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Ports & Ships Maritime News

1 April 2014
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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News continues below...

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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ BOUDICCA will be visiting Africa in 2016 on an extended Round Africa Grand Voyage, and will include visits to 17 ports in Africa and the adjacent islands – a cruise to die for. See cruise article below for more details. Picture: Fred. Olsen Cruse Lines

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Cyclone Hellen, just touching the northwest coast of Madagascar. Image: NOAA

Early Monday Tropical Cyclone Hellen remained a potent force over north-west Madagascar, but experts believe the storm will rapidly lose strength provided it remains overland in Madagascar.

The cyclone swept into the northern Mozambique Channel from the Indian Ocean, intensifying rapidly over the weekend before sweeping across the north-western part of Madagascar. With winds reaching 150 mph (130 knots) on Sunday the cyclone was rated the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic.

Experts said the warm open waters of the Channel allowed Hellen to intensify so rapidly.

It is too soon for reports of damage to the area in northern Madagascar to have been received, but early Monday morning Mahajanga, which is where the storm came onshore, reported receiving more than 125mm (5 inches) of rain along with winds of 50-80 mph. Mahajanga faces the Mozambique Channel.

Warnings were being issued of strong winds between Mahajanga and Cap St Andre, with storm surges of 2 metres on top of normal tides west of Mahajanga.

However, the cyclone is also reported as having rapidly weakened as it approached the Madagascan coast, which corresponds to the wind strength being reported at Mahajunga. The storm will either remain overland and will affect the administrative regions of Boeny and Melaky, in which case it will dissipate, or, as is thought possible, it will turn west back into the Mozambique Channel and should slowly intensify as it gains strength from the warm waters.

A ridge of high pressure will then force Hellen towards mainland Africa before the storm makes a second landfall. However, it is being forecast that by then the storm will have weakened further but may still have sufficient strength that warnings of flood damage near the country’s central coast will be necessary.

Update: Tuesday morning:

Tropical Cyclone Hellen has remained overland of northern Madagascar on Tuesday morning and has weakened considerably and is expected to completely dissipate.

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A Kuwaiti crude oil tanker ship came under fire while sailing through the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday morning, the NATO Shipping Centre has reported.

The Panamanian-flagged tanker, which is named ALBUM (105,857-dwt, built 2003), while in position Lat 26-24.4N, Long 056-41.8E was approached by unknown assailants in a speedboat carrying six people armed with machine guns. Those in the speedboat fired twice at the tanker which was successful in repelling them with fire hoses.

According to NATO the attack came about 90 minutes after another merchant ship was approached by two speedboats with crews wearing military clothing.

“Two green colored skiffs with three to four persons on board in military clothing and armed with machine guns got to 150 metres of a merchant vessel,” the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s merchant shipping alert service said in a statement.

“After a while the skiffs turned away to Iranian coast.”

There were no shots fired by the crew of the skiffs. The incident happened about 30 nautical miles to the west of the shooting described above by a different speedboat.

NATO Shipping Centre reported that the attack involving shooting took place on the Gulf of Oman side of the Strait of Hormuz. Both incidents were being investigated and it was too early to say whether the two incidents are related.

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Cameroon authorities have shortlisted five operators to manage the multipurpose terminal of the deep-sea port which is being built in Kribi, reports Port Finance International.

A document obtained by the publication shows that APM Terminals, ICTSI and Marsa Maroc have been selected to take part in the next stage of the process, as have two consortia: Sea Invest/CLGG, and Necotrans/KPMO.

For the multipurpose terminal, all five candidates must now submit detailed offers. Three of them will be selected for the final stage, according to local media.

The Kribi deep-sea port is being built by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) under an EPC contract. The first phase, consisting of a container terminal and a multipurpose terminal, is estimated to cost $498 million, mainly funded by the Export-Import Bank of China.

The port is expecting its first vessels in June.

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Seychelles House of Assembly on Ile du Port

A European company, Jaccar Holding which is registered in Luxembourg, has been awarded the contract to construct and operate a commercial fishing quay in Ile du Port.

Jaccar will build and operate the fishing quay on a BOT basis – build, operate and transfer. The 425m long quay will be built on the north side of Ile du Port and will serve new fish processing factories.

