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Ports & Ships Maritime News

29 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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Preceded by the tug SALVAGE CHAMPION, the accommodation crane barge LANCELOT approaches the entrance to the port of Cape Town yesterday. Picture by Glen Kasner

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Maersk and Safmarine add 12th ship to Asia-West Africa FEW2 service

Maersk Line’s FEW2 service which it shares with its subsidiary company Safmarine has added a 12th ship to the weekly service to compensate for planned slow steaming on the return leg between Walvis Bay and Tanjung Pelepas.

As a result the rotation is now completed in 84 days instead of 77 days. The port rotation remains unchanged.

Hapag-Lloyd bucks the trend

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Hapag-Lloyd’s Osaka Express

German container carrier Hapag- Lloyd has somehow found a way to trade profitably despite all the doom and gloom from other container lines and has posted a US$133 million profit for 2011 while other lines around it are reporting huge losses.

It’s not all rosy for Hapag-Lloyd though – profits dropped 83% from $770 million in 2010.

Hanjin to take delivery of first of nine 13,000-TEU ships

South Korean container line Hanjin Shipping is due to take delivery of the first of nine 13,092-TEU container ships from the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard. The HANJIN SOOHOO will enter service on the line’s Asia – Europe CKHY Alliance NE6 service commencing 1 April 2012.

The second and third ships in the series, HANJIN ASIA and HANJIN EUROPE are due for delivery on 15 April and 6 May. They will replace 9,000-TEU ships currently on Hanjin’s service that will be re-deployed elsewhere.

German Navy ship to visit Durban

A German Navy ship, the FGS LUEBECK F214, a type 122 or Bremen class frigate is due in Durban on 6 March 2012. The ship has recently completed a deployment with the European EUNAVFOR naval force on anti-piracy patrol (Operation Atalanta) off the coast of Somalia and is apparently returning home the long way round Africa.

FGS Luebeck displaces 3,800 tonnes and carries a crew of about 200. The ship entered service in 1990, the eighth of her class. She sails from Durban later that day and will presumably call next at Simon’s Town or Cape Town.

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Last month FGS Luebeck was involved in the interception of an Arab dhow which was in the hands of Somali pirates and which had been used earlier that day in an attack on a Dutch pipe-laying ship, the FLINTSTONE (21,401-gt, built 2011). Skiffs from the mothership launched an attack on the pipe-layer.

You can read that account in PORTS & SHIPS HERE - use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.

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Two hostages are killed in rescue bid

Two people being held hostage by Somali pirates died during a rescue bid involving a Danish warship, the ABSALON which is currently deployed with NATO’s counter- piracy task force Ocean Shield.

A Danish Navy spokesman said in Copenhagen last night that the warship succeeded in freeing 16 other hostages after intercepting a dhow which had been highjacked by the pirates. When the pirates ignored instructions to halt the Absalon opened fire, the spokesman said.

"Two hostages were found seriously wounded, and even with speedy assistance from the Absalon's doctor, their lives could not be saved," the navy said in a statement.

Seventeen pirates were taken into custody and will remain on the warship until Denmark can determine where to hand them over for possible prosecution.

Ship is highjacked

A merchant ship is reported to have been highjacked about 120 n.miles south of the Omani port of Salalah. Details are sketchy but three attempted attacks or suspicious approaches were made against shipping along the Oman southern coast during the previous 24 hours.

The attack mentioned above took place on 28 February in position 15:01N - 054:56E at 12h06 local time.

Meanwhile an alert has been issued for the Bab el Mandeb Strait after a bulk carrier was reportedly approached by a group of ten skiffs at 04h30 local time on 27 February in position 12:29N – 043:41E.

Reports suggest nine skiffs approached from the starboard side and one from port, but were ultimately deterred by a series of warning shots fired from the vessel.

The incident followed a similar unsuccessful attack in the vicinity on 15 February, when a chemical tanker was approached by a group of seven skiffs.

Vessels were first 'swarmed' by large groups of skiffs attempting to overpower vessels in the Gulf of Aden and the Bab el Mandeb Strait in 2011; the tactic is likely to be repeated as pirates attempt to overcome the low success rates achieved in recent months.

