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Ports & Ships Maritime News

31 May 2016
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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The former Singapore-registered research vessel REFLECT SCORPIO (3211-gt, built 1982, IMO 8208385) made an appearance in Durban in 2012 only to be arrested when the crew and other creditors could not be paid. After a protracted delay the ship was finally sold and, it would appear, sailed from Durban under the name GENESIS, possiby for the breakers. The last record we can find is of the ship sailing for Maputo and being off the Zululand coast opposite Lake St Lucia on 17 December 2013, on a northeasterly heading. Does any reader know what happened to this vessel -- did she end up as scrap steel at some Asian or Turkish breaker, or what? This picture of her being moved across Durban harbour in June 2013 is by Terry Hutson

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Tin Can Island in Lagos

According to a statement issued by Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Transportation, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved an audit of the maritime sector to determine why there has been insufficient progress.

The statement said the Transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi received a visit from the Technical Unit on Governence and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR) who advised him of the probe.

Amaechi said the audit would probe into reasons why the nation's seaports were not making progress in terms of timely clearance of goods, when compared with those of neighbouring countries.

The minister described corruption at the ports as endemic. He urged stakeholders involved in the inspection and clearance of cargo to find ways of curbing corruption and speeding up the clearing of cargo.

He said that the bottlenecks at the ports were causing too many ships to divert to neighbouring ports in other West African countries.

In an effort to speed up the clearnce and movement of cargo President Buhari is reported to have approved an automated 'National Single Window' for instant screening and scanning of cargo on vessels that could faciliate the faster clearance of cargo.

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Hanjin Paradip. Picture by Shipspotting

The South Korean bulker HANJIN PARADIP (82,158-dwt, built 2013), which was detained in the port of Richards Bay because of unpaid charter fees, has been released and has sailed from port.

By last evening (Monday) the bulker was rounding the Cape of Good Hope, having sailed from the Zululand port on Sunday, 27 May 2016.

Hanjin Paradip was arrested when she arrived off Richards Bay, on behalf of creditors who had not been paid.

In a statement released by the shipping company to say that the vessel had been released and was underway, Hanjin said the following: "Both Hanjin Shipping and the relevant parties agreed that successful financial restructuring of Hanjin Shipping correlates to everyone's interests, hence decided to resume the sailing of the vessel and to resolve the arrears issue through further discussion."

Hanjin is reported to be in a near bankrupt position and in serious arrears with charter hire payments. One of its creditors is Canada's Seaspan who have revealed that Hanjin Shipping is in serious arrears with charter hire payments.

Seaspan is apparently owed US$11.6 million for charter payments on a number of container ships.

"Hanjin charters three of our 10,000-TEU vessels and four of GCI's [an affiliate] 10,000-TEU vessels under 10-year charter contracts with options to extend. Hanjin currently is making monthly payments under its charters with us," said a Seaspan prospectus.

Hanjin operates a fleet of 95 container ships and 56 bulk carriers, with a total of 91 of the vessels being charters.

London-based Loadstar referred to Hanjin owing on just three Seaspan vessels, HANJIN BUDDHA, HANJIN NAMU, AND HANJIN TABUL, each delivered to Hanjin in 2014 with eight years remaining at a fixed rate of US$43,000 a day.

Hanjin apparently made an offer to Seaspan asking for a reduction in charter rates for three and a half years, in exchnage for 'securities in a restructured Hanjin.' Seaspan rejected the proposal saying that "neither Hanjin nor the Korea Development Bank can change the charter rates in the voluntary restructuring without our consent."

Taking a hard stance, Seapsan warned investors that a failure by Hanjin to make charter payments could result in a default in its own financing agreements for the vessels. At the same time, such a breach, would permit it to "arrest the applicable vessels, terminate the charters and seek to recharter the vessels out."

Earlier in May it was announced that Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, 'K'Line, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Yang Ming had agreed to create a new alliance covering all East-West trade lanes namely, Asia-Europe/ Mediterranean, Asia-North America West Coast, Asia-North America East Coast, Transatlantic and Asia-Middle East / Persian Gulf / Red Sea. It said that a binding agreement had been concluded by all partners and 'The Alliance' is scheduled to begin operation in April 2017 subject to approval of all relevant regulatory authorities. The initial term of the cooperation is for five years.

