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Ports & Ships Maritime News

8 November 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 tug and supply vessel SMIT ANGOLA (1438-gt, built 2010) arrives back in Cape Town. The tug is operated under the management of Smit Amandla Marine and is a twin of the Durban-based offshore tug SMIT SIYANDA. Both tugs entered service at the end of October last year. Picture by Aad Noorland

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Tau Morwe, CE of Transnet National Ports Authority, said he is committed to remaining at the helm of TNPA, at least for the foreseeable future, while overseeing various business strategies at the State-owned company that are aimed at buttressing the South African economy.

Mr Morwe was commenting in the wake of media reports that he had been identified as a strong contender to take over as permanent Group CEO of the SABC.

“I am honoured that I am being considered as worthy of heading and leading the financial and operational turnaround of the SABC.

“However, I have requested head hunters for the SABC top job to withdraw my name as a prospective candidate.

“Since taking over as head of TNPA earlier this year, I have been focusing on turning the business around to equal and surpass global benchmarks for ports and harbours,” Mr Morwe said.

He said various developments that are aimed at making South African ports and harbours globally competitive, whilst stimulating Africa’s economic growth, are at an advanced stage.

“I cannot desert this post during this challenging period which is also bursting with potential for efficiency and productivity,” said Mr Morwe.

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Getting their own back

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A long-line fishing vessel, the WULAN in Durban harbour. Picture by Terry Hutson

Seafarers on board the Taiwanese-owned and registered long line vessel CHIN YI WEN fought back when pirates came aboard and took control of their ship, forcing them to turn and head for Somalia.

The drama on board the 260-ton Chin Yi Wen began on Thursday last week when Somali pirates managed to board the vessel, which was subsequently reported as missing by the owners. However, on Sunday (6 November 2011) a British warship was spotted in the vicinity during the early hours of the morning and a number of the fishermen used the opportunity to turn on their captors and after a short fight they overcame them and took back control of their ship. Three of the fishing vessel’s crew received light injuries.

None of the 28 crew are Taiwanese. Nine come from mainland China, eight are Filipinos, six are Indonesians and five are Vietnamese.

Seychelles fishermen taken hostage

In another incident that took place off the Seychelles islands, two Seychelles fishermen on board a fishing boat named ARIDE have been taken hostage by Somali pirates some 65 n.miles west of Mahe.

The incident took place last week, according to a government of Seychelles spokesman. Home Affairs and Transport minister Joel Morgan said on Saturday that no demand had been received from the pirates. He said that aerial reconnaissance had confirmed the capture of the two and their boat.

German warship intercepts Somali pirates

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Pirates jettison a RPG shortly before surrendering to a German Navy ship

EU NAVFOR, the European Union naval force operating on anti piracy patrol in the Somali basin and Gulf of Aden, reports that on Friday last week (4 November), following a coordinated search and detection by a French Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance aircraft, the German warship FGS KOELN, operating as part of the EU NAVFOR, disrupted a pirate action group comprising a whaler and skiff, 50 nautical miles off the coast of Tanzania.

The report said that on detection, the suspect pirates jettisoned their pirate equipment overboard and were detained without resistance. They have been transferred onboard FGS KOELN and the two pirate boats have been sunk, preventing their use against merchant shipping in the area.

FGS Koeln was involved with the destruction of another pirate group in a skiff off Somalia back in September.

Nigerian Ports Authority will supply armed patrol boats for navy

Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has announced its intention of providing the Nigerian Navy with three patrol boats that can be used to provide armed security at the western ports.

GM, Public Affairs Chief Michael Ajayi said that security (of the harbours) was a crucial issue. He said that when there were lapses in security it was always blamed on the NPA, despite the presence of other security agencies that are operating in the ports. He said that another three patrol boats will be made available to the navy for use in the eastern ports.

The NPA’s managing director, Omar Suleiman said the armed patrol boats would go a long way in addressing the challenges of piracy and armed robbery, ports crimes, stowaways and general security in the ports.

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Port of Mombasa – a SBM outside would enable large supertankers to deliver oil to the East African port

According to state-owned National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK) a feasibility study is being conducted for the construction of a single buoy mooring or offshore jetty to handle supertankers up to 280,000-dwt.

The offshore facility will be near or outside the port of Mombasa, which currently has a limitation for tankers of 80,000-dwt.

NOCK managing director Sumayya Hassan-Athmani said a report based on the feasibility study was expected to be ready in January 2012.

Tanzania plans dry port for Dar es Salaam

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Port of Dar es Salaam

Tanzania says it intends extending the capacity of the port at Dar es Salaam by means of a dry port at Kisarawe on the south western side of the city.

