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Hoegh Pusan arrives Durban, pic by Keith Betts
Höegh Pusan. Picture by Keith Betts

The Ro-Ro car carrier HÖEGH PUSAN (44,219-gt) arrives at Durban in April this year. Owned by Höegh Autoliners of Oslo, Norway and managed by Höegh Wallem Ship Management of Singapore, her car-carrying capacity is 4,300 vehicles. This picture is by Keith Betts

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pirate attack on tanker Navig8 Providence
Navig8 Providence. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting

EU NAVFOR, the multi-national European naval force doing counter piracy operations off the Horn of Africa region has confirmed that on Thursday, 1 June the oil tanker NAVIG8 PROVIDENCE was attacked by an armed pirate group.

According to E NAVFOR, Navig8 Providence was at sea 100 nautical miles east of Muscat when…[restrict] she was approached by six armed men in a skiff. It is understood that as the skiff moved towards the tanker, there was an exchange of small arms fire between the suspected pirates and the maritime security team on board the tanker.

The master of the oil tanker subsequently advised the naval authorities that his ship’s protection team observed a ladder in the skiff.

This, plus the weapons that the men on the skiff were carrying and which they used, confirmed to the ship’s crew that they were under attack.

The International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre has also confirmed the attack and said that with the alarm raised and non-essential crew having retreated to the citadel, the tanker increased speed and commenced evasive manoeuvres while the onboard armed security team took to firing warning shots.

At this point the skiff broke off the attack and moved away. The IMB reported that a second vessel, possibly a mother ship, was seen in the distance.

EU NAFOR said that the defensive manoeuvres were in accordance with the shipping industry recognised Best Management Practices (BMP4), together with the armed response from MT NAVIG8 Providence’s protection team.

EU NAVFOR said that counter-piracy naval forces had coordinated a response to search for the skiff but so far, as per Sunday afternoon, 4 June, no skiff or mother ship was being reported as having been found.[/restrict]

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Ferry for Abidjan, Ivory Coast
picture courtesy: Nautic Africa

With the delivery of six ferries to their Ivory Coast client, Cape-Town shipbuilder has reached a significant milestone in Ivory Coast’s Presidential infrastructure project with the launch of six ferries which will go toward helping alleviate traffic congestion for the 4.7 million inhabitants of Abidjan.

The commission, worth R347 million, has seen Nautic’s in-house naval architecture and. [restrict] engineering team working closely with the client, CITRANS to ensure that exacting specifications were met and operational challenges overcome.

“This collaboration helped us design and build a vessel specifically for our client; and ensured the project’s success,” said James Fisher, Executive Chairman of Nautic Africa, adding “Our team has met the client’s brief by successfully designing entirely new vessels suited to the unique requirements.”

He says that the Nautic team has designed and built vessels to help optimise CITRANS’ ferry business by producing platforms that match the required seating capacities, range, speed, maintainability, ease of use and durability.

“Running and operating a successful commercial ferry operation is about optimising your capital investment and overall revenues,” he explains.

“I am very proud of the Nautic team that has been such an integral part of the success of this project, delivering on time and exceeding our client’s expectations,” Fisher says.

Design specifications were well tested during sea trials held in May and witnessed by DGAMP, the Abidjan Maritime Authority.

“The sea trial is part of the official acceptance of the vessel according to Flag State rules and regulations,” explains Stuart McVitty, Operations Manager at Nautic, adding that the aim is to ensure that design criteria are met or exceeded.

The vessels that were delivered during May included two 27m ferries and four 15m ferries. The 27m vessels have a capacity of 200 and 140 people to cater for mixed class and business class carriage respectively. Two of the four 15m vessels feature enclosed canopies while the remainder are open.

The launch of these six vessels follows the successful delivery of the first 27m economy class ferry in the build programme during December last year.

Although featuring an aluminium hull structure, the vessels include a composite component that saw Nautic establish a dedicated composite building department during 2016 that created 45 new jobs.

The vessels are all built to Lloyd’s Standards and include Garmin navigation suits as well as vessel-compatible Volvo engines.

