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Ports & Ships Maritime News

17 September 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 – SMART

SMART Richards Bay 15 September 2013 3 Trevor J

The grounded shipwrecked coal ship SMART remains a sorry sight off the beaches of Richards Bay, despite the tranquil scene in this image. On standby in front of the bulker’s stern can be seen the Subtech Salvage tug REIER while behind the broken ship is Bumi Armada’s crane ship ARMADA CONDOR, which was fortuitously in the region for maintenance repairs and has been called in to assist with the salvage operation.

News continues below…

TAKORADI EXTENSIONS TO GET UNDERWAY NEXT WEEK

takoradi port Sekondi 470

What the port of Takoradi will look like when extensions are completed

Construction of the breakwaters for the Ghanaian port of Takoradi are due to get underway next week, 28 September, according to the Belgian company awarded the breakwater contract, Jan de Nul.

This also follows the stockpiling of suitable rocks to use with the breakwater construction after a suitable source was found in the Shama District. Their availability has removed one of the factors that might have otherwise delayed the contract.

See our earlier article on this topic Things looking up for Takoradi port

Project Manager Pascal Dumez said it was always better to ensure an adequate supply of materials before any contract is carried out. About 2.5 million tonnes of rocks and boulders would be used in the construction of the breakwater.

The first phase of the project, he said, involved the dredging of the access channel, the extension of the breakwater northward by 1.75 kilometres, the construction of a bulk oil service terminal, the reclamation of a land area of 53,000 hectares, an open area for oil pipe, plant and machinery, and an access road to the port.

Dumez said the first phase would take three years to complete and the most important part — the extension of the breakwater — would cover a period of between 13 and 14 months, to be followed with other works within the port.

Asked if there were any challenges that might pose any problems, Dumez said all the hiccups had been taken care of and that work would progress without any difficulty. source Joyonline

News continues below…

NEWS ITEMS IN BRIEF: RAILWAY LOCOS DUE TODAY

Costa Concordia righted

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The hitherto unseen side of Costa Concordia. Picture by Sky News

The capsized cruise ship COSTA CONCORDIA was overnight parbuckled and is this morning floating upright after the Titan Salvage team under the leadership of South African salvage master Nick Sloane successfully extracted the vessel from her rocky perch alongside Italy’s Giglio island in a 19-hour operation, said to be the most ambitious ever attempted.

The ship went aground in early 2011 after sailing too close to the island – it is suspected that the ships officers wished to ‘salute’ a former colleague now living in retirement on the island. The ship struck an underwater rock and capsized, causing the death of at least 30 people – two people, one passenger and one crew remain missing.

The upright ship is now resting on a platform made of sacks of cement and steel. Salvors hope to be able to tow the 114,000-ton passenger ship away for dismantling.

The man who raised Costa Concordia

The man who raised the Costa Concordia was given a hero’s welcome on Tuesday by colleagues and residents of the island of Giglio, where the cruise ship capsized 20 months ago. After running a control room on a barge near the wrecked vessel, salvage master Nick Sloane was greeted by a cheering crowd in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday as he returned to Giglio port after the successful 19-hour operation to right the ship. Around 100 members of the 500-strong salvage team toasted the 52-year-old South African salvage veteran with beer and prosecco outside a café on the quayside, shortly after the Costa Concordia was pulled upright onto undersea platforms with giant pulleys….. read the rest of this article at SkyNews.com

Large locomotive consignment due today

A large consignment of between 35 and 40 diesel-electric and electric locomotives are due in Durban today (Tuesday) on board the chartered vessel BBC CAROLINA.

The locomotives are all surplus to Queensland Rail and have been acquired by South African logistics company RRL Grindrod, for refurbishment at their facility outside Pretoria. The locos will later go into service in either in neighbouring countries or on the South African mining rail network.

The ship is scheduled to berth at Maydon Wharf 6 and the locos, which are mostly of the same rail gauge as Transnet Freight Rail (a few may be from New South Wales where the wider standard gauge is used), are expected to make their way on rail and under their own power to Pretoria.

Soyo dredging completed

Soyo Maritime Authority has advised that the dredger TSHD REYNAERT has completed her dredging operations and that all affected buoys have been returned to their original positions.

