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Ports & Ships Maritime News

20 May 2014
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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Mediterranean Shipping Company’s container vessel MSC GRACE makes her way along the Esplanade Channel heading for the Prince Edward Dry Dock where she is undertaking maintenance repairs. Picture: Trevor Jones

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Port of Maputo from the air. Picture: Terry Hutson

The depth of the access channel of the port of Maputo will increase from 11 to 14 metres, once dredging begins at the beginning of July, which will allow it to receive larger draught ships, Mozambique’s Transport and Communications Minister said in Maputo.

Gabriel Muthisse said that the government was happy that dredging had begun as making the channel deeper would make the port to be more competitive by allowing it to receive ships weighing up to 80,000 tons.

“In this way the port of Maputo will become more competitive in relation to other ports in the region as the ships will be able to establish routes between Maputo and large cargo hubs,” the minister said as quoted by the Maputo daily newspaper Notícias.

During the 6th Annual Conference of the Port of Maputo, the Transport and Communications Minister noted that, of all the players involved in the complex logistics chain, the rail component was the one with the greatest direct impact on sustainable development of a port like Maputo.

“It is not sustainable for any economy, even for the most robust, that large volumes of cargo, notably minerals, be carried by road, as roads become congested and this traffic clearly contributes to their poor state of repair,” said Muthisse.

In fact, the issue of transferring cargo from the road to the railways was also mentioned by Siyabonga Gama, CEO of South Africa’s Transnet Freight Rail(TFR). Gama said that joint efforts should be made to make the most of the region’s potential. - macauhub/MZ

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The Greek-owned ro-ro vessel Saloos, which has sunk off the coast of Cabinda

A Greek-managed cargo ship carrying 155 containers has sunk off the Cabinda coast, 383km to the north of Luanda, Angola.

The Greek-owned, Panamanian-registered ro-ro vessel SALOOS (6,950-gt, built 1983) was on charter to CMA CGM Group company, Delmas Shipping and was en route from Pointe-Noire.

No oil spills or injuries have been reported. The ship, which is managed by Jade SA of Athens and is owned by Navang Shipping, is lying on her side in about seven metres of water.

Early reports suggested there were as many as 200 containers on board but this was later corrected to 155 boxes. The oil company Chevron is assisting with the recovery of the containers which are said to be loaded with vehicles, building equipment, household appliances, food and other goods. Many of the containers were observed floating free in the sea.

So far there has been no confirmation of how the ship came to sink although it is reported that she had experienced engine problems shortly after leaving Pointe Noire. With a loss of engine power the ship may have drifted into shallow water, grounded and then capsized.

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Nick Davis, CEO of Gulf of Aden Transits Ltd

The shipping industry and coastal countries in West Africa should increase levels of training and co-operation to prevent maritime crime from spreading in the region, says one of the leading maritime security companies, the Gulf of Aden Group Transits Ltd (GoAGT).

For the last five years, increasing instability in the Sahel and Sahara region has been a source of growing concern for the world’s governments. Western onlookers have worried that the weakness of state control in the area would allow al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb a foothold.

Nick Davis, CEO of GoAGT(above) commented, “When there was instability of this type in East Africa, piracy began spreading rapidly in the waters off Somalia. Simply put, piracy offered a viable economic alternative. In West Africa, the persistent threat to shipping and infrastructure is widespread, costly, and dangerously under- reported, and with few barriers to entry other than speedboats, weapons and desperation, it could spread to the north.”

He added, “The situation demands a co-ordinated response like the UKMTO1 and MSCHOA2 for the whole of West Africa. This idea has been floated for a while, however, the multilateral naval co-operation that exists between coastal nations around the world, which has helped enormously in Somalia, seems to be far from reality off the west coast of Africa. Countries in the region do not seem to be willing to co-operate or even agree on a structure for a reporting system, and this is essential to tackle maritime crime at source before it becomes a major problem.”

Between Western Sahara’s disputed northern border to Cape Palmas, Liberia, lies a coastline of over 4000km and an Exclusive Economic Zone that is almost one million square kilometres, which is around half of the total size patrolled in the Indian Ocean.

