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Ports & Ships Maritime News

10 December 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...


cosmic jewel 470

One of the bigger ships to call in recent months was the Liberian-flagged, Singapore-owned 300,955-dwt crude oil tanker COSMIC JEWEL (300,955-dwt, built 1997) which called in ballast at Cape Town earlier in the month to take bunkers. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Transnet’s new grab hopper dredger under construction in a Bulgarian shipyard. Picture TNPA

Nine Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Dredging Services cadets have completed an 18-day Mechatronics training course in the Netherlands at ROVC, a leader in competency development and training for the technical sector.

The training facilitated by IHC Merwede forms part of the supplier development requirements of the 2012 Grab Hopper Dredger construction tender, which was awarded to this company.

“Training people to join our marine divisions is an integral part of the TNPA’s transformation agenda in terms of the Market Demand Strategy and ongoing support of Government’s New Growth Path policy,” said Tau Morwe Chief Executive TNPA.

“We have achieved this by facilitating supplier development initiatives which require tender respondents to submit their commitments to development over the duration of the contract and beyond,” he said.

The students (five women and four men) from across KwaZulu-Natal all completed their mechanical engineering diplomas (at Mangosuthu University Technikon and Durban University Technikon) prior to joining TNPA and embarking on a career at sea. In addition they have completed the six month maritime studies course at Durban University of Technology and are in various stages of their year of seafaring time.

Training cadets in mechatronics is a first for TNPA’s dredging services which relies heavily on external specialist technicians to maintain the vessels vast array of sophisticated controls and electronics on board.

The additional course is vital as the dredgers are larger and more complex than tugboats. They also carry a separate sophisticated dredging plant that relies on modern control systems and electronics to function. The cadets’ ability to successfully operate and maintain a vessel so complex will give them skills that are marketable in the international arena.

Cadets, who still need to complete their sea-time are continuing with their in-service training, while the others prepare for their oral examination to obtain their STCW Marine Engineering Officer of the Watch certificate. This is an international marine engineers’ ticket that will allow them to work on a ship or dredger in any port in the world.

The new dredger which is under construction in Bulgaria is currently in the launch phase of construction and is expected to be delivered mid-2014. It forms part of TNPA Dredging Services equipment replacement programme which began in 2010 with the arrival of the new trailing suction dredger, ISANDLWANA. source - TNPA

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Nautic Africa’s OPS 204 patrol vessel

Africa has 31 000km of coastline, with 300 000km² of inland waterways. Yet along this vast stretch of water, there are officially 34 ports of which only a small number can be considered as busy and fully operational.

Yet despite this, 91% of African trade is conducted via sea.

These were some of the observations made by James Fisher, chief executive of Nautic Africa, a Cape Town-based naval shipyard.

“If Africa is to continue developing, it is vital that we protect her waters,” he told the Subsea & Offshore Support Vessels Africa Conference, held in Cape Town.

Nautic Africa is developing a name for itself for the construction of high-speed, ballistic-protected aluminium crew and patrol vessels, and is now recognised as one of South Africa’s top ship building companies.

According to Fisher the challenges of operating off Africa’s coast are vast and daunting, including illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, piracy, smuggling, oil pollution, off-shore expansion and even terrorism.

“It is crucial that the ship building industry take cognisance of the challenges that are specific to our waters, and rise to meet them,” he said.

Fisher says that Nautic Africa is doing just that by developing multi-role patrol vessels that are practical, functional and good value for money.

“The multi-role patrol vessels have been developed and built in Africa, specifically for African conditions. They are versatile and re-deployable, fuel efficient and eco-compliant, easy to maintain and sustainable.”

In addition, they are compliant with local navies and maritime authorities, and even meet the high demands of oil companies and/or clients.

Apart from its Cape Town based operation, Nautic Africa maintains bases in Nigeria and Ghana and has developed working relationships with local vessel operators, as well as the gas and oil companies.

“The protection of Africa’s waters is crucial to the on-going development of the continent. Governments and private companies need to work together to ensure that we need never write ‘here be dragons’ on our sea-faring maps again!” he told the conference.

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Forests at risk across Africa

An operation coordinated under the auspices of INTERPOL’s Project Wisdom and Project Leaf led to the seizure of more than 240 kilograms of elephant ivory, 856 timber logs, and 20 kg of rhino horns, in addition to firearms and drugs. In the process, 660 people were arrested.

The seizure occurred just as delegates gathered to discuss the plight of the African Elephant at a summit convened by Botswana and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

According to a press release by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the operation led to the identification of key networks involved in the illegal trade of ivory across Southern and Eastern Africa, with INTERPOL highlighting the supportive role of information sharing and intelligence analysis for law enforcement involved in stopping trafficking.

Meanwhile, in a press release on wildlife trafficking arrests in China, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) noted that the country is increasingly active in wildlife law enforcement, particularly in ivory-related law enforcement activities, and cited the apprehension of eight Chinese citizens for smuggling 3.2 tons of ivory between 2010 and 2012.

In addition, in coordination with the African Elephant Summit, the ‘Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants’ (MIKE), a program of CITES funded by the European Union, released an analysis on the status and impacts of elephant poaching across the 27 African countries participating in the program.

