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Ports & Ships Maritime News

12 March 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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The Cyprus-owned and managed container ship CAPE MOSS (35,878-gt, built 2011), departs from her berth at Durban’s Maydon Wharf and heads towards the high seas. Picture by Terry Hutson


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Jascon 24 (1678-gt, built 2006), an offshore supply vessel owned and managed by Nigerians, but registered to a FOC.

Nigerian–owned shipping companies face a possible shutdown unless the Federal Government releases funds set aside to assist the local shipping industry.

An investigation by the Nigerian publication Leadership has revealed that ten years ago, indigenous shipping companies had up to ten ships but are currently operating with either one ship or none at all in active operation.

Three companies, Morlap Shipping Company Ltd, Genesis Shipping Worldwide, and Al-Dawood Shipping Line, which constituted the Indigenous Ship-Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), are said to be struggling to remain in operation. Some of them have huge debts and others have only an office to indicate they are still in business, says Leadership.

Meanwhile, the investigation by Leadership discovered that US$150 million of undisbursed funds is lying idle in the Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF), which was set up by the Federal Government following the enactment of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, also known as the Cabotage Act. The money was intended to provide indigenous shipping companies with an edge over foreign shipping companies doing business in Nigeria.

The money was to be made available to local shipping companies and their shipping agents, yet, according to the report, the government and Nigeria’s larger companies are continuing to patronise the foreign shipping firms.

The report quoted Dr Isaac Jolapamo, CEO of Morlap Shipping Company as saying that about 80% of indigenous shipping firms had closed down, with more set to follow.

“I used to have six vessels ten years back, but now I only have one, the MT MORE PROSPERITY of 18,000-dwt, which has been vandalized by pirates,” he told Leadership. He said he had bought another four ships in the last four years, spending up to $40 million but has no work for them. “I have not been able to pay back the loans I took from the bank,” he said.

The full report can be read HERE - use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page.


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Ethiopian Shipping Lines takes delivery of first newbuilds

Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE), previously known as Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL) has taken delivery of the first of nine new ships being built in China at a cost of US$300 million.

Two new general cargo vessels, ASSOSA (20,440-gt, built 2012) and FINFINE (21,024-gt, built 2013) plus the crude oil tanker BAHIR DAR (41,500-dwt, built 2012) were all built in China.

Assosa is due at Djibouti on her maiden voyage on 18 April but we have no date as yet for Bahir Dar. The other new general cargo ship making her maiden call at Djibouti is FINFINE which is due to arrive on 25 March ex Port Kelang.

The order for seven multi purpose ships were placed with the Huanghai Shipbuilding Company at a cost of $32.5 million each, and the two tankers are products of the CSC Shinling Shipyard. The cost of the tankers was $37 million each.

The newbuilds will all fly the flag of Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Shipping Lines was established in 1964 by the Imperial Ethiopian Government and the US-based Taurus Investment Inc, which held a 51% share. It received its first three vessels, two cargo liners, the LION OF JUDAH and the QUEEN OF SHEBA, and a 34,000-dwt oil tanker LALIBELA in 1966. Source – Addis Fortune

Cruise ship Marco Polo goes aground

The cruise ship MARCO POLO (22,080-gt, built 1965), well-known in South African waters from having cruised here on a number of occasions some years ago, has gone aground while sailing from the northern Norwegian town of Sortland.

There were no injuries reported and the ship is in no danger, as the rock on which the ship grounded penetrated a ballast tank.

Marco Polo is sailing with 1,117 people on board, including the crew, which suggests there would have been about 700 passengers.

The harbour director at Sortland said afterwards that the rock which the cruise ship struck is unchartered. He said the ship was following the main fairway as she departed the harbour but it was low tide. The ship is not obstructing access to the harbour.

The rupture in the ballast tank is small, a gash of about 40cm in length.

The coastguard had been contacted and the harbour director said he expected inspectors from the safety authority to arrived on Monday (yesterday) after which he thought that permission for the ship to sail might be granted.


Piracy: Tankers Smyrni and Royal Grace released with crew

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The tanker Smyrmi

The tanker SMYRNI (156,000-dwt, built 2011) and the products tanker ROYAL GRACE (6,813-dwt, built 1984) and the respective crews have been released from captivity by Somali pirates.

Both ships were reported to be heading for Salalah in Oman where the crews can be relieved and allowed to return home. There has been no mention of ransoms that are likely to have been paid.

The Greek-owned Smyrni was seized by Somali pirates on 10 May 2012 while sailing in the Arabian Sea, 285 n.miles southeast of the island of Masirah. There was no security presence on board and the ship was reported to have come under attacked 24 hours before being captured, suffering some damage as a result. The ship is loaded with 135,000 tons of crude oil.

The smaller Emirates-owned products tanker Royal Grace was captured east of Oman on 2 March last year with a crew of 22 on board, of Indian, Pakistani ad Nigerian origin.


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Multi-purpose terminal for Angolan city of Caala

The government of the Angolan province of Huambo this year plans to start building an inland multi-purpose terminal in Caala, a project that is part of the government’s plan to build an industrial development hub in the area, the provincial director for Studies and Planning said last week.

According to Angolan news agency Angop, Victor Chissingue announced that the facility would be built on a 40 hectare plot and would include a logistics platform, a business park and a housing complex.

The terminal will also have a dry dock with a container park, National Customs Services facility, refrigeration units, as well as silos for storing grain and fuel.

Chissingue added that the facility would be built in two years and would drive economic and social growth and development in the province, which will also benefit from the launch of the Benguela railroad.

The province is located where an enormous regional logistics platform will be created based on the Benguela railroad and the port of Lobito.

