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Ports & Ships Maritime News

22 June 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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Named for a mineral and gemstone which was discovered in northern Tanzania, is the general cargo ship TANZANITE (10,511-gt, built 1984), which is seen arriving at the Brazilian port of Santos. Picture by R Smera

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The South African yacht Choizil shortly before running aground in southern Somalia.

After 20 months in captivity, two South African sailors were rescued yesterday (Thursday 21 June) from the clutches of Somali pirates, the Somali Defence Minister revealed.

Bruno Pelizzari and his partner Debbie Calitz were captured in October 2010 when pirates boarded the Durban yacht Choizil, skippered by yachtsman Peter Eldridge. The attack took place in Tanzanian waters not long after the three had sailed from Dar es Salaam for Durban, with Pelizzari and Calitz on board working as crew. They were forced to sail north for Somalia.

With a EU naval warship shadowing them the yacht went aground off the southern Somali coast. As the pirates fled the ship taking Pelizzari and Calitz as hostages, Eldridge refused to go with them and was left behind.

The two hostages, who both come from Durban, were taken into captivity in central Somalia, from demands for their ransom for a figure quoted in some quarters as being US$10 million were made.

With South Africa refusing to engage in talks about ransoming the pair, on the basis that it does not pay ransoms, the family and friends set up structures to raise money and open discussions with a person representing the pirate group. The ransom figure initially dropped to a figure much lower than $1 million but was later increased to $4 million after “interference in negotiations” took place.

When the rescue was announced yesterday the Somali defence minister declined to talk about ransom money apart from saying that the Somali (provisional) government did not participate in ransoming ships and crew. He said that the rescue had commenced on Wednesday night and lasted into Thursday morning before its successful conclusion. He described the pirate group holding the couple hostage at the time of the rescue as ‘Al-Qaeda-affiliated’ and said it took place close to Mogadishu.

A statement from the South African foreign ministry said that the South African government wished to express its sincere gratitude to the transitional federal government of Somalia following the release on Wednesday of the couple.”

It said they were in good health and eager to rejoin their families and friends. The South Africa authorities gave no details of the rescue mission. However, while both South Africa and Somalia were not admitting that a ransom was paid, the family of one of the hostages was being reported elsewhere as saying that “some” ransom money had been paid over. There were also reports that Italy had been involved in the rescue, but details of this were not made public.

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The proposed new deepwater port of Nacala, on the opposite side of the giant bay to the existing port

The Mozambican government plans to secure funding from China to build a deep water port in Nacala-a-Velha, in Nampula province, the minister for Planning and Development, Aiuba Cuereneia said in an interview with television station Televisão de Moçambique.

The minister also said that a loan of US$1.5 billion was under negotiation with the China Development Bank, which amount is considered enough to build the port. The new port will have the capacity to handle 20 million tons of cargo (iron ore) each year.

“A Mozambican technical team is in China negotiating this project and by the end of the year construction should begin,” the Minister said adding that the government also planned to build a railway line from Moatize, in Tete province, to Nacala and encourage steel makers to set themselves up in the region.

The Minister gave assurances that the government initiative, which is supported by the China Development Bank, would not clash with the investment programme set out by Brazilian multinational Vale. The Brazilian mining company has already announced similar plans to refurbish and extend the railway and to build an ore port in Nacala-a-Velha.

Brazil’s Vale announced it intended investing US$5 billion in the construction of a deep water port in Nacala-a-Velha, along with a rail system linking it to the Moatize region in Tete Province where the company is already mining coal. Vale currently transports the coal along the Sena railroad for export via the port of Beira. (macauhub)

Beira’s dredging capability enhanced with new dredger

The port of Beira, in the central Mozambican province of Sofala, on Wednesday received two barges and a tugboat as part of a project budgeted at 38.2 million euros to ensure that the port’s channel remains unblocked by sand and silt.

The project includes the construction of a trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) with the capacity to hold 2,500 cubic metres of silt, repairs to the tug boat BUZI and a pilot vessel, along with technical assistance and training.

Financing for the project comes from the Danish government through its development agency DANIDA, which donated twenty per cent of the budget, with the remaining 80 percent coming in the form of a loan to the Mozambican government.

The work is being carried out by the Danish consortium JGH/RN (Johs. GRM-Hanssen and Rohde Nielsen), which won the contract in January 2011 from Mozambique’s public owned ports and rail company, CFM. The project began in July 2011 and will run until 2013.

