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Ports & Ships Maritime News

6 October 2015
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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2005 0209 Oranjemunds MSCAmeric0038 480

Unicorn Shipping's diminutive tanker ORANJEMUND (2018 dwt, built 1976), sometimes referred to as a Nollothmax on account of the ship being small enough and with a sufficiently shallow draught to enter the tricky entrance to Port Nolloth (for which she was designed). The mini tanker, all of 61m in length and with a beam of 12m, was built in Durban, which is where these pictures show her arriving one February day in 2005. The shipyard was Dorman Long Vanderbijl. After a career of around 30 years with Unicorn Oranjemund was disposed of to Greek interests in April 2006. One of her final tasks as a Unicorn ship was to go on charter to the Antarctic to refuel Greenpeace ships in the deep south. You can read an account of that voyage here in PORTS & SHIPS by going HERE. The name Oranjemund is hybrid Dutch and German for Orange (river) mouth -- the little diamond mining town of that name lies on the Orange River a short distance inland from the mouth. Pictures are by Terry Hutson

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NILEDUTCH LEOPARD (39,753-gt, built 2012), photographed on her arrival in Cape Town during December 2012. Picture by Ian Shiffman

The Dutch line NileDutch and Turkey's Turkon Line are joining forces to introduce a new service linking the East Mediterranean with West African ports.

Due to commence later in October, ships of the joint service will run every nine days. Both lines believe there is a growing demand from exporters in the Eastern Mediterranean to improve access to markets in West Africa.

The service commences with the sailing of the 1850-TEU capacity container vessel CAFER DEDE (26,000 dwt, built 2008) on 23 October 2015. The port rotation is as follows:

Alexandria, Mersin, Istanbul (Kumport), Evyap, Gemlik, Aliaga, Tangier. In Tangier cargo will be transferred to the NileDutch WEWA service (West Europe to West Africa) which calls at Abidjan, Pointe Noire, Luanda, Lobito and Namibe.

In addition, NileDutch operates an extensive network of feeder vessels in the West African region which carry cargo between regional ports (Matadi, Boma, Bata, Malabo, Cabinda, Douala, Lagos and Libreville).

Turkon Line (Turkon Container Transportation & Shipping Inc) is a member of Turkon Holding and is headquartered in Istanbul. Turkon specialises in services to the Mediterranean, Europe and North America.

NileDutch, which has developed a strong reputation as a West African specialist, has also developed into a major shipping company operating services virtually worldwide, including southern Africa. The line has its headquarters in Rotterdam and NileDutch's representative in Turkey is the Catoni Group.

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Angola Intermodal - see below

With the commonly used euphemism of 'general rate restoration' two of the major container lines have announced increased rates for services affecting Africa.

Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) says it will increase freight rates on its ships of US$150 per TEU for its Asia to Southern Africa route that applies to all types of cargo. Referring to it as a general rate restoration (GRR) MOL says that containerised cargo transported from Asia, including the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East to southern Africa, will be subjected to a rate increase of US$150 per TEU and $300 per FEU.

The GRR is "essential for us to sustain our service level" said MOL in its statement. The GRR takes effect as from 15 October 2015.

In a similar vein French container line CMA CGM is increasing its freight rates on the India and Middle East to West Africa services by US$150 per TEU, with effect from 16 October 2015.

"In a continued effort to provide its customers with reliable and efficient services of the Cimex lines, CMA CGM announces this Rate Restoration Programme," said CMA CGM.

CMA CGM follows up with the next statement:

UPDATE -- GRR -- From Asia to South Africa and Mauritius

CMA CGM informs its customers that the previously announced 9 October 2015 General Rate Restoration Program from Asia to South Africa and Mauritius is postponed as follows:

Effective 15 October 2015 (B/L date):

From Asia including Japan, Southeast Asia and Bangladesh, to South Africa and Mauritius (Port Louis) on the Shaka Service.

All cargo, US$150 per TEU.

Meanwhile, CMA CGM announces that the Emergency Port Congestion Surcharge in Matadi, DRC, has been removed as from 1 October 2015.

