Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 7, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Navy to take part in Cape Town Remembrance Day ceremonies

  • NSRI in dramatic ferry rescue

  • New South African cruise operation sets sail next week

  • Oh, those interesting ships in port

  • New rail rates raise ire of Ugandan importers

  • Pic of the day – MADAGASCAR-RAZZMATAZZ

    Navy to take part in Cape Town Remembrance Day ceremonies

    The South African frigate SAS MENDI is due in Cape Town harbour on Friday to participate at the weekend in the 90th anniversary of the loss of her namesake, SS MENDI and the annual Remembrance Day commemoration.

    During her visit to the Mother City the frigate will dock at the V& A Waterfront where on Saturday 10 November she will be officially opened to the public by the minister for Arts & Culture, Pallo Jordan and other dignitaries.

    The public will also have the opportunity of viewing a permanent exhibition of the SS Mendi, a troopship which carried members of the 50th Battalion of the South African Native Labour Corps who were on their way to France in World War I. On 21 February 1917 near the Isle of Wight and in thick fog the troopship was struck by another vessel, SS Darro, sinking with the loss of life of 616 members of the Battalion.

    After the official opening of SAS Mendi to the public a symbolic march of soldiers heading off to war will take place from Adderley Street to the Grand Parade where formal proceedings will start at 10.15am.

    On the following day, which is commemorated in several parts of the world as Remembrance Day in respect of all those who gave their lives for their countries at war, the annual service and wreath-laying ceremony will be held from 10.40am.

    Immediately preceding the Remembrance Day ceremony Cape Town mayor Helen Zille will unveil a plaque at the corner of Adderley and Darling Streets to commemorate the public observance of the two minute silent pause of remembrance which originated on this spot on 2 August 1919.

    Two British naval ships arrived in Cape Town this week. The type 42 destroyer HMS Southampton, and RFA Gold Rover, a fleet auxiliary boiler, docked on Monday for a short visit.

    HMS Southampton is one of four type 42 batch 2 air defence destroyers in the Royal Navy, the others being HMS Exeter, HMS Nottingham and HMS Liverpool. The ship displaces 4,250 tons fully loaded and is 125m in length with a beam of 14.3m. Her armaments include missiles, torpedoes, a 114mm gun, several smaller guns and a Sea Lynx helicopter. The ship has a speed in the region of 30 knots.

    RFA Gold Rover is one of three small fleet oilers in the Royal Navy, displacing 11,500 tons loaded and carries a civilian crew of 47.

    NSRI in dramatic ferry rescue

    The following report has been received from the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).

    Clifton (Cape Town), 06 November, 2007 - At 12.17 NSRI Bakoven were activated by the National Ports Authority following reports of a charter V-Craft Jet boat from a Waterfront boat charter company taking water and reported to be sinking 400 metres off Clifton Second Beach with 8 people on-board.

    NSRI Bakoven launched their rescue craft SPIRIT OF ROTARY – TABLE BAY and an NSRI mobile unit responded to the scene.

    Two SA Lifesaving lifeguards, the Metro Red Cross AMS helicopter, Metro Ambulance and Rescue Services, Camps Bay Community Medics, Emergency Medical Training (EMT), SA Police Services, Metro Police, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, Netcare 911 Ambulance Services and ER24 Ambulance Services responded to the scene.

    On arrival on-scene Clifton Surf Lifeguard Shane Fascio and Llandudno Surf Lifeguard Kirsten Kingma swam out to assist 8 persons found swimming towards shore after the charter V-Craft jet boat sank approximately 400 metres off-shore of Clifton’s Second Beach.

    Of the 8 people swimming towards shore an 11 year old male from Wales, Josh Evans, was assisted to shore by lifeguard Kirsten Kingma.

    A second male, Gareth Evans, the father of Josh, was assisted to shore by lifeguard Shane Fascio.

    The remaining 6 people all swam safely to shore unassisted. They are - crew Keegan Jansen, James Thomas and skipper Roger Lawrence of Waterfront Boat’s (the owners of the V-Craft Jet Boat) and passengers Jane Evans from Wales (wife of Gareth and mother of Josh) and a Pretoria couple Justin Watt and his wife Cara.

    A number of by-standers on Clifton Beach also went into the surf to assist including Roxy Louw, the daughter of ex-Springbok rugby player Rob Louw. Roxy assisted Cara Watt to shore.

    Once ashore they were all assessed by paramedics but required no medical treatment.

    The cause of the vessel sinking has not been confirmed but reports have confirmed that the boat was stationary off-shore of Clifton when it began taking water before eventually sinking. Once the boat started to take water arrangements were made by the crew to get assistance but prior to assistance arriving the boat filled up and capsized and sank.

    Note: According to radio reports the ferry’s propulsion became snagged with kelp (seaweed) causing the engine to stop. With no power the boat was then subject to wave action and began taking water and sinking – Ports & Ships.

