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Ports & Ships Maritime News

24 October 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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New Zealand has won the Rugby World Cup (deservedly, as hard as that may be for a South African to admit) so let’s return to the Land of the Long White Cloud once more for today’s First View, which is of the Hong Kong-flagged and Chinese-owned bulker MAPLE FORTITUDE (32,491-dwt, built 2011) arriving at Lyttelton to load logs for China. Picture by Alan Calvert

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Turkish shareholder vetoes new ships for CMA CGM

A proposal to order up to 20 new 10,000-TEU container ships has been vetoed by Robert Yildirim, the Turkish business figure who came to the French shipping company’s rescue last year when CMA CGM was desperately seeking a financial partner to help save the line.

Yildirim’s veto was exercised after CMA CGM wanted to order 10 of the ships, followed by a second batch of 10 that would be built in China and taken on charter for 10 ten years.

The Yildirim Group, which acquired a 20%, US$500 million stake in CMA CGM as part of the rescue package holds the power of veto over major issues. Yildirim said his group wanted to see CMA CGM emerge stronger and an order of this magnitude was not in CMA CGM’s interests or those of the shareholders.

“CMA CGM cannot make major decisions without our approval,” he said.

He told Lloyd’s List that what he saw happening in shipping, for which he acknowledged himself as an outsider, is the role of ego in placing orders simply to keep up with the competition. This is very dangerous, Yildirim warned.

He described Maersk’s recent order for a fleet of 18,000-TEU mega ships as more about beating the competition than reflecting the market. “This is not good for the industry,” he said.

The Turkish trader said that while he was very happy with the way that CMA CGM was performing, an agreement existed with the banks that should the French line go bankrupt, Yildirim would take effective control, putting in further investment but then splitting the group. source - IFW and Lloyd’s List

Rickmers Linie to deliver Airbus fuselage sections across Atlantic

Hamburg-based Rickmers Linie has been chosen to partner Apirit AeroSystems for the transportation of fuselage sections for the Airbus A350 XWB series from North Carolina in the USA to Port of Nantes St Nazaire in France, in a contract that will run for several years.

This follows the successful shipping of a trial delivery earlier this year.

“We are looking forward to this cooperation with Spirit,” said Gerhard Janssen, Director Marketing & Sales at Rickmers-Linie. “We are proud to become part of the supply chain for Spirit in its deliveries to Airbus.”

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South Africa’s oil and refinery industry is descending into a crisis of Eskom proportions, says Michael Bagraim, President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce.

He was commenting on the shortage of bitumen and LPG gas that was beginning to hurt business and stop work on road construction and other projects. “We have men and machinery standing idle because they cannot get bitumen and that is costing money and it will soon lead to retrenchments. We already have some contractors on short time,” Bagraim said.

“In the next few days or weeks businesses that use LPG will start to run out of gas and they, too might have to stop work,” he warned.

The heart of the problem was that South Africa’s refineries were old and no longer reliable. At present four of the six refineries were shut down for maintenance or other reasons and they were not producing gas or bitumen.

“This is an industry which is subject to strict Government price control and this has snuffed out all competition. There is no incentive to improve efficiency or to provide a better service. All production is planned to take maximum advantage of the price control formula and this has created a situation where the oil companies have had no incentive to replace aging refineries.”

Peter Hugo, Chairman of the Chamber’s Transport Portfolio Committee, said there was an excess of refining capacity in the world and, consequently, there was a reluctance to build new refineries. The oil companies were international businesses and it made sense for them to import petrol and diesel from their refineries in other countries where they had excess capacity.

The planned Coega refinery was no solution as it was too far from the market and would require a pipeline twice as long as the pipeline being built from Richards Bay to Gauteng. “If the costs of the new pipeline are anything to go by then the whole Coega plan will be uneconomic from day one,” Hugo said.

It should be possible to import bitumen but plans to import LPG had been delayed for various reasons and it now seemed that there was little prospect of relief before 2014.

Bagraim said businesses that had turned to gas after Eskom let them down now faced a new crisis and he called on the Government to do everything possible to speed up gas imports.

“The stagnation in the oil industry is the result of government controls and unrealistic price formulas dating back to apartheid days. This control is now damaging the economy and it is essential that the whole industry should be opened up to real competition without delay,” Bagraim said. source – Cape Town Regional Chamber of Business

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Cunard Line stops sailing under British flag

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Queen Victoria, who might not have been pleased. Picture by Alan Calvert

Cunard announced last week that Cunard Line had decided to de-register from the British shipping registry and would in future sail under the flag of Bermuda.

