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Ports & Ships Maritime News

23 April 2013
Author: Terry Hutson


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The Norwegian offshore supply tug VEGA EMTOLI which was in Cape Town recently. Picture by Aad Noorland


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Rig Cajun Express to drill off Senegal

Further to our report dated Friday, 19 April, Transocean’s CAJUN EXPRESS oil rig will drill off the coast of Senegal as well as off Morocco on behalf of Cairn Energy, which has obtained the rig on long-term charter.

The rig was originally contracted for a one-year period and will commence operations offshore Morocco in the second half of this year, with an exploration well in Senegal planned for early 2014.

FAR Ltd recently secured Cairn Energy PLC as partner and operator for the potentially high impact well in Senegal. Under the terms of the farm-in agreement Cairn will acquire a 65% working interest (WI) and operatorship by fully funding 100% of the costs of an exploration well and testing to an investment cap of US$80 million. As part of the farm-in agreement, Cairn will pay FAR US$9.8 million for past costs incurred on the block. FAR retains a 25% working interest.

After the carried well, exploration costs will be apportioned Cairn 72.2% (WI 65%) and FAR 27.8%. Petrosen, Senegal’s state-run firm, will continue to hold a carried 10% WI through the exploration phase in accordance with the PSC.

FAR’s MD Cath Norman said: “Securing a drilling rig is a major step towards our ambition of making a substantial discovery in these highly prospective offshore blocks. Cairn Energy has moved quickly to begin the exploration program and we are fortunate to have such an experienced and capable operator working with us in these areas.”

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Cajun Express


Fishing vessel goes up in flames in Antarctica

A Chinese factory vessel, the KAI XIN was reported last week as being on fire in Antarctic waters and abandoned by the crew of 97.

A Chilean Navy tug left Puntas Arenas to assist after the news was received by the Chilean Maritime Search & Rescue service but the crew from the fishing vessel were meanwhile taken on board the Norwegian ship JUVEL, about 34 n.miles from Chile's Bernardo O'Higgins research base near the Antarctic peninsula.

Concern was expressed about the risk of an oil spill as the vessel was drifting dangerously close to glaciers, according to Capt Juan Villegas, Chile’s maritime governor for the Antarctic region.

Greenpeace said the ship is part of an international fleet of about 50 vessels authorised by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources to fish off the Antarctic coast. Kai Xin is licensed to fish for krill.

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The Chinese fishing vessel Kai Xin on fire in Antarctic waters. Picture courtesy Chilean Air Force


Durban divers solve missing British submarine mystery

A team of Durban deep sea specialist divers has solved a mystery going back to the end of World War II, when a British Odin-class submarine, HMS OTUS was scuttled somewhere off the Durban coast.

The submarine, which was built in 1928 was decommissioned while in the port of Durban at the end of the war, and in 1946 was taken about eight miles out to sea and sunk, but her exact position remained a mystery. The two divers who found her, Patrick Voorma and Allan Maclean, have been looking for the submarine for almost ten years.

In the past year they have discovered five shipwrecks off Durban, which have been dubbed Durban’s Ghost Fleet. Among them is the coaster NAMAQUA, which sank in 1932. They report finding another larger, unidentified ship of about 80 metres length.

HMS Otus was found in 105 metres of water eight kilometres south-east of the Durban harbour entrance. She is lying in an upright position and appears to be in good condition.

The submarine had been deployed in Simon’s Town for training purposes but at war end was in Durban, where she was decommissioned and disposed of by the Royal Navy. Over the years she became something of a legend among the diving fraternity and several attempts were made to discover her whereabouts. As it happened, on the day she was found, Voorma and Maclean were not looking for her, although they had dived in search of her in the past.

HMS Otus is just one of a number of ships that have been scuttled or sank off Durban whose whereabouts remain unknown. The KZN coast is a rich reserve of sunken ships dating back five hundred years, of which not all have been recorded.

HMS Otus displaced 1475 tons and carried a complement of 53. Her weapons consisted of eight torpedo tubes, six in the bow and two at the stern, with a total of 14 torpedoes. She also carried a deck mounted 4 inch Mk XII gun and had a surface speed of 17.5 knots and 8 knots submerged.

For more information of this discovery please visit SAHRA wesbite.

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HMS Otus


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Mozambique awards concession for Techobanine deepwater port

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According to Mozambique reports, the government has already issued a contract for the construction of a new deep water port at Techobanine, south of Maputo.

Prime Minister Alberto Vaquino made this announcement at the recent Port of Maputo’s annual conference, but declined to identify the company which has been awarded this lucrative contract. He did say that the port will cost US$ 7 billion to build and would be completed by 2015.

