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Ports & Ships Maritime News

6 December 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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msc sinfonia DSC 2795r 480

Mediterranean Shipping Company's South Africa-based cruise ship is well into her summer season cruising from Durban and Cape Town and once again is proving popular with holidaymakers intent of having a good time. Within the next few weeks the ship will begin some of her longer cruises to Reunion and Mauristius but is first to return for the second time this season to Ilhs da Mozambique, which lies off the coast just south of Nacala. Here in this picture we see the ship moving away from her T-Jetty berth and heading for the open sea to start another cruise in the Indian Ocean. Picture is by Ken Malcolm

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1995377 Shipspotting 480 The 19 crew rescued from a Greek Bulk carrier ANTAIOS (27,776-dwt, built 1999) are being brought to Cape Town on board the ore carrier NSU INSPIRE (250,813dwt, built 2011) and were expected at Cape Town Harbour at around midnight on Monday night (5 December).

The ANTIOUS had reportedly experienced a fire in the engine room while sailing from Argentina en route to Saudi Arabia.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority Centre for Sea Watch and Response (SAMSA CSWR) received a satellite phone call from the Japanese ore carrier NSU INSPIRE reporting that she had picked up a distress call from the Greek bulk carrier ANTAIOS.

The 170 metre ANTAIOS had reportedly experienced a fire in the engine room while sailing from Argentina en route to Saudi Arabia loaded with grain. The fire caused some damage which led to flooding in the engine room. When the flooding became uncontrollable, the captain decided to make a distress call and order the crew to abandon ship.

The incident occurred in mid-Atlantic some 860 nautical miles west of Cape Town, well outside of the striking distance of shore-based rescue facilities. The mayday call was picked by the NSU INSPIRE which was sailing from Brazil to Singapore and China. The captain of the NSU INSPIRE immediately informed the SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Response and proceeded to the rescue. CSWR immediately initiated a mayday relay broadcast requesting vessels in the vicinity to proceed to the stricken vessel and render assistance.

The response to the broadcast was immediate and a total of 24 merchant ships called SAMSA's CSWR offering their assistance, some were as close as 80 miles from the scene and others as far off as 600 miles. Six ships closest to the stricken ANTAIOS were diverted by the MRCC to the position in case the NSU INSPIRE needed help in rescuing the crew.

Happily, by 20h39 Sunday MRCC was informed by the captain of the NSU INSPIRE that his ship had arrived on-scene and had commenced recovering the ANTAIOS crew from the two lifeboats they had escaped to. All 19 crewmembers were plucked to safety on board the giant 330 metre ore carrier and are currently on the way to be dropped off in Cape Town from where they will be repatriated.

A local shipping agency was appointed by the owners and will be taking care of the survivors once they arrive in Cape Town. All vessels that responded to the call for assistance were thanked and released to continue on their voyage. source: SAMSA

Antaios is Greek owned and is managed by the Greek ships management company Amalthia Marine Inc of Athens. She is flagged in Liberia.

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NATO Ocean Shield 161130 PRTC 0039 B 002 Large 4
Photographs kindly provided by NATO MARCOM

Operation Ocean Shield's mandate terminates

It was announced from Manama, Bahrain, on 2 December that Bahrain was the stage for the 39th Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) conference (illustrated above).

This is a forum to discuss counter-piracy in the Gulf of Aden and in the Indian Ocean and the importance of cooperation between naval units in the region, industry and other concerned organisations.

NATO, as a deployed operational partner, co-chaired for the last time, this bi-annual forum.

Chairmanship is a role that has rotated among (i) NATO, (ii) the European Union Naval Forces (EU NAVFOR) who runs EU Operation ATALANTA and (iii) Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) who deploys Combined Task Force 151 (CTF151).

More than 100 delegates from 25 countries, representing military task forces including independent deployers, international organisations, industry, research bodies and NGOs participated in the conference.

Several presentations were addressed to delegates on current counter-piracy activities and other security challenges during the two-day agenda.

Those present had the opportunity to engage with the different working groups and to listen to addresses by the Commanders of the three international task forces: (a) Vice-Admiral Clive Johnstone, Commander, NATO Allied Maritime Command (illustrated here with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg); (b) Vice-Admiral Kevin Donegan, Commander, US Naval Forces Central Command, US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces and (c) Major-General Rob Magowan, Operation Commander, EU Naval Force.

