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Ports & Ships Maritime News

11 May, 2011
Author: Terry Hutson


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

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Owing to the Seatrade Cruise Forum which we at Ports & Ships are attending today, the usual Thursday morning edition of the news bulletin will be delayed and will appear on Friday instead. Apologies to those that start their weekends early.

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With the Seatrade Africa Cruise Forum being held on African soil for the first time from today, it seems appropriate that we lead off this edition with a couple of cruise ship pictures, showing ships that have called here in recent times. The picture above is of the lovely MINERVA II (30,277-gt, built 2001), a ship on which Ports & Ships was fortunate to have been invited while in harbour in Durban and which left a lasting impression. The former R Eight, Minerva II now sails as the ROYAL PRINCESS of Princess Cruise Lines, one of the companies attending at today’s conference. Picture shows the ship nearing Durban and is by Terry Hutson

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Above is the residential cruise ship WORLD (43,188-gt, built 2002), which first visited Durban in 2004. Representatives of The World of Residensea are also presenting at today’s conference. Picture by Terry Hutson

News continues below...


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View of the Cape Town container terminal where a R5.4 billion expansion programme is underway. The second of four berths, Berth 602, was handed over on Friday after months of dredging, deepening and refurbishment. Picture TPT

South Africa’s state-owned freight transport and logistics giant Transnet Limited on Friday celebrated a significant milestone in its R5.6 billion expansion of the Cape Town Container Terminal. On completion, the five-year project that will double the terminal’s capacity to 1. 4 million TEUs per annum.

Group Chief Executive Brian Molefe announced the company had completed major dredging, deepening and refurbishment work at Berth 602, the second of four berths to undergo such upgrades. The completion of berth 602 saw 720m of quay wall made available to accommodate two large 305m vessels along the quay.

“This project signifies our commitment to ensure the competitiveness of our economy as custodians of our transport and logistics infrastructure. The investment, which is part of our R110 billion rolling five-year capital investment programme will not only increase capacity but go a long way towards improving productivity and efficiency at our ports,” Molefe said.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said state owned entities like Transnet, through their expansion projects, were encouraged to be the key drivers of the government’s developmental objectives as articulated in the New Growth Path.

“Modernising our transport infrastructure, especially at our ports, is a significant stride towards lowering the cost of doing business in this country, job creation and economic growth. Crucially, this serves as a catalyst for long term growth, investment and efficiencies in the Western Cape region,” the minister said.

The project, which is on track to be completed ahead of schedule and within the approved budget, will have a significant impact on Transnet’s container handling capacity which also includes the expansion of capacity in the company’s container terminals in Durban and the construction of the state-of–the-art Ngqura Container Terminal in the Eastern Cape.

Transnet Port Terminals chief executive Karl Socikwa said the division was already reaping the benefits of the investment. “This terminal consistently exceeds customer expectations including higher ship working hour and our own efficiency targets. From a customer perspective, the rate at which containers are moved per hour has improved by more than 30 percent over the past 12 months.”

The key aspects of the project include:
1] The deepening to 15.5m of all four berths, together with the Ben Schoeman Basin.
2] Reconfiguration of the stack yard to maximise space.
3] Replacement of the old ship to shore cranes with eight Liebherr Super Post Panamax cranes with twin lift capability. Six of these are in place to date.
4] Replacing straddle carriers with 28 Kalmar manufactured rubber tyred gantry (RTG) cranes that stack containers wider, deeper and higher.
5] Refurbishment of the quay wall to support the Super Post Panamax ship-to-shore cranes.
6] Introduction of additional reefer plug points for refrigerated containers, with a total of 2,712 reefer points to be served by gantry cranes.
7] An aggressive recruitment and training programme for operators of lifting equipment to operate the new cranes.

Besides container terminals, Transnet’s capital investment programme entails the purchase of hundreds of locomotives for its rail freight division, Transnet Freight Rail and the construction of a new pipeline for petroleum products between the coast and inland regions.

“It is heartening to note that this project and indeed the rest of our capital rejuvenation initiatives are funded on the strength of our balance sheet without any government guarantees or subsidies. The funding is purely on the attractiveness of these projects,” Molefe said.

