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Ports & Ships Maritime News

17-18 February 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002

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Operating with really delightful cruise ships, both onboard and to the onlooker, is Silversea Cruises’, and their 36,000-ton SILVER SPIRIT is no exception. This ship, seen here in Lyttelton harbour, New Zealand last week, entered service in December 2009 and is the largest in the Silversea fleet yet retains that ’small ship’ ambience and appearance. She has a passenger capacity of 540 and carries 376 crew, giving her one of the higher crew/passenger ratios. Her smaller sister, the 16,000 ton SILVER WIND calls in South Africa shortly for a season of cruising among Southern African ports. Picture by Alan Calvert

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Cyclone Bingiza tracks across Madagascar

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Cyclone Bingiza on Wednesday am. Picture HurricaneZone.net

Tropical Cyclone Bingiza was yesterday (Wednesday) situated slightly off the north-western coast of Madagascar in a position approximately 300 n.miles west-northwest of Antananarivo and was tracking south-south-westward. The storm was rated as a category 3 tropical storm and on Madagascar teams were out in helicopters assessing the damage done in the path of the storm. There are fears that agricultural land has been badly affected.

According to John Uniack Davis, country director in Madagascar for CARE International, the cyclone hit land at 6 o’clock in the morning Monday. “It’s a pretty strong storm. It first hit at the southern tip of the Masoala Peninsula, which is a remote area with some of the densest tropical forests in Madagascar,” he reported. The Masoala Peninsular is sparsely populated and is covered by about 2,300 square kilometres of tropical forest.

A subsequent report from CARE described the area on the northeast coast as an important cash crop-producing area with coffee, cloves and vanilla bean.

There are no reports at this stage from the island’s north and central west coasts which yesterday were feeling the brunt of the storm. By Tuesday authorities were reporting five people dead as a result of Bingiza and one missing.

Bingiza is expected to track south eastward back across the land and eventually back into the Indian Ocean north of Fort Dauphin, by which stage the force of the cyclone will have been considerably dissipated.

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a flooded home in northwest Madagascar. Picture CARE

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The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies aboard NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites captured these two images of Cyclone Bingiza before and after it crossed northern Madagascar on 13 February at 07.00 UTC (left) and 14 February at 10.35 UTC (right), respectively. Photo credit: NASA/Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

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Mozambique News: CFM refutes Malawian claims of port congestion

Mozambique ports are not congested, says CFM

The spat between Mozambique and Malawi looks set to continue after Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika blamed congested Mozambique ports for fuel shortages in the landlocked country.

The two countries had a fall out late last year over Malawi’s plans to use the Shire and Zambezi Rivers as transport conduits to the coast. It resulted in a Malawian river craft being detained inside Mozambique along with a senior military attache on board, while in Malawi a delegation that included the Malawi president and the presidents of Zambia and Zimbabwe were left waiting for its arrival.

In the latest disagreement, President Mutharika said at the weekend that fuel shortages in Malawi were the fault of port congestion in Mozambique. He was appealing to protesters not to march on government buildings to lodge their complaints over no fuel in the pumps. But a CFM spokesman told Mozambique news agency AIM on Tuesday that there was no truth in the statement by the Malawian president. “There are no problems in the fuel terminals at either Beira or Nacala,” he said.

But while the Malawian president appeared to bend the truth while trying to defuse a threatened riot, his finance minister was a little more to the point. He told parliament that Malawi routinely runs out of fuel because it does not have the foreign exchange to pay the suppliers.

Meanwhile the chairman of the Human Rights Consultative Committee in Malawi, Undule Mwakasungula said his organisation would organise further marches of protest. “They will shoot us but we will not relent. This country belongs to all of us, it is not just a one man project,” he said.

New Beira port dredger ready in two years

A large dredger for the port of Beira which is being built in Denmark, is expected to be ready for delivery within the next two years, the Chief Executive of CFM, Adelino Mesquita has said.

The dredger costing US$60 million will replace two small Japanese dredgers currently in service in the port. The new vessel with a capacity of 2,500m³ is expected to more than double the capacity of the smaller craft.

The dredger is being jointly financed by Mozambique and Denmark.

The port of Beira, which is notoriously susceptible to silting, previously had two dredgers in service, the 1500m³ ROVUMA and the smaller 1,000m³ ARUANGWA. Rovuma sank and Aruangwa was transferred to Maputo. The two small Japanese dredgers were subsequently acquired and have been working on maintenance dredging at the port.

