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Ports & Ships Maritime News

24-25 March, 2011
Author: Terry Hutson


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Image and video hosting by TinyPic The newly built Norwegian rig ship OCEAN RUG CORCOVADO (59,610-gt, built 2011) which was seen off Cape Town earlier in March. Picture by Ian Shiffman

News continues below...

Transport minister sends Merchant Shipping Bill to parliament

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picture by Terry Hutson

Pretoria, 23 March - The Merchant Shipping (Safe Containers Convention) Bill 2010 will assist South Africa carry out its obligation to maintain the highest standards with regards to the safe carriage of containers over the country’s water.

This is according to Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele who, on Tuesday, asked the National Assembly to pass the Bill.

The minister said a major part of world trade depended on South Africa’s coastal waters and that 98 percent of the country’s trade was seaborne.

Against this backdrop, South Africa had an obligation to the international community and itself to continue maintaining the highest standards in the safe carriage of containers over the country’s waters.

Ndebele said the Bill gave effect to the International Convention for Safe Containers as adopted by countries belonging to the International Maritime Organisation.

“The Convention entered into force in December 1977, setting international standards for the safe carriage of containers throughout the world.

“Since its adoption in 1972, maritime countries were expected to ratify the Convention by passing relevant legislation through their national Parliaments and Cabinets, which would enable the application and enforcement of provisions of the Convention,” he noted.

As part of the process to ratify this Convention, a law known as International Convention for Safe Containers Act, was passed in 1985 through the Department of Trade and Industry.

“This Bill therefore proposes to reassign functions related to the implementation and administration of the Convention from the Minister and the Department of Trade and Industry to the Minister of Transport and the South African Maritime Safety Authority,” Ndebele explained.

Doing so would ensure that the necessary functions were assigned to appropriate authorities that had the responsibility for transport and related safety matters, he said.

The Bill would translate the provisions of the convention into force of law in South Africa.

Key provisions of the Bill include:

  • The requirements for the approval, repair, inspection, detention and disposal of containers

  • Prescribing minimum size for containers, especially for carriage by sea excluding air freight

  • Setting out procedures for the safety approval by an Administration of a Contracting State or by organisation acting on its behalf, of containers used in international transport.
  • The Bill would create an enabling environment for the growth and development of a container industry that is properly regulated, Ndebele said, and also deal with the development of the maritime industry, coastal shipping and regional integration.

    “The administration and enforcement of the proposed measures are entrusted to the South African Maritime Safety Authority,” he added. – BuaNews

    News continues below…

    Transnet to commission new dust control plant at Saldanha

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    Reverse Osmosis plant at the port of Saldanha. Picture TPT

    Saldanha – 22 March - Transnet is gearing up for the commissioning of a new multimillion rand plant in May 2011 that will provide the extra water resources required to control red iron ore dust at its Saldanha bulk terminal, which is located within a water scare area.

    The R70 million reverse osmosis (RO) plant will supplement potable water already being obtained from the West Coast District Municipality (WCDM) of the Western Cape, where most water is pumped from surrounding dams.

    Around 36,000 kilolitres of water is required each month to spray iron ore stockpiles once a week and transfer points daily in the terminal using sprinkler cannon systems. This helps contain the dust which is inclined to blow excessively to areas outside the terminal.

    Karl Socikwa, Chief Executive of Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), said the new plant which is approaching the end of its construction would enable increased spraying for better dust mitigation at the terminal, which exported 45 million tons of iron ore in 2010/11.

    The RO process pumps water from beach wells and naturally pre-filters or desalinates it to remove salt and solids. This reduces the need for separate pre-filtration units.

    Fresh water is then pumped out to a buffer storage tank at high pressure through to the RO membranes.

    The desalinated water is piped to the potable water tank where it can be used for dust control, while the concentrated sea water (brine) is released back into the ocean through beach wells or outfall pipes.

    There is no negative environmental impact in the operation and after filtration the water complies with drinking water standards.

    Velile Dube, Western Province Terminal Executive, said Transnet had researched other possibilities including getting recycled water from the municipality. But other options were unreliable, costly or limited in capacity.

