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Ports & Ships Maritime News

14 April 2015
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ latest Quantum class ship has been delivered to the company by the builder, Meyer Werft Shipyard of Papenburg, Germany. ANTHEM OF THE SEAS is RCCL’s 23rd ship and will be homeported at Southamption for the Euroepan summer months until October when New York becomes the new ship’s winter homeport, sailing between Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean. See article below. Picture: RCCL

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Dubai Sun, the vessel featured in the recent Maputo court case reported below. Picture: Siddarta G Gaonkar

Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group (BGAG) recently represented the Charterers of the MV DUBAI SUN, a vessel which touched the bottom of Berth 15 at the port of Maputo, Mozambique during loading of a cargo of chrome.

As a result, loading was delayed; the vessel had to leave the berth, move outside the port and could not return until about a week later when additional fenders were placed on the quayside to push the vessel out into deeper water.

The Charterers claimed damages from the port authority, Maputo Port Development Corporation (MPDC). This arose out of the additional charter hire which had to be paid to the owners of the vessel during the delay period together with all of the port and underwater inspection costs incurred by the Charterers.

The basis of the claim against MPDC was that they had made a negligent and false representation about the berth depth by publishing a particular water depth in the berth and confirming that it was safe for the vessel to load at the berth to the draft advised to MPDC by the vessel’s agents.

As it transpired, the water depth was significantly less than that published by MPDC and the vessel was unable to load safely, touching the bottom of the berth before completion of loading and taking a two degree list.

The Charterers successfully sued MPDC in the Maputo High Court. The Judge found that MPDC was responsible in terms of its concession agreement for the dredging of the berths and maintenance of their depths, even though dredging was sub-contracted to a third party.

By making the misrepresentation about the berth depth at a time when it was responsible for maintaining the berth depths, it brought about the losses suffered by the Charterers as they relied on the misrepresentation to their detriment.

A statement issued by Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group said that what was particularly heartening about the decision was to note the independence of the Mozambique Court and its willingness to give a judgment in favour a foreign entity against a partially State-owned local entity.

More importantly, this judgment may have some other implications for MPDC given the recent spate of groundings at both the berth and in the channel of various vessels.

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Azores, the former Stockholm

The cruise ship AZORES (12,165-gt, built 1946) under charter to British cruise company Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) and with almost 500 mostly British passengers on board, was held up under a judicial order, delaying the ship from sailing from Lisbon.

The reason for the ship’s detention was because of a claim of an unpaid debt between a former crew member and the owners of the ship and apparently had nothing to do with CMV.

The ship was about to sail for Bristol in England to complete a 15-night cruise when the Portuguese court authorities instructed the harbour master to withhold permission for the ship to sail as scheduled.

Only when CMV came to an arrangement with the Lisbon court was the Azores allowed to leave, some 19 hours late. A spokesman for CMV said the delay had shortened the planned cruise itinerary by a day.

“The ship was originally scheduled to arrive in Bristol Avonmouth on Friday 10 April 2015. However due to a delayed departure from the port of Lisbon on the previous cruise, we had no option but to delay our sailing by one day and subsequently shorten the British Isles cruise itinerary to 8 nights,” the company said.

The matter again emphasised the need for passengers to take out adequate cruise insurance to cover the event of cancelled cruises. In this case the matter did not turn out so serious but it demonstrates that issues not involving the actual cruise company can still disrupt or even cancel planned cruises.

Azores is one of the oldest cruise ships in operation, having commenced operations as the Swedish passenger ship STOCKHOLM in 1946. Ten years later she was involved in one of the most notorious ship collisions with the Italian liner ANDRE DORIA off the US Nantucket coast, in which the Italian ship sank. There were a number of lives lost from this accident.

Since then the ship has been repaired and has undergone a number of subsequent refits and numerous name changes too many to list. She is currently owned by Portugal’s Portuscale Cruises which has entered into a long-term charter with British-based CMV.

Anthem of the Seas is delivered
In other cruise news, ANTHEM OF THE SEAS has been delivered to her owners, Miami-based cruise line Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Anthem of the Seas is the latest in the Quantum series of cruise ships and the 23rd ship in RCCL’s fleet.

The signing ceremony took place at Bremerhaven in Germany, with RCCL chairman and CEO Richard D Fain and Shipbuilder Meyer Werft managing partner Bernard Meyer applying the legal signatures for the change in ownership.

