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Ports & Ships Maritime News

24 June 2014
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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Jewel of the Seas St 

Maarten 25 mai 2014 2

Royal Caribbean Line’s cruise ship JEWEL OF THE SEAS (90,090-gt, built 2004) at St Maarten in the Caribbean on 25 May of this year. The Bahamas-flagged ship is 293m in length with a beam of 32.2m (don’t you always like the way naval architects maximise the width of their designs down to the last centimetre, while ensuring that they will be able to squeeze through the locks of the Panama Canal?). The ship has 13 decks and carries up to 2,501 passengers who are cared for by a crew of 842. Picture: Roberto Smera

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Greenpeace activists blockading the Safmarine Sahara in the entrance to La Rochelle harbour

A group of 12 Greenpeace activists on Sunday (22 June) prevented a Safmarine container ship, SAFMARINE SAHARA from entering the port of La Rochelle in protest against a consignment of tropical timber that was being carried in containers on board the ship.

The Greenpeace activists operated with three zodiacs in the water which they used to create a barrier across the ship’s path, preventing the vessel from entering the port.

After an impasse lasting several hours, port authorities asked the ship to turn about and go to anchor in the outer anchorage. Militants meanwhile came alongside and succeeded in painting the words ‘Illegal Wood’ on the ship’s hull.

After the police were asked to intervene the Greenpeace activists called off the blockade, having considered that their point had been made.

According to Greenpeace, the action exposes Europe’s role in fuelling the destruction of the Amazon rainforest by buying timber illegally logged in the region. Greenpeace is urging the owner of the shipment on board Safmarine Sahara to reject timber from illegal loggers until they can prove that the timber comes from legal sources.

* See also the report below Mozambique confirms illegal timber exports

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Dar es Salaam

South African companies will for the first time participate in the Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair, in Tanzania, this week.

“As a department, we recognise the importance of increasing trade between South Africa and other countries on the continent with the aim of boosting intra-Africa trade,” Trade and Industry (dti) Minister Rob Davies said, on Sunday.

A total of 14 companies will participate in the 38th edition of the fair that will take place from 28 June to 8 July.

Minister Davies said the dti responded positively to the invitation by the organisers of the trade fair because it believes that the fair will provide a platform to strengthen bilateral trade between South Africa and Tanzania with the expectation of promoting intra-Africa trade, as well as economic integration of the continent.

“We are confident that the group of businesspeople that we have assisted to participate in the multi-sectoral international trade fair in Tanzania will not only showcase the best of the products and services that this country can offer, but will also find markets in East Africa to export their products to, and identify opportunities for investment and joint ventures,” said Minister Davies.

The participation of the companies is through the Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) scheme, which is part of the department’s export development strategy that is aimed at boosting the country’s export capacity.

The participation in the fair will enable representatives of the companies to gain regional and international business contacts from other companies exhibiting at the fair, as well as increase market knowledge about the Tanzanian market, among others.

Tanzania is South Africa’s 13th largest trading partner in Africa. Trade between South Africa and Tanzania currently stands at R4.67 billion.

During the past year, South Africa remained the 4th largest exporter to the Tanzanian market. The main products exported to Tanzania last year included base metals and articles, machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment, sound recorders, mineral products, prepared foodstuffs, beverages, spirits and transport equipment. – SAnews.gov.za

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Tanzania CIA Factbook (jpeg)

The Tanzanian government has prepared a concept note calling for the construction of a fishing port to attract foreign deep-sea fishing fleets and increase employment and revenue opportunities.

Deputy Minister for Livestock Development and Fisheries, Mr Kaika Telele said in Parliament that the establishment of the fishing port would encourage foreign trawlers to Tanzania. The concept note sent to the Planning Commission spells out the need for such a port to be included in the implementation of national projects.

He said completion of the fishing port would enable foreign trawlers to dock and hence contribute in developing the fisheries sector by increasing employment opportunities and income for Tanzanians as well as providing revenue for the state.

Lack of a fishing port was one of the reasons given by the government for failing to collect revenue from foreign vessels involved in deep sea fishing along Tanzania’s coastline.

The government has been under pressure for failing to collect revenue from deep sea fishing, which the Standing Parliamentary Budget Committee has highlighted as an alternative source of foreign revenue.

The chairman of the committee, Andrew Chenge, accused the government of showing a lack of creativity by concentrating on the same sources of revenue generation which led to a deficit on the 2013/14 budget.

Presenting an evaluation of the implementation of the 2013/14 budget and recommendation for the 2014/15 budget last Monday, Mr Chenge said the government had ignored advice from his committee on new sources of non-tax revenue which include deep sea fishing, hunting, forestry and mining.

