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Ports & Ships Maritime News

20 August 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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News continues below...


INGWENYA aad noorland 3 

(3) rot 470

Transnet National Ports Authority’s departmental hopper dredger INGWENYA (3681-gt, built 1981) makes a rare visit to Cape Town to undertake maintenance dredging – something that some ships agents will no doubt be saying is ‘not before time’, though Cape Town unlike the KwaZulu-Natal ports and East London in the Eastern Cape, does not have rivers and streams feeding tons of silt with every rain. Nor does the port experience the littoral drift which dumps hundreds of tons of sea sand across the harbour entrances each year. Nevertheless, dredging becomes necessary to maintain the level of depth at each berth. Picture by Aad Noorland

News continues below…


Smart 470

The laden bulker Smart aground and beginning to break up off the entrance to the Richards Bay harbour

A fully loaded Capesize bulker, SMART, has gone aground and broken her back outside the port entrance to Richards Bay harbour. The ship was sailing from port on Monday early afternoon after loading a cargo of 148,000 tons of coal at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal when she apparently lost engine power and went aground. With heavy swells battering the ship her back began to fracture in several places, leaving the ship’s hull twisted and partly under water.

The Richards Bay port helicopter airlifted the crew of 23 including the ship’s captain from the ship and they were accommodated in Richards Bay. It was clear that the ship’s back has been broken in a couple of places, causing the vessel to become twisted out of true. Two of the port tugs, INDLAZI and LILANI that attended the ship’s sailing from port had not long left the ship and were returning to the tug basin but were unable to get back in time to be of any real assistance as the ship power.

Later, three tugs returned to the ship but were unable to pull her clear.

The location of the casualty will raise fears of a potentially massive pollution along the Zululand coast and in particular along the Richards Bay beaches. Having just commenced her journey the ship is likely to have a considerable volume of bunker fuel on board in addition to her 148,000 tons of coal.

The bulker Smart is owned by a Greek company, Alpha Marine Corp of Piraeus and is managed by Alpha Ship Management of Cyprus. The ship is flagged in Panama.

A spokesman for TNPA said late last night that the shipwreck was not hindering access to the port, although Richards Bay harbour was at that stage closed on account of adverse weather and sea conditions, where swells of up to 10 metres were running.

The TNPA said it was still unconfirmed that the vessel experienced engine failure on leaving the Port. “Three TNPA tugs tried to assist the vessel but to no avail. The vessel has buckled and broken in two and is partly submerged.”


Smart’s final movements, tracked by AIS. The tugs Lilani and Indlazi can be seen moving back into the port. Source - MarineTraffic

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Screen shot 

2013 08 16 at 10 05 53 AM Knysna Mu

Kiani Satu comes off the beach and is towed out to sea on Saturday by the tug Smit Amandla. Picture by Knysna Municipality

Saturday’s elation over getting the grounded general cargo ship KIANI SATU off the beach near Buffalo Bay on the Southern Cape Coast turned to disappointment when the ship began to sink yesterday afternoon.

The ship was carrying a cargo of 15,000 tons of rice and had approximately 300 tons of heavy bunker oil. The salvage team had worked hard at getting all the bunker fuel transferred to tanks higher in the ship to prevent any further loss of oil while the ship was aground.

Once she was refloated, SAMSA and the salvage team decided to take her out into deep water before assessing her damage, a fortunate and wise choice as it has turned out. They had reached 70 nautical miles out to sea before it became obvious that the ship was settling. The depth of water there is around 1 kilometre and with a water temperature of between three and five degrees celcius, SAMSA’s Captain Nigel Campbell was hopeful that this would be sufficiently cold to solidify the oil on board and limit its spread.

A watch will be made over the area using aircraft in case any oil does escape. A small amount of pollution has occurred on beaches in the area and a number of penguins and other coastal life including several seals and seabirds have died as a result of the oil that escaped from the ship while aground. Other seabirds and about 50 penguins are being rehabilitated at a centre.

SAMSA says it has received assurance from the ship’s owners, Esmeralda Schiffahrts that all costs will be covered by the company and its insurers.

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ferry sinking 470

The ferry St Thomas Aquinas sinking within minutes of the collision. Picture courtesy of Ian Shiffman

The number of people rescued from the sunken ferry ST THOMAS AQUINAS rose to 750 yesterday, as authorities were able to assemble information from various regions.

At one time it was feared that over 200 passengers and crew might have died when the 40-year old ferry collided with a general cargo ship, SULPICIO EXPRESS SIETE (9,754-gt). The collision left the cargo ship with severely damaged bows but the ferry was stove to on her side and quickly turned over and sank.

