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Ports & Ships Maritime News

20 April 2011
Author: Terry Hutson



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The container ship MSC DENISSE (31,430, built 1988), emptied of all cargo, heads off down the Esplanade Channel towards Maydon Wharf and the Bayhead where the ship was due to enter the dry dock for a general maintenance refit. Picture by Trevor Jones


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Statistics for the financial year 2010/2011 ending 31 March 2011 are now available courtesy Transnet National Ports Authority. They are reflected with those of the previous financial year as a comparison. An estimated average of 13.5 tonnes per TEU has been used.

Cargo handled by tonnes during 2010/11 financial year

PORT 2010/11 fiscal year in million tonnes 2009/10 fiscal year in million tonnes
Richards Bay 84.930 80.442
Durban 76.758 71.848
Saldanha Bay 57.444 55.731
Cape Town 12.971 13.471
Port Elizabeth 11.597 9.560
Ngqura 5.717 0.948
East London 2.443 2.321
Mossel Bay 1.935 1.747
Total 253.795 236.076


Containers handled in 2010/11 measured by TEUs
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers and subject to being invoiced by NPA)

PORT 2010/11 fiscal year TEU's 2009/10 fiscal year TEU's
Durban 2,572,450 2,437,031
Cape Town 683,997 771,230
Ngqura 417,065 70,210
Port Elizabeth 331,736 315,635
East London 54,627 21,213
Richards Bay 30,912 5,375
Total TEU's 4,090,787 TEUs 3,646,274

Ship Calls  and Gross Tonnage

PORT 2010/11 vessels gross tonnage 2009/10 vessels gross tonnage
Durban 4633 131,708,314 4702 127,347,607
Richards Bay 1871 63,625,727 1926 61,199,209
Cape Town 2764 50,913,159 2944 53,094,064
Saldanha Bay 505 33,600,791 515 32,284,758
Port Elizabeth 1155 26,815,921 1176 28,176,483
Ngqura 358 15,469,577 85 4,238,107
East London 294 7,343, 435 281 6,879,715
Mossel Bay 1019 3,103,417 1164 2,518,225
Total 12,599 332,580,341 mt 12,708 311,500,061

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IRENE SL arrives off Durban to face police investigation

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Irene SL – picture courtesy EU NAVFOR

The 319,000-dwt supertanker IRENE SL arrived off Durban shortly after 1pm yesterday afternoon and by 4.30pm was in the port approaches, where a team of police and Interpol officers were waiting to be flown on board.

Irene SL was released by Somali pirates just over a week ago - see Irene SL Released – crew safe in our 12 April news bulletin.

The 330m long VLCC had been held captive for 58 days before a ransom payment arranged its release. The ship is carrying 2 million barrels of oil and was bound for the United States.

According to reports a 20-man team of investigators will be airlifted onto the ship to conduct interviews with the crew and to carry out forensic research. The reports said the ship was regarded as a crime scene and those doing the investigation include a number of Interpol officers who had arrived from France. Another report issued by the French Embassy said that injured crew would also be receiving attention, although when the ship was released EU Navfor, the European Naval force operating on anti piracy patrols in the Somali basin indicated that all crew were in good health.

They may or may not be in good health but how they are feeling emotionally and mentally after their frightening ordeal is another matter.

Durban has a team of port chaplains who have received specialist training in trauma counselling for crew and passengers on board ships that have been subjected to piracy, shipwreck or other life-threatening dangers, and these will no doubt be available to provide counselling services if required.

Safmarine resumes service to Ivory Coast

Safmarine has announced that it will resume both import and export services to the Ivory Coast ports of San Pedro and Abidjan following the lifting of EU sanctions.

The first Safmarine ship to call at Abidjan foilowing the lifting of the EU ban is the NIKOLAS (voyage 63D/1105) which is ETA Abidjan on 4 May 2011. The first ship to call at San Pedro will be TOVE MAERSK (voyage 822/1107) with an ETA at San Pedro on 7 May 2011.

These details are subject to local operational constraints.

NYK Announces New Service between Asia and East Africa

NYK line reminds that it is launching its weekly Asia – East Africa (AEF) service on 24 April 2011 which forms a further expansion of its Asia – Africa network. This will link major Southeast Asia transhipment hubs and fast growing Kenya and Tanzania.

