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Ports & Ships Maritime News

25 March 2014
Author: Terry Hutson

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

TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

Click on headline to go direct to story – use the BACK key to return

SEND NEWS REPORTS AND PRESS RELEASES TO info@ports.co.za

News continues below...
FIRST VIEW – COSTA neo RIVIERA LIFEBOAT DRILL

COSTA 

RIVIERA aad noorland MOB 1 (3) 470

Something not seen that often in a South African harbour except mainly when cruise ships spend a day or more in port. Crew are seen here undertaking lifeboat drills on the calm waters of Cape Town's Duncan Dock during the recent visit of the Italian cruise ship Costa neo Riviera. Picture : Aad Noorland

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TAX AUTHORITY SAYS IT WILL CONFISCATE UN ARMOURED CARS

un 

interim force in lebanon patrol in armoured v
UN armoured vehicles on patrol in Lebanon. A Number of UN vehicles have been detained in Maputo by the tax authorities.

The chairperson of the Mozambican Tax Authority (AT), Rosario Fernandes, says that the assembly and attempted export of armoured cars for the United Nations involved assorted tax and customs irregularities, and has threatened that the vehicles could be seized, reports Monday’s issue of the independent newssheet Mediafax.

The 14 vehicles were seen on the streets of Maputo last Thursday, heading for the port. The United Nations office in Maputo said they had been assembled by a factory in the southern Mozambican city of Matola, and were being shipped to join the UN peace keeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

The factory concerned is a branch of the US company DynCorp International and the operation is funded by the United States as part of its contribution to the struggle to stop Mali falling back into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. The US government has agreed to buy armoured cars and other crucial equipment from seven African countries, including Mozambique, at a cost of 173 million US dollars, for use by MINUSMA.

But Fernandes claimed there had been illegalities in importing the vehicle parts and that the factory “is not yet a factory “, in that all the formalities to consider the Dyncorp plant authorised to assemble armoured cars have not been completed.

“It will be a factory when all the requirements have been satisfied”, said Fernandes. “This follows a procedure that must obey legal requirements.”

He said the Mozambican authorities are examining how the vehicle parts being assembled in Matola entered the country, and how Dyncorp began its Mozambican activities. In particularly, the AT wants to ensure that all the fiscal requirements demanded by law have been satisfied.

Fernandes said the situation must be regularised in 25 days. If that does not happen, the vehicles “will certainly be subject to the measures which the law envisages, such as seizure, or reverting in favour of the state.”

Apparently the regularisation of the factory’s operations in Matola is entirely the responsibility of DynCorp, and has nothing to do with the US government.

Questions remain unanswered about the origins of the armoured cars and how a factory to manufacture them can have sprung up suddenly in Matola outside Maputo. Some of these questions already asked by the head of Mozambique police will naturally relate to whether the cars were not manufactured in South Africa, disassembled and then reassembled in Matola in order to benefit from an agreement by the US to buy the vehicles from Mozambique.

On Tuesday last week the General Commander of the Mozambican police, Jorge Khalau, was reported as saying that the vehicles were in the country clandestinely and the company manufacturing them was South African and unregistered. This has been denied but the questions remain. Defence Minister Agostinho Mondlane apparently saw nothing illegal in the armoured cars and told reporters “they are in transit and they are only here to use the port of Maputo.” It seems he was not aware that the vehicles had been assembled in Matola and thought they were from South Africa, where armoured cars for the UN and other military organisations are under manufacture. source – AIM.

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P&O’s AURORA TO MAKE MAIDEN CALL AT PORT ELIZABETH

AURORA 470

by Vernon Buxton

P&O’S 76,152-gt cruise ship AURORA makes her maiden call to Port Elizabeth when she berths in the windy city on Thursday, 3 April, on the last leg of her 2014 world cruise, according to Carol McCarthy, MD of White Star Cruise and Travel, P&O’s sole agent in South Africa.

“We are particularly pleased to see Port Elizabeth featuring more regularly on a signature itinerary such as AURORA this year, and then QUEEN MARY 2 in 2015,” says Carol.

“AURORA is a fine ship with outstanding facilities, not least being the Marco Pierre White restaurant. She also has a quantity of single cabins, which have proved extremely popular.”

AURORA sails via Cape Town to Swakopmund, St Vincent and Lisbon to end her world cruise in Southampton on 24 April. The vessel entered service in 2000 and carries about 1,800 passengers.

