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Ports & Ships Maritime News

5 October 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The Greek-owned, Liberian-flagged container ship DEVA (40,030-gt, built 2004), in need of some new paint on her hull, arrives in Durban harbour during September 2011. Picture by Trevor Jones

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Tanzania turns to UN for help with piracy

Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete told the UN General Assembly in New York last week that piracy in his region was spreading fast and that help was urgently needed to counter the actions of pirates off East Africa.

He addressed UN members on Thursday and used the opportunity of saying that piracy was no longer a Somali problem but was one for other countries in the region as well. In recent times an estimated 13 ships had been attacked in Tanzanian waters of which five were highjacked, he said.

President Kikwete said Tanzania needed the support of the international community to build capacity to fight piracy. He said help was needed to deal with the problem of captured pirates.

Pirates intensify actions as seas moderate

As the effect of the monsoon wears off Somali pirate activity has increased, with a number of incidents and attacks being reported. At the recent weekend at least three attacks by pirates took place.

The tanker UACC SHAMS (50,100-dwt, built 2009) came under attack from two skiffs in the Somali basin but retired after armed guards on the United Arab Chemical Carriers’ ship fired warning shots in their direction.

On Sunday the bulker GOOD FAITH (67,400-dwt, built 1987) received the attention of pirates in the Gulf of Aden, with grappling hooks being thrown on board the ship. Once again an armed security force on board was able to fire in the direction of the pirates and force them to abort their attempt.

On the same day Rickmers Reederei’s LARA RICKMERS (45,100-dwt, built 1997) was attacked by pirates who fired RPGs at the ship in an attempt to force it to stop. On having their fire returned by armed guards on board the German ship the pirates retired from the scene.

Bulker DOVER released after ransom is paid

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picture EU NAVFOR/Marinetraffic

The bulker DOVER which has been in pirate hands since 28 February this year after it was highjacked 260 n.miles north-east of Salalah, has been released after a ransom was paid. The ship and her crew of 23 (3 Romanian, 1 Russian and 19 Filipinos) arrived on Sunday in the port of Salalah, reports EU NAVFOR.

Ship’s master and security force arrested in Dubai for having weapons

According to media reports, the ship’s master and two security men on a vessel arriving in the port of Dubai have been detained for the past six months for having weapons on board.

The ship was inspected after arriving in port at Al Hamriyah in March this year and two AK47 rifles and a quantity of ammunition were found hidden in the engine room. The three were immediately arrested and have been in detention ever since. The incident raises once again the dangers and risks posed by ships carrying weapons and armed guards for the purpose of deterring pirates while also having to comply with the laws of whichever country they enter.

Tanker attacked off Benin, West Africa

A products tanker came under attack and was boarded by pirates off the coast of Benin on Sunday, the International Maritime Bureau has reported. Without identifying the ship the report said that crew retired into the ship’s citadel where they remained for the entire night, emerging on Monday morning to find the ship abandoned by the pirates but with a quantity of cash stolen.

The report said that Benin and neighbouring Nigeria launched joint sea patrols last week to tackle an increase in piracy off both coasts, in which robbery appears to be the main motive and not the ransoming of ships or crew.

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Kgalema Motlanthe, SA deputy president

Pretoria - South Africa and Turkey have agreed to develop their current relations, which in time might turn into high-level council meetings and fuel momentum between the regional powers.

There has been a committed dialogue between Turkey and South Africa -- the African continent's economic powerhouse -- not only on bilateral ties but across a host of regional and global issues, ranging from financial woes at the G20 meetings, reform talks at the UN, developments in North Africa and the Middle East to the upcoming climate change summit (COP 17).

Their latest dialogue was on Tuesday when the two countries -- represented by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- met in Pretoria to review the state of bilateral political and economic relations, including the status and implementation of agreements and programmes of cooperation.

The two countries have been meeting regularly following Motlanthe's official visit to Turkey in May 2010.

