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Ports & Ships Maritime News

22 April 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...


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The US-owned and flagged bulk carrier GENCO WISDOM (47,000-dwt, built 1997) seen departing from Durban’s Maydon Wharf earlier in April recently after discharging a cargo of grain at berth 5. The ship is flagged in Hong Kong. Picture: Trevor Jones

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has released statistics for the ports under its control, which reveal that a total of 76.887 million tons of cargo was handled across all ports in 2013.

This was a fractional increase on the results for 2012 when 76.856 million tons was handled.

These tonnage figures exclude oil exports through the respective terminals. The combined ports handled 5,185 ocean-going ships of all types, with a gross registered tonnage of 131,674,337-gt.

Container traffic for 2013 came to just over one million TEU -- 1,010, 836 TEUs (877,737 in 2012) for a strong 15.2 percent increase.

Motor vehicles totaled 291,824 units compared with 268,026 units in 2012.

In terms of liquid bulk cargoes, the ports handled 19.342 million tons of LNG (liquefied natural gas), down from the 22.147mt of 2012. Refined petroleum products handled by the ports amounted to 19.416mt for the year, up by 9.5 percent on the 2012 figure of 17.731mt.

Dry bulk cargo reached 9.537mt in 2013, down 6.5 percent on 2012’s 10,205mt. General cargo handled in 2013 was 11.965mt compared with 12.703mt the year before.

Port statistics for number of ships and gross tonnages handled are as follows:

Lagos Port Complex: 1,498 vessels for 34.466 million gt (2012: 31.513m gt).
Tin Can Island: 1,725 vessels for 42.758m gt (2012: 34.704 m gt).
Calabar Port Complex: 197 vessels for 2.792m gt (2012: 2.872m gt).
Rivers Port Complex: 447 vessel for 6.394m gt (2012: 6.929m gt)
Onne Port Complex: 820 vessels for 38.967m gt (2012: 42.062m gt).
Delta Port Complex: 498 vessels for 6.296m gt (2012: 3.070m gt).

source: NPA>

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Computer-generated view of what the new TNPA dredger will look like. Picture: IHC Merwede

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has announced the awarding of a contract for the design, construction and delivery of a 5,500m³ trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD).

The contract has been awarded to Dutch dredger specialist, IHC Merwede, which built the ISANDLWANA, also a trailing suction dredger which is slightly smaller than the latest order.

The contract, TNPA says, was made after an open and competitive tender process to supply the new dredger by 2015. It will be the largest dredging vessel of its kind operating in South Africa.

“This new dredger is of critical importance to TNPA as it enables us to have sufficient capacity to reliably maintain the dredging of all our ports, which is approximately 4.2 million cubic metres of material annually. It will also provide spare dredging capacity to assist sub-Saharan ports in terms of our Africa Strategy,” said Tau Morwe, TNPA Chief Executive.

The new dredging vessel will join TNPA’s existing fleet of IHC Merwede-built dredgers, which include the 4,200m³ Isandlwana (ordered in 2008) and the grab hopper dredger ITALENI (ordered in 2013).

The Italeni is on schedule to be delivered in mid-July this year.

The new dredger just ordered will have the following features:

Length approx. 101.5m
Breadth 22.4m
Depth 7.5m
Draught 6.0m
Hopper capacity at highest overflow level 5,500m³
Inside diameter of trailing suction pipe 900mm
Dredging depth 30m
Total installed power approx. 6,200 kW
Trial speed 11.9 knots
Crew complement 26 people

As part of its contract with TNPA, IHC Merwede will execute a social development plan in order to help improve local industry in South Africa, to the value of 25% of the contract value. This offset initiative will feature the appropriate transfer of some of the company’s advanced technology and knowledge base to aid the development of the workforce’s skills within the region.

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Two new CMA CGM agencies opened at Toliara (south-west) and Antsiranana (north)

Since the creation of CMA CGM Madagascar in 2003, says the CMA CGM Group in a statement, it has continued to strengthen its presence and influence on the island by moving closer to customers and partners in an effort to meet growth forecasts in the Malagasy industrial market.

Continuing with this approach, the CMA CGM Group is opening two new agencies in Toliara (Tuléar) and Antsiranana (Diego Suarez), and bringing its presence in Madagascar to eight offices of which five are owned.

The French line has also added a second vessel to its Indian Ocean Feeder Service. It says it intends to continue expanding intra-regional trade as well as national cabotage in Madagascar.

The two Indian Ocean Feeders offer connections with:

MASCAREIGNES EXPRESS for Europe, Persian Gulf and India.
MOZEX for Asia.
SHAKA for the African continent.

