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Ports & Ships Maritime News

18 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...



Sample 2 by Frank Vennard Dec 2013 470
Sample 1 by Frank Vennard Dec 2013 470

There was a time when the sight of an oil rig in Cape Town harbour would have attracted lots of attention and a fair amount of comment, but these days having one or more rigs in port undergoing repair and maintenance is no longer considered unusual. Much of this has become possible due to the emergence of a fully equipped repair facility at ’A’ berth where DCD-Marine is set up to handle jobs of this nature and to fully cater for the West African oil industry.

Yesterday we featured a picture of the rig SCARABEO 7 at the ’A’ berth repair quay, undergoing her special periodic survey. Here is another showing a different vantage of the giant rig on arrival in port. The second picture shows the DCD-Marine mobile crane (yellow) which is able to reach all parts of the rig.The picture also shows the scaffolding platform (with built-in lift) for easy access to the rig. Pictures are by Frank Vennard

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River-borne pollution caught up in the reeds opposite the canal that feeds the uMhlatuzana and uMbilo rivers into Durban Bay. This is directly opposite the mangrove swamps and a declared heritage site, a last-remaining vestige of old Durban Bay. Now the city authorities want to pour raw sewage down this river which will inevitably enter the harbour and cause widespread contamination and death to living organisms. Picture by Terry Hutson

The intended discharging of approximately 15 million litres of raw sewage into the uMhlatuzana River, which feeds directly into Durban harbour, has been condemned by a number of public organisations who say that the last time sewage was discharged into the river it led to a large area of Durban Bay becoming poisoned with the death of fish and marine organisms.

On that occasion, in 2007, the discharge was an accident. This time it will be deliberate.

According to the eThekwini Municipality (Durban Metro), the discharge is necessary in order to undertake necessary maintenance at the uMhlatuzana Waste Waterworks Treatment Centre, which would have to be shut down for a number of hours. According to city officials, the best options for dealing with incoming sewage during this period is to divert it into the nearby river.

In a statement, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) said it strongly objected to the way in which maintenance of the inlet pump station to the uMhlatuzana Waste Waterworks Treatment Centre will be carried out by the eThekwini Municipality.

“Taking into consideration that it is a large station, approximately 15 million litres of raw sewage will be spilling into the Umhlatuzana River, which will work its way through various communities, the Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve and down into the Durban Harbour. This action will have dire effects.”

Durban Bay is home to South Africa’s leading port through which 65 percent of all container traffic passes. In 2012 the port handled 78 million tonnes of cargo and the effect of this industrial action on the bay’s environment is closely monitored and is frequently abused. SDCEA pointed out that not only does the discharge pose a serious health risk – thousands of people use the bay for recreational purposes – but the high levels of nutrients such as phosphate and nitrates often leads to the death of rivers and lakes and seas through eutrophication. It starves the water of oxygen, causing many fish and other animals to die.

“In December 2007, there was a similar catastrophe as sewage water was dumped into the uMhlatuzana river which ended up into the Durban harbour. As a result, thousands of fish were killed, along with other marine life. Apart from the sewage killing the fish, many fisher folk and their families who consume this fish will get seriously ill,” says SDCEA.

Chris Fennemore, manager for pollution and environment at the eThekwini Municipality’s water department said it would cost too much to use ‘First World’ methods of dealing with the incoming sewage. He agreed it was illegal to pump sewage into the river but said tis had been done for up to six hours previously when other problems had occurred. “We are trying to put in a more permanent solution so that more raw sewage is not released,” he said. Other methods such as using road ‘honey sucker’ tanker was not a viable option because it would require 500 tankers to be on the roads, he claimed.

The uMhlatuzana River rises in the hills west of Durban and is joined by the uMbilo River shortly before entering Durban Bay in the Bayhead area known as the Silt Canal. This faces directly onto the last remaining preserve of mangrove swamps in the bay in an area set aside by Transnet National Ports Authority as a heritage site.

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Railway 02 Tazara railway

A five-year strategic plan for the troubled Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) has been approved in which US$211 million will be expended on answering infrastructure shortcomings and building capacity along the railway that culminates at the port of Dar es Salaam.

Tazara has experienced financial problems for several years and at times has stopped operating due to a lack of proper maintenance involving locomotives, rolling stock and the permanent way. Eventually, the Chinese who built the line in the 1970s then known as the ‘Freedom Railway’ because it provided Zambia and the DRC with an alternative route to a port instead of using South Africa, re-entered the scene with support including loans.

