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Ports & Ships Maritime News

5 March 2013
Author: Terry Hutson


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



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One of several interesting visitors in the Port of Durban at the recent weekend was the return of this ageing vessel, the North Korean bulk boomed freighter JANG JA SAN CHONG NYON HO (13,815-dwt, built 1980), owned and operated by Jangjasan Shipping of Pyongyang. The ship was berthed at Q shed in Durban. She was last in Durban in October last year. Picture by Trevor Jones


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The shipping industry is showing increased interest in the use of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) as a fuel for vessels. It is generally expected that by 2015 a number of progressive shipping lines will lead the way and will have LNG-powered vessels in their fleet, presenting a challenge for ports around the world and shipping lines, says the International Association of Ports & Harbours (IAPH).

Some vessels today are already LNG-powered and more are on order. According to a recent study from the Danish Maritime Authority the current use of natural gas within the SECA-zone (sulphur emission control areas) is expected to increase by 140% by 2020, due to the use of LNG as a shipping fuel and usage on land by trucks and buses.

LNG offers substantial environmental benefits in comparison to conventional fuels. Sulphur and particle emissions would be reduced to almost zero, nitrogen oxide emissions by 85-90 percent and net greenhouse gases by 15-20 percent.

Focusing on the use of LNG as a marine fuel, an ‘LNG Fuelled Vessels Working Group’ has been established under the auspices of IAPH’s World Ports Climate Initiative (WPCI). The Working Group is tasked for one to develop guidelines on safe procedures for LNG bunkering operations providing ports around the world with an implementation guideline, if they wish to pursue this technology.

LNG is a clean and cost competitive fuel meeting the upcoming 2015 IMO regulations. LNG is obviously the ship’s fuel of the future and ports are preparing to offer safe storage and bunkering of LNG for shipping lines in or near their port areas.

The Port of Antwerp is chairing this initiative and representatives from the ports of Amsterdam, Bremen/Bremerhaven, Brunsbüttel, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Le Havre, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Rotterdam, Stockholm and Zeebrugge are also active participants in the Working Group. The Working Group maintains close contacts with industry stakeholders currently using and/or handling LNG, as well as government agencies.

The Working Group consists of three sub-Working Groups:

  • LNG Bunkering Checklist
  • LNG Bunkering Risk Perimeters
  • LNG Public Awareness

    Industry and port partners are welcome, says the IAPH.

    The ‘LNG fuelled Vessels’ Working group falls under the auspices of the IAPH and its World Ports Climate Initiative (WPCI) and has a global participation. Participation in the Working Group is open to all ports, whether as active participant or as a member of the reference group. To obtain immediate feedback and to validate the outcomes, industry partners are invited to be part of the reference group. Industry experts are also invited to be active contributors and share their expertise in the sub-Working Group ‘LNGbunkering Checklist’.

    Ports and industry stakeholders interested in participating in the Working Group should contact Ms Tessa Major, chairman of the WPCI LNG Working Group. E-mail: tessa@portofantwerp.com


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    MSC Sinfonia remains to continue cruising

    by Sheila Hutson

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    MSC Sinfonia sailing out of Cape Town. This ship has since transferred to Durban to continue another 12 departures from the east coast port. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    The 59,058-gt cruise ship MSC OPERA is due to sail from Cape Town on her return voyage to the Mediterranean later today (Tuesday) after completing her first cruising season in South African waters, during which she embarked on 27 individual cruises.

    Most of these were from the port of Durban, her homeport while in South Africa, and involved cruises to Mozambique destinations and islands of between two and five days duration.

    According to Allan Foggitt, MSC Cruises’ marketing director, it has so far been a record-breaking season with both ships in South African waters at the same time. “This has enabled around 110,000 passengers to experience local cruising,” he said last week. “This shows cruising as a favourite holiday option and has surpassed previous seasons in passenger numbers.” The summer cruising season is of course not yet over, and MSC SINFONIA remains in South African waters for another 12 departures out of Durban to Mozambique. She will be here to cater for the Easter holiday period before she too makes her way back to Italy tracing the path of MSC Opera up the African west coast. MSC Sinfonia departs on 15 April.

