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Ports & Ships Maritime News

30 June-1 July 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The car carrier HOEGH CHENNAI with the harbour tug PURAU in attendance, arriving in Lyttelton from Japan to discharge a cargo of seondhand and new motor vehicles. Picture by Alan Calvert

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TPT to sign contract tonight for 28 Terex straddle carriers

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Terex straddle carriers

Thursday, 29 June - Transnet CE Brian Molefe and Transnet Port Terminals CEO Karl Socikwa are journeying to Frankfurt, Germany where later tonight they will sign a contract for 28 new straddle carriers from Terex.

The 28 straddle carriers will go into service at the Durban Container Terminal, which remains a 100% straddle carrier-based operation.

The order with Terex means that TPT has moved from a long-standing association with Finnish manufacturer Kalmar, which in the past ten years has supplied well over a hundred straddles to DCT and additional machines to CTCT as well as a fleet of Rubber Tyre Gantries to both ports.

Further traffic disruption in the Durban Bayhead as roadworks continue

As roadworks continue in the busy Bayhead area near the entrance to the two Durban container terminals on Piers 1 and 2, the contractor has advised that there will be Stop/Go traffic controls on Iran Road leading to Bayhead Road from the Bluff during the upcoming weeks.

The transportation planner with the contractor, Aurecon says that all efforts will be taken to ensure that the construction work of realigning Iran Road does not interfere with peak period traffic.

There may also be road closures on Saturday and Sunday, 9 and 10 July. The logistics are to be discussed at today’s (Thursday) scheduled Stakeholders Meeting. Road users are asked to consider using an alternate route where possible.

Annual Durban Sea Sunday Service to be held on 10 July

The port chaplains advise that the annual Sea Sunday Service, which is held to give thanks for those that serve at sea and in the marine service, will be held this year on Sunday, 10 July.

The service, which is open to anyone, will take place in the N-Shed Passenger Terminal on the T-Jetty, commencing at 11h00. Refreshments will be available afterwards.

New Harbour Master for Richards Bay appointed

Vernal Jones has been appointed the new Harbour Master at the port of Richards Bay. The position has been vacant since Dennis Mqadi was transferred as Harbour Master at Cape Town with Mr Jones deputising.

He joined Transnet in the early 1990s as a navigation cadet, going to sea in 1995 as part of his training on the Europe – South Africa trades. In 1998 he qualified as a tug master in Port Elizabeth and became a trainee pilot in 2000 and has since not only qualified but has earned an unrestricted open pilots licence allowing him to handle the largest of ships.

He has served previously as a pilot in his homeport of Port Elizabeth, at East London and at Richards Bay.

RBCT helps out with computers for local school

Richards Bay Coal Terminal has reached out to the local community by means of a donation of 20 new computers with a value of R136,000 to the Ilembe Junior Secondary School at Esikhawini Township, outside Richards Bay.

At a meeting with the school principal last year RBCT representatives identified a need for computers to assist with overcrowding of the existing school computer rooms.

“As a good corporate citizen we decided to donate these computers so that learners have the opportunity to use computers that are new with up to date programmes and also to be technologically advanced,” said RBCT Corporate Affairs Manager, Zama Luthuli. “The computers we are donating today will also enable pupils to be far more advanced when they reach the tertiary level.”

School principal NE Mathunjwa assured RBCT that the computers were in good hands and will be put to good use. “As from today we will no longer face the challenge of overcrowded computer rooms which hindered teaching and learning,” he said.

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Tomorrow, Friday 1 July it will have been seven years since the introduction of the ISPS Code, which has brought about dramatic changes to ports across the world and no less so than in South Africa. The seven years will be observed in Durban on Friday with an Awareness Event sponsored and organised by the Ethekwini Maritime Cluster (EMC).

According to EMC Board member Ashika Pillay, the participation of intergovernmental agencies at Friday’s function sends a coherent, integrated, highly visual and vivid message to the South African and international community that the Durban port is highly geared and motivated as an international interface.