“We call on the government to work on the advice given,” he said. - Tanzania Daily News

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Born in 1965, MARCO POLO is not only a classic liner in the true sense, she is a truly historic ship heading for her 50th year in service…and is still bringing exceptional cruise pleasure to a host of passengers who remain deeply loyal to the old girl.

This correspondent is among the fortunate to have experienced this splendid old ship, twice in fact, as a guest of Stewart Venn of Triton Cape Sea Travel. The first time was before…and then after a considerable refit, and the result was a memorable classic cruise experience and it is just so wondrous to imagine that this incredible vessel will be celebrating 50 years of service next year.

“MARCO POLO turns 50 next year, with celebrations planned,” Stewart told Ports & Ships, and you can bet that this publication will be bringing news of all the excitement as it happens. In the meantime, it’s perhaps an appropriate time to remind of you of the fascinating career path of this authentically historic vessel.

MARCO POLO is owned by Global Maritime, under charter to UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages. She was built in 1965 as ALEKSANDR PUSHKIN (named after the Russian poet) for the Soviet Union’s Baltic Shipping Company. At one point of her illustrious career she was one of just three passenger liners in transatlantic service, alongside Cunard Lines’ RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 and Polish Ocean Line’s STEFAN BATORY. In 1991 the ship was sold to Orient Lines - the brainchild of cruise lines and hotels entrepreneur, Gerry Herrod - and renamed MARCO POLO. Her engines were reconfigured and in a Greek shipyard a near-total reconstruction of the ship commenced. Externally this resulted in notable extension of the rear superstructure and heightening of the funnel to maintain the proportions of the ship. Internally the ship was almost entirely rebuilt and the refit took 2½ years. In 1993, MARCO POLO began a varying itinerary of cruises all over the world, including more unusual destinations such as South-East Asia and Antarctica.

In 2002, Orient Lines was sold to Norwegian Cruise Lines and the ship’s cruises continued as before, but as a result of the NCL deal, CROWN ODYSSEY (now BALMORAL) joined her in the Orient Lines fleet in 2000, turning the company into a two-ship brand. However, the CROWN ODYSSEY left the Orient fleet in 2003, and MARCO POLO became again the sole ship of the brand. Since 2005 she has also been the sole surviving Ivan Franko-class vessel, the other sisters having either sunk or been scrapped.

The picture is a true reflection of the traditional top-end style of service based on the grand liners of yesteryear. This is what created loyal customers and they returned again and again to be looked after and be served regally by the mainly Filipino crew. In 2007, NCL sold MARCO POLO to the Greece-based Global Maritime, who chartered the ship to the German-based Transocean Tours, to operate cruises out of the United Kingdom, as well as Germany. The sale also meant the end of the Orient Lines brand. The vessel was later chartered to United Kingdom-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

The main pool deck aft, one of MARCO POLO’s exceptional attributes, allowing for abundant open air seating and is a major gathering point at all times of the day and night. There’s always something going on here and it’s where guests head for after a shore excursion to swop experiences with fellow passengers. I loved my two voyages on the MARCO POLO and I am beyond thrilled to be told that she is still a player in the competitive world of cruising. You just don’t build them like this anymore.

Another look at the curved stern of the 49-year-old MARCO POLO, revealing a classic style of ship’s architecture that has long been relegated to the annals of history. If you never had a chance to cruise on a Union-Castle liner, then this ship is as close as you can get to that experience.

With her ice-strengthened hull, the 22,080gt MARCO POLO was a hit on the Antarctica run…and she still plies the world on creative itineraries that bring back loyal guests time and again.

Vernon Buxton for Ports & Ships

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Mozambique’s Central Office for the Fight Against Corruption (GCCC) has confirmed serious allegations of illegal exports of wood and evasion of taxes by two companies owned by Chinese citizens in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

The GCCC was alerted to these crimes by a British-based NGO, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), which looked at the figures from both the Mozambican and Chinese ends of the timber trade and spotted enormous discrepancies. The imports of Mozambican timber declared in China massively exceed the exports declared in Mozambique.

According to the EIA report, in 2012 China recorded imports of wood (logs and sawn wood) of 450,000 cubic metres. Yet for the same year Mozambique recorded exports of wood of 260,385 cubic metres, not merely to China but to the entire world.

When the Chinese figures are broken down, 323,000 cubic metres of the wood imports from Mozambique are logs. The total exports of logs in the Mozambican records are just 41,543 cubic metres.

