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Ports & Ships Maritime News

25 January 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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Queen Mary 2 arrives in Cape Town yesterday on her 2012 world cruise. The ship, which is berthed on the Eastern Mole in Duncan Dock will remain in the mother city until tomorrow when she sails for Durban. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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For whom the bell tolls...

As the search for bodies continues on board the capsized cruise ship COSTA CONCORDIA, the Dutch salvage specialist Smit Salvage is waiting to begin removing fuel oils and other toxic products from the ship.

At least 2400 tons of fuel oil is on board the ship – the number is confusing because initial reports said 2400 tons of heavy fuel oil and 1200 tons of light gas oil. Either way it will be one of the largest oil recoveries in recent years and vitally necessary and even urgent in the face of a potential environmental disaster along the Tuscan coast. So far the weather has remained kind to those conducting the search and rescue operations.

A standby oil response vessel, the tanker SALINA BAY (built 1981) has arrived onsite to assist with the oil transfer operation. The EMSA-contracted tanker is equipped with several oil recovery systems, including booms, skimmer, two 12m sweeping arms and a dedicated radar slick detection system. Salina Bay normally operates as a bunker tanker and has a tank capacity of 2,800m³.

The contract to salvage the ship has not yet been awarded; salvors will be faced with the task of either breaking the ship up where she is or attempting to refloat and tow her away from the coast to a safe anchorage. Theoretically the latter might be the more likely choice but the salvors will be dealing with hard facts in front of them, not theory.

Speculation continues on the full story explaining how this huge modern ship, fitted with the most sophisticated navigational systems, could have ‘gone on the rocks’ but everything so far appears to suggest that the human element was the main cause. Right from the beginning the ship operator and ship owner, Costa Cruises and Carnival Corporation respectively have made it clear what they believe by having laid the blame squarely on the ship’s captain and to a lesser extent on his first officer.

The official enquiry is going to be closely watched – these things are usually held some time after the event by which time media and public attention has drifted elsewhere. This case is likely to be different and it wouldn’t be surprising if the enquiry isn’t held in the full glare of publicity, including live television – the world’s latest live ‘reality show’. The pity is that it involves such tragedy.

It has now transpired that there may have been unofficial ‘passengers’ on board – not stowaways but invited guests of the crew who did not appear on the ship lists. This is making the task of identifying recovered bodies all the more difficult as well as knowing when to signal a stop to searching for more bodies.

Meanwhile a list has been made public of the confirmed dead (15 people) and those still unaccounted for. These include at least 17 still missing yesterday and 7 bodies recovered but not yet identified.


Sandor Feher, Hungary, 38, crew
Jeanne Gannard, France
Pierre Gregoire, France
Giovanni Masia, Italy, 86
Thomas Alberto Costilla Mendoza, Peru, crew
Jean-Pierre Micheaud, France, 61
Francis Servil, France, 71
Guillermo Gual, Spain, 68
7 other bodies that have been recovered from the wreckage but not identified.


Dayana Arlotti, Italy
William M. Arlotti, Italy
Elisabeth Bauer, Germany
Michael M. Blemand, France
Maria Dintrono, Italy
Horst Galle, Germany
Christina Mathi Ganz, Germany
Norbert Josef Ganz, Germany
Girolamo Giuseppe, Italy, crew
Gabriele Grube, Germany
Barbara Heil, United States
Gerald Heil, United States
Egon Hoer, Germany
Mylene Litzler, France
Margarethe Neth, Germany
Russel Terence Rebello, India, crew
Inge Schall, Germany
Erika Fani Soriamolina, Peru, crew
Siglinde Stumpf, Germany
Brunhild Werp, Germany
Josef Werp, Germany
Margrit Schroeter, Germany
Maria Grazia Trecarichi, Italy
Luisa Antonia Virzi, Italy

Carnival Corporation, the owner of Costa Cruises which operated the Costa Concordia, has set into action a re-evaluation of the company’s safety and emergency response procedures and practices.

