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Ports & Ships Maritime News

8-9 September 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The container ship NILEDUTCH SHENZHEN making her way out of Durban Bay during August this year. Niledutch is a shipping company that has specialised in the West Africa trades for over 25 years and today operates services to and from West Africa and the east coast South America, between West Africa and Europe, West Africa and South Africa, West Africa and Middle and Far East. Picture by Trevor Jones

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map courtesy CIA

Pretoria - South Africa remains the highest ranked country in sub-Saharan Africa on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) global competitiveness index.

“South Africa moves up by four places to attain 50th position this year, remaining the highest-ranked country in sub-Saharan Africa and the second-placed among the BRICS economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). The country benefits from the large size of its economy, particularly by regional standards - it is ranked 25th in the market size,” read the Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012.

The report was released on Wednesday by the WEF and assesses the ability of countries to provide high levels of prosperity to their citizens, depending on how productively they use available resources.

This year’s report features a record number of 142 economies, including developed and developing nations.

“Sub-Saharan Africa has grown impressively over the last 15 years. It has bounced back rapidly from the global economic crisis, and its growth rates continue to exceed the global average. Indeed, some African countries improve with respect to national competitiveness this year. South Africa and Mauritius remain in the top half of the rankings, having advanced since last year,” the report stated.

South Africa was found to be doing well on measures of the quality of institutions, property rights and the accountability of its private institutions, among others.

“Particularly impressive is the country’s financial market development (4th), indicating high confidence in South Africa’s financial markets at a time when trust is returning only slowly in many other parts of the world,” it noted.

The country was also found to be doing “reasonably” well in more complex areas like business sophistication (38th) and innovation (41st) and strong collaboration between universities and the business sector in innovation (26th).

“These combined attributes make South Africa the most competitive economy in the region. However, in order to further enhance its competitiveness, the country will need to address some weaknesses,” said the report.

South Africa ranks 95th in labour market efficiency, with rigid hiring and firing practices (139th), a lack of flexibility in wage determination by companies (138th), and significant tensions in labour-employer relations (138th).

The report also called for efforts to be made to increase the university enrolment rate of 15%, which places South Africa 97th overall, in order to better develop its innovation potential.

The country’s infrastructure, which is good by regional standards, requires upgrading. The report also found that poor security remained an obstacle in doing business in South Africa.

“The business costs of crime and violence (136th) and the sense that the police are unable to provide protection from crime (95th) do not contribute to an environment that fosters competitiveness.”

The report expressed concern at the health of South Africa’s workforce, which is ranked 129th out of 142 economies. The ranking is as a result of high rates of communicable diseases and poor health indicators.

According to the report, South Africa and Mauritius remain in the top half of the rankings, having advanced in the last year.

The report also added that in sub-Saharan Africa, there have been measurable improvements across specific areas in a number of other African countries. The report found that generally sub-Sahara Africa as a whole lags behind the rest of the world in competitiveness.

Mauritius ranked 54th, while Rwanda ranked 70th and Botswana 80th – putting them in the group of top ranked countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The report shows that Africa’s competitiveness has been improving in recent years in specific areas, with many countries ensuring more sustainable fiscal policies, better- managed inflation and more efficient markets.

Many African countries are low in the ranking with 13 of the 20 lowest ranked economies being from Africa.

“Looking forward, African economies must continue to develop economic environments that are based on productivity enhancements.”

Switzerland tops the overall rankings followed by Singapore. The United States slipped to fifth position, having been overtaken by Singapore and Sweden. Finland occupies 4th place. – BuaNews & P&S

You can read the full WEF report as a .pdf document HERE. Use your BACKSPACE BUTTON to return to this page.

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Jeanne Clark, with Ivan Clark standing behind her, holds the ceremonial hammer used to officially ‘launch’ the ship. Picture IVS

Durban-based shipping company Island View Shipping launched its latest ship in a ceremony held in Japan last week, with Mrs Jeanne Clark, wife of Grindrod chairman Ivan Clark acting as sponsor and naming the ship IVS Magpie.

