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Ports & Ships Maritime News

20 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 offshore supply vessel DESOTO TIDE (2340-gt, built 2009) arriving in Durban earlier in October. Picture by Trevor Jones

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CMA CGM upgrades its ASEA Asia to East Africa service

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CMA CGM Africa Two. Picture by Terry Hutson

As of 12 October CMA CGM Group has upgraded its ASEA service connecting Asia, Kenya and Tanzania. The new weekly service consists of six 2,500-TEU container ships of which four are being provided by the French line and two by its partner on this service, Emirates Shipping Line.

As a result of the changes ASEA is able to provide a direct weekly service from Asia to Mombasa and Dar es Salaam, using Port Klang as its Asian hub for connecting with CMA CGM’s global network of main and feeder lines as well as providing added reefer capacity to meet the growing demand for refrigerated transport on this route.

The ASEA rotation is now Port Klang, Singapore, Port Victoria or Male, Mombasa, Tanga, Dar Es Salam, Colombo and back to Port Klang.

Hamburg Süd sells six at a time

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Cap San Raphael, one of the six ships sold to Greek buyers. Picture Hamburg Süd

German container carrier Hamburg Süd has disposed of six 3,700-TEU ships to Greek buyers, although three of them will be leased back at US$22,500 a day for a period of three years.

The six ships are Cap San Antonio, Cap San Augustin, Cap San Lorenzo, Cap San Marco, Cap San Nicholas, and Cap San Raphael.

The sale and leaseback of three ships will provide Hamburg Süd with increased liquidity without causing too much disruption to the carrier’s operations.

Hamburg Süd’s Santa Catarina inaugurates Europe service

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Santa Clara arrives in Durban in February this year for her naming ceremony in the port, with Hamburg Süd having adopted a policy of naming these ships in the respective ports that they serve. Picture by Trevor Jones

On Sunday, 16 October 2011, the SANTA CATARINA became the first Hamburg Süd container vessel of the Santa class to call at the German port of Hamburg. She berthed at the Burchardkai terminal in the evening hours and sailed again late Monday evening. The 7,100 TEU ship is fitted with 1,600 reefer slots, and is one of the largest ships ever built for Hamburg Süd.

The first vessel of this series, the SANTA CLARA, was delivered by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. (DSME) in Korea in October 2010. A total of seven Santa ships have been delivered to date - at present six of these are deployed in the service between Asia and South Africa/South America East Coast. The Santa Catarina is the first ship of this series to be phased into the service between Europe and South America East Coast.

Sister ships eight to ten are to be delivered by summer 2012. They are all characterised by a large reefer capacity and a special design which also allows deployment in the partly draught-restricted ports of South America.

MSC donates NZ$1 million to Rena cleanup

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has made a NZ$1 million (US$790,000) donation to assist the clean-up of oil that has spilled from the grounded container ship RENA off New Zealand.

The grounding took place a fortnight ago and since then the ship has broken her back and a large quantity of oil has leaked into the sea and spread across a wide area including onto New Zealand beaches. The ship’s master and navigator have been arrested and charged with ‘operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk’.

While emphasizing that MSC does not own the vessel nor did it employ the crew but is the charterer, the company says it has been working behind the scenes with New Zealand authorities to find ways of best supporting the cleanup operation. It said the $1 million should be seen in the light of a voluntary donation to assist the authorities.

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Luanda, Angola, 19 October – The port of Barra do Dande, in Angola’s Bengo province (north of Luanda), will become the main port of entry and exit for goods in the country, President José Eduardo dos Santos said in Luanda on Tuesday. He said that construction of the new port had already been approved.

Barra do Dande , also known as Dande lies approximately 30 miles to the NNE of the port city and capital Luanda, just across the Bengo Province border.

As part of his State of the Nation presentation at the beginning of another legal year, the President noted another important investment underway in the sector, specifically construction of a new quay in Cabinda, which will serve as a base for construction of a deep water port in Caio, the executive project for which is in the final stages of being drawn up.

