Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 3, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Luxury cruise liner arrested in Durban harbour

  • Steady increase in volumes for South African ports

  • New law will prevent oil discharges in SA waters

  • Three nations will use pact to drive trade

  • Grindrod scoops another one

  • Not much hope for peace talks over Niger Delta crisis

  • South African operator awarded concession for Ethiopia-Djibouti railway

  • Tenders appear for patrol boats

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
    WEB SITE: www.hugheship.com

    Luxury cruise liner arrested in Durban harbour

    A shock awaited the P&O Cruise ship Oriana on arrival in Durban harbour last Thursday – the sheriff of the court with an arrest order that threatened to prevent the luxury vessel (and pride of the fleet) from sailing that afternoon.

    The reason for the arrest was an outstanding debt incurred by an associated vessel, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 in April 2004 for repairs on that ship’s previous visit. On that occasion Durban company Electro Marine contractors performed repairs to the QE2 while the august lady was in port, but has since been unable to obtain payment for services rendered. The amount was a relatively small one.

    Oriana in Durban on 30 March 2006, the day of being attached by an officer of the court. Picture by John Walkden-Davis of Pretty Ancient Antiques on the Esplanade, Durban. Click image to enlarge

    According to Mr Willem Kruk, director of Electro Marine, the company repeatedly requested payment from Cunard and that company’s owners, Carnival Cruises in the USA. Carnival also owns both cruise companies. He said he warned Carnival that under South African maritime law it was possible to bring an attachment order against an associated company (or in this case, a ship). The warning was again ignored.

    A week ago the agents and the company were advised that an attachment would be sought against the Oriana on her scheduled arrival in Durban on Thursday, 30 March or at another South African port. This was ignored once again, said Mr Kruk.

    The attachment appeared to have had the desired effect and the outstanding debt was promptly settled by the master of the Oriana, in cash, on the morning of the ship’s arrival.

    Later that day the ship was able to sail on schedule, with her passengers no doubt none the wiser of the legal happenings surrounding their ship.

    Steady increase in volumes for South African ports

    South Africa’s seven commercial ports handled a combined total of 219.93 million tonnes of cargo for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2006. This represented an increase of 7.6 percent on the previous fiscal year.

    The two KwaZulu Natal ports of Richards Bay and Durban handled by far the largest volumes – Richards Bay (mainly coal exports) an amount of 89,256 million tonnes and Durban 68.1Mt.

    [Please note an estimate has been made for the tonnage of containers handled at all ports based on history, as the National Ports Authority calculates containers by TEU only.]

    The port with the next highest volume was Saldanha Bay at 36,66Mt tonnes, mostly consisting of iron ore exports. Following Saldanha came Cape Town with 12.98Mt of all cargoes and Port Elizabeth with 8.94Mt, and East London with 2.42Mt. Mossel Bay handled a total of 1.48 million tonnes.

    In terms of container handling the following was achieved for the calendar year 2005:

  • Durban: 1,899, 065 TEU

  • Cape Town: 690,895 TEU

  • Port Elizabeth: 369,759 TEU

  • East London: 49,338 TEU

  • Richards Bay: 5,179 TEU

  • Total TEU : 3,014,236

  • A full listing of port volumes based on the calendar year for 2005 is currently being updated in the section for South African Ports (see menu on right of Home Pages) and should be completed this week.

    Ship calls per port will also be updated.

    New law will prevent oil spillages in SA waters

    According to the British shipping journal Fairplay, South Africa won international approval last week on restrictions on oil discharges from ships passing through territorial waters.

    In terms of the measure introduced by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) all operational oil discharges within SA’s continental shelf will be banned as from 2008. The report added that moves were already underway to request a voluntary compliance in advance of the legislation.

    It said South Africa had applied for special area status on grounds of socio economic argument rather than as a reaction to any particular oil spill. This was also the first application by any African nation.

    Source - Lloyd's Register - Fairplay

    Three nations will use pact to drive trade

    South Africa, Brazil and India met formally last week in Rio de Janeiro to agree trade agreements and to forge multilateral deals regarding trade between the rich and poor nations.

    According to a statement issued by the respective foreign ministers, trade between the three countries rose steeply in the past few years, something which they expect to continue increasing once a formal alliance has been agreed and signed.

