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Ports & Ships Maritime News

9 February 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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Hamburg Süd’s container ship SANTA ISABEL (85,676-gt, built 2010) sails from Durban harbour on a typically hot and steamy summer afternoon. Picture by Terry Hutson

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Egyptian demonstrations intensify but canal stays open

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As tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people gathered again on Tuesday in Liberation Square in Cairo to continue their protest against the government of Hosni Mubarak, operations at the Suez Canal and its adjacent ports remain of real concern to the maritime industry. It’s been speculated that the price of oil will increase to more than US$ 120 a barrel should the canal be closed and with that a ripple effect will be felt throughout the world from rising prices.

However, the canal is NOT closed and the risk of this happening appears to be growing less with each day. The following report which will bring some comfort comes courtesy of GAC World.

As the latest political developments unfold in Egypt, transits of the Suez Canal continue unaffected, and the daily curfew has been further relaxed (now in place from 2000 hours local time every evening until 0600 hours the following morning).

Some delays and congestion of stacking areas may be experienced at container terminals, although import container consignees have started picking up shipments and custom clearance is working half-day at Alexandria port.

Break bulk operations are only permitted for non-direct delivery cargo, and discharge operations are slow, due to a shortage of labour and diesel for shore equipment.

Silos for bulk cargo are working, and all oil & gas terminals are fully operational.

GAC may accept to provide supporting services for vessels' transit - such as crew changes/supplies and spare part delivery, etc. - subject to curfew time allowance and sufficient advance notice being given.

Banks reopened for local business on Sunday (6 February), after being closed for a week. Remittances were unaffected as GAC worked closely with banks to ensure that funds for Suez Canal transits etc. were transferred without any problems.

Below are telephone contact details for GAC Egypt's Port Operations and Suez Canal Coordinating offices:

Port Operations:

Direct Fax: +20-3-4849446
Tel: +20-3-4840256/4880000 (Ext: 1011/1012/1013/1014/1015) AOH Tel Nos:
- Capt. Khaled Al Sarrag: Mobile +20-10-2130471
- Ms Sherine Farid: Mobile +20-10-2107206
- Duty Mobile: +20-10-0074200

Suez Canal Central Operations Office in Cairo:

Ahmed Makawy: (Direct) +202 2696 2996, (Mobile) +2 010 4610003
Loai Rashad: (Direct) +202 2696 2992, (Mobile) +2 010 0494700>br> Amr Kandil: (Direct) +202 2696 2994, (Mobile) +2 010 0494600 Waleed Abu Elnasr: (Direct) +202 2696 2989, (Mobile) +2 010 4610095
Mohamed Badr: (Direct) +202 2696 2997, (Mobile) +2 010 4610002
Youssef Americani: (Direct) +202 2696 2999, (Mobile) +20 10 3499100
Capt. Mohamed Badawi: (Mobile) + 20 10 21 29 120

Duty 24 hrs Mobile : +2 010 2410000 (in case of emergency)
Tel: +2 02 22686230 (switchboard)
Fax: +2 02 22686038 (SCT fax)
Fax: +2 02 22686037 – source GAC

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Kenya Shippers Council warns of congestion charges at Mombasa

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Port of Mombasa

The Kenya Shippers Council (KSC), representing cargo owners, says it is concerned that slow cargo handling at the port of Mombasa will lead to congestion surcharges being levied by the shipping lines.

KSC says the poor flow of containers to the private container depots and cargo stations is to blame. According to a report in the Kenya Business Daily, the port delays can attract demurrage fees of between US$400-$600 per TEU a day.

The Shippers Council warns that shipping lines are “threatening to impose charges on goods imported through the Mombasa port to compensate them for time lost while waiting for cargo.” It said the charges would be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices for goods in order to recover costs incurred.

The council pointed out that last August Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) imposed a US$100 per TEU penalty as a ‘congestion surcharge” for moving its boxes through the port.

