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Ports & Ships Maritime News

15-16 September 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic The Norwegian-owned, Liberian-flagged drill ship NOBLE DUCHESS (13,783-gt, built 1975) in Walvis Bay recently. The vessel has been listed as cold stacked and now appears, in this photograph, to have had the first part of her name painted out, appearing as DUCHESS. A ship on the way to the breakers perhaps? Picture by Paul van der Merwe of Walvis Bay Diving

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The first shipment of coal from the Moatize coal mines in Tete Province was due to be shipped from Beira port yesterday.

The batch of 35,000 tonnes of thermal coal was transported along the 575-km long Sena Railway, the first time in 28 years that such a cargo has been carried on the Sena- Beira railway. The coal was loaded into the bulker ORION EXPRESS, whose departure from the port marks the end of the first phase of the implementation of Vale’s Moatize Coal Mine, in which Vale has invested US$1.658 billion.

According to the Maputo newspaper Noticias, between 5,000 and 6,000 tons of coal was loaded each day using trucks and barges.

This method of loading has been necessary owing to the delay in refurbishment of the old bulk minerals facility at berth 8, which is being funded by Vale and Riversdale and will be operated by Cornelder. On completion of the refurbishment which is scheduled for November, a conveyor belt will come into operation and is likely to speed up the loading of coal into the ships.

According to Felix Machado, marketing manager for Cornelder at the port, the re-launch of coal exports at Beira is an historic occasion which would have positive results for the growth of the port and the rail network, the latter having also undergone refurbishment.

Machado told Noticias that Cornelder Moçambique, together with state port and rail company Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM), had begun to consider the possibility of building new docks and investing in specialised terminals for coal, fertilizers and mining products as well as a tobacco warehouse. This was to cater for the growth in the use of Beira by several neighbouring landlocked countries.

Vale holds the concession for one of the biggest coal reserves in the world at Moatize, Tete Province, in the northwest of the country. According to the Brazilian company, in due course the Moatize mine will have a nominal production capacity of 11 million tonnes of metallurgical and thermal coal per year

Since it was implemented in 2008, the Moatize Coal Mine has boosted the Mozambican economy, generating jobs and income, with more than 9,000 people having been involved in the project. In addition, the mine is stimulating and developing local suppliers of goods and services.

Over $90 million has already been invested in projects in the fields of health, farming, infrastructure, sport and education, as well as in the resettlement of 1,353 families in Tete. In order to achieve optimum results for the community, Vale’s investment in the resettlement was significantly higher than planned, involving the building of schools, health centres and a police station, thereby creating a well-functioning neighborhood for the community.

These projects include the refurbishment of Tete Provincial Hospital, Moatize Health Centre and the Moatize Intermediate Institute of Geology and Mines and the development of local agriculture.

Moatize Coal Mine, currently Vale’s largest coal investment, is part of the company’s strategy of becoming a major global player in the sector. In addition to its project in Mozambique, Vale has coal operations and a portfolio of exploration projects in Australia and Colombia, as well as minority stakes in two joint ventures in China.

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SAS Umkomaas M1499 in Durban Harbour. Picture by Manny Gounden

The South African Navy submarine SAS QUEEN MODJADJI I (S103) arrived at Durban’s Salisbury Island Naval Station this week, while in East London the port is playing host to several of the ‘small ships’ of the navy but can also expect a visit from one of the frigates, SAS AMATOLA.

S103 arrived in the port of Durban on Tuesday this week and went immediately to the naval station. In East London meanwhile the River class mine hunters SAS UMKOMAAS M1499 and SAS UMZIMKULU M1142 arrived on official visits to the city and port during which the navy will exercise its freedom of entry.

The two ships will remain in port for about a week and will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday between the hours of 10am and 5pm.

In addition, the navy frigate SAS AMATOLA is expected to arrive in the port either today or tomorrow, after completing a deployment on anti-piracy patrols in the Mozambique Channel.

A number of events have been organised around the navy’s visit, including having the acclaimed SA Navy Band perform in the City Hall on Friday evening. Entry is free but reservations are necessary with a limited number of tickets available from the ground floor of the Trust Centre.

A formal parade is to take place in the city today (Thursday) and again on Saturday.

Severe maritime weather warning for Eastern Cape and Southern KwaZulu-Natal

According to the NSRI, the South African Weather Service has issued a severe weather warning for the area between East London and Durban for this afternoon (Thursday). Gale force winds SW 35-40 knots are expected between the two port cities and very rough seas with wave heights in excess of 4 metres are expected between East London and Margate.

