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Ports & Ships Maritime News

25 June 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

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




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Atlantik Confidence 1 adj 470

In April this year the bulker ATLANTIK CONFIDENCE (27,209-dwt, built 1996) caught fire and sank off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea. The crew managed to abandon ship without serious injury and were picked up by a passing tanker, leaving the stricken ship to sink about 150 n.miles south-east of Masirah Island. See our earlier report Bulk Carrier Catches Fire - use your BACKSPACE key to return to this page.

Last year, the ship called at Richards Bay and underwent some minor maintenance at the small craft wharf, where she was captured by camera. Picture by Peter Terry- Lloyd

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Three ships detained

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Bonny Island

The long-standing dispute between Nigeria LNG and Nimasa (the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency) boiled over again at the weekend with Nimasa detaining three LNG carriers at the Bonny port facility.

The three ships, LNG ENEGU, LNG OYO and LNG IMO have had detention orders placed against them by the safety authority, preventing them from entering or leaving the LNG loading bay.

According to Nigeria LNG, the latest friction began on Friday when two Nimasa boats crewed by 15 naval officers instructed ordered one of the Nigeria LNG vessels and a chartered tanker to remain at Nigeria LNG's loading bay, and another Nigeria LNG tanker to remain in the Bonny Channel.

This latest action follows a similar spat in May this year which saw a similar blockade being enforced. This required intervention by senior federal government officials before it was lifted – see report here NIMASA lifts blockade on Bonny Channel - use your BACKSPACE key to return to this page.

The argument had arisen over what Nimasa called outstanding levies, which Nigeria LNG says it is exempt from paying.

“The potential implications of this current action by NIMASA on NLNG operations are enormous," Nigeria LNG said this week, adding that it would negatively impact its customers, its reputation and Nigeria, to which it contributes 4% of the country's GDP.

Nigeria LNG claims it has paid Nimasa US$20 million if fees after being requested to by the Nigerian federal government, but says it will argue the matter in court. It claims that Nimasa’s actions go against a 18 June injunction by the federal high court in Lagos.

Nimasa has not commented on the latest developments.

In 2011 Nigeria LNG supplied 12% of the world’s LNG for near-term delivery. It is jointly owned by state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp, which holds a 49% share, Royal Dutch Shell (26%), Total SA (15%) and Eni SpA (10%).


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BUXLINK 1377388[1] 470

Buxlink. Picture by Shipspotting 1377388

The joint service provided by Hapag-Lloyd, MOL and Zim Line between Northern Europe and West Africa is undergoing a few tweaks involving a northbound call at Antwerp, balanced by the removal of the Thamesport call.

Announcing this, the lines say the ships employed on the loop will operate more slowly and that one trip will be skipped during July. The weekly service currently operates a 42-day rotation calling at Hamburg, Thamesport, Antwerp, Algeciras, Dakar, Tema, Abidjan, Antwerp, Hamburg. The final Antwerp call took place on 17 June and the final call at Thamesport will be made on 1 July involving the BUXLINK.

The new rotation will therefore be Hamburg, Antwerp, Algeciras, Dakar, Tema, Abidjan, Hamburg. The service is operated with a fleet of ships in the 2,100 to 2,700-TEU capacity range. Hapag-Lloyd provides two ships, MOL three and Zim one.

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Too many containers and not enough cargo. That’s the deduction one arrives at from Drewry’s latest Container Census.

According to the report, the global container fleet grew by 5.3% in 2012, which equates to adding another 1.6 million TEU to reach a total of 32.9 million TEU which is available for use internationally.

“Growth in 2012 was dented by the stubborn presence of more than 500,000 TEU of newbuild equipment awaiting collection from factories. As a result, the average monthly rate of new container pick-up was lower than in 2011, even though the surplus never rose as high as the 900,000 TEU averaged throughout the middle part of 2011,” wrote Andrew Foxcroft, editor of the Container Census.

The 5.3% growth was less than in preceding years and marks the slowdown in global shipping. The report says the growth in 2010 was 7%, and was followed by an 8% growth in 2011. Prices for dry freight containers rose sharply in the first half of 2012 before decreasing again in the latter half of the year to match the prices of the previous year. In 2010- 2011 dry freight containers achieved a 20-year high, following the collapse of the market in 2009.

The report suggests there will be less fluctuation in price during the remainder of 2013 and offtake of new containers will remain relatively weak. According to Drewry a key problem is that the existing newbuild stockpile (which did not change much in 2012) has risen again in early 2013, to top one million TEU by the second quarter. “This is even higher than in 2011, and is already choking off demand,” says the report.

