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Ports & Ships Maritime News

10 July 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The former Russian boomed refrigerated cargo ship KAPITAN LAZAREV, now renamed FRIO LAS PALMAS I (12,413-gt, built 1993), which called in Durban last week. Picture ANON

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Port of Saldanha ore and oil terminals

Port statistics for the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority are now available for the month of June 2012. During the month the combined ports achieved a total throughput of 22.565 million tonnes, an increase of 2.059 million tonnes on the same month in 2011 and reflecting a generally busy month by most of the ports.

To compare the 2012 June figures year on year with those of 2011, please go to the following link HERE. Use your BACKSPACE 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 June 2012 are:


Cargo handled by tonnes during June 2012

PORT June 2012 million tonnes
Richards Bay 6.265
Durban 7.811
Saldanha Bay 5.102
Cape Town 1.301
Port Elizabeth 1.047
Ngqura 0.653
Mossel Bay 0.229
East London 0.154
Total all ports 22.565 million tonnes

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

PORT June 2012 TEUs
Durban 222,890
Cape Town 76,323
Port Elizabeth 29,800
Ngqura 48,363
East London 4,613
Richards Bay 1,890
Total all ports 383,829 TEUs

SHIP CALLS for June 2012

PORT June 2012 vessels gross tons
Durban 369 11,371,975
Cape Town 218 3,596,107
Richards Bay 124 5,003,726
Port Elizabeth 93 2,101,276
Saldanha Bay 45 3,275,390
Ngqura 30 1,839,020
East London 24 573,967
Mossel Bay 79 228,437
Total ship calls 982 27,989,898

- 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
June 2012 5,454,166 32,047,297 64.27 47 725

source: RBCT

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Public Enterprises trims Transnet board to 14

The board of state-owned Transnet has been reduced to 14 members, from 18, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba announced on Friday.

Those who have been trimmed from the board of directors are Nolwazi Gcaba, Peter Moyo, Don Mkhwanazi and Tembakazi Mnyaka. This followed extensive consultation with the Transnet chairperson Mafika Mkwanazi.

The minister said he took the decision to ensure improved efficiencies, coordination and decision-making in the affairs of the board.

“The benefits of a smaller board, such as that of Eskom, were found to be worthy of replication. This is also in tandem with views echoed in the King 3 codes on good corporate governance, which favour a move towards leaner boards,” Gigaba said.

CMA CGM says it won’t go it alone at Abidjan

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Abidjan. Picture courtesy OTAL

The French shipping company CMA CGM says it has decided that it will not bid alone for the planned new container terminal at Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire.

Despite earlier reports that suggested the French line was on its own with the project, CMA CGM said last week that it intended investing in the terminal together with several other partners in a consortium that will share the cost of building, estimated at between €200-250 million.

Had it chosen to go it alone would have been surprising at a time when the group is locked in debt-rescheduling talks with its banks and is seeking ways to cut costs and divest itself of nonessential assets.

“The amount referred to concerns the whole of the project and not CMA CGM’s share, which will thus be limited,” the CMA CGM statement said.

CMA CGM is just one of a number of potential bidders for the new 1.5 million TEU capacity terminal, on which construction is due to commence in 2013 with a completion date set for 2016.

IAPH sets up new port finance and economics committee

Tokyo, 9 July 2012 – A new committee created for port finance professionals to discuss challenges and possible solutions to such diverse issues as port accounting/budgeting principles, project financing, port economic impact studies, and other aspects across the broad spectrum of port related finance and economics, has been established by the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), it was announced on Monday.

The new technical committee on Port Finance and Economics was created at the IAPH’s regular meeting held on 22 May 2012, during the organisation’s mid-term conference in Jerusalem, Israel.

Mr Dov Frohlinger, Chief Operating Officer, Israel Ports Company, was officially appointed by IAPH President and Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz as chair of the new body.

“While seaports worldwide differ substantially from an operational standpoint, we all share a common need in terms of meeting the financial bottom line,” said Frohlinger. “We achieve success by continually educating ourselves, and this committee will serve as a resource for discussing common challenges and sharing best practices. It’s a great platform for port finance professionals to from one another.”

