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Ports & Ships Maritime News

19 February 2013
Author: Terry Hutson


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





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The cruise ship ALBATROS seen arriving off the harbour at Mossel Bay yesterday (Monday), after having visited Cape Town last week. Because the ship is too large to enter the port passengers went ashore to the historic place using the ship’s tenders. Picture by Capt Chris Savage


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Transocean fined US$400 million for Deepwater Horizon disaster

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A US District Judge in Louisiana last week accepted Transocean Deepwater Inc ‘s plea of guilty to violating the American Clean Water Act and sentenced the company to a fine of US$400 million plus penalties.

Transocean Deepwater Inc accepted responsibility for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster which saw a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The sentencing of a fine and other criminal penalties constitutes the second biggest environmental crime recovery in US history, second only to the record $4 billion fine imposed on BP Exploration and Production Inc for the same disaster.


CMA CGM finalises its financial restructuring

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CMA CGM Africa Two. Picture by Terry Hutson

The French shipping company CMA CGM has finalised its financial debt restructuring with bankers and appears to be positioning itself for an eventual Initial Public Offering (IPO).

This follows an equity infusion of US$250 million from French sovereign wealth fund and CMA CGM’s Turkish backer, Yildirim.

At several times in the recent past the future of the world’s third largest container shipping company appeared in doubt over escalating debts, amounting at one time to $5.7 billion

Following the latest restructuring Yildirim will hold a 24% share in the French company.


Lyubov Orlova still afloat ‘somewhere’ in Atlantic

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The former Russian cruise ship LYUBOV ORLOVA remains ‘lost at sea’ in the North Atlantic after the Canadian maritime safety authority issued instructions that the ship be towed beyond Canada’s territorial waters and cast adrift.

Earlier, the ship was under tow behind the tug CHARLENE HUNT when the towline broke off the coast of Canada. The tug retired to St John’s Harbour where it has been detained for a long list of mechanical and safety deficiencies.

According to the Canadian Transportation Safety Board, the official report into the circumstances surrounding the failed attempt to tow the Lyubov Orlova to the Caribbean for scrap will be released in about a year. Source – Maritime Bulletin


Windcarriers – ships for the future

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In an ever evolving world of ships and shipping, Fred Olsen has taken delivery of its second specialist heavylift jack-up Windcarrier vessel, BOLD TERN (15,328-gt, built 2012), which will join Windcarrier no.1 BRAVE TERN in service in the delivery and installation of wind turbine farms.

The new ship was built at Lamprell’s Jebel Ali yard in the UAE, which has so far built five of this type of ship, two for Fred Olsen and three for Seajacks, who are awaiting delivery of another.

The two Fred Olsen vessels are larger than those built for Seajacks and are considered prototypes of their kind. They are designed to carry and install wind turbines as well as foundations at offshore locations. The ships will also be engaged in maintaining and repairing turbines.

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Fred Olsen's Brave Tern


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Brave Tern in jack-up mode



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Seven tenders received for Walvis Bay extension

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Proposed extensions to the Port of Walvis Bay


The Port of Walvis Bay is in desperate need of expansion since current cargo handling capabilities are reaching the upper limit of our existing capacities, says Bisey Uirab, Namport’s chief executive. He described the port as a gateway into Southern Africa.

UIrab was commenting after a total of seven tenders for the construction of port extensions at Walvis Bay were received and opened when the tender closed at 12h00 yesterday, Monday 18 February 2013. “The tender evaluation process has commenced immediately after the tenders were opened and is expected to be completed in a few months’ time,” he said. “The successful adjudication and award of this tender is of utmost importance and we will endeavour to complete both the evaluation process and commencement of construction of this national asset in the shortest possible time.”

Uirab said that the tender evaluation criteria and process was clearly outlined in the tender documentation that was issued to all tenderers and that this process will be followed strictly throughout the tender adjudication.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to remind the greater public of the importance of this project not only for Namport but for Namibia and all SADC countries at large,” Uirab added.

The tender called for the EPC turnkey design, construction and financing of the new Port of Walvis Bay Container Terminal on reclaimed land, including a quay wall, STS quay cranes and dredging works in the Port of Walvis Bay, Namibia.

