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Ports & Ships Maritime News

23 March 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

PORTS & SHIPS has well over 50,000 readers going on site each month and logging up more than one million ‘hits’ in January and over 900,000 in February. We have anticipated that these numbers may drop a little as Ports & Ships moves into its weekly slot, although that doesn’t yet seem to be the case. These numbers indicate the growing success that Ports & Ships is having in reaching out to readers who wish to follow the maritime industry on the African continent.

This is yet another excellent reason to consider placing your company brand on these pages. Contactinfo@ports.co.za for advertising details

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



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It’s 5am and still no sign of the sun as the tiny American cruise ship CLIPPER ODYSSEY (5218-gt, built 1989) slips quietly into Durban for a one-day visit. Up early to capture the moment of arrival was Trevor Steenkamp www.nauticalimages.co.za

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Later that day these next two pictures (above and below) were taken of the cruise ship – which could perhaps be better described as a large yacht – on her berth at Durban’s passenger terminal. Pictures by Trevor Jones

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Port statistics for the month of February 2012 were published on 16 March on the Ports & Ships website and can be found HERE - use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.


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Port of Ngqura officially opened

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Port of Ngqura Container Terminal

Port Elizabeth – The multi-billion port of Ngqura was officially opened on Friday (16 March) by President Jacob Zuma.

More than 15 years in the making, the port has been commercially active for the past two and a half years, having handled the first container ship on 4 October 2009.

The port is adjacent to the Coega Industrial Development Zone and is in Algoa Bay just over 20km from Port Elizabeth. Initially conceived as a port for bulk cargo commodities, a section of the port was instead developed for handling containers, with initially two berths provided in phase 1 with a capacity for 700,00 TEUs. Following the failure to attract an anchor tenant after several false starts the focus has since moved to developing the port as the country’s principal manganese export facility. Neighbouring Port Elizabeth already handles approximately two million tonnes of manganese annually which is expected to transfer over to Ngqura after 2016 when the current leases at Port Elizabeth run out.

The cost of developing the port exceeded R10 billion and according to Transnet National Ports Authority a further R3.2 billion will be invested in developing bulk cargo handling facilities as well as phase 2 of the Ngqura container terminal (a further two berths).

Transnet chairperson Mafika Mkwanazi said Transnet would ensure that the port became as economically viable as those in Richards Bay and Durban.

Confirming the political motivation for the port, a proud President Zuma said “This will indeed end the notion that the Eastern Cape and Ngqura have been ignored. That speculation now needs to go away.”

He said that the planning of Ngqura has been integrated with that of the Coega Development Zone to ensure increased benefits for the province and business. “It has also made it possible for the province to participate in the minerals sector,” said President Zuma.

Transnet Ports Terminal, which was appointed to manage and operate the container terminal, has indicated that Ngqura Container Terminal would focus heavily on attracting transhipment containers. In 2011 the new port handled 525,000 TEUs.


Nersa sets tariffs for Transnet

Pretoria - The National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) has set petroleum pipeline tariffs allowing transport parastatal Transnet a 31.6% increase in allowable revenue for the 2012/13 tariff period.

This amounts to an increase from R1 957.72 million in 2011/12 to R2 575.92 million in 2012/13, the energy regulator said last week. Nersa added that this will strike a satisfactory balance between the various factors that Nersa had to consider.

The parastatal had applied for an 83.3% increase in its allowable revenue that would have resulted in a 12.5 cents a litre increase in inland petroleum product prices. The size of Transnet’s application was attributable largely to the fact that a significant part of its New Multi-Product Pipeline (NMPP) will now be operational for the full tariff period under review.

Transnet’s regulated assets as a consequence will increase from R9.6 billion in 2011/12 to R20 billion in 2012/13.

The transport and logistics company has raised significant debt to fund the NMPP project while it also sought substantial additional funding to satisfy rating agencies that it had enough revenue to cover its debt repayments.

Should the Energy Minister Susan Shabangu decide to use the pipeline tariff as a proxy for the cost of transporting fuel from Durban to Johannesburg, as has been the case in the past, the consequent petrol price rise is expected to be 4 cents per litre which represents a 0.37% increase in the retail price of petrol in Gauteng.

Transnet forecasts an overall 2.5% increase in volumes to be transported in the 2012/13 tariff period. – BuaNews


KZN premier to woo Japanese interest in new Durban dig-out port

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Dr Zweli Mkhize, premier of KZN at a local diwali function

KwaZulu-Natal premier Dr Zweli Mkhize intends targeting Japanese automotive component manufacturers with a view to them investing in manufacturing plants adjacent to the new dig-out port to be built on the site of the old Durban International Airport.

The old airport site is in the Durban South Basin about 10 kilometres south of the existing Durban port. Right on the boundary of where the new port will emerge is the giant Toyota manufacturing plant, the largest in South Africa.

In his State of the Province speech given to the KZN parliament last month Dr Mkhize confirmed that the new port was to go ahead and would create new harbour facilities for the expansion of the oil industry as well as having a facility for a car terminal and an adjacent automotive supplier park. The principal purpose of the new port is the building of a new container terminal in stages with an ultimate 10 million TEU capacity.

