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Ports & Ships Maritime News

31 July 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 anchor handling tug and supply (AHTS) vessel MAERSK TRIMMER (4678-gt, built 2009) in Cape Town harbour this week and photographed at the L/Wharf #2 where she called to take on bunkers and supplies. Picture by Aad Noorland

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Port of Walvis Bay

The planned expansion of the Port of Walvis Bay in Namibia has been put on hold after Namport, the Namibian Ports Authority, chose to cancel the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) phase.

The N$3 billion (R3bn) contract had been awarded to the China Harbour and Engineering Company (CHEC) which was the only one of eight candidates to be shortlisted for the port expansion. When the other bidders, all local companies with foreign investors, were overlooked they took the matter to the Namibian Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Paulus Noa, who subsequently cleared both CHEC and Namport of any wrongdoing.

The proposed expansion included a new container terminal to be built on reclaimed land on the south of the existing port.

The rumour market suggests that the contract has fallen apart over funding issues but so far there has been no comment from either party. It appears however that Namport is not anxious to be bound into a contract with an EPC that may discourage other possible funding sources.

There is now speculation that the cancellation of CHEC’s contract has opened the way for Hyundai Engineering and Construction to have another go at securing the contract, but the cancellation doesn’t necessarily mean that CHEC is out of the equation.

However, according to Informanté it remains unclear whether CHEC, as the only short-listed candidate, will be allowed to continue and whether the other seven candidates, all Namibian black empowerment entities with foreign partners, will be given another opportunity.

Earlier in the month it was reported in the Economist (Namibia) that Japan was ready to help finance the port expansion. The incoming Japanese Ambassador to Namibia, Yutaka Yoshizaw said that Japan, through its International Cooperation Agency (JICA), was interested in funding the expansion of the port. He did not however say how much JICA was prepared to invest in the project.

“Once it is completed it will be a very good gateway for Japanese businesses coming into the sub Saharan region,” Ambassador Yoshizaw said.

Lüderitz to become oil and gas hub

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Port of Lüderitz

In other Namibian port news, plans to make the Port of Lüderitz a hub port for oil and gas imports into the Southern African region advanced a little further with the completion and presentation of an Environmental Management Plan.

The project calls for a US$2.3 billion liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and oil terminal to be built at the port in response to shortfalls in the southern African supply chain heightened by a shortage of capacity in South Africa. This has opened an opportunity for investment by Namibian and Botswana companies to look at building a terminal at the Port of Lüderitz.

A site in the port was identified and an agreement signed between Namport and Corridor Gas & Oil Terminal (Pty) Ltd back in 2011. Corridor is a joint venture between Auto-gas Oil and Gas Bulk (Pty) Ltd of Namibia and Pula Energy (Pty) Ltd from Botswana.

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SA Dept of Immigration clamps down of seafarers shore leave

There is mounting concern over what appears to be a new unbending application of rules concerning the movement of visiting seafarers wanting to go ashore in the Port of Durban. The matter arose when Immigration suddenly clamped down on seafarers from the arrested ship GANDARI who wanted to go ashore on the strength of their seamen’s identity books. The seafarers were advised that their normal identity documents were no longer valid documents and that they would have to report to Home Affairs to apply for temporary visas. They were also informed that only the ship’s agent would be allowed to convey them to Home Affairs for this purpose.

According to the representative of the International Transport Federation (ITF) in Durban, Sprite Zungu, the clamp down appears to have followed the refusal by the Gandari crew to take their detained ship outside to the outer anchorage. The crew said that they wanted to be paid their outstanding salaries and sent home instead of being kept prisoner on their ship in the outer anchorage. The ship has since remained in port but the movement of the crew remains restricted.

Zungu said that the rule has since been applied to other ships arriving in port, with agents having to take the responsibility of ferrying the crew to Home Affairs where the crew have to apply for visas if they want to go ashore. He said the new ruling made it impossible for crew to leave their ships even to go to the Bayhead Seafarer Centre because the time spent calling at Home Affairs used up most of their shore leave. Zungu said that it appeared that the Immigration personnel no longer wanted to go on board arriving ships to clear the crew and vessel as it has always done in the past and instead the crew would have to visit Home Affairs if they wished to leave the ship, and then only if the ships agent was available to take them. “It’s as though they don’t want to do their jobs any longer,” he said referring to Immigration officers.

The Revd Boet van Schalkwyk of the International Sailors Society (ISS) confirmed the information saying that seamen arriving by ship now have to be taken to the department’s offices to have their documents stamped on arrival, and later they have to return to be stamped out before their ship sails. As this was very time consuming it left little time for crew from container ships, which turn around after a few days, to have much time ashore.

Kenya bans heavy containers from road – send them by rail, he says

Kenya intends introducing a ban on the carrying of containers by road if the boxes have a weight in excess of 28 tonnes.

According to Transport Permanent Secretary Cyrus Njiru, the ruling is aimed at reducing an over-reliance on the East African nation’s road system. “We cannot continue destroying our roads,” he said.