The AEF rotation will be 42 round days, with a weekly service calling: Singapore - Port Klang - Mombasa - Dar Es Salaam – Singapore. The service commences with the westbound voyage of DAMALI, which is expected to depart from Singapore on 24 April 2011.

MSC to hike Far-East Rates in May

Mediterranean Shipping Company intends introducing a general rate increase on the Far East-Asia-Indian subcontinent trade lane as well as to the Far East-Asia-Canada route.

As from 1 May, the increase for the Indian subcontinent lane will be US$ 150 per 20-foot equivalent unit and $ 300 per 40-foot equivalent unit.

Rates on cargo shipped from the Far East and Southeast Asia to Canada will increase by $ 480 per TEU and $ 600 per FEU also from 1 May.

CMA CGM raises range of rate increase

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CMA CGM Everest – picture by Ian Shiffman

CMA CGM said this week it intends raising rates on a host of trades, including the eastbound transpacific, beginning 1 May 2011.

The rate increases are:

  • From Asia and the Indian Subcontinent to the west coast of North America, $ 400 per dry 40-foot container
  • From Asia and the Indian Subcontinent to the United States and Canada inland point intermodal via West or East coasts ports, $ 600 per dry 40-foot container
  • From North Europe to the Caribbean, Central America and the West Coast of South America, € 150 per TEU for all container types
  • From North Europe to Mexico, $ 150 per TEU for dry containers
  • From all Asia origins to Red Sea, $ 150 per TEU for all container types
  • From New Zealand to Europe (as of May 9), $ 250 per TEU for all container types

    CMA CGM said that from 15 June it would also begin assessing a $ 400 per dry 40-foot container peak season surcharge on shipments from Asia and the Indian Subcontinent to US and Canadian West and East coasts ports.

    Hapag-Lloyd rate increases

    Hapag-Lloyd will increase rates for all cargoes and all container types from East Asia (excluding Japan) to Red Sea ports by US$ 150 per TEU with effect from 1 May 2011. Red Sea is defined as being the ports of Jeddah, Aqaba, Sokhna, Port Sudan and Hodeidah. The German line will also increase rates for all cargoes and all container types from East Asia (excluding Japan) to Middle East by $ 100 per TEU with effect from 1 May 2011. The Middle East is defined as being the ports in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia (Dammam and Riyadh via Dammam).

    US Military Sealift Command ship USNS BRUCE C HEEZEN in Maputo

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    USNS Bruce C Heezen

    The US Navy ship USNS BRUCE C HEEZEN (T-AGS-64) has arrived in Maputo harbour. The Pathfinder-class oceanographic survey vessel is 100m in length and displaces 5,000 tons. The vessel was built at the Halter Marine shipyards and was launched into service in 2000 and is the fifth of her class. She is named for the leader of the Columbia University team that discovered the Mid Atlantic Ridge in the 1950s.

    The survey ship is operated by the US Military Sealift Command.

    Singapore’s Jurong Shipyard delivers FPSO to operate in Angola

    Luanda, 18 April 2011 – Singapore’s Jurong Shipyard has delivered the FPSO PSVM, one of the largest floating, production, storage and offloading oil vessels to operate in ultra-deep waters, which is due to operate on the PSVM project in Angola, Angolan news agency Angop reported in Luanda.

    The naming ceremony for the FPSO (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) was held at the shipyard in Singapore and the ship will now sail for Angola where it will start operating at the PSVM (Pluto, Saturn, Venus and Mars) field, around 400 kilometres to the northeast of Luanda, where it is expected to stay for the next 20 years.

    The FPSO vessel, which was ordered by Modec, a sub-contractor of British Petroleum Angola and its partners, is 355 metres long, weighs 20,000 tons and has a draft of 22.2 metres, as well as carrying 120 people on board and a production capacity of 150,000 barrels per day, as well as storing 1.8 million barrels of oil and processing 245 million cubic metres of gas per day.

    Next August the Pazflor FPSO owned by French oil company total is due to arrive in Angola to operate on the CLOV (Cravo, Lírio, Orquídea and Violeta) oil field, in block 17 of the Angolan sea.

    The FPSO vessel, weighing in at 120,000 tonnes and with a capacity to process 220,000 barrels of oil or 4.4 million cubic metres of gas per day, was built at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. shipyards in South Korea. (macauhub)

    Fire on board cruise ship causes evacuation

    Passengers and crew had to be evacuated from the Mexican cruise ship OCEAN STAR PACIFIC on Saturday after a fire in a generator kicked out all power. 522 passengers and 226 crew were taken by catamaran to the port of Huatulco on Mexico’s west coast. There were no reports of injuries.

