Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 5, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Durban terminal completes one million tonnes of woodchips

  • Navy turns to Germanischer Lloyd to put subs in class

  • Sea mining becomes the new gold rush

  • Special Feature: UN sends troops to Eastern DRC

  • Pic of the day – PENTOW SERVICE

    news continues below....

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    Durban terminal completes one million tonnes of wood chips

    Transnet port terminals (TPT) and NCT Durban Woodchips (Pty) Ltd had a million reasons to engage in joint celebration yesterday – they were toasting the success of one million tons of wood chips exported to Japan through Durban.

    TPT’s Agriport, the bulk terminal operation at Durban’s Maydon Wharf, in partnership with NCT Woodchips (Pty) Ltd, loaded their first woodchip vessel, the Hokuestsu Ace, in February 2005 with 27,036 tons.

    In July 2007 the millionth ton of wood chips was loaded on the Hokuetsu Hope II. Also, Agriport broke its own record of loading the vessel at an average rate of 565 tons per hour using Agriport’s ship loader.

    The wood-chip plant cost R82-million and was the first fully environmentally- approved wood chip export facility. It is designed to operate on a just-in-time principle, with logs being chipped immediately after they arrive at the facility and then directly loaded onto the ship. Agriport spent R30-million on the loading facility.

    logs on the way to the chipper

    Yesterday Agriport and NCT Woodchips (Pty) Ltd executives and staff hosted a celebratory function at the NCT Wood Chips site at Durban harbour to mark the million tons milestone that was reached inside of three years.

    According to Tracey Neat, TPT’s Business Unit Executive at the Maydon Wharf Multi-purpose terminal and Agriport, one vessel was initially loaded every five weeks. Recently a vessel was loaded with wood chips every four weeks.

    “Everybody associated with the venture - from those involved in the growing of timber and those responsible for chipping the wood to the people entrusted with loading the ships - must be complimented for their dedication and hard work.”

    Volley Keyser Chairman of NCT Woodchips (Pty) Ltd, said since the launch of the wood chip export facility three years ago, a quality long-term market had been brought to the doorstep of independent timber growers in southern and central KwaZulu-Natal.

    He said the wood chip plant was a perfect example of a successful public-private partnership between landlord TPT-Agriport and NCT Woodchips (Pty) Ltd and the private timber growers.

    “It is the team spirit and co-operation between the timber growers, NCT Woodchips (Pty) Ltd and Agriport that enabled us to achieve this remarkable milestone," he said.

    Navy turns to Germanischer Lloyd to put subs in class

    SAS Manthatisi, the South African Class 209 type 1400 submarine that took part in the joint exercises with ships from the NATO task force circumnavigating Africa, has become the first naval submarine worldwide to be brought into class by a classification society.

    A similar process will follow with the other two submarines, SAS Charlotte Maxeke and SAS Queen Modjadji. GL will also undertake the annual inspection of all three boats.

    In terms of international law naval vessels are not usually required to comply with international regulations concerning merchant shipping and are governed instead by individual national regulations. However the cost of maintaining the engineering capability to undertake the necessary examinations for a small number of vessels of each type makes the use of an outside agency more practicable.

    This isn’t the first time that a naval warship has been put in class by a classification society – the Australian Anzac class frigates were similarly handled but this is believed to have been the first time for a submarine.

    SAS Manthatisi underwent her inspection in June this year. She is the first of three new submarines going into service with the South African Navy. Only SAS Queen Modjadji remains still to be delivered from the builders in Germany.

    Sea mining becomes the new gold rush

    Cape Town-based engineering company Marine and Mineral Projects says it is pioneering the global future of deep sea mining, which could lead to a ‘new gold rush’.

    “The concept of deep sea marine mining arose in response to the rich diamond deposits that were identified off the coast of Namibia. More recently, other mineral deposits have been identified in various locations around the world, including in the Manus Basin, off the coast of Papua New Guinea, within the Kermadec Ridge in New Zealand waters and along several other fissures within the Pacific Rim of Fire, to name a few – globally mining investors are calling this the ‘new gold rush’,” says MD Rodney Norman.

    “Marine and Mineral Projects has developed efficient remote controlled deep sea mining technology that allows for low-cost marine based mining,” says Norman.

    Deep sea mining is less invasive than land based mining and produces far less waste material, and has less of an impact on the environment. Land based mining operations often disturb large areas to get to the minerals, whereas, in the ocean the deposits are literally sitting on the seafloor and in the mining process there is less of an impact and quicker rehabilitation takes place.

    Norman says Marine and Mineral Projects is a world-class firm of hi-tech marine engineers who have developed the leading technology available in the world that allows for deep-sea mining from a vessel.

