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Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 31, 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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First View – ANTJE WULFF

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The German container ship on charter to CSAV, ANTJE WULFF (32,284-gt, built 2002) in Durban harbour. Picture by Trevor Jones

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News of ships and the shipping lines

Egyptian turmoil diverts cruise ships

Not surprisingly, cruise ship calls at Egyptian ports have been curtailed because of the political unrest in the North African country. Ship movements in the Suez Canal are unaffected and there are as yet no reports of disruptions to cargo working in the various ports.

Among the cruise lines scheduled to visit Egypt was Thomson Cruises which says that its ship THOMSON CELEBRATION will continue to call at the ports of Safaga and Port Sokhne on its current Red Sea cruise, which began and finishes at Sharm el Sheikh, but that shore excursions for passengers have had to be cancelled “for now”.

Excursions to Luxor, Karnak and the Valley of the Kings, a three hour bus drive from Safaga, remained unaffected but the situation is being monitored.

Thomson Cruises has two additional seven-day Red Sea cruises lined up before the ship returns to the Mediterranean and sails to Barcelona.

Another company affected by the unrest is that of MSC Cruises, whose MSC MAGNIFICA has been diverted from a scheduled call at Alexandria and has gone instead to Limassol in Cyprus. Similarly MSC SPLENDIDA is being diverted to Izmir in Turkey.

Norwegian Cruise Lines’ NORWEGIAN JADE was scheduled to call at Alexandria at the weekend but is instead heading for Istanbul.

Costa Cruises operates cruises in the Red Sea with COSTA ALLEGRA and COSTA MARINA sailing from the port of Sharm el Sheikh, Costa Cruises said over the weekend that it was to curtail the scheduled calls at Sokhna because excursions from there to Cairo were obviously out of the question. Instead the ships will visit other destinations, said the company. It said it was closely monitoring the situation and would make any further changes as necessary.

Bunker call

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Picture by Ian Shiffman

As a result of pirate activity in the Horn of Africa region more and more slow moving and cumbersome sea craft are being diverted around the Cape and Cape Town in particular is playing host to a surprising number of tugs and offshore vessels calling to refuel and resupply.

This is not necessarily the case with the tug SALVAGE CHAMPION (above) and her tow of river and canal barges stacked on a pontoon barge, for such types have been moving round the Cape of Good Hope for a number of years. Either way, the Cape of Good Hope lives up to its name on most occasions with plain sailing, but has been known to throw up some unfortunate weather just as these vulnerable tows come calling round the tip of Africa. The case of the tug SALVALIANT and the barge MARGARET in 2009 was one such instance – Jacob’s Bay still carries the evidence! See PORTS & SHIPS report of 25 June 2009 for that story BARGE AGROUND.

Maersk and Safmarine drop Port Sudan calls

Maersk Line and its subsidiary company Safmarine have temporarily excluded Port Sudan from some of the sailings of their joint Horn of Africa service which connects the Middle East and North Africa with Southeast Asia.

Port Sudan will be excluded on every other call meaning the service now has two distinct rotations and transit times. The reason given for the exclusion is port congestion at Port Sudan. The service is operated with five ships with an average each of between 2,600 and 2,800-TEUs, with Maersk providing four ships and one from Safmarine.

Nine newbuilds ordered by Ethiopian Shipping Lines

Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL) has placed an order with Chinese shipyards for nine new vessels. The contract is said to be worth US$300 million and the Export-Import Bank of China is providing 80% of the finance.

Seven of the vessels will be 28,000-ton heavylift multipurpose ships building at Shandong Huanghai Shipbuilding and costing $32.5m each. The balance of two 41,500-ton tankers are to be built at the Jinling Shipyard costing $37 million each. Delivery is scheduled for between August 2012 and February 2014.

The newbuilds will replace six cargo ships of between 8,000 and 15,000 tons that were built between 1984 and 1990.

