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Ports & Ships Maritime News

22 November 2016
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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seven seas navigator 2016 nov 18 480

The luxury cruise ship SEVEN SEAS NAVIGATOR (28,803-gt, built 1999) has arrived in South Africa and was yesterday in port at Durban. Earlier last week she called at Cape Town, where with the majestic Table Mountain as a backdrop Ian Shiffman was on hand to take this picture of one of the loveliest cruise ships. Picture is by Ian Shiffman

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Kalmar straddle carrier to DCT 2 Nov 2016 400

Kalmar, which is now a division of Cargotec, has won a large order to supply 23 diesel-electric straddle carriers to Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) Durban Pier 2, which is a dedicated straddle carrier operation currently handling a throughput of 2.6 million TEU.

The contract also includes a delivery of a straddle carrier simulator, which will be used for training purposes at the site. The order was booked in Cargotec's 2016 third quarter order intake with deliveries scheduled to be completed in 2017.

"Kalmar fulfilled our requirements and was able to provide a solution that supports our efforts to develop the local capability and enhance sustainability within our workforce, through training capabilities and technological knowhow," said Thandi Sabelo, Acting General Manager for Procurement at TPT.

"The machine structures will be built locally in Durban in partnership with Transnet Engineering, this is an important milestone to our quest to advance local supplier development initiatives," Sabelo said.

"We are delighted about this order which is built on a long-term partnership between Kalmar and Transnet," said Pekka Helimo, Senior Sales Manager, Intelligent Horizontal Transportation Solutions at Kalmar. "Our previous straddle carrier delivery was completed in October 2014 and Transnet already operates a substantial fleet of Kalmar straddle carriers in their Durban terminal. We are committed to support our customer on site with a dedicated local service team."

Kalmar ESC 440 straddle carriers combine high performance and productivity with low maintenance and operating costs. Designed with operators in mind, they deliver strong environmental benefits. The machines are equipped with the latest power line featuring low fuel consumption and improved serviceability, and reducing the total life cycle costs. TPT opted for Kalmar's diesel-electric straddle carriers, which feature a single lift system and lifting capabilities of 40 tons.

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DCD Marine Cape Town A Berth facility 480
DCD's A Berth ship repair facility at Cape Town in happier times

After what it says has been 18 months of very difficult trading conditions, the board of Cape Town based DCD Marine has placed the ship repair business in voluntary business rescue.

DCD Marine is a part of the DCD manufacturing and engineering group.

According to DCD Group Chief Executive Officer Digby Glover, DCD Marine was focused predominantly on the oil and gas market, which has contracted massively due to low global oil prices. The business rescue process allows the business some room to negotiate with stakeholders, so it can take appropriate actions that put the business in a more positive position.

"The intention of this process is to give the business the best possible chance of trading through these difficult conditions," said Glover. "The intention is to keep the business alive and to save jobs; if there was no chance of DCD Marine making it through this difficult time, the business rescue route could not have been taken."

He said market conditions have forced DCD Marine to revert its focus to the ship repair and industrial markets, which were more consistent but smaller in scale -- leading to contraction within the business.

Business rescue practitioners Neill Hobbs and Justin Gordon from Hobbs Sinclair had been appointed to administer the process, which was effective Thursday 10 November.

DCD Marine's roots in the ship repair market go back over a century; its main facility in the Port of Cape Town is one of Africa's most recognised and established service providers in this industry.

"Whilst it is of course a serious concern for the DCD Group that one of our companies has to undergo this process, the Group looks forward to DCD Marine coming out stronger than before," Glover said. "We have every reason to believe that this will be the case."

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Colombo Express pic by Hapag Lloyd 480

Hapag-Lloyd has announced that it is withdrawing its Apapa, Nigeria call on the company's West Africa Express Service (WAX).

The German carrier says this will substantially improve the transit times southbound to Abidjan and Tema. The very competitive northbound transit times remain unchanged.

At the same time Hapag-Lloyd will continue to offer a weekly service to Nigeria in transshipment via Tangier.

"Furthermore, we will expand our exposure on the WMX service from/to the Mediterranean."

Starting with the sailing of MV DURANDE DP 42659 (voyage 1647S), the WAX will operate on following port rotation:

Antwerp; Hamburg; Tangier; Casablanca; Dakar; Tema; Abidjan; Tangier; Antwerp.

MV Durande Voyage 1647S is ETS Antwerp on 22 November 2016 (today); ETS Hamburg: 24 November.

