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Ports & Ships Maritime News

13 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 offshore tug SANKO BRIDGE makes a dignified departure from Cape Town harbour on 30 June 2011. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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CMA CGM’s 14,000-TEU Christophe Colomb

Carriers can expect ‘significant’ losses this year as they can't make money from east-west trade routes because of rate volatility brought on by too much shipping capacity, according to London shipping consultant Drewry's latest quarterly Container Forecaster.

Even a demand surge in the coming peak season will not be enough to effect a turnaround because rates have declined too far on the Asia-Europe and transpacific routes, the Drewry report said, adding that capacity withdrawals would not be enough to reverse the situation at this point.

“Planned rate restoration programmes have been postponed and there is little hope of carriers imposing meaningful peak season surcharges,” said the report.

“Contrary to what happened in 2009, there is no common strategy or discipline among carriers to lay-up ships to redress the supply/demand balance,” said Neil Dekker, the editor of the Container Forecaster.

“The dilemma is that each carrier is aware that its top priority is to be cost-competitive, even if the collective impact of individual orders for lower unit-cost vessels is weakening the market.”

Freight rates are expected to decline 21 percent on the main east-west trade lanes this year, even though volumes have remained strong, reports London's International Freighting Weekly.

Other than increasing fuel costs, the expected losses would be due to carriers' “inability to run their business models profitably” by adding too much capacity to the market, said Drewry.

“Ocean carriers have continued to launch new services in the key east-west trade lanes, many of them also upgraded to the latest 13,000 TEU giants. This has severely contributed to overcapacity, with average load factors in the head-haul transpacific and Asia to Europe routes remaining at only 80-85 percent. “In this environment, freight rates have massively declined on the Asia to North Europe route, where in some cases, spot rates are not even covering quoted bunker surcharges of around US$750 per TEU. – Shipping Gazette

Meanwhile, Schednet reports Braemar as saying that once the mega ship craze has passed, there will be a feeder ship boom.

The Braemar report says that while investment in smaller container ships has been lackluster, it now expects a greater interest in feeder tonnage once the current cycle of investment in post-panamax ships has waned.

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by Max Konneh, Press Officer, Ministry of Fisheries Freetown (Sierra Leone) - Owners of a Spanish fishing vessel, Galerna, registered under the Mbambali Fishing Company in Sierra Leone and a fishing vessel, Layal, operated by the Sierra Fishing Company, which were recently arrested by a combined team of US Coast Guards and the Maritime Committee in the country’s territorial waters, have paid fines levied on them for violating laws governing the country’s fisheries sector.

Making the disclosure during a debriefing session following the joint operation at the Naval Base, Murray Town, the Acting Director of Fisheries, Alpha Bangura said the Current Maximum Administrative fine for the offence of failing to carry an observer onboard the vessels, contrary to section 68(1) of the Fisheries Management and Development Act, committed by the Spanish Fishing Vessel Galerna was US$ 20,000 while that for the offence of failing to send daily catch reports, contrary to section 68 (2b ) of the Act was US$30,000.

The Acting Director reported that in addition to the above sum, owners of the fishing vessel Galerna have also paid the sum of Le 5,000,000(five million Leones as the current maximum fine for failing to supply true, correct and complete information about the vessel call sign. The F/V Layal, owned by the Sierra Fishing Company paid the sum of Le 30,000,000 (thirty million Leones) for failing to send daily catch reports to the ministry of fisheries prior to and on the day of the arrest, contrary to section 68(2b) of the Act. He further disclosed that in addition to that the vessel has also paid the sum of Le 2,000,000 (two million Leones) for failing to navigate back to Port as directed by the boarding team.

Mr Bangura said his ministry has been instrumental in initiating the maritime wing of the country’s armed forces and emphasised the importance of the Fisheries Management and Development Act and Regulations. He expressed concern over what he referred to as misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding the arrests, not least the misinterpretation and distortion of some facts in the Fisheries Act by some members of the press. He however underscored the need to present them in the future through information sharing. He thanked the United States for its continued assistance and looked forward to initiatives that would further enhance the country’s surveillance, monitoring and control capability.

The Deputy Liaison Officer in the Embassy of the United States, Bruno Sanchez who described the combined surveillance operation as successful, expressed the need for Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia to pool their resources in order to effectively address their challenges. He registered his country’s unwavering commitment to ensuring Sierra Leone benefits from its natural resources. While describing the Rule of Law as the best way to measure the growth of a nation, Mr Sanchez urged government to make it a point of priority.

The commander of Sierra Leone’s Maritime Wing, Capt. Daniel Mansaray said the enforcement of maritime laws have helped boost the revenue base of the marine ministry which appreciated the role the US Guard has been playing in policing the country’s territorial waters. Head of the Joint Maritime Committee, Tommy Taylor said ‘Operation Lion Rock’ was a demonstration of the commitment of United States’ commitment in promoting the bilateral agreement signed with Sierra Leone in respect of the country’s marine safety and security.

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Going for ISO Certification

The Netherlands – The developers of a new concept that is looking to revolutionise the ubiquitous freight container are to apply for its ISO certification in September. The Cargoshell container will be submitted to Germanische Lloyd for certification and is expected to achieve qualification in October. New shipping container designs may only be released to the market once they have been certified.

The Cargoshell shipping container folds down when not in use and is made from composite material, making it much lighter than a steel container while retaining the same volume when erected and resulting in less energy being required for transportation and handling. The makers claim that the container can be broken down by one person in thirty seconds.

