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Ports & Ships Maritime News

23 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 – HERDUSA 1

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The Spanish fishing vessel HERDUSA 1 leaving Durban harbour recently. Photograph copyright SHIPHOTO INTERNATIONAL shack@iafrica.com

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Four US yachtsmen killed by pirates

Four American yachtsmen on board the yacht Quest, which was highjacked by Somali pirates on Friday, have been killed, reportedly by their Somali captors.

The news comes via US military sources in the area which have been monitoring the situation. US naval vessels following the yacht as it headed towards Somalia say they heard gunfire and on boarding the yacht discovered all four American hostages to have been killed.

The four dead are the yacht owners, Scott and Jean Adam of California, and their passengers, Phyllis and Bob Riggle.

The gunfire was heard on Tuesday morning at about 01h00 EST. US navy personnel immediately boarded the yacht and despite attempting to provide first aid, the four American hostages died, having been shot by their captors, said General James Mattis of US Central Command in a statement.

The US Navy said that during the boarding of the Quest, the reaction force was engaged by pirates on board the vessel. “Two pirates died during the confrontation and 13 were captured and detained along with two pirates already in US Forces custody. The US Forces also found the remains of two other pirates already dead aboard the Quest. In total, it is believed 19 pirates were involved in the hijacking of the S/V Quest.”

The US Navy was monitoring the progress of the captured yacht using four warships, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS Bulkeley (DDG 84).

It is not known at this stage what prompted the killing of the four Americans, which appears to be out of character for Somali pirates.

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Toll road to link KZN and Mozambique

A Mozambican official says that plans are afoot to build a new toll road linking Maputo in Mozambique with northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Nuno Mapossa of the Investment Promotion Centre in Mozambique said the toll road had the blessing of the Mozambique government which wanted it completed by the end of 2014.

At present there is no all-weather road linking KZN directly with Mozambique despite there being a common border and popular beaches and extensive game parks. Motorists wanting to make the journey to and from Maputo have to travel via Swaziland or alternately via the Ressano Garcia/Komatipoort border crossing which makes for an even longer journey.

A 130km dirt road connects the Mozambique capital with the border near Ponto do Ouro, with an equally long and poor quality dirt road on the South African side of the border which connects with the N-2 road which runs from Durban to the Golela border crossing with Swaziland.

There has been no confirmation of this report from the South African side.

High-speed Jo’burg/Durban train proposal to go to Cabinet

Pretoria – In other local transport related news, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele will approach Cabinet to approve the planned high–speed railway project for the Durban- Johannesburg route.

Ndebele initially announced this last September as part of the National Transport Master Plan (NATMAP) 2010-2050. He said his department planned to revitalise the commuter rail network between the two cities.

As far back as 2005 plans were announced for a high-speed railway between Johannesburg and Durban, Johannesburg and Musina, and the Moloto Corridor between Tshwane and former KwaNdebele in Mpumalanga.

Ndebele said the time has now come for these projects to be rolled out.

Cabinet has yet to approve the Durban to Johannesburg high-speed rail project. Once Cabinet gives its approval this will then kick-start a process that includes a feasibility study on the viability of the Johannesburg to Durban rail link.

Plans for South Africa’s first long-distance high-speed rail has triggered major local and international interest from countries such as France, Germany, China, the United States of America, Japan, Canada and South Korea.

The project is part of the department’s aim of revitalising the rail industry in South Africa and unlocking the country’s economic potential while creating jobs in the process.

“We have also noted recent media reports indicating that Duduzane Zuma, the son of President Jacob Zuma, Lazarus Zim, the Gupta Brothers together with their Chinese partners, were in line to win the rights to construct Africa’s first high-speed rail project.

“We wish to state that the Department of Transport will only call for Expressions of Interest on the Durban-Johannesburg High Speed Rail route in July 2011. Once received all Expressions of Interest will be subject to a strict evaluation process and the preferred and winning bidders will be announced only following an inclusive and transparent process,” said Ndebele.

“As the first country in Africa likely to have such a project, we owe it to the people of this country and the continent that our greenfield long-distance high-speed rail sets high procurement transparency as well as technical and safety standards for the rest of Africa.”

In June 2011, an International Investors’ Conference will be hosted in Cape Town to consolidate the interests in infrastructure projects, including the Durban to Johannesburg High Speed Rail project.

“We call on all parties including the media to give the process an opportunity to guarantee its integrity and to safeguard the interests of government and the people of South Africa for whom this project will be constructed,” said Ndebele. – BuaNews

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Moz Minister for Transport says that rail truck industry in Mozambique is viable

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Maputo – The southern African region has a market and needs that justify the installation of a rail truck industry in Mozambique, the Minister for Transport and Communications, Paulo Zucula said cited by the Mozambican press.

The minister was speaking in relation to the recent signing of an agreement to set up an industrial unit in the country by Mozambique and Portugal, as part of the official visit to Mozambique by the Portuguese minister for Transport and Communications.

No dates were given for the unit to be set up, but Zucula noted that Mozambique was interested in making it happen as soon as possible because, as well as the prospect of providing the country with the rail trucks it needs to deal with transporting coal mined in Tete province, there is an interest in meeting regional rail transport demands.

