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Ports & Ships Maritime News

11 January 2013
Author: Terry Hutson



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The Port of Ngqura pilot boat after a collision with a MSC container ship. No details available, picture supplied



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The oil rig ENSCO 5001 at Cape Town’s A Beth repair quay, flanked by two offshore tugs, PERIDOT (left) and ULYSSES. Picture by Aad Noorland


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Mr Koji Sekimizu, IMO secretary-general

Sustainable Development: IMO’s contribution beyond Rio+20’ is the theme chosen for this year’s World Maritime Day, which will be celebrated later in the year.

In an announcement this week the IMO says it is calling on governments and the shipping industry to link together and provide a positive contribution towards formulating sustainable maritime development goals.

Speaking at a reception to mark the launch of the theme, IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu said that, as the United Nations’ international regulatory body for shipping, IMO has been, and continues to be, the focal point for, and the driving force behind, efforts to ensure that the industry becomes greener and cleaner.

“I am confident that, through this initiative, the theme chosen by the IMO Council for the 2013 World Maritime Day, – ‘Sustainable development: IMO’s contribution beyond Rio+20’ – will be something in which IMO, the shipping industry and all other stakeholders, who are keen to turn the concept of sustainability into a tangible reality, will be able to join together, and make a very positive contribution,” he said.

The development of sustainable development goals for the maritime transport sector, will be IMO’s own contribution to the United Nations led work on sustainable development goals, following on from the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro (Rio+20), held in June last year.

Mr Sekimizu said that it was his intention to launch consultations on sustainable maritime development goals early this year, with a view to preparing a final policy document, which should include a clear concept of sustainable development for the maritime industries and realistic but ambitious goals.

A task force established by Mr Sekimizu has started work on eight pillars around which sustainable maritime development goals could be set:


  • safety culture and environmental stewardship;
  • energy efficiency;
  • new technology and innovation;
  • maritime education and training;
  • maritime security and anti-piracy actions;
  • maritime traffic management;
  • maritime infrastructure development; and
  • global standards at IMO.

    Additional details are available on the IMO website at IMO.org source – IMO


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    The container ship MSC JASMINE (31,430-gt, built 1988) came under attack from pirates in the Indian Ocean approximately 260 n.miles ENE of Mogadishu on 5 January. The ship was en route from Salalah in Oman to Mombasa in Kenya.

    When the six pirates operating from an open skiff launched their attack using a RPG and small arms fire, the crew retired to a citadel leaving armed Israeli guards to protect the ship. This was achieved and the pirates made off, leaving the crew to emerge and take control of their ship once more by resuming their voyage to Mombasa.

    MSC Jasmine has a crew of 21, made up of 20 Ukrainians and one Russian.

    According to EUNAVFOR reports, the skiff and its mother ship were later intercepted by naval forces operating with the European Union fleet and 12 suspected pirates were taken into custody.


    Asso Ventuno hostages released

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    Asso Ventuno

    The four men taken hostage off their anchor handling tug ASSO VENTUNO shortly before Christmas, have been released unharmed and are on their way home.

    The four – three Italians and one Ukrainian, were kidnapped when armed pirates boarded their vessel about 40 miles off Bayelsa State in Nigeria. There has been no indication whether a ransom was paid for their release, although this can be assumed.


    Typhon to recruit 240 former marines and sailors for private anti-pirate army

    A private army made up of former Royal Marines and Royal Navy sailors is being formed to fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean, according to reports in Bloomberg Businessweek.

    The army is being funded by businessmen, former marines, ex merchant navy officers, soldiers and is led by a mining company businessman. The report says that 240 personnel will be recruited to fight piracy in the Indian Ocean.

    The group will have at their disposal a mother ship, high-speed patrol craft, and trained armed soldiers. The aim is not to go to war with pirates but to scare them off from attacking ships. Funding will come from shipping companies employing them to provide protection for their merchant vessels.


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    Huge explosion rocks Lagos harbour

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    Tin Can Island port, near where the explosion took place

    A massive explosion rocked the MRS Jetty close to the Tin Can Island port in Lagos on Wednesday, 9 January 2013.

    The explosion took place at approximately 11h40 local time and according to reports, it involved a barge with PMS cargo berthed at the MRS Jetty/tank farm terminal adjacent to Nigerdock yard.

    At the time of writing the cause of the explosion is not yet known. Source GAC


    Nigerian Navy hands over Russian crew to police

    The Russians and their ship have been in detention since October. The vessel on which they were detained remains in the hands of the navy.

    It was suggested that the arms may have been destined for one of the militant groups operation in the Niger Delta area. On the other hand, given the breakdown in relations between the Nigerians and Russians in recent months, it may be that the ship was a floating armoury providing protection from pirates known to operate off the West African coast, and the crew made the mistake of entering port at the wrong time.

    Until details of the arrest and what the arms and ammunition consisted of are disclosed, it will be difficult to know what or who to believe.