Seven tenders in total were received from:


  • Sinohydro Corporation (China)
  • Construtora AOS S.A. (Brazil)
  • China Gezhouba Group Company Limited (China)
  • Walvis Bay Harbour Contractors [Group Five Construction Pty Ltd(South Africa), Dredging International N.V. (Belgium), Soletanche- Bachy International (France)]
  • CCC-STFA-JDN Consortium [Consolidated Contractors Co (Greece), STFA (Turkey), Jan De Nul N.V. (Belgium)]
  • China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd (China)
  • RMB Consortium (FNB Namibia, RMB Namibia, Standard Bank Namibia, Rand Merchant Bank South Africa, Standard Bank South Africa)

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    Bisey Uirab, Namport CEO 



    Four new STS cranes due in Durban

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    December 2012, and the first three of seven new STS cranes arrive in Durban for the Durban Container Terminal. The balance of four from ZPMC are thought to be on the heavylift Zhen Hua 25 which last night was outside port in the outer anchorage. Picture by Roy Reed

    Although not confirmed, it can be assumed that the remaining four new ship-to-shore cranes on order from Chinese manufacturer ZPMC are currently on board the heavylift ship ZHEN HUA 25 which is in the Durban anchorage.

    The ship is shown as being due at Pier 2, in other words the Durban Container Terminal, where the cranes are to go into service on the North Quay. This will bring to seven the number of these Chinese-built super-post panamax STS cranes ordered for DCT’s North Quay.

    ZPMC has appointed emerging port equipment spares and maintenance company, Elgin Marine Services (EMS) as its local partner. In turn, EMS has employed and is mentoring and developing 11 young newly graduated engineers from previously disadvantaged communities for skills training.

    Their delivery comes just over nine years after the first three super-post panamax cranes were obtained for Durban from the port of La Spezia, Italy. Since then Durban has been re-equipping the container terminals on Piers 1 and 2 with new super-post panamax cranes from Liebherr and IMPSA, and now the seven obtained from China. To bring the North Quay, which holds three berths each of 305 metres, into readiness for the new STS cranes, it was necessary to first prepare new rail tracks on which the cranes will move. Each berth has been taken out of service progressively to allow this work to continue with the first three cranes delivered in December being erected on berth 203 once work there was complete. The North Quay will have a total of nine STS cranes once the latest four have been installed.

    Pending the delivery of the seven cranes and as part of the readiness preparations, a group of terminal operations and technical staff have travelled to Shanghai, China, for orientation training. As with all new technology, there will be an initial learning curve before the cranes are operated at ‘full speed’.

    Still to be tackled is the deepening alongside the three North Quay berths, from the current design draught of -12.8m to -16.5m. This work seems unlikely to commence before 2014.


    Tanzania and Kenya ports keen to cut congestion

    The Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) are considering a partnership to address congestion at their principal ports, with the aim of clearing cargoes and bringing benefit to the economies of the East African regions.

    A report in the East African Business Week quoted Kenya’s High Commissioner to Tanzania, Mr Mutinda Mutiso as saying that the two ports are keen on collaborating to end congestion.

    He said it was high time that the ports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa got together in fighting the problem, as both ports were experiencing similar challenges. He suggested it was time to construct new ports and terminals to cater for the increasing trade. Cargo volumes through the port of Mombasa had increased from 9 million tonnes in 2000 to over 20mt in 2012. Source EABW


    New appointments at Transnet Port Terminals

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    Nombuso Afolayan

    Two senior appointments have been announced by Transnet Port Terminals (TPT). Nombuso Afolayan has been appointed General Manager: Commercial and Planning, and Ntombeziningi Shezi is the new General Manager: Supply Chain Management.

    Ms Afolayan’s academic achievements include an MBA - Finance, International Oil Supply and Trading from Oxford University and a qualification from the Institute of Chartered Ship Brokers. She was previously a Commercial and Business Development Executive at Vopak SA and a General Manager with Grindrod, said TPT.

    Ms Shezi achieved a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Post Graduate Diploma, Purchasing and Materials Management at the University of Cape Town. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Supply Chain Management and has held procurement management positions at Nampak, PRASA and Hewlett Packard.