The ships to be de-registered include the QUEEN MARY 2, QUEEN VICTORIA and QUEEN ELIZABETH. The Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to register today (24 October 2011) with the Queen Victoria on 27 October 2011 and the Queen Mary 2 on 1 December 2011.

Bermuda’s minister of transport, Terry Lister said, “I am happy that the work we have put into making our shipping registry world class is bearing fruit, as evidenced by the latest announcement by Cunard. This is an important source of revenue for the Government with the Bermuda Ship Registry bringing in approximately $3 million annually.”

According to Cunard, it is making the move to allow weddings to be held on board as ships registered in the UK cannot conduct marriages. British law says that weddings have to take place in a public place and those conducted at sea would therefore not be legal.

There is also the matter that ships operating under ‘Flags of Convenience’ are able to employ crew under different working conditions including wages.

The Bermuda Ship Registry was established in 1789 as part of the ‘British Register of Ships’ having HAMILTON as its Port of Registry. Currently there are 164 commercial ships and over 250 pleasure yachts registered aggregating just over 10 million gross tons. The commercial fleet boasts over 25 passenger ships which attests to the confidence cruise ship owners have in the Bermuda Department of Maritime Administration and its extensive experience in passenger cruise ships.

Next Princess Cruises ship on the way

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RUBY PRINCESS, a forerunner of the new ROYAL PRINCESS, due May 2013

The keel laying ceremony of Princess Cruises’ next new ship, ROYAL PRINCESS was laid at the Italian Fincantieri shipyard last week. The ceremony involved the 500-tonne keel being moved into position over the keel blocks by a crane.

The 3,600-passenger, 141,000-gross ton ship is due to be launched in May 2013.

“It’s always very exciting to mark this step in a ship’s construction, when several of the pre-built sections come together to form a new addition to our fleet, especially with a prototype design,” said Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises who traveled to Italy for the ceremony. He explained that ROYAL PRINCESS’ evolutionary design will feature some exciting new elements and expanded spaces, while featuring the classic profile and features passengers have come to associate with Princess.

One of the most dramatic new design elements of ROYAL PRINCESS is an over-water SeaWalk – a glass-bottomed enclosed walkway extending more than 20 feet beyond the edge of the vessel. From here passengers will enjoy dramatic views off the side of the ship and to the sea below. On the ship’s opposite side, an over-water SeaView bar will also extend over the waves to provide cocktails and unusual vistas.

On her top decks, Royal Princess will feature a new adults-only pool surrounded by seven plush private cabanas that appear to be floating on the water. Two additional pools will flank a palm-fringed tropical island that will offer pool seating by day, and by night will become an outdoor dance club, complete with a dazzling water and light show. Princess' signature adults-only haven, The Sanctuary, will be expanded both in size and amenities. The popular poolside theater, Movies Under the Stars, will play a starring role mid-ship with an expanded size and high-definition viewing.

Royal Princess will feature an expanded version of the company's signature Piazza -- the ship's central atrium incorporating a myriad of dining, entertainment and retail experiences. Each of the vessel's outside cabins will include a balcony, meaning 80 percent of all staterooms will offer this popular feature.

Additional details about the ship are due to be released over the coming months, but in the meantime a video preview of Royal Princess is available HERE. Use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.

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Skiffs attack vessel in packs

An alert has gone out after a ship in the southern Red Sea reported having come under multiple attacks by groups of between five and ten pirate skiffs. Three separate pirate packs attacked the ship which was about 20 n.miles north-east of Assab in Eritrea. The attacks took place within half an hour of each other.

On each occasion the ship was able to beat off the attacks thanks to onboard armed guards while also undergoing evasive manoeuvering. The attacks came shortly after 6am local time on Thursday 20 October 2011.

The use of wolfpack type attacks on shipping is nothing new for the southern Red Sea and ships in the area are being warned to keep a sharp lookout for such groups.

Royal Navy captures pirate mothership

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HMS Somerset – picture Wikipedia

A pirate mothership (dhow) involved in attacks on merchant shipping in the Indian Ocean has been stopped and boarded by ships from the Royal Navy operating in the Indian Ocean. This action followed on from the successful rescue of the Italian Merchant Ship Monte Cristo on 11 October by the RFA Fort Victoria, reports the Royal Navy.

