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Ports & Ships Maritime News

4 May 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

With readership averaging over 50,000 maritime industry readers a month, PORTS & SHIPS is an excellent choice for your banner advertising. A banner or button on this site will stay up on the site long after the page has been refreshed – we don’t take down older reports and articles and your ads don’t get tossed out with last week’s news. Just another reason to consider advertising your company or services on these pages. info@ports.co.za for details

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Above and below: The Dutch sailing barque EUROPA outward bound from Cape Town on Wednesday, 2 May 2012. Pictures by Aad Noorland

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Above: Europa under sail in Table Bay with Cape Town and the mountain in the background. This was taken on an earlier visit to the port. Picture by Tjalling Halbertsma/Wikipedia Commons


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Pretoria - South Africa says as host of the next BRICS summit next year, it has a duty to ensure that the grouping realises its dream of a Development Bank.

“As the host of the next BRICS Summit, we have a contribution to make to the realisation of the objective of establishing the BRICS Development Bank,” International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said delivering her Budget Vote in Parliament.

The announcement of the Development Bank by the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) grouping, which they say will supplement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development, was first announced at their meeting in New Delhi, last month.

The envisaged bank would mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in Brics and other emerging economies and developing countries. To get the ball rolling, the five leaders in their declaration mandated their finance ministers to examine the feasibility and viability of such an initiative.

Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa would use its cooperation agreements with BRICS and IBSA (India, Brazil and SA) countries to highlight the development opportunities not only in the country but the African continent.

She told MPs that IBSA continues to play a unique role as a body bringing together three democracies of the South from three continents.

Furthermore, South Africa will seek to use its membership of the G20 to promote and strengthen the interests of Africa and of the South. Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa will continue to develop and deepen cooperation with the countries in that part of the world to take full advantage of the trade, investment and human resource development opportunities provided for our country and people by this region.

The country will also take full advantage of the African Diaspora Summit which will take place during May. The meeting will help create sustainable partnerships between the African Diaspora and the African continent through a realisable Programme of Action; create sustainable dialogue, partnerships and strengthen Pan- African solidarity for a better Africa and the Diaspora; and promote South-South cooperation in the betterment of the African continent and the Diaspora.

In her speech, the minister touched on cooperation in other parts of the world such as Asia, the Caribbean and Europe among others.

Despite the economic challenges in the Eurozone, she was hopeful that South Africa could continue to consolidate relations with some of its key strategic partners in the region and tap into other areas of cooperation such as skills development, science, technology and agriculture.

Nkoana-Mashabane also used her speech to reiterate its call for the institutions of global governance to be reformed with a view to making them more representative and sensitive to the interests of developing countries. – BuaNews

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Durban, 2 May 2012 - South African port operator Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) says that it intends maximising on the enormous growth market represented by Africa, by forming partnerships with other African ports and promoting the country as a regional hub for the rest of the continent.

TPT Acting Chief Executive, Logan Naidoo, said the state-owned port operator had previous experience outside South Africa, which could help to position African ports as the growth engines of their respective economies.

This is in support of nine strategic transport sector objectives set out by the African Union and NEPAD (New Partnership for African Growth). These focused on enhanced efficiency of transport infrastructure, services and key transport corridors to strengthen the economic and social development of the African continent.

The key intra-continental initiatives being pursued by TPT include:

  • offering services such as port terminal operations, consulting, training, equipment maintenance and IT systems to other African ports
  • regional port planning and port pairing initiatives with other African ports
  • Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with other African countries.

    “South Africa, as the most developed country in Africa, offers the infrastructure and services to unlock the region's frontiers,” said Naidoo. “By facilitating the supply of goods and providing essential infrastructural services, TPT can play a vital role in the South African government’s New Growth Path strategy. This strategy seeks to widen the market for South African goods and services through a stronger focus on exports to the region’s rapidly growing economies.”

    He said TPT’s past experience outside of South Africa included assistance with terminal operating systems, port consultation and training programmes in ports such as those in Namibia, Kenya, Cameroon and Mauritius. The former Portcon International consultancy arm of sister division Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) had likewise carried out work in Ghana between 2001 and 2004.

    A regional port planning strategy between South Africa’s deepwater Port of Ngqura and other ports in the region is now underway to leverage opportunities. South African President Jacob Zuma champions the North South Corridor and Transnet is playing a key role in ensuring that this corridor’s potential is unlocked so that freight can move easily and efficiently.

    TPT had also attracted the attention of African ports thanks to the superior port operations training programmes and facilities offered at the Transnet School of Ports, located in the Port of Durban, where TNPA also offers highly sought after marine training.

    Africa’s Growth Potential

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    Logan Naidoo, TPT GM: Capital Projects and acting TPT chief executive

    With a potential of one-billion consumers, the continent’s ascension into one of the fastest growing economies has created massive demand for infrastructure, goods and services.

    International terminal operators are moving into Africa’s ports with great speed and developments over the next three years in Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania will see a total of more than US$689 million spent on port upgrades.

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that over the next five years Africa will surpass Asia and seven African nations will be in the top 10 fastest- growing economies. The IMF also forecasts 2012 growth figures averaging around six percent for sub-Saharan Africa - and with countries like Angola raking in gross domestic product (GDP) growth of almost double that - the continent is touted as the investment destination of the decade. Already influential financial magazine, The Economist, states that between 2000 and 2010, no fewer than six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies were in sub-Saharan Africa.

    TPT’s Naidoo believes Transnet and TPT boast the economies of scale to position themselves as regional freight operators in other African countries and to remove barriers that negatively impact trade transiting through the SADC region.

    “South Africa has an invaluable role to play as neighbouring countries – and outside agencies – up their game on infrastructure development in their connecting corridors,” he adds.

    Fast Facts: Africa’s Growth Potential


  • Africa’s feeder network is developing and a significant amount of traffic gets distributed from the Mediterranean region to West Africa
  • The North—South Corridor links the Port of Durban with Central Africa and connects with the Dar es Salaam corridor in Tanzania. This is the longest transport corridor currently in development, running through 26 countries. [Frost & Sullivan report: ‘Trade Corridors: Key focus area for sub-Saharan African governments’.]
  • The Port of Ngqura is exceeding expectations as a transshipment hub for both East and West African feeder traffic.


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    Transport minister identifies five key projects

    The SA national transport minister says five key transport projects have been identified for the strategic Durban-Johannesburg corridor.

    Minister Sibusiso Ndebele told parliament during his recent budget speech that the projects would be undertaken over the next five years. Ports, roads, rail – including high speed rail, logistic hubs and land-use plans - would all be developed, he said. The focus would be on sharpening up freight logistics to ensure economic growth as South Africa played an important role in the shipping of goods in and out of Southern Africa.

    The projects in the Durban-Johannesburg corridor include:


  • the development of Cato Ridge as a dry port
  • the sale of the Durban International Airport to Transnet for setting up a dig out port
  • the extension of commuter rail to reach Pietermaritzburg
  • the development of Harrismith as a logistics hub
  • the setting up of several logistics hubs in Gauteng

    Ndebele said roads maintenance needed to continue, particularly as freight carried by roads will grow by between 200% and 250% over the next 20 years. Added to this, the poor state of many access roads had contributed to soaring rural services which made it difficult for those in rural areas to access medical and other services.


    Transnet in talks with motor manufacturers in East London and Rosslyn

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    The Port of East London with the car terminal and the Mercedes-Benz plant on the hill above

    Transnet chief executive Brian Molefe says that Transnet is in discussion with motor manufacturers Mercedes-Benz in East London and BMW in Rosslyn outside Pretoria with regards increasing the number of luxury cars that are transported by rail.

    The discussions follow successful talks between Transnet and Durban car manufacturer Toyota for that company to move back to rail from road transport for their import and export requirements. The current discussions would involve BMW agreeing to use the East London port to ensure return loads for car trains carrying Mercedes C-Class cars from the East London plant to Gauteng. BMW currently makes use of the ports of Cape Town, Durban and Maputo for its export models.

    If agreement can be reached the two manufacturers would share facilities at the modern East London car terminal.

    In the past financial year 2011/12 Transnet Freight Rail carried a total of 148,000 motor vehicles. In Durban alone the port handled over 400,000 motor vehicles. Transnet says that it hopes to rail 648,000 motor vehicles a year by 2018/19.


    First CoAL moved to port

    Emerging miner Coal of Africa Ltd (CoAL) has completed loading its first shipment of coal to the port at Maputo. The 1,500 tonnes of thermal coal was loaded into 30 rail wagons at Musina for railage to Matola in Mozambique where it will be stockpiled with other coal for export.

    The initial shipment is ahead of schedule by several months and follows the mine taking delivery of its coal washing plant at the Vele colliery in Limpopo province. The washing plant was hot commissioned in February.


    ICTSI plans to buy rights for more ports in Africa

    Philippines port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) says that it has set its sights on buying the rights to several ports in Africa during 2012.

    “We are very actively looking at ports, specifically in Africa, Middle East, and Latin America,” ICTSI chairman and chief executive Enrique Razon, said. He specified that the Manila based company is looking to acquire two ports in Africa.


    International: China now has 26 ports each handling over 100mt

    At the end of 2011 China had 26 ports with handling capacities of over 100 million tonnes, China Daily has reported. Nine of these ports are inland and the balance coastal.

    The phenomenal growth in major Chinese ports can be judged from there having been 22 such ports in 2010, and just 12 in 2006. The leading port in terms of capacity handled in 2011 was Ningbo-Zhoushan with an annual capacity of 694 million tonnes throughput for the year.

    Mission to Seafarers Tom Heffer dies

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    The Revd Tom Heffer, secretary-general of the Mission to Seafarers has died in a London hospital. He was 43.

    Mr Heffer was appointed as the 15th international secretary-general in 2009, after serving eight years as director of chaplaincy.

    A Service of Thanksgiving will take place at Norwich Cathedral (England) on Wednesday 9 May at 1pm.


    South African maritime training programme shortlisted for international award

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    Former Lawhill Maritime Centre student Tyrone Campbell is currently at sea with Safmarine

    The Simon’s Town-based Lawhill Maritime Studies programme, introduced in the mid 1990s, has been shortlisted for the 2012 Seatrade ‘Investment in People’ award, which will be announced in London’s Guildhall on 14 May.

    The shortlisting of the Lawhill programme is recognition that Lawhill is helping to address the skills shortage in the maritime industry by creating opportunities for young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to pursue a career in a growing and important industry, says Brian Ingpen, head of Lawhill Maritime Centre.

    “The shortlisting is also a special achievement for the hundreds of students who have passed through the programme since it was founded 17 years ago and for the organisations which have, and continue to, support the programme.”

    The Lawhill Maritime Centre is entirely funded by the shipping industry of which Safmarine, a pioneer of the Maritime Studies programme, has been one of its most loyal supporters.


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    S.A. AGULHUS II arrives

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    SA Agulhus II on sea trials off Finland shortly before sailing to South Africa. Picture by Risto Brzoza

    The new South African Antarctic supply research ship S.A. AGULHUS II arrived yesterday (Thursday) on her delivery voyage from the builders STX in Finland.

    The polar research vessel S.A. Agulhas II was built at a cost of R1.3 billion to replace the ageing S.A. Agulhas and to enable scientific and climate change research to take place in addition to the more mundane duties of an Antarctic supply ship.

    Her primary function will be to transport scientist and maintenance crews to the SANAE base in the Antarctic as well as Marion and Gough Islands. Besides being South Africa’s latest research vessel, the S.A. Agulhas II is also an icebreaking ship, due to the hull design of the vessel which allows for cutting through one metre of level ice at a steady five knots.


    Cape Town added to Maersk FEW3 SE Asia-West Africa service

    Maersk Line which operates in partnership with subsidiary company Safmarine, has added Cape Town as a new port call on its FEW 3 service between South East Asia and West Africa.

    The new port rotation is Port Kelang, Tanjung Pelepas, Cape Town, Pointe Noire, Onne, Lagos, Cape Town, and Port Kelang, with Cape Town now being called at in both directions.

    Maersk provides 10 ships with an average capacity in the 2,300-TEU range and Safmarine one ship of a similar size.


    Losses for Japan’s three container giants

    Japan’s three container shipping giants have all experienced poor results for the year 2011.

    ‘K’ Line posted a US$503-million loss compared with having reported a $380-million profit in the year before. According to ‘K’ Line the losses were the result of weak market conditions, a strong yen and high fuel oil prices. It said the future remained uncertain although demand is likely to increase and substantial improvement can be expected for the 2012 fiscal year, it said. This will be a result of recent freight rate increases, general cost cutting, and slow- steaming practices, says the company.


    NYK Line (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) reports a heavy loss of ¥72.82-billion ($907.39 million) for the 2011 fiscal year ended 31 March 2012, compared with a net profit of ¥78.54-billion for the previous year. It blamed this on an adverse business climate resulting from expensive bunker charges, low freight rates and economic stagnation but says it remains confident of returning to profitability in 2012.

    The environment surrounding the shipping industry is showing signs of improvement,” the line said in a statement.


    Bleak financial report for MOL

    Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has posted a net loss of ¥26-billion ($316.45m) for the fiscal year 2011 ended 31 March 2012, down from a net profit of ¥58.25-bn in the previous year.

    Like the other two Japanese container giants, MOL says it is expecting a better financial year for 2012 when it anticipates making a ¥3-bn profit.

    “In the coming fiscal year, although there is concern of a potential slowdown due to the risk of Europe's debt crisis flaring up again and the rise in the price of crude oil, we are assuming the gradual economic recovery mainly led by the emerging economies will continue,” MOL said.

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    MOL Solution in Cape Town – parent company looking for solutions. Picture by Ian Shiffman


    CMA CGM and Maersk raise rates

    French container shipping company CMA CGM has increased its freight rates on shipments between ports in India to West Africa by another US$150 per TEU as from 1 May 2012. It’s partners on the service, Maersk/Safmarine will increase their rates in mid-May by $100 per TEU and $150 per FEU.

    Maersk India said in a statement that “…current rates are proving to be difficult to sustain, especially in the prevailing market scenario.”


    Zim Line seeks delays on nine 12,600-TEU ships

    Israel's Zim Line (ZIM) is reported to be in talks with Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea with regards the delaying of an order for nine 12,600-TEU container ships.

    The original order stipulated that ZIM would take delivery of eight of the ships with an option for a further vessel at a price of US$171-million each. The order was placed in 2007 and the option exercised in December of that year. Originally scheduled for delivery in 2012, the ships were delayed till 2015 by agreement. source American Shipper

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    Zim Qingdao near Vancouver. Hold that order! Picture Zim Line


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    The following reports were received from the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in recent days:

    “At 07h00 (Wednesday, 25 April) NSRI Port Elizabeth volunteer sea rescue duty crew launched our sea rescue craft Spirit of Toft to rendezvous with the bulk carrier ship TITAN CONDOR at anchor off the Port of Port Elizabeth breakwater and to casualty evacuate a 48 year old Filipino sailor suffering back pains,” reports NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander, Justin Erasmus.

    “Our sea rescue station was placed on alert two days ago when the medical complaint was communicated to South African maritime authorities as the ship sailed towards Port Elizabeth and while arrangements were made with a local hospital to receive the patient. “We rendezvoused with the ship and paramedics stabilised the patient who was then secured to a back-board and immobilised, transferred onto our sea rescue craft and brought ashore aboard our sea rescue craft in a stable condition. The patient has been transported to hospital by a Guardmed ambulance services ambulance.”


    From Darren Zimmerman, NSRI Simonstown station commander comes the following:

    “At 09h21 (Wednesday, 25 April) NSRI Simonstown volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following a request for assistance from the fishing boat Nommer Sewe reporting a fisherman onboard suffering a serious head injury after being struck by a rope, 12 nautical miles south of Simonstown.

    “The fishing boat Nommer Sewe was towing their fellow fishing boat Joanne towards Simonstown when the nylon tow-rope snapped and recoiled and during the recoil 28 year old fisherman Siphelele Matomela, from Saldanha Bay, was struck on the head by the rope.

    “Our NSRI volunteer sea rescue duty crew launched our sea rescue craft Spirit of Safmarine III accompanied by CMR (Cape Medical Response) paramedics and we rendezvoused with the casualty 8 nautical miles south of Simonstown.”

    Zimmerman and a paramedic went on board the fishing vessel where they stabilised the patient, who had fractured facial bones, and immobilised his cervical spine as a precaution. “The decision was then taken to keep the patient on the fishing vessel rather than risk the transfer across to their rescue craft in a 2.5m swell and strong westerly winds. The NSRI rescue boat then took over the tow of the Joanne and all vessels headed to Simon’s Town, Zimmerman said.

    “Once in the harbour the patient was transferred into a CMR ambulance and transported to hospital in a stable condition.”

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    Nommer Sewe returning to Simon’s Town Harbour. Picture by Craig Chops of NSRI Simonstown Station.



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    Al Qaeda plans to attack cruise ships – hidden documents

    According to CNN, Al Qaeda agents have evolved a secret plot to attack cruise ships.

    The lengthy report, aired this week on the American television station and on its website, says that German authorities intercepted the hidden message when they detained a 22-year old Austrian named Maqsood Lodin who was returning from Pakistan. Hidden in his underpants was a flash drive that contained a porn movie, but when investigators delved further they say they uncovered embedded encrypted messages that were later decoded to reveal a number of plots and actions planned by the terror group.

    Among these plans was one involving Al Qaeda seizing a cruise ship or ships and holding the passengers hostage against the release of Al Qaeda agents in detention. A number of ships passengers would then be dressed in orange jump suits to mimic those used by the American authorities at Guantanamo Bay and other secret detention places. These passengers would then be executed one by one while being videotaped and broadcast to the world, to further the terror organisations achievements.

    Al Qaeda was also planning terror attacks in Europe similar to the attack by Pakistani militants that paralyzed the Indian city of Mumbai in November 2008. During that three day rampage ten gunmen killed 164 people.

    The planning of these attacks dates back to 2009 but authorities are apparently treating it as valid and serious. It now remains to be seen what effect this will have and whether cruise companies respond with increased onboard security, especially during periods when ships are in port or cruising in other vulnerable places.

    The following is a link to YouTube and this story - the duration is 6.34 minutes CLICK HERE - use your BACKSPACE BUTTON to return to this page


    New safety policies in wake of Costa Concordia capsize

    Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents the majority of American owned or related cruise lines, and the European Cruise Council have jointly announced the adoption of three new safety policies involving passage planning, access to the bridge and lifejackets. The policies are to be implemented immediately by member lines.

    Manfredi Lefebvre, chairman of the European Cruise Council (ECC), a CLIA Executive Committee member, and chairman of Silversea Cruises, made the announcement at a European Commission-organized ship safety event in Brussels.

    Lefebvre said the new policies go beyond the strictest of existing regulatory requirements.

    Passage Planning: Although cruise lines have followed IMO guidance on passage planning for many years, CLIA and ECC now deem that to be a mandatory minimum requirement and said it should be enhanced by endorsement of the best practices contained in the International Chamber of Shipping’s Bridge Procedures Guide.

    In addition, all bridge team members will now be included in a bridge briefing to be conducted well in advance of sailing. The plan is to be drafted by a designated officer and approved by the master.

    Personnel Access To The Bridge: To minimise unnecessary disruptions and distractions on the bridge, the industry has adopted a new policy that bridge access is to be limited to those with operational functions during any period of restricted manoeuvring or when increased vigilance is required.

    Lifejackets: In addition to the statutory requirement of carrying lifejackets for each person onboard, the industry is now adopting a policy of carrying additional adult lifejackets onboard each cruise ship in excess of these legal requirements.

    The goal is that the number of additional adult lifejackets to be provided must not be less than the total number of persons berthed within the ship’s most populated main vertical fire zone. This ensures that the number of lifejackets carried is far in excess of the number of persons actually onboard the ship.

    Lefebvre told European Commission officials that each of the policies will be reported to the IMO for consideration at their next session in May.


    Cruise ships on the coast

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    The ‘classic’ cruise ship ATHENA was recently on the South African coast, making calls at Durban, Mossel Bay and Cape Town while repositioning from Australia to the Mediterranean. The pictures above and immediately below were taken in Durban by Trevor Jones

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    Below: A few days later the 16,144-gt, 1948-built Portuguese-flagged ship arrived in Cape Town, after a leisurely cruise along the South African coast. There to welcome the ship with his camera was Ian Shiffman.

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    Another cruise ship to call at Cape Town was the Japanese vessel ASUKA II (50,142-gt, built 1990) belonging to NYK Cruises, which arrived in port on 2 May. If she looks familiar you’ll be right – Asuka II is the former CRYSTAL HARMONY of Crystal Cruises, itself a NYK owned company. This picture by Ian Shiffman

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    CMA CGM raises rates to African ports

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    CMA CGM Africa Two in Durban harbour. Picture by Terry Hutson

    French shipping line CMA CGM has announced a range of rate increases affecting services to Africa.

    From 1 May 2012 the rate between Asia and East Africa increased by US$200 per TEU.

    On 15 May the rate between India and the Persian Gulf will go up by $150 per TEU.

    On 15 May the rates for containers between Asia and South Africa and Indian Ocean islands increases by $300 per TEU.

    From 1 June 2012 the rate between Asia and West Africa increases by $300 per TEU.


    Nigeria approves funding to build and dredge inland water ports

    Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved contracts to build and develop inland river ports and rivers to assist with the resuscitation of the country’s inland waterways system

    The report in The Vanguard quoted the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku of announcing this during a briefing of journalists which followed the weekly FEC meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

    The contracts worth N8.3-billion will include the construction of the inland river port Jamata, the dredging of a channel along the Orashi River from Oguta Lake in Imo state to Degema in Rivers State.

    Contracts will also be let for shore protection and dredging reclamation works on selected sites along the Niger River.


    Hapag-Lloyd appoints GAC as its partner in Ghana and Nigeria

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    German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd has appointed the GAC Group to handle its ships calling at ports in Ghana and Nigeria. GAC will act as full liner agents for the German line, actively selling its liner services in the region and providing the full range of shipping agency and complementary services to its ships.

    The appointment follows as part of Hapag-Lloyd’s strategy to develop and expand its presence in sub-Saharan Africa.


    Angola considers forming a national shipping company

    The Angolan government is studying the establishment of a national shipping company, given the lack of a single national fleet operator dedicated to seagoing traffic, the head of the Merchant Marine Department said in Luanda.

    Speaking to Angolan news agency Angop last week, Tiago Neto described the current state of the country’s merchant marine. National maritime traffic, he said, is limited to coastal waters, while long trade is handled by foreign-flag ships that have dominated seagoing traffic to Angola for the last ten years.

    He pointed out that 90% of imported merchandise arrives in Angola by sea. Foreign fleet owners began dominating the Angolan market soon after the collapse of Angonave, the former Linhas Marítimas de Angola, he said.

    Regarding the sector’s administrative organisation, Neto explained that the former National Merchant Marine and Ports Department, the Transport Ministry’s executive body for the maritime sector, port activities and associated services, had been transformed into the Maritime Port Institute of Angola (IMPA). (macauhub)



    A glimpse at ships and shipping activities in parts of the world other than Africa

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    The local RoRo ferry ISABELLA (35,154-gt, built 1989) of Viking Line, seen arriving at Turku in Finland during April this year. Picture by Risto Brzoza

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    The container ship HANJIN CHITTAGONG (27,104-gt, built 2007) seen arriving at the port of Santos in Brazil. Santos is one of the Southern hemisphere ports that has in recent years surged passed Durban in terms of the numbers of containers handled. Picture by R Smera

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    The American owned and flagged car carrier GREEN LAKE (57,623-gt, built 1998) makes the journey into Santos harbour, with the city seen in the background. Picture by R Smera