“The refurbishment of airport facilities continues and the airports of Cabinda, Catumbela, Benguela, Malanje, Ondjiva, Lubango and Huambo have been modernised and Carianga airport, in Ndalatando is ready to be inaugurated,” said Eduardo dos Santos, adding that this month contracts would be approved for the refurbishment of the airports of Soyo, Dundo, Saurimo and Luena.

In 2012, the President said, the first phase of the new International Airport, will be concluded, which when it is completed will have the capacity to handle 15 million passengers per year.

The new airport, which has been under construction since the end of 2008 near the municipality of Viana, some 40 kilometres from Luanda and in an area of 1,324 hectares, will have two double runways capable of receiving the world’s largest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A380.

Eduardo dos Santos also said that the port of Lobito and all the railways that are being rebuilt would be finished within two years, and they would help to overcome some of the weaknesses in the sector and allow for the integration of the transport system. (macauhub).

In other Angolan news the port of Lobito handled 2.2 million tonnes of cargo during the 2010 year. This reflected an increase of just over 10% on 2009.

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Port of Mombasa

Heavy rains that have fallen on the Kenyan port of Mombasa have affected the level of cargo working at the harbour particularly with bulk ships discharging grains, fertilisers, steel, coal and clinker.

According to news reports the level of cargo working of general breakbulk and bulk at the port was cut in half last week, with 75,680 tonnes of cargo handled between the Monday and Friday compared with 134,000 tonnes handled the previous week.

On Sunday 23 ships were waiting outside the port, not all because of rain disrupted reasons. Eight of those were container ships which were at anchor for reasons unrelated to the weather.

While criticism has been leveled at the Kenya Ports Authority for the delays, no-one has yet been able to come up with a solution as to what to do with a grain ship during a downpour, when ships masters first response is to close their vessel hatches. African ports are not unique in this respect.

Nevertheless Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association chairman Hezron Awiti said shipowners were losing a lot of money and he blamed the KPA for not putting measures in place in anticipation of the rains, asking, “Does it mean that whenever it rains, there will be no operation at the port?”

The short answer has to be yes.

Other reasons have been put forward for ongoing delays at Mombasa, with a shortage of labour highlighted as one cause. Chairman of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, Silvester Kutatu pointed out that the cost of landing cargo was increasing because of the delays, whatever the cause.

He said that ships in Mombasa are now waiting for up to a week before being allocated a berth, and pointed out that this resulted in vessel delay surcharges.

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Container ship attacked off Zanzibar

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Zanzibar, showing its proximity to Tanzania and Dar es Salaam. Picture CIA

A container ship – name not released – came under attack from what is presumed to have been Somali pirates off the coast of Zanzibar off Tanzania on Monday (17 October), the International Maritime Bureau has reported

The crew retired to the ship’s citadel and while the master increased speed a security team on board the ship activated deck lighting and returned fire on the attackers. There were no injuries on board the ship and the pirates broke off the engagement and left the scene. They will have remained active in the area however.

Abducted French woman dies

A 66-year old disabled French woman kidnapped by Somali pirates on 1 October from her beachfront home on Manda Island near Kenya’s border with Somalia, has died it was learned this week.

Marie Dedieu was taken captive and still in her wheelchair was dragged along the beach on placed in the pirate’s speedboat which then headed back towards Somalia. Police who responded said they could not fire on the pirates for fear of hitting Ms Dedieu.

The French government has confirmed the reports but says it is unable to confirm the date of death or circumstances.

The kidnapping of the French woman followed another abduction several weeks earlier and gives warning of a new development in the saga of Somali piracy. The latest actions by pirates replicates those of the Barbary pirates of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries who not only raided across the Atlantic in their ships and boats but kidnapped hundreds of thousands of Europeans, British and Americans in raids on those lands with the captives being taken to North Africa and held either for ransom or as slaves.

Pirates attack ship off Nigeria, take contract worker away with them

Pirates or political gunmen – you take your pick – attacked a ship supplying Exxon Mobil’s offshore operations off the coast of Nigeria on Monday evening and took away with them one contract worker.

The attack came just days after another worker was abducted in similar fashion.

