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Ports & Ships Maritime News

9 February 2016
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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Boudicca on a silvery sea. See what we think of her in the report below. Picture is by Ken Malcolm

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Maersk Line is preparing an awareness campaign to alert shippers to container weighing regulations that come into effect on 1 July, The Loadstar reports.

Maersk Line's VGM programme manager Lars Lorenzen told The Loadstar that the current state of industry readiness was in significant need of improvement. He said this amid confusion over the IMO's guidelines for implementing the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations, which state a verified gross mass (VGM) must be provided by shippers to shipping lines before a container is loaded.

"Unlike previous IMO regulations, the number of impacted parties this time around is much higher," said Mr Lorenzen.

"The key is transparent and clear communication to and by all regulated parties, and earliest possible identification of requirements and timely adjustment to the specific supply chain by each shipper. Both the IMO and World Shipping Council (WSC) have provided adequate guidance to implement the regulation in a structured manner, which should assist eliminating concerns raised over the lack of governmental guidance in a number of countries."

A recent survey by INTTRA, an ocean shipping e-marketplace, showed that only 30 percent of shippers expected their company, and/or their customers, to be compliant by the time the regulations come into effect.

One area of confusion appears to be the timing of VGM submission, since the legislation does not provide any official deadlines.

Mr Lorenzen said Maersk Line would continue setting deadlines for submissions locally, and that the line was able to "receive submissions of the VGM from shippers in the usual manner, ie via mymaerskline.com, industry portals, direct electronic data interchange (EDI) and manually."

One way of avoiding potential supply chain disruptions could be a standardised method for electronic VGM submission. INTTRA is working towards a uniform technology standard for digital documentation of VGM submission, while Maersk Line is also focusing its preparations on EDI.

Mr Lorenzen said that Maersk was preparing and would soon launch an awareness campaign directed at the shipper community. He said Maersk had been preparing for the implementation of this SOLAS amendment for the past 15 months.

"This includes modifications to proprietary systems and processes as well as raising awareness internally and externally." source: The Loadstar

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SA Navy's latest new tug, Inyathi. Picture: Damen Shipyards, Cape Town

The South African Navy took delivery last week (4 February 2016) of a second South African-built Damen ATD Tug 2909 at the naval base in Simon's Town. Escorted by SA Navy's existing six tugs, the new tug named INYATHI was welcomed into the naval fleet with a traditional sail past.

Inyathi, which means buffalo, is the second Damen ATD Tug 2909 in a two vessel replacement contract awarded to Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) after a transparent tender process. The first, named IMVUBU, meaning hippo, was delivered in July 2015.

The two new tugs will be deployed for towing, mooring and fire-fighting operations for the South African Navy's current and future fleet of vessels under all-weather, heavy sea, restricted visibility, day and night conditions within the confines of the Southern African ports and in coastal waters. Inyathi and Imvubu join two Damen Stan Tugs delivered in 2006 by DSCT, then known as Farocean Marine.

"We're are very happy with the result of this project," said the South African Navy's Project Officer, Commander Hermann van Geems. "Imvubu has certainly proven her worth over the last 6 months and we expect the same from her sister vessel. Damen has been excellent to work with throughout."

DSCT built the registered SAMSA Class VIII vessels with a South African workforce in keeping with governmental imperatives to create and maintain local job opportunities.

"We are proud that the local content in the two Damen ATD Tug 2909 tugs amounts to over 50 percent," says DSCT Chairman Sam Montsi. "The construction of these two vessels has also contributed to South African skills development and job creation through Damen Shipyards Cape Town's apprenticeship programme."

The robust and proven ATD Tug 2909 design has excellent manoeuvrability, high indirect towing forces and great stability. Compact and powerful, the ATD Tug 2909 type have a bollard pull of 43 tonnes, a length of 29 metres, a beam of 9.98 metres, and a maximum speed of 13.2 knots. They were further outfitted with SA Navy equipment to ensure equipment duplication and maintenance saving.

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The sail past with 6 navy tugs

About Damen Shipyards Cape Town
Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) builds ships in Africa for Africa. To date, the DSCT yard has constructed and delivered 40 vessels to the African continent, which has included offshore patrol vessels, dredgers, tugs, naval craft and platform supply vessels. The DSCT Services & Repairs department has provided training, delivery, maintenance and repairs assistance to countries across the globe.

DSCT has a well-established Apprenticeship Training Centre which is accredited by MerSETA and ChietaSETA. Apprentices selected for the Apprenticeship Training Centre program have the opportunity to obtain the necessary skills in order to achieve artisan status in welding, boiler making, pipe fitting or electrical and they are provided with a job opportunity at the same time. The first, second and third year apprentices are productive on the shop floor under the mentorship of qualified artisans until they pass their Trade Test. Once qualified, all apprentices have the opportunity to be absorbed into the business as artisans. To date, DSCT has trained 63 Apprentices of which 19 are female.

DSCT forms part of the largest privately owned and globally recognised shipyard group, namely Damen Shipyards Group. Damen Shipyards Group operates 32 shipbuilding and repair yards, employing 9,000 people worldwide and has delivered more than 5,000 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers some 160 vessels annually to customers worldwide. The support of the Damen Shipyards Group allows DSCT to benefit from globally shared knowledge, experience, group buying power and skills transfer.

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report and some photographs by Terry Hutson

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Boudicca and the other ships in the Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines fleet had an all-white livery until recently, when Boudicca appeared with a dark grey hull. According to staff on board the intention is to evaluate this before making a decision about the other vessels. Our first opinion was favourable -- an unusual colour for a cruise ship but appealing.
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This is Boudicca in her new grey and white livery, arriving in Cape Town at the end of January. This picture is by Ian Shiffman

Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines' 28,500-gross registered ton BOUDICCA has just completed her first visit to South Africa and having impressed all that came in contact with her, is currently en route back to the UK on a 46-night cruise via Reunion and Mauritius, Madagascar, Zanzibar and the Seychelles, Oman, the Red Sea and Mediterranean.

The exciting news however is that we haven't seen the last of this elegant ship; she'll be back next year and for an extended stay.

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At the moment none of this is official - there has been no confirmation or statement to the effect but according to PORTS & SHIPS sources BOUDICCA will have an extended five-month stay in South African waters between the months of October 2017 and March 2018. During this time she will sail from Cape Town and from Durban to selected destinations such as Walvis Bay on the west coast. The ship may even spend a few weeks in Mauritius waters cruising from there to exotic Indian Ocean islands including perhaps the east coast of Madagascar and the mysterious historic pirate haven island of Ille Ste Marie -- historic piracy, that is, from the days of sail.

Further information is sure to be made available in due course, in fact Fred.Olsen is sure to makea big splash of the announcement when the right time comes, but this is further evidence of more and more interest being shown in southern Africa by the cruise operators. Already Silverseas is a regular, sending a ship to cruise from SA ports every summer, spending six weeks on the coast with mainly fly/cruise type offerings. By all accounts this is proving successful as each year the ship -- this year it was Silver Wind -- spends more time in local cruising.

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Nautica at anchor off Mossel Bay late last year. Picture is by TNPA Mossel Bay

This year we also welcomed three ships from Oceania Cruises, Nautica, Insignia and briefly, Amadea. The latter made a single pass along the coast but Nautica spent about four weeks cruising from port to port whereas Insignia called in November and still owes us a call later this month.

This growing interest in Southern African cruising complements MSC Cruises and the multiple voyages of the extended MSC Sinfonia, now with a capacity of well over 2,000 and catering almost exclusively for South African passengers.

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The advent of Boudicca in our waters for five long months from November 2017 promises to be an exciting and interesting test of whether South Africa is ready for that next step up the cruise ladder. Boudicca will bring a different style of cruising from that on offer by MSC Cruises. Dare we say it, they won't be 'booze cruises'. Boudicca is an older ship and although tastefully furnished, she lacks the glitter and 'rush' (and crush) that passengers experience on Sinfonia. Fly in passengers will know what to expect but South Africans taking up the opportunity to cruise at a more sedate pace will be able to enjoy a more restful and rewarding experience at sea with longer cruises and more emphasis on landside calls.


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So what about Fred Olsen's Boudicca? She's the most recent addition to the company fleet and is a sister ship to another long-time occupant in Fred.Olsen colours, Black Watch, the former Royal Viking Star. In 2005 Black Watch went for re-engining and upgrading including the addition of a number of new balconies and no sooner was this underway than Fred.Olsen announced the acquisition of one of her sister ships, the former Royal Viking Sky, which was subsequently renamed Boudicca, after the warrior English queen of the Iceni tribe in Roman times.
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Cast of Boudicca, also spelt Boadicea, warrior queen from the English Iceni tribe. Picture by Terry Hutson

Boudicca entered service with Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines in 2006 and has proved to be a very popular ship. Now we will have the opportunity of getting to know her better and to experience the English style of cruising.

The ship carries a maximum of 880 passengers in 462 cabins. She has five restaurants, five bars and lounges, two swimming pools, two jacuzzis, a swim exercise pool, gymnasium, health & beauty salon, casino tables, a well-stockled library, card room,and wi-fi internet access. Oh, and there is a launderette.

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The cabins are spacious and well fitted out. Some have balconies and the suites are all furnished as expected. Nothing too fancy, just plain good quality and comfortable. Much like home in fact! The public rooms -- lounges, dining room and restaurants, bars, library and theatre area are all tasteful if basic -- no glary colour schemes but nevertheless bright and cheerful throughout. She looks and feels like a ship that you can relax in and enjoy yourself and feel at home. Just my kind of ship, in fact.

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Out on the deck

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Safmarine Kuramo. Picture by Victor / Shipspotting

Another ship, this time the Safmarine container vessel SAFMARINE KURAMO (28,444-dwt, built 2004), captained by a South African woman, has been highjacked by pirates operating off the Nigerian coast and later rescued by the Nigerian Navy.

It's unsure if the attack was an intended act of piracy or was more in the form of an armed robbery that took place as Safmarine Kuramo was sailing from Pointe Noire in the Congo to Port Onne in Nigeria.

The 195-metre long 2500-TEU container ship came under attack by armed pirates/robbers who fired on the ship and then boarded the vessel from a smaller and fast motor boat at about 08h00 on Friday 5 February. The ship was about 60 n.miles offshore of Bonny Island Fairways Buoy. The ship's crew issued a mayday call advising they were under attack and then retreated into the engine room which acted as their citadel from where the ship's captain, South African Zetta Gous-Conradie, established contact with the Nigerian Navy, informing them of the current situation.

The robbers/pirates proceeded to ransack the crew's quarters and some of the available cargo. The Nigerian Navy meanwhile responded to the call for help by dispatching a warship, NNS Centenary and several fast patrol boats to go to the rescue of the container ship. Later, on spotting the approaching naval vessels, the pirates hurriedly left the ship, leaving the crew of 25 unharmed and intact within their citadel.

The crew is made up of of 8 seafarers from South Africa, 5 from India, 2 from the UK, 8 from the Philippines and 2 from Thailand.

Captain Gous-Conradie prsied the Nigerian navy for its prompt response to her distress call. "We are very grateful when the navy came onboard because at some point we had thought the pirates would take us hostage. The heat was stifling because the temperature was very hot at the citadel, and at some point my crew members and I had thought we would suffocate and die," she said.

Maersk Kuramo has since moved to anchorage in the waters of the Bonny River delta near the Port of Onne.

The ship is owned by Safmarine Ship Management, a division of Maersk Line.

The attack follows another that occurred also last week involving the tanker LEON DIAS, which was seized by militants protesting against the arrest and detention of their leader. The tanker was later released when the separatists agreed to release the hostages and ship.

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South African ships' master, Captain Zetta Gous-Conradie thanks the Nigerian Navy and other armed foces personnel who came to the rescue of her ship. Picture: Premium Times

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India's state-owned Coal India says it intends acquiring coal mines in South Africa and will go ahead despite falling prices of assets globally.

Coal India, the world's biggest coal miner, accounts for more than 80 percent of India's coal production and is targeting a record production of 550 million tons this financial year. On top of this ambitious target the group aims at a coal output of one billion tons by 2020.

In order to achieve this Coal India plans acquiring coal mines in South Africa in partnership with the South African government.

Last year Coal India abandoned plans to prospect and develop three quarters of the two blocks it was allocated in Mozambique's Tete province. This decision was made after receiving an interim geological report prepared by one of its subsidiaries, Central Mine Planning and Design Institute.

A Coal India spokesman declined to comment further on the South African prospects, which are believed to involve coal mining in the untapped Waterberg region.

At the recent IHS Energy conference held in Cape Town delegates heard that South Africa was hoping to increase coal exports to India particularly as a drop in exports from Indonesia has opened an opportunty for SA mines to gain market share.

With improvements on the rail corridor the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) shipped a record 36 million tons of coal to India in 2015, almost half of the total annual RBCT throughput for that year. This was an increase of 6 million tons more coal exported to India than in 2014.

"South African coal for India is definitely on a growth path," said Arun Maheshwari, senior vice president commercial for India's JSW Steel. "How long and how much is yet to be seen," he added.

Meanwhile, RBCT is spending R1.4 billion on upgrading its facilities and equipment in order to boost capacity at the terminal from the present 91 million tons to 120 million tons.

The terminal however remains reliant on the Transnet-operated Richards Bay coal line, which despite an improved year in 2015 still has limitations and is being severely tested.

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Port Louis - Indian Ocean 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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The latest cruise ship to arrive in South African waters is Princess Cruises' SUN PRINCESS (77,441-gt, built 1994). The 2,000-passenger ship usually operates in Australian waters but in 2009 she undertook her first Indan Ocean cruise, visiting Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, the Maldives, the Seychelles, South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion. There are three ships in her class, the other two being SEA PRINCESS and DAWN PRINCESS. Pictures are by Ian Shiffman.


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