Nick concluded by saying, “Sources suggest naval assets in the region suitable for the task of disrupting piracy number around 150 – that is over 6500km² each, if they are all fully serviceable and work together. However, these lack the necessary training and co-ordination and, with the high number of merchant vessels transiting cargo north to Europe, it creates an environment in which maritime crime could flourish very quickly. The maritime industry should examine the potential for crime now rather than take the reactive stance it has taken in the past. Unified action, training of local assets and communication could defeat piracy before it becomes a threat. However, with ever-present disputes over offshore energy ownership and fisheries zones a solution only seems possible after governments start seeing a sustained loss to their GDP.”

1. The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), with an office in Dubai is part of the contribution by the Royal Navy to ensure that trade can safely transit the area.

2. The Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) aims to safeguard trade through high risk areas. With up to 95% of EU Member States’ trade (by volume) transported by sea and 20% of global trade passing through the Gulf of Aden, EU NAVFOR gives considerable effort to safeguarding trade through this strategic area.

MSCHOA is an initiative established by the European Union’s, EU NAVFOR, with close co-operation from industry. The MSCHOA provides 24-hour manned monitoring of vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden, whilst the provision of an interactive website enables the centre to communicate the latest anti-piracy guidance to industry, and for shipping companies and operators to register their vessels’ movements through the region.

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A mutually beneficial working partnership between EBH Namibia and Rolls-Royce has resulted in Rolls-Royce’s marine division, Marine & Industrial Power Systems (MIPS), operating a dedicated servicing hub for all Rolls-Royce marine equipment at EBH Namibia’s Walvis Bay facility in Namibia.

Elgin Brown & Hamer (EBH) Namibia has been the successfully positioning of itself as a shipyard of choice along the west coast of Africa. One of the keys to this success has been a savvy approach to forming partnerships with both the public and the private sector locally and internationally.

According to Hannes Uys, Chief Executive Officer of EBH Namibia, the value of forging working partnerships is very much a part not only of EBH Namibia’s own operational ethos, but that of the overall strategy of the DCD marine cluster, of which EBH Namibia is a part.

“Working hand-in-hand with our majority shareholder, the Namibia Ports Authority (NAMPORT) as well as with our other shareholder, the DCD Group, has placed us in a stronger position in terms of our value offering to our clients,” says Uys.

“It is important to find synergies among players in the industry in order to leverage off each other’s expertise, and a working example of this is our partnership with Rolls-Royce,” he says.

Based on an agreement which was signed in early 2011, Rolls-Royce, under the auspices of its marine division Marine & Industrial Power Systems (MIPS), has been operating a dedicated servicing hub at EBH Namibia’s Walvis Bay facility.

According to the agreement, Rolls-Royce Marine gains preferential rights to providing service on all Rolls-Royce equipment coming into the shipyard. In return, the co- operation is expected to bring an increased flow of customers into the shipyard. “The benefit to customers is that they can readily gain access to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) skill sets required for quality work,” explains Justin Russell, Service Centre Manager at Rolls-Royce Namibia. “Customers will also benefit from a co-ordinated approach for their vessel servicing needs.”

Uys adds that partnerships - such as with Rolls-Royce - feed into EBH Namibia’s overall aim of providing the highest levels of service delivery.

“Ultimately, it is the client who benefits. Access to an additional body of highly skilled service engineers has enhanced our capacity to deliver truly world-class support for our customers. A co-ordinated approach to customer support also benefits the growth strategies of both parties.”

Another part of EBH Namibia’s growth strategy has been the company’s investment in a third (Panamax-size) floating dock, which was commissioned in October 2013. At 195 metres in length and with a lifting capacity of 15,000 tons, the new dock has substantially increased the shipyard’s infrastructural capacity and its ability to compete on a global scale.

Rolls-Royce looks set to share in these benefits.
“The new Panamax dock can take up to four Rolls-Royce UT-designed supply and service vessels. Not only will this translate into an increase in our activity, but it adds to Namibia’s reputation as an increasingly attractive ship repair hub,” says Russell.

“It is Rolls-Royce’s strategy to intensify its co-operation with shipyards in strategic locations to provide expert technical support as close to our customers as possible. Our agreement with EBH Namibia feeds into that strategy, thanks to EBH’s highly desirable position on the west coast of Africa, and its strong reputation in the industry,” he says.

From EBH Namibia’s perspective, its agreement with Rolls-Royce is further proof of the value of synergistic partnerships which support the company’s overall growth strategy.

“Mutually beneficial partnerships, such as with Rolls-Royce, translate not only into new opportunities for growth, but form an essential part of our overall aim, which is to provide the kind of support and service our international shipping clients expect from us.

By aligning ourselves with like-minded, quality service providers, and co-ordinating our efforts, we are further consolidating our reputation as a service hub of choice along the busy west coast shipping route,” Uys concludes.

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MSC0706078 Ship MSC Armonia cropped 470
MSC Armonia, Lirica-class sister ship to MSC Opera and MSC Sinfonia

The laying out of the new block of the cruise ship MSC ARMONIA’s keel yesterday (19 May) marked the beginning of the Renaissance programme, an important step towards ensuring that all of MSC Cruises’ ships benefit from the latest in terms of technology and comfort.

The section being laid out this week weighs around 350 tonnes. In the next three months an additional three sections will be built, which are currently being cut in the Palermo (Italy) yard. The whole block will be finished at the end of July, and will be inserted in the mid-section of the ship at the end of August when MSC Armonia will arrive at the shipyard. Close to 200 cabins will be added, as well as new entertainment spaces and new technological enhancements.

The ships will boast a completely new spray park, with an exhilarating pathway of water features and water cannons. The impressive onboard boutiques will be enhanced with new interiors, more space and an all-new perfumery with display corners dedicated to leading brands. The end of the work is scheduled for 17 November 2014, the day on which the ship will leave the shipyard to sail to Genoa before heading to the Canary islands.

The Renaissance programme, which was announced in December 2013, represents an investment close to €200 million for the four ships of the Lirica class (MSC Armonia, MSC Lirica, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Opera) and will be complete in 2015.

Schedule and key figures

MSC’s Lirica class Renaissance programme will follow the below dry dock schedule:

  • MSC Armonia (2004): 31 August to 17 November 2014

  • MSC Sinfonia (2005): 12 January to 16 March 2015

  • MSC Opera (2004): 2 May to 4 July 2015

  • MSC Lirica (2003): 31 August to 9 November 2015

  • The four Lirica Class ships were built between 2003 and 2005 at the STX yards in Saint-Nazaire, France. They are currently 251 metres long, weigh 60,000 tons and carry 2,069 travellers. After the “Renaissance programme”, the ships will be 275 meters long, weigh 65,000 tons and carry 2,680 travellers, boasting 193 additional cabins (plus 59 new cabins for crew members).


    SA Port Handbook cover

    Following a successful launch of the second edition of the South African Port Handbook at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston during the first week of May, SAOGA (South African Oil & Gas Alliance) has made the information available in a user-friendly .pdf format on the internet.

    Readers can find the online version in an e-book format on this link to the SA Port Handbook - use your BACKSPACE key to return to this page.


    PECT aerial 470
    The Port of Port Elizabeth, in need of a new harbour master

    Port of Richards Bay
    A couple of changes in personnel have taken place at the South African ports. In the Port of Richards Bay Captain Aretha Nompumelelo Mkhize has been appointed as acting Deputy Harbour Master until further notice. Capt. Mkhize’s contact numbers are 035 905 3147 or cell 078 993 1060 or email at Nompumelelo.mkhize2@transnet.net

    Capt.Neil Chetty
    Further south, the harbour master at Port Elizabeth and acting Harbour Master at the Port of Ngqura for the past three years, Captain Neil Chetty has resigned from Transnet and is taking up a post internationally. Capt. Chetty served with the TNPA as Tugmaster, Open License Pilot, Deputy Harbour Master (Durban), before taking up his post at Port Elizabeth and then later adding the port of Ngqura to his responsibilities.

    He says that all these activities have helped prepare him for his new venture outside of South Africa. He is taking up a position in Abu Dhabi that will be involved in port construction and development and port management. This entails constructing ports on islands to support the oil and gas industry.

    PORTS & SHIPS wishes him well as he joins a number of other South African port people now working in the Gulf.


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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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    VERUDA aad 

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    VERUDA aad 

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    The bulk ship VERUDA (51,886-dwt, built 2011) called at Cape Town last week and made an attractive sight when departing for the high seas, with Table Mountain as a backdrop and looking its finest. The ship is owned and managed by Croatian interests and is flagged in the Adriatic country. Pictures: Aad Noorland

    Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za


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