Emergency dredging at the port was completed in July 2011 at a cost 43 million euros ($61.3 million) of which 23 million euros came from the Mozambican government through a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB), 10 million euros from CFM, and a further 10 million euros from the Dutch government.

The dredging of the access channel began in July 2010 and covered 22 kilometres, with two Japanese dredgers working non-stop to deepen the channel. The dredging removed 9.32 million cubic metres of silt and sand and enabled the port to receive ships up to Panamax size at any time of day. (source: AIM)

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SAS DRAKENSBERG returns from piracy patrol

The South African Navy combat support ship SAS DRAKENSBERG has returned to South Africa from anti-piracy patrols off the northern Mozambique coast.

The ship was identified passing Durban quite far out to sea on Wednesday and heading south. SAS Drakensberg has been on a three- month deployment to Mozambique since March this year.

Although we cannot confirm this, it is thought that the frigate SAS AMATOLA may be on her way to replace Drakensberg at Pemba, where the SA Navy has a forward base close to the Tanzanian border. SAS Amatola arrived in the Port of East London earlier this week. She was last on anti piracy patrol at Pemba in September 2011.

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SAS Drakensberg in Cape waters with SAS Amatola in the background. Picture by Clinton Wyness

Clipper Amber due in Durban with large loco load

When the general cargo ship CLIPPER AMBER (9627-gt, built 2011) arrives in the Port of Durban today (Friday) she will be delivering an unusual cargo – 33 ex-Queensland Rail diesel-electric and electric locomotives.

The importer of the locos remains something of a mystery although speculation suggests that Transnet Freight Rail may be the buyer as the parastatal has previously said it would be importing ‘previously owned’ locomotives to help overcome the shortage of locomotive power on South Africa’s rail network, the rationale being that the secondhand locomotives could be placed in service much quicker than it takes for new locos to be built.

TFR has placed orders for hundreds of new locomotives of both electric and diesel-electric motive power. A number have already entered service but the country still has a shortage of both locos and rail wagons.

It appears though that the locos are more likely being imported for a private rail operator, possibly the Grindrod Group. We hope to be able to report more conclusively in the near future.

The port agent for the ship is Spinnaker Shipping & Logistics, which has its offices in Grindrod Mews, Durban.

The locos are as follows:

3 x 3100 Class B-B-B electric 25kV, Comeng/Hitachi
These units were built in 1986 as builders numbers 3101-3103.

13 x 2600 Class Goninan/GE U22C rebuilt as C22-MMi 2000/2002 2600 2500-12/83-58
Builders numbers are 2601 – 2612 of 1983/94 vintage.

3 x 2100 Class Clyde/EMD GL26C, Plus parts salvaged from 2 scrapped units (below numbers provisional)
The builders numbers are thought to be 2111D 71-722; 2116 72-722; and 2123F 72-751. Built between 1971 to 1973.

14 x 1720 Class Clyde GL18C, plus parts salvaged from 4 scrapped units.
Numbers for these units not identified.
Acknowledgement to sar-L@yahoogroups for loco details.

Energy Efficiency – Rickmers Group implements energy management system on five ships

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Rickmers Singapore in the Houston ship canal

Hamburg – The Rickmers Group has announced that it is to implement the ABB EMMA Energy Management system, which is provided by ABB – a worldwide leading power and automation technology group.

EMMA will help the ship management teams at Rickmers to operate its ships at a maximum level of energy efficiency and to save fuel. Facing changing markets and increasing price pressures, Rickmers expects the system to improve profitability and reduce the overall environmental footprint.

“With the implementation of an energy management system aboard our ships, we are setting up Rickmers for sustainability in two ways – increasing energy efficiency means increasing profitability and reducing our carbon footprint at the same time”, says Jens Lassen, Managing Director of Rickmers Shipmanagement and Global Head of Rickmers’ business unit Maritime Services.

“With current fuel prices, the estimated payback of the system is less than a year,” says Mikko Lepistö, responsible for Advisory Systems within ABB’s Vessel Information and Control (VICO), an extension of the Marine and Cranes business unit.

“Through industry experience and tests on-board we are certain that our trim optimisation system can help our customers save a substantial amount in fuel consumption and consequently reduce emissions significantly”, Lepistö reaffirms.

