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Ports & Ships Maritime News

5 February 2013
Author: Terry Hutson




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The British Tall Ship LORD NELSON arrived in Cape Town on Sunday, 3 February, berthing at the V&A Waterfront where she will remain for a short visit to the Mother City. The sailing ship, which is one of two tall ships owned and operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust, is currently on a two-year world cruise during which she will visit seven continents and 30 countries, of which South Africa is one. Lord Nelson arrived from South America.

Lord Nelson is one of only two tall ships in the world equipped to sail with a mixed crew of disabled and able-bodied sailors.

On 16 February she will leave Cape Town on a voyage to Durban, where she is due to arrive on 27 February 2013.


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The Debate over cabotage

In the earlier 1970s (1973/74), UNCTAD had proposed a cargo sharing rule of 40/40/20 giving each of the trading partner countries the right to carry 40 percent of the liner cargo generated by their own foreign trade and leaving the remaining 20 percent for third flag carriers, writes reader Charles Dey.

In such a scenario involving South Africa’s trade with Europe for example, 40% of cargo would be carried on European owned/ registered vessels, 40% on South African owned/ registered vessels and 20% on vessels owned/ registered in countries not directly involved in the trade (say Japan, China etc.).

When containerisation was introduced to South Africa in the 1970’s the astute Marmion Marsh, MD of Safmarine (then the South African national carrier) insisted on the application of the UNCTAD 40/40/ 20 Rule in negotiating Safmarine’s share of the Shipping Conferences established to provide for the trades between South Africa and both Europe and the Far East.

This strategy earned South Africa billions of Dollars in freight revenue.

Would this not be a good time to give the UNCTAD 40/40/20 Rule another airing, but this time from an AU perspective?

Kind regards,
Charles Dey
Training Consultant
International Supply Chain Management & Logistics
Bonaero Park, Gauteng


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Port of Saldanha

Pretoria - Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies is to start considering public comments on the application for designation of an Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) in Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape.

The application for the designation was proposed by the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone Licensing Company (SBIDZ LiCo), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Western Cape Investment Promotion Agency (WESGRO).

The Saldanha Bay IDZ application was gazetted for public comment in November 2012 in order to broaden the scope and composition of dedicated industrial areas, and to support industrial decentralisation.

“Saldanha Bay has been recognised as an area with great economic potential both for the quality of its port facilities, and for the entrepreneurial quality of its residents,” said Davies on Thursday.

“As such, it is strategically placed in the Presidential development node and thus the national, provincial and municipal authorities have explored ways of unlocking this potential. It is equally important that local industry participate and be involved in the economic upliftment of the area,” he said.

All public feedback which has been received will now be considered by Davies, who will also consult with Cabinet before making a final decision on the designation. All citizens, stakeholders, interested parties, structures, institutions and organisations were afforded the opportunity to express an opinion, proposals or recommendations on the Saldanha Bay IDZ application during the Public Consultation Workshop and Public Consultation Period.

The period for receiving public comments has now ended. - SAnews.gov.za


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Japan’s ‘K’ Line posts US$108.6 million loss

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‘K’ Line’s VICTORIA BRIDGE in Cape Town, April 2012. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Japanese shipping line company ‘K’ Line has increased operating revenues by 9.5% to ¥393.9 billion for the nine months ending 31 December 2012, but also posted a year-on-year net loss of ¥42.1 billion (US$108.6 million).

Container revenues went up 9.7% to ¥393.9 billion in the same period, thanks to increased freight rates, slow steaming and disciplined vessel deployment, the company said in a statement.

However the period under review ‘saw sluggish economy in Europe, afflicted by the prolonged sovereign debt crisis, a mildly recovering economy in the United States and decelerating economic growth in emerging countries including China and India.’

‘Container freight rate recovery advanced, albeit variably due to seasonal factors. The car carrier business as a whole continued generally strong although Europe bound shipments of automobiles from Japan turned downward. The dry bulk market, meanwhile, remained sluggish under strong supply pressure generated by massive deliveries of new ships, in addition to slower global economies,’ said the statement.


Petronas offer to buy MISC shareholders, then de-list

Malaysian state-owned Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) says it intends purchasing its shipping arm MISC Bhd in a deal worth MYR8.8 billion (US$2.8 billion), reports the Malaysia Star.

Petronas, which currently owns 62.67 per cent or 2.797 billion shares of MISC, will offer MYR5.3 per share. This will give it at least a 90% control of the shipping line, which will then be de-listed from the stock exchange.