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Harmony of the Seas

Having just taken delivery of the world's biggest cruise and passenger ship, the gigantic 227,000 ton, 362 metre HARMONY OF THE SEAS which is capable of carrying over 6,000 passengers , one might be tempted to think the cruise operator would be satisfied to sit back and consolidate for a while.

Not so! RCCL has signed orders for another Oasis class ship for RCCL and two 'Edge'class ships for its Celebrity brand. The 'Edge'class is slightly smaller than the Solstice-class and will cater for 2,900 passengers per ship. A total of four are now on order, two for delivery in 2018 and 2020, and the latest pair in 2021 and 2022.

Not much is known about the 'Edge' class other than that they are designed to be contemporary and able to compete head-on with Virgin's three 2,800-passenger ships on order from Fincantieri for delivery in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The orders are subject to customary conditions and documentation of financing.

RCCL took delivery of Harmony of the Seas on 12 May in St Nazaire, France, where a fourth Oasis class ship is under construction for delivery in 2018. The latest order for number five of the series will be ready in 2021.

Queen Mary 2 begins refit

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What the new Carinthia Lounge is expected to look like

Cunard's flagship QUEEN MARY 2, back in Europe from her 2016 World Cruise, has entered the Blohm & Voss Shipyard in Germany to undergo a 25-day refit including a dry docking and having a number of additional accommodation suites added to her 2,620 lower berths. Once completed the ship's lower berth capacity will have been increased by just over 3 percent to 2,705.

Her 'improvements' include 30 new Britannia Club balcony staterooms on deck 13, five new inside cabins and the latest trend among cruise companies in response to demand, 15 new single cabins to cater for an increasing number of passengers cruising by themselves.

There will also be a new dining area for breakfast and lunch, the Carinthia Lounge, created out of the area previously known as the Winter Garden, which was under-utilised.

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The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), a volunteer body, reports that their East London duty crew were called out at 07h30 on Monday 30 May to launch their sea rescue craft Spirit of Lotto and rendezvous with the Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier GREAT HOPE (75,480-dwt, built 2012), sailing from Brazil to Singapore, with a 44 year old Chinese seaman on board suffering from allergic reaction to medication.

Communications between the ship's medic and a Government Health EMS duty doctor, assisted by MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) and Telkom Maritime Radio Services, confirmed that the allergy was not contagious and NSRI East London were tasked by Transnet National Ports Authority to transfer the patient to shore.

On arrival on the scene the patient was taken off the ship and brought into the Port of East London in a stable condition, where he was transferred to hospital by an EMS ambulance. Following treatment he has been discharged and will be assessed by doctors again today, (Tuesday) 31 May before rejoining his ship.

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US Navy P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) Four, supporting search operations for Egyptair flight MS804. Picture: US Naval Forces Europe-Africa/US 6th Fleet Public Affairs.

On 22 May US Navy P-3s continued to support the search effort for the missing Egyptair Flight MS804 with two missions (the sixth and seventh) from Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily, Italy.

The first flight of the day discovered another debris field that was a radius of three nautical miles in size. Once reported to the Egyptian on scene commander, the aircraft was sent elsewhere to search for additional debris fields. The Egyptians deployed small vessels to retrieve debris in the field they discovered. From post-mission reporting and the plotting of debris fields, two confirmed debris fields have been located by US Navy aircraft supporting the effort.

In addition the US Navy is providing a P-3 Orion in support of the Hellenic armed forces, and the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Greece, in response to a request by the US Embassy in Athens, Greece, for assistance in the search of the missing Egyptian aircraft.

Paul Ridgway

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Piers 1 and 2 (far) forming the Durban Container Terminal, su-Saharan Africa's biggest and busiest. Picture: TNPA

After a gap of more than a decade, the once popular Durban Port Festival is set to stage a comeback of portside fun and will take place in the port precinct from 18 to 19 June -- the first to be held in Durban since the advent of the ISPS code in 2004. The Festivak is part of Transnet National Ports Authority's (TNPA) efforts of reconnecting communities with the ports.

Free activities lined up so far for all ages include tours of South African Navy ships, tugboat rides, a careers exhibition focusing on maritime vocations, a special kids' zone, live entertainment and an array of other waterside and landside activities. There will also be a craft market and food stalls where goodies can be purchased from local stallholders. Activities will take place around Wilson's Wharf and the Durban passenger terminal's N-shed.