Local and international companies have been invited to participate in the venture, says Ms Janeth Ruzangi, Tanzania Ports Authority corporate communications officer, as quoted in the East African Business Week.

She said the development of a dry port at Kisarawe was intended to alleviate the lack of capacity for containers and bulk cargo at the port of Dar es Salaam itself. She said a pre-feasibility study had shown that Kisarawe was the ideal location for a dry port. A further study would look at the geo-technical features of the site to determine its suitability for road, rail and yard facilities.

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Diamond Princess, built for Princess Cruises by MHI – see below. Picture by Alan Calvert

America’s Carnival Corporation has placed orders with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) for two 125,000-gt, 3,250-passenger cruise ships that will go into service with Carnival’s German subsidiary AIDA Cruises, becoming the largest ships ever to be built for AIDA.

The order marks the second new shipbuilding order for MHI from the Carnival group and the third and fourth cruise ships built by MHI for the group. Earlier, MHI built two 116,000-gross ton ships for Princess Cruises: the DIAMOND PRINCESS and SAPPHIRE PRINCESS, both delivered in 2004.

Delivery of the two ships is scheduled for spring 2015 and spring 2016 (northern hemisphere) from MHI's shipyard in Nagasaki. The shipbuilding contracts are subject to financing.

Carnival Corp operates a fleet of 101 cruise ships, with another 10 newbuilds due for delivery between 2012 and 2016. The group operates with a portfolio of 10 cruise brands operating in North America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Mauritius.

MSC Sinfonia arrives in South Africa today

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MSC Sinfonia arriving in Cape Town in November last year, almost a year ago to the day, at the start of her 2010/11 cruise season. Picture by Ian Shiffman

MSC SINFONIA arrives in Cape Town at around 13h00 today at the start of the 2011/12 summer cruise season, during which the ship will undertake 37 cruises out of Durban to destinations on the Mozambique coast and islands, including a longer New Year’s cruise to Mauritius.

Together with MSC MELODY which is due to arrive in South Africa in December, the two Italian ships are hoping to carry 110,000 passengers during the months they are in South African waters. MSC Melody will operate mainly out of Cape Town, offering cruises along the west coast as far as Walvis Bay in Namibia, and the south east coast as far as Mossel Bay.

MSC Melody will also operate two longer cruises during December from Durban, at Christmas and at New Year.

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Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, chief executive of SAMSA and BBQ Businessman of the Year

SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) CEO, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele has been named 2011 BBQ Businessman of the year at this year’s Black Business Quarterly awards held at Emperors Palace. He is also a recipient of the overall platinum award.

The BBQ awards are held every year to recognise excellence in business. They are the brainchild of the respected Cape Media publication the ‘Black Business Quarterly’. The publication is a leading voice in profiling South African businesses and decision makers.

The awards have been in existence for the past 10 years and have continued to grow in importance and stature over the years. Past luminaries include businessman Patrice Motsepe, SAA board chairperson, former SA ambassador to London Cheryl Carolus and former MTN CEO Phuthuma Nhleko.

This year’s theme was ‘Champions of Transformation’ and Commander Mokhele was found to be a deserving South African decision maker hence the receipt of the award. This recognition comes on the back of the significant milestones that were achieved by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in 2011 and particularly Commander Mokhele’s commitment to position the maritime sector as the backbone of the country’s economy.

SAMSA’s continued commitment to champion and transform the maritime industry has seen the organisation making some significant impacts this year:

  • SAMSA was named Maritime newsmaker of the year in March 2011

  • In April SAMSA officially launched the SAMSA cadet project

  • SAMSA has been a recipient of numerous awards at exhibitions and conferences held around the country
    In August 2011, SAMSA hosted the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport on a study tour to understand SAMSA’s operations and impact on the maritime industry
    In September 2011, SAMSA launched the groundbreaking Maritime Study which included some concrete plans to transform the sector and unlock a significant number of quality jobs in the sector
    In October 2011, SAMSA CEO Commander Tsietsi Mokhele is named Businessman of the year and is an overall platinum winner at the BBQ business awards.


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    The P&O passenger liner HIMALAYA (27,995-gt, built 1949), complete with pilot launch alongside, sailing from Durban during 1974. When built this was the largest and fastest P&O liner, averaging 25.13 knots on trial although her service speed was a slightly more modest 22 knots. She was also the first P&O ship to have air conditioning – installed in some of the cabins only. In 1963 Himalaya was converted from having first and economy classes to a one-class ship and then had accommodation for 1416 passengers. Picture by Trevor Jones

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    Portugal’s Companhia Nacional de Navegacao’s liner PRINCIPE PERFEITO (19,393-gt, built 1961) in her original plain livery before bands were added to the plain black stack, sailing from Durban during October 1969. Picture by Trevor Jones

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