Anthem of the Sea has since sailed for Southampton from where she will embark passengers for the maiden cruise to the Mediterranean and Canary Islands.

From the end of October the ship will transfer to her northern hemisphere winter homeport of New York for cruising to Canadian and New England ports and Bermuda and the Caribbean.

Anthem of the Seas has 16 guest decks, has 167,800 gross registered tons, carries up to 4,180 passengers at double occupancy and features 2,090 staterooms.

She is due to be named officially by her godmother, Emma Wilby in Southampton on 20 April.

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Durban Bay’s Silt Canal at the Bayhead, showing oil pollution from the fire of several weeks ago, still not cleared away despite a government directive to attend to this without delay. The picture was taken on 9 April 2015. Picture: Russell Cleaver.

Catchment devices neglected The recent pollution in Durban harbour resulting from the fire at an edible oil refinery in Mobeni is yet another warning to authorities that we sit on a ticking bomb that will explode unless steps are taken to prevent such disasters from happening.

The pollution that appears to have been bottled up in the Silt Canal came just one week after another leak of oil entered the bay from the Amanzimnyama Canal. That caused oil damage to dozens of yachts that are moored at the Bluff Yacht Club, leaving owners both irate and frustrated. Birds and fish life also suffered from the spill. It doesn’t appear that anyone knows who the culprit was.

The latest spill caused by the refinery fire may have been mostly contained by the quick action of the port authority and others, including a private company appointed to clean up the oil, but the next one may be even more serious.

The next one might not enter the bay at the Silt Canal where it is relatively easy to contain the spill. The next one could be from one of many streams and underground drainage systems that exit into the bay. Or from the underground river/canal that drains the area of the original Eastern Vlei, of which part can still be seen running along the middle of John Milne Road, after which it disappears again beneath the streets before emptying into the bay near Cato Creek.

From these and a number of others, including several at Maydon Wharf, there is little protection when another disaster strikes.

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Another creek, another time, near Wilson’s Wharf Waterfont in this case. This is a regular sight here, but fortunately the smell cannot be included here. This creek drains the Albert Park area of the city. Picture: Terry Hutson

Two of these drainage ‘streams’ straddle the yacht mole, one close to the Point Yacht Club and the other near Wilson’s Wharf. Both spew large amounts of waste into the harbour every day, especially after rain, and this is left exposed on the mud banks at low tide. These two and several others drain the city area, bringing down every bit of rubbish that has been discarded into the gutters. The smell from both is anything but pleasant, and yet has been tolerated for years. Not for nothing though is the outlet next to the yacht club referred to, tongue in cheek, as ‘Lavender Creek’ by those who frequently pass it by.

It shouldn’t require much in the way of imagination of those in charge of these things to find a way of catching most of this man-made litter and preventing it from being discharged into the bay. The same should apply to the three rivers before they enter the bay. Catchment devices ought to be set up at strategic points in the rivers to snag the rubbish, which if it enters the bay can kill and destroy birdlife and fish on which the ecology of the bay depends. Apparently the rivers/canals were once fitted with these devices, but they were allowed to corrode away.

Similarly, the municipality should not be allowed, by law if necessary, to permit the discharging of raw sewage into the rivers every time there is a problem at some pump or disposal station. That’s the easy way out, there has to be another way of handling such problems.

Captain Bill Shewell once told a crowded maritime conference that when he was appointed as the V&A Waterfront’s first harbour master, one of the first jobs he did was to take a boat out into the harbour loaded with cement, sand, stone and water, and at every drain and culvert he found emptying into the harbour, he had it plugged up.

What happened when it next rained and the reaction of the city authorities was not mentioned but he maintained it fixed the pollution problem for good at the V&A Waterfront. Perhaps it’s worth a try here.

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Another creek exiting into Durban Bay, source of pink pollution…. Unknown! This is Lavender Creek. Picture: Terry Hutson

* This article first appeared in The Mercury Shipping Page on 8 April 2015

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MSC Oliver, the world’s largest container ship, launched just over a week ago, has had her maiden voyage pulled from the 2M service.

Loadstar reports that as the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) for the Shanghai-North Europe leg reached an all-time low of US$466 per TEU last week, it would appear that MSC, as part of the 2M alliance with Maersk Line, had been obliged to cancel the maiden voyage of its 19,224 TEU ultra large container vessel (ULCV), MSC OLIVER.