    Both ships will return to South Africa for an extended 2013/14 summer season but with some alterations to the itinerary. MSC Sinfonia will operate out of Cape Town later next summer, to avoid some of the very windy periods that the Mother City experiences in November and early December. Several of her cruises were disrupted because of wind and weather. MSC Opera will meanwhile have returned to Durban to repeat the successes of 2012/13.

    There are some bargains in the offing for early bookings, which are now open. An aggressive 40% discount is on offer as an incentive to early bookings. This is in addition to accommodation, meals, and entertainment all being included in the cruise fare and with children under 18 cruising free, cruising is now one of South Africa’s best value family holidays.

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    MSC Opera departing Cape Town on a local cruise. The ship sails for the Mediterranean later today. Picture by Ian Shiffman


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    Cape Town - Man killed after fire guts ship

    One man died and another 25 crew were rescued when a South Korean longliner, HWA-TSAN 202, caught fire and burned out in Cape Town harbour on Saturday night.

    Although firefighters were on scene there was little they could do to extinguish the fiercely burning ship alongside Landing Wharf 4. One of the crew, identified as 29-year old Ho Xuan Tung from Vietnam died in the blazing ship but 25 of his shipmates managed to escape ashore. They were taken to the Seamen’s Mission in the port to be given emergency shelter and assistance. The men were from Taiwan, China, Vietnam and South Korea.

    The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SMASA) is investigating the fire and according to local news reports the police have opened a case of suspected arson.


    Durban – Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo takes over Grindrod Tank Terminals

    A consortium of Oiltanking GmbH, Grindrod Ltd and Calulo Investments (OTGC) has taken over the business of Grindrod Tank Terminals, one of the Grindrod subsidiary companies.

    The acquisition provides OTGC with the Grindrod Tank Terminals business, comprising liquid bulk terminals in the ports of Durban and Cape Town. The company also operates a specialised road tanker fleet. The Cape Town and Durban terminals play a key role in the importation and redistribution of molasses and vegetable oils. Besides these products, the company has secured licenses to store and handle high flash products.

    The deal remains subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

    Oiltanking GmbH holds a 46 percent shareholding in the new organisation, Grindrod 38 percent and Calulo the balance of 16 percent.

    “We believe that OTGC have the expertise and credentials to capitalise on tank terminal development opportunities in South Africa and that amalgamating Grindrod Tank Terminals with OTGC is in line with this strategy,” said Dave Rennie, CEO Grindrod Freight Services, Ports & Terminals.

    OTGC is also the preferred bidder for the bulk liquid terminal in the Port of Ngqura where it expects to sign a definite agreement with the South African Port Authorities in the near future.


    Maputo - PM says new port at Techobanine will be built

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    The Techobanine region in southern Mozambique, not far from the South African border at Ponta do Ouro, where Mozambique has ambitions of building a deepwater coal and ore port

    Maputo — Mozambican Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina says that the government is committed to adopting policies of developing the port and rail sector in order to transform the country into a true logistical platform.

    Speaking at the opening of the seventh Indian Ocean Ports and Logistics Conference held in Beira last week, Vaquina stressed that in the southern system, not only is the capacity of Maputo port being upgraded, but a new port complex will be built at Techobanine, in the southernmost district of Matutuine.

    “The Techobanine Port Complex,” said Vaquina, “envisages the construction from scratch of a deep water port to handle very large ships, which will complement the port of Maputo, a railway line linking Techobanine to Botswana via Chicualacuala (in the southern Mozambican province of Gaza) and Zimbabwe, and an industrial complex.”

    The new deep water port, he said, could handle 100 million tonnes of cargo a year. It could become a strategic regional fuel reserve, and would be ideal for exporting minerals from countries such as Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe". Source – AIM


    Beira - So what else is new?

