Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 20, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • First of four Unicorn tankers launched

  • Farewell to former Heemskerck after 28 years

  • Setsuyo Star - salvors race to complete repairs before weather window closes

  • Mombasa becomes a 24 hour port

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

    First of four Unicorn tankers launched

    Resplendent in the company’s trademark red and blue hull colours, Cederberg, the first of the four 12,800-dwt capacity tankers ordered by Grindrod Ltd subsidiary Unicorn Shipping was launched in Korea earlier this month.

    Built to higher specifications than those required by international agreements, this 127-metre tanker (three identical sister ships to follow) has a scantling draught of 8, 35-metres, enabling the vessel to call at smaller ports, giving Grindrod considerable versatility in the charter markets.

    Unicorn Tankers latest ship Cederberg on launch day in early June. Click on image to enlarge. Picture courtesy of Unicorn Tankers

    Capable of carrying up to 14,000 cubic metres of multiple grades of oil products or IMO 2 chemical cargoes in 12 separate cargo tanks, this class of specialist tanker is designed for ‘niche’ short sea distribution trades such as intra-north west Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean where limited port depths and jetty lengths exclude larger vessels.

    In a formal naming and launching ceremony performed at the Samho Shipbuilding yard, the new ship was christened CEDERBERG (a mountain range in the Western Cape).

    “We were delighted to have Ms Nomazizi Mtshotshisa, one of Grindrod’s non-Executive directors and Chairman of Telkom SA Ltd there to launch the ship”, said Alan Olivier, CEO-designate of Grindrod.

    Following completion of fitting-out and acceptance trials the new vessel is expected to deliver during mid-August.

    CEDERBERG and her three identical sister ships were ordered during a low phase of the shipping market at a price of approximately US $ 18 million each. The current market value for this type of vessel is approximately US $ 25 million each.

    Typical of all new ships built for Unicorn in the last decade, this double-hull design addresses the company’s signature criteria of safety, robustness, reliability, environmental friendliness and operating efficiency. The ships are also compliant with the new IMO (International Maritime Organisation) regulations for the carriage of vegetable oil, which becomes effective from January 2007.

    Although not required by any rules for tankers of this small size, CEDERBERG and her sisters have been provided with an inert gas system to maintain the atmosphere in her cargo tanks inert and safe at all times. The hull is constructed entirely of mild steel and has been designed to render a 25 years working life under severe North Atlantic service conditions. Compartments below deck are protected by flooding alarms, while spaces adjoining the cargo tanks are covered by vapor detection alarms to signal the possibility of any cargo leakages. The engine room machinery is automated and the bridge is equipped with the latest electronic navigation and communications equipment.

    The last of the tanker quartet will deliver early in 2008.

    To satisfy the company’s tanker chartering requirements four oil and chemical tankers have been built in Japan for long term charter to Unicorn with four further ships still to deliver.

    With the dry bulk fleet expansion of Island View Shipping, the total number of new ships built to the order of or for the Grindrod Group since 2000 amounts to some 58 ships making the Grindrod fleet one of the most modern shipping fleets in the world.

    According to shipping analysts, Jefferies, the outlook for tanker shipping remains positive, a view that Grindrod management obviously supports.

    However, diversification remains a key focus in the group strategy, according to Olivier.

    “The group will continue to grow the landfreight business through it’s ports, terminals, rail, freight and logistics divisions, and will certainly continue expanding and diversifying its shipping fleet.”

    Sixteen months ago Grindrod announced a R2 billion fleet expansion program which is still very much on track. The expansion program announcement included a mix of ships – a 605-TEU geared container ship, four new 12,800 tonne deadweight (dwt) oil/chemical tankers, a 50 percent share in a 32,000-dwt handysize bulk carrier and a US $ 200 million order for seven newbuilding product tankers of which four have already been delivered.

    “We have since ordered a further four 40,000-dwt product tankers and an additional four 16,500-dwt oil/chemical tankers,” said Olivier. “We have also sold four ships at a profit, taking advantage of market conditions and will continue to look for opportunities in the sale of ships where appropriate. Further diversifying the employment of the fleet with a mix of ships employed in the spot market and on long term charter or with contracted revenue continues to support the group strategy.”

    Farewell to former Heemskerck after 28 years

    She’s been a familiar sight for 28 long years and given excellent service in that time, but now the end has come for the old Heemskerck of Nedlloyd/P&O Nedlloyd lines.

