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Ports & Ships Maritime News

23 October 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

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The Port of Cape Town harbour tug PINOTAGE (429-gt, built 1980), is one of four harbour tugs named after popular Western Cape wine cultivars, the others being CHARDONNAY, MERLOT and SHIRAZ. Pinotage was built in Durban 32 years ago as the PAUL SAUER, being renamed in the mid 1990s and is now one of Transnet’s oldest tugs remaining in service. Picture by Ian Shiffman


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Traditional fisherman in Lome harbour. Picture by Daniel Hayduk/IRIN

Illegal and unregulated fishing is a routine activity in Africa's territorial waters

Johannesburg, 22 October 2012 (IRIN) - The African Union’s (AU) deadline for securing the continent’s territorial waters - the world’s last major geographical region without a maritime strategy - has been set at 2050, a target that may prove untenable.

Without a comprehensive strategy to police, patrol and promote the maritime economy and resources along its 42,000km coastline, Africa loses billions of dollars in revenue annually and leaves itself vulnerable to myriad criminal activities.

“Africa remains the continent that suffers most from illegal and unregulated fishing, maritime terrorism, piracy and armed robbery at sea, poor legal and regulatory maritime regimes, illegal drugs, arms and human trafficking, a lack of effective communication and other technological maritime requirements, and last but not least, unsuitable ships and ports,” Annette Leijenaar, Head of the Conflict Management and Peacebuilding Division at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), a Pretoria-based think tank, said in a recent policy brief titled Africa Should Wake up to the Importance of an Integrated Maritime Strategy.

A meeting on the Africa Integrated Maritime (AIM) strategy was held earlier this month in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Leijenaar told IRIN, “It is the right direction, however, action is required through implementable plans that are well coordinated and have the political commitment of African leaders.” The AU will also address management of riverine systems, dams and wetlands.

“Like the rest of the world, more than 90 percent of Africa’s imports and exports are carried by sea. If one includes the illegal market in military arms and logged forest products, Africa has a maritime economy estimated at US$1 trillion a year, representing 90 percent of its overall commerce,” the policy brief said.

Of Africa’s 54 states, 38 are either coastal or island nations. Johan Potgieter, a former captain in the South African navy and senior ISS security sector researcher - referring to neglect of maritime opportunities and risks - told IRIN, “Sea blindness is our [Africa’s] biggest threat.”

No defence

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Fish from Lake Tanganyika. Illegal and unregulated fishing is a routine activity in Africa's territorial waters. Picture by Guy Oliver/IRIN

Some 70 percent of the continent’s rapidly growing population - which currently stands at over one billion people - depend on fish, both inland and coastal, for protein, highlighting the importance of policing and managing the continent’s territorial waters.

“I said to a politician, don’t look at what it’s going to cost you to run a navy. You need to say, ‘What is it going to cost me to feed this population when there are no more fish? Where I am going to get the food from?’” Potgieter said.

An October report by the Environmental Justice Foundation, Pirate Fishing Exposed: The Fight Against Illegal Fishing in West Africa and the EU [European Union], observed, “Global losses due to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) or ‘pirate fishing’ are estimated to be between $10 billion and $23.5 billion per year. West African waters are estimated to have the highest levels of IUU fishing in the world, representing up to 37 percent of the region’s catch.”

Foreign trawlers have been known to illegally haul up hundreds of tons of fish per day for export to Europe, while local fishermen’s catches are typically limited to what they can bring up with 8m-long pirogues.

Anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa in 2011 cost an estimated $6.9 billion, or about two-thirds the annual GDP of Madagascar, an island country that has no naval capacity to speak of.

Potgieter said the relative success of anti-piracy operations off East Africa is having a “balloon effect of pushing the pirates further and further away [to], we suspect, the east coast of Madagascar, [which] is fairly unpopulated, and the pirates will find a safe haven there to set up bases.”

Building and maintaining a navy is both a costly and politically fraught exercise. Navies operate out of the sight of the electorate and are easily used by opposition parties in “guns versus butter” debates. Additionally, the procurement of defence systems in Africa has been mired in corruption issues. The price of a naval vessel can start in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and keeping ships on operational duties often requires a complement of three [crews]. The annual running cost for three 80m British Royal Navy patrol vessels is $32 million.

Helmut Heitman, a defence analyst and correspondent for Jane's Defence Weekly, told IRIN that Mozambique does not have a naval capacity. The Comoros has nothing. On the west coast [of Africa], there is very little.”

Expanding navies

But increasing piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has prompted several countries to acquire patrol vessels in a piecemeal fashion to bolster maritime capacity. Nigeria’s navy has requested the procurement of 49 ships and 42 helicopters over the next decade. Earlier this year, the country commissioned its first locally built 31m patrol craft, the NNS Andoni.