Whilst Botswana is discovering new coal reserves, countries such as neighbouring Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi are increasing their investment in railway systems, when South Africa is currently the only country capable of supplying rail trucks to deal with the predicted demand.

Under the terms of the deal signed by Zucula and António Mendonça, Mozambique’s rail and port management company, Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM) and Portugal’s rail equipment maintenance company, Empresa de Manutenção de Equipamento Ferroviário de Portugal (EMEF) are responsible for setting up the company.

“We believe that in the next 40 to 50 years there will be no market problems for rail trucks, as only South Africa produces them, at a time when we have information about so many orders that they are unable to meet them anymore. Therefore, there is a market to make the company viable,” said Zucula, for whom investing in Mozambique is the same as investing in the Southern African Development Community.

Mozambican government projections point to the country needing at least 600 trucks over the next five years to deal with the needs of transporting coal from Tete starting in the middle of this year. (macauhub)

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Travel aboard one of the largest containerships in the world

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CMA CGM’s Christophe Colomb, flagship of the fleet. Picture Thierry Dosogne

CMA CGM, the world’s third largest container shipping Group, says it is continuing to offer a one-of-a-kind experience to journey across oceans, seas and continents on a ‘Cargo Cruise’.

With this original means of transport, passengers can immerse themselves in life on board and discover the world of merchant shipping. In 2010, 690 people chose to ‘experience cruising another way’ by traveling on a containership.

CMA CGM Group is now offering genuine cruises aboard the biggest vessels in its fleet, the new 13,800-TEU containerships. These giants of the seas (365m in length), are among the largest vessels of their kind in the world.

The company even offers cruises aboard its flagship, the CMA CGM CHRISTOPHE COLOMB, which has a special private deck and spacious luxury cabins. Passengers also have access to a range of facilities such as a lounge with TV equipment, a library, a fitness room and even a swimming pool in which to relax. Passengers are in daily contact with the crew and take their meals at the Captain’s table.

As well as the Europe/Asia route plied by the 13,800 TEU containerships, CMA CGM Group offers trips on its other maritime routes all over the world.

Whatever the destination or amount of time spent onboard, ‘Cargo cruises’ offer a truly unique, authentic and memorable experience.

Here are details of tailor-made travels to worldwide destinations…

North Europe - Asia: Climb aboard one of the jewels of CMA CGM’s fleet, deployed between Asia and Europe! Flying the French flag, the ships have extra large dimensions : 365m long, 51m wide, with a maze of passageways, gigantic holds, and massive machine rooms.

Asia – Mediterranean: Discover historic Mediterranean ports like Jeddah (city of the mythical Tomb of Eve), the Suez Canal (a historic link uniting cultures), Malta (crossroads of Mediterranean civilizations), and follow Asian trade routes calling on the world’s largest ports.

USA – Asia: From the west coast of the US, embark on an adventure to visit the treasures of southern China. Discover the functioning of the world’s largest container port : Singapore.

Round the World: Europe – USA - Australia (via the Panama Canal): Follow in the footsteps of the Mayflower, sailing from northern Europe to the US East Coast. From there, head through the Panama Canal to points west and dream destinations like Polynesia, New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand.

Europe – Guyane – Brazil: Cross the Atlantic Ocean: from North Europe to Caribbean Sea, Brazil, Portugal and Spain, multicolored destinations.

The West Indian road: Travel the Atlantic Ocean from Le Havre to West Indies.

For information and bookings: Marie Paule Aubert – email mpaubert@cma-cgm-crosieres.com - tel +33 488 66 6501

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Special Report: The UK P&I Club gets to grips with nickel ore and iron ores fines cargoes

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Marine insurers are determined to keep the subject of dangerous bulk cargoes, and in particular nickel ores and iron ore fines, high on the Loss Prevention agenda. The UK P&I Club’s latest initiative is an aide-mémoire for shipowners and shipmanagers in the form of a pocket leaflet that can be kept handy when a vessel is chartered to load such a cargo.

Iron ore fines and nickel ore are frequently presented for loading in a dangerous condition. The International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code) sets out the internationally agreed provisions for the safe stowage and shipment of solid bulk cargoes, including cargoes that might liquefy such as iron ore fines and nickel ore, but several P&I clubs have reported that owners and their ship masters are being asked to load cargoes that have moisture levels that exceed the Transportable Moisture Limit (TML) and Flow Moisture Point (FMP) figures that are specified in the IMSBC Code.

The consequences of loading these unsafe cargoes can be catastrophic. The list of ships that have capsized or come close to capsizing since 2009 is now in double figures and rising, as is the death toll. And these ships are not ‘rust buckets’, in one case, a 55,000-DWT vessel just 18 months old, capsized with the loss of 21 crew.

So why is it happening? The shipment of iron ore and nickel ore fines has grown dramatically, principally due to demand from China. According to Karl Lumbers, the UK P&I Club’s Loss Prevention Director, these shipments are loaded in areas where moisture migration has soaked what has previously been considered a perfectly safe bulk cargo. The high moisture content (MC) may be inherent in the mined ore due to a high water table, or caused by soaking tropical rains and a lack of drainage whilst stored. In any case, once the TML is exceeded it should not be loaded.