    Indian Coast Guard detains Danish ship Danica Sunrise

    India’s Coast Guard detained the Danish merchant ship DANICA SUNRISE (1684-dwt, built 1989) and its 8-man crew after intelligence reports said that the ship was carrying a cargo of illegal arms and ammunition. However after a search of the vessel the Coast Guard reported that it had found nothing untoward. The crew was interrogated by India’s Anti-Terrorism Squad as well as police, the navy and a team from the Intelligence Bureau.


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    BIMCO President rages at kidnapping and murder

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    A highly audible protest from the shipping industry against piracy – with a 30-second blast from ships’ sirens every day at noon, in every port in the world – has been recommended to draw public attention to the criminals who are now menacing world trade, and who are holding nearly 800 seafarers captive.

    Delivering the keynote address at this week’s Singapore conference of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships in Asia (ReCAAP), BIMCO President Robert Lorenz-Meyer suggested that such a protest was necessary to remind governments of the urgency of measures to deal with the piracy problem. Attacks on merchant vessels by Somali pirates, said the BIMCO President are “about to cut the sealanes in and out of the Persian Gulf,” and attacking a service “on which the world depends for economic stability and growth”.

    Lorenz-Meyer praised the work of the multi-national naval force protecting merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, in particular noting the “brilliant examples” set by some of the Asian warships in successfully confronting the pirates’ use of captured vessels as “motherships”. He contrasted the work done by some of the states involved in the action against pirates and their robust work to free ships and captive seafarers with the “kid gloves” worn by others in dealing with the menace.

    BIMCO, which had been involved with the problems of modern piracy since it emerged as a problem in the 1990s, has maintained that unless there are serious consequences for the criminals, they will continue to attack merchant shipping. The President pointed out that not all states have ratified UNCLOS or the SUA conventions, while some states which have ratified these international documents do not yet have national legislation in place enabling their enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute pirates. He welcomed the harsh sentences of 20 or 30 years being meted out in the courts of Kenya and the Seychelles for those convicted.

    Governments of the world, said Mr Lorenz-Meyer, “must get their act together” on piracy and establish a comprehensive strategy to deal with the problem. Such action “must aim to reverse the malicious will of the pirates, rather than pretend to reduce their capability”.

    It must, he said, fundamentally change the risk/reward ratio currently in favour of the pirates and offer them alternative livelihoods. Such matters, he emphasised, were the clear responsibility of governments, and the “explicit and strong commitment of governments” is essential if there is to be any lasting solution to the problem.

    In the BIMCO President’s address, he underlined the urgency of the situation, with the criminals effectively now menacing global trade and traumatising a large number of innocent seafarers, with trade unions now calling for a boycott of the affected areas. “We are dangerously close to a turning point for the freedom of navigation on vital trade routes,” he said.

    He reminded his audience that “engagement, dialogue and multinational co-operation” had solved the piracy problem in the Malacca and Singapore Straits, and while the Somali situation was not exactly the same, this cannot, he said, be used as an excuse for a continuation of the current inadequate approach. The shipping industry needed to bring its concern about the piracy menace to a wider public, much of which was yet to be appraised about its seriousness. A loud noise of protest, as Masters sounded their sirens in port each day, could symbolise this growing impatience.

    The action will support the SOS Save Our Seafarers campaign launched by BIMCO, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Shipping Federation (ISF), Intercargo, INTERTANKO and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). The SOS campaign aims at encouraging millions of people around the world to heap pressure on their national Governments to crack down on piracy by visiting www.saveourseafarers.com and signing an on-line petition.

    Fifty countries participate in UAE counter-piracy conference

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    Dutch Navy ship in action against Somali pirates

    Government and industry representatives - including 30 foreign ministers - from more than 50 countries joined a Dubai conference this week to seek ways to suppress piracy off the coast of Somalia that threatens international shipping with costs of US$ 12 billion a year.

    The conference is expected to end with a declaration outlining areas of cooperation between the private and public sectors with the aim of establishing a working framework to advance counter piracy measures.

    Today, 26 ships and 532 hostages are held by pirates after 107 attacks on commercial cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and off the east African coast, reports the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), whose chief, Pottengal Mukundan, is attending the conference.