The new port is expected to attract investments worth R100 billion over the next 20 years.

Dr Mkhize has been invited to pay Japan a four-day visit to discuss ways of increasing Japan’s direct investment in South Africa.

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A computer-generated impression of what the completed Durban dig-out port on the site of the old international airport might look like. Image courtesy Transnet

Stalwart of the MCLI retires

Stalwart and one of the founders of the Maputo Corridor Liaison Initiative (MCLI), Brenda Horne-Ferreira stepped down from the organisation on 29 February 2012. She intends going into semi retirement in Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces but says she will keep her hand in as a corridor adviser into Africa, taking some of the many lessons she learnt in the MCLI and on the Maputo Corridor.


Heavy slump for Saldanha ore exports in February

Iron ore exports through the port of Saldanha decreased by almost 49% month on month in February this year, reflecting a fall-off in demand principally from China. According to the latest figures released by Transnet the iron ore terminal exported 2.5 million tonnes during the month.

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Capesize bulker loading iron ore at Saldanha. Picture by Terry Hutson


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Maersk reduces level of Asia-West Africa service

Maersk Line has decided to adjust the level of its FEW 1 Asia – West Africa service by converting FEW 1 into what might basically be called a long-range feeder service based on South East Asian hubs at Singapore and Tanjung Pelepas.

FEW1 previously connected China and Hong Kong with calls at Ningbo, Fuqing, Nansha and Hong Kong, before sailing back to Singapore and Tanjung Pelepas and then on to Lome and Cotonou in West Africa. The Chinese and Hong Kong port calls have now been dropped.


US Navy rescues sailors from burning Stolt Valor

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The burning chemical tanker Stolt Valor in the Arabian Sea. Picture US Navy/ released

Arabian Gulf – The guided-missile destroyer USS JOHN PAUL JONES (DDG 53) and US Coast Guard Cutter BARANOF (WPB 1318) were involved in the dramatic rescue of 24 Filipino seafarers from the burning products tanker STOLT VALOR in the Arabian Gulf on 15 March.

Responding to a distress call the destroyer, which is assigned to Task Force 152, was among the first ships to arrive on scene of the tanker, which was in international waters 48 nautical miles southeast of Farsi Island, Iran.

Once on scene, John Paul Jones spotted one of two life rafts signalling with a small light and launched its rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) to investigate. They discovered 16 people in the first life raft and an additional eight mariners in a second life raft.

“We were ready to assist and we were fortunately in the position to help,” said Cmdr Jon Duffy, commanding officer, John Paul Jones.

Stolt Valor’s master confirmed one crew member died during an explosion. The 24 rescued Filipino mariners were in good health and did not require medical assistance. They were provided food, water, and blankets and transferred to the coast guard cutter.

Stolt Valor, a chemical products tanker was carrying approximately 13,000 metric tons of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), which is used to increase oxygen content in petrol to reduce carbon monoxide and ozone levels caused by auto emissions. MTBE is considered soluble, but not biodegradable.

The owners and operator of the ship, Stolt Tankers BV, a subsidiary of Stolt-Nielsen, reported on Thursday (22 March) that the fire on the ship has been contained and that a crew member remains missing. The ship has been declared a total constructive loss and the burned out vessel is now on tow off the coast of Qatar. There has been no reported oil spillage.



Deutsche-Afrika Linien / John T Essberger (DAL) has become the most recent addition to a growing list of companies providing training berths to South African cadets in support of the National Cadet Training Project.

DAL recently welcomed a deck and an engine cadet onboard the container ship DAL KALAHARI.


Maersk CEO says shipping market unsustainable – calls for more alliances

Maersk Line CEO Soren Skou told journalists in Singapore that the current situation in the shipping market isn’t sustainable and said he didn’t expect container lines to buy out or merge with other lines in the coming years. However, he said that in Maersk’s opinion the industry is too fragmented. “The top 10 carriers only control 62 percent of capacity,” he said, adding that Maersk had hoped to see consolidation but this had not happened. “One can speculate that it has to do with the ownership structure in the industry,” Skou said.

Nevertheless he thought there may be more opportunities for lines to strike up more alliances and vessel sharing agreements on Asia-North America lanes.

“There are not a lot of opportunities on Asia-Europe. More could happen on the Pacific. There will be more alliances developing in 2012 in very specific trades, but the opportunity for big global alliances are gone,’’ he said. Maersk Line, which expects its container line to make a loss during 2012, is tackling the problem of excess capacity by doing more slow steaming, which requires more ships per string. On the longer-haul Europe to Asia routes Maersk ships are averaging about 18 knots currently, but they can go down further to ‘super slow steaming’ levels of 12 knots.


Maersk Drilling secures contract off Namibia

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Maersk Deliverer. Picture African Petroleum

Denmark’s AP Moller-Maersk A/S has announced that its oil exploration services unit Maersk Drilling has secured a contract worth US$34 million for the use of its MAERSK DELIVERER semi-submersible drilling rig off the coast of Namibia.

