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Ports & Ships Maritime News

7 July 2015
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 – MSC AJACCIO

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MSC AJACCIO (103,500-dwt, built 2013) makes her departure from the port of Cape Town earlier in June. The ship has a capacity of 9,400-TEUs and is 299 metres in length. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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FRENCH PRESIDENT VISITS ANGOLA FOR SHIPBUILDING ORDERS

Pres Santos and Hollande in Luanda July 2015
Presidents dos Santos of Angola and Hollande of France in Luanda

French President François Hollande’s visit to Angola is aimed partly at securing orders for a number of shipbuilding contracts valued at hundreds of millions of euros.

During his official visit to the African country a number of agreements were reached between the visiting French businessmen and Angolan business people.

One of the agreements was between French company Ecoceane, which specialises in the building of anti-pollution marine vessels, and the Angolan company LTP Energy.

The two companies have agreed to form a consortium for the supply of nine anti-pollution vessels to service oil companies operating in Angolan waters. The anti-pollution vessels will cost an estimated €45 million (US$50 million).

Other contracts agreed between Angolan interests and French companies includes the construction of road and pedestrian bridges in various parts of Angola and Cabinda.

Angola buys locos from USA
In another development the Angolan government intends buying 100 new diesel-electric locomotives from the American company, General Electric, costing US$453.6 million.

The 100 GE C30-ACi model locomotives will be augmented by the modernisation and upgrading of existing type GE U20C diesel-electric locomotives in the Angolan fleet. The value of this contract is $24.15 million.

The US Export Import Bank ExIm has meanwhile opened a second credit line of US$500 million for the refurbishment of railway rolling stock maintenance workshops in four centres – Luanda, Lobito, Huambo and Lubango.

Macauhub reports that reconstruction of the Angolan railway network between 2005 and 2015, which had been destroyed by civil war, cost over US$3 billion, according to information provided in February by the Angolan Minister of Transport, Augusto da Silva Tomás.

Reconstruction of the three national lines built during the colonial period – Benguela, Luanda and Moçâmedes – with a combined length of 2,612 kilometres and construction from scratch of 151 railway stations has cost the Angolan state US$3.5 billion. Most of the work was carried out by Chinese contractors. - macauhub

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UNCERTAINTY AT MOMBASA AS 27 DOCK WORKERS ARE FIRED

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Berth 19 at Mombasa port. Picture by CRI English

There’s a feeling of pause and wait hanging over the port of Mombasa as workers mull over the happenings of the weekend in which 27 dock workers were fired.

The dismissal of the workers followed a two-day strike last week that is said to have cost Kenya Ports Authority at least US$2 million. The workers went out on strike because of an increase in contributions to what they will have to pay for their state-run medical aid.

On Friday the KPA gave instructions that unless the 2000 workers returned to their duties they would all be dismissed. After consultation a rather shocked workforces returned to work but on the following day, Saturday, the KPA identified 27 workers who they said were the ringleaders and had them dismissed.

The strike brought the port to a standstill with ships idle on their berths and cargo unable to be moved. Addressing a news conference, Gichiri Ndua, KPA’s managing director said that management had identified the organisers of the strike and had decided to summarily dismiss them.

He called the strike illegal and warned that more strikers could still be dismissed.

As a result of the strike a backlog of about 2500 containers had formed at the port, said Ndua, who added that with the workers returning to duty he was confident this would be cleared by Monday (yesterday).

Union officials meanwhile warned that the strike would be resumed and escalated, saying that workers across Kenya were being mobilised to stand in unity with the port workers.

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CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST OFFICERS OF ROGUE FISHING VESSEL THUNDER

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Thunder beginning to sink in April this year. Picture by Sea Shepherd

A variety of charges have been brought against the master and officers of the fishing vessel THUNDER, which has been described as a rogue vessel involved in illegal fishing activities.

Captain Luis Alfonso Rubio Cataldo of Chile, chief engineer Agustin Dosil Rey of Spain and second mechanic Luis Miguel Perez Fernandez, also of Spain, have been charged in a court in the West African island state of São Tomé and Príncipe.

Because they are not permitted to leave the island until after their trial, the three have been assigned residency-status. They face charges of several counts of pollution, reckless driving, forgery and negligence in São Tomé and Príncipe.

They were apprehended when their vessel, Thunder was scuttled in the island’s waters on 6 April this year – see our report Illegal fishing vessel Thunder scuttled off São Tomé. Prior to being scuttled, Thunder had been chased across the world’s oceans for 110 days by the Sea Shepherd vessel BOB BARKER.

Ironically, the chase ended with activist vessel Bob Barker setting about organizing a rescue of the Thunder’s crew of 40 after a Mayday had been issued saying the ship was sinking.

Thunder had been pursued after the Sea Shepherd team discovered Thunder fishing illegally for Patagonian toothfish on the Banzare Bank off Antarctica, a region that is managed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

It is believed that Thunder was deliberately scuttled to hide the evidence of the catch of toothfish caught illegally in the CCAMLR managed region. However, before Thunder sank a team from the Sea Shepherd vessels were able to go on board and collect evidence of the illegal catches, which has since been handed over to the island’s police.

A full report has also been made to the island’s authorities and to Interpol and as a result the entire crew was detained on landing on São Tomé. The three ship’s officers have been detained on the island ever since.

Thunder was the last survivor of six vessels identified as the Bandit 6, which were blacklisted for illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing of Toothfish in the Southern Ocean. All six vessels have now been located and put out of action.

