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Ports & Ships Maritime News

8-9 December 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic The bulk carrier VALE BEIJING (404,389-dwt, built 2011), the world’s largest VLOC iron ore carrier, is accompanied by five harbour tugs as she is moved away from her berth in the Brazilian port of Sao Luis to an anchorage outside the shipping channel.

The giant ship had almost completed loading 384,300 tonnes of iron ore for China on Tuesday when during the final pour cracks were noticed along the vessel’s ballast tanks in the cargo hold, leading to ingress of water into the hold. There is speculation as to the cause of the fractures, thought to be either through structural problems when the ship was built or from stresses created while loading. The latter is thought unlikely as ore ships are constantly loaded at Sao Luis. Sao Luis has no facilities to discharge ore from a ship, nor are there any ship repair services in the port.

Engineers meanwhile declined to start the ship’s engines for fear of furthering the damage through vibration and repairs will have to be carried out outside the port using divers or possibly a coffer dam. Fears have been expressed that the ship could sink.

Vale Beijing was built in South Korea by STX Offshore & Shipbuilidng as the first of an order for eight similar ships and is owned by a division of that company, STX Pan Ocean and is on long term charter to Vale. The ship is believed to have cost US$110 million. See also Pics of the Day below.

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The governments of Mozambique, Tanzania and the Comoros Islands signed an agreement this week outlining the sea borders between the three states, so the Mozambican daily newspaper, Notícias has reported.

The daily said that following the agreement Mozambique now only needed to set its sea borders with Madagascar and South Africa.

The President of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza said that it had been a long, delicate and complicated process that had made it possible to meet one of the targets of the African Union, which was to set sea and land borders with a view to promoting peace and peaceful co-existence between states and people.

The agreements were signed by Oldemiro Balói, Mozambique’s foreign affairs minister, Anna Timbaijuka, Tanzania’s land, housing and development of urban settlements minister, and Rastami Mouhidine, the Comoros minister for transport and tourism. The process was made possible with the technical and financial support of Germany. (macauhub)

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Nigeria lost out to Denmark by a single vote in its bid to remain a Category C member of the Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), following recent elections by that body.

The Council is the executive organ of IMO and is responsible, under the Assembly, for supervising the work of the Organization. Between sessions of the Assembly, the Council performs all the functions of the Assembly, except that of making recommendations to Governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention.

The IMO elects 40 members to the council in three categories - A, B and C. Countries are elected for a two-year term.

The 10 states elected to Category A, which hold the largest interest in providing international shipping services are China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Category B consists of 10 states with the largest interest in international seaborne trade. Those elected are: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden.

Category C is made up of 20 states not elected under A or B, which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world. Those elected are:

Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey.

The 27th session of the IMO Assembly was held at IMO Headquarters, London from 21 to 30 November 2011. The Assembly is the IMO’s highest governing body. All 170 member states and three associate members are entitled to attend, as are the intergovernmental organisations with which agreements of co-operation have been concluded, and non- governmental organisations in consultative status with IMO. The Assembly normally meets once every two years in regular session. It is responsible for approving the work programme, voting the budget and determining the financial arrangements of the organisation. It also elects the Council.

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Port of Tanga in northern Tanzania

Tanzania Ports Authority says that the proposed new port at Tanga will be handling in excess of 4 million TEU (twenty-foot container equivalents) by the year 2028.

“The capacity utilisation at the existing port is high, over 90%, which calls for additional berths and terminal facilities,” said Ephraim Mgawe, TPA’s director-general. “The required expansion to meet projected demand is not recommended at the existing location due to high costs involved,” he added.

The new port, which is to be built nearby at Mwambani, will be able to berth ships alongside the quay whereas the present Tanga port is mostly a lighterage port located close to the city centre with limited space for expansion.

The TPA also plans to build an inland depot which they describe as a freight station able to handle containers and motor vehicles in large numbers.

In addition, the governments of Tanzania and Uganda have signed an agreement to fast-track construction of a Tanga – Musoma – Uganda railway line to handle the movement of freight between the two countries. As part of the agreement the port of Musoma on the eastern shores of Lake Victoria will also be expanded and Uganda has plans to build a new port to serve the northern end of the railway link. source - Port Strategy

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Google view of Tanga

Antwerp to assist Cote d’Ivoire’s San Pedro port with cocoa exports

The port of Antwerp says it is to collaborate in the development of the Ivory Coast port of San Pedro, the world’s largest cocoa port.

San Pedro has 2000 hectares of vacant land that will be put into use in stages in the near future, said Antwerp Port Authority, whose subsidiary Port of Antwerp International (PAI) is assisting in helping draw up a master plan for the West African port.

The agreement and arrangements were laid down in a Memorandum of Understanding signed at the end of November.

San Pedro currently handles between 1.5 and 2 million tonnes of cargo annually, and has ambitions of expanding significantly on a regional scale, for which a number of practical investment and development projects have already been drawn up. Logistics zones are to be set up in the port’s hinterland, in the cities of Odienné, Touba and Man. Within the port precinct itself logistics zones to handle rice, cashew nuts, fertilisers and cotton will also be created.

