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Ports & Ships Maritime News

24 January 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

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

Improve your branding with your banner on this site and tap into our large readership - contact info@ports.co.za


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The crew boat AHUVA, which was built in Cape Town for a Nigerian-based company, seen here returning to base after a photo shoot in Table Bay. Picture by Glen Kasner

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Cyclone Funso this morning at 00h00 UTC, 24 January 2012

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Cyclone Funso’s expected position on Saturday 28 January 2012. Maps www.passageweather.com

Just days after southern and central Mozambique was hit by Cyclone Dando which caused widespread flooding across the country and into the Lowveld of adjoining South Africa, the region is again under threat from another tropical storm – cyclone Funso.

Yesterday the cyclone was situated in the Mozambique Channel but menacing the southeastern coast of Africa with potentially damaging winds and flooding rain as the week progresses, according to meteorologist Evan Duffey.

At that stage Cyclone Funso was 75 miles off the Mozambique coast opposite Moma and Pebane, with sustained winds of over 105 mph being recorded and moving east away from the coast at 2 knots. Forecasters said the wind strength would increase during the week to over 125 mph. The cyclone was moving slowly down the channel in a southerly direction, which has resulted in continuous rain falling in the affected places along the coast. It was thought that as the storm moved further south it wouldn’t pose as much of a threat to land provided the storm held it course.

Another cyclone, Dando, which struck the channel and Mozambique coast earlier this month came ashore close to the city of Maputo, which this Monday (23 January) was still being reported as cut off from the north of Mozambique.

Meanwhile Funso on Sunday was flattening huts and ripping out trees near Pebane, with the town cut off from access to the main road and bridges and other infrastructure at risk. Electricity to the town has been cut off.

Other towns and areas under threat from the storm include the port town of Quelimane, Angoche, Chinde, Inhambane, Vilanculos, Cheline, and Massinga, each at varying risk.

Radio Mozambique said on Sunday that in the southern province of Gaza about 5,000 people had been affected by flooding. The victims were from the provincial capital Xai Xai and in the districts of Guija, Chokwe and Chibuto. Roads were made impassable and rivers were flooding, the report said. The main north-south highway had been cut off leaving hundreds of cars stranded.

In Maputo province the flooding was said to be a result of rains and also the opening of floodgates on the South African Pongola Dam to the south.

Sources: Tropical Storm Risk (TSR), http://metzone.weathersa.co.za, www.passageweather.com

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Dear readers

As you well know, seaports are the lifeblood of the African economy, with over 90% of the continent's trade passing through its ports. Maintaining and expanding the ports infrastructure is necessary not only to allow this trade to continue, but to allow it to grow rapidly, is a massive challenge. Dredging, of course, plays an integral role in port maintenance and expansion and with the number of dredging projects in Africa increasing, so are the associated challenges and opportunities.

It is for these reasons that IQPC has decided to launch a Dredging event in Africa, following in the footsteps of our enormously successful conferences in Australia and Singapore. The agenda for the conference has just been finalised; please

click here

to view the full speaker list and the agenda.

Taking place from 30 January - 02 February 2012 in Durban, South Africa, the event will cover:

  • Fast- tracking the environmental approvals process

  • Completing dredging projects on time and within budget

  • Complying with environmental regulations and approval processes to avoid project delays

  • The latest dredging techniques and technologies being employed worldwide and the associated capital dredging projects
  • Visit the event website by

    clicking here

    for more information.

    Kind regards
    Michael Meadon
    Conference Director

    Dredging Africa 2012

    P.S. First Five to register will receive a

    15% discount off

    the full event price.

    To register

    click here

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    Queen Mary 2 in SydneyHarbour

    With the arrival in South African waters yesterday of the world’s greatest ocean liner, QUEEN MARY 2 (see yesterday’s News Report), it is perhaps fitting to report on the Cunard flagship’s major refurbishment that was undertaken just prior to her departure from Southampton for a number of Atlantic crossings followed by the World Cruise.

    The refurbishment took place at the Blohm & Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, from 24 November to 6 December 2011, with work undertaken in all staterooms and suites, the Canyon Ranch Spa Club, the Queens Grill and Princess Grill Restaurants, the Commodore Club, the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar, Sir Samuel’s Bar and Lounge and the children’s Play Zone.

