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Ports & Ships Maritime News

28 March, 2011
Author: Terry Hutson


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

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The Congo River in Central Africa, Africa’s second largest river system admits ships as far as the port of Matadi 92 miles upstream from the Atlantic Ocean and 5 miles from the rapids that make further access upriver impossible by ship. In this scene taken a week ago we see the 140m general cargo container ship SAFMARINE LUALABA (9772-gt, built 2009) making her way downstream from the port. Picture by Rogan Troon

News continues below...

Shock as Transnet rail tariffs go up by 30 percent

Shock has been expressed by rail users who now face tariff increases averaging 30% with in some cases immediate effect. In the coal sector Transnet Freight Rail said the increases for export coal would go up by between 26% and 30% and has become effective from Saturday 26 March, according to a Transnet spokesman.

The sudden announcement has caused dismay among firms hoping to send more cargo by rail and may force them to remain loyal to road transport. In the case of the coal exporters however Transnet has them literally ‘over a barrel’ with no other option but to negotiate the best terms they can get from an inefficient service provider holding an absolute monopoly over their business.

This has led to calls for government to appoint a rail regulator along the lines of the port regulator, to whom Transnet National Ports Authority has to submit proposals for tariff increases each year and who adjudicates whether these are reasonable and feasible. In the two years since the port regulator has been in office he has reduced proposed Transnet tariff increases from between 10% and 12% to between 4% and 5% each year.

At least one manganese exporter has in the past been forced to use road transport to export 50,000 tonnes of manganese from Richards Bay each year because of a lack of capacity on the rail. But with coal exports already this year Transnet Freight Rail is losing ground having suffered yet more derailments on the coal line. By the end of February Richards Bay Coal Terminal had received 10.248 million tonnes of coal by rail, giving it an annualised rate of 63.06mt for the year, which is already below target and far from the estimated line capacity of 71 million tonnes a year. TFR has said it will aim at sending 65mt along the line in 2011/12.

The coal terminal capacity (RBCT) is currently 91mt a year but this is a figure that is unlikely to be achieved in the foreseeable future.

News continues below…

SA Navy Festival lies ahead

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Simon’s Town Naval Base, home to the South African Navy and the scene of thisn year’s Navy Festival. Picture by David Erickson

By Bob Johnston

For those of you who are fortunate enough to be in the Cape Town area over the period 1 to 3 April…..keep your diaries free. It is here...the bigger, better… Navy Festival.

The South African Navy will once again open its doors to the people of South Africa to come and explore naval culture in the naval environment at the East Dockyard in Simon’s Town.

Last year, the SA Navy saw over 120,000 people visit the base to experience the navy at first hand. Much more are expected this year, as this much anticipated family festival coincides with the navy birthday celebrations.

The SA Navy was established in 1922, therefore from this year forth the festival will be called the “SA Navy Birthday Festival”.

Entrance to the festival is free and gates will open daily from 10am until 6pm. There will be various events in the main arena and the expansive dockyard that both young and old will find entertaining.

The events and activities which are attractions at The Festival include:

  • Ships and Submarines open to the public

  • Tug Rides

  • Flea Market

  • Entertainment for children and a Tea Garden

  • Gun Run Display

  • Navy Band performance

  • Fire Fighting Display Competition

  • Dog Display by the SA Navy’s Dog Unit

  • Mast Display

  • SA Navy Precision Drill

  • The Sea Cadets Precision Drill

  • Izivunguvungu Youth Band

  • Ship boarding display by the Maritime Reaction Squadron

  • Lynx & Oryx Helicopter Displays

  • Live Cannon Firing

  • South African Navy Diving Display

  • Silver Falcons

  • Coca Cola SA Navy Talent Show

  • Coca Cola SA Navy 5-a-side Soccer Tournament

  • Diver’s Exhibition and Divers Tank

  • SANAD Gun Display
  • Come and enjoy a fantastic action-packed time and also enjoy the wonderful location as well.

    News continues below...

    Ships and shipping line news

    Wilhelmsen launches its largest car carrier

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    The new Mark V class of car carrier for Wilh. Wilhelmsen, Tønsberg

    Norwegian shipping company Wilh. Wilhemsen has introduced into service its latest Ro-Ro- car carrier, Tønsberg, which is also the largest in service. With a ship’s length of 265 metres and a cargo volume of 138,000m³, the ship has a capacity of 8,500 car equivalent units (CEU), compared with 8,000 CEU for the next largest ship in the company fleet.

    The new ship which was built by the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki, Japan is designed to use between 15 and 20% less fuel than older car carriers. By the end of 2012 Mitsubishi will have built another three of this class of ship for Wilhelmsen and its Swedish partner Wallenius Lines.

    The ship has six fixed and three hoistable decks which allows the ship to carry high and heavy cargo such as excavators, bulldozers, wheel loaders and harvesters. Cargo space is also available on the weather deck reachable from a ramp.

    The stern ramp is 12 metres wide and has a safe working load of 505 tonnes. The clear height of the main deck is 7.1 metres which the company says is unprecedented for this kind of ship.

    The ship features environmentally friendly features such as an advanced turbo generator that produces electricity from exhaust heat, a Unitor water ballast water treatment system, and protected fuel tanks to minimize leakage in case of grounding or collision.

