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Ports & Ships Maritime News

11 October 2016
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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The 190-metre long, 32m wide bulk carrier LIBERTY GRACE (50,601-dwt, built 2001) seen against a backdrop of the grain elevator terminal building, the tallest building along Durban's Maydon Wharf. This position formed practically the end of the Wharf when the building was completed by 1927, berth 9 being the last berth until the next six extensions were added on some years later. The grain building became one of the most prominent features on the skyline surrounding Durban Bay, and remains so to this day. PORTS & SHIPS will look into undertaking a feature on the grain terminals of South African ports for a future article.

The US-flagged (New York register) Handymax bulker Liberty Grace is owned and managed by the Liberty Glory Corporation, a US company based in New York and was built at the Oshima Shipbuilding Company in Oshima, Japan as its hull number 10305. Having completed her work in Durban the ship is currently on her way back to the United States where her next call will be at Houston in Texas. This picture is by Ken Malcolm

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The Ematum fishery patrol fleet acquired from France, lying on the quay at Maputo earlier this year

Mozambique is losing about US$67 million a year from illegal fishing in its territorial waters, says Leonid Santana Chimarizane, the country's minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries.

In an interview with the Beira newspaper Diaro de Mozambique the minister said there are numerous unauthorised incursions within Mozambique's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) but didn't elaborate or mention what tonnage of fish was caught illegally.

One of his officials said afterwards that the ministry had been taking steps to combat these illegal incursions and said that enforcement measures were being stepped up, which would, he said, "contribute to the reduction of the practice."

The official did not mention what these measures were.

Mozambique possesses one of the most modern fleets of fishery patrol vessels, including two high speed vessels, capable of launching unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) for surveillance purposes, acquired under controversial circumstances from the French CMN shipyard, which then lay idle in Maputo harbour following arrival. It is not known whether these vessels havesince gone out on patrol and if so, what success they have enjoyed. Confirmation of any such excursions is welcome!

However, at a training session involving fisheries inspectors and members of the Community Fishing Councils, the national director of the Ministry of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries Waters told attendees that in September two foreign fishing vessels operating illegally in Mozambique territorial waters had been apprehended. He provided no further details but Mozambique recently commissioned a former Namibian fishing vessel confiscated several years ago for illegal fishing in Mozambique waters.

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Irish Lights stamps

On 6 October the Irish Post Office, An Post issued four new stamps honouring the Commissioners of Irish Lights.

The new 72c stamps, a special first day cover envelope and booklet feature Irish Lights staff working on a buoy; a helicopter near Fanad Head Lighthouse; Irish Lights technology and the Irish Lights Vessel Granuaile. Designed by Dublin's Vermillion Design, they may be viewed and purchased at all main post offices and online at www.irishstamps.ie

As well as maintaining more than 60 lighthouses around the island of Ireland, Irish Lights also provides and maintains specialist aids to navigation using advanced technology, protects the environment and supports the marine industry and coastal communities.

The Commissioners of Irish Lights is vested under Section 634 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 with the responsibility for superintendence and management of all lighthouses and other aids to navigation for Ireland (North and South) and the adjacent seas and islands. There are no boundaries at sea and Irish Lights works closely with the UK General Lighthouse Authorities to provide a consistent and integrated service to mariners.

Welcoming the stamps, Irish Lights Chief Executive, Yvonne Shields said: "Irish Lights is delighted that these stamps reflect the innovative, modern-day navigation and maritime services that we provide around the island of Ireland, 365 days of the year. Our staff work closely with local authorities, communities and marine industries around the coast ensuring a vital safety service. The collection also showcases our new tourism initiative -- Great Lighthouses of Ireland -- which gives visitors the unique opportunity to stay-in or visit a lighthouse."

Lighthouses have always been held in affection by local communities and have helped seafarers find their way to safety for centuries. Hook Head Lighthouse, Co. Wexford is one of the oldest operational lighthouses in the world. Fifth century monks of Rinn Dubhain lit a beacon at Hook Head to guide shipping and were subsequently enrolled as 'lighthouse keepers', tending the tower until 1641.

The Great Lighthouses of Ireland tourism initiative enables visitors to learn more about 12 lighthouses in breath-taking coastal locations -- including Clare Island, Co Mayo; St John's Point, Co Down and Ballycotton, Co Cork -- their modern-day technology, natural surroundings and the people who are so passionate about these unique buildings.

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RT Spirit

We missed this one when it happened but on the basis of being 'rather late than never', we make amends now.

What's that all about, you ask? Well back in May the Mozambique Port of Nacala took delivery of two modern design tugs each having a 78-ton bollard pull rating, for the handling of bigger tonnage ships that the port can expect with the advent of the new coal terminal.

One of the tugs is the 31-metre Rotortug RT MAGIC (449-gt, built 1999), managed by Kotug International BV and flagged in Valletta, Malta. The other is a sister tug RT SPIRIT. They are intended primarily for work at the Nacala-a-Velha coal terminal where Capesize vessels can be expected.

Pioneered by Kotug, the tugs feature three separate azimuth propulsion units to provide improved vessel safety, power and manoeuvrability, hence the term Rotortug, and were selected by CDN to optimise turn-around time and to have minimum tugs needed per ship assistance.

