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Ports & Ships Maritime News

25 January 2013
Author: Terry Hutson



We offer great rates and a widespread dedicated maritime sector readership. Throughout 2012 Ports & Ships 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.
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The offshore supply tug SANKO CROCUS (2465-gt, built 2009) heads out from Durban harbour, with the lush bush-clad prominence of the Bluff creating a background in this February 2010 scene. The tug was towing a large accommodation and crane barge named AFRICAN LIFTER. Sanko Crosus is now renamed MANSOUR PRIDE and is owned by the Orange Fleet Ltd under the management of Tidewater Marine. Picture by Terry Hutson


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French warships expected

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FNS Nivose in Durban harbour in 2004. Picture by Terry Hutson

Two French naval ships are expected in Cape waters within the next few weeks and will be visiting at Cape Town and Simon’s Town.

The first ship to call will be FNS NIVOSE on 31 January, a small patrol frigate normally based at Port-des-Galets in La Réunion, where France maintains a naval base. Nivose is one of six ships of her class in the French Navy. The ship is 93.5 metres long and is powered by four 2200 HP diesel engines and three diesel generators.

Her armament consists of anti-surface MM38 Exocet missiles, a 100mm and two 20mm multipurpose guns and she carries a Eurocopter Panther helicopter. The ship has a crew of 97 including officers.

FNS Nivose has recently taken part in Operation Atalanta, the European Union backed combined naval defence against piracy in the northwest Indian Ocean. She has visited South Africa on several previous occasions.

The second French naval ship expected in Cape Town is FNS MISTRAL (L9013) which is due on 5 February. Mistral is an amphibious assault ship but could also be described as a helicopter carrier or a landing dock ship. She was commissioned in 2006 and normally carries a crew of about 170.

Another ship of the Mistral-class, FNS TONNERRE (L9014) called at Cape Town in June, 2007.


Tall ship Lord Nelson due in Cape Town and Durban

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Although this is not a naval ship, a reminder that the British Tall Ship LORD NELSON is due in Cape Town on 1 February and in Durban on the 27th. Details of this ship and her visit cane be found in our earlier report FOUND HERE - use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page.


Nigerian Navy cracks down on oil theft

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The Nigerian Navy, enforcing Nigerian Ports Authority's designated lightering areas for ship-to-ship and ship-to-rig oil transfers, says it will stop vessels operating beyond these zones and ‘discountenance’ any papers they possess from non-relevant state agencies.

“Vessels operating outside officially designated areas would be accosted as they are deemed to be perpetrating criminal acts of crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and fuel subsidy scams,” said the navy in its statement, as reported by GAC News.

“Accordingly, it has become imperative for the Nigerian Navy to discountenance documents for facilitating oil nominations from some of these agencies conveying unofficial designated areas. The Nigerian Navy therefore solicits the assistance of all stakeholders in ensuring that documents from official sources adhere to approved designated lighting zones,” the navy said.

The statement added that the navy is “statutorily charged with the responsibility to check criminal acts of crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and piracy within the nation's maritime domain.”

“It has recently been observed that certain agencies conveying designated areas for vessel operations as offshore Cotonou, Lome and Brass. These locations are known to be of no significance to the operation of vessels as there are no refineries, discharge terminals or other necessary infrastructure that would facilitate their operations in these unofficial areas,” the navy statement said.


HMS Protector to the rescue of Antarctic cruise ship

According to BBC news reports, the crew of a Royal Navy Antarctic patrol ship has rescued a cruise ship threatened by Antarctic ice.

HMS PROTECTOR broke through thick ice to free the Norwegian cruise liner FRAM (11,647-gt, built 2007) when it became surrounded by fast moving floes in Antarctic Sound.

Working at a speed of two knots, HMS Protector broke the four-metre thick ice, which had trapped the Hurtigruten cruise ship's bow, in two hours.

According to Capt Sparkes, captain of HMS Protector, “Protector's ship's company are highly trained and well equipped to deal with a spectrum of operations in Antarctica.”

The area is prone to changes in winds and local currents, and ships can quickly become trapped, sometimes for weeks, when the concentration of pack ice increases.


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For the Record – No congestion in Onne Port

In our last news bulletin we reported on congestion in the ports of Lagos and Port Harcourt. Innocent Ogbuji, who is Commercial Manager at the West Africa Container Terminal in Onne, Port Harcourt responds by saying that they have no port congestion in Onne Port, Port Harcourt. “We’d like to verify this information and clarify this so that customers will not have a wrong view and patronise a neighbouring port,” he told Ports & Ships.


CHEC signs contract to dredge Abidjan port extension

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CHEC (China Harbour Engineering Company) has announced that the signing of an EPC contract with the Abidjan Port Authority to dredge the Abidjan port extension. The Cote d’Ivoire contract is worth US$933 million.