Micky Arison, Carnival’s CEO and chairman this week announced a comprehensive audit and review of all safety and emergency response procedures across all of the company's cruise lines, which include Costa and nine other brands.

“While I have every confidence in the safety of our vessels and the professionalism of our crews, this review will evaluate all practices and procedures to make sure that this kind of accident doesn't happen again,” said Mr Arison.

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Picture AP

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Chinese lines draw closer

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CSCL Tianjin

Two of China’s greatest shipping companies, China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) and China Ocean Shipping (Cosco) are in the process of establishing a closer relationship which observers believe could lead to a full merger of the two giants.

It appears that the ‘merger’ involves an exchange of senior and middle-management personnel as well as an expected combining of shipping services.

This is the latest development involving a moving together of various shipping groups in response to Maersk Line having thrown down the gauntlet last year with its ‘Daily Maersk’ service between the Far East and northern Europe, in which a Maersk container ship of 10,000-TEU or more in capacity would sail every day of the year for Europe to provide a named-day daily predictable service for shippers.

The response of other shipping lines has been to draw closer to each other by combining their relative strengths to be able to compete with the world’s largest container carrier, Maersk. Two European companies, Mediterranean Shipping Company and CMA CGM, the second and third largest container lines, were the first to announce a merging of their interests on the Asia-Europe, Asia-Southern Africa and Latin American services.

This was followed by six lines forming the G6 Alliance, consisting of APL, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) of the New World network and Hapag-Lloyd, NYK and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) of the Grand Alliance which brought about 90 ships into the G6 Alliance for a combined service between Asia and Europe and the Mediterranean.

Since then the CKYH Alliance has been formed made up of Cosco, ‘K’ Line, Evergreen, Yang Ming and Hanjin Shipping to provide another merger on the Asia-Europe trades, as a counter to the bold initiative and challenge set down by Maersk.

At the time of Maersk Line announcing its ‘Daily Maersk’ service which saw the Danish group apply 70 large container ships to servicing the Asia-northern Europe trades, Maersk suggested that there would be some casualties with smaller operators being forced to stop operating. So far Malaysia’s MISC has been the only major line to announce its withdrawal not only from the Asia-Europe trades but from the container business itself.

MSC increases India, Middle East to East Africa rates

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MSC Anna. Picture by Terry Hutson

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has announced an increase on its rates between India, Pakistan and the Persian Gulf to East Africa.

As from 1 February 2012 an increase of US$200 per TEU will be applied to containers carried on this service. The service rotation is Nhava Sheva, Mundra, Jebel Ali, Dar es Salaam and Mombasa.

MSC adds ‘piracy surcharge’ to East African trades

Mediterranean Shipping Company says the risk of piracy on ships operating in the north western Indian Ocean has grown to the extent that insurance premiums has forced them to add a ‘Piracy Risk Surcharge’ to containers being shipped along the East African coast.

“We have to increase the Piracy Risk Surcharge From/To South Africa To/From East Africa (Dar Es Salaam, Tanga, Zanzibar, Mombasa), Nacala, by US$ 100 per TEU,” said MSC in its statement.

The new Piracy Risk Surcharge will be of US$ 230 per TEU effective:

MSC JASMINE voy ZE1204A etd Durban 05/02/12 (East Africa Trade)
MSC RICKMERS voy ZN1204A etd Durban 05/02/12 (Nacala)

MSC increases rates between South Africa and East Africa

Citing various local problems that its ships are experiencing, MSC says it will apply a general rate increase of US$300 per TEU on all cargo shipped between South Africa and East Africa commencing with the sailing of MSC Jasmine ETD Durban 5 February 2012.

