Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 13, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Drama at sea as tug Hawk goes overdue

  • Ski boat drama off Bluff

  • IMPSA container cranes earn top award

  • Durban Container Terminal plays catch up

  • MOL announces upgrade on SA – Europe servcie

  • Ordinary waves can become monster waves

  • OW Bunker Group expands its African operation

  • Picture of the day

  • Ports & Ships now features a column called The Shipping World which will carry comment and analysis, as well as a collection of interesting facts, figures and explanations about shipping and transport in general and of the people who make it tick. In fact anything that influences the Shipping World. The topics will not be news as such, more the background to the news.
    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 or your company has a success to share. Contact us at info@ports.co.za

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

    Drama at sea as tug Hawk goes overdue

    A combined air and sea search is underway for the missing utility tug Hawk which has been overdue at the port of East London since Friday.

    The Hawk departed from Richards Bay en route to Cape Town and was expected to call in along the way at East London, with an ETA of Friday (10 November). The last communication with the craft is reported to have been on Wednesday (8 November).

    Meanwhile a liferaft though to be from the Hawk has washed up on the beach near Shelly Beach on the KwaZulu Natal South Coast (south of Port Shepstone) but appears to be unused according to the NSRI.

    There is some uncertainty concerning how many people were on board the vessel – one report says four and another eight. According to the NSRI a full air and sea search is continuing.

    Ski boat drama off Bluff

    A second sea drama played itself out along the KwaZulu Natal coastline on Sunday afternoon when at approximately 14.30 a ski boat named Henwa (ZA120) went aground off the Bluff immediately below the port control tower.

    Rescue servcies received a radio call via vhf requesting assistance and advising that of the five on board the ski boat some were in the water and that medical services were required. An immediate mobilisation saw rescue vehicles speeding along the Bluff en route to the scene, which is fortunately accessible by road despite being on the seaward side of the Bluff accessed through a restricted military area.

    The SA Police Water Wing unit also responded as did the NSRI and metro police and ambulance services with the water wing of the SAPS taking control of the operation. No serious injuries were reported and the occupants of the boat all left the scene by car shortly after their ski boat was hauled up off the rocks and deposited some 15m above the surf line. Police advised they would arrange for patrols overnight to safeguard the boat.

    IMPSA container cranes earn top award

    Three recently completed ship-to-shore container gantry cranes now in service at the Durban Container Terminal have won the national 2006 Steel Awards in the mining and industrial category. The awards were presented at Vodaworld, Midrand and at the International Convention Centre in Durban, linked via satellite, on 9 November.

    The tender for the three post-Panamax cranes was issued to the Argentine-based company IMPSA Port Systems and were constructed and assembled locally with a strong South African content, including all the steel work and assembly.

    According to the judging panel, one of the more impressive features of this project is the cranked 40m legs. The historic decision taken when the container wharf was built 30 years ago to place the rails 18 metres apart has necessitated cranks to accommodate bigger machines to suit today’s post Panamax specifications. This added to the complexity of the fabrication where pinpoint accuracy, extremely high quality of welding and control of distortion during manufacture were critical requirements

    Another feature that stood out clearly is how the designers handled the important fatigue issues. “Their attention to fatigue detail, fishtailed and curved details to ensure no stress raisers was superb.”

    An important element of the success of the project was the successful implementation of corrosion protection for a steel structure that stands 1.5m from the sea edge in Durban’s high humidity and salt-laden environment, according to the National Ports Authority’s exceptionally demanding requirements.

    The judges noted that the skill and ingenuity required to meet the specifications of such an enormous and complex project ‘speaks for itself’ and that the cranes have indeed been outstanding examples of excellence in the use of steel.

    The cranes have impressive dimensions. The boom extends 50 metres over the ships, while the high point of the crane, without the boom in its lifted position, is 64 metres off the ground. The total mass of the steelwork with the mechanical equipment is 1300 tons.

    The size of these cranes is, in itself, staggering. However, the full extent of the achievement is realised when one considers that such a giant piece of equipment has the ability to move and stop on its rails within a few millimetres, pick up a container from a ship, place it on the shore and return to collect the next container in under a minute and a half.

    All three cranes have entered service with SA Port Operations.

