Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 15, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Grindrod restructures – Dave Rennie and Stuart-Hill move up

  • Sierra Leone naval forces arrest smuggelrs

  • Zambia provides incentive for Benguela Railway

  • Paul Allen’s Octopus due in Durban today

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    Grindrod restructures – Dave Rennie and Stuart-Hill move up

    Alan Olivier, chief executive officer-designate of Grindrod Group is wasting little time in stamping his mark on how he wants the company to run under his leadership.

    Alan Olivier, the CEO-designate of Durban-based Grindrod Group

    Olivier succeeds Ivan Clark who is to step down as the most successful CEO ever in Grindrod’s history, having overseen a dramatic turnaround for the company in a little over seven short years. Clark retires officially at the end of December 2006 and will become deputy chairman of the Grindrod Board at that time.

    Meanwhile Olivier yesterday announced that Laurence Stuart-Hill, currently Grindrod’s executive director responsible for Landfreight Logistics, will take over the job that he, Olivier held until recently, of executive director of Unicorn Shipping, Grindrod’s tanker owning and operating division. Stuart-Hill is no stranger to shipping and especially Unicorn having worked for Unicorn for five years prior to his appointment as Grindrod Financial Director in 1999.

    Captain Dave Rennie, also a Grindrod executive director will assume responsibility for Landfreight Logistics and Terminals in place of Stuart-Hill, while continuing his responsibility for Ocean Africa Container Lines (the Grindrod coastal shipping service operated as a joint venture with Safmarine).

    Olivier said that Captain Rennie had been with the Grindrod Group for 28 years and had a sound knowledge of shipping, ports and logistics. Rennie had been very successful in re-engineering the group’s seafreight logistics business.

    The remaining members of the current executive will continue in their existing roles.

    Sierra Leone naval forces arrest smugglers

    Patrol boats of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces Maritime Wing have intercepted and arrested smugglers operating by boat in Sierra Leone’s territorial waters but bound for neighbouring Guinea.

    The maritime wing was operating its first patrol using navy cutters made available by the United States.

    The 28m boat used by the smugglers was on a route for the Republic of Guinea when it was intercepted and forced to stop. The vessel was subsequently taken to Murray Town Naval Base and found to be carrying an illegal cargo of ‘native’ rice plus a supply of palm oil which it intended selling in Guinea.

    Local news reports in Sierra Leone report that the cutters have also intercepted a fishing vessel operating within the 12 mile international exclusion zone. The patrol boats are able to patrol a radius of 200 n.miles and are available for search and rescue operations if required.

    In addition to the three former US cutters the Sierra Leone naval force also has use of a donated Chinese patrol boat.

    - source Standard Times (Freetown)

    Zambia provides incentive for Benguela Railway

    The Zambian government has granted the railway company developing a new line to Angola a tax exemption in an effort to improve service levels for copper and cobalt exports.

    The railway company has been exempted from paying customs duty on imported machinery and equipment used in the construction of a 685km railway that will link Zambia’s copperbelt with the Benguela Railway in Angola. The new line will ultimately connect with the port of Benguela on the Atlantic coast, a total distance of 1,354km.

    The exemption means a saving of US $ 35 million for the North West Railway which is to build and operate the new section, reducing its total cost to $ 200 million.

    The environmental impact assessment report for the construction of the additional railway section within Zambia has already been filed and authorities are confident that the first phase of construction, linking the mining town of Chingola with a new town named Solwezi, will get underway before the end of 2006.

    Zambia’s minerals exports are currently exported via the ports of Durban or Dar es Salaam – the latter which uses the Tazara Railway is regarded as unreliable and slow while the distance to Durban is considerably longer.

    - source Business in Africa and own. See also our News Report dated 4 May 2006.

    Paul Allen’s Octopus due in Durban today

    Octopus, one of the longest luxury superyachts afloat and belonging to Paul Allen the co-founder of Microsoft, is due in Durban this morning at 08.00 according to sources.

    The luxury 126m long vessel, which has its own helipads and submarine hatch complete with submersible explorer (aka submarine) will have about 55 passengers on board when she docks at Durban’s N-shed passenger terminal. The reason for the visit has not been disclosed – in fact the entire arrival remains shrouded in the same sort of secrecy that accompanied a visit by another of Allen’s yachts, the Medusa. But Durban is like any other port the world over, there are no such things as secrets. Too many people simply have to be in the know!

    The Octopus’ stay in Durban is likely to be a lengthy one, by all accounts, maybe as long as a month, and that makes it all the more intriguing. What do you do with 55 passengers during that time? Presumably they will be off on safari and doing all the things that wealthy tourists do, avoiding publicity and pretending they don’t exist. Or maybe they will all leave the superyacht in Durban and fly off home.

    Motor Yacht Octopus, photographed in Croatia in early June 2006 by Vedan Mlacic and image courtesy of Shipspotters.com – click image to enlarge

    Last week we heard of a large yacht coming to Durban for some repair or maintenance at one of the ship repair facilities. Does 2 and 2 actually make 4? We’ll have to see…

    Allen’s largest boat (he has another two) has always been something of a mystery as far as where its destinations. Known internationally as an expedition boat, she is reported to carry a crew of 60 including several former US Navy Seals to care for the safety of those on board. Her submersible is for real and can carry 12 people to explore the ocean depths – not that you’ll see it because it is launched from beneath the yacht. There are two helipads on board and the boat also boasts a garage housing a 4x4 vehicle for those excursions ashore (placed ashore by special landing craft).

    With all these trappings it’s a wonder there’s space for passengers. Yet despite this there’s still room for a basketball court, a cinema and recording studio as well as all the other trappings expected on a floating palace at sea.

    Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Beira on the East Coast?

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