The IAPH is a non-profit global alliance of roughly 200 ports and 150 maritime companies and institutes representing about 90 countries, which was founded in 1955. The IAPH is dedicated to fostering cooperation among ports and harbours and promoting the vital role they play in creating a peaceful, more prosperous world. Based in Tokyo and recognised as the only voice speaking for ports around the globe, the IAPH has Consultative NGO Status from the United Nations and is active in developing international trade and maritime policy. IAPH member ports handle about 80 percent of world container traffic and more than 60 percent of all international maritime trade.

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MSC SOLA calls at Ngqura

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MSC Sola arriving in Durban on Thursday, 5 July 2012. Picture TNPA

The razzmatazz surrounding the visit to South Africa by the 11,660-TEU container ship MSC SOLA continues with the ship’s arrival in the Eastern Cape Port of Ngqura yesterday (Monday), after having completed a call at Durban where cargo was worked at the Durban Container Terminal.

MSC Sola is the biggest container ship to enter both ports but judging from the relatively small number of containers handled at either port, a ship of this size was certainly not necessary for this particular voyage. Whether the ship will return from the Far East for a second time remains to be seen, but one can’t escape thinking that this has been one huge publicity exercise, not only for the shipping line for being the ‘first with the mostest’ but also for the two South African ports concerned and Transnet generally.

In both ports the TNPA went out of its way to ensure that female pilots and where possible female tugs crews were rostered to work the ship into harbour. Even the company delivering bunkers at Durban, SMIT Amandla Marine got into the act and when the bunker barge SMIT ENERGY went alongside MSC Sola to deliver 500 tons of marine fuel oil (in an hour and 36 minutes) it was under the control of barge master Ms Purity Sikhosana.

Sikhosana joined SMIT Amandla Marine as a trainee able seaman in 2007 and was promoted to barge master in 2010. She is based in the Port of Durban.

During her stay in Ngqura MSC Sola will discharge 1,872 containers and load another 3,536, a total of 5,408 boxes for the port which is the biggest single load from one ship calling at the terminal. For the first time the terminal is using six of its eight- strong fleet of giant ship-to-shore cranes to work the vessel.

On arrival the ship was piloted into harbour by 29-year old Xoliswa Bekiswa, the fourth black marine pilot to gain an open licence in South Africa, which allows her to pilot any size of ship in South African waters. Two tugs giving assistance were commanded by two female tug masters, while another two tugs remained on standby in case of adverse weather conditions.

In Durban last Thursday the ship was piloted into port by Bongiwe Mbambo, another of the four females with open licences.

MSC Sola is expected to remain in the Port of Ngqura until tomorrow (Wednesday, 11 July) after which she returns to the Far East.

SA Agulhas II leaves on shakedown cruise to Antarctica

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SA Agulhas II. Picture by Ian Shiffman

The new South African Antarctic supply and research vessel SA AGULHAS II was due to sail from Cape Town yesterday bound for the Antarctic and her first 26-day ‘shake-down’ cruise, during which the ice-breaker will test all ship systems under operational conditions.

These will include a wide variety of underwater probes towed behind the ship and other underwater testing equipment connected to onboard processing and monitoring systems.

The ship is carrying a group of marine scientists from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the University of Cape Town, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the South African Weather Service (SAWS), and Stellenbosch and Rhodes Universities.

Although SA Agulhas II underwent stringent testing in a series of ice trials in the Arctic north of the Bay of Bothnia, as part of her handing over trials from the Finnish builder STX, the opportunity will be taken to enter the winter Antarctic ice pack to test the ship’s propulsion systems under those conditions, the density of the ice being different from that in the Arctic where similar tests were undertaken.

“This would be very useful in obtaining a ‘first feel’ of the ice prior to the year-end Antarctic-based Sanae relief voyage, in December. It will also allow the ship's personnel, some of [whom] have only recently joined the ship, to undergo full operational training,” the DEA said.

The ship is due back in Cape Town on 6 August, but will first stop over at Port Elizabeth for two Open Days to the public on 3 and 4 August 2012.