The Hon Lydia Wanyoto, Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission spoke on the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and the challenges ahead.

Colonel John Steed, representing the independent think-tank Ocean Beyond Piracy made a presentation on the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and its sponsored programme Hostage Support Partnership (HSP), designed to provide crucial support to hostages held in captivity and to secure safe release and repatriation of these victims of Somali piracy.

Mustafa Aydin from the Shipping Office at the UN World Food Programme (WFP) provided an update on WFP matters of concern in the Indian Ocean including the large-scale displacement affecting millions of persons in Somalia and Yemen. He was followed by Dr Phillip Belcher, Marine Director of INTERTANKO, who gave a presentation on the industry and its concerns in counter-piracy. Each presentations was followed by a debate, enabling further engagements.

Vice-Admiral Clive Johnstone
Vice-Admiral Clive Johnstone, Commander, Allied Maritime Command said: "I would like to thank to General Magowan and Admiral Donegan as well as the navies represented here for the close cooperation and coordination NATO has enjoyed since 2008.

"Thanks also go to the IMO and NGOs that have been in the forefront of the thinking and research on how to tackle the crisis. Operation Ocean Shield must be considered a case of success.

"Coordinated efforts with EU NAVFOR, CMF and independent deployers, the adherence to Best Management Practices 4 (BMP) by most of the shipping industry, the adoption of private security teams on board merchant ships and capacity building with empowerment and governance strengthening in Somalia, have all contributed decisively to this achievement."

Captain Tufan Uslu Assistant Chief of Operations at Allied Maritime Command concluded by saying: "Energizing activities like the coordination, cooperation and information sharing were enabled through the format of this forum, revealing this event as of upmost importance and making it a reference for similar operational activities. Operation OCEAN SHIELD was honoured to have Australia, Colombia, New Zealand and Ukraine units join the mission."

NATO at the request of the United Nations, launched counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, off the Horn of Africa and in the Indian Ocean in October 2008. The mission was to help to deter and disrupt Somalia piracy attacks, while protecting vessels and helping to increase the general level of maritime security in the region. The last successful hijacking occurred in May 2012 and until this date Operation Ocean Shield conducted 116 interdictions of pirate activity involving 672 suspected pirates. However, the roots of piracy were not eradicated and the latest incidents are a fresh reminding to the international community.

NATO ceases Operation Ocean Shield in the context of major security challenges in the Mediterranean and in other waters in its primary Area of Responsibility (AOR) but will remain engaged in the fight against piracy by maintaining maritime situational awareness, keeping the ability, flexibility and readiness to deploy should the situation determines. NATO's Shipping Centre will continue to be engaged with stakeholders bringing a valuable benefit to this fruitful relation.


NATO Operation Allied Provider
This was the first NATO mission to combat piracy off the Somali coast. NATO Defence Ministers agreed on 9 October 2008 to respond positively to the UN's UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon request, during an informal meeting held in Budapest.

It was decided to redirect Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) and to attribute this operation to the Component Command Maritime (CC-MAR) Naples. It lasted from 24 October to 12 December 2008 with its main mission, to support and escort the World Food Program (WFP) vessels transporting relief supplies in the region while patrolling routes most susceptible to piracy acts against merchant vessels.

At the time of the operation, three out of seven warships from SNMG2 were assigned to Operation Allied Provider under the command of Rear-Admiral Giovanni Gumiero (Italian Navy): ITS Durand de la Penne (D560) as the flagship; HS Temistokles (F465) and HMS Cumberland (F85). The other four ships continued their planned deployment to Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates within the framework of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI).

NATO Operation Allied Protector
Here was an anti-piracy operation to protect maritime routes from Somali pirates within the designated International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). It lasted from March to August 2009.

Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) was the first force assigned to this operation set sail from Souda Bay, Crete, towards the Gulf of Aden on 16 March 2009. The group was under the command of the Portuguese Rear-Admiral Pereira da Cunha and composed of the flagship NRP Corte-Real (F332), HMCS Winnipeg (F338), HNLMS De Zeven Provincien (F802), ESPS Blaz de Lezo (F103) and USS Halyburton (F40).