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THE CLASSIC ASTOR IS HEADING OUR WAY!

astor 1 jpeg

An entirely splendid view of the 20,606gt ASTOR, in the Kiel Canal in late-June 2009, photographed by Durban ship expert Trevor Jones from the high bridge over the canal at Holtenau in the Kiel metropolitan area. “Holtenau is where the ships lock in from the Baltic side,” said Trevor, “I quite like this spot.”

After a full recent refurbishment, ASTOR features some beautiful public rooms, spacious cabins and a very welcoming ambiance. Built at the Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft yards, its high standard of German construction can be seen in the fine teakwood decking, polished wood railings and interior fittings, much of it refurbished in 2010. There’s an excellent amount of open deck and sunbathing space and a basketball court for active passengers, as well as a large deck-chess game on an aft decks, and shuffleboard courts, Captain’s Club lounge, library and card room…and two large boutiques.

She looks like a classic cruise ship and sails like a true classic too. With such a low tonnage, what a comparison with the mighty behemoths that ply the planet’s waters these days.

The South African ports of Durban, Mossel Bay and Cape Town will soon welcome the 4-Star ASTOR. She arrives in Durban on 15 April. 2014, and departs Cape Town on Good Friday, 18 April, 2014.

ASTOR was built as both an ocean liner and cruise ship, “and the call in Cape Town in April is fascinating as ASTOR is doing exactly what she was designed for…a line voyage Australia – Cape Town – UK…and then vice versa in November,” says Stewart Venn, a director at Triton Cape Sea Travel, the local gsa.

The 20,606gt vessel sails from the Australian port of Fremantle on 1 April, to Mauritius and Reunion, then to Durban and Mossel Bay and Cape Town. Later the same day she sails on to Walvis Bay, St. Helena, Ascension Island, Cape Verde, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Lisbon…and to Le Havre, before passengers disembark by tender from the UK port of Harwich on 10 May.

Stewart tells us that the full 40 nights voyage from Fremantle to Harwich has only limited availability, “but there are a small number of cabins with inside and outside grades available on the Fremantle to Cape Town, 1 April, sailing, as well as the 18 April Cape Town to Harwich sector.

The second ASTOR…
A popular liner dating back to the 1980s, this was a second ASTOR, built by Safmarine based in Cape Town for cruising between South Africa and Europe, but sold on for soft adventure cruising before she was completed, we were told by Stewart, who continued: “This ASTOR is the ship that I worked on and with for two years in the UK in the later 1980’s. She is as beautiful a ‘boutique’ cruise liner today as she was when built.”

Late this year, the ASTOR sails south from London Tilbury on 5 November…to Le Havre, Lisbon, Tenerife, Cape Verde, Ascension, St. Helena, arriving in Cape Town on 26 November. From there to Mossel Bay and Durban, and across the Indian Ocean to Reunion and Mauritius, arriving in Fremantle on 13 December.

Sector packages are available on request at + 27 21 443 9030

astor 2 470

For those of us who like our cruise ships to be ‘classic’…and we are in great numbers, this vessel was operated under the Mauritian flag by Morgan Leisure as ASTOR, from December 1986 to December 1988, when she was sold to the Soviet Union-based Black Sea Shipping Company and renamed FEDOR DOSTOEVSKIY. “The vessel spent her time under charter to various West German cruise lines,” explained Cape agent, Stewart Venn, adding: “Morgan Leisuremanagement included several former Safmarine employees operating from an office in Colchester in the UK. The ASTOR had UK and German officers, with Mauritian crew, with many German hotel staff members in the cabins, restaurant and galley. The ship operated in dual languages, English and German, and was marketed in the UK and Germany. The ship was very popular in Germany, hence the decision by Transocean in 1995 to revert to the name ASTOR, under her current German ownership.”

Today she operates an Australian summer season of cruises for Cruise & Maritime Voyages of the UK, including voyages to and from Europe to Australia via South Africa.

astor 3 470

ASTOR is also ice strengthened which - combined with her liner-style long-range fuel and food storage capacities - meant Morgan Leisure, the original operators, employed her as an upmarket 4 Star plus boutique hotel-style ship for soft adventure cruising…often to distant places. “As a result, ASTOR has in her successful career undertaken long cruises to destinations as diverse as and well beyond the Arctic Circle into Greenland and the Davis Strait to Manaus in the Amazon,” Stewart Venn told Ports & Ships.


