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Ports & Ships Maritime News

8 March 2011
Author: Terry Hutson



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First View – TASCO 1

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The Thai-owned oil products tanker TASCO 1 (4,685-dwt, built 1995) seen arriving in Durban on 3 March 2011. Picture by Trevor Jones


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SA Port statistics for February are now available

South African port statistics for the month of February 2011 are now to hand courtesy of Transnet NPA. Cargo volumes at most ports reflect an increase on January 2011 and a considerable improvement on February 2010 figures, with a total cargo of 23.591 million tonnes handled for this February at all ports (2010: 19.724mt). Total containers handled at the respective container ports amounted to 385,413 TEU this February (Feb 2010: 349,185 TEU).

The Port of Ngqura handled 46,219 TEU for the month and with Port Elizabeth combined a total of 73,423 TEUs was achieved, which was greater than that handled at the port of Cape Town 68,600 TEU. It should be borne in mind though that Cape Town transit containers have been diverted to Ngqura.

The bulk ports of Richards Bay (7.321 million tonnes) and Saldanha enjoyed healthy volumes (5.708million tonnes), as did the general cargo port of Durban (7.468 million tonnes).

The figures shown in this report reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers in terms of the number of TEUs and no longer by weight and so the value of container cargo by weight is ignored in the Transnet reports, meaning that they are consistently under-reporting the volumes by weight of each port. As a result a port like Cape Town is shown by Transnet as having handled a mere 274,532 tonnes of cargo, whereas when containers are factored in the true volume by weight handled by the port is 1.201 million tonnes. Ngqura is shown as having handled zero tonnes of cargo, whereas the port actually handled 624,000 tonnes during February, again with containers factored in. In Durban the contrast is even greater – Transnet figures show the port as having handled 4.298 million tonnes whereas the figure including containers is 7.468 million tonnes, the most of any port this month.

To arrive at such a calculation, PORTS & SHIPS has used an estimated average of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to reflect tonnages, which may be a case of under-reporting but until the IMO enforces the weighing of containers at all ports we will have to live with these estimates. Nevertheless, we consider it important to make this distinction in case the South African ports become otherwise under-reported internationally.

For comparative purposes readers can see statistics from 12 months ago by clicking HERE for February 2010 figures.

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Figures for the respective ports during February 2011 are (with January 2011 figures shown bracketed):

Cargo handled by tonnes during February 2011

PORT Feb 2011 mt Jan 2011 mt
Richards Bay 7.321 6.377
Durban 7.468 5.583
Saldanha Bay 5,708 4.578
Cape Town 1.201 1.009
Port Elizabeth 0.920 0.900
Ngqura 0.624 0.583
MosselBay 0.163 0.197
East London 0.185 0.192
Total all ports mt 23.591 mt 19.419 mt

Containers (measured by TEUs) during February 2011

(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA)

PORT Feb 2011 TEUs Jan 2011 TEUs
Durban 235,788 195,685
Cape Town 68,600 51,497
Port Elizabeth 27,204 22,742
Ngqura 46,219 43,194
East London 4,994 3,529
Richards Bay 3,608 3,695
Total all ports 385,413 320,342

Ship Calls for February 2011

PORT Feb 2011 vessels Gross Tonnage Jan 2011 vessels Gross tonnage
Durban 368 11,274,255 348 10,504,585
Cape Town 224 4,621,192 219 4,378,387
Richards Bay 172 5,611,206 136 4.878,139
Port Elizabeth 103 2,246,491 92 2.092,272
Ngqura 38 1,364,087 26 1,159,287
Saldanha Bay 46 3,038,435 47 2,810,986
East London 26 661,777 20 524,764
Mossel Bay 55 366,415 50 309,582
Total ship calls 994 27,689,771 912 25,498,715

- source TNPA, but with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container tonnages



Throughput at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal showing exports in tonnes

Month Monthly exports YTD exports annualised MT/a Ships Trains
Jan 2011 4,389,925 4.389,925 51,55 45 597
Feb 2011 4,567,950 8,957,875 55,27 44 705


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News from the shipping lines and their ships

TUI sells part of Hapag-Lloyd stake

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Hapag-Lloyd’s Osaka Express

TUI, once the dominant partner in the shipping firm of Hapag-Lloyd, has further reduced its shareholding by selling 11.3% of the shipping line to Albert Ballin and KG Consortium, in a deal worth US$ 439.76 million.