. Maersk Deliverer is one of three ultra deepwater development semi-submersibles in the Danish company’s fleet and will carry out the latest contract offshore of Namibia on behalf of Enigma Oil & Gas Ltd, a subsidiary of Chariot Oil and Gas Ltd. The contract has a duration of 60 days and is expected to begin at the end of March.

Since her delivery in 2010 the rig has been deployed fulltime in West African waters.

In other news Maersk Supply Service has won three new major contracts with Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras. Each contract is for four years commencing December 2012 and involves the use of anchor handling tug/supply vessels MAERSK LEADER, MAERSK LANCER and MAERSK LAUNCHER.

The contract involves deep water anchor handling using conventional and torpedo anchors.

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Maersk Lancer. Picture by www.shipspotting.com


CMA CGM announces loss for 2011

French shipping giant CMA CGM said last week that it had a net loss of US$30 in 2011, compared with a profit of $1.6 billion in 2010.

The Group reported revenue of $14.87 billion for the year, 4% up on the previous. Volumes totalled a record high 10,016,000 TEUs which is 11% up on 2010.

The company continued its programme of disposing of non-strategic assets and strengthened its balance sheet by issuing $500 million in ORA equity notes to the Yildirim Group and raising an aggregate US$945 million through two bond issues in dollar and euro currencies.

Looking ahead the group reported that freight rates were moving upwards, especially on the outbound Asia trade lane. CMA CGM as with a number of other major shipping lines has announced significant rate increases as from 1 March 2012.

In addition the French line intends continuing implementing operating partnerships with MSC on the Asia/North Europe and South America lanes and with Maersk Line on the Asia, Mediterranean, Adriatic and Black Sea trades.

“Once again this year, CMA CGM has demonstrated its strong resilience at a time of intense turmoil in our industry,” said Rodolphe Saadé, CMA CGM Group Executive Officer.

“Our operating and financial performances were among the best in the industry. We set up strategic operating partnerships with MSC and with Maersk to address market challenges and maintained our commitment to controlling costs. We expect the market to improve in 2012, particularly in the second half. With its modern, efficient fleet and its skilled, experienced teams, CMA CGM is well positioned to capture all of the benefits.”


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Minister steps into fishery patrol tender dispute

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The departmental sea fishery patrol vessel Victoria Mxenge on patrol near Shoenmakerskop in the Eastern Cape. The continued service by this and other patrol craft is now at risk because of the dispute involving the awarding of a new tender to operate the service.

Cape Town, 21 March – The Minister of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestries Tina Joemat-Pettersson today announced that her department would set up an inquiry to look into tender practices at the department.

The department has been under scrutiny around alleged irregular processes and procedures being followed in the awarding of tenders.

The awarding of a tender in November last year to Sekunjalo for the management and maintenance of the department’s fleet of research and fisheries patrol vessels was withdrawn recently by the department following the department’s own legal advice.

“As a result of our own flawed processes, an innocent company, Sekunjalo, has been portrayed as the culprit in this saga and its reputation has been trained [tainted],” said Joemat-Pettersson. “The reality is that, based on our own legal advice, it was our processes and procedures that failed. Another company could have taken serious legal action against the department for awarding and then withdrawing a tender, based on shoddy government work,” she said Joemat-Pietterssen has set up an independent inquiry, in which a committee would scrutinise fisheries tenders and tender processes to determine whether there is any maladministration or fraud or both.

She said she hoped a retired judge would head the committee, which could sit as soon as the beginning of next month.

The terms of reference for the inquiry are still being determined, but it is likely that the department’s inquiry may go further back than the time since Joemat- Pietterssen took office as the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

She appealed for people who had any information that could assist the committee of inquiry to come forward.

“This inquiry is not a witch-hunt, it is an attempt to allow fisheries to restore its image as a clean and capable branch,” she said.

Smit Amandla’s contract ends at the end of this month and the minister said the department was looking for a temporary service provider to manage its vessels in the meantime.

The navy is one of the service providers the department is looking at, she said, adding that as soon as a memorandum of understanding had been finalised with a service provider the department would announce this to the public.

“We do believe that by the end of March we’ll have all our systems in place and that whatever entity will be fulfilling that duty, will be there until we have solve the situation,” she said.

Once the legal process has been finalised, the department would determine whether to put the contract out on tender or not, she said. – BuaNews

Earlier, SMIT Amandla Marine, which held the previous contract to operate the services on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), said that it would co-operate fully with any investigation. “SMIT Amandla Marine (Pty) Ltd has taken note of the statement issued on 14 March 2012 by Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF) Director General Mr Langa Zita with respect to the contract for the management of South Africa's research and patrol vessels. As a responsible black empowered South African company, and the leading employer of South African seafarers, we will co-operate fully with any investigation into past or present business practices and will seek a meeting with Mr Zita to offer our support and assist with DAFF’s enquiries.

SMIT Amandla Marine said that the decision to pursue legal action in December 2011 following the awarding of the management contract to Sekunjalo Marine Services Consortium had not been taken lightly and had impacted on all parties involved. Following Mr Zita's decision to revoke the award to Sekunjalo Marine Services Consortium in February this year based on the evidence before him, there is still no clarity as to what will happen to the Department's eight fisheries research and patrol vessels post current vessel management contract expiry on 31 March 2012. The implications are widespread for the fishing sector as the State’s vessels are the first line of defence against poaching and are also critical in determining the total allowable catch for the next fishing season.