The 2M alliance announced that it was blanking two sailings from Asia to North Europe in week 16, the 8,750 TEU MAERSK SAVANNAH, operating on the AE9/Condor service, and the MSC OLIVER, which was stemmed for the respective AE2/Swan service.

But last week’s SCFI entered new territory after a week that saw rates to North Europe nosedive another $45. They are now 60% below the same week of 2014, and a massive $790 less per TEU than spot rates at the beginning of January this year.

It is little over a week since the traditional bottle of champagne was broken against the bow of MSC’s latest ship, named after the grandson of the carrier’s founder, Gianluigi Aponte. The vessel was expected to join its sister (or brother) ship, MSC OSCAR, plying the Asia-North Europe trade.

The vessel sharing the co-ordination hot line between Copenhagen and Geneva was no doubt in meltdown this past week as it became clear that the seriously worsening cargo and freight prospects required desperate measures and sacrifices from the 2M partners.

However difficult the decision for MSC to temporarily idle its newest ULCV, the potential embarrassment is arguably less than it arriving in Antwerp on a sunny day in May with its deck depressingly half empty.

Anecdotal reports indicate that load factors between Asia and North Europe fell to as low as 70% in the last two weeks of March, which forced carriers to postpone their ambitious $800-1,000 per TEU general rate increases scheduled for 1 April.

Meanwhile, weak demand and additional capacity have meant container lines have been unable to stem the tide of week-on-week declining freight rates.

Richard Ward, container derivatives broker at Freight Investor Services, said: “As a result of the most recent collapse carriers are now taking remedial action with ad-hoc sailing cancellations during the month of May. No doubt these will be combined with yet another GRI attempt for maximum effect at the expense of disruption to shippers.”

Indeed, from the first glance of the contingency arrangements announced by the 2M alliance, shippers that had reserved space on the Maersk Savannah and MSC Oliver will have to wait at least another week before their cargo arrives at North European ports, putting further stress on supply chains.

Blanked voyages are not taken into account by the carrier schedule integrity surveys run by the likes of SeaIntel and Drewry, since they do not actually happen – yet the last minute pulling of advertised sailings is an added burden for shippers who already have to contend with tardy reliability levels.

In addition to the 2M blanked sailings, The Loadstar has received notification that the G6 alliance will void the sailing of the year-old 13,208 TEU OOCL KOREA which was stemmed to depart from Ningbo, China on 8 May. - The Loadstar

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by Robert Pabst arr CT from Marion 6 May 2014 47
SA Agulhas II returning from Marion island in May 2014. Picture: Robert Pabst

The Department of Environmental Affairs’ research ship SA AGULHAS II embarked on her third logistical and scientific voyage to Marion Island last Thursday.

“Aboard the ship is a host of researchers and participants from the Department of Environmental Affairs, Department of Public Works, the South African Weather Service and various tertiary institutions,” the Department of Environmental Affairs spokesperson Zolile Nqayi said.

He said the Marion expedition team of 72 will be the fourth of its kind to inhabit the new base since its commission in March 2011 and will occupy it for a period of 14 months.

During the voyage, scientists from the Department of Environmental Affairs Oceans and Coasts Research Unit as well as from various universities in South Africa will jointly continue to monitor oceanographic processes, both physical and chemical changes in planktic and benthic communities.

They will also monitor the population estimates and assessments of feeding and breeding behaviours of top predators in the Southern Ocean and at the Prince Edward Islands, where marine and terrestrial biological communities have shown responses to climate change.

“Despite ongoing research and monitoring efforts, the Southern Ocean is still regarded as a comparatively data-poor area and it is therefore important that South Africa, being a party member to the Antarctic Treaty and Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, carries out its responsibility over its territory and surrounding high seas within the Southern Ocean,” Nqayi said.

Director of Southern Oceans and Antarctic Support, Nishendra Devanunthan, said one of the most serious threats to the conservation of the Island has been the introduction of alien species in the form of plants and invertebrates.

“The department is making every effort to avoid introducing new species to the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic, and it requires the cooperation of all participants in order to succeed.

“As a result the department will be sending a specialist from the Environmental Programmes branch that will focus on the Alien Eradication Programme to evaluate ways and means to restore the island to its pristine state said,” Devanunthan said. - SAnews.gov.za

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Damen PS3300 offshore platform supply vessel type as being supplied to Nigeria

Africa-focused proprietary investment firm L.A.T Cleveson (LATC) has signed an order with Damen Shipyards Group for the supply of two PSV 3300 Platform Supply Vessels and two FCS 5009 Fast Supplier Vessels. This landmark transaction will bring next generation Damen PSVs to the offshore industry of Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea for the first time.