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Mare Atlanticum which will commence MSC’s new Africa Express. Picture: Shipspotting

Swiss headquartered Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is to commence a dedicated service between Asia and West Africa to be called Africa Express.

This will reduce transit times for existing cargo volumes which currently tranship via the Mediterranean.

The first sailing on the service will be via the 4,038-TEU MARE ATLANTICUM (52,330-dwt, built 2000) sailing from Nansha on 24 April 2014 and the improved transit will mean arrival at Tin Can Island, Lagos in 28 days from Chiwan and 23 days from Singapore. This includes a call at Port Louis when en route to West Africa. The nominal capacity will be 10 ships each of 4,000 TEUs and the port rotation will be as follows:

Nansha, Chiwan, Singapore, Port Louis, Tincan Island-Lagos, San Pedro, Abidjan, Ngqura, Colombo, Singapore, Nansha

Mare Atlanticum formerly operated as MSC Scandinavia and before that as Donau Bridge.

News continues below…


Lovers of cruising and cruise ships mostly have their own favourite ship

By Vernon Buxton


Fred. Olsen’s BALMORAL, the former NORWEGIAN CROWN and CROWN ODYSSEY, is a favourite for many because of certain features that no other vessel offers all round. The oval-shaped Observatory Lounge for’ard is an almost unbeatable facility and one wonders why subsequent ship’s architects have not embraced the concept? She offers European quality, style and character, a sense of space, comfortable surroundings, decent facilities and realistic pricing. The ship was originally built in 1988 for the long defunct Royal Cruise Line. Norwegian Cruise Line then operated the ship for many years, before it was transferred to Orient Lines in 2000, and then back to NCL in 2003. Fred. Olsen bought the vessel in 2008 and it was given a makeover shortly thereafter, to provide 186 guest cabins, 53 crew cabins and 60 balcony cabins and to create the new smaller, more intimate restaurants of the Spey and Avon, on Deck 10. In a feat of engineering that defies belief, the ship is cut in half (in an expansive dry dock) and extended by inserting the new mid-section, which had to match the existing fabric of the ship to absolute precision.

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Terry Hutson (left), publisher of Ports & Ships, and this correspondent, Vernon Buxton (pictured aboard BALMORAL when she was CROWN ODYSSEY) share a cruise liner first choice in common. The vessel is the 43,537gt BALMORAL, operated by the British cruise operator, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. Terry and I have often discussed our love of this particular vessel, which is not to say we don’t favour a whole pile of other ships, but BALMORAL appears to deliver a certain kind of magic for both of us.

To begin with, BALMORAL carries just the right number of passengers, 1,350, which means not too many to be lost in a crowd, but enough to keep everything interesting. She also features one of the most outstanding facilities to be found at sea today…a wraparound Observatory Lounge topside for’ard, from where you really can observe sweeping sea vistas. It’s the area BALMORAL’s passengers automatically gravitate to at all times of the day and night.

Also, the smaller BALMORAL boasts very appealing open deck space, on several levels, and there is a special restaurant aft that is ideal for al fresco dining.

In short, it’s BALMORAL’s size, her lesser passenger capacity, open decks and special Observatory Lounge that set her apart.


Vernon has just about covered all the good parts in this article, but I guess the thing that appealed to me the most was the ship’s persona. That may sound odd, but ships, like steam locomotives all have their own character of spirit that distinguishes them from others of their class. For instance, MSC Opera is for me a far nicer, far more comfortable ship than MSC Sinfonia, yet they are supposedly of the Lirica class and basically identical. It’s never easy to find the words that explain their differences, but they’re there.

Balmoral, or Crown Odyssey as she was when I travelled on her on the expanse of the Mediterranean, simply felt right. Her cabins are spacious and comfortable, the ship carries a lot of people yet never felt overcrowded, and as for that Observatory Lounge, well, is there anything better anywhere? One can go on, but this is Vernon’s column. To put it very simply, Balmoral is one lekker ship.

Looking most distinctive in Orient Lines livery, she was CROWN ODYSSEY when this writer first sailed up the coast on her (a guest of Stewart Venn) It was love at first sight when I boarded the ship in Cape Town, sailing up to Durban, where I felt as if I was going to have to be dragged ashore (breaking up is hard to do!) Look at the Observatory Lounge…before the extension to the Bridge.

…and the British visa requirement for the UK has put somewhat of a damper on South Africans joining Fred. Olsen Cruise Line cruises in the past year. However, Stewart Venn, director Triton Cape Sea Travel in Cape Town says “Fred. Olsen has done well under the circumstances. Our average FOCL booking so far for 2014 is GB£4,200 per head and although still March, we’re on our way to making our figures for 2014.

