Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 27, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Stowaways amazing journey

  • Safmarine invests in R45m BEE Cold Store Development in E Cape

  • How real is the threat of container surcharge?

  • MSC reported to be building sixteen 13,000-TEU ships

  • West African ship aground off Europe

  • Stay away says harbourmaster

  • Picture of the day

    Ports & Ships has introduced a new column called The Shipping World which will carry a collection of interesting facts, figures and explanations about shipping and transport in general and of the people who make it tick. The column can also be utilised to highlight companies that have made their mark in this industry, or who do things differently from the rest. Get in touch with us if you have an interesting story to tell. Contact us at info@ports.co.za

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
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    Stowaways amazing journey

    Two West Africans survived an incredible sea journey perched on the outside of the car carrier Washington Highway, sailing all the way from Cote d’Ivoire to Port Elizabeth, although for a third stowaway the journey proved to be a day too long. He is thought to have died from hypothermia and dehydration within sight of land as the ship rounded the Cape.

    The Japanese car carrier’s previous port of call was Abidjan where the three men clambered on top of the rudder stock before the ship sailed. Rew on board the vessel were unaware of their presence and also unseen due to the large overhang at the stern.

    An alert tugboat crew noticed the two men as they assisted the ship onto its berth at Port Elizabeth and alerted authorities. The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) was called out to send its rescue boat to take off the men, which required two NSRI members having to swim under the ship and climb onto the rudder to assist the two survivors. This is where they came across the body of the third who had died only a day earlier, according to the survivors.

    The two men, who are thought to be in their twenties, were lightly clothed in overalls with no luggage or blankets. It’s not the first time that stowaways had reached South Africa b y hiding away on top of ships’ rudders, something which has been reported from other regions in the world as well.

    After stabilising them the two men were taken to a Port Elizabeth hospital for treatment. According to television news reports they have since asked for asylum in South Africa.

    Safmarine invests in R45m BEE Cold Store Development in E Cape

    Through its subsidiary SATI Container Services (Pty) Ltd, Safmarine has invested in a new, state-of-the-art R45-million cold storage facility near Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

    This facility, owned by newly formed Addo Cold Storage (Pty) Ltd, provides an integrated logistics platform for the region’s citrus fruit industry. Because of its shareholder structure a considerable share of its profits is to be ploughed back into the community.

    The Addo Cold Store Community Trust owns 49 percent of the company, which operates as Addo Cold Store. The company’s 51 percent shareholder is FPT/SATI Container Services (Pty) Ltd, an operating entity formed by leading South African export industry players Fresh Produce Terminals (Pty) Ltd (FPT) and SATI Container Services (Pty) Ltd. The latter is owned by Safmarine company SATI (Pty) Ltd and empowerment partners Kagiso Trust.

    The facility fulfils a need for integrated, prompt and cost efficient cold store handling of fruit for export. Having recently come on stream the facility is already proving its value to the region’s citrus industry. Other export fruit will be moved through the facility in due course.

    Brett Gray, chairman of SATI Container Services, says that Safmarine’s involvement in Addo Cold Store is in line with the group’s stated intent to support the export fruit industry wherever it can add value by doing so. This is SATI’s second major investment in cold store facilities, the first being with Cape Fruit Coolers in the Western Cape.

    The location in the Sundays River Valley was optimal for ease of access by farmers and is close to the Port Elizabeth harbour and, in the future, Coega.

    “We believe that that Addo Cold Store is ideally placed in the region’s citrus value chain. In the short while it has been operating it has demonstrated its ability to achieve and stimulate economic growth and wealth development in the region.”

    Previously fruit was transported by road to cold storage facilities in Cape Town and other centres before being packed for export. This was not ideal as fruit was not promptly and adequately stored for transport. This often resulted in spoiled produce, and added to the costs of transport.

    Addo Cold Store’s facility has 1,880 rapid cooling high cube cold slots and 1,120 holding cold slots. Its cold store capacity is 3,000 pallets. The loading facilities have five loading bays directly linked to the rail and road infrastructure.

    SATI Container Services is one of the largest container depots in the southern hemisphere, specialising in reefer containers which meet stringent export requirements.

    How real is the threat of container surcharge?

    Talk of imposing a container surcharge because of delays at the port of Durban has begun to be heard in recent weeks and has now attracted the unwanted attention of political parties.

    This week the opposition Democratic Party entered the debate by warning that a surcharge of US $ 50 per TEU would cost the country’s economy more than R500m a year.

    The delays began from August when seasonal winds affected cargo and ship working at the country’s leading container port. The delays have continued although the number of container ships outside port in the past week have become noticeably less this week after a period of settled weather.

    South African Port Operations has introduced several contingency plans including the use of the City Terminal (breakbulk) at the Point where some shipping companies have agreed to have import containers discharged. Vessels then later move across to the container terminal to load export boxes.

    Additional personnel have been placed on duty at the Durban Container Terminal and extra straddle carriers released for service to increase throughout. The terminal is also looking at stacking containers three high to relieve pressure on container stacks.

    Congestion at the Durban Container Terminal has been a seasonal problem for a number of years, always peaking during the latter part of the year. The congestion is normally relieved from later November and by early December things are back to normal which makes it puzzling why shipping companies have waited until the end of October to raise the issue of surcharges. Simple posturing or do they intend imposing penalties once again?

    MSC reported to be building sixteen 13,000-TEU ships

    It had to happen! MSC is reported to be in talks with Korean shipbuilders Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo and Samsung to enlarge up to 16 new container ships on order.

    MSC wants the ships enlarged from the planned 9,600-TEU to a whopping 13,000-TEUs, elevating them to among the largest afloat.

    Although this report cannot yet be confirmed it fits in with speculation that MSC would soon respond to the news of newbuildings of 11,000+ TEU ships for arch rival Maersk Line and for other shipping companies. Maersk Lines Emma Maersk, currently the world’s largest container ship at 11,000-TEU capacity is now on her maiden return voyage to the Far East.

    MSC has the largest number of supership newbuilds on order but still weighs in a distant second to Maersk Line as the world’s largest container carrier.

    Unlike Maersk however, MSC has grown itself organically without swallowing other lines through mergers and takeovers.

    West African ship aground in Europe

    A 1985-built Panamanian-registered Ro-Ro container ship, Rokia Delmas which is deployed on the Delmas West Africa – Atlantic coast Europe service has gone aground outside the port of La Rochelle in France, where the ship has developed a 20 degree list and is taking water in the engine room and lower decks.

    From early reports the ship experienced a power failure while approaching the port’s pilot station before drifting aground. Divers who conducted an inspection say the ship has a 20m crack in its hull and salvors think it unlikely that the ship will be pulled clear for several weeks at least. First efforts will concentrate on removing bunker fuel and any other contaminants on board the vessel. The ship is reported to have 560 tons of bunker fuel on board.

    Twenty of the 28 crewmembers were airlifted off the ship and so far there are no reports of pollution leaking from the casualty. The cargo consists of mainly containers and has no reported harmful contents.

    Stay away says harbourmaster

    As a salvage team from the Dutch company Mammoet begins the work of removing the wreck of the ill-fated container ship Safmarine Agulhas, East London’s harbour master has declared a 500-metre safety no-go zone around the area and in particular from the seaward approaches.

    Harbour master Dennis Mqadi said that with demolition work due to commence a danger existed if anyone strayed too close to the wreck. The stay away restriction applies to all boats including pleasure craft, paddle skis, yachts and any other means of moving on the water.

    The restriction will apply until further notice.

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

    The freighter Vero loading steel coils at Durban’s Maydon Wharf. Picture Terry Hutson

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