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Ports & Ships Maritime News

21 February 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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First View – IVS KESTREL

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Island View Shippings’ IVS KESTREL (32,537-dwt, built 2002) in Lyttelton harbour, NZ late last year to discharge a cargo of urea. Picture by Alan Calvert

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Truck strike – on or off?

Three of the four trade unions involved in the truck strike have reportedly agreed to a settlement with management but the fourth and largest union, SATAWU appears to be holding in favour of the original demand of a 10% increase this year and a further 10% the second year. The other three unions appear to have agreed on a 9% increase this year followed by an increase of 8% in 2012. What effect this will have on the movement of trucks and cargo in the next day or so remains to be seen in the morning when the new week begins. At the weekend there was movement at the container terminals with trucks arriving and departing although according to reports City Deep in Johannesburg was at 80% capacity only. The strike appears to have had greater effect at the private container depots rather that at the major ports like Durban and Cape Town.

DHL advised customers that it had become dangerous to make deliveries or collections at some of these depots and advised customers to expect delays or cancellations. “No deliveries can be expected at this stage. Certain areas are dangerous - Isando, Wadeville, Johannesburg Central, Braamfontein, Pretoria Central and Midrand. Deliveries in these areas may be subject to delays or cancellations as deemed necessary,” said a statement from DHL.

Newspaper reports on Sunday talked of a shortage of fuel at the petrol stations but this could not be verified.

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News of ships and shipping lines

Fire delays Safmarine Nomazwe

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Safmarine Nomazwe

Durban - A fire onboard the SAFMARINE NOMAZWE vessel has been extinguished, while investigations into the cause of the blaze continue, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said on Thursday.

Three containers of charcoal caught fire while the ship was en route from Durban to Cape Town. The containers had been loaded in Durban.

“Following the fire that broke out at the harbour on the vessel Safrmarine Nomazwe, SAMSA surveyors discovered that there was no physical damage to the vessel and crew. The damaged containers are currently being offloaded to enable thorough inspection of entire vessel, which will provide us with a conclusive report. We are pleased that the vessel should set sail shortly,” SAMSA executive head, Sobantu Tilayi, said on Thursday.

According to ship owner Safmarine, there were no injuries to the ship's crew and no oil pollution has occurred.

“The exact cause of the incident is as yet unknown. A full investigation will be conducted. An assessment of potential damage will follow as soon as possible."

By the weekend Safmarine Nomazwe was back outside at anchor in Table Bay, awaiting a turn at the congested container terminal. The ship isn’t expected to berth until later this week. Safmarine Nomazwe arrived from Durban at midday last Wednesday, 16 February.

MSC becomes world’s largest container carrier

According to Containerisation International, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is now the world’s largest container carrier, in terms of how many containers the line can carry.

The report says that MSC reached 1,848,440 TEU on 15 February, making it the line with the greatest capacity and exceeding Maersk Line for the first time. However, if Maersk subsidiaries Safmarine and MCC Transport were included, then the AP Moller company would still be the largest.

MSC to deploy 18 new 8,000-9,000 TEU ships by 2014

MSC will take on long term charter six 8,800-TEU wide beam container ships direct from the builder Hyundai Heavy Industries as from September 2012. The ships, which are being built for Ofer Bros (3) and three from the Schulte Group, will join 12 others in the 8,800 to 9,000-TEU wide beam range, bringing the total on charter to 18 ships.

Maersk places orders for ten 18,000-TEU ships – report

According to at least one report, AP Moller-Maersk has placed an order with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine for ten mega container ships capable of carrying up to 18,000 TEUs.

The order, which has long been rumoured, has still to be confirmed but if proved to be true this will break the barrier as the largest container ships ever built with a leap of 28.5% in one go.

Fishery patrol vessel for Namibia

The Namibian government has placed an order with the Finnish shipbuilder STX Finland Rauma for a fishery research vessel valued at approximately €35 million.