The death toll yesterday was officially 52 but this may increase as divers examine each and every area of the submerged ship, which is lying in about 30 metres of water.

The cargo ship was sailing from Cebu harbour while the passenger ferry was approaching to enter port. It looks very much like the ferry made a sudden course change in an area where several accidents have happened. After the collision it took about ten minutes for the ship to sink. Officially she had on board 750 passengers and 116 crew members. The accident occurred shortly after 21h00 on Friday, 16 August.

Immediately after the accident the Philippine Coast Guards launched about 10 patrol boats, rescue boats and a helicopter but many of the passengers and crew were picked up by fishing boats close to hand. The ferry’s captain had given orders to abandon ship as she began to list. Crew tried to distribute life jackets to all passengers but because of the speed with which the ferry sank many passengers were trapped inside the ship. Divers spoke afterwards of seeing bodies floating inside the sunken ship as they looked in the side windows.

St Thomas Aquinas has on board about 120,000 litres of heavy fuel oil and 20,000 litres of diesel.

News continues below…


Belize Hasrvest Caye 470

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced last week that it has purchased approximately 75 acres in Southern Belize for the planned development of an eco-friendly cruise destination.

The land, called Harvest Caye, is made up of two adjoining islands in the Stann Creek and Toledo districts that had previously been approved for a resort development with an air strip. Norwegian plans to invest US$50 million in the project.

“As our fleet continues to grow to 15 ships by 2017, we expect that we will double the number of guests sailing on our Western Caribbean itineraries and, once this new destination is complete, bring four times as many guests to Belize than we do today,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and CEO.

“In our quest to continuously look for new and exciting destinations for our guests, we plan to develop a cruise destination focused on sustainable design and eco-friendly principles that will retain the natural beauty and local culture of this tropical paradise.”

NCL has retained IDEA Inc of Orlando, Florida to design the destination and bring the project to fruition. IDEA is an industry leading designer of branded ports of call and branded destinations for the hospitality, entertainment and tourism industries. IDEA has worked with private developers, government ministries, and independent agencies to create branded destinations in Alaska; Florida; St. Lucia; St. Maarten; Mexico; St. Kitts; Honduras; Bahamas; and Jamaica.

“This project will set a new standard in the development of an eco-friendly destination. Rather than an imposed plan, we are focused on a design approach that is determined by the local environment to ensure that the unique surroundings and features of the area will be protected and showcased for all to enjoy,” said Hugh Darley, president of IDEA, Inc.

While the master plan for the 75 acres is still under development, the vision is to create a world-class cruise destination, consisting of two locations: an island destination with docking/tendering facilities and a mainland connection point for inland tours. Major components of the project are anticipated to include a floating pier, island village with open-air structures on raised platforms, marina, transportation hub for tours to the mainland, a lagoon for a variety of water sports and a relaxing beach area. The goal is to design an authentic experience grounded in the storyline of nature, ancient culture, art, adventure and music that celebrates Belizean, Mayan and Garifuna history and culture.


Ports & Ships publishes regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENT reports including ETAs for ports extending from West Africa to South Africa to East Africa and including Port Louis in Mauritius.

You can access this information, including the list of ports covered, by going HERE - remember to use your BACKSPACE to return to this page.


Maersk completes upgrade of Southeast Asia - East Africa service

Sea Land Meteor 296781 470

The 4,360 TEU SEALAND METEOR which phases into the 'Horn of Africa' service at the beginning of September. Picture by E Sporri/ VesselTracker

Maersk Line has completed an upgrade of its Southeast Asia – East Africa service by introducing three 4,360-TEU full panamax ships of the Sealand Champion type which will trade next to four of its 3,604-TEU Nedlloyd Europe type vessels, reports Linervision.

The service was previously operated by vessels in the 2,700-TEU range. In addition the East Africa loop has been extended to include Thailand (Laem Chabang) and the rotation extended from 42 days to 49 days, with a seventh ship added to maintain weekly sailings.

The service rotation is now: Laem Chabang, Tanjung Pelepas, Jebel Ali, Djibouti, Jeddah, Port Sudan, Djibouti, Laem Chabang.

Linervision speculates that in the not too distant future the low reefer capacity Nedlloyd Europa design may be phased from this service as likely candidates for recycling.

