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Ports & Ships Maritime News

20 July 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The South African-flagged trawler DESERT DIAMOND in Cape Town harbour, with harbour tugs ENSELENI (astern) and MERLOT (ahead). Just coming into view beyond the stern is the trawler’s sister vessel DESERT JEWEL. Both fishing vessels are part of the Oceana Group’s fleet and are used to fish horse mackerel, also known as maasbanker. Picture by Aad Noorland

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Containers wash ashore near Jeffrey’s Bay

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One of the containers washed ashore on an isolated spot near Jeffrey’s Bay. Earliest reports said the containers, seen from a distance, appeared to be whales washed ashore. Picture courtesy SAMSA

SAMSA (SA Maritime Safety Authority) advises that on or about Sunday 15 July 2012 the Chinese registered ship AN JUANG JIANG (IMO 8414960), lost deck cargo overboard in the vicinity of Jeffreys Bay. The vessel was en route from Durban to Lagos.

“The ship’s captain advised the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre of the event. Navigational warnings of the hazard were then broadcast,” SAMSA said in a statement.

“It is understood that some 5 units, consisting of containers and cylinders, were lost overboard, 4 pieces of the cargo have been washed ashore and one piece is believed to be still floating in the vicinity.

“The floating part of the cargo is considered to be a danger to navigation, especially to small fishing and recreational vessels which operate in this area and the cargo on the beach is a danger to the general public.

“To date owners have failed to communicate with the Authority their intentions of how these dangers are to be mitigated, even though the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is in contact with the owners’ insurer’s representative in South Africa.

“Owners have been issued with a Directive, in terms of section 18 of the Wreck and Salvage Act, requiring them to immediately put in place a plan, which requires the approval of SAMSA, to remove all the cargo both ashore and afloat emanating from the vessel.

“In the event that owners fail to react to the Directive, SAMSA will initiate the steps to mitigate the dangers and recover costs from the vessel’s owners.”

Another ferry capsizes off Zanzibar

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A ferry which was carrying an official 290 passengers and crew has capsized near Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania. At least 31 of those on board are believed to have been children. There were also a number of foreign tourists and visitors on board. The ferry sailed from Dar es Salaam on the mainland at around noon on Wednesday, into strong windy conditions and heading for the island of Zanzibar, a voyage that would normally take about two hours.

SKAGIT was one of two ferries that were formerly owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation, who sold them as surplus to Scope Community Consultants for US$400,000. Scope then arranged for them to be transported to Tanzania where they went into service between the mainland and Zanzibar. In the US the ferries, which had been operated by Washington State Ferries on the Seattle to Vashon Island route, had been licensed to carry 230 passengers.

For pictures of the two ferries refer to our 22 February 2011 report of their sale to Tanzania Skagit and Kalama head for Tanzania. Use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page.

In September last year another ferry, which was described as being overcrowded with 800 people on board, sank off Zanzibar killing almost 200 passengers.

MSC Flaminia still burning

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Large parts of the container ship MSC Flaminia remained apparently unaffected by the fire that caused the crew to abandon ship into their lifeboat and a raft. The crew had been fighting the fire when there was an explosion in the hold, leaving one man dead and four others injured.

According to observers the ship’s superstructure, stern and forecastle and including the engine room remain unscathed by the fierce fire which began in hold number 4.

A the time the ship was in mid ocean, halfway between North America and the European and Irish coasts. Two fire fighting tugs were yesterday en route to help with the fire with one tug due later in the day (Thursday).

Famous Pacific Shipping begins Maldives consolidation

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Famous Pacific Shipping (FPS) Lanka – a member of the FPS global network of freight forwarders - has launched a weekly ocean consolidation service from Sri Lanka to key points throughout the Maldives Islands.

The Maldives – comprising several atolls and hundreds of small islands in mid-Indian Ocean – provide many challenges for shipping, due to the widely-varying and restricted port facilities. Vessel drafts are generally very limited, yard space is severely restricted and discharge facilities are often rudimentary.

The new FPS service operates from the company’s bonded consolidation facility in the port, via the Maldives capital of Male, to all main islands and locations including Hithadhoo, Gan Islands, Kuludhufushi, Thiladhanmathee, Felidhe and Mulaku among many others.