"The situation is improving locally in Matadi (DRC). CMA CGM will therefore remove the Emergency Port Congestion Surcharge effective since 1 June 2015 and applicable to Reefer containers (US$1,000 or EUR 900 per container)."

CMA CGM adds that only the Terminal Congestion Surcharge of US$300 or EUR 270 per Reefer container will continue to be charged for Reefer bookings from worldwide origins to Matadi, which will continue until further notice.

In another announcement, this time with nothing to do with rate restorations or surcharges, CMA CGM says it is developing its intermodal solutions in Angola.

"Since August 2015, CMA CGM has been developing an extensive coverage of Angola's major locations via the corridors of Cabinda, Luanda, Lobito and Namibe. We remind you that four of our direct lines and services connect Angola to the world: Europe with EURAF 5, Asia with ASAF, India & Middle-East & Gulf with MIDAS and South America with SAMWAF.

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Within the framework of the port visit to the Mediterranean Dialogue partner nation, NATO's Allied Maritime Command Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Giorgio Lazio (second from right), met military leaders, including Jordan's Brigadier General Qassem Fadeel Tanashat, Commander of the Royal Jordanian Naval Force.

In the week ending 3 October HDMS ABSALON joined NATO's counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD while en route to East Africa, following a port visit to Aqaba, Jordan (illustrated below).

Within the framework of the port visit to the Mediterranean Dialogue partner nation, NATO's Allied Maritime Command Chief of Staff, Rear-Admiral Giorgio Lazio, met military leaders, including Jordan's Brigadier-General Qassem Fadeel Tanashat, Commander of the Royal Jordanian Naval Force.

Deployment of HDMS Absalon builds upon previous deployments in maintaining relationships that are vital to the successes of the counter-piracy operation. Absalon's ship's company remain in support of Operation OCEAN SHIELD for the next few months, during which time they will work to enhance Somali and partner nation capacities to confront their maritime security challenges and eliminate the threat of piracy in the region.

Also supporting Operation OCEAN SHIELD is the Colombian Navy frigate 7 de AGOSTO, currently operating off the coast of Somalia. This marks the first time the Colombian Navy has supported a NATO operation, though the ship remains under its national operational control. This demonstrates the willingness of both Allied and partner nations in helping to deter and disrupt piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin.

Due in part to the combined efforts of counter-piracy task forces, the merchant shipping community, and independent deployers, no successful piracy attacks have been carried out off Somalia since May 2012, and no attacks have been attempted since January 2014. Said Rear-Admiral Lazio: "But the threat of piracy remains real and requires vigilance on the part of NATO and the international maritime community to ensure it does not resurge."

Paul Ridgway

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HDMS Absalon at Aqaba, Jordan

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Saga Pearl II. Picture is by Ian Shiffman

UK cruise company Saga Cruises has ordered one, possibly two cruise ships from German cruise ship builder, Meyer Werft.

The announcement ends speculation as to if and when Saga would place orders for new tonnage. The line which traditionally caters for passengers in the 50 years+ group, currently has two ships in service, the 446-passenger SAGA PEARL II and the 706-passenger SAGA SAPPHIRE.

Both these ships were built in 1981 which places them in the age group where cruise lines usually start looking to replace. Nevertheless, both ships are in strong demand -- in 2014 they carried a reported 25,000 passengers with a 75 percent repeat passenger rate.

The new and as yet unnamed 55,900-gt ship will be 234m long by 30.8 m wide and will have 540 cabins, all with balconies. Fifteen percent of her cabins will cater for passengers cruising solo. Demand for solo cruising is reported to be increasing.

Delivery is scheduled for 2019.

"This is an important milestone in the future of Saga Cruises," said Saga's chief executive, Robin Shaw. "We are happy to develop this vessel, tailored to our individual needs, and we're delighted to be working with Meyer Werft, a recognised leader in cruise ship construction."

Once completed the new ship will become Saga Cruises' first newbuild. An option for a second cruise ship for Saga for a 2021 delivery has been agreed.

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Nile River at Cairo. Picture Wikipedia Commons

A seemingly outlandish plan by Egypt is seeking to open the Nile River to ships that can journey all the way to Lake Victoria.