The last WAX vessel to call directly in Apapa is WANDA A DP 39436 (Voyage 1646S), with ETS Antwerp 14 November, ETS Hamburg 18 November and ETA Apapa 5 December 2016.

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Shipchristening MSC MAGNIFICA CHRISTENING 06 03 2
MSC Magnifica on the evening of her christening

MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world's largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, announced this week the opening of sales of its first-ever World Cruise.

The MSC World Cruise features one of the industry's largest and most modern ships to offer this type of extended voyage. MSC Magnifica will depart from Genoa on 5 January 2019 and complete her around-the-world voyage back in Genoa 119 days later.

Crossing six continents, calling at 49 unique destinations in 32 countries, MSC Cruises says the world cruise will be an unforgettable dream come true for even the most demanding voyagers, with the comfort and elegance that guests have come to expect from MSC Cruises and its ships.

"As a company, MSC Cruises is committed to providing truly special and unique experiences to its guests. For this reason, when developing the world cruise and its one-of-a-kind itinerary, we have listened to their feedback and know that for many the opportunity to travel the world in comfort and style is a lifelong aspiration," said MSC Cruises' Chief Executive Officer Gianni Onorato.

"As one of the world's truly international cruise companies, making available to our guests and travellers from around the globe a product such as a world cruise is a natural progression. Naturally, we did it in true MSC Cruises fashion, by making available the best possible ship to enjoy such a voyage -- MSC Magnifica -- and featuring an itinerary like no other available in the market."

Throughout the 119 day globetrotting voyage, guests will visit some of the most historic ports, bustling cosmopolitan cities and remote, exotic island paradises around the globe. The MSC World Cruise will allow even the more demanding voyagers to experience the world like never before. Highlights of this one-of-a-kind cruise include:

Exotic and uncharted destinations: From the warm, archipelago of Tonga and the pristine waters of Bora Bora to the thriving culture of Cartagena and oasis of Aqaba, MSC Cruises has hand-selected 49 coveted destinations across the world -- many of which are only available to cruise lovers and world travellers alike via this cruise. The MSC World Cruise will also offer guests the opportunity to explore New Zealand, Fiji and the Maldives as well as an expanded comprehensive tour of 'off the beaten path' Caribbean islands, with nine ports of call in the region.

Exclusive and unprecedented shore experiences: MSC Cruises continues in its commitment to providing authentic experiences to satisfy the needs of all guests with an extensive choice of excursions. Whether riding the elephants of Pinnawela, snorkelling in the lagoons of Moorea or touring the Nga Bay National Park, guests are able to immerse themselves in local culture and experience the best that each destination has to offer. Furthermore, exclusive to MSC World Cruise, guests will be able to book 15 complimentary shore excursions of their choice to really explore the globe like never before.

True discovery: In order to take advantage of the local culture and activities of each call, MSC World Cruise guests will have plenty of time to explore. With an above-industry average stay of 13 hours on shore per port of call, guests will be able to fully experience and discover at their own pace.

Extended stays in coveted destinations: For popular destinations with a range of activities, MSC Cruises has arranged extended in-port stays that no other cruise line offers, including three full days in both Hawaii and San Francisco, as well as two days in Los Angeles.

Quality onboard experience: Spending 118 nights on board, MSC Cruises will make guests feel at home thanks to, among others, numerous onboard discounts which include laundry services. Every little detail has been considered to ensure that it is now even easier than ever to make this the voyage of a lifetime.

While there are plenty of activities to enjoy at sea, guests can also opt to escape to relaxation at one of the many on board havens. This includes MSC Magnifica's award-winning MSC Aurea Spa, with traditional Balinese massages found nowhere else at sea in addition to a number of other ultramodern beauty treatments, a sauna, Turkish bath and thalassotherapy room.

To learn more about MSC Magnifica and further details of the World Cruise itinerary, please visit: www.msccruises.co.za

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commercial photography locations

UNCTAD's TrainForTrade Port Management Programme

Nestled on a peninsula overlooking the world's biggest graveyard of ships, the port of Nouadhibou may hold the key to a better future for Mauritania's 3.9 million people, of whom 42% live in poverty. For years, Mauritania's economy ran on the iron ore buried deep beneath its Sahara desert sands. But Chinese demand for iron ore has fallen, and the government is putting more hope in its Atlantic coastal waters, some of the richest fishing grounds in the world.

"Mauritania's fishing industry could boost exports and create jobs, but its ports will need to become more competitive," said Mark Assaf, in charge of UNCTAD's port management programme, active in some 200 ports around the globe.

