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Ports & Ships Maritime News

11 February 2014
Author: Terry Hutson

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


Click on headline to go direct to story – use the BACK key to return


News continues below...

logos hope piet sinke 26 01 2014 470

The floating bookshop LOGOS HOPE seen in Singapore harbour. The ship was built in 1973 as a ferry named GUSTAV VASA and sailed between Sweden and Germany. She is the fourth ship to serve with GBA Ships (Gute Bücher für Alle, English: Good Books for All) and replaced both LOGOS II which was withdrawn in 2008 and the well-known DOULOS hat was sold a year later. This picture by Piet Sinke

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Fred Olsen Lines’ Black Watch

Bad luck keeps dogging Fred Olsen Lines’ BLACK WATCH, which is currently on a 114-night round the world cruise.

The 800-passenger ship has been forced to go to anchor near Picton island close to the Argentine border on Cape Horn, because of a steering problem.

Black Watch set sail from Southampton on 14 January. Shortly after leaving Rio de Janeiro and while about 70 n.miles off the coast of Brazil one of the passengers fell overboard. The alarm was given and the ship turned around immediately and after retracing its path the man’s body was seen in the water, but due to a choppy sea with waves of three metres and winds of up to 30 knots, it proved impossible to recover the body.

“The circumstances of the incident are being investigated fully, and Fred Olsen is working closely with all the relevant international authorities. The guest's family have been informed,” said a Fred Olsen spokesperson.

A few days later on 4 February Black Watch sailed from Buenos Aires, bound for a crossing below Cape Horn Valparaiso on the Pacific coast as the next planned stop. On 9 February the ship passed the tourist town of Ushuaia shortly before the problem with her steering occurred, forcing the ship to come to anchor so that repairs can be carried out.

Most of the passengers on board are Britons.

Black Watch (28,670-gt, built 1972) has sailed with Fred Olsen Lines since 1996. The ship was built as the Royal Viking Star in 1972 for the Kloster Group. In 1981 she was lengthened and ten years later the ship was transferred to Norwegian Cruise Line as their Westward. In 1994 she moved to Royal Cruise Line as the Star Odyssey before finding her home with Fred Olsen Line and being renamed Black Watch.

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Plangeneral Tema 470
Tema port plan

Seven valid bids have been received to partner Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority (GPHA) in the expansion of Tema harbour.

This was disclosed by GPHA when it opened all tenders received, revealing bids that ranged from US$489 million to more than $2 billion, depending on the phasing arrangement selected by each bidder. The project is divided into five phases.

An evaluation of each bid will now follow over a four month period, before the winner or winners are announced. “This is a major development agenda for the port of Tema,” said Captain James Owusu- Koranteng, Director of Ports for Takoradi.

“It is born out of GPHA’s sustained effort to keep up the pace of development and expansion of our ports ahead of the rapid population and socio-economic demands of the country. Aside from improving business at the port, the expansion works will obviously translate into more job opportunities for Ghanaians, more stevedoring jobs, and more jobs for agents and various stakeholders engaged in the sea- trade industry,” he said.

Traffic through the port has been growing in line with Ghana’s high-paced GDP growth which averaged more than 8 percent between 2008 and 2012. Container volumes through the port rose 48 percent from 555,009 TEU in 2008 to 822,131 TEU in 2012.

Phase 1 of the port expansion project involves the provision of basic port infrastructure such as a breakwater, quay wall foundation trenches, and dredging to adequate depths. This is expected to take 30 months to complete.

The expansion will lead to five new berths being developed – two for containers, two as multi-purpose and ro-ro berths, and one dedicated to passenger and cruise ships – all in phase 1.

Phases two, three and four of the expansion programme will add another container terminal and a fresh produce terminal to the cluster, while the final phase involving the construction of an oil and gas terminal and oil-rig servicing facility to target the burgeoning oil industry along the West African coast.