On-forwarding to final destination is undertaken within three days of arrival in Male Port, using a variety of local boat- (“Dhoni”), barge- and landing craft operators, says FPS.

The service includes Customs clearance and documentation in Male, on-forwarding to islands within 3 days of arrival, discharge and delivery to consignee. Customers can also track their shipments online.

“Many developments such as hotels and infrastructure projects are taking place across the Maldives, and are additionally creating considerable supporting traffic in general merchandise,” says FPS Lanka MD Gihan Nanayakkara.

“This service provides an attractive, highly cost-effective new transport option for freight agents and their customers in the Indian subcontinent and further afield. With our vast experience in this market, and our well-established reputation for groupage services, we anticipate strong demand.”

SAMTRA to manage cadet training on SA Agulhas

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South Africa’s new cadet training ship SA Agulhas, seen on an earlier visit to Durban at a time when the ship was still in use as an Antarctic supply and research vessel. Picture by David Shackleton, copyright Shiphoto International, Durban

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has appointed SAMTRA to manage all aspects of onboard cadet training on the training ship SA AGULHAS, which will be achieved through a dedicated training programme and training officers.

The former Antarctic supply and research ship was recently taken over by SAMSA who has turned it into a dedicated training ship aimed at meeting the shortfall of suitable cadet training berths. This opportunity is extended, through a limited number of berths, to other African nations.

SA Agulhas will continue to conduct environmental studies adding to the benefit and experience the cadets will gain from this initiative, and providing a better understanding of coastal vulnerabilities and ocean ecosystems.

The ship started her first voyage on the morning of Wednesday, 4 July 2012 and has since proceeded up the east coast as far as Durban, from where SA Agulhas will sail for Namibia, Angola and West African ports. The Training Officers have reported that the cadets have since settled in and are in good spirits and have already started participating in bridge watchkeeping and general housekeeping duties.

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A maritime security alert has been issued for the waters off Guinea, after a Germany-flagged container ship, OLIVIA was attacked in position 09:13.9N – 013:47.4W, around 22NM southwest of Conakry at 0355 local time on 15 July.

A group of armed men boarded the vessel, which was drifting awaiting berthing instructions, and briefly held crew members hostage whilst stealing cash and crew's possessions before escaping in a waiting boat. No injuries were reported.

Although the number of offshore attacks has increased in the Gulf of Guinea over the past year, there have been few reported attacks off Guinea; only one other attack has been recorded off over the past 12 months. However, the latest attack highlights the persistent threat of maritime crime across West Africa, which is not just confined to the Gulf of Guinea.

Operators are advised that many attacks in the region are likely to go unreported, and official statistics do not adequately portray the realities of the maritime security environment. Source GAC

Second ship attacked by West African pirates

On Wednesday this week a bulker at anchor off the Benin port of Cotonou was boarded by armed men who escaped with cash after entering the master’s cabin. There were no injuries to any of the crew.

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Plenty of entertainment ahead as cruise season beckons

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MSC Sinfonia arriving in Durban. Picture by Trevor C of Nautical Images

As we pass the mid-winter mark and summer begins to beckon, bringing with it the cruise season, we can look forward to an interesting and exciting period of cruising out of South African ports, and in particular from Durban and Cape Town.

As most readers are aware, MSC is staging not one but two ships in these waters during the coming summer. The well-known MSC SINFONIA will make Cape Town her homeport while Durban will welcome for the first time MSC OPERA, Sinfonia slightly bigger sister.

MSC Sinfonia will cruise from Cape Town into the Indian Ocean with calls at Mossel Bay and to Hermanus, and into the Atlantic with visits to Walvis Bay and Luderitz. Of special interest is a cruise from the Mother City to lonely St Helena some thousand miles from Africa out in mid-Atlantic, the island on which the French emperor Napoleon was exiled and where he died, and a place that was a favourite place to visit in the days of the mailships, but which now only occasionally sees a cruise ship.

MSC Sinfonia will also undertake longer cruises out of Durban to Mauritius and southern Madagascar and again to eastern Madagascar, to the mysterious Ilse Sainte Marie on Madagascar’s east coast, which in the days of sail was known as the pirate’s lair, and on which many olden day pirates lie buried. This particular cruise next February also visits Port Louis in Mauritius.

