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Ports & Ships Maritime News

15 January 2013
Author: Terry Hutson


We offer great rates and a widespread dedicated maritime sector readership. Throughout 2012 Ports & Ships has averaged in excess of 50,000 readers each month. During October 2012, for example, we enjoyed the company of 54,360 readers on this site, readers who made 206,735 page views and recorded 956,532 ‘hits’.
By having your company banner on these pages you can benefit by reaching out to this readership.
Another advantage of advertising with us is that we don’t take down our pages so your advert continues to work for you, month after month, year after year. Check it out on site -- we’re 10 years old so that’s not an exaggeration.
For a Rate Card please contact us at info@ports.co.za




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



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The 3460-TEU container ship MAERSK INNOSHIMA (35,491-gt, built 2008) in Durban harbour during December 2012. Picture is by Trevor Jones


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Port statistics for the month of December 2012, covering the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority, are now available. The total cargo handled by all the ports amounted to just over 22.087 million tonnes, as compared with 22.540mt in the month of November. Big performer was again the Port of Richards Bay, which handled 7.511mt of cargo during the month, with coal exports topping out above 68 million tonnes of export coal for the year, but both Durban and Saldanha also had big months.

Comparing December year on year with 2011 (22.12mt) indicates a very similar volume of cargo for each month year on year.

Durban’s container volumes continue to be negatively affected by having up to two container berths at DCT at a time out of commission for upgrading. Berth 203 has since come back into service but there will be at least one berth out throughout 2013 and possibly well into 2014.

At Richards Bay the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) has experienced an overall improvement as far as export figures go, completing the year at 68.340 million tonnes. This is above the previous year’s figure achieved of 65,511mt, a 2.829mt increase. It is still well below the achievable target of 72mt or more – the terminal is said to have a capacity of 91mt.

To compare the 2012 December figures year on year with those of 2011, please go to the following link HERE.

November 2012’s figures can be found HERE - In both instances use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page.

As is always the case with figures reported in PORTS & SHIPS, these reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to those provided by Transnet. This is to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers by number of TEUs and does not show the weight.

To arrive at such a calculation, PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13,5 tonnes per TEU, which does involve some under-reporting but until such time as the IMO enforces the weighing of containers at all ports we will have to live with these estimates. Nevertheless, we continue to make this distinction, failing which South African ports would continue to be under-reported internationally.


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Mossel Bay SPM. Picture PetroSA


Figures for the respective ports during December 2012 are:


Cargo handled by tonnes during December 2012

PORT December 2012 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.511
Durban 6.511
Saldanha Bay 5.081
Cape Town 1.079
Port Elizabeth 0.764
Ngqura 0.689
Mossel Bay 0.202
East London 0.249
Total all ports 22.087 million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during December 2012
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT December 2012 TEUs
Durban 189,998
Cape Town 60,536
Port Elizabeth 11,270
Ngqura 51,067
East London 3,523
Richards Bay 1,272
Total all ports 317,666 TEUs

SHIP CALLS for December 2012

PORT December 2012 vessels gross tons
Durban 332 10,500,967
Cape Town 201 4,547,862
Richards Bay 148 6,172,247
Port Elizabeth 74 2,239,977
Saldanha Bay 49 2,819,117
Ngqura 41 2,146,427
East London 25 672,619
Mossel Bay 66 327,060
Total ship calls 933 29,426,476

- source TNPA, but with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container tonnages


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Richards Bay Coal Terminal. Picture TNPA

  Month's exports YTD exports Annualised estimate Ships Trains
January 2012 4,463,987 4,463,987 52,56mt 44 813
February 2012 6,087,111 10,551,098 64.19mt 63 678
March 2012 6,239,646 16,790,744 67.35 58 810
April 2012 5,174,739 21,965,483 66,26 48 778
May 2012 4,627,648 26,593,131 63,86 46 509
June 2012 5,454,166 32,047,297 64.27 47 725
July 2012 6,279,244 38,326,541 65,68 54 777
August 2012 5,883,215 44,209,756 66,13 51 791
September 2012 5,239,216 49,448,972 65,87 52 765
October 2012 5,563,800 55,012,772 65,83 53 694
November 2012 6,496,279 61,509,051 67,02 66 766
December 2012 6,831,659 68,340,710 67,77 63 665

source: RBCT


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Southern African Shipyards in Durban has been awarded a contract for nine new tugs to be built over a 42-month period, Ports & Ships has learned.

