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Ports & Ships Maritime News

22 February 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

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

57,105 readers and over one million hits were recorded on PORTS & SHIPS during January 2012 – thank you readers. Just another good reason to consider advertising your company or services on these pages. info@ports.co.za for details

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MSC MELODY sailed from Cape Town on Monday (20 February) after her final cruise season in South African waters. The elegant and well-loved ship is being replaced next summer by the larger MSC Sinfonia, currently cruising out of Durban. Guests from the Cape region will now have the opportunity to experience a totally new product from their home port.

To take MSC Sinfonia’s place offering cruising out of Durban comes MSC OPERA, bringing two giant luxury ships to sail in South African waters for the first time – a sure indication just how much South Afrians have taken to cruising as a preferred means of holidaying.

MSC Melody is meanwhile on her way back to Italy, an 18-night cruise of relaxation and being pampered for those on board. Farewell Melody, a well loved and comfortable ship.

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9,200-TEU ships such as MSC Pamela, seen here at Felixstowe, may be further cascaded as MSC grows its fleet.

MSC may overtake Maersk in battle for giant box ships to gain market share, reports Schednet.

MSC took delivery of its 43rd ship above 11,500 TEU capacity earlier this month in a bid to realise its goal of operating a full fleet of 11,500- to 14,000-TEU vessels on all four of its Far East-Europe/Mediterranean strings by the end of March, Schednet quoted Alphaliner as saying.

The report said the carrier will from then onwards be able to deploy ships above 12,500 TEU on its four Far East-Europe/Med strings, with the remaining 11,500-TEU containerships displaced by the latest newbuildings.

According to the article, MSC's fleet of owned giant box ships exceeds that of the Maersk Line's fleet, with the latter possessing 21 ships of above 11,500 TEU, much fewer than MSC's 43 units.

MSC is scheduled to take delivery of even more giant containerships, which will raise the number of 11,500- to 14,000-TEU vessels in the MSC fleet to 56 by the end of the year. Within this total, 52 vessels will be bigger than 12,500 TEU.

On the other hand, Maersk will receive the first of its giant Triple-E ships in early 2013. “This gives MSC an edge to increase its market share substantially this year, mainly at the expense of Maersk,” said Alphaliner.

It forecasts that by the end of 2012, MSC will have a surplus of 13 vessels ranging in size from 11,500-14,000 TEU "for which it has not yet unveiled any plans, although the most likely destination is the Far East-Europe trade," it said.

The report added that the “expected introduction of new tonnage by MSC on the Far East-Europe route could boost the carrier's capacity share from 15.5 percent to around 17.5 percent by the end of the year. According to this scenario, Maersk's share of market capacity would be reduced from 23.6 percent to 21 percent over the same period.” Source Schednet and Alphaliner

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Safmarine Chilka

Shipping line Safmarine has announced the delivery of the 4500-TEU SAFMARINE CHILKA, the first of three new Safmarine-branded WAFMAX containerships to join the AP Moller-Maersk fleet in 2012.

The vessel has been purpose-built for the trade with Africa and has been deployed on the Far East – Africa trade.

The Safmarine Chilka – which has a crew complement of nine – is also the first of a series of container vessels from Hyundai Heavy Industries to be fitted with super long-stroke main engines and a waste heat recovery system to reduce emissions and save fuel.

According to Grant Daly, Safmarine CEO, twenty-three new Safmarine-branded vessels have joined the AP Moller-Maersk fleet since 2004, which he said represents a significant investment in the Safmarine brand.

“Not only are these vessels an example of the AP Moller-Maersk Group’s commitment to growing and strengthening the Safmarine brand and our trade with Africa, but they are also among the most modern in the industry today, thanks to new technology which is far kinder to the environment.”

The new ship features a white hull, a distinctive feature of all Safmarine containerships.

“Using environmentally-friendly paints to paint our ships white is not only a characteristic of all Safmarine container vessels, but it also benefits energy conservation as it lowers the ambient temperature in the holds where reefer boxes are carried – and this means less energy is needed for cooling and less electricity consumed,” Daly said.

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Nina P fire – bulker safe in port

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The Greek-owned and managed bulk carrier NINA P which had an engine room fire near Mauritius last week. Picture Geir Vinnes/Shipspotting

The Greek bulk carrier NINA P, which suffered an engine room fire on 13 February, has been towed into Port Louis, Mauritius by the Five Oceans Salvage tug, CORAL SEA FOS.

Coral Sea FOS recently took up ‘residence’ at Port Louis where Five Oceans’ decided to base her and was first on hand to respond when the call for assistance went out from the stricken bulker.