In 2016, Mauritania became the 34th country to join the programme, aiming to promote Nouadhibou as a door to the world, through which to export its processed fish.

Foreign boats may fish in Mauritanian waters, but they currently take their catch elsewhere. Every year, some 1.2 million tons of tuna, shrimp and other fish are caught in Mauritania's waters. But just 5% of this is processed locally.

According to industry executives, landing fish in Nouadhibou, Mauritania's only fishing port, is more expensive than in the Canary Islands nearby.

In 2013, Mauritania's government launched the free zone of Nouadhibou to improve the port's competitiveness and to attract fish processing industries such as tuna canning. In 2014, it completed an $18-million extension to accommodate bigger vessels.

"Upgrading a port needs new infrastructure but also investment in human resources," Assaf commented and added: "Ultimately, a port's performance depends on the quality of its management."

The UNCTAD TrainForTrade Port Management Programme took a first crucial step last month when eleven senior port managers completed a workshop for instructors held at the port of Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital.

These newly-trained instructors will then deliver the first cycle of training to around 25 middle managers over the next two years, working closely with UNCTAD experts and managers from other ports in the programme.

"In the port of Douala in Cameroon, a manager took what he learned from our programme, reorganising the cargo loading and unloading operations to speed the port's work by 30-40%," said Assaf.

According to World Bank data, delays in ports add roughly 10% to the cost of imported goods, more in many cases than tariffs. For exports the harm is worse.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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EDWIN COOK Whaling Slipway AVY adj T Jones 480
Whale catcher Edwin Cook at the slipway in Durban, with whale carcases in the water waiting to be hauled ashore. Picture by Alec Young from the collection of Trevor Jones

Article written by Terry Hutson and first published in The Mercury, 16 November 2016

The history of whaling in KwaZulu-Natal and in Durban in particular has been in the news recently, with the Durban Maritime Museum announcing that it would be re-launching its whaling display with an event celebrating this on Friday evening, 25 November 2016.

Whaling was an activity that once played a prominent role in Durban as a developing port city. At least 13 different companies tried their luck at operating a whaling station at Durban, of which only six ever got into the business of catching whales. Out of those just two firms survived, the Premier Whaling Company which was ultimately owned by Lever Bros, and the Union Whaling Company which later took over the whaling interests of the Lever Bros operation.

From the very start of whaling locally, back in 1908, two whale catchers had been purchased in Europe and brought to South Africa to go whaling along the Natal coast. Hunting began the following year in the month of July and ended in November, when the migration of whales along the Natal coast had largely ended for the year.

In that short period the two catchers had killed 106 of the huge animals, mostly humpbacks and that set the tone for the industry as a whole. In those days killing of whales wasn't seen in the same light as it is today, certainly not from any environmental perspective. Whales were a valuable commodity, from which a variety of products could be gathered.

These included the oils obtained from the tons of blubber on each animal. These were used for making soap, usually in a blended form that 'lost' the distinctive smell. The author remembers starting out in life as a young man working at the big wholesaler in Durban's West Street, Randles Bro & Hudson, and having once a year to roll up my trouser legs and get on hands and knees, along with almost everyone else on each of the six floors of the building, and to set about scrubbing the wooden floors using pure whale soap. It did the job, but how the smell stuck in one's nose for days thereafter, but how also those floor boards came up looking like new.

Why the company observed this practice, almost a ritual once a year, I never did find out.

Whale meat was frozen and exported to places like Japan, where it is still highly prized even today. Bones high in protein were ground and used in animal feed, while oil from the sperm whale was processed and used as a special lubricant. Ambergris was extracted and utilised as a fixative in costly perfumes.

Until the development of plastics whale ribs were used in women's corsets and bras -- little if anything from these marvellous animals went to waste.

In the 1930s the first factory ship arrived. This was named Uniwalco -- a not too enterprising abbreviation of the company name -- but the factory ship enabled whaling from Durban to be extended much further afield than off the local coast and once the local season was completed the factory ship would head off for Antarctica, or to "go down to the ice," as it was described.

In those early years the majority of whales killed along the Natal coast were humpbacks but the number of these migrating quickly diminished, with other species including sperm, blue and fin whales becoming important. By the 1930s the numbers of blue whales were becoming less while fin whales lasted until the 1960s. Attention then turned to hunting sei whales but exploitation in the Antarctic was having a severe effect on the numbers of different species moving into warmer waters and by the end of whaling off the Natal coast in the 1970s the sperm whale was the main target, with large numbers moving through the waters off the coast.