    New South African cruise operation sets sail next week

    A new South African cruise operation is due to start operations with a cruise to Europa Island in the Mozambique Channel, departing from Durban on Sunday, 17 November.

    That’s the word from the new operators, Razzmatazz Ocean Cruises, after months of speculation as to when the operation would get underway. The initial cruise, which is a special charter for bird lovers, will be followed by a theme cruise along the Mozambique coast after which a programme of cruises to places like Inhaca Island and other destinations will commence.

    The ship, which currently carries the name MADAGASCAR, arrived in South Africa two years ago and is likely to be renamed RAZZMATAZZ ahead of her first cruise. The 3,500-gt ship was built in 1960 as the coastal liner BREMERHAVEN but was later acquired by Sun Line and given an extensive conversion in an Italian shipyard to evolve as the extremely popular STELLA MARIS II for Mediterranean and Caribbean cruising.

    During this period the ship was rated by at least one critic as ‘the best little cruise ship in the world’ and a ‘princess among cruise yachts’, praise that’s not easy to dismiss. Her local critics will suggest she may be too small and unsuitable for Southern African waters but only time and experience will tell.

    Sun Cruises subsequently sold the ship in the late 1990s to Viking Cruises who renamed her VIKING BORDEAUX, during which period she was laid up for a period in a European port. In 2005 she came out to South Africa to begin cruising for the ill-fated Indian Ocean Cruises, and following the crash of that company has been laid up in Durban.

    Razzmatazz / Madagascar carries up to 220 passengers in generally spacious cabins and features a public lounge that extends the length of the ship before ending at the pool deck. Her new operators apparently intend making small changes to the public areas so comment here will have to be reserved until later.

    Details of Razzmatazz Ocean Cruises can be found here

    Oh, these interesting ships in port

    The widening of the Durban port entrance is well underway with the old North Pier or breakwater rapidly diminishing in length as the new pier, some 100m to the north-east steadily extends out from shore. Rocks and rubble taken from the end of the old pier is being used to build the new and is transferred across by means of a barge.

    Offshore the dredger MARIEKE belonging to the Belgian company Dredging International is making speedy progress both outside the port entrance and in the inside channels, and can be seen working away 24 hours a day (which may be a revelation to local dredger crews in Durban harbour accustomed to 8-hour shifts with breaks for lunch etc).

    A second trailing suction hopper dredger, the split type KRANKELOON has now arrived to assist with the operation. Krankeloon is equipped with single 700mm suction pipe on the portside while an underwater sand pump is fitted inside the suction pipe. The vessel’s hull is divided vertically over its entire length with the two halves connected at both ends of the hopper by hinges arranged at deck level. The hull then splits open to discharge the spoil from the hopper and this is operated by two pairs of hydraulic cylinders. The dredger can also discharge to a land facility via a shore delivery mechanism.

    Another unusual vessel assisting with the programme is MCS ELLY, a dredgehelper, which is a type of workboat cum barge belonging to Scottish-based Maritime Craft Services. The strange little vessel, which sailed from Europe manned by a crew of only three, also carries a pair of cranes fore and aft plus a 100-tonne anchor handling winch and a 70t donkey winch, making her a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ (pun intended) versatile workhorse.

    One of the drawbacks of new port security regulations is that the interested members of the public are denied any opportunity of witnessing these unusual but highly efficient vessels at work or on rare occasions on berth. More’s the pity.

    Another interesting arrival in Durban harbour this week, by nature of her cargo, is the MACS Line freighter DIAMOND LAND carrying the first railway lines for the new Gautrain railway under construction between Johannesburg, the OR Tambo Airport and Pretoria. The ship arrived this week and is expected to begin discharging the railway lines on Friday.

    New rail rates raise ire of Ugandan importers

    Ugandan importers are angry at a 10 percent increase in freight tariffs imposed by Rift Valley Railway (RVR).

    The cost of railing a 40ft container from Mombasa to Kampala has been increased from US$2,320 to $2,552, while a 20ft box has increased to $1,408. Although these rates remain significantly lower than for road transport, which averages $3,500 per 20ft container, shippers say the increase is unjustified on the grounds that the rail service remains unpredictable.

    The East African newspaper reported this week that shippers plan to demonstrate in Kampala against RVR increasing the tariffs without any noticeable improvement in service since the company took over the railway one year ago. Shippers say they expect deliveries to be made within one week from Mombasa whereas it now takes between 12 and 14 days (compared with an average of 21 days by the former government-run railway). However, they acknowledged that RVR has managed deliveries within a week on occasion.

    Pic of the day –MADAGASCAR

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The cruise ship MADAGASCAR, soon to be renamed RAZZMATAZZ ahead of a new cruise operation out of Durban – see report above. Picture Terry Hutson

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