Dept suspends harvesting of West Coast rock lobster

Pretoria - The department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has temporarily suspended the harvesting of West Coast rock lobster under the sixth interim relief dispensation.

According to a statement by the department, the suspension became effective from Friday, 16 March, adding that the decision was taken after careful consideration of both the social, ecological and legal implications.

The suspension, however, does not apply to other species such as traditional line fish, white mussel and red bait as listed in the exemption.

Interim relief was agreed upon in May 2007, following an Equality Court settlement between the department and small-scale fishers.

According to the settlement, the department agreed to grant small-scale fishers access to marine resources until the Small-Scale Fishers Policy, currently in its final phases, is implemented.

The department said during the current dispensation, approximately 1340 exemptions have been granted to bona fide fishermen, allowing each a share of the total allowable catch (TAC) determined for interim relief in the WCRL-sector.

This TAC has been set at 251 tons – 167kg per exemption holder. – BuaNews


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Port Elizabeth - Public Enterprises Minister Mr Malusi Gigaba has marked the shipping of the last 98 of an order for 200 wagons and spare parts designed, engineered and manufactured in Transnet Rail Engineering’s facility in Uitenhage.

The order formed a major milestone in Transnet’s quest to transform the operating division into a dominant manufacturing and engineering centre of excellence on the continent. The wagons, which were built for global mining giant Rio Tinto, will be carrying coal from the company’s coking coal mine at Moatize in Mozambique’s Tete province to the port of Beira.

The wagons and two containers with spare parts were railed from TRE’s Wagon Business at Uitenhage (about 23km from Port Elizabeth) to the Port Elizabeth harbour where they were loaded on the cargo vessel THORCO SUNRISE SW, which later sailed for Mozambique.

Minister Gigaba said that stringent standards had been imposed on TRE in order to satisfy the customer. He said the design, development, prototyping, industrialisation and starting production of this new wagon had been accomplished in a less than five months.

TRE, the rolling stock maintenance, engineering and manufacturing division of Transnet, achieved its self-imposed production target rate of 50 wagons per month, fully enabling the shipment of the first 102 wagons by December 2011.

In line with Transnet’s commitment to the Competitive Supplier Development Programme, 85% of the raw materials and components used to manufacture the wagons were sourced locally or built in-house. Only the draw-gear and a few specialised components were imported.

“A total service solution is key to our customer satisfaction strategy,” said Transnet Group CE Brian Molefe. “For this reason and to maximise the life-cycle of the wagons and to ensure a low total cost of ownership, we will be sending our experts to train and supervise local staff in the maintenance of these wagons in Mozambique.”

“Overall, this contract shows very clearly that Transnet Rail Engineering, and particularly the Wagon Plant at Uitenhage, can compete with the best rolling stock manufacturers in the world,” Molefe added.

The Wagon Business at Uitenhage specialises in manufacturing, conversion, heavy repair and upgrading of railway wagons for domestic fleets. It supplies wagons to the east coast intermodal operators of Tanzania and the west coast mines of Ghana.

Technical data

Each wagon weighs 21.5 tonnes and has a 71 cubic metre carrying capacity. This translates to a payload per wagon of approximately 61.5 tonnes of coal.

Coal contains a certain amount of sulphur which forms a weak acid when leached out by rain or the water sprays used to control the dust when loading and unloading. For this reason, TRE Uitenhage manufactured the load-boxes from corrosion and abrasion-resistant 3CR12 steel. And to ensure water does not accumulate in the load box, the floor has eight drain holes.

To give the load-boxes extra strength, the side-panel stanchions are in line with the floor cross-members. The wagon sides have been tapered to facilitate off- loading in the future when tipplers will be used. This feature results in the stanchions also being tapered, which in design terms is a good thing.

In designing the wagon, weight saving was important, as the axle load the Sena line can carry is limited. The side sills have been box-fabricated to save weight, to maximise the vehicle width within the vehicle gauge restriction, and to give maximum support for the pusher pads. Also, weight saving and design optimisation was also achieved through the use of sophisticated finite element analysis (FEA) software, which resulted in the final wagon weighing about 1.6 tonnes less than it might have.

For the time being, backactors will also be used to shunt the wagons at the Beira terminal. To strengthen the ends of the wagons, reinforcing end stiffeners have been added to their inner surfaces and pusher pads have been fitted to the ends of the side sills, so the backactors don’t damage to the wagons during shunting.

Both F-type rotary- and non-rotary-couplers will allow for tippler offloading when the port of Beira ultimately has tipplers installed.

The wagons are fitted with TRE’s self steering (HS) bogies, the benchmark of regional heavy haul operations and the choice for the major fleets representing more than 150 million tonnes of rail cargo annually in the subcontinent. Vertical and horizontal track forces on these bogies are much better than those of the conventional 3 piece freight bogies and rolling resistance especially in curves is almost halved, leading to a reduction in locomotive fuel consumption for trains comprising these bogies. These rank as some of the fastest coal wagons in the industry, at least 50% higher in speed thanks to the remarkable stability of the HS bogie.