Mozambique and Botswana will jointly raise the money, he said.

“The Techobanine deep water port complex will be constructed from scratch for use by deep draft ships, and will complement the port of Maputo, Vaquino said. “It will involve the construction of a railway line linking Techobanine with Botswana via Chicualacuala (in the southern Mozambican province of Gaza) and Zimbabwe, and the building of an industrial complex.”

He added that the port would focus on the export of minerals from Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. For it to be viable the port will have to handle a minimum of 43 million tons of cargo a year. It will occupy 30,000 hectares including an industrial development zone of 11,000ha. Techobanine port will have an annual design capacity of 100 million tons.

The new port will compete as an export bulk harbour with nearby Richards Bay in South Africa.


Uganda wants a slice of the Port of Mombasa

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Port of Mombasa, Uganda wants a piece of it

Uganda wants to participate in the management of the Kenyan Port of Mombasa, on which Uganda is highly dependent for its imports and exports.

Uganda’s Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of East African Community Affairs (EAC), Edith Mwanje said last week that Uganda deserved to have a say in the running of the port because of the many delays at Mombasa, which she said affected Uganda’s trade.

“Let us be recognised as full stakeholders in the management of ports. The ports should be managed collectively as EAC.”

She said that apart from the issue on ports, there are still administrative barriers and problems of corruption which should be addressed. Uganda and the partner states should watch out for goods imported into their countries and re-packaged to look as if they are made in EAC and end up evading taxes. Uganda, said Mwanje, needs a strong law to monitor such anomalies. Source – New Vision


Zeder Increases Its Interest In Capespan

Zeder Investments, the listed investment company focusing on the agri-business sector, increased its interest in Capespan to 71,1% with the acquisition of Total Produce PLC’s total shareholding in the company.

Capespan is one of South Africa’s leading marketers and exporters of fruit, annually exporting about 54 million cartons from more than 1,300 fruit producers to different countries world-wide.

Total Produce is one of Europa’s leading suppliers of fresh produce and was till now the second largest shareholder in Capespan. The transaction will be effective from today, Tuesday, 23 April 2013.

The transaction, amounting to R258 million, follows Zeder increasing its interest in Capespan to 46% after its financial year-end to February 2013.

Zeder Investments CEO, Norman Celliers, said that as a long-term investor in the agri-business sector, Zeder wants to contribute actively in unlocking value for shareholders. The Total Produce transaction is part of this strategy.

“We already have an interest in Capespan for some time. Capespan is a well-established company with a strong foundation. Besides the marketing of fruit, the company is a leader in logistics regarding the transport of fruit with a strategic positioning in harbours.

“Our aim is to assist companies to put their strategy into effect with enough room for management to manage the day-to-day running of the company.

“Zeder is positive about the growth potential of Capespan and believes that the transaction will be of significant value to shareholders,” Celliers said. Source – CBN


Lekki port may be stalled through lack of funds

Development of the Nigerian Lekki port at Lagos may become stalled as banks and financial institutions show reluctance to fund the huge project.

Earlier this month Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise’s MD, Haresh Aswani claimed that the project would contribute not less than US$20 billion to the Nigerian economy.

“In addition to bridging the capacity deficit, Lekki Port will have significant positive macroeconomic impact estimated at USD 361 billion over the entire concession period. It will create close to 163,000 new jobs in the economy. Furthermore, Lekki Port will spur the economic development around the Lekki sub-region and on a wider perspective, the whole of Lagos State through rapid industrialisation,” Aswani said.

The proposed port sits on 90 hectares of land and is 65 km east of Lagos and is supposed to become operational by the third quarter of 2016, with the Lagos State Government and Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, as shareholders in the project.

But now, according to reports in Nigeria, there is growing scepticism over Lekki’s viability which, says a report in the Vanguard, is coupled with the inexperience of the Tolaram Group in port operations. The port was supposed to have commenced operations in 2012, a date that was extended to this year, but now 2016 is being touted as the earliest it can happen.


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Liberia’s president halts export of unprocessed rubber

Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has issued an Executive Order placing a moratorium on the export of unprocessed natural runner. The order is aimed at curbing a decline in Liberia’s rubber sector, at least until policies and frameworks are instituted that will ensure the redevelopment, increased production and revenue and increased job opportunities.

The Executive Order No.50 replaces another, No.16 which expired recently.

Liberia has been heavily reliant on the export of natural rubber for more than 80 years but the sector had become greatly affected by abuse, misuse, abandonment and theft which included illicit tapping of trees and illegal sale of rubber.

