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Ports & Ships Maritime News

20 November 2012
Author: Terry Hutson


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


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Click on headline to go direct to story – use the BACK key to return


Please note that due to travel obligations this week the news on Friday and next Tuesday may either not appear or will be shorter than usual. After that it’s back to normal


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The Russian ice breaker VLADIMIR IGNATYUK (4391-gt, built 1983) which was in Cape Town earlier in November. This vessel was recently on charter to the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a channel through sea ice in Antarctica’s McMurdo Sound, in order for a fuel tanker and a supply ship to resupply and refuel the US McMurdo Station, NSF’s logistics hub on the ice continent. The diesel- powered icebreaker, formerly named Arctic Kalvik was built in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada for use as an ice breaker, anchor handling and supply ship. Pictures by Aad Noorland (top) and Steve Royce (lower)


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MSC OPERA arrives in South Africa today

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MSC Opera, arrives in Cape Town this morning

MSC Cruises’ 59,000-ton cruise ship MSC OPERA arrives in South Africa for the first time today when she docks in Cape Town harbour.

The eight year old ship is relocating from the Mediterranean to spend the southern summer months cruising from Durban, operating mostly short cruises of between two and five day duration to Mozambique destinations.

Ports & Ships editorial team will be travelling with the ship between Cape Town and Durban and will be able to give a first hand account and impression of this ship, the biggest to operate locally. MSC Opera is slightly larger than her near sister MSC SINFONIA which is due in Cape Town on Wednesday 28 November, from where she will operate a season of cruises along the west and east coasts before transferring to Durban at the end of January 2013.

The Cruise Schedule for southern African ports is now available on Ports & Ships and can be accessed HERE - use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page.

Another ship to arrive in local waters is the Peter Deilmann cruise ship DEUTSCHLAND which arrived at Cape Town from Walvis Bay and West Africa yesterday (19 November). The sophisticated and subtly luxurious Deutschland will undertake several cruises as far as Namibia on the west coast and Richards Bay in the east, calling at all ports along the way. On completion of her South African cruise the ship will head east towards Port Louis, Mauritius and places further east.

Also to arrive yesterday in Cape Town was Hapag-Lloyd’s HANSEATIC.

Another cruise line that regularly operates cruises in South African waters each year is Silverseas’ cruise ship SILVER WIND, which is due at Richards Bay on 29 December after which the upmarket ship takes on more than a month of cruising along the South African coast. She will be followed by her larger sister SILVER WHISPER in April for a more fleeting visit.

The are a number of other cruise ships due in the summer months ahead – check out our Cruise Schedule (link above) for details.


Antarctic ship hits reef

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Marion Dufresne in Durban in March 1997

Almost one hundred people on board the research ship MARION DUFRESNE (9,403-gt, built 1995) were evacuated from the ship after she struck a reef off the Crozet Islands in the Southern Ocean.

The Crozet Islands lie midway between South Africa’s Marion Island group and another French Dependency, Kerguelen, which is itself about halfway between South Africa and Australia but considerably more south than both. The ship which is well known in South African ports, went aground on 14 December 2012.

Most of those on board are reported to be scientists, apart from the 48 members of the ship’s crew. The ‘passengers’ were lifted off and taken to Ile de la Possession, the Crozet Island group’s main island.

After the ship struck the reef, breaching the forward hull, the captain successfully took her to an anchorage in du Marin bay.

Marion Dufresne is managed by CMA CGM.


Dredger workboat delivered to West Africa

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DMC 1200 series workboat

Another workboat has been delivered by builder IHC Beaver Dredgers to Subsea 7 for West African operations in tandem with a new IHC Beaver 1200 cutter dredger.

A spokesman for IHC Beaver said the workboat, a Delta Multi Craft 1200 was delivered ex stock to ensure minimum lead time and has gone into use assisting the dredger but can also be used for other purposes in sheltered and shallow waters.

The location of the dredger and workboat has not been mentioned.

IHC Beaver has delivered more than 40 of these workboats from the DMC series. Designed with a rectangular hull, they are capable of pushing/pulling, buoy handling, and the ferrying of personnel and goods including fuel, oil and water.


