Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 13, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Dutch company Mammoet awarded Safmarine Agulhas salvage contract

  • Richards Bay dry dock ready to start early 2007

  • Safmarine’s latest ship has Tanzanian name

  • South Africa goes hi tech to tighten border security

  • SA manufacturing production increases 4.6 percent

  • India plans huge expansion into shipbuilding

  • Picture of the day

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    Dutch company Mammoet awarded Safmarine Agulhas salvage contract

    After a prolonged delay the Dutch firm Mammoet has been awarded the contract to salvage the wreck of the container ship Safmarine Agulhas, which went aground on the East London port breakwater in June this year.

    Once it had become clear that efforts to pull the 17,000-ton ship clear of the rocks had failed, the decision was taken by South African authorities to have the wreck removed completely, ‘right down to the seabed’ as was described at the time. A timeframe of February 2007 was originally declared but it is understood that the contract announced this week will allow for the ship to be removed over a period of about eight months.

    Mammoet, which already has offices and a heavy engineering operation in South Africa, won the multi-million rand contract in the face of competition from Smit Salvage of South Africa, SvitzerWijsmuller which also operates from South Africa and is part of the Danish AP Moller Group, and US salvage company Titan.

    The wreck of the Safmarine Agulhas lies on the outer side of the port’s western breakwater and is currently split in half, having broken her back and separated a few months ago. Until this point Smit Salvage, which attempted to pull the ship clear, has remained on site in a ‘holding’ or caretaker role, but will now withdraw.

    Fortunately the wreck is reasonably easily accessed from the breakwater which has road and rail access and the operation will probably involve cutting up of the ship and lifting the sections ashore by crane whenever possible. Mammoet will be bringing in equipment from various places in the world where it is operating.

    During the operation both the South African Maritime Safety Association (SAMSA) and the National Ports Authority (Port of East London) will maintain a close eye on progress.

    Richards Bay dry dock ready to start early 2007

    According to an article in this week’s Zululand Observer, construction of the much hyped dry dock at the port of Richards Bay is expected to get underway early in 2007.

    The dock and ship repair facility is being undertaken by a consortium headed by empowered company Imbani Construction and includes strong Chinese interests. According to the report the only remaining factors before the contract is finally signed is the lease for the property with the National Ports Authority, Port of Richards Bay, and an update of the feasibility study prepared two years ago. The latter should be complete within two months.

    The article quotes Imbani director Ebenezer Moahloli as saying that a substantial amount of money has been spent to get to this point and that Imbani is keen to be on site by early 2007.

    The proposed dock will consist of a dry dock with a length of 260 metres, together with a ship outfitting quay 760m long and a 300m quay for materials and work boats.

    It is hoped to attract business from the many bulk carriers that presently call at Richards Bay as well as the overflow from Chinese shipyards, says the article.

    The Chinese partners in the consortium are Ningbo Investment Liability Co, Ninth Design and Research Institute and Chec Guangzhou Port Construction Co.

    ”The Consortium, through Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard and Imbani Marine, will operate the dry dock until 2012, when the contract will be reviewed,” reports the Zululand Observer.

    - source Zululand Observer

    Safmarine’s latest ship has Tanzanian name

    Safmarine’s latest newbuild, Safmarine Meru, was named at a ceremony in South Korea on Wednesday by Mrs Judy Tung, wife of Billy Tung, chairman of China International Freight Co.

    The ship is named after the second highest mountain in Tanzania (no prizes for guessing the name of the highest) and is the first in a series of panamax containerships to be delivered to Safmarine by Hyundai Heavy Industries by the fourth quarter of 2007.

    Yesterday Mrs. Judy Tung, wife of Billy Tung (Chairman – China International Freight Co., Ltd) honoured Safmarine Container Lines N.V. by naming the Safmarine Meru.

    Safmarine Meru will enter into Safmarine’s global network later this year. The ship will be followed by a series of panamax containerships to be delivered to Safmarine by Hyundai Heavy Industries by the fourth quarter of 2007.

    Safmarine Meru has a length of 292.08m and a beam of 32.25m with a deadweight of 60,700 tons deadweight (DWT). The ship’s design speed is 24.5 knots and she has a container capacity of 4154 TEU.