In addition to emission savings from its lightness, the Cargoshell only takes up a quarter of the space of a standard shipping container when collapsed, freeing up large amounts of valuable space in freight hubs and empty container depots and substantially cutting on the number of trips necessary to transport empty units. According to Cargoshell, if all steel containers were replaced with the new design then in the Port of Rotterdam alone this would save 10,000 transport movements, representing 250 fewer trucks a day during peak hours.

Cargoshell state that they will be launching the new product at an international presentation on Monday, 31 October 2011. The Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Schultz van Haegen, will be in attendance. To see a video of the assembly of a Cargoshell click HERE

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Durban car terminal. Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za

Japanese car manufacturer Nissan said last Thursday that it aims to sell between 52,000 and 83,000 new vehicles in Africa annually by the 2015 fiscal year.

Export Sales GM Jim Dando said the 52,000 vehicles would be sold in countries throughout Africa but excluding South Africa, Egypt, Libya and Sudan. By comparison Nissan expects to sell just 31,000 units in the current year.

Dando said that special emphasis was being placed on selling Nissan products into Nigeria where it was working hard at gaining market share, particularly against Japanese rival Toyota. He described Nigeria as a rather ‘peculiar market in Africa’ because it was an almost 100% petrol bakkie market, instead of diesel. Nissan was until recently unable to meet Nigeria’s demand for high-specification petrol double-cabs.

He emphasised the need to put in place after-sales service facilities, which were essential for success in the African market.

“If we don’t improve our after-sales service, we will lose sales. After-sales service has become linked to the purchasing decision in Africa.”

Dando said about 40% of the 52,000 vehicles will be produced in South Africa. Nissan would also be introducing the made-in-India Sunny at the end of 2011, which would cater for the B-segment market. A new pick-up to replace the famous Nissan Hardbody and manufactured in South Africa would also find its way into Africa in due course.

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Transocean Marianas

The Transocean Marianas accident – Ports & Ships 12 July 2011 refers

I read with much interest your article about the Transocean Marianas published in today’s edition (Tuesday, 12 July 2011). Your reference to the [rig] Transocean Deep Water Horizon (DWH) raised some old memories of mine.

In 2001 I handled the maiden voyage of the DWH en route from the shipyard to the Gulf of Brazil. The DWH was initially not planned to transit in Port-Louis but one of her tugs involved with the tow was scheduled for bunkering, change of crew and stores.

48 hours prior to the arrival of the tug in Mauritius, we were informed by the master that one of his crew members, a young man of 38 years old from the USA had had a heart attack and needed immediate medical assistance.

At that time, the tow was approximately 150 nautical miles off Rodrigues Island*. A local cardiologist was consulted and some medical advice was relayed to the master. As the sick crewman’s health condition deteriorated after some hours, it was then suggested to the master to deviate from his initial course and sail towards Rodrigues Island. We would arrange urgent medical assistance from Mauritius with the support of the Coast Guard’s aircraft flying overnight to Rodrigues. The plan was to use the Rodrigues port launch to meet the DWH at the outer anchorage and to disembark the sick crew for immediate treatment.

We were keeping regular contact with the rig when at 23h20 the master informed us that the sick crewman had unfortunately passed away.

There was consternation and the feeling of failure with us being just a few hours away from the rendezvous time. We could not hold back tears thinking that we failed in saving a life!

DWH was consequently requested to proceed to Port-Louis in order to disembark the deceased seaman and Mauritius Police was informed of the casualty. On the DWH’s arrival we accompanied the police as well as a Catholic priest whose presence had been requested by the master and crew.

The moment was one of emotion! All the crew was gathered in the mess as the priest made some prayers. There were many present that were tearful, and then came the time to remove the body from the cold room and place it in the coffin that we had brought with us. No words were necessary... only the sound of the wind and the rumbling of the generators were audible.

Respects were paid to the dead crewman and the coffin was hoisted by the rig’s crane and lowered into the tug.

I still remember hearing someone standing on the deck saying, “this is bad news for this ship. She will carry this bad fate all the way till the end....” The bad fate of the DWH has not been a surprise to me.....

*Rodrigues is a dependency of Mauritius situated at 538.1 kilometres (334.3 miles) N/E of Mauritius. For those who would like to learn more about Rodrigues I suggest the following site www.mysterra.org.

Alain Malherbe
Port Louis, Mauritius

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Port Mathurin, capital of Rodrigues. Picture www.mysterra.org

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Holland Africa’s first Randfontein was built at Greenock in 1920 as the STAUR for Fearnley & Eger. The following year she passed into Holland Africa ownership and was renamed RANDFONTEIN. After a long period on the Europe-South Africa service the ship was converted into a cargo ship in 1947 and renamed the RANDKERK. In 1950 the first Holland Africa Randfontein was scrapped in the Netherlands. Picture by Willem Kruk

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The second and last Holland Africa RANDFONTEIN (13,694-gt, built 1958) made her maiden voyage to South Africa in January 1959, the passenger ship being a replacement for the Klipfontein which had sunk off Mozambique in 1953 – see The last Moments of the Klipfontein HERE. Use your Back Button to return to this page.

Randfontein operated a port rotation of Amsterdam, Southampton, Las Palmas, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban, then by return. The ship was withdrawn from the South Africa service in 1971. Picture Willem Kruk

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