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Ports & Ships Maritime News

19 September 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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Some of our readers will have learned of the fire on board the passenger ship NORDLYS off the Norwegian coast last week. Nordlys is a vessel in the Hurtigruten’s fleet and sails along the Norwegian coast, visiting the picturesque fjords and other scenic spots. A fire broke out on board the ship last Thursday (16 September) and left two people dead and another 16 crewmembers injured. The cause was not immediately identified but Hurtigruten said that there were 261 people on board at the time, of which 207 were passengers and 55 crew. Approximately 100 passengers were taken off in lifeboats before the ship reached the port of Alesund. The ship managed to reach port safely, but not without difficulty as the vessel was losing power. The fire was eventually extinguised.

The above picture was taken of NORDLYS in Bergen on the day before the Norwegian bomb blast and massacre. Picture by Trevor Jones

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Further cut-backs for CSAV

Chilean shipping line CSAV’s Marco Polo service between India, the Middle East and South frica has come to an end and instead CSAV will be takiong slots on MSC’s India South Africa service.

. The final voyage of CSAV’s MarcoPolo service left from Durban at the end of last week. The MSC service in which CSAV has taken slots has a rotation of Durban, Colombo, Jebel Ali, Mundra, Nhava Sheva, Colombo and Durban, using six ships in the 2750-TEU range. Ports no longer catered for by CSAV as a result of the arrangement include Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Karachi.

It appears that this is just one of several reductions to expect from the Chilean line, with slots being taken in appropriate MSC services in each case. Source – American Shipper

Maersk takes over CSAV ships

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Maersk Duisburg. Picture by Trevor Jones

In another development involving CSAV, Maersk Line has chartered seven 8,000-TEU relet vessels from CSAV. The vessels are owned by Peter Dohlë Schiffahrts and became available when CSAV reduced its trans-Pacific services.

It is being reported that Maersk has taken the ships for a one year period at a rate that is thought to be in the region of US$35,000 a day, considerably down from the $50,000 being realised for 8,000-TEU ships earlier this year.

Welcome for Maersk Line’s new approach from ESC

The European Shippers Council says it welcomes Maersk Line’s announcement last week of a daily service between Asia and Europe, including the penalties accruing to the carrier in the event of late arrivals, and likewise including penalties on container ’no-shows’, which apparently is rife among exporters.

“This new service is in sync with the themes developed in the manifesto on the future business of shipping produced by Maersk Line in June this year,” said Jean-Louis Cambon, chairman of the ESC’s Maritime Transport Council.

“First, de facto, it introduces differentiation in the basket of services on offer, a longstanding demand from shippers, based on the concrete evidence that not all shipments have the same service and costs requirements. “Second, it recognizes that uncertainty in schedules is the mother of all evils as it generates ‘belt and braces’ safety stocks at destination as no sales organisation can afford stock-outs, particularly in depressed market conditions.” He said the ’conveyor belt-like’ product will allow for production to flow smoothly from the factory to the port.

Cambon said he looked forward to the time when competing lines followed suit with similar services. “Maersk Line may disagree with this, but its true success will unravel when competing operators launch similar products, confirming the emergence of a new market with different service clusters, much in the same way as the express parcel industry developed.”


Image and video hosting by TinyPic A maritime alert has been issued for waters off the coast of Benin after a Cyprus-flagged tanker was hijacked, reports GAC World

. The vessel, with 23 crew on board, was attacked whilst involved in a ship-to ship (STS) transfer of its cargo of crude oil to a Norwegian ship around 62 miles south of Cotonou. Contact with the vessel has been lost and its whereabouts are currently unclear. The Norwegian vessel was also attacked, but the crew managed to lock themselves in a safe room until the pirates abandoned the attack.

This incident comes weeks after a similar attack on the MT EMOCEAN whilst it was involved in STS operations in the area. Operators are advised that the risks of attack are heightened when performing STS operations in high risk areas, as slow-moving or stationary vessels are more easily accessed and unable to carry out evasive manoeuvres.

Waters off the coast of Benin were designated a war risk zone by the Lloyds Market Association in August. Best management practices and watch rotas should be in place at all times.

Seychelles to extradite suspected pirate to Belgium

The Seychelles has announced that it will extradite to Belgium a Somali suspected of involvement in a pirate attack on a Belgian vessel two years ago.

“This will be the first time in the history of the Seychelles that it will extradite a person suspected of piracy to a European country. His fingerprints were found on the hijacked vessel,” the statement read.

Abdiwahad was captured off the Kenyan coast by a Belgian warship taking part in a European Union counter piracy activity.

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South Africa’s newest manganese mine which was opened in the Northern Cape last week could set off a new era of South African export growth, says Brian Gilbertson, former chief executive of BHP Billiton.

Gilbertson was invited to cut the ribbon marking the start of mining operations at the Tshipi é Ntle manganese mine. He has teamed up with former Transnet CEO Saki Macozoma to create a 2.4 million tonne a year mining operation at the facility.

“It's my first wish that our sod turning ceremony will trigger a new era of growth for South Africa's exports in general, ahead of the coming increasing demand from China and the East and in particular that it triggers such a growth for manganese,” he said.

