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Ports & Ships Maritime News

22 September 2015
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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The Liberian-flagged bulk carrier JUNIOR (92,995 dwt, built 2012) on berth no.2 at Durban's Bluff, loading a cargo of coal at the weekend. The ship is owned by Greek interests and is managed by Transmed Shipping of Athens. Picture is by Ken Malcolm

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Richards Bay waterfront area where much of the Port Festival is to take place. Naval island is the wooded at top left. Picture: Charles Corbett Photography

In a reversal of former policy, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is moving away from making South Africa's national ports unwelcome to visitors and locals alike and is developing what it calls its concept of 'people centric ports,' saying that plans are afoot to open the ports up to promote tourism, leisure, recreation, sport, career and business opportunities and community engagement.

The 'closed port' policy has been in place since July 2004 when TNPA embraced the ISPS code (International Ships & Ports Security) in response to demands made on ports world-wide through the IMO to increase security against the threat of terrorism. ISPS was a direct result of the events of 9/11 in the United States and has affected ports and shipping across the globe in varying degrees.

But now Transnet, in response to expectations being raised by President Jacob Zuma and the government's Operation Phakisa, has determined on a different approach while still maintaining that tight security can be adopted. The move is partly to raise awareness among the population of the importance of the sea and shipping generally.

The first of a series of planned Port Festivals is being held this weekend at Richards Bay, in partnership with the local municipality and coinciding with a naval exercise, Oxide, being held also at the port during this and part of next week. Several naval ships of the South African and the French navies will take part and are to be opened to the public on Saturday 26 September from 10h00 till 20h00 and on Sunday 27 September from 10h00 till 17h00.

Entry on board the navy ships is free.

Meanwhile, the Richards Bay Port Festival promises family fun, live entertainment, leisure activities, an arts and crafts market, children's entertainment and numerous waterside events.

Exciting water sports activities are planned which organisers say are guaranteed to thrill adrenaline junkies.

"Port festivals were once regular events attracting thousands of visitors until the advent of the ISPS code of safety for ports, which placed limitations on public interaction with our ports. However, we as TNPA have a responsibility to re-integrate our ports with their cities and communities," said TNPA Chief Executive Richard Vallihu.

It won't be just fun and excitement -- there is also a serious side to things. The Richards Bay Port Festival will include a careers exhibition for learners to interact with some of the area's leading businesses, including TNPA, Foskor, Uthungulu District Municipality, Richards Bay IDZ, Richards Bay Minerals and the South African Maritime Safety Association.

Added to that, visitors on board the SA Navy ships will be able to obtain career information about the Defence Force.

Port Manager Preston Khomo described the regional importance of the festival as having received renewed impetus with the launch of the South African government's Operation Phakisa initiative, in which TNPA is a key role player.

In launching Operation Phakisa, Government set out its first project focusing on unlocking the immense economic potential of the Oceans Economy, hoping that this will boost GDP growth, job creation and employment within the marine transport sector, all of which is aligned with the priorities of the National Development Plan (NDP).

Khomo says that the festival therefore intends to expose the youth and learners to the marine sector, oil and gas industry and the mission-critical skills required by the maritime industry.

The Richards Bay Port Festival will take place in and around Naval Island, Tuzi Gazi Waterfront and the indoor cricket facility at the Port of Richards Bay. It will be open from 10h00 to 20h00 on Saturday, 26 September and from 10h00 to 17h00 on Sunday, 27 September 2015. Entry for adults and children over 10 is R20 per day, while children under 10 enter free. Tickets will be available at the gate.

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First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas (right) with Prime Minister Cameron, ministers and officials welcomed troops to the Palace of Westminster in London for a reception to mark the completion of Operation GRITROCK on 17 September. Photo: UK Crown Copyright 2015.

Ebola heroes recognised in London parade and reception

Members of the armed forces and civilian personnel who worked to tackle the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone marched in London to the Houses of Parliament for a reception in their honour on 16 September, reports Paul Ridgway.

The parade for Operation GRITROCK saw soldiers, sailors and aircrew joined by volunteers and government workers from the Department for International Development (DFID), NHS (National Health Service) England and Public Health England march from Horse Guards Parade down Whitehall to Westminster.