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Maputo – The first load of coal to be exported from Moatize in Mozambique’s Tete province, is due to be shipped in July from the port of Beira, Mozambican newspaper Notícias said on reporting the official start of mining operations by Brazil’s Vale in Mozambique.

With an investment of US$ 1.6 billion, the mine will have a nominal production of 11 million tons of metallurgical and thermal coal. The coal will initially be exported from the port of Beira, to which it will be transported along the Sena railroad, along a 600-kilometre route.

Given the limitations of the Sena line, it is expected that the coal will be transported to the port of Nacala at some time in the future and negotiations are now underway for construction of a railroad linking Moatize to that port.

A memorandum of understanding was recently signed by Vale, which is proposing the new railroad, and the authorities in Malawi, through which the railroad is expected to pass.

Statistics issued in Moatize showed that the facility will make a significant contribution to the Mozambican economy, not only by creating jobs, but also because at its peak of production it will generate between US$ 2.5 to 3 billion for the country’s balance of payments. (macauhub)

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Piracy and armed robbery against ships off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden and the wider Indian Ocean will be high on the agenda when IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meets at the Organisation's London Headquarters for its 89th session from today until 20 May 2011.

The busy agenda also includes adoption of amendments, concerning lifeboat release hooks, to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and work related to the implementation of the Torremolinos Protocol on fishing vessel safety, as well as goal-based standards for vessel construction and the long-range identification and tracking of ships. The MSC will also consider the approval of a number of draft resolutions for submission to the IMO Assembly, to be held in late 2011.

Piracy and armed robbery against ships to be discussed

The MSC is expected to discuss the development of guidance on the employment of private, armed security service providers on board ships; measures to improve compliance with the Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and in the Arabian Sea area; and proposed guidelines to assist in the collection of evidence after a hijack.

The number of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships reported to the Organisation and which occurred in 2010 was 489, against 406 during the previous year, representing an increase of 20.4% from the figure for 2009. The areas most affected (i.e. five incidents reported or more) in 2010 were East Africa and the Indian Ocean followed by the Far East and, in particular, the South China Sea, West Africa, South America and the Caribbean.

During the year, it was reported that two crew members were killed and 30 crew members were reportedly injured/assaulted, while 1,027 crew members were reportedly taken hostage or kidnapped. Fifty-seven vessels were reportedly hijacked, with one vessel reportedly still unaccounted for.

Other issues that will come up for discussion include:

Adoption of SOLAS amendments – lifeboat release mechanisms

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The MSC will be invited to consider, for adoption, a proposed new paragraph 5 of SOLAS regulation III/1 which would require lifeboat on-load release mechanisms not complying with new International Life-Saving Appliances (LSA) Code requirements, to be replaced no later than the first scheduled dry-docking of the ship after 1 July 2014 but, in any case, not later than 1 July 2019.

The SOLAS amendment is intended to establish new, stricter, safety standards for lifeboat release and retrieval systems, aimed at preventing accidents during lifeboat launching, and will require the assessment and possible replacement of a large number of lifeboats release hooks. The Committee will also be invited to adopt draft Guidelines for evaluation of and replacement of lifeboat release and retrieval systems and related amendments to the LSA Code which, along with the proposed draft SOLAS amendment, had been referred back to an intersessional working group which reported to the 55th session of the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE) held in March.

The MSC will also consider associated amendments to the Revised recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances (resolution MSC.81(70)).

Implementation of the Torremolinos fishing vessel safety Protocol

The MSC will consider two options aimed at achieving the entry into force of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol on fishing vessel safety, which were agreed by the Sub-Committee on Stability and Load Lines and on Fishing Vessels’ Safety (SLF), when it met for its 53rd session in January.

The Committee will also consider draft amendments to update the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol, developed by SLF. The SLF Sub-Committee noted a clear indication from delegations to recommend that the preferred option would be for the adoption of the proposed draft Agreement on the implementation of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol, which would include amendments to certain requirements of the Protocol.

Following this, countries could consider implementation of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol under the terms and conditions contained in the Agreement (countries should give effect to the provisions of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol under the terms of the Agreement, when they deposit an instrument of ratification). The Agreement would be a new legally binding instrument, offering a firm foundation to implement the amended Torremolinos Protocol.

