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Ports & Ships Maritime News

15 June 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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Image and 

video hosting by TinyPic The oil rig SCARABEO 3 arriving under tow in Cape Town for an extensive survey and maintenance repair. Picture by Aad Noorland

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Tandem tipplers at Richards Bay Coal Terminal

Port statistics for the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority are now available for the month of May 2012. During the month the combined ports achieved a total throughput of 23.915 million tonnes reflecting another busy month by most of the ports.

To compare the 2012 May figures year on year with those of 2011, please go to the following link HERE for the previous May figures. Use your BACK button to return to this page.

As is standard with figures reported in PORTS & SHIPS, these reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to those provided by Transnet. This is to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers by number of TEUs and does not show the weight.

To arrive at such a calculation, PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13,5 tonnes per TEU, which may involve some under- reporting but until such time as the IMO enforces the weighing of containers at all ports we will have to live with these estimates. Nevertheless, we continue to make this distinction, without which South African ports continue to be under-reported internationally.

Figures for the respective ports during May 2012 are:


Cargo handled by tonnes during May 2012

PORT May 2012 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.580
Durban 7.741
Saldanha Bay 5.453
Cape Town 1.284
Port Elizabeth 0.984
Ngqura 0.435
Mossel Bay 0.210
East London 0.227
Total all ports 23.915 million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during May 2012
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT May 2012 TEUs
Durban 244,809
Cape Town 69,572
Port Elizabeth 21,914
Ngqura 32,252
East London 5,349
Richards Bay 2.070
Total all ports 375,966 TEUs

SHIP CALLS for May 2012

PORT May 2012 vessels gross tons
Durban 342 9,998,964
Cape Town 236 4,056,165
Richards Bay 136 5,111,228
Port Elizabeth 77 2,041,872
Saldanha Bay 42 2,928,952
Ngqura 32 1,578,920
East London 23 555,971
Mossel Bay 92 333,275
Total ship calls 980 26,595,347

- source TNPA, but with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container tonnages


  Month's exports YTD exports Annualised estimate Ships Trains
January 2012 4,463,987 4,463,987 52,56mt 44 813
February 2012 6,087,111 10,551,098 64.19mt 63 678
March 2012 6,239,646 16,790,744 67.35 58 810
April 2012 5,174,739 21,965,483 66,26 48 778
May 2012 4,627,648 26,593,131 63,86 46 509

source: RBCT

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Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s car carrier TORINO seen arriving at Port Elizabeth during June 2012. Picture by Luc Hosten

Grindrod makes new appointments

Grindrod recently announced two new senior appointments. The first is that of Graham Braby who is the Group’s new Divisional Chief Executive: Grindrod Ports and Terminals.

With seven years of experience in port and rail operations, Braby, an engineer by profession, was formerly employed by Nampak before joining Transnet where he held positions as Chief Operating Officer, Transnet Port Terminals (TPT); General Manager Eastern Corridors; and General Manager Capital Projects. His experience with Transnet included being instrumental in facilitating improved efficiencies on the coal corridors.

The second appointment is that of Sarel Ceronio who has been appointed Chief Executive of Terminal de Carvão de Matola in the Port of Maputo.

Sarel Ceronio was previously employed by Transnet (TPT) where he held various positions requiring him to work across all the terminals in South Africa. Some of the projects included terminal efficiency improvement programs, multipurpose terminal turn- around projects, and specific port and rail strategy projects for the likes of Mittal Steel.

Ceronio was instrumental in improving the magnetite/rock phosphate volumes from Phalaborwa to Richards Bay and the Chrome/Ferro- Chrome volumes to Richards Bay. He worked closely with CFM, Transnet Freight Rail and TCM on improving the coal and magnetite volumes to Maputo.

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Graham Braby

DCT declared Major Hazardous Installations

Durban Container Terminal Piers 1 and 2 have been declared Major Hazardous Installations in terms of the Occupational, Health and Safety Act.

According to advertisements carried in Durban newspapers this week Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) says that emergency plans have been developed and mitigating measures implemented to ensure the protection of the health and safety of those working or visiting in the terminals.

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The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Table Bay station reports that it was mobilised earlier this week along with the Western Cape Government Health Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to provide medical assistance for an injured fisherman on board the local long line fishing trawler SHOAL FISH who was reported to be suffering convulsions from an unknown cause.

The call-out came in the late afternoon and the NSRI crew together with two EMS rescue paramedics put to sea in the NSRI rescue boat Spirit of Vodacom to rendezvous with the fishing vessel some six nautical miles offshore from Green Point. “An EMS ambulance was summoned to stand-by at our sea rescue base in the Port of Table Bay,” the NSRI reported.

. On arrival on-scene the EMS paramedics went on board the trawler and treated and stabilised the patient, who is from Khayelitsha, who was found to be suffering a Cerebrovascular Accident (stroke). The patient was then transferred onto the sea rescue craft and taken to Cape Town harbour from where he was transported to hospital by an EMS ambulance in a serious but stable condition for further treatment.

Conti Hong Kong oil leak

According to a report seen by Ports & Ships, it now appears that the oil slick from the container ship CONTI HONG KONG may have been caused by cracks in the fuel tanks, which led to the contamination of bilge discharges from the ship, resulting in an oil slick several miles long.