    The container ship, one of the bigger ones afloat when first launched, saw service on the South African Europe Container Service (SAECS) and at a guess may have made something like 200 round voyages. Previously named Transvaal, the 49,730-dwt ship was joined by a close relative, City of Cape Town (the former Table Bay) when P&O and Nedlloyd combined as a joint operator.

    Both these fine ships ended their service with SAECS from 2004 when a fleet of newbuilds, including a replacement P&O Nedlloyd Heemskerck came into service. City of Cape Town went off to be renamed Nedlloyd Muscat and Heemskerck became Nedlloyd Dubai. For one short glorious moment both the old and the new Heemskerck’s were in port together at Durban, the one ending her career on the service and the other just beginning. Then they parted.

    This week (today in fact) the old Heemskerck is once again back in Durban, as Nedlloyd Dubai, in which guise she has in fact made several calls to South Africa on her new owner’s Far East service. But as it turns out this is probably her last visit here, for both she and Nedlloyd Muscat (City of Cape Town) are to be retired for ‘recycling’ – an euphemism used in these days of not wanting to offend anyone with the reality of saying the word scrapping.

    Both ships rendered excellent service from the very beginning of containerisation in South Africa.

    Setsuyo Star - salvors race to complete repairs before weather window closes

    Salvors report good progress with repairs to the damaged ore carrier Setsuyo Star (170,808DWT), which has sought refuge in False Bay after arriving off Cape Town on 11 June with loose shell plating and taking water in number 1 hold.

    According to Smit Salvage, which is sub-contracted to the main salvage company Tsavliris, it could take 20 days to make good the repairs, weather permitting.

    On SAMSA instructions the salvage tug Smit Amandla is coupled fast alongside the ore carrier and on standby to aid in the positioning of the bulk carrier during the repair operation. The tug will also be immediately available should conditions deteriorate.

    Setsuyo Star at anchor in False Bay. Click image to enlarge. Picture courtesy Tsavliris

    According to a statement issued by the salvors yesterday afternoon, of paramount importance during the Setsuyo Star's time at anchor in False Bay is the protection of the marine environment.

    “To this end, both proactive and reactive environmental protection measures are in place. Salvors have fitted stress monitors to the hull of the bulk carrier and continue to monitor the structural integrity of the vessel. As a contingency, oil booms have been placed onboard along with semi-submersible pumps and all fuel oil is now located in two tanks aft; the ventilators of which have been sealed. The salvage team has strict anti-littering and garbage disposal control measures in place, including the regular removal of this waste in an enclosed waste skip by launch vessel to Simon's Town. As part of the precautionary measures put in place, the salvage tug Smit Amandla is made fast to the Setsuyo Star and on standby to aid in the positioning of the bulk carrier so as to best protect the vessel during the repair operation.

    “The structural integrity of the bulk carrier is not in danger and the vessel's hull remains intact.”

    Members of the public have been requested to stay a minimum of 1,5 kilometres away from the casualty for their own safety. The presence of wires, cables and vessels being used in the salvage operation could pose a threat to the safety of innocent bystanders not acquainted with this kind of operation. In addition, salvage divers kindly request members of the public to stay away as the presence of boat propellers threatens their safety.

    The bulk carrier Setsuyo Star is owned by Setsuyo Maritime Ltd and was built in 1985. It is carrying a cargo of iron ore and was en route to the Far East from Brazil. The Master and crew remain on the casualty and continue to be responsible for the normal day-to-day running of the ship. The bulk carrier is at anchor approximately 2 miles off of Millers Point in a depth of 20 metres. The Setsuyo Star is carrying 166,000 tonnes of iron ore and has 1000 tonnes of fuel on board.

    Mombasa becomes a 24 hour port

    Shippers have welcomed the news that the port of Mombasa will move to a 24 hour day in the latest effort to speed up cargo handling at the East African port.

    Finance Minister Amos Kimunya issued the directive last week after repeated calls for action to sort out the factors causing delays, particularly at the port’s container terminal. His maiden speech to parliament last week, which was generally well received, included a number of incentives aimed at removing red tape and unnecessary barriers. These incentives he said were geared to make the private sector more competitive and able to play a greater role in Kenya’s economy.

    The minister instructed the Kenya Ports Authority, the Kenya Revenue Authority, the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Kenya Police and other roleplayers to ensure that the port became productive 24 hours a day. In addition the ports and revenue authorities and the Bureau of Standards were instructed to reduce costs by rationalizing their charges to importers.

    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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