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Ports & Ships Maritime News

23 March 2016
Author: Terry Hutson

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


Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return


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The cruise ship MARINA (66,084-gt, built 2011) in the harbour at Akaroa on Banks Peninsular, South Island, New Zealand on 4 March this year. Akaroa has no wharf facilities for cruise ships so passengers have to come ashore using ship's tenders. Marina is operated by Oceania Cruises and called at South Africa earlier this summer. The picture is by Alan Calvert.

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Video clip [4:00] released by Maersk of interview with Dirk Hoffmann, Managing Director of Safmarine in Southern Africa, where he discusses the outlook for exports in the Southern Africa. source: Maersk / YouTube

According to Mr Hoffmann, although 25 percent of the value of the South African rand has been lost over the past 12 months, an opportunity still exists for South African exporters to experience increased growth.

The biggest and most important trade lanes for Southern African trade is currently China and South East Asia, for both imports and exports.

Together with subsidiary company Safmarine, the Maersk Group remains one of the biggest ship owners and operators in South Africa.

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Djibouti Ethiopia

French line CMA CGM, the world's third largest container carrier, has announced its Ethiopian services upgrade thanks to new strategic calls added on its Mediterranean Express (MEX) and Red Sea Express (REX) services, as well as the development of its intermodal offer between Djibouti and Ethiopia.

A large majority of cargo destined for the landlocked Ethiopian market transits through the Djibouti Dolareh Container Terminal.

In response to CMA CGM clients' needs, the Group has developed its Ethiopian intermodal transportation solutions by serving 6 key inland destinations -- Addis Ababa, Mekele, Nefas Meewcha, Gibe, Shashemene and Jinga -- in partnership with reliable local stakeholders.

CMA CGM has also added a new Djibouti call on both its MEX1 and REX2 services directly linking the country to Asian, European and Middle Eastern markets on MEX1 and REX2 services. Djibouti is the natural main gateway for Ethiopia, one of the most economically promising countries in the Horn of Africa.

Mex1 service 480

As from 18 March a new call in Djibouti has been added on the Asia to South Europe MEX1 service. Djibouti is now directly linked to Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) and Qingdao (China). CMA CGM claims that it offers the best transit times on the market from Asia, linking Ningbo to Djibouti in 17 days only.

In addition Djibouti is now linked to Malta. Thanks to a transshipment offer on this major CMA CGM hub, transport solutions are provided to the United States, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Twelve 9,400 to 11,400 TEU-capacity vessels are deployed on the following rotation: Valencia, Barcelona, Fos sur Mer, Malta, Damietta, Beirut, Jeddah, Jebel Ali, Port Kelang, Xiamen, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Nansha, Yantian, Ho Chi Minh, Port Kelang, Djibouti, Malta and Valencia.

REX2 service 480

Djibouti is likewise served on the Asia to Red Sea REX2 service, as from 15 March 2016.

The new call in Djibouti ensures Ethiopian sesame exports to Asia, and the development of Red Sea trades.

The service is operated with eight 8,200 to 9,900 TEU-capacity vessels on the following rotation: Shanghai, Ningbo, Kaosiung, Shekou, Singapore, Jeddah, Ain Sukhna, Aqaba, Jeddah, Djibouti, Port Kelang, Singapore and Shanghai.

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An earlier stage of the new container terminal reclamation project. Picture: Namport

? Construction of the new container harbour at the Namibian port of Walvis Bay is approaching the halfway point with land reclamation work coming to an end and civil projects now taking an important role, reports the Namibian newspaper Informante


Costing N$3 billion (Rand3bn) to build the new terminal, the reclamation part of the huge contract has seen more than 1.5 million cubic metres of aggregates such as sand and stone being placed in the harbour on which the container terminal is to be built.

The paper quotes Namport port engineer, Elzevir Gelderbloem as saying that the firm in charge of the construction, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), is approaching the phase where civil construction work like the new quay wall and the decking of the terminal will start. He said the work is on schedule for completion in 2017.

"We understand the importance of the project not only for Namibia but for Africa as a continent and therefore we are fully committed to deliver a state-of-the-art project at the end. To this end Namport is proud to announce that most of the dredging work in the harbour and around the new container terminal is done," said Gelderbloem.

Namport stages public meetings every six months to inform residents of the progress of the project and also to serve as a public forum where members of the public as well as organisations can express their concerns.

Concerns raised in the past were matters regarding traffic congestion caused by construction vehicles as well as dust and noise pollution. The sedimentation of the lagoon was also a big concern because reclaimed land is blocking the mouth of the wetlands which is a Ramsar site.

Gelderbloem said that Namport will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Namibia for the continued monitoring of the possible sedimentation of the lagoon and surrounding wetlands, which will start next month and will continue for several years to make sure that a thorough analysis is done on the possible sedimentation of the lagoon and the possible danger it might hold for the wildlife in the wetland.

The strain on street and road infrastructure has also been a concern because of larger volumes of vehicles and goods than normal passing through the town.