“Nautic has enjoyed a strong working relationship with its many suppliers including Volvo Penta to ensure the vessels performance and ongoing success,” adds McVitty.

Passenger safety is also of paramount concern and each vessel will be delivered with lifesaving equipment as well as a variety of alarms and sensors.

“This ferry project is a great example of the African collaboration, African solutions built in Africa for Africa,” says Fisher.[/restrict]

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NYK container ship Blue Jay
NYK Blue Jay – will feature in new combined fleet. Picture courtesy: NYK


Last year the Big 3 Japanese container lines announced their intention to amalgamate into a single service in order to contain overhead costs and maximise operating opportunities.

Now comes the news that the Big 3 – Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K-Line), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) will be known under the new combined joint venture name…[restrict] Ocean Network Express (ONE).

The announcement of the intention to combine operations was made in October 2016. Last week the combined statement said that the establishment of the new joint venture, which will integrate the three companies’ container shipping businesses — including worldwide terminal operation businesses, but excluding those in Japan, would come by way of the establishment of of holding company in Japan and an operating company to be incorporated in Singapore.

Regional headquarters of the operating company will be set up in Singapore, Hong Kong, the UK, US and Brazil, the three announced.

“The move will allow Ocean Network Express to better meet customers’ needs by providing high-quality, competitive services through the consolidation and enhancement of the three companies’ global network and service structures,” said NYK in a statement.

The establishment of the new joint venture will follow once all anti-trust reviews have been completed.

The plan is for the new combined service to commence operations as Ocean Network Express on 1 April 2018.

Ocean Network Express will have at their disposal a fleet capability of 1.4 million TEU, roughly 7% of the world’s total fleet capacity and ranking at number 6 in size among global container ship operators.

NYK, MOL and K Line will hold 38%, 31% and 31% stakes respectively in the new ¥300bn ($2.7billion) joint venture.[/restrict]

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Alan Olivier takes early retirement
Alan Olivier

Alan Olivier, chief executive officer of Grindrod Limited, has decided to step down after ten years at the helm.

The announcement was made on Friday (2 June) which said that Olivier will take early retirement as from 31 July 2017 “to pursue personal interests”.

He will however remain available to the Shipping Division in a consulting capacity, the statement said.

Grindrod Limited, an investment holding company, operates through three business divisions, Freight Services, Shipping and Financial Services.

Olivier has been at the helm since he took over from Ivan Clark who had reached retirement age. Olivier has been with Grindrod for 31 years.

“On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Alan for his valued contribution to the Group over the past 31 years, the last 10 years as CEO,” said Mike Hankinson, Independent Non-Executive Chairman of Grindrod.

“We wish him well and as Alan will be consulting to the Shipping Division, on an ad hoc basis, it is by no means goodbye.”

The three Grindrod divisions will continue to be managed by the management team, Bongiwe Ntuli (Freight Services), Martyn Wade (Shipping) and David Polkinghorne (Financial Services).

Hankinson has agreed to act as Executive Chairman in the transitional phase, with Andrew Waller, Group Financial Director, supporting him. According to Grindrod the board will begin the process of appointing a Group CEO and will notify the market

Nkululeko Sowazi will be the Lead Independent Non-Executive Director of the Board.

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Rickmers Baltic Winter
Baltic Winter. Picture courtesy: Rickmers Linie

Largest ship casualty since Hanjin

The financial restructuring of the Rickmers Group, a leading German ship owner and international service provider in the maritime transport sector, has been dealt a severe blow last week when the Board of HSH Nordbank AG surprisingly denied approval of the term sheet regarding the financial restructuring of Rickmers Holding AG.

On 19 April 2017, Rickmers Holding AG reached an understanding with HSH Nordbank AG on a term sheet regarding the restructuring of material financial liabilities of the Rickmers Group that was subject to…[restrict] corporate approval of HSH Nordbank AG and contingent on the restructuring of the bond 2013/2018 issued by Rickmers Holding AG (“Rickmers Bond”).

Rickmers says that until last week the Rickmers Group had accomplished all agreed and required steