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Ports & Ships Maritime News

21 January 2014
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...

DSCF9782 Wanderlust 470

If ever there was an appropriate and appreciative name for a ship it was surely this Liberian-flagged, Greek owned and managed bulk carrier, WANDERLUST (41,675-dwt, built 2006), seen here in Durban harbour heading for Maydon Wharf to work cargo. Picture by Terry Hutson

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Port of Beira Opens for Large Vessels[1] 470
Port of Beira and city

Construction of a new fertiliser terminal at the port of Beira with capacity to process between 6,000 and 8,000 tons is due to begin in March, the head of the Marketing and Sales department of Cornelder de Moçambique, Félix Machado says.

Costing US$30 million the new terminal is intended to meet increasing demand for fertilisers. The port currently handles fertilisers at a temporary terminal with a capacity of 2,000 tons per day.

The new terminal will reduce the time that ships spend at the port being unloaded from one week to three days.

According to the Mozambique newspaper Notícias, the aim is for Beira to handle much of the fertiliser intended for Zimbabwe and Zambia which currently goes through the port of Durban.

Machado said that in 1998 the port of Beira handled 50,000 tons of cargo and was now handling 600,000 tons, with the possibility of increasing this to between 1.2 and 1.5 million tons per year in the future. source - macauhub

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Grindrod loco for Sierra Leone 470
Grindrod loco for Sierra Leone mining operation

Grindrod Limited, the integrated freight and logistics business, announced yesterday (Monday) the establishment of a new rail leasing entity to provide innovative and cost-effective leasing solutions to the expanding African rail industry.

Grindrod’s subsidiary Grindrod Freight Services (GFS) has teamed up with the Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund (PRIF) in a leasing joint venture. The new company, called GPR Leasing Africa Limited (GPR Leasing) will be based in Mauritius and will be 55% owned by GFS and 45% by PRIF.

“The joint venture company will be instrumental in providing funding options for customers looking to buy or operate wagons and locomotives manufactured or refurbished by Grindrod, as well as other OEM’s,” said Dave Rennie, CEO of GFS.

GPR Leasing has already secured orders for 31 locomotives, all of which have either been built new or refurbished by Grindrod. “Grindrod locomotives are 30% to 50% cheaper upfront than other diesel-electric locomotives in the market. The proven track record of the locomotives and their exceptional performance mean that funding institutions are keen to finance them,” said Rennie.

“In addition to this, Grindrod’s track record of successfully maintaining our locomotives in Africa’s most challenging environments, makes our offering robust.”

Grindrod’s rail customers, which include mining companies, state railways and private rail operators, can access operating lease solutions through GPR Leasing for main-line locomotives, shunting locomotives and wagons – all for the freight market. Rolling stock leasing is a cost effective option and opens doors to new opportunities throughout Africa for customers looking to keep debt off their balance sheets.

“We have been able to leverage the strong relationships of the stakeholders to access competitive funding,” said Herc van Wyk, CEO of PRIF. “This translates to competitive lease rates for competitively priced locomotives. It’s an exciting proposition.”

Van Wyk said the transaction represents an integral part of PRIF’s strategy to be the infrastructure fund of choice for private companies looking for a partner with whom to invest in opportunities that have arisen as a result of Africa’s fast economic growth.

Grindrod Rail has a presence in several African countries through its joint ventures and investments. The service offering now includes manufacturing; refurbishing; maintenance & leasing; mainline operations; short haul and branch line operations; rail track engineering and construction; and rail technology, signaling communication and rail systems.

Rand Merchant Bank has been appointed as the mandated lead arranger and funder of the debt package in support of GPR Leasing’s activities.

In the world’s developed rail markets, up to 60% of rolling stock is leased. Rennie says that GPR Leasing aims to replicate this on the African continent via this joint venture as well as a similar entity targeting the local South African leasing market.

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Mv Marzooqah 900667 by Ralf Grabbert vesseltrac
The Togo flagged, Saudi-owned ro-ro vessel Marzooqah. Picture by Ralf Grabbert/Vesseltracker

The confusion over a Saudi ship which was initially thought to have been captured by pirates has been partially cleared up.

The ‘pirates’ were Eritrean armed forces, who seized the ship which they say was in Eritrean territorial waters. As the vessel came under what the crew saw as an attack by suspicious armed people small boats they sent out an emergency message saying the ship was under attack by pirates.

It appears the ship had made a sudden sharp turn towards the Eritrean coast on Sunday morning, which raised Erittrean suspicions. Eritrean authorities then sent an armed force to detain the ship, an elderly ro-ro car carrier.

European Naval Forces operating on counter piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden said that an assessment of the incident made it clear that the action against the ship was an operation of the Eritrean forces, which intercepted the vessel and went on board. “We believe the vessel is now in the hands of the Eritrean forces,” a spokesperson for EUNAVFOR said. She said the crew of the Marzooqah had reported they thought they were under attack by pirates.

News continues below…


FS Sirocco and Dhow 1 Jan 2014 470
FS Sirocco and dhow 2 470

On Saturday 18 January 2014, the French EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta flagship FS SIROCO (L9012) in cooperation with Japanese assets released the crew of a Dhow that was suspected to have been used as pirate mother-ship. The flagship apprehended five suspected pirates believed to be responsible for an attack on an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden a day earlier.

