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Ports & Ships Maritime News

8 October 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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The standby safety vessel (guard ship) FELLOWSHIP (383-gt, built 1980, ex Hermina, PD155) seen in Cape Town harbour in the last week. Picture by Aad Noorland

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Salvors working with the grounded capesize bulker SMART (151,279-dwt, built 1996), which went aground and broke in two outside Richards Bay harbour on 19 August, have towed the aft section out to sea where it has been scuttled.

The ship loaded 148,0000 tons of coal at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal prior to sailing for China, but she experienced propulsion problems immediately outside the harbour entrance and went aground on sandbanks in front of the main swimming beach of Richards Bay, some 250 metres from the shore and just offline from the harbour entrance approach.

Efforts to pull the giant ship clear proved futile and within hours the vessel's back had broken and the aft section of the vessel housing the engine room and accommodation bridge area skewed to one side.

The crew was safely evacuated from the vessel and SAMSA took on the task of reducing the risk of pollution by way of removing all fuel oil and other pollutants from the vessel. A substantial amount of coal meanwhile spilled into the sea through the broken hull. A decision was subsequently taken to dump a quantity of coal overboard in order to lighten the wreck, prior to attempting to tow it away for scuttling in deep water.

Small quantities of coal have begun washing up on Alkant Beach opposite where the shipwreck lies.

On Saturday afternoon the salvage tug SMIT AMANDLA began to tow the aft section away from the rest of the wreck and out to sea, eventually scuttling this section southeast of the port in a sea depth of around 1,000 metres.

The next phase of the salvage involves salvaging the forward section of the ship, which is likely to be much more difficult as much of this has flooded, turning the coal inside the holds into a slurry, which will have to be pumped out and overboard.

According to those involved, the dumped coal can be recovered the next time the Transnet dredger is doing maintenance dredging at Richards Bay. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has meanwhile been taking regular sampling of the water around the shipwreck and adjacent areas. There is no indication of its initial findings from these samplings but concern has been expressed about the regional coastal environment, which includes a number of sensitive estuary systems.

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 and according to reports is adequately insured for the SAMSA-led salvage operation.
See related article referring to the shipwreck HERE and HERE- use your BACKSPACE key to return to this page.

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MACS takes delivery of GREEN MOUNTAIN

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Blue Master II in Durban, the first of the four newbuilds so far. Picture by Trevor Jones

German shipping line MACS Maritime Carrier Shipping, has taken delivery of its latest newbuild, GREEN MOUNTAIN (37,000-dwt) from a Chinese shipyard.

The vessel is the fourth of six sister ships that will be deployed on the line's Northern Europe - South Africa service. Green Mountain is now on a positioning voyage from China to Richards Bay where the ship will phase into MACS' regular service in early November.

The 199.5m long vessels are unique in having six cranes and a capacity for 2,000 TEUs. MACS specialises in breakbulk cargo with a mix of containers and bulk cargo.

The other three ships so far delivered are BLUE MASTER II, GOLDEN KAROO, and BRIGHT SKY.

Tug FAIRMOUNT FIJI assists Saipem offshore of the Congo

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Cargo run to the drillship Saipem 1

Fairmount Marine tugs are frequently at work off the African coast, as reported here in PORTS & SHIPS. The latest involves the tug FAIRMOUNT FIJI which has assisted the Italian contractor Saipem with its operations offshore of the Congo.

The tug has performed several cargo runs between Saipem's Boscongo yard in Pointe Noire and the offshore Congo moored drillship SAIPEM 1000. Fairmount Fiji has also handled the transportation of Saipem crew.

Drillship Saipem 1000, a 5th generation drilling ship for ultra deepwater operations, was moored offshore the Congo pending her next assignment. Fairmount Marine was contracted to assist in the crew change and in the transfer of cargo, with around 150 personnel to be transferred to and from the ship.

With a spacious 280 square metre deck available, the tug is ideal for transporting goods in this manner. NSRI called out to medivac injured seafarer at sea

Volunteer sea rescue duty crew of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), Station 6 at Port Elizabeth were called out shortly after midnight on Sunday (6 October) to rendezvous with the 333m long oil tanker TI TOPAZ, which was sailing from Durban to the United States of America.

The call out was to provide medical assistance and an evacuation of a 29-year-old Bulgarian seaman on the tanker who had partially severed his right thumb.

"On arrival on-scene, in 1 to 2 metre swells and a 15 knot South Westerly wind, an NSRI medic was put aboard the ship and the patient, who had already been treated by the ship's doctor, and who was in a stable and satisfactory condition, was transferred onto our sea rescue craft and brought into Port Elizabeth where the ships agent transported the patient to hospital for further treatment," reports Ian Gray, NSRI station 6 commander."

