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Ports & Ships Maritime News

29 August, 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The Singapore-based gambling ship AMUSEMENT WORLD (12,674-gt, built 1967). If ever there is a survivor this ship appears to fit the bill. So far she’s gone through 11 name changes, having started off as the PATRICIA some 44 years ago in Sweden. One of three sister ships, she sailed first as a passenger/car ferry for Swedish Lloyd which evolved into Stena Lloyd in 1978. Patricia then became STENA OCEANICA and her new owners had the ship cut horizintally, rather like the Maersk S class (see story below) to raise one of her car decks by 1.15 metres, thus increasing her car carrying cpacity to 275 vehicles. The mark of the welding where her new section was fitted is clearly visible along her hull today.

Her current name change saw the ship emerge as a gambling ship, with her car deck on C deck proving ideal for the main gambling hall for which it was converted. Her ramp and door at the stern were also removed at the same time. Most ofthe time the ship lies at anchor in the Singapore Straits, just outside territorial waters. Picture by Piet Sinke

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Brian Molefe, Transnet CE

Pretoria - Claims that South Africa’s ports are the most expensive in the world are misleading and careless, Transnet Chief Executive Brian Molefe said on Thursday.

This comes after a report in the Business Day newspaper on Wednesday, stating that the freight group’s rail operations should be opened to private investors based on a Department of Transport submission to the National Planning Commission. According to the report, splitting is the remedy to the country’s transport problems.

“South Africa has an institutional structure for its port, rail and pipeline network that is internationally envied. The editorial’s claim that South Africa has the most expensive ports in the world is alarmist, careless and misleading,” said Molefe.

Transnet said it strives for a world class logistics network.

Molefe said Transnet was engaging the Departments of Public Enterprises and Transport on rail reform and other initiatives that have an impact on the parastatal.

The company said vertical separation of rail operations and infrastructure is not a new concept, with the associated aim that liberalisation would reduce the financial burden of government-owned railroads on the public sector.

Molefe said although this was “superficially attractive”, government imposed rail open access has failed to accomplish all of the goals set for it anywhere in the world.

“International experience has demonstrated that separating operations from network management and infrastructure generally has not produced desired results.”

According to Transnet, the editorial did not acknowledge the aging infrastructure due to decades of under investment. The company added that it has improved its operational efficiency, including improving transit times for containers between Johannesburg and Durban from 38 hours to 16 hours.

“A recent World Bank survey of international freight forwarders ranked the South African freight system 28th out of 155 countries. And it was found to be the best performing amongst middle-income countries. It also found that South Africa’s port performance was higher than average,” noted Molefe.

“The key issue for SA and Transnet is lowering the total cost of logistics.” – BuaNews

Now read the Business Day editorial of 25 August 2011 - Splitting Transnet is the way to go, and the full Molefe statement on the Transnet webpage - Transnet statement on media speculation. Use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.

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Maersk stretches ships vertically

According to an Alphaliner report which remains unconfirmed by Maersk, the Danish shipping giant has embarked on an expansion plan to increase carrying capacity of its S class container ships by adding additional deck space, by means of raising the height of each ship with another couple of decks on the accommodation block.

The effect of this is to raise the height of the accommodation and the bridge section to see over two extra tiers of containers that will then be able to be stacked on the vessel. The capacity of each vessel will increase 11.6% from 8,200-8,600-TEU to 9,600-TEU.P> It is more usual for ships to be stretched with the addition of a new section of body that lengthens the vessel. On the S class additional reefer plugs are also to be added but the main purpose of the exercise seems to be the provision of additional slots to facilitate the repositioning of empties. Alphaliner says the ship’s effective capacity to carry loaded containers of up to 14 tons will actually decrease, presumably because of the increased mass.

“The enhancement aims at increasing the ships’ capacity for lightly loaded containers and at providing additional slots for the repositioning of empties,” Alphaliner explained

Safmarine enhances its Europe - West Africa service portfolio

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Dirk Geens, Safmarine Africa Trade Director

Safmarine says it has reshuffled a number of its existing West Africa shipping services and introduced three new services - the WAF11, WAF12 and WAF13 – all part of its revised West Africa service portfolio.

“The changes have been made in the interests of providing our global customer base with improved transit times and reliability,” says Dirk Geens, Safmarine’s Africa Trade Director.

“Increasing the number of services overall has not only allowed us to reduce the number of port calls on some of the existing West African services, but it will also give us greater flexibility when it comes to handling volume overflows.”

According to Geens the three new services – WAF 11, WAF 12 and WAF 13 - will serve the market not only between Europe and West Africa but also the other markets served through transshipment in Port Tangier or Algeciras, particularly Asia, the Americas, Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. The overall network is aimed at offering competitive and improved transit times to all key ports in West Africa.

“For example, transit times from Algeciras to Onne have decreased from 21 to 14 days and from Algeciras to Cotonou from 20 to 12 days.”

Port rotations for the three services are as follows:

WAF 11: Algeciras (Spain) - Port Tangier Mediterranee (Morocco) – Lome (Togo) – Onne (Nigeria)
WAF 12: Algeciras (Spain) - Port Tangier Mediterranee (Morocco) - Abidjan (Ivory Coast) – Cotonou (Benin)
WAF 13: Algeciras (Spain) - Port Tangier Mediterranee (Morocco) - Dakar (Senegal)

The services will be operated in conjunction with sister company Maersk Line.

