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Ports & Ships Maritime News

15-17 June 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

Improve your branding with your banner on this site and tap into our large readership - contact info@ports.co.za

As Thursday is a public holiday in South Africa, there will be no News Bulletin tomorrow. Our next edition appears on Monday, 20 June 2011


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Fairmount Glacier (closest to camera) and Fairmount Apline make an impressive sight as they rest stern to stern on the deck of ELDOCK, the floating dock of Elgin Brown & Hamer in the Durban Bayhead. We hope to feature several pictures showing the maintenance repairs to these offshore tugs in a News Bulletin next week. Picture by Willem Kruk

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Tsietsi Mokhele

by Francis Hweshe

Cape Town - Lack of investment in the maritime sector could undermine the benefits of South Africa’s recent joining of the Brazil, Russia, India and China trading block.

The warning was sounded by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) chief executive, Tsietsi Mokhele, on Monday.

He was speaking at an all-important two-day International Investors Conference organised by the Department of Transport.

Mokhele called on the business sector to invest in the ship building and repairs industry in the country, as that was currently being done overseas. Coastal cities were also urged to put money into the maritime sector, with the aim of boosting regional integration.

< Mokhele said the colonial set-up had left the continent with no skills to develop its own maritime sector. The capacity of South Africa to manage its maritime resources needed to be beefed up.

“Africa has zero ownership of shipping”, he said, highlighting that the continent was “importing everything.”

Mokhele said that at times, if one wanted travel to some parts of Africa by sea, they would have to go through Europe.

As a result of weakened coastal security around the continent, he said “you can over fish and pollute” without being detected.

Speaking at the same platform, Transnet chief executive Brain Molefe said they would partner with the private sector to meet their strategic objectives.

This, for example, included partnering in growing the skills base and identifying opportunities for black economic empowerment.

In the last five years, Molefe said Transnet had invested R86.7 billion in infrastructure development and were posed to invest a further R110 billion in the coming five years.

Molefe said they were set to announce their financial results on 27 June. – BuaNews

What’s your view?

The head of SAMSA calls on the business sector to invest in the ship building and repairs industry in the country, but is it a realistic expectation, with uncertainty over tenure and inaction by Transnet over the proposed concessioning of the dry docks and other repair facilities? Similarly with the question of a Ship’s Register – under existing cirtcumstances is it feasible to expect ship owners to want to register their vessels locally? What are your thoughts? Email your comments and views hereinfo@ports.co.za

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Rob Davies

Cape Town – The first phase of setting up a free trade area across 26 countries in Africa is expected to come into effect in three years, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Monday.

Briefing the media in Parliament, following Sunday’s meeting in Sandton to set up a free trade area between the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the East African Community (EAC), Davies said member countries had agreed to carry out negotiations in two phases – with the first to be concluded within 36 months.

Phase one, the current phase, is a trading goods agreement – which deals with tariff liberalisation, rules of origin, dispute resolution, customs procedures and simplification, transit procedures and non-tariff barriers.

The first phase would also include the movement of business people across the three regions, said Davies.

Phase two will tackle trading services, competition policy and intellectual property rights across the three regional blocs.

A work programme to address industrial development still needed to be set up.

Davies said though no time frame had been set as yet for the conclusion of this phase, the aim was to finalise the second phase after phase one was completed.

He said the time period for phase one had been set at a rather short three years as each of the regional economic communities already ran free trade agreements confined to their respective community.

Members from the three regional economic communities have also committed to ongoing monitoring and negotiations.

Two committees had been set up, namely a tripartite trade relations committee, which would file quarterly reports, and a sectoral ministerial committee on trade, which is expected to meet every six months and would report to the council of ministers on negotiations.

Davies said negotiations would allow for special differential treatment so that smaller states would not be treated more leniently in the implementation of tariffs and other objectives.

Added to this, nothing would be agreed upon until everything was agreed in full, he said.

At home, the South African government would engage with business and labour through the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) and will be engaging them at every stage.

Davies said though South Africa was by far the largest economy of the 26 across the three regions, it would not dominate trade when the free trade area was set up, as all members would play a role in negotiations.

Added to this, the 25 other member countries did not hold any expectation that South Africa would finance all the continent’s necessary infrastructure development projects, he said.

But Davies was quick to point out that South African companies should get involved in key infrastructure projects such as the North-South Corridor, which cuts through Zambia and Zimbabwe.