Speaking at the naming ceremony, Ivan Clark said that Grindrod Ltd has maintained a strong balance sheet and a good fleet of ships as well as being profitable during the difficult times that shipping has experienced over the last three years.

He promised more ships to come for Island View Shipping.

“We have recently announced the introduction of US$ 300 million of additional capital for growth of our shipping fleet and port infrastructure projects. This, together with our existing capital of US$1 billion, will allow Grindrod Ltd through Island View Shipping, the opportunity to further invest into future newbuilding projects.”

Clark said Grindrod and IVS were very proud as South African companies to have developed an association with the Mitsubishi Corporation, which was Grindrod’s partner in the vessel.

“Island View Shipping has been fortunate to have already built two ships through Japanese owners in the Imabari Shipyard,” he said. “The first being the Panamax vessel the IVS Pinotage and the second, the Supermax vessel the IVS Beachwood which was delivered on July 6 this year.

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Streamers fly in the wind as IVS Magpie is ‘launched’ Launchings today take several forms and do not always see the ships entering the water immediately, but are taken very seriously by the Japanese. Picture IVS

“IVS Magpie is now the third vessel that Island View Shipping has the great privilege to receive from the Imabari Shipyard. This vessel is owned by IM Shipping our joint venture company between Mitsubishi and ourselves. This was therefore a very auspicious occasion and we also look forward to the delivery of the second vessel for IM Shipping, the IVS Ibis, from Imabari Shipyard in February next year.

IVS Magpie is 170 metres long and 27m wide and has a deadweight of 28 050 tonnes. Her Japanese main engine is a B&W 6s42MC Mark 6 with a maximum output of 5 850kW at 129 rpm although its normal output would be 122rpm giving 4 970kW.

Also present at the launching were Martyn Wade, chief executive of IVS with his wife Andre and two daughters, and IVS’ Chris Sutton, Jeremy Miles and Steve Griffiths. The launching took place last Tuesday, 30 August 2011.

This article also appeared in the Mercury Network of 7 September 2011.

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by Petty Officer 2nd Class Felicito Rustique
US 6th Fleet Public Affairs

Port Louis, Mauritius - USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) arrived in Port Louis, Mauritius, for an 8-day goodwill port visit as part of their involvement with Africa Partnership Station East's hub, 5 September.

The visit will feature on board classroom training in critical shipboard areas of damage control, fire fighting, search and rescue planning and electrical maintenance. A community service project at a children’s school and a soccer match with the Mauritius coast guard will also take place.

Cmdr. Angel Cruz, commanding officer of Samuel B. Roberts, said he and his crew are looking forward to their time in Mauritius.

“Sammy B. is really excited to arrive in Mauritius for classroom training with the coast guard and police here,” said Cruz. “The training will culminate with an underway exercise where we’ll put all our knowledge into practice. This is our primary mission. Secondly, the sailors are excited to step out and enjoy the country of Mauritius.”

Prior to its arrival, Roberts was underway supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation in the US 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

The visit to Mauritius marks Roberts´ fifth East African port visit in the past seven weeks. The other stops were in Mombasa, Kenya; Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; Victoria, Seychelles; and Maputo, Mozambique.

“The goal is for us to share knowledge with our East African partners and to learn from each other about maritime education and training, in order to effectively patrol our coastal waters and contribute toward maritime security in the region,” said Cruz.

Samuel B. Roberts is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate that is homeported in Naval Station Mayport, Fla., and is currently on a scheduled deployment to the US 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

Africa Partnership Station is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, US Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.

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This is the latest artist’s impression of what the new EUROPA 2 will look like when completed. As with the present Europa, it seems unlikely that Europa 2 will take away too many beauty awards if such exist among the cruising fraternity, but it is after all what goes on inside the ship that really matters and it is here that Europa 2 is expected to score big with the European cruising market.