Emigrant boat sinks off Mozambique coast – 51 dead

Fifty-one emigrants died when a boat carrying 129 illegal Somali and Ethiopian migrants, sank off the coast of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique last week.

According to the Mozambique police, the boat came from Tanzania and among those who died was the Tanzanian captain. The 78 survivors have been taken to the Maratane refugee camp in the province of Nampula.

The police told AIM news that 123 illegal migrants arrived on another boat which anchored at Suhavo island in Cabo Delgado province. The boat had sailed from Mtwara in southern Tanzania but was owned by Mozambicans, he said. All the migrants have been repatriated to Tanzania.

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Map of Mozambique - Visit us for more Africa Maps

CFM to finish Sena Railroad

The government-owned port and railway company CFM says it will undertake the completion of the Sena Railway, after having dismissed the Indian consortium RITES IRCON for poor work. The government is in a rush to have the line completed in time to begin the export of coal from mines in the Moatize and Benga districts in Tete province. This is due to commence in June this year.

Riversdale continues with river prospect for coal exports

The Australian mining house of Riversdale has appointed two companies to undertake environmental impact studies for the transfer of coal from barges onto ocean-going ships. Riversdale has already indicated that it will make use of the railway and recently it was announced that the company was investing in its own fleet of locomotives and wagons for this purpose.

However, it seems that the method of using barges along the Zambezi River hasn’t been ruled out either, as the capacity of the Sena Railway in known to be extremely limited.

Mombasa tops 20 million tonnes but labour balks at privatisation

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Port of Mombasa

Labour movements at the port of Mombasa remain determined not to permit any privatisation of the Kenyan port, in particular container terminal development involving berths 11 to 14.

This is despite a warning by the World Bank that the port is rapidly nearing saturation and will not be able to handle additional volumes without expansion. Analysts say the port will lose its competitiveness unless the new container terminal is able to develop.

The Port Master Plan as revised in 2009 identified the key role to be played by the private sector in the expansion plans for Mombasa. However the Master Plan did not examine institutional, regulatory or legal changes necessary.

While port handling figures have not yet been made available, it is expected that Mombasa will shortly exceed 20 million tonnes of cargo a year. The Master Plan envisaged the port becoming a Landlord type port with the Kenya Ports Authority assuming that role and the private sector taking on the various cargo handling terminals. Berths 11-14, originally designed for breakbulk, are seen as the future second container terminal for the port.

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Safmarine introduces third dedicated Europe-India service

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Trade Director Kris Van Den Brande

Safmarine Container Lines will be introducing a third dedicated service connecting Europe with the Indian Subcontinent. To complement the existing direct services from North Europe (Prime-1) and the Mediterranean (Prime-3) into the Arabian Persian Gulf and the West Coast of India, the new Prime-2 service will feature a new direct connection between North Europe and the port of Chennai.

“PRIME 2 offers our customers increased reliability with a unique direct connection between the main European ports and Chennai,” said trade director Kris Van Den Brande. “Transit times are improved by an average of four days from Chennai to Zeebrugge and Felixstowe, with an average of 22 days' transit time from Rotterdam to Chennai. Increased flexibility is offered with an additional Salalah call westbound that will improve transit times to and from Pakistan. The call in Colombo will serve as transhipment hub for Bangladesh and South Indian Ports, and it will also be catering for the local Sri Lankan market.”

The additional service will deploy seven Panamax type vessels with an average capacity of 3,550 TEU. The first sailing westbound of the PRIME 2 is the MAERSL MIAMI, ETD Chennai 14 March 2011 and eastbound the JERVIS BAY, ETD Zeebrugge 7 March 2011, and is operated together with Safmarine’s sister company Maersk Line.

The rotation is Chennai (India) - Colombo (Sri Lanka) - Salalah (Oman) - Zeebrugge (Belgium) - Felixstowe (United Kingdom) – Rotterdam (Netherlands) - Bremerhaven (Germany) - Salalah (Oman) - Colombo (Sri Lanka) - Chennai (India)

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Brian Molefe appointed new Transnet CEO

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Brian Molefe, new GCE at Transnet

Cape Town - Cabinet yesterday (Wednesday) approved Brian Molefe (45) as the new group chief executive for Transnet. The announcement was made at a press conference by Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Molefe’s appointment, which is for a period of five years, starts with immediate effect.

“Transnet has been without a permanent group chief executive for a considerable period of time, which is undesirable given its strategic importance to the South African economy. Molefe’s appointment strengthens the stability of the leadership of Transnet,” said Gigaba.

