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Ports & Ships Maritime News

23 January 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002

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Another look at the impressive Norwegian newbuild drill ship DEEPSEA METRO II (51,283-gt, built 2011) which called at Cape Town earlier in January. Note how the attending harbour tugs appear dwarfed. Picture by Aad Noorland

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Maydon Wharf 12 which is to be deepened and strengthened for container handling, with a container ship alongside berth 11 using ship’s own gear. Picture courtesy TNPA

Six mobile cranes ordered by Transnet last week from Liebherr Werks Nenzing will become a part of Transnet Port Terminal’s (TPT) Durban Ro-Ro and Maydon Wharf Terminal’s R438.3 million investment in container handling equipment.

The agreement covers design, fabrication, delivery, erection, testing and commissioning of the cranes.

The two terminals, which mainly handle bulk, agri-bulk and Roll-On Roll-Off (Ro-Ro) cargo, have experienced a steady increase in container volumes. These containers are currently handled using vessel-mounted cranes and yard trucks such as reach stackers.

The enhancement in container-handling capacity will complement the Durban Container Terminal’s (DCT) existing capacity and TPT says that positive spinoffs will include reduction in vessel delays and improved service offering.

The Ro-Ro Terminal at the Point has two berths with sufficient draught and quay wall strength to load and off-load containers. At Maydon Wharf work has commenced at an additional berth identified at berth 12 which is being prepared for container handling. This includes strengthening the quay wall and deepening its draft.

Container ships using own gear have however been making use of the Maydon Wharf breakbulk terminal at berths 10 and 11.

“The investment in these assets is part of our aggressive drive to improve infrastructure and facilities at all our terminals," says Karl Socikwa, Chief Executive of Transnet Port Terminals.

“During the course of the current financial year, we bought seven tandem lift ship-to shore cranes which will be delivered at the Durban Container Terminal’s Pier 2 late in 2012. These are the largest of their kind deployed at any container terminal in the Southern Hemisphere,” he said.

Also, TPT has recently taken delivery of two cranes which are currently being assembled at the Ngqura Container Terminal, adding to that terminal’s existing fleet of six mega-max ship-to-shore cranes.

In total, in the last nine months TPT has bought 15 cranes for container-handling throughout its terminals as part of its accelerated fleet renewal programme – a key element of the company’s efficiency improvement drive.

“Over and above the business impact, the contract for the six mobile cranes will contribute to the Department of Public Enterprises’ Supplier Development Programme (SDP). In the contract, we have committed with Liebherr to implement local Supplier Development initiatives for a period of five years to ensure that in future South African companies will have the competence and expertise to manufacture component parts as well as fully-assembled cranes and other specialised maritime equipment,” Socikwa said.

SDP initiatives agreed upon are the transfer of know-how on the manufacture of capital spares to local companies, job creation and job preservation, skills transfer in respect of the new jobs created directly as a result of this contract and localisation initiatives including the use of local suppliers in Liebherr’s supply chain as well as feasibility studies to assess the suitability of local suppliers for the manufacture of capital spares / components. Source TPT

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The French Navy helicopter carrier FS MISTRAL – South Africa does not have an order for one, says defence minister Sisulu

Johannesburg – Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, has described allegations that South Africa was to procure a warship as wrong, unfair and unethical.

Last week the Citizen newspaper claimed that a programme had been established to procure a warship that could operate ‘more than a dozen helicopters’ and ‘vertical take-off jets’.

It alleged that President Jacob Zuma had personally authorised the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to acquire an aircraft carrier as part of a project codenamed ‘Project Millennium’.

Briefing reporters in Johannesburg on Friday, Sisulu said: “I know nothing about the procurement of a warship, so that headline in the Citizen … was misleading, unethical, unfair and wrong, we need to put that on record.”

She said the department would approach the Press Ombudsman about the matter. “We are expecting the Citizen to apologise to us.”

The newspaper claimed that the project could potentially cost more than the four frigates bought in the controversial arms deal. The ships were apparently due to be sourced from France, Germany or the Netherlands. – BuaNews

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Queen Mary 2 off Cape Town 25 March 2010. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Cunard’s flagship QUEEN MARY 2, the largest, longest, tallest, widest and most expensive liner ever built makes her third call at Cape Town tomorrow, Tuesday 24 January. Queen Mary 2 will arrive in the Mother City from Walvis Bay at 8am and sails again on Thursday, 26 January at 6pm.

Queen Mary 2 will berth on the Eastern Mole, Duncan Dock.

