Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 6, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Transnet announces senior appointments at Head Office and Durban

  • Tugs and barges galore

  • Somali pirates release 24 seafarers

  • German company invests in SA oil, gas

  • Heavy rains shut strategic Congo port railway

  • Pic of the day – BIG WHITES

    Transnet announces senior appointments at Head Office and Durban

    Johannesburg – Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Chief Executive Khomotso Phihlela yesterday (Monday) announced two senior appointments to his management team.

    Anthony Diepenbroek has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer of the TNPA, based at head office in Parktown, Johannesburg.

    In the announcement Phihlela said Diepenbroek’s responsibilities will include the attainment of TNPA’s strategic business objectives with specific emphasis on providing efficient, safe and affordable port services. This includes overseeing the provision of marine operational services (e.g. tug assistance, berthing vessels and pilotage) across all the ports (Saldanha, Durban, Richards Bay, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Ngqura and East London).

    In addition, the COO will also be responsible for the technical implementation and maintenance of all infrastructure and Capital Projects.

    Phihlela said the appointment of Diepenbroek will ensure that the Transnet National Ports Authority is able to improve the quality and efficiency of current port operations.

    “Mr Diepenbroek brings with him a wealth of experience and I am certain that as part of the team he will contribute significantly to improving the institutional processes for effective performance and delivery.”

    The second senior management appointment announced yesterday is that of Ricky Bhikraj, who has been appointed Port Manager at the Port of Durban.

    Bhikraj has been acting in this position since January, shortly after the suspension of the previous port manager Basil Ndlovu. See Ports & Ships News Bulletin dated 3 January 2007 for background.

    “We are very fortunate to have someone of Ricky’s calibre on board, who brings with him extensive strategic and operational experience. The appointment of Ricky will provide the necessary experience, leadership and energy to take the port on to the next stage of its growth. He has made a significant contribution to the port on many fronts, and will continue to steer it toward the desired objectives,” said Phihlela.

    Tugs and barges galore

    This week the first steel for the construction of five new tugs for Transnet National Ports Authority will be cut at a ceremony at the shipyard in Durban.

    Later in the month another shipbuilding programme in Durban will approach a climax with the naming of Smit Amandla’s new bunker barge, Smit LiPuma.

    After a protracted delay a contract for five new tugs was awarded to Durban-based Southern African Shipyards. The contract worth R400 million involves three tugs (hull numbers T306, T307 and T308) for the new port at Ngqura and two for Durban (T309 and T310).

    Delivery will be made between October 2009 and May 2010 for the three 70ton bollard pull tugs for Ngqura and from September to November 2010 for the two 60t bollard pull vessels for Durban.

    Design work has been performed locally by Durban naval architect Peter Volschenk who was also involved with the design of five earlier tugs for the TNPA, hull numbers T301 – T305. These tugs are currently in service at Richards Bay, Durban and Cape Town.

    Part of the reason for the lengthy delivery span is the delay in delivery of engines due to international demand, which are to be supplied by M.A.N. from 2009. The tugs will be equipped with Voith Schneider propulsion gear.

    The naming of the bunker barge for the firm of Smit Amandla is another milestone for the Durban shipbuilding industry. The barge is being built at the Dormac shipyard at Durban’s Bayhead and will go into service in Durban once handed over. Other barge orders are possible.

    On 11 October the South African Navy (which seldom announces anything of note in advance) named two new tugs which have been taken into service at the Simon’s Town Naval Base. The tugs (or Multi Role Tenders, to give them the nomenclature favoured by the navy) were built at Cape Town’s FarOcean Marine Shipyard and have been named INDLOVU and TSHUKUDU.

    For those readers unfamiliar with South African languages (of which we have 11 official), Indlovu means Elephant and Tshukudu is Rhinoceros.

    At the ceremony held at Simon’s Town the chief of the navy Vice Admiral R Mudimu paid tribute to Captain Eddie Bremner, former chief harbourmaster with Transnet National Ports Authority, for providing training for the skippers and engineers of the new tugs.

    Somali pirates release 24 seafarers

    Somali pirates have released 24 seafarers after holding them hostage for almost six months. The seamen were captured with two South Korean-owned vessels on 15 May off the Somali coast.

    There is no indication whether the ship’s owners or other parties paid a ransom to secure the release of the seamen, although this has become customary in the ongoing saga of modern day piracy off the Horn of Africa. South Korean news reports earlier claimed the pirates were demanding a ransom of between US$700,000 and $1 million.