He said that it also “allows the company’s primary focus to return to that of running a sustainable business, which provides economic benefit to the country.”

This, Gigaba said, allowed SA to meet its objective of a developmental state, in particular, the plans to expand capacity in the rail, ports and pipelines infrastructure and meet the demands of the growing economy.

“The filling of critical vacancies within the group remains a priority for the incoming CEO. This supports President Jacob Zuma’s directive for a government and state-owned entities to fill vacant posts with a period of six months,” said the minister.

Gigaba said that following the appointment of the board of directors in December last year, and now the chief executive, the goal of restoring leadership stability to Transnet had been realised.

In a message to Transnet staff yesterday, Chairman of the Board, Mafika Mkwanazi said the position of Group Chief Executive had been vacant for a very long time but had been filled exceptionally well by Chris Wells in an acting capacity. “It is now up to Mr Molefe to take this organisation to greater heights and fulfill – and hopefully exceed – the mandate of the shareholder.

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Trade News: PPG expands global footprint

PPG Group strengthens global footprint

Heavy-lift freight forwarding network, the Project Professionals Group, has strengthened its global footprint with several new appointments.

PPG General Manager Kevin Stephens has announced that Egyptian Marine Agency Services (EMAS) had been appointed as new Project Support Member in Egypt and NSCL Shipping Agencies & Investment Company limited in Sudan, both for their Ship Agency expertise.

He said Interfreight Group companies had been appointed as new project forwarder members for Southern Sudan (Interfreight Limited); Eastern Congo (Societe TMK); Burundi (Sodetra Burundi SPRL); and Tanzania (Freight and Logistics Limited). Interfreight are already PPG members for Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

Additional new project forwarder appointments included Oman (Maple Shipping & Logistics LLC); Ecuador (Solot Logistics Ecuador S.A.); and Egypt (All In Shipping).

Mr Stephens said all new appointees delivered a range of project forwarding services and had proven experience.

The Project Professionals Group gathers in Rio de Janeiro from June 15-17 for its annual conference.

Change in Rickmers Group executive board after successful financing

Following 10 years with the Rickmers Group and after the successful conclusion of financing agreements for the Rickmers Group’s newbuilding programme consisting of container and multi-purpose vessels, Dr Moritz Mittelbach has stepped down as CFO and Managing Director of Rickmers Holding GmbH & Cie KG and Pacific Holdings International GmbH & Cie KG with effect from 31 January 2011, at his own request.

With his expertise, Dr Mittelbach successfully guided the Rickmers Group through the difficult phase of the financial and shipping crisis; he will continue to bring his experience to bear by serving the company in an advisory role.

Until a successor has been named, Mr Bertram RC Rickmers will be assuming the duties of the CFO in an acting capacity.

The Rickmers Group is a shipping company with core activities in the fields of ship owning, ship management and liner shipping. The Group is based in Hamburg, Germany and has more than 20 own offices and a widespread agency network in another 35 locations all over the world. Rickmers in Hamburg and Singapore operates a fleet of some 120 containerships, multipurpose vessels, car carriers and bulk carriers. Rickmers-Linie is the world’s leading specialist in the global sea transportation of project and heavy lift cargo, maintaining a global network of specialised liner services.

The chartering and bunkering broker MCC Marine Contracting & Consulting, the insurance agent and claims management specialist ESSE Expert SHIPPING and EVT - Elbe Vermögens Treuhand, a trustee attending to the interests of investors of KG Funds companies, complete the business portfolio of Rickmers Group.

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Yesterday’s Fun Quiz – Before the Mast

In yesterday’s little quiz, the question was posed: What is the origin or meaning of the term ‘Before the Mast’? Seems it was far too easy for everyone, no wrong answers.

In brief, to serve before the mast meant to be one of the common sailors, whose quarters were in the forward (forecastle) part of the ship, or forward of the foremast. The half-deck was the sanctum of the second mate, and, in Greenland fishers, of the spikeoneer, harpooners, carpenters, coopers, boatswains, and all secondary officers; of low birth.

A more general description would be that of ordinary seamen as compared with officers.

Today, none of this makes any sense as most seamen have their quarters near the stern.

Thanks to Alan Preston of Manchester, UK for the question. Some more next week.

Pics of the Day – MSC CHARLESTON

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The German-owned, Liberian flagged container ship MSC CHARLESTON (89,954-gt, built 2006). MSC Charleston is 325m long and 43m wide and has a maximum draught of 14.5m The ship carries up to 8,089 TEU and is able to operate at 26 knots at a draught of 13m. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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