Ile du Port is an area of reclaimed land which has enabled the expansion of the capital, Victoria. A number of significant developments have taken place here including building the Supreme Court, the R51 million National Assembly Building and property housing the Coast Guard. In 2012 work commenced on a 120m long fishing quay on the south side of Ile du Port. That contract included the allocation of about 30 hectares of land for the fishing industry. The actual contract to build the quay was awarded to Viya Construction who completed the work earlier this year.

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Fred. Olsen’s Boudicca

Cruise the world with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ inspirational ‘Grand Voyages’ in 2016 – visit 70 destinations in 42 countries! Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is launching two new Grand Voyages in 2016: BOUDICCA’s 76-night ‘Around Africa and into the Indian Ocean’ cruise, departing from Southampton on 5 January 2016 - the cruise line’s first ever sailing of this kind on board Boudicca – and BLACK WATCH’s 115-night Around the World with the South Pacific cruise, departing from Southampton on 8 January 2016.

Together, these two epic cruises will take in 70 ports in 42 countries around the globe.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Launch Brochure for the new 2015/16 itineraries was unveiled to existing guests on 17 March 2014 and the cruises went on general sale from 24 March 2014.

There will be an impressive four maiden calls across the two Grand Voyages. Boudicca will make her first ever stop in the picturesque destination of Zanzibar, as well as Luanda in Angola and Maputo in Mozambique, whilst Black Watch will call into Tuticorin in India for the first time.

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Nathan Philpot, Sales and Marketing Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, has this to say:

“We are thrilled to be unveiling our Grand Voyages for 2016 and in particular our stunning Around Africa and into the Indian Ocean cruise aboard Boudicca – the first time that this ship will set sail on a Grand Voyage. This cruise gives guests the chance to explore Africa in all its exotic splendour, with the addition of some exciting and different shore excursions, including Safaris in Mombasa, Kenya and Cape Town, South Africa.

“With these very special 2016 Grand Voyages, there is something for every kind of Fred. Olsen cruiser. We are pleased to be able to offer our guests the most cost- effective way to take in some of these very expensive destinations in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and around the world, and to give them experiences that will last a lifetime, on board our smaller, friendlier ships.”

Boudicca's 76-night Around Africa and into the Indian Ocean cruise
- ex Southampton on 5th January 2016

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Boudicca will depart from Southampton and make her first stop in Leixoes, for tours to Oporto, in Portugal – voted as the Best European Destination 2014 by European Consumers Choice. Here, guests can soak up the winter sunshine, before cruising onto Funchal (Madeira), Santa Cruz (Tenerife) and Mindelo (Cape Verde), before arriving in mighty Africa.

First port on this exciting cruise is Banjul in The Gambia, where guests can visit the bustling markets and busy harbour area, before Boudicca makes her maiden call into Luanda, the colourful capital of Angola.

After stopping in Walvis Bay and Luderitz, both Namibia, Boudicca will spend three days and two nights in Cape Town (South Africa) – one of Fred. Olsen guests’ favourite ports in the world.

Moving further around the South African coast, Boudicca will stop in Port Elizabeth, Durban and Richards Bay, before making her first ever port of call to Maputo in Mozambique.

Guests can visit the vast National Parks, gain an insight into local culture or relax on one of the sensational beaches.

Next stop is Port Reunion (Reunion Island), before a full day relaxing in Port Louis, on the stunning island of Mauritius. Guests will then have the chance to explore Nosy-be (Madagascar), Zanzibar (Tanzania) – the first time that Fred. Olsen has visited this very special destination – and Mombasa (Kenya), offering a wildlife haven and plenty of opportunities to go on a breathtaking Safari.

With an overnight stay and two ports of call in the Seychelles – stopping first at Victoria on Mahé Island and then Praslin Island – guests can make the most of the clear blue seas and soft white sands. Boudicca will then cruise between the Sisters, a stunning group of islands, before visiting Salalah (Oman), Aqaba (Jordan) – for an overnight stay – and Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt), for another overnight stay, before cruising through the spectacular Suez Canal.

With a final stop in Egypt at Port Said, Boudicca will then cruise to Iraklion, on the island of Crete (Greece), Valletta (Malta), Algiers (Algeria) and Cadiz (Spain), before a leisurely cruise back to Southampton, arriving back on 21 March 2016.