    Project Team

    National Ports Authority of South Africa
    National Ports Authority of South Africa
    Structural Engineer:
    IMPSA Port Systems
    Project Manager:
    José Louis Calvar, IPS Jikelele Cranes (Pty) Ltd
    Main Contractor:
    IPS Jikelele Cranes (Pty) Ltd
    Steelwork Contractor:
    DSE Structural Engineers & Contractors
    (A division of Grinaker – LTA M & E)
    Other Contractors:
    DCO – Dorbyl Venco Works and
    Groenewalds (A division of Grinaker – LTA MEIP)

    Subsequent orders for container gantry cranes for the ports of Durban and Cape Town were placed with another manufacturer, Liebherr and will be manufactured in Ireland for delivery in collapsed form to Durban where final assembly will take place.

    Durban Container Terminal plays catch up

    In an effort to increase productivity and catch up on the backlog South African Port Operations (SAPO) has employed an unprecedented 15 gangs at the Durban Container Terminal (DCT) which is beginning to pay dividends. The backlog in ships waiting to berth has come down measurably and ships are now going on berth much closer to schedule.

    This comes at a time when noises were beginning to be made by certain shipping lines about reintroducing container delay surcharges at the port. A previous surcharge was lifted about two years ago only after pressure from government.

    The current backlog arose during August when unusually strong winds struck Durban, disrupting ship working and even closing the harbour to ships at times. Reports were received of berthing delays up to 60 and 80 hours although Ports & Ships has learnt of some delays of 120 hours and more. The windy ‘season’ has continued intermittently since.

    Other measures undertaken to reduce this backlog have included discharging containers elsewhere in the port, notably at the multi purpose City Terminal. Even this hasn’t always been plain sailing – in one incident that we know of a ship was delayed at a Point berth for 12 days.

    However, as the weather returns to Durban’s normal calm and balmy climate and with SAPO introducing contingency measures to overcome the backlog, so cargo handling at the port has also improved and the number of ships waiting outside has all but disappeared with things practically back to normal on some days.

    P&S has also learnt that a specialist has been brought in from the port of Antwerp to consult and advise on cargo operations at the multi purpose terminal (MPT) in Richards Bay, where productivity has long been an issue. SAPO has apparently contracted this person for a limited period during which senior MPT personnel from Richards Bay and other ports have attended at the port to learn from a specialist coming from what SAPO’s clients have described as the most efficient MPT port (Antwerp) that they deal with.

    MOL announces upgrade on SA – Europe service

    Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) has announced that from January 2007 it will also be resuming the frequency on the Intermediate Service between South Africa and Europe.

    The service is run in conjunction with DAL Deutsche Afrika-Linien GmbH & Co KG, Maersk Line and Safmarine Container Lines NV (see our News Bulletin report dated 8 November).

    “This service upgrade is being implemented to meet the seasonal requirements for increased capacity and frequency and will, together with the Lines’ weekly Core Service, provide for two weekly-named day services on the trade between Europe and South Africa,” says MOL.

    The line advises that vessel details and port rotation will be announced later.

    Ordinary waves can become monster waves

    According to Swedish researchers ordinary waves can turn into the ‘monster’ or ‘rogue’ waves large enough to sink ships or disturb oil platforms.

    The researchers say they have also found that these waves build up more quickly than previously thought. The research, from scientists at the University of Umea in Sweden, has pinpointed what can turn normal waves into huge waves on apparently calm seas. These waves are not tsunamis – caused by undersea earthquakes – but ordinary waves that have mutated and grown into giant walls of water with lethal power.

    - source http://cordis.europa.eu/ Community Research & Development Information Service European Union.

    OW Bunker Group expands its African operations

    The OW Bunker Group has merged operations with ABC Atlantic Bunkers (ABC) in Las Palmas, Canary Islands, giving it the capability of reaching any customer in the range of West African ports. This includes the stretch between Dakar and Abidjan which was not previously covered by either company.

    As a result OW Bunker now claims coverage of the African continent from Cape Town in South Africa to Morocco on the North African coast. As a result the company now has a fleet of six bunker tankers, two from ABC and four from OW Bunker Group on station along the African coast.

    The six vessels available as a result of the merger are the 16,000 tonne (mt) capacity China Spirit operating off West Africa, the two 5,000 mt capacity vessels Aquarius and Katie off West Africa, the two 4,900 mt capacity vessels Archangel and Agios Isidoros operating off Morocco, Senegal and Mauritania, and finally the 3,500 mt capacity Brams that will be operated jointly by O.W. Bunker and ABC.

    - source Bunkerworld

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

    freighter Arkaan approaching the port of Durban. Picture Terry Hutson

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