Gray said the operation was completed by 02h30. It was not revealed how the injury occurred.

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Lake Tanganyika's magnificent LIEMBA. Picture 'toaddis.com

One of the world's longest surviving ships still in service, the m/v LIEMBA is nearing her century mark on Lake Tanganyika

Steam ships have been at work on Lake Tanganyika since 1885. The lake is shared by four countries, Burundi in the north, the DRC on the west, Zambia in the south and Tanganyika along the east coast. The lake is Africa's longest and deepest - 450 miles from north to south and approximately 40 to 45 miles wide along much of its length.

From 1885 when missionaries introduced a steamer named GOOD NEWS, the lake has enjoyed the company of ships plying her length and breadth, in peacetime and during wartime. Ships flying the Belgian, British and German flags vied for attention and following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the lake became a theatre of naval warfare.

In this the Liemba was to play her own special role, as the largest of the German ships. Originally named GRAF VAN GÖTZEN after a former governor of Tanganyika (Tanzania), the ship is 67m long and 10m wide and has a draught of 3.2 metres. Built in Germany by Jos L Meyer in Papenburg, the ship was dismantled and shipped out to Dar es Salaam from where the crates were taken inland to the lake.

Reports differ as to when the ship was launched - technically she was built in 1913 and launched onto the lake the following year. 'Sea' trials were held only in June 1915 so take your choice as to the correct age of this unique vessel, although her handover in Germany in 1913 is probably the most correct.

Facing attack by Belgian troops in 1916 and with the threat from two small British gunboats - a story in itself - the retreating Germans moved the Götzen into the mouth of a river, filled her with cement and sank her rather than surrender the ship to either the Belgians or the British.

The Belgians later refloated the ship but she sank while under tow to Kigoma. There she remained until 1924 when the British administration had her refloated once more and refurbished for work on Lake Tanganyika, while renaming the ship LIEMBA, the name used by local people for the lake. From 1927 when she re-entered service the ship has continued to ply the lake carrying up to 600 passengers and 200 tons of cargo.

In 1970 the ship was temprarily withdrawn, this time to have her steam engines replaced with Caterpillar D353a diesels which considerably improved her performance. The Liemba has been described as the most graceful of all of the ships on Africa's great lakes. She has continued in service well into the 21st century and is now close to passing the hundred year mark.

According to Tanzanian reports, there are plans to give the old girl another refurbishment to ensure she is good for another 30 years. The Liemba operates between the ports of Kigoma in the north near the Burundi border, and Mpulungu in the south in Zambia, making every possible stop in between.

Tanzanian government officials recently said that a British firm, Diak Technical Export was undertaking a feasibility study with regard to building another two lake ships. If these come to fruition and take up their places on Lake Tanganyika, one thing can be sure, that they will have to share centre stage with the beautiful and graceful Liemba.

For an excellent photographic impression of the work that Liemba is still doing on the lake, be sure to look at the www.toaddis website - use your BACKSPACE key to return to this page.

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Deck scenes on board the Liemba. Pictures from a 'must see' www.toaddis.com

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OPS 204 patrol craft, designed and built by Nautic Africa, one of ten Exporter of the Year finalists

On Thursday next week, 10 October 2013, the Cape Chamber of Commerce will reveal the winner for the Absa-Cape Chamber of Commerce Western Cape Exporter of the Year 2013.

Ms Viola Manuel, executive director of the Chamber, said the aim of the competition was to promote exports and to recognise the achievements of local exporters who often succeeded in the face of tough global competition.

The finalists are:

  • Afrinatural Holdings, a firm which exports indigenous herbs

  • Cape Metal Pressings which makes parts for shock absorbers and the motor industry

  • HIK Abalone Farm at Hermanus

  • JF Hillebrand, a logistics company which provides services to wine exporters

  • Macadams which manufactures equipment for bakeries

  • Nautic Africa, manufacturers of aluminium patrol boats

  • Rarity Handbags

  • Trans Africa Safaris, which looks after inbound tourists

  • Technical Systems, manufacturers of automated feeding equipment for the poultry industry

  • The Asylum, a firm that supplies services to visiting film makers

  • Val du Charron, wine exporters

  • Zizamele Ceramics
  • The main award, the Absa trophy, will go to the company that meets the judge's criteria for commitment to exporting. All exporters, both large and small stand an equal chance of winning this prestigious award.