It was earlier reported that the slick was the result of an accident while transferring oil from one tank to another (see Ports & Ships 12 June news edition).

TØNSBERG declared ‘Ship of the Year 2011’

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TØNSBERG, the world's largest roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) ship, which was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd (MHI), has been awarded the ‘Ship of the Year 2011’ by the Japan Society of Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers (JASNAOE).

Every year JASNAOE selects what it considers to be the most technologically, artistically and socially superior ships and marine structures built that year, and the Tonsberg was chosen for its highly evaluated transport efficiency and environmental compatibility. The award ceremony will take place on 25 July.

Tonsberg is the first in a series of four ships ordered by the Wilh. Wilhelmsen group and Wallenius group: the former a Norway- based group of maritime industrial firms having global scope, and the latter a Swedish shipping group. The ship was completed in March 2011 at MHI's Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works and delivered to the Wilh. Wilhelmsen group.

The 74,622 gross tonnage ship measures 265 metres in length overall, 32.26m in width and 33.22m in height (ship bottom to upper deck).

The Tonsberg features capability to transport high and heavy (H&H) cargo such as large-size construction machinery and machine tools, plant components, railway cars and pleasure boats. To enable flexible loading of such cargo, three of the ship's nine decks are electrically hoistable. To reduce environmental burdens and save energy, the ship is equipped with a ballast water treatment system, waste heat recovery system, electronically controlled engine, etc.

The Ship of the Year awards were established in 1990, hosted by JASNAOE and sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, to promote construction of superior ships and marine structures and induce greater sea- mindedness among the general public. Award contenders apply in one of six categories: large passenger ships; small passenger ships; large cargo ships; small cargo ships; fishing and work vessels; and special vessels, marine structures and marine equipment.

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All three of Cunard’s Queens, QUEEN MARY 2, QUEEN ELIZABETH and QUEEN VICTORIA were in Southampton for the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee on Tuesday 5 June 2012.

As the smaller Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, near twin ships, berthed in a bow-to-bow formation near the port’s cruise terminal, the massive Queen Mary 2 moved into position to create a three-way bow formation while the crew lined up along the foredecks and the ships’ sounded their whistles in salute.

Later all three ships sailed in single file down the Solent as they set off on their Diamond Jubilee voyages carrying about 6,000 passengers in all.

Athena chartered to German operator

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Athena in Durban in May this year. Picture by Trevor Jones

The vintage cruise ship ATHENA which visited South Africa earlier this year has been chartered to Germany’s Ambiente Kreuzfahrten to undertake five cruises in August and September of this year.

Ambiente Kreuzfahrten already has on charter another of the so-called classic ships, the 16,531-gt PRINCESS DANAE which is on a three-year charter from Classic International as from April this year. Classic will operate Athena’s annual positioning voyage from Marseilles to Fremantle in November this year.

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Abidjan container terminal. Picture OTAL

The Ivory Coast port of Abidjan has announced plans to expand its container capacity by almost threefold to 2.3 million TEU, making it one of the biggest container terminals in the West African region.

According to port director Hein Sie the intention is to make Abidjan a regional hub between Europe and South Africa as well as acting as a hub for the benefit of countries in the south.

This was announced as the Abidjan Port Authority opened the bidding for the construction and management of the port’s second container terminal. Offers are being accepted up until 14 July with the terminal being due for completion in 2016. This will increase the port’s container capacity by 1.5 million TEU.

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Cargo Liners: An Illustrated History
by Ambrose Greenway
Paperback, £18.99, published by Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley, S70 2AS England www.seaforthpublishing.com
(ISBN 978 1 84832 129 8)

It is always a pleasure to report on new books on maritime topics for they continue to provide a rich seam hewn by authors around the world. One such concerns the cargo liner and the author is an established expert who for many years has been talking and writing about ships and shipping (he is a member of the House of Lords, the British Upper House). He takes the trouble to do his homework and is always well briefed. Greenway is also an Elder Brother of Trinity House, London, an institution which has been concerned with maritime safety and the welfare and education of seafarers for 498 years. Indeed, great celebrations are planned for the 500th anniversary of the granting of its charter by Henry VIII in 2014.

For the century between 1850 and 1950, the cargo liner grew to dominate the world’s trade routes, providing regular services upon which merchants, shippers and importers could rely. They carried much of the world’s higher value manufactured goods and raw materials and their services spread to most corners of the globe.

This well illustrated work has a magnificent collection of more than 300 photographs. (The author’s work has also been used in a recent title to commemorate 175 years of P&O). Cargo Liners begins with the establishment of routes around Europe and across the North Atlantic in the 1850s. Not until the Liverpool shipowner and engineer, Alfred Holt, developed high-pressure compound engines were coal-powered vessels able to steam further afield, to the Far East and Australia. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 cemented the dominance of the cargo liner over sail and it was not until the appearance of the first container ship in the 1960s that such dominance was threatened.

Here are to be found exceptionally well drafted introductory texts and substantial picture captions in support of an abundance of photographs. This is the paperback edition of the hardback which appeared in 2009.

Paul Ridgway

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Image and 

video hosting by TinyPic The Antarctic research and supply ship S.A.AGULHAS II sailed yesterday Cape Town before taking up a position off Sea Point for the rest of the day. By 9h30pm last night the ship was noted sailing due south. In these two pictures the ship is seen as she left port earlier in the day. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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