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Ports & Ships Maritime News

1 March 2016
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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The newly launched intervention/support vessel AQUASHIELD undergoes sea trials in Table Bay last week before delivery to the client in Nigeria. Picture is by Ian Shiffman

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Terex Port Solutions (TPS) has received an order to supply two Terex ship-to-shore cranes (STS) to Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS), a member of Hutchison Port Holdings Limited (HPH). The double-box boom structure STS will be manufactured at the TPS site in Xiamen, China, and the machines are due to be commissioned by the end of 2016.

TICTS, situated in the Port of Dar es Salaam, is Tanzania's largest container terminal. As TICTS is a major logistics gateway to eastern, central and southern Africa, it is required to meet the challenge of constantly increasing handling rates. The two new STS cranes will help TICTS to enhance the productivity of its operations significantly.

With a lifting capacity of 41t under twin-lift spreaders and an outreach of 42m, the STS cranes are designed to load and unload container vessels of up to 15 rows across. Drawing power from the terminal's electricity supply, the low noise cranes will not generate any local exhaust emissions.

The order further strengthens Hong Kong-based HPH's business relationship with TPS. In the past few years, the subsidiary of the multinational CK Hutchison Holdings Limited (CK Hutchison) has placed several orders for its terminals around the globe. In 2012, TPS supplied seven Terex rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTG) to the Balboa terminal of HPH's subsidiary Panama Ports Company (PPC), followed in 2013 by four STS for PPC's Cristobal site. In 2015, another four RTGs were delivered to HPH's Saudi-Arabian branch International Port Service Co Ltd (IPS) in Dammam, where two more of these machines will be brought into service in summer 2016.

Maurizio Altieri, Managing Director of TPS Xiamen location, said he is pleased that TPS continues to extend its business relationship with one of the fastest growing terminal operators in the world. "In order to support the rapid development of its global business over the long term, HPH has now decided to rely on TPS again. Our cranes combine high productivity with economical total cost of ownership," he said.

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TMEA transforming port yard capacity 480

For years the port yard at Mombasa yard resembled a dilapidated city abandoned to destruction, says TradeMark East Africa (TMEA).

Large swamps inhabited by rodents and other creatures covered this muddy section of the port of Mombasa known as Yard Five. In the rainy season the place would be extremely muddy and too soggy to be used by heavy container moving machines. In the dry season, the earth would crack and burst into loose soil emitting mountains of dust and creating a visibility challenge.

In all weather, Yard 5 was a health hazard and unfit for human utilisation. However, the intervention of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) has seen the Yard rehabilitated, paved and modernised. The dust is gone and so is the mud, replaced by a modern all-weather container yard.

"For close to a hundred years, Yard 5 was an abandoned area. We could not use it for more than two weeks in a row in any given month," says Kennedy Nyaga, Senior Project Engineer at KPA. The rehabilitation of Yard 5 has tremendously improved the business space at the port. "We are now able to stack the 293 20-foot containers at a height of four per slot in an average of four days."

The additional capacity created per year is 77,800 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) at the KPA yard. This brings about an annual capacity of 1.32 million TEUs for the port. "No wonder in 2014 we broke through the 1 million TEUs mark!" remarks Engineer Nyaga. The Editor of Our Ports magazine, a publication of the Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA) and a frequent user of Mombasa port, George Sunguh argues that the rehabilitation of Yard 5 and the continued capacity expansion increases the volumes of containers handled by the port.

The yard, says Sunguh, also pushes the port higher up in its ranking among the top ports in Africa and the world. Mohamed Faruk, KPA's Principal Statistician says the fact that KPA can handle more 20-foot containers than in the past is a clear indication of the growing trade capacity. Yard 5 comes rapidly in the wake of the port's growing efficiency which was given a boost by the dredging of the main entrance channel to minus 15 metres and the widening of the turning basin to 500 metres thus enabling larger vessels to call in at the port.

