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Ports & Ships Maritime News

8 June 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

PORTS & SHIPS is now averaging over 50,000 readers each month for 2012 – thank you readers.

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Princess Cruise Lines’ OCEAN PRINCESS (30,277-gt, built 1999) which called at Cape Town recently. Picture by Ian Shiffman


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Sri Lankan crew promised back-dated wages

The all Sri-Lankan crew of the detained general cargo ship LANKA MAHAPHOLA (8,082-gt, built 1983), have been promised that they will receive the outstanding salaries owed to them by the ship’s management company, Triple S Shipping.

Thirteen of the crew were arrested for selling scrap metal from the ship (for R800) to use for buying food and other essentials. They claimed they had the captain’s permission but the latter subsequently denied it and laid charges with the South African Police Services who arrested the men.

The crew say they are collectively owed a total of US$85,000 in back pay and have appealed to the International Transports Workers’ Federation through the ITF’s Durban agent, Sprite Zungu, complaining also of conditions on the ship.

According to Zungu, the owners or management company will have to pay the outstanding amounts and possibly repatriate the crew. He said that the company had agreed to pay the wages due. “Once this is done, the owner would have to try to negotiate a contract with the crew to sail back home with the ship. I have also told them to withdraw the criminal charges against the crew,” Zungi said earlier.

The lawyer acting for Triple S Shipping confirmed that the back wages would be paid and criminal charges against the 13 crew members would be withdrawn.

Meanwhile, the ship remains under detention in Durban Harbour after the South African Maritime Safety Authority inspected the ship, which it says has a large hole on the bow and was generally in a bad condition and was without certificates.

Prior to entering port the ship drifted off the coast for several weeks, reportedly without lights or power as crew attempted to repair the engines.


Port Elizabeth wind bound on Wednesday

Transnet National Ports Authority at Port Elizabeth was obliged to close the port to container ship traffic on Wednesday this week (6 June) on account of strong winds buffeting the area. As far as could be ascertained the restriction affected only container ships.

Yesterday (Thursday 7 June) it was being reported that adverse weather conditions had resulted in the cancellation of boat launch services at the Port of Cape Town. GAC reported that all OPL launch services have been suspended due to safety concerns for the safe transfer of personnel or goods. Vessel owners and operators were urged to consider the helicopter service as an alternative.


SAMSA issues marine notice about discharging of steel pipes

In Marine Notice 14 of 2012 SAMSA states the following:

Recently there have been several occurrences of stevedores sustaining serious injuries whilst discharging steel pipes.

The following dangers whilst handling steel pipes are brought to your attention:

a. Unbundled pipes make the attachment/securing of lifting gear difficult.
b. Lashing/securing wires may have slackened during the voyage making stows unstable.
c. Dunnage may have become compressed during the voyage or insufficient dunnage may have been utilised at the port of loading, making the attachment/securing of lifting gear difficult.
d. Pipes may be oiled, thereby creating a slippery surface on which to stand and making the pipes difficult to handle.
e. Pipes create an uneven surface to work on.
f. Removal and discharge of loose pipes may result in remaining pipes in stow rolling into voids.

All concerned are advised to take the above into consideration when planning the discharge of steel pipes and ensure that appropriate precautions are in place.


Timespan for moving of manganese from PE to Ngqura

Karl Socikwa, the chief executive of Transnet Port terminals said in Port Elizabeth this week that Transnet intended facilitating the move of manganese exports from Port Elizabeth to the nearby Port of Ngqura by 2014 or 2015.

The cost of upgrading the railway between Hotazel in the Northern Cape and Ngqura has been estimated as being 4.5 times as much than if the iron ore line to Saldanha was used including upgrading the latter, but Socikwa said that calculations by Transnet showed the cost to be lower.


Black Sea Port of Illichivsk resumes sugar exports

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The bulker Common Venture in the Port of Illichivsk to discharge a cargo of raw sugar

In international port news, the Black Sea Port of Illichivsk reports that it has resumed handling raw sugar. Recently the Greek-owned and flagged bulker COMMON VENTURE (57,002-dwt, built 2011) called to discharge 45,500 tonnes of cane sugar in the port. Despite the fact that the port has not handled sugar imports for a long time, the technology has remained available, with two gantry bunkers installed at the terminal and with sugar being discharged from the hold into the bunker and then directly into waiting hopper wagons. Four gantry cranes working in grab mode unload the sugar from five holds of the vessel.

This was the first time sugar had been discharged at Illichivsk since 2010. Monthly calls of large-capacity bulk carriers with raw sugar shipments are now expected.

