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Ports & Ships Maritime News

19 November 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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MACS Line’s recent build, the 37,472-dwt general cargo ship GOLDEN KAROO (built 2013) which arrived in Cape Town harbour earlier this week. Picture is by Ian Shiffman

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Fire damaged ship reaches Bergen safely

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Britannia Seaways fire damaged hull

The Danish cargo ship BRITANNIA SEAWAYS which experienced a fire in a container while the ship was in the North Sea near the Norwegian coast, has reached the port of Bergen safely where the ship has docked.

The local and harbour fire department assumed control of the still smouldering ship and experts will now try to uncover the cause of the container catching alight. The ship was carrying military supplies for an exercise in Norway and it is thought that the severe weather conditions in the North Sea, caused by the storm ‘Hilde’ may have resulted in some of the container contents shifting and then igniting when diesel fuel spilled.

There were no injuries among the ship’s crew.

Nigerian frigate NNS Thunder arrives in Durban

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NNS Thunder

The Nigerian Navy frigate NNS Thunder arived in Durban yesterday afternoon some 12 hours ahead of schedule and has docked at the South African Naval Station of Salisbury Island.

It is thought that this is the first time that a ship of the Nigeria Mnavy has visited the port. NNS Thunder is returning frm a highly successful cruise from West Africa to attend the Royal Australian Navy Fleet review that was held in Sydney in early October.

Since then the Nigerian ship has visited several Australian ports and called at Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean en route to South Africa. From Durban she is due to visit Walvis Bay in Namibia and Pointe Noire in the Congo before arriving back in Nigeria.

The ship is due to sail again on Friday. It has not been confirmed whether she will be open to the public.

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Temane gas field south of the Save River in Mozambique

Mozambique has earned little from natural gas exploitation by the South African petrochemical group Sasol in Pande and Temane in Inhambane province, indicates a study by the Public Integrity Centre (CIP) released on Wednesday in Maputo.

“This is the country’s first natural gas exploitation project, under way for ten years, and during this period the Mozambican state has earned almost nothing in terms of revenue, although forecasts had indicated that the country could take in US$2 billion during the project’s useful lifespan,” asserts the CIP, a Mozambican non-governmental organisation.

Even though Mozambique is Africa’s sixth-ranked natural gas exporter, “the country does not receive significant revenues, as the gas that earns hundreds of millions of dollars abroad every year brings in less than 10 million dollars annually here inside the country,” the document states.

With this report the CIP aims to call the government’s attention to what might happen with future gas exploitation projects in Mozambique, in light of the latest discoveries of this resource.

“The report is a means to warn that the same scenario could be repeated during natural gas exploitation in the Rovuma Basin,” the report explains, referring to gas reserves discovered in the north of the country though not yet exploited. source – macauhub

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Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest ship, departed Meyer Werfft shipyards in Papenburg, Germany late on Sunday night, for her 24-hour long conveyance along the Ems River. Norwegian Getaway’s river conveyance marks another key milestone in the ship’s highly anticipated delivery.

Sailing backwards, Norwegian Getaway left Meyer Werfft at approximately 10 pm local time and made a narrow passage through the shipyard’s locks, with only 1.6 metres clearance separating the ship from the ‘bumpers’ that were specially installed along the starboard side of the locks. This very tedious maneuver took approximately 1.5 hours at a maximum speed of only 0.2 knots.

The precise navigation was led by a team of two located on the bridge, with one navigation officer in charge of overseeing the bow manoeuvres and the other overseeing the movement of the stern. It was extremely important that not too much force was placed on the bumpers, which can only support a light touch by the ship, which measures 1063 feet long and 130 feet wide; therefore, minimum speed and minimum pressure on the bumpers was essential. After passing through the locks, Norwegian Getaway continued along the river, stern first. Due to the strong propulsion in the aft section of the vessel, traveling stern first helps with maneuverability which is a key component when navigating the vessel through such narrow passages.

Before reaching her final destination in Eemshaven, Germany at 5 pm on Monday, heading toward the North Sea, Norwegian Getaway passed through additional narrow passages including the locks in Papenburg, which allow only 1.5 metre clearance on either side; Weener Bridge in Weener; Jann-Berghaus Bridge in Leer; and Ems-Barrier in Gandersum.