At meetings held in Lusaka, Zambia earlier this month, the Board of Directors under the chairmanship of Mrs Charity Kaande Ngoma, the Permanent Secretary responsible for Transport in Zambia, agreed to both the recapitalisation and operational plans for the railway.

“Now that the framework has been approved, we shall immediately embark on discussions with strategic partners in order to quickly secure sufficient investment funding for key needy areas of operations,” said the Acting Managing Director of Tazara, Eng Ronald Phiri.

Rehabilitation, repairs and the purchase of rolling stock, including locomotives, wagons and passenger coaches will cost US$90 million, while another $64 million will go towards infrastructure development. $22 million will be spent on human resource development and $1 million will go on information communication technology (ICT).

During 2013 six new locomotives were acquired with another four expected in 2014. Further locomotives will have to be purchased, presumably from China given the source of the re-financing.

Tazara currently handles 480,000 tonnes of traffic annually – this is expected to rise to 1.5 million tonnes by 2018. By this stage Tazara is expected to be self-sustaining and no longer requiring inputs of taxpayer money.

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Mozambican fishing vessel KRUSTAMOZ VIII which is part of a larger fleet of Chinese–owned trawlers based at Quelimane in central Mozambique. The fleet along with a number of other Mozambique-based fishing vessels usually shelter in Durban during the off-season which coincides with the cyclone months in the Mozambique Channel. Picture by Terry Hutson

Fishing is ranked fifth on Mozambique’s export list and accounts for 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and revenues of around US$70 million per year, the Mozambican Fishing Ministry has revealed.

Quoted in the Maputo daily newspaper Notícias, Hermínio Tembe, the permanent secretary of the Fishing Ministry, said in Namaacha that in the recent past the sector’s total production was around 214,000 tons per year, of which 186,000 were from artisanal fishing, 8,500 tons from medium and large industry and 600 tons from aquaculture, a sector that is expanding steadily in Mozambique.

“We are aware that despite the growing role of the fishing sector in the country’s economic and social sectors, our fishing industry is still facing challenges, particularly in terms of the scientific knowledge needed to keep up with development of resources, cooperation with regional fishing management organisations and adopting international and regional parameters and standards,” said the permanent secretary for the Fishing Ministry.

During a seminar on shrimp for the working group in the south-western region of the Indian Ocean, Hermínio Tembe also mentioned the challenges faced in gathering the resources needed to improve inspection activities in Mozambique’s waters and to attract private investment in aquaculture and processing industry. source – macauhub

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Fugro Discovery

report by Paul Ridgway, London

Fugro recently opened new office premises in Maputo and has established what is claimed to the only internationally accredited laboratory in Mozambique.

Continuing to meet the fast-growing demands of the country’s large-scale industries, Fugro says it is committed to servicing its oil and gas clients in the region as well as further developing its business in Mozambique’s construction, mining and hydrogeological sectors.

Providing local access to Fugro’s network of global services and expertise, the main office in the port city of Maputo is located to enable quick and efficient response to client requirements for offshore, nearshore or onshore project support.

In Pemba the operational centre and laboratory offers ISO 17025 accredited soil, chemical, electrical and materials testing and soil aggregate laboratory testing. Well served by road, air and sea connections, the facility boasts an excellent logistical infrastructure allowing rapid deployment of all services.

“The comprehensive range of services now available in Mozambique includes onshore and nearshore geotechnical and CPT testing, geotechnical engineering reporting and airport and pavement evaluation,” says David Taillant, Fugro Mozambique’s Country Manager. “Fugro’s expertise is also provided in diving and salvage services, offshore positioning and geospatial services.”

Fugro is on record that it is committed to a progressive increase in the number of local Mozambican staff at its new facilities. Its emphasis on local content also extends to the materials, equipment, services and sub-contractors involved in its projects.

Fugro works predominantly in energy and infrastructure markets offshore and onshore, providing support with the design, construction, installation, repair and maintenance. It employs approximately 12,500 people in over 60 countries. In 2012 Fugro’s revenues amounted to € 2.2 billion.


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Mining pond at Moma in central Mozambique. Chibuto lies well to the south of Moma and inland from the coast

Chinese company Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Mozambican government to explore for heavy sands deposits in Chibuto, Gaza province, Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias reported.

After the failure of previous moves to carry out the project, the government returned to the market to find new investors, leading to the Chinese company taking an interest.