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    Another ferry but from the opposite side of earth. An interesting visitor to the New Zealand Port of Lyttelton a little earlier in the year was the RoRo passenger ferry SPIRIT OF FIJI ISLANDS (4421-gt, built 1968), seen here sailing for Fiji on 21 April 2012. While in Lyttelton the ship underwent repairs in the dry dock as well as survey work and repainting. The vessel was built in 1968 as Caribbean Venture and became Spirit of Fiji Islands in 2001 and that was when the extra accommodation would have been added to cope with carrying passengers around the Fiji Islands area. Her current owner is Consort Shipping Line Ltd, Suva, Fiji. During her time in dry dock a number of hull plates were replaced allowing her to sail for a few more years. Picture by Alan Calvert



    CMA CGM raises rates to African ports

    French shipping line CMA CGM has announced a range of rate increases affecting service to Africa.

    From 1 May 2012 the rate between Asia and East Africa increased by US$200 per TEU.

    On 15 May the rate between India and the Persian Gulf will go up by $150 per TEU.

    On 15 May the rates for containers between Asia and South Africa and Indian Ocean islands increases by $300 per TEU.

    From 1 June 2012 the rate between Asia and West Africa increases by $300 per TEU.


    Tanzania may begin exporting sugar this year

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    Port of Dar es Salaam

    The Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT) says that Tanzania may begin exporting sugar this year after an increased supply of cane, despite the closure of four mills for maintenance.

    According to the SBT applications have been received from several local manufacturers for permits to export the commodity but said they will be granted only after a thorough assessment has been made.


    Bulk petroleum storage facility planned for Dar es Salaam

    Local media in Dar es Salaam have quoted the Tanzania Ports Authority as saying that Tanzania is planning to develop a bulk petroleum-handling and storage facility at the Port of Dar es Salaam.

    The reports indicate that tenders may have been issued for its construction which would involve the construction of a piping system, transfer tanks and other related facilities.



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    The coal export facility at Maputo

    The first shipment of thermal coal from South African emerging mining group Coal of Africa’s (CoAL of Africa) Vele Colliery in Limpopo Province has been railed to the Mozambique port of Maputo.

    The 30 rail wagons of coal were used as a test shipment to check the axle load capacity of the Transnet Freight Rail line between Groenbult and Hoedspruit. Once it has passed those tests the intention is for weekly trains to run to Maputo for export to Asia.

    The Vele mine is situated close to the South African border with Zimbabwe and has known reserves of 370 million tonnes of mineable coal. Coal of Africa is one of Grindrod’s partners in the Port of Maputo having granted a loan of US$16 million to the port company. CoAL also has a MoU with ArcelorMittal to provide coking coal for its steelworks in South Africa, but intends also sending an increasing amount of coking coal for export via Maputo.

    The company has recently increased its allocation to export three million tonnes of coal per annum via the port, and it has secured the option of taking up a hundred per cent of the increased capacity due to the planned expansion at the port.

    The company’s spokesperson, Jos Simson, told AIM that the company already uses the railway network to transport its coal to Maputo.

    This is an essential part of Mozambique’s plan for the development of the port. Last week Mozambican Transport Minister Paulo Zucula told reporters that some South African mining operators prefer to send their mineral exports to Maputo Port by road because of the prohibitive fees charged by the South African authorities for use of the rail system.

    Zucula said that the preference these exporters express for roads has nothing to do with the Mozambican rail system. According to Zucula, the railway between Ressano Garcia, on the South African border, and Maputo Port has a capacity for eight million tonnes or cargo a year, but is only moving six million tonnes.

    “What is happening is that the mining companies in South Africa pay high fees to use the railway to Ressano Garcia, which is intended to persuade them to use the port of Durban rather than Maputo”, said Zucula, “Rather than pay that price, they prefer to come to Maputo by road which is much cheaper”.

    The government would like Maputo Port to send rail wagons to Ressano Garcia, and load the South African cargo into them – but there are not enough spare wagons available.

    Zucula said that discussions have been held with the South African state rail company Transnet in an attempt to standardise transport prices, so that Maputo Port will no longer be at a disadvantage. source AIM


    Privatisation of Maputo Port a success – government

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    Port of Maputo

    Mozambican Prime Minister Aires Ali said recently that the governmentʼs decision to farm out management of the port of Maputo to a private company has produced results of great importance for the countryʼs economy.

    Speaking at the Second Annual Conference of Maputo Port, Ali said that, thanks to the investments undertaken by the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), the port is now financially more robust, and is more competitive, offering a speedy response to the concerns of its users.

    The Mozambican government handed over management of the port to MPDC in 2003, initially for a period of 15 years. The results were positive enough for the government, in 2010, to extend the lease for a further 15 years.

    Ali recalled that, when it leased out the port to private management in 2003, it believed that this was the best way of making the port more modern and more competitive. “Today we have the privilege to witness the harvesting of these fruits”, he said. “Our optimism is based on the forecast that this year Maputo Port will handle 14 million tonnes of cargo compared with 4.5 million tonnes a year prior to the lease, representing a growth of about 200 percent”.