An additional 150ha of port area will be made ready for development with a view to attracting investors, said PAI. Marketing teams will be visiting the south of Mali, the east of Guinea and Liberia’s south-east regions with a view to further developing San Pedro on a regional scale.

GAC appointed to handle port and bunker fuel services

GAC says it has signed a global hub contract with specialist transporter of liquefied natural gas, Angola LNG Supply Service (ALSS), to provide ship agency services to its vessels. The agreement was signed by ALSS's General Manager William E Haune, Jr and GAC's Group President, Capt Lars Safverstrom.

Using a fleet of seven LNG carrier vessels, each with a capacity of 160,000 cubic metres, ALSS will transport LNG from the Angola LNG Project liquefaction plant in the north of the country to receiving terminals worldwide beginning in the 1st quarter of 2012. ALSS is owned by affiliated companies of Sonangol, Chevron, BP, Total and ENI.

Under the new contract, GAC Global Hub Services (GHS) will serve as the provider of a variety of worldwide ship agency services for ALSS's chartered vessels. GAC Bunker Fuels will also act as a bunker trader for their fleet providing price updates, market intelligence and supply quotations.

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The stakes have been raised ahead of a crucial European Union Summit this week.

Standard & Poor's (S&P) has warned investors and Eurozone governments that it will carry out mass downgrades of Eurozone countries if EU leaders fail to agree on how to solve the region's debt crisis by Friday.

The EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, is taking place today (Thursday) and Friday.

The stakes are already high, and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is not the only one putting European leaders under pressure.

As he arrived in Germany on a three-day tour, key players in the debt crisis reacted to the threat by ratings agency S&P to downgrade 15 Eurozone countries, including France and Germany.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “What a ratings agency does is its own responsibility. On Thursday and Friday, we will make the decisions which we think are important and indispensable for the Eurozone and therefore contribute to the stabilisation of the Eurozone.”

France and Germany want to see greater budget discipline across the Eurozone - including automatic penalties for countries that let their finances run out of control.

With European leaders preparing to discuss the planned reforms of the EU Treaty at a summit on Friday, France’s Finance Minister Francois Baroin questioned the timing of S&P’s shock warning.

French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said: “This announcement yesterday that puts the Eurozone under surveillance, it doesn’t take into account the Franco-German proposals. So this week is important for the quality of the success and the quality of the importance of the agreement on Friday at the European summit. The rating of France and the others will depend a lot on that.”

French officials say the S&P decision was made last Tuesday and also failed to take into account an Italian austerity budget package, which was welcomed by markets.

Goldman Sachs CEO Jim O’Neill said he too was baffled by the timing.

O’Neill said: “I don’t think it’s very sensible, considering what we’re looking at later this week. If they instigate, at least in principle what the Germans are on about, it should get rid of many of the issues - from what I can tell - the S&P report talks about.”

S&P says it will be watching the summit closely for political, as well as financial solutions. This after it warned that it would downgrade the 15 countries if a solution to the debt crisis is not found within 90 days. – BuaNews-Xinhua

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President Jacob Zuma

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma is visiting Nigeria and Benin later this week with the aim of deepening South Africa's bilateral political, economic and trade relations with these two countries.

On Saturday, he will be in Nigeria, where he will hold talks with his counterpart, President Goodluck Jonathan, in respect to developments within the South Africa–Nigeria Bi-National Commission (BNC), and with regard to regional and continental issues of mutual interest.

Zuma will attend the First Memorial Lecture at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja as a special guest of honour and also receive an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Philosophy at the American University of Nigeria in Yola.

Relations with Nigeria are strong, with Nigeria being South Africa’s largest trading partner within the West Africa region. Trade relations between the two economies registered substantial growth between the period 2008 and 2010.

After Nigeria, the President will move to Benin where he will meet his counterpart President Boni Yayi, who was in the country recently.

According to the International Relations Department, a bilateral air services agreement will be signed during the visit.

The two Presidents will also use the occasion to exchange views in respect of developments at regional level, both with regard to ECOWAS and SADC, as well as discuss broad issues affecting the continent within the context of the AU.

Zuma is also expected to be honoured with an Honorary Doctorate by Benin’s University of Abomey-Calavi. – BuaNews

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Sohar, Oman and one of a class of VLOC bulk carriers trading between Brazil and Oman, the VALE BRASIL (402,347-dwt, built 2011). According to reports the VLOC’s will be trading between Brazil and China from next year. However, when Vale Brasil called at a Chinese port earlier this year she was blocked from docking by Chinese authorities. The problem with Vale Beijing which is described in ’First View’ above could see these ships banned altogether from Chinese ports.

The ships have a length of 362m, a width of 65m and a draught of 23m. Vale Brasil is one of seven to be built at the Daewoo (DSME) shipyard from an intended order for 35 similar ships, including those built by STX Offshore & Shipbuilding – see First View above.

Pictures by Frank Verheij

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