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Ports & Ships Maritime News

7 November 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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HMS CLYDE approaches the entrance to the Simon’s Town Naval base where the ship is making a visit. The fourth vessel in the current River class she is the first of a lengthened variety with a larger displacement of 1,850 tonnes and carrying a 30mm Oerlikon KCB gun in place of the 20mm gun fitted to other River class patrol ships.

HMS Clyde is the ninth ship in the Royal Navy to bear the name. She was launched on 14 June 2006 in the Portsmouth Naval Base, having been the first ship built entirely in the famous base for 40 years. The builders were the VT Group.

The ship has been constructed alongside the bow and superstructure sections of the Type 45 destroyers, HMS DARING and HMS DAUNTLESS. HMS Clyde was named in a ceremony on 7 September 2006 as she had not received a traditional launching ceremony.

HMS Clyde was accepted into the Royal Navy in a ceremony at Portsmouth Naval base on 30 January 2007. The White Ensign was then raised for the first time. She and her ship's company went through a rigorous series of trials and safety training before undergoing operational sea training off Scotland.

After being commissioned into active service she was sent to the South Atlantic to relieve HMS DUMBARTON CASTLE as the Royal Navy’s patrol vessel in the area based in the Falkland Islands. Unlike predecessors in this role HMS Clyde will be stay in South Atlantic waters for the foreseeable future, with a contract in place for her to remain in the Falkland Islands until 2018.

In January 2011, the government of Brazil denied HMS Clyde access to Rio de Janeiro in solidarity with the Argentinean cause over the Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute, as Uruguay had done with HMS GLOUCESTER the previous September. Information source – Wikipedia.

Picture above of HMS Clyde approaching Simon’s Town Naval Base by Bob Johnston

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Pretoria - The Department of Energy is working to find solutions to alleviate the current Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPGas) shortage.

Briefing the Economic Development Select Committee in Parliament last week, Deputy Director General for Hydrocarbons Tseliso Maqubela expressed concern at the shortage that is affecting all sectors including industry, business and domestic consumers.

Last month, the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) said there were shutdowns at three of the country’s six refineries caused by a combination of planned and unplanned shutdowns at the PetroSA, Sapref and Enref refineries.

While the department was responsible for all energy policy issues, industry was wholly responsible for ensuring production in line with national need and contractual obligations.

“Maqubela assured the committee that the department is working towards solutions to alleviate the shortages in partnership with industry. Thus, elements of the DoE LPGas Strategy, which is still in development, are already unfolding as demonstrated by the regulation of the gas retail price for the domestic market,” said the Energy Department’s spokesperson Thandiwe Maimane.

In the medium term, the department is considering other interventions which are still to be finalised.

The department is in talks with Transnet with regards to the need to upgrade the ports infrastructure to enable improved access for imports into the country. Maqubela also acknowledged that the shortage posed a threat to the strategy of encouraging the public to use gas as a cleaner fuel alternative. - BuaNews

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Cape Town’s A-Berth, home to DCD-Dorbyl Marine ship repair. Picture courtesy TNPA

The Port of Cape Town’s upgraded A-Berth ship facility and home to DCD_Dorbyl Marine ship repair facility has been officially inaugurated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the port.

The facility has been designed and built to provide the local and international oil and gas industry with a multi-disciplinary engineering, repair and refurbishment facility and is set to provide a benchmark for the industry.

Based in the Port of Cape Town, with facilities in Saldanha Bay and a joint venture in East London, DCD-Dorbyl Marine has built a reputation as a preferred ship repair and general engineering company since the early 1900's.

The Port of Cape Town has seen the successful completion of a number of large scale offshore oil and gas projects over the years and DCD-Dorbyl Marine says it believes that with the upgrading of the A-Berth facility, the company will be able to provide unparalleled service for any conceivable future projects.

“We are cognizant of the growing need for a company that can supply marine and industrial clients with a turnkey service that incorporates the complete management of projects requiring quality-driven repair and conversion offerings,” says Johann Venter, Executive Director of DCD-Dorbyl.

Though the company gets a proportion of its business from the local market, its customers include many international oil and gas companies. Now it aims to increase its penetration into the international market.

“This gearing up for internationally-acceptable safety and quality standards will not only align us with other global players, but will also refine and enhance the service offering to our current clients,” says Venter.

The upgrading of the A-Berth facility means that, in addition to its current comprehensive workshop facilities and access to dry dock facilities, the company can provide a repair quay, and extensive craneage.

“This comprehensive repair offering includes the introduction of a 350-ton crawler crane which is permanently situated at A-Berth and is complemented by a number of mobile cranes ranging from 16 up to 800 ton capacities,” Venter says.

The upgraded A-Berth facility has a 275 m long quay and allows berthing of vessels with a draft of up to 12 metres. The laydown area is 42,700m², with a warehouse facility of 2,760m², office space of 1,000m² and a medical facility. Access to the berth is provided around the clock and security is a priority, with ISPS, port security, a secured site and CCTV surveillance ensuring the safekeeping of vessels.

“In addition to our own team of highly qualified artisans and technicians, we make use of a number of specialist subcontractors. This allows us to offer our clients a comprehensive portfolio of services which includes steel fabrication, electrical, reticulation and control, pipe fabrication, mechanical repairs, hydraulics, NDT inspections, blasting and coating, rope access, scaffolding, and subsea/underwater services,” he says.

DCD-Dorbyl Marine operates in full compliance with all applicable legislation and is accredited with OHSAS 18001. It also conforms to the requirements of ISO 14001. The company's adherence to the requirements of ISO 9001 has resulted in the awarding of repeat business from a number of prestigious international and local clients.