The second option for achieving entry into force of the Protocol would be an Assembly resolution on the implementation of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol, under which Parties would be able to implement the necessary amendments immediately after the entry into force of the current Torremolinos Protocol, even before the formal adoption of the amendments. Following the decision of the MSC 89, the final instrument(s) could be adopted at the Assembly, in late 2011, or by a diplomatic conference.

Future work to implement goal-based standards to be considered

The MSC will monitor the progress made with the implementation of the International Goal-based Construction Standards for Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, which were adopted at its 87th session, along with the associated amendments to SOLAS Chapter II-1 making their application mandatory, as well as verification guidelines and the ship construction file. The Committee will also discuss its future work in the matter, including the completion of generic guidelines for developing goal-based standards.

LRIT status to be updated

The MSC will be updated on developments in relation to the establishment and testing of LRIT Data Centres (DCs) and the operation of the LRIT system since its last session, including the results of the first modification testing phase and the operation of an Information Distribution Facility (IDF) for the provision of flag State LRIT information to security forces operating in waters off the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean.

The MSC will also consider the transfer of operations of the International LRIT Data Exchange (IDE) from the temporary facility in the United States to the permanent facility at the European Maritime Safety Agency in Portugal.

Also under consideration will be the performance review and audit reports of the IDE and DCs submitted by the International Maritime Satellite Organization (IMSO), as the LRIT coordinator, together with its findings and recommendations; and issues concerning the long-term operational and financial viability of the LRIT system.

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Pretoria - Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande and Sectoral Education and Training Authorities (Setas) have agreed to pursue plans to transform the Seta landscape.

The agreement, which was reached at a meeting in Johannesburg on Monday, indicated that there was an urgent need to develop an adequate skills base that seeks to promote economic growth and development in South Africa.

This comes after the Labour Court ruled that the Nzimande had exceeded his powers in terms of the Skills Development Act by radically changing the constitution that dictates who controls the Services Seta. The new constitution is supposed to govern all the other 20 Setas.

But in their declaration, the department and Seta, said: “The forum fully endorses the minister’s new vision. We reiterate that we will co-operate with the minister and continue to engage him on all transformation matters, including the proposed changes to the Seta landscape.”

The forum according to its chairperson, Joel Dikgole said they “fully support the minister’s transformation processes. We are fully aware that the Seta sector needs urgent transformation to cope with critical shortages of skills and resource training of our people.”

Dikgole re-iterated their support for the appointment of independent chairpersons as proposed by Nzimande.

Furthermore, the Seta Forum unreservedly welcomed the opportunity to engage with the department on matters of skills development, and categorically distanced itself from the ongoing case at the Labour Court between the Department and the Services Seta.

For his part, Nzimande rejected the misconstrued notion that only one Seta is performing optimally. He indicated that while there is need for improvement on the work that the Setas are doing, there is a lot of good work that is happening in many Setas.

“All the Setas are performing well in this country and we must not accept the misleading reports that there is a super Seta,” added Nzimande. – BuaNews


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SAS Isandlwana. Picture by Ian Shiffman

An appropriate welcome is being planned for the arrival in Simon’s Town this morning of the South African Navy frigate SAS ISANDLWANA (F146) after her mercy dash across the South Atlantic to bring a number of seriously injured seafarers to a hospital in South Africa.

The seamen were injured when their Taiwanese fishing vessel LAI CHING exploded while some distance from the island of Tristan da Cunha. A number of men were killed and the remainder were picked up by a sister vessel that took the more seriously injured to Tristan da Cunha for immediate medical treatment.

There the island authorities in consultation with the UK requested assistance from South Africa and the SA Navy was pressed into action. Within a short time SAS Isandlwana had left Simon’s Town for the voyage across the South Atlantic to one of the world’s most lonely inhabited island groups.

On arrival the injured seamen were transferred across to the ship using Isandlwana’s helicopter, but only after a medical team from the ship including a doctor had checked the condition of the patients. Within three hours the ship was on her way again back to South Africa, where she is due to arrive in Simon’s Town at 8am.

A media welcome is being planned and no doubt the story will receive more attention in the daily newspapers than it has so far.


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The container ship HANSA AFRICA (37,394-gt, built 1997) which arrived in Cape Town yesterday morning, 10 May 2011. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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