ESL has placed orders with Chinese shipyards on one previous occasion, when two multipurpose ships were built at the Kouan Shipyard. Both remain in service with the line. – source schednet

CMA CGM giant makes surprise Cape Town call

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Picture by Ian Shiffman

An unexpected arrival in Table Bay last week was the 150,000-gross ton container ship CMA CGM MAGELLAN (150,269-gt, built 2010), which called to drop off her master who had been taken ill. Ninety minutes later the ship was continuing her voyage to Port Klang in Malaysia. At 365m long and a beam of 52m, she is one of CMA CGM’s new fleet of 13,500 -TEU supercontainer ships, and must be one of the biggest ever to call in Table Bay.

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Sturrock Shipping and Conceptum Logistics join forces in Africa

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Andrew Sturrock

Leading global logistics company Conceptum Logistics has announced the formation of a Joint Venture agreement with South Africa-based Sturrock Shipping and the opening of an office in Johannesburg.

The move provides Conceptum with the springboard it requires for expansion into Africa, on the back of the well-established Sturrock Shipping presence on the continent.

Conceptum Logistics provides air freight, sea freight and project logistics services to international clients. The company specialises in large, unusual and complex projects and cargoes, including multi-modal transportation solutions, warehousing and transportation of hazardous materials, transportation of outsize mining equipment, and the full logistics surrounding the hosting of major sporting and other events.

Norbert Goerlitz, Managing Director of Conceptum Logistics, said that it was essential for the company to establish a presence in Africa, given the economic growth and business potential on the continent. He said that the company’s reputation for providing perfect transportation and logistics solutions to extraordinary challenges required that it should be perfectly positioned worldwide, through subsidiary and partner companies.

“Our approach is to provide tailored global transport solutions based on a high degree of precision, the greatest possible certainty in planning and 100% commitment. The choice of partner company in the areas where we operate is therefore of crucial concern. Sturrock Shipping, with its reputation for quality service and its extensive African footprint, was an obvious choice,” he said.

Andrew Sturrock, Managing Director of Sturrock Shipping, described the entry of Conceptum Logistics into the local market and the formation of the Joint Venture as highly significant both for the local industry and for Sturrock Shipping.

“Conceptum offers a degree of expertise and experience in a highly specialised area of operations that only a handful of global companies are able to provide. For Sturrock Shipping, the Joint Venture provides the perfect complement to the range of ship’s agency, clearing and forwarding, and general logistics services that we already offer,” he said.

Sturrock Shipping was founded in 1969 in South Africa. Over the last decade it has expanded its operations into Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Angola and Sudan, and is currently seeking to broaden its reach to include Namibia, Ghana, Sao Tome, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. In 2010 the company also announced the acquisition of an established ship’s agency business in Australia. See PORTS & SHIPS report on that occasion HERE

Sturrock said that the Conceptum Logistics Africa office would be situated within the recently-revamped Sturrock Shipping offices in Johannesburg. He noted that Asmus Seubert had been seconded from the Conceptum Logistics head office in Germany to oversee the new operation in its early stages.

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Piracy Report: Jurisdiction and Rules of Engagement causing concern

Jurisdiction and laws remain major piracy problem

The question of what to do with captured pirate suspects remains one of the major stumbling blocks facing naval and merchant shipping which is trying to come to terms with the scourge of pirates, particularly those from Somalia.

In many cases naval ships have released pirate suspects after intercepting their vessels, sometimes caught in the act of attacking merchant shipping. After confiscating the weapons and other ‘pirate equipment’ lie additional fuel and ladders, the suspects are taken back to Somalia and put ashore. Sometimes they are freed in one of their skiffs with enough fuel to reach their homeland.

In some instances captured pirates have been taken to Kenya or the Seychelles for trial before a court of law – both countries having agreed to deal with such matters and having hurried through legislation enabling such action. This has been after strong pressure from the international community and with promises of financial assistance, which hasn’t always been forthcoming.