Petronas said that it has “no intention of making a separate takeover bid for MISC's listed subsidiary Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Holdings Bhd (MMHE).” MISC owns 66.5% of MMHE.


Former Beluga boss to be charged with fraud

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Beluga Bremen, one of the Beluga heavylift ships, seen here in Singapore. Picture by Piet Sinke

The Bremen state prosecution service has announced that it intends charging the former boss and founder of bankrupt Beluga Shipping with 16 counts of fraud.

Niels Stolberg will be charged with obtaining higher credit from the banks by overstating shipbuilding prices, giving the heavylift shipping company effective 100% loans without equity.

Prosecutors say the former president of Beluga defrauded the banks of more than €90 million in this manner.

A trial date has not yet been set.

Beluga heavylift project ships were once regular callers at South African ports, and found good business on the African continent. The Beluga-owned vessels are now owned by a US investor, Oaktree and operate under a new company, Hansa Heavy Lift.



The 15,000-TEU, 397m long container ship EMMA MAERSK, until recently the world’s largest container vessel, has docked at the Suez Canal Container Terminal near the entrance of the canal after flooding occurred in the ship’s engine room.

According to reports the vessel was briefly at risk from sinking but engineers on board the sparsely crewed vessel brought her under control.

The cause of the leak and the extent of the mechanical and electrical damage is not yet clear. Divers have undertaken a hull inspection.

A Suez Canal official said off the record that the situation was under control and being dealt with as a matter of urgency to avoid complications. He said there was no risk of the canal being blocked and that in any case the northern end of the canal has two entrances.

The ship, which had to be towed into port, was returning to Asia from northern Europe with a cargo of over 13,000 TEUs – many of them empties. These are all being discharged for loading onto another company vessel.

Built in 1996 the Emma Maersk was the first of eight E-class container ships, originally said to have a capacity of 11,000-TEU but subsequently shown to be able to carry up to 15,000 and more boxes.

While under construction at the Odense shipyards in Denmark, Emma Maersk was damaged in a serious fire that broke out on the wings of the bridge. The fire was extinguished and repairs made before building continued.

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Fire on the Emma Maersk


Maersk Triple E-class goes on trials

Maersk Line’s massive new Triple-E class container ship is currently undergoing trials at Chalmers Lindholmen. Once in service the Triple-E class is expected to become the world’s largest, with a container capacity said to be around 18,000 TEUs.


Suez Canal to raise fees from May

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Egypt's Suez Canal Authority has announced that it will raise canal fees on shipping through the waterway by between 2 and 5 percent as from 1 May 2013. Container and car carrier ships will pay an extra 2 percent, while bulk carriers, tankers including LNG carriers will be raised 5 percent.

This follows a 3 percent increase implemented in March last year, the first then for three years.

According to the authority the decision to raise tolls again this year was taken after studies into prospects for growth in the world economy and global trade. However, critics believe the increase is more of a relief measure by the cash-strapped government of Egypt. Tourism and revenue from the canal are Egypt’s principal sources of income.


NSRI Sea Rescue, Port Elizabeth

NSRI Station 6 at Port Elizabeth reports that its volunteer sea rescue duty crew was called out on Sunday, 3 February at 05h00 to rendezvous with a 249-metre container ship, MAERSK CADIZ, to casualty evacuate a 33-year old Indian crewman suffering from abdominal pains and nausea.

The ship was en route from Singapore and bound for Walvis Bay at the time of passing along the South African east coast. The ship had been in radio contact with medical authorities in South Africa and after the crewman showed little improvement the decision was taken to bring him ashore for hospital treatment.

The ship was instructed to head towards her nearest port (Port Elizabeth) and Transnet National Ports Authority activated the NSRI Station 6 to undertake the rendezvous at sea, which was accomplished three n.miles south of Cape Recife in calm seas and a 1.5 to 2 metre swell.

The transfer was achieved without incident and the patient taken ashore and transferred to hospital for further treatment. The ship has meanwhile continued her journey towards Walvis Bay.

In another incident off the Wild Coast, a crew from NSRI Port Edward Station rendezvoused with a yacht travelling from Durban to Cape Town, which had broken its boom, injuring one of the crew. After the yacht turned back towards Durban the NSRI at Port Edward was activated and met with the yacht, taking off the injured crew member – a German citizen and his Russian-born wife. The couple were taken from Port Edward by a NSRI vehicle to a Durban hospital for treatment. The yacht meanwhile is returning to Durban for repairs.