    The Master Plan for the port budgeted at about US$1.7 billion and envisages an ambitious programme of investment in areas such as dredging the entrance channel, expanding the coal, container, vehicles and dry bulk terminals, and building or rehabilitating internal rail lines and roads and the quays. source AIM



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    Sea Fishery patrol ship AFRICANA

    The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) research patrol ship RS AFRICANA has put to sea under the command of the South African Navy.

    RS Africana and her fellow fishery research and patrol vessels had been berthed idle in Simon’s Town Harbour since DAFF’s contract with SMIT Amandla Marine came to an end and was not renewed. A new contract was initially awarded to another company, Sekunjalo but that company withdrew after legal disputes arose over the awarding of a new contract.

    This left the fleet without an operator or crew and the decision was taken for the South African Navy to take over, at least temporarily, and manage the fishery patrols once financing was agreed. There have been doubts expressed as to whether the navy has the personnel and finance to maintain this at a proper level but the sailing of RS Africana with a navy captain and crew is the first indication that something of this nature might be possible.

    Without DAFF’s vessels being at sea South Africa’s maritime exclusive economic zone is left unprotected and the putting to sea of a single vessel is no reassurance that this matter is regarded as urgent by government. Other regular patrols will be necessary before the word goes out that illegal fishing in South African waters is again a dangerous pastime.

    The specialist online publication defenceWeb reports that the navy has been working overtime with a dedicated task team under the leadership of Rear Admiral (jr) Bravo Mhlana to operate at least some of the DAFF ships. The sailing of RS Africana under the command of Captain (SAN) Lotta Mabula from Simon’s Town is at least the first indication of this process at work.

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    Amid the forest of masts lies DAFF’s fleet. Picture by Aad Noorland



    The Singapore-owned and operated products tanker BW RHINE (76,600-dwt, built 2008) was reported highjacked off the West African coast of Togo on 28 April.

    Earlier the tanker had arrived in the Lome roadstead from Ventspils, Latvia and it is assumed the highjacking was aimed at stealing the cargo. Under these conditions it could take up to ten days to discharge the vessel’s cargo before the ship might be released.

    The ship has a crew of 24 seafarers coming from India, Philippines, Romania and China. She flies the Panama flag.


    11 pirates found guilty - face 20 years imprisonment in Kenya

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    FS Nivose and a pirate interception

    Eleven pirates who were captured by the French naval frigate FS NIVOSE in May 2009 and subsequently transferred to Kenyan authorities for trial, have been found guilty in a Kenyan court and now face possible sentences of up to 20 years imprisonment.

    The 11 pirates came before a Kenyan magistrate who on 19 April brought down a verdict of guilty. Sentence is to follow but carries a possible 20 years in jail for each of the men.


    SA partners with SADC to combat piracy

    Pretoria – The South African government is looking at enhancing cooperation with its SADC neighbours along the Indian Ocean shoreline, especially the island states of Mauritius, Seychelles and Somalia, to safeguard the sea routes from pirate attacks.

    “We firmly believe that the solution to this problem lies on land and therefore our enhanced political strategy on Somalia will seek to build capacity to find a political solution, while at the same time combating piracy, prosecuting perpetrators and establishing the necessary correctional institutions to deter such activities in future,” International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said last week.

    Piracy has been growing in the Indian Ocean, and last year alone, 24 ships where hijacked in 134 piracy incidents off the Somali coast, according to the European Union Naval Force.

    Tabling her Budget Vote in the National Assembly in Parliament, the minister said the instability due to war and the absence of a functioning government have contributed to the worsening of the situation, while a lack of sustainable programmes for institution and capacity building also renders Somalia more vulnerable to natural disasters.


    Bab el Mandeb Strait incident

    A maritime security alert was issued for the Bab el Mandeb Strait after 10 skiffs approached a Panama-flagged oil tanker in position 12:35.19N - 043:25.09E at 1452 local time on 29 April.

    Four skiffs initially approached, followed by a group of two, then four further skiffs. They ran parallel to the vessel, but abandoned the attack after an onboard security team fired flares and displayed weapons.

    The incident occurred approximately nine hours after a failed attack 60-65 nautical miles further north in the southern Red Sea, when a merchant vessel reported a suspicious approach by four armed skiffs.

    The ‘swarming’ of merchant vessels by large groups of 10 or more skiffs has been reported in and around the Bab el Mandeb Strait before. The tactic is yet to be successful, but operators in the vicinity should remain cautious and be prepared to respond to attack groups consisting of numerous skiffs. source GAC


    Latest IMB report shows piracy is increasing in West Africa

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    EU NAVFOR forces boarding a highjacked vessel off Somalia

    102 incidents of piracy and armed robbery have been reported for the first quarter of 2012, with dangerously increasing numbers in West African waters, according to figures in the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) global piracy report which has been released.