“The planned expansion is expected to provide deep berths from the current 11.5 metres to 16 metres which will enable the port to accommodate larger vessels. The expanded facilities will also provide dedicated berths for cruise vessels to call at the port and encourage tourism,” Captain Owusu-Koranteng said. source - GhanaWeb

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Aerial View of the Durban Beachfront 2[1] 

Durban’s famous ‘Golden Mile’ beachfront with Durban harbour in the background

The Durban University of Technology (DuT) in close collaboration with the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau, has won the right to host the 23rd International Maritime Lecturers’ Association (IMLA) Conference.

Leon Govender from the Department of Maritime Studies at the Durban University of Technology presented the winning bid proposal to the IMLA Congress in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, in October 2013.

“The 2015 IMLA Congress will take place over the period of 29 June – 3 July in Durban’s central and main beachfront area. The theme of this congress will be “Challenges facing emerging maritime education and training institutions – the need for collaboration”, said Govender.

“The gathering will leave a valuable legacy, as it will assist our people in the region to attain important insights into the development of and challenges facing the field of maritime studies. This region is fortunate to have a Department of Maritime Studies and an eThekwini Maritime Cluster and they will be able to contribute to the planning and organisation of this congress.”

“We are elated by this news. Durban and the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal are one of the most significant maritime regions in the world,” said James Seymour the CEO of the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau.

“The port of Durban is the most active multi-purpose harbour in the southern hemisphere. It is also has the busiest container terminal in sub-Saharan Africa. Durban also has the largest concentration of maritime services in the southern hemisphere. This port accounts for 20% of the city of Durban’s GDP and contributes a further 20% indirectly. Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal’s second port is one of the most significant bulk cargo ports in the world.

“These facilities could be used as exciting elements of technical tours for the 2015 IMLA Congress”, he said. “We expect that this conference will attract over 100 foreign delegates from all over the world and the expected economic impact of the spend of these delegates will be well in excess of R3 million for the economy of Durban and the province.”

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CAVOUR aad noorland 2 (3) 470
The Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour, flagship of the Italian Navy group that has been visiting Cape Town. Picture by Aad Noorland

After a six day visit to Cape Town, ships of the Italian Navy flotilla that are on a circumnavigation of the continent of Africa, sailed yesterday for the port of Luanda in Angola.

The ships include the aircraft carrier ITS CAVOUR, the frigate ITS CARLO BERGAMINI and the replenishment ship ITS ETNA. Apart from showing off Italian naval prowess, the ships are being used as a travelling trade mission to promote Italian industry and technology.

A fourth ship, the patrol vessel ITS BORSINI has remained in Maputo harbour where she is being used to help provide training for the small Mozambique Navy. This follows the signing of a maritime collaboration agreement between the two countries while the flotilla was in Maputo.

Borsini is expected to remain in Mozambique waters for two months.

Meanwhile, the three ships forming the flotilla will sail along the west coast as they return towards the Mediterranean and Italy.

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ITS Etna, the Italian Navy replenishment ship visiting Cape Town this weekend. Picture by Ian Shiffman


the suez canal jpeg 263px
Port Said at the northern end of the Suez Canal

United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) has signed agreements with Port Said Container & Cargo Handling Co (PSCCHC), part of the Egyptian state-owned Holding Company for Maritime and Land Transport, for the development of Container Terminal 2 (CT2) in the eastern area of Port Said. This will be the port’s second container terminal.

The project foresees a 2.5 billion dirham (US$680 million) investment and the creation of the first Egyptian company specialising not only in container handling but also in the building and repairing of containers.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) indicates that the Holding Company for Maritime and Land Transport, an affiliate of the Egyptian Ministry of Investment, will provide 75% of the venture capital, with 20% being provided by UASC and the remaining 5% by an Asian company. The new terminal is being designed with a capacity of 3 million TEU, of which UASC anticipates bringing a volume traffic of 1 million TEU through its line services.

At the signing of the MoU, the Egyptian Minister for Investment, Osama Saleh, declared that the formalities of the projects would be completed by 24 March after which work could commence, with a completion date set for 30 months ahead. During the building phase the worksite will employ between 8,000 and 10,000 people and once in service the new terminal will provide 1,200 permanent job opportunities.

