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Ports & Ships Maritime News

30 July 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

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

TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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News continues below...

FIRST VIEW – CAPE TOWN HIGHWAY

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The K Lines’ car carrier CAPE TOWN HIGHWAY (58,535-gt, built 2011) seen arriving in the approaches to the Brazilian port of Santos on 22 July this year. Picture by Roberto Smera

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RESTIS SHIPPING OPERATIONS TO CONTINUE

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Victor Restis

The shipping business of the Restis family, headed by Victor Restis who was jailed on Friday while awaiting trial on charges of embezzlement and money laundering, will continue, says his sister Katia Restis.

The Restis shipping interests involve about 90 ships consisting of tankers and bulkers and include the interests of the former SA Marine Corporation after it was halved off from Safmarine in 1999.

“We are committed to ensuring the company founded by my late father some 40 years ago, continues to perform all its obligations and to serve its clients and customers in the same reliable and timely manner we have consistently delivered,” she said in a statement made in reaction to her brother’s arrest.

“In relation to the foundless allegations being made against my brother, Victor, we are adamant that clarity, proportionality and fairness will prevail. We will continue to co-operate fully with the Greek authorities in order to ensure justice and truth will be established.”

Victor Restis was arrested earlier last week after being accused of using his influence over the family-owned FBB bank to secure loans and funds worth millions of euros for people and companies with whom he had ties.

His family owned a majority stake in the small loans bank FBB, which was wound down earlier this year with its healthy assets absorbed by Greece's top loans bank, National Bank.

Under Greek law Restis can remain in detention for up to 18 months while awaiting trial.

His arrest is being ascribed in some quarters as a response to public anger over corruption involving people in ‘high places’. Restis is ranked 56 in the Lloyd’s List top 100 influential people in shipping.

Restis has however been largely involved in non-shipping matters for some years.

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MOZ TO EXPORT LNG BY 2018

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Mozambique expects to start exporting liquid natural gas (LNG) in 2018, Mozambican president Armando Guebuza said last week while in Aberdeen, Scotland.

During a conference to promote Mozambique’s burgeoning oil industry Guebuza noted that everything possible was being done for the first shipments of LNG to be sent to customers in 2018.

However, before any shipments can be made, it will be necessary to invest billion of dollars to build the processing unit for the gas as well as port facilities for ships to moor.

At the conference, Mozambique’s Mining Resources Minister, Esperança Bias, said the investment needed to build infrastructure to make use of natural gas was estimated at US$40 billion, including a unit to process 20 million tons of liquid natural gas and a distribution network to serve the domestic market and those of neighbouring countries.

“It will be the biggest gas processing unit in the whole of Africa,” the minister said.

The chairman of Mozambican state oil and gas company Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH), Arsénio Mabote, said at the same conference that talks were underway with US groups Anadarko Petroleum and Italy’s ENI which operate the Area 1 and Area 4 blocks, where so far reserves of over 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been found.

“It is the concession-holders’ responsibility to decide how the natural gas will be used,” said Mabote, adding that talks were due to be concluded in the next few months. source – macauhub

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US AND NIGERIA IN TALKS ABOUT REGIONAL PIRACY

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Nigerian Navy Shaldag Mark II patrol craft on anti-piracy patrol

Talks are taking place this week between the US Office of Security Co-operation and the Nigerian Navy regarding the rising challenges presented by piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

It is generally accepted that much of the piracy off West Africa is of Nigerian origin. It is also accepted that only Nigeria among the West African nations has the ability to prevent piracy from escalating or spreading across the region.

The Nigerian government recently confirmed that fresh instructions have been issued to the Nigerian Navy “in line with the new strategic framework for addressing the challenges of piracy.” This follows the recent meeting of heads of state from West and central Africa in Cameroon, following which recommendations were issued for augmenting maritime security in the region.

Member states were urged to raise funds by way of taxes which could be used to establish maritime security in the region. The member states also recommended a harmonising of the judicial frameworks to effectively deal with piracy.

Resulting from this Nigeria and Benin are understood to have entered into a bilateral partnership to deal with piracy. Pirates often operate in waters of neighbouring states before escaping to Nigeria.

Meanwhile, it is understood that the partnership between Nigeria and the US, which has been code-named ‘Operation Prosperity’, will involve combined naval patrols aimed at curbing piracy. Nigeria is to establish a new naval base at Yenagoa in Bayelsa State which is in addition to naval bases at Lagos where the Western Naval Command has its headquarters, and at Calabar where the Eastern Naval Command is centered.