Over 1,000 personnel were deployed on the operation, with 27 still overseas supporting the ongoing efforts by government workers and NGOs to get to zero cases of Ebola as quickly as possible. In total over 3,000 people from the UK travelled to work in high risk areas to stop the spread of the disease. One year ago the number of cases per week was around 200, this is now down to just a handful.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary ARGUS and her three Merlin helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron and a detachment of Royal Marines from 1 Assault Group Royal Marines played a vital role, providing much-needed equipment, supplies and food packages to remote areas of Sierra Leone.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon commented: "The work being done in Sierra Leone by members of our Armed Forces, Civil Servants and NGOs is remarkable and today offers a public appreciation for what they have done to halt the spread of Ebola. We remain dedicated to getting the number of Ebola cases down to zero and still have a number of military personnel on Operation in West Africa to assist with this ongoing effort."

The UK led the international response to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. As part of this the British government has committed 427 million GBPounds to the response so far. This has supported more than half of all the beds available for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, funded over 100 burial teams, trained 4,000 frontline staff, provided three laboratories to test one third of all samples collected nationally and delivered over one million personal protective equipment (PPE) suits and 150 vehicles.

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The Royal Navy and Royal Marines contingent marching behind a Royal Marines band in the parade to Westminster. Photo UK Crown Copyright 2015.
The UK's top priority remains to help the government of Sierra Leone and the wider region reach and then maintain zero cases of Ebola as quickly as possible. Furthermore, medical staff will proactively seeking out cases and deal with remaining chains of transmission through enhanced active surveillance, comprehensive contact tracing, as well as strengthened social mobilisation, encouraging the people of Sierra Leone to go to a health centre if symptomatic and to bury the dead in a safe and dignified way.

Brigadier Steve McMahon who forged the coalition of top international agencies in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis said: "I had a remarkable team with me in Sierra Leone; brilliant men and women deployed at exceptionally short notice to bring hope to the people of Sierra Leone. The medical aspect has been celebrated but the engineering element was also significant. In a very short time period, military personnel cleared six sites of jungle and built the same number of Ebola Treatment Centres, all whilst enduring rising temperatures and humidity."

Paul Ridgway

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The Ports Regulator of SA is inviting stakeholders and other interested parties to participate in the 2016/2017 -- 2018/2019 Tariff Application process by attending the scheduled roadshows in the relevant regions and / or to submit comments.

A series of public hearings on the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) tariff application for 2016/17 will be held at the venues and times listed below. This invitation is extended to all PCCs, the NPCC and all Port Users across the entire port system.

Durban and Richards Bay
The meeting will be held at the Garden Court Marine Parade on Thursday, 1 October 2015, from 09:00 to 13:00.

The venue is Emperors Palace on Friday, 2 October 2015 from 09:00 to 13:00.

East London, Port Elizabeth and Ngqura
The venue is the Garden Court Kings Beach Hotel on Monday, 5 October 2015 from 09:00 to 13:00.

Cape Town, Saldanha Bay, Mossel Bay
The venue is The Pepper Club Hotel and Spa, on Tuesday, 6 October 2015 from 09:00 to 13:00.

Hard copies of the TNPA's application may be obtained from offices of the TNPA or alternatively downloaded from the Ports Regulator's website: www.portsregulator.org

It is important to note that registration to attend public hearings is mandatory. Registration forms can be downloaded from CLICK HERE or by emailing eventsregistration@portsregulator.org

The Road Show Registration closes Friday 25 September 2015.

Written submissions on the TNPA's application can be sent to the Regulator up to Thursday, 16 October 2015. Written submissions should be addressed to the Chairman, Ports Regulator of South Africa, Private Bag X54322, Durban, 4000, 11th Floor, The Marine Building, 22 Dorothy Nyembe Street, Durban, 4001, Contact person: Mr Phakade Sicwebu. Tel. (031) 365 7800, Email: tariffcomment@portsregulator.org or Fax 031 365 7858.

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Norwegian Escape emerges last month from the hangar where she was built. Picture: NCL

On Saturday 19 September Norwegian Cruise Lines latest ship NORWEGIAN ESCAPE made her own 'escape' when she moved down the River Ems and away from the Mayer Werft shipyards where she had been built. In the following YouTube video clips you can enjoy time-lapse glimpses of the special event.

Watch the following several YouTube videos of the delivery of NCL's latest ship, NORWEGIAN ESCAPE. The times of each clip are shown in [].

Watch a time lapse video of NORWEGIAN ESCAPE making her 'escape' down the River Ems [6:42]



Norwegian Escape, at 164,600 gross tons is the first of the Breakaway Plus class of ships that will enter service with NCL. On Saturday the giant ship safely negotiated the River Ems and made her way to the North Sea.

