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Ports & Ships Maritime News

22 June 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The Gibraltar-flagged research vessel AQUARIUS (1812-gt, built 1977 ) at Buchanan, Liberia this week. Can anyone provide more information about this rather attractive little ship, which appears to have previously been named MEERKAT. If so please email toinfo@ports.co.za Picture by ’Stevedore’

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India says it is willing to assist Mozambique in keeping piracy from its waters provided the Mozambican government specifies the areas in which it needs help.

Earlier in June South Africa and Mozambique signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the two countries work together on issues of piracy and trans-border crime – see our report Piracy: South Africa, Mozambique join hands to fight piracy - Use your Back Button to return to this page.

India’s new military attaché at the Indian embassy in Maputo, Prashant Chowdhry gave this assurance on Monday this week when he pointed out that the question of piracy in the Indian Ocean was also a matter of concern for the Indian government as well as for the international community.

Chowdhry said India was prepared to make available patrol boats, warships and aircraft for maritime reconnaissance. “We share Mozambique’s concern about piracy, because piracy is a threat,” he told journalists after having delivered his letters of accreditation to Defence Minister Filipe Nyussi.

“We are open to supporting Mozambique, if the government tells us what are the specific areas it would like us to work in.”

Chowdhry is the first military attaché that the Indian authorities have posted to Mozambique. Three other military attachés have been accredited in Maputo, from South Africa, Botswana and Brazil. – source AIM

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Port of Calabar

Stakeholders in the Nigerian port of Calabar reacted with some shock recently when they were told by officials from the state government that plans to dredge the harbour would have to be placed on hold until the middle of next year.

This is despite the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Suleiman Omar, having said recently that the NPA was determined to deepen the nation’s seaports to accommodate all types of large ocean-going vessels.

Omar said earlier in June that under the new programme of the NPA, every aspect of its statutory function will be taken seriously to achieve efficiency in the system. Deepening the seaports was important in terms of opening the seaports to a wider global trade and bringing cargo into the country. The NPA had plans, he said, to ensure that Nigeria’s ports would become the best in Africa, capable of competing with any in developed countries.

The acting chairman of the Port Consultative Council, Otunba Kunle Folarin expressed his surprise at the statement by the representative of the state government.

He said that in view of the urgency of dredging the port of Calabar and its approaches, he could only conclude that the Cross River State government was not serious enough about the Calabar port. He described the Calabar port as highly strategic to the nation’s economy, to the North-Eastern states and to the Central Africa sub-region.

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The ICC International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) has issued a warning to vessels in the waters off Benin.

There have been eight attacks in total off Cotonou, Benin so far in 2011, with six taking place since May this year. Of the eight attacks, four vessels were hijacked and two boarded by pirates who robbed ship and crew property and in some cases cargo.

The most recent attack took place on a Greek-owned tanker on 16 June 2011.

On 14 June 2011, heavily-armed pirates hijacked another Greek tanker as it lay off Cotonou. It was forced to sail to an unknown location and ship’s and crew’s property was stolen before she was abandoned....

....Worldwide, there have been 248 attacks so far in 2011 with 28 vessels hijacked. The waters off Somalia continues to remain the most piracy-prone area but the risk to crews and shipping off Nigeria and its neighbouring states remains high as well. Especially since incidents are not reported....

....IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to continue to report all worldwide actual, attempted or suspicious piracy and armed robbery incidents to the IMB's Piracy Reporting Centre. – source GAC and IMB

Luxemburg extends funding for Seychelles reconnaissance flights

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The Luxemburg Government has extended its funding of CAE AVIATON to fly two Fairchild SW 3A Merlin aircraft on piracy patrols from Mahe in the Seychelles in support of the EU Naval Force.

Since the first flight on 29 September 2009, 440 sorties have been flown for a total of 2,500 hours in support of Operation ATALANTA counter-piracy operations.

The main tasks of the aircraft are to perform Surface Search and Scans to locate designated or suspected pirate vessels, mother ships and skiffs and to help build a Recognised Maritime Picture. The Fairchild aircraft, equipped with a comprehensive suite of sensors and inherent flexibility and speed have also been used to assist vessels under pirate attack in coordination with other assets, such as EU NAVFOR helicopters and warships.