    In total, 11 vessels were reported hijacked worldwide, with 212 crew members taken hostage and four crew killed. A further 45 vessels were boarded, with 32 attempted attacks and 14 vessels fired upon – the latter all attributed to either Somali or Nigerian pirates.

    Ten reports were received from Nigeria in the beginning of 2012, equalling the same number reported in Nigeria for the whole of last year. A further attack in neighbouring Benin has also been attributed to Nigerian pirates.

    The reports include the hijackings of one product and one chemical tanker, between which 42 crewmembers were taken hostage. Two crew members were killed when armed pirates boarded their bulk carrier 110 nautical miles off Lagos, Nigeria. Attacks in Nigerian coastal waters have further resulted in at least three crew kidnapped from their anchored vessel.

    Somalia continues to dominate figures with 43 attacks, including the hijacking of nine vessels and the taking hostage of 144 crew. Four dhows and a fishing vessel, softer targets that make for ideal motherships, were among the highjacked vessels. Somali pirates were also responsible for the hijacking of a Panamax bulk carrier at the end of March.

    But while the number of 2012 incidents and hijackings are less than reports for the same period in 2011 (97 incidents, 16 hijackings), it is unlikely that the threat of Somali piracy will diminish in the short to medium term unless further actions are taken.

    The report attributes the reduction in overall attacks to the disruptive actions and pre-emptive strikes by the navies in the region, which disrupted numerous pirate action groups, emphasizing the importance of the navies in both deterring and combating Somali piracy.

    The application of Best Management Practices and the increasing use of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) also contributed to the decrease in the hijackings. In the incidents reported to the Piracy Reporting Centre, more vessels with PCASP have been reported in the first quarter than those not armed. source GAC and IMB



    Lord Nelson up to date Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Nelson: "Order the signal, Hardy."

    Hardy: "Aye, aye sir."

    Nelson: "Hold on, this isn't what I dictated to Flags. What's the meaning of this?"

    Hardy: "Sorry sir?"

    Nelson (reading aloud): “England expects every person to do his or her duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability.' - What gobbledygook is this for God's sake?"

    Hardy: "Admiralty policy, I'm afraid, sir. We're an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil's own job getting “England " past the censors, lest it be considered racist."

    Nelson: "Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco."

    Hardy: "Sorry sir. All naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free working environments."

    Nelson: "In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the main brace to steel the men before battle."

    Hardy: "The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. Its part of the Government's policy on binge drinking."

    Nelson: "Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it full speed ahead."

    Hardy: "I think you'll find that there's a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water."

    Nelson: "Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow's nest, please."

    Hardy: "That won't be possible, sir."

    Nelson: "What?"

    Hardy: "Health and Safety have closed the crow's nest, sir. No harness; and they said that rope ladders don't meet regulations. They won't let anyone up there until proper scaffolding can be erected."

    Nelson: "Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay, Hardy."

    Hardy: "He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the foredeck Admiral."

    Nelson: "Wheelchair access? I've never heard anything so absurd."

    Hardy: "Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier- free environment for the differently abled."

    Nelson: "Differently abled? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn't rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card."

    Hardy: "Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under- represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency."

    Nelson: "Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons."

    Hardy: "A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and safety won't let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don't want anyone breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts?"

    Nelson: "I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy."

    Hardy: "The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral."

    Nelson: "What? This is mutiny!"

    Hardy: "It's not that, sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There are a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."

    Nelson: "Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"

    Hardy: "Actually, sir, we're not."

    Nelson: "We're not?"

    Hardy: "No, sir. The French and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation."

    Nelson: "But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil."

    Hardy: "I wouldn't let the ship's diversity coordinator hear you saying that sir. You'll be up on disciplinary report."

    Nelson: "You must consider every man an enemy, who speaks ill of your King."

    Hardy: "Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it's the rules. It could save your life."

    Nelson: "Don't tell me - Health and Safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?"

    Hardy: As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu! And there's a ban on corporal punishment."

    Nelson: "What about sodomy?"

    Hardy: "I believe that is now legal, sir."

    Nelson: "In that case................... Kiss me, Hardy."

    acknowledgements to... wtmb



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    The Hong Kong-flagged, Singapore-owned products tanker ALPINE MELINA (51,483-dwt, built 2010) prepares to sail from Cape Town harbour during April. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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    ‘K’ Line’s container ship VICTORIA BRIDGE (54,519-gt, built 2005), believed to be the largest ‘K’ Line container ship to call at the mother city, seen enteringthe port of Cape Town on a calm, clear and windless day. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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    The highly interesting accommodation offshore support vessel EDDA FIDES (20,333-gt, built 2011) arrived in Cape Town this week (Thursday) for a week of repairs. This picture was taken in Haugesund in July last year, not long after the unusual ship first entered service. Picture by Trevor Jones


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