MSC adds surcharge to Mombasa cargo

Because of port delays of 10 days and longer at the port of Mombasa and with no solution in sight, MSC says it is applying a container congestion surcharge of $150 per TEU as from 1 February 2012.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic FGS Luebeck and the Indian dhow. Picture EUNAVFOR

Pirates’ audacious rendezvous and transfer to another mother ship

EU NAVFOR, the European Union naval operation in the Gulf of Aden has provided details of the release of 15 Indian seafarers being held hostage on board the dhow which was under the control of and being used as a pirate mother ship. Their release followed an audacious rendezvous and transfer by the pirates onto another ship.

The report reads as follows:

“On 17 January 2012 the EU NAVFOR warship FGS LUEBECK re-located an Indian registered dhow which had been used as pirate mother-ship involved in the attack on M/V FLINTSTONE early the same day. A Dutch Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) stationed on the Dutch-registered civilian fall-pipe vessel had repelled the attack following a gun-fight and caused the attack skiffs to retreat back to the pirate mother ship with injuries to the suspected pirates.

“Having positively identified the dhow and sighted the attack skiffs and other pirate paraphernalia on the deck of the dhow, FGS LUEBECK approached the dhow demanding that they comply via radio messages.

“The vessel did not react to radio calls or to subsequent warning gunshots. Sustained pressure was applied to the dhow through the presence of FGS LUEBECK including direct shots fired into the bow of the dhow and use of the ship’s helicopter to neutralise the attack skiffs secured on the upper deck.

“Throughout the action the safety of the hostages was the primary consideration, especially as the suspect pirates threatened to kill all crew members and to fire on anyone attempting to board the dhow.

“During the night of 19 January 2012, FGS LUEBECK established control of the situation to allow the M/V ENRICO IEVOLI, an Italian tanker which had been pirated in December 2011 and which has 18 hostages onboard to rendezvous with the Indian dhow. On arrival the pirates again threatened that they would harm all the hostages if any military action was taken to prevent a transfer of pirates who had been injured during the initial attack on the M/V FLINTSTONE.

“The FGS LUEBECK maintained an overt presence and following the transfer, was able to board the Indian dhow to assure the health and safety of the crew as well as providing technical assistance. The 15 released crewmembers were all in good health. This action has denied the suspect pirates the use of the dhow as a mother-ship and freed the crew from what could have become months of captivity. The injured suspected pirates were seen to have transferred to the M/V ENRICO IEVOLI which is being shadowed as it returns towards Somalia.”

EUNAVFOR’s report above says the naval unit “established control of the situation”… it seems to us that the pirates maintained control and had the final say in the matter, making their orderly escape to another highjacked vessel right under the noses of the European warship. No mention is made by EUNAVFOR of the Enrico Ievoli’s crew or their safety.

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The Nigerian Ports Authority has been organising training camps for its key personnel, including field crews and management.

This is part of the NPA’s ongoing commitment to education and knowledge building, in which the UK Anthony D Bates Partnership (ADBP) has been closely involved and has delivered training on many aspects of engineering in the marine environment.

This has included: hydrographic survey, ground investigation, navigation aids, beneficial use of dredge material, volume calculation, dredging methods, environmental impacts, quality assurance and charting.

Training is given on an ongoing basis both in Nigeria and also in the UK.

Liberian NPA in talks with van Oord

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Freeport of Monrovia

The Liberian National Port Authority says it has agreed that periodic maintenance dredging of the Freeport of Monrovia is not a part of Liberia’s contract with APM Terminals, which was awarded a concession to operate the port and its terminals.

Acting NPA Deputy Managing Director for Administration, Mr Nyekeh Forkpa, says the dredging of the Freeport of Monrovia and other seaports including the Ports of Greenville, Buchanan and Harper, is the responsibility of the NPA Management.

He was responding to media reports that the dredging of the Freeport of Monrovia would be done by APM Terminals. He said that that the NPA was close to reaching agreement with Van Oord, a Dutch Company, over the dredging of the ports of Monrovia and Greenville.

“Management has already dredged the port of Buchanan and I can assure that we will soon commence the dredging works at the ports of Monrovia and Greenville,” he said.

