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Ports & Ships Maritime News

4 September 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The Dutch-owned and flagged general cargo vessel PACIFIC DAWN (2981-gt, built 2010) seen in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ad Noorland

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Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the AU Commission

The participation of women in the world’s shipping industry must be increased, says Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Speaking at the 3rd Women in Shipping Conference in Durban last week, Dlamini Zuma, who is also the chairperson of the African Union Commission, said getting more women involved in the male dominated industry was a challenge not only for Africa, but the world as well.

“…Although women consist of at least 50% of the world’s population of approximately seven billion people, only 2% globally are estimated to be involved in the international shipping industry,” she noted.

Dlamini Zuma highlighted the importance of Africa Union member states implementing the provisions of the African Maritime Transport Charter, which includes the development and financing of the continental maritime industry.

It also includes the training and development of citizens, including women, to be part of this industry in its totality.

The global economy could not function if it were not for ships and the shipping industry, she added.

“Without this industry, intercontinental trade, the bulk transport of raw materials and the import and export of affordable food and manufactured goods would simply not be possible,” said the minister.

Despite this enormous impact on the world, she questioned whether the shipping industry was as effective as it could be given that a miniscule fraction of women, who form over half of the world’s population, participated in it.

Dlamini Zuma urged women who were already involved in the industry to encourage other women, especially young women, to become a part of it.

Another issue that required serious reflection was why Africa was not part of the global shipping industry.

“Geographically, the continent is after all surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Also, 50% of world trade between east and west comes through our coastline,” Dlamini Zuma pointed out. The African continent also possessed a generous endowment in natural resources, such as hydrocarbons, minerals and timber.

“Our natural resources also include diamonds, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum, but also wood and tropical fruits. In fact, Africa as a whole contains 30% of global mineral reserves. These goods are, however, unfortunately not transported on liners owned by us as Africans,” she said.

Heads of state and governments recognised this challenge and demonstrated their political will to grow the maritime industry for the developmental agenda by adopting the African Maritime Transport Charter, Dlamini Zuma added.

“I hope that the provisions of this Charter can be matched by action from member states. African leaders also recognised the need for cooperation both, within the continent, and beyond as well as the value of training if the maritime industry was to be developed in Africa. This is a challenge for us all.” – SAnews.gov.za

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ZIM to raise Europe-West Africa rates

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Israel’s ZIM Line says it intends introducing another general rate restoration on its services connecting North Europe and the Mediterranean basin with West Africa.

The increase rise was necessary in order to “maintain current service levels and in the interest of reliability”, the line said in a statement. The new rates will come into effect as from 1 October, with an increase of US$18 per TEU.

ZIM currently has two main services between Europe and West Africa - the Mediterranean Africa Line, which is operated every 12-14 days with COSCON and the weekly North Europe Africa Line which it shares with Hapag-Lloyd and MOL.

Shippers warned to expect further rate increases

Maersk Line says it will introduce a further round of freight rate increases on containers as from 1 November on key trade lanes including the Asia-Europe services.

Making this announcement Maersk Line chief executive Soren Skou did not provide details specifying the amount of increase but said “We'll probably need further rate increases to get revenue up to a sustainable level.”

The executive director of the Hong Kong Shippers Council, Sunny Ho Lapkee was outspoken in his response. “A general rate increase in November? He (Skou) must have lost his mind. The market is weak and November is the trough.”

MSC Flaminia on her way home

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MSC Flaminia in happier times, in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

The fire damaged container ship MSC FLAMINIA is on her way home to Germany, with salvors in charge of the ship having been given the go-ahead to take the tow through the English Channel and into German waters.

The ship, which caught fire in mid Atlantic leaving a large section of the ship badly damaged, has been delayed off the English coast waiting first for a port or place of refuge and then once this had been granted by German authorities, for permission to be towed through the busy English Channel.

The container ship is under tow behind the FAIRMOUNT EXPEDITION and the journey is expected to take between four and five days.

Vale sells 10 of her VLOCs

Brazilian mining giant Vale has reached an agreement with Polaris Shipping to sell 10 of her VLOC carriers for US$600 million and then lease them back under long term charter contracts.

The ships concerned are not the 400,000-dwt class of vessels recently in the news when side plating on one of the ships began tearing loose as the ship was being loaded in a Brazilian port. They are 300,000-dwt oil tankers acquired in 2009/2010 and converted into ore carriers.

“In addition to unlocking capital, the transaction preserves Vale's capacity of maritime transportation of iron ore, since the vessels will be available but without the ownership and operational risks,” Vale said.

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Scarabeo 3 at Cape Town A berth

South Africa's DCD Marine was recently awarded the contract to upgrade and repair the Saipem-owned semi-submersible rig, Scarabeo 3. The project is being undertaken at the upgraded A-Berth facility of DCD Marine's Cape Town shipyard.

The Scarabeo 3 is a second-generation drilling rig, delivered in 1975 by Germany's Blohm + Voss and designed and engineered for drilling in the North Sea. As testimony to the robust construction of the Scarabeo 3, some of the original pulleys only needed replacement in 2001.