Black Watch's 115-night Around the World' cruise
- ex Southampton on 8 January 2016

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watc 470 Black Watch

Black Watch will make her first call on this exciting cruise in Funchal, Madeira – the Garden Island – before three stops in the sunny Caribbean. First, guests will visit Bridgetown (Barbados), then Kingstown (St. Vincent and Grenadines), and finally Castries (St. Lucia). With plenty of time to enjoy the ‘chilled out’ vibe of the Caribbean, guests will be ready for adventure when Black Watch cruises past the mountainous Pitons and reaches Oranjestad, in Aruba.

Black Watch then embarks on a discovery of South America, with stops at Santa Marta and Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) and Colon (Panama). One of the ‘must-see’ highlights of this trip follows, with a scenic cruise along the awe-inspiring Panama Canal. Listed in CNN’s rundown of 11 places to go in 2014, Panama is a tiny, but diverse, country of volcanoes, rainforests, coffee plantations and beautiful beaches, on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, which is also home to one of the most important trade waterways on the globe. The Big Ditch, as the Panama Canal is known, lifts Black Watch with a fascinating system of mechanics, along the three great locks – ‘Gatun’, ‘Pedro Miguel’ and ‘Miraflores’.

Next come the ports of Manta (Ecuador) and Callao – for an overnight stay – and General San Martin (Peru), before Black Watch arrives in the mesmerising islands of French Polynesia. Stopping first at Hiva Oa, the second largest island in the Marquesas Islands, this majestic and historic island is known for its wild, untamed landscape, giant stone Tiki and endless and unearthly vistas.

After a day exploring the island of Rangiroa, which is surrounded by two legendary bodies of water – Moana-tea, meaning Peaceful Ocean and Moana- uri, meaning Wild Ocean – guests will arrive in Papeete (Tahiti), for an overnight stay. Tahiti is French Polynesia's largest island and offers the chance to explore lagoons, black and white sand beaches, volcanoes, and has a lively night time scene.

After further calls in sun-soaked Moorea and Bora Bora in French Polynesia, Black Watch arrives in Rarotonga (Cook Islands). Guests will then ‘Cross the International Date Line’, before cruising to Nuku Alofa (Tonga), Suva (Fiji), Mystery Island (Vanuatu) and Noumea (New Caledonia).


Sydney (Australia) is next, for an overnight stay – visit the famous Opera House or take a stroll along the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. Guests will then be able to soak up even more fantastic sunshine in Brisbane – known as Surfer’s Paradise.

A cruise through the Great Barrier Reef is next, before guests reach Hamilton Island (Australia). Black Watch will then make one more stop on the mainland in Cairns, before cruising onto Komodo Island (Indonesia), to visit the truly terrifying Komodo Dragons…not an experience for the faint-hearted!

Black Watch continues onto the spiritual land of Benoa in Bali. With its tranquil, golden beaches, there is plenty for guests to explore with an overnight stay. Next comes the electric city of Singapore, where another stopover will allow guests to take in the world-famous Zoo and indulge in a Singapore Sling at Raffles, the grand old dame of this former colonial city from 1887.

Black Watch will then make calls into Phuket (Thailand) and Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the intriguing capital of Myanmar (formerly Burma), before arriving in Hambantota and Colombo (Sri Lanka), for an overnight stay.

Fred. Olsen’s maiden call of Tuticorin in India follows. Black Watch then continues onto Goa and Mumbai (formerly Bombay), where guests can take in all the non-stop sights and sounds with an overnight stay.

The ship then calls at Salalah (Oman), Aqaba (Jordan) – for an overnight stay – Safaga (Egypt) – for another stopover – and Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt), before cruising through the amazing Suez Canal.

With a final stop in Egypt at Port Said, Black Watch will then cruise to Valletta (Malta) and Gibraltar, before a leisurely return voyage to Southampton, arriving back on 3 May 2016.

For brochures and further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, call Triton Cape Sea Travel (Pty) Ltd at 021 443 9030 or e-mail stewart@tritonsea.co.za

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Two fishing vessels, missing in the Indian Ocean, have been declared missing, presumed sunk and searches for them have been called off.