"At this stage we don't foresee a significant increase in the throughput of container volumes from the local market and SADC countries. The current road infrastructure is sufficient to deal with it," the port engineer said. source: Informante

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Adonia (ship, 2001) IMO 9210220 Split 2013 04 3
Fathom Line's 704-passenger Adonia. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

Carnival Corp this week announced that Cuba has granted approval for the cruise company to begin cruising to Cuba with effect from 1 May 2016.

This follows a similar US authorisation granted in July 2015. Carnival is now clear to operate the 704-passenger ADONIA to Cuba through it newest brand, Fathom. This marks the first time in over 50 years that a cruise ship has been approved to sail from the United States to Cuba.

"Our Carnival Corporation and Fathom brand teams have worked closely with Cuba throughout this process and we are thrilled to begin regular sailings to Cuba from Miami starting on 1 May 2016," said Tara Russell, president of Carnival Corporation's new Fathom brand. "We have been told that we will be the first cruise line to sail from the U.S. to Cuba with our historic inaugural sailing."

"We are excited about Cuban approval and are ready to take travelers there through an extraordinary guest experience on the beautiful MV Adonia," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "This is a historic opportunity, and we know there is pent-up demand amongst Americans who want to experience Cuba. We believe there is no better way to experience so much of Cuba in seven days. Everyone who sails with us with Fathom to Cuba will have a very special, rewarding and enriching experience with our Fathom brand."

Three ports of call
During each sailing, Carnival Corporation through its Fathom brand will visit Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, three ports of call for which Carnival Corporation has obtained berthing approval.

As part of this historic sailing travelers will enjoy an exciting Cuban experience including Cuban and Caribbean-inspired music and film options, as well as Cuban-inspired menu options.

Special onboard programming will include a wide variety of activities covering an array of interests, ranging from an orientation to Cuba's history, customs and culture, to geographic-inspired entertainment, to casual and fun personal enrichment activities, to conversational Spanish lessons, to guided sessions with the Fathom team.

"We are humbled and honoured to offer a one-of-a-kind Cuban experience to our travelers," said Russell.

Seven-day itineraries on Carnival Corporation's Fathom brand depart from PortMiami on Sundays at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The ship will arrive at its first destination, Havana, the following morning (Monday) at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. The MV Adonia returns to its homeport, PortMiami, at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time Sunday.

Prices for seven-day itineraries to Cuba start at US$1,800 per person, excluding Cuban visas, taxes, fees and port expenses and including all meals on the ship, onboard experiences and on-the ground activities. Prices will vary by season.

More information is available at www.fathom.org/

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Picture by Terry Hutson

British shipping firm John Good Group has come up with a list of 10 things that cargo owners and logistics stakeholders should know ahead of the 1 July deadline for the implementaton of the SOLAS container weight changes.

As quoted in Lloyd's Loading List, John Good Group's Jane Nash lists the following:

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has amended the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) to require, as a condition for loading a packed container onto a ship for export, that the container has a verified weight declared to the Vessel Operator and Marine Terminal Operator.

As of 1 July 2016, the enforcement of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) requirements regarding the verification of the gross mass of packed containers will become applicable. This requirement will apply globally. After that date, it would be a violation of SOLAS regulations to load a packed container onto a vessel if the Vessel Operator and Marine Terminal Operator do not have a verified container weight declaration.

The shipper is responsible for the verification of the packed container's weight; therefore ALL shippers will need to establish policies and procedures to ensure the implementation of this regulatory change.

At John Good Shipping, we like to help our customers gain a clearer understanding about the shipping process, in order to provide more transparent and smooth transportation of cargo, Nash said. We've come up with 10 things you need to know about the basic principles under the SOLAS Requirement:

1. Weight Verification

Before a packed container can be loaded onto a ship, its weight must be determined through weighing. It is a violation of SOLAS to load a packed container on board a vessel to which SOLAS applies without a proper weight verification. THERE IS NO EXCEPTION TO THIS REQUIREMENT.

2. Two permissible methods for weighing

Under the SOLAS amendments, there are two permissible methods for weighing.
Method 1 -- requires weighing the container after it has been packed, or:
Method 2 -- requires weighing all the cargo and contents of the container and adding those weights to the container's tare weight as indicated on the door of the container.

The IMO Guidelines state that Method 2 "would be inappropriate and impractical" for "certain types of cargo items (e.g., scrap metal, un-bagged grain, and other cargo in bulk)" that "do not easily lend themselves to individual weighing of the items to be packed in the container."

3. Estimating weight is not permitted

Estimating weight is not permitted. The shipper (or by arrangement of the shipper, a third party) has a responsibility to weigh the packed container or to weigh its contents.

4. Weighing Equipment must meet National Certification and Calibration Requirements

Under both methods, the weighing equipment used must meet national certification and calibration requirements (details of these can be found from your local Trading Standards Office). Further, the party packing the container cannot use the weight somebody else has provided, except in one specific set of defined circumstances.

The one exception is as follows: "Individual, original sealed packages that have the accurate mass of the packages and cargo items (including any other material such as packing material and refrigerants inside the packages) clearly and permanently marked on their surfaces, do not need to be weighed again when they are packed into the container.