The first steel has been cut for Hapag-Lloyd’s new cruise flagship, EUROPA 2 when on Monday this week Hapag-Lloyd’s cruise division managing director Sebastian Ahrens pressed the starting button at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

A total of 835 shipyard workers are involved in the project, dedicating an estimated 2.5 million hours of labour until its completion in the spring of 2013.

“After an intense planning stage, we are very pleased to be taking this decisive step towards the extension of our fleet with the first steel cut,” said Ahrens.

The individual parts of the ship will be manufactured in different shipyard halls over the coming months. Keel laying is scheduled for the spring of 2012, and commissioning for the spring of 2013.

The EUROPA 2 will enhance the luxury segment of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, offering a modern and informal interpretation of the EUROPA, the only cruise ship to be awarded with the highest 5-stars plus ranking in the Berlitz Cruise Guide.

EUROPA 2 will have a total of eleven decks and 258 suites. The ship will have a maximum capacity of 516 passengers and will boast more space per passenger than any other cruise ship in the industry.

Spa Suites, Penthouse Suites and family suites will complement the range of accommodations to choose from on board. Seven restaurants including a sushi bar, two lounges and four bars will enhance the culinary diversity offered. Guests will also enjoy a diverse range of on board entertainment, a large wellness and spa area, and numerous sports and health-oriented offerings.

Details of Hapag-Lloyd cruises, which usually include one or more ships visiting Southern Africa during our summer, can be found www.hlcruises.com - remember to use your BACKSPACE BUTTON to return to this page.

Come cruising with us into the late Mediterranean summer, says MSC

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MSC Splendida

MSC Cruises has several ships sailing in the Mediterranean during the late summer months of the northern hemisphere and is inviting readers to “make dreams of escaping to warmer climes a reality and head north for a late summer sail to dreamy Mediterranean destinations with MSC Cruises.”

Sailing in the Mediterranean Sea is always a good thing and MSC Cruises has a range of classic itineraries with memorable excursions from legendary port cities where gems of antiquity are often complimented by cutting edge modernism.

One example is the ‘Seven Pearls Cruise’ aboard the company’s flagship MSC SPLENDIDA which MSC says remains top of the popularity list for those cruising in the Med. Starting from historic Genoa in Italy, the cruise enjoys ports of call in Marseille in France, Barcelona in Spain, Tunis in Tunisia (temporarily suspended) the mid-sea island of Malta, Sicily and Italy’s capital city of Rome.

Another unique itinerary is the Eastern Mediterranean cruise aboard MSC MAGNIFICA featuring a dramatic sunset departure down the Grand Canal of Venice and ports of call in Bari in southern Italy, the island of Rhodes in the azure Aegean, Haifa in Israel and on to Piraeus, the port of historic Athens before returning to Venice. Yummy!

But these are just two of the many itineraries on offer to suit individual preferences and pockets aboard the fleet of 11 luxurious MSC Cruises liners calling at a total of 67 ports in the ‘Middle Sea’ bordered by the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa.

Italy is still the most popular country of embarkation for MSC Cruises which has over 1,7 million passengers cruising in the Mediterranean every year, while both Greece and Italy are rated as the top two country destinations of choice.

According to MSC Cruises, the top five excursions enjoyed by passengers have also varied little over the years. They are: the sun drenched and scenically spectacular Amalfi coast around Salerno in Italy; the excavated early Roman town of Pompeii buried by volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius near Naples; the ‘Roma Barocca’ which explores the architecture and urbanism of Rome from the port of Civitavechhia ; Athens and the architectural masterpieces of the Acropolis, the fortified citadel and state sanctuary of the ancient Greek city; and the grand tour of Istanbul in Turkey.

More details are available from www.msccruises.com or from your friendly travel agent.