SA Agulhas sails for Durban

Meanwhile the ship’s predecessor SA AGULHAS has embarked on her own shakedown training voyage on behalf of her new owners, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), who have turned her into a training vessel.

The ship is heading for Durban with 32 students on board, where she will take on board another 15 cadets before turning about and sailing to Namibia, Angola, Ghana, Liberia and finally the Port of London. Cadets on board are undergoing training in various maritime skills and will participate in studies into ocean ecosystems, with specific reference to the impact of climate change and the acidification of the ocean, according to SAMSA.

Ocean Rig Poseidon transfers to Namibia

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Ocean Rig Poseidon

The Ocean Rig drillship OCEAN RIG POSEIDON which came under attack from pirates while drilling in waters off Tanzania last October (the pirates were beaten off) is due to sail from her position off East Africa for the Namibian coast, where she is to drill the Kabeljou exploration well off Namibia for Petrobras and its partners.

The Kabeljou well is located in the Orange Basin in Southern Block 2714A, 77km offshore and in 360m of water, and is expected to take two months to drill. The total drilling depth will be 3,100 metres subsea.

It is not known whether the vessel will call at Cape Town en route.

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Friday’s story (6 July) about the origin of the term ‘Buster’ to describe a southeasterly (or is it southwesterly) wind brought about an interesting selection of responses, all of them in common agreement that the term is well known in Australia and may in fact have its origins there. It seems that the term has also been around for a long time. Here are a couple of the responses:

Just an answer to that question of whether the term ‘Buster’ is unique to the Durban port - it is not, as all along the North and South Coast, as well as Transkei it has been used since the beginning of time.

Ski boaters, surfers, fisherman, spear fishermen – in fact anyone with an interest in the ocean, is well aware of it. It is unique to our coast and awesome to watch due to its suddenness, but if you are an experienced seafarer, never unexpectedly. It has its own distinctive signs that foretell its imminent approach. Out at sea you can tell by observing the slight change in weather patterns, surface sea conditions, hazy horizon and the slowly approaching cloud bank on the southern horizon, often representing a smooth round leading edge, not unlike a rolling wave.

Being a commercial charter skipper operating out of Umkomaas for over 25 years, I still stand amazed when witnessing it. The one on Wednesday was a beaut.
Basie (Ackermann)

And another

Your Maritime News recently discussed the Natal Buster and its origin. In the book ‘The Log of the Cutty Sark (1875-6)’ by Basil Lubbock, mention is made of the busters in Australia (Sydney and NSW). Presently it is even more common and more frequent used in Australia.

The oldest reference that I know of it being used locally was in Alex Anderson’s wonderful book ‘Windjammer Yarns’, published in 1923 but describing events that took place on the South African coast from the 1860s onwards. But of course Alex Anderson also sailed between Durban and Australia, where he may have picked up the term but then again I doubt that he alone would have introduced it into Durban nautical lore.

Finally, and seeking some authority on the matter, the Internet was consulted from where WHT Layton’s Dictionary of 8000 Nautical Words and Terms on page 362 provided the following:

Southerly Burster (Buster): Wind off S and SE coasts of Australia during summer and autumn. Usually develops between North and West, which chops round and brings cold and stormy conditions.

As a follow up to Friday’s account of the buster striking Durban, it appears the damage caused by the wind wasn’t confined to just a scare. The ‘K’ Line container ship Ambassador Bridge, which featured in our report has been undergoing repairs over at Pier 1 ever since the incident. It appears that while she escaped colliding with the NYK ship, she was not so lucky with two ship-to-shore cranes on the quayside, the collision placing them out of commission for a week or two and the ship for the past week.

There’s even a story doing the rounds that ships in harbour were asked to lower their anchors while the buster raged. Any confirmation of that and if so then how often has that happened?

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The Field Meeting of FIATA’s Region Africa and Middle East (RAME) was held in Johannesburg/South Africa on the 25th and 26th of June 2012 at the Emperors Palace Complex. This year’s field meeting was attended by 70 delegates representing 15 countries. A special honour was given to the current FIATA President Mr Stanley Lim.