Discrepancies on this scale cannot be dismissed as mathematical or accounting mistakes. They indicate that hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of wood were exported illegally to China in 2012, mostly in the form of unprocessed logs.

A press release from the GCCC said that prosecutors investigated the allegations against the companies Mozambique First International Development Ltd (Mofid) and Senlian International Investment Corporation in Mozambique Ltd, and found strong evidence that both were involved in smuggling precious hardwoods.

One of the companies (the GCCC does not specify which) exported almost 6,400 cubic metres of wood in the form of logs, planks and boards in 2011 and 2012 without possessing the necessary authorisations from the Mozambican authorities.

The second company, between 2007 and 2009, exported over 3,800 cubic metres of blackwood (pau preto) logs without paying the taxes owing. Furthermore, first class hardwoods should never be exported as logs, but only after processing.

Under the Mozambican definition, these acts do not constitute crimes of corruption. But they do fall under the category of administrative infractions and tax offences. The GCCC has thus informed the Cabo Delgado Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and the Mozambique Tax Authority (AT) so that the cases “may be dealt with appropriately.” The GCCC promises that the Public Prosecutor’s Office will follow these cases.

But the GCCC could find no evidence that the Mozambican citizens named in the EIA report had any holdings in the two companies. Delicately, the release declines to mention who these citizens are – but anyone who bothers to look up the EIA report will find that the Mozambicans named as supposedly involved in timber smuggling are Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco and the former governor of Tete province, Tomas Mandlate.

The allegations against Pacheco were always very flimsy, amounting to no more than boasts by one of the owners of MOFID, Liu Chaoying, that he had close relations with the minister.

EIA investigators, posing as clients, talked to Liu, who told them that he could export large quantities of hardwoods. Liu claimed close connections with Pacheco, claiming “me and him are like brothers”, describing him as “a friend”, and alleging that when the Minister “needs money, he has come looking for me.”

Such claims of close ties with Pacheco may only be the idle boast of a crooked businessman trying to impress someone he believes to be a client. Pacheco roundly denied the allegations.

As for Mandlate, EIA investigators say they met him at the home of a man named Xu in Pemba in September 2012. Xu is a senior official in the second company, Senlian. Mandlate was staying at Xu’s house during the Frelimo Tenth Congress held in Pemba during that month. According to the report, Mandlate claimed that his role is “to help the company solve some problems.”

Xu supposedly said that Mandlate “takes care of the liaison work, such as export quotas, and forest concession permits”, for which the Chinese company paid him a salary and gave him a share of the company.

But Senlian ran into trouble in April 2012, when 34 of its containers full of illegal logs were seized, resulting in large fines and forcing Senlian to suspend log exports for the rest of the year. Nonetheless, Xu hoped that Mandlate would smooth the way to resuming illegal exports. “He will sort it out for me next year”, he claimed. Mandlate strongly denied any involvement with Xu in the illegal timber trade. And if he was indeed given a share in Senlian, it was not registered.

But the question of whether Mozambican officials held shares in Mofid or Senlian is irrelevant. The main accusation against Pacheco and Mandlate in the EIA report is not that they were shareholders, but that they facilitated illegal exports. The GCCC release does not tackle this allegation. - AIM


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The German-owned bulker King Sugar. Picture: Claus Schaefe, Shipspotting

The decomposing bodies of two men, believed to be stowaways, were found on a dry bulk ship when it berthed in Durban at the weekend.

The bodies were discovered inside a hatch which when it was opened once the KING SUGAR was alongside at Maydon Wharf 15 on Sunday (22 June). Police and the South African Maritime Safety Authority were notified and are investigating.

King Sugar arrived in Durban from Campana in Argentina, with calls at the Recalada anchorage and at Cape Town in between.

The deceased have not been identified.


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Gateway port

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 container 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.


OCEAN SWIFT aad noorland CT 

(3) 470

MARIANAS aad noorland 6 06 2014 (2)

Opposite extremes! At opposite ends of the size scale, Servest’s new crew and work boat for the Port of Walvis Bay, OCEAN SWIFT (top) is seen hastening across the waters of Cape Town harbour. Ocean Swift is one of about ten similar workboats recently built locally for the company’s operations in ports from Walvis Bay into Mozambique and including most South Africa ports.

The lower picture shows the oil rig TRANSOCEAN MARIANAS towering over the two harbour tugs that are dwarfed by comparison. Built to an enhanced Sedco 700 series design, the rig is capable of drilling in waters of 7,000ft and to a depth of 30,000ft. The picture was taken on 6 June as the rig was being prepared to be taken under tow by the offshore tug PERIDOT. They have since departed from the Mother City. Both pictures: Aad Noorland

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