Luxury yacht OCTOPUS visits Walvis Bay

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Octopus in Walvis Bay Harbour. Picture by Paul van der Merwe/Walvis Bay Diving

The luxury yacht OCTOPUS, belonging to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has been a recent visitor at Walvis Bay. Commissioned in 2003, the yacht was built by Lurssen Yachts and is powered by eight Mercedes engines, generating a combined power output of 19,20 hp and given the yacht a top speed of 20 knots (cruising 17 knots). The yacht has its own helipad for two small helicopters that normally travel with the vessel.

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Hamburg Süd develops emission system

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Santa Isabel in Durban earlier this year. Picture by Trevor Jones

Hamburg Süd says that it is jointly developing with the classification society Germanischer Lloyd an innovative data management system for systematically capturing all environmentally relevant ship operation information.

The future ‘GL Emission Manager’ will permit detailed evaluation and analysis of all relevant data of the entire fleet and Hamburg Süd says it has set itself the goal of creating a valid basis for further reducing the emission of contaminants by its deployed fleet.

“There is as yet no comparable way of systematically collecting and analysing all environmentally relevant information from vessels in service,” says Arnt Vespermann, member of the Executive Board of Hamburg Süd, about the new GL Emission Manager. “It gives us the capability to satisfy the most diverse reporting requirements quickly and easily.”

The system is to be used throughout Hamburg Süd’s entire fleet from December 2012 and, in addition to environmentally relevant details, will make other operational information, such as current vessel position, cargo mix, or weather conditions, available on demand.

On the data-capture side, the GL Emission Manager will consist of two separate but directly linked parts: the data recorder will be installed on board the vessels to collect all relevant information on the spot. The central ‘Green Server’ will be located at Germanischer Lloyd and fed with data from the respective data recorders fully automatically. The server makes it possible to prepare a wide variety of queries and reports required at any time. Automatic plausibility checks of the information held in the system will additionally guarantee high data quality.

NYK joins Hong Kong and Australia in counter-pirate, terrorist drills

Japan’s shipping group NYK has performed an anti-piracy drill with the Royal Australian Navy and in a separate exercise another drill with the Hong Kong Police involving an anti-terrorist scenario carried out on board an NYK-owned vessel.

The 8,600-TEU NYK VENUS was the vessel used in the exercise with Hong Kong Police Special Duties Unit which dispatched high-speed boats and helicopters to the vessel to find and subdue pirates and terrorists.

During the drill, employees at NYK's head office in Tokyo, NYK Line (Hong Kong) and NYK Shipmanagement were able to reconfirm their roles for rapid response in dealing with acts of terrorism, including information exchanges with the police and other related organisations.

During its August joint drill with the Australian navy using the 2,800-TEU NYK-owned containership ACX DIAMOND, an escort training exercise with a naval frigate was adopted while the ship sailed along the east coast of Australia. This is the fifth joint exercise that the NYK Group has conducted with the Australian navy since 2007. Source HKSG

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Happy to have passed their trade tests as boilermakers is this group of apprentices from Southern African Shipyards

We frequently hear the cry that South Africa needs to return to the days of having schools of apprentices where young people can be taught a trade in a qualified and organised manner. An institution often referred to as an example of this was Transnet, which once maintained an impressive artisan apprenticeship programme that turned out thousands of highly qualified artisans in various fields, including boilermakers, welders, fitters and turners, carpenters and electrical technicians among just some of the skills.

Those apprentices, after passing their trade tests spread out across South Africa providing a pool of qualified men, and later a number of women, who were able to hone their experience within the service of the former vast South African Railways organisation before perhaps later entering into private practice for themselves or with other private businesses.

There were of course many other apprentice schools and many companies employed their own apprentice sections connected to the local ‘tech’, but the ‘railways’ established for itself one of the finest reputations for turning out excellently trained people to take the country forward in the manner of skills development. When Transnet opted to close down the railway apprentice school it was a sad day not only for would-be artisans but also the country.

In its place a number of private companies have taken up the challenge, not only of filling vacancies within their own organisations but also in terms of placing suitably trained people out there in the job market.

Of course the maritime industry is not exempt, and several companies including Transnet once again have taken up the challenge of addressing a dire shortage of trained personnel. In its ports division Transnet plans to train over 6 800 learners over the next five years and a similar number in its rail schools, while another 7 500 candidates will undergo training in rail engineering.

Transnet Chief Executive Brian Molefe told a parliamentary Enterprise Portfolio Committee in June that the company was looking to spend R88 million on training for ports personnel and another R139 million on rail engineering. He said that Transnet hoped to have an intake of 1 000 apprentices a year by 2012, up from the present 500.

But outside of big state-owned enterprises like Transnet it is encouraging to see private enterprises doing their own thing with specialist training and apprenticeships.