“After 37 years of active service, the Scarabeo 3 was in need of a comprehensive inspection and revamp,” says DCD Marine General Manager, Gerry Klos. “All vessels are required to undergo a special survey every five years in order to comply with the necessary marine classification codes. This entails returning the vessel to within a maximum 5 percent variance from its original state.”

The scope of work for DCD Marine includes the replacement of over 120 tons of steelwork for the deck plates and shell plating; the renewal of sea safety walkways on all three columns and the installation of four new lifeboats and davits.

“DCD Marine is also responsible for the replacement of over two kilometres of pipework on board,” says DCD Marine Project Manager, Chunkie Ravells. “This includes the pipes on the sanitary discharge lines below the main deck, the seawater pipes in the engine rooms and the three mud pit rooms, the diverter line piping, and a complete upgrade of the anti-pollution and drainage system. Cleaning of void spaces and blasting and corrosion coating will also be done in various areas onboard the rig.” In addition, DCD Marine will manufacture a new laundry/ change room, comprising 45 tons of steelwork, in its workshop. On completion of fabrication, the structure will be transported to the A-Berth facility using a floating crane.

Mr Ravells says that on arrival of the structure at A-Berth it was to be ballasted by filling it up to one-third of its volume with water. “With the use of mooring lines, the team will then float the structure under the port side of the rig's bracing. Buoyancy bags will be attached to the structure to ensure that it cannot turn on its side or become completely submerged. Once the structure is in place under the center of the rig's underside, de-ballasting will take place and six air hoists of 10 tons each will draw it into place, 30 metres from the water line.

“This is a complex operation which entailed careful planning prior to the commencement of fabrication. Safety is a top priority for DCD Marine and its subcontractors. The collaborative participation by a team of divers and DCD Marine's specialised rigging crews will ensure the success of this mission,” Ravells added.

Other challenges on the Scarabeo 3 project include the staging of the main deck area, and the heavy winds and rain.

“The staging is a 4,000 sq.m area underneath the deck of the rig floor which will allow access to the pipework. SGB-Cape's rope access division will provide a sub-staging team of between 150 and 180 people for the first 35 days and the last 35 days of the project to undertake this work,” says Ravells.

Quality control on a project of this magnitude and complexity is extremely important. “A comprehensive inspection of the hulls will be conducted. This entails cleaning the growth off the hulls and inspecting the plating and weld seams in these areas. This will be achieved using a team of divers from Subtech, who will digitally record the inspection. Collaborative participation will be provided by a quayside surveyor, who will follow their movements on a monitor. The resultant footage will be presented to Saipem,” he said.

DCD Marine will have a staff complement of between 400 and 500 people on site and in its workshops for the duration of the project.

“In addition, we will utilise the services of a number of specialised sub-contractors, including the Toprope access team,” says Mr Ravells. “They will clean specific, hard-to-reach areas, using rope access. They will inspect the areas, record defects photographically and present reports to Saipem. A team of 90 firemen are also on call at A-Berth to ensure that any possible fire hazards are eliminated.”

“The Scarabeo 3 project affords DCD Marine and the Port of Cape Town an opportunity to showcase our capabilities in terms of executing a project of this magnitude and complexity. We have gained a lot of experience in this industry over the years and are constantly enhancing our skills and knowledge base in order to provide a comprehensive service offering to the oil and gas sector,” says Mr Klos. Source MarineLog

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Sturrock Shipping, a leading Ship’s Agency company in the sub-Saharan African region, has announced the opening of new port offices in Tanzania, Mozambique and Ghana, as part of an ongoing strategy to take advantage of the economic growth taking place on the African continent.

The new offices in the ports of Mtwara in Tanzania and Pemba in northern Mozambique complement the company’s existing presence in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and in Maputo, Beira and Nacala in Mozambique. Both have been established in order to service the burgeoning gas fields of the Rovuma basin, on the Mozambique / Tanzania border.

Sturrock Shipping Director Clive James advises that the recent discovery of commercially viable reserves of liquefied petroleum gas creates opportunities for the company to extend its agency and logistics services in this area to existing as well as new customers involved in the oil and gas and support industries.

“We believe that the expansion of our well established marine operations in both Tanzania and Mozambique to the ports of Mtwara and Pemba respectively is a natural progression, as we already handle a significant share of oil and gas shipments in both these countries. Sturrock Shipping is well positioned to offer agency and logistics services to the majors, drill ship operators, as well as to a host of offshore and ancillary players,” he says.

In Ghana, the company has partnered with an established local ship’s agency company and will commence operations at the ports of Tema and Takoradi on 1 October 2012.

“With existing customers producing, purchasing or prospecting in the area, it makes good sense for Sturrock Shipping to establish a presence in the area – in partnership with a local company and with a view to further regional expansion in the short to medium term,” says James.