    “RO plants provide a guaranteed source of quality potable water since they are not vulnerable in drought situations. The method is proven and reliable and there is access to good local expertise in South Africa,” he said.

    The plant consists of two RO modules each with a capacity of 1200kl/module/day. This will meet the 36,000kl/month requirement and the existing water allocation from the municipality can then be used to spray more often.

    Another advantage of the RO method is the plant can be constructed in modular units allowing additional modules to be added at a later stage to meet growing water demand.

    The basic components of the RO plant installation include:

  • An RO plant containment building (approximately 600m² surface footprint) with room for three RO-modules

  • an electric substation

  • Submersible pumps and piping for the extraction and discharge of sea water

  • A sea water storage tank alongside the RO building

  • a motor control room

  • a pump house with pumps

  • filtration systems

  • A potable water storage tank alongside the RO building

  • Storage reservoir(s) totalling 5ML, 48 hour potable water storage capacity next to the existing reservoir

  • office; ablution facilities and space for parking

  • brine discharge system

  • A small service road connecting the RO building to the nearest road infrastructure

  • All requisite electrical and communication facilities between the RO installations and the Saldanha Bulk side
  • The Saldanha plant is being built and commissioned by water engineering company Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies South Africa (formerly VWS Envig), a French based company that specialises in RO technology and has been responsible for successfully introducing it commercially across the globe, including South Africa.

    News continues below...

    Industrial Policy Action Plan succeeds in attracting investment - Davies

    Cape Town, 23 March – Transnet’s decision to assemble 90 of the 100 locomotives on order from General Electric and the securing of R14 billion in planned investments in the automotive sector, are some of the immediate achievements of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP), the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said yesterday.

    Davies, who briefed the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on trade and industry, outlined several achievements of the plan but hastened to add that a lot of work still had to be done in the role out of IPAP. The initiative was launched last year.

    He said lots of work had so far been spent setting up systems, but said the coming year would yield results, particularly with the country’s revised procurement legislation - the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) is expected to come into force.

    The full document detailing the activities to be rolled out under the IPAP in the next financial year is expected next month, he said.

    Davies said the R14 billion in the automotive sector is in the form of investment commitments from both assemblers and component suppliers.

    Transnet took delivery of the first two locomotives at Koedoespoort last month, where 90 locomotives are to be assembled by Transnet at their plant in the North West town. This is part of the pledge by state-owned entities (SOEs) to introduce more localisation and supplier development into their procurement policies.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    The first of a hundred Class 43 diesel locomotives on order for Transnet Freight Rail. Picture Wikimedia Commons

    The department’s Deputy Director General of industrial development Nimrod Zalk said departments were also looking to promote local manufacturing and pointed to the Department of Health’s recent R4.2 billion ARV tender, where 72 percent of the contract’s value was awarded to South African manufacturers, while achieving significant price reductions relative to the 2008 ARV tender.

    Zalk also outlined several key areas where the department had made progress with the IPAP, in areas such as procurement, industrial financing, improved competition and trade.

    While the Industrial Development Corporation’s (IDC) has earmarked R25 billion for the green economy and a further R5 billion for an agro-processing fund, a R10 billion job creation fund, announced by President Jacob Zuma last month in his State of the Nation Address, would be priced at prime minus 3 percent.

    Added to this 10,211 direct jobs created between April and December last year through the Department of Trade and Industry’s Enterprise Investment Programme, which is aimed at small and medium-sized firms in the manufacturing and tourism sectors.

    To improve trade for exporters, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has set up the Exporter Early Warning System on Technical Barriers to Trade. The system identifies technical barriers to trade notified to the WTO and is distributed for free to subscribers on a weekly basis.

    To crack down on anti-competitive practices, the competition authorities has also launched investigations into a number of areas, including tyre companies, scrap merchants, chemical firms, airlines, construction companies among others.

    Zalk also detailed various achievements in the government’s sector support programmes, these include:

    - The creation of 1,100 new jobs in the clothing sector through the Clothing Textile Competitiveness Programme, which also helped firms retain 40,000 other jobs.
    - The seizure of R37 million worth of clothing merchandise suspected of being counterfeit or non tax compliant, following raids on 56 premises by the SA Revenue Services (Sars).
    - The creation of 950 jobs and R40 million in investments in the call centre sector and the training of 3,400 young trainees are being trained under the Monyetla II Programme.