Neighbouring Ghana acquired two former German Navy fast attack crafts in July, after commissioning four new Chinese patrol boats earlier in the year. Namibia brought in a 100m refurbished Chinese patrol vessel earlier this year, adding to a naval compliment that includes harbour and inshore patrol boats.

There is also a growing trend towards aerial reconnaissance over the ocean, especially in West Africa, with Ghana and Nigeria acquiring aircraft for monitoring and addressing piracy.

Heitman said, “It’s not just about buying ships. It takes three generations of officers to build up a competent navy. So 30 years [the 2050 AIM goal] is a reasonable timeframe. [However,] a ship without an aircraft is pointless. An aircraft without a ship is also pointless.”

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, is also finding greater currency as an option for policing territorial waters. Potgieter said, “You don’t need a warship to fight a pirate... If you use a drone, you can have 18 to 24 hours of flight time. But it is not necessarily cheap.” The price tags for drones range from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars.

“But you still have to send a boat out to make the arrest, and this is where the problem starts. If we detect something on the other side of Madagascar - collaboration becomes important - and maybe the French are better suited to help… But we have to start talking to one another,” he said.

Aligning legislation

Developing coastal security is one step toward protecting continental waters. Creating the required legislation for individual AU member states to cooperate on a continental level presents another set of time-consuming complications.

Coastal erosion

“Maritime security and policing management is an inter-departmental/agency function that is extremely difficult to coordinate and achieve. Among other [issues], it requires good governance, an industrial infrastructure, technological competence, effective information-sharing mechanisms and political commitment. Few African countries, if any, meet these requirements,” the ISS policy brief said.

Leijenaar said developing a domestic maritime strategy involves numerous government departments, from environmental affairs to tourism and defence, and these ministry’s first have to be aligned at a country level, then at a regional level and finally at the continental level.

Each country has to sift through memoranda of understanding and protocols signed by each department and then change conflicting legislation, “a small task that can take five to ten years,” Potgieter said. “Then [to] get it through [each country’s] parliament - some of these things will take you ten years.”

And that’s before countries can begin to address the issue of ‘hot pursuit’ through neighbouring territorial waters. “Most countries will still not allow your ships to go through their waters unless you have permission in advance,” Potgieter said.

“The importance of assuming collective responsibility for Africa's maritime domain is essential - within national governments, regions and Africa,” he said. source IRIN


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Pretoria - South Africa’s prospects for growth and development will depend increasingly on diversifying and strengthening of economic links with countries in the south, said Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

Speaking at the expert group meeting at Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday, Davies said that BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] was an important voice for emerging economies, adding that while South Africa’s economic links with traditional trading partners remained important, prospects for growth and development will depend on diversifying and strengthening economic links with economies of the south, including Indonesia.

“The expansion of South Africa’s trade and direct investment with the countries of the South, notably the BRIC countries, continues apace, with China and India at the forefront,” he told the meeting.

The share of the European Union in South Africa’s total trade has declined from 36% in 2005 to 26.5% in 2011. “By contrast, the share of the BRIC countries in South Africa’s total trade has increased from 10% in 2005 to 18.6% in 2011,” he said.

South Africa, said Davies has a direct interest in extending BRICS cooperation to support Africa’s economic development agenda.

Davies arrived in Indonesia at the [previous] weekend, and co-chaired the two countries' Joint Trade Committee (JTC) with his Indonesian counterpart Gita Wirjawan.

“The BRICS countries can contribute to Africa’s development by increasing financial aid to build infrastructure and industrial capacity, and increasing imports of value-added manufactured products from the continent.

“The abundant natural resources of Africa, the growing consumer power of Africa’s emerging middle class, and high growth rates offer an opportunity to build a more sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship with Africa in the next decades,” said Davies.

The South African government is of the view that the BRICS led Development Bank that is under discussed should mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other Emerging Economies and Developing Countries (EMDC).

South Africa will host the 5th BRICS Summit in March 2013 with preparations of the summit being already at an advanced stage. South Africa was admitted to the economic bloc of emerging markets in 2010.

Among the key decisions expected to come out of the South African summit include the formation of a BRICS Development Bank. The plan is a subject of discussion among BRICS leaders who see it as a possible alternative financial institution to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

The aim behind the creation of a BRICS bank is to have a development-focused finance institution to support and drive commerce between the BRICS economies. - SAnews.gov.za


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First navy strike craft returns ‘home’ for refurbishment

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With the Bluff in the background, the South African Navy missile strike craft SAS Isaac Dyobha enters the Port of Durban in 2005. Picture by Terry Hutson

The first of three navy strike craft, SAS ISAAC DYOBHA (P1565) has returned to the shipyard from where she emerged 33 years ago and where she is now to undergo a major refit and conversion into a patrol ship.