The attack took place near Akwa Ibom state where Exxon Mobil tankers line the beaches and oil rigs dot the horizon. The latest attack took place as the support vessel was servicing either a rig or an oil platform – Exxon Mobil declined to give details. Nor have they identified the man who was abducted.

More ships are escaping Somali pirates, says IMB report

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The navies are doing an excellent job, say IMB chief

Tuesday, 18 October 2011 - Piracy on the world’s seas has risen to record levels, with Somali pirates behind 56% of the 352 attacks reported this year, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) revealed on Tuesday in its latest global piracy report. Meanwhile, more Somali hijack attempts are being thwarted by strengthened anti-piracy measures.

“Figures for piracy and armed robbery at sea in the past nine months are higher than we’ve ever recorded in the same period of any past year,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB, whose Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) has monitored piracy worldwide since 1991.

Demanding millions of dollars in ransom for captured ships and their crews, Somali pirates are intensifying operations not just off their own coastline, but further afield in the Red Sea – particularly during the monsoon season in the wider Indian Ocean. With unprecedented boldness, this August pirates also boarded and hijacked a chemical tanker at anchor in an Omani port (Salalah), under the protection of coast state security.

But although Somali pirates are initiating more attacks – 199 this year, up from 126 for the first nine months of 2010 – they are managing to hijack fewer vessels. Only 24 vessels were hijacked this year compared with 35 for the same period in 2010. Hijackings were successful in just 12% of all attempts this year, down from 28% in 2011.

Naval action

IMB credits this reduction in hijackings to policing and interventions by international naval forces, correct application of the industry's latest Best Management Practice – including the careful consideration of the crews’ retreat to a 'citadel' – and other onboard security measures.

“Somali pirates are finding it harder to hijack ships and get the ransom they ask for. The navies deserve to be complimented on their excellent work: they are a vital force in deterring and disrupting pirate activity,” said Captain Mukundan. “The number of anti-piracy naval units must be maintained or increased.”

Human cost

So far this year, pirates have taken 625 people hostage worldwide. They have killed eight people and injured 41. Pirates are often heavily armed, using automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades.

Benin a new hotspot

The West African coast off Benin is seeing a surge in violent piracy, with 19 attacks leading to eight tanker hijackings this year, up from zero incidents in 2010. A pattern has emerged where armed pirates board and hijack the ship – sometimes injuring crew – then force the Masters to sail to an unknown location where they steal the ship’s properties and cargo, and let the vessel free.

In response, Benin has begun joint naval patrols with neighbouring Nigeria, another piracy hot spot.

Captain Mukundan said: “Cooperation between the Nigeria and Benin navies to curb piracy is a positive step. However the real deterrent will be the capture and punishment of these criminals under law.”

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TransNamib, Namibia’s state-owned railway company has ordered 100 railway wagons to be built in China at a cost of N$48 million (R48m).

This follows confirmation that one of the purposes of the visit by TransNamib board chairman Festus Lameck to China was to put his signature on a contract for the new rolling stock. The new wagons are to be built at two workshops, Shenzen Sunray Group and CSR Ziyang, which has the smaller of the two orders.

A TransNamib spokesman, chief public relations officer Ailly Hangula-Paulino said however that reports that the railway company was placing further orders for locomotives with Chinese builders was incorrect. This follows Namibia’s bad experience with four diesel-electric locos bought from China in 2004. All four are out of use and were considered unrepairable.

Instructions for the locos to be scrapped have however been reversed and apparently TransNamib has placed orders for spares with another Chinese locomotive builder, Zhongs for the supply of spare parts. source - Namibian

PICS OF THE DAY – YESTERYEAR – those magnificent ships

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Three postcard scenes of Durban Harbour from a ‘few’ years back, from a collection of old postcards in the possession of Willem Kruk of Elgin Brown & Hamer. Over a period of time we will show more of these wonderfully evocative scenes taken from a time gone by but still fresh in the memory of some. If any other readers have similar scenes to share, not just of Durban but the other ports as well, please do share them with us by scanning them and sending to info@ports.co.za

The above postcards from the collection of Willem Kruk

Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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