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Ports & Ships Maritime News

4 August 2015
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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bermuda ex APL Bahrain in July 480

The 4,308-TEU German-owned container ship BERMUDA ( 52,382-dwt, built 2009), the former APL BAHRAIN, seen sailing from Cape Town in July this year. The ship was built by Hanjin Heavy Industries Co of Subic Bay, Philippines, as hull number 007, and was presumably one of their early container ships. Pictures are by Ian Shiffman

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collapsed stacker at Nacala a Velha pic by A Ver
The collapsed coal stacker at Nacala port. Picture: A Verdade/AIM

The Brazilian mining company Vale claimed on Thursday that the collapse of a coal stacker will not delay the start of coal exports from the Mozambican port of Nacala-a-Velha.

Images on social media show the stacker reduced to a crumpled heap at the port. However, despite reports that it could take months to repair the stacker, Vale has said that this will not affect coal production for next year.

Coal is to be transported by rail from Vale’s mine at Moatize in the central province of Tete to Nacala-a-Velha. It had been planned to begin exports through the port in December 2014. However, flooding washed damaged sections of the 900 kilometre railway line between Moatize and Nacala.

So far, Vale has been exporting its coal along the Sena railway line which runs from Moatize to the port of Beira. But even if the Sena line’s capacity is increased, as planned, to 20 million tonnes a year, that will not be enough for all the coal which Vale and several other mining companies hope to export. Hence the need for new ports and new railways.

Vale’s projections are for coal production at its Moatize mine to reach 11 million tonnes a year by mid-2016, rising to 22 million tonnes a year in 2017. - source: AIM

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Marion Dufresne in dock Damen Shiprepair Dunke
The French scientific research vessel has been completely renovated in life extension project

The renowned French research vessel, MARION DUFRESNE II left Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque (part of Damen Shiprepair & Conversion) in northern France on 28 July having recently undergone sea trials and a complete renovation.

Delivered on time, the oceanographic research vessel set sail for the Port of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean where she will resume her logistic and scientific journeys to the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.

“The excellent cooperation between the yard and the vessel’s crew was important in this project’s successful planning, coordination and execution. We rebuilt a large part of the vessel within 4 months to extend her life by 20 years. The client was satisfied with our performance, cooperation and the end result,” said Head of Marketing & Sales at Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque, Khalil Benjelloul.

Mr Benjelloul sums up the work carried out by the yard. “We replaced the vessel’s most important scientific apparatus, the multi-beam sonar. We scrapped the existing equipment, rebuilt the hull and installed a new gondola and control room. Furthermore we completely renewed the ILOT capstan, a system used to take sea water samples, and installed new equipment. The hull has been blasted and repainted as well as some of the ballast tanks. The vessel’s accommodation areas have been redone in cooperation with the client’s subcontractor, this included laboratory facilities used by IPEV scientists. Marion Dufresne II can accommodate 114 passengers or scientific researchers and 46 crew.”

The multi-purpose vessel is owned by the French administration “Les Terres australes et antarctiques françaises” (TAAF) and is managed by CMA CGM. She supplies French southern islands 4 months a year, and carries out oceanographic research 217 days per year under the responsibility of the Institut Polaire Paul-Emile Victor (IPEV).

Operating out of the Port of La Réunion, the vessel transports passengers and supplies to the French islands of the Indian Ocean and performs scientific works in all ocean conditions, except for iced covered. Marion Dufresne II (one of the more beautiful ships involved in this research and supply – P&S editor) is now returning to the French Southern and Antarctic Lands to continue her logistic work and scientific research.

Besides her research and scientific capabilities, this multi-purpose vessel has a heli-deck and can be used as a supply vessel to transport containers and fuel to remote areas.

The client selected Damen Shiprepair & Conversion following a competitive tendering process. After careful consideration of the vessel’s requirements, Damen decided to have the Dunkirk yard in northern France undertake the project.

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What’s in a name?

Fertility 9 480
Fertility 9 – picture: John Regan/Marine Traffic

In our news reports of last Thursday/Friday, we commented about a ship that called at Durban during the week with the name SADLERS WELLS, which we thought worthy of comment.

Since then we’ve come across several more gems, or perhaps we should say unexpected names and thought to share them with you. Both of the following two were at sea on the west coast of Africa during the week. The first carried the name INSOMNIA which leaves us to wonder what (or why) her owner suffered from.

On attempting to check her ‘credentials’ we were unable to discover very much, except that she isn’t the only vessel with this name – the other being a river cargo vessel registered in Belgium.

The second ship is called FERTILITY 9, (21,538-dwt, built 1985) a Chinese-owned bulk carrier which is a lot more promising, especially as it suggests there could be a number of other fertile ships…

On a somewhat more dignified note, a ship that caught attention also while at anchor outside Durban, was the crude oil tanker STI SAVILLE ROW (65,000-dwt), and her name certainly sounds much more posh than either of the others mentioned above. She was voyaging from Singapore and had stopped off Durban for supplies.