    Under the theme ‘Global Challenge, Regional Responses: Forging A Common Approach to Maritime Piracy’, the meeting has attracted foreign ministers, representatives from another 25 countries, the UN and its International Maritime Organisation (IMO), scores of industry leaders and international experts on maritime security and community development issues.

    Included are the foreign ministers of most Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) countries, the foreign ministers of states directly affected by piracy such as Somalia, Djibouti, the Comoros and Tanzania, the UN deputy secretary general and foreign ministers from Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan.

    Also attending are Maersk chief operations officer Morten Engelstoft, International Association of Independent Tanker Owners president Peter Swift, NOL chief executive Ron Widdows, who is also chairman of the World Shipping Council, Messina Line CEO Stefano Messina and BIMCO security chief Giles Noakes. – source schednet

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    The Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry says it shares the concerns of the many companies whose business is being severely disrupted as a result of congestion and lengthy delays at the Port. The delays are attributed to difficulties with the recently-installed Container Operating System, NAVIS, which offered the prospect of greater efficiency and, in particular, an end to delays and congestion, says the Chamber in an article in its Daily Digest.

    “While one understands that teething problems may occur with any new system, it is untenable that the process of importing and exporting through the Port should be disrupted to the extent that has been reported by members of the Chamber.

    “Recently, the DCCI’s Manager: Trade and Investment, Malusi Mpanza, in an attempt to assess the difficulties for himself, accompanied a driver to the Container Terminal. He was witness to inordinately long queues along Bayhead Road and hours of unproductive time wasted by drivers. He estimated that, with an average turn-around-time of nearly five and a half hours, it would not be possible for a company within a twenty kilometre radius of the Port to collect more than one container in a day. The cost to companies of this low level of productivity is unsupportable and it causes significant damage to the reputation of the Port.

    “The DCCI welcomes the investment being made into the infrastructure, but regrets that as long as it fails to address standards of efficiency and service delivery to customers it is money wasted.

    “The Chamber is ready to offer constructive assistance in order that the current problems may be addressed. It has proposed, for example, the establishment of focus groups of those involved in the transportation of goods to and from the Port. We are of the view that the private sector may be able to assist the Durban Container Terminal to come to terms with its new system to ensure that it achieves its objectives.”


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    Spirit of Richards Bay rescue craft

    The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Sea Watch and Response reported yesterday that it had received an alert concerning a commercial fishing boat with eight people on board which had capsized two kilometres north of the Umfolozi River mouth in Zululand, KZN.

    One of the fishermen was confirmed dead and his body had been recovered while a second person was missing. The KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife rangers who reached the scene shortly afterwards reported that four of the people from the boat were safely on the beach and were in the care of locals including a local tour company whose members are trained in advanced first aid.

    The St Lucia Boat Club also responded to the scene to assist, as did the Richards Bay NSRI. The skipper of the boat suffered two fractured hands, a fractured leg and suspected fractured ribs, while three crewmen were suffering bruises, suspected fractures and one complaining of back pain.

    The NSRI reported that the injured fishermen were stabilised on scene by Netcare 911 paramedics before being taken to hospital in Richards Bay in Netcare ambulances.

    Among those who responded to the emergency were NSRI volunteers in a 4x4 sea rescue vehicle, including a NSRI swimmer, SA Police Services, the St Lucia Traffic Services, a local Cassevac ambulance service and the Port of Richards Bay helicopter.

    A shore search for the missing man was conducted by the NSRI, the police, the traffic department personnel, Wildlife rangers and a large number of the local community. Sea conditions were described as 3 to 4 metre breaking surf and a light south easterly wind.

    Reports said the fishing boat, an 8.3m Butt-Cat was launching to go to sea and was nearing the back-line when she was hit a wave head-on, breaking the front consol of the boat, which is believed to have caused the extensive injuries to the crew. A second wave then hit the boat sending all eight fishermen into the surf before the boat capsized.

    Police have opened an inquest docket into the incident.


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    The Australian owned and flagged Ro-Ro vessel IRON MONARCH (20,145-gt, built 1973) at anchor in Singapore’s Eastern Anchorage. Picture by Piet Sinke

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    The Greek-owned, Isle of Man-flagged products tanker ENERGY POWER (51,383-dwt, built 2005) also in the Eastern Anchorage of Singapore Harbour. Picture by Piet Sinke


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