It is believed the dhow was hijacked by suspected pirates so that they could use it as a base or mothership from which to launch attacks against merchant ships many hundreds of miles from Somalia. Throughout this time, the Pakistani crew of the dhow was held hostage on board.

On Friday 14 October some 200 miles off the coast HMS Somerset and RFA Fort Victoria closed in on the dhow. “The mother-ship was located by Somerset’s Merlin helicopter at first light and the Boarding Teams brought to immediate notice whilst Somerset closed with the dhow”, said HMS Somerset’s commanding officer, Commander Paul Bristowe Royal Navy.

HMS Somerset is currently assigned to the Combined Maritime Forces counter-piracy mission, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151. RFA Fort Victoria is deployed as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Ocean Shield counter piracy task force.

The dhow was soon surrounded by a Royal Navy and Royal Marine boarding team from RFA Fort Victoria, supported by HMS Somerset’s helicopter. “This operation demanded high levels of seamanship to ensure that the dhow was kept under close observation as the boarding party moved in,” said RFA Fort Victoria’s Commanding Officer, Captain Shaun Jones RFA.

In the run up to being boarded, the suspect pirates were observed by Somerset’s Merlin helicopter ditching equipment and weapons overboard as well as setting one of their skiffs adrift. Despite their desperate attempts to cover their tracks, a large cache of boarding ladders, weapons, a second attack skiff and equipment from a previously pirated ship were found onboard. Captain Yapp said “There was a clear indication that the suspected pirates found on the dhow were well-practised and knew what they were doing. One of the weapons had recently been fired and was well maintained – as was the RPG rocket. I think that if we hadn’t disrupted this group of suspected pirates, it is quite possible that they would have attacked another merchant vessel.”

The dhow’s crew of 20 were free to go on their way once the evidence gathering had finished. The four suspected pirates that were apprehended, however, have been passed to Italian authorities, on suspicion of their involvement in the attack on the MV Monte Cristo three days earlier.

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TNPA marine pilots – among the first females to gain Open Licences in SA ports

By Francis Hweshe

Cape Town, 23 October – The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) has honoured brave and hard-working seafarers who work on the high seas to keep global trade going.

The men and women were recognised for their work at a colourful event on Saturday night in Cape Town.

Transport Minister, Sibusiso Ndebele, attended the ceremony with several other maritime industry players.

About 98 percent of South Africa’s trade is seaborne and such trade contributed to over 50 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The night belonged to Precious Dube, Bongiwe Mbambo and Pinky Zungu who made history by becoming the first female pilots to obtain open licences. These licences enabled them to navigate ships of any size and type into SA waters.

Dube who was the first to qualify with such a licence expressed excitement about her achievement.

“The captains of foreign ships can be very skeptical when you are a woman because it’s uncommon for them to see a female marine pilot, although I have heard that there are a few in the United States (of America) and possibly Australia,” she said.

Majaja ‘Jackson’ Piyose, 39, from Umtata now newly appointed skipper of the Harvest Veronica won the Samsa fishing award.

Piyose said that he left home for the coastal town of Saldanha to look for a job after failing to complete school grade 12 due to financial constraints.

Now with over 30 people working under him, he said that his dream was to help others reach where he was now.

Captain Dawie Erasmus scooped Samsa’s commercial award. “To come from a ‘desert’ childhood, to sailing across the oceans as captain of a ship is testimony that anything is possible if you believe in yourself, apply yourself and work harder than you play,” he said.

Ndebele commended the various winners for their hard work and highlighted the importance of sea trade to the country’s prosperity.

However, he said that the shortage of seafarers in South Africa was a concern and they wanted to see more people trained and skilled to take up the occupation.

He also raised the concern that while South Africa was surrounded by the sea, it did not have a single ship of its own to be proud of. Ndebele said that countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria had their own ships.

“You can’t sail in a South African ship from Cape Town to Durban,” he said, emphasising that the situation should change. – BuaNews


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The derrick barge and accommodation vessel DB SUPERIOR PRIDE arrived in Durban harbour on Saturday (22 October) to undergo dry docking and general maintenance repairs under the care of ship repair company Elgin Brown & Hamer. The 120m long by 32m wide barge, which has accommodation for 300 people on board was brought to Durban by the tug GULF SERVICE (439-gt, built 1979) and came into port assisted by three TNPA harbour tugs. According to EBH director Willem Kruk the barge will remain in Durban for about a month before leaving for the emerging oil and gas fields off East Africa. Pictures by Terry Hutson

Image and video hosting by TinyPic 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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