The annual meetings’ primary goal is to bring the regional players together to achieve networking, disseminate best practices and be able to deal with issues and challenges prevailing in the respective countries and potential ways for their resolutions using the FIATA mechanism. The Regional Meeting and its rotational attributes provides such platform since its inception some 12 years ago.

In his opening comments to the delegates the CEO of the South African Chamber of Commerce Mr Neren Rau stressed the importance of the Freight Industry in South Africa and the role it plays in the provision of enlarging the distribution services of goods around the continent. Mr Rau was confident that the future of the economy of the continent looked promising but that there were needs to improve governance and trade friendly policies.

FIATA President Stanley Lim was impressed with the participation level and representation from the Middle East & Africa. Mr Lim elaborated on FIATA’s role in reaching out to the region and the vision to improve awareness and knowledge level in the global trade. This is a region that came last in the FIATA fold and it is important that all the support is provided to harness its full potential.

The Chairman Mr Issa Baluch announced that two candidates from the RAME Region (Egypt and South Africa) have participated in this year’s Young Freight Forwarder of the Year by participating in the final selection in Los Angeles in October.

After a very informative country presentation made by the host country South Africa and the followed floor discussion and further country information provided by different countries, the Chairman was happy to announce, that the selected country for the East African Project TOT (Train of Trainers) is Tanzania. A pre-qualification inspection visit has just been concluded in the month of May 2012 and the TOT schedule has been set to take place in Dar-es-Salaam in July 2012.

The chairman informed the delegates that Burundi is the new applicant for national association membership and that an admission decision will take place in Los Angeles in Oct once the requirements are fulfilled.

RAME delegates expressed again their intention to become more actively involved in the Advisory Bodies, Institutes and Working Groups of FIATA. The chairman confirmed that this has to be the ultimate goal of RAME to make sure that members are inducted in the various organs of FIATA.

The chairman concluded the meeting with a vote of thanks to SAAFF for a job well done in hosting this year’s field meeting and looks forward to seeing all participants in Los Angeles in October. Source - FIATA

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Europa 2 is taken out of the dry dock for the first time. Picture: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Four months after the laying down of the keel, Hapag-Lloyd’s EUROPA 2 left the drydock of the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire on 6 July 2012. In the context of a festive ceremony, the dock was flooded and the new addition to the fleet of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises took to the water for the first time. Now that Europa 2 has left the drydock the next construction stage is due to begin – the completion of the interior at the outfitting pier.

251 all-balcony suites, eight restaurants, a modern theatre as well as bars, lounges and public areas will be featured on board Europa 2. A total of 835 shipyard workers are involved in the construction of the new ship until the delivery of the latter in the spring of 2013. They will dedicate around 2.5 million hours of labour to the project, and 10,000 tons of steel have already been used in the process of building Europa 2. The ship is expected to be delivered to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises at the end of April 2013 – her 14-day maiden voyage from Hamburg to Lisbon will take place from 11 May – 25 May 2013.

Europa 2, the sister ship of the Europa will be positioned in the luxury segment as a lifestyle-oriented, casual alternative. Europa 2 will offer a maximum of 516 guests more space per passenger than any other cruise liner, with 251 all-balcony suites. All the ship suites have a veranda and a minimum size of 301 sq ft. Eight restaurants, as well as six bars will offer culinary diversity, and a large spa and fitness area takes into account the trend towards health and well-being at sea.

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The Daring class Type 45 Royal Navy destroyer HMS DAUNTLESS which entered Cape Town harbour last Thursday. The ship, the second of her type to enter service is on a six-month deployment to the Falklands that commenced in April. With many South American ports closed to her because of the dispute concerning the Falklands (Malvinas as it is known to the Argentines) it has been necessary to bring the ship and crew to South Africa for some necessary R&R, roughly midway through her deployment. Tensions between the two countries have not been helped by statements from Royal Navy officers that HMS Dauntless was capable of destroying the Argentine Air Force all by itself – claims that raised the odd eyebrow after a faulty £10 fuse halted the ship at sea for a brief period in May, leaving HMS Dauntless without power and drifting for a short while. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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