Vernon Buxton for Ports & Ships

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MSC CRUISES ORDERS TWO 167,000 TON SHIPS

NY86903 

1 pic MSC Cruises STX builders 470 Letter of Intent signed

MSC Cruises has announced that it has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with STX France to build two new cruise ships plus an option for two more. The new ships will become the largest in the MSC Cruises fleet and among the biggest in the world at 167,000 gross tons.

The first two will bring the MSC fleet to 14 ships, all built at the STX St Nazaire shipyards in France.

The first two cruise ships are due for delivery in 2017 and 2019. The ships will be 1033 feet long and 141 feet wide, with a gross tonnage of about 167,600 tons, boasting 2,250 cabins for guests, nearly 820 crew cabins, and accommodating 5,700 passengers and 1,536 crew members.

“The new prototype will be the biggest cruise ship ever built by a European ship owner and the most versatile and flexible of the world,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises.

“Not only will it be able to call in most of the ports and destinations on earth, without compromise, but it will have extraordinary features that will make it the perfect choice at sea, in summer and in winter. The two new ships will reaffirm MSC Cruises' dedication to outstanding and genuine dining options and out-of-this-world entertainment with new panoramic spaces, a bigger theatre and a spectacular amusement park connected to an outdoor aqua park as well as a two-deck 'inside promenade.”

Among the new features of the ships will be specially designed cabins for families and an extended MSC Yacht Club, the entirely self-contained private club on the prestigious foredecks that will now be completed with a vast solarium, a private lounge and restaurant and duplex suites.

The new prototype is the result of a long development process, leading to the creation of a new generation of ships that are cleaner, more efficient and more technological. They will be water emission free, while its hull and propulsion system will be optimised for better energy efficiency. The installation of scrubbers will allow for fumes to be neutralised and CO2 emissions to be in accordance with the latest evolutions of international maritime regulations.

“Growth and development have always been the characteristics that have defined MSC since the very beginning of our journey into the world of cruising. The launch of this prototype and the building of these two new ships confirm our commitment to further growth and to further development. MSC Cruises will expand its capacity by 31%; we will incredibly enrich our offer on board and we will broaden our horizons to ensure we meet the growing global demand in every region,” said MSC Cruises' Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago.

“Once again our longstanding partnership with the STX yard has proved key for these plans.” “It’s unbelievable…and shows that the company is a main player in the cruise industry and has a clear vision for the future,” says Allan Foggitt, head of sales & marketing in South Africa.

News continues below…

NEW STS CRANES AND RTGs GOOD NEWS FOR TPT CUSTOMERS

DSC 5068 470
New crane equipment for TPT arriving in South Africa, being discharged appropriately enough by an onboard Liebherr ship’s crane

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) says it has hit another significant milestone in its ongoing investment in South Africa’s ports with the arrival of four brand new ship-to-shore cranes and 18 rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes this month.

“Here at TPT we are excited to have taken delivery of this new equipment worth R744 million,” said CEO Karl Socikwa, “This acquisition demonstrates that we are serious about delivering on our commitment to our customers – we continue to reinvest in our infrastructure and equipment aggressively. The TPT team is executing our business strategy methodically and systematically, while always keeping economic growth and activity in mind. I am very pleased with the progress the arrival of these new cranes and RTGs represents.”

According to TPT, the use of local manufacturing and local businesses has been a key consideration in the procurement of the STS cranes. Liebherr Africa supplied the new equipment, two of which will go to the Ngqura Container Terminal (NCT) operations in Port Elizabeth and two to the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT). The assembly and installation of all the equipment will be handled by eight local companies.

“It was important for us here at TPT to consider local manufacturing – it’s something we take very seriously. We’re very proud that the steel structures for the gantries were made at Liebherr Africa’s facilities in Johannesburg, Newcastle and Durban,” said TPT’s General Manager Procurement, Ntombeziningi Shezi.

The procurement of the machines has been accompanied by detailed supplier development initiatives, which will ensure a further R193 million is invested in the local economy:

  • R120 million in post-sales service and maintenance by local companies

  • R27.7 million for skills transfer initiatives

  • R26.5 million for job creation and preservation

  • R13,6 in intellectual property and technology transfer initiatives; and

  • R5 million for small business promotion
  • The delivery of the two ship-to-shore cranes for each terminal forms part of TPT’s strategy to increase the capacity to service larger calling vessels, and to optimise efficiency. Cape Town Container Terminal is currently undergoing a R5.4 billion upgrade and when all four berths and the new cranes are installed, annual capacity will increase to 1.4 million TEU. The Ngqura Container Terminal is already in its second phase of a R1.1 billion development, which will see it grow from two to three berths and increase its annual capacity to 1.5 million TEU.