The report says that the project will play a significant role in re-establishing Abidjan’s position as a regional shipping centre and promoting the infrastructural and economic development of Cote d’Ivoire.

The project involves waterway and basin dredging, construction of a container terminal and a ro-ro terminal, and construction of waterway breakwater reconstruction, etc.

According to CHEC this contract marks the company’s successful entry into Cote d’Ivoire, and says it lays a solid foundation for further expanding CHEC’s market in the West African country.


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Two Capesize ore ships alongside the loading facility in the Port of Saldanha. Picture TPT

South Africa has overtaken India to become China’s third biggest iron ore supplier.

In the past year South Africa shipped 40.6 million tonnes of iron ore to China, an increase of 12 percent on 2011. India’s which was China’s third biggest supplier saw its exports to China decrease 54.75 percent to 33 million tonnes.

South Africa has improved its logistical supply line from the iron ore mines in the Northern Cape to its export port of Saldanha after coming to an accommodation with the two principal mining houses, Kumba and Assmang.

Indian authorities on the other hand have tightened up on illegal iron ore production. Last October Goa, which is one of India’s biggest suppliers, imposed a blanket ban on all mining activities.

Australia remains China’s main supplier, with exports rising to 351.5 million tonnes in 2012, almost half of China’s imports. Brazil remains unchanged in second place. In 2012 China imported a total of 743.6 million tonnes of the mineral, an increase of 8.4 percent on the previous year.


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QE2 – new hope for an old icon

Fears of the famed old liner and cruise ship QE2 going to scrap, as has been speculated recently, have been laid to rest with the news from her owners that she is to undergo restoration to become a luxury 500-room resort hotel.

Her final destination however remains a mystery at this point although it appears she is going to the Far East.

In a press release issued a week ago, QE2 Dubai announced that QE2 (the ship) was to move into a dry dock in Dubai for classification checks prior to her renovation as a luxury hotel. QE2 has since moved to the dry dock.

In her days as a passenger liner QE2 also took annual world cruises and in the summer months operated a scheduled liner service across the North Atlantic. In her time at sea the ship, possibly the best known passenger ship of all time, carried 2.5 million passengers, sailed nearly six million miles and completed 806 trans-Atlantic crossings during 39 years of service for Cunard.

QE2 Dubai has created a large consortium to convert the QE2 into a five-star hotel with 500 rooms managed and operated by the Oceanic Group. The Oceanic Group, a group of highly-experienced advisers to cruise operators and managers in Asia, will take the lead in managing this project while Drydocks World Dubai will carry out extensive technical and operational checks prior to her move into Asia.

The vision for the QE2 is for her to become a landmark cultural and tourist attraction and a beacon of luxury, glamour, quality and tradition in a number of leading Asian cities that shares her rich maritime heritage and are prepared to give this very special ship a prominent waterfront home. A number of Asian cities are said to have expressed interest in securing the floating hotel.

“We have firmed up with an international tourist city in the Far East as her first destination,” said QE2 Dubai in a statement.

According to QE2 Dubai, the chosen city shares the passion of the partnership for preserving the history and reputation of a ship that holds a special place in the collective memory of the millions of passengers that sailed on her during nearly 40 years of service. It says that the renovations and upgrades planned will respect and safeguard the immense heritage embodied in her fine lines and luxurious fittings.

“We are greatly privileged to be part of this move to create history with this project, which is perhaps one of the most defining moments in maritime travel,” said Khamis Juma Buamim, chairman of Drydocks World & Maritime World. “This prestigious project will no doubt be another milestone in not only Drydocks World but in Dubai’s expanding portfolio of world-leading attractions. We are pleased to be in partnership with the QE2 consortium and the Oceanic Group in the very challenging project. I have no doubt that together we will achieve total success in this endeavor.”

According to Daniel Chui, Managing Director, Oceanic Group, QE2 is starting the next exciting journey of her long and illustrious career. “We feel truly privileged to be part of the consortium that will take responsibility of this incredibly important piece of maritime history. We are honoured that we have been chosen to manage this project to restore a truly historical icon to the days of her former glory. We promise to give the world a truly spectacular attraction.”

Plans for the upgrading of the QE2 also include a shopping mall with the finest world leading brands, a QE2 Café offering meals similar to those served during cruises, three Michelin-starred restaurants, convention and meeting facilities. There will also be an onboard maritime museum displaying QE2 memorabilia and her rich history, along with a collection of treasures of Dubai.


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Riding high in the water and being relatively empty, the Cypriot owned and managed container ship CSL STEFANIE (48,342-gt, built 1993) sails from Cape Town earlier this month. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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