According to STX Rauma, the 62m long vessel will be able to accommodate 45 crew and research personnel and is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2012. The vessel, which is being built in the same yard as South Africa’s new Antarctic supply and research vessel, has been designed specifically for Namibian fisheries research purposes. The ship will feature a dynamic positioning system and has been designed to work in any African sea and weather condition without restriction.

The vessel will be used for the monitoring of fish stock, as well as sorting, processing, freezing and storing fish. The multi-purpose vessel will also be used for collecting biological samples for seabed research and analysis and will provide assistance for the control of fishing. The vessel also features facilities for meteorological research.

“This order is very important for STX Rauma shipyard. The contract now signed shows that the shipyard has succeeded very well in its long-term research and development efforts focused on specialized vessels,” says Timo Suistio, Director of STX Rauma shipyard. “The R&D will continue with the construction of the research vessel now ordered by Namibia. In the design we can apply the same technologies as in the icebreaker for research purposes ordered by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, to be delivered in 2012, since the two vessels, to a certain extent, carry out similar tasks and use the same kind of equipment. In the case of the fisheries research vessel, the areas for further development include enhanced hydroaccoustic characteristics and hull protection techniques,” Suistio says.

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Pirates remain active across wide range of Indian Ocean

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Yemeni vessel captured

The European naval force in the Gulf of Aden region reports that on 13 February the Yemeni Fishing Vessel ALFARDOUS is believed to have been pirated close to Socotra Island in the Gulf of Aden.

The vessel has a reported crew of 8, with nationalities presently not known. There has been no further information on the condition of the crew or the vessel. EU Navfor says it is monitoring the situation.

Chinese force commander visits EU NAVFOR

On Tuesday 15 February, EU Navfor Force Commander, Rear-Admiral Juan Rodriguez met with Rear Admiral Zhang Huachen, Commander of Chinese Naval Force deployed in Gulf of Aden (TF-529).

The meeting took place on board the Spanish Flagship CANARIAS, sailing in the Gulf of Aden. Rear Admiral Zhang was accompanied by his Chief of Staff and six more officers. During the next months, Chinese ships will remain in Indian Ocean with the main aim to escort merchant vessels transiting between Red Sea and Horn of Africa, thereby contributing to the safety of those mariners transiting the area.

This was a good opportunity for EU NAVFOR to exchange information and maintain mutual understanding and knowledge with one of its partners in the fight against piracy. Coordination between the different actors operating in the Horn of Africa is of paramount importance in order to optimize their action and facilitate information sharing. This is especially important given the size of the operational area and the coordination of a large number of ships from many different countries.

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Chinese Navy Rear Admiral Zhang and EU Navfor Commander, Rear Admiral Juan Rodriguez on board the Canarias.

Yacht and four American sailors captured

Somali pirates have captured another yacht, this time the sailing yacht Quest, along with the four American sailors on board. The yacht was seized in position Latitude 18°00 N Longitude 061°02 E.

Quest was on an around the world sail and was supposed to enter the Red Sea and Suez Canal. There has been no further communication with the vessel or its highjackers who are presumed to be heading for Somalia. The capture of four more yachting sailors follows the year-long ordeal of a British couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler who were finally released after the family and friends raised an acceptable ransom.

Then in October last year three South African yachties were captured on their yacht Choizil. The skipper Peter Eldridge later escaped after the yacht ran aground with a French frigate nearby. His two companions however, Bruno Pelizzari and Deborah Calitz were taken ashore and are being held in custody somewhere in Somalia.

The capture of the Americans couldn’t have come at a worse time with a Somali pirate having received a 33-year sentenced in the United States for attempting to highjack a US- flagged ship off Somalia.

Several other ships in the northern Indian Ocean region have reported coming under attack by pirates in the past few days but all managed to evade capture. One of these vessels was the Sovcomflot tanker NS CENTURY (105,703-dwt) which, according to the IMB was chased by three skiffs, each with between 6 and 8 pirates on board. Shots were fired at the pirates by armed guards on the tanker, which made its escape. The attack took place 40 n.miles off Porbander in north-western India (the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi) and the pirates were seen to have a mother ship nearby.