    South Africa goes hi-tech to tighten border security

    by Tshwarelo eseng Mogakane (BuaNews)

    Nelspruit - South Africa intends using hi-tech tools and to improve policing to tighten security without slowing traffic at its borders with Mozambique and Swaziland.

    The announcement follows fears that international smugglers would take advantage of government's economic development initiatives to boost regional cross-border trade.

    The initiatives include the creation of ‘development corridors’ such as the R24 Billion Maputo Corridor that links the industrial heartland of Gauteng with Mozambique's Maputo port by upgrading road, rail, and telecom links through Mpumalanga.

    The initiative, which is being replicated in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, and the North West provinces' borders with international neighbours, has led to a dramatic increase in the amount of freight that passes through border posts.

    Authorities fear, however, that smugglers may take advantage of the new streamlined border procedures to ship stolen goods, human cargo, narcotics and banned animal products such as rhino horn.

    "We are aware that illegal substance traffics are likely to take advantage of South Africa's [development] corridors and cross border initiatives. Various government bodies, including the Home Affairs Department and a number of security agencies are ready to deal with such chancers," said spokesperson for Mpumalanga's department of roads and transport, Joseph Mabuza.

    He said the launch of the Mpumalanga Freight Logistics Forum (MFLF) last week would jump-start the process to improve security, like increasing the number of police patrols along routes such as the N4 highway.

    Other plans include longer border hours and better service levels through digitisation and automation of customs and other checking procedures.

    Mr Mabuza said Transport Minister Jeff Radebe had urged the private sector to partner with government and support the initiative financially.

    Cargo dealers, haulers and rail service providers he said, could help establish more efficient pre-clearance and customs facilities and could help implement their own security measures to help protect their cargo and so make it more difficult for smugglers to function.

    "Government simply cannot handle such a big task on its own. Provincial government departments, such as transport, can only lead the way. We need the private sector to follow and support our efforts," said Mabuza.

    Mpumalanga intends, for example, to study freight systems in Europe where truck companies use digital technology to monitor courier time and speed, minimise the number of unscheduled stops that give smugglers time to tamper with cargo, and also help minimise driver fatigue and accidents.

    "If it turns out that foreign systems are much better, then we may consider implementing them here," he said.

    The busiest border posts in Mpumalanga are those at Komatipoort, which is South Africa's major gateway to Mozambique, and at Oshoek, which is the nation's major gateway to Swaziland.

    SA manufacturing production increases 4.6 percent

    by Lavinia Mahlangu (BuaNews)

    Manufacturing production increased by 4.6 percent in the first eight months of 2006, compared to 3.2 percent during the same period last year.

    Statistics South Africa reported on Wednesday that higher production levels were reported by nine of the ten manufacturing divisions.

    "In addition, the estimated seasonally adjusted manufacturing production for the three months ended August 2006 increased by 2.2 percent compared with the previous three months, which is higher than the growth of 0.7 percent reported during the same period in 2005," Stats SA said.

    Higher production levels were also reported by nine of the ten manufacturing divisions for the three months ended August 2006, compared with the preceding three months after seasonal adjustment.

    "However, during this period, low production by the petroleum industry, due to maintenance of machinery, has limited the extent of growth in the manufacturing industry results."

    The manufacturing division with the largest contribution to the year on year increase between January to August 2005 and January to August 2006 was the motor vehicles, parts and accessories and transport equipment division, contributing 1.4 percentage points.

    This was followed by the 1.3 percentage points contribution made by the basic iron and steel, non-ferrous metal products, metal products and machinery division.

    The wood products, paper, publishing and printing division contributed 0.6 of a percentage point.

    India plans huge expansion into shipbuilding

    It’s been a matter of time but India has finally decided to go into shipbuilding in a big way, with two giant shipyards planned for either side of the sub-continent.

    Within two weeks Mumbai Port on the east coast and Ennore Port on the west will invite international interest to establish shipyards in special economic zones (SEZs) where they can take advantage of tax benefits.

    In addition to this India plans to extend a 30 percent shipbuilding subsidy that basically refunds taxes and levies paid by the yards to government.

    Indian ministry officials have indicated the new yards should aim at building vessels of 300,000-dwt and above.

    Picture of the day
    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    As the pilot boat starts to turn away, the Italian Ro-Ro vessel Jolly Bianco of Ignazio Messina Line heads out from Durban bound for East African ports, the Red Sea and finally the Mediterranean and Italy. Picture Terry Hutson

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