Illichivsk is one of the Black Sea’s largest ports, with a design capacity of more than 30 million tonnes of cargo annually. The port has 29 berths in use to handle a range of cargoes from dry to liquid bulk, general breakbulk and containers. The port’s annual capacity is in excess of 30 million tonnes while the container terminal has a capacity of 1.15 million TEU, being able to accommodate three container ships each of 300m length and 5,000-TEU capacity.


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CMA CGM says results encouraging despite 1st quarter loss

Despite a net loss of US$248 million for the first quarter of 2012, French container line CMA CGM says it remains encouraged after volumes grew 13.4 percent year on year to 2.6 million TEU and consolidated revenue rose 2.6 percent to $3.6 billion during the period.

“The first quarter was particularly difficult for the maritime container shipping industry. In a market shaped by persistent overcapacity, freight rates fell to new lows during the period, while oil prices climbed sharply until mid-March, with Rotterdam bunker prices rising to nearly $720 per ton,” said the company in a statement.

Thanks to a cost reduction plan, CMA CGM has recorded savings of $96.5 million over the quarter, which is above the initial target.

CMA CGM also successfully deployed the operational agreements in partnership with MSC on the Asia/Northern Europe trades and with Maersk on the Asia/Mediterranean lines. Yet despite these efforts, an EBITDA of $ -31 million and a net loss of $248 million for first-quarter 2012 was recorded, which according to CMA CGM represents one of the best financial and operating performances in the container shipping industry for the period.

“Since the end of the first quarter, the market has significantly rebounded with several successful freight rates increases. On the Asia/North Europe trade, for example, the benchmark Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) stood at $1,666/teu as of 1 June, a 3.4-fold increase from $490/teu in December 2011. Similar gains have been observed on the other leading trade routes, particularly the Asia/Mediterranean, Asia/USA and Asia/Latin America lines.

“Over the same period, oil prices have decreased significantly, with heavy fuel oil falling close to $560/ton in Rotterdam at the beginning of June, more than 20% below the March peak.

“As a result, CMA CGM Group’s performance has improved sharply since the beginning of the second quarter. In particular, the Group reached breakeven in terms of operating profit in April and will pursue its cost reduction plan, which will result in $400 million in savings by year-end. The Group also expects to return to the black in 2012.


Busy period for Sturrock dry dock

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The accommodation barge JASCON 28 entered the Cape Town Sturrock Dry Dock yesterday morning to undergo 10 days of maintenance and an upgrade, which is being undertaken by Dormac Marine. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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The tug FAIRPLAY 33 (1374-gt, built 2011) which towed Jascon 28 into Cape Town Harbour. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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A closer view of the large accommodation barge. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Ian Shiffman adds that the dry dock is currently occupied by a second vessel, the dredger ACERGY POLARIS, on which Dormac Marine is also the contractor. Once the dock has been vacated by Acergy Polaris and Jascon 28 their place will be taken by the RMS ST HELENA, with Dormac also undertaking the annual maintenance work.


11,660-TEU container ship due in Durban

On 1 July 2012 the largest ever container ship to enter a South African port to work cargo will arrive in the Port of Durban, vindicating the recent widening and deepening of the harbour entrance.

The ship is the MSC SOLA (131,771-gt, built 2008) which is arriving from Port Louis and the Far East. Although she will not be fully laden the arrival of the 364 metre long ship becomes another justification for the recent harbour entrance channel project, which saw it widened by an additional 100m to a minimum width of 222m and deepened to a working draught of -16.5m.

Once work on deepening at least one of the container terminal berths on Pier 2 has been completed ships of this size will be able to arrive or sail fully laden.


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Maersk Line takes delivery of latest Wafmax vessel

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Safmarine Chachai, a sister ship to the newly delivered Maersk Cuanza. Safmarine Chachai entered service in May this year.

Maersk Line has taken delivery of the latest Wafmax class container ship, the 4,496-TEU MAERSK CUANZA which will be deployed to the Far East – West Africa service FEW3 string.

Maersk Cuanza is the 17th in an order for 22 wide beam ships specially designed for the West African trade, hence the designation Wafmax. The fleet is being built at the Hyundai shipyards in South Korea, The vessels are flagged in Maersk and Safmarine colours respectively.


DHL names new Equatorial Africa boss

DHL’s new managing director for Equatorial Africa is Alan Cassels, who takes over based at the logistics and courier company’s Nairobi office. He replaces Alastair Russell who was with DHL for 32 years helping build the company’s presence in the region.

According to Cassels the cargo volumes in the region have increased significantly, prompting the opening of additional offices in central Africa. As a result DHL will be opening new offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in Tanzania as from July.