The Rickmers Group is starting with a group of five ships that are operated by Rickmers-Linie. Rickmers-Linie is a leading global specialist for the ocean transportation of breakbulk, heavylift and project cargoes, and deliveries for large-scale projects. The installation of the system will be done ship by ship and the first system is expected to be commissioned in the third quarter of 2012. The complete system for five ships is expected to be fully operational by the end of year.

The first five ships to be equipped with EMMA will be Rickmers Singapore, Rickmers New Orleans, Rickmers Jakarta, Rickmers Antwerp and Rickmers Tokyo.

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MSC Opera

It is no wonder that cruising is the fastest growing sector of the travel industry when one can join a 19 night cruise from Italy to Cape Town for under R9,000, says MSC Starlight’s Allan Foggitt.

According to Foggitt MSC cruise enthusiasts can now experience the ultimate Grand Voyage from Italy to South Africa on board either MSC Opera or MSC Sinfonia at the end of the year, at what he says are unheard of prices.

MSC Opera and MSC Sinfonia will be departing Italy on 1 and 9 November respectively, visiting various Italian, Mediterranean and African West Coast destinations as they travel 19 Nights to reach the Port of Cape Town, where they then begin their local South African Summer cruise seasons.

“Even in these tough economic times one would struggle to find a better deal than the Grand Voyages of the MSC Sinfonia and MSC Opera as they position from Europe to South Africa for the start of the 2012/2013 season,” he says.

“With rates from just R8,800 per person for 19 nights of cruising including all meals and entertainment it is practically cheaper than staying at home”.

MSC Starlight has packages that include both domestic and international flights at special rates connecting to the cruise departure point, making the entire fly cruise experience an effortless and affordable journey.

MSC Opera, a newcomer to South African shores, will depart the glorious canaled city of Venice, Italy on 1 November and sails south calling at the ports of Valetta in Malta; Palma de Mallorca of Spain; the thriving port of Casablanca and the desert port of Agadir, Morocco. MSC Opera will then continue on to Dakar, one of Africa’s liveliest ports. The unspoiled landscape of Walvis Bay in Namibia will be the final port of call before the ship arrives in Cape Town, South Africa on 20 November 2012.

MSC Opera will then continue on to Durban where she will operate 3 and 4 night cruises out of the Indian Ocean port to the islands in Mozambique.

MSC Sinfonia will take a different route down to her home port of Cape Town for the new season departing Genoa, Italy on 9 November. The ship will call at the French port of Provence; indulge in the smells and sights of Valencia, Spain and visit the striking capital of Portugal, Lisbon. South Africa’s favourite liner (until MSC Opera arrives ?) will continue on to Funchal on the glorious Island of Madeira, the cultural city of Mindelo, Cape Verde; and historical Walvis Bay, as her last stop before SA waters and Cape Town arriving on 28 November.

She will remain in Cape Town for a series of cruises including a first ever ‘Whale Watching Cruise’ to Hermanus and Mossel Bay as well as a 14 January Cruise to Walvis Bay and the remote island of St Helena, then returning to Cape Town.

Bookings for the new season are already open for both MSC Opera and MSC Sinfonia, with attractive offer of up to 30% off for early bookings as well as special promotions for senior citizens and honeymooners.

MSC Opera hosts 856 cabins of which 172 are balcony cabins and 28 are balcony suites. The ship has four restaurants, eleven bars, two pools, and two whirlpools. The liner boasts the MSC Aurea Spa and Solarium, a disco, video games room, internet café, casino, team building facilities and a medical centre. The ship has a wonderful array of duty free shopping and caters for kids with the Buffalo Bill children’s play area. Additional facilities include the ‘Cotton Club’ bar and a stage on deck for outdoor entertainment.

MSC Sinfonia hosts 777 cabins, of which 132 are balcony suites. The ship also boasts four restaurants, 10 bars, two swimming pools and the luxurious MSC Aurea Spa. Guests can enjoy world class performances in the San Carlo Theatre and take advantage of the state-of-the-art fitness centre, golf simulator, casino, mini club, teen's club, disco, internet café and luxury shopping. Additional facilities include a business and conference centre and medical centre.

