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Ports & Ships Maritime News

14 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 design of today’s LNG (Liquified Natural Gas ) tankers is characterised by a high speed, this requires a low overall resistance and an excellent after body design, with a good flow towards the propeller and rudder without flow separation; this can be clearly seen in the design of the bow and stern sections.

The GRAND AVIVA is a 1C ice-class vessel (harsh winter conditions in the operational area demand robust construction for year-long use). The vessel carries four Moss-type spherical tanks with a total capacity of 147,000m³. The tanks are constructed from several aluminium layers, insulated with polyurethane.

LNG tankers are less polluting than other shipping vessels because they typically burn natural gas as a fuel source for propulsion.

The Grand Aniva is powered by two steam turbines generating 23,600kW and is able to achieve a speed of 19.5k (boil-off gas will be used as a primary fuel source for the ship). The vessels are registered in Cyprus and each has a crew of 40.

Story and picture by Frank Vennard/Videographics

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Tau Morwe, misquoted?

The Ports Regulator says he hopes that a recent article in Business Report (7 September – ‘Study to unearth truth about SA’s high port tariffs’) is incorrect and the Tau Morwe, Transnet National Ports Authority CEO has been misquoted.

In the Business Report article, Morwe is quoted as saying that a study has been commissioned to establish whether claims that South African ports are among the most expensive in the world, are true. Morwe was reported as saying that if the study showed that NPA tariffs were too high, action would be taken to align its prices with the global average.

“We are working with the regulator to find a common approach because right now the regulator has its own approach and Transnet has its own, different from the regulator’s,” he said.

In his statement issued yesterday (Tuesday), the ports regulator said the following: “To correct the report:

  • There was a meeting with NPA on Thursday 1 September 2011.
  • At the meeting the regulator agreed to consider a co-operative research programme request made by NPA, on condition that industry was also involved in such a programme, and that the Regulator’s independence is not constrained in the process
  • NPA requested this as they indicated that they had certain internal capacity challenges and were to issue an international tender for consultants to assist them
  • Such [a] research programme was not related to port pricing as indicated in the article and the regulator did not discuss differing research methodologies with NPA
  • The area of research co-operation requested by NPA was on tariff methodology and tariff strategies, not on comparative port pricing and benchmarking
  • “We trust this will clear up any misunderstanding created by the [BR] report or clarify any misconception as to the engagement referred to,” the regulator’s statement said.

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    SADC to host anti piracy summit

    Pretoria, 13 September - In a bid to deal more effectively with pirates, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is to hold a summit at the end of October.

    According to Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, policy is required to combat piracy in SADC waters and to safeguard the economies of the many landlocked countries.

    “SADC should strengthen and harmonise regional and domestic legal frameworks for arrest, awaiting trial detention, prosecution and imprisonment or repatriation of pirates,” she said.

    Sisulu said the catch and release of pirates should be stopped, since it allows experienced pirates to execute more sophisticated acts of piracy.

    Piracy constitutes a serious challenge to the development and stability of SADC member states, given the importance of the region's international seaborne trade and its vital contribution to regional stocks and economic development.

    According to Sisulu, a threat around the Horn of Africa and SADC waters will detrimentally affect SADC's trade and economy.

    Sisulu said collective security for SADC remains a necessary pre-condition for the region.

    “SADC will have to take responsibility for its own maritime security in cooperation with other regions, task forces, navies and role players.”

    Sisulu further said SADC member states should put in place robust laws to effectively prosecute pirates.

    As SADC's coastal area does not fall within patrol areas of the international anti-pirate forces, SADC will have to take responsibility for its own maritime security.

    The global incidence of piracy surged 36% on-year in the first half of the year due mainly to more attacks carried out by Somali pirates.

    Despite the spike in attacks by Somali pirates, the actual number of vessels being hijacked off the eastern coast of Africa fell to 13% of all ships captured, compared with 27% a year earlier. – BuaNews

    Kenya Marine Security Alert

    A maritime security alert has been issued for coastal waters off northern Kenya after a British national was shot dead and his wife abducted at their accommodation at Kiwayu Safari Village, 60km south of the Somali border.

    Reports suggest that a group of armed men carried out the attack and escaped with the woman by boat. Her whereabouts are currently unknown. No group has taken responsibility for the attack, and no ransom demands have been made.

    Although not strictly a piracy incident, the attack may have been carried out by opportunistic pirates taking advantage of a lack of security at the resort, and the ease of access to high value western targets.