The sale of these additional shares has reduced TUI’s holding in Hapag-Lloyd to 38.4%, down from 49.8%. The sale remains subject to acceptance by Albert Ballin sharholders and is expected to close in May.

The remainder of Hapag-Lloyd shares, 50.2% is held by the consortium, whose member include the city of Hamburg and entrepreneur Klaus-Michael Kuehne.

According to TUI the cost of the extra stake in the shipping company could rise by another $48.86m provided certain conditions were met in case of an IPO. Dow Jones reported in February that Hapag-Lloyd intended conducting an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on 15 April and that the size of the IPO would be between $1.4 billion and $ 2 billion, with a free float of about 15%.

Hapag-Lloyd is the world’s fifth largest container line.

Tidewater pays US$ 6.3 million to settle Nigerian case

In an SEC filing, Tidewater Inc reports that it has reached agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) to settle and resolve the previously disclosed investigation by the FGN relating to allegations that the Nigerian affiliate of a Swiss-based freight forwarder had made improper payments to government officials in Nigeria on behalf of Tidewater’s foreign subsidiaries. See related article Panalpina faces criminal fine of US$ 85 million over corruption accusations.

The FGN’s investigation in this regard focused on facts and circumstances associated with Nigerian operations in 2007 and previous years that were detailed in Tidewater’s previous settlements with the US Department of Justice and US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the FGN has terminated the above-mentioned investigation and agreed not to bring any criminal charges or civil claims against any Tidewater entity or associated persons arising from these allegations. In return, Tidewater agreed to pay $6.0 million to the FGN and to pay an additional $0.3 million for the FGN’s attorneys’ fees and other expenses. The total $6.3 million ($0.12 per diluted common share) settlement payments will be made promptly and will be reflected in Tidewater’s fourth fiscal quarter results ending 31 March 2011. Among other provisions in the settlement agreement, Tidewater also affirmed a continuing commitment to good corporate governance and compliance. – source marinelog.com

Emirates Shipping Lines’ East Africa service brings immediate benefit to Sharjah

Sharjah Container Terminal (SCT), which is operated by Gulftainer has seen immediate benefit from the direct calls being made by the new Emirates Shipping Line GIA service to East Africa.

The direct service on a rotation of Sharjah, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Nacala, Mumbai (Nava Sheva), Sharjah began in mid February with the 2,500-TEU EMIRATES RAFIKI. “It's always a real pleasure to see new customers at SCT, not only for the extra challenge and impetus it gives us to be dealing with new lines and new ships, but also because it reminds us that these are new shipping opportunities for exporters that are based in Sharjah (and the UAE) and dealing with East Africa and South Asia. We look forward to a long relationship with Emirates Shipping Line and this service,” said SCT terminal manager Paul Hennessy.

“We are delighted to welcome another new service to SCT, and continue to build on the long history of the terminal, which was the first purpose-built and fully-equipped modern Container Terminal in the Middle East. Sharjah is already a major centre for trade to and from Africa, and this additional service through the SCT gateway provides another step forward for Gulftainer,” said Peter Richards, Managing Director of Gulftainer Group.

SCT lies adjacent to Sharjah's industrial area, which accommodates over 45% of the non-oil manufacturing capacity of the UAE, and handles containers on behalf of over 30 shipping lines, including all of the world's top 20 companies.

IMB sees rise in Nigerian oil frauds

The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has recently seen a rise in the number of Nigerian oil frauds reported to them.

Over the first few weeks of 2011, several ship owners have reported receiving unsolicited messages from parties who claim to have been offered cargoes on board their vessels. Most often these cargoes are shipments of Nigerian crude oil that the senders say are being offered by mysterious middlemen. Owners immediately recognise these messages as fraudulent b……t; not least because the vessel is often in a different part of the world at the time.

Whilst ship owners are knowledgeable enough to disregard these messages, their vessel have sometimes been arrested by a victim of a fraud expecting the arrival of his cargo at a discharge port. Whilst the ship will eventually be released when the case is proved worthless, the owner will still pay in terms of time and cost.