“Trucks are used at the last point between the container depot and the factory and even for that section they should not be over 28 tonnes. We have asked RVR (Rift Valley Railways) to triple its carrying capacity,” he told Kenya’s Capital FM Network.

Meanwhile it is reported that the Port of Mombasa handled a record 771,000 TEUs in 2011, well above the terminal’s design capacity of 600,000 TEU. A second container terminal is under construction in the port and should be able to commence operating in March 2016.

Durban Bayhead Road Extension – new lane opens

The construction of a dual carriageway extension of Durban’s congested Bayhead Road reached a further stage yesterday with the splitting of traffic into left and right hand carriageways east of the Langeberg Road junction.

However the road construction is not complete and the temporary island south of Langeberg Road splitting DCT and Pier 1/Cutler/Bluff inbound traffic will remain. DCT/Pier 2 traffic should keep to the leftmost lane as they approach the intersection. A right turning lane remains for Ambrose Park bound traffic. As from yesterday (Monday 30 July), Pier 1/Cutler/Bluff bound traffic will continue straight across the intersection into the newly constructed left hand carriageway of Bayhead Road.

Motorists are asked to please exercise particular caution when navigating through this intersection – and ensure that they are in the correct lane, paying attention to the signage, temporary flagmen and road marking. Metro-Police are on site to assist as required.

Trinidad Road, Cutler Staging and Cutler Permit Parking are unaffected by this traffic switch.

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Ocean Rig Poseidon starts drilling off Namibia

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Ocean Rig Poseidon

The drill ship OCEAN RIG POSEIDON has commenced drilling for oil offshore of Namibia, after arriving on station from Tanzania.

“We are pleased to announce that drilling operations have commenced on the Nimrod prospect. This is the second well in Chariot's 4 to 5 well drilling programme offshore Namibia,” said Chariot Oil & Gas in a statement on its website. The drilling began on Friday (27 July 2012).

It is anticipated that it will take about 60 days to complete drilling to a depth of 3350 metres in the Nimrod Prospect, which is in the Orange Rver Basin about 77km offshore and in a water depth of approximately 360 metres.

According to some reports the prospect is thought to hold 4.9 billion barrels of oil.

Ship goes aground outside Beira

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Gemeni while aground off Beira. Picture by Frederico Telana

The container ship GEMENI which went aground off the Mozambique port of Beira on Saturday (28 July) has been refloated and has re- entered port to dock at the container terminal.

The ship was sailing from port at around midday when she went aground on one of the sandbanks in the exit channel. The vessel was under pilotage at the time. She was refloated again during the night and was able to return to port for inspection. Source and picture Frederico Telana

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Sign at the Port of Beira. Picture by Frederico Telana

Nigerian company orders six Platform Supply Vessels

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The Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group has received a contract to build four SPP35 platform supply vessels (PSV). The contract includes a Letter of Intention for two large SPP50 PSVs for SLOK Nigeria Ltd. The six vessels are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2014.

SLOK is a company involved with oil and gas supply in Nigeria and is also the first African operator to order medium and large- sized PSVs from China.

The contract marks the first time that independently designed offshore supply vessel (OSV) products of SINOPACIFIC have been sold to the African market, signifying the growing maturity and acceptance of the SP brand within the market, says the shipbuilder.

“The cooperation with SLOK symbolises that we have sufficient advantages and conditions to implement the relevant market strategies in West Africa. We are capable of combining the innovation of business with leading technologies to maintain our leading position in the OSV segment,” Simon Liang, SINOPACIFIC President and CEO said.

MSC Flaminia takes up waiting station off the UK coast

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MSC Flaminia on fire

As the container ship MSC Flaminia takes up a waiting station 100 n.miles off the UK coast, a team of fire-fighting experts has reboarded the vessel to inspect and deal with any hotspots or remaining fires smoldering inside the containers. There is currently no smoke being observed.

They will also undertake an assessment of the stability of the ship, which developed a strong list after tugs poured water on the decks to put out the fire amidships. Collapsing containers added to the vessel’s instability.

The fire broke out in a container or containers in hold #4 while MSC Flaminia was in the mid Atlantic, while sailing from North America to the UK and Europe. After initially fighting the fire, the crew abandoned ship when an explosion occurred, killing one seafarer and seriously injuring several others. Another man died before he could reach hospital in the Azores.

Salvors who have the ship under tow are waiting for permission to be received before proceeding to a sheltered area closer to the UK shore.

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Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) will help save thousands of lives with just over R3.9 million in critical funding over the next three years for the National Sea Rescue Institute’s (NSRI) ‘WaterWise Academy’ water safety programme.

According to the Medical Research Council of South Africa, over the past five years, 3 000 deaths by drowning were recorded. Netcare 911 also revealed that drowning is one of the leading causes of unnatural death among children in South Africa.