He also stressed that the planned free trade area would also not necessary impact on any trade relationships South Africa had with other countries outside of the 25 other countries represented by the three blocs.

Davies said the idea was to set up a single regional economic community covering all three existing blocs.

Next on discussions would be to include West African countries in the free trade negotiations, he said.

He explained that practical considerations meant the three blocs of SADC, Comesa and EAC were in way predisposed to working together to set up a single free trade area.

Many of the members of the three blocs were already members of more than one of these regional economic communities, which necessitated that they work together, particularly in achieving a unified customs union. Under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, member countries cannot be a member of more than one customs union.

Davies said Africa was a growing opportunity and experiencing the third fastest growth behind China and India. However, just 10% of Africa’s trade is between fellow countries on the continent.

He said formal trade blocs won’t reach proper fruition unless the continent’s infrastructure backlog is addressed.

To this end, about 80 projects are already on the go in the North-South Corridor, he said. – BuaNews

What’s do you think?
Give us your view of the proposed Free Trade area – is it all ‘pie in the sky’ as has been suggested by some critics or is there merit in saying this part of Africa has a real chance at overcoming bureaucracy, lack of infrastructure and other factors to become a meaningful economic entity? Email your comments or opinioninfo@ports.co.za

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Bonny lies downstream of Port Harcourt

Oil company Royal Dutch Shell has declared force majeure on its Bonny Light crude loadings for the months of June and July, resulting from multiple pipeline fires and leaks on its Trans-Niger pipeline (TNP), reports France24. Bonny lies near the mouth of the Bonny River, while Port Harcourt is some 65km upriver.

The oil company said that investigations showed that the incidents were caused by “hacksaw cuts indicating third party interference and activities of unknown persons.”

Leaks and five separate fires on the pipeline occurred in four villages in Ogoniland last week, requiring two days to put out the fires. In a statement Shell said it had suspended operations in Ogoniland in 1994 following attacks on its facilities which were allegedly carried out by local communities.

“The leaks and fires show a worrying trend not only on the TNP but also on our facilities elsewhere. Sadly, the trend is continuing unabated,” said Babs Omotowa, a vice president in charge of Shell's infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa. He said 35 sabotage spills were recorded at the end of April.

“Until the activities of oil thieves and illegal refiners are brought to an end, the vast majority of oil spills in the Niger Delta will continue,” he said.

Oil theft in Nigeria is known as ‘bunkering’ and has been responsible for the majority of oil spills in Nigeria, according to some reports. In March the Nigerian military destroyed 500 illicit oil refineries along the creeks in the southern delta region in just one raid.

At its peak, the loss of oil through theft has been as high as 100,000 barrels a day, with much of this being smuggled inside otherwise legitimate shipments.

Activists however accuse Shell of being the cause for pollution through its operations in the Niger Delta. Shell argues that 70% of oil spilled from its facilities over the past five years was due to vandalism or theft.

Force Majeure frees a company from contractual obligations due to activities beyond its control.

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Orion II

Australian-based Orion Cruises took possession of and named their second ship ORION II in Seattle, USA last week. The vessel, the 100-passenger former Renaissance Four (R-4) (later the Clelia II) is heading west on a 24-night inaugural cruise from Vancouver to Otaru in Japan.

The ship, described as ‘yacht-like’ because of its size has a crew of 70 to pamper the 100 guests. In 2009 she underwent a US$19 million upgrade.

The acquisition has more than doubled Orion’s capacity. The line undertakes cruises to the Russian Far East; the culturally rich Inland Sea of Japan; the energetic and charismatic Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia; the incredibly rich diversity of Borneo; New Zealand and sub-Antarctic islands that so few can visit; Papua New Guinea's ancient and primitive cultures; the grand frontier of Australia's Kimberley region and the Antarctic Continent.


Tuesday, 14 June 2011 - MSC Cruises announced today that its cruises will be calling at the Tunis port of La Goulette on a regular basis again starting from July.

“The country is back to normal, security is now stable and we are glad to offer our guests one of their favourite destinations again for this summer’s 7-night cruises in the Mediterranean. Tourism represents one of the biggest resources for this country’s economic revival and we are proud to be making our contribution,” declared MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco Vago.

MSC Fantasia and MSC Lirica are scheduled to return to La Goulette on 5 July, with MSC Splendida and MSC Sinfonia calling at the port the day after.

