Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 7, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • East African ports hamstrung by congestion

  • Safmarine Agulhas update

  • Mozambique reorganises its maritime safety authority

  • Maersk wins Australian contract to operate semi submersible rig

  • Pic of the day – MSC BENEDETTA

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    East African ports hamstrung by congestion

    Ships that are diverting to Mombasa and skipping Dar es Salaam because of congestion in the Tanzanian port are simply transferring the problem elsewhere, it has been suggested.

    In recent weeks a number of ships have dropped the Dar es Salaam call because of lengthy delays and have gone on to Mombasa where the Dar es Salaam cargo is discharged for a feeder vessel to collect later.

    However this has exacerbated an existing congestion problem at the Kenyan port and Mombasa now faces having a vessel delay surcharge (VDS) imposed on it as well. The recently imposed surcharge on Dar es Salaam will cost Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS), the concessionaire operating the terminal, an estimated US $ 15,000 a day once the VDS takes effect and there are now fears that Mombasa is next on the list for shipping lines.

    Earlier this week MOL announced that its vessel MOL SILVERFERN would omit both Dar es Salaam and Mombasa due to the ongoing berthing delays in Dar es Salaam because the vessel had to make her berthing window at Nhava Sheva in India. Current bookings on the ship were to be rolled to the KOTA MESRA. Several vessels on this service have skipped Dar es Salaam in recent weeks.

    In an earlier News Bulletin Ports & Ships reported that a number of ships were bypassing the Tanzanian port and taking containers on to Mombasa for a feeder vessel to uplift them, and that this was impeding Mombasa’s storage capacity.

    According to agents this has had the effect of simply transferring Dar es Salaam’s problems to Mombasa and they feared that the net result would be VDS being introduced there as well.

    The problem in clearing the port of containers has been blamed on a number of factors, including a lenient policy on storage within the terminal, the lack of documentation and poor rail and road systems away from the ports.

    “The problem is quite simple,” said one Mombasa agent. “There are just too many containers arriving at the port before cargo owners have cleared previous shipments. There are also too many containers arriving without documentation – where else can this be allowed to happen?”

    Both ports cater not only for domestic cargo but for neighbouring landlocked countries as well, compounding the problem. Ironically both Mombasa and Dar es Salaam have undergone recent modernisation programmes including new equipment but possibly this is no longer enough. A week ago the Kenya government announced that the Kilindini Container Terminal at Mombasa would not be privatised as had been planned, owing to the fact that it was now generating profits for the Kenya Ports Authority.

    Safmarine Agulhas update

    Little by little the once handsome container ship SAFMARINE AGULHAS is being cut down into scrap metal, after the forward section of the hull was pulled out of the water and onto dry land.

    From being a complex matter the job has now become fairly routine which the wreckers expect to complete within one month.

    The stern area of the ship, which broke in two while attempts were still being made to salvage the vessel, will also be hauled ashore for the same treatment and contractors are hoping to be off site by the end of April. Powerful hydraulic haulers were brought to East London for the purpose of pulling the shipwreck clear of the water and a special slipway constructed alongside the breakwater to facilitate this.

    Safmarine Agulhas went aground on the outer side of the west breakwater last June, shortly after sailing from harbour. The ship experienced engine failure at that critical moment before she was fully clear of the shore and once aground, even with the assistance of the powerful tug SMIT AMANDLA she remained firmly stuck close against the breakwater, where eventually the ship broke in two.

    The Dutch company Mammoet was subsequently awarded the contract to remove the wreck in its entirety down to seabed level, a job which began in October and has proceeded with haste and much success.

    Mozambique reorganises its maritime safety authority

    Mozambique says it is in the process of reorganising its maritime safety organisations which it says have lost their capacity to perform efficiently.

    Transport minister Antonio Mungwambe announced this on Monday (5 February) at a meeting of the southern and eastern African countries to discuss and implement safety measures of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The meeting which is being hosted by Mozambique takes place all this week.

    According to Mungwambe the country’s maritime safety authority has lost its capacity both in terms of staff and equipment – the latter he described as being in a state of decay.

    Safety along the long Mozambique coastline had fallen below desirable levels, he said, noting that the number of deaths at sea and even from crossing rivers was unacceptably high. These accidents were mainly caused by negligence and carelessness by boat owners and the crews which paid no note of weather forecasts and frequently overloaded their boats.

    The minister said Mozambique currently had a system that only checked licensed vessels, with no method of controlling unlicensed fishing craft.

    As a result the Mozambique government last year approved a $ 25 million project of installing satellite equipment that is capable of monitoring the country’s coastline.

    He said he was pleased there had been no cases of terrorism or piracy recorded in Mozambique as had happened elsewhere in Africa and the world. However the country could not afford to be complacent and measures were being taken to ensure that there were no unpleasant surprises in the future.

    Recently the US donated several patrol boats to Mozambique and the South African Navy handed over a number of inshore patrol boats as well as other craft capable of patrolling the coastline.

    source - AIM

    Maersk wins Australian contract to operate semi submersible rig

    Maersk Contractors has been awarded a drilling contract by Woodside Energy Ltd for lease of a deepwater development semi-submersible to operate in Australia. The drilling contract has a duration of three years and will commence when the rig arrives in Australia in the second quarter of 2009.

    The rig is the second in a series of three highly advanced deepwater development semi-submersibles presently under construction for Maersk Contractors in Singapore. Although substantially larger and even more sophisticated, the design of the rig is based on the experiences gained from Maersk Contractors’ latest newbuilt deepwater semi-submersible MAERSK EXPLORER.

    With its large capacities and highly efficient drilling equipment the new rig is capable of drilling 10,000 m (30,000 ft) into the subsoil measured from the seabed. This makes the rig particularly well suited to drill deep and technically complicated wells as seen off the Northwest coast of Australia. The rig is able to operate in water depths up to 3,000 m (10,000 ft) and can maintain its station either in dynamic positioning (DP) mode or with a pre-laid mooring system.

    A total of 180 people can be accommodated onboard. This will be a combination of Maersk Contractors’ rig crew and specialists from Woodside.

    “We currently have an extensive business relationship with Woodside and we are looking forward to expanding this relationship even further,” says Claus V Hemmingsen, CEO of Maersk Contractors.

    Maersk Contractors is part of the AP Moller - Maersk Group and is a leading drilling contractor and supplier of floating production solutions. The fleet counts 29 drilling rigs and four FPSOs including six high efficiency jack-up rigs, three deepwater development semi-submersibles and one Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO) under construction. Maersk Contractors employs an international staff of 3,000 people.

    Pic of the day – MSC BENEDETTA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    MSC BENEDETTA berthing at Port Elizabeth’s container terminal. This is currently the largest capacity container ship in regular service to South Africa, along with several of her sisters. Picture Alvin Mc Loughlin

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