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Ports & Ships Maritime News

27 May 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

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

News continues below...
FIRST VIEW – MONSERRATE

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May 2014 470

The Portuguese fishing vessel MONSERRATE (238-gt, built 1998) spent five days in the Port of Durban, departing on Sunday 24 May when this picture was taken with the 28m long and very smart looking vessel (IMO 9174907) heading along the Maydon and Esplanade Channels. Monserrate is registered in Povoa de Varzim, a small town in northern Portugal. Picture: Trevor Jones

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CORNELDER AWARDS CONTRACT FOR NEW BEIRA FERTILISER TERMINAL

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Beira Container Terminal

With the awarding of a contract to build the Port of Beira’s new fertiliser terminal having just been made, work should begin soon on the project which will culminate in a terminal able to process 8,000 tons of fertiliser a day.

That was the word from Cornelder de Moçambique’s marketing and sales director, Félix Machado. He told the Maputo newspaper Noticias that the building contract had been awarded after delays due to ground studies following sea water flooding.

Cornelder de Moçambique is the Port of Beira’s management and operating company.

Machado said that the construction of the terminal is in response to increased fertiliser traffic at the port. Beira is currently capable of storing just 2,000 tons of goods in the appropriate warehouse. The new terminal will cost an estimated US$ 35 million.

The report says that in 1998 the port of Beira handled up to 50,000 tons of goods per year but this has now increased to 600,000 tons. It is estimated that the African region served by the port – Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Democratic Republic of Congo – may require a port capacity of between 1.2 million and 1.5 million tons of general cargo per year.

According to Machado the port of Beira handled 80 percent of Malawi’s tobacco exports in the last five years, where previously the port of Durban was handling that percentage and Beira the balance. Cornelder de Moçambique is a partnership between state company Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique and Cornelder Holdings, based in Rotterdam, which has operated the container and general cargo terminals at the port of Beira since October 1998. – macauhub and Noticias.

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FRANCE’S NECOTRANS TO MANAGE BRAZZAVILLE PORT FOR 15 YEARS

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French company NECOTRANS has signed contracts to manage and operate the Port of Brazzaville in the Congo in addition to other ports in the Central African country.

The concession which is good for 15 years was signed in Brazzaville on Saturday, 24 May 2014, with Martin Blaise Boyamba and Gregory Querel, the Director-General of the Port of Brazzaville and the Chief Executive Officer of NECOTRANS putting pen to paper in the presence of Congolese Transport and Civil Aviation Minister, Rodolphe Adada.

As part of the port’s modernisation and rehabilitation programme a sum of US$ 50 million will be expended, with a completion date set for 2015.

Necotrans already operates the port at Pointe-Noire and at a number of smaller ports within the Congo. – The Sun

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STRIKE AT MOMBASA PORT ENDS QUICKLY

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Port of Mombasa container terminal

A one-day dock strike at the Port of Mombasa over a pay dispute was settled when a swift 15 percent wage increase was announced, bringing jubilation to dockers at Kenya's main harbour, reports the East African Standard.

Dock workers at the Port of Mombasa downed tools last Friday (23 May) in demand of an increase in salaries and allowances.

In an example of how quickly strikes can sometimes be settled, the Dock Workers Union (DWU) was able to tell the 5,100 striking workers that their demands had been largely granted by way of a 15 percent salary increase for the lowest paid workers and 12.5 percent for the highest paid, and as a result they should return to work.

The agreement was reached as the union and Kenya Ports Authority concluded the 2014/15 Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiation. When this reached a stalemate on Friday, dock workers went out on strike which lasted the rest of that day before the announcement was made of an agreement having been reached.

According to Kenya Ports Authority managing director Gichiri Ndu, normal operations resumed after the strike that left East Africa's busiest port paralysed. Negotiations were continuing between the union and management, he said.

Mombasa is a major gateway port for Kenya and into landlocked neighbouring countries who would have watching anxiously for the outcome.

When DWU general-secretary Simon Sang made the announcement of the wage agreement, striking dock workers who had assembled at Bandari College were jubilant. Sang said the agreement would be registered this week at the industrial court.

The lowest paid docker will now earn Sh27,690 (US$315.35) up from Sh24,080 while the highest earning dock worker collects Sh80,516 up from Sh71,570.