The Meyer Werft shipyard is fairly unique in being quite a distance upriver from the open sea and every ship built here has to undergo this same voyage on completion of the building process and shortly before being handed over to her owners. The voyage offers wonderful opportunities to the public to watch the event and enjoy the spectacle as some of the world's grandest and biggest ships begin their lives on a short but tricky 20 mile journey, which can take anywhere between 10 and 24 hours to complete.

Cruise ships are taken stern first through the shipyard's locks and then past four motor and railway bridges with just metres to spare for some of the bigger ships.

According to Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Escape reached the Dutch port of Eemshaven on Saturday at 12:30 pm, having taken almost 24 hours from the shipyard. According to NCL it took 2 hours alone simply to negotiate the shipyard locks which was accomplished with 1.2 metres to spare. Norwegian Escape will become the largest ship in the fleet and is the first of a planned four Breakaway Plus class ships all being built by Meyer Werft.

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Minister Jeff Radebe

Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, says the global economic crisis has affected economic growth in the country over the last four years, prompting a deceleration in the rate of growth.

Updating the media on progress and challenges and the interventions required to close the gaps in implementing the 14 priorities of government on Friday, Minister Radebe said the global economic crisis is coupled with the ongoing relative underperformance of the domestic economy, prompting government to lower its own Gross Domestic Product expectations.

"Besides low global demand, significantly low commodity prices and the global steel over supply, our economy is facing several other challenges, including decades of under investment in economic infrastructure, an exchange rate that tends to be too volatile, rising administered costs, high port and freight charges with port charges amongst the highest in the world,* too fast and deep trade liberalisation and electricity supply challenges amongst others," Minister Radebe said.

He further noted that despite some progress in increased employment with the year-on-year comparison, overall employment growth remains low and insufficient to absorb the high level of new and existing entrants in the labour market.

In the first quarter of 2015, the unemployment rate increased to 26.4 percent. SAnews.gov.za

* PORTS & SHIPS' emphasis

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Picture courtesy Transas

The Panama Marine Authority has confirmed the Transas Electronic Logbook as being equivalent to the paper version for use on board ships registered under the Panamanian Flag.

The successful approval of the Transas e-Logbook by the largest shipping flag state is an important milestone in executing [the] company's strategy to develop and deliver high-quality reliable e-Navigation products to its customers, said Transas in a statement.

Transas has over 35 percent of the ECDIS world market share, around 25 percent of VTMS installations and over 45 percent of the maritime simulation market. The Transas Electronic Logbook (e-Logbook) is designed to replace traditional paper logbooks and to record all data in full detail with a minimum input from a user. It is available as a software option for all users of the Transas Navi-Sailor ECDIS, and enables automated reporting. In combination with the e-Checklist, it is a tool for monitoring and documenting that bridge procedures are carried out in a proper way.

Already in use by many shipping companies on board their vessels, Transas e-Logbook has significantly improved onboard operations, claims Transas and says that with the Panamanian approval a large proportion of the world's fleet will now be able to benefit from this solution.

"Transas e-Logbook is compliant with the IMO Resolution A.916 (22) -- Guidelines for the recording of events related to navigation and is certified by the DNV-GL."

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Request a Rate Card frominfo@ports.co.za


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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.


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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

After several years of hard work a team of volunteers making up the Friends of the Maritime Museum have brought an ageing Ton class naval minesweeper -- one of the few remaining in the world, back from the brink of being scrapped and the ship is once again a centre of attraction at the Durban Port Natal Maritime Museum.

The mine sweeper was the first ship to be built in the UK specifically for the SA Navy, as opposed to ships intended for the Royal Navy but transferred later. SAS DURBAN and her later sister SAS WINDHOEK joined a fleet making up ten Ton class minesweepers in the SA Navy. Of these SAS Durban is the sole survivor of this group and is believed to be one of, or possibly the only former Ton class ship still resembling a naval ship and on the water. In 2012 the ship almost capsized from ingress of rainwater, after having deteriorated because of insufficient maintenance.

The Friends of the Museum had just been formed and a small group of dedicated people have since been beavering away on the ship, with an entire new deck having been fitted throughout the vessel and much of her fittings restored, although there is plenty still to be done. More recently the Local History Museum which governs the maritime museum issued a contract for one side of the ship's hull to be restored and a second contract for the starboard side is due to be awarded shortly. Picture is by Terry Hutson

In the lower picture SAS Durban leans heavily against the museum tug JR MORE on her berth at the Port Natal Maritime Museum. Had it not been for the tug's presence on the side of the minesweeper the Durban would in all likelihood have capsized. This was in October 2012 after a day of heavy rain. Picture is by Prof Brian Kearney


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