Building on these two counter-piracy missions, the North Atlantic Council approved Operation Ocean Shield and its naval activities began on 17 August 2009. Its mission focused on help to deter and disrupt pirate attacks, while protecting vessels and helping to increase the general level of maritime security in the region. It also contributed to regional capacity building, developing and strengthened regional states' own abilities to combat piracy.

Until the end of 2014, Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) and Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) rotated their participation in Operation Ocean Shield for six month periods.

Commencing in 2015 and in line with the decision taken at the Wales Summit, NATO shifted its presence and contribution to the counter-piracy effort through a focused presence. Its assets were primarily deployed during the inter-monsoon periods (spring or autumn) and at any other time frame if needed.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Maputo container terminal

Dredging of the Port of Maputo to increase the depth of channels leading to the berths is now 90 percent compalete, according to a report publiched by the Portuguese language paper O Pais.

Executive Director of the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) which manages the port under a concession, Osorio Lucas told the paper that as a result of the dredging the port will now be able to handle ships of greater tonnage by mid-January 2017.

The first test took place on 1 December when a 160,000 ton ship carrying 90,000 tonnes of cargo set off from Maputo for China, something that would have been impossible before the work was carried out.

Prior to the dredging, ships entering or leaving the port could carry only 60,000 to 70,000 tons of cargo.

MPDC is hoping the work will be completed a month ahead of schedule.

"Our expectation is that the dredging will be completed by mid-January 2017, against initial dates of late May, then February. The work is going ahead at top speed, so much so that we have already received the first increased tonnage ship," Lucas said.

"The rehabilitation of the coal terminal, which will have a quay with a depth of 14 metres, is underway," Lucas said. "The channel already has a depth of 14 metres, but we have to have a quay with the same depth. At present, the pier is 12 metres deep. It means that the ship cannot have a draught of more than 12 metres. By August of next year, we will have the first pier with a depth of 14 metres, and in two and a half years, a second," Lucas explains.

The first large-tonnage ship, which departed on 1 December was 289 meters long and 45 metres wide. Its visit was only possible due to the deepening of the port of Maputo channel from 11 to 14.2 metres. source: O Pais

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Seabourn Encore Exterior 480

It can get to be a little bit boring, with one ship after another being either announced or launched in rapid succession, but then along comes something that is different, causing even the most cynical to stop and take notice.

We're talking here about Carnival Corporation's Seabourn brand, which has recently taken delivery of the beautiful SEABOURN ENCORE in a ceremony held at the Fincantieri Marghera shipyard in Italy.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that's true, and what one person likes another doesn't, but it'll be surprising if even the hardened purists can't find a kind word for this ship. She has classical lines and because of her size she avoids the pitfall of becoming a block of flats mounted on a moving ship. I could fall in love with this ship, and that's just from gazing at artist's impressions!

Seabourn Encore is an all-suite cruise ship, 300 suites for 600 guests so we're not talking mega ship. This is intended as elegant luxury -- the latter an overworked word when it comes to describing cruise ships, but some really do meet the mark and this promises to be one of those.

Godmother to the ship on this occasion is going to be British recording artist and one of the world's top-selling Sopranos, Sarah Brightman, who will perform the time-honoured honours when the ship is christened in Singapore on 7 January 2017. That's before Encore sets off on her maiden voyage, a 10-day journey to Indonesia.

"Sarah Brightman embodies the style and sophistication, the talent and innovation, the playfulness and inviting warmth that create the unique atmosphere guests enjoy onboard every Seabourn vessel," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "We're so grateful to have her officially name Seabourn Encore."

Meadows said that Seabourn has been looking forward to her launching for over two years. "Seabourn Encore has become a stunning ship that will set a new standard in ultra-luxury cruising. I am very proud of our partnership with Fincantieri, and it has been a great pleasure to work together to transform raw materials into this incredible vessel that will make a great addition to the Seabourn fleet."

"The jewel we deliver today is the first built for Seabourn, and drydock works for the second vessel of this new and prestigious client will start in the next few days in our shipyard in Sestri Ponente," said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri.