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Maputo Container Terminal

The port of Maputo last year handled 15 million tons of cargo, or 3 million tons more than in 2011, and provided Mozambican companies with business opportunities worth 266 million meticals, according to a source from the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC).

Cited by daily newspaper Notícias, the source said that the figure was for deals done in the last four months of the year when the port management company launched 12 public tenders related to its strategic development plan.

This year the company plans to launch another 10 tenders, mostly related to repairs and maintenance of port facilities, specifically roads, railways and docks, which will offer additional opportunities to local small and medium-sized companies.

In the last eight or nine years the port of Maputo has increased the amount of cargo it handles almost four-fold, rising from 4 million tons in 2003 to 15 million in 2012. In the next five to six years the port is expected to start handling 40 million tons of cargo per year.

Meanwhile, in order to implement its strategic plan, the MPDC has ordered 12 cranes to increase the port’s cargo handling capacity.

The first of the cranes was delivered in December and the remainder are due to be delivered by the end of February.

The port of Maputo includes the Container Terminals, managed by DP World, the Vehicle and Coal terminals managed by Grindrod, the Sugar terminal managed by Maputo Sugar Terminal (STAM), the Citrus Fruit terminal operated by FTP – Fresh Produce Terminals (Moçambique) and the Grain, Aluminium and Fuel terminals, all in Matola, managed by state company Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique. Source - (macauhub)

French Navy visits Cape Town

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FNS Nivôse at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. Picture by David Erikson

The French Navy patrol frigate FNS NIVÔSE paid a visit to the Port of Cape Town, V&A Waterfront last week where the little ship received a large amount of attention and publicity.

Nivôse is normally deployed to La Reunion from where the ship undertakes patrols among the fishing grounds of the Indian Ocean. Of late however the ship has been on anti-pirate patrol with the European Union naval force, Operation Atalanta. She has been on a total of five separate deployments in the Somali zone.

Far from the heat of the Horn of Africa, FNS Nivôse is now on her way to the cold waters of the Australian and French Southern Ocean and Antarctic Ocean regions, including the French islands of Kerguelen, Crozet and St Paul. She sailed yesterday (Monday, 4 February).


During the course of today (Tuesday) a second French Navy ship, the dock landing vessel FNS MISTRAL will arrive for a short stay over in Cape Town.

On Saturday (3 February) another French patrol frigate, FNS FLOREAL made a one-day call at Durban to take supplies.

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A different perspective of the French frigate FNS Nivôse, taken from the air. On the opposite side of the quay is another French ship, the cable layer LEON THEVENIN which is on station at Cape Town to service one of the west coast telecommunications cables. Picture by The Aerial Perspective aerialphoto.co.za


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The former Russian cruise ship Lyubov Orlova prior to her days as a derelict

The former Russian expedition cruise ship LYUBOV ORLOVA remains adrift in international waters after being towed away from oil installations off the coast of Newfoundland, swept away from the Canadian coast as somebody else’s rubbish.

Canadian maritime safety authorities said the ship was no longer their business after an offshore supply vessel, the ATLANTIC HAWK secured a cable to the passenger ship last week and towed her away from the coast and a number of oil installations. The operator of the tug said the immediate priority was to move the drifting ship away from offshore facilities but once that was achieved by 3 February, Transport Canada decided to cut the ship loose in international waters.

“The Lyubov Orlova no longer poses a threat to the safety of offshore oil installations, their personnel or the marine environment. The vessel has drifted [? …. towed] into international waters and given current patterns and predominant winds, it is very unlikely that the vessel will re-enter waters under Canadian jurisdiction,” the safety authority said somewhat glibly in a statement.

Lyubov Orlova, named for a Russian film star, actress and singer, was being towed to the Dominican Republic to be cut up when she broke free. She had been idle in St John’s Harbour for the past two years. Before that the ship was on charter to several companies including Quark Expeditions for cruises in Arctic and Antarctic waters.


Philippine passenger ship loses propeller and starts sinking

A passenger-carrying ship with 52 passengers on board reportedly lost its propeller off the Philippines last Thursday, and soon after began taking on water, causing the vessel to become semi-submerged.

The Philippine Coast Guard reported that the ship lost its propeller while manoeuvring alongside its berth at the Calapan Port Terminal in Oriental Mindoro. The coast guard responded and with other rescue units was able to rescue the 52 people on board the ship, before attempting to stabilise the ship and prevent it from sinking.


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The container ship PARTICI (35,998-gt, built 2010) seen leaving the Port of Cape Town last week. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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