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Ports & Ships Maritime News

17 February 2015
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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QI LIN SONG 13 February 2015 480

The Hong Kong registered and owned general cargo ship QI LIN SONG (27,307-dwt, built 2010) seen outward bound from the port of Durban this month. The multi-purpose ship is a part of the COSCO Hong Kong fleet of vessels. Picture: Trevor Jones

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Yet another ferry boat accident on the Congo River this time looks set to claim the lives of dozens more passengers, following the collision between two boats in western Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The World Health Organisation reported last week that the accident occurred along a stretch of river about 200km northeast of Kinshasa. It was said to have been caused by a strong whirlwind that occurred as the boats neared river rapids.

A total of 42 passengers survived the accident, making it to shore and three bodies have been recovered, but dozens more passengers are feared to have drowned. As is normal with river and lake transport, there appears to have been no passenger manifest but according to witness accounts, one of the boats was carrying at least 150 people.

According to the local transport authority on the river however, the boat was carrying 100 people.

The second boat did not suffer damage and survived the accident.

The only official statement so far came to the provincial governor’s office in Bandundu which said that dozens or passengers were missing.

The governor was reported by the WHO as being on his way to the scene, accompanied by a WHO team with emergency medical supplies.

The Congo River extends more than 4,000km (2,500 miles) from its source in northern Zambia to its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean. Due to a lack of roads and railways, the river acts as a major means of transport but is poorly regulated and accidents continue to occur due to lax safety standards.

Just on Monday last week another river boat caught fire in northern Congo, resulting in at least seven people dying. – WHO and Demanjo

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438px Iles eparses de l'ocean Indien svg
French Esparses group of islands surrounding Madagascar

France has avowed to continue providing a strong naval presence in the western Indian Ocean, even after the 2016 expiry of the Operation Atalanta mandate of which French naval forces constitute a significant part.

The French ambassador to the Seychelles, Véronique Roger-Lacan gave this assurance following last week’s African Union meeting on maritime security which was held in the Seychelles.

France remains the only former colonial power to maintain a naval and military presence in the Indian Ocean, with a naval base on the island of Reunion and French Foreign Legionaires stationed on various small island dependencies including those of the Esparses group in the Mozambique Channel, consisting of the islands of Europa, Bassas da India, Juan de Nova and the two Glorieuses.

On each of these France maintains a ‘garrison’ of 15 soldiers who remain on the island for a deployment of 45 days. They are serviced and supplied by the French Navy landing ship LA GRANDIERE (L9034) which is based at Reunion and rotates and supplies the troops on or off the islands as necessary.

Most of the soldiers duties involve protecting France’s sovereignty over each island, in particular against any trespassing fishermen but they also serve to discourage any possible use of these remote islands by would-be pirates.

France is also a member of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), whose anti-piracy unit is based in Victoria, Seychelles. “We are part of the IOC and it is out of the question that we abandon our responsibilities,” said Roger-Lacan.

According to the ambassador, the reduction in piracy in the region meant that more attention can be paid to other types of crime, including drug smuggling, human trafficking and associated money laundering.

She disclosed that the recent AU meeting talked about plans to create a new control and information exchange centre in the southern Indian Ocean, where both France and South Africa have possessions. This would be in addition to the Djibouti training facility and maritime information-sharing centres in Sana’a (Yemen), Mombasa (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania).

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Mozambique Macuse map CIA 350px Mz map
Mozambique, showing location of planned railway from Tete (Motaize) to Macuse on north of Zambezi River

Construction of a new railway line linking the coal mining district of Moatize and the new port of Macuse in Mozambique is being delayed while funding is organised in order to move ahead, said Mozambique’s Minister for Transport and Communications, Carlos Mesquita.

“It is currently in the stage of securing funding, and construction work will begin when all conditions are in place,” the minister said.

After talking with the administration of the state-owned company, Mesquita said he had been “moved by the amount of projects” being undertaken by CFM.

Nevertheless, the minister challenged the company's board of directors to create more infrastructure in oil and gas exploration areas in the north, to allow production to flow.

In December 2013 the government of Mozambique awarded the construction of the railway line connecting the provinces of Tete and Zambezia, over a distance of 525 kilometres to a Thai firm.

Spokesman Alberto Nkutumula said at the time that the government’s Council of Ministers approved the decree establishing the terms for concession of the Moatize/Macuse line as well as facilities at the port of Macuse in Namacurra district, Zambezia province.

Nkutumula said that the decree establishes the legal basis for granting construction, operation, maintenance and management of the facility being built, and its commercial exploration to a private operator.