“We are confident that with the upgrade of the A-Berth facility, Cape Town is set to become the preferred destination for world class oil rig repairs and upgrades in Africa and DCD-Dorbyl Marine will pioneer the growth of the market,” Venter concludes.

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Durban Container Terminal, North Quay on the left showing berths 203 – 205

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) currently has between 40 and 60 projects worth R10.73 billion underway at the Port of Durban. This fiscal year alone R770 million will be spent on infrastructural development projects.

This remarkable piece of information was shared with the media at a meeting held in Durban on Friday, when Hamilton Nxumalo, the General Manager of Infrastructure, Port Planning & Development and Ricky Bhikraj, Durban Port Manager discussed the various projects that were underway at the port.

One of the above includes the port entrance channel widening and deepening costing R2.9 billion, although this is coming to an end with just a small amount of finishing up to complete. Some of the other projects include deepening the north quay of Durban Container Terminal on Pier 2, home of berths 203 to 205. This will see the draught alongside being deepened to accommodate the largest size vessels capable of entering the port, said to be 9,200-TEU (one ship of this size has already called but was not fully laden) although there has been talk recently of the port accepting vessels up to 13,000-TEU in future.

The deepening of these berths poses a serious problem for the port in that by taking one berth out of commission at a time means a loss of 400,000-TEU annually in capacity. To obviate this problem TNPA and Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) is preparing a number of contingency plans, which include transferring some container traffic to the Point, others to Maydon Wharf where a similar berth deepening exercise is already underway, and where necessary the transferring of some containers such as transshipments to the Eastern Cape ports of Ngqura and Port Elizabeth.

Seven new ship-to-shore (STS) cranes will also be ordered to replace older Noell and Impsa cranes on the north quay. The Impsa cranes will either go into service elsewhere within DCT or may be transferred to either Port Elizabeth or Ngqura.

The deepening of the North Quay berths should be completed by 2017.

More details of continuing Durban upgrade projects will be found in Tuesday’s news bulletin.

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Apapa Container Terminal. Picture OTAL

Congestion affecting road deliveries to and from the Lagos ports has been reported in the local media this past week.

According to the reports traffic congestion is delaying the collection or delivery of containers and other cargo, which in turn is leading to an accumulation of containers in the port and resultant congestion.

Meanwhile it is also being reported that the Danish terminal operator AP Moller-Maersk, which holds the concession for West Africa’s largest container terminal, Apapa Container Terminal (ACT) at Lagos, has drawn up plans for a US$120 million expansion proposal to further develop the terminal and to provide it with the capacity to handle in excess of one million TEU annually.

The principal areas of expansion include the stacking area, the customs area and the provision of new equipment and infrastructure.

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The Greek-owned, Maltese-flagged chemical tanker HALIFAX, which was reported highjacked off the coast of Nigeria last week, has since been abandoned by the pirates.

Earlier an alert was put out stating that the Halifax had been highjacked while drifting off the Nigerian coast on Tuesday, 1 November 2011. The ship was then some 175 n.miles south of Lagos and 243 n.miles west of Port Harcourt. This is a position near to where two other vessels were boarded by pirates during October, one of which was highjacked and released after five days.

A similar fate appears to have awaited the Halifax which was being reported as freed on Saturday 5 November.

Other ships in the area have been warned to stay alert and proceed with caution with 24 hour watch rotas and best management practices in place.

Nautilus International says armed guards not the only answer

Nautilus International (Formerly NUMAST), which is a trade union and professional organisation representing 24,000 maritime professionals at sea and ashore, says having armed guards on board ships at sea in the regions threatened by piracy, is not the only answer.

The organisation has cautiously welcomed the prime minister’s announcement that British-flagged vessels will be able to carry armed guards to protect them from pirate attack and agrees that the deployment of armed guards on vessels will help to further secure the safety maritime professional sailing through high risk areas. However it believes that there are still ‘questions to be asked and concerns to be addressed’.

“There continue to be grave unanswered questions about liability and responsibility associated with the use of weapons onboard merchant ships,” said Nautilus International general secretary, Mark Dickinson.

“Whilst it may be reassuring to see that no ships carrying security teams have been hijacked – so far, at least – there are a number of unresolved issues arising from their deployment.

“There needs to be consideration and agreement on key issues including the liabilities of masters and officers in the event of something going wrong, or the problem of flag states, coastal states and port states facilitating the carriage of weapons onboard. The thorny of issue of the cost of providing security has the potential to give further incentives to shipowners to flag out and the quality and regulation of private armed security guards.”

The Union has previously stated its preference for military vessel protection detachments rather than the privately contracted security operatives proposed by David Cameron in an interview with the BBC.

“This would ensure there are no concerns regarding training, authority and liability,” confirmed Dickinson.

“We believe this would be cost-effective and provide direct protection to merchant vessels. We also believe there should be absolute clarity on the type of weapons private security guards can use.

“The industry and government are putting the focus on armed guards onboard ships, but there is still significant room for consideration of other, more passive yet highly effective, forms of defence against piracy and armed attacks.

“It’s important to remember that for merchant seafarers, the problem of piracy is not simply confined to the immediate threat of attack and kidnap but also to health, safety and general welfare.”


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The cruise ship/ferry DISCOVERY SUN (11,979-gt. Built 1968) which it is believed may be on her way to the breakers in India, called at Durban on Saturday to take bunkers. The ship sailed again later that day. Pictures by Trevor Jones

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