News continues below…

TANZANIA TELLS REGULATOR TO INTERVENE IN DISPUTE

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Dar es Salaam container terminal – where TPA wants to install cargo tracking services

Tanzania’s Transport Ministry has instructed port and transport regulator SUMATRA (Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority) to intervene in the dispute between the port authority, TPA, and the Tanzania Shipping Agents Association (TASAA) and Tanzania Freight Forwarders Assoxiation (TAFFA) who are at odds with the port authority over the introduction of an electronic cargo tracking system.

The dispute arises over a five year contract entered into between the TPA and Belgian-based Antaser Afrique BVBA, which is to provide an electronic cargo tracking service, that will come into service on 1 September 2013. According to its opponents, the deal was entered into without proper consultation among port stakeholders.

According to the Tanzania Daily News, Sumatra would rule on the matter this week. “We will inform you once we have made our decision as regulator,” said Sumatra director-general, Ahmad Kilima.

Port stakeholders claim that the implementation of the Belgian scheme will come at an additional cost to cargo owners.

THREE NATIONS TO INVEST IN EAST AFRICAN RAILWAY

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by Humphrey Liloba, East African Business Week

Nairobi — The governments of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda plan to invest some US$14 billion in a new 2,937 kilometres standard gauge railway.

The facility is aimed at boosting trade between the three countries and within the fledgling East African Community (EAC) bloc.

Kenya's Roads and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau said the cost of the project had been split into two with infrastructure accounting for $11.7 billion while the rest will go towards rolling stock.

“The construction of this line is long overdue. The region is at a stage where key decisions in respect to transport network need to be made if we are to boost trade. The commitment of these three nations is unwavering,” said Kamau.

The ambitious project is expected to be complete, up and running by January 2018.

The three countries announced in Nairobi last week that they will engage in a joint cash mobilisation venture in efforts to raise the required cash for the lucrative railway project.

Transport Ministers from the three countries spoke in Nairobi after a consultative forum in what will greatly transform the transport situation within the region. This will especially have a major impact on trade volumes in respect to cargo transport 85 percent of which is currently being done by road.

The three countries will forthwith commit a certain amount of their national budgets towards the project according to the deliberations agree on at the Nairobi meeting.

“This will be done through the commitment to a Railway Development Fund that will benefit from an annual budgetary allocation,” he said while reading a joint communiqué from the meeting.

The Kenyan government has already established a Railway Development Fund.

Kenya has made some strides into the construction of the standard gauge railway with the Mombasa-Nairobi line expected to be launched in November.

EXPENSIVE NEW REGIME FOR BALLAST WATER MANAGEMENT LOOMS

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Shipowners will soon be obliged to address new and expensive regulations to deal with ballast water, reports the UK P&I Club.

The Ballast Water Management Convention 2004 will require shipowners to understand compliance standards, develop a ballast water management plan, select and install a treatment system and train personnel to operate the system. Their ships will be subject to surveys and inspection to maintain certification.

The Convention requires ratification by 30 states, accounting for 35 percent of world merchant tonnage. To date, state signatures amounting to 29 percent of that tonnage have been obtained with the remainder expected shortly.

The International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee has issued guidelines to facilitate implementation and uniform interpretation of the Convention by all countries. The Convention takes a comprehensive overview of ballast water management, including reception facilities, water exchange, sampling, sediment reception, treatment technology and risk management.

The latest developments are summarised in a Legal Briefing on environmental law, just issued by the UK P&I Club.

There is strong support for the Ballast Water Management Convention, given the damage caused to the environment by invasive alien species, depletion of fish stocks and the high cost of controlling these effects. However, ballast water management systems must avoid harming ship, crew, environment and public health----and gain formal approval from classification societies.

The cost of compliance to shipowners will be very high. A ballast water treatment system can cost from half a million to four million dollars. There will be ancillary costs, including developing a ballast water management plan, dry docking and installation.

There are two standards of compliance. The ballast water exchange standard (BWE) does not require the ship to install a treatment system but will be phased out by 2019. The ballast water performance standard (BWP) does require such a system.

Alternatives to the BWE and BWP methods must ensure at least the same level of protection to the environment, human health, property and resources.

Parties to the Convention can impose additional measures on ships to prevent, reduce or eliminate the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens through ships’ ballast water and sediments. Ballast water management systems complying with the Convention standards may still fall foul of more stringent standards set in the USA and other countries. Shipowners who trade to these jurisdictions must, therefore, install systems that meet these more stringent standards.

Ballast water management plans must be tailored to each ship. They should include a description of the system, how it is operated, safety procedures for ship and crew, managing ballast and sediment onboard and procedures for disposing of sediment. The designated Ballast Water Management Officer has to ensure all ballast water operations are recorded in a Ballast Water Record Book----which must be available on board for inspection by authorised officers.

The Plan, in the working language of the crew, should be “simple, realistic, practical, easy to use and understood by all personnel engaged in ballast water management on board and ashore.”