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    Emodraga’s (the Mozambique dredging company) house dredger ARUANGWA seen underway in Beira harbour. Picture by Glen Martin

    If the port of Beira is ever to become a major minerals port, then it will require constant dredging, as a result of silting and shifting underwater sandbanks which are hampering efforts, says Carlos Mesquita, managing director of Cornelder de Mocambique

    Cornelder holds a concession to operate the port and terminals. Beira recently began handling large volumes of export coal which has been arriving along the reopened Sena railroad.

    According to Mesquita the port requires daily dredging – “this is the most difficult channel in the region,” he told a news service.

    Vale and Rio Tinto/Riversdale have begun exporting coal mined at Moatize in the Tete province, but while several million tons of coal has moved successfully along the Sena railway to Beira, recent rains and a derailment have curtailed operations, forcing Vale to declare force majeure.

    Rio Tinto meanwhile wrote down US$3 billion of its Mozambique assets, partly as a result of the stoppages and difficulty in getting the coal on board ships.

    The port of Beira is built on a river system consisting of two rivers, the Pungwe and Buzi which join in the area and whose currents cause shifting sandbanks that have long made Beira infamous.

    Beira has traditionally been the port of entry for neighbouring Zimbabwe and to some extent, that of Zambia, but during the long civil war much of this traffic was curtailed. Zimbabwe’s economic and political implosion also saw import and export traffic dwindle in recent years, but with the development of coal mining in Tete there was renewed confidence that Beira’s day had at last come.

    Until a number of problems are seen to, that day may be delayed a little longer.


    Beira - Chinese group to develop logistics systems

    A project undertaken by Sun Line Mozambique and involving the Manga Mugassa Economic Area in the port city of Beira, has been approved by the Office for Economic Areas with Accelerated Development (Gazeda), the Mozambican press is reporting.

    Sun Line Mozambique, a subsidiary of Chinese group Sun Line International Logistics, intends developing logistics systems for transporting copper and other minerals. Its initial investment is estimated to total US$1 million.

    This is the second project that Gazeda gas has approved for the Economic Area, and will be managed by Chinese company Dingsheng International Investment, with headquarters in Hong Kong. The company has announced investments of $500 million in developments in the area.

    Sun Line International Logistics was founded in 2001 and has its headquarters in Beijing. It currently has branches in Shanghai and Tianjin, a partnership in Zambia, a subsidiary in Mozambique and representative offices in Durban, Dar es Salaam, Myanmar, Russia and some Asian countries. Source - (macauhub)


    Nacala - Japan lends US$84 million to build port infrastructure

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    Port of Nacala

    The government of Japan has granted a US$84 million loan to Mozambique to help finance the first phase of the Nacala port development project in Nampula province, the Japanese embassy announced in Maputo.

    The project follows another one already under way, involving emergency repairs for infrastructure and was budgeted at US$24 million.

    The statement released by the embassy indicates that Japan’s participation in the undertaking is meant to provide a positive contribution to the government’s efforts to create transport infrastructures in the northern part of the country.

    The first phase of the port development project will consist of dredging along the north quay, land reclamation and levelling, and paving of the container terminal, among other improvements. Source - (macauhub)


    Zambia plans to use Nacala port to export copper

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    The Nacala Corridor coming in from Malawi, with Zambia to the immediate west of Malawi.

    The Zambian government has told the Mozambican government that it plans to use the port of Nacala, in Nampula province, to export the additional copper mined in the country, said a high level official from the Mozambican Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Ministry.

    Alexandre Manjate, director for the Africa and Middle East regions, noted that Zambia currently exports its copper through the port of Beira, in Sofala province, and said the port of Nacala will be used to export the increasing amount of copper that Zambia is producing.

    According to Mozambican newspaper Correio da Manhã, the Mozambican diplomat also said that Mozambique was thus benefitting from recent discoveries of significant copper reserves in Zambia, which is one of the world’s largest copper producers.

    The information was given at the end of the 15th session of the Joint Permanent Cooperation Commission between Mozambique and Zambia, which met in Maputo Wednesday and Thursday last week. Source - (macauhub)


    Nigeria – Cargo owners and freight forwarders angry at scanning delays

    Nigerian cargo owners and freight forwarders are upset at unnecessary demurrage costs caused by delays in scanning and releasing containers at the country’s ports.