    The Transnet Port Terminals Trophy will go to the best exporter in the manufacturing and engineering sector while the Transnet National Ports Authority trophy will go to a non-manufacturing company.

    Credit Guarantee sponsors a trophy for the smaller exporter and the Cape Chamber sponsors the award for innovation to celebrate the creativity of local business. This goes hand-in-hand with a trophy for outstanding design, which is sponsored by the SA Maritime Safety Association (SAMSA). In recognition of the growing importance of markets north of our border, this year will also include the Gerald Wolman Trophy for Excellence in Doing Business in Africa.

    "Exports to developing markets, especially in Africa and the East, have grown phenomenally, with all exports currently accounting for slightly more than 26% of South Africa's GDP. South African exporters are also taking advantage of new markets in Africa, with five African countries featuring amongst South Africa's top 20 export destinations" says Jason Barrass, Head of Trade and Working Capital, at the Corporate and Investment Banking division of Absa.

    "As such, Absa is delighted to be sponsoring the 2013 Exporter of the Year banquet and awards evening, which it sees as critical in empowering South African exporters and raising risk awareness as they navigate the challenges and opportunities provided by the country's expanded trade horizons," concludes Barrass.


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    Fred Olsen Line's BRAEMAR

    Anyone wishing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of 'D-Day' next year can join Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' BRAEMAR on the cruise ship's seven-night cruise from Harwich, Essex on 1 June 2014.

    The cruise will give guests the chance to pay their respects to the courage and valour of Allied and German forces who fought during the 'D-Day' Normandy Landings during World War II, which commenced on the five beaches of Normandy - 'Gold', 'Sword', 'Juno', 'Omaha' and 'Utah' - on 6 June 1944.

    Braemar calls first at Zeebrugge, Belgium (for Bruges), where passengers can visit the poignant Tyne Cot Cemetery - the largest commonwealth cemetery in the world - and Memorial to remember those who lost their lives during the First World War. Located in the famous Cloth Hall, passengers will discover the In Flanders' Fields Museum, which presents the story of the First World War in the West Flanders front region.

    From Zeebrugge, Braemar then returns to the UK, to Portsmouth. Here, passengers can take a tour to visit the Southsea seafront and the tranquil war memorials to pay their respects to those who gave their lives, before stepping back in time and visiting the D-Day Museum.

    The cruise then moves onto Cherbourg, France, whose capture by the US First Army was part of the 'Battle of Normandy' in the Second World War, before cruising onto Le Havre for an overnight stay, giving passengers the opportunity to take a tour to the Allied landing areas on the 'Day of Remembrance' on 6 June 2014.

    Dunkirk is the last port of call on this thought-provoking cruise; whilst here guests can take time to visit the Battle of Dunkirk Museum, which tells the story of the Allied evacuation from the town. Guests can also pay their respects to those who gave their lives with a stop at the English Cemetery, or visit La Coupole in the Pas-de-Calais region, where they can discover the dark side of World War II in the gigantic underground bunker designed by the Germans - the launch base for V-2 rockets aimed at London and a stark reminder of just how close the world came to being a very different place. Braemar then sets sail for Harwich.

    Prices for this commemorative cruise start from £699 per person (R11,250), based on two adults sharing a twin cabin, Grade 'I', and include accommodation, all meals and entertainment, and port dues.

    Fred. Olsen was recently voted 'Best Affordable Cruise Line' and runner-up 'Best Cruise Line' in the prestigious 'Cruise International Awards 2013'.


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    The Djibouti News Agency reports that Djibouti's state-owned oil company and a Kuwaiti firm have agreed to a joint venture that establishes the Djibouti Oil Supply Company.

    The International Hydrocarbon Company of Djibouti and the Kuwait-based Independent Petroleum Group struck the deal creating the new company, which will supply Djibouti with refined petroleum products.

    The deal would help Djibouti position itself as a regional hub for the petroleum sector, as well as a transit country for a pipeline that would carry oil from South Sudan and Ethiopia, according to Minister of Energy in Charge of Natural Resources, Ali Yacoub Mahamoud.

    The joint venture will also help Djibouti build up its strategic petroleum stock and lower domestic prices for petroleum products, he said.


    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.


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    The German-owned, Liberian-flagged general cargo ship HR INTONATION (11,130-gt, built 2000) in Cape Town harbour within the past week. Pictures are by Ian Shiffman

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    Don't forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome - please email to info@ports.co.za

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    Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.

    Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.


    South Africa's most comprehensive Directory of Maritime Services is now listed on this site. Please check if your company is included. To sign up for a free listing contact info@ports.co.za or register online