However, owners and masters are put under enormous pressure to load these cargoes. Some cargo surveyors are ill-equipped to carry out the necessary surveys while other reputable surveyors who are recommended by the P&I clubs, suffer intimidation to the point of violence or threats to their families.

UK Club Claims Director Graham Daines said, “The UK Club supports those of its members facing these problems by sending an appropriate expert to the ship as soon as possible. A significant number of shippers have shown a total disregard for the situation and exert pressure on cargo surveyors to enable them to load the cargo regardless of the potential danger.”

The incidents involving ships owned by UK P&I Club members have largely centred around iron ore fines loaded in Indian ports and Lumbers applauds the initiatives being taken by the Directorate General of Shipping in Mumbai, which is determined to stamp out this practice of intimidation. However such action has yet to be seen in the nickel ore producing nations of Indonesia and the Philippines, the latter most surprising since so many Filipino nationals are seafarers whose lives are being put at risk by those who would load these cargoes.

Daines pointed out that almost all of the ships lost have been bound for China and many of them have had Chinese crew. The Club is assisting Chinese owners’ loss prevention efforts in regard to ore fines cargoes and working to increase general awareness of the problem. He believes that if Chinese importers exercised their influence over their suppliers with a bit more vigour, fewer dangerous cargoes would be loaded.

In the meantime

As Lumbers points out though, we are living in the present time and we have to deal with the situation as it is now.

The Club’s own practical initiative is the aide-mémoire providing guidance for shippers, shipowners, charterers, surveyors, ships’ crews and other parties involved in the sampling and testing of cargoes of iron ore fines so as to ensure that it is carried out in accordance with the IMSBC Code. This document has been distributed in paper format to its members and is now available for download from its website.

The Club stresses that these notes are not a substitute for the Code itself and if there is any doubt, the Code should always be consulted.

The aide-mémoire covers the following topics:

Provision of information

The shipper must provide the master or his representatives with appropriate information on the cargo sufficiently in advance of loading to enable precautions for proper stowage and safe carriage to be put into effect. For iron ore fines the aide-mémoire lists what information should be included.

Certificates of test

The shipper has to arrange for the cargo to be properly sampled and tested to obtain the necessary information and again the aide-mémoire lists what is required.

Sampling procedures

The Club states that a visual inspection of the consignment which is to form the ship’s cargo should be carried out. Any portions of material which appear to be contaminated or significantly different in characteristics or moisture content from the bulk of the consignment should be sampled and analysed separately. The aide-mémoire details what should be taken into account.

The aide-mémoire then deals with issues such as stockpiles, barges and cargo stows in ship’s holds before moving on to can testing and speedy moisture meters.

Can testing and speedy moisture meters

The can test as set out in Section 8 of the Code, is described as an ‘auxiliary’ test method. It is not intended to replace more rigorous laboratory testing procedures, which deliver more accurate information.

The Club notes that it is routine in Goa for barges of iron ore fines to be accepted and rejected on the basis of can testing conducted throughout the course of loading by local surveyors representing owners and charterers/shippers. However, despite the care with which barges are checked using the can test, in a number of cases, subsequent sampling in the holds and analysis has shown the loaded cargo to have an MC above the TML. This, the Club says, serves to illustrate the difficulty associated with interpretation of can tests performed upon this material and the risk of using it to approve cargoes as being fit for carriage in place of properly conducted laboratory testing.

The practice of using speedy moisture meters to monitor iron ore fines during loading appears to be becoming increasingly common, with a number of the Indian surveying companies now using these meters routinely for this purpose.

The Club believes that there are serious limitations associated with these meters and that those using them should be aware of these issues. After itemising some of these issues, the aide-mémoire reaches the conclusion that these meters are unsuitable for monitoring the moisture content of iron ore fines shipments during loading.

The UK P&I Club is tackling this issue in conjunction with the other P&I clubs of the International Group of P&I Clubs, the most initiative recent being a Loss Prevention Bulletin (no 739) on the Safe Carriage of Nickel Ore Cargoes, based on an International Group circular. Dated 28 January 2011, it can be found on the UK Club’s website www.ukpandi.com


To download a copy of the aide-mémoire CLICK HERE

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Pics of the Day – WESTPORT and BLACKADDER

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The New Zealand-flagged cement carrier WESTPORT in the Lyttelton dry dock undergoing her annual survey. Picture by Alan Calvert

Yesterday the New Zealand city of Christchurch and its adjacent port of Lyttelton suffered another devastating earthquake, that has resulted in an as yet unknown number of deaths and catastrophic damage to buildings and infrastructure. While our sentiments and wishes go out to the people of that city and port, let us complete this edition of the News Bulletin with two recent pictures taken in Lyttelton harbour by local resident and PORTS & SHIPS subscriber, Alan Calvert.

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The tanker OCEAN VENUS is helped to her berth by the harbour tug BLACKADDER, named in honour of the All Black rugby player and son of Christchurch, Todd Blackadder. Picture by Alan Calvert

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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