The contract, which has still to be formally signed because Transnet National Ports Authority is arranging an official announcement, will see work commence immediately on building the nine new tugs. Confirming this news, SAS director Prasheen Maharaj told Ports & Ships that eight of the tugs will have a bollard strength of 70 tons and one will have a massive 100 ton bollard pull, making these the most powerful ever to enter service with the harbour authority.

The contract will have a positive effect on the Durban shipyard, which has had little in the way of shipbuilding contracts since the last tug order for five tugs was awarded in September 2007.

It is not yet known where the tugs are destined, but a number of tugs in service at the country’s ports are due for replacement or will undergo major mid-life type refits. The number of tugs in service at Durban may be expanded to as many as 12 – with additional tugs being required by the time the new dig-out port at Durban is completed in 2020.

As with other recent tug rebuild prpgrammes over the past 12 years from the Southern African Shipyards, the new tugs will have Voith Schneider propulsion units. The design appearance are not expected to vary much from the earlier vessels, although this has not been confirmed.


AC CRAIGIE did work at Cape Town

Referring to an earlier Ports & Ships article about the pilot boat AC CRAIGIE not having worked in Cape Town For the Record, Tony de Freitas who now resides in the US belatedly enters the debate and says he would like to throw in his 5 cents worth… “As a matter of fact,” he writes, “the AC Craigie was stationed at Cape Town for quite some time, and she was registered in East London. I remember seeing her when I was younger. My father used to work on the tugs and at a very young age I'd go down to the docks. I remember the orange hulled Termerhuizen (forgive my spelling) and the RG Kennel being the two Cape Town-based pilot boats berthed outside the old harbour cafe. Every few years there would be a shuffle of harbour craft, in my time I remember a brand new local built yellow hulled pilot boat just like the one in the latest issue being based at Cape Town too...”

Mr de Freitas’ comments are a result of his seeing the picture of the pilot boat ORIENT after its altercation with a MSC container ship at the port of Ngqura, which had him googling for more news on the pilot boats and leading to the AC Craigie story of nearly two years ago.

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another view of the ORIENT after its collision with a container ship. Details of the accident are not available – does anyone have this information? Picture supplied


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Cyclone Emang

Yet another cyclone is gathering strength in mid Indian Ocean and is on a heading south west that could take it close towards either Madagascar or southwestwards towards Rodrigues, Mauritius, and Reunion. Yesterday at 11am IST the storm was centered at 12.7 degrees South and 78.6 degrees East and moving slowly southwest.

The storm which is currently listed as a category 1 Tropical Storm, with maximum winds of 120 km/h and 14ft waves, has been named EMANG. The storm was yesterday about 525 n.miles southwest of Diego Garcia, in the British Indian Ocean Territory, but was tracking slowly southwest at 7 km/h and was expected to gather strength and intensity.

According to forecasts, Emang could become a tropical cyclone by Wednesday (16 January) although it is currently thought to pose no danger to any land before at least Friday. As a result no cyclone warning is envisaged for the islands of Mauritius, Reunion or Madagascar in the next 72 hours.


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Captain Lukas Kufuna

Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) has announced the appointment of Captain Lukas Vipanda Kufuna (38) as port captain at the Port of Walvis Bay.

Kufuna’s appointment was effective from Wednesday, 2 January 2013.

A Namibian, he takes over this role from Captain Mussa Mandia, who served Namport from 2007-2012. Captain Kufuna reports to the office of the GM: Operations, Mr Lumumba Kathindi.

Namport says in a statement that while undertaking the statutory role of exercising all required jurisdiction over the water area of the Port, Captain Kufuna’s role among others is to provide safe and efficient access to the port for Namibia’s trading and fishing partners, and to ensure compliance to the Act of Establishment of the Port Authority.

Capt. Kufuna successfully completed the Namport Cadet Bursary Scheme between 1999 – 2010. Today, a qualified Master Mariner Class 1, he has become the first black Namibian citizen to be appointed Port Captain at Walvis Bay.

A matriculant from the Oshikoto Secondary School in 1993, he also holds the qualifications of National Diploma in Maritime Studies (CPUT, RSA) 2004; Class 3 & 2 Certificates of Competency (CPUT, RSA) 2005-6; Master Marine Class 1 (Unlimited) CPUT, RSA 2010 and an International Diploma for Harbour Masters (IBC Academy, UK) 2012.

