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Ports & Ships Maritime News

11 October 2011
Author: Terry Hutson



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An unusual angle for a photograph of the coastal container ship HORIZON (15,783-gt, built 1991) of Ocean Africa Container Line, preparing to berth in Cape Town’s Duncan Dock. Picture by Aad Noorland


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Port Elizabeth car terminal scene

South African port statistics for the month of September 2011 that are to hand courtesy of Transnet NPA, show that total cargo handled at all ports decreased by nearly 2 million tonnes from the August highs of August to 21.089 million tonnes with containers decreasing to 367,130 TEUs, almsot equal with 2010 and substantially on last month whcih was a record high.

Part of the overall decrease can be attributed to the lowering of coal exported through the Richards Bay Coal Terminal during the month of September, apparently because the mines were not ready to export into a depressed market.

To compare the 2011 September figures year on year with September of 2010, go to the following link CLICK HERE. Use your BACK button to return to this page.

As is standard with figures reported in PORTS & SHIPS, these reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to those provided by Transnet to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers by number of TEUs and no longer by weight.

To arrive at such a calculation, PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13,5 tonnes per TEU, which may involve some under-reporting but until the IMO enforces the weighing of containers at all ports we will have to live with these estimates. Nevertheless, we continue to make this distinction to prevent South African ports from being under- reported internationally.


PLEASE NOTE – Figures for the year 2010 were inadvertently used in the PORT STATISTICS published earlier this morning. These have now been corrected and those below reflect the 2011 September statistics – our apologies for any inconvenience.

Figures for the respective ports during September 2011 are (with August 2011 figures shown bracketed):

Cargo handled by tonnes during September 2011

PORT Sept 2011 million tonnes Aug 2011 million tonnes
Richards Bay 6.513 8.743
Durban 6.875 7.525
Saldanha Bay 4.503 3.299
Cape Town 1.204 1.215
Port Elizabeth 1.088 1.209
Ngqura 0.520 0.737
Mossel Bay 0.144 0.095
East London 0.242 0.205
Total all ports 21.089 million tonnes 23.028 million tonnes



Containers (measured by TEUs) during September 2011
TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT Sept 2011 TEUs August 2011 TEUs
Durban 234,343 249,602
Cape Town 61,314 67,324
Port Elizabeth 25,689 30,866
Ngqura 38,540 51,394
East London 5,602 4,390
Richards Bay 1,642 1,147
Total all ports 367,130 TEUs 404,723 TEUs


Ship Calls for September 2011

PORT Sept 2011 vessels gross tons Aug 2011 vessels gross tons
Durban 382 10,620,098 360 10,692,675
Cape Town 211 4,333,324 208 4,386,059
Richards Bay 147 5,241,736 164 6,513,869
Port Elizabeth 100 2,292,309 115 2,661,535
Saldanha Bay 37 2,731,055 42 2,215,022
Ngqura 29 1,581,649 40 1,875,584
East London 31 528,847 27 513,759
Mossel Bay 115 265,088 172 187,496
Total ship calls 1,052 27,594,206-gt 1,122 29,045,999-gt

- source TNPA, but with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container tonnages



Month Monthly exports YTD exports Annualised M/T/a Ships Trains
January 4,389,925 4,389,925 51.55 45 597
February 4,567,950 8,957,875 55.27 44 705
March 5,364,674 14,322,549 57.93 57 710
April 4,807,041 19,129,590 58.03 53 689
May 3,572,127 22,701,717 54.72 41 560
June 4,776,609 27,478,326 55.26 42 435
July 4,362,979 31,841,305 54.67 45 734
August 6,986,627 38,827,932 58.16 60 856
September 4,956,556 43,784,488 58.38 50 796

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CMA CGM says it has no short term plans of expanding fleet

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Enough for now, says French Line

French container carrier CMA CGM says it has no short term plans to either purchase or charter additional vessels.

The company was responding to reports that suggested CMA CGM was about to expand with additional tonnage. A Reuters report said that CMA CGM had turned to the Chinese after being refused financing from South Korean builders.

The report suggested that the line was about to place orders worth US$2 billion for 20 new 9,000-11,000-TEU containerships with Chinese builders, on the strength of financing through China’s Export-Import Bank.

CMA CGM says it has a modern fleet of 408 vessels, of which it owns 92 and that these are sufficient to meet the needs and requirements of customers for the immediate future.

While not denying that discussions had taken place with the Chinese, CMA CGM said in a statement that… “While CMA CGM will pursue these non-binding discussions over the next few months, it has no intention to reach an agreement in the near future.”

It’s been suggested that CMA CGM’s priorities right now will be to reduce its debt level and to strengthen its financial position.

American Horizon Line thrown a lifeline

America’s biggest shipping line, Horizon Lines, which was brought close to bankruptcy after a US$15 million price-fixing fine that was reduced from $45 million, has been thrown a $650 million lifeline in the form of a financial restructuring deal, but with the shipping company delivered to bondholders.

“We now have a new capital structure that eliminates the refinancing uncertainty faced by our company. We have put in place a solid financial foundation that affords us the opportunity to grow our business and reduce debt,” Horizon’s president CEO Stephen Fraser said.

Maersk says slow steaming causes no engine damage

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Maersk Eindhoven, which rounded the Cape yesterday – picture by Shipspotting.com

A Maersk study into the effects of slow steaming for large container ships has shown no resultant damage to the vessel’s engines and that it places less strain on the engines and results in less maintenance costs.