In 2010 APM Terminals signed a US$125 million 25-year concession agreement allowing APM Terminals to modernise the Freeport of Monrovia to internationally acceptable standards. APM Terminals is responsible for rebuilding the damaged marginal wharf, improving the port infrastructure, and operating the port during the concession period. Reconstruction of the marginal wharf has already begun.

The misunderstanding arose after NPA managing director Mrs Matilda Wokie Parker said that APM Terminals was responsible to dredge the debris caused during construction.

“We had hoped that APM Terminals would take the responsibility to carry out periodic dredging of the port during negotiations of the contract, but we didn’t succeed,” she said.

Discussions with Van Oord for the dredging of the ports of Monrovia and Greenville are believed to be in the final stages. Source Liberian Observer

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Cyclone Funso’s position as at midnight UTC

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Funso’s forecast position at 18h00 on Friday, 27 January 2012

Cyclone Funso is continuing its slow steady path down the centre of the Mozambique Channel. On Monday the National Meteorology Institute (INAM) warned that the cyclone will continue to affect the weather in the coming days along the coasts of Zambezia, Sofala and Inhambane provinces.

This category four cyclone is a highly dangerous storm, with winds that can knock down flimsily built homes, tear the roofs off buildings, and rip up trees.

INAM claimed that Funso has begun to reduce in intensity - but that is not the opinion of the US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC), which uses satellite imagery to track all cyclones in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The cyclone has not made landfall, JTWC points out. Instead, it is moving further into the Mozambique Channel and heading southwards. Over open water, cyclones usually intensify and the JTWC prediction is that the winds generated by Funso will become stronger over the next 48 hours.

Yesterday evening the JTWC said the cyclone had tracked south-southeastward over the previous six hours and might be starting a predicted turn to the south-southwest. The JTWC said that imagery showed a well-developed 11 n.mile eye with some erosion.

“A persistent and extremely well-developed equatorial outflow channel continues to provide an abundance of venting into the interior of the continent. Total precipitable water loops confirm that the entire Mozambique Channel is filled with deep moisture, and the 29 degree sea surface temperatures and high ocean heat content values are supportive of further development.

The report said that an Ascat image showed that there are “inordinately widespread areas of gales over the western semicircle.”

Cyclone Funso is currently trapped between a well-developed mid- to upper-level anticyclone over Madagascar and an extension of the subtropical ridge protruding from the African continent along the 23rd latitude into the channel, leaving the only avenue for movement being southward. Once it reached the 25th latitude the storm was expected to begin dissipating.

On Monday morning the cyclonic winds were measured at 100 knots (185 kilometres an hour), with gusts of up to 125 knots. By this morning (Wednesday) the wind speed is predicted to increase to 120 knots, with gusts of 145 knots. By then the centre of the storm is expected to be about 300 kilometres south-east of Beira.

The cyclone clearly poses a threat to shipping in the Mozambique Channel, with current wave heights of up to 10.5 metres.

If Cyclone Funso continues on its predicted path, by Saturday it will have moved south of the Mozambique Channel and will be lying in the path of the Cunard liner QUEEN MARY 2 which is due to sail from Durban that evening for Mauritius. Source AIM, Passageweather.com, JTWC

MSC Sinfonia diverted

As a result of Cyclone Funso the cruise ship MSC SINFONIA which was on a scheduled cruise from Durban to the Mozambique coast and a call at the port of Maputo has been diverted and will be arriving in Port Elizabeth this morning at 7am (Wednesday), sailing for Durban at 5pm this afternoon.

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MSC Sinfonia, diverted to PE by the storm

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Cunard’s flagship the majestic liner QUEEN MARY 2 returned to Cape Town yesterday for a three-day stopover while on her 2012 world cruise. The ship sails tomorrow for Durban after which she heads across the Indian Ocean to Mauritius and then on to Australia. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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