It is for this reason that Transnet National Ports Authority - already a platinum partner of Sea Rescue – says it has decided to take one step further, by funding six of the NSRI’s WaterWise Academy Instructors around South Africa.

NSRI CEO, Ian Wienburg said: “The WaterWise Academy is a world first in that it advocates peer-rescue.

“Whilst there are many good learn to swim projects around the world, the NSRI’s WaterWise project trains our children to be mini- rescuers. We have taken the Sea Rescue syllabus and scoped it down to be age appropriate for children.

“Those most likely to drown, according to the South African Medical Research Council, are children between the ages of 9 and 14 from poor and rural communities. For practical reasons these children often do not swim under adult supervision and are therefore at risk. They need to understand what to do in an emergency, who to call for help, how to rescue their peers and keep them alive by doing basic bystander CPR until an ambulance arrives.”

Core to TNPA’s corporate social investment strategy is education, community investment and advancement. Therefore as part of its social responsibility, TNPA considers the prevention and protection of all South African water users vitally important.

“The NSRI has been providing a vital humanitarian rescue service since 1967 and TNPA has been a key partner in their success.

“This project, which proactively considers safety of water users, takes the relationship to new heights and will no doubt be instrumental in saving lives,” said Tau Morwe, Chief Executive of TNPA.

The NSRI is manned by 980 dedicated volunteers around the country at 32 coastal rescue stations and three inland rescue stations.

“Our biggest asset is human life and it is our families and communities we look to protect the most.

“We believe that by helping organisations such as NSRI to continue to teach water safety and survival skills, all South Africans - especially children from disadvantaged and rural backgrounds - can enjoy the water, safely,” said Morwe.

NSRI urges all adults and children to take the relevant precautions by swimming only at beaches where lifeguards are on duty.

The WaterWise Academy has taught 205 403 children about water safety since 2006. The Instructors aim to reach over 60 000 children this year. Source TNPA

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by Paul Ridgway

On Friday (27 July) Ports & Ships reported on the tragic death of a 61-year old seafarer who lost his life while climbing the ladder to the bulker CAPE KESTREL in the Durban outer anchorage Romanian seafarer dies in fall from ship off Durban - use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page.

Coincident to this, it was reported on Thursday 26 July that IMPA and the ICS have joined forces to update a brochure aimed at shipping companies and seafarers, reminding them of the vital need to ensure that ladders used for pilot transfers are safe and always rigged correctly.

The revised brochure entitled Shipping Industry Guidance on Pilot Transfer Arrangements is supported by a wide range of other international shipping bodies. It takes account of the latest amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) concerning pilot ladders, which came into effect on 1 July 2012.

The updated guidance is being distributed throughout the industry by the national shipowners’ and pilots’ associations that make up the memberships of ICS and IMPA. The brochure is also supported by the International Group of P&I Clubs, BIMCO, CLIA, Intercargo, IPTA, Intertanko, OCIMF, SIGTTO, ITF, IFSMA and the Nautical Institute.

The latest edition of the poster Required Boarding Arrangements for Pilot issued by IMPA in accordance with SOLAS Regulation V/23 and IMO Resolution A.1045(27) is also available.

IMPA Secretary General, Nick Cutmore, explained, “Sadly, pilots continue to lose their lives as a result of accidents while boarding or disembarking from ships, and many more have been seriously injured. We are therefore very pleased by the support we have received from ICS, as well as from other industry organisations and unions, in helping to promote the message to seafarers and to shipping company management about the vital need to rig pilot ladders safely in accordance with SOLAS.”

“When pilots come aboard ships it is to help seafarers during critical and demanding phases of a voyage,” said ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe. “It is incumbent on ship operators and their crews to do everything possible to ensure safety during pilot transfer operations, which always involve a degree of risk, even when conditions are good. Some common causes of accidents still appear to be defects in the structure of the ladder treads or ropes, or a lack of a proper securing of the ladder to the ship.”

IMPA, the International Maritime Pilots’ Association, is a professional, non-profit making body, primarily concerned with promoting professional standards of pilotage worldwide in the interests of pilots’ safety. It has some 8,000 members in over 40 countries and operates from its base in HQS Wellington on the Thames. It has as its principal objective, the promotion of professionally sound and safe pilotage.

The ICS or International Chamber of Shipping is also London-based and is the principal international trade association for shipowners, with a membership comprising national shipowners’ associations from 36 countries, representing over 80% of the world merchant fleet, in all sectors and trades.

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The former South African anti-pollution vessel KUSWAG I, still sailing with that name, is now in service with Mozambique authorities as a coastal fishery patrol vessel registered in Maputo. The vessel was recently in Durban where this picture was taken as she departed back to Maputo. Picture by Terry Hutson

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As two kayakers take to Durban Bay for an afternoon’s exercise, the Tidewater Marine’s offshore tug and supply vessel WISE TIDE II (2308-gt, built 2009) heads for the port entrance after completing maintenance repairs at Elgin Brown & Hamer’s yard in Bayhead. Picture by Terry Hutson

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