Malaysia has suddenly found itself in the position of having to decide on what action to take with captured pirates after a warship of the Royal Malaysian Navy successfully retook a Malaysian chemical products tanker, the BUNGA LAUREL which earlier had been seized by Somali pirates. After freeing the 23 crew members of the tanker, Malaysian authorities are now left with the problem of how to deal with pirates found on board the ship. Bunga Laurel was on charter to the Malaysian International Shipping Corporation (MISC) and was attacked about 300 n.miles east of Oman.

Danish call to arms

Danish shipowners are requesting that Denmark lowers the threshold for placing armed guards on board Danish vessels that sail in pirate infested waters.

Last week the Danish Shipowners Association said the problem of piracy was getting worse and shipping lines needed to ‘activate the full toolbox’. “This is a geopolitical problem. If piracy continues to expand the way it is just now, this will be a black spot on the world map,” said association spokesman Jan Fritz Hansen. Danish ships are allowed to employ armed guards only under extreme conditions. The Danish Shipowners Association also called on the international navies to take stronger action against pirate vessels, “to intercept them, destroy them, sink them.” Adding that such actions should be left to the professional, Hansen said it was a crucial measure to limit the success of the pirates.

Indian Ocean becoming a no-go zone for seamen and fishermen

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Tai Yuan 227 which was attacked by the Dutch Navy – see report below

Contrary to the feelings of the Danish Shipowners Association, there is gathering concern over a less than subtle change in how some international navies are responding to ships that have been captured by pirates. While some naval forces are continuing to act with circumspect when it comes to dealing with pirates captured both on the open sea and on board vessels they have seized, others have begun taking more drastic action.

One such instance involves the recapture of the South Korean tanker SAMHO JEWELRY by South Korean naval special forces, who stormed aboard the vessel, killing several pirates in the process, and retaking the ship (see PORTS & SHIPS report South Korea recaptures SAMHO JEWELRY in bloody battle. During the exchange the ship’s master was wounded by a bullet in the stomach.

Voytenko Mikhail, who publishes an online record of ship incidents including acts of piracy, has documented recent cases of piracy involving higher levels of violence than normal. He records that in the case of the Samho Jewelry, eight pirates died and five have been detained, while the ship’s master received a gunshot wound, but says there is no clarity as to who shot him. He says that Russian ex-spetsnaz who are now involved in the provision of security in the Indian Ocean, analysed the available evidence including video and concluded that the whole operation had been very unprofessional with increased risk to the ship’s crew.

Mikhail relates an incident involving the Dutch navy ship HNLMS De Ruyter which on 21 January attacked a Taiwanese fishing vessel, the TAI YUAN 227, opening fire on her but failing to free the vessel of pirates who have held the ship for several months. Five days later the pirates left the ship.

He refers also to the attack on the Beluga Nomination, reported in PORTS & SHIPS on Thursday 27 January German ship Beluga Nomination seized in Indian Ocean in which he reports that the crew’s safe place or ‘citadel’ was breached by the pirates using a gas burner. However, when a European naval frigate and a Seychelles Navy boat caught up with the German ship, some firing between the various vessels took place. Reports indicated that two pirates were killed and that a couple of crew fled on a liferaft. These were later picked up by a Danish warship and are safe and unharmed but Beluga Nomination has meanwhile been joined by another pirate-held ship, the tanker York.

On 28 January an Indian Navy warship, INS Cankarso intercepted the pirate-held fishing vessel Prantalay which is believed to have been the ‘mother ship’ involved in an unsuccessful attack on the same day on the container ship CMA CGM VERDI. What followed is contradictory, with the Indians saying that their warship was fired upon by the fishing vessel and that it returned a warning fire ‘in self defence’ which resulted in a fire aboard the Prantalay, possibly after fuel drums on the deck caught alight. INS Cankarso recovered 35 survivors, 20 Taiwanese or Burmese fishermen and 15 pirates. This is the third time that an Indian Navy ship has opened fire on a fishing boat being held by pirates, sinking all of them. In one case the crew of a Yemeni fishing vessel were killed by the Indians, save for one man who survived in the sea for almost a week before being rescued and taken ashore to hospital, where the full facts came out.