Africa Mercy repairs shafted

Repairs to the hospital ship AFRICA MERCY, currently in the Durban dry dock undergoing a survey and repair, has been delayed after the discovery of unexpected problems with her shaft. As the dock is required by Transnet for repairs to one of the caissons, this becomes something of an added complication and may mean a lengthy delay in port for the Mercy ship. The repairs are being undertaken by the firm of Dormac Marine.

Good news for Port Nolloth

Over the years the west coast port of Port Nolloth has become something of a forgotten backwater. Long gone from the time when this little harbour was in use exporting copper from the mines around O’Okiep, Port Nolloth has gradually silted up and today it is mostly fishing and other small service vessels in the employ of offshore diamond mining concerns that make use of her.

Residents will therefore be overjoyed at a recent advertisement placed by Transnet National Ports Authority calling for expressions of interest in the upgrading of the port. This has been in planning at TNPA for a few years and follows a directive from Transnet NPA head office to return the port to serviceability and to help create economic activity in the region.

Durban cruise terminal advertised

Talking of advertisements, another issued by TNPA calls for “the design, development, financing, construction, operation, maintenance and transfer of a cruise terminal facility at the Port of Durban.

This is to be on a portion of land measuring 27,870m² at ‘A’ and ‘B’ Berths in the port and on concession for a period of 20 years.

The cruise terminal has been an on/off project for some years so this again will be welcomed at least by those tens of thousands who are forced to use the generally inadequate N-Shed cruise terminal on the T-Jetty, as well as by the local tourism authorities who have been calling for this for a long time.

Whether a modern cruise terminal will attract more foreign cruise ships still remains to be seen.

RMS Pemba towed into port

The small German-owned cargo vessel RMS PEMBA (1092-dwt, built 1981) which operates on the Mozambique and Tanzanian coast, was towed into the latter port last week behind the tug AFON CADNANT. Details of the required repairs are unknown at this time.

Another livestock carrier on fire

NABOLSI 1 Livestock Carrier Catches Fire off Cre
Nabolsi I – picture by Shipspotting

Another livestock carrier has caught fire, this time off the Mediterranean island of Crete while sailing between Lebanon (or Croatia) and Alexandria. The vessel is the Greek-owned NABOLSI I (1405-dwt, built 1972).

The Hellenic Coast Guard sent a patrol vessel to help fight the flames and two NATO vessels are reported to be also assisting. There were no reports of injuries to crew and no indication as to whether the crew has remained on board, or whether the ship was carrying livestock at the time.

A livestock carrier recently caught fire in the Red Sea while carrying a cargo of cattle from Somalia. The crew abandoned ship and the animals were left to perish with the vessel.

A later report from Greece said the fire on Nabolsi I had been extinguished and that the ship was sailing from Croatia towards Alexandria. The fire occurred on Saturday afternoon.

New cruise ship VIKING STAR has engine breakdown – cruise abandoned

It hasn’t been a good start for Viking Ocean Cruises with their newly introduced cruise ship VIKING STAR, which suffered a propulsion problem while on one of her first Baltic cruises.

“The mechanical issue is related to the electric transformers in one part of the ship's propulsion system,” Viking Ocean Cruises said in a statement. “Engineers are working onboard, but because repairs are expected to continue through the weekend, Viking has decided to cancel the remaining portion of this cruise. All guests onboard were informed earlier today and have been offered options for continuing their journey to Bergen or returning home from Tallinn at Viking's expense. This specific mechanical issue is highly unusual, and all guests will receive compensation for the inconvenience.”

It is too early to say whether this will impact on the ships following planned cruises.

Viking has offered to allow passengers who don’t wish to return home immediately to stay on board until today (Tuesday), at which time Viking will fly them to Bergen in Norway where they will be put up in a hotel until the original debarkation date of 8 August.

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Cunard celebrates! aacunard 400
Three famous Cunard queens together at both Southampton and Liverpool…which ship-lover would not have wanted to be there? Many thousands of onlookers lined the wharves of both ports during May to pay tribute to the famous brand, and many must have decided there and then that a cruise on one of the three behemoths had suddenly become essential. And who could blame them?

As the August edition of the British Ships Monthly reported, this year Cunard is marking 175 years of operations. The celebrations of this milestone anniversary started with the arrival at Southampton on 3 May of the company’s current three ships from their world cruises, and continued on the Mersey in late May, when the same ships gathered for a remarkable line-up in the river, watched by a vast crowds lined up for several kilometres.

The gathering of Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth at Cunard’s home port signalled the start of the celebrations, as well as providing an opportunity for the company to recognise the role of Southampton, which Cunard ships have called ‘home’ for almost a 100 years, during which time Royal visits and many special occasions have been shared by the company and city.