As a result Soyo Maritme Safety Notices 15/2013, 19/2013 and 20/2013 have been cancelled. source – GAC

Maydon Wharf deepening goes out to tender

A tender has been issued for the deepening of Maydon Wharf berths 1-4 and berths 13 and 14. This was published recently by Transnet Capital Projects.

The contract will pick up from where the deepening and improvement of berth 12 left off when that contract was completed earlier by contractor Stefanutti Stocks. That contract calls for the berth to be deepened to a draught alongside of 14.5 metres.

Fire on board Russian nuclear submarine

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The Russian nuclear powered submarine Tomsk. Picture RIA Novosti

The Russian nuclear submarine TOMSK caught fire while dry-docked in the naval ship repair yard in Russia’s Far Eastern Zvezda plant in the Primorye Territory. The fire was apparently a result of welding taking place within the boat’s hull, which ignited old paint and materials. Because it was in the naval dockyard the submarine was devoid of all weapons and her nuclear plant had been rendered safe. The smouldering fire was being restricted to the boat’s main ballast cistern.

Tomsk K-150 was commissioned in 1996 and normally carries torpedoes and missiles. The submarine displaces 19,400-tons and is 155 metres in length with a beam of 18.2 metres.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti later reported that the fire has been successfully extinguished. There were no injuries and ten fire brigades are continuing to tend to the area where the fire broke out to avoid re-ignition, the United Shipbuilding Corporation said in a press release.

For the Record

HONOUR aad noorland (3) 470

In yesterday’s ‘FIRST VIEW – HONOUR’ we managed to get our facts wrong by saying the vessel was the product of Damen Cape Town, whereas it is in fact the latest newbuild out of Nautic Africa’s yard. Although this was corrected shortly afterwards some readers may already have seen the wrong copy.

News continues below...

CRUISE NEWS: NCL SEEKS NAMES FOR TWO NEW SHIPS

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Norwegian Cruise Line last week launched the “Norwegians Name Their Ships” contest asking fans in five countries (but sorry, not including South Africa) to help select the names for the line’s two new Breakaway Plus class ships.

From now until 24 September 2013, Norwegian’s Facebook fans in the United States, Canada (excluding Quebec), Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom have the opportunity to vote for their two favourite potential ship names from a list of the line’s top 10 name prospects. Those who vote will be entered to win a trip to the first ship’s inaugural festivities.

“We have the most passionate and engaged fans. We know that nothing makes our community more excited than the anticipation of our new ship launches and these two are our largest and most innovative ships ever,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “It’s so important to us to involve our community of Norwegians in this exciting process. We have listed name options that speak to the character of our brand and allude to the uniqueness of Freestyle Cruising®.”

Norwegian’s new Breakaway Plus ships will be the largest in the line’s fleet at approximately 163,000 gross tons and 4,200 passenger berths each and will be similar in design and innovation to the line’s current Breakaway class, the first of which, Norwegian Breakaway, launched in New York in early May and the second of which, Norwegian Getaway, will launch in January and arrive in her homeport of Miami in February.

To enter, fans should go to Norwegian’s Facebook page in the appropriate region (we have many readers in these countries so this article is relevant – P&S). Once there, they will see a list of 10 possible names. They can vote once per day for the two names that they like best and Norwegian will pick one name for each ship based on the names that receive the top number of votes from the community.

Those who vote and complete the entry form will be entered to win a trip for two on the first Breakaway Plus ship’s inaugural festivities, with a winner from each region. The winners will receive a trip for two to the first ship’s invitation only inaugural festivities. The trip includes round-trip coach airfare for two, ground transportation, balcony stateroom accommodations (double occupancy), and on-board meals.

The contest is only open to residents of the United States, Canada (excluding Quebec), Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom, 18 years of age and older.

Accolades for Fred Olsen

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Fred. Olsen’s Balmoral, this editor’s favourite cruise ship

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has been awarded the 'Best Affordable Cruise Line' accolade at this year's 'Cruise International Awards', for the second year in a row. They were also awarded a runner-up ‘Highly Commended’ in the ‘Best Cruise Line’ category.

The ‘Cruise International Awards’, held at the British Film Institute in London on Thursday, 12 September 2013, are the only cruise industry accolades voted for by genuine cruisers, and this year attracted some 24,000 nominations from readers of Cruise International magazine and keen cruise customers, across 19 categories.