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West African news – contract awarded for Sierra Leone quay upgrade

The Belgian dredging firm of Jan de Nul has been awarded the contract to undertake the upgrade of the Queen Elizabeth II Quay, Freetown, Sierra Leone’s deep water quay.

According to Jan de Nul, due to continuous sedimentation the port has lost approximately 2 m of its economic draught. Financing of the project is available from the World Bank which has provided funds for the upgrade of the port and access to the two ferry terminals in Freetown harbour. The dredging will boost Sierra Leone’s economy as the Freetown port will again be able to accommodate larger ships.

Successful launch for CONGO RIVER

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CONGO RIVER goes down the slipway at her launch in the Netherlands recently

The subject of this story is not really a West African or even African piece of news, but it does make use of a well-known Central African name, and the story is worth reporting.

The Dutch firm of IHC Merwede, which built the new South African dredger ISANDLWANA, has successfully launched the 30,000m³ trailing suction dredger CONGO RIVER at its shipyard in Krimpen aan den Ijssel. The massive vessel is being built for the DEME Group and the CONGO RIVER will be one of the largest dredgers in the world.

IHC Merwede said that the reason for naming the ship Congo River was in line with DEME NV’s tradition of naming its larger vessels after the world’s greatest rivers.

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Cruise News: Royal Caribbean to build two new ships

Two new ships for RCCL

Royal Caribbean Cruises has signed a letter of intent with the German shipyard Meyer Werft to build two new generation Royal Caribbean International cruise ships at its Papenburg yard.

The global cruise company that operates Royal Caribbean International cruises and Celebrity cruises will develop the new ships under ‘Project Sunshine,’ with one vessel being ready by autumn 2014 (northern hemisphere), followed by the second vessel to be delivered in 2015 spring. RCCL already has a fleet of 40 cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean says the new ships will be “new generation” ships in many innovative ways, such as having new activities and entertainment concepts and including environmentally friendly factors. “It will offer features for everyone: from grand, spectacular spaces to small intimate settings; from active, invigorating activities to the serenity of more personal space; and from a plethora of dining alternatives to a cornucopia of opportunities for families,” Richard D Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd said.

He said the new ships would incorporate the latest, cutting edge energy efficiency and environmental technologies. “Our existing ships are some of the most energy efficient in the world and Project Sunshine takes this one further step. Based on our over 20 years of experience with Meyer Werft, along with their compelling proposal, we know they will deliver on all of the innovations Royal Caribbean’s guests have come to expect,” he said.

The new ships will have a passenger capacity of 4,100, based on double occupancy.

MSC Cruises partners with AC Milan Football Club

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MSC Splendida

MSC Cruises has announced a major three year partnership agreement with AC Milan Football Club, one of the world’s most successful soccer teams.

The agreement, which renews and upgrades an existing long term arrangement between the two organisations is designed to mutually promote and develop awareness and exposure for the two brands both domestically and internationally.

The announcement was made at a press conference held jointly by MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco Vago and AC Milan vice-president and CEO Adriano Galliani on the opening day of the annual BIT, International Tourism Exchange in Milan.

Among the extensive programme of events and initiatives included in the sponsorship announcement is a unique cruise aboard the flagship MSC Splendida which will be entirely dedicated to AC Milan supporters. The first ever ‘Crociera Rossonera’ named after the colours of the team, takes place from 5-12 June this year and will host a number of AC Milan players, as well as feature tournaments, special training workshops for young fans and a range of memorable entertainment activities.

“This agreement continues to link MSC Cruises to one of the most successful Club’s in the world, something I am so very proud of,” said Vago.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic An interesting and unusual cargo of windmill turbine blades destined for India and on board the project cargo specialist vessel, BELUGA INTONATION (11,130-gt, built 2000), seen sailing from Durban harbour after the ship called for bunkers. Pictures by Trevor Jones

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