates boarded the Italian-flagged products tanker, DOMINIA (40,174-dwt, built 2009) off the coast of Nigeria yesterday and later kidnapped three of the crew.

Subsequent reports indicate that the three Filipino crewmen have been released unharmed but this could not be confirmed as this report was prepared. The attackers came on board the vessel and for the next 14 hours terrorised the crew while ransacking the ship. They later left taking one of the vessel’s lifeboats and three of the crew.

The vessel is owned by Morfini Spa of Italy and is managed by Millenia Maritime of Athens.

On the Somali front, pirates remained highly active attacking a number of ships over the past two days. NATO’s piracy centre reported that two merchant ships were under attack yesterday (12 January) in the Indian Ocean in position 12:06N, 044:25E. Although the ships, which were not identified, were able to make their escape, NATO warned that the pirates were still in the area and advised shipping within 100 n.miles of the position to use extreme caution.

On the preceding day three ships came under attack in the following positions.

14:03N, 067:29E – single skiff involved
07:13N, 055:24E – two skiffs involved
16:33N, 059:08E – one skiff involved

All three merchant ships evaded capture but the pirate skiffs were reported as still in the area. On Monday 10 January yet another ship came under attack in position 14:31N, 42:29E but managed to escape despite being fired upon.

In addition to these, it is widely known that a number of ships do not report unsuccessful attacks by pirates so the true position of pirate activity in the region is under reported. Somali pirates are however continuing to operate far and wide across the ocean and have recently penetrated deep into the Mozambique Channel.

According to the agency Ecoterra, an offshore supply tug named TIBA FOLK (1338-gt, built 1978, IMO 7403017) which was towing an unnamed barge DN127, was highjacked on 2 January, despite some reports that the tug had evaded capture. The barge was loaded with dredging equipment believed to be generators and the tow line was cut when the tug attempted to make its escape. According to Ecoterra the Tiba Folk, which is owned by Dubai’s Folk Shipping, had on board armed guards to protect the vessel and its cargo. The attack took place north of the Seychelles and 672 n.miles east of Hobyo on the Somali coast. Reports indicate that the tug is now under tow behind the captured tanker YORK and is heading towards Haradhere in Somalia.

New warships take up duty with EU NAVFOR

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FS Aconit

The European Union naval force operating off the Somali coast to escort UN and other food and aid shipments, reports that a number of different warships have arrived on rotation from their respective navies. The new arrivals now on duty with EU NAVFOR are the French frigates FS ACONIT, the French destroyer FS MONTCALM and the Spanish frigate SpS CANARIAS.


In our Piracy Report of Monday, 10 January we described the container ship ZIM ASIA as being ‘diminutive’ and of 3,834-gt. In fact, as has been pointed out to us, Zim Asia is anything but small with a registered gross tonnage of 48,850 tons. The ship came under attack from pirates off the coast of Yemen but was able to make her escape.

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Clan Line ships were regular callers at South African ports for many years. CLAN MACTAVISH (8035-gt, built 1949) was one such until her withdrawal and scrapping in 1971. This picture was taken in mid-1969 from the gallery of the Durban passenger terminal, now the port authority office building, and shows the ship leaving M-shed, the normal mail ship berth. Picture by Trevor Jones

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Another Clan Line ship to call at Durban was the CLAN ROSS (10,542-gt, built 1966) which was later transferred to Union Castle Line as their KINPURNIE CASTLE although she remains best remembered as Clan Ross. Here the ship is seen arriving in Durban in late 1969, the picture being taken from the South Pier by Trevor Jones


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Anchor Industries creates industry’s first electronic Lifting Guide

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Anchor Industries’ new electronic lifting guide now available

Anchor Industries, a leading supplier of products and services to the lifting and rigging industry in Southern Africa has just introduced the first electronic lifting guide for this market. The Apex80 Lifting Guide was created in an effort to increase efficiency within the lifting and rigging industry and to provide users and distributors with information to safely perform lifting operations.

The guide consists of several easy referenced chapters including, Anchor Industries’ Lifting & Rigging catalogue, product manuals, South African Legislation and standards, and a glossary of terms and the most common errors made when inspecting equipment. Additionally there are two interchangeable chapters, that is, a set of sling costing sheets and certificates in the Client version, and a 100-page fully customisable inspection register for lifting tackle in the End User version.

General information includes various aspects of lifting and rigging operations, standards, legislation, work load limits (WLL), sling angles and among others, calculating sling leg lengths.