“The international community also looks at this country in terms of regional risks around piracy, terrorism, crime and stowaways. The Port of Durban’s outlook regarding the commitments around the ISPS Code speaks directly to these risks and our readiness as a nation to respond to them,” says Pillay.

“The City of Durban and the Port of Durban, as two entwined, mutualistic entities have recognised that the effective and efficient management of safety, security, the environment, health, risk and quality control are important economic growth variables within our country.

“It is with this in mind that the Ethekwini Maritime Cluster has decided to celebrate our achievements within South Africa around the 7th international anniversary of the ISPS Code. We wish to honour all the agencies that have worked tirelessly to realise the commitment that was made by our honourable minister who signed our adherence to the Code.” The Awareness Event commemorating the introduction of the ISPS Code will be held at the N-Shed Passenger Terminal on Friday, 1 July between 09h00 and 12h00.

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Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Cruises and Vice Chairman of the European Cruise Council

Pierfrancesco Vago, Vice Chairman of the European Cruise Council and CEO of MSC Cruises, praised the outstanding contribution made by the cruise industry to the Greek economy and its huge potential for future growth, but has urged the Greek authorities to resist inward looking and protectionist policies which could discourage cruise lines from calling.

Speaking at the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum in Athens, Vago quoted figures just released that showed the industry’s direct expenditures in Greece – including passenger and cruise purchases, value of shipbuilding, employees’ remuneration and cruise line purchases in 2010 - accounted to €580 million and helped Greece to leapfrog over Finland and become one of the top six EU countries in terms of cruise industry revenue.

Greek ports had 4.5 million passenger visits during 2010, or almost 20% of the total EU market. The port of Piraeus is ranked as the fifth European cruise port in terms of revenue passengers, with 1,210,000 passengers and a total of 700 cruise ship calls. Islands such as Santorini, Mikonos and Corfu accounted for 760,000, 650,000 and 580,000 passengers respectively.

However he stated that in order for the success to continue Greece needs to be a good place to do business,

“We need Greece to continue to be a good place to do business, with a stable, secure and efficient operational environment as well as an appropriate and understandable regulatory framework that does not compromise the sector’s competitiveness.”

Some of the things that can threaten the industry’s development and have a strong counterproductive impact on both cruise tourism in Greece and the wider Greek economy, are the proposed cabotage legislation, proposed increases in fees and levies well above inflation, the need for improved safety measures and sensible berth allocation policies.

In respect of fees and charges Vago said they must be reasonable otherwise cruise companies will be forced to move their ships elsewhere.

“The proposed fee per passenger for 2012 for instance (€3.95), corresponds to an increase of more than 300%. This is unreasonable and even less justifiable. Along the same lines, the Port of Piraeus recently announced a tariff increase for 2011/2012 that is not only excessive, but was communicated at such short notice that cruise companies were not able to take it into account in their plans.”

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Dock dues for a ship like MSC Fantasia (above) will triple next year

“Dock dues are expected to rise by nearly 200% for 2012! A ship like MSC Fantasia, for instance, that today pays around 6,500 euro each call, in 2012 will pay more than €19,300!”

“As I previously explained, the cruise industry brings a significant economic footprint to the Greek economy with its hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists. Do not let high fees act as a deterrent, discouraging cruise lines from coming at all in the future.”

Vago urged a strengthening of the dialogue between the cruise sector and the Greek authorities.

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MSC Opera – detained for deficiencies

Although we try generally to bring good and positive news and information about the cruise industry, just occasionally something negative occurs that cannot be easily overlooked, if only for reasons of a sense of balance to this reporting.

Readers will recall that MSC OPERA, a sister ship to MSC Sinfonia which cruises in South African waters in the southern summer, suffered an explosion in the engine room caused by a faulty electrical panel while sailing in the Baltic, and had to be towed to a nearby port. You can see our report of 17 May 2011 HERE. Use your Back Button to return to this page.

Two weeks later on 25 May the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) detained the 58,600-gt ship after the discovery of 21 deficiencies. Now, in the monthly report issued by the MCA, it stated that MSC Opera was detained in Southampton for three days because “the draft records had been incorrectly recorded and the vessel had previously sailed with the maximum permitted draft having been exceeded. “Abandon ship drills could not be demonstrated satisfactorily, the teams showed a lack of knowledge and had a poor command of the English language which made communication difficult.

