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Pacific Dispatch. Picture: Ian Shiffman

One of the most impressive offshore and anchor handling support vessels to call at a South African port recently is Swire Pacific Offshore’s Singapore-flagged PACIFIC DISPATCH (6641-gt). Offering a 220-240 ton bollard pull, the 92 metre long, 22m wide vessel has accommodation for up to 37 personnel and facilities for a client’s office, day room, conference room, and hospital. Pacific Dispatch was built in 2014 at the Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd (ST Marine) shipyard in Singapore. This picture by Ian Shiffman

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The fishing vessel MV Fukula almost two-thirds deep in water after running aground off the South African west coast. A rope used to evacuate its 6-crew member can be seen on the left of the picture, while equipment to contain a fuel spillage is also visible to the right of the vessel.  Pictures: SAMSA

In a dramatic rescue off the west coast near Port Nolloth during the early hours of Friday morning, six fishermen from the Namibian fishing vessel FUKULA (formerly African Bounty) were safely evacuated in conditions that were described as “extremely dangerous.”

The drama began when the Lüderitz-registered Fukula drifted and then ran aground in an unhospitable area of the Atlantic Ocean some 12,7 nautical miles south of Port Nolloth while on route to Saldanha Bay, reports the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

In command of the rescue effort was SAMSA surveyor and acting Principal Officer for the Port Nolloth region, Captain Justin Coraizin and a…[restrict] De Beers/SA Police Services team, during which Capt Coraizin took personal responsibility for seeing that the men were safely evacuated in the dangerous conditions.

“It is not clear yet how the vessel got involved in the accident in clear calm seas. When we reached it, it was already two-thirds underwater and we immediately made the effort to rescue the 6-member crew, using ropes. The vessel is lying in a very difficult position that makes it hard to reach from the shore,” said Capt Coraizin.

He described the area as being in the vicinity of the De Beers offshore mining area very remote, reachable only with off-road vehicles as the terrain is very rocky and sandy.

On going aground, the crew raised an alarm that was picked by the SAMSA Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town. Captain Cozairin and the charter vessel AUKWATOWA immediately responded to the scene from Port Nolloth.

Aukwarowa was the first vessel to arrive at the scene of the casualty an hour and a half after the incident occurred. On arrival a team was launched in a rubber duck to investigate the accident, however due to the darkness this first effort was abandoned.

At first light a second attempt was made. The rescue effort had to work with extra pressure – they had less than an hour’s window in which to get the crew to safety as the tide was coming in.

Captain Justin Coraizin (second left in green overalls) with members of the rescue team

“We were lucky that our efforts worked well from the onset,” Capt Coraizin said. “We threw rope and it connected the first time, and after tightening it hard around some rocks, we managed to get each crewman to climb towards shore and fortunately, each one of them was safely evacuated. The rescue effort took about 45 minutes.”

Coraizin said the fishing vessel had about 2500 litres of diesel onboard which appeared to be leaking. “We are closely monitoring the situation and taking such measures are necessary to contain any spillage while we continue with our investigation of the incident,” he said.[/restrict]

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The projected new port of Caio

By Eugen Iladi

Construction of the deep water commercial harbour Port of Caio in Angola’s Cabinda enclave region has moved on a fast track since earlier this year when China’s Export-Import Bank agreed to a US$710 million loan facility that would see the first phase completed before the end of 2017, according to Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA) chairman, Jose Filomeno dos Santos speaking to Bloomberg in London.

Through an African Infrastructure fund, managed by QG Investments Africa Ltd, the Angolan sovereign wealth fund FSDEA is also investing $180 million to gain a 31 percent stake in Caioporto S.A. The company was incorporated in 2012 in Luanda to facilitate and oversee the development and construction of the Port of Caio project, a major infrastructure initiative. Financial institutions are expected to provide $360 million for the project, while foreign investors will contribute $60 million.

Given a green light from budgeting authorities, the $1 billion port development is designed to diversify Angola’s economy away from overreliance on oil and natural resource mining revenues. It is also meant to enhance the development of Cabinda by creating jobs while also securing economic and social stability for one of the most remote regions of Angola. When the port is completed, estimates suggest that local employment numbers will rise substantially with up to 1,600 direct jobs for the operation of the port and as many as 30,000 additional indirect jobs for people who serve the port in various capacities.

The potential annual tax revenues from operations at Port of Caio are expected to reach up to $350 million when the project is finished.

