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Ports & Ships Maritime News

23 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 passenger/cargo ship RMS ST HELENA in Cape Town harbour. The vessel plies a regular service between the Mother City and the mid Atlantic island of the ship’s name. She no longer operates to the UK. Picture by Frank Vennard/videographics

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BIMCO, which represents a majority of the world’s shipping (65%), says it is proceeding with the development of a standard contract for the employment of armed guards on board ships and says this is aimed at weeding out ‘second rate’ security firms.

“With the increasing use of armed guards on ships and the fear that second-rate security firms may take advantage of the piracy situation, BIMCO is forging ahead with the development of a standard contract for the employment of armed guards,” the organisation said.

The new contract, which will be drafted by a team of experts of shipowners, lawyers and underwriters, and with the assistance of the International Group of P&I Clubs, will require private security firms offering armed guards to follow the IMO Guidelines for owners on the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships (MSC Circular 1405).

“Of major importance is ensuring that security contractors have in place proper and sufficient public and employers’ liability insurance – which is a concern recently raised by the International Group of P&I Clubs. While much of the new BIMCO contract will deal with operational aspects of employing armed security guards, issues of liability and responsibility will be of prime importance,” BIMCO said.

It added that new private maritime security firms are springing up almost daily to meet ship owners’ growing demands for their services for vessels operating in high risk areas.

“It is very important that this new sector is regulated and that harmonised terms are developed and agreed. BIMCO has given this project the highest priority so that the standard contract can be published as soon as possible – most likely within the next two months.”

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Pirates attacking a ship off Somalia

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World’s largest floating dock

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DSME No.3 Royal Dock

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) said in South Korea this week that it has gone ahead with the construction of the world’s biggest floating dock, No.5 Royal Dock.

Cutting of steel for the dock commenced on 1 November at the Daehan Shipbuilding yard in the province of South Jeolla.

DSME said that construction of the No.5 Royal Dock was necessary because of new orders for offshore projects such as FPSOs and LNG-FPSOs. As these became larger in scale, the need for bigger production facilities has increased, the company said.

Daehon Shipbuilding has been working with DSME which has been managing the shipyard on an entrustment basis since last June. Daehon will be responsible for the construction of the new dock. By undertaking the construction at Daehon, DSME says it will reduce strain on DSME’s tight production schedule while solving the problem of storage at the building site.

The new dock will be 432 metres long, 85.6m wide and have a deadweight of 130,000 tons. The dock will be able to build the 18,000-TEU container ships that Maersk says it is planning as well as any other large vessels up to 68m wide.

The No.5 Royal Dock will be delivered to the DSME’s Okpo shipyard in December 2012, and will be first used to construct three LNG carriers starting in February 2013.

Grand China Logistics asks for time to pay

Responding to media reports, which were also covered here in PORTS & SHIPS, the president of troubled Grand China Logistics Holding called a meeting with journalists on Monday to explain that GCL is busy talking to all the ship owners to whom it is in debt. “We are talking to every ship owner and actively raising funds to make payments,” company president Li Zhong said. On Monday PORTS & SHIPS reported that Grand China Logistics had begun halting payments to foreign ship owners because of the severe downturn in the shipping market. According to one ship owner this had occurred without explanation.

“Give us sometime and we will definitely pay the money back,” Li told reporters, adding that the amounts were not very big. According to Li Grand China had also reduced charter rates through re-negotiations, container shipping services had been cut and plans were drawn up to return all leased vessels. This was, he said a result of tumbling freight rates that were causig industry-wide losses.

“The shipping industry isn’t in good shape because of the global trade slowdown and even China Cosco Holdings, the nation’s biggest shipping line had said it will lose money this year.”

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Some of the Transnet cadets who have flown off to join Safmarine ships for five months of sea time training. Picture by Roy Reed

With the assistance of Safmarine, 16 young Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) cadets are moving a step closer to realising their dreams of following a career in the maritime industry.

The cadets, who are all from disadvantaged backgrounds, have flown to Europe and the Far East where for the next five months they will serve on Safmarine ships around the world. The intensive training programme on board Safmarine ships will give the cadets practical training towards their ambitions of becoming tug masters, harbour pilots and chief marine engineering officers.

“Gaining sea-time experience is an important part of the TNPA cadets’ training,” said Vish Govender, Maritime Training and Development Manager at TNPA’s School of Ports. “Without the training berths provided by Safmarine, these youngsters would be unable to qualify in their chosen careers.”

The first pilot training programme was conducted at the School of Ports in 2006 with resounding success. With a comprehensive and structured program in place, the success rate more than doubled from those of the Rotterdam programs and to date, the School of Ports have managed to retain this success rate.

TNPA School of Ports cadet, Lwandiso Ntloko, whose ultimate goal is to be a harbour master, is one of the three female cadets who left for Rotterdam on 19 November 2011. “Being chosen for this programme makes me feel very proud of what I have achieved so far. I am humbled that my contribution was observed and I was blessed with this opportunity to grow within my chosen career path,” she said.