There are no reports of any injuries to crew on board the Nina P.

See our earlier report of 16 February Engine room fire cripples bulker Nina P near Mauritius - use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.

Coin to commemorate the Titanic

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The Royal Mint (UK) has released a Titanic £5 coin in remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the historic ships’ maiden voyage in 1912, which will be marked on the 8 March. Designed by Royal Mint engraver, Lee Robert Jones, the coin commemorates a maritime legend, the sinking of the ‘unsinkable’, RMS TITANIC.

The coin depicts the profile of RMS Titanic with the goddess Thane looking down on the ship as the Titanic sails through the Atlantic ocean. Erected on 26th June 1920 as a memorial to all those who died, the marble figure of the goddess stands in Belfast, home of the Harland and Wolff shipyard, the biggest in the world at the time, where Titanic was built.

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Walvis Bay Container Terminal

Volumes along all the Walvis Bay Corridors have hit a record high of more than 63,000 tonnes for the month of January 2012, reports Namib Times.

The report describes this as a significant growth of cargo volumes along the TransKalahari, TransCaprivi and TransCunene Corridors respectively. From a mere ten trucks a day that left the Port of Walvis Bay seven years ago to other SADC countries, more than 1,000 vehicles are now entering or leaving the Port of Walvis Bay on a monthly basis.

Although some markets such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and DRC have experienced stronger growth than the other markets, a growth factor has been seen with all the Corridor markets for the past six months. The Botswana and Gauteng (South Africa) markets are growing slowly, with the variety of commodities being expanded along these corridors. Imports and exports for Malawi via Walvis Bay are also on the increase, as this market also offers an immense possibility of attracting commodities such as tobacco to be transported via the Namibian port. The Angolan market also showed an increase during the past 6 months as more types of commodities are being transported via Walvis Bay destined for Southern Angola.

In support of this growth and development, the Walvis Bay Corridor Group is in the process of expanding its regional and international footprint to ensure a stronger market presence to grow its market share. An international information campaign will be implemented during the course of the year to the various international markets such as Europe, Brazil, China and India to create awareness and inform decision makers in these markets on the opportunities that Walvis Bay can offer to potential shippers in the transport and logistics industry.

The port is also experiencing an increasing number of freight forward and other logistics companies that are setting up in Walvis Bay to take advantage of the growing market share. Source – Namib Times

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Looking down across the Malilongue district. Picture KRE

Australian company Kimberley Rare Earths (KRE) says it has discovered rare earth deposits, “with high industrial potential,” in the Malilongue region, in western Mozambique about 300km west of the regional mining centre of Tete.

The site is close to Mozambique’s border with Zambia in Tete province and has good access via a sealed highway and major arterial dirt roads. In addition Tete is now serviced by SAA on a daily basis from Johannesburg using 737 aircraft with a flight duration lasting just one hour.

The regional centre of Tete is currently experiencing boom times following the development of coal mines in the area by Brazil’s Vale and US company Rio Tinto which recently took over Australian mining company Riversdale which with Vale has initiated coal mining in the Tete province. The known coal deposits here are among the largest in the world.

The mining site of Malilongue is about 60km from a village named Fingoe which has reliable grid power, mobile phone coverage and good shopping facilities. The Cahora Bassa hydro-electric power facility is located within the Tete district and the government has successfully supplied cheap grid power to many of the villages in the area. An extension line to Malilongue has been promised should a substantial project develop there.

KRE said that prospecting carried out with its partner Great Western Mining (GWM), based on flights carried out in 2008, proved the potential existence of rare earths in the area.

A sample extracted from the eluvial beds was subjected to mineralogical examination by scanning electron microscope and found to comprise major xenotime and minor monazite and zircon. In addition to yttrium, the xenotime shows appreciable dysprosium and erbium. Scanning electron micrograph shows extensive yttrium matrix.

Rare earths or metals are a group of 17 metals described as light or heavy based on their position in the periodic table of elements and have high technology applications, for example, aerospace components, lasers, superconductors and magnets.

The area in Tete Province is currently being exploited commercially by both GWM and by artisanal miners for topaz, aquamarine and amazonite gemstones of exceptional quality. The pegmatite field extends along the eastern margin of the intrusive over an area measuring 7km by 3km. Over 65 separate artisanal workings have been recorded within the tenements all exploiting either bedrock pegmatites or shallow alluvial/eluvial deposits.

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Maersk Line’s container ship MAERSK KENDALL enters Cape Town harbour earlier this month. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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