    The popular Golden Lion Pub also was completely redesigned. Tillberg Design Company who were involved in Queen Mary 2’s original concept, were engaged by Cunard to develop the new designs.

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    The popular Golden Lion pub

    “Queen Mary 2 is an iconic leader in the world of luxury ocean travel and consistently receives high ratings by guests and the cruise industry. A ship that still turns heads everywhere she goes, she is unquestionably the pride of our fleet,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “We are committed to maintaining that impeccable reputation, and this significant refurbishment is an important investment on behalf of our guests.”

    A special new portrait of Her Majesty the Queen was unveiled in honour of her role in launching Queen Mary 2 in 2004. The commissioned oil painting - which will be displayed in the Grand Lobby - depicts The Queen during her final visit to Queen Elizabeth 2 in Southampton on 2 June 2008, and was painted by Gail Graham, an art director of The European magazine. This will be the second portrait of Her Majesty on board a Cunard ship. A specially-commissioned portrait of Her Majesty also hangs in the Grand Lobby of the Line’s newest ship, QUEEN ELIZABETH she also launched in October 2010.

    “Her Majesty has named four Cunard ships: Caronia (1947), Queen Elizabeth 2 (1967), Queen Mary 2 (2004) and Queen Elizabeth (2010),” said Shanks. “We had a magnificent Cunard-commissioned portrait of her by Sir Oswald Birley which originally hung on Caronia and then aboard QE2, and we have the celebrated official portrait of Her Majesty on board Queen Elizabeth which was painted last year by Isabel Peachey. So, it is with great pleasure that we extend this tradition to our flagship, Queen Mary 2, today.”

    “Not only is it a honour to receive a commission for a painting of The Queen, it is a particular honour to receive one for a portrait which will hang in such a significant location aboard Queen Mary 2. Most of my portraits are in private hands, so it is gratifying that this will be seen by so many,” said artist Gail Graham.

    Queen Mary 2’s 14-day refit required a team of thousands of workers replacing the equivalent of almost ten football fields of carpet and manufacturing about 18 miles of fabric into over 6,000 individual items.

    Specific details of her refurbishments include:

  • Staterooms – All 1,310 staterooms and suites aboard Queen Mary 2 received a fresh look with new carpeting, curtains, bedspreads and some received new furniture. The revised design is in keeping with current concepts, but with an enhanced sense of comfort, as can be experienced in luxury hotels around the world.

  • Golden Lion Pub – With its increasingly popular traditional British pub lunch menus, busy bar, exciting sports events and nightly music offerings, the Pub has benefitted from a complete refurbishment and redesign to enhance its endearing appeal. The new design retains the British pub atmosphere with warm colours and plush seating in keeping with the same venues aboard sister ships QUEEN VICTORIA and Queen Elizabeth. Upgraded plasma television screens also have been installed.

  • Canyon Ranch Spa Club – An extensive refurbishment of the first Canyon Ranch Spa Club at sea included reconditioning the teak surrounds of the hydrotherapy pool and adjacent wet areas and a general upgrade of all the facilities. In addition, new exercise machines in the fitness centre and new and improved features in the Beauty Salon have been installed.

  • Queens Grill and Princess Grill Restaurants – A new, lighter carpet design for both of Queen Mary 2’s exclusive Grill restaurants will enhance the existing ambience as guests get decked out to experience the finest dining at sea.

  • Commodore Club – One of the most popular public rooms on board, this lounge overlooking the ship’s bow has been refreshed with a new carpet design and additions to the white leather furnishings of chairs, sofas and bar stools.

  • Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar – This venue featuring the exquisite Veuve Clicquot brand of champagne has a new carpet and new soft furnishings.

  • Sir Samuel’s – This busy venue, which features specialty coffees during the day and an impressive menu of wines at night, received new carpeting and furniture coverings.