    Added to this Zalk said the revision of building standards would make the installation of solar water heaters or similar technologies in new buildings mandatory with a communication campaign to be rolled out in the 2011/12 financial year.

    The forestry sector would create over 8,000 direct jobs with 161 licenses issued by the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs for 10,000 hectares.

    Davies said the licensing process had long been stalled, but that the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Water Edna Moleywa was now taking water licensing issue seriously. So far 10 percent of licenses had been issued for forests used mainly for the manufacture of furniture, however, Davies said he wanted to see the process move a lot faster.

    He said an intra-departmental task team report on developing a fairer steel price was adopted by Cabinet which mandated the departments of economic development, trade and industry and minerals and resources to come up with a fairer price.

    Zalk said the manufacturing sector was hampered by among other things, the slowdown in fixed expenditure – both private and public, the slow recovery of the global economy and the strong rand.

    While the PPPFA regulations still needed to be promulgated by the National Treasury, Zalk listed various outstanding issues, chief among these include:
    - The promulgation by the Department of Energy of the biofuel blending process (Biofuels Mandatory Uplift Regulations) as well as the overhauling of Refit rules to focus on localisation of production of green technologies.
    - Shareholder compacts at state-owned enterprises to secure fleet identification still must be completed by the Department of Public Enterprises.
    - The scaling up of the Customs Fraud Campaign.

    He said the next IPAP would also look at boosting support for the commercialisation of intellectual property, where there was currently a gap.

    Turning to implementation of the IPAP, Davies was adamant that his department would take a sterner approach in meeting targets, than was taken by his department in the first industrial policy action plan of 2007, where he said many of the targets were not met and goals simply shifted when they weren’t met.

    He said the department held internal monthly progress meetings around IPAP, calling in officials from other departments when necessary, and following a system where programmes were colour-coded according to highlight those that were on target.

    Though the IPAP’s first progress report had come nine months after the launch of the plan, Davies stressed that the department would endeavour to submit progress reports every six months to the portfolio committee.

    Davies said the new component of skills had been added to the IPAP’s 2012/13 plan as skills formed a major medium-term constraints in economy.

    The IPAP would also included programmes for boat-building sector and had elevated a Western Cape initiative in the oil and gas servicing industry to become a national programme.

    Davies also clarified the role of the IPAP under the New Growth Path, pointing out that while the growth path referred to totally of measures, the IPAP focused on manufacturing and high-value sector inside the NGP.

    “There are no battles between ourselves and Economic Development over whether the IPAP has priority over the New Growth Path and visa versa,” he said, adding that because of their scope both plans could not be run by the same department. – BuaNews

    News continues below…

    Port News: No more than two at a time, says Cape Town port

    Cape Town clamps down on number of abnormal vessels in port

    The port of Cape Town has restricted the number of abnormal sized vessels in port at one time. Harbour Master Captain Dennis Mqadi said yesterday that the port, given its current resources, can only accommodate two extraordinary large structures (vessels) at any given time.

    “These structures include FPSOs and Rigs but are not limited to these alone,” he said.

    Captain Mqadi said that should the port increase the number of structures from two to three, then Cape Town would be exposed to undue risk and would impact negatively on its service delivery.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    Pride South Seas, one of the extraordinary structures referred to above. Picture by Aad Noorland

    Bayhead Road restrictions to continue

    The construction company involved with the redevelopment and widening of Bayhead Road to the Pier 1 Container Terminal, Aurecon, has reiterated that road narrowing and congestion is inevitable but is necessary for the project to move ahead.

    “It must be noted that for construction purposes, we have narrowed Bayhead Road 100 metres north east of the Cutler Complex. We have taken all necessary steps to ensure the efficient flow of traffic including the assistance of the Metro Police undertaking traffic control,” said Solly Kuppan of Aurecon.

    “We recommend that stakeholders make the necessary bookings/arrangements with their business partners before going to the Bayhead area. Please ensure that their drivers obey both the road signs and Metro Police to facilitate a better flow of traffic.”