“These regular high-level exchanges do not only contribute to the strengthening of political and economic relations, but also facilitate constructive engagements in a number of fields like education and skills development.

“We share complementary economic, commercial and technical capabilities that can contribute to the advancement of the respective national development priorities,” Motlanthe told a news briefing after the talks.

But trade and economic issues seem to be on top of the agenda for both countries.

With most Eurozone countries drowning in debt and the Middle East a political hotbed, the Turks are shifting their export dependency from their traditional trading partners.

In their quest to boost exports to $500 billion over the next few years, from $99 billion so far this year, they have set their sights on SA as a gateway to sub-Saharan Africa's huge consumer markets.

With a stable government, booming economy, vast consumer market, friendly investment environment and solid financial system, South Africa might just be the answer for the Turkish.

Already, trade between the two has increased, with over to over 75% of South Africa's exports to Turkey in nominal terms. The trade balance is also healthy, and currently in favour of South Africa.

Comparing the industries of Turkey and South Africa, Erdogan noted that the industries of the two countries complemented each other.

“Our visit is crucial to develop commercial relations. Half of all Turkish exports go to European Union countries. There is a serious recession in Europe. This visit will help us open up to new markets,” he said speaking through an interpreter.

However, Motlanthe highlighted that the tariffs for South Africa were higher compared to other EU partners. To address this, the two agreed that they needed to look at both sides, which they labeled as ‘sensitive.’

Acknowledging the growing importance Turkey places on South Africa, the prime minister stated that the country was becoming more powerful both within Africa and the international arena.

Erdogan, who described SA as a “pillar of strength”, said Turkey understood that South Africa was key in sub-Saharan Africa and would be a great strategic partner - not only from a region-wide perspective but also for global issues.

In this light, the two leaders agreed to work hand-in-hand to address the situation in other parts of the world like Somalia. Turkey has committed to opening a health facility as well as an embassy in Somalia.

Welcoming this, Motlanthe said the next step was to bring about political stability, which he said was a “pre-condition” for any progress in that country.

On other international issues, the two counterparts discussed the situation in Syria, which Erdogan said his government would soon announce sanctions against.

“We can no longer remain spectator to the developments in Syria. There are serious deaths of innocent, defenseless people. We cannot say 'this should continue',” Erdogan told the press conference.

“We have already partially announced certain steps that cannot wait any longer,” he added.

Erdogan said he would this weekend or next week visit the camps of Hatay, near the Syrian border, where thousands of Syrians have taken refuge. A roadmap regarding sanctions would then be announced after that visit.

Turkey has expressed frustration with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for failing to listen to the people, whose almost daily pro-democracy rallies have been met with violent retaliation.

The two countries also agreed to put “urgent attention” to waive visa requirements and increase bilateral visits with an aim towards enriching diplomatic and trade ties.

They also signed a Joint Declaration to identify areas of further cooperation and examine the ones they already have to see if they serve the intended purpose or need to be revamped. This framework is very important to follow up on both ends in order to insure that Turkey and South Africa take the right steps in the future.

The two countries also signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Diplomatic Academies of the two ministries of foreign affairs from both countries.

Motlanthe described the meeting as “productive and fruitful”. Although there was a lot on their plate, they promised not to let anything fall through the cracks.

Motlanthe hoped by the end of the visit, they would have a much clearer roadmap on the direction of the bilateral relations between the two countries. – BuaNews

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The Ports Regulator of South Africa roadshow involving tariff hearings took place last week in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, during which presentations were made by the CEO of the Ports Regulator, Mr Riad Khan and also by the respective representatives from Transnet for each region. For the sake of those that were unable to attend, or those that want copies of the presentations given, these are now available on the Ports Regulator website where they can be downloaded. They may be found HERE

Use your Back Button to return to this page.

Port users and interested parties are reminded that written comments on the National Ports Authority (NPA) tariff application for 2012/2013 tariff year should be submitted and received by the Ports Regulator by no later than 16h20 on 21 October 2011.