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MSC Sinfonia and the Mozambique islands

The ship will thereafter remain operating out of Durban to continue with the popular 3, 4 and 5-day cruises along the Mozambique coast, with visits to lovely pristine beaches and islands.

MSC Opera is a newcomer to these waters and is set to become a new favourite among those who take regular cruises. We venture to say the ship will be found to be even more enjoyable than MSC Sinfonia, even though that ship has remained a firm favourite ever since first sailing here in 2009. MSC Opera’s itinerary of cruises includes all the popular 3, 4 and 5-day cruises up the Mozambique coast to exotic places including Maputo and Inhambane, Portuguese Island (near Inhaca) and Barra Lodge. She will also cruise at Christmas to Anakoa, a new destination on the west coast of Madagascar facing the Mozambique Channel. At New Year she sails from Durban for Reunion and then to Mauritius where she stays over for several days – a holiday within a holiday.

After that she is back in Durban for more cruising along the Mozambique coast, before undertaking several cruises out of Cape Town and then re-positioning to the Mediterranean.

This year will be a long cruise year, with at least one of these two ships in our waters between November and mid April, and that’s not including the four positioning cruises both to and from South Africa.

Under the helm of capable Cruise Director, Derrick Van Wyk, the MSC Opera will provide brand new shows direct from Europe with acts never before seen in SA including jugglers, strength acts and International Illusionist extraordinaire, Paulo Juia, with his ‘Night of Illusion’ show.

Acclaimed comedian and popular Cruise Director Stephen Cloete will again take the helm on the MSC Sinfonia, which will return with some of the favourite classic evening shows including ‘Storm’, ‘Once upon a Time’, ‘Bella Italia’ and ‘Vegas Nights’. MSC Sinfonia will also host some brand new variety shows including ‘Sweet Dreams’ incorporating aerial acts, singers, specialist dancers and magicians.

Longer cruise itineraries on board both MSC vessels will see local South African talent join the international casts to ensure assortment and performances not to be to be forgotten. International and local bands galore can once again be found in all the pubs, venues and up on deck ensuring everyone’s musical tastes are well fed.

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Shelagh’s Irish Pub on board MSC Sinfonia

For kids, both the Buffalo Bill Club (MSC Opera) and Pinocchio Club (MSC Sinfonia) offer daily entertainment programmes tailor made for different age groups, from the age of 3 up to 13. The entertainment extends into the evenings with kiddie discos, parties and a host of theme events. During the Christmas school holidays, additional family entertainment will be added to existing line-ups including pantomime, magicians and clowns.

Teens will love the pool, jacuzzi’s, teen disco and variety of sports activities on offer, not to mention the duty free shopping selection featuring unique fashion items for the girls and the latest in electronic gadgets for the guys!

It is now well accepted that cruising has become one of South Africa’s favourite holiday options. The reason is simple – exceptional on board entertainment choice, so no matter what your age or taste you will be sure to find something to suit your style! And it’s just around the corner, only four months to go!

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Set to become a firm favourite – MSC Opera

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Transnet Freight Rail aims at operational improvements

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Class 19E electric locomotives on the Ermelo coal line. Picture by Eugene Armer/Wikimedia Commons

Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) is working towards improving its operations.

TFR, which is a division of Transnet, says it is working to catch up volumes of coal exports that were lost at the start of its financial year in efforts to meet the 2012/2013 budget of transporting up to 77 million tons to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal.

On a media tour at the Phola coal processing plant in Ogies on Tuesday this week, Transnet’s commercial manager Burtie Maree said performance had improved and that plans were afoot to meet the internal target of 77 million tonnes of coal volumes.

Operations at Phola - which processes material for two mines located in Mpumalanga - are getting closer to reaching the target of operating at 567 hours a month. Currently, it is working at about 523 hours. Phola is a joint venture that was established by BHP Billiton Energy Coal South Africa and Anglo Inyosi Coal.

Maree added that plans were in the pipeline to ramp up operations to transport 81 million tons by 2014.

Additionally, the last of the 110 new class 19E locomotives should be in operation by the end of the year. Also, over 800 jumbo wagons will be added.

At TFR’s Ermelo Yard, a new operation centre is being built. The yard operates on a 24-hour basis with 287 train drivers, of which 59 are female. TFR averages 16 trains in a midnight-to-midnight window.

Last week, Transnet reported a 20.9% increase in revenue to R45.9 billion for the year financial ended in March -- up from R38 billion in the previous period.