This can be seen in the ship repair industry, which by its nature requires an intake of highly skilled artisans who can meet the need of ship repair and even ship building in South Africa’s ports. Several companies have created their own fully accredited apprentice schools, with the hope of filling vacancies in their own business as well as meeting the requirements of others on the outside.

In May 2008 Southern African Shipyards (SAS) set out with a programme that would provide training in the fields of boilermaking, welding, fitting, rigging and electrical trades. SAS claims to now have the biggest artisan training programme within the shipbuilding industry and anticipates that an overall 60 apprentices will be recruited within a five-year period.

The apprentices undergo trade tests with the Merseta (Manufacturing Engineering and Related Services) and to date 40 have been appointed, of which 15 recently qualified as boilermakers, including six females. In what has been a predominantly male-oriented trade, the ladies are coping well under the hard working conditions and have an excellent pass rate.

At a graduation ceremony held at Mount Edgecombe recently, the 15 who qualified received their certificates.

During the training period the progress of the apprentices is monitored with a mentor who is assigned to each trainee who is responsible for evaluating their progress and performance. In addition a training coordinator has been appointed to oversee the progress of the apprentices and ensure that the training programme runs without a hitch.

By means of this training the pool of skilled personnel in shipbuilding is being reinvigorated and enlarged, while the trained young graduates will ulktimately help to contribute to meeting the replacement demand of artisans leaving the workplace for whatever reason.

SA Shipyards also initiated a project to provide in-service training to students of non-technical courses as part of their Skills Development Programme. In addition the company hosts Learners from SAPREF and SASOL who are receiving experiential training in specialised areas. A spokesperson for SA Shipyards said that training and development has now become part of the culture, ethos and heartbeat of the shipyard and is viewed not as a social responsibility exercise, but as a key strategy of ensuring that the highest quality standards are maintained and improved upon as well as to drive up efficiency and productivity levels that lead to international competitiveness.

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Pretoria - South Africa and the European Union’s trade and diplomatic ties will be in the spotlight as the two come together for their annual meeting today (Thursday).

The high-level meeting, to be co-chaired by President Jacob Zuma, will focus on national issues, regional and African matters and trade.

The fourth annual summit will seek to build on the positive progress that has been made since the partnership was initiated.

The primary objectives of these joint discussions, according to the Department of International Relations, are to further deepen SA-EU relations and to address issues of mutual interest and concern, including the key government priorities, namely: health, education, rural development, job creation and combating crime.

“South Africa and the EU are both fully committed to a vision of an African Continent which is prosperous, peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and united, and which contributes to a world that is just and equitable. The EU fully supports South Africa's commitment to the African Agenda, including the African Union and its socio-economic programme, NEPAD,” International Relations said on Wednesday.

Both partners are also committed to ensuring that the interests of developing and emerging countries are addressed, the ministry said, adding that both partners agree that the strategic partnership will be supportive of regional integration in SADC and the proposed Joint EU-Africa Strategy.

The delicate negotiation over an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is also likely to come up during the summit.

The summit will also discuss South Africa's preparations to host the United Nations climate talks from 28 November to 9 December in Durban.

The EU has given South Africa 6 million euros towards the climate conference, which activists are calling a last-ditch attempt to renew the emissions reduction targets in the Kyoto Protocol, the only binding global deal to cut greenhouse gases.

The EU is the world's largest trading bloc and generates about 30% of global GDP and 20% of global trade flows.

It is the world's biggest aid donor to poor countries, contributing approximately half of global aid. It is also South Africa's largest trading partner, accounting for 26% of South Africa's total trade. - BuaNews


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Cargo handled at the Cameroon ports in 2010 was up by 7.5% on 2009, Cameroon’s National Ports Authority has announced.

Total cargo handled amounted to 7.9 million tonnes, up from 7.3mt in 2009, with almost the entire amount being handled at the port of Douala, the country’s main port.

Of the total, 73% was made up of imports although this percentage is expected to alter in the future once new mining export operations come into being.

Approximately 45% of all traffic through Cameroon’s ports were for three neighbouring countries, Chad, Central African Republic and Republic of Congo.


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With the Rugby World Cup now underway in New Zealand, what better time to have a look at shipping in New Zealand waters – Lyttelton, the port for Christchurch to be more specific. First up is the Dutch-owned, New Zealand managed offshore vessel MARSOL PRIDE (1798-gt, built 2005). Picture by Alan Calvert

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The Australian-owned and managed LPG tanker MAEA (3759-gt, built 2005) approaching the port of Lyttelton, New Zealand. Picture by Alan Calvert

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