The house allowance rises from Sh12,000 for lowest paid dockers to Sh15,000 while the highest grade gets Sh29,000 instead of Sh25,500.

The contentious transport allowance, which resulted in a deadlock in the negotiations leading to last week's one-day strike, has also gone up. The lowest earning docker gets Sh10,000 up from Sh7,000 while the highest worker earns Sh16,000 up from Sh12,000.

“The KPA was not ready to increase the transport allowance and this item became the toughest one in the negotiations. We succeeded because of the solidarity from members that resulted in the strike action,” Sang said. source – East African Standard

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MSC CRUISES STEAMS AHEAD IN SA…FROM A ONE-MAN BAND!

By Vernon Buxton

This feature recalls one South African family’s foray into the heady world of sea travel in South Africa. Though it is indeed a fascinating, exciting and rewarding industry, cruising is also one that guarantees challenge, the unexpected setbacks…and success is far from guaranteed….as the Foggitt family of Johannesburg has discovered over four decades of never giving up.

Theirs is an astonishing achievement, realised almost invisibly over a period of nearly 40 years. And the history of big-time cruising in local waters literally began with one man…a doyen of travel, still very much alive…and now in his 97th year. He is John G Foggitt of Johannesburg, father to Allan (head of sales and marketing), Daphne Osborne, who is CEO of MSC Cruises in South Africa and Clifford (now retired from the company).

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The esteemed John G Foggitt, a doyen of travel in South Africa, now in his 97th year “and still strong,” according to his son, Allan. John Foggitt founded the local cruise industry and pioneered most of the firsts in the South African travel industry with his travel company called TFC Tours…including the first flights from South Africa to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Teheran, Istanbul, Taipei, Rio de Janeiro and the Seychelles, all with chartered aircraft as no scheduled flights operated on those routes at the time. Very quickly, TFC became the largest travel company in South Africa. You can bet that many readers of Ports & Ships still remember the much-respected John and his TFC Tours?

John Foggitt led the way…
It was all started when John Foggitt established a company called TFC Tours in the 1950s, commencing with charter flights to selected destinations, then organising tours to far-off lands (the Far East became big) and finally graduating to the heady world of cruising. In those days cruising wasn’t anything of note anywhere in the world, but the Port of Miami was to go on to become the founding hub of holidays at sea…and it remains a leading contender to this very day. But, in South Africa there was no such thing as a cruising option, though passenger ships were indeed plying our shores and moving passengers between here and Europe… though the concept of ‘cruising’ only began just as shipping lines were going down the tubes around the mid-1970s. Passenger liners took you from A to B, whilst cruise liners were planned to emulate resorts at sea. Getting to that point would be many years hence, with many glitches and setbacks to pave the way.

“It’s quite amazing just how fast time goes, as have the years since our father first took the risk of chartering a cruise ship to start a cruise business in South African waters some 36 years ago,” Allan Foggitt told Ports & Ships. “They were pioneering days with huge financial risk , limited ports of call, and no guarantees that cruising would appeal to the South African holiday market.

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The Foggitt family have been the kingpins in developing sea cruising as a popular South African travel option, and John Foggitt’s children took over the operation when he retired many, many years ago. Pictured pondering over an issue at MSC Cruise’s South African Head Office in the Johannesburg suburb of Rivonia, were Allan Foggitt, director of sales & marketing, his sister Daphne Osborne, ceo, and brother Clifford, now retired from the company. The Geneva-based MSC Cruises acquired the Foggitt’s Starlight Cruises cruise tour operation in 2010. It’s now left to Daphne and Allan to strategise and make the tough SA cruising decisions for 2014 and beyond…and Daphne’s son, Kevin, has now joined the fray.

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The third generation comes aboard…Kevin Osborne, son of Daphne and grandson of the legendary John G Foggitt, is now very much involved with the MSC Cruises operation in South Africa. Kevin has been brought in to take charge of the port terminal operation in Durban and also the logistics and operation of the Portuguese Island excursion.