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    Ntombeziningi Shezi


    NPA Commits to Safety in the Ports

    Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) managing director, Alhaji Habib Abdullahi, says the authority remains committed to safety of life and property within the nation’s seaports.

    In an address given on his behalf by the executive director, Marine and Operations, David Omonibeke, at the passing-out parade for firemen and women of Squad 48, the MD said the NPA will continue to give maximum attention to the provision of fire equipment, sensitisation of the port community on safety and fire prevention, and the training and retraining of its fire service personnel in accordance with national legislation, international standard and best practices.

    The firemen and women of Squad 48 recently undertook six-month’s of training at the Fire Service Central Training School in Tin-Can Island Port.

    The MD said that the training school would soon be renovated and expanded so that it can accommodate a larger number of students from within and outside the authority. Source: This Day Live


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    Angola’s Benguela railway nears DR Congo border

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    The Benguela Railway (shown in red)

    Around 1,070 kilometres, or 80 percent of the total length of the railroad between the Angolan cities of Lobito on the coast and Luau on the DRC border have been built, the director of the Angolan National Railroad Institute, Júlio Bango said last week.

    Speaking ahead of a meeting of ministers of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), whose countries are linked by the Lobito development corridor (Angola, DR Congo and Zambia), Bango said that if it were not for difficulties faced because of rains in the east of the country, the work to lay rails, concrete sleepers, signage and telecommunications would already have been finished.

    “We should already have reached Luau but we have seen some constraints caused by the rain,” he said adding that work would soon be finished and that Angola would then be linked to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    By connecting with the DRC, the Benguela railway will also be linked with the great north-south railway stretching from deep within the DRC mining belt all the way south to the South African ports, and also connecting directly with the Tazara railway running from Zambia to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

    The Benguela railway, which was originally built by the Portuguese, has been out of service since the Angolan civil war.

    According to Angolan news agency Angop, Bango said that work to rebuild the Benguela railroad had already reached the city of Luena, on the border province of Kuando Kubango, a region in which the trains are already operating.

    Reconstruction of the CFB is being carried out with funding from the China Export Import Bank (ExIm). (macauhub and P&S)


    Sena Railway at a standstill

    The Sena railway, which is used to transport coal mined in Mozambique’s Tete province to the port of Beira, has continued at a standstill since last week due to damage caused by flooding, according to the Mozambican press.

    The situation is making officials at the subsidiaries of Brazilian company Vale and Anglo-Australian group Rio Tinto that are operating in the province, ‘nervous’. In addition to the rain there was a derailment last Tuesday.

    Losses resulting from accidents, from three derailments this year alone, and natural disasters have already affected accounts and the companies’ commitments to their sales contracts, particularly to the Indian and Chinese markets.

    Until December of last year the Brazilian mining company transported over 2 million tons of coal along the Sena railroad on 1,000 trains, whilst Rio Tinto transported 35,000 tons of coal.

    According to the Mozambican press officials from the Vale group are currently in Mozambique to assess the situation and the lack of infrastructure and inefficiency of the Sena line and plan to “deal with this at the highest level soon.”

    The interruption of rail traffic is a serious blow to the mining companies, and demonstrates how fragile the mining logistics are. In theory, the Sena line can handle six million tonnes of cargo a year, but the mining companies’ forecasts are for exports on a much larger scale.

    The current upgrading work may bring the total capacity of the Sena line to 20 million tonnes a year, but the delays in completing this work has led Vale to cut back its export forecasts.

    Vale hopes to free itself from dependence on the Sena line by building a new railway across southern Malawi to connect with Mozambique’s existing northern line, and carry the coal to the port of Nacala.

    As well as the 10 kilometres of railroad destroyed by last week’s derailment, rains in Mozambique have caused huge losses on the line and in some places the water has washed away the rails, sleeper and ballast and even destroyed several small bridges.

    The Sena railroad has been under repair since last May, which is expected to cost US$45 million. Source Macauhub and AIM

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    Mozambique railway system


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    Nigerian Navy commissions five new patrol boats

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    A Shaldag Mk II class fast patrol boat of the Nigerian Navy

    The Nigerian Navy has commissioned into service three OCEA and two Shaldag patrol boats during a ceremony at Western Naval Command Headquarters in Lagos, reports defenceWeb.