Come explore South East Asia on the ORION 2

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Orion II, the ex R4 and later the Clelia

If the Mediterranean right now is not for you, then why not look east for your cruising pleasure, and at the same time take in some exciting itineraries visiting some of the ‘hottest’ destinations right now on the cruising calendar – and we don’t mean temperature wise.

Departing on 10 October, you can take a 7-night cruise from Singapore on Australian cruise company Orion Expedition Cruises’ 100-passenger ship ORION II. This gives you the opportunity of exploring the coastlines and islands of Malaysia and Thailand.

In addition to visiting some of Asia’s major centres such as Singapore and Bangkok (your destination), Orion’s expeditions provide the opportunity to experience both traditional and modern Asia from a different perspective, often far away from the crowds. There is a balance of history, culture and relaxation on the cruises to sublime islands and beaches, among the finest in South-East Asia.

One of the highlights is Singapore itself of course – little more need be said – and then various islands and beauty spots along the coast of South East Asia. These include islands such as Tioman, the setting for the filming of the 1958 movie Bali Hai and what TIME magazine has been selecting since the 1970s as one of the world’s most beautiful islands.

The cruise ends at Bangkok, which boasts some of the country's most visited historical venues such as the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. Orion II will be berthed in the city centre on arrival.

More details are available from Triton Cape Sea Travel or from your friendly travel agent.

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Liebherr 180 mobile crane for Onitsha port

Liebherr-Werk Nenzing, the Austrian-based crane manufacturer, has delivered two mobile harbour cranes to Nigeria's Onitsha River Port.

The LHM 180 mobile cranes which were delivered to the Niger River port form part of Onitsha’s ongoing redevelopment. According to the Nigerian government this is an example of the state keeping to its promise of upgrading port infrastructure throughout the country.

The ordering and delivery of the two Liebherr cranes follows a program of dredging and port refurbishment that has resulted in considerable upgrading of the Onitsha port during the last year, resulting in new warehousing, port accommodation and the provision of storage space.

The LHM 180 mobile cranes have a maximum lifting capacity of 64 tonnes and a maximum outreach of 35 metres. They will be used to handle a wide variety of breakbulk cargoes, including iron billets for the steel mills, building and construction materials, spare parts, wine and spirits, tyres, cements, cars and the occasional container - the latter being an area where growth is expected. The cranes can also be adapted for bulk handling if needed.

“Building something like a river port for the benefit of the local community gave me great pleasure. Working with international companies such as Liebherr assisted us in the equipment selection part of the task, and we hope to work with them again on future projects, said Sir Nath Okechukwu, the owner and chairman of the construction group. – source Port Technology


The Danish family and two friends who were highjacked on their yacht ING by Somali pirates on 24 February, have been set free after a ransom believed to be valued at US$3 million was paid. It is not known who raised or paid the money.

The Johansen family of mother and father and two sons and a daughter aged between 12 and 16, as well as two crewmembers were reported yesterday as being on their way back to Denmark. The Danish foreign ministry said all seven were in good health considering the circumstances.

There is still no news about the South African couple, Bruno Pelizzari and Deborah Calitz who were taken hostage from the South African yacht Choizil by Somali pirates and who remain in pirate hands. Five Somali pirates who were subsequently captured and taken to the Netherlands for trial were sentenced in mid August to seven years in prison each for their involvement in the highjacking of the yacht Choizil.

MSC Panama release after ransom is paid

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MSC Panama. Picture by Ian Shiffman

The Liberian-registered container ship MSC PANAMA which was highjacked by Somali pirates on 19 December last year has been released along with its crew of 23 Burmese seafarers. It is understood that a ransom worth $7 million was paid to have the ship and crew released.

The 1750-TEU MSC Panama is owned by the US-based Eurus Berlin company and is on charter to Mediterranean Shipping Company.


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The Italian owned and operated, Liberian-flagged products tanker CIELO DI LONDRA (36,032-dwt, built 2001) in Cape Town harbour this week. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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