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Lee Foggitt, elder son of now-retired Clifford Foggitt, is another member of the next generation to be involved in the progression of the family cruising business. Lee actually joined Starlight Cruises as a young man and met his future wife on the ill-fated ACHILLE LAURO….and the pair were aboard when the ship finally went down to Davy Jones’ Locker. He followed another path until recently and has returned to be involved in sales for MSC Cruises. He was pictured at a cocktail party at a recent travel expo in Bloemfontein.

It all began with a ship called VICTORIA…

“The first TFC charter was the VICTORIA for the 1978/79 season, operating just four cruises and carrying a total of 2,468 passengers for the entire season. The VICTORIA was followed by the CALYPSO, and then in 1980/81 we welcomed for the first time the ACHILLE LAURO – or ‘ARCHIE LE ROUX’, as she was fondly referred to by many of her regular fans, remembers Allan. “This vessel was to play a major part in the growth of cruising in South Africa and is the main reason we’re here today. However, on her southbound cruise in 1981 she was seized in the Canary Islands by international creditors, and the owners subsequently went into liquidation.”

“Between 1982 and 1985 there were a number of different ships chartered, which included the DANAE, the ATLAS, the WORLD DISCOVERER, the WORLD RENAISSANCE, and the ASTOR,” recalls Allan, “and I returned from Canada in 1982 to take up the position of marketing director for the first time, working with the SS ATLAS…which makes this my 32nd year in the cruise industry.

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The year 1985 saw the return of the ACHILLE LAURO, after the intervention of the Italian Government, which rescued the company to provide ongoing employment for the crew. The wonderful ACHILLE LAURO was then a regular visitor to South African shores, and operated annually between 1985 and 1990, when she again ran into financial difficulties and disappeared from our waters. Between 1990 and 1992, the local cruise seasons were operated by the BETSY ROSS, the AEGEAN DOLPHIN and the ultimately ill-fated OCEANOS, which was lost in dramatic fashion in heavy seas off the Wild Coast.

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A defining moment for the Foggitt family manifested on 4 August, 1991, when the French-built and Greek-owned OCEANOS sank off South Africa's Transkei coast. After a successful 1988 cruise season in South Africa, the OCEANOS received an eight-month charter from TFC Tours. During a wild storm a muffled explosion was heard and the ship lost her power following a leak in the engine room's sea chest. Water flooding in uncontrolled made the vessel slew over to starboard and she began to sink. The story is remembered for the Captain Yiannis Avranas’ decision to go ashore before his passengers, and onboard rescue operations were heroically coordinated by the TFC cruise director Loraine Betts, and the entertainers, Moss Hills and Robin Boltman. The SA Navy and Air Force used helicopters to hoist 225 passengers off the sinking vessel. It was a miracle that there were no fatalities,” says Allan, “but our family and our team certainly endured more than a few sleepless nights. After that, we really felt as if we had paid our dues in this heady business.”

Enter Mediterranean Shipping Cruises…

In 1992, the ACHILLE LAURO was purchased by the giant MSC organisation as their first incursion into the cruising business…a move that was to have a massive effect on the future of cruising in South Africa…and for MSC itself. “That same year was also significant in that it was the first year we made a call at the Mozambican island of Bazaruto,” recalls Allan, “though our landing party was waved away from the beach by Frelimo soldiers brandishing AK 47 rifles! It was, fortuitously, a time of peaceful change in Mozambique and thereafter Bazaruto became a regular part of our local cruise season.”

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A short and highly successful season with the ACHILLE LAURO was dramatically ended in 1994 when she developed an engine fire en-route to South Africa from Europe and sank in deep water off the coast of Somalia. Fortunately, by this time MSC had invested in a second vessel - the ENRICO C - which was immediately dispatched to South Africa to rescue the season. She underwent substantial refurbishment in Durban harbour where she was renamed SYMPHONY, “and with almost her paint still wet set sail with a full load of passengers…which fortunately meant that the majority of the scheduled cruises took place without any disruption to our passengers’ holiday plans,” remembers Allan. Your correspondent (I can’t remember how I achieved it?) managed to get aboard the ENRICO C in Durban harbour as she was being converted. The ship was crawling with workmen, laying new carpets everywhere and it was difficult to imagine that a commercial departure was imminent. But it all came together in the end and SYMPHONY sailed with a full complement.