This is at a time and in the same ocean as the continuing search for an aircraft that everybody knows must have crashed and that none of those on board could have had a chance of surviving.

The Taiwanese fishing vessel FU FA 12, which went missing in the southwest Indian Ocean more than a week ago with 11 Indonesian and three Taiwanese crew on board, last had contact with Mauritius authorities on 24 March when the vessel was 390 nautical miles southeast of the island.

Fu Fa 12 was fishing for tuna and marlin.

When Taiwanese authorities raised an alarm saying that they feared for the safety of Fu Fa 12, and air and sea search and rescue was commenced involving a Mauritian Coast Guard long-range Dornier aircraft to search along the vessel’s suspected path, coordinated by the Search & Rescue centre on neighbouring Reunion island. A French Air Force Transall aircraft joined in the search covering an area of 22,000 square miles.

Several ships took part in the search, including a sister fishing vessel, FU FA 6, a French fishing vessel ILE DE LA REUNION and several merchant ships in the approximate area.

No trace of the missing ship was found. Late on Saturday (29 March) the Centre Régional Opérationnel de Surveillance et de Sauvetage (CROSS) on Reunion called off the search.


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Royal Australian Air Force P-3 Orion reconnaissance aircraft. Picture: AMSA

The second search and rescue involving fishing vessels in the southern Indian Ocean to be called off involves a 75-m long Tanzanian-flagged fishing support vessel which Australian authorities have decided there is no prospect of survival. That’s after one day of searching.

AMSA’s (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) said it was suspending the search for the vessel “based on expert medical advice indicating that in the current weather conditions there is no prospect of survival.”

The search had been triggered early on Sunday morning (30 March) when AMSA detected an emergency beacon signal in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica about 3,200km southwest of Perth and 648km north of the Antarctic mainland within the Australian Search and Rescue Region.

With AMSA unable to contact the vessel, a broadcast to shipping was issued and a civil jet and a RAAF P-3 Orion reconnaissance aircraft were tasked to locate the vessel, which is believed to be flagged in Tanzania. There was no other shipping known to be in the area of the missing vessel.

On Monday the searching aircraft observed debris in the location of the signal but no sign of a ship. There were no signs of a life raft or people in the water.

AMSA states that it has concluded that either:

A considerable amount of deck equipment including the EPIRB has been swept overboard in rough weather and the vessel has continued passage but remains unable to be contacted and search aircraft were unable to locate it.

Or the vessel foundered and all crew entered the water at around the time the emergency beacon was detected.

The safety authority said that weather in the area over the past 24 hours has included sea swells of up to seven metres, winds of up to 70km/h, air temperature of -17oC and water temperatures between zero and two oC. The responding aircraft also reported icebergs in the area yesterday.

“AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has consulted with medical experts specialising in survivability. This expert medical advice indicated that even under the best circumstances, namely the crew abandoning ship into a dry life raft, there is no prospect of survival.

“Due to discrepancies in the ships records AMSA has been unable to establish an owner, flag state, or what the vessel’s purpose was in this area. Indications are the vessel may have been involved in illegal fishing activities.

“The search has been suspended.”

By comparison, the search for the missing Malaysian aircraft with 229 people on board goes on, and will continue for several days at least on the present scale, which involves ten ships and ten aircraft. Later these may be scaled down.

PORTS & SHIPS doesn’t question the reasoning behind calling off costly and dangerous searches for missing ships when after a reasonable time it appears unlikely that anything will be found, but we are struck by the comparison with the ongoing determination to search for the missing Malaysian airliner that cannot have remained in the air this long. Isn’t it time to declare that aircraft as missing, lost in places unknown, and bring some closure for the families, in the same way that missing ships at sea can be declared lost. Or are there other issues at stake?


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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.



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The salvage tug SMIT AMANDLA, the Durban-built former JOHN ROSS, makes a serene entrance to Cape Town on a perfect autumn morning. Picture: Aad Noorland


The impressive looking offshore service vessels, BOURBON EVOLUTION 803 (on left) and POLARCUS AMANI with the small tug AFRICAN PRINCESS on berth in Cape Town harbour this past week. Picture: Aad Noorland

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