Gold Star/Zim changes South China hub of its FAX West Africa service

The Gold Star Line service between West Africa and the Far East has undergone a change with the South China hub of Dachan Bay being swapped for Nansha. According to Gold Star, an affiliate of Israel’s Zim Line, the change was necessary because of increasing trade by the fast growing Guangdong exporters to West Africa.

Dachan’s connections with West Africa will be maintained by means of transhipment at Port Kelang using Zim’s EMX and AME services.

The 80-day rotation now becomes: Shanghai, Ningbo, Nansha, Port Kelang, Colombo, Durban, Lagos (Tin Can and Apapa), Tema, Cotonou, Port Kelang, Shanghai. The eight-day service is operated with a fleet of nine, sometimes ten ships in the 2,200 – 3,350-TEU range. source - Linervision

Class NK probe of MOL Comfort casualty continues

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
MOL Comfort, shortly before breaking in two

The investigation into the causes of the MOL COMFORT casualty, in which the ship began hogging violently, then broke in two with each half drifting away in different directions before sinking, is expected to be completed by early September.

Based on the current findings of the ongoing investigation and analysis, the ClassNK Casualty Investigation Team has determined that the damage leading that led to the loss of the ship did not originate from the vessel's upper deck area or hatch side coaming.

As a preventative safety measure, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsui OSK Lines have developed plans to increase the hull strength of the MOL Comfort's sister vessels, which has already been carried out in some of the ships which have returned to service.

These plans were approved by ClassNK.


AM Ghent loading at 

Buchanan adj 470

Ore loading at the Port of Buchanan, Liberia. Picture Jim Page

ArcelorMittal Liberia shipped 3 million tons of iron ore between 1 January and 8 August 2013, almost doubling last year’s figures for the same period. The most recent monthly shipments figures, for July 2013, show production tripled last month compared with July 2012.

“We shipped out 516,000 tons of iron ore in July 2013, compared with 175,138 tons in the previous July,” said the company’s spokesperson Hesta Baker-Pearson.

Due to the improvements that are being implemented in ArcelorMittal Liberia, 3 million tons have already been shipped in 2013 - higher than the project’s installed capacity. While ArcelorMittal Liberia’s goal is to produce 4 million tons of iron ore each year during the direct shipped ore (DSO) project, the company is now on track to produce 4.5 million tons in 2013.

The first shipment of iron ore from Liberia left the Liberian shores on September 27, 2011. It’s less than two years, says CEO Antonio Carlos Maria, adding, “the company has proven to be sustainable and has the ability to do much more.”

Between January 1 and 12 August 2012, 1,896,000 tons of iron ore was shipped. Challenged by heavy rains, ArcelorMittal Liberia sought answers to help mitigate the effects of the rainy season on operations. While Liberia also experienced heavy rains in July 2013, the production rate has tripled year-on-year.

“We are in the process of implementing a polymer blending facility which will assist in mitigating the potential risks associated with high moisture content in iron ore, thereby solving major shipping concern during the rainy months,” said ArcelorMittal Liberia Port Manager Jim Page.

Antonio Carlos Maria points to the workers as the success of the company. “Great teamwork from operations, support staff, contractors, daily hires and the communities are the reason for the great results,” he said.

In 2013, another major contributor towards reaching the company’s targets was transshipment in the dry season. During transshipment, a smaller vessel is loaded with iron ore for three or four rotations, transferring up to 60,000 tons of ore to Capesize ocean going vessels of up to 200,000 tons. These then carry the ore on to customers in Europe and China.

“We have already hit 3 million tons and are not yet in Q4, so we are ahead of target. We are loading vessels at a rate of approximately 20,000 tons per day,” adds port manager Jim Page.

The company is currently implementing phase two of its iron ore operations, when ArcelorMittal Liberia will begin ramping production up to 15 million tons a year by 2015.

Arcelor Mittal 

Liberia CEO Antonio Carlos Maria w

ArcelorMittal CEO Antonio Carlos Maria with employees of the Port of Buchanan. Picture by Jim Page


2004 1213 Delmas Ango 0051 


The container ship DELMAS ANGO (23,465-gt, built 1986) sails from Durban on a blustery December day in 2004. The German-owned ship was better known locally as the BUXMASTER but also carried a number of other names including Cotonou Star and WAL Ulanga before she was broken up. Picture by Terry Hutson

2004 1213 Industrial Century 

0021 470

A short while earlier in the day the small German-owned general cargo ship INDUSTRIAL CENTURY (7,252-gt, built 2001) arrived in harbour, after experiencing the strong swell outside the entrance channel that was a feature of the Durban port for so many years. Picture by Terry Hutson

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