Maiden Mozambique

The SYMPHONY then became a regular and very popular visitor to our shores, operating every season between 1995 and 2000, in which time she made the first-ever call to Portuguese Island in Mozambique (1995) and operated the first ever ‘year round’ season (1998).

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The popular SYMPHONY was joined by MSC’s 3rd vessel, the classic liner, MONTEREY, in 2000 and 2001. “But,” continued Allan, “between 2002 and 2004, MSC withdrew from the South African market owing to the collapse of the South African Rand (to around R14 to the US Dollar). In this period the seasons were operated by the OLYMPIA COUNTESS, owned by Royal Olympic Cruises, renamed, owing to a legal challenge, as Royal Olympia Cruises.

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In January, 2004, during the peak season, the Greek owners of Royal Olympia Cruises ran into financial difficulties and the OLYMPIA COUNTESS was seized in the port of Durban, literally as she was about to sail on a short up-the-coast cruise with a full complement of passengers… “which indeed interrupted our season,” recalls Allan. The ship was subsequently sold at auction and the ill-fated Royal Olympia Cruises went into liquidation. Cruise-operating, as the Foggitts had discovered, was not for ‘sissies’.

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To the immense delight of the Foggitts and the Starlight Cruises team, MSC Cruises returned to South African waters in 2004 with its newest acquisition, the RHAPSODY…“and MSC has been our exclusive partner ever since,” says Allan. The RHAPSODY was built in 1977. The ship was commissioned by Hugh Hefner (of Playboy fame) to be built in the same style as the CUNARD COUNTESS. When the vessel was built Hefner couldn't come up with the cash, so Cunard Cruises paid for it…and it was originally called the CUNARD PRINCESS, having been launched by screen actress, Grace Kelly (who became Princess Grace of Monaco.) The ship was later sold to Starlauro Lines and became known as the RHAPSODY…and cruised South Africa's shores for Starlight Cruises.

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After the purchase of the MELODY in 2006, what followed was a period of massive growth for MSC Cruises in South Africa…and then, in 2009, a further upgrade followed with the local secondment of MSC SINFONIA…which was then joined a season later by her sister ship, the almost identical MSC OPERA. MELODY boasted a sliding Magrodome roof over the pool area topside, which was highly innovative for the day. All cabins were portholed, and dining was very much in the Italian style. South Africans loved her, this correspondent included. (Allan gave me a taste of a suite.) MSC, meanwhile, had been building ships and one of them was destined to up the ante for SA cruising.

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Truly contemporary cruising arrived on South African shores in late 2011, when the 2005-built MSC SINFONIA spent a season doing cruises out of Durban and Cape Town. One deck of balcony cabins was a first for local cruise-lovers (they caught on quickly) and passengers were thrilled with the number of lounges offering diverse musical entertainment, and an expansive open pool deck topside to enjoy South African sunshine. So successful was the cruise season 2011/12 that MSC decided to send out two ships for the following season, and MSC OPERA was introduced locally for the first time in late 2012.

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MSC OPERA (evocatively captured by Durban photographer Trevor Steenkamp on her early morning maiden arrival in SA in November, 2012) was an instant hit with local cruise lovers who had fallen in love with MSC SINFONIA a season before. Your publisher, Terry Hutson, and this correspondent, were aboard when she set off on a 2-Nights-to-Nowhere cruise that afternoon. Terry, his wife Sheila and I were much enamoured of this vessel, and I stayed on for a further five nights to Maputo and Inhambane (as Allan’s guest) lapping up every precious moment.

This, then, is the ship that returns for solo cruising in October this year. OPERA and her sisters, SINFONIA, LIRICA and ARMONIA will undergo a lengthening process over the next two years, where the ships are literally cut in half and a new 30-metre extension is welded into place, increasing the passenger capacity from 2,100 to 2,600 beds. The first to go ‘under the doctor’s knife’ will be MSC ARMONIA, followed by the LIRICA, SINFONIA and finally OPERA, which returns to SA later this year, though not yet lengthened. MSC SINFONIA will then return to South Africa (alone) for the 2015/16 season, operating an extended season in our own ocean, but with 200 extra cabins, plus extra shops, public areas and a water theme park on deck.

MSC bought Starlight Cruises
Finally - after an amazing 16-year association with the huge MSC organisation - Starlight Cruises was itself acquired by MSC from the Foggitt family in 2010…and the operation became MSC Cruises South Africa. “It has truly been an amazing journey, filled with challenges, accomplishments and a fair share of disappointment,” says Allan Foggitt, “but all-in-all, working alongside my sister, Daphne and my brother, Clifford, it has been a labour of love that has seen a growth from 2,468 passengers in 1978 to 145,000 in 2014. It’s hard to believe we have been embarking up to 8,000 passengers every Monday and Friday, compared to fewer than 2,500 in an entire season back in 1978!

It all started with one amazing man…and we hope that John G Foggitt, now much into his dotage, is still able to sit back with pride and remember how it all began with flight charters, progressing to escorted tours and then the charter of what was little more than ‘an old crate’ of a vessel. This venture later flourished further when he brought his capable offspring into the fold. It’s a grand story of a family travel dynasty, one from which so much has been achieved.

Ports & Ships salutes the Foggitt family and we wish them ‘fair winds and following seas’ in local waters for many decades to come.


Vernon Buxton for Ports & Ships

News continues below…

TRIBUTE TO THE REVD MILLEN ADAMS

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The late Millen Adams, with Ivan and Jean Clark on either side. Picture: ISS

The Revd Millen Adams, Principal Chaplain and General Secretary of the International Sailors’ Society (ISS) in the Port of Durban, passed away in Durban earlier this month.

His role as a chaplain and minister to seafarers in Durban began in 1977 when he took up a post with the International Sailors’ Society.

Durban his long involvement with the Society, right up to his retirement in 2005, Scottish-born Millen Adams, who came to South Africa while quite young, continued to methodically assess the position of the seafarer’s mission and where it should be heading to fulfil the objectives of a rapidly changing environment, in particular relating to the ships’ crews.

In 1977 a large percentage of the crew on ships visiting Durban were European and Christian. With the passing years this has changed, with crews coming mainly from Asia and many of them having other religious convictions.

That never changed the purpose of the seafarer missions, only its methods and approaches. During his term of office with the ISS Adams undertook several major projects, the first of which was the amalgamation of the three seafarers centres then operating in the port – the Anglican Mission to Seamen (now Mission to Seafarers), the Roman Catholic Apostleship of the Sea, and the ISS representing several of the mainstream protestant churches.

The result was a seafarers’ club that was built at the Bayhead with the ISS’ Point Road facility being retained for the Point area. The Seafarers Club remains open to all seafarers.

Millen Adams was also successfully involved in bringing about a closer relationship between sailors’ societies around the world. Together with the British Sailors’ Society, this was achieved by uniting the then bodies of the UK, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, which has proved invaluable as chaplains and secretaries of the societies shared and co-operated in their care for seafarers and their families.

He was also responsible for initiating, together with a colleague at the British Sailors’ Society, the Sailors’ Society Service Book, which has proved a most valuable tool, helping ship’s captains to conduct church services, morning and evening prayers and other special prayers for the main festivals of the Christian calendar.

His care and concern for the seafarer was paramount, which resulted in other developments. One of these was developing a chain of interpreters to assist with hospitalised foreign seafarers.

He was a member of the Musgrave Rotary Club and served there from 1984, presiding over the club in 1991 and 1992. He and his late wife Muriel were responsible for an aspect of the Student Exchange programme. He was awarded the Paul Harris award after his term as President and honoured with Honorary Membership of the club in recognition of his devoted service.

Millen Adams (78) was a good man, possessed of a wonderful sense of humour. He is survived by a son, three daughters and six grandchildren, as well as a sister.

EXPECTED SHIP ARRIVALS and SHIPS IN PORT

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Gateway port

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 container 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 – MSC AZOV

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MSC AZOV 3 25 

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A newcomer to the South African port scene is MSC AZOV (103,500-dwt, built 2013), sister ship to MSC Arbatax which was featured on Ports & Ships last Thursday, 22 May. MSC Azov, which was seen here departing from the port of Durban last Sunday, was built at the Shanghai Jiangnan-Changxing Shipbuilding yards in China and entered service in December 2013. The ship is 299 metres long and 48m wide and has a maximum draught of 14m. She has a capacity of 9,400 TEU when fully loaded. Pictures: Trevor Jones

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