    The meeting of the delegation was the preliminary meeting ahead of a summit which will be held also in Brazil in September, involving the heads of each country. All three countries are key members of the G20 group of developing nations that are engrossed in negotiations within the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

    The Brazilian foreign minister said that Mercosur, the Latin American trade block was seeking bilateral trade agreements with the Southern African Customs Union and with India to create a single pact leading to a free trade agreement between the regions. He told a press conference that the union of the three nations has changed the quality of WTO negotiations, particularly with regards finding formulas for cutting tariffs on agricultural and manufactured goods and cutting domestic farm subsidies.

    Grindrod scoops another one

    Continuing with its policy of securing a strong foothold in the movement of containers across Southern Africa, Durban-based Grindrod lat week announced the 100% acquisition of Cross Country Containers (CCC), another Durban-based company with nationwide interests in the management and transportation of containers by road and rail in Southern Africa.

    The value of the transaction has not been disclosed and the deal remains subject to Competition Commission approval. Cross Country Containers was previously owned by P&O Nedlloyd which has been subsequently taken over by Maersk Line.

    According to Grindrod director Laurence Stuart-Hill, the transaction furthers Grindrod’s strategy of expanding the group’s business base into landbased operations. In partnership with Safmarine, Grindrod also owns CMC Grindrod, a container depot operation, and the Southern Africa regional container line, Ocean Africa Container Lines.

    “We continue to seek good investment opportunities that link the services required to move cargo from A to Z, providing our customer base with a one-stop solution in the movement of freight, he said, adding that the acquisition of Cross Country Containers adds a further dimension to Grindrod’s aim of providing an integrated service for the movement of freight by containers.

    According to the managing director of CCC, Richard Foulds, the management and staff of Cross Country Containers are very excited about the development with Grindrod and look forward to extracting the extensive synergies presented by being part of the Grindrod group.

    Not much hope for peace talks over Niger Delta crisis

    Ijaw militants do not appear to hold out much hope that talks with federal authorities will resolve the crisis that has overcome much of the Niger Delta region over the past few months.

    President Olusegun Obasanjo called last week for talks to end the crisis that is costing Nigeria about one quarter of its daily oil production. The region has been the scene of repeated attacks by members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) including the kidnapping of several groups of expatriate oil workers as hostages.

    All the hostages have since been released unarmed.

    Ijaw leaders, who say they want a more even distribution of the region’s wealth and better environmental control of oil production, say that one day of talks intended for this Wednesday is unlikely to bring a difference to the region’s problems, and have referred to the meeting as little more than a one-day jamboree. Nevertheless a delegation from MEND as well as from government is expected to meet in an effort to find solutions.

    The Niger Delta pumped an average of 2.4 million barrels of oil a day before the strife began more than three months ago – since then production has been shut down at several points leading to a production loss of 25 percent and the delta area has become a lawless place where heavily armed militants roam the waterways in high-powered speedboats without hindrance.

    South African operator awarded concession to operate Ethiopia-Djibouti railway

    A South African railway consortium consisting of Comazar and Sheltam has been awarded the contract to operate the Ethiopia – Djibouti railway for the next 25 years.

    Comazar, which currently operates in more than 15 other African countries, dubs itself as a private Pan African railway operator, and consists of strong South African (Transnet and Sheltam) and French (Bollore) interests. Sheltam, which has a 47 percent shareholding in Comazar is half owned by South African shipping and logistics group Grindrod and was recently awarded the concession to operate the Kenya and Uganda railway network.

    Railways in which Comazar has been the successful operator include Camrail, the Cameroon railway, Sitarail between the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, and Madarail, Madagascar’s Northern Railway network which includes the line operating between the capital of Antananarivo and the island’s principal port of Toamasina as well as the line from the capital to Antsirabe and the line between Moramanga and Lake Alaotra.

    Tenders appear for patrol boats

    Invitations to build and supply between four and six patrol boats for duty on Lake Victoria have been advertised by the European Union.

    Details of the tenders are available on the Delegation of the European Commission website at http://www.deluga.cec.eu.int, which will be funding the project.

    The two separate tenders, one for two patrol boats and another for four call for patrol boats for use in by the fisheries departments of the governments of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania plus one boat to be delivered to the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation. The tender for four boats closes on 27 April 2006 and delivery of the vessels is required within 12 months, while a second tender which closes on 18 May 2006 requires delivery within 18 months.

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