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Piracy: Italian tanker captured in mid ocean

Italian tanker highjacked

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The Italian tanker SAVINA CAYLUN seized by pirates. Picture EU NAVFOR

The European naval force operating off the coast of Somalia known as Atalanta or EU NAVFOR reports that in the early hours of Monday, 8 February, the oil tanker SAVINA CAYLYN (104,255-dwt, built 2008) was pirated approximately 670 nautical miles east of Socotra Island in the Indian Ocean.

The ship was en route from Bashayer in Sudan to Pasir Gudang in Malaysia and when attacked was well out into the open ocean. EU NAVFOR says the pirates attacked from a single skiff containing five pirates who fired small arms and four rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) at the ship before boarding. After a sustained attack they gained entry to the ship.

There is presently no communication with the vessel and no information regarding the condition of the crew of 22 (5 Italian and 17 Indian). The Savina Caylyn had registered with MSC(HOA) and was reporting to the UKMTO, but there were no friendly naval ships in the immediate vicinity. EUNAVFOR says it is monitoring the situation.

NATO meanwhile reports that a second ship came under attack from pirates in the same area but managed to evade the attackers. This was about five hours after the Savina Caylyn attack.

Pirates active off Indian coast

Maritime Bulletin lists reports of three other pirate attacks on shipping in the Indian Ocean adjacent to the Indian coast. Two of the attacks, which were unsuccessful, took place about 425 n.miles from Kavaratti Island in the Lakshadweep group, both on 5 February. One involved the 5,700-TEU container ship CMA CGM CHOPIN (73,235-dwt, built 2004) with the French ship taking evasive action and making her escape with no injuries or harm done.

The second attack was on the 6,500-TEU container ship PUELCHE (81,243-dwt, built 2007) in roughly the same area and about five hours earlier than the Chopin attack, so it may have been the same pirate group involved although two different skiffs appear to have been in use in this attack. Puelche also managed to escape through evasive action and by increasing speed.

The third incident occurred on 4 February when the American-managed general cargo ship SIKYON (32,029-dwt, built 2007) was approached on two occasions by two skiffs, coming within a nautical mile of the ship which was sailing in a convoy led by a Chinese Navy warship. The latter launched its helicopter which approached and fired warning shots at the skiffs to frighten them away. The convoy and Sikyon were able to continue their voyage.– source Maritime Bulletin

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AFRICA MERCY to bid Durban farewell this morning

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Picture by Terry Hutson

After five months in port during which the ship underwent a major refit and replacement programme, the Mercy Ships organisation’s hospital ship AFRICA MERCY (16,572-gt, built 1980) is expected to leave Durban this morning (Wednesday) for her next appointment in Cape Town - a bit of Show and Tell at the V&A Waterfront.

After that the hospital ship has an appointment with West Africa - Sierra Leone to be more specific, where she will take up duties in Freetown harbour to administer medical and dental care to thousands of people who may be too poor or otherwise unable to receive medical treatment.

Mercy Africa arrived in Durban on 1 September last year and went straight to the Southern African Shipyards’ quayside at Bayhead, and later to the port’s dry dock for a major refit. Among the maintenance and replacement jobs undertaken was taking out six very large diesel-powered generator engines and replacing them with four new oil-fired generator engines. This necessitated cutting a large hole in the ship’s hull and later closing it up again and making the ship seaworthy.

New fuel storage tanks were created in the ballast tanks, and other electrical work was undertaken, helping to modernise the ship even further (she is the former Danish rail ferry DRONNING INGRID). The inside of the vessel contains six modern and well equipped hospital operating theatres, wards for 78 patients, including recovery and intensive care units, as well as accommodation (and a school) for her crew and staff of around 450 people, all volunteers who actually pay to be on the ship.

Up to 7,000 specialist surgical treatments or operations are provided each year on average – these include cataract removal and lens implant, tumour removal, cleft lip and palate reconstruction, orthopaedics, and obstretic fistula repair. The hospital has its own CT scan, X-Ray and laboratory services, plus a Nikon Coolscope which allows remote diagnosis, transmitted via an onboard satellite communications system.