Voytenko Mikhail comments on the escalation in the number of engagements undertaken by navy personnel and suggests that ordinary seafarers now have to think twice before enlisting on ships heading for the Indian Ocean.

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Maersk and the WFP

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Maersk Duisburg in Durban Harbour. Picture by Trevor Jones

by Paul Ridgway, Correspondent, London The AP Moller–Maersk Group announced on 27 January that it had joined a team of international companies, designated as a disaster relief support network under the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The Logistics Emergency Teams (LETs) consist of four of the world’s leading logistics and transport companies and supports the WFP and the humanitarian community during disaster relief efforts by providing access to a global network of transportation and logistics expertise. As the newest member of the LETs, Maersk joins Agility, UPS and TNT Express.

Maersk brings to the team a global ocean transportation network which includes the world’s largest container shipping fleet and more than 50 terminals across the world. In addition, Maersk has extensive experience and presence in Africa.

“Maersk has a history of stepping in when it comes to disaster relief, whether through employee involvement or with the use of our business assets. Given our competencies in sea transport, container terminal operations and supply chain management, joining the LETs is a natural step,” said Helene Regnell, Head of Corporate Responsibility in Maersk Line.

“Our vessels call ports all over the world, and we are present in more then 130 countries. So when it comes to disaster relief, we are never far away. The LETs enable us to further leverage our local knowledge and global capabilities and ensure that our disaster relief efforts are co-ordinated and aligned for maximum impact,” she added.

Humanitarian disasters impact different parts of the world every year. Getting the right people, food and supplies to the affected area as quickly as possible is crucial. Through the LETs, Maersk is supporting the Logistics Cluster, a platform led by the WFP that co-ordinates and supports the logistics operations of emergency relief organisations during major disasters.

“As the leader of the Logistics Cluster, WFP needs to be able to quickly augment its own logistics capacities when a disaster strikes in order to support the entire humanitarian community. Our partners from the LETs help us fill critical logistics gaps,” said Lucien Jaggi, Logistics Officer for the WFP.

“In emergencies where a quick response is necessary and when we need immediate access to materials, transport, storage or technical expertise, the network LETs provide can make a significant difference in our logistics operations,” he said.

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Port News: Durban port to open North Pier for Queen Mary 2 visit

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has agreed to reopen the base end of the North Pier to the public for the visit next Monday (7 February) of the Cunard cruise liner QUEEN MARY 2.

The 150,000-gross ton passenger ship is making her second visit to South Africa and will be arriving in Cape Town this Friday, 4 February. When she called at Durban and Cape Town in 2010 on her maiden visit to South Africa large crowds in their thousands turned out in both ports to welcome and later say farewell to the grand ship.

More of the same is expected this time round and in Durban port management have agreed to open the North Pier to give the public an excellent vantage point as the ship makes her way along the entrance channel. She is expected to arrive in port between 6am and 7am and will depart again that afternoon at 6pm.

The North Pier has remained closed to the public since construction of the widened entrance channel was completed early last year. TNPA says this is because it remains a construction site, with working pending on the sand pumping scheme. Another reason is that of a legal dispute between TNPA and the local fishing clubs, which have taken the matter of being banned from the piers to the port regulator.

Queen Mary 2 will visit South Africa for a third time in 2012, once again during her World Cruise.

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Pics of the Day – BALTIC TRADER

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Cape Town has seen a number of unusual callers in recent weeks. One of these is this small Ro-Ro vessel BALTIC TRADER (1,739-gt, built 1975) which called at the Mother City last week. Owned by Oceanic Trader Ltd of Norway the ship looks well maintained as far as external appearances are concerned, considering her advancing years. Note the ramp along the mid hull. Pictures by Aad Noorland

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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