    The company was responsible for the construction of the remote crawler used on the Peace in Africa, a De Beers Consolidated Mines owned ship that was converted into a floating diamond mine in a mammoth two year project (see PORTS & SHIPS News Bulletin for yesterday).

    The conversion project saw Marine and Mineral Projects contracted to fit the ship with deep sea mining crawler technology, which included the remotely controlled crawler, launch and recovery system and vessel mooring system.

    With some land based mineral deposits being fully exploited across the world, deep sea mining is set to revolutionize global approaches to the search for precious metals, diamonds, oil and other sought after minerals, Norman says.

    The conversion of the Peace in Africa required – amongst other things – 1,950 tons of steel, 48km’s of cable, 12 tons of paint and over 600,000 man hours. All of this at a total cost of R1.2 billion. It started mining off the Cape’s West Coast in May this year.

    The 240 ton remotely controlled seabed crawler unit on the Peace in Africa, which undertakes the mining, is connected to the ship by a 650 mm internal diameter rubber hose through which the seabed material is pumped to the plant, using a 2.4MW pumping system. A 500KW hydraulic power pack powers the systems on the crawler, “The ship and crawler will work up to 35 km offshore and at depths of up to 150 metres where mining activities will be undertaken in 100m x 100m blocks.”

    “Worldwide there are only a handful of diamond mining vessels in operation and it’s a very specialised and new area of exploration; we are proud to say that Marine and Mineral Projects is pioneering the essential technology and has developed the best equipment to retrieve these mineral rich deposits,” says Norman.

    In conjunction with De Beers, Marine and Mineral Projects has worked extensively to ensure that the environmental impact of deep sea mining is kept to a minimum.

    The mining does disturb the seabed sediments and Benthic communities, but most of the sediment resettles within minutes.

    Two of the largest venture mining companies to invest in deep sea mining, Nautilus and Neptune, are backed by the world’s largest mining houses including Anglo American, Barrick Gold and Teck Cominico.

    Nautilus and Neptune are actively involved in deep-sea exploration and are positioned to become leaders in deep sea mining. “Without the technology developed by Marine and Mineral Projects, the deep-sea world of mineral wealth would only be available at extraction costs that would make mining impossible to sustain,” Norman says.

    “The future prospects are extremely exciting as MMP is imminently set to become involved in several global projects in conjunction with some of the largest mining organisations in the world,” he predicts.

    source – Cape Business News www.cbn.co.za

    Special Feature: UN sends troops to Eastern DRC

    The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has sent in reinforcement troops and stepped up the diplomatic pressure on both sides of the opposing factions of the armed forces in the volatile far east of the country in a bid to stop the fighting there that has forced thousands of Congolese to flee their homes.

    The mission, known as MONUC, reported last week that it has dispatched 200 reinforcement troops to the area around the town of Katale in the Masisi district of North Kivu province, where the worst clashes have been taking place.

    These troops have been transferred from elsewhere in the two Kivu provinces, which have remained unstable since the official end of the country’s civil war and last year’s historic national presidential and parliamentary elections.

    MONUC said it has also increased the number of helicopter overflights so it can both obtain a better picture of the situation on the ground and deter further fighting.

    It is also exerting pressure on both sides of the national armed forces, known as FARDC, which are supposed to have integrated with soldiers from former rebel groups after the conflict.

    But elements supportive of renegade General Nkunda have been clashing with regular FARDC forces in recent days, and MONUC is trying to urge the two groups to settle their differences through dialogue.

    Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes, who is also UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, arrived in the DRC on Monday for a week-long visit that is expected to include a trip to the Kivu provinces.

    Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported today that at least 9,000 people have had to flee Masisi and neighbouring Rutshuru districts in the past month because of the spiralling tensions.

    UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis warned reporters in Geneva that “with heightened tensions and the build-up of military forces, the situation risks turning into a humanitarian and human rights disaster.”

    More than 20 makeshift camps for internally displaced persons (IDP’s) have emerged in North Kivu since last December as the capacity of local host families to absorb the new arrivals has been overwhelmed.

    In one camp, at Mugunga, some 15 kilometres west of the regional centre of Goma, some 9,000 people have arrived in the past three weeks, swelling the overall number of residents to 18,000. UNHCR staff in the region report that more IDPs are arriving at other sites each day.

    More than 650,000 people are now internally displaced within North Kivu, including at least 180,000 since last December. Tens of thousands of others have fled over the border to neighbouring Uganda.

    The deteriorating security situation means humanitarian agencies have limited access to the IDPs, but UNHCR said it was organising camp management training for IDP leaders and local authorities in Mugunga.

    source – UN News Centre

    Pic of the day – PENTOW SERVICE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The offshore supply tug PENTOW SERVICE sailing down the quiet waters of the Durban port entrance channel. Picture Terry Hutson

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