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Ports & Ships Maritime News

3 August 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The Singapore owned and managed, Panama-flagged products tanker FAIRCHEM FILLY (20,810-dwt, built 2007) made a colurful picture in Cape Town harbour when she called during July. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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The department of Immigration in Durban reacted strongly to our report of Tuesday 31 July Immigration clamps down on seafarers coming ashore with KZN Director of Home Affairs Tersia Hanekom describing the report as “all lies”.

In the report the International Transport Federation’s representative in Durban, Sprite Zungu was quoted saying that seafarers were not longer being cleared by immigration officials on the ship’s arrival but had to be taken to Home Affairs offices in town to have their passports stamped. “It’s as though they don’t want to do their jobs any longer,” he said.

“That’s simply not true, Hanekom said, adding that immigration officials visit every ship arriving and leaving the Port of Durban but “to clear the vessels, not the crew,” she said.

She explained that Immigration was simply carrying out the existing law that crew arriving in the country by ship had to be taken to the immigration offices to have their passports stamped, where the department could check whether they were wanted by other law enforcement agencies or were known terrorists.

She said that in the past Home Affairs previously had a manpower problem in that it did not have sufficient personnel to process ship’s crew fully in this manner but that had now changed with more staff being trained and made available in Durban. “We’re now applying the full force of the law which says that every person arriving or leaving from the country must go through Immigration and have their passport’s stamped.”

“It has nothing to do with detained ships,” she said referring to the report that the clamp down appeared to have followed the refusal by the Gandari crew to take their detained ship to the outer anchorage. “We’ve beefed up on our manpower and have imposed certain controls. We’re simply fulfilling our mandate,” Hanekom said. She said the law was the same for everyone and that anyone entering the country, no matter at which control point, had to report to immigration to have their passports processed and stamped.

Asked why Home Affairs did not provide facilities in the port itself where seafarers could be screened, as was the case with passengers arriving on cruise ships, she said it was a logistical problem at present, hence the insistence that crew from merchant ships must be taken to Home Affairs.

This enforcing of the policy was to be progressively rolled out at other ports. “We are trying out a mobile system in Cape Town,” she indicated, adding that she would be meeting with SAASOA in the coming week to discuss the state of affairs in Durban.

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Kenya issues tender to build berths at Lamu port

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Kenya has issued a tender for the construction of three berths at the new port of Lamu, in the north-east of Kenya.

The documents call for bids to build three berths and is open to international and local companies. The new port forms part of a wider US$23 billion transport corridor project that aims at linking Lamu with South Sudan and Ethiopia and includes a new railway, a highway to both neighbouring countries and a pipeline to provide oil export options for South Sudan. The new port will also cater for emerging oil prospecting and production in northern Kenya.

Inchcape acquires Port Louis agency

Inchcape Shipping Services has extended its influence in agency operations to Mauritius with the acquisition of Bellhop Co Ltd, a company founded in 1996 and based in Port Louis.

The new company has been named ISS Belship and will continue with established services in the country including marine and offshore agency, logistics and freight forwarding. It will also introduce a wider portfolio of global service offerings.

Heading up the Port Louis operation is general manager Arnaud Technet, a former shareholder of Bellhop. He is supported by an experienced staff from the former company.

"We are very pleased to open ISS Belship in Mauritius not only to further our expansion in the region but to support our clients with our extensive range of integrated maritime, cargo and vessel supply chain solutions, developed to maximise efficiencies within their operations and improve business performance and profitability," said Allan Vermaak, vice president of ISS Special Projects.

The buy-out is ISS’s seventh of a growth strategy, that has so far taken in areas such as Ghana, Namibia and Chile.

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Odfjell orders four new tankers

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One of Odfjell’s older products tankers, BOW ATLANTIC (17,460-dwt, built 1995). Picture by R Smera

Norwegian shipping company Odfjell has signed contracts with South Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Ltd to build four chemical tankers of 46,000 -dwt each with 22 coated cargo tanks.

Costing US$160 million for the four ships, Odjfell has also taken an option for another four sister vessels at the same price. The ships are being designed as eco-friendly and will have a lower fuel consumption than older generation tankers. They are intended as replacements for older vessels that Odfjell has scrapped in recent years.

COSCO issues profit warning

China’s COSCO has issued a profit warning, saying it expects to post a first half 2012 net loss that will be more than 50 percent higher than the CNY2.8 billion (US$439 million) loss it recorded in the first half of 2011.

According to COSCO the poor results are due to a weak global economy and a slowdown of growth in China. The company cited excessive capacity and an imbalance of supply and demand in the bulk shipping market as contributory reasons.

In addition, it said, freight rates in the dry bulk market remain low while relevant costs including fuel remained at high levels.

In the first quarter of 2012 COSCO posted a loss of CNY2.7 billion (US$423 million).

MSC Flaminia off UK coast

The container ship MSC FLAMINIA, which caught fire in the mid-Atlantic on 14 July, resulting in the death of two of the ship’s crew and injuring three others, is currently drifting with her accompanying tugs about 100 n.miles off the English coast, awaiting a decision as to a place of refuge.

Earlier, firefighters returned on board the ship to inspect her holds and containers for any hot spots, as a lack of smoke indicated that most if not all the fires have been extinguished. The ship has a list caused by the tons of water sprayed onto her to dampen and extinguish the fire and shipbuilding experts were among those who went on board to assess the damage to the ship.

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Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will be offering two expedition trips through Madagascar and Southern Africa in December 2012 and December 2013 onboard the MS HANSEATIC and the MS BREMEN, with maiden calls on both itineraries.

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Hanseatic in Hapag-Lloyd’s new colours, introduced in late 2011

The HANSEATIC, the world’s only 5-star expedition ship and the BREMEN, a 4-star plus expedition ship, according to the 2012 Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships, were created to provide intensive exploration in the most elegant surroundings for a maximum of 184 guests on the HANSEATIC and 164 guests on the BREMEN.

The destination? Mighty Baobabs and majestic volcanic mountains found between untouched rainforests and wonderful beaches, which helps make Madagascar the jewel of the Indian Ocean. An exotic flora and fauna has developed on Madagascar that does not exist anywhere else on earth. There are more than 12,000 species of plants recorded on the fourth largest island in the world and passengers on board the two ships will experience lemurs in pristine nature, animals in the wild, and wonderful beaches on romantic coasts.

The Hanseatic will make stops at six new ports along her tropical adventure in December 2012, which include stops in the following new ports in Madagascar: Maroantsetra, Nosy Hara, Morondava, Nosy Ve, and Toliara and then a first time stop in Mozambique, at the picturesque town of Ilha dos Portugueses.

Optional shore excursions: Hiking in Masoala National Park to see lemurs in the rainforest, canoeing to Lokobe Nature Reserve, zodiac landings on Nosy Lakandava and Nosy Hara for swimming between coral reefs and rock formations, a safari in Kariega Game Reserve in South Africa, and a visit to the Addo Elephant Park, also in South Africa.

Trip Details: This 16-day itinerary is from 3 – 19 December 2012, from Port Louis in Mauritius to Cape Town in South Africa. Rates start at US$7,750 per person for an outside cabin.

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Talk about cruising in difficult places…. Bremen in the Corinth Canal

BREMEN: Guests will join the BREMEN as she calls on the west coast of Madagascar for the first time. New ports of call in Madagascar include: Nosy Hara, Mahajanga, Morondava and Nosy Be.

Optional shore excursions: Hiking in Lokobe Nature Reserve to admire gigantic trees and bird watching, a boat ride to Nosy Komba, also know as ‘lemur island,’ snorkeling on Nosy Lakandava and Nosy Hara, then a visit to the Zulu village of KwaBhekithunga in South Africa and a safari to view the ‘Big Five,’ also in South Africa. This 17-day itinerary is from 1 – 18 December 2013, starting in Port Louis and ending in Cape Town. Rates start at $7,020 per person for an outside cabin.

Both ships are well equipped for travel in difficult waters, including having the highest ice class ranking for passenger vessels (E4). Being of shallow draft and high manoeuvrability the ships can enter waters larger cruise vessels cannot reach. Guests explore the world’s best-kept secrets in zodiacs (small motorized boats) carrying only 10-12 guests. Onboard experts include a team of experienced scientists, expedition leaders and specialists who guide landings and offer guests the rare opportunity to observe plant and animal life up close.

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Going ashore by zodiac….

Mutiny on the…. Deutschland

The long-serving captain of Deilmann’s well-known cruise ship, DEUTSCHLAND, has been fired from his post (sent on holiday, say his former employers) for opposing plans to swap the German flag for a Maltese one.