The memorandum, amongst other things, establishes the basis for carrying out other work that may lead to a contract to carry out the project in the next nine months.

Anhui Foreign Economic Construction is expected to take a fresh look at all previously produced geological data that is now in the hands of the Ministry for Mining Resources, which will be followed by the presentation of a proposal for discussion.

According to the figures made public at the ceremony, the company is prepared to invest US$500 million in the project, which may be increased as required. source – macauhub


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The Greek products tanker ALTHEA which was attacked by pirates off the Niger Delta on Monday. Picture by Ivan Meshkov / Shipspotting

West African pirates attacked a tanker off the coast of Nigeria on Monday but instead of taking the ship away to steal its cargo, the ten pirates involved in the attack took two of the crew hostage, presumably for ransoming.

The Ukrainian captain of the ALTHEA (6,333-dwt, built 2009), a Marshall Island-flagged, Greek-owned oil products tanker, and a Greek-nationality engineer were kidnapped when the pirates left the ship. The balance of the crew of 16 seafarers remained on board unharmed.

The attack took place on Monday (16 December) 35 n.miles off the Niger Delta of Nigeria – the armed pirates arriving and leaving in a speedboat.

According to the Nigerian Navy it is investigating the matter but if past attacks are anything to base predictions on, they won’t come up with much. Instead a process of negotiating for the release of the two men will have been begun with the Greek owners having to pay a ransom for their release. Provided there are no complications the two could be free before Christmas.

Ships operating in the Gulf of Guinea are handicapped by having to spend long periods at anchor offshore, either in the line of duty or while waiting for the next operation. Some carry armed guards but this has its difficulties in national waters, with so many countries involved and the pirates frequently making use of this fact to move from one domain to another.

Apart from patrol ships of the respective West African countries, there is no naval support similar to what merchant shipping can expect off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean. But Somali is on the opposite side of the continent where naval forces have been able to operate as if they owned the seas in front of what has been until recently a failed state.

A different situation faces commercial shipping in the Gulf of Guinea, where most ships that have been targeted are not in transit but are working in the Gulf waters.


ICHCA banner 200

APM Terminals, which is headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and operates 64 port terminals in 40 countries and another six terminals as development projects plus 16 port expansions underway, has become a Premium Member of ICHCA.

ICHCA International Ltd is an NGO association dedicated to improving safety, security, sustainability and productivity across the global cargo handling chain.

“We are delighted to welcome APM Terminals as our latest premium member,” said ICHCA International Chairman David Bendall. “The company has made a bold pledge to eliminate fatalities across its network through accident prevention awareness, best operational procedures and the active encouragement of all its people to embrace a philosophy of ‘safety first’.” Bendall said that just like ICHCA, APM Terminals places safety at the heart of its business. “Container terminals play a vital role in cargo supply chains and we look forward to engaging with APM Terminals in its commitment to make them a safe environment for all concerned.”

ICHCA’s corporate, association and individual members around the world span many different interests along containerised, bulk and general cargo supply chains, including shippers, sea, land and air transport, logistics services and infrastructure, ports, terminals and stevedores, equipment and technology, insurance and risk management, research, education, training and consultancy, government, legislators and labour.

Other premium members include Hutchison Ports UK, Strang Engineered Logistics and the TT Club.

Based in the UK, with worldwide membership and autonomous chapters in Australia, Canaries/Africa and Japan, ICHCA’s core activities include industry representation at various regulatory bodies, such as the IMO and ILO.

The association has been deeply involved in the consultation process for the new IMO regulations on container weighing and is currently working with IMO, ILO and UN ECE on a new tripartite Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units. ICHCA also publishes a wide range of information papers and provides technical advice, recommendations and training on best practice in cargo handling.

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one reason for taking ICHCA’s advice


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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.


F C STURROCK assisting ORCADES January 1969 470

Two photographs featuring tugs from yesteryear – in this case 1969 and 1970 and both from the lens of a photo-grapher better known for not letting his ships get in the way of the working harbour tug…. or is it the other way round! In this scene the Durban harbour tug FC STURROCK (812-gt, built 1959) can be seen assisting the passenger liner ORCADES in January 1969. Picture by Trevor Jones


In the next scene, a smokey (nicknamed ‘Smokey Sue’ by the late shipping columnist George Young, and elsewhere as being unable to keep a secret) Cape Town tug TS McEWEN (793-gt, built 1925) is seen assisting the Lloyd Triestino liner EUROPA into the Duncan Dock during January 1970. Picture is by Trevor Jones

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