The Mozambican press reported that this project will cost an estimated US$3.5 billion and Thai group Italthai Engineering was named as the best placed company to implement it. – O País and macauhub

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Anthem of the Seas, ready for her floating out on Saturday

Royal Caribbean Cruises’ latest ship, the 168,666-gt ANTHEM OF THE SEAS, is about ready to be floated out from her construction hangar at the German shipyard of Meyer Werft.

The big day is set for this Saturday, 21 February after almost all of the huge ship’s construction had been completed.

Anthem of the Seas is the second ship in the Quantum series and will be one of the largest cruise ships afloat. Once floated out she will be taken to the shipyard’s pier at Papenburg for final testing that includes thruster and stabiliser tests conducted in the harbour.

On completion of these tests she will be berthed at the repair quay for the remaining interior work to be completed. In mid-March Anthem of the Seas will make her way down the river Ems to the North Sea to begin her planned schedule of cruises.

With 16 accessible passenger decks, eight of which feature balconies, Anthem of the Seas will cater for up to 4,180 passengers. There are three ships planned in the Quantum class – Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas – the latter being due for launching in the third quarter of 2016.

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Anthem of the Seas’ sister ship, Quantum of the Seas. Picture: Shipspotting

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by Christina Benjaminsen

Is it possible for a redundant fishing vessel to be used as a power plant? Absolutely! The first vessel of its kind is now anchored offshore in the Stadthavet area west of Ålesund, Norway, with the aim of generating electricity from the natural forces of the sea.

The idea is as brilliant as it is simple.

“In principle, it works almost like a bicycle pump” says engineer and Project Manager Edgar Kvernevik at Kvernevik Engineering AS.

For the last two years his company has been working with Geir Arne Solheim, the founder of Havkraft AS in Norway, and the man who came up with the idea, to develop and build the wave power plant now installed in a former trawler/autoline vessel.

But how do you get a fishing vessel to work like a gigantic bicycle pump?

The makers have met this challenge by installing four large chambers in the vessel’s bow. As the waves strike the vessel, the water level in the chambers rises. This creates an increase in air pressure which in turn drives four turbines – one for each chamber. The pitch of the vessel also contributes by generating additional air pressure in the chambers when the wave height is large. The design of the chambers is such that they work in response to different wave heights, which means that the energy is exploited very effectively.

“The plant thus produces electricity with the help of what is called a fluctuating water column”, explains Kvernevik, who has spent much of his working life designing and building vessels. “All we have to do is to let the vessel swing at anchor in a part of the ocean with sufficient wave energy. Everything is designed to be remotely-controlled from onshore”, he says.

New application of a tried and trusted principle

The company Havkraft AS, which came up with the original concept, is based in Raudeberg in Nordfjord, Norway. Solheim, the company’s founder, has been working here with wave energy for more than 15 years. The company is now receiving funding from Innovation Norway to help put the idea into practice.

The “fluctuating water column” concept is a tried and trusted approach. However, installing a wave energy plant inside a fishing vessel is something no-one has done before.

“This floating power plant has also been equipped with a special anchoring system which means that it is always facing into the incoming waves”, explains Kvernevik. “This ensures that the plant is in the optimal position at all times”, he says.

Full overview of energy production

svingende vannsyle ill endre barstad fornybar no
A fluctuating water column is enclosed in a partly-submerged hollow structure. The column is open below the water line and contains a pocket of air in its upper part. The water column rises and falls within the structure in response to wave movements. These movements cause pressure fluctuations which force air in and out of the surge chamber at the top of the structure. (Source: Fornybar.no) Illustration: Endre Bardal.

But Havkraft AS is not alone. One of the organisations contributing to the project is MARINTEK, which has developed a mathematical model and run a number of simulations of the plant. This has provided developers with a better overall picture of how much energy can be extracted from the waves. The project has advanced on the basis of analyses, model experiments and full-scale simulations.

“The use of simulations and dynamic analyses, in combination with model experiments, has enabled us to avoid beating repeatedly around the bush using the standard approach of trying out different scales of model”, says Kvernevik. “This has saved us time and money. We now have a full-scale model constructed and installed”, he says.

The nominal capacity of the plant is 4 x 50kW – 200kW in total. MARINTEK’s computations indicate that the plant is capable of producing 320,000 kWh per year.

Advanced engineering

Even though the principle behind the plant is simple, there is a lot of advanced engineering installed on board.

None of the moving parts are in direct contact with salt water. In fact, the only moving parts are the turbines, which are installed above the vessel’s deck. Moreover, it is constructed so that it runs the same way regardless of whether the chambers are “inhaling” or “exhaling”.