Initially, the container terminal CT2 will consist of 1,200 metre long quay, which can be extended later by another 450 metres. The quay will have a draught alongside of -17 metres and will be equipped with 12 ship-to-shore cranes. original source - Greenmed Journal


Panama Canal Expansion 470
Extension work to the Panama Canal

The companies doing the construction work to widen the Panama Canal to enable post-Panamax ship to make use of the waterway, are seeking ways of overcoming funding disputes to enable the work to continue.

Work came to a halt earlier due to cost overruns leaving the projected 2015 completion date seriously in doubt.

With the consortium building the new locks, Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), having run out of money and requiring another US$1.6 billion in overruns to complete the contract, the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) is not the only stakeholder facing a loss of revenue. Ship owners and operators who had anticipated the opening of the canal by ordering new larger tonnage to service the US east coast ports, may find themselves with new ships and nowhere to go.

Talks aimed a finding a solution broke down last week. GUPC said it was looking for a settlement with the canal authority and that its proposal took into account the concerns of PCA while seeking the necessary funds to complete the job.

However, the canal authority says it has sent the consortium a counter-proposal which was based on the respective parties providing financial resources to get back to work “as soon as possible’.

None of the consortium’s claims are met in the counter-proposal nor is there any suggestion of agreement to increasing the contract price.

If talks continue to break down then the canal authority could ask the insurer, Zurich North America to terminate the contract with GUPC. Zurich Insurance has estimate that the project to widen the canal could be delayed by between three and five years unless an agreement is reached.

Meanwhile, it is reported that almost all activity of the widening project has come to a stop.

Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano said that while the canal authority continues to look for more money, any solution remains dependent on GUPC resuming its contractual responsibilities.

“The project is already more than 70% complete and the specialised lock gates will all be delivered in 2014. It requires additional funding of $1.6 billion to reach completion. This is a burden of such a magnitude that no contractor or private company can bear alone,” said GUPC in its statement.

The dispute brings to mind something similar when the original canal was being built, with the French company that started the work running out of money, apart from other reasons, and having to abandon the project. It was a number of years before another group, this time from the United States took up the challenge to complete the canal.


HMAS Melbourne during April 2013 470
HMAS Melbourne, currently on patrol north of the Mozambique Channel. Picture Wiki Commons

The Royal Australian Navy guided missile frigate, HMAS MELBOURNE conducted a second drug bust in the approaches to the Mozambique Channel last week.

The warship is on counter-piracy patrol under the mantle of Operation Slipper, which is Australia's military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, maritime security in the Middle East Area of Operations and the countering of piracy in the waters off the East African and Arabian coasts.

In the latest bust the ship intercepted a vessel suspected of transporting illicit cargo off Tanzania. While searching the ship the navy personnel found 190 kilograms of heroin. Two days earlier HMAS Melbourne intercepted another vessel in the area and discovered 353kgs of heroin on board, making her haul a half ton of heroin in one week. Small quantities of other illicit drugs were also discovered.

On her current patrol the ship has also stopped a group of suspected pirates and handed them over to the Tanzania authorities.

HMAS Melbourne is an Adelaide-class guided missile frigate, 138 metres in length and a beam of 14.3m. She displaces 4,200 tons and has an operating range of 4,500 nautical miles. She carries a crew of 184 personnel plus aircrew for her on-board helicopter. Her speed is given as 30 knots.


East London 470
East London 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.


nautica 470

The cruise ship NAUTICA in Cape Town harbour during January this year. Picture by Ian Shiffman

silver wind 470

Silverseas lovely smaller cruise ship SILVER WIND, which is currently cruising on the Southern African coast with mainly fly-cruise passengers from Europe and elsewhere. This ship could almost be called a ‘pocket cruise ship’, providing a wallop in luxury cruising every bit as impressive as her bigger sisters. Picture is by Ian Shiffman

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