"This does not permit estimating the cargo weight, but permits using accurate weights that have been clearly and permanently marked on individual, original sealed packages (e.g., flat-screen TVs that have their weight (e.g. X kg.) marked by the manufacturer on the box containing the TV)."

5. Signed Verification

A carrier may rely on a shipper's signed weight verification to be accurate. The carrier does not need to be a "verifier" of the shipper's weight verification. Nor do the SOLAS amendments require a carrier to verify that a shipper providing a verified weight according to Method 2 has used a method which has been certified and approved by the competent authority of the jurisdiction in which the packing and sealing of the container was completed.

However, it is important to note that, for the shipper's weight verification to be compliant with the SOLAS requirement, it must be "signed", meaning a specific person representing the shipper is named and identified as having verified the accuracy of the weight calculation on behalf of the shipper.

6. What if it hasnít been signed?

The lack of a signed shipper weight verification can be remedied by weighing the packed container at the port. If the marine terminal does not have equipment to weigh the container and provide a verified weight, alternative means must be found to obtain a verified container weight otherwise the packed container may not be loaded on to the ship.

If the shipping document, with regard to a packed container, does not provide the verified gross mass and the master or his representative and the terminal representative have not obtained the verified gross mass of the packed container, it shall not be loaded on to the ship.

7. What happens if the shipper hasn't provided the required verified gross mass of the container?

Notwithstanding that a shipper is responsible for obtaining and documenting the verified gross mass of a packed container, situations may occur where a packed container is delivered to a port terminal facility without the shipper having provided the required verified gross mass of the container. Such a container will not be loaded onto the ship until its gross mass has been obtained.

8. What happens if there is any discrepancy?

Any discrepancy between a verified gross mass of a packed container obtained prior to the container's delivery to the port terminal facility and a verified gross mass of that container obtained by that port facility's weighing of the container, will result in the container not being loaded on board the vessel.

9. What are the consequences or penalties when a VGM (verified gross mass) is not available?

A container without a VGM should not be loaded onto the vessel until its VGM has been obtained. In order to allow the continued efficient onward movement of such containers, the master or his representative and the terminal representative may obtain the VGM of the packed container on behalf of the shipper. This may be done by weighing the packed container in the terminal or elsewhere. The VGM obtained in this manner should be used in the preparation of the ship loading plan (please refer to Chapter 13 of the SOLAS guideline).

The shipper will be responsible for any costs that arise (e.g. weighing costs, repacking and administrative costs). Regulatory penalties will be defined by the individual national legislations.

10. Where can relevant further guidance be found?

Further guidance regarding SOLAS and the verified gross mass of a container, can be obtained from:

worldshipping.org : cargo weight

www.bifa.org : mca container verification mgn534 16 june

fiata.com :Guideline SOLAS

Jane Nash is quality and procedures manager at John Good Group, which provides liner agency, port agency, freight forwarding, ro-ro shipping, trucking, and warehousing services to blue chip companies and SMEs across various sectors.


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HMS Bronington sunk at her mooring at Vittoria D
Picture by Phil Owen

Britain's last Coniston, or 'Ton' class minesweeper, the former HMS Bronington has sunk at her mooring at Vittoria Dock in Birkenhead, England.

The 63-year old wooden ship has been deteriorating slowly over the years and as far back at 2010 there were warnings that she might sink one day unless urgent further care was taken. That day arrived about a week ago when she settled on the shallow bottom of the dock with her decks awash and water accessing her inner areas.

After settling on her bottom the ship subsequently rolled over onto her side.

HMS Bronington, which incidentally was the only ship to have been captained by Prince Charles during his time in the navy, is rgarded as the last of the 'Ton' class of mineswepers in the Royal Navy. She was launched at the Cook, Welton and Gemmel shipyards in Yorkshire in 1953 and remained in active service until 1988. In the following year the ship was purchased by Salford Quays and opened to the public in 1992. Owevrship later transferred to Mersey Docks & Harbour Company and the ship has been laid up since 2011. The 'Ton' class served not only in the Royal Navy but also in the Australian Navy and the South African Navy. The latter took delivery of ten of these ships of which two, SAS Durban and SAS Windhoek were built specially for the SA Navy, becoming the first new ships to be built directly for the navy. The other eight ships were transferred from the Royal Navy to South Africa. Interestingly, one of these ships remains on display and in the water at Durban's Port Natal Maritime Museum where the ship is currently nearing completion of a refit undertaken by volunteers of the Friends of the Maritime Museum. The museum is open daily (except on Christmas Day and Good Friday) and the minesweeper is accessible at these times.

SAS Durban is very possibly now the only remaining floating 'Ton' class warship.

SAS Durban at the Port Natal Maritime Museum. Picture by Terry Hutson

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Request a Rate Card frominfo@ports.co.za


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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.

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.




The LNG tanker EXELERATE inbound at Cape Town on Monday morning this week. The 93,901-gt liquified natural gas tanker was built in 2006 -- more of her type can be expected as gas discoveries along the east and west African coasts ramp up. Excelerate is owned and operated by Exmar Marine, a Belgian company based in Antwerp. These pictures are by Ian Shiffman


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