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Transnet issues tender for 9 new tugs

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The Durban built Voith Schneider-propelled harbour tug ENSELENI (378-gt, built 2000) which was placed in the water for the first time in March 2000, after which she was fitted out before entering service in the port of Durban. Enseleni was subsequently transferred to Cape Town where she has since remained in service. A tender for nine harbour tugs of greater bollard pull has just been issued. This picture taken in Cape Town is by Aad Noorland

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has issued a tender for the construction and supply of nine new harbour tugs.

The closing date for submissions is 10h00 local time on 2 May 2012 and a compulsory briefing session is to be held at 10h00 on 2 April 2012 in the Boardroom of the TNPA, 4th floor, Admin Building in Port Elizabeth. The tugs are required to be delivered within a 42 month building period.

Eight of the tugs are to have a bollard pull of 70 tons and one of 100 tons. They will be diesel powered and fitted with twin cycloidal propulsion units.

Details of the project are available from Mr Deon Tobias at the TNPA Head Office, Room 207, 30 Wellington Road, Parktown, Johannesburg. Mr Tobias’ telephone is +27 11 351 9088/94. Documents can only be inspected or obtained on weekdays between the hours of 08h30 and 16h00 and on receipt of proof of payment of a non-refundable amount of R5000 including VAT, quoting Tender Number TNPA 394. Banking details can be obtained from Mr Tobias at the above contact number.


Bulker Great Tang returns to Durban for examination

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The Hong Kong bulker Great Tang undergoing repairs at Durban’s Pier 1. Picture by Terry Hutson

The Hong Kong-registered bulker GREAT TANG (180,247-dwt, built 2011) has returned to Durban’s outer anchorage after undergoing sea trials off the KZN coast. In order to satisfy China Classification Society on tail shaft measurements, the ship will be entering port early next week for a period of between four and five days.

If further repairs are found to be necessary the ship will remain in port for approximately another four weeks.


Bulker Akiba due in Durban for hull inspection

The Cypriot-flagged bulker AKIBA (57,257-dwt, built 2011) which went aground in the approaches to Maputo harbour recently is expected in Durban where the ship is booked to enter dry dock for a hull inspection. If repairs become necessary the contract appears to have been awarded to Southern African Shipyards.


Bulker PANOS EARTH towed to False Bay for repairs

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The crippled bulk ship Panos Earth under tow behind Smit Amandla with Smit Angola acting as breaking tug. False Bay, Tuesday 21 March 2012. Picture by Glen Kasner

The disabled bulker PANOS EARTH (75,864-dwt, built 1984) which lost engine power south of the South African coast, has been towed to safety by the salvage tug SMIT AMANDLA and is now in False Bay for evaluation ahead of repairs.


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Chandris Line’s QUEEN FREDERICA (127,266-gt) in Genoa harbour circa 1960s. The ship was built in 1926 as the SS MALOLO of Matson Line, becoming afterwards the MATSONIA and the ATLANTIC before being named Queen Frederica in honour of the queen of Greece. The ship, which had set new standards in design and safety when built, was withdrawn in 1977 and broken up in 1978. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Shaw Savill’s RUTHENIC (9,801-gt), built in 1944 by Harland & Wolff, was a passenger/cargo ship which was built for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company as their DURANGO. In 1966 the ship was transferred to Shaw Savill and was renamed Ruthenic but this was to be short-lived as the following year she was sold and scrapped, going to the Taiwanese breakers as the SUSSEX. Here she is seen in Cape Town harbour during some winter rains of 1966. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Perhaps one of the more distinctive funnel markings belonged to Blue Star Line of London, with its great blue star set in a white background against a bright red funnel, and with a white and black band above. SCOTTISH STAR was built in 1950 for the Blue Star Line as a reefer by the Fairfield Shipbuilding yards in Glasgow. In 1967, a year after this picture was taken (during a howling southeaster), Scottish Star inadvertently became one of the Yellow Fleet of ships trapped in the Great Bitter Lakes (in the Suez Canal) during the Six Day War. The war between Egypt and Israel may have been of short duration but for the 14 ships caught up by the political strife it was to be a long wait before they could be released – 8 years, 3 months and 5 days to be precise.

The ships were dubbed the Yellow Fleet on account of the colour they acquired from the constant dust and sand blowing off the desert. Scottish Star was carrying a cargo of apples, wool and timber loaded in Australia. She was forced to remain in the Great Bitter Lakes and in 1969 was declared a constructive total loss and abandoned to the insurers before being sold in 1970. Five years later Egyptian tugs towed the ship to Port Said, where Greek tugs took over and towed her to Piraeus where her cargo, including the frozen apples was discharged and the ship laid up. In 1979 Scottish Star, now renamed Kavo Yerekas was broken up by Spanish shipbreakers.

This picture by Ian Shiffman



Dar es Salaam to introduce fixed berth windows

In an effort to reduce congestion the port of Dar es Salaam intends introducing a fixed window for container ship berthing before the end of this year, reports the East African Business Week.