“The award for ‘Best Affordable Cruise Line’ recognises those cruise lines that offer a fantastic holiday experience, including great food, activities and entertainment, in an incredibly enticing package,” said Liz Jarvis, editor of Cruise International. “ Huge congratulations to Fred. Olsen for winning this highly competitive category for the second year in a row,” she said.

News continues below…

ANGOLAN OIL-BASED ECONOMY VULNERABLE

Angola CIA Factbook

Map courtesy CIA Factbook

The Angolan economy is vulnerable due to its high dependence on the oil sector, which accounts for 45 percent of gross domestic product, the minister of territorial development and planning said on Thursday in Menongue.

Besides representing nearly half of GDP, the oil sector provides 60 percent of total tax revenues and accounts for 90 percent of the country’s exports, said Minister Job Graça at the opening session of the first Economic Forum of Cuando Cubango province.

The 2013-2017 National Development Plan contains measures to reduce vulnerability resulting from dependence on that sector, such as a strategy to diversify the structure of the national economy during the first years of the current governance cycle, to expand the growth base by stimulating intensive labour sectors, he said.

Graça stressed that the demand for employment should be met due to this process, resulting from the implementation of policies for training and capacity-raising by means of the national strategy for human resource development and the national personnel training plan.

“Economic diversification in intensive labour sectors such as agriculture and agro-livestock will be driven by private investment and leveraged by public investment,” the minister said. source – macauhub

CASE FILE: ADVANFORT FRONTLINE TALES FROM THE SEA

An Advanfort security team under suspicious approach

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Spar Gemini. Picture by Shipspotting

by Kuido Ever

Our team, two men and a woman, all with previous combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, had embarked on the MV Spar Gemini in Port of Salalah in Oman. The vessel’s destination was Port Maputo in Mozambique; however, our security team's disembarkation point was Port Nacala in the same country, a 12-day journey.

At the beginning everything seemed nice and peaceful. The sun was shining every day and the sea was very calm. However, a seemingly peaceful sea also means greater threat of pirate attack, especially because the monsoon season had just ended. Before then, seasonal winds that bring torrential rainfall result in the sea becoming very rough. The physical risks involved meant that pirates were reluctant to embark on their sinister adventures.

Two days before the security team’s disembarkation point, near Comoros Islands, AdvanFort's watch officer spotted two approaching skiffs. Immediately all other team members and the MV Spar Gemini s duty officer were notified.

With all of our security team on the bridge, we maintained a full-court look-out on both the skiffs and MV Spar Gemini’s surroundings, At the same time, the Master and duty officer stood on the bridge ready to take evasive manoeuvres.

Using the ship’s internal communication system, the Master also informed the crew about a possible pirate attack, making sure that they would be ready to enter the citadel—a secure room that is almost impossible to break in to (complete with a communication system to contact warships and the United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations / UKMTO) centre), and at least three days of food and water.

Meanwhile, the two skiffs that were approaching us directly at high speed suddenly stopped about half a mile from our vessel, perhaps unconsciously imitating the sharks that their evil work imitates, and started circling around.

At first we thought probably they had seen us on the bridge wing bearing arms and had aborted the attack. However, suddenly one of our guards saw one more skiff approaching, also at high speed, from the other side of the vessel. Now we had skiffs taking positions on both sides of the vessel--two circled around on one side, the other approaching directly on the other.

The AdvanFort security team leader and one of our other security guards quickly made their way to the side of bridge wing where the new skiff was approaching, while myself and the duty officer were maintaining watch on other two skiffs. At the same time, the Master was quickly beginning to steer in sharp manoeuvres to keep these ‘sharks’ at bay.

The one skiff still approaching showed no signs of stopping. When it was about 500-400 metres from the vessel, our security team made its first warning shot, but to little or no effect, as the skiff only reduced speed slightly.

The tension and excitement in the bridge was already very high and the Master thought it necessary to raise the pirate alarm, so that the crew would go to the citadel. AdvanFort’s team leader let the Master know that we would make one more warning shot. If the skiff still maintained its approach, he should then raise the alarm and begin with evasive manoeuvres.

Our security team got off another warning shot, this time closer to skiff (basically in front of it). This shot had its effect and the skiff turned around, made a few still-menaciing circles and went away. After that the two skiffs which were in other side the vessel also began to put distance between us and them.