After sailing on Thursday the liner will head for her next port of call at Durban, where she arrives at 6am on Saturday 28 January, departing later the same day at 6pm. In Durban Queen Mary 2 will berth at O/P Shed on the T-Jetty.

She will not be open to the public at either port.

Queen Mary 2 entered service on 12 January 2004 after being named by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, at what was the most spectacular naming ceremony ever, four days earlier.

Everything about Queen Mary 2 can be described as superlative and she offers a host of ‘firsts’ and exclusives. 79% of cabins feature private balconies. There is artwork worth over £3.5 million on board. The world’s first floating Planetarium offers virtual reality rides through the galaxies. A cultural academy is operated by the University of Oxford. She offers the first suites with private lift access, the first Canyon Ranch Spa at sea, the first Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar at sea, the largest library at sea (with 8,000 hardbacks, 500 paperbacks, 200 audio books and 100 CD Roms, the largest ballroom with the largest dance-floor at sea, workshops and master classes performed by RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts), the longest jogging track at sea and the largest and most extensive wine cellar at sea.

And if that’s not enough, the Queen Mary 2 illuminated signs below the funnel are the largest illuminated ship’s name signs in maritime history!

She has a passenger capacity of 2,620 lower berths which gives a space ratio per passenger of 57.25, making her the most spacious of the world’s larger passenger ships.

The ship’s design features classic Cunard hallmarks such as grand staircases, expansive promenades, elegant grand restaurants and gracious public rooms of an imposing scale. Queen Mary 2 has 1,310 passenger cabins, of which 77.6% are outside and 72.7 % of the total number of outside cabins features a large balcony.

In the time since she entered service Queen Mary 2 has been making headlines. She has been a crowd-puller at every port she has visited for the first time; almost three million turned out when she sailed up the east coast of England at close range, followed by half a million in Hamburg in August 2005. Reaction to Queen Mary 2 has been overwhelming with passengers rating the ship highly especially when it comes to dining, service and on board facilities – which have no equal at sea today.

Queen Mary 2 has entertained a range of celebrities including Antonio Banderas, Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Whoopi Goldberg, Elizabeth Hurley, Esther Rantzen, Sir Jimmy Savile and The Muppets. Her Royal Court Theatre has been the venue for shows from Dame Shirley Bassey. Jon Bon Jovi, Harry Connick Jnr and Beyonce Knowles while eminent visitors have included Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent, the Rt Hon John Prescott MP, Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, Senator Hilary Clinton, the Prime Ministers of St Lucia and St Vincent and HRH The Sultan of Kelabtan.

She was the flagship vessel at the Athens Olympics where she played host to Queen Sophia of Spain, former President George Bush and Olympic athlete royalty including Great Britain’s gold medal winner Ben Ainslie.

She’s now so famous, in fact, that already six books have been published about her!

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The Grand Lobby on board Queen Mary 2

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Map courtesy IRIN

The Tanzanian government has invited investors to help build a railway from the port of Tanga in northern Tanzania to Musoma on the eastern shores of Lake Victoria, the Tanzanian Daily News reports.

Deputy Minister for Transport, Athuman Mfutakamba said at a press conference that the line would cost an estimated three trillion shillings (US$1.89 billion) to complete. He disclosed this after completing a brief tour of the non-operational Moshi railway station and Kahe sub-station. $700 million was required to rehabilitate and rebuild the Tanga – Arusha section of the line whose services were suspended in 1985, he said.

The deputy minister said that if as expected heavy traffic flowed along the proposed Tanga – Musoma railway line then new port facilities would have to be provided at Musoma at a cost of $76.6 million. Some 50 acres of additional ground would have to be acquired, he added.

“Reviving the railway network in the country is one of the pressing challenges facing the ministry at the moment,” he told reporters, adding that railway services are cheap, reliable and safe compared with road transportation. Tourists prefer travelling by train to buses, he maintained.

Once the railway was completed between Tanga and Musoma, branch lines would be extended to Lake Natron and Minjingu to collect soda ash and fertilisers. He called on local leaders at all levels to ensure that existing sections of the railway were left intact. Vandals had been ripping off rails and selling them for scrap, he said.

Tanzania’s rail network consists of 3,676 kilometres of railway line operated by two railway systems, the metre-gauge Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) and the Cape-gauge (1067mm) Tanzania – Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA).

The newspaper reported that as a result of the poor condition of the railway track and ageing rolling stock and locomotives, tonnage freight volumes and passenger numbers have fallen each year from 60% of port cargo in the 1970s to just 7% at present. Source Tanzania Daily News

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Unicorn Tankers chemical products tanker LAVELA (40,100-dwt, built 2010) sailing from Cape Town in December, 2011. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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