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Ports & Ships Maritime News

24 May 2016
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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Mitsui OSK Line's container ship MOL GRATITUDE (72,000-dwt, built 2012) enters Durban harbour earlier in May to work cargo at the Durban Container Terminal. The 5,600-TEU capacity 175-m long ship is owned by German ship owner B Schulte and was launched with the name HERMAN SCHULTE. The ship was built at the Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co Ltd shipuard in South Korea as their hull number S511. This picture is by Keith Betts

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Jan de Nul's TSHD dredger De Laperouse, seen while working in Durban harbour recently. Picture by Keith Betts

The Jan de Nul trailing suction hopper dredger DE LAPEROUSE (5440-dwt, built 2010) has arrived in the Mozambique port of Maputo to commence a contract involving the deepening of the port's long entrance channel.

The US$100 million 10-month contract was signed recently by the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) and Dubai-based Jan de Nul, which is headquartered in Luxembourg.

The dredger De Laperouse has been working on contract to Durban-based Subtech Diving on a contract involving the deepening of certain berths at Durban's Maydon Wharf, but with that section of the contract completed the dredger is able to pick up on its programme of dredging the Maputo entrance channel.

The programme calls for the channel to be taken from a depth of 11 metres to 14 metres, which will considerably improve the port's capacity and safety, particularly the Matola bulk terminal area from where coal, magnetite and other minerals are exported.

The area alongside the berths in the Maputo port itself have not been deepened, as far as can be ascertained and in such an event the berths would require strengthening or rebuilding, as is being doen at Maydon Wharf in Durban.

The previous dredging operation of the Maputo port channel allowed access to vessels of up to 65,000 tons, which contributed to the expansion of the ferro-chrome and container terminals and a new terminal for grains. The new dredsging contract will open the port to vessels up to 80,000 tons.

MPDC is a private company resulting from a partnership between Mozambican state-owned port and railway company CFM and Portus Indico, which in turn is made up of South Africa's Grindrod group, DP World of the United Arab Emirates and Mozambican company Mozambique Gestores.

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maersk suez canal vital for world infrastructure

Efforts by the Suez Canal Authority to entice container lines to make the return journey to the Far East via the canal appear to have failed and the number of ships returning eastward via the Cape of Good Hope is increasing.

The Suez Canal Authority, which recently completed the widening of a section of the canal, has extended an offer of a 30 percent toll rebate on ships returning to the Far East from the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. The offer commenced on 7 March and was for a period of three months but with a possible extension. The rebate was subject to ships sailing from New York or ports to the south of New York and sailing to Port Kelang or further east, without any intermediate calls.

However, it appears the offer has not proved tempting enough and shipping lines have been able to continue using the Cape of Good Hope route to avoid canal fees, even sailing at full speed because of cheap fuel, and thus avoiding any effect on rotations.

Previously, with ships employing slow sailing practices to reduce fuel consumption it meant that the lines had to introduce one of two additional ships into each rotation in order to maintain the service integrity. Despite these additional costs this was still proving attractive against using the canal on the backhaul, which is often conducted with very little paying cargo.

Ship analyst Alphaliner described it as a blow for the Suez Canal Authority, saying that it ran the risk of losing some of the Far East - East Coast US services on the headhaul direction from Asia to America.

Alphaliner data showed that none of the nine US East Coast US - Asia services eligible for the 30 percent rebate have taken any advantage of the offer.

Making matters worse for the Suez company, the analyst said that a number of loops in the trade could be re-routed via the expanded Panama Canal once the opening of the new locks, scheduled for 26 June, allows larger ships to take this route.

Alphaliner pointed out that the Ocean Three partners, CMA CGM, Cosco and United Arab Shipping Co, intend routing the 11,300 TEU-15,000 TEU ships used on their joint northern Europe to Far East FAL 23/AEX 7/AEC 8 service via the Cape of Good Hope on the return eastbound trip.

The vessels will go directly from Le Havre via South Africa to Port Kelang, Chiwan, Hong Kong and Shanghai. By increasing the speed the service will continue to turn in 12 weeks despite the longer routing.

The average number of transits through the Suez Canal have not reached the estimated height of 97 transits a day that was forecast when the second canal lane was opened in August last year. Alphaliner said the number had in fact dropped from a total of 1,473 transits in the first quarter of 2015, to 1,352 for the same period this year.

It said the average capacity of container ships using the canal currently stands at 10,500 TEU.

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Port Louis 470

Port Louis in Mauritius is to replace its current power generation facilities that run on heavy fuel oil (HFO) with electric power, to improve fuel efficiency by 25 percent and reduce carbon dioxide emissions simultaneously.

The turnkey project that will be provided by Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S, owned by Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co, Ltd.

Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S has previously delivered nine power generating units to the Central Electricity Board in Mauritius in the last 20 years, supporting the provision of electric power in the country.

The project is due for completion in 2017. source: Ship Efficiency

* See related article Technical: LNG Hybrid Barge's second year in port of Hamburg below.

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Maersk layups 480

With the increasing number of ships being laid up in places like the Durban outer anchorage, but particularly elsewhere in the world, the following article should be of interest.......