  • The Play Zone – These facilities for younger guests underwent a complete refurbishment, including new soft play areas, plus upgrades including the very latest in electronic gaming technology and entertainment.
  • Queen Mary 2 was recently named the world’s Top Large Resort Ship in the 2012 Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising. By continuing to invest in both her technical and hotel areas as well as retaining the status of having the largest ballroom at sea, the only planetarium at sea, the first Todd English Restaurant at sea, the first Canyon Ranch Spa Club at sea and the largest library at sea, Cunard will ensure a consistently enchanting experience for its guests. To see more details and photos about the refit process, visit Cunard Line's award-winning blog, www.wearecunard.com.

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    The Queen’s Room on board Queen Mary 2

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    An aerial view of the salvage operations. The green, blue and orange vessel is an anchor handling tug. She provided additional lift in case the dredger became stuck on the seabed. Picture courtesy SAMSA

    The Chinese owned and built backactor dredger JIN HANG BO 53 (named by SAMSA as the JIN TAI) sank in the Port of Ngqura during dredging operations in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2012. There were no lives lost nor any injuries.

    The dredger sank in shallow waters next to the extensions to the container terminal, and was left with part of the vessel showing above water. After protracted preparations the salvage of the sunken dredger met with success this past weekend when on Sunday, 22 January at 16h00 the dredger was refloated to the surface. SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) said in a statement yesterday that the salvage team from Smit Amandla Marine consisting of marine master mariners, marine engineers, naval architects, salvage divers and maritime surveyors all contributed to the sequence of plugging openings, sealing compartments, calculating the different stability criteria and making the vessel watertight for a safe salvage.

    “The first priority was for the fuel and hydraulic oil tanks to be discharged ashore thereby minimising any threat of oil pollution. Engine room, workshop, other tanks and void spaces had to be pumped out, providing buoyant lift to the dredger’s hull for floating.”

    One of the three uprights (dredging support spuds) remains stuck in the seabed as the support cable is broken. Suitable repairs are being carried out in order to raise the spuds for stowing.

    The red & white backactor arm and digging bucket, weighing approximately 250 tons, is being supported in the spoil barge’s hopper. This extended arm & bucket has a huge destabillising force if not supported at full extension.

    The next job calls for specialised cleaning and maintenance teams to commence cleaning the interior and flushing the machinery and engines to preserve them. Some machinery is being made functional in order to correctly stow the backactor into the transportation position, aft to forward along the centreline, said Captain Nigel Campbell, executive manager, SAMSA Southern Region.

    “SAMSA’s involvement in the mitigation of pollution and of wreck removal is now completed.”

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    The refloated dredger with her hopper barge at left helping support the red and white backactor arm. Picture courtesy SAMSA

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    Wood chipping plants at the port of Richards Bay in South Africa. Picture courtesy TNPA

    Maputo – A factory to process logs as wood chips for export is due to be set up near the port of Maputo by a Japanese-Mozambican company called Sojitz Maputo Celulose Limitada (Somacel), the Japanese embassy in Mozambique announced.

    According to a statement from the embassy, the project is expected to cost around US$10 million and will produce wood chips that are used for paper production.

    For that purpose, Somacel plans to buy unprocessed wood on the domestic market and from the South African province of Mpumalanga and to make use of eucalyptus plantations in Swaziland for wood chip production.

    When the project goes ahead it will be the first of its kind in Mozambique.

    The new facility will have an annual production capacity of around 200,000 tons of wood chips for manufacturing paper in Japan.(macauhub)

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    Norwegian shipping company Sigurd Herlofsen & Co’s freighter BLACK OSPREY (8640-dwt, built 1960) seen entering Durban harbour circa 1970 during the period when she was on charter to Safmarine. Picture by Trevor Jones

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic Ellerman’s Hall Line CITY OF GUILDFORD (4945-gt, built 1957), looking somewhat in need of TLC and with smokestack colours that may look unusual to some readers, the maple leaf depicting a ship in service on the South Africa – Canada trade. Here the City of Guildford arrives off Durban in February 1974. Picture by Trevor Jones

    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

    Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all southern African ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Mombasa on the East Coast?

    Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.

    Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.


    South Africa’s most comprehensive Directory of Maritime Services is now listed on this site. Please check if your company is included. To sign up for a free listing contact info@ports.co.za or register online