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Ports & Ships Maritime News

26 October 2012
Author: Terry Hutson


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The Durban port tug JR MORE – now a maritime museum exhibit - assists the freighter ROEBIAH in this 1964 picture, taken by Trevor Jones who writes: ” You might also like this [picture] of the old war-built Dutch freighter ROEBIAH turning off the same berth [N-Shed], but way back in April 1964, when I was a schoolboy and operating with an old range-finder camera. Note the openness of the bay area (the present Pier 1 and Pier 2) in the background. This photo is nearly 50 years old, and has held its colour quite well, thanks to the old Kodachrome emulsions.” Picture by Trevor Jones


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TPT East London recently took delivery of this new Liebherr mobile crane

Much attention has been given to the refurbishment of South African port infrastructure as part of Transnet’s R300 billion upgrade programme. Part of that spending is in new crane and other cargo handling equipment at the various ports and in the past few weeks delivery has been made of new mobile cranes to the ports of East London and Durban and cargo haulers for the Port of Durban.

East London has waited a long time for equipment to assist with the discharge of containers and other heavy cargo, having had to rely mainly on ships own gear until now. This has changed with the delivery earlier this month of a new R70-million Liebherr mobile crane – a first for the port – which was discharged from the same heavylift ship, ANNETTE that made delivery of a similar piece of equipment to the Durban Maydon Wharf terminal (see below).

“It is indeed an exciting moment for the East London terminals as this is a historical moment where East London received its first ever mobile crane,” said Siya Mhlaluka, Transnet Port Terminal’s (TPT) GM: Eastern Cape Terminals, who added that the delivery also reaffirmed Transnet’s commitment to increasing economic activity in the Eastern Cape region.

The mobile crane was discharged as a semi-assembled unit, and is being assembled by a team of engineers on site.

Mhlaluka said the investment will address the market demand for cranes in East London and will help improve efficiencies to TPT’s existing customers. “It will further enable East London to attract non-geared vessels helping customers in this region to compete in the main stream economy. The Skiptainer Coal Project will also benefit from the arrival of the new crane,” he said.

The mobile crane has a lifting capacity of 144 tons, a standard load operation of 77 tons and a spreader load operation of 63 tons. Mhlaluka said that the capacity of the crane will boost efficiencies and improve vessel turnaround time significantly.



New haulers for Durban Ro-Ro and Maydon Wharf

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The haulers that arrived at the Durban RORO and Maydon Wharf Terminal are part of a fleet of 33 ordered and will have significant benefits to the terminal’s operations

The Durban Ro-Ro and Maydon Wharf Terminal’s equipment fleet has been bolstered by the procurement of 27 new haulers in the last three months, representing an investment of just over R52 million by Transnet Port Terminals.

This acquisition comes as part of TPT’s R438 million investment to boost container handling capacity at the terminal, which mainly handles break-bulk and Ro-Ro cargo, with specialised capacity to handle containers.

As a result of one of the berths on Durban Container Terminal being down in preparation of taking new heavier ship-to-shore cranes and for quay deepening, both the Durban Ro-Ro and Maydon Wharf terminals are handling increasing numbers of containers.

The FR230 (4x2) and FR270 (4x4) haulers that arrived during the period August to October are part of a fleet of 33 ordered from manufacturer, CVS Ferrari in Italy. The last batch of six haulers is scheduled to arrive later this month.

The equipment will primarily be used for hauling cargo, both on the landside and on Ro-Ro vessels and will be instrumental in improving efficiencies at the terminal. Twenty five of the haulers will be used in Ro-Ro operations and eight will be used in the break-bulk and agri- bulk operations.

Zeph Ndlovu, Terminal Executive Manager for Durban Ro-Ro and Maydon Wharf Terminal said that the haulers boast a 5th wheel lifting capacity of 32 tonnes and a four-wheel-drive lifting stroke of 100cm which will provide added flexibility for Ro-Ro operations. “The equipment also enables TPT to continue its efforts to be environmentally-friendly as the engines are built for low pollution levels, use less fuel and still offer the best performance, he said.” According to Ndlovu, the haulers are replacing old equipment in the terminal and will result in increased productivity and more efficient operation. With a gross weight (GCW) of 75,000kg, the equipment will also enable faster and safer transportation of cargo and improve safety on the quayside and on the Ro-Ro ramp, he said.