The vessel is currently located offshore Stadtlandet, in an area where the company Stadt Wind AS has a renewable energy testing licence. This is one of three test sites in the Stadthavet area, which together comprise the so-called Stadt Test Area.

A study of an offshore wind farm (the 1080MW Stadtwind project, involving floating wind turbines) was previously carried out in the same area. The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) subsequently declared the area as one of the few in Norway suitable for the installation of floating offshore wind farms. The annual average wind speed measured in the area is 11 m/s, which is higher than any other location in Norway, including the North Sea. This indicates that the area is clearly well suited to the exploitation of renewable energy from wind and waves, which is interesting because in the long-term, the project plans to look into the possibility of combining floating wave power plants with wind turbines.

Hydrogen production next

“We see this project as a three-stage rocket”, says Kvernevik.

“The first stage is to test the model we have just built to make sure that electricity generation can be carried out as planned. Next, a hydrogen production plant will be installed on board the vessel so that the electricity generated can be stored in the form of hydrogen gas. We have high hopes that hydrogen will be the car fuel of the future. Our aim is to work with others to produce hydrogen at a competitive price – based on an infinite resource and involving no harmful emissions”, says Kvernevik optimistically.

“The plan is then to construct a plant with a nominal capacity of 1000kW (1MW). We will do this by installing five production modules similar to the current plant either on a larger vessel or a custom-built barge. Finally, we will build a semi-submersible platform designed to carry a 4MW wave power plant with a 6MW wind turbine installed on top”, he says.

MARINTEK in Trondheim is one of the project partners which have contributed towards the development of the wave power plant.

“We have built a basic computational model of the plant”, says MARINTEK’s Jørgen Hals Todalshaug, a hydrodynamicist and an expert in wave energy. The project will now be running a series of field tests at sea which will provide Havkraft AS with experience of how the plant works under operational conditions.

The tests will also provide quantitative data that can be used to improve and calibrate the computational model, and thus improve its accuracy. – Gemeni.no

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Picture: Harry S/Marinetraffic

French shipping line CMA CGM has announced a rate restoration increase of US$50 per TEU on its Far East – Port Elizabeth service, known as the SHAKA service.

The rate restoration affects all cargo from Asian ports including Japan, South East Asia and Bangladesh, to Port Elizabeth, and has taken effect as from last Friday, 13 February 2015.


Jacob Stolt Nielsen 225

The death of a maritime and industry giant, Jacob Stolt-Nielsen has been announced.

Jacob Stolt-Nielsen passed away on Sunday (15 February 2015) at his home in Oslo. He was 83 years of age.

Mr Stolt-Nielsen lived an eventful life full of accomplishments. He founded Stolt Tankers in 1959 and saw it grow into the world’s largest chemical tanker company. In 1971 he established Stolthaven Terminals which now operates 20 liquid-bulk storage facilities worldwide.

In the same year he was co-founder and the first chairman of Det Norske Oljeselskap (DNO). A year later he founded Stolt Sea Farm, becoming a pioneer in salmon farming. The company is today recognized as a leader in high-tech aquaculture, focusing on sole, turbot and sturgeon for caviar.

In 1973 he established Stolt-Nielsen Seaway A/S which later became Stolt Offshore, a billion dollar diving and subsea company that is now part of Subsea 7.

In 1982 he founded Stolt Tank Containers, which has gone on to become the world’s largest tank container operator.

In December 2009 Mr Stolt-Nielsen stepped down as chairman of the board of directors of Stolt-Nielsen Limited, a position he had held since founding the company in 1959. He remained a director until his retirement in December 2014. He held the position of Chief Executive Officer of Stolt-Nielsen Limited from 1959 until 2000.

Stolt-Nielsen Limited today employs more than 5,000 people in 42 offices around the world. Mr Jacob Stolt-Nielsen is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nadia, two daughters, Siri and Lise, two sons, Jacob B (a Director of Stolt-Nielsen Limited) and Niels Gregers (a Director and Chief Executive Officer of Stolt-Nielsen Limited), and their families, including 13 grandchildren.



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Gateway port

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JIAOLONG SPIRIT aad noorland 2 (3) 480

JIAOLONG SPIRIT aad noorland 1 (3) 480

The Capesize crude oil tanker JIAOLONG SPIRIT (159,021-dwt, built 2009) called at Cape Town recently to take bunkers and supplies. The Bahamas-flagged tanker is managed by Teekay Shipping of Singapore which also represents the ship’s owner. Picture: Aad Noorland

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