The event in Liverpool on 25 May was possibly even more spectacular. The sailaway began at 17h00, with Queen Mary 2 at the Ocean Terminal, Queen Victoria at Mayflower Terminal and Queen Elizabeth at the Queen Elizabeth ll Terminal. The three ships, the largest passenger ships ever to muster together on the Mersey, lined up across the river. It was indeed an unforgettable sight.

In between the two events, reports, Ships Monthly, Queen Victoria undertook a cruise to commemorate the centenary of the loss of the Cunard flagship Lusitania (torpedoed 1915), with a ceremony as the ship passed over the spot of the tragedy, on 7 May.

Cunard Line is as intact a shipping brand name as one can hope to encounter. With three vessels cruising the popular routes in their distinct black and red livery, Cunard did at least once face extinction when the aging QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 (in service from 1969–2008), much in need of a makeover, fell victim to no funds to do the job. It was at that point that the giant American Carnival Corporation stepped into the fray and bought the famous brand. Not long after, the QE2 was docked for an extended period and underwent a massive exterior and interior refurbishment. Thick layers of paint were sand-blasted from her hull, more luxury cabins were added, and the carpeting and curtaining were replaced throughout. This correspondent cruised in the vessel before the upgrade, and was a visitor after, and the difference was nothing short of spectacular. QE2 went on to generate big business for its new owner, and travellers loyal to the brand returned in their droves.

The 148,528gt-ton Queen Mary 2 came into service in 2004, followed by Queen Victoria (90,049gt) in 2007 and then came Queen Elizabeth (90,900gt) in 2010.

Cunard was founded in 1840, as the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. One of the founding members was Samuel Cunard. His wife Emerald was a close friend of socialite Nancy, Lady Astor, who was often Emerald’s guest on trans-Atlantic voyages. Both were impossible snobs. It is recorded that one afternoon aboard one of the vessels Nancy informed Emerald that she had been invited to dine at the captain’s table that night.
“Have you been invited too, Emerald, dear?,” enquired Nancy.
“I have not,” replied Emerald,” and even if I was, I would decline.”
“Oh, really?,” shot back Nancy, “and may I ask why?”
“It’s quite simple, my dear,” said Emerald, “I wouldn’t be seen dead dining with the crew!”

Vernon Buxton for Ports & Ships

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!cid image003 png 01 D0 CAA1

As an avid daily reader and subscriber of your most interesting publication, I thought it may be prudent to offer the following brief article in support of an International Hydrographic Conference, “Hydro2015” which is taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, later this year.

The HYDRO2015 Conference & Exhibition will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from 23 to 25 November 2015.

HYDRO2015 will seek to bring the international hydrographic community together to learn about the latest techniques and developments and to provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge and ideas. Unlike other prominent events in the international calendar, e.g. Oceanology International and Ocean Business, Hydro is predominantly a technical conference supported by an exhibition and social programme rather than a trade expo.

The theme for the conference is:“Defining the extent and ownership of maritime real estate for development in Africa.”

Hydro conferences typically attract 300-350 delegates from up to 40 countries with 52 stands/booths in the accompanying exhibition. Delegates have a range of levels of expertise in hydrography, civil engineering, oceanography, geophysics and marine resource management and other associated fields.

They represent oil and gas exploration companies, contract survey companies, port authorities, government, military and public service authorities, petroleum companies, research and educational institutions, telecommunications organisations, engineering consultants, acoustic, dredging and salvage contractors, oceanographic and survey equipment manufacturers and all aspects of private practice.

This conference will attract decision makers from government and the private sector, to prospective users, academics, vendors, policy makers and representatives of various national and international organizations working in the arena of the Hydrography.

The official Conference and Exhibition website www.hydro2015.orgis in full operation where more detail and booking information may be found.

Steve Smith
Hydrographic Society of South Africa
PO Box 342, Edgemead, 7407
E-mail : hydrosocietysa.com

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David Williams

David Williams has been appointed as the new chief executive officer of Safmarine, taking over from Grant Daly who stepped down at the end of June because of family reasons.

Williams has worked for the Maersk Group for the past 24 years during which he has held several management roles within Maersk Line’s liner services. His most recent position was that of Maersk Line managing director: East Asia.

This is not his first time in South Africa, having joined Safmarine in 1986, after which he worked in different positions within the marketing and sales divisions in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and later in Hamburg, Germany.

He also held several positions with Maersk Line Southern Africa in the early 2000s.

Grant Daly is relocating to a position with the group’s liner business in the United States. He was appointed Safmarine CEO in 2012.

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PECT aerial 470
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BERG 1 August 2015 480

Unicorn Shipping vessels always look attractive in the distinctive colour scheme. Here is the Isle of Man-flagged chemical and oil products tanker BERG (16,870-dwt, built 2008) arriving in her true home port of Durban. Picture is by Trevor Jones


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