Norwegian Getaway will be homeported at Miami, Florida and embodies the essence of her tropical hometown with hull artwork by Miami’s own David ‘Lebo’ Le Batard, which features a whimsical mermaid holding the sun above the waves.

Featuring groundbreaking entertainment, the ship is the first to feature the GRAMMY® Experience at sea, which will include artifacts chosen and curated by the GRAMMY Museum® along with live performances by past GRAMMY winners and nominees, among others. Another first of its kind at sea, The Illusionarium is an all-new dining and entertainment experience that will envelop guests in the fascinating world of magic, inviting them to experience the astonishing illusions of world-class magicians and supernatural special effects.

Similar to New York-based sister ship Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway will dazzle guests with the excitement of 678 Ocean Place and The Waterfront, a variety of interconnected indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that creates a multiplex of dining, activities and more and enhances guests’ connection with the ocean.

Foodies setting sail from Miami on Norwegian Getaway can feast in their choice of 27 dining options, including Celebrity Chef and Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian’s three dining concepts: Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian; Ocean Blue on the Waterfront and The Raw Bar. Buddy Valastro, star of the popular TLC series “Cake Boss” also has an outpost of his famous Carlo’s Bakery onboard, serving up delicious treats like cannolis lobster tails and specialty cakes.

The three-story Sports Complex will feature the Aqua Park with five thrilling water slides, two swimming pools and one of the largest multi-level elevated ropes course that will challenge guests to more than 40 different elements, including a zip track. For a thrill like no other, guests will confront The Plank, a platform that extends eight feet over the side of the ship. A nine-hole miniature golf course is located beneath the ropes course, offering family fun with friendly competition. A rock climbing wall, bungee trampoline and spider web, a 24-foot enclosed climbing cage complete with a spiral slide, round out the activities.

Norwegian Getaway offers a variety of flexible accommodations ranging from Studio staterooms specially designed for solo travelers, to balcony and family staterooms and opulent suites in The Haven, the ultimate in luxury accommodations.

And you thought it was all about going on a cruise!

For further details contact Triton Cape Sea Travel, Cape Town. Tel. +(0)21 443 9030 of email them at info.nclsa@galileosa.co.za

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Norwegian Getaway being prepared for towing towards the open sea

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The American freighter Aimee Lykes, some years after her encounter with the Aliwal Shoal. Picture is by Trevor Jones
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In Ports & Ships Maritime News dated 22 October 2013, I read your story of the AIMEE LYKES.

At the very moment she hit Aliwal shoal, I was the officer (3rd officer) on duty on the bridge of the RIL ship STRAAT BANKA, under command of Captain EM Drukker, sailing north bound for Durban, close to the coast and to the West of Aliwal Shoal.

I remember the massive smoke plume coming out of her funnel as she climbed onto the rocks to her midships. Presumably the smoke was caused by an emergency stop.

The legend of the race, maybe just that because I don't think there was another RIL ship in the immediate neighbourhood and we were certainly not racing her.

If memory serves me right, we came out of Port Elizabeth or maybe East London and we were proceeding at economical speed and close to shore into the south-going current as we were being overtaken by the Aimee Lykes.

I think she was doing in the vicinity of 20 knots. No RIL ship at that time (1963) could match that and certainly not the Straat Banka with a top speed of 16-17 knots.

We did meet her in Cape Town days earlier and it is possible that the two skippers had met there, but we had sailed a few days before her and were calling at PE or EL or maybe both, as we often did. Not really a good set-up for a race I would have thought.

It is possible that there was an unspoken race on to pick up the pilot before she did, in which case she had us well and truly beaten with about 25 miles or so to go. I don't think we had VHF or RT in those days and I can't recall any communications with her. Our Captain was on the bridge at the time of the grounding and I cannot remember him saying anything about racing her to the pilot station either.

But far be it for me to try and spoil a good story with the facts (as far as my unreliable memory allows me to recall them). I enjoyed reading the article.

John Kol


Union Castle liner sailing Durban c 1950s crop 4
Union-Castle mailship leaving Durban circa late 1950s

Reading Peter Terry-Lloyds comments about mail ships in Durban Watching Mailships Sail, my memory is that they used to berth at A or B shed, at the end of Point Road and arrive on a Tuesday morning and leave on a Thursday.