IMB Deputy Director Michael Howlett commented: “The Bureau dealt with a number of these cases in its formative years. The recent upturn of these types of scam is of some concern, not least because there are very few practical measures owners can take to protect their vessels from being targeted in this manner. One step we advise is to keep written responses to a minimum, as in the past we have seen responses, sent in good faith, being adulterated to suit the purposes of a fraud scheme.”

The Bureau has also recently seen abuses of the chartering mechanism.

Several 'rogue' companies claim to offer ships for charter (generally for the transport of crude oil.) IMB analysts quickly ascertained that the majority of the vessels offered had either been scrapped or were no longer operating under the names provided. In many cases the names and details of the vessel were taken from correspondence with the owners.

Scams of this kind can also affect banks, as fraudsters' modus operandi often includes obtaining an advance fee, channelled through legitimate financial institutions. Banks can thus be open to charges of conducting improper due diligence, assisting fraudsters in processing the proceeds of a crime.

Mr Howlett continued “We urge companies tempted by attractive offers on commodities such as oil to undertake due diligence on all parties and to exercise extreme caution, particularly when an advance fee is requested. We urge banks asked to process such transactions to conduct background checks on all parties. For ship owners, it is important to report any such misuse of their vessels' names to bodies such as the IMB. This allows data to be correctly recorded to help others avoid becoming victims of a scam. And if these cases do go to court the accumulated records can form compelling evidence against those seeking to manipulate the system.” - source: Extracts from International Maritime Bureau news release & GAC


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Millions in Libyan currency seized on ship in British waters

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Sloman Provider

A German owned and managed Ro-Ro ship has been intercepted as she returned to the UK after turning back outside Tripoli harbour just as the country slid into civil war.

The SLOMAN PROVIDER (7,260-gt, built 2000) was met by the UK Border agency cutter HMS VIGILANT as she entered British waters and was escorted to Harwich harbour where £100 million in Libyan currency in several containers was seized and taken to a secure location.

Libya’s currency is printed in the north east of England and pro-Gaddafi supporters attempted to have £900 million in Libyan dinars transferred to the North African country before the British Treasury stepped in and impounded the money, after an export control order came into force. However, when Sloman Provider sailed with the £100 million on board, the currency order was not yet in effect.

“A vessel which had been heading to Libya returned to the UK on Wednesday morning,” a British Home Office spokesman said. “The ship was escorted into the port of Harwich by the UK Border Agency cutter HMC Vigilant. A number of containers were offloaded from the boat and have been taken under control of UK Border Agency and have been moved to a secure location.”

It is understood that the shipping company contacted the British authorities to return the currency to the UK once it became obvious that it was unsafe for the Sloman Provider to enter Tripoli harbour.

Pro-Gaddafi Libyan authorities have become increasingly short of cash money as an international freeze of Libya’s assets takes place. Among other measures, Libya has been employing mercenaries to help put down the insurrection and has to pay up to £18,000 a man.


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Alarming number of derailments reported on Beira-Zimbabwe railway

A lack of maintenance is being blamed for an alarming number of train derailments along the Beira – Zimbabwe railway over the past two months, says Mozambique port and railway company CFM.

According to a CFM spokesman no less than 46 derailments have occurred on the railway which is operated by the Indian consortium known as Ricon, which holds the majority share in the Beira Railroad Company (CCFB).

Ricon also holds the concession to refurbish and operate the Sena Railway, which branches off from the Beira – Zimbabwe line and heads north for the Zambezi River and from there into Tete Province and the region of Moatize, where the coal mines are being developed.

Sources claim that the condition of the main railway between the port of Beira and the border with Zimbabwe is in a deplorable state owing to a general lack of maintenance, leading to a daily occurrence of derailments. One source described the situation as being so poorly equipped for maintenance that workers on the line lack even basic things like tools and rail screws to secure the rails to the sleepers. In some sections there are missing sleepers.


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Piracy Update: No quiet on the Western Front as pirates keep up their attacks

EU navies disrupt piracy activity

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The boarding team of FS NIVOSE investigating the suspected Pirate Whaler.. Picture EU NAVFOR

On 5 March, an EU NAVFOR aircraft and the EU NAVFOR French warship FS NIVOSE disrupted a suspected pirate whaler off the Somali coast. The whaler was thought to be leading a Pirate Action Group (PAG) at the time of the incident.