The report say that this will make Dar es Salaam port the first in the region to have such a facility, which is geared at increasing efficiency and removing congestion to ease business.

Fixed berth windows have been applied in Durban for several years where it works well. Only certain services apply for this facility and a system of penalties applies to both the port terminal operator and the shipping line if the vessel is delayed on arrival.

The report says that according to the manager of Tanzania International Containers Terminal Services (TICTS), Donald Talawa, berth 9 is currently undergoing rehabilitation which includes adding the rails for a new ship-to-shore (STS) gantry crane at a cost of US$6.5 million.

“We are expecting to receive the crane between July and August,” Talawa is quoted as saying. Another $2 million is being spent on the rehabilitation of the berth. Berths 8, 10 and 11 will also undergo similar treatment in due course.


APM Terminals interested in port of Dar es Salaam

APM Terminals says it remains interested in operating several berths at the port of Dar es Salaam.

According to reports the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) has delayed its response to APM while it negotiates with a Chinese firm of terminal operators. Chinese interests are already involved with the Tazara Railway that connects Dar es Salaam with Zambia and the Southern Africa rail network in the south.

APM Terminals’ vice president for business development, Hans Ole Madsen said that APM has made several suggestions to the TPA regarding assisting TPA on berths 5, 6 and 7 as well as offering to take on the construction of new berths 13 and 14. “The feedback we have so far from the Transport Ministry is that there are ongoing discussions with Chinese companies, which have given similar offers,” Madsen said.

The chairman of the Tanzanian Shipping Agents Association(TASAA), Emmanuel Mallya said that instead of taking on individual berths in the port of Dar es Salaam, APM Terminals should rather look at new port development projects at Bagamayo, Mbegani or Mwambani near Tanga.

APM Terminals currently operates in nine ports in eight countries in Africa including Apapa in Nigeria, Pointe Noire in the Republic of the Congo, Port Said in Egypt, Luanda in Angola, and Monrovia in Liberia.



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In a recent photograph and story shown on Ports & Ships Mystery of the Gombessa, two ferries named GOMBESSA and CITADELLE were observed as deck cargo on the heavylift ship FAIRLIFT in Durban harbour. The second vessel was tentatively named as ‘ADELE’ but this has since been identified as the CITADELLE. Both of these ferries are intended for the small and exotic sounding port of Dzaoudzi on the small island of Petite-Terre, which in turn is close to Mayotte in the Mozambique Channel. Thanks go to Ron Keesman in The Netherlands for solving this little mystery.


Mozambique releases Spanish fishing vessel

Mozambique has released the Spanish fishing boat TXORI ARGI which it seized on 14 March for fishing illegally for tuna in Mozambican waters.

In an article in the Maputo newspaper Noticias the deputy minister of fisheries, Gabriel Muthisse said the ship’s owner, the company Inpesca had issued a bank guarantee promising to pay within 10 days a fine of 34 million meticais (approximately US$1.2 million).

The authorities have not confiscated the 1200 tonnes of tuna discovered on the vessel since most of the fish were reported to have been caught outside Mozambique waters. Playing in favour of the company and the fishing vessel was that neither possessed a record of transgressing Mozambique law. The captain of the Txori Argi claimed he had crossed into Mozambique waters inadvertently as he chased a school of tuna.

He said there was a strong current flowing at the time. After being intercepted the vessel was instructed to sail to the port of Nacala where it was arrested.



SAMTRA welcomes another intake of Nigerian ratings

Nigerian Ratings from BW Fleet Management Services, Shell Ship Management Ltd and Anglo Eastern Group Ltd attended a month long training programme at SAMTRA (Simon’s Town) in February as part of a regular training programme that was implemented by these companies. This also fulfills their aim of securing training solutions in Africa.

The ratings participated in various courses including Able Seaman, PSSR & PST, First Aid at Sea, Engine Room Familiarisation, Deck Familiarisation and were among the first to participate in the newly SAMSA accredited Designated Security Duties and the STCW Basic Training for Liquefied Gas Tanker Cargo Operations courses which are in compliance with the Manila amendments.

Feedback on the courses has been very positive.


Lekki Port Enterprise, ICTSI ink MoU for Lekki port in Nigeria

Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise (LPLE) and International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the operation of the container terminal of Tolaram Port@Lekki.

ICTSI is the preferred operator for a sub-concession to equip and operate the container terminal on an exclusive basis for a 20 year period, following a Request for Proposal process. The MoU will serve as a framework for a definitive and formal sub-concession agreement.

Slated for completion by 2016, the project - the largest of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa - is being promoted by the Tolaram Group in partnership with the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Lagos State Government.

Tolaram Port@Lekki is set within the Lagos Free Trade Zone and is strategically located 65 km east of Lagos and will comprise a container terminal, a dry bulk terminal and a liquid bulk terminal with a total quay length of 1,500 metres. Given its proximity to Lagos, the facility is well connected to industrial and consumption centres of Nigeria.

The container terminal will have a handling capacity of 2.5 million TEUs with a quay length of 1,200 metres, an initial draft of 14 metres, with the potential for further dredging to 16.5 metres on completion. These features enable the facility to allow shipping lines to call with larger vessels and to make the port the preferred destination for the West African region.