MSC Chicago becomes biggest container ship to call in South Africa

The largest container ship to enter any South African port on normal business, MSC CHICAGO (109,835-gt, built 2005) has completed a call at Ngqura in the Eastern Cape and is now due in Durban this morning (Monday).

In a PR exercise Transnet National Ports Authority has arranged for one of the port’s three women pilots that hold open licences to bring the large ship in, with media apparently invited to the ship later in the day. The pilot selected is Pinky Zungu.

The 9,178-TEU vessel is 337m long and has a 46m beam. She draws 13.1m fully loaded.

Earlier the ship called at Port Louis on 20 August, becoming the biggest container ship to call at the Mauritian port.

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NSRI aids ski-boat at Strand Pavilion

The NSRI Rescue Station 9 at Gordon’s By was called out on Saturday, 27 August to assist in an emergency following reports that a 6-metre ski-boat had run aground onto rocks near the Strand Pavilion slipway, with two men aboard.

The South African Police Services also responded.

“We launched three sea rescue craft, JACK RILEY, SPIRIT OF SURFSKI and INGE, but on arrival on-scene we found we were not able to get close enough to the casualty craft, due to low tide, rocks, strong gusting winds of 30 to 40 knots, and rough sea conditions. Being thus unable to rescue the two men from the sea side the decision was taken to attempt a rescue from the land side, seeing that the two were safe and uninjured on board the boat Droom Vanger,” said Brian Kingston, NSRI Gordon's Bay duty coxswain.

“A Metro EMS rescue team and Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services were activated to assist (which included providing lighting of the scene) and two NSRI rescue swimmers were dispatched through the surf carrying ropes (tethered to anchor points on land on the Promenade at Strand) and half way across towards the casualty boat the two NSRI rescue swimmers came across the two men wading through the surf towards the shore. They had abandoned their craft, which had a hole in the hull caused from being battered against rocks after their boat had drifted across the shoreline and closer to land. The NSRI rescue swimmers assisted the two men the rest of the way to shore where they were placed in an ambulance to warm up a bit and where one man was treated for lacerations to his foot. Otherwise they needed no further medical attention.”

Kingston said that as the tide rose the casualty craft drifted further across the shore line and closer to shore. The NSRI sea rescue team assisted the two men to attach ropes to their boat and haul it ashore.

“It appears that their boat had run onto rocks while they were coming ashore at the Die Poort slipway at low tide.”

Phoenix on the rocks

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Phoenix aground off Sheffield Beach, looking towards Durban. Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za

An attempt will be made tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday, 30 August) at spring high tide to pull the grounded tanker PHOENIX off the rocks of Sheffield Beach.

The tanker went aground in July after dragging her anchor in rough seas. The vessel had been towed to off Durban by the tug SMIT AMANDLA MARINE where the ship was attached by order of the High Court and detained after her owners apparently abandoned the vessel.

Phoenix subsequently went aground on the rocks of Sheffield Beach where she has resisted all efforts so far at refloating her. A decision was taken to wait for the next spring high on 30 August and to make a fresh attempt, while in the interim all bunker fuel was removed from the vessel. Her hull has also been strengthened and if she is safely hauled off the rocks and remains in a safe condition to leave, the vessel will continue her journey to the breakers in India, this time behind a tug.

Ship Movements and ETA’s

Every week approximately 250 ships arrive and depart from the eight South African commercial ports. In addition several hundred other vessels arrive at ports elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa along the east African and west African coastline. The majority of all these ships are documented here in PORTS & SHIPS in our SHIP MOVEMENTS section, with so far 25 ports covered on the site. Check it out! You can find the SHIP MOVEMENTS section HERE. Use your BACK BUTTON to return to the News Page.

Nigerian Customs seize another arms container

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Tin Can Island

Nigeria’s Customs Service has discovered another container full of arms and ammunition including tear gas. A clearing and forwarding agent contracted to clear the 40ft box has been arrested.

The interception took place at Tin Can Island container terminal in Lagos.

According to the Nigerian Customs Service the container had been imported from the United States. Authorities said that with the arrest of the agent it will not take long before the importer is also apprehended.

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Pretoria – Supporting intra-Africa trade should be a matter of urgency, says Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe.

“The recently launched agreement for the establishment of the Tripartite Free Trade Area has made it more urgent to promote intra-Africa trade and that should be at the top of the continent’s economic agenda,” said Thabethe at the South Africa-Ghana Business Forum held in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The free trade area centres on building Africa’s biggest free trade bloc with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC).

“Strengthening trade and investment links with the continent is a key policy priority of the government, both to benefit our economy and more importantly, those of our partners on the continent,” said Thabethe.

She said African countries have the potential to develop into modern industrialised states due to their richness in natural resources that can compete on the world stage.

Meanwhile, the department, through Trade and Investment South Africa, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on investment and trade with the Ghanaian Investment Authority.

Since 2003, bilateral trade between the two countries has been growing, with annual trade statistics indicating South African exports to Ghana with the value of R2.523 billion and imports from Ghana worth R84.275 million. – BuaNews

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The offshore vessel MAERSK NEXUS (4323-gt, built 2010) arriving in Durban last week for a visit to the repair wharves at Bayhead. Pictures by Trevor Jones

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