“The fire drill showed a lack of control and lack of co-ordination between the various teams, making the ship dangerously unsafe and hazardous to health and safety.”

Other deficiencies identified, the MCS said, included: the passage plan lacked information; the records of rest were incorrectly recorded; the fire detection system had faults that had been previously reported but not repaired; one emergency escape door was partly blocked by stores; the drain for the separator was blocked with oily rags and the masters medical certificate had expired.

MSC Opera was released from detention on 27 May 2011.

Queen Mary 2 fails vessel sanitation inspection

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Queen Mary 2 - fails sanitation inspection

The pride of Cunard, the 151,000 gross ton liner QUEEN MARY 2 has failed a vessel sanitation programme inspection, following a surprise cleanliness exam. The ship scored a low 84 out of a possible 100. The last time Queen Mary 2 was inspected she passed with a high score of 98.

The ship was found to have improperly maintained water tanks, food and wine was not stored properly and… wait for it, cockroaches were discovered.

In response, Cunard said, “Poor assessment on 10 June resulted largely from one small area of the ship’s overall operation. All the issues raised in the report were immediately addressed and have now been corrected.”

So far in 2011 16 cruise ships have passed similar tests with full scores of 100 out of 100. These ships include the 225,000 ton Oasis of the Seas, the Disney Dream and Celebrity Century.

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MOL upgrades Asia-South Africa-South America service with 10 new ships

Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) announced yesterday that from between July 2011 and July 2012 it will be launching 10 containerships each of 5,600-TEU capacity which will be introduced on MOL’s Asia – South Africa - East Coast South America service.

The newbuilding ships will adopt a new wide-beam and shallow-draft design, featuring high loading capacity and compatibility with shallow-draft ports in South America, as well as superior fuel efficiency.

The 71,407-tonne ships will have a length of 275m, a beam of 40m and a draught of 14m and are being built at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industry shipyard in South Korea.

MOL says that along with the fleet expansion, it will begin chartering space to a consortium of Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line), Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (“K” Line), Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Ltd. (HMM), and Pacific International Line (PIL). Current slot charterers on the CSW are Hamburg Süd and Alianca.

The new CSW rotation with 13 ships and a 91 day turnaround will be Xingang, Dalian, , Qingdao, Pusan, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Santos, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Paranagua, Sao Francisco Do Sul, Santos, Rio De Janeiro, Cape Town, Ngqura, Singapore, Hong Kong and Xingang.

Luanda fire ship identified

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UAL Antwerp on fire in Luanda harbour. Picture Biggame Fishing Board

The ship on fire in Luanda harbour since Sunday, 2 June is the UAL ANTWERP. It appears that a 40ft container loaded in Houston, Texas caught fire and spread to other containers, which fire fighters have been struggling to extinguish.

On Tuesday the fire appeared to have been contained and the ship was subsequently beached about 100 metres from the shore in Luanda Harbour.

Piracy: Somalis still at sea hunting ships

Although things have been relatively quiet recently, with no ships being reported as highjacked over the past week or so, it doesn’t mean the pirates aren’t out and about and dangerous.

On Sunday this week two skiffs with five pirates in each attempted to intercept the 61,664-dwt NYK bulker SAGAR RATAN (built 2010). This was despite fairly rough seas about 60 n.miles from the coast of Oman. The bulker was heading towards the Gulf of Aden.

Even though the pirates fired off several RPGs and managed to get a ladder hooked against the side of the ship, the ship’s crew aided by the weather and sea conditions managed to hold them at bay while calls were made to naval ships in the area.

After several attempts to board the ship the pirates abandoned the attack and the ship has continued her journey.

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Hapag-Lloyd’s 8,749-TEU container ship CHICAGO EXPRESS (93,811-gt, built 2006), seen here in Singapore harbour. Picture by Piet Sinke

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The crude oil tanker CASPIAN GALAXY (114,824-dwt, built 2009) also in Singapore harbour. Picture by Piet Sinke

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