Around the time that the Ocean Terminal was opened or maybe before, the schedule was speeded up which meant that the mail ships arrived on a Monday and sailed on a Wednesday.

I remember when we could go down to the CNA at Musgrave Centre on a Tuesday afternoon to pick up the Eagle ‘comic’ and other magazines which had arrived that morning on the mail ship.

In November 1959, my parents, my brother and I left Durban on the Edinburgh Castle, from A or B shed for a trip to the UK. I was 7 years old and still have very clear memories of the whole experience – something I am sorry cannot be enjoyed by anyone today. A modern cruise liner is just not the same.

Another memory I have is of a birthday ‘party’ which involved a trip on the (trolley) bus down to the end of Point Road then the ferry across to the South Pier where we had a picnic before walking to Wests station and taking the train, possibly still steam hauled, back to Durban station and then the (trolley) bus back home. Perhaps that is why I enjoy reading about various forms of transport.

Ron Galliers
Auckland, New Zealand

With regard to the articles about sailing dates of the mail ships, both Vernon Buxton and Peter Terry-Lloyd are technically correct. The mail ships used to arrive off Durban on a Tuesday and depart on Thursday. This was however before the advent of the new vessels namely Pendennis Castle, Windsor Castle and the Transvaal Castle.

These three ships replaced some of the older mail ships. Union Castle Lines was now able to reduce the sailing time from Southampton to Cape Town from 13.5 days to 11 days. As a result, the coastwise schedule was changed. This I believe was in the mid sixties and the arrival day at Durban then became Monday and sailing day became Wednesday, and so it remained until the end of the mail ship service.

Peter Terry-Lloyd recalled the old Sunderland flying boats taking off and landing in the harbour. I lived at Island View from the early fifties and we could hear these planes start up but unfortunately I never saw one take to the air. What we were able watch were the then SA Marine Corp doing mock landings amongst the mangroves from the Island View channel. They used to use whalers (double ended rowing boats) towed by second world war m./ls. Rowing those whalers would have been too much like hard work.

Those were the days before Fynnland Beach was reclaimed and additional berths were constructed at Island View. That reclamation was beyond the area where IVS Storage and Durban Bulk Shipping now is. Fynnland Beach was quite popular, particularly amongst us Bluff people. I also remember that there were two house boats moored there, but I don't remember seeing any people on them. All I can say is, they were great days, until development took place.

Adrian Cundick


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South Africa faces a total ban on citrus exports into Europe because of black spot disease, a fungal condition affecting the outer skins and leaves of afffected fruit.

Black spot disease is fairly common in Southern Hemisphere growing areas and in the United States but is not known to have occurred in Europe. The impending ban is a result of more than 35 citrus shipments this year from South Africa being found to have been infected with black spot.

South Africa exports about 600,000 tons of citrus into Europe each year, worth approximately R13 billion (€1 billion). Much of this ends up as orange juice in several European countries including the UK, Germany and France.

The ban poses a challenge to the EU which is anxious for South African support in reopening stalled talks concerning trade agreements with sub-Saharan Africa. On the other hand, the chief ’complainants’ about infected South African citrus is understood to be Spain and Italy, which fear the introduction of the disease into their own area.

There is a suggestion however that it would be in Spain and Italy’s own interests if imports from South Africa into the rest of Europe was prohibited.

South African and other scientists recently went on a campaign to emphasise that black spot disease is not a risk as the fungus that causes the black spots does not penetrate the skin of the fruit and is purely cosmetic. It is also harmless to humans, but there is no known cure or prevention once black spot occurs in a region.

This year’s exports into Europe from South Africa have mostly finished and any ban will take effect from the next season commencing around May 2014. But concern is that the impending ban is a political move which carries a warning that talks on trade agreements with sub-Saharan Africa could be harmed as a result of any ban.


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Port Elizabeth harbour

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.


MSC OPERA cr 470

The cruise ship MSC OPERA which arrived in the port of Cape Town last week to kick off the 2013/14 Southern African cruise season. The ship sailed later the same day for Durban where she arrived on Friday, 15 November to undertake regular cruises along the Durban to Mozambique coast. Pictures are by Ian Shiffman


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