    Aurecon said that it has been inundated with calls with regard to the current congestion on Bayhead Road, with particular reference to the Bayhead/Iran Roads intersection and the entrance to the Cutler Complex. The congestion on an access to an extremely busy part of Durban harbour is causing great frustration among port users, with long traffic snarl-ups resulting in time lost by truckers and other port users.

    Navis shutdown this weekend

    Readers are reminded that all TPT terminals in Durban, Cape Town, Ngqura and Port Elizabeth face a planned shut down of a minimum of 12 hours on Saturday night, 26 March.

    This is to facilitate the switchover from the old COSMOS operating system at Durban Container Terminal, to the new web-based Navis SPARCS N4 system which is already in use at the other terminals. The shutdown will take place at 18h00 on Saturday evening and if all has gone well, all systems will go back live as from 06h00 the following morning, Sunday 27 March.

    At the same time a new automated entry gate system for trucks will go live.

    Read the original article in PORTS & SHIPS HERE

    Way to Go! - ABB comes in with world’s first unmanned STS cranes

    ABB Crane Systems has put into service the world’s first unmanned ship-to-shore (STS) crane in commercial service.

    The remote control system has been installed in close cooperation with Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT) in Panama and achieves the next step in a progression of automated cargo working equipment for ports. Instead of sitting in a cabin high above the ground, the crane operator supervises the operation from a remote control station similar to that used for Automatic Stacking Cranes (ASC). For the operator, this means a greatly improved working environment with less of the stress normally attached to this work.

    ABB says the unmanned operation is an important step in a series of development projects targeting STS crane productivity, energy efficiency and driver ergonomics.

    News continues below…

    Tanzania to raise US$ 3.5 billion for Dar es Salaam – Rwanda and Burundi railway

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    Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi have announced a joint venture that aims at raising the US$ 3.5 billion needed to build a new railway connecting the two landlocked countries of Rwanda and Burundi with Tanzania’s port of Dar es Salaam.

    The 1,651-km railway would consist of two sections. One between Dar es Salaam and Isaka might require an upgrade of Tanzania’s existing central railway while the further section from Isaka in Tanzania to Kigali in Rwanda, and from Keza in Tanzania to Gitega and Musongati in Burundi, would involve building from scratch. This section alone is expected to cost $2.63bn.

    Feasibility studies for the section of a railway between Tanzania and Rwanda and Burundi as well as an upgrade of the central railway between Isaka in Tanzania and the port at Dar es Salaam has already been completed and the estimates are derived from these studies.

    The East African countries want the project either to be on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis or a joint venture. The railway has the potential to attract investment into industries including nickel mining in Burundi and Tanzania, according to studies funded by African Development Bank, the US Government and American railway Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

    “We are ready to go into partnership with private companies that can raise the money for construction of the railway,” said Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete. “We are ready to borrow, preferably from concessional sources.” Dar es Salaam is closer to Rwanda and Burundi than is the Kenyan port of Mombasa and the greater share of the landlocked countries trade is handled by the Tanzanian port but is mostly moved by road at present.

    News continues below…

    Piracy: South Africa setting up military base in Pemba

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    SAS Mendi at sea off Durban shortly before leaving for the Mozambique Channel. Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za

    Significant South African military activity is being reported onshore at Pemba in northern Mozambique, which is strategically positioned for naval and air patrols across the Mozambique Channel.

    According to an article in the online defenceWeb, written by the editor Leon Engelbrecht, tourists and tourist operators have been reporting substantial South African military activity onshore and offshore of Pemba, and Engelbrecht says that sources suggest this may be the beginning of Operation Hopper, a long-term counter-piracy patrol in Tanzanian, Seychellois and Malagasy waters.

    defenceWeb reports that that SAS MENDI, one of the four frigates in the South African Navy, with a contingent of Special Forces and Maritime Reaction Squadron (MRS) commandos, has been seen off the town and the airstrip has been used by a Douglas C47TP Dakota transport/maritime patrol aircraft, a Cessna C208 Caravan fitted with a Project Koiler reconnaissance system and a Casa C212 transporter. In addition “up to two AgustaWestland Mk64 SuperLynx 300 maritime helicopters have also been seen by knowledgeable sources at Pemba.”