This equipment will work alongside four brand new Liebherr LHM550C mobile harbour cranes that the terminal acquired earlier this year, with two more scheduled to arrive, one in November 2012 and the other in February 2013. These infrastructure investments are aligned to the Transnet Market Demand Strategy (MDS) which will see TPT invest R33 billion in capital projects over the next seven years with a focus on beefing up infrastructure in the terminals.


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Russian/Nigerian relations have come under strain with the arrest of 15 Russian seamen and their ship on suspicion of being involved in arms and weapon smuggling.

According to Nigerian naval authorities they discovered a number of guns on board the ship in addition to about 8,500 rounds of ammunition. The vessel, the MYRE SEADIVER (541-gt, built 1965) was subsequently detained at the port of Lagos. It would appear however that the vessel, rather than being used to smuggle weapons as suggested by some media reports, is in fact being operated as a floating armoury in the fight against piracy at sea.

The ship which is being operated by the Moran Security Company based in Moscow, is most likely being used as a depository for weapons by merchant vessels sailing into or from at-risk areas off the West African coast, where piracy has been rife.

The ship is flagged in the Cook Islands and is owned by a Russian company, Midas Pte.

The arrest and detention of the ship and seafarers again highlights the grey areas surrounding guard ships and armed ship security personnel, where regulations and interpretations of the law regarding the carrying of arms differ from one country to another. It appears likely that the Nigerian authorities may not have been advised in advance of the ship’s arrival with weapons and ammunition on board.

According to the Nigerian Navy the vessel was carrying 22 Benelli MR1 rifles as well as a number of other automatic weapons including AK47s. It also had 8,500 assorted rounds of ammunition.


IMB head suggests that piracy reports are being suppressed

Reports of piracy are being suppressed, says Pottengal Mukundan, head of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

Mukundan was speaking at a conference on piracy being held in London this week.

“Vessels with private armed security are not reporting the attempted attacks that other vessels were reporting before. There could be many reasons for this,” he said, adding that it could be that they fear liability or simply the owners themselves have got clauses in their contracts which prevent any reporting of attempted attacks. “This is very sad,” he said.

Mukundan said that in the event of an attempted attack, it was important that information about the pirate skiff or vessel be made known so that the next ship coming that way could be warned. He pointed out that until recently there were frequent reports of this activity but that these had suddenly dried up, leading to claims that piracy was on the wane.

“We need to find a way if people are afraid of liability or other such factors, for that information to be made available,’’ he said.


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Fire damaged Everton arrives in Durban

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The container-carrying general cargo ship Everton arrives at the Dormac Marine repair quay in Durban earlier this week. At the far end of the quay can be seen the museum tug JR MORE, which is due for a maintenance survey and refit. Picture Dormac Marine

The container ship EVERTON (6714-gt, built 1997) has arrived in the Port of Durban after having been towed by the Subtech Salvage tug TERAS HYDRA.

The vessel caught fire in the Mozambique Channel opposite Sofala which spread from the engine room throughout the accommodation and bridge areas. Three tugs hurried to the casualty and assisted with the evacuation of the 12 crew. There were no reports of injuries.

After giving consideration to taking the ship to Beira, it was decided instead to tow her to Durban where an an assessment and investigation into the cause of the fire could be carried out at the Dormac repair quay.


Damen launches its first hybrid tug

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At the launch ceremony in Amsterdam are from left to right: Jim Iskes, Managing Director of Iskes Towage & Salvage and Mijndert Wiesenekker, Sales Director of Damen Shipyards.

Amid claims that it will cut fuel and emissions by as much as 20%, Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards has launched its first ever hybrid tug, the ASD Tug 2810 Hybrid.

The tug, which was ‘launched’ at a signing ceremony on Tuesday (23 October) at Offshore Energy in Amsterdam, will go into service with Iskes Towage & Salvage.

The innovative and pioneering Dutch shipyard group is believed to be the only yard worldwide building hybrid tugs for stock. The second hybrid vessel will be available from stock end-2013.

Depending on the operating profile of a tug, the ASD 2810 Hybrid, which has a combination of diesel-direct and diesel-electric propulsion, facilitates average fuel savings of between 10% and 30% and cuts local emissions by 20 to 60%. The vessel has a bollard pull of 60 tonnes.