The oil tanker issued a distress call to the UK Maritime Trade Operation (UKMTO) on the evening of Friday, 17 January, reporting to be under attack. According to the reports, the attack was repelled by a private armed security team embarked on board the oil tanker. The skiff then headed to a dhow which lingered nearby.

The EU Naval Force, in cooperation with other Counter Piracy Forces, reacted quickly to this incident. A Japanese Maritime Patrol Aircraft and a helicopter from the Japanese vessel JS SAMIDARE initially located the dhow. The EU NAVFOR flagship FS Siroco was then able to close distance to the dhow and launch their helicopter and boarding team.

Upon nearing the dhow, the helicopter crew and boarding team observed that people on board the dhow were throwing equipment over board, deepening the suspicion that the dhow was indeed the reported pirate mother-ship.

Once the Siroco’s team boarded the dhow, five Somali suspect pirates surrendered and were separated from the dhow’s crew and transferred to FS Siroco for further investigation. As always, says the EU Naval Force, it seeks, if possible, a legal finish with the prosecution of the suspected pirates.

The master’s initial statement supported the suspicion that his dhow has been pirated and his crew taken hostage several days ago off the coast of Somalia. He also stated that the suspect pirates were responsible for the attack on the oil tanker the day before.

“Thanks to an exceptionally effective international cooperation, we showed once more that there will be no safe haven for piracy in the area as long as Counter Piracy Forces remain fully dedicated to their task. I also congratulate FS Siroco with this success,” said the EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Rear Admiral Hervé Bléjean.

FS Siroco and dhow 3 470
FS Siroco and dhow 4 470
Indian dhow 5 free from suspected pirates 470


Royal Cape Yacht Club 1 470

Twelve hundred members of the Royal Cape Yacht Club are facing having to relocate outside of the Port of Cape Town, after having occupied the present site since 1947.

The yacht club, which is well known to visiting yachtsmen from across the world, has a lease that expires only in 2023, but Transnet National Ports Authority has indicated it needs the space for expansion.

The space being taken up by the club is required for ship repair, which itself is slowly being pressured from the environs of the V&A Waterfront on the opposite side of the harbour. One of the port’s two dry docks is situated in the heart of the waterfront, the Robinson Dock.

Ironically, it was having the attraction of a working harbour including ship repair that led to the charm and attraction of the world-famous V&A Waterfront, but in keeping with that success more and more upmarket apartment buildings and hotels moved onto the site, bringing demands for a ‘clean’ and less noisy environment.

This has increased the pressure on ship repair in Cape Town harbour itself which is also experiencing strong growth thanks to the oil and gas industry on the west coast.

Possible options for the Royal Cape Yacht Club are the V&A itself or nearby Granger’s Bay.


Maersk Mc Kinney Moller in Tanjung Pelepas 470
The world’s first Triple-E class ship, Maersk McKinney Moller which is capable of carrying 18,200 TEUs. She is the first of a fleet of 20 such ships on order with Daewoo

It had to happen sooner rather than later but the baton for having the biggest container ships ever built will soon be passed to China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) which has ordered five new ships that will have a capacity of 19,000 TEU.

Earlier it had been reported that this order was for ships of 18,500 TEU, but what’s another 500 boxes….

According to Hyundai Heavy Industries, which is building the five ships, the order was upgraded at CSCL’s request from 18,400 TEU to be capable of carrying 19,000 TEU. The ships will begin delivery from November this year.

The mammoth ships will be 400m in length and have a breadth of 58.6 metres and for a while CSCL will be able to boast of having the biggest container ships afloat – that’s until the next order comes along of course. Watch this space!


Ballast water treatment required 448px

A ballast water treatment system (BWTS) that can also be used as a an inert gas system for cargo tanks, manufactured by N.E.I. Treatment Systems, is being fitted to a tanker in China and will undergo sea trials in March, reports Seatrade Global.

Unlike most BWTS systems, which rely on filtration, chemicals or UV treatment of the ballast water, the N.E.I. system is based around a patented oxygen stripping generator called the Venturi Oxygen Stripping (VOS) System.

The system works by stripping oxygen from ballast water on intake to a level of 0.1% – 0.2% oxygen content killing any invasive species present.

N.E.I. is now combining the system to a have a dual function for tankers as an inert gas generator. “We are installing right now getting ready to go to sea trials on the first VOS Cargo Space system,” Jeffrey Barber, executive vice president – global sales and marketing for N.E.I., told a customer event in Singapore.

“That is a single stripping gas generator that we use for both cargo topping and cargo inerting and ballast water treatment simultaneously. So two traditionally separate functions are now consolidated into one.”

He said that this provided for a single point of maintenance and management, as well as simplifying functions such as crew training. “There’s no reason we can’t manage and direct cargo topping and cargo inerting at the same time.”

N.E.I. installed its first shipboard system in 2005 and through the stripping of oxygen from the ballast water claims significant gains in terms of preventing corrosion. Independent studies by the US Naval Research Laboratory and BMT Fleet Technology showed ballast water tank steel corrosion was reduced by 84%.

“That has a huge impact for a vessel over its life on coatings and structure. We are not just overhead, we’re not just an expense,” Barber said.


East London 470
East London harbour

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The Norwegian owned, operated and flagged LPG tanker CLIPPER QUITO (55,047-dwt, built 2013) departing from Cape Town last week after taking on bunkers, stores and water. The ship entered service on 26 June last year. Pictures are by Ian Shiffman


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