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The sea fisheries research vessel SAS Africana

The DA says that the SA Navy’s management of the fisheries research SAS AFRICANA could cost up to 2,000 fisheries jobs.

Pieter van Dalen, the official opposition’s shadow deputy minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) said in a statement that the navy's failure to conduct critical research cruises with the SAS Africana on behalf of the Department of Fisheries is threatening more than 2,000 jobs in the pilchard and anchovy industries.

“The Fisheries Department's deal with the navy to temporarily steward the state's marine research and patrol vessels is now a proven failure.

“The SAS Africana had to be towed back into port a week ago [now two weeks], shortly after it set out on the critical pelagic research cruise. Sea water had entered the fuel tank, resulting in engine failure. Procurement for parts through the Navy is a cumbersome process and gives no care for emergencies.

“It has come to the DA's attention that it will probably take at least two weeks before the cruise departs again; this despite an assurance from the Navy's Rear-Admiral Bernhard Teuteberg that the vessel would be ready for departure by last week Thursday.

“Research cruises are critical to establishing a scientifically credible Total Allowable Catch (TAC) within each fisheries sector. Long- term fishing rights are then allocated on the grounds of the TAC to ensure the sustainability of each respective sector. Because of the delay in the pelagic cruise, we now believe there is a strong probability that the TAC for the pilchard sector may be cut by 15%. This would result in significant job losses and salary losses of approximately R180 million. The pelagic sector currently employs some 15,000 people. Thousands would therefore lose their jobs if the cruise is not completed on time.

“To avoid this disaster, it is the DA's strongly held view that the cruise must be outsourced to an industry body that is competent and able to complete the cruise within the designated timeframe. This is what happened with the ALGOA, which was handed back to the Department of Environmental Affairs and then outsourced to Smit Amandla, the previous contract holders with the Fisheries Department. We see no reason why the same cannot now be done with the Africana.

“It has also come to our attention that conditions on the ship are unacceptable - water restrictions mean that only scientific personnel are currently allowed to shower. The toilets are not functioning on the upper deck and the ship is infested with mice and cockroaches. When the ship was under the management of private operator Smit Amandla, this was never the case. Experts are in agreement that the navy should not be operating these research vessels at all and they should again be outsourced.

“We will be writing to Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to call for urgent intervention to mandate similar outsourcing of the operation of the SAS Africana. The fisheries sector is a significant contributor to the South African economy. We cannot allow a disinterested minister to jeopardise an entire industry, he said.”


Navy says it is meeting all objectives

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SAS Ellen Khuzwayo in Simon’s Town. Picture by Louis Vosloo

Earlier in November Rear Admiral(Jg) Bravo Mhlana told journalists in Simon’s Town that the navy had met its set objectives regarding the arrangement whereby the navy takes over the management and operation of the research and patrol vessels of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).

He said that in bringing the DAFF vessels to operational readiness the ships were now subject to safety standards, naval procedures and readiness inspections in terms of the Defence Act.

While work was being undertaken in this regard, he said that the navy ships SAS UMZIMKULU, SAS GALASHEWE AND SAS AMATOLA had taken on the role of fisheries protection vessels but had now (2 November) reached the point where the DAFF vessels were able to conduct their designated operations “safely and successfully under naval command.”

He said that SAS AFRICANA was currently conducting her third survey, a pelagic survey which was due to be completed on 14 December 2012. The West Coast survey would commence on 8 January 2013 for completion on schedule, the admiral said.

“In so far as protection vessels are concerned, two vessels are presently on patrol (2 Nov), namely the SAS RUTH FIRST and the SAS VICTORIA MXENGE. The latter is now busy on her third patrol period. These vessels have a small contingent of DAFF inspectors onboard in order to police ships of the fishing industry.” Admiral Mhlana said there were presently three DAFF vessels in a maintenance period. They are SAS SARAH BAARTMAN which is due to be docked in mid-December for her Lloyd’s class inspection. SAS ELLEN KHUZWAYO was having a W5 level engine overhaul which is a scheduled maintenance based on the number of hours the engine has run. The work had been due for completion by 5 November 2012, he said.