Before these two skiffs moved away the duty officer took some pictures with a camera that had a very good, powerful lens. The skiffs had moved away, and now the tension and excitement on the vessel quickly evaporated. The Master thanked us for what he called good professional work in response to the threat.

Our security team maintained a higher state of look-out for a while, but after that we were able to go back to our routine. After another two nice and calm days we reached our security team disembarkation point and started to pack to leave the vessel.

Before disembarking the Master thanked us one more time for our professional work in the face of the suspicious approach and said that he would like to see us, or other of AdvanFort’s professional guards, once again on his ship. We disembarked and MV Spar Gemini continued its voyage, safely, to Port Maputo.

Kuido Ever is a security team operator for AdvanFort in the high-risk sea off Somalia.

ROUNDUP OF REGIONAL RAIL NEWS

Zambia to advertise North-West Railway project

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Not Zambia’s north-west but her far south where the famous Victoria Falls Bridge over the Zambezi River connects the railway between Zambia and Zimbabwe and from there into South Africa. Picture Wikipedia Commons

The Zambian government is in the process of advertising for investors in the North-West Railway that will link the rest of the Zambia rail network with that of Angola’s Benguela Railway, now pushing east towards the border with the DRC and Zambia.

Transport minister Panji Kaunda said the government was seriously considering a railway connecting Chingola, which is on the main north-south railway leading into the DRC, with the western town of Solwezi, from where a final push to the border with Angola would be possible.

In Angola the Benguela Railway from the cost to the DRC border at Luau is nearing completion, which will reopen the rail links to the Atlantic seaport of Lobito.

The Zambians are proposing a parallel line to connect with Angola at the border town of Jimbe, immediately south of Luau. Provided Angola agrees to build a spur line to link at Jimbe, the North-West Railway would provide Zambia with another link to the sea that does not require crossing DRC territory.

Strike action ends on the Tazara Railway

Railway 02 Tazara railway

Map of the Tazara, or ‘Freedom’ Railway, which links the port of Dar es Salaam with the cape gauge railway network of southern Africa

Workers on the TAZARA railway (Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority) connecting Zambia with the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam have returned to work after going on strike over unpaid wages.

The workers returned to duty last week after going on strike on 23 August following claims that they had not been paid between May and August this year.

Tanzania transport minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said that the governments of Zambia and Tanzania had cleared payments of salary arrears. He then called on employees to return to work, adding that the railway had lost 2.4 billion shillings as a result of the stoppage.

He said TAZARA was undergoing a difficult period because of the ramshackle infrastructure, but plans were underway to improve it, saying the two governments were determined to revive the institution.

"The team of Chinese experts who were conducting investigation to establish problems that are afflicting Tazara have completed the study and they have already submitted a report to both the governments," said the minister.

Rwanda reveals plans for railway link to Mombasa

Rwanda has revealed its plans for a railway to link the landlocked central East-African country with the Kenya port of Mombasa.

The minister of infrastructure, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba said a feasibility study is already underway to determine the cost and the route of the railway. “We have already signed a memorandum of understanding with Uganda and Kenya. We are working more closely with our counterparts in Uganda to ensure the project is completed as scheduled,” he said.

The railway referred to will be built to a standard gauge (4ft 8½ ins) as opposed to the metre gauge in use in most of East Africa.

“Kenya is scheduled to start construction works in November, therefore, there is no reason for us to delay this important project,” he said. The proposed railway will be Rwanda’s first to connect with the coast and a major seaport.

Ethiopia-Djibouti railway resumes service

With a maintenance programme having now been completed, rail services from Dire Dawa in the highlands of Ethiopia to Djibouti on the Red Sea coast have recommenced using test trains, Ato Ayele Wondwossen, head of the Ethio-Djibouti Railway Organisation told journalists earlier this month.

The maintenance programme was carried out under contract by an Italian company to attend to 100km of the 208-km of railway within Ethiopia, where poor maintenance had caused services on the line to be suspended.

The Ethio-Djibouti Railway was built in 1890 during the reign of Emperor Menelik II. Many Djiboutians still maintain homes in Ethiopia at Dire Dawa where they spend the summer months.

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PICS OF THE DAY – NILEDUTCH LEOPARD

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Niledutch’s container ships NILEDUTCH LEOPARD (39,753-gt, built 2012), photographed here on her arrival in Cape Town during December 2012. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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