LPLE is responsible for design and civil works with a projected investment of more than US$ 1 billion. ICTSI, subject to execution of a definite sub-concession agreement, will provide state-of-the-art equipment and IT infrastructure, and be exclusively responsible for container operations during the term of the sub- concession in line with global standards.

“The Lekki container terminal will provide a quality alternative to container handling facilities in the region, dramatically improving Nigeria’s international connectivity and its supply chains,” confirms Jens O Floe, ICTSI Senior Vice President for Africa. “Our facility in Lekki, given its location within West Africa’s largest market, has strong potential to emerge as the region’s dominant transshipment hub,” Floe added.


Nigerian waters declared high risk

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The IBF (International Bargaining Forum) says it is declaring a high risk area for the territorial waters of Benin and Nigeria, following the increasing number of attacks on vessels and kidnap of crews there.

The designation will come into effect on 1 April 2012 in order to allow ship operators to make any necessary preparations. It will afford the same benefits and protections to seafarers in those areas as the High Risk Area in the Gulf of Aden and around Somalia, including: the need for enhanced security measures; advance notice of intent to enter the area; the right to refuse to enter it; and a doubling of the daily basic wage and of death and disability compensation while within the area of risk.

The High Risk Area provisions apply to all ships operated under an IBF agreement. The ITF’s Fair Practices Committee Steering Group will decide on whether to also apply them to all ships under non-IBF ITF agreements. IBF agreements on high risk areas also provide an indicator of good practice to national flag registers.

The IBF provides a forum for discussion between the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and its member unions, and the maritime employers in the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG).

For more details please see www.imec.org.uk or www.itfseafarers.org



Navy move back to Salisbury Island confirmed

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Durban Harbour, central

The return of the South African Navy to having a full naval base in Durban appears to be more and more likely after Salisbury Island was downgraded to a naval station ten years ago.

The naval station currently has a mere 250 personnel at the former base in the middle of Durban Harbour. There are no ships of any kind and Durban sees occasional visits by the frigates, usually when returning from or to the forward base at Pemba in northern Mozambique, or rare visits by one of the submarines.

The navy has indicated that Durban will be returned to a naval base with the remaining former strike craft, now operating as patrol ships returning to Durban. If and when Project Biro is realised, the patrol ships then built as part of thats project will also be homeported at Durban although they will probably be deployed to various parts of the country.

Other units, such as a Maritime Reaction Squadron, Mine Countermeasures System, maintenance and repair infrastructure for the patrol vessels and a patrol vessel functional training facility will also transfer to Durban.

Once back on Salisbury Island as a base, the navy will reoccupy the southern end in addition to the eastern side of the island that provides the main quayside. It is expected that Transnet National Ports Authority will take over the northern end of the island which will then become part of the Pier 1 Container Terminal.

Vice Admiral Refiloe Mudimo, chief of the Navy said recently that the money acquired for the northern section of the island will be used to rehabilitate the building and facilities vacated by the army some years ago.

It appears that the move back to Salisbury Island will take place during the 1214/15 financial year.


German frigate visits South Africa

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Part of the crowds of people that queued to board the German Navy frigate FGS Lübeck during the recent navy week. Picture German Navy

The recent visit by a German Navy frigate, FGS LUBECK F214 came at the end of the ship’s deployment on anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden. FGS Lübeck called at Durban before heading for Simon’s Town where the ship represented the German Navy at the annual Navy Week. During the festival 28,000 visitors went on board the German ship.

Following the festival FGS Lübeck joined two SAN frigates, SAS Amatola and SAS Isandlwana plus a submarine in conducting Operation Good Hope, the bi-annual naval exercise at sea involving ships of the South African and German navies. Due to budgetary constraints this year only one German ship was available compared with the four or five that normally take part.

FGS Lübeck is likely to visit Walvis Bay in Namibia as she returns to Germany via the Atlantic Ocean.


SAS Isandlwana plays a role in opening of Ngqura port

The South African Navy frigate SAS ISANDLWANA F146, which has been deployed in Pemba on anti-piracy patrol, recently returned to South Africa and, following a call at Durban to replenish, the frigate headed for the port of Ngqura which was to be officially opened on 16 March by South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma.


SAS Drakensberg on Mozambique Channel duty?

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SAS Drakensberg at sea

We are unable to confirm this but it appears that the combat support ship SAS DRAKENSBURG may be next vessel to be deployed to Pemba to carry out anti-piracy patrols. Any confirmation of sightings will be appreciated.


Nigerian Navy ship collides with commercial vessel

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NNS Thunder

The Nigerian Navy corvette NNS THUNDER F90 was in a collision with a patrol vessel owned by the oil company Total earlier this week. The incident occurred about five miles upriver from Bonny.

NNS Thunder, the former US Coast Guard cutter CHASE, suffered slight damage but the other vessel, described as a patrol or support vessel owned by the oil company Total, capsized onto its side. One seaman from the navy ship was reported missing following the accident.

According to emergency teams that hastened to the scene, it appeared that the NNS Thunder was at fault but no real description of the incident is available. Personnel had to cut a hole in the hull of the Total patrol boat to free one man who was trapped inside.