Exxaro to upgrade Congo railway to handle 10mt of iron ore exports

South African mining group Exxaro is to upgrade a railway in the Republic of Congo to handle up to 10 million tonnes or more of iron ore by 2016 extracted from the recently acquired Mayoko iron ore project.

The railway in question, which was built by the French in 1931 currently has a capacity of about five million tonnes but a statement from Exxaro said that certain sections required upgrading and repairs to handle the expected export production.

In addition, Exxaro is reported to be considering building a new port possibly at Indienne, north of Pointe Noire to handle iron ore. The Mayoko mine, which was sold to Exxaro by African Iron has an estimated reserve of 2.5 billion tonnes of iron ore.


Nigerian Ports Authority to upgrade port rail facilities

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is investing 860 million naira (US$5.3 million) on upgrading railway lines in the country’s ports, says a report in The Nation this week.

The contract has already been awarded to Messrs CCECC Nigeria Limited and forms part of the NPA’s agreement with port terminal concessionaires given in 2006 to ensure that the ports remain encouraging for business.

The report also said that the NPA has been generating between N100 billion and N130 billion yearly since handing the ports over to terminal operators, and is estimated to be making more than 35 percent in excess of its pre-concessioning income.


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Damen cutter suction dredger built for stock at the Damen Cape Town Shipyards and almost ready for service.

Two cutter suction dredgers, type CSD500, are almost ready at Damen Shipyards Cape Town. The standard dredgers are prefabricated shipbuilding kits, which have been constructed in the South African shipyard and have been built as per the Damen philosophy to build for stock to meet customer demand for a proven design at a reduced delivery time.

“Damen Shipyards Group owns yards around the world where standard dredgers are built to ensure an efficient delivery process at the best possible price-quality ratio. Our yard in Cape Town, which joined the Damen Group in 2007, serves the whole of sub-Saharan Africa,” said Friso Visser, regional sales director. “As Africa is booming, the yard in Cape Town is a perfect location for these CSD500’s.”

The CSD500 dredgers have been built in Cape Town, making use of the ‘Prefabricated Shipbuilding Kit’ principle. This kit has been supplied by Damen Dredging Equipment in The Netherlands and includes all drawings, the dredge pump and its drive, the hydraulically operated winches and cutter unit, the control cabin as well as the hydraulic and electric installation. All items were shipped to Cape Town in containers. The South African yard constructed the pontoons and installed all components. The first dredger has just been commissioned by a DDE field service engineer. source Damen

New Stan Tug 2208 for Epinosul, Angola

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Damen has delivered the newly built Damen Stan Tug 2208 EPI SUCESSO 2 to Angolan tug operator EPINOSUL.

The new tug was built by Damen Shipyards Cape Town, which is currently building several vessels for stock, including tugs, dredgers and crew supply vessels.


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picture : Vale

Brazilian group Vale has US$4 billion to build an integrated logistics system in Mozambique, which includes the construction and rebuilding of railroads in both Mozambique and Malawi, the chairman of the mining group said in Beira.

During the inauguration of the new coal terminal at the port of Beira, in Sofala province, Murilo Ferreira noted that the company’s plans were a result of finding that the transport infrastructure available was an obstacle to mining on a large scale.

The project, which will be carried out along the Nacala Development Corridor, in partnership with state company Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique, will include as well as the railroads a new coal port in Nacala-a-Velha.

According to Notícias, which cited the project’s schedule, work has already begun in neighbouring Malawi, and is due to start soon in Mozambique once negotiations between the Brazilian group and the Mozambican government have concluded.

Ferreira also said that Vale planned for its activities in Mozambique to transform the mining business into prosperity and sustainable economic growth. Source macauhub

Elsewhere it has been reported that the railway between Moatize and the Port of Beira, known as the Sena Railway, will have been completely rehabilitated by November this year.

The Mozambique state-owned ports and railway company CFM, which took over the construction work on the railway from the Indian company RITES, expects to have completed the job by that time after which it should be capable of carrying 6.5 million tonnes of coal annually, up from 2 million tonnes at present.

In a statement issued this week CFM said, “All the work is on track. This is the first phase of a rehabilitation of this infrastructure to be undertaken by CFM to ensure that the line is able to carry 12 million tonnes per year by 2013 and 20 million tonnes within three years.”

Vale has already begun moving coal to Beira from the mine at Moatize while Riversdale/Rio Tinto has made use of road trucks.


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The German-owned container ship PETKUM (15,633-gt, built 2008) seen arriving in the Port of Durban during late May. Pictures by Trevor Jones

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