Once operational, the port will offer a more direct route for oil exports and contribute to decongesting maritime commercial traffic at other regional ports. Angola, which competes with Nigeria as Africa’s top oil exporter, produces more than 65 percent of its 1.7 million barrels a day from offshore areas in the Cabinda region.

The oil-rich area has had a history of economic setbacks and continues to face poverty and security challenges from low-level separatist groups. The first phase of the Port of Caio development will include a 630-metre container terminal, shipyard facilities, warehouses, a power plant, a free-trade special zone and the Fútila Industrial Park. It’s also meant to enhance local economic growth by stimulating commerce generally, bringing new opportunities for investment, increase international trade and diversify export potential for a variety of products.

The port terminal will also increase mobility and improve access to healthcare, education and jobs for local communities in the isolated region, which lays 60 kilometres north of mainland Angola. In addition, the Angolan government has commissioned the purchase of two passenger ferries in the Netherlands to improve maritime links between Cabinda and Luanda.

China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), the construction company contracted to build the port facilities, is required to hire local labour. This will automatically boost the region’s economy and bring additional social benefits to Cabinda.

The port is situated near the Congo River estuary and is surrounded by the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is designed with a seawall protecting docked ships from heavy swells and a bridge linking the shore with the container terminal. With depths ranging from 14 to 18 metres it will eventually be able to host some of the largest vessels in the world and handle 60 containers per hour at each berth.

Despite Angola’s challenges, Port of Caio is one ambitious step towards major improvements that have long been needed in this developing nation.

  • Eugen Iladi is a US-based freelance journalist who has contributed to various publications including the Gulf News, Taipei Times, Prime-Tass, Business New Europe, iAfrica.

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Pictures: EUNAVFOR

Late on Saturday evening (22 April) during a European Union counter-piracy patrol close to the east coast of Somalia, EU NAVFOR’s Spanish flagship, ESPS GALICIA, received a SOS distress call from the master of the Sierra Leone-flagged chemical & oil products tanker, COSTINA (7018-dwt), to say that his vessel was being attacked by a number of armed pirates in a fast-moving skiff.

Eunavfor reports that its patrolling warship ESPS Galicia, which was 14 nautical miles away, launched a SH-3D Sea King helicopter and sailed at full speed towards MT Costina.

As soon as the pirates became aware…[restrict] that the EU NAVFOR warship was fast approaching, they broke off their attack and fled.

Upon arrival at the scene, ESPS Galicia’s helicopter conducted a full aerial search. After confirming that the skiff was no longer in the sea area, ESPS Galicia’s special operations team went on board MT Costina to reassure the master and his crew.

An inspection of MT Costina’s upper deck confirmed that the ship’s structure had a number of bullet holes from the pirate attack, but it was assessed that MT Costina could continue to her next port of call.

Speaking about this latest piracy incident, the EU NAVFOR Spokesperson, Commander Jacqui Sherriff, stated: “This attack again highlights the need for vigilance and adherence to the self-protection measures as laid down in Best Management Practices (BMP)4. It is crucial that Somali pirates are denied opportunities to attack vessels.” source: Eunavfor

The International Maritime Bureau issued a report that although it does not identify any of the ships involved, appears to be the same incident. The IMB reports said: “Six armed persons in a skiff chased and fired upon a tanker underway. Master raised the alarm and sent distress message, to which a warship responded. The skiff chased the tanker for nearly two hours and then moved away due to the continuous evasive manoeuvres. One crew reported injured.

Several incidents have been reported by various authorities or organisations – the Office of Naval Intelligence in its latest Piracy Analysis and Warning Weekly (PAWW) Report, says that 15 April, six pirates armed with automatic weapons in a white skiff approached and fired upon the product tanker AL HEERA which was underway in the Red Sea near position 12:53N – 048:02E. “Master raised the alarm, contacted UKMTO and non-essential crew members took shelter in the citadel. A Chinese Navy warship responded. The armed security team onboard returned fire resulting in the pirates aborting the attack and moving away. Crew and tanker are safe.

The report continues that on the following day, 16 April and also in the Red Sea, three suspicious blue hulled skiffs with five persons in each approached a container ship (not named in the report) underway near position 12:49N – 043:16E.

The container ships master raised the alarm and reported to a coalition warship operating nearby, while non-essential crew retreated into the citadel. On board an armed security team revealed themselves and their weapons to the approaching skiffs. Once the skiffs had approached to within one nautical mile of the ship, the security team on board fired a rocket flare which resulted in the skiffs aborting the approach.