According to the Port of Nacala's website, the tugs have a greater towing capacity than the port's earlier tugs and can operate under more adverse conditions. "Previously, the maximum wind speed the tugboats could withstand was 17 knots, and now that limit can increase to a maximum which is still to be defined by CDN (Corredor de Desenvolvimento do Norte) -- probably up to 20 knots. There are certain berthing positions (Starboard) which were not possible before, but now there are no such limitations, especially at the South Quay 1, when a vessel is docked at South Quay 2," the port says on its site.

The objective of having the new tugs is to ease and support maritime operations in the Port of Nacala, as well as contribute to the increase of cargo handled, adds CDN.

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Victor Restis

Greek shipowner Victor Restis has been cleared of all charges of money laundering and embezzlement by the Hellenic Supreme Court in Athens.

Restis, whose family entered the dry bulk sector through its acquisition of South African Marine Corporation in 1999, and which held a 40% stake in Durban-based Grindrod until the latter bought back the shares in 2006, was arrested on charges of failing to disclose his identity in FBBank loan application documents, and of receiving a preferential interest rate and terms.

According to Greek prosecutors the shipowner and bank owner was alleged to have deliberately concealed the true ownership of the companies involved and had therefore acted in breach of his fiduciary duty to the bank as a board member.

This week the Hellenic Supreme Court ruled that all charges were to be dismissed and that Restis had acted according to 'standard business practice' which it said was not illegal.

The court also ruled that the loan which formed part of the charge sheet had been intended as working capital which had been applied to the day-to-day running of the company and had therefore not been used inappropriately.

The financial stability of FBBank was in no way compromised by the loan, the court said, pointing out that the Restis group had a net value exceeding EUR620 million.

The loans had been fully paid, the second of which being paid before it was even due, so the court found no grounds for the charge of embezzlement.

The court dropped all charges against Restis, concluding that his group had intended to repay the loan all along and had the material ability to do so. The shipowner's 17 co-defendants were also acquitted by the court.

"The past three years have been extremely difficult for me, but even more so for my family, and my 5,000 employees, whose income depends on the stability and reputation of the business. The charges against me were without foundation from the start, but I knew I had to be patient and wait for justice to prevail. Now we must all work hard to restore a reputation for integrity as a company and a nation. Personally, I look forward to a bright and productive future for my business interests, not only in Greece but also globally," Restis said in a written statement.

Restis' companies include Enterprises Shipping & Trading which includes SA Marine Corp, Seanergy Maritime and SwissMarine Services. source: Splash 24/7

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commercial photography locations

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Vale Mocambique coal train and map showing the location of Malema and the attack on the train

Another armed attack by gunmen of the Renamo rebel movement has taken place, this time as a coal train belonging to Vale Mocambique was travelling in the northern province of Nampula on the Moatize-Nacala corridor. The attack took place in the small hours of last Thursday morning, 6 October 2016.

The news was broken at a press conference in Nampula City. Police said the attack took place in Mutuali, in Malema district at about 01h00. Damage was confined to the front of the locomotive and windows were shattered, with shards of glass hitting the train driver and causing slight injuries.

The train was fully loaded and heading to the new coal port at Nacala-a-Velha. The police said that Renamo was attempting to set the locomotive on fire.

Police are investigating and have despatched a unit to the scene to investigate further and to attempt to follow up on the rebels and discover their hideout.

On Monday night the same week Renamo attacked a goods train between Cuamba and Nampula cities, and injured one member of its crew. This train was carrying empty wagons back to port, and was not owned by Vale.

There are two railways which Vale can use to take coal to port. One is the Sena line, which runs from Tete province to the port of Beira. The second is the new line, financed by Vale, which runs from Moatize through southern Malawi, and then links up with the existing northern corridor to the port at Nacala. This line was built to accommodate extremely long coal trains carrying the coal to Nacala-a-Velha, the new coal terminal on the opposite side of the bay to the town.

Attacks have also taken place on the Sena railway, resulting in Vale suspending operations along the Sena route for the past two months. Ironically, the latest attacks on the northern railway to Nacala came just as the Mozambique Government was negotiating with Vale to resume its use of the Sena railway.

Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita said earlier that the suspension of the use of the Sena railway had resulted in losses so far to Mozambique's state port and rail company CFM which were estimated at around US$50 million.

Mesquita assured the Brazilian mining company that Mozambique's defence and security forces would protect the line. Now it seems they may be faced with protecting the Nacala Corridor line as well and perhaps hyaving railoperations confined to daylight working only.

During the long civil war in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s Renamo adopted similar but more intense tactics of destroying Mozambique's transport system in order to collapse the Mozambique economy.

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Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have entered into a MoU to jointly explore and develop discovered resources in Lake Tanganyika. The lake lies in between the countries of Tanzania, DRC, Burundi and Zambia.

"We have signed a memorandum of understanding to exchange experiences in exploration and exploitation of petroleum in Lake Tanganyika," DRC President Joseph Kabila told a news conference in Dar es Salaam after talks with Tanzanian President John Magufuli.

"We believe that there is petroleum in Lake Tanganyika." source: Petroleum Africa

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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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The Maersk Line container ship MAERSK VILNIUS (26,020, built 2010) sails into Durban harbour one day earlier this month to work her cargo at the Pier 1 container terminal. Owned by Moller Singapore, the 180-metre long ship was built at the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry shipyard in China as hull number CS 1800-7 and is deployed on the Danish line's South Africa to East Coast North America service. The containership flies the Singapore flag, has a container capacity of up to 1800 TEUs, and her next port of call is Port Newark. This picture is by Trevor Jones


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