Nine SA Navy missile boats were built either in Israel or in Durban between the years 1977 and 1986. The strike craft, as they were to be commonly referred to, provided the main surface thrust of the navy throughout the long days of isolation and sanctions. Boats 1 – 3 were constructed for the South African Navy in Haifa, Israel and the remaining six were built at the Sandock Austral Shipyard in Durban, which is now under different management and has been renamed Southern African Shipyards.

Said to have an official top speed of 35 knots although there is evidence that they were considerably faster, the strike craft displaced 450 tons fully loaded and were powered by four 16-cylinder MTU high-speed turbo charged marine diesels, driving four shafts. The main armament consisted of eight fixed missile launchers capable of launching Skerpioen SSMs and two 76mm OTO dual-purpose guns.

During the early 2000s it was announced that the strike craft flotilla would be withdrawn as the navy geared up to take delivery of four modern frigates. Eventually there were only three remaining, boats 1565, 1567 and 1569. These three are now in the process of returning to the Southern African Shipyard to be converted into coastal patrol ships, thus solving one of the navy’s more immediate challenges.

The first vessel, SAS Isaac Dyobha has already arrived in Durban and her conversion is scheduled to be completed by March 2013. The other two, SAS GALASHEWE (P1567) and SAS MAKHANDA (P1569) are due to follow at one month intervals. Details of the conversion are not yet available.

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SA Shipyards with SAS Isaac Dyobha berthed against the shipyard’s floating dock. The other vessel in the picture is the geophysical research ship REFLECT SCORPIO (3211-gt, built 1982). Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za


Nautic Fighter Vessel For W Africa

Nautic Africa recently launched its third vessel in the fleet called OPS 241. With an overall length of 24.6 metres, OPS 241 is the second largest vessel to have been built at Simon’s Town by Nautic Africa. The company relocated to Paarden Eiland, Cape Town, in May this year.

OPS 241 is a unique custom design and serves as a high speed militarised, utility/cargo vessel capable of reaching speeds up to 26 knots. Strategic parts of the vessel are ballistically protected against fire from small arms.

This vessel will be stationed at Port Harcourt and will be used for numerous purposes on the West Coast of Africa, including patrol, cargo shipment and oil rig crew transfers.

Built from aluminium and powered by dual MTU engines and MJP water jets, this is a rugged multi-role vessel designed specifically with African conditions in mind.

The deck and superstructure have been custom built for the client’s operational needs. A double bridge was fitted, incorporating Nautic Africa’s proven, composite ballistic panels and ballistic glass for full 360° of NIJ III protection.

The aft console has been ergonomically arranged to provide a complete view of the cargo area on the aft deck, enabling the crew to safely load and unload cargo at sea. A VCS (Vector Control System) station was fitted on the aft console, allowing the captain to utilise the full potential of the highly manoeuvrable water jets when in close quarters with offshore structures.

The combined manoeuvrability and agility of the water jets, allows for a complete 360° cover. OPS 241 will be required to operate at sea for up to 28 days, refuelling at offshore oil platforms. Some 13 berths are located below deck to accommodate crew, security and oil industry personnel.

Technology seems to be integral to every aspect of Nautic Africa’s operations. Extensive research and development is used to establish the optimum systems and materials for each project, the company says.

Marine grade aluminium is utilised as a first choice manufacturing material. At a third of the mass of steel, aluminium’s weight saving characteristics result in greatly reduced fuel costs each year. Additionally, aluminium requires no maintenance, eliminating the expense associated with removing a vessel from the water.

An aluminium hull structure reduces weight and offers a better weight to power ratio, thus increasing performance and reducing operating costs.

Nautic Africa says it has invested heavily in developing lightweight composite ballistic superstructure manufacturing techniques for protection against the most potent small armour fire such as the widely used AK47.

The wheelhouse and the deckhouse act as a secure and lockable ‘panic room’ where passengers and crew can gather safely during an attack. Source Cape Business News


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Class 19E dual voltage electric locomotives on a coal train near Ermelo. Picture by Eugene Armer/Wikimedia Commons

Public Enterprises Minister, Mr Malusi Gigaba announced yesterday that a consortium led by Chinese manufacturer, CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive (CSR) is the successful bidder for the supply of 95 electric locomotives to be used in Transnet Freight Rail’s General Freight Business. The purchase, TFR said, will boost operational performance, reliability and overall energy efficiency of the rail service.

The winning bidder is a joint venture between CSR which has a 70% stake and Matsetse Basadi which owns the remainder. It will be known as CSR E-loco Supply.

The consortium and Transnet have agreed on a tight delivery schedule that will see the first batch of locomotives delivered to TFR by December 2013, while the last batch is planned to be delivered in September 2014. The parties committed to produce the majority of the locomotives locally.