For more info visit: www.mscstarlightcruises.co.za or

To return to this page use your BACKSPACE BUTTON

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MSC Sinfonia leaves Cape Town for Genoa in March this year. Picture by Clinton Wyness

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By Prof John Hare, UCT Cape Town

Nearly thirty years ago the Spanish tanker Castillo de Bellver developed a crack, caught fire, broke in half and sank in two parts - one 12 miles off Saldanha Bay and the other towed to comparative safety 300 miles offshore. She was carrying 292,000 tonnes of crude oil. All of it either burnt, spilled into the sea or still lies in what remains of the wreck. It remains the second biggest tanker oil-spill in history. The gods were with us - no oil came ashore. But it could have. All 292,000 sticky, suffocating tonnes of it. The West Coast fishing industry would have been decimated. Ports would have closed. Koeberg would have shut down.

At much the same time, the tanker Amoco Cadiz dumped 257,000 tonnes of oil onto the shores of Brittany. Human error was blamed. The cost was over R4 billion. In 1989 the Exxon Valdez, by comparison carrying only 53,000 tonnes of crude, ran aground in Alaska, also through human error. The clean-up costs and other oil pollution losses for a spill of some 40,000 tonnes hit R20 billion. And the litany of catastrophes continued: the Erika off the coast of France and the Prestige off Spain both resulted in pollution claims of over R6 billion for comparatively small spills.

The shipping world reacted. Led by the EU, limits of compensation available to affected countries was increased to a staggering R9,3 billion. European maritime states, Australia & New Zealand, Canada and many others - all sleep easier knowing that if catastrophe comes, as it is bound to do somewhere, sometime, their costs of making the best of an appalling situation will at least be covered by the international oil industry. At very little cost to themselves.

Yet we in South Africa still do not sleep easy. If the somewhere is here, and the sometime is before our government 'gets its Act together' in relation to liability and compensation for oil pollution from tankers, all we will be able to claim in compensation is a paltry R180 million from the owner or insurer of the ship that does the damage.

How do we find ourselves in this woeful position where you and I as citizens would have to pick up such an unthinkable tab for oil pollution caused to us by a passing ship in which we have no interest and over which we have little or no control, delivering oil from a foreign seller to a nameless buyer across the seas? The history is as unedifying as it is a poor reflection of your Ministry. I tell this history not to point an accusatory finger but out of exasperation for having spent 16 years explaining, cajoling, writing and speaking about this crisis. Yet it would seem that polluted coastlines are too far from Pretoria for there to be any real appreciation of the enormity of our exposure.

Traditionally, from the earliest times that ships carried oil either to power their own engines or as cargo, shipowners were held to account for pollution - which was insured by their liability insurers, called P&I Clubs. The 1960's brought the supertanker. It was in that era that we enacted our oil pollution control and liability legislation. In line with international practice (necessary to enable us to collect from the Clubs) we imposed strict liability on owners against which they have few defences, in return for a capping of liability to a maximum of (currently) R180m. That capping still stands in our law, and it removes claimants' abilities to claim in any other way: beyond that figure, you bear your own losses.

Move forward a decade or two: it became clear that holding the shipowner liable for the damage that the cargo caused was letting the main player off the hook. For it was the oil majors not the shipowners who made by far the greater profits from moving oil around the world. The oil majors stepped up to the plate and a new liability regime came into being to top up the shipowner's liability. Enter the 'Fund Conventions'.

The Fund Conventions employ a simple formula. A contribution is levied from all the world's oil importers on each tonne of oil moved in or out of any port in states which are parties to the Convention. The levy is held in a fund, ready to meet the costs of oil pollution catastrophes in the waters of any contracting state. So Japanese, Korean and Indian oil traders (who pay by far the biggest contributions) and all other traders operating in contracting states pay their dues to compensate anyone in any contracting state who suffers oil pollution losses - even innocent bystander maritime states like us, through whose seas the big players’ oil shipments pass. Claims are made direct against the appropriate Fund, and they don't hassle - they are there to settle claims.

At present there are two levels of contribution and therefore of cover: the first layer fund provides maximum cover of 203m IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) per incident, and the post- Erika/Prestige Supplementary Fund ups this to 750m SDRs. These SDR caps equate to approx R2,5 billion and R9,3 billion respectively. Because our cover comes from the totality of the world’s oil industry contributions and not just our own, we would enjoy compensation cover (using first tier Fund 2011 levies for illustration) for about three cents per tonne payable by our importers – reduced to a price per litre, this is too small to reflect in the pump price of fuel.