    The two vessels, named MAVUNO 1 and MAVUNO 2 are currently being escorted to the port of Aden by a US Navy warship, according to a communiqué from the South Korean Foreign Ministry. All 24 crew members from the two ships are reported to be safe and in good health. The ministry identified the seafarers as being four South Koreans, ten Chinese, four Indonesians, three Vietnamese and three Indians.

    "The government strongly condemns the international pirate activities that resulted in innocent sailors seized in high seas and held in captivity for a long time," the ministry said, adding that it appreciated the assistance given by the US and Somali interim government for helping free the men.

    source - Shabelle Medi Network

    German company invests in SA oil, gas

    Cape Town, 5 November 2007 (BuaNews) - A German manufacturing company has invested about €30-million (approx R284 million) which forms part of a R1.7 billion investment pledge into South African oil and gas operations.

    German manufacturing company MAN Ferrostaal has opened South Africa's first fabrication yard for oil and gas platforms at Saldanha Bay near Cape Town, positioning the country to take advantage of booming energy operations along Africa's west coast, reports SouthAfrica.info.

    This commitment is part of an offset deal brokered between the South African government and the company, which has built three submarines for the South African Navy.

    At the official opening of the yard last week, MAN Ferrostaal Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mitscherlich emphasised the great local added value in realising the project.

    "Three-quarters of all firms commissioned were South African companies and half of all expenditure went to companies which promote the interests of South Africa's black population," Mitscherlich said.

    Over 900 people from the Western Cape Region were involved in the nine-month construction period, with nearly all material used in the construction of the yard coming from South Africa.

    Saldanha Bay, situated about 60 nautical miles north-west of Cape Town, is the deepest and largest natural port in southern Africa, and it is intended that the platform fabrication yard will meet the increasing demand for production platforms triggered by the growing west African oil and gas industry.

    Complete offshore platforms, as well as components for offshore platforms such as bridges, outriggers, decks, mantles and submarine infrastructure, will be constructed at the 220,000 square metre complex.
    Until now, offshore oil and gas platforms used in west Africa have been manufactured solely in Europe, the Middle East, the United States and south-east Asia, and capacity constraints meant lead times of up to seven years.

    The new production site at Saldanha Bay will reduce lead times and towing times for platforms to a fraction of the time currently required.

    MAN Ferrostaal believes that the sharp increase in oil prices will lead to increased demand for production platforms, and is currently in talks to construct a second site for the repair and maintenance of oil platforms in Cape Town.

    Both projects are of great social importance for South Africa, in addition to their economic significance, as they will lead to the creation of approximately 12,000 new jobs.

    "Due to the very positive feedback from the international oil industry, a capacity increase is already being planned for the complex in Saldanha Bay," MAN Ferrostaal said.

    Heavy rains close strategic Congo port railway

    Brazzaville (Congo) 5 November 2007 (IRIN) - A stretch of the railway linking Congo's capital to the Atlantic port of Pointe-Noire has been flooded following heavy rains, cutting off a key supply route.

    Road traffic in the affected area, around Goma Tse Tse, 25km southwest of Brazzaville in the Pool region, has also been severely affected by the deluge.

    "Passengers and the railway management know there are often floods in this area,"
    grumbled one trader.

    "If nothing has been done it is because in this country we always wait for the worst to happen before trying to find a solution," he added.

    When a stretch of the line in the same area flooded last year, the interruption led to shortages of fuel and food in the capital.

    "As from today, we are trying to find a solution by bypassing the flooded area so as to bring foodstuffs into Brazzaville by road," said Transport Minister Emile Ousso.

    Even when flooding is not an issue, transport in Pool is sometimes hampered by rebels known as the Ninjas.

    (This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)

    Pic of the day – BIG WHITES

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    On Friday 2 November two of the former ‘Big Whites’ of Safmarine fame were on berth at the Durban Container Terminal, SA SEDERBERG at berth 205 (right side) and MAERSK CONSTANTIA at berth 203, with a third company ship SAFMARINE ZAMBEZI sandwiched in between. No doubt this doubling up has occurred on several other occasions over the past 30 years but what made this different was that a third Big White, SA WINTERBERG was waiting outside the port for a vacant berth and it was the same week in which the remaining Big White, SA HELDERBERG went off charter and was handed back to her owners Danoas in Singapore – marking the beginning of the end for these significant container ships. Once they were the largest box ships in the world; now with the ravages of time (not that the ships appear worn down) and the dramatic increase in demand for capacity, the end is in sight. Picture by Terry Hutson, with thanks to Messrs Barwil Unitor for ‘loaning’ their 29th floor office window for the picture

    Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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