The annualised price level will probably fall further in 2013, possibly to $2,400 per CEU (Capital Equivalent Unit – a cost measure per TEU), the lowest since 2008-09. By comparison, this price measurement attained its highest level, of $2,700, in 2011 and averaged $2,500 for 2012, says Drewry.

The price is forecast to end the year in the $2,300-2,350 area. A further 1.6 million TEU will be added to the total during 2013. Source – Drewry Container Census Report


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Flagship NRP Alvares Cabral alongside

The Portuguese Navy frigate NRP Alvares Cabral in Mombasa harbour earlier this month

Between 17- 21 of June 2013, the EU Naval Force Portuguese flagship, NRP Álvares Cabral visited the port of Pemba in Mozambique.

Given the strong relations that exist between Mozambique, the European Union and specifically, Portugal, when NRP Alvares Cabral sailed in to the port her crew were given a very warm welcome by the Mozambique authorities and the local population. With the EU warship at anchor in Pemba Bay, which is the third biggest natural bay in the world, the EU Force Commander, Commodore Jorge Novo Palma, made a number of official calls ashore.

He received a warm welcome from the Provincial Governor of Cabo Delgado region, the Pemba City Mayor, maritime authorities and officers from the Mozambique Navy. On 18 June, EU NAVFOR Force Headquarters organised a maritime security conference on board NRP Álvares Cabral, attended by representatives from the Mozambique Government, Armed Forces, the Police Force and maritime related companies operating in the region.

During the event, the Force Commander was able to explain the on-going activities of EU NAVFOR in the framework of the EU's comprehensive approach to the Horn of Africa. The Mozambique Navy Deputy Commander, Commodore Joaquim Rivas Mangrasse took the opportunity to explain the role of the Mozambique Navy in the western Indian Ocean and emphasised the need for a unity of effort in the region to strengthen regional security for all seafarers and maritime activities.

On 19 June, a Joint Maritime Security Exercise was conducted between the EU NAVFOR flagship and the Mozambique Navy. The exercise was witnessed by the Portuguese Minister of Defence, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco, the Mozambique Vice-Minister of Defence, Agostinho Mondlane, the Portuguese Chief of Defence, General Luís Araújo, and several distinguished visitors representing the Mozambique authorities.

Speaking during the exercise, the Mozambique Vice-Minister of Defence agreed that maritime piracy is a transnational threat that requires international co-operation. He very much welcomed the close ties between the EU, Mozambique authorities and the Portuguese Navy.

Whilst onboard the Portuguese flagship, the Portuguese Minister of Defence took the opportunity to address all Portuguese servicemen and women operating in the EU Naval Force, and congratulated them for “their very successful deployment in Operation Atalanta.” Before departing the port, a sports tournament was organised in the Pemba Naval Base, where several teams from the Mozambique Navy, Marechal Samora Machel Mozambique Military Academy, NRP Álvares Cabral and Force Headquarters took part in friendly football and basketball matches.

After NRP Alvares Cabral departed Pemba to resume her counter piracy patrols at sea, Commodore Jorge Novo Palma stated “The visit of EU NAVFOR flagship, NRP Álvares Cabral, to Mozambique allowed us to share common achievements in the fight against piracy with the Mozambique Navy and Authorities. During this first ever visit by an EU naval force ship to Pemba, it also allowed us to exchange perspectives on maritime security and opened new possibilities for wider co-operation.” Source – EUNAVFOR Pemba Bay is also in use as a forward base by the South African Navy, which is conducting anti-piracy patrols in the region.

The patrol ship SAS GALASHEWE is currently on forward station at Pemba, having recently relieved the frigate SAS Amatola to conduct anti-piracy patrols.



Calabar Port 470

The Port of Calabar

Dredging of the Port of Calabar is on top of the agenda for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). That’s the assurance given by a member of the NPA board, Senator Florence Ita- Giwa.

She was speaking after having led other members of the board on a courtesy call on the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V. The Obong is the democratically elected monarch of the Efik people of south-eastern Nigeria.

Senator Ita-Giwa said the board was concerned at the low levels of marine activity in the Calabar port, which she said was a result of the lack of dredging at Calabar, and which is preventing bigger ships from using the port.

“The issue of workability of the Calabar port has always been on the front burner. This board and the management of NPA have discovered that if the port is not dredged, nothing will work there. President Goodluck Jonathan is worried about this port but we are hopeful that soon the port will start booming again,” she said.

The senator acknowledged that a contract had been awarded for the dredging of the channels leading to Calabar port, but couldn’t say when work would commence.

The NPA board, under the chairmanship of Chief Tony Anenih has been touring Nigerian in the south-east to gain first-hand knowledge of the viability and challenges facing the NPA.