The four cruise ships will offer 7-night cruises exploring the most breathtakingly beautiful areas of the Western Mediterranean, with MSC Lirica calling at Genoa (Italy), Ajaccio (France), Civitavecchia (Italy), Salerno (Italy), La Goulette (Tunisia), Palma de Mallorca (Majorca, Spain), Marseille (France) and Genoa (Italy).

MSC Fantasia calls at Genoa (Italy), Marseille (France), Barcelona (Spain), La Goulette (Tunisia), La Valletta (Malta), Messina (Italy), Civitavecchia (Italy) and Genoa (Italy).

MSC Splendida itinerary is Genoa (Italy), Naples (Italy), Palermo (Italy), La Goulette (Tunisia), Palma, Barcelona (Spain), Marseille (France) and Genoa (Italy).

MSC Sinfonia, recently back from another successful season in South Africa, will call at Livorno (Italy), Villefranche (France), Valencia (Spain), Ibiza (Spain), La Goulette (Tunisia), Catania (Italy), Naples (Italy) and Livorno (Italy).

MSC Cruises will also be offering Tunis as a winter destination on MSC Splendida’s six 7-night cruises sailing between December 2011 and March 2012, departing from Genoa.

Guests visiting Tunis can enjoy its renowned North African hospitality on a varied array of excursions offered by MSC Cruises. The city is welcoming and never fails to enchant with its famous archaeological site at Carthage, typical spice market in the Medina, traditional fishing village Sidi Bou Said and much, much more - including, of course, La Goulette itself.

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Phil Edwards and the late Dave Sievwright at a previous SAAFF-KZN function

The annual Golf Day of the South African Association of Freight Forwarders, KZN which was held at the Royal Durban Golf Club on 9 June was bitter-sweet, says branch chairman Malcolm Sodalay.

“Firstly, as a networking opportunity for our members, shipping lines and service providers, and, secondly, as a fund raiser for the National Sea Rescue Institute, Durban. It was unknown territory, but the leap of faith has resulted in a SAAFF-KZN annual event that is enjoyed by all who participate.

“The NSRI and Durban lost Dave Siewvright, who sadly passed away in December 2010. Dave was for the maritime industry, unquestionably, a Shakespearean or, in the KZN context, a Shaka Zulu presence, and he will forever be remembered with respect, affection and awe for his achievements.”

Sodalay said that a record 37 4-ball teams registered for the 2011 Golf Day. “I wish to thank the companies involved most sincerely. Heartfelt appreciation is also extended to those who donated prizes and sponsored Tees and Greens.

“The organisation of an event of this nature is a huge responsibility and is undertaken by volunteers. The success of our 2011 Golf Day can be attributed to Philip Edwards, the chairman of our Publicity Committee, and his team of willing helpers. Heartfelt congratulations and well done.”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The Dave Sievwright Trophy was presented by Mrs Pam Sievwright, widow of the late Dave Sievwright to the winning MSC Logistics team. From left to right are Gilbert Biddulph, Pam Sievwright, Daryl Norris, Lawrie Bateman, and Wynand Greef.

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Simon’s Town based SAMTRA (South African Maritime Training Academy), a company that specialises in the provision of simulator training, recently concluded an agreement with Voith Turbo (Pty) Ltd to provide accredited tug handling training on a newly installed Voith tug module.

As part of their deep commitment to training and development, Voith Turbo delivered the simulator hardware and software and arranged for the training of a SAMTRA Instructor at their facility in Heidenheim, Germany in order to accredit the courses that are to be offered at the SAMTRA academy in Simon’s Town, South Africa.

The objective of this co-operation agreement is to make Voith Tug handling training available to the African market, primarily Port Authorities who own or will be purchasing Voith tugs. This training will afford the attending tug masters the opportunity of acquiring or improving their tug handling skills in a safe simulator environment.

The capabilities of the simulator will allow simulation of all relevant operations required in day to day tug operations.


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There are not many ships still carrying the name Durban. One of them is Ahrenkiel’s container ship NILEDUTCH DURBAN (27,100-gt, built 2006) which is on charter to the Dutch firm Niledutch. The ship sailed from Durban on Monday morning after working container cargo at Maydon Wharf and is seen here opposite Wilson’s Wharf, leaving the Maydon Channel and entering the Esplanade Channel. Pictures by Trevor Jones

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Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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