As far fetched as this may seem, serious thought is going into the idea, with a feasibility study the first step of creating a waterway that could change forever the destiny of Central Africa, with ships journeying 4,000 miles all the way from the Mediterranean to Lake Victoria.

And to give the project some credibility, the African Development Bank is reported to have made US$650,000 available for the feasibility study.

What is arguably the world's longest river already connects with Africa's largest lake and much, but not all, of the river is navigable to fairly large vessels. Countries within the drainage basin are Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

The river's most distant source is said to be the Kagera River in the highlands of Burundi, not far from the northern end of Lake Tanganyika. The headstreams of the White Nile flow into both Lake Victoria and Lake Albert. By opening the full length of the Nile together with its navigable tributaries would have a dramatic effect on most of the countries' economies. But whether the sheer cost of such a project could be justified will prove to be the determining factor. Another influencing factor would be the many rapids and waterfalls to be negotiated before the upper reaches of the mighty river could be considered as navigable.

Even if this turns out to be just another foolish idea -- remember the recent proposal involving Swaziland buiding a canal to the sea, and the more plausible suggestion from Malawi seeking a way to the sea along the Shire and Zambezi rivers -- at least it will have given us cause to consider whether the Nile can't after all be put to better use.

Nile watershed 300px wiki

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The 5.5 metre Nautic boat donated to African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary

Acting in response to the needs of the recently established African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary in Gansbaai, the Nautic Group, which is part of the Paramount Group of companies, has donated a 5.5m inflatable vessel that will greatly assist with the release of rehabilitated birds back into their natural environments.

The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary is a project of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust which is based in Gansbaai in the Western Cape. The Trust was founded in 2006 for the rehabilitation and conservation of African penguins and now invests in great white sharks and other marine species in the area. The sanctuary also aims to create awareness of the perils seabirds face in the wild and relies heavily on donations as well as sponsorship.

Buoyed by their own focus on sustainability and commitment to the marine environment, Nautic says it hopes that the donation of a boat will further the objectives of the sanctuary.

"We value the work being done by the team at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary and support their endeavours in making a difference to our marine environment," says Keith Govender, CEO of Nautic South Africa, adding that he hopes the donation will have a very real impact on the protection of penguins and seabirds that are in distress.

Building vessels in Africa for Africa, the Nautic Group's donation of the mono hull/rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) will provide a useful platform for the sanctuary. With deck space in front of the console to accommodate the placement of birds as well as seating to the rear for sanctuary personnel, the vessel is well proportioned to meet the requirements of its new owners.

Building strong relationships within Africa, Nautic's back-up and support for vessel owners, will also stand the sanctuary in good stead. With technology and skills that have kept them at the forefront of modern shipbuilding, Nautic has a team of naval architects, mechanical engineers and industrial designers who facilitate the construction and repair of ships and boats.

Nautic's range of services include contract maintenance, vessel management, training, spares, leasing and chartering of vessels and maritime advisory services, providing for a 24/7 lifecycle support for their clients.

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Hong Kong's Hutchison Port Holdings, which holds the concession to operate the container terminal at the Spanish port of Barcelona, has had its 30-year concession extended by another 15 years. This will enable Hutchison to fully automate the port.

As a result Hutchison will invest US$6.5 billion to automate the Barcelona Europe South Terminal, which it believes will improve energy and operational efficiencies, reports IHS Maritime 360.

Hutchison Port Holdings has ordered eight new remote-controlled quayside cranes and a number of automated container stackers.

Overall traffic at the port was down three percent in August when compared with August 2014. However, traffic this year so far, January to end August increased by four percent year-on-year.p>

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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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Western Geco's seismic survey vessel WG MAGELLAN (6922 gt, built 2012), looking rather the worse for wear, arrives in Durban harbour and proceeds down the Esplanade Channel towards the Dormac Marine repair quay at the Bayhead, where it appears that she will remain for several months. The vessel is flagged in Cyprus and is listed as owned by a British company, although the beneficial owner is Western Geco LLC of Houston, Texas USA. Picture is by Trevor Jones


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