In 2013, the port also completed the construction of the 240m long Berth 19. It is deeper and longer and has an additional stacking yard of 15 acres increasing the port's capacity by 250,000 TEU annually. In its endeavour to assist the port to expand and grow its trade capacity, the UK through its DFID invested US$ 2.22 million through TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) in Yard 5.

This will act as a precursor to investments in the construction of the second container terminal. This construction involves the initial construction of three berths scheduled for completion by later this month (March 2016). The new berths have an additional capacity of 450,000 TEUs with two further expansion phases running through to 2020.

The port management says that to complement the construction of Yard 5, the port invested in new and modern cargo handling equipment which has improved efficiency. The equipment includes ship-to-shore gantry cranes, and terminal tractors and reach stackers. "Delays at the port are normally caused by external factors. Our job is to handle cargo and release it. When you congest the port there is a decrease in loading and this creates space for accidents," explains Faruk Mohammed. "We need to release containers the same day they are handled. The less time the container takes within the yard the better."

Engineer Nyaga says that with the rehabilitation of Yard 5, the turn-around time for ships has reduced even as the capacity to clear containers through the port is increasing. "The throughput containers are growing by 15 percent per month for this current year," says Nyaga. This fact is corroborated by the General Manager Corporate Services, J O Nyarandi. For the first time ever, the container business has started to grow.

"Two years ago we started forcing ships to use berth number 5. This proved a challenge as there was no starting yard. The rehabilitated Yard 5 now affords us space for around 70,000 containers and we quickly purchased new equipment for Kilindini."

He adds that with the handling of 1.12 million containers in 2014, KPA must now concentrate on how efficiently it utilises its vantage point to clear cargo and grow regional trade. source: TradeMark East Africa (TMEA)

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Anthem of the Seas

Who said that cruising on the wide blue ocean was idyllic? While most of the time the saying might well be true, the ocean remains a hard mistress and can turn on those on her in just a moment.

Sometimes however, it's not Mother Nature that is to blame, but us humans who venture out there in ships and boats in what is really an unnatural environment for us.

Recently we reported how the huge Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ship, ANTHEM OF THE SEAS was battered when she encountered a fierce storm shortly after sailing from New Jersey for the Caribbean. See that report HERE.

The giant ship -- she's all of 168,666 gross tons, which makes her among the biggest passenger ships ever built, was tossed about on the sea as though she was a cockleshell, and suffered damage that forced the abandonment of her next cruise while repairs were carried out. That was after she called off her intended cruise and returned to port.

Well, Anthem of the Seas has completed repairs and reentered service on yet another cruise out of Bayonne, New Jersey. Guess what -- she ran into another storm on the horison and this time caution ruled the head with her master turning the ship round and returning to port. The first experience had been with a hurricane-force storm with winds of up to 75 mph, bringing on 9-metre waves that showed scant regard for the sheer size of the giant cruise liner.

As a result of that first experience passengers have brought about at least two class lawsuits against RCCL claiming that the company was negligent in heading straight into the path of a hurricane-type storm. Royal Caribbean said afterwards that it has identified gaps in its voyage planning system (?) and was working on improving its performance, but that the storm had exceeded forecasts.

Before passengers choose a cruise it is not uncommon to read in the marketing literature how the ships they want you to sail on are equipped with every safety factor, including, one might have assumed, the ability to identify a bad storm from up ahead. Seems not apparently!

Anyway, a lesson learned is a lesson remembered, the hard way. This time round Anthem of the Seas beat a hasty retreat in the face of yet another North Atlantic storm off the east coast of the United States, and so another idyllic cruise came to naught.

Ocean Dream capsizes

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A former cruise ship now named OCEAN DREAM (17,042-gt, built 1972) capsized and sank off Laem Chabang in Thailand. The ship, which has sailed under numerous names, was better known as SUN PRINCESS of Princess Cruises back in the mid-1970s and 1980s. She met her sad end last week after lying abandoned at anchor off the coast of Thailand, having been previously acquired by Thai owners in 2013 for cruising along the Thai coastline.