Iskes has been operating a standard Damen ASD 2810 tug since November last year. “We already had a very good experience with our existing Damen ASD Tug 2810, which is ideally suited to Amsterdam,” said Iskes owner and MD, Jim Iskes. “We are very happy with its performance and so are the crew; it was a logical move to choose Damen for the Hybrid version.”

Iskes joint managing director Ronald Vergouwen said that port authorities and many other customers were looking for a greener way of running their businesses. “Cuts in emissions are very important, particularly in ‘port cities’ such as Amsterdam. And in the future there is likely to be increasing regulation about emissions in ports. The port and city have welcomed our introduction of the Hybrid. It is great to be at the forefront of this green initiative.”

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Argentina evacuates cadets off sail training ship ARA Libertad

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ARA Libertad

Argentina is evacuating several hundred cadets and crew on the sail training ship ARA LIBERTAD which has been detained under a court order in the Ghanaian port of Tema.

The ship, which was visiting the West African country while on a training cruise and reportedly at the invitation of the Ghanaian government, was arrested on 2 October on behalf of US creditors seeking to collect on defaulted Argentinean bonds. The matter refers back to the Argentinean financial meltdown of 2002. See our report South African cadets on board Argentine ship detained in Ghana

Only a skeleton crew plus the captain will remain with the ship. Libertad had a complement of 326 people on board when she docked in Tema, including cadets and crew from Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and South Africa.

The Argentine Foreign Ministry called the seizure of the Libertad “no more nor less than kidnapping, extortion and an act of piracy.”

ARA Libertad left Argentina in June to visit ports in the South Atlantic, Caribbean, Europe and Africa and was scheduled to return to Buenos Aires on 8 December 2012.


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NCL signs for new 4,200-passenger ship, with option on a second

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Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Cruise Line announced this week that it has reached an agreement with Meyer Werft GMBH of Germany to build a new cruise vessel for delivery in October 2015, with the option for a second ship for delivery in spring 2017.

The new ship, at 163,000 gross tons and approximately 4,200 passenger berths, will be larger than the Company’s Breakaway class ships currently under construction at MEYER WERFT and will incorporate many of those vessels’ unique design elements and innovations. With the project name ‘Breakaway Plus,’ this new vessel will become the largest in Norwegian’s fleet.

The ship’s contract price is approximately €700 million.

“Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have garnered significant attention in the marketplace with their innovative design, rich stateroom mix and world-class amenities,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Building on that momentum, along with Meyer Werft’s expertise and efficiency in the design and construction process, we are extending the excitement and anticipation with a new, larger edition Breakaway Plus class ship to further distinguish the Norwegian brand.”

Meyer Werft, based in Papenburg, Germany, is currently building Norwegian’s two new 146,600 gross ton, 4,000-passenger Breakaway class vessels: NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY, scheduled for delivery in late April 2013, and NORWEGIAN GETAWAY, scheduled for delivery in mid-January 2014.

Prior to the Breakaway class ships, the German yard built Norwegian’s four Jewel-class ships – Norwegian Gem delivered in 2007, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jade delivered in 2006, and Norwegian Jewel delivered in 2005. This new vessel on order, along with the option for the second ship, will be the tenth and eleventh that the Company will have built with Meyer Werft.

Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the concept of Freestyle Cruising and currently offers guests the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their cruise vacation on their own terms, including multiple dining venues, relaxed attire, a variety of accommodations and world-class entertainment.

The Company took Freestyle Cruising to the next level with the introduction of Norwegian Epic in June 2010 and is continuing to innovate with the launch of ‘New York’s Ship’ Norwegian Breakaway in late April 2013. The company has revealed the ship’s groundbreaking design, including The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place; a wide range of indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that will create a whole new complex at sea that enhances guests’ connection with the ocean.

The South African representative for Norwegian Cruise Line is Triton Cape Travel, tel 031 443 9030 or email stewartv.nclsa@galileosa.co.za


MSC Cruises looking to India

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MSC Opera, soon to be heading for South Africa

by Terry Toohey

According to a news item carried recently in the Indian travel press, and quoting Mr Amit Mathur, the country head of MSC in India, MSC Cruises in South Africa intends looking to the Indian sub-continent to promote ‘cruise-n-stay’ packages aimed at attracting Indian passengers to join MSC Cruises from South African ports.