Caala is a city and municipal area of Huambo province with a population of around 373,000 and before Angolan independence was known as Robert Williams, to commemorate the British magnate who was behind the construction of the Benguela Railroad. Source - macauhub


It’s all systems go as Japanese signs loan agreement for Nacala

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Nacala container terminal

A US$84 million loan provided to Mozambique by Japan to be used at the port of Nacala will be used to build a new access road, a container terminal and to buy port equipment, Mozambique’s Finance Minister said.

The loan contract was signed last Thursday by Minister Manuel Chang and by the representative of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Ryuichi Nasu, and is intended to fund the first stage of emergency repairs on the port of Nacala development project, according to daily newspaper Notícias.

Minister Manuel Chang said that the loan was in addition to a donation of US$31.5 million, also provided by Japan, earmarked to modernise port handling equipment and professional training.

Chang announced that the money takes the form of a soft loan, with a minimal interest rate, and is to be repaid over 40 years, including a ten year period of grace.

No major work has been undertaken on Nacala port for 40 years, and Chang said the entire development project is budgeted at 115.55 million dollars.

The development project is intended to increase the port of Nacala’s cargo processing capacity from 1.6 million tons per year to 4.7 million tons in 2017, making the port a benchmark facility in southern Africa.

The port development is independent of separate plans to develop a new coal terminal and export facility on the opposite side of Nacala Bay, to handle coal exports from the Moatize coalfields in Tete province. Sources – macauhub, AIM and P&S


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The Russian full rigged sail training ship Pallada, due in Durban on 23 March

The upcoming BRICS summit which is to be held in Durban later in March, has resulted in something of an unexpected surprise for the port city.

As part of its entourage, the Russian delegation has included a visit to Durban by the sail training ship, PALLADA. The 94.2 metre long sailing ship is expected in Durban harbour on Saturday, 23 March, ahead of the Brics summit which is being held between 25 and 27 March.

The latest Tall Ship to arrive in Durban will be twice the length of the previous visitor, LORD NELSON which called in Durban a few weeks ago. Pallada is a modern build, coming from the shipyard in Poland in 1989. With an all steel hull and three masts she is described as a full rigged ship and is reputed to be the fastest sailing ship in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Her home base is in Vladivostok and she can carry a total crew of 140 cadets, together with 55 officers and crew including teachers.

More than 12,000 cadets have begun their training on this ship.

With no official announcement so far about the Pallada’s visit (you can take our word that she IS coming to Durban), we cannot advise whether the ship will be open to the public. We assume this will be possible, but with the current security rulings at the port this may be problematic.

Provided she is berthed at O or P shed on the T-Jetty, the ideal vantage point will be from Festival Island, next to the Maritime Museum.

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The magnificent four-masted SEDOV, due in Cape Town in early April

A number of other Tall Ships are approaching South African waters – could this be a start to a Tall Ship season, dare we speculate? Unfortunately there is no indication that this might be so but the chance of having two Russian tall ships coming one after the other is certainly a rare treat. The second ship is the large four-masted barque SEDOV, a genuine windjammer from the past.

Sedov is due in the Mother City from 3 to 5 April. She is also steel hulled, but was built in Kiel, Germany in 1920 as a merchant sailing ship. Although the owners were reluctant, a 128-hp auxiliary engine was fitted into her design, which no doubt has stood the ship in good stead over the years. Originally named MAGDALENE VINNEN, she traded around the world and would almost certainly have called in South Africa on more than one occasion.

The ship was taken as a Second World War prize and handed to Russia as part of the war reparations, being renamed SEDOV and homeported in Murmansk. Since then she has operated as a sail training vessel and normally has a crew of 75 on board of which 45 are cadets. The ship carries accommodation for 320 people and at 122 metres she is large for her type. As if that is not enough, three Dutch Tall Ships are heading for South Africa and will be visiting Cape Town. They are the well-known EUROPA, which is no stranger to Cape Town, the OOSTERSCHELDE and the TECLA.

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According to their website the three sailing ships are sailing around the world by following old trade routes, which so far have taken them independently to various parts of the east coast of South America, from where they will head off across the South Atlantic for the Cape of Good Hope. After rendezvousing in Cape Town they will then head off for Port Louis in Mauritius and from there to Australia and New Zealand and later into the Pacific.

It seems unlikely that any of these three ships will visit other ports in South Africa. Apparently it is possible to book berths on some if not all three ships, either from Brazil to Cape Town or from Cape Town onwards. Check out the website www.dutchtallships.com - use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page.

Oosterschelde is a three-masted schooner, Europa a three-masted barque and Tecla a former herring boat sailing vessel.

Finally, although it has already happened, an 86-year old Norwegian Tall Ship called at Walvis Bay a week ago, before heading away from Africa, bound for St Helena. She was the SØRLANDET, a 57-metre full rigged ship built in 1927. Sørlandet is a former Norwegian cadet ship and is currently on charter to a Canadian sail training organisation called Class Afloat.

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Outward Bound! The Dutch barque EUROPA under full sail heads out and away from Cape Town after a previous visit. Picture by Tjalling Halbertsma, Wikipedia Commons


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The German research ship SONNE (3,557-gt, built 1969) photographed arriving in Lyttelton harbour on a wet morning. While in port she took on bunkers and stores as well as exchanging some scientists before returning to conduct research off New Zealand’s East Coast. Picture by Alan Calvert

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The US-owned and registered general cargo vessel OCEAN GIANT (15,549-gt, built 2012), ex HHL Antwerp arriving at Lyttelton to load cargo for the American and New Zealand research bases in the Antarctic. After loading bunkers she shifted to a general cargo berth to load heavy machinery and containers to go south. Picture by Alan Calvert


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