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Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 3, 2011
Author: Terry Hutson


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

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The Japanese cruise ship ASUKA II, the striking former CRYSTAL HARMONY (50,142-gt, built 1990), which was in Cape Town last week. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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The news that American special forces have succeeded in killing Osama Bin Laden is having members of the global logistics industry to once again assess their security measures against the threats caused by terrorists attempts to use or disrupt critical infrastructure, reports the Handy Shipping Guide.

Of particular concern is, once again, the situation around the Horn of Africa, particularly off the coast of Somalia. With a raised Al Qaeda presence in that country developed over the last few years it is suspected that the recent problem of piracy that has beset the region might make attacks on shipping in the area in retaliation for Bin Laden’s death a possibility.

The US government maritime authorities are advising mariners to avoid the port of Mogadishu and to remain at least 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. In addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa or in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys and maintain good communications at all times.

The sentiments of the American government have been echoed around the world, with the British Prime Minister, David Cameron stating: ‘...it does not mark the end of the threat we face from extremist terror. Indeed, we will have to be particularly vigilant in the weeks ahead.’

In addition, last year’s attempts by Islamic terrorists to use air freight to plant bombs aboard aircraft are a reminder that security measures can never be taken for granted. The success of global security forces in countering terrorist attacks means that operators of ‘soft’ targets, such as airports, ports and transport facilities should be especially watchful in case of retaliatory attacks. – Handy Shipping Guide

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MV Gemini highjacked

The Singapore-flagged chemical tanker GEMINI (29,870-dwt, built 1986) has been captured by pirates about 180 n.miles east of Mombasa, Kenya. The ship has a crew of 25 and was en route from Malaysia or Indonesia to Kenya with a cargo of palm oil. A warning has been issued to other shipping in the region that this vessel may be used as a mother ship by the pirates.

According to the ship’s owners the crew consists of a South Korean master, three other South Koreans, 13 from Indonesia, five from China and three from Myanmar. A spokesman for Glory Ship Management said every effort would be made to secure their release.

Iran Navy chases off pirate attack on tanker

Iranian warships have succeeded in chasing away pirates who were attacking the tanker IRAN NAJM (298,731-dwt) in the Gulf of Aden. The tanker was en route from Kharg Island in Iran to the Egyptian port of Ain Sukhna in the Gulf of Suez. Iran Najm is operated by the National Iranian Tanker Company.

Iran Navy thwarts pirate attack on cargo ship Zarsan off Pakistani coast

In another incident involving a ship of the Iranian Navy, pirates were chased away from a bulker, the ZARSAN (72,642-dwt, built 2000) owned by the Iranian Shipping Lines. Pirates in two high-speed open boats had engaged with the Zarsan about 30 n/miles off the southern coast of Karachi. As soon as they came under fire from the warship the pirates broke off the attack and fled.

Iran sends new flotilla to Gulf of Aden

The Iranian Navy has replaced on rotation two warships operating on patrol in the Gulf of Aden. One of the ships new in the region is the corvette SHAHID NAQDI (or Admiral Naqdi). The warships are tasked with anti-piracy patrolling in protection of Iran’s tankers and general cargo ships using the Gulf and have replaced two other ships on rotation, with the latter having since returned to Iran.

Pirates release Sinar Kudus after ransoming

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Indonesian bulker Sinar Kudus

After receiving a ransom reported to be US$ 4.5 million, Somali pirates have released the Indonesian bulk carrier SINAR KUDUS (7717-gt, built 1999) which was highjacked on 16 March approximately 320 n.miles north east of the island of Socotra , in the mouth of the Gulf of Aden.

Sinar Kudus had a crew of 20 on board when seized. The ship was reported yesterday to be preparing to sail away from the Somali coast.

Pirate sightings

NATO reports that a number of regional dhows remain under pirate control on the Somali coast and in the last 24 hours some have been reported as missing from their usual anchorage. These should therefore be considered as potential mother ships to other pirates operating offshore.

In the Central Somali Basin one Jelbut-dhow is heading back towards Somalia. The last sighting of this dhow was on Monday morning in approximate position 0600N – 05500E heading west.

In the Arabian Sea, NATO reports that a pirate mother ship (most likely a dhow) is believed to be operating in this area. In the Southwest Somali Basin/ Coast of Kenya/Tanzania, two pirate action groups (PAGs) (at least one of them a dhow) are active off the coast of Kenya/ Tanzania and towards the Mozambique channel. “One of them was probably responsible for the attack on the pirated vessel MT GEMINI off the coast of Kenya on Sunday,” says the Nato report.