TNPA's Durban Port Manager, Moshe Motlohi, said the idea behind the port festivals is to bring communities closer to the ports -- something which has been restricted since the advent of the global ISPS code on safety and security for ports.

"We as the port authority are compelled to ensure that the ports offer positive and sustainable spin-offs to their surrounding communities. The port festivals are a workable solution to make our ports more community friendly and to expose the public to the opportunities available in this sector through a range of edu-tainment activities," he said.

So far East London, Richards Bay and Cape Town have all held successful port festival relaunches -- and now it is the turn of the country's largest and busiest commercial port.

The Durban Port Festival will run alongside the South African Navy's World Hydrography Day (WHD) celebrations in and around the port city from 17 to 19 June, although the official WHD date globally is 21 June. World Hydrography Day highlights the important role that the South African Navy plays by ensuring safe navigation for ships, however for practical reasons the SA Navy will host its activities from 17 to 19 June 2016.

The most popular attraction will undoubtedly be the opening of SA Navy ships to the public on the weekend of 18 and 19 June. This is the chance for the public -- including kids -- to board real-life navy vessels such as SAS PROTEA and SAS DRAKENSBERG, and possibly offshore patrol vessels that are now stationed in the Port of Durban.

The Navy's plans also include a free SA Navy Band gala performance at the City Hall on Friday, 17 June and a march through the streets of Durban on the morning of Saturday, 18 June, including a 96 person Guard of Honour accompanied by the SA Navy Band.

TNPA Chief Executive Richard Vallihu said TNPA and Transnet had several initiatives in place to explore how to reconnect the ports with the people.

"For example, a key aspect of the Transnet Market Demand Strategy is that of uplifting our communities and developing requisite mission critical skills to take this country's ports to another level," he said. "There is also the government's Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy initiative in which we are playing a crucial role in ensuring that we can unlock the tremendous potential of the oceans as a driver of job creation and economic growth. In all its ports TNPA is now actively developing the concept of 'smart people's ports' with a focus on community development, tourism, leisure, recreation, career and business opportunities and community engagement."

Entry to the Durban Port Festival and the SA Navy's World Hydrography Day activities will be FREE and suitable for the whole family. Festivities will run from 10h00 until 20h00 on Saturday, 18 June and from 10h00 until 17h00 on Sunday 19 June.

Watch this space and social media for further details. The Durban Port Festival's Facebook event page can be found at http://ow.ly/LAad300DKKl or follow #DurbanPortFestival for the latest information.

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Growing violence in the seas off West Africa has been highlighted by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in its weekly report.

The report says that as piracy on the world's seas continues to fall, new figures from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) highlight growing violence off the coast of West Africa, where 44 seafarers have been captured so far this year.

Worldwide, IMB recorded 37 piracy and armed robbery incidents in the first quarter of 2016, down from 54 in the same period last year. Three vessels were hijacked and 29 boarded, with 26 crew kidnapped for ransom and a further 28 held hostage.

With Nigeria and Ivory Coast accounting for two of the three hijackings recorded globally, and all 28 hostages, the Gulf of Guinea dominates world piracy in terms of numbers and severity. Additionally the region saw 16 crew kidnapped from chemical and product tankers in four separate incidents. Ten attacks were reported off Nigeria alone, all involving guns.

"Reports in the last quarter indicate unacceptable violence against ships and crews in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly around Nigeria. The current increase in kidnappings is a cause for great concern," said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB, who has monitored world piracy since 1991.

IMB's Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) warns all seafarers in the region to stay vigilant, maintain anti-piracy watches and take additional measures to prevent boarding. Armed groups have attacked vessels and their crews along the coast, rivers, anchorages, ports and surrounding waters -- as well as up to 110 nautical miles out to sea this quarter. Bulk and vehicle carriers have been targeted as well as vessels associated with the oil industry. source: IMB

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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
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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.


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Another container ship today to complete this edition of PORTS & SHIPS. This is the 7,928-TEU capacity MSC BILBAO (102,756-dwt, built 2006) which is owned by Doehle Peter Schiffahrts of Germany. The ship's original name chosen by her owner was HAMMONIA BREMEN before going on charter more recently with Mediterranean Shipping Company. The ship was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries Ltd Co, South Korea as their hull number 1634. This picture is by Trevor Jones


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