A short time later another white hull skiff with six persons onboard approached the ship. The security team again fired a rocket flare in the direction of the skiff, which crossed the ships bow and moved out of range. Wiithin minutes another two skiffs were seen approaching the ship but when they had approached to about 700 metres from the ship, the security guards showed their weapons. The skiffs then broke away and headed towards Mayyun (Perim Island), in the Strait of Mandeb.

There were no injuries reported on this vessel.[/restrict]

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Stellar Daisy

The ROK-owned, Marshall Islands-flagged 266,000 dwt Stellar Daisy is a VLOC of 311.89 m loa, 58m beam, crewed by eight South Korean and 16 Filipino sailors carrying a cargo of iron ore from Brazil to China and was reported missing on 31 March 2017.

Owned by Polaris Shipping Co Ltd (HQ in Busan, ROK, other offices in Rio de Janeiro and Writtle, Chelmsford, NE of London). She was off Uruguay when a distress call was made, according to South Korea’s foreign ministry.

So far, only two Filipino crew members have been rescued by commercial ships in the area. The search for the missing vessel had begun on 1 April, a day after…[restrict] a text from a crew member told of the ship taking in water.

Polaris Shipping has a fleet totalling 8.3 million dwt that includes 24 VLOCs.

According to Yonhap news agency in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 3 April searchers made little headway after the two sailors were rescued on 1 April.

Dispatched by the Brazilian government, a C-130 aircraft of the Brazilian Air Force searched on 2 April inside a 500-kilometre radius area, including the position where the two Filipino crew were picked up in a liferaft. Only fuel and debris believed to have come from the ship were found.

It is understood that the Brazilian Navy and merchant ships of Polaris Shipping, continued the search operation in the following days.

On 6 April IMO issued this message from Secretary-General Kitack Lim:

“The news that the search for survivors from the Stellar Daisy has not yet proven successful is sad indeed. Reports from the Uruguayan Navy indicate that fuel, debris and empty lifeboats have been found but, so far, nothing else. Twenty-two of the ship’s 24 crew members are missing but we always live in hope that a miracle may happen.

“At this stage, the most important thing to say is that our thoughts and prayers are with the seafarers still missing, and with their families and loved ones. And I would also like to offer my commendation to all those who have been involved in the search and rescue operations. Such operations are never without risk yet those who undertake them do so readily and without fear of the consequences to their own lives. They deserve our appreciation and gratitude.

“It is expected that there will be a full investigation into this accident and that the results and findings will be brought to IMO so that we can do whatever may be necessary to reduce the chances of such an incident happening again. Thankfully these occurrences are rare; but when they do happen, they serve to remind everyone that the seafarers, on whom we all depend, do a difficult and sometimes dangerous job; and that those of us responsible for making the industry safer can never stop striving for improvements.”

On 6 April INTERCARGO praised the SAR efforts in response to this unfortunate incident. In a press release that day it stated: “… the shipping community should be concerned about the non-availability of sufficient SAR capabilities in the vicinity of busy shipping lanes around the world and revisit this issue.”

On 18 April, Maritime Executive informed that the Navy of Uruguay had announced a new search area for the missing crew of Stellar Daisy designated after remnants of the bulk carrier indicated that a last, missing, liferaft may be in another location than the area originally searched.

At the weekend 15 / 16 April the US Navy published this captioned picture below.[/restrict]

Paul Ridgway

Over waters of the Atlantic Lieutenant Sean Buckely, assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 8, searches on station for the Republic of Korea vessel Stellar Daisy as part of search and rescue efforts. Stellar Daisy disappeared in the south Atlantic Ocean on 31 March. US Navy photo by Lieutenant Mark Baden/Released USNavy©.


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Port of Fujairah

It has been announced that DP World and the Port of Fujairah have agreed to terminate their concession agreement.

The concession was awarded to DP World UAE Region in 2005 on a build, operate and transfer basis (BOT) in which the port’s container terminal would be expanded for container handling and transshipment.

According to DP World, the…[restrict] termination agreement was signed by Mohammed Al Muallem, the managing director of DP World UAE Region, and Mousa Murad, the general manager at the Port of Fujairah.

“We are proud of our record in supporting our partners in Fujairah, developing the capability of the port and its efficiency and we wish them continued success,” Al Mualem said.

The transfer of operations from DP World to the Port of Fujairah has been completed.