LNG Carrier evades attack by pirates

A NYK LNG carrier has managed to evade attack by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, reports EU NAVFOR.

The EJNAN (145,000-cbm, built 2007) was en route from Italy for Qatar when she came under attack from a skiff carrying four pirates, who attempted to board the tanker using ladders. The ship was probably saved by the timely arrival of an EU helicopter which interrupted the attempt, forcing the pirates to abandon the attack.

The pirates were later apprehended by the Portuguese frigate VASCO DA GAMA. Pirates were observed throwing weapons overboard. After questioning they were released with enough fuel to reach Somalia.

UK ready to give the nod to arming merchant ships

The British government is said to be ready to give permission for British flagged merchant ships to carry weapons for the first time since the end of World War 2.

This development is in reaction to escalating pirate activity, notably off the coast of Somalia and adjacent ocean, and is designed to protect British ships that are caught out in the open seas by armed and dangerous pirates.

Later today (Wednesday) the British Foreign Affairs Committee will begin an inquiry into piracy off the coast of Somalia, which is likely to include demands that captured pirates should be brought to the UK to face justice.

“Recognising the specific issue of increasing piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia, the Department for Transport is considering amending the current policy to recognise that engaging armed personnel is an option for UK-flagged ship owners to combat piracy,” said the shipping minister, Mike Penning.

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COST FAVOLOSA to be named by Italian actress on 2 July

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The new Costa Favolosa enters service in July

Margareth Madè, the Italian actress who is a household name in Italy and a new icon of the ongoing Italian cinema, will act as godmother when the latest Costa Cruises ship is named on 2 July in the Piazza Unità d’Italia in Trieste.

The 114,500-gt COSTA FAVOLOSA becomes the largest passenger ship to carry the Italian flag with a maximum of 3,800 passengers. Costa is also Italy’s only cruise company flying the national flag, and even though the company is a part of the American Carnival Corporation its ships are seen as a symbol of Italian pride.

“Margareth Madè and Costa Cruises share the values that represent the Italian style: beauty, refinement and a strong personality,” said Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman and CEO of Costa Crociere SpA. “It could only have been this fabulous actress, who rose by right to the international elite of Italian icons, to become the muse of our flagship and Costa’s unmistakable world-renowned style.”

The naming of the ship has been included in the official celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the of Italian Unification.

Costa Favolosa will cruise in the Mediterranean during the European summer.

New ship for river cruising in Vietnam

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River Saigon

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has announced it is introducing a new, 60-passenger cruise ship for cruising on the Mekong River in popular Vietnam.

The RIVER SAIGON is a sister ship to ORIENT PANDAW and is on a three-year lease from Pandaw to Uniworld, who will operate 100 departures of eight itineraries lasting between 10 and 24 days in China, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Cruises include a 15-day ‘Timeless Wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia and the Mekong’ river cruise and tour which takes passengers from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, and the 24-day ‘Grand Asia & the Mekong’ river cruise and tour from Beijing to Hanoi. Shorter 10-day land tours and 12-day river cruise and land tours are also available.

Guests on the river ship are accommodated in river-view staterooms – details available from www.uniworld.com

Uniworld also operates river cruising in Europe and in Egypt.

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Eighteen-year old Lwazi Gqira, a grade 10 pupil who lives alone in a poverty-stricken squatter camp outside East London, could be swinging his way to golfing success when he tees up at the 2011 Toya Polish Junior Championship in Wroclaw, Poland from 22-25 June.

Helping to make his dream a reality is the support Gqira has received from Transnet National Ports Authority which has invested R30,000 to provide him with a golf kit in preparation for this, his first international trip. “My first coach, Richard Dikileyo, taught us to work hard on our studies and on the golf course. He taught us to never smoke, drink alcohol and use drugs. He taught us that through golf, we can rise above our circumstances. Those words have stayed with me and motivated me,” said Gqira.


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The LPG tanker St. LUCIA (4,253-gt, built 2008) making her first visit to the earthquake-hit port of Lyttelton (Christchurch) to discharge LPG loaded at Botany Bay, Australia. Picture by Alan Calvert

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The vehicle carrier AQUARIUS ACE (36,615-gt, built 1998) departing from Lyttelton 17 June 2011 after discharging second hand and new vehicles from Japan. Picture by Alan Calvert

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