On the previous morning, a merchant vessel reported being chased by one skiff about 350 nautical miles south of Mogadishu. In response, the EU NAVFOR warship FS NIVOSE, which has only recently rejoined the EU NAVFOR force operating in Somali waters, was immediately ordered to locate and disrupt the suspected PAG responsible for the incident. In addition, the EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) which is supplied by Luxembourg and based in The Seychelles was also dispatched to join the hunt. The aircraft soon located the suspected PAG, consisting of a whaler-type open boat, and guided the FS NIVOSE to intercept. There were no attack skiffs found in the vicinity of the whaler.

Upon finding the whaler, the FS NIVOSE launched its helicopter which was forced to fire warning shots ahead of the vessel to force the suspected pirates to stop. The crew of the whaler had already been filmed by the MPRA throwing equipment overboard. The French warship launched its boarding team to intercept the whaler and three suspected pirates were found on board. Apart from a large number of fuel barrels, no pirate related equipment was discovered.

As there was insufficient evidence to pursue a prosecution, the three suspected pirates were returned to the whaler. Most of the fuel was confiscated but they were left with enough fuel, food and water to reach the Somali coast.

EU NAVFOR says this disruption has hampered pirate action in the area and is assessed to have prevented attacks on merchant and other vulnerable vessels.

Russian Spetsnaz vets fight off pirates in a gunfight

Maritime Bulletin (Mikhail Voytenko) reports that on 5 March the Russian-owned general cargo ship CHARIOT (1302-dwt, built 1984, IMO 8302882) came under attack by pirates in position 12 018N 066 143E and around 19h40 local time.

In this attack the pirates introduced new tactics involving a decoy skiff painted white, which left the side of the mother ship –a previously highjacked freighter – in an attempt to attract the attention of the crew on the Chariot, while a second skiff with six pirates on board made an approach from the stern port side. This skiff was painted over in camouflage and was less easy to see.

What the pirates didn’t realise was that the Chariot had on board four armed guards – Russian Spetsnaz vets, who exchanged gunfire with the approaching skiff which promptly broke off the engagement and returned to the mother ship. Chariot was able to continue her voyage.

And the Danes fight back

In a similar incident the Danish operated vessel BRATTINGSBORG (12,500-dwt) came under attack from Somali pirates approximately 25 n.miles off the coast of Yemen. The ship was en route from Aqaba to Mumbai.

The Brattingsborg was also carrying armed guards – nationally not indicated – who exchanged fire with the approaching pirates and so discouraged them that they broke off the engagement and left the scene.

“It is the first time we have hired armed guards for our vessels, but in the light of the attack it seems to be a correct decision,” Lars Steen Rasmussen, CEO of Dannebrog Rederi A/S told maritimedanmark.dk.

Japanese tanker Guanabara freed by US and Turkish Navy

A Japanese Aframax tanker GUANABARA (106,045-dwt, built 2007) which had been boarded by Somali pirates was speedily freed by armed personnel from the US Navy destroyer USS BULKELEY (DDG 84), supported by the Turkish Navy frigate TCG GIRESUN. Bulkeley is operating with the combined navies’ Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 and the Turkish ship is with NATO’s counter-piracy Task Force 508.

The Guanabara was boarded by pirates on 5 March approximately 328 n.miles south-east of Duqm in southern Oman. As the four pirates came on board the crew of 24 took shelter in a ‘citadel’ position after having sent signals that they were being boarded.

Once it was confirmed that the pirates were on board and the crew was safely in the citadel, specialist forces on the USS Bulkeley transferred across to the tanker and with the assistance of a SH-60 helicopter hovering overhead, they arrested the four pirates without any exchange of fire. The crew of the tanker were then able to release themselves from the citadel and retake control of their ship.

A decision has still to be taken on what to do with the four captured pirates.


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Pics of the Day – MAIN TRADER and BARBARICA

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On a recent cruise between Cape Town and Walvis Bay Ian Shiffman used the opportunity of photographing a few passing ships. One of these was the German-owned container ship MAIN TRADER (28,048-gt, built 2008). Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Another ship on an approach to Cape Town was the Italian tanker BARBARICA (18,818-dwt, built 2008). Picture by Ian Shiffman


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