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SILVERSEA EXPANDS INTO ITS BIGGEST SHIP EVER

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Artists impression of Silver Muse, future flagship of the Silversea fleet

Luxury cruise operator Silversea, whose ships have become regular visitors to South Africa, has placed an order for its biggest ship ever, the 40,700 ton SILVER MUSE which will be delivered in April 2017.

The order has been placed with Italian shipyard Fincantieri and will increase the size of the fleet to nine ships, a far cry from when Silversea came on the South African scene with two ships, SILVER CLOUD and SILVER WIND. Those were small ships in the 17,000-gross ton range, catering for less than 300 passengers but with a passenger to crew ratio close to 1:1.

Silversea has expanded since the 1990s and early 2000s and today boasts eight ships – Silver Muse will become the ninth. Accommodating 596 passengers the new ship is being described as an evolution of SILVER SPIRIT, but will remain in the size range that allows the ultra-luxury line to provide extra personal attention to the needs of her passengers.

“With enhanced design specifications and enriched content, Silver Muse will continue to build on the sophistication, innovative style and ground-breaking concepts for which Silversea ships are renowned,” says Enzo Visone, Silversea’s CEO.

“This ship contributes to our ambitious growth plans that will ensure our continued leadership in ultra-luxury cruising.”

“We always had a special relationship with Fincantieri, since my father ordered the first cruise vessels for Sitmar (Cruises) in 1987,” said Silversea chairman, Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio.

“Both companies have a clear understanding of what today's affluent traveller seeks, and each approaches the market with originality, creativity, and quality.”

Additional details and specifications of Silver Muse will be released in the near future.

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Silver Cloud in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Picture by Roberto Smera

Silversea in South Africa
In the coming summer months Silversea ships will again be cruising Southern African waters with SILVER CLOUD making no less than 6 luxury cruises from along the South African coast which will go to destinations in South Africa, or Mozambique, Zanzibar, Mombasa, Madagascar and Namibia, while SILVER EXPLORER will cruise from Cape Town for destinations in West Africa.

These are ultra-luxury cruises of a longer duration than the three or four day cruising that so many South Africans have become used to, so if you prefer longer cruises and cruising in style and class this may be for you.

Silver Explorer’s cruise starts in Cape Town in late March, finishing in Dakar in mid-April 2016.

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FIRST WIDENED CONTAINERSHIP RETURNS TO SERVICE

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In April PORTS & SHIPS reported on a Chinese shipyard that was widening a ship by cutting it down the middle and inserting a new centre section to give the ship greater width (not length) and thus increasing the container capacity. See that story HERE (use your BACKSPACE key to return to this page).

The ship, MSC GENEVA has gone from being a Panamax vessel of 32.2 metres wide to 40m wide, which enabled three extra rows of container cells and has increased the ship’s container carrying capacity from 4,872 to 6,152 TEU.

The work at a Chinese shipyard is now nearing completion and MSC Geneva will shortly return to service with a 26.27 percent increase in container capacity.

Although on charter to MSC, the ship is owned by a German ship investment company, Gebab. She will re-enter service with MSC on a three-year charter and will operate on MSC’s new Far East – west coast South America Andes service, where she will be the smallest of the 12 ships deployed on that service.

The other vessels are all in the 7,800 – 9,200 TEU range.

MSC Geneva is the first of three similar ships to undergo this radical new method of enlarging a ship’s carrying capacity. Previous enlargements of ships or ‘jumboisation’ has involved lengthening vessels by cutting them in half and inserting an extra section to make them longer. Making them wider has not been attempted, at least not on this scale until now.

What therefore is the next step in this headlong rush for ever bigger ships. Perhaps cutting them both ways to make them both longer AND wider?

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MOM MINES RETURNS TO WORK AFTER STRIKE

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The Kenmare Resources dredge mine at Moma in the northern Mozambique province of Nampula has returned to work after a serious strike that required the presence of police to keep matters under control.

The heavy mineral sands mining operation at Moma involves a dredging pond inland from where a jetty has been built to facilitate the loading of the minerals onto vessels at anchor off the coast.

The strike was the result of Irish company Kenmare making an announcement in February this year that it intending reducing the workforce at the mine. This, it said was necessary because of the decline in world market prices for the ilmenite, rutile and zircon that is mined at Moma.

Kenmare originally planned on cutting the workforce by 375 workers, which represents approximately 20 percent of the workforce. After mediation with the appropriate trade union the total number of redundancies was cut to 162. There was also an agreement involving a reduction in shift allowance and a change in work patterns.

However, the workers went out on an unofficial strike on 24 June that necessitated the calling in of Mozambique police to maintain law and order.

According to Kenmare, all workers have now returned to work.

Ilmenite (iron titanium oxide) and rutile (titanium dioxide) are used to make white pigments for paints, paper and plastic. Titanium can be extracted from these ores and used to manufacture metallic parts where light weight and high strength are needed. Zircon (zirconium silicate) is used for abrasive and insulating purposes. – AIM

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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 – BOUGAINVILLE

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Bougainville, Lyttelton 04 07 15 480

The Panama-flagged LPG tanker BOUGAINVILLE (4752-dwt, built 2014) sailing from the New Zealand South Island port of Lyttelton after discharging her cargo of LPG. The ship is owned and operated by Singapore interests. Pictures: Alan Calvert

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