The growth, it said, was due to growth in volumes in the general freight, export coal, export iron ore and container volumes as well as an 18% improvement in productivity.

The logistics company has seen a 10.4% growth in rail volumes to an unprecedented 201 million tons. This is the highest tonnage moved in Transnet's history. - SAnews.gov.za

Moatize-Nacala railway to carry passengers

The future railway linking the Moatize coal region in Mozambique’s Tete province to the port of Nacala in Nampula province, will also be used to carry passengers and miscellaneous cargo, the managing director of Vale Moçambique said on Thursday.

Noting that including passenger and cargo transport was part of the company’s social responsibilities, Ricardo Saad said that the railway, which will be 912 kilometres long and pass through Malawi, would have capacity to carry 30 million tons of coal per year, which will mainly be exported to India and China.

Construction of the railway, costing US$4.5 billion, will involve reconstruction of the track between Nacala and Entre Lagos, in Niassa province, stretching over 684 kilometres and construction of a branch line that will link Moatize to the Malawi railway network.

Cited by daily newspaper Notícias, the managing director of Vale Moçambique, a subsidiary of Brazilian group Vale, also said that the facility was part of what was considered to be one of the best ports in East Africa due to the depth of its waters and natural protection offered by the bay, which will “allow for safe operations.”

The coal terminal is in the Nacala Special Economic Zone (ZEEN), which benefits from tax and other benefits. source macauhub

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video hosting by TinyPic Madagascar International Container Terminal Services Ltd (MICTSL), a subsidiary of International Container Services Inc (ICTSI), was a major sponsor of the recently concluded Transaid Madagascar Cycle Challenge.

The Transaid Cycling Challenge involved approximately 30 logistics and freight industry specialists cycling across Madagascar over a distance of 480 kilometres.

As a main sponsor, MICTSL delivered funding to Transaid for the latter’s activities in Madagascar and elsewhere as well as funding directed at specifically assisting the Challenge participants on their ride, of which parts were off-road.

Transaid is an international UK development charity that delivers specialised logistic solutions in Africa including Madagascar. It aims to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods across Africa and the developing world through creating better transport solutions. The organisation was founded by Save the Children and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and the Patron is HRH The Princess Royal.

Transaid’s core charitable works comprise road safety, professional driver training, access to health care, and access to livelihoods.

The charity’s works are widely acknowledged to play a major part in both saving and improving the lives of numerous people wherever it is active. According to MICTSL it is pleased and proud to support Transaid’s diverse works, and to join with it in improving the condition of the lives under privileged people in Madagascar.

MICTSL operates the container terminal concession in the port of Toamasina, Madagascar’s principal port gateway which lies on the island’s east coast. MICTSL has, since being awarded the concession in 2005, invested over US$ 60 million in the Toamasina container terminal, creating a modern container terminal platform widely acknowledged to operate in accordance with best practice worldwide.

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The pontoon barge Margaret on the rocks of Jacobsbaai

Rob Parkinson of the Tourist’s Friend in Vredenburg writes about the ill-fated pontoon barge MARGARET which went aground on the West Coast during a storm in June 2009. She was carrying a cargo of smaller river and canal barges bound for Europe, and was being towed by the tug SALVALIANT from China when she was caught in the storm.

“As you know,” he writes, “Margaret herself is rotting on the rocks at Jacobsbaai after being blasted to release her cargo of 12 river barges, some of her barges were salvaged during the wreck removal by Smit Amandla in March 2010.

“Just to recap — the picture above shows Margaret before the blast.

“Four of the salvaged barges were towed to Saldanha Bay harbour where they have been ever since. But recently, one of them went through a ‘facelift’. The bridge of an old Diamond Dredger was removed and welded onto the rear end of one barge.

“Below is the photograph of the bridge after it had been welded to the back of the barge. The auxillary engines are being used to drive twin shafts.

“The barge will eventually operate in Mozambique as a ‘Container Barge’ to take cargo upstream and will also tow the other barges.

“What a long journey the barges have had — from Shanghai and destined for Holland but then travelling from Jacobsbaai to Saldanha Bay to Mozambique.

“Sail on!”

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One of the smaller barges rebuilt as a ‘container barge’

Pictures and story by Rob Parkinson

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