The first 10 locos will be assembled in CSR’s factories in China, while the remainder will be made in South Africa in line with the agreed supplier development targets of 60.5% of the total value of the contract. In addition, the locomotives come with a 30-month warranty and a six-year warranty on the traction motors.

Speaking at the official signing at Transnet Freight Rail’s Capital Park Depot in Pretoria, Minister Gigaba said the award followed an open and public tender process which drew interest from leading manufacturers around the world. He added that the proposals which closed in April were evaluated by different sub-teams of specialists from Transnet. In line with Transnet’s governance processes, the evaluation was overseen and monitored by Transnet Internal Audit.

The evaluation, which had three stages covered Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment and Supplier Development; technical - including details of technical offers from the potential suppliers; and commercial. The latter included pricing, total cost of ownership and contractual terms and compliance to the supply agreement. These criteria were all detailed in the formal invitations for proposals (RFPs or requests for proposals).

In line with Transnet’s commitment to the Competitive Supplier Development Programme - the Department of Public Enterprises-led initiative to localise the manufacturing of imported equipment - localisation, sustainability and skills development had the highest weighting within the supplier development stage.

The purchase is part of Transnet’s long-term fleet renewal programme to increase capacity while at the same time improving the average age of its fleet. This is to deliver on the requirements of the Market Demand Strategy (MDS). In terms of the MDS, Transnet Freight Rail is expected to grow its volumes from the current 201 million tonnes per annum to over 350 million tonnes in just seven years.

The locos are configured to operate under both the 3kv DC and 25kv AC power, allowing TFR flexibility to deploy across its general freight business network. This has significant benefits for efficiency and productivity as it reduces operating cycle times by saving up to six hours traction type change-overs which result from different voltage supplies.

Other benefits include:

  • Locos are more energy efficient as they use less power on TFR’s DC drive technology
  • Capable of regenerating back to the power grid or for own re-use
  • Longer maintenance cycles of 90 to 120 days compared to the current 36 to 60 days
  • Better design for driver comfort

    In addition to the order for 95 which was accelerated due to urgent requirements and had already gone through the governance processes, Transnet has invited additional proposals for the supply of 1064 locomotives (465 Diesel locomotives and 599 Electric locomotives).

    These are to meet and maintain the MDS volumes targets in line with the company’s R300 billion seven-year investment programme.


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    Brenda Magqwaka, CTCT Terminal Manager

    A pre-advice system that will improve truck processing and traffic flow for transporters carrying export containers into the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) and the Cape Town Agri Roro Terminal (CTAR) became mandatory on 1 October 2012. This followed a one-month roll-out period.

    Pre-advising is a paperless means of administering exports entering the terminal and improves the fluidity of the supply chain. Brenda Magqwaka, CTCT Terminal Manager, said all shipping lines and agents would have to comply with the requirement to pre-advise Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) of their container information.

    “However, it is still the responsibility of transport companies, exporters or their agents to contact their shipping line for details of their pre-advice procedure requirements. During the one-month roll-out period, transport companies were regularly notified that their trucks would be turned away should they fail to comply after 1 October,” she said.

    Shipping lines are able to pre-advise TPT of their container number, seal number and weight, using any of two technology platforms – either the computerised NAVIS terminal operating system, or Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) between the shipping line and TPT.

    TPT has also been working closely with the harbour carriers division of the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) to ensure transporters are aware of the processes.

    The pre-advice system replaces the old Container Terminal Order (CTO) paperwork for export containers, but not for over-sized and special cargoes (known as out of gauge or OOG containers), or those carrying hazardous materials or dangerous goods under the IMDG (International Maritime Dangerous Goods) Code.

    Pier 1 and Pier 2 at the Durban Container Terminals and the Ngqura Container Terminal in the Eastern Cape have been operating pre-advice systems since October 2011 and October 2009 respectively and have reflected increased efficiency. Another benefit is that the pre-advice system works hand-in-hand with other high-tech systems introduced at these terminals.P> Velile Dube, TPT’s General Manager: Operations for the Western Cape, thanked shipping lines and transporters for supporting the export container pre-advice initiative. “This will ultimately make a positive contribution to improving the road/terminal interface, reducing vehicle processing times, ensuring accurate and complete capturing, as well as reducing amendment fees and documentation processing,” he said.


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    A rare visitor in the form of a North Korean boomed freighter, JANG JA SAN CHONG NYON HO (13,815-dwt, built 1980) called in Durban last week. Perhaps there’s a reader who can tell us the meaning of the name, which got the better of Google’s translation service. One can only imagine how Durban Port Control managed when they had to call her up on the radio. Pictures by Trevor Jones

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