Durban whaling station scene 480
Whales being loaded onto flatcar rail wagons for hauling round the Bluff to the whaling factory. Photo from the collection of Margaret Surmon

In one year alone over 3,600 whales were killed by the Union Whaling Company alone.

World War 2 saw most of the whale catchers in South African waters being absorbed into the fledgling South African Navy, to be used as mine sweeping vessels, with their harpoon guns on the bow replaced by 12-pdr guns and in one or two cases a 20mm Oerlikon gun mounted aft.

No less than 13 whale catchers from the Union Whaling and Premier Whaling fleets were expropriated into the navy for the duration of the war and retained thereafter. A future head of the navy, Admiral JC Walters commanded one of these, HMSAS Natalia and the little ship was involved with more than one adventure, including early attempts at rescuing the crew and passengers from the wrecked Dunedin Star on the Skeleton Coast.

That incident is a story in itself, from which legends are made and it served to popularise the name of the infamous Skeleton Coast along the coast of the then South West Africa (now Namibia).

After the war Union Whaling Company purchased another factory ship to replace Uniwalco, which had also been requisitioned for duty and had been sunk by enemy submarine. The new ship, named Empire Victory was a prize seized from the Germans and was initially leased to the Durban company, who later purchased her outright, renaming her Abraham Larsen after one of the founders of the local industry. Years later she was to go to the Japanese who continued sailing her to the Deep South.

As with the catchers, Abraham Larsen was based in Durban and became a familiar site in the early 1950s. Many a young man had the experience of a lifetime by going with this ship to the ice for a season or two.

[17] 480
Another scene this time from an Artco postcard showing a whale on the slipway at Durban

During all these years a significant number of Norwegians came to work at the Durban factory or on one of the whaling ships. Many of the catcher skippers were Norwegian. Some Norwegians arrived with their families, others met their wives here and most settled down having become valuable additions to the South African nation.

By the 1970s however the tide was changing. Public opinion was mounting against the slaughter of whales but more tellingly, economic factors began to make it more difficult to turn a profit, despite several methods introduced to cut costs and improve productivity. The sharp increase in the price of oil was the final straw and in 1975 whaling in Durban came to an end with the factory shut down and the little whalers moored in Durban Bay.

Some of these were sold to be used in differing ways, others were scrapped and gradually the collection of whalers thinned out until finally they were all gone. The factory on the ocean side of the Bluff was silent and made smells no more, the steam-hauled train no longer hauled carcases from the slipway around the Bluff to the factory where large and majestic animals were cut up and processed, all in the pursuit of business. Sharks no longer gathered inside the harbour in numbers to feed on the whales before they were hauled ashore and away. An era has come to an end.

All this and more is to be recalled at 'An Evening with the Whales' to be held at the Durban Maritime Museum on Friday 25 November, starting at 5.30pm for 6pm. The museum has assembled quite a large collection of whaling memorabilia which is being added to with donations from private collectors and is well worth a visit.

The collection includes large flensing knives used to cut up the whales, bottles showing the various by-products produced from the whale oil, giant whale teeth and ear drums, whale ribs -- some of them intricately carved, a genuine harpoon gun off one of the whalers, cartridge cases, various navigating instruments, a small model of one of the whale catchers, photographs and paintings -- in fact too many items to list.

Plans are evolving to develop a greater interest in whales for locals and holidaymakers alike. View sites on places like the Bluff are planned -- Netford Road already offers magnificent elevated views overlooking the beach and surf line. Tours of places with a whaling background are also in the offing. In many of these the maritime museum can play an important role as a centre from which whaling tours can begin or end.

Some of these plans will be showcased at the coming event on Friday evening and provided the enthusiasm continues we should see Durban taking its rightful place alongside areas like Hermanus and even Umkomaas as places to head to for a whaling experience. With its long history and its present attractions, and whales and dolphins in abundance off the coast, Durban has in fact a unique and unparalleled position in this activity.

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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.


ARTANIA 16 November 2016 2 480

ARTANIA 16 November 2016 5 480

Two views of the rather attractive cruise ship ARTANIA (44,348-gt, 1200 passengers) that has recently called at South African ports. In these scenes she is seen in the port of Durban on 16 November 2016, which we think was her first call in these parts for her current operators, Phoenix Reisen. Artania was built by Wartsila at their Helsinki shipyard in 1984 for Princess Cruises, as that company's ROYAL PRINCESS, later in 2005 being renamed ARTEMIS under P&O colours. She transferred to the Phoenix Reisen fleet in 2011 under her current name. These pictures are by Trevor Jones


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