Deutschland has flown the German flag since being launched in 1998. Her captain, 59-year old Captain Andreas Jungblut has been in command of her for 13 years, under two owners. Peter Deilmann who founded the company, and investment company Aurelius who took over control of the cruise line in 2010. Now Aurelius wants the flag changed and that of Malta to be raised – for financial reasons.

Meanwhile the ship is moored in London, attending the London Olympics one might say. Her purpose is to bring home the German Olympic team at the conclusion of the games on 13 August, but in the meantime the German President Joachim Gauck was due to join the ship last weekend.

Before this could happen, Captain Jungblat wrote on behalf of his crew to the German president saying, “Dear Mr President … you can’t change a flag like you would an undershirt.” On hearing of this the ship owner ordered him to leave the ship and not return, but told newspapers that they had sent him “on holiday.”

What the president thought of the matter is not recorded but Captain Jungblut was determined to have the last word. “This is a uniquely dishonourable case in shipping, a captain being thrown overboard,” he told a German newspaper. At least he didn’t have to walk the plank.

Later reports said that Aurelius has changed its mind and Deutschland will remain under the German flag. Whether the change of heart extends to Captain Jungblut has not been indicated.

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The cruise ship DEUTSCHLAND at her mooring in London

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Map of Mozambique showing the proposed and existing railway connections

Mozambique news agency AIM reports that the Mozambican government has approved the lease to the newly formed company CLIN (Northern Integrated Logistical Corridor) of a new railway which is to be built between the Moatize coal basin and the northern Mozambican coast.

The Brazilian mining giant Vale owns 80 percent of CLIN, while the remaining 20 percent is in the hands of Mozambique's publicly owned ports and rail company CFM.

The lease covers everything new that is to be built to ensure the export of coal form Vale's open cast mine in Moatize. There are two entirely new stretches of line within Mozambique from Moatize to Malawi and from Mossuril to Ponta Mamuaxi. Mossuril is on the existing northern line from Malawi to the port of Nacala, while Ponta Mamuaxi is on the western side of Nacala Bay, opposite the existing port of Nacala.

The government also approved a lease to CLIN of the projected coal terminal at Nacala a Velha. This is not part of the existing port and in effect it means that Nacala Bay will have two deep water ports, one of which will be dedicated exclusively to coal exports.

Deputy Justice Minister Mr Alberto Nkutumula said that the total cost of the new terminal and the two new stretches of railway will be about US$ 1.5 billion. Construction will take three years and will start before the end of 2012. After the work is complete, opportunities will be opened for Mozambican companies and citizens to acquire five percent of the CLIN capital. CFM will gradually increase its holding in CLIN up to a maximum of 50 percent.

Mr Nkutumula said the new railways will be able to move 40 million tonnes a year of which 30 million tonnes of coal will be from the Vale mine, while the rest could be coal mined by other companies, or simply made up by the transport of people and goods. Asked whether Malawi would join the CLIN shareholding structure, Mr Nkutumula ruled this out. The Moatize Nacala railway will run through Malawian territory, but the part of the line that runs through Malawi is to be negotiated directly between the investor, Vale, and the Malawian government. The Mozambican government only authorizes the part built inside Mozambique. Given the scale of the investment, Nkutumula said he was sure that Vale had already negotiated with Malawi.

In fact, Vale signed a rail concession contract with the Malawian government in December 2011. The new line will run from Chikwawa in the far south of Malawi for 137 kilometres to Nkaya Junction, where it will meet the Malawi-Nacala line. To complete the railway will require rehabilitating the existing line from Nkaya to Nayuci on the border with the Mozambican province of Niassa. This line is currently operated by Central East African Railways.

Vale owns 51 percent of the shares of Mozambique's Northern Corridor Development Company, which in turn owns 51 percent of CEAR. The railway to Nacala a Velha will also require upgrading of the line from the Malawian border to Mossuril, which is operated by SDCN. The new railway is seen as crucial to Mozambican coal exports, since the only railway that is currently carrying coal, the Sena line from Moatize to Beira, has a maximum capacity of six million tonnes a year. Even the projected improvements to the Sena line will only bring its capacity up to 12 million tonnes a year. source – AIM

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Angola, with the Benguela Railway marked in red

Trains on the Benguela Railroad in Angola are due to reach the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo next December, after being at a standstill for 30 years due to the Angolan civil war, said the chairman of state company Caminhos de Ferro de Benguela, José Carlos Gomes.