There was however, for us, a rub. Contributions to the Funds are assessed on oil movement returns submitted to the Fund managers by each importer. Until 1994, our oil trade was cloaked in the secrecy of sanctions. It was not feasible for us to participate in the Funds. But when our lights went back on, the then Department of Transport under Minister Maharaj, lost no time in commissioning specialists to advise on all aspects of maritime transport. I was privileged to chair that initiative and one of the aspects we raised was the urgent need to accede to the Fund Convention. The long process began.

After much groundwork with Parliamentary sub-committees, and a decision in principle to embrace the first layer Fund, the government’s accession file was the lost somewhere between Transport and Foreign Affairs and the whole process had to start over. It was only in June 2004 that South Africa eventually deposited our instrument of accession, after which there was a one year lead-in period before we could claim full membership and benefits.

It is a principle of our law that while the state is bound by conventions the government signs, our citizens are not bound until a convention is enacted by Parliament into our domestic law. Accession to the Fund Convention was thus not the end of the story. What was then needed was legislation to change the R180m capping in the present Act, and to make the Convention part of South African law. In the process, the law would impose a legal obligation on our oil traders to submit oil returns to our government to be filed with the Fund managers in London, and a 'money bill' would require the traders then to pay their invoiced contributions to the Fund. Like any insurance, if you don't pay your premiums, you can't claim cover.

During 2005/6 the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) prepared draft Bills, with broad input including from the SA Maritime Law Association, the SA Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA) and indeed from the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Fund managers in London. Everyone wanted to help, none more so than SAMSA – which has the unenviable task of managing casualties on our coast.

That was seven years ago. Seven Cape winters ...

Those of us involved have used every platform available throughout this long period of bureaucratic torpor to try to get the Bills passed. They were on Parliament's order book for the second semester of 2011 but were inexplicably removed. And thus we remain dangerously and I respectfully suggest shamefully inadequately covered.

What is the way out of this impasse? The IOPC and our oil importers are anxious to have us become fully paid up Fund members so we can enjoy the best international oil pollution insurance available. I now understand that the draft Bills have been lying in Treasury for many months, delayed by the impression that Treasury seems to hold that contributions should be collected by the state and not paid direct by the traders to the Fund. All other member states except Canada require their traders to pay direct upon invoices sent to them by the Fund.

If Treasury is standing on some dictate of exchange control, they are playing high stakes for bureaucratic intervention in a very simple process. Even if Treasury regards these contributions as a money bill levy, the law makes provision for exemptions allowing for statutory levies (if that is what the contributions are) to be paid elsewhere than the National Revenue Fund. But whichever way the money flows, this is detail which the government has now had more than enough time to sort out.

For my part, I now appeal to you, Mr Minister, to get this job done - and done better than your predecessors. It is now 16 years since the government was advised to accede urgently to the first layer Fund Convention. That step took an inexplicable 8 years, and now another 8 years have dragged by since accession. Our government has an obligation under the Constitution to enact legislation to give effect to these international convention obligations. The government owes a duty to everyone to protect the environment and to enact legislation to prevent pollution and ecological degradation. And it may not waste public funds which would surely occur on a grand scale if a worst-case casualty befalls us.

On all these grounds I believe that there would be little difficulty in persuading the Constitutional Court to require the government to close this legislative gaping hole. Sixteen frustrating years since I first became involved in this project I find myself close to bringing a concerned citizen’s Constitutional Court challenge as a last resort. But I, and I know other of my colleagues, would rather plough our energies into helping your Department to get this legislation passed. I again offer you that help, no T's & C's. And I urge you to take immediate steps to accede to the Supplementary Fund so that we may take full advantage of the best available internationally funded cover.

If we do not move forward, our government needs to grasp the reality that the ghastly mess that an oil pollution catastrophe would cause on our coast will flow all the way to the corridors of Pretoria - and could cost the Treasury and the taxpayer billions.

Yours sincerely
John Hare
Professor of Shipping Law
University of Cape Town

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The chemical and oil products tanker CAPE BEAR (33,549-dwt, built 1997) arriving in the Port of Durban during June 2012. Picture by Trevor Jones

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Another chemical and oil products tanker, the NORD HUMMOCK (37,159-dwt, built 2007) seen sailing from Durban harbour also during June 2012. Picture by Trevor Jones

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