SAS LILIAN NGOYI was due to have her W6 level service as her engines had reached the 9,000 hours service which required a full overhaul, requiring them to be removed from the ship. The job is being undertaken by the original shipbuilders and engine manufacturers.

“I can assure all interested parties that the SA Navy is committed to ensure that DAFF’s commitments and areas of responsibility are covered and well taken care of,” said Admiral Mhlana.

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Rear Admiral (Jg) Bravo Mhlana. Picture by Louis Vosloo


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Pretoria – Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande last week gave an outline of the progress made to turnaround FET Colleges.

Financial assistance to poor students in Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges through the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has increased four-fold from R318-million in 2010 to R1.7-billion in 2012, he said.

In August, Nzimande, signed agreements with all FET College principals for the allocation of R2.5 billion from the National Skills Fund (NSF) for the expansion and capacity building of FET colleges; while in April President Jacob Zuma announced a R2.5 billion allocation towards the refurbishment and construction of new FET campuses over the next three years.

“These are some of the key interventions government has made to ensure that FET Colleges are strengthened, the quality of teaching improved, adequate facilities and equipment is available and student support services are augmented.

“Alongside these investments, FET College enrolments have meanwhile increased from a headcount enrolment of about 327,000 to about 550,000 in the last three years,” the Department of Higher Education and Training said in a statement.

Through a partnership with the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants, the DHET has already started a process of ensuring that all FET colleges have chartered accountants as chief financial officers to improve financial management, good corporate governance and accountability.

While a lot more achievements have been notched up in the process of turning around FET Colleges, there is still more that is in the planning while some challenges still remain to be overcome in pursuing the goal of turning these colleges into institutions of choice in South Africa.

“By 2030, the DHET expects to increase enrolments in all non-university, post-school institutions to 4 million, and these will include colleges owned by other government departments such as nursing, agricultural, police and other colleges,” the department said – source SAnews.gov.za


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Dachser South Africa, the local operation of the global logistics provider, has opened a fourth office in Port Elizabeth, extending an established network of South African offices in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

“This office has been in the pipeline for some time, driven by expanding opportunities in the Eastern Cape,” says Detlev Duve, Managing Director of Dachser South Africa. “We’re pleased to be open for business in the Friendly City.”

According to Duve, Dachser plans to harness the opportunities brought by the continuous growth in the logistics industry in the Eastern Cape since the inception of the Port of Ngqura, the deepest container terminal in sub-Saharan Africa. The port, located just outside of Port Elizabeth, has boosted South Africa's trade with other countries in the region.

Automotive clients are also a major focus and Duve expects these to increase as a result of the company’s Port Elizabeth base. “We have the expertise, global coverage and specialist capabilities to bring a diverse range of parts and supplies together for manufacturers, and to deliver vehicles and components throughout Africa,” he says. “As Port Elizabeth is a major automotive manufacturing centre, it made sense to locate an office in the area to ensure our clients get the personal service we are known for.”

The Ngqura port accommodates a new generation of giant container ships traversing Africa's southern tip, with all types of loads. “We expect to handle a variety of loose and full container load shipments, as well as air freight shipments. Our warehouse in Port Elizabeth is just under 2,000m² with 300m² of office. We have our own ramp facility which enables us to offload and load container dock leveller, and all kinds of freight,” says Duve.

Harold Thomas has been appointed the General Manager of the Port Elizabeth office and will lead a team recruited from the Port Elizabeth area. “Dachser South Africa is committed to employing and training local staff, particularly important in an area with such a high level of unemployment. Job creation is important to us, and our growing team will be employed locally in Port Elizabeth,” says Duve. “In addition, students from PE will soon join our existing trainee programme, enabling them to spend time in various offices for intensive skills development.”


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The US-owned and managed LNG tanker SOYO (100,723-gt, built 2011) was a recent visitor in Cape Town. These are not the handsomest ships afloat but perform a growing and highly valuable service nonetheless. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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The Cosco line container ship EMPRESS HEAVEN (46,734-gt, built 1993) seen departing from Cape Town earlier in November. Picture by Ian Shiffman


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