The report indicates that in 2012, some 15,000 elephants were illegally killed at 42 sites across participating countries, and that with sustained, current poaching rates, Africa is likely to lose a fifth of its elephants over the next 10 years. source - http://biodiversity-l.iisd.org/Club of Mozambique

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RFA Darkdale 300px

Steps are to be undertaken to remove oil from a World War 2 shipwreck off the coast of St Helena island in the South Atlantic and to safeguard the environment.

Measures to implement this have been decided between the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the St Helena Government, according to a communiqué issued by the island’s Public relations Information Office and published in the Saint Helena Herald.

This follows a visit in May last year by a MD team from Salvage and Marine Operations, supported by environmental scientists, which visited the island to survey the wreck of the vessel RFA DARKDALE, a fleet oil tanker which was sunk by a German U-boat in St James Bay in October 1941.

Since then the wreck has been seeping small quantities of oil from her ruptured tanks, but a large oil leak in 2010 led the island’s Governor to call for a formal survey of the wreck. Now the MOD and advisory team report has recommended that the remaining oil be removed and the MOD has reportedly secured the funding to do so.

The outcome of the survey report showed that the wreck of the RFA Darkdale lies in two parts. The stern section lies on its port side and has suffered substantial torpedo damage. The bow section lies inverted and is in very good condition given the age of the wreck and the time submerged. This bow section is estimated to contain between 2,326 and 4,952 m³ of oil.

The survey also found that there were generally low levels of hydrocarbon contamination in water samples taken at the wreck site. Sediment samples were comparably more contaminated and levels of various hydrocarbon compounds exceeded Environmental Quality Standards (EQS). The majority of the fish samples taken at the wreck site were found to contain low level hydrocarbon contamination and approximately 10% of the fish/shellfish sampled exceeded the relevant EQSs and may be a hazard to human health if consumed.

The report says the wreck is continuing to corrode and the eventual release of the oil is inevitable unless action is taken to remove oil from the wreck. The environmental study into the potential effects of a large oil spill found that that there would be short term lethal risk to inshore fish species, and oil persisting in the environment would further hinder the recovery of these species, potentially causing long term sub-lethal effects.

Included in the report are the recommendations that the remaining oil on the wreck is removed, anchoring within 200m of the wreck site should be prohibited, further sampling of fish from a wider are be undertaken and analysed for hydrocarbon contamination, and a long term programme of fish and environmental monitoring is set up.

The full report can be seen CLICK HERE - use your BACKSPACE key to return to this page. source - SARTMA St Helena Business News

Cenotaph No 7 470
Memorial on St Helena Island to those who died on the RFA Darkdale


Ship Society 2014 456px

The Ship Society of South Africa, based in Cape Town has produced yet another fine keepsake calendar, A2 in size, to welcome in the year 2014. The painting by society member and artist Jerry Day shows the arrival in New York in 1911 of the RMS Olympic. Apart from making an excellent picture on your office or study wall, the proceeds are going to society funds much in need of some injection at this time of year.

The calendar costs R25 each - postage in South Africa for 1 to 3 calendars in a tube is an additional R22 which covers tracking. Orders can be made out to the Ship Society of South Africa and placed with brupa@telkomsa.net The Society has ‘rooms’ down at the V&A which are open every Saturday from 16h00. Visitors and new members are welcome. The Society also holds evening monthly meetings at the same venue – details from Pat Downing patdowning@telkomsa.net


MSC OPERA 7 December 2012 by Trevor Jones 470 MSC Opera – to be stretched by another 24 metres. Picture by Trevor Jones

In another example of cruise ship companies opting to stretch their assets to the limit in order to make space for increased numbers of passengers, the Lirica class of cruise ship, which includes MSC OPERA and MSC SINFONIA both currently operating in South African waters, are to be lengthened by 24 metres. As a result the ships will have an overall length of 274.26 metres, but more importantly will be able to include 200 additional cabins plus a new restaurant.

A further refinement will be the addition of more balconies.

The four ships – the other two being MSC LIRICA and MSC ARMONIA - will undergo the lengthening process in the Fincantieri Palermo shipyard.

The ships have a width of just 28.6 metres making them already ‘thin’ ships, which will be further exaggerated after an additional 24 metres is added. On a length to beam ratio of 9.57 the ships will tend to stand out as among the ‘slimmest’ of current cruise ships.

Interestingly, one of the characteristics of ships that have been ‘stretched’ is that they often tend to go faster. Given the way in which both MSC Opera and MSC Sinfonia have been returning to port early on numerous occasions, a tendency that is continuing in the current season just underway, one wonders if any unintentional increase in speed will be welcomed by passengers anxious to get their value’s worth.


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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.

In the case of South Africa’s container ports of Durban, Ngqura, Ports Elizabeth and Cape Town links to Stack dates are also available.

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


iremis da vinci cr 470

The specialised offshore support vessel IREMIS DA VINCI (8,691-gt, built 2011) arrived in Cape Town this month for bunkers and supplies. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

iremis da vinci 470

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