“There were a lot of concerns about soot build-up, vibrations and propeller health. We addressed those concerns and found solutions,” said Jan de Kat, Maersk's senior technical adviser.

The study found that the most economical speed for containerships is 10-15 knots instead of 25, according to findings that were presented at a recent Brussels seminar. de Kat said Maersk hoped the results of its study would reassure other shipowners.

The average speed of vessels globally has fallen 27 percent since July 2008, when average daily earnings were 3.6 percent higher than today, according to data from Bloomberg and London shipbroker Clarksons. – schednet and IFW

Meanwhile the number of large container ships that are reverting to rounding the Cape on their return journeys from Europe to Asia appears to be increasing. Yesterday, reports Ian Shiffman, the giant 366-m long MAERSK EINDHOVEN (141,716-gt, built 2010), one of the Maersk-owned, Rickmers Maritime-operated 13,100-TEU vessels, rounded the Cape en route for Port Klang. The ship was designed for a service speed of 24 knots.


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map by GraphicMaps.com

The Mozambique Channel and the entrance to the Persian Gulf are expected to become some of the new hotspots for piracy, warns Richard Mcenery, operations director with Ocean Protection Services Ltd, one of the numerous companies now offering security services onboard vessels.

The report from Mcenery, and quoted in the Hellenic Shipping News repeats the oft-heard comment that the only long-term and viable solution to the plague of piracy is a land-based one.

Mcenery also forecasts that more countries will allow armed guards on their vessels to provide protection from piracy. This follows the examples set by the UK, Norway and Germany.

He warns that as the pirates start to realise the embarkation and disembarkation point of armed guards, so they will turn that to their advantage, hence the entrance to the Persian Gulf could become another hotspot in the coming pirate ‘season’.

“The pirates have been able to evolve because of money from their original attacks years ago,” he said in an interview with Hellenic Shipping News. “Some pirate groups will have invested in better firearms and boats, while other pirates will still have the same firearms and boats as 2 years ago. But the tactics and the way the pirates think has definitely evolved. Pirates understand the Navy and the reaction of the ship’s crew when pirates are spotted. This is why a vessel should have armed or unarmed guards.” He said he did not think that pirates were being notified of a target-ship’s exact location through insider information. “I do not believe this, but I am not saying it may not happen, I still believe that the pirates take what they come across. But pirates may start using tactics like this as it has become harder for them to capture vessel, due to the amount of ships with security guards.” Source – Hellenic Shipping News

Bulker MONTECRISTO highjacked

Voytenko Mikhail’s Maritime Bulletin reported last night that the Italian bulk carrier MONTECRISTO (55,675-dwt, built 2011) had been highjacked by Somali pirates yesterday (10 October) either in the Gulf of Aden or further east. Communication with the ship has been lost. Montecristo is manned by a crew of 23 consisting of seven Italians, ten Ukrainians and six Indians and was en route from Liverpool to Phu My. Navy ship disrupts pirate suspects

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FGS Koeln and whaler. Picture EU NAVFOR

On 7 October EU NAVFOR warship FGS KOELN successfully disrupted a suspect Pirate Action Group’s supply boat, a whaler, operating in the Somali Basin about 200 nautical miles East of Tanzania, reports EU NAVFOR

The whaler had been located previously by a Norwegian Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) under control of NATO Task Force 508, Operation Ocean Shield, which is also engaged in counter piracy operations.

After an attempted piracy attack on a merchant ship the German Navy frigate FGS KOELN searched and was assisted by a MPRA before detecting a whaler with a crew of four persons. Photos taken clearly showed that it was the same whaler which had earlier been photographed with a skiff, a pirate attack boat, in tow.

FGS KOELN conducted a boarding of the whaler and pirate paraphernalia was discovered. The four suspected pirates on board were transferred to the German frigate and whaler was sunk. The pirate suspects were subsequently landed to Somalia.

Tanker highjacked south of Lagos

A tanker which was reported highjacked about 90 n.miles south of Lagos on 8 October has turned up in the port of Tema, minus its IMO number.

The vessel, which has not been named, was reported captured at sea south of Lagos, less than a week after another vessel was attacked by pirates south-east of Cotonou. On that occasion the pirates left the ship after the crew locked themselves in a citadel on board the vessel.

Uniforms for fishermen?

Here’s a new idea. Local fishermen in Puntland, the semi-autonomous region of Somalia which has become a haven for pirates, will now have to wear uniforms to differentiate them from the pirates, who presumably will not have access to the same clothing.

Fishermen in Caluula, Mareero, Qandalla and Bargaal told Somalia Report that people are afraid to go fishing because of the threat from pirates who steal their boats, motors, and fuel and because of concerns that international navies may mistake them for pirates.

To remedy this, Puntland officers have initiated a program to identify legitimate fishermen by issuing uniforms and ID cards.

“First we will register all local fishermen in Puntland. We have already begun in Bosaso and all coastal lands in Bari region,” Dr Mohamed Farah Aadan, Puntland’s minister responsible for fishing told Somalia Report. “We will inform our coast guards and international warships that there will be a clear difference between the pirates and fishermen,” he added. source – Somalia Report


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The Panamanian-registered, Bangladeshi logger WESTERN CHARM (21,951-dwt, built 1981) in Cape Town this past week. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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We’ve already had a look at the drill ship NOBLE BULLY 1 (30,270-gt, built 2011) earlier in October (3 October edition) – here’s another view from a different angle showing the vessel on her berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by Ian Shiffman


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