"I say this with a certain pride and a lot of satisfaction, because Seabourn represents the top range offer of the Carnival Group and Fincantieri is now identified as an absolute reference point from the market, able to offer tailor-made products to an ever wider range of customers."

Seabourn Encore's 300 suites each have their own private verandah. The ship was designed by hospitality design specialist Adam D Tihany who intended the 40,350-gt Seabourn Encore "to feel more like a luxury yacht." The ship features modern design elements and innovations in keeping with Seabourn's reputation for understated elegance, as well as one additional deck (compared with the Odyssey class) and new expanded public areas.

Seabourn Encore is a development based on and expanding on Seabourn's Odyssey-class ships, which set new standards of ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. I loved their looks, but oh dear, now it's their bigger sister I love even more.

Seabourn Encore enjoys a high staff to guest ratio providing personalised service. I do hope she finds her way to South Africa.

e hero 400

Seabourn Ovation
No sooner had this rolling out taken place than the keel laying ceremony was held for the next in the series, SEABOURN OVATION, the second in the Encore class.

The ceremony took place at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente shipyard in Genoa. Like Encore, the second ship will be 210 metres long and 28m wide and with a gross tonnage of 40,350 tons. Her service speed will be 18 knots and she will feature the latest energy optimisation and minimum environmental impact technologies available, exceeding existing regulation standards.

Seabourn Ovation is due to be rolled out in the northern spring of 2018.

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Hezakiah x2 480
MV Hezikiah

Following a recent default, two advanced specification security vessels will be sold via sealed tender closing on 14 December 2016.

The two ships offer bullet proof glass, sniper plates on deck, a vault to accommodate 15 rifles and cabin arrangements for a crew of 22. They don't lack interior luxuries either, as they are finished off with Bosch appliances and Samsung air-conditioning throughout. The vessels will be sold in Cape Town.

Africa is readily becoming a preferred destination for both judicial ship arrests and pre-legal sales. Evidence of the judicial ship arrest trend is the recent sale of the mv MAVERICK GUARDIAN, an 80,000-ton bulk carrier which sold last month for US$14.95 million.

Comments Ariella Kuper, Managing Director of Clear Asset who has been appointed to manage the sale: "With the oil and gas sector becoming more and more active in Africa due to off shore drilling, as well as the threat of piracy and theft, many international companies are exhibiting interest in these vessels as they offer advanced patrol and security options with their speed, fuel capacity and specialized features."

Full information and images can be accessed on the company's website www.clearasset.co.za, as well as comprehensive documents including Class certificates (BV), general arrangements and equipment lists.

Clear Asset has sold six commercial vessels this year alone, with values in excess of US$36 million and an outreach that spans the entire globe. "It is about enhancing awareness through non-traditional advertising, enhanced by a proprietary database and social media platforms such as Linked In, where professionals are actively seeking opportunities," concludes Kuper.

The sale closes on 14 December at 12h00 South African time.

Lady Dora 02 (2)
Lady Dora

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Long service awards 2016 IMG 0095 480

Transnet National Ports Authority's Port of Richards Bay recently honoured 47 long serving employees who have notched up an impressive 874 years service between them.

Four of these began their service when the port was still under construction prior to opening in 1976.

Pictured at the awards ceremony were: Basil Ngcobo (Port Engineer), Nico Lamprecht (40 years of service), Frederick Bezuidenhout (44 years), Roger Edwards (45 years, retiring end November 2016), Owen Tylcoat (44 years) and Preston Khomo, Richards Bay Port Manager.

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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.


TORTUGAS 2 December 2016 480

Wallenius Wilhelmsen's RoRo car carrier TORTUGAS (61,321-gt, built 2006) makes an entry into Durban harbour, a port the ship is quite familiar with having made numerous calls. The 200m long, 32m wide ship is capable of carrying up to 6,350 motor vehicles on her 12 decks, of which four are hoistable to allow for large vehicles. Tortugas carries a crew of 27 and is a sister ship to MV Torrens, Toledo, Toronto, Topeka and Tombarra.

She was built at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Nagasaki, Japan and was delivered in December 2006. The ship flies the flag of Malta. This picture is by Trevor Jones


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