    Ports & Ships readers will recall earlier reports that SAS Mendi was engaging with anti-piracy patrols off the Mozambique coast. Judging by the report in defenceWeb it would seem that the navy is settling in for a long engagement aimed at preventing the pirates from extending their activities too far south, while also possibly participating in protecting the seas around Madagascar and even towards Seychelles. Read the full article HERE

    EU NAVFOR and Seychellois Coastguard train together

    EU NAVFOR, the European Union naval force operating anti-piracy measures in the north-west Indian Ocean, reports that recent visits of EUNAVFOR ships to the Seychelles have proven fruitful in cementing close relationships and co-operation with the Seychelles Coastguard.

    Officers from the EUNAVFOR Flagship, ESPS CANARIAS, shared best practices with their partners in the Seychelles Coastguard in escort duties and evidence preservation. Both areas are considered crucial in the multi-layered fight against piracy. The visit followed on from technical assistance given to the Seychelles Coastguard by HMS RICHMOND when she visited Port Victoria at the beginning of the month.

    “Future visits will continue this trend with planned joint training in evidence gathering and the detention of suspected pirates. This cross training will complement an initiative by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime who are also supporting the Seychelles Coastguard with information to help secure convictions of suspected pirates. EUNAVFOR continues to work with regional maritime forces, UN agencies, industry and other stakeholders in the international fight against piracy,” said EU NAVFOR.

    UK to spend £6 million on anti piracy measures in Indian Ocean

    The UK government has announced that it will be spending £6 million to improve maritime surveillance of pirates in the north-west Indian Ocean.

    Some of this money will go towards providing prison facilities in Kenya and the Seychellois – both countries have complained that acting against pirates is overstraining prison services in each country.

    UAE tanker fights off pirates

    Maritime Bulletin reports that the UAE tanker AL-NOUF successfully fought off an attack by two pirate skiffs on Monday, one with four armed pirates and the other with 10 on board. Armed guards on the tanker fought back and in what is described as a ‘fierce gunfight’, three of the Al-Nouf crew were injured. There is no indication what happened to the pirates but it seems the attack was thwarted.

    From the Mailbag – more on the longliner Viking Bay

    Spanish longliner VIKING BAY

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    Viking Bay aground in Grytviken Bay. Picture from Jay Gates

    Dear Terry

    Some more information on the Spanish Longliner ‘Viking Bay’, whose photo appeared in today’s edition (23 March) of Maritime News.

    She was built by Astilleros Armon Burela SA in Northern Spain and is owned by the giant Spanish Seafood company Marfrio. For almost her whole career, i.e. since 2001, she has been operated by a subsidiary British company called Copemar of Milford Haven in Wales and has been on long term charter to the Beauchene Fishing Company of Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.

    Her long term charter to a Falklands company explains why she has a CCAMLR License to longline fish for the Patagonian Toothfish in Area 48.3, i.e. South Georgia. Whilst operating almost continuously in South Georgia waters for the past ten years, she has had some interesting experiences. These included running aground in Grytviken Bay in April 2003, of which I include a picture of her aground. Fortunately she was able to refloat herself later on in the same day. Then in August 2008 she struck an iceberg off Cumberland Bay and sustained damage to her bow.

    Interestingly, her CCAMLR license only ran to September 2010 and she does not appear on the CCAMLR list for the current 2010-2011 Antarctic fishing season, so she may not have been in Cape Town to offload a cargo of frozen Toothfish. Marfrio also operate a subsidiary company in Namibia and she may have been fishing these waters since September last year. Someone out there may be able to fill in the gap between September 2010 and now.

    Jay Gates
    Cape Town

    Pics of the Day – KAPITAN MAN

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    Three views of the Russian ice-class freighter KAPITAN MAN (18,574-gt, built 1985) arriving in Durban this past week. Owned and operated by the Far Eastern Shipping Company, and better known as FESCO, these ships, not surprisingly, are not that common a visitor to South African ports, though also not rare either. Pictures by Trevor Jones

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    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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