Submissions can be addressed to The Chairman, Ports Regulator, Private Bag X54322, Durban, 4000 or use the ‘Contact Us’ page submission form.

Submissions can also be faxed to (031) 365-7858 for attention Mr Ebie Fakie.

Any submissions submitted after the above mentioned deadline date, will not be considered in the tariff application determination.

If you wish to be added to the Ports Regulator e-mail notification database for future updates, notices and information, please register your required details on the following link: PORTS REGULATOR.

Construction work disruptions at Saldanha port gates

Construction works at the Port of Saldanha port entrances is due to commence today (5 October) to upgrade the entrances at the Main Gate and Bayvue respectively. The upgrade includes widening of the road at the main port entrances and the erection of overhead canopy structures at both entrances.

People using these entrances are requested to exercise extreme caution when in the construction area and all safety measures on site including the temporary deviation of traffic must be adhered to at all times.

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Tin Can Island container terminal

Finnish crane manufacturer Konecranes has been awarded the contract to supply Rubber Tyre Gantry (RTG) cranes for the container terminal at Tin Can Island in Lagos.

According to Container Management the cranes will be delivered by the end of 2012 and were ordered in recognition of increasing container traffic at Tin Can Island. It said the parties had agreed not to disclose the value of the order.

The all-electric, 16-wheel RTGs have a lifting capacity of 50 tonnes, stacking 1-over-5 containers high and are 7 plus truck lanes wide. They will be equipped with the latest DGPS-assisted technology for container yards including the Auto-steering feature that keeps the crane on a pre-programmed, straight driving path, thus improving safety and increasing productivity.

The RTG container positioning system is connected to the port’s terminal operating system ensuring correct, real-time container positioning and an accurate inventory. They will also feature a new Konecranes cabin design offering improved ergonomics and visibility.

Ports and Cargo Handling Services, the port operations arm of Nigerian Sifax Group, is a major player in port operations and related services on the West African coast. It operates over 750 m of quay with berths handling both containers and general cargo. source – Container Management

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Queen Mary 2, top scoring ‘Large Ship’ in the latest Berlitz Guide to Cruising

Choosing a winner in any subject is often a subjective matter and deciding which cruise ship is better than another is no exception. Yet Douglas Ward’s ratings published in the annual Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships remains something that is keenly anticipated.

For 27 years Ward has forced himself to remain at sea (on cruise ships, of course) in total for some 5,700 days in all, so we are told – poor man. The purpose of all that sacrifice is to be in a position to judge one ship against another in such criteria as accommodation, food, service, entertainment, cleanliness, excursions & general value.

It is claimed that his ratings are independent and unsubsidised – Ward himself says that despite cruise companies claiming that their ship has been named the ‘Best Cruise Ship”, there really is no such thing. “There’s only what is right for you,” he says.

In the 2012 version of the Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships, he has made the following appraisals, with a potential top score of 2000 for each.

Large (Resort) Ships (1,600+ passengers)
1 Queen Mary 2 (Grill Class) 1,702 points
2 Queen Elizabeth (Grill Class) 1,690 points
3 Queen Victoria (Grill Class) 1,671 points

Mid-Size Ships (600-1,600 passengers)
1 Crystal Serenity 1,717 points
2 Crystal Symphony & Marina, tied with 1,701 points each

Small Ships (200-600 passengers)
1 Europa 1,852 points
2 Seabourn Quest 1,787 points
3 Seabourn Odyssey 1,786 points

Boutique Ships (50-200 passengers)
1 SeaDream II 1,788 points
2 SeaDream I 1,786 points
3 Hanseatic 1,746 points

This is the 12th year running that EUROPA has been awarded the top position among ‘Small Ships’. Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships will be available from 19 October 2011. source - MarketWatch


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The Maersk Line containership MAERSK KARLSKRONA (81,488-gt, built 1996) in Cape Town harbour this past week. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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