Transnet Freight Rail chief executive Siyabonga Gama said during the same event that TFR intended completing a feasibility study into the development of a manganese rail line to the Eastern Cape port of Ngqura. He said manganese miners would not be able to gain access to the Sishen – Saldanha iron ore line and that Saldanha would remain a dedicated iron ore port.

TFR wanted to improve and expand the existing railway from the Northern Cape to Port Elizabeth and Ngqura to be able to handle up to 12 million tonnes of manganese a year, up from the present line capacity of 7 million tonnes. After 2017, said Gama, the capacity of the manganese corridor to Ngqura would be further expanded to handle up to 22 million tonnes annually.

Mercedes-Benz wants urgent investment to railway

Mercedes-Benz South Africa says it wants a “very reliable railway connection” between Port Elizabeth and East London, where it has its factory, as a matter of urgency.

The newly appointed CEO of MBSA, Dr Martin Zimmermann said talks with Transnet over the matter had already been going on for some six or seven years. The Eastern Cape Government was willing to assist MBSA but, said Zimmermann, it is up to Transnet to make the decision of investing in the line connecting the two port cities.

MBSA manufactures the C-Class motor car for both local and export markets but needs to draw components from manufacturers based at a supplier park near Uitenhage outside Port Elizabeth. These components are currently transported by road but even the road network is not reliable, said Zimmermann.

One wonders whether the components can’t be carried by sea over the relatively short distance between Port Elizabeth and East London. Ocean Africa Container Lines operates a regular service between the two ports.

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A man conducting a stowaway search on board a ship in Richards Bay died last week when he entered a cargo hold without breathing gear and was overcome by toxic fumes, reports the Zululand Observer.

Michael van Rooyen was part of a team searching the wood chip carrier UNIVERSAL ACE prior to the ship sailing from Richards Bay, when he entered an access point leading to one of the ship’s cargo holds. The report says he was immediately overcome by what is thought to have been carbon monoxide poisoning and a presence of methane gas.

A colleague, Marion Wehncke noticed van Rooyen’s absence and went to investigate and on seeing his body lying in the cargo hold he too entered, hoisted van Rooyen across his shoulders and attempted to climb out but he also collapsed. One of the ship’s crew then entered the space with breathing gear and gave his mask to Wehncke before being hoisted to safety by his fellow crew. Both van Rooyen and Wehncke were subsequently brought to the open deck where they received treatment but van Rooyen died soon afterwards.

Wehncke was taken to The Bay Hospital where he was admitted to the intensive care unit but later made a full recovery. Source – Zululand Observer

Like old times! Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Port of East London. Picture by Terry Hutson

East London ships agents and port workers may have felt it was like old times last week when for a number of days the port enjoyed having up to 13 ships in harbour at the same time.

True, one of the vessels was a harbour tug undergoing repair in the dry dock, while others included four Svitzer tugs – the Svitzer’s Angola, Zaire, Padrao and Soyo. Also in port were two mine hunters from the South African Navy – SAS Umzimkulu and SAS Umkomaas which were paying the port a courtesy visit as part of Navy Week. They were to be joined later in the week by the frigate SAS Amatola, returning from deployment in the Mozambique Channel.

In the days before containerisation it was not uncommon for the port of East London to have most of its berths occupied by shipping but sadly that era has passed and there have been times when the port has remained empty for several days at a time.

Durban terminal woes as Navis system ‘crashes’

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Outside DCT. Picture by Terry Hutson

There appears to be no end in sight for the problems at the Durban Container Terminal (DCT), Pier 2. After a weekend (10/11 September) of severe road congestion outside the terminal there was yet another ‘crash’ of the Navis SPARCS N4 operating system during the week (Wednesday, 14 September), leading once again to a long queue of trucks outside the terminal gates.

The problems are exacerbated by continuing roadworks further along Bayhead Road leading to Pier 1, where the road is being widened as well as realigned near the entrance to the Cutler complex (Island View).

Trucking companies and operators now say that the congestion outside DCT is one of the causes of the high level of road accidents and deaths on the city’s and national roads because of fatigue suffered by drivers.

Ship repair companies who are forced to share the Bayhead Road with the truckers complain of being unable to reach the shipyards at times because of the large number of lorries clogging Bayhead Road. Ports & Ships was told at the weekend just past of ship repair personnelk arriving at Bayhead Road at 05h00 one morning only to find the road system totally blocked with traffic, even at that early hour.

Bayhead Road Extension opens earlier than expected

The consultants acting for the contractors of the Bayhead Road widening project have advised that the implementation of the Phase 6 traffic accommodation will be sooner than anticipated and will come into effect this Wednesday, 21 September at 09h00.

“The splitting of Cutler Complex and Pier 1 traffic will now be taking place opposite Iran Road, approximately 250m ahead of the current split location. As before, temporary truck parking will be provided on the west of the incoming lane.

“Motorists are urged to exercise EXTREME caution when commuting through the construction site. Where possible, please use an alternative route.

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The South African Navy frigate SAS MENDI (F148) sailing from Durban on Thursday 15 September. It is believed the ship is heading for Pemba in northern Mozambique to take up her deployment as the naval vessel on anti piracy patrol in the northern Mozambique Channel. Picture by Clinton Wyness

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Eukor’s UK-flagged car carrier MORNING MIRACLE (46,800-gt, built 2006) arriving in Durban on Sunday morning, 18 September 2011. Picture by Trevor Jones

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