The certificate layouts comply with the South African National Standards (SANS) and provide users with a standard, easy-to-read layout and in-depth information on the equipment.

The interactive chain and SWR sling costing spreadsheet in the Client version is designed to ensure that the correct sling is supplied for the specific application and all components have been included in the costing. It also provides a bill of materials and instructions for the relevant staff assembling the slings.

The inspection register included with the End User version is fully customisable and enables the capturing of all lifting tackle as required by the Occupational Health & Safety Act. The index page details information about the location, certificate number, next inspection date and status of the product. As opposed to a printed guide, the electronic format enables the End User to swiftly view the available equipment and scheduled inspection dates.

Great interest has been generated in Johannesburg after Dale Hutcheson, Anchor Industries Managing Director, conducted the first demonstrations to their clients. These clients have expressed the benefits they foresee this guide to have for their businesses, as well as for the End User.

“The guide is available to our clients at no charge. They are able to use the equipment register, various information pages and certificate layouts in the execution of their services,” says Hutcheson. With the positive response received in Johannesburg, workshops and demonstrations have been scheduled to take place at the Cape Town and Durban branches.

The motivation to compile the lifting guide was initially as a result of the demand by Anchor Industries’ sales staff. However, the intention now is to present the industry with easy-to-access information that will ensure that the correct product is used according to the requirements of the job.

“We are striving to educate users on safety aspects when operating lifting equipment in order to create greater product and safety awareness,” continues Hutcheson. “This guide along with our WLL and inspection posters, comprehensive certification, product marking and availability, is designed as a complete Apex80 system on how to manage your rigging department.”

In keeping with the easy use and interactive nature of the guide, various pages are available for download in the client login section of the Anchor Industries website. Visit www.anhors.co.za

The Apex80 Lifting Guide is available from all Anchor Industries branches. Upon request, a sales representative will demonstrate the system to the client. For more information on the lifting guide and other products, contact the head office on 021 – 531 0525 or email salescpt@anchors.co.za

Anchor Industries also operates within the marine and offshore mooring markets by supplying products for sale and rental as well as on- and off-site services.


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Trade News: Wilhelmsen Ships Service acquires Nalfleet

Wilhelmsen Ships Service has signed an agreement to acquire Nalfleet, the marine division of Nalco, the world's largest sustainability services company. Together with its Unitor chemical range, this will further strengthen and enhance Wilhelmsen Ships Service’s marine chemicals portfolio.

Nalfleet provides marine water treatment chemicals and is a sales and technical service organisation supported by an international manufacturing and distribution system operating in more than 500 major ports around the world. Wilhelmsen Ships Service’s own global network is already capable of servicing 2200 ports in 125 countries. This capacity was built upon the Wilhelmsen Maritime Services acquisition of Unitor in 2005 and the subsequent merger with Barwil Agencies.

“This acquisition is a good strategic fit for Wilhelmsen Ships Service and enables Nalco to focus on its core industrial business and divest of its marine business through Nalfleet.” says David Tandy, President of Wilhelmsen Ships Service. “Acquiring Nalfleet matches Wilhelmsen Ships Service’s growth ambitions and makes it possible for us to realise the future market potential. In order to be the preferred partner of our customers we always need to look out for ways to further develop our global offer. Nalfleet is a valuable addition to our chemical expertise and total product range. I am confident that this will create value for our customers worldwide.”

For more than six decades, Nalfleet has successfully supplied chemicals to the maritime industry. Graham Hunter, General Manager of Nalfleet comments, “We are a dedicated team at Nalfleet and with a consistent customer focus we have built a solid service organisation offering world-class marine chemicals. With its commitment to the marine sector, advanced operating systems, resources and solid market position, Wilhelmsen Ships Service has a lot to offer. Becoming a part of this global network is definitely an exciting step into the future for us.”

David Tandy added, “Nalfleet is a welcome addition to our global organisation servicing customers with premium products and services. The Unitor and Nalfleet brands will remain and we will develop sound business and marketing strategies for both ranges of chemicals. Nalfleet and its competent team will without doubt strengthen our ability to improve operational efficiency for our existing and future customers.”


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Pics of the Day – DR. FRIDTJOF NANSEN

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The Norwegian-flagged marine research vessel DR. FRIDTJOf NANSEN (1444-gt, built 1994) which is owned by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), has been operating in African waters for a number of years in support of science programmes of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Here the ship is seen in Cape Town harbour. Pictures by Aad Noorland

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