All treatment provided by Mercy Ships is free and while the ship is in port, often for several months at a time, rooms are taken ashore where treatment can be provided close to where the people live or work. The ship is used to help train up local medical personnel and often when Africa Mercy leaves port for another in Africa the clinics or treatment rooms remaining behind are able to continue with local personnel in charge.

Africa Mercy’s stay in Durban has been about two months longer than anticipated due to delays at the shipyard and additional work but during this lengthy stay in port many of the people working on board the ship returned to their homes in various parts of the world to visit families and friends.

Others who chose to stay or were unable to travel were lodged at the Appelsbosch Hospital Training College – built inland of Tongaat in the 1980s but now unused for its original purpose.

A number of the team went off to provide medical services in selected parts of the country. This included dental clinics in rural parts of KwaZulu Natal, while another group of specialists teamed up with The Fred Hollowes Foundation South Africa and the Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Health to bring eye care and cataract surgery to people with little or no access to medical care. The team worked in several parts of the Eastern Cape.

With news that the ship was nearing the end of her repairs most of the staff and crew of 450 have returned to the ship as she prepares to sail out of the port that has been her home for the past five months. The sight of the big white hospital ship filling the quayside at Bayhead is going to be missed, as will not doubt all those who lived and worked in South Africa throughout the refit, providing health care from a sense of giving and compassion, while looking for no reward. Bon voyage, Africa Mercy, and as the Scots are known to say, “Will ye no come back again?”

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Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za

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Safmarine offers new 225 service with direct calls in West Africa and Med

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Safmarine Zambezi

Safmarine has enhanced its '225' fully-containerised service between South Africa and West Africa by connecting West Africa via Dakar and Algeciras. The new weekly service, with high reefer capacity, will operate six vessels of 1100 TEU (nominal) with direct calls in Durban, Cape Town, Dakar (Senegal) and Algeciras (Spain).

According to Safmarine Intra-Africa Corridor Manager, James Lewer, “The focus of the new enhanced 225 service on West Africa and its connection in Dakar will enable fast and reliable connections via the MW1 service to Tin Can Island and Douala. The additional new call in Algeciras also offers customers connections with our entire portfolio of services to and from West Africa, the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent, North America, South America and in particular the Intra - European feeder services in the West and Eastern Mediterranean.”

The first southbound sailing commenced with the MV MACUBA in Algeciras on Tuesday 8 February 2011 and the MV Shanti which arrived in Durban on 5 February 2011.

The 225 service is a wholly Safmarine operated service, partnered by sister company Maersk Line, through a slot charter agreement.

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The meaning of Derrick

Thanks for those readers who responded about the meaning of the term a derrick crane…… I now know that it was named after a certain hangman named Thomas Derrick, who in his day was reputed to have hanged over 3,000 people at the Tyburn gallows, back in Elizabethan times. His name came to be used for the frame from which the hangman’s noose was suspended, and was later to find its way to any structure with a swinging boom, such as ships’ cranes. It was fun reading all the responses, thank you for your trouble.

Now here’s another one, just for a bit more fun. What is the origin of the name ‘stevedore’, those hardworking people who help clear our ships of their cargo and whom the Americans, who always do things on the wrong side of the road, call a ‘longshoreman’. So while you are turning to the Wikipedias and dictionaries of nautical terms, look up the meaning of the American word as well.

Pics of the Day – QUEEN MARY 2

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While the memory of the visit of the Cunard Line’s QUEEN MARY 2 remains fresh in our minds, here are some more pictures taken during the great ship’s visit in Durban this week. The above picture shows the cruise ship MSC SINFONIA, QUEEN MARY 2 and the car carrier HOEGH SHANGHAI. The T-Jetty was a busy place that day. Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za

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With a backdrop of the nearby Durban CBD, Queen Mary 2 dominated the harbour for all of Monday. Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za

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The view from the water this time, presenting a stern view of the ship as she noses her way towards her designated O and O/P berths on the T-Jetty. Picture by Trevor Jones

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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