“We are delighted to have Captain Kufuna joining the Port in the important role of Port Captain,” said Namport Chief Executive Officer, Bisey Uirab. “Drawing on his extensive experience we are sure he will further enhance the expertise of our marine operations to ensure the safe movement of marine traffic and lead the marine and navigational services teams.” Capt Kufuna is married and has five children.


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Three Syrians from MV Orna released

After being held hostage since December 2010, even after their ship and the rest of the crew were released last October, three Syrian seafarers were suddenly freed this week without any ransom being paid.

The three Syrians were among six who remained as hostages after the remainder of the crew of the UAE-owned ship ORNA (27,915-dwt) was released together with their vessel once a ransom, said to be US$400,000 was paid. At the time the pirates said the money was too little and for this reason they refused to allow the six sailors to leave with their shipmates.

In the latest development, it is not clear what happened to the other three seamen.

The vessel was taken by the pirates on 10 December 2012 some 400 n.miles northeast of the Seychelles.

The governor of the Adado region in Somalia, Mohamed Aden Tiicey, said that an agreement had been reached with the pirates for the men to be handed over without any further ransom being paid. However, it seems that the pirates may have received a free pardon, on condition that they handed over their weapons and the hostages.

The leader of the pirates who surrendered themselves and their hostages is the son of Mohamed Abdi Hassan, better known as ‘Afweyne’, who was leader of a band of pirates that took millions of dollars in ransoms paid over almost ten years, before ‘retiring’ and joining the Adado region government.


New EU initiative to combat piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

The European Union has announced a new project aimed at boosting security and the safety of maritime routes across seven African countries in the Gulf of Guinea.

Known as CRIMGO (Critical Maritime Routes in the Gulf of Guinea Programme), it is intended to help governments across West and Central Africa to improve safety of the main shipping routes by providing training for coastguards while establishing a network to share information between countries and agencies across the region.

The project will be rolled out from January 2013 in 7 African coastal states: Benin, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Sâo Tomé and Principe and Togo.

As part of the programme the EU will be providing €4.5 million to the existing Critical Maritime Routes Programme, an international programme that seeks to secure key shipping routes.

The Gulf of Guinea currently accounts for 13% of oil and 6% of gas imports to the EU. However, piracy and armed robbery, as well as drug, arms and human trafficking, pose a real threat to the security of the region. In Nigeria alone, some 98 cases of piracy, armed robbery at sea and marine pollution were recorded between 2008 and 2012.

At present, the region suffers from a lack of coordination between coastguards, as well as between regions. There is also currently no common standard for maritime training, and weak conditions for information-sharing between the countries involved.


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A year after the luxury cruise ship COSTA CONCORDIA famously ran aground off the Italian island of Giglio, survivors gathered on Gilio last Sunday (13 January) to remember the occasion.

Sirens rang out and 32 lanterns were lit in memory of the 32 who died in the ship.

An American-based salvage company, Titan Salvage has the contract for the wreck’s removal, a task that is proving more difficult than originally anticipated. Durban-borne South African Captain Nick Sloane is chief salvage master in charge of the operation.

The plan is to refloat the ship and move her away to the Italian port of Palermo, after which she will most likely be scrapped. The refloating is not likely to happen until mid year. It has been estimated that it will cost in the region of US$525 million and has been described as the world’s biggest salvage operation.

For an excellent read on this topic including interviews with Capt. Sloane, go here to Spiegel online



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The Japanese Peace Boat OCEAN DREAM visited Durban and Cape Town this past week. In Durban the ship was inexplicably berthed at M shed, out of sight of the city and generally the poorest of the T-Jetty berths for any passenger ship. In the Mother City a few days later the ship was berthed in the V&A Waterfront – very welcoming, but became windbound last night on account of the ‘Cape Doctor’ delivering its unwelcome gusts of around 45 knots, thus delaying the ship’s departure. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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The US-owned and managed well-stimulation vessel STIM STAR ANGOLA (3861-gt, built 2004) seen off the Port of Cape Town yesterday. Stimulation vessels are ships that engage in offshore hydraulic fracturing activities. Picture by Ian Shiffman


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