The government says that to redress the problem appropriate institutional and regulatory frameworks have to be put in place and that in the national interest, drastic action was required to stem the decline in the rubber sector and to put a halt to illegal export of unprocessed natural rubber. Source - Front Page

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Questions over premature retirement of NIMASA directors

Questions are being asked about the sudden retirement of four directors and impending retirement of another set of deputy directors of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Nimasa’s Director General, Patrick Akpobolokemi has been summoned by the Senate Committee on Marine Transport to explain the retirement and subsequent appointments in the agency since 2011 when the D-G took over the leadership of the agency.

It is understood that those who stood down were given severance packages three times the normal package provided they agreed to leave. The directors who agreed received golden handshakes of between N75 and N150 million, according to the Vanguard.


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TAZARA resumes mainline operations

The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has resumed mainline operations following a successful re-railing of the rescue crane, reports the Tanzania Daily News.

TAZARA Head of Public Relations, Conrad Simuchile, issued a statement saying that three trains had been dispatched from Dar es Salaam, all bound for Zambia. Meanwhile two trains from Zambia, one with copper and the other with maize had left Zambia for Dar es Salaam.

Mainline operations were suspended about two weeks previously following the derailment of a breakdown crane about 64.6km from Dar es Salaam. The crane was attempting to salvage some wagons that were involved in an accident some two months earlier.


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Three RRL-Grindrod owned diesel-electric locomotives wait at Durban’s Maydon Wharf before being shipped to an Exxaro mining operation in Congo Brazzaville. Picture by Charles Baker


Sena Railway to carry six million tons of traffic a year

Repair work on the Sena railroad, which began in 2011, should be finished this month, Transport and Communications Minister Paulo Zucula has told the Mozambican Parliament.

Responsibility for the line was passed to the state port and railway company Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique after the previous contractor, the Indian group Ricon, was removed due to noncompliance with deadlines and specifications. The repairs are meant to increase the railroad’s capacity to 6 million tons per year from the current 4.5 million tons.

The strategy determined for transportation has caused the sector’s contribution to economic development to rise significantly, Zucula said when taking questions on behalf of the government.

He indicated the example of Beira’s port, where dredging means that 60,000-ton ships can now dock, double the previous tonnage. In Maputo, the amount of cargo handled rose from 7.5 million tons in 2008 to 15 million tons in 2012.

The minister told members of Parliament that the port of Quelimane was repaired and that 1,332 km of roads were built or repaired, with similar work done at the airports of Maputo and Vilanculos, reports the Maputo-based daily Notícias. Source – macauhub



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Winners all! SAMSA 2012/3 Maritime Industry award winners Patricia Simons, Safmarine (Commitment to CSI Award), Chris Magagula, Wabona Group (Maritime Newcomer Award) and Hanlie Gouws, Die Burger (Maritime Media Award)

A Maritime Industry Award function was held in Cape Town on Saturday, in which contributions to the South African maritime industry were celebrated following a nationwide nomination process.

Main sponsor of the event was the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) with support also coming from a number of firms within the industry. The function was organised by Colleen Jacka of Maritime Review Africa.

The winners in the respective categories were:

Investment in Human Capital. The joint winners were Smit Amandla Marine as an acknowledgement of the significant investment the company makes in the development of its own people as well as the communities in which it operates, and SAMSA for its ongoing efforts to ensure the sustainability of the maritime industry into the future.

Seafarer of the Year< award went to Knowledge Bengu, who is currently serving aboard the Department of Environmental Affairs ship SA AGULHAS II. This was in acknowledgement of his career achievements and his commitment to mentorship and the development of others.

Maritime Maestro award was won by Captain Okke Grapow in acknowledgement of his lifetime contribution to the development of the SA Maritime Industry.

Maritime Newcomer award went to Durban’s Wabona Group, headed by Chris Magagula.

Maritime Journalist of the Year award was won by Hanlie Gouws (Die Burger)

Maritime Innovation award won by Aqua-Tech Diving Services.

Environment Award went to Xtreme Projects.

Learner of the Year award was won by Talente Ngema who matriculated from Lawhill Maritime Centre in Simon’s Town in 2012 with seven distinctions.

Commitment to CSI was awarded to Safmarine, for the 21st anniversary of the ‘Container for a community project’ and its commitment to community development.



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Farrell Lines’ AUSTRAL PILOT arriving in Durban on a pleasant early summer morning in 1980, as seen from the south breakwater. Farrell Lines operated between the United States and South and East Africa for a long period of the last century. Farrell Lines was founded in New York in 1925 by the Farrell brothers, John and James and remained a family owned line until its sale to P&O Nedlloyd in 2000. Today the brand exists within the Maersk empire and continues to operate ships under the US flag. Pictures by Trevor Jones

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