“I am looking forward to going to Rotterdam to be able to practise what we have been studying theoretically. I hope to finish the programme knowing how to handle vessels in port,” she added.

Siphamandla Mpanza, one of three male cadets who has also left for Rotterdam, said he aspires to be the youngest black man as a pilot in the maritime industry.

“I’m looking forward to going to Rotterdam for practical exercises. I imagine myself steering that ship and already it’s a wonderful feeling. I hope to achieve a lot when it comes to the practical navigation side of things, and to gaining confidence as well,” he said.

The programme is managed on behalf of TNPA by Andy Maclennan, managing director of SAMTRA, who said it is encouraging to see the increase in the number of young women interested in working as harbour pilots and tug masters.

“Opportunities such as the cadet training programme give young South Africans, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the opportunity to improve their lives by working internationally and earning US dollar-based salaries,” said Fred Jacobs, South African Maritime Academy (SAMTRA) chairman and Safmarine South Africa Public Affairs executive. He said investment in maritime training is important when one considers the high unemployment rate and the global shortage of skilled maritime officers.

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Trans Caprivi Corridor into Zambia, Zimbabwe and the DRC

Africa’s largest packaging company Nampak has sent its first ever shipment of freight via the port of Walvis Bay en route to Zambia, where the 600 tonnes of paper reels making up the first part of the shipment arrived at its destination within three days.

Because of stock depletion and a possible complete halt in production, it was extremely urgent for the shipment to arrive in Zambia at the shortest time possible.

Facilitated by Trade Ocean Shipping, the freight cleared the port and was sent along the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor (what we used to call the Trans- Caprivi Corridor). “It definitely paves the way for future shipments to be handled successfully via this corridor. The cooperation between all parties concerned in a near crisis situation proved to be very successful in attaining this achievement,” said Michelle Kirov, the marketing director of Trade Ocean Shipping Namibia.

Johny Smith, the CEO of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group called it a significant milestone for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group. “This is a clear indication of the increased business confidence that importers and exporters have shown in utilising the trade route with more direct shipping calls, high efficiencies, reducing transit time, and strategic partners to ensure that consumers in the SADC region receive a great product every time,” he said. Smith pointed out that by moving their entry point to Walvis Bay from their previous port, which was on the east coast of Southern Africa, Nampak has cut out more than 14 days from its supply chain. “We believe this is paving the way for other similar shipments and companies who want to add value to the supply chain the future,” he said.

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Reels of paper being loaded onto trucks at the port of Walvis Bay for the journey to Nampak in Zambia

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The FPSO PAZFLOR which is in service about 90 miles off Luanda in Angola

The giant Pazflor development, which lies 150 kilometres offshore of Luanda in Angola, was inaugurated on yesterday (Tuesday) at a ceremony attended by José Botelho de Vasconcelos, Angola’s Minister of Petroleum and dignitaries from Sonangol and Total and local authorities.

“We are very proud to be inaugurating Pazflor today. With this bold project, Total has pushed back the boundaries of technology,” said Christophe de Margerie, chairman and CEO of the French company.

“I would like to congratulate all of our teams for making it possible to successfully complete one of the world’s most outstanding oil developments. I would also like to thank our concession holder Sonangol and our partners for their support. Following on from Girassol and Dalia, Pazflor is a new chapter in the remarkable twinned story of Total, its contractors and Angola, allowing us to successfully pursue the Block 17 adventure.”

The field came on stream on 24 August. Output will reach 220,000 barrels per day and will make Total the leading oil operator in Angola and the African deepwater industry. This position should be cemented when the CLOV project begins production, scheduled for 2014.

Sonangol is the concession holder for Block 17, which is operated by Total E&P Angola, a wholly owned Total subsidiary, with a 40% interest. The other partners are Statoil ASA (23.33%), Esso Exploration Angola (Block 17) Limited (20%) and BP Exploration (Angola) Ltd (16.67%).

The Pazflor FPSO is a remarkable vessel. At 325 metres long and 62 metres wide and weighing 120,000 tons, she is the world’s largest floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO). The FPSO is held in position by 16 subsea mooring connectors, and can store up to 1.9 million barrels within its hull and accommodate a total of 240 people.

The FPSO is operating above a depth of 1,200 metres and an aggregate depth of 2,700 metres. The gigantic subsea gathering system covers 600 square kilometres, and has 49 wells, 180 kilometres of flowlines and 10,000 tons of equipment on the seabed, making the system remarkable not only for its size, but also for its technical complexity.

Pazflor’s has 590 million barrels of proved and probable reserves.


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The car carrier HOEGH KOBE in Cape Town harbour this month. Picture by Aad Noorland

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The offshore support vessel INGEBORG (200-gt, built 1973, IMO 7336537) makes an entry into Cape Town yesterday, assisted by one of the harbour launches. Picture by Aad Noorland

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