    Three of the patrol boats are 24-metre long French-built FPB 72 Mk 2 patrol boats from the OCEA shipyard. They are capable of a speed in excess of 30 knots. The three craft were delivered last year.

    Nigeria also acquired two Israeli-built Shaldag Mk II fast patrol boats, a type based on a 1980s design which has been substantially upgraded over the years. In service with the Israeli Navy, the type is powered by two diesel engines driving two water jets, and can accelerate to 40 knots in as many seconds. They displace 58 tons and have a range of 650 n.miles.

    According to Nigerian minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the five craft will be used to combat oil theft and other crime on the Nigerian waterways.

    defenceWeb reports that the Nigerian Navy received at least two Shaldag Mk IIs back in June 2009. It says that the Nigerian Navy is currently undergoing major expansion, with new boats being built locally and overseas. “In October last year, China’s Wuchan Shipyard began construction of the first of two P18N offshore patrol vessels for the Nigerian Navy. These vessels are 95 metres long and are being built by China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Limited, the trade arm of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). They will be delivered in around three years’ time and will be partly built in Nigeria.” Source defenceWeb


    Pirates take two crew hostage off offshore supply vessel

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    the offshore supply vessel Walvis 7

    Pirates have attacked an offshore supply vessel named WALVIS 7 (1072-gt, built 1982) near the Port of Onne, taking two crew away as hostage, according to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

    The Ministry said the two taken hostage are the Honduran master of the vessel and the Ukrainian chief engineer. The pirates stole some of the crew’s belongings including their cash. The remainder of the crew numbering 18 Nigerians were able to sail the tug safely into port. The attack took place on 10 February.

    In a separate incident, gunmen attacked an Indian-owned oil barge last week as it was being escorted by the Nigerian military through the Delta waterways. Two soldiers and one crewman were killed in the exchange of fire.


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    7 Sea Perseverance

    7 Sea Geoscience’s state of the art geotechnical jack-up barge, the 7 SEA PERSEVERANCE has arrived back in Cape Town after a challenging but successful campaign in Mozambique.

    The barge is specifically designed for rotary core drilling and penetrometer testing in water depths up to 25m. In Matola, the barge successfully contended with 3 knot currents, 1.5m wind chop and has proven itself by remaining operational in wind speeds gusting to 75km/hr. It will now enter a maintenance period after which it will travel to its next assignment.

    The barge is a local design by 7 Sea Geosciences and built by Belmet Marine in early 2011 and was operational in Walvis Bay within three months of the start of design in December 2010. This was due to the commitment of the team and the assistance and resources offered by Belmet Marine in Cape Town and Belmet in Walvis Bay.

    The barge is fully modular and ships in a 21m leg configuration in four standard 20ft shipping containers. She is designed to withstand 20 tonne of vertical upward thrust from the CPT machine and along with a fully furnished and panelled office container, workshop and all ancillary equipment the barge can carry loads in excess of 15 tonnes. The barge is specially designed for work in port and harbour developments and for shallow water geotechnical work in the oil and gas industry.

    7 Sea Geosciences is a company which specialises in on-land and offshore geotechnical, geophysical and hydrographic survey projects internationally and operates from Cape Town. The company has been in operation for five years, cutting its teeth on foundation analysis and earthworks at the Cape Town world-cup soccer stadium in Green Point.

    The company is empowered, and focuses on producing a quality product above all else and believes innovation is at the heart of its success to date. The company offers either consulting or investigation services or is able to offer a turnkey service if required.

    Existing clients include oil and gas companies, ports and harbour development agencies, subsea cable contractors, consulting engineering companies, housing developers, municipalities and contracting companies.


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    The ice-strengthened Russian-flagged general cargo ship IVAN PAPANIN (14,184-gt, built 1990) of Murmansk Shipping Company, which over the years has been a regular visitor in the port of Cape Town. The ship makes regular trips to Antarctica. Ivan Papanin is named after a noted Russian polar explorer and scientist. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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    hosting by TinyPic The container ship MAERSK CAIRO (50,869-gt, built 2012) at Cape Town’s container terminal during February 2013. Picture by Ian Shiffman


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