    Chinese investment in Djibouti

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    It can be confirmed that China Merchants, a Hong Kong-based firm has acquired a 23.5% share in the Port of Djibouti (PDSA) for US$185 million.

    According to China Merchants, the acquisition, the company’s second in as many weeks, will enhance “the group’s positioning in the increasingly affluent African market”.

    PDSA’s assets include a multipurpose cargo facility in Djibouti Port and a 66.7% stake in the Dolareh Container Terminal, which its joint owner DP World calls “the most technologically advanced container terminal in the African continent.”

    The Port of Djibouti is vital to the country’s economy due to its strategic location on the Red Sea - one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. The port is used as a gateway to landlocked-Ethiopia in the south and as a transshipment hub for trade from countries on Africa’s east coast. Source – Port Technology


    ARA LIBERTAD arrives home

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    ARA Libertad

    The Argentine Navy sail training ship ARA LIBERTAD was due to arrive back in the Naval Base Mar del Plata after its release from detention in the Ghanaian port of Tema.

    The sailing ship was visiting ports in South America and Africa, with several hundred cadets on board including a number from South Africa, when she was detained on a Ghanaian court order obtained by American financiers, who were seeking redress against Argentina’s sovereign debt default.

    After the cadets were allowed to return to their respective homes, Argentina brought a court order in the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea against the Ghanaian authorities that had arrested the ship, and won an immediate release of the ship which the court agreed had been illegally detained.


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    MSC Melody outside Cape Town

    Reports dating from last year that the 30-year old cruise ship MSC MELODY was in the process of being sold, have been proven true with the announcement by MSC Cruises that they have sold the ship.

    MSC Melody (35,143-gt, built 1982) is the oldest and smallest ship in the MSC Cruises fleet and it was inevitable that she would not continue in service for much longer.

    In South Africa and elsewhere she remained a popular vessel among a certain type of guest or passenger, MSC Melody being something different from her younger larger and more glitzy siblings in the Italian fleet. One of these was the relative size of ordinary cabins, where the older ship had the advantage of cabins of up to 1.5 times the size of those in the newer ships – 18m² compared with 12m². Passengers also enjoyed the pool deck at the stern of Melody, and a second pool area protected by a magrodome roof. Her public rooms consisting of lounges and restaurants and bars were also spacious and comfortable.

    MSC acquired the ship in 1997, when she came to Durban to receive some internal refitting. At that time most ships in the MSC fleet underwent refits and maintenance in Durban so this was not an unusual event. She later returned to South African waters with Durban becoming her homeport during the southern summer months, as the vessel operated cruises to Mozambique destinations.

    When a larger ship, MSC Sinfonia was deployed to Durban in this capacity, MSC Melody pioneered the operation of a cruise ship out of Cape Town. In this she has since been replaced by MSC Sinfonia, herself displaced from Durban by her sister, MSC Opera. MSC Melody remained in the Mediterranean where a number of cruises have been sold.

    MSC Cruises says it has set up a large array of alternative choices for passengers who had already booked on one of MSC Melody’s cruises for the coming northern summer season. It says all these customers will be contacted and informed of all possible options including an upgrade on board one of MSC’s other ships.

    It is believed that MSC Melody has been sold to a South Korean cruise operator.


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    Mining companies involved in extracting coal from Mozambique’s Tete province forecast a combined production of 6 million tons of coking coal and 1.5 million tons of steam coal this year, the Maputo-based daily Notícias reports.

    Mozambican Mineral Resources Minister Esperança Bias told the newspaper that the figures represented increases of 120% for coking coal and 62% for steam coal.

    The amounts will be obtained by increasing the capacity of ongoing projects and starting production at the Jindal Steel Power Limited project in Chirodzi, in the north of Tete’s Changara district, Bias said.

    The project of India’s Jindal Steel group involves a US$180 million dollar investment and should produce 2.68 million tons of coking coal for export and 3.9 million tons of steam coal for domestic and foreign markets.

    The 2013 mining production and commercialisation plan forecasts an overall increase of 17.7% compared to forecasts for 2012, due to increased production of coal, natural and condensed gas, and precious and semiprecious stones.

    Mineral exports are expected to rise by 18.3% this year due to increased sales of coal mined in Tete province, natural and condensed gas, and precious and semiprecious stones, with the contribution of heavy sands and tantalite. Source – macauhub


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    The cruise ship NAUTICA (30,277-gt, built 2000 as the R Five) recently operated along the South African coast for several weeks, providing yet another alternative to cruising in these waters. This picture taken in Durban is by Trevor Jones

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    COSTA NEO ROMANTICA (57,150-gt, built 1993) seen moored near Akaroa, a small settlement on Banks Peninsular east of Christchurch. Due to earthquake damage which is still under repair at the port of Lyttelton, the cruise ships visiting Christchurch have been forced to bypass the port in favour of the Akaroa anchorage. Passengers are taken ashore by tender and then to Christchurch by bus. This was the first visit by the ship to New Zealand and Australian waters. Picture by Alan Calvert

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