The report points out that Seatrade recently highlighted India as a source market for cruise passengers and said that the cruise lines’ existing infrastructure in India and their Preferred Agents network are further plus factors that could see this initiative achieving success.

In an article by Rashmi Pradhan in Travel Biz Monitor, India’s online travel portal, he is quoted as saying that MSC’s bringing of two ships to South Africa, MSC OPERA and MSC SINFONIA, each with a passenger capacity of 2,199 and operating three, four, five, six and seven-day cruises to South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia, will be catering also for the Indian audience.

Travel Biz Monitor quotes Mathur on the sidelines of the ongoing South African Tourism road show in India, that each ship will have Indian chefs onboard to offer authentic Indian cuisines.

‘Talking about tapping the Indian market, Mathur said, “With respect to the Indian market, South Africa has great potential and we want to capitalise on it. The traffic to South Africa from India is mainly leisure, followed by incentives business. For the leisure segment, besides holidays in South Africa, we want to offer a cruise-cum-land experience. I believe our new product perfectly suits the demands and needs of the Indian incentives market that looks for two-to-three day trips.”

Speaking about the company’s marketing strategy, Mathur said, “To create awareness about the new product in the Indian market, we want to strengthen our B2B relation with travel trade partners. This is one of the reasons for taking part in this road show. Also, in order to connect with consumers, we will advertise online and outdoors.”

MSC Cruises is reported to have 12 Preferred Sales Agents (PSA) across India.


Is the sun about to set over QE2?

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Is the sun beginning to set over QE2?

Questions are being raised whether the former Cunard liner and cruise ship QE2 is heading for the breakers’ yard.

This question has arisen following a shakeup in July of the Istithmar board members, including its chairman. This followed the less than vigorous results of the investment and property developing arm of Dubai World since the recent global financial slump.

Subsequent to this is an unconfirmed report that ship brokers have been approached about scrapping a large liner in the Gulf, with QE2 seen as the most likely candidate.


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Cape Town, Thursday 26 October 2012 – With the continued gloomy outlook in Eurozone countries and a slow-down in growth in a number of developing economies, a rapidly growing Sub-Saharan Africa holds clear opportunities for South African businesses, the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan said earlier today (Thursday).

Tabling his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in the National Assembly, Gordhan said opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa had benefited many South Africa mining, manufacturing and retail companies.

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook, released earlier this month, estimates that sub-Saharan Africa will grow by 5% this year and 5.7% next year – this compares to growth of just 1.3% in advanced economies and 5.3% in developing countries this year.

While exports to the EU fell 0.9%, while those to the US remained flat and those to China and India grew by just 1.1% and 0.7% respectively, exports to Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries grew 2.7%.

Gordhan said SADC was now South Africa’s second largest export market after the EU – expected to account for 21% of exports this year.

The SADC region is expected to account for 12.2% of exports this year, up from 9.8% in 2000 and putting it just ahead of China which the National Treasury expects will account for 12% of SA exports this year.

The Medium Term Budget Policy Statement says the share of manufactured exports to the region (21.8%) have increased rapidly over the past few years – on the back of demand in chemical products, machinery and appliances, particularly mining equipment.

It says with strong growth forecast for the next five years, the SADC region could become South Africa’s biggest market for manufactured exports.

Meanwhile, export volumes fell by 6.3% in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, after a decline of 1.5% in the first quarter.

Over the first eight months of the year, the value of exports of platinum fell by 21.9%, while exports of coal and chemical products remained robust.

In the first eight months of the year, however, imports increased by 20%, driven by strong increases in oil, machinery, vehicles and appliances.

Imports are now 4% above 2009 levels, while exports are 13% below their highs.

With the fall in exports and rise in imports, the current account deficit has widened sharply over the past year and is expected to average 5.9% this year, up from 3.3% in 2011.

Over the next three years, the current account deficit is expected to moderate to 5.5%. – SAnews.gov.za


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The Danish owned and flagged chemical and oil products tanker TORM ASLAUG (50,263-dwt, built 2010), departing from Cape Town harbour during October. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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