It is always a financial decision to lay-up a vessel, and in recent years it has become a more frequent occurrence, but how does it actually work and what does one need to take care of? A short explanation follows.

To lay-up a vessel means to stop using it for a certain period. It will simply be anchored in appropriate waters. The reasons for lay-up might be to wait for a better scrap price or to deactivate the vessel due to over-capacities with the intention of activating it again later. Lay-up periods can be as short as a few weeks and as long as five years and more.

The Norwegian Shipowners' Association says that in February, 101 of its members' offshore vessels were in lay-up, as reported on 31st March 2016 -- a statistic which is expected to rise. The same is true of container ships; by December 2015 the numbers rose to a new high with 331 reported as idle vessels or 1,36 million TEU (source: Alphaliner.com).

This example makes it clear that the treatment of vessels differs according to the lay-up period and the reason for the lay-up. As the treatment differs so do the obligations and requirements assigned by class, flag state and port authorities. They all have their influence.

Of course there are more parties involved, for example some insurance companies may accept a payment hiatus if the vessel is in lay-up for more than 30 days. In general, all responsible parties should be informed about the lay-up period and its reasons (e.g. scrapping) as their requirements depend on it.

Hot or Cold?
The operator must first decide on either a hot lay-up or a cold lay-up. In a hot lay-up condition the ship engines and machinery keep running so that the re-commissioning of the vessel can be carried out very quickly, and the vessel's preservation is much easier and cheaper compared to a cold lay-up. The operational costs are higher, more crew is required and machinery in operation has the increased cost of consumables.

In a cold lay-up vessels are only supplied with emergency energy for lights, windlass / mooring winches and fire extinguishing -- often by portable generators installed on deck. Depending on the length of lay-up, three weeks or more should be expected for re-commissioning. Should the lay-up be five years or longer then the re-commissioning time is unpredictable and can last months. The main concern here is preservation against humidity, leakage of chemicals and condition of the hull (sea chest / sea water lines).

To allow dehumidification of engine rooms (depending on DP level) a dehumidification machine has to be installed and connected to the engine / FRAMO room. Other items to keep in mind are:

  • Sea water tanks

  • Cargo rooms

  • Ballast tanks

  • Bow thruster rooms
  • Classes, Flag States and Port Authorities
    Minimum manning during cold lay-up is expected by many classes and port authorities to cover at least fire, leakage, mooring and security watch. However, the Safe Manning Certificate applies only to vessels in operation, while vessels are safely at anchor, within port limits or alongside. Instead, requirements of flag states and port authorities apply to laid-up vessels. Flag states in general require notification of vessels laid-up for longer periods -- the requirements vary from short notification to a detailed lay-up plan.

    Example of hot lay-up plan:

  • Lay-up procedures

  • Proposed manning

  • Emergency response (fire, collisions, hurricanes, etc)

  • Navigation watches (if at anchor)

  • Security plan

  • Class surveys / audits

  • Procedures for re-commissioning
  • Example of minimum manning requirements (hot lay-up):

  • One master, one officer, three deck crew

  • One CE , two engineering crew

  • Sufficient crew to maintain safety functions
  • In addition, class surveys take place -- for example the DNV carries out an annual lay-up survey (covers watertight integrity, bilge system, fire hazards and equipment in use).

    Where to put it?
    Ideal places for lay-up have good grounds for anchoring or mooring, and almost no current or heavy winds (e.g. should be outside of the typhoon belt). Furthermore it should be legal and authorised by the local port authority.

    Another possibility is a cheap lay-up berth. This choice avoids supply problems for the watch keepers and grants easy access to the vessel for surveyors and crew, however, it comes at the cost of renting the berth.

    Reactivating the Idle Vessel
    Depending on the length of the idle time a number of surveys have to be carried out before the vessel can continue with its service. For example some class authorities require a sea trial when the vessel has been laid up for 12 months or longer. Furthermore, expired certificates need to be renewed before the vessel can be re-commissioned.

    Other certificates like the SMC (Safety Management Certificate) become invalid after six months of lay-up (Flag states can override this) and an interim audit has to be carried out for reactivation. The same applies to the ISSC.
    source: Matti Bargfried, CODie software products e.K. Potsdam, Germany

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    The SOF Exercise SNMG2 TU.02 off Casablanca. Picture: NATO

    It was announced from Casablanca, Morocco, on 18 May that NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two Task Unit 02 (SNMG2 TU.02) recently capped a robust port visit in Casablanca, Morocco with a Passing Exercise and Boarding Exercise off the coast of Morocco.

    SNMG2 TU.02 led by Commander Trevor MacLean (Royal Canadian Navy) included HMCS FREDERICTON (FFH 337) and Italian Frigate ITS ALISEO (F574).

    The Group was met warmly by the Moroccan naval authorities, ships involved in the port visit had an ambitious schedule of events which were important on both a technical training level and community bridge-building level. Moroccan naval officers were welcomed aboard Fredericton for a tour and luncheon.