The Bab el Mandeb Strait marks the southern approaches to the Red Sea separating it from the Gulf of Aden. It is bordered by Yemen on the north coast and Eritrea and Djibouti in the southwest.

Further afield a container ship reported being approached by three suspicious skiffs in position 26:08.9N - 056:42.1E at the northern approaches to the Strait of Hormuz on 25 February. The attack was aborted following warning shots fired from the vessel's on-board security team.

Attacks have been recorded further south in the strategic waterway in recent weeks; and this latest incident is the most northerly attack recorded to date. Three attacks were recorded in the Gulf of Oman in January, the most northerly of which was around 40 n.miles south of the latest attack.

Vessels in the area are being warned that attempted attacks and suspicious approaches are likely to continue in the northern Arabian Sea, and possibly the Strait of Hormuz in the coming months as pirates adapt tactics in light of falling success rates and improved security on merchant vessels. Source GAC

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Costa Allegra, under tow and without power south of the Seychelles

The COSTA ALLEGRA cruise ship was yesterday taken in tow by a large French fishing vessel, the TREVIGNON which probably makes this to be the biggest catch of the year.

This followed the cruise ship being incapacitated by an engine room generator fire while voyaging between Port Louis in Mauritius and Italy. Costa Allegra had completed a summer cruise season sailing from Mauritius to Madagascar and the Seychelles, and was on a repositioning voyage back to Italy with 636 passengers and 413 crew.

It was initially planned to disembark the passengers at the island of Desroches but this has now been abandoned, said a Costa spokesman, because it is feared the island lacks the facilities to cater for a large number of people.

“The disembarkation in Desroches does not assure the necessary and adequate security conditions for mooring the ship and guests’ disembarkation. In addition, logistics and hotels on the island are not enough,” the Costa Cruises spokesman said.

Meanwhile a helicopter was flown from Mahe to ferry food and communication supplies to the ship, while a Seychelles Coastguard aircraft has been deployed to patrol the area in case of pirates.

Argentina bars cruise ships from docking

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Star Princess, barred from landing at Ushuaia because the ship is seen as British. Picture Princess Cruises

Provincial authorities in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province have refused permission for a cruise ship, the STAR PRINCESS of Princess Cruises, which is flying the flag of Bermuda, from docking in the picturesque port and town of Ushuia, saying that Bermuda is an overseas territory belonging to the United Kingdom.

Tensions have heightened partly as a result of the 30th anniversary of the 1982 war between Britain and the Argentine but have been made worse by oil exploration taking place involving British companies in the seas surrounding the Falklands, which are claimed by Argentina.

Meanwhile, Argentina has prevented a second UK-associated cruise ship, P&O Cruises’ ADONIA from calling at Ushuaia.

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Deepwater Millennium undergoing modifications and upgrades at the port of Ngqura, where the unoccupied quay which was built to handle bulk (manganese) and breakbulk cargo lends itself for ship repair. Picture by World Maritime News

Transocean’s DEEPWATER MILLENNIUM vessel recently left the Port of Ngqura near Port Elizabeth after undergoing a number of upgrades and modifications by DCD Marine.

The Deepwater Millennium vessel is a Samsung/Reading & Bates designed, dynamically positioned drillship capable of drilling in water depths up to 2,468 metres (upgradable to 3,048 metres) and to depths of 10,000 metres below the sea surface.

DCD Marine has an established track record with regard to upgrades of a similar magnitude on vessels in the same class. Not only were they able to competently and expeditiously carry out the specified work packages, but they also have experience in working in the Port of Ngqura, having recently completed work on the Odfjell drilling rig, Deepsea Stavanger.

The Port of Ngqura was selected due to the fact that, not only it is on the direct path of the Deepwater Millennium’s final destination in Mozambique, but also because it has a draft of 16 metres, which is suited to the vessel’s minimum required depth of 15 metres.

“Transocean were amply satisfied with the facilities made available by DCD Marine to undertake the required modifications,” says Gerry Klos – General Manager of DCD Marine.

The Deepwater Millennium arrived in port on 16 November 2011. Work then began in earnest on the project, which was carefully scheduled between the completion of the vessel’s last contract and the commencement of its new contract off the Mozambique coastline.