…pound has affected all of our UK-based sterling denominated cruises, but this situation has happened before…in 2001 and 2008…and as our clients get used to the new levels or (hopefully) the rand recovers a little again, the numbers of passengers will recover once more.

Added to which, the absence of a Fred. Olsen ship visiting South Africa this year and the UK visa issue has not helped, with so many cruises being ex UK, Stewart told Ports & Ships, “but we do well on the longer, exotic world cruise sectors, hence the high average spend per person.”


The same Stewart Venn also invited the writer to sail up the South African coast when CROWN ODYSSEY became NORWEGIAN ODYSSEY. It was around 2003, and the love affair was on again.

Everyone gathers at the Observatory Lounge, no matter what the time of day. Morning and afternoon tea is served here, and there are pre-prandial libations and dancing to a live band available late afternoon…and more after dinner too. You can sit here watching the vessel depart and arrive at ports, and you can also spend hours here reading a thick tome. Ten out of 10 for this exemplary facility.


There was one little alteration that did not altogether please Terry Hutson and I. The deck area for’ard of the Observatory Lounge was extended (quite noticeably as revealed in this picture) to accommodate a larger Bridge, and both Terry and I felt the perfection of the special lounge has been diminished…but by no means ruined in every respect. The other attributes were there, the love affair was revived and, once again, disembarking in Durban was such sweet sorrow. I had been ensconced in one of the large window cabins below the lifeboats…which was most acceptable accommodation indeed.


Splendid sea views to the sides and aft enhance the generous deck space and inviting plunge pool on BALMORAL. It’s another very appealing aspect of the favourite cruise ship of your publisher and this writer. I have yet to cruise on her as BALMORAL, and one must never say never. The vessel features a wide range of itineraries, which keeps people coming back to this very beguiling ship, and she has her loyal followers, who return to cruise hither and thither whenever they can. I’d rather cruise the world on a vessel this size than on one of the current behemoths awash with zimmer frames and wheelchairs. Not that I don’t think any cruise liner is not the ideal place to spend one’s last breaths, or even pop one’s clogs! You could throw me over wrapped in a sheet for some peckish creature of the deep to find sustenance.

More information about Balmoral available on request at + 27 21 443 9030

Vernon Buxton for Ports & Ships


FLOATING NATURAL GAS PLANT macauhub 17 4 2014 47

Italy’s ENI oil group has asked interested companies to submit proposals for the construction of a floating plant to process liquefied natural gas extracted in Mozambique.

The Italian group is seeking expressions of interest in a “project to develop a Mozambican offshore field” and aims to select a company able to produce a front-end engineering design (FEED) for a floating platform and eventual future phases involving engineering, acquisition, construction and installation, as well as operation and maintenance services.

The floating platform will be anchored offshore in the Palma district. The announcement indicates it will “receive, process until liquefaction, and store liquefied natural gas produced from underwater wells and later unload it in transport ships for export.”

The ENI group is the operator in the Area 4 bloc of the Rovuma Basin off the shore of Cabo Delgado, where huge natural gas deposits have been discovered, with estimated reserves of more than 180 billion cubic feet.

A previously mentioned possibility was that the Italian group and the US company Anadarko Petroleum, which operates the adjacent Area 1 bloc, might share the costs of building liquefied natural gas plants on land, a project with an estimated cost of US$18 billion. - macauhub/MZ


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Captain Brian Hawkins

Captain Brian Hawkins has set sail into new but chartered waters after having teamed up with Gavin Howroyd of BLS Portco SA, as a director and shareholder.

Earlier, he resigned from Hull Blyth South Africa, incorporating Mainport Africa Shipping and Kestrel Maritime, the latter being two Durban-based companies he helped found. BLS Portco SA is an independent Ships Agency which has been operating since 2001 with its head office based in Durban and branches based at all South African ports and offering a full range of ships agency business.

In addition to BLS Portco’s ships agency business, a new company, Africahawk Maritime, has been established as a niche market Brokerage company with Hawkins as managing director and Howroyd as director.

Africahawk Maritime will focus on breakbulk, bulk, project, hazardous, IMO [including Class1], military vehicles, roro, abnormal heavy lift, shipper owned and liner container cargoes.

Capt. Brian Hawkins can be contacted at + 31 208 0130 or + 82 444 9190 or email brian@africahawk.co.za>


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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.


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Many are the strange and unusual looking ‘ships’ that arrive at the port of Cape Town these days, with most of them involved in one way or another in the oil and gas industries. Such a vessel that arrived in the Mother City last week was Heerema’s deepwater construction vessel, also referred to as a pipelayer, AEGIR (50,229-dwt, built 2012), owned and managed by Heerema Marine Contractors of Leiden, Netherlands. Pictures: Aad Noorland

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