“Strategically we view Ghana as a gateway for Sturrock Shipping into the gulf of Guinea area, but in Ghana itself we are already receiving requests for attendance to exports from the Jubilee offshore field and a strong demand for our services to the maritime security industry, a specialisation honed on the pirate-plagued East African seaboard.

“Our entry into West Africa was kick-started two years ago with the opening of Sturrock Angola. We continue to experience strong growth in that country,” he adds.

Sturrock Shipping was founded in 1969 as both a ships agency and clearing & forwarding company, and by the late 1990s was established as one of the largest privately-owned shipping and logistics companies in South Africa. In the early part of the new millennium the company embarked upon a massive regional expansion programme and today enjoys a presence, in addition to South Africa, in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Swaziland, Madagascar, Angola, Sudan and now Ghana.

In 2010 the company acquired the businesses of two successful Ships Agencies based in Australia, thereby firmly establishing Sturrock Shipping as an international player. It recently ceded its South African clearing and forwarding division to Rohlig-Grindrod in exchange for a 15% stake in that company, while continuing to explore avenues for expanding its Ship’s Agency business.

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After more than a decade of delays the rehabilitation of the Lüderitz railway line as far as Aus is back on track, including an upgrade of the Lüderitz railway station.

The rehabilitation work involves a distance of about 70 kilometres, with a section of that distance already completed. About 45 people have been employed on the project with a Otjiwarongo company having been awarded the contract which is scheduled for completion by February next year.

N$75.3 million (R75.3m) was made available this year for the rehabilitation work by the Namibian Ministry of Works and Transport, which is also to cover repair work on Aus' flood-damaged infrastructure.

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Grasplatz Station on the Lüderitz railway line

The railway line was originally built during the colonial era as a supply line for German military equipment and troops. At that time the larger port of Walvis Bay further north fell under the control of Cape Government. Some years before the independence of Namibia the railway was covered by drifting sand dunes and Transnet, which administered the railway in the then South West Africa, opted to abandon the railway.

Shortly after independence the railway was cleared by the new Namibian authorities and the railway to the port town of Lüderitz was reopened. When the harbour of Lüderitz was upgraded in 1998, the Namibian Government also resolved to rehabilitate the railway line so that the new harbour facilities could be fully utilised.

The railway line is seen as a potential catalyst for the development of the southern part of Namibia, as it will link people and businesses inland to the fishing and mining industry in the Karas Region.

The railway line will also be used to transport petroleum products to the southern parts of Namibia through Lüderitz harbour. Source New Era with added Ports & Ships input.

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The town and port of Lüderitz

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SL Gabon enters the water

On 24 August Smit Lamnalco launched SL GABON, the first tug branded under its new corporate identity, following the integration of Smit’s terminal handling activities with Lamnalco in July 2011.

Built by Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania, SL Gabon is also the first of two newbuilds contracted for a five year period by Total Gabon to provide support in the offshore oilfields and to assist tanker operations at the onshore terminal of Cap Lopez, at Port Gentil, Gabon. The second tug, SL LIBREVILLE, is due for delivery next month.

“It is very satisfying that the first newbuild decked with our new corporate colours visualises the integration of two international marine service providers,” said Smit Lamnalco CEO Daan Koornneef.

The newbuilds are Stan Tug 4200-type tugs, rugged twin-screw vessels with 68 tonnes bollard pull. Accommodating a crew of 16 and fully air- conditioned, the vessels can be used for towing, pushing, push-pull, berthing, anchor handling, hydrographical survey, line handling, firefighting, salvage, diving support and pollution control operations in all waters.

Contract Renewal

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SL Gabon after launching

The Total Gabon contract renews a longstanding partnership between the oil major and Smit Lamnalco. The newbuildings replace two older Damen-built vessels, and join the existing tugs SMIT MANJI and SMIT OZOURI, built in 2007. For Total Gabon, the latest renewal extends a relationship in Gabon that can be traced back through SMIT to 1998.

“As well as symbolising the ongoing trust placed in us by our customers through our integration, the delivery confirms our willingness to commit to building new vessels for energy majors operating in promising markets,” said Koornneef. “Given Port Gentil’s remote location, it is critical that marine support services are robust and reliable.”

Localisation Programme

Smit Lamnalco operates with a locally-established company Smit Lamnalco Gabon, which reports to the company’s Regional Director. This entity recently relocated to new offices closer to Total Gabon’s logistics base in Port Gentil, to optimise support to Total Gabon.

“We emphasise localisation through partnerships with local companies, employment of local staff, crews and subcontractors,” said Mr Koornneef. “This benefits all stakeholders, as it recognises local networks, culture and circumstances. Gabon is a strong market for Smit Lamnalco and a key location in our long-term partnership with Total to support our customer’s strategic goals in West Africa.”

report submitted by Paul Ridgway

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The dredger CHARLES DARWIN is seen operating off the Port of Colon in Panama, presumably as part of the widening and deepening of the Panama Canal. Pictures by Shane Swartz

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