The Obong of Calabar pointed out that Calabar is the economic hub of Cross River State.

“We have a seaport that empties into the Atlantic Ocean,” he said. “This port is strategically located. It is easy to lift goods from this port to the North East. Dredging will not be enough. The Federal Government should dualise the Calabar-Katsina Ala highway so that when ships begin to berth goods will be easily transported.” Source – This Day



USS Harry S
Truman pic Paul Farley USN 470

USS Harry S Truman. Will a US task force call at Cape Town this weekend? Read on.... picture by Paul Farley, US Navy

Strong winds and heavy winter seas that continue to mimic the Cape of Storms are continuing to delay the movement of the tug and tow involving Fairplay 33 and her tow, Namdock 3.

The latter is a 195-metre long floating dock, acquired by Elgin Brown & Hamer, Namibia in Australia and destined to go into service at the Port of Walvis Bay. Unfortunately, ever since arriving on the South African east coast several weeks ago the tug and tow have been forced to seek shelter either in the lower stretches of the Mozambique Channel, or more lately in Nelson Mandela Bay (former Algoa Bay).

That’s where the pair currently are, enjoying shelter at the port of Ngqura while waiting for a forecast of continued good weather and calm seas before attempting the rounding of the Cape.

Rumours continue to circulate that an American task force consisting of an US Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and support vessels may be calling at Cape Town to coincide with the visit this coming weekend of US President Barack Obama.

There has been no announcement of this, only evasive answers when questions are asked. The rumour possibly began with the revelation that Obama would have a considerable air cover involving US aircraft throughout his visit of almost a week, which extends from Senegal in West Africa to Pretoria in South Africa, then on to Cape Town, after which he flies to Tanzania. The tour is scheduled from 16 June to 3 July. Classified documents leaked to the Washington Post revealed that a US Navy aircraft carrier would be stationed off the coast with a fully-staffed medical trauma centre, with the aircraft carrier providing 24-hour continuous air coverage by jet fighters flying in shifts. The report didn’t mention anything to do with sovereign rights to air space being taken up by foreign warplanes.

On land a series of aircraft will ferry 56 support vehicles, including the 14 limousines necessary for the president and first lady, plus specialised vehicles to carry secure telephone and video communications equipment, and another vehicle to carry equipment capable of jamming radio frequencies around the motorcade.

There will also be an ambulance equipped to handle biological and chemical contaminants, a truck with x-ray equipment, and three trucks loaded with sheets of bulletproof glass to cover the president’s hotel windows. One trusts that this ambulance doesn’t break down!

All this requires a fleet of about 12 military cargo planes to be involved in a giant logistical manoeuvre across the continent. All this for five nights in Africa. The cost is thought to be between $60 and $100 million.

And will a task force call at Cape Town? Unlikely it would seem.



Mozambican state oil and gas company Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH) will be converted into an oil operator within a maximum of 30 years, the chairman of the company said in an interview with daily newspaper Notícias.

Nelson Ocuane, the chairman of the company that manages the State’s holdings in oil and gas projects, said that ENH planned to add value to the stakes it has in 11 surveying and exploration projects. It is also preparing to become an oil operator, which will happen with 25 or 30 years.

He also said that in terms of the Rovuma basin, the surveying projects led by the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (Area 1) and by ENI (Area 4) were the most developed and that ENH had a 15 percent stake in each of them.

“In production we are involved in the Pande/Temane, project operated by Sasol and in this project ENH, through Companhia Moçambicana de Hidrocarbonetos, has a 25 percent stake,” he said.

The company has the same stake (25 percent) in the gas pipeline linking the Temane region, in Inhambane province, to South Africa, which is 875 kilometres long and is explored by South Africa’s Sasol (50 percent) and the South African government (25 percent).

According to Ocuane, investments in gas liquefaction units are expected to total between US$14 billion and US$20 billion over the next few years. ENH is expected to provide US$700 million if two units are built and US$1 billion if four units are built.

The chairman of ENH confirmed again that the company’s stake holdings were not for sale. Source – macauhub



ships 023 adj 470

The dedicated Japanese wood chip carrier HOKUETSU USHAKA (60,527-dwt, built 2008) arrives at Durban’s Maydon Wharf prior to loading about 40,000 tons of prime KZN wood chips, to be used in the paper industry in Japan. Picture by Terry Hutson

DSCF2477adj 470

The attractive appearance of a red-hulled Hamburg Süd ship is always a welcome sight, as was the MONTE AZUL (69,132-gt, built 2008) on this occasion when she called at Durban to work containers at the container terminal. Picture by Terry Hutson


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