    In conjunction with this visit Deputy Commander Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) Vice-Admiral Bruno Paulmier (French Navy) paid a visit to Casablanca and to the Royal Moroccan Navy Headquarters, Rabat, to discuss issues of mutual interest. Vice-Admiral Paulmier was received by the Inspector General of the Royal Moroccan Navy, Vice-Admiral Mohamed Laghmari, and discussed the status of NATO's anti-terrorist Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR.

    Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR is supported by the Royal Moroccan Navy whose contribution adds significantly to Maritime Security in the Western Mediterranean.

    "In the framework of the Mediterranean Dialogue, NATO and the Royal Moroccan Navy have built a strong partnership," said Vice-Admiral Paulmier. "This has been very much reflected by the level of talks and the outstanding reception offered to the MARCOM delegation. The Inspector General of the Royal Moroccan Navy, Vice-Admiral Laghmari, and his staff, have shown a great interest in working closely with NATO through the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme (IPCP). Given the value and the capabilities of the Royal Moroccan Navy, and our mutual understanding, this cooperation will strengthen."

    During the remaining days of the port visit there was a particularly effective training opportunity with SNMG2 TU.02 and partners.

    NATO Special Operations Command and Control Element (SOCCE) arranged to have Canada's Enhanced Naval Boarding Party (ENBP) work together with multinational Special Operations Forces (SOF). The exercises included scenarios which highlighted the NATO standard for shore and sea-based training.

    The Royal Canadian Navy's Fredericton has been practicing boarding exercises with NATO Allies as part of its commitment to enhance and promote stability in the Mediterranean Sea.

    This new exercise was aided greatly by the commitment to the training exercise by Spain, who specifically embarked SOF in their frigate and extended her port visit to Morocco to work with the group.

    Warships involved in the exercise included the Spanish frigate SPS CANARIAS (F86), the Italian frigate ITS ALISEO (F574), and Moroccan frigate ALL BEN ABDALLAH (615).

    SNMG2 TU.02 is part of the multinational, integrated maritime forces that comprise the Standing NATO Maritime Groups. These warships are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from participation in exercises to operational missions. These groups provide NATO with a continuous maritime capability and help to establish Alliance presence, demonstrate solidarity, conduct routine diplomatic visits and enhance inter-operability among Allied naval forces.

    Paul Ridgway

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    PIC 1 LNG Hybrid Barge HUMMEL 480
    LNG Hybrid Barge HUMMEL in the port of Hamburg

    For the past year the LNG Hybrid Barge HUMMEL has contributed to improved air quality at the German port of Hamburg. This year Becker Marine Systems' LNG Hybrid Barge will also be supplying low emission 'green' power to the cruise ship AIDAsol each time the cruise ship is in port.

    The cruise ship will have made a total of sixteen stops at the Hafencity terminal by October 2016.

    Certain restrictions have made the work of the LNG Hybrid Barge more difficult, but "we are continuing to seek a mutual solution together with the relevant authorities," said Dirk Lehmann, Managing Director of Becker Marine Systems. This would then enable the HUMMEL to continue supplying environmentally-friendly power to cruise ships during their layovers in the port beyond the current year.

    Operations and the product sales for the LNG floating power plant will in future be the responsibility of Hybrid Port Energy, the operating company and a subsidiary of Becker Marine Systems.

    The same applies to the use of the new, modular LNG PowerPac special containers.

    Both innovations, which employ liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative and cleaner method of supplying shore power to cruise and container ships, will soon be presented by Becker Marine Systems and Hybrid Port Energy at 'TOC Europe'. The exhibition for port and terminal professionals is taking place in Hamburg from 14 to 16 June 2016.

    In future, Becker Marine Systems says it would like to offer environmentally-friendly LNG technology not only to cruise ships, but to container ships, bulkers and tankers as well. "Discussions with the Port of Rotterdam for the implementation of another barge are already well under way," said Lehmann. Last year the Hamburg-based company signed a memorandum of understanding for the sale of an LNG Hybrid Barge with Netherlands-based shipping company KOTUG and the Shell oil and gas company.

    Becker Marine Services
    Hamburg-based Hybrid Port Energy was founded by Becker Marine Systems with the objective of supplying environmentally-friendly maritime energy. Becker Marine Systems is the market leader for high-performance rudders and energy-saving manoeuvring technology solutions for any type of ship. Becker's products are well-established on the world market and represent the top choice for both super tankers as well as container ships, passenger ferries, large cruise ships and luxury yachts.

    PIC 2 Hummel AIDAsol 480
    LNG Hybrid Barge HUMMEL and AIDAsol

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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.


    MATSU ARROW 1 May 2016 480

    One of Gearbulk's Semi Open class of general cargo vessels, MATSU ARROW (55,975-dwt, built 2014) is seen here passing Durban's yacht mole as she shifts from Maydon Wharf to a berth on the Bluff one Sunday morning in May. Gearbulk operates the world's largest fleet of open-hatch gantry craned vessels and open-hatch jib craned vessels, and their company vessels have been calling at Durban for many years. Many of Gearbulk's ships carry the suffix 'Arrow' to distinguish them from any other fleet. This picture is by Trevor Jones


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