The scope of the project included the manufacture and installation of new lifeboat davits and the lifeboat platforms. DCD Marine was also responsible for the painting and coating of the decks and the installation of temporary living quarters (TLQ).

On a more technical level, DCD Marine installed a reverse osmosis system for the supply of fresh water; installed HiPAP (High Precision Acoustic Positioning) valves and replaced sea valves and pipes. In addition to the original work specified in the tender, DCD Marine was also awarded a number of smaller work packages as the project advanced.

DCD Marine is no stranger to adverse and challenging working conditions as is evidenced by its project portfolio over the years. “We firmly believe in approaching each project with a high degree of enthusiasm and professionalism. We evaluate the specific challenges and requirements of each project and find innovative ways of tackling any issues that may arise both before the project starts as well as during its active stages,” says Klos.

Both Klos and John Hill, Project Manager at Transocean agree that the timing of the project in itself proved challenging. “This is without a doubt the most difficult time of the year to ensure that employees remain motivated, as most people are winding down their working year and embarking on annual leave. However, we managed to keep on track and our employees did a sterling job in spite of this. Underlining their commitment to working hard and smart, the team managed to achieve an extremely commendable zero-injury rating for the duration of the project,” says Klos.

A total of 372,571 man hours was clocked on the project and included 110,751 directly from DCD Marine’s employees; 98,428 hours from DCD-appointed sub-contractors and 163,392 hours from Transocean and Transocean-appointed sub-contractors. A total of 1,661 people underwent induction in order to prepare them for the expected challenges on the project.

“Another challenge we faced was the mobilisation of our workforce and workshop facilities to a remote location outside Port Elizabeth. In spite of the fact that we worked from temporary, mobile facilities we were still able to maintain the high levels of quality work that DCD Marine is synonymous with in this tough and competitive industry,” Klos adds.

Klos points out that the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is very strict about the environmental implications of having vessels/rigs in the port and environmental surveys were conducted prior to vessel arrival and for the duration of the project. “There was regular liaison between the port’s environmental officials, DCD Marine and Transocean to ensure that the required regulations were adhered to and that the stipulated parameters were not exceeded. We were very impressed with the Port Manager, Captain Chetty, and his staff on the professional services rendered by them and the positive contribution they made in ensuring a successful project.” says Klos.

Klos also added that the representative unions, NUMSA and UASA, supported the project from the word ‘go’, and played a major role in ensuring a safe, stable and productive workforce during the course of the project.

A month prior to vessel arrival, the Transocean project team spent time at the recently upgraded A-Berth facility in the Port of Cape Town before relocating to the Port of Ngqura. “The revamp of the A-Berth facility is a positive move and is conducive to oil and gas industry projects in terms of the facilities available, such as the laydown area and offices,” says Project Manager at Transocean John Hill.

“Working with DCD was a positive experience. They displayed good management of the project as a whole. I have a lot of respect for the Project Team and would not hesitate to recommend DCD Marine as the main contractor on our next rig/vessel upgrade. In addition, I would be more than happy to use the Port of Ngqura as the destination port,” Hill concludes. Source World Maritime News - use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.

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The grade 11 Maritime learners pictured with Ms Thato Tsautse and Mr Senzo Nxumalo

On Monday this week, 27 February, Ms Thato Tsautse, the CEO of SAASOA (South African Association of Ship Operators and Agents) visited Durban’s New Forest High School, one of only a handful of schools throughout South Africa that is offering maritime studies to high school learners.

She spent time with the Grade 11 Maritime class and also met with some matric Maritime learners and addressed the FET (Grade 10 – 12) learners regarding the importance of the maritime industry in KZN – more especially, Durban. She encouraged learners to pursue careers in the industry.

During her visit and on behalf of SAASOA Ms Tsautse handed over a cheque for R19 000.00 to be used for the funding of the Maritime Department at New Forest High School. The learners attending the school are afforded a unique opportunity to study and also to complete the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers Understanding Shipping course.

The principal Mrs C Pet and the Maritime Studies teacher Mr Senzo Nxumalo afterwards expressed their appreciation to Thato Tsautse and to SAASOA for their support of New Forest High School’s Maritime Department.

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The oil and chemical products tanker PORT UNION (46,256-dwt, built 2003) seen arriving in port at Cape Town. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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