Factors affecting system choice include space onboard, enough energy to operate the system, compatibility with existing systems on board, crew safety, operating time, and cost.

Staff training will play a key part in each plan. Training should encompass broad awareness of the Convention’s requirements, the operation and maintenance of the installed system, safety aspects, maintaining the safety or health of crew and passengers, entering tanks for sediment removal, handling, packaging and storing sediment safely, dealing with local disposal facilities, and ship-to-port communications.

The flag state will require surveys of the ship’s construction, equipment and management system to ensure compliance with the Convention’s requirements. An initial survey concentrates on technical installation and equipment specifications in pursuit of an International Ballast Water Management Certificate or Certificate of Compliance.

Further surveys will be conducted periodically to check that the plan is being carried through, that associated structures, equipment, systems, fittings, arrangements and material or processes remain up to scratch, are in good working order and have been properly maintained. Additional surveys may be required to check on major changes, replacements or significant repairs to the ballast water system.

Party States will be responsible for enforcing the Convention in respect to ships registered under their flags and ships entering their jurisdictional waters. The Convention provides for ratifying States to establish sanctions which should be sufficiently strong to discourage violations. There is concern that the application, interpretation and enforcement of the Convention requirements and sanctions imposed by the States will differ.

The MEPC 65th session in May tried to address some of owners’ concerns by rescheduling the Convention implementation, installing a trial period for Port State Control to try out sampling and testing techniques, and making BWMS type approvals more transparent. The revised schedule should be adopted at the IMO’s Assembly in November 2013.

Jacqueline Tan, Senior Claims Executive at Thomas Miller P&I, appreciates owners’ concerns. “The high economic costs to ship owners, introduced by the Convention, coupled with a lack of confidence that the proposed equipment and procedures can effectively tackle the adverse effects, probably explains why the rush to ratify the Convention has slowed down.

“While MEPC 65* and the revised implementation schedule have given owners breathing space, it would still be prudent for them to get to grips with the Convention’s requirements.”

* MEPC 65 - The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which met for its 65th session from 13 to 17 May 2013.

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Polluted water in a ship’s hold

MARITIME SECTOR UNAFFECTED BY EGYPTIAN UNREST

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Despite clashes in coastal cities, there has been no impact on maritime traffic in Egyptian waters and ports including that on the Suez Canal, says the chairman of the Port Said Ports General Authority, Ahmed Naguib Sharaf.

Meanwhile, Ahmed El-Akkad, the chairman of the Alexandria Chamber of Shipping says there has been no suspension of traffic since the 30 June protests. He said further that there had never been any halt in maritime traffic since the January 25th Revolution, and that while performance levels might have decreased, things had never come to a stop.

“Even during the unrest in Port Said in January, the port was working,” he said.

In contrast, Ali Abdel Nour, a member of the board of directors of the Nile Company for Direct Transport, said the work of the company is now limited to the port of Suez and has stopped in Port Said, Damietta and Safaga due to a decrease in imports and exports following the recent political turmoil, according to Al-Borsa news.

Abdel Nour said revenues have dropped from EGP2 billion to EGP300 million due to the suspension of work. source – Daily News Egypt

In other news, US Secretary of State John Kerry says Egypt is at a ‘Pivotal Moment’ after the deadly violence.

He said the increasingly deadly political violence in Egypt has brought the country to 'a pivotal moment.'

Speaking from Washington, Kerry urged all of Egypt's political leaders to 'act immediately' and help the country 'step back from the brink' after security forces on 27 July reportedly killed scores of supporters of ousted Islamist President Muhammad Morsi.

Read More…..

IBERIAN REEFER AGROUND OUTSIDE QUELIMANE

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A refrigerated reefer vessel, IBERIAN REEFER (5,084-gt, built 1991) appears to be aground or immobilised off the approaches to the small Mozambique port of Quelimane.

The ship is at the mouth of the Rio dos Bons Sinais, on which the town and port of Quelimane is built some miles upriver.

According to the online news service Maritime Bulletin, the ship left Beira on 17 July bound for Quelimane. AIS reports show the ship as being at anchor at the entrance to the river system but there is no indication of the problem or why the Norwegian-owned ship has remained in this position since about 19 July. Any information is welcome.

PICS OF THE DAY – RFA BLACK ROVER A273

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The Royal Fleet Auxiliary RFA BLACK ROVER A273 arrived in Simon’s Town yesterday morning (29 July) at 09h26. The upper picture shows the naval tug DE MIST in attendance for the harbour entrance approach. In the second photograph, as the British ship is manoeuvred for berthing on the Bullnose, we can see the Fishery Protection vessel LILIAN NGOYI on the synchrolift, where she is undergoing maintenance. Pictures by David Erickson

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