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Kanal Turkey would link Black Sea with Marmara Sea

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map from Wikipedia

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is in the midst of an election campaign, says his country is ready to build a canal connecting the Black Sea with the Marmara Sea to reduce traffic in the Bosporus, which is one of the world’s busiest and more dangerous sea lanes.

Comparing its importance to the Panama and Suez Canals, the prime minister said the Turkey Canal would be cut through mostly undeveloped, state-owned land and forest area west of Istanbul. He said he was confident of private sector financial support for the project. A study of the terrain would take two years.

If built the canal would likely be between 45 and 50 kilometres long, 150 metres wide and 25m deep. By comparison the Suez Canal is 80km long and the Panama 77km. The ancient Corinth Canal in Greece is a mere six km in length. It was pointed out that even if the proposed new canal took just half of the Bosporus traffic it would be busier than any of the others.

Japanese car manufacturers begin radiation testing

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Japan’s auto manufacturers have begun testing new vehicles for signs of radiation contamination, before permitting the vehicles to be loaded on ships for export.

This is an effort to reduce fears of transferring radiation to other parts of the world. Shipping in general has avoided some northern Japanese ports and at least one container ship which called at a Japanese port and was found to have higher than safe levels of radiation in some of the containers loaded on the ship, was temporarily banned from calling in China.

The report adds weight to a memo sent to South African ships agents from Captain Sanjoy Sen, featured in PORTS & SHIPS on 21 April – see that article Japan and Radiation Contamination Precautions

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The export of citrus fruits produced in Mpumalanga and Limpopo, in South Africa, may be carried out via the port of Maputo at a significantly lower cost compared to those in other ports in the region, according to information published by the Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative (MCLI).

During a meeting in the South African city of Nelspruit, the coordinator of the Aouth African Citrus Products Association, Mitchel Brooke, said according to Mozambican newspaper Notícias that opting for Maputo could reduce prices by 3 to 5 rand per box exported.

The meeting, which was organised with the aim of promoting the inclusion of the Maputo Corridor as a preferential route for the region’s fruit exporters to markets all over the world, was attended by representatives from the citrus fruit industry, shipping agencies, ship owners, customs dispatchers and cargo terminal operators.

In terms of customs procedures, Eddie Ferreira, of the Delta Metreta group, said that these could be concluded on the border in 20 minutes at the border post set up at so- called Km7, in Kommatipoort, on the South African side of the border where, similarly to Km4, in Mozambique, joint Mozambican and south African teams work together as part of the one-stop border post system. (macauhub)

Mozambican company to export shrimp and crab to the US and China

Shrimp and crab produced by Aquapesca, a fish farming company based in Mozambique’s central Zambézia province, are due to be sold in two new markets, the United States and China starting this year, said the company’s director speaking to Mozambican newspaper Notícias.

Noting that the Euro zone countries had so far been the preferred market for its farmed shrimp, an experiment started 15 years ago in the province, François Grosse told the newspaper that expected production volume for this year was over 800 tons of shrimp, as compared to 585 tons in 2010, which was a real rise of 215 tons.

In 2010 Aquapesca exported 200 tons of shrimp to the European Union.

The company, which is French and Mozambican owned, has so far invested US$ 50 million in its facility, and has a workforce of 800 people, of which half are permanent workers.

The company launched a pilot-project for farming crab, which will supply not only the domestic market, but also other countries where seafood consumption is on the rise.

This pilot project is estimated to cost over US$ 1 million funded by the EU and is being carried out in an area of 5 hectares and 800 crabs. (macauhub)

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Carnival Magic – Carnival’s 100th cruise ship

Carnival Cruise Lines has taken delivery of its latest ship, the 3,690-passenger CARNIVAL MAGIC (128,048-gt, built 2011) which began her maiden voyage between Venice and Barcelona on Sunday, 1 May 2011.

The ship, the 100th vessel among the parent company Carnival Corporation’s family of cruise ships, will remain operating in the Mediterranean on 7, 9 and 12-day cruises out of Barcelona until 16 October when she will sail for her homeport of Galveston, USA. Carnival Magic is a sister ship to Carnival Dream which debuted in 2009.

Among the ship’s features and attractions are an aqua park which includes a 100m water slide, a recreation complex with a ropes course, and an area known as the Lanai with whirlpools that extend over the sides of the ship. In comparison with her sister ship, the Carnival Dream, Magic has new and different dining venues and a larger sports area and deck. Other cosmetic differences occur throughout the ship.

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The Romanian products chemical tanker HISTRIA GEMMA (40,404-dwt, built 2010) which was in Cape Town at the weekend. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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