The patrol or support vessel is operated by an offshore company, thought to be Bourbon but this has not been confirmed.


HMS Montrose visits Tristan da Cunha

Earlier this month the British Navy HMS MONTROSE, a type 23 frigate visited the isolated island of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic.

In February this year the British warship paid a short visit to Simon’s Town. At the beginning of March the ship was off Tristan da Cunha. Despite a heavy swell running the crew managed to get ashore where the islanders had prepared a welcome by way of a buffet lunch, organised by the island’s governor and his wife. For the islanders a visit by a warship is something special – acknowledgements to Sarah Glass and the Tristan Times.



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MSC Splendida, one of four Fantasia-class ships now in the MSC Cruises fleet

MSC Cruises has signed a contract with STX France to take over a 140,000-ton cruise ship following the terminating of the agreement with the original owner, Libya.

The new ship, which has been named MSC PREZIOSA becomes the 13th cruise ship in MSC Cruises’ rapidly expanding fleet and the fourth in the series of Fantasia-class ships, joining MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida and the long awaited MSC Divina which is to be named at a glittering function in Marseilles in late May.

The new MSC Preziosa is in fact a sister ship to MSC Divina which is currently having the final touches applied in the STX shipyard in St Nazaire, France. MSC Divina will be christened in May 2012.

“The new ship represents an investment of €550 million and will be delivered at the end of March 2013. Negotiations with STX France have lasted over nine months; a significant but understandable period of time considering the importance of the investment and the unexpected nature of the takeover,” said Mr Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO MSC Cruises.

“When MSC Preziosa is delivered we will have four ships of every class, giving us a total capacity of over 40,000 berths and the strength to sail in all seas. MSC Preziosa herself will sail the Mediterranean, exploring the beauty of Greek Islands, which represents the highlight of European cruising.”

Laurent Castaing, STX France General Manager described the integration of ‘X32’ (MSC Preziosa) into the prestigious MSC Cruise’s fleet as a relief and “a real pleasure for STX.”

MSC Preziosa will boast 1,751 cabins, 26 lifts, and 18 decks, 14 of them for passengers. Guests will be able to enjoy four main restaurants, two speciality restaurants, 21 bars, a casino, four swimming pools, including an infinity pool, 12 whirlpools, a bowling alley, a sports area with playing fields, a fitness centre, a children’s area and the superb MSC Aurea Spa.

An exclusive feature of MSC Preziosa - and of all Fantasia-class ships in the MSC fleet - is the MSC Yacht Club. Privileged passengers staying in the 69 exclusive MSC Yacht Club suites will be able to take advantage of the private bar, solarium, hydro-massage pools, and the spectacular glass-walled observation lounge with amazing ocean views. A butler service will offer assistance at check-in, transport luggage, unpack, serve traditional English afternoon tea as well as arranging cigars and beverages, booking tables at restaurants, treatments in the MSC Aurea Spa, ad hoc excursions and even arrange private parties.

MSC Preziosa’s total construction is 45% complete, and her mechanical zones are 70% complete. The ship was originally ordered by the Libyan state firm of GNMTC but payments to STX came to a sudden end during the Libyan revolution which saw the rule of the Gaddafi’s overthrown.


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The reception area of MSC Splendida

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a Yacht Club luxury suite, one of 69 such suites on board the Splendida


Silver Shadow collides with cargo ship

The Silversea Cruises’ owned SILVER SHADOW collided with a coastal cargo ship off the coast of Vietnam this past week (16 March), resulting in minor damage to the cruise ship but rather more extensive damage to the other vessel.

There were no reported injuries on Silver Shadow but passengers reported that the cruise ship’s bow struck the cargo vessel broadside, causing fairly extensive looking damage to the cargo ship’s bridge. Strangely there seems to be little in the way of news concerning possible injuries to crew on the cargo ship.

Silver Shadow was able to continue to Ha Long Bay as planned and subsequently continued its cruise schedule.

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Silver Shadow at Lyttelton, New Zealand. Picture by Alan Calvert


Minerva sails again after refit

Swan Hellenic’s MINERVA (12,499-gt, built 1996) has set off on her first cruise after completing a US$16 million refit and upgrade at the Lloyd Werft yards in Germany.

The ship now features a forward-facing wrap-around observation lounge and bar on the top deck, a new outdoor promenade deck that extends all round the ship, 32 new balconies attached to existing cabins and new en suite facilities throughout the ship.

On completion of her refit Minerva sailed from Portsmouth on the first of her 2012 season of cruises to the Canary Islands, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The cruise ship once operated as the Alexander von Humboldt, the Saga Pearl and the Explorer II.



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The pipe layer SEVEN BOREALIS (49,735-gt, built 2012) arrived in Cape Town on her maiden voyage in the past week. On 16 March we featured a picture of the ship arriving off the port of Cape Town. These next two pictures of the SEVEN BOREALIS were taken inside the port of Cape Town as the ship prepared to berth in the Duncan Dock. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Picture by Ian Shiffman

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The Sven Borealis on her berth in Duncan Dock. Picture by Aad Noorland


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