The purchase is being made by LATC Marine Ltd, a subsidiary of L.A.T Cleveson, which has quickly established a positive reputation by providing state of the art marine vessel supply and offshore operation support services to leading Oil & Gas operators in Nigeria.p> The company’s aim is to set new standards in the West African offshore oil sector through acquiring modern and technologically advanced assets to serve international & local clients operating in the region. Vessels servicing the offshore industry in the Gulf of Guinea, and specifically Nigeria, typically are substantially older than those operating elsewhere in the world – until now.

The purchase has been financed by Fidelity Bank Plc, a progressive and reputable Nigerian bank, with a dynamic Transport & Shipping division which is poised to support value-adding projects and new/efficiently run companies in the industry, in particular those with a strongly local content status.

“Our aim is to redefine the concept of quality tonnage in the Gulf of Guinea and particularly in Nigeria,” said Mr Gbolahan Shaba, COO of LATC Marine. “We plan to locally develop the necessary skill sets that will sustain our quality service to the most demanding clientele who run very complex operations in the most challenging environments. Ultimately, our strategy is to attain the capacity to build and maintain quality tonnage in Nigeria. We anticipate strong demand for repair and docking services in our region and we plan to create the facilities to meet that demand, professionally and safely.” Fidelity Bank’s Head of Transport & Shipping Division – Mr Mike Nnaji agreed: “This agreement and acquisition further marks our support toward professional development of Offshore Oil & Gas marine support in Nigeria within the local content framework. The quality of the assets speaks for itself and the professional management is evident from the positive reaction of the Oil & Gas companies whose operation they already support and will be supporting. These vessels will show the value and effectiveness of assets that are built to UK North Sea standards which are efficient, environmentally-friendly and economic to operate. Fidelity Bank will continue to stimulate and support this development in line with the Nigerian Government’s local content initiative.”

Advising on the agreement was RS Platou Africa (RSP), a subsidiary of Clarksons the world’s largest shipbrokers, a global organisation with an in-depth knowledge of the industry and the region particularly. Dedicated to creating productive relationships between Shipbuilders, operators & end-users, RSP has been a trusted advisory party to LATC and Damen. Mr Simon Pethick, Head of RSP’s Offshore Support Vessel & Drilling Units division, commented: “For some years now, we have seen the need for Innovation in Vessel Designs of Higher Quality & Efficiency and especially sustainable services throughout Africa’s west coast operations. Hence, new - and newly built – tonnage is needed. At the same time, both businesses and governments need long-term stability to grow. This can only happen if the region develops the right skills and focuses on long-term relationships between owners, operators, suppliers, governments and financial institutions for the development of long term sustainability. We are proud to be the ‘enabling advisor’ in this project, which does exactly that – taking steps to enable long-term commitment and growth.”

The Platform Supply Vessels and Fast Suppliers Vessels acquired by LATC Marine will have the full support of the Damen Service Hub in Port Harcourt, as well as the Damen Regional Office in Lagos. An additional Service Hub in Ghana is being planned.


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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.

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THERMOPYLAE 12 April 2015 2 480

The second of two interesting Ro-Ro vessels to arrive in Durban on Sunday, as mentioned in yesterday’s News, is the brand new Ro-Ro car carrier with the classical name of THERMOPYLAE, which arrived in the early morning with tugs welcoming her with water spraying from their cannons in the traditional greeting for a ship’s maiden visit.

Thermopylae is owned and operated by Wallenius Wilhelmsen, a regular user of the Durban port. The ship is the first in a planned series of new ‘Hero’ class of Ro-Ro ships. She is 200m long by 36.5 metres wide and features five liftable car decks to allow for greater configurations of cars, trucks, heavy equipment and breakbulk type cargo. With a capacity of 8,000 units this is one of the biggest car carriers afloat and certainly one of the biggest to call in a South African port, although not the first 8,000-car ship.

The ship also boasts a shallow draught to enable her to call at more ports across the world. Her engine is designed to operate more efficiently in a wider range of speeds and draughts and the ship has an exhaust gas clearing system to reduce sulphur emissions in compliance with new regulations. Pictures: Trevor Jones


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