    “Transnet Port Terminals continues to invest across its terminals to ensure growth and the sustainability of the country’s commercial imports and exports,” said Socikwa.


    About the STS cranes

  • The STS cranes have an outreach of 65 metres, a span of 30.48 metres and a back reach of 19 metres

  • They have a lift height of 41 metres and are capable of lifting a 65 tonne load under a twin lift spreader

  • The cranes have been designed to handle container vessels of up to 24 rows across, allowing the world’s largest container vessels to be serviced.
  • CONGESTION BESETS BOTSWANA’S TLOKWENG BORDER POST

    Botswana Border Posts 7 being Tlokweng and 4 Mar
    Map showing border posts between Botswana and South Africa, with No.7 being the Tolkweng and No.4 the Martins Drift posts.

    The temporary closure of the Martin's Drift border post due to recent floods in the Tswapong area has resulted in the congestion of cargo trucks at Tlokweng border post.

    Approaching the border from the Botswana side, there is a queue of these trucks awaiting declaration. The situation is made worse by shortage of parking space for the trucks, which at times lead to some trucks blocking way for others, hence the delay.

    In an interview, the principal customs officer, Ms Monkgogi Makwati said they started receiving a large number of trucks on transit on Saturday (22 March 2014).

    She said most of the trucks were from Kazungula on their way to South Africa. Ms Makwati also said trucks from South Africa were a challenge as the customs office was faced with a lot of work as goods were cleared in large quantities from that side.

    She noted that Tlokweng border had always been the busiest in the country, but the current situation had made it more busy than usual. She also said the delay at the border was due to the electronic clearance system used by South Africa compared to the manual one used by Botswana, thus when the system is down, services from that side halt.

    Ms Makwati, however, noted that trucks carrying perishables and goods such as medicines, gas and petrol among others were given special clearance and they do not take long at the border.

    The traffic jam has not only affected services at the border, but also facilities such as toilets have started to experience some blockage while others are running out of water due to high number of people who are frequenting them.

    Some truck drivers expressed dissatisfaction on the South African service of clearing noting that they had been at the border for four days without bathing.

    HELPING SECURE THE FUTURE OF POWER SUPPLY IN GHANA

    Wallingford Supports Development of LNG Import T

    UK-based maritime engineering consultants HR Wallingford are supporting Quantum Power’s development of an offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) import and regasification facility at Tema, Ghana. The facility will include a floating storage and regasification unit with transfer from conventional LNG carriers.

    HR Wallingford is carrying out an advanced feasibility study, which includes metocean, ship mooring and operational assessments, incorporating fully dynamic mooring analysis. Applying world-leading expertise in maritime engineering, HR Wallingford’s engineers and scientists are working closely with Quantum Power to provide an effective solution that will maximise operability of the facility and ensure safe and efficient transfer of LNG.

    The LNG import facility will deliver much needed natural gas to the Ghanaian power sector, displacing the more expensive light crude oil that is currently used. This will enhance the security and economic viability of the country’s power sector. Quantum Power aim to deliver first gas by early 2016 in volumes sufficient to fuel up to 1,000 MW of base load generation. - Press release received from Paul Ridgway, London

    EXPECTED SHIP ARRIVALS and SHIPS IN PORT

    East London 470
    East London harbour

    Ports & Ships publishes regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENT reports including ETAs for ports extending from West Africa to South Africa to East Africa and including Port Louis in Mauritius.

    In the case of South Africa’s container ports of Durban, Ngqura, Ports Elizabeth and Cape Town links to Stack dates are also available.

    You can access this information, including the list of ports covered, by going HERE - remember to use your BACKSPACE to return to this page.

    PICS OF THE DAY – CLIPPER MOON

    CLIPPER MOON adjcro 470
    CLIPPER MOON STERN 470

    The Norwegian-owned and operated LPG tanker CLIPPER MOON (44,822-dwt, built 2003) which called at Cape Town earlier this month while in ballast. Pictures: Ian Shiffman

    Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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