    Local sources have reported pirates around the Lamu archipelago in the past, and those in the area should remain vigilant. – source GAC World

    Pirates attack catamaran in Gulf of Aden

    A maritime security alert has been issued for the Gulf of Aden after pirates attacked a French catamaran, killing a man and dumping his body overboard before taking his wife hostage.

    The SY Tribal Kat was found abandoned off Yemen on 8 September. On 10 September EUNAVOR vessels tracked down and engaged a pirate skiff which was found to be carrying the woman. She was rescued, and seven pirates were detained.

    The couple, both French nationals, were experienced sailors on a round-the-world voyage and were aware of the piracy risks in the region, where French yachts have been hijacked in the past.

    An increase in piracy is expected over the coming weeks, following the end of Indian Ocean monsoon season. Those transiting through the area should remain vigilant and employ best management practices, crew preparedness and watch rotas to mitigate the risks of successful pirate attack. Source GAC World

    Saved by the citadel and a friendly warship

    The Russian frigate SEVEROMORSK rushed to the rescue of the highjacked Greek tanker INITED EMBLEM (162,000-dwt) on Saturday after the crew locked themselves in a safe room or ‘citadel’ as pirates boarded the ship.

    This gave the Russian warship time to reach the tanker and assist the crew in retaking control of their ship. No details of what happened to the pirates are available. The incident took place south-west of Port Hodeidah in Yemen.

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    Efthimios Mitropoulos

    The Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, has expressed his profound sadness for the loss of life in the sinking of the ro-ro ferry Spice Islander I off the coast of the United Republic of Tanzania on 10 September.

    “We are shocked at the number of lives lost and have offered any help and technical assistance which may be required,” Mr Mitropoulos said, adding that IMO was willing to provide assistance in investigating the cause of the accident and, following on from that, in working with the United Republic of Tanzania to prevent further such accidents occurring.

    Mr Mitropoulos commended the work of the Dar es Salaam Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) sub-centre (which was commissioned by IMO in 2009) in coordinating the rescue. The sub-centre confirmed to IMO on Monday (12 September) that, so far, 187 bodies had been recovered and 619 people had been rescued.

    While IMO regulations, such as those contained in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), do not apply to ships trading on domestic routes, IMO has worked with a number of countries and non-governmental organizations to improve safety on so-called ‘non-convention’ vessels.

    With the assistance of IMO, model safety regulations for inland waterways vessels and non-convention craft, including fishing vessels operating in Africa, were developed in 2001. Those regulations were agreed by representatives of Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The model regulations were aimed at providing a regional safety and pollution prevention standard for new vessels and barges and, as appropriate, existing vessels and convention-sized ships that trade regularly on inland waterways and at sea on non-international voyages, and for personnel serving aboard them.

    Search and rescue coverage around Africa

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    Search and rescue coverage around Africa has been developed following the 2000 IMO Conference on Search and Rescue and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), held in Florence, Italy.

    In one of the resolutions adopted by the Conference, African countries bordering the Atlantic and Indian Oceans (from Morocco to Somalia, anti-clockwise, as well as the nearby Atlantic and Indian Ocean Island States) were invited to establish, in co-operation with IMO, five sub-regional centres and 26 sub-centres to cover their entire coastline areas for search and rescue coordination purposes, in order to provide search and rescue coverage in what had previously been identified as one of the areas suffering most from a lack of adequate SAR and Global Maritime Distress and Safety System infrastructure.

    This process was finalised earlier in 2011 with the signing of an agreement on the North and West African sub-regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), establishing a new MRCC near Rabat, Morocco.

    This had been preceded by MRCCs commissioned in Mombasa, Kenya, in 2006 (its sub-centres in Dar es Salaam and Victoria, Seychelles, were both commissioned in 2009); in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2007; in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2008; and in Monrovia, Liberia, in 2009, completing the chain of sub-regional African MRCCs, each with its own network of associated sub-centres.

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    Daily Maersk – providing ‘Absolute Reliability’

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    Eivind Kolding

    In yesterday’s News we revealed Maersk Line’s Daily Maersk, Absolute Reliability product A Giant Conveyor Belt Between Asia and Northern Europe in which Maersk has revealed that it is revolutionising container shipping by dedicating 70 ships (25% of its total tonnage) to the Asia-Northern Europe trade lanes to provide a daily cut-off service in place of the former weekly cut-off, with guaranteed arrivals at destinations.

    During a recorded press conference announcing the new product, Maersk Line CEO Eivind Kolding said, in answer to a question, that he doubted whether any other shipping company has the capacity to follow suit with a daily service between Asia and Europe, unless other companies amalgamated to provide a combined service.