“For over a decade we worked closely with the Port of Fujairah to build a major asset that complements the infrastructure of the UAE, serving the needs and requirements of the country and Fujairah in line with the vision of our leadership to diversify the national economy in preparation for the post-oil era,” DP World group chairman and chief executive Ahmed bin Sulayem said.

“We will continue to work closely with them to build on our strategic partnership and to ensure the interests of our customers and the country.”[/restrict]

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HMS Enterprise Picture: UK Crown Copyright 2017©

On 18 April HMS Enterprise (H88) returned home after an epic 35-month deployment. In almost three years she steamed 150,000 nautical miles, visited 20 countries while conducting maritime security operations, protecting Britain’s economy and rescuing those in danger.

With a 78-strong ship’s company the specialist survey ship Enterprise was at the heart of operations to prevent people-smuggling in the Mediterranean. She evacuated more than 200 British citizens from Libya, rescued 9,180 people attempting to undertake deadly crossings of the Mediterranean and destroyed 117 unseaworthy craft used by people traffickers.

Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mike Penning commented:…[restrict] “During her three years deployed away from the UK, HMS Enterprise and her ship’s company have helped make the world a safer place. From disrupting people-smuggling in the Mediterranean to assisting in the free flow of trade in the Gulf, and from providing reassurance to our overseas territories to surveying the world’s oceans, she has epitomised how the Royal Navy is protecting the UK’s global interests.”

Deployment of Enterprise began in June 2014, when she headed to the Mediterranean on maritime security operations. At the time, growing unrest in Libya led to the UK government encouraging British citizens to evacuate and Enterprise was tasked with rescuing more than 200 people from Tripoli.

She was then tasked with conducting survey operations in the Persian Gulf and southern Red Sea, joining the continuous Royal Navy presence in the region which works to secure some of the most vital shipping lanes in the world and protect Britain’s economy.

Of the three-year deployment Enterprise visited 33 ports, including Goa in India and Port Victoria in the Seychelles.

In 2015, Enterprise joined the naval force in the Mediterranean which was set up to deal with people-smuggling in the region. Over the course of the following year, the sailors on board destroyed 117 unseaworthy craft. At the same time they rescued 9,180 people attempting to make deadly crossings from Libya to mainland Europe – the highest number of people ever rescued by a Royal Navy ship.

She also surveyed some 2,600nm2 of the ocean floor, was awarded the Firmin Sword of Peace, the Naval Capability Prize and the HM Efficiency Award, as well as receiving a personal commendation from the Chief of the Defence Staff.

The survey ship’s work in the Mediterranean also led to 20 suspected smuggling ringleaders being identified and subsequently arrested by the Italian authorities.

Then followed passage to the South Atlantic to stand in for Falkland Islands’ patrol vessel HMS Clyde during her refit in South Africa. That visit also saw Enterprise make the 800 nm passage to Gold Harbour, South Georgia.

At the end of three-year deployment Enterprise and her ship’s company now prepare her for deployment again in July.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Last week (19 April) Rickmers Holding AG released a statement that an understanding had been reached regarding restructuring of the Rickmers Group, reports VesselValue. This follows on from news last month that Singapore Based Rickmers Maritime Trust is to be wound-up.

It is understood that the sole shareholder, Bertram Rickmers, will reduce his shareholding to below 25%. The remaining 75% will be taken by lenders and bondholders.

The value today of the Rickmers Group (subsidiary of Rickmers Holding AG) sits at US$ 740 million. The group owns 4 handy container newbuildings currently being constructed at Jiangsu New Yangzijiang in China. These newbuildings are worth US$ 68 million.

The fleet is made up of 4 MPP vessels, 2 vehicle carriers and 35 container vessels ranging from Feedermax class to New Panamax.

Over the last 12 months the fleet has declined in value by 31%. This matches the decline of the liner business that is plagued by oversupply of tonnage and slow demand growth. See VesselsValue’s fleet value, containing transactions, since March 2016. Source & image: VesselValue


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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.

Naval News

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Queen Elizabeth.  Pictures: Chris Godden

Cunard’s Vista-class cruise ship QUEEN ELIZABETH has just completed a visit to Cape Town and is seen here when departing in glorious late afternoon autumn sunshine. Queen Elizabeth carries up to 2,547 passengers and is Cunard’s second largest passenger ship, behind Queen Mary 2. Launched in 2010 at the Fincantieri Monfalcone Shipyard in Italy as their hull number 6187, she is 294 metres long and has a gross weight of 90,901 tons. The pictures are by Chris Godden


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― Stephen Richards


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