    They say the delays are a result of Destination Inspection Agents (DIAs) taking too long to scan containers at the ports, and want a return to physical examination by customs to speed up the clearance of their cargo.

    The delays arise from those containers sent to the yellow line, which are suspect and require electronic scanning before the containers can be released. Containers sent to the green line do not require scanning and are cleared much sooner, while those identified for the red line have to be physically cleared.

    Now, frustrated by the delays, cargo owners and their representatives are asking for the yellow line to be done away with and such containers to be sent to the red line for physical inspection, which they maintain will be quicker than the yellow line boxes. The problem is said to be intense at the ports of Apapa and Tin Can Island where the scanners cannot carry the work load.

    Companies involved in performing the scanning on behalf of customs deny the allegations.


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    Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud this week granted an amnesty to almost a thousand young Somali pirates, with the aim of discouraging them from going to sea with the intention of attacking merchant ships.

    The amnesty was given to 959 pirates in the Adado district, an area with large-scale unemployment and where the thought of going to sea and taking a ship and its crew hostage for ransoming had a strong appeal among the young men.

    In recent months the level of piracy off the Horn of Africa has dropped dramatically, thanks to a combination of effects including the hardening of ship defences, the carrying of armed guards on some vessels, and the increasing presence of naval warships taking a more proactive stance against piracy.

    Analysts have long believed that the final solution to Somali piracy lies ashore, with political decisions being taken that can have a positive effect on deterring piracy. Localised amnesties have been granted previously with mixed success; this is the first large amnesty granted by a government that is beginning to take proper control of the country.


    Sea Shepherd Are Pirates, US Court rules

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    A US Court of Appeals for the 9th District of Washington has confirmed a ruling that Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society are pirates and are to be barred from attacking the Japanese whaling fleet which is now in the Southern Ocean.

    “You don’t need a peg leg or an eye patch. When you ram ships; hurl glass containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be,” said Chief Judge Alex Kozinski in his judgement.

    He said that the United States, Japan and many other nations are signatories to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, which authorises whale hunting when conducted in compliance with a research permit issued by a signatory. The Japanese fleet carries such a permit, the judge said, but has nevertheless been hounded on the high seas for years by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

    On 25 February one of the Sea Shepherd vessels, the Bob Barker collided with a Japanese tanker in the area to refuel the Japanese whaling fleet.


    Nigerian pirates release hostages

    Six hostages seized by Nigerian pirates several weeks ago have been released. The three Ukrainians, two Indian and one Russian sailors were taken hostage when pirates boarded the Nigerian service vessel ARMADA TUAH about 40 n.miles off the Bayelsa coast.

    Initially the pirates demanded a ransom of US$1.3 million but local authorities claim that no ransom was paid for their release. It is possible that the amount of ransom was reduced or even dropped once the pirate group realised that the ship attacked was a Nigerian vessel.

    The payment of ransoms, particularly if the hostages taken are workers employed by one of the oil majors operating in the region, has become commonplace although it is seldom acknowledged.


    Russian arms smuggling suspects released on bail

    After more than four months in custody, a Nigerian court has granted bail of US$500,000 to 15 Russian seafarers accused of arms smuggling.

    The seamen were detained after bringing their ship into port at Lagos. Nigerian authorities claim to have found several weapons and 8,500 rounds of ammunition. The Russian Moran Security Group which employed the men and operated the vessel said the ship had permission to carry arms.

    In terms of the bail granted the men are not allowed to leave Nigeria and are under the care of the Nigerian ambassador. They are due to appear again in court in April.


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    The Maersk container ship MAERSK IZMIR being attended to by two of the new STS cranes recently delivered to the Durban Container Terminal from China. Picture by Trevor Jones

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    The Chinese heavylift ship ZHEN HUA 25 underneath some of the new ship-to-shore cranes that she helped to deliver from China. Both pictures were taken this recent weekend. Picture by Trevor Jones


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