    He described Maersk Daily as the first major development for shipping since the introduction of container shipping some 50 years ago.

    On the attached video, Maersk CEO Eivind Kolding talks about the concept DAILY MAERSK and answers media questions. Use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page. Please note the video is 43 minutes long.

    K Line looking to offload ships

    Japan’s K-Line, which appears to be the hardest hit of the three major Japanese container lines, is planning to dispose of some of its ships, according to Japanese media.

    Reports say the line will also dispose of some shares to improve the bottom line in tough markets and to provide ¥5 billion (US$65 million) this year. One Japanese trade paper said that four ships including bulkers and LNG carriers might be laid up to reduce high operating costs.

    K-Line is heavily exposed on the Asia-Europe trade lanes.

    CMA CGM angrily denies default prediction

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    CMA CGM Magellan in an emergency call at Cape Town, at a time when the French company along with several others was sailing round the Cape as a means of reducing costs on the return leg from Europe to Asia. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    French line CMA CGM has responded angrily to a Bloomberg report which suggested the line has a ‘9 in 10 chance’ of defaulting on the terms of recently issued bonds.

    CMA CGM, which earlier had clawed its way out of serious financial difficulties thanks to a timely loan from Turkish conglomerate Yildirim that gave the Turkish company 20% of CMA CGM, said that Bloomberg had shown a “lack of professionalism’ when it published its report on 5 September which led off with “Bonds and derivatives tied to CMA CGM SA, the third-largest container line, are signaling that the company has a nine in 10 chance of defaulting as the slowing global recovery pushes freight rates to about zero”.

    The news agency based its prediction on what it said was the collapse in freight rates in the Asia – Europe container trade lanes. CMA CGM said in a statement that the report was nothing but a mixed bag of unrelated facts. “The group is very disappointed by the lack of professionalism shown in this article.”

    Read the full Bloomberg report here Zero Freight Rates Fueling CMA CGM Default Risk to 90%: Corporate Finance.

    Two ships collide in Beira

    Two ships have collided at the port of Beira, receiving heavy damage according to first reports.

    The collision took place between the Odfjell products tanker BOW ENGINEER (30,086-dwt, built 2006) and Philippines’ flagged bulk carrier ZUNI PRINCESS (28,166-dwt, built 1984) with both ships receiving damage.

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    According to reports the Mauritius Ports Authority (MPA) intends issuing a tender early in 2012 for the design and construction of a new island container terminal on 60ha of land off Mer Rouge, which will have the capacity to handle two million containers when completed in three phases.

    Costing an estimated Rs 20 billion, the MPA says it will look for a strategic partner for the massive project, which will require about Rs 7bn to be allocated to building a sea wall to counter the action of the open sea on the new island.

    The objective of the project is to establish Mauritius as a more competitive and recognised container hub in the Indian Ocean region.

    The existing Mauritius Container Terminal has a capacity of 550,000TEUs at present and it is hoped that the development will see this increasing to 750,000 TEUs annually.

    Container volumes at MPA rose 8% in 2010 to reach 442,654 TEUs for the year. Of these transit containers totalled 219,984 TEU, representing a 3% increase on 2009.


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    At the Continental Divide

    A series of meetings are to be held in Durban, Cape Town and Pretoria to hear about the maritime strategy of Panama, which will include details of the widened expanded Panama Canal.

    The Guest of Honour at each meeting will be the Deputy Administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, Engineer Jose Barrios. Topics to be presented include:

    1] The Panamanian Shipping Registry.
    2] Maritime cooperation between the Republics of Panama and South Africa.
    3] The development of seafaring in South Africa as an alternative to unemployment through training and crewing.
    4] The role of the Panama Canal in international trade.
    5] The structural factors of the Panama Canal.
    6] An update of the expansion works of the Panama Canal.

    Local supporting companies are the law firms Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc and Norton Rose South Africa; the South African Maritime Chamber of Commerce; Panama and South Africa Maritime Services; the Department of Transport; The University of Pretoria; and the South African Institute for Civil Engineering.

    The meetings are to be held at venues in Durban, Cape Town and Pretoria between 26 and 29 September.

    People interested in attending can confirm attendance to the various presentations by emailing admin@panamaflag.co.za or by phoning 031 332 3333.


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    Pacific International Lines (PIL) container ship KOTA LAWA (39,906-gt, built 2008) in Cape Town harbour one week ago. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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