The Benguela Railroad is the only railway to link central Africa to the Atlantic Ocean.

Construction of the railroad began in March 1903 and was finished on 2 February, 1929. It is 1,344 kilometres long and runs from Lobito to Luau, a municipal area on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it links up with the Congolese railway network.

On Tuesday this week an experimental train arrived in the city of Luena, the capital of the province of Moxico, in eastern Angola. The journey from the city of Cuito, in Bié province, over a distance of some 400 kilometres, took around 14 hours.

From Luau, where the train will arrive in December of this year, the Benguela Railroad links up with the rail systems of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia, and from Zambia it is possible to travel to the cities of Beira (Mozambique) and Dar Es-Salaam (Tanzania), on the Indian Ocean. source macauhub

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Ghana Navy Gepard Type 143A fast attack craft.

The Ghana Navy took delivery this week of two ex-German Navy fast attack craft, GNS YAA ASANTEWAA and GNS NAA GBEWAA, at its Sekondi Naval Base, reports defenceWeb in its latest bulletin.

The crew of the two patrol boats spent three months in Germany undergoing intensive training before sailing the craft to Ghana. The handing over ceremony took place a Neeue Tadewerft, Wilhelmshaven early in July.

According to Rear Admiral Matthew Quashie, the Ghana Navy Chief of Naval Staff, the vessels would be used in combating piracy and to protect Ghana’s emerging oil installations.

The two patrol boats are described as being of Type 143A Gepard fast attack craft. Each vessel is 58 metres long and 398-tons. They underwent a complete refurbishment prior to being handed over. Their delivery brings the number of vessels acquired by the Ghana Navy to seven in the last three years.

In February this year four new patrol ships were commissioned - BLIKA P34, GARINGA P35, CHEMLE P36 and EHWOR P37. These were built by China’s China’s Poly Technologies Incorporated.

In January last year the Ghana Navy commissioned GNS STEPHEN OTU P33, a refurbished Sea Dolphin-class (PKM) fast attack craft donated by South Korea. Meanwhile Janes has reported that it believes Ghana has ordered two 62-m patrol craft from South Korea for delivery by July 2013. Ghana is also expanding its naval dockyard in the southwest of the country.

Ghana’s Navy is relatively small, with 2 000 personnel, according to the IISS’s 2011 The Military Balance. It operates two 1940s-era Balsam class vessels previously operated by the US Coast Guard, four fast attack craft built by Lurssen (two PB 45 Dzata class and two PB 57 Achimota class vessels) and a single PB Mk III inshore patrol boat that was transferred from the US Navy in 2001.

In its efforts to secure its maritime domain, Ghana is in the process of setting up a vessel traffic management and information system (VTMIS) to provide electronic monitoring of its entire coast. This will include coastal radar stations with command and control centres. source defenceWeb


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partial view of NS Elephant at the dockyard in China

Namibia’s latest naval ship, described as a multi-purpose patrol ship, NS ELEPHANT (S11) has docked in Port Louis on her delivery voyage from China to Walvis Bay.

NS Elephant resembles an offshore patrol vessel built on a frigate hull, says Janes. The ship was built at the Wuhan Shipyard on the Yangtze River and becomes at 2580-tonnes and 109m the largest ship in the young Namibian Navy. The ship has a large helicopter deck aft although there doesn’t appear to be a hangar. The ship has a gun up front and several lifeboats amidships, along with a small crane.

Photographs from a blog reveal that the ship is powered by two Caterpillar V16 diesel engines and also possesses a bow thruster. Other pictures on a different Chinese website show lots of bunks, suggesting that she has capacity to be a troop carrier.

NS Elephant was due to sail late yesterday for Walvis Bay, with a call at either Durban or Cape Town having been indicated. However, seeing as she reportedly took bunkers in Port Louis she may sail directly for Walvis Bay without calling in a South African port.

A Namibian Navy crew has been in China training for the delivery of the ship. Sources reported that she currently has a small number of Chinese on board, possibly civilian dockworkers and inspectors.

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another view of NS Elephant showing the gun on her deck


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The container ship ULSNIS (14,865-gt, built 1993) in Cape Town harbour during July. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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The container ship MAERSK GATESHEAD (50,686-gt, built 2002) was another caller at Cape Town during July. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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