    Tønsberg will enter Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics’ round-the-world trade. The ship takes its name from the coastal town in Norway where Wilh. Wilhelmsen was founded in 1861

    Maersk and Safmarine opening new feeder service

    Maersk Line and Safmarine have joined forces to form a new dynamic Intra-Europe liner feeder company, which they currently refer to as NEWCO and which they say is intended to increase focus and agility and to grow market share.

    The new company is currently recruiting staff for the new venture. Newco will operate as a stand-alone legal entity, reporting directly to the Maersk Line CEO.

    Hamburg Süd orders six 9,600-TEU ships

    Hamburg Süd has placed orders with Hyundai Heavy Industries for six 9,600-TEU container ships, which will become the largest in the German company’s fleet.

    The order placed with Hyundai includes an option for a further four ships.

    As with Hamburg Süd’s Santa class, the largest class presently in the fleet, of which three of the ten on order have been delivered, emphasis is placed on reefer capacity, with 1,700 reefer points specified for the new ships. The vessel will also be designed for containers one foot higher than standard boxes (hi-cubes).

    Delivery is scheduled for between May 2013 and January 2014.

    High level of radiation found on MOL ship in Chinese port

    Chinese border control officials detected a high level of radiation on board the container ship MOL PRESENCE when the vessel called at Xiamen on 22 March.

    The ship had arrived from Oakland with a general cargo that included furniture, clothing and machinery and called at Tokyo en route. Chinese authorities ordered the ship to remain off the port limits.

    Several shipping lines have cancelled calls at Japanese ports because of fears of radiation but Hamburg Süd last week announced it would be resuming such calls.

    Second tug Singapore leaves for Tristan da Cunha tonight to assist with clean-up at Nightingale

    The Svitzer tug SINGAPORE has been chartered and will leave Cape Town for Nightingale Island tonight (Monday) to assist with the clean-up operation. On board are a number of SANCCOB personnel (South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) along with equipment who will help with the cleaning up of and rehabilitation of thousands of oiled penguins and other sea birds. Singapore is due at Tristan da Cunha on Saturday 2 April 2011.

    One the island of Tristan da Cunha a team is already hard at work with the clean-up operation as hundreds of birds are ferried across from Nightingale to the main island.

    The bulker Oliva has meanwhile broken in two and a team from the tug Smit Amandla is hard at work trying to prevent more oil from escaping.

    News continues below…

    Ministers meet over Benguela Current

    Pretoria - Government Ministers from Angola, Namibia and South Africa met on Friday to take part in the Ministerial Conference of the Benguela Current Commission.

    Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, who is chairperson of the Commission, was among the five ministers discussing the Commission’s progress.

    Angola’s Deputy Ministers for Petroleum Syanga Kivula Samuel Abilio and Anibal Octavio Da Silva, that country’s Secretary of State for Fisheries Victoria de Barros Neto and Nambia’s Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernard Esau, also participated in the discussions which took place in South Africa.

    The Commission was established by the three countries to help them restore, maintain and conserve the biological integrity of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME), which stretches from Port Elizabeth in the south to the Angolan province of Cabinda in the north.

    The BCLME is considered to be one of the most productive ecosystems in the world and supports important economic activities, such as fishing, mining and oil and gas production.

    While the meeting was expected to deal mostly with matters of institutional capacity building, the ministers heard about progress towards a legally binding multilateral convention that will formalise and entrench the Benguela Current Commission, the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs said.

    “The three countries are hoping to ratify the convention in 2012. In doing so, they will recognise the unique character of the BCLME and commit themselves to taking joint responsibility for its sustainable management,” the department added. – BuaNews

    News continues below…

    Refurbishment of Lobito port to finish on schedule

    Lobito, Angola, 25 March – Modernisation projects underway at the port of Lobito in Angola are expected to be concluded on schedule despite some financial difficulties, the chairman of the port’s management company, Bento Paixão dos Santos told Angolan news agency Angop.

    Construction of an terminal for loading and discharging mining products is underway. The terminal quayside is 500 metres long and has a work area 300 metres wide.

    Included in the project is a dry dock which is currently around 50% complete which the contractor says he expects to complete before the end of the year.

    As part of the programme to expand and modernise the port’s facilities several projects have been concluded, notably paving the port area, providing new lighting and the construction of a new railway line feeding into the port.

    Another project that has been concluded is construction of the Vessel Tracking System (VTS) building overseeing the port and approaches.

    Last Thursday (24 March) the Commercial Port of Lobito celebrated its 83rd anniversary as an independent company from the Benguela Railroad (Caminho-de-Ferro de Benguela). – macauhub

    News continues below…

    Pics of the Day – PRINCE ALBERT II

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    Silversea Cruises mini cruise ship PRINCE ALBERT II (6130-gt, built 1989) in Cape Town last week, shortly after arriving from a South Atlantic crossing in which passengers on board had an unplanned adventure of watching some of the cruise ship’s crew assisting with the rescue of the crew of the Oliva, the bulker that wrecked itself on Nightingale Island near Tristan da Cunha. Prince Albert II carries a maximum of 132 passengers. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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