On Saturday, 27 February the ship was seen by fishermen to be taking in water and soon she began listing before going right over and capsizing. Thai marine and salvage authorities attempted to stabilise the vessel but before they could achieve success she sank, leaving some oil deposits on the sea to mark the area where she went down.

One wonders why some owners go to the trouble of buying an old ship only to neglect it when plans for operating the vessel don't work out quite the way that was expected. In the case of Ocean Dream, she was supposed to have sailed for China about a year ago but instead her owners anchored her off the coast and, so it is being reported, with no crew on board to maintain the vessel. Despite being ordered to move the ship she remained at anchor, unattended and apparently unwanted.

Ocean Dream was built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy in 1972. Some of her previous owner/operators included Norwegian Cruise Line (SEAWARD), P&O Cruises (SPIRIT OF LONDON), Princess Cruises (SUN PRINCESS) and Premier Cruises (STARSHIP MAJESTIC). Another well-known operator was Festival Cruises (FLAMENCO).

It was an unfortunate ending for a once proud ship.

Aurora Australis refloated

Aurora Australis aground in Horseshoe Bay cr 480
Aurora Australis aground in Horseshoe Bay

Another 'passenger' ship in the news is the Australian Antarctic supply and research ship AURORA AUSTRALIS which went aground in Horseshoe Harbour near Mawson's Station on the Antarctic shelf last week. The ice-strengthened vessel had on board a large number of scientists undertaking work along the Kerguelen bank when the ship transferred to Mawsons to take on supplies from the Australian Antarctic Base.

During a heavy blizzard with winds reaching 170 km/h the ship was dragged from her mooring and blown across the bay before going aground on the opposite side. Once the blizzard had abated her passengers were taken ashore to the Australian ice station and, after ascertaining that the vessel's hull had not been breeched, efforts began to get the ship back in deep water once again.

After lightening the ship this proved successful on the first ettempt and a proper inspection for possible damage is now being undertaken. This will take several days.

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Port of Walvis Bay

The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) recently upgraded the Permanent Way (railway) infrastructure in the Port of Walvis Bay for the first time since Namport was established in 1994. The rail upgrade project was done at a total cost of NA$ 20 million (R20 million).

Namport owns and maintains all railway infrastructure inside the Port of Walvis Bay. As part of a planned maintenance program, the relevant sections of rail in the harbour precinct were earmarked for complete rehabilitation more than five years ago. The sections of railways that were rehabilitated now included the main feeder line into the port as well as the line feeding the existing container terminal and the two staging lines in the container terminal, a total length of 4.5km.

Certain sections of the rails in the port still consisted of old 30kg/m and 40kg/m rails. All rails have now been upgraded to 48kg/m rails. Most sections had to be totally reconstructed, which included complete track and sleeper replacement and re-ballasting.

Although of relatively low value, this project was significantly complex due to the requirement for minimum operational interruption to the track which is in daily use.

The works now completed is only stage 1 of the complete Port of Walvis Bay Railway rehabilitation project. Subsequent phases of the project will see other sections of track being rehabilitated. Future stages of the project will also involve rehabilitation of the track foundation, or layerworks, by a process that involves chemical stabilisation/strengthening of the subsurface ground by the injection of chemicals into the ground. This chemical injection technology avoids the downtime created with complete re-construction of the foundation.

The recently completed stage 1 of the railway upgrade project leaves the Port of Walvis Bay with a much improved railway network that can serve the Port of Walvis Bay well into the future. source: Namport

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Kuwait 25 Kent 480
Picture credit: Crown copyright 2016

On 26 February British armed forces paid tribute to the thousands of servicemen and women who fought in the First Gulf War with a series of events to mark the 25th anniversary of the conflict that saw the liberation of Kuwait following its occupation by Iraqi forces.

Across the nation, soldiers, sailors and airmen gathered to honour those involved in the mission to liberate Kuwait, codenamed Operation GRANBY, and to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

In London, HRH The Duke of Kent (pictured) and Defence Minister Lord Howe joined Gulf War veterans, their families and representatives of all three services at the Chapel of St Faith within the Crypt of St Paul's Cathedral for a service organised by the Ministry of Defence.

Those present paid tribute to all who fought in the British contribution to the First Gulf War, in particular the 47 British Servicemen and women who gave their lives during the campaign, and whose names are dedicated at the Gulf War Memorial within St Paul's Cathedral.

On 17 January 1991, the United Nations launched the largest coalition of forces since the Second World War in response to the invasion of Kuwait.

The British contribution to these efforts involved the deployment of 53,000 personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.

The Royal Navy played a vital role intercepting missiles, clearing mines and preventing enemy vessels from posing a threat to the Coalition forces. Naval forces were supported by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Merchant Navy.

British troops, numbering around 34,000, were key to the mission to liberate Kuwait as they joined the ground offensive and the Royal Air Force flew more than 6,000 sorties after the outbreak of hostilities.

A temporary ceasefire was agreed just over a month later, on 28 February 1991, with a formal ceasefire signed on 11 April.

In studying Parliamentary Debates (otherwise known as Hansard) of July 1992 I find that no fewer than 109 foreign-flagged vessels and five United Kingdom-registered vessels were engaged in the reinforcement and movement of men and equipment to the Gulf. On the return phase, 81 foreign vessels and three United Kingdom-flagged vessels were chartered. The cost of the operation was given as in the region of GBP 140 million.

Apparently it was said at the time that there was no difficulty in obtaining all the shipping requirements on the open charter market. It has to be said that a great majority of movement of men was done by air, with equipment largely moved by sea.

At the time of the Falklands crisis in 1982 52 merchant ships were used, the majority of them British. Half of them were requisitioned, half chartered.

Paul Ridgway

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In 2015 Angola produced over 649 million barrels of oil, a 6 percent increase year on year and a daily average of 1.779 million barrels, Angolan state oil company Sonangol said last Thursday in a statement.

Natural gas production in turn fell 8 percent to 507,000 tons, in a year in which the natural gas processing plant in Soyo, in the north, remained at a standstill.

Sonangol posted income of 2.29 trillion kwanzas (US$14.38 billion), "lower by about 34 percent against total revenue in 2014," a drop that was partially offset by higher income from refining operations, distribution and sale of fuels.

"The increase in fuel prices in January and April 2015 was decisive for this partial equilibrium in the company's revenue," the statement said.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) registered by Sonangol in 2015 fell 45 percent to 1.24 trillion kwanzas (US$7.08 billion) and net profit fell 68.27 percent to 44.148 billion kwanzas (US$276 million).

Sonangol said that the main factors that negatively affected net income were the reduction in oil prices, as well as impairment charges on oil assets in production, dry wells and no commercial discoveries. source: macauhub

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Port Louis 470
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.

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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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

We publish news about the cruise industry here in the general news section, but this is also available in a dedicated Cruise News section. This section will include various stories and news not covered in the general news so if you have an interest in this sector don't forget to check regularly on our CRUISE NEWS page.

This you will find here in CRUISE NEWS & REVIEWS

Naval News
SA Navy 480

Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories which also have their own dedicated section, although some stories may be duplicated in the general news section.

Find the Naval Review section HERE

Remember to use your backspace key to return to this page.


Oasis of the Seas at Port Everglades Feb2016 Ton

OASIS OF THE SEAS, until recently the world's largest cruise ship at 225,282 gross tons, sails from Port Everglades in Florida, USA earlier in February, shortly after another Royal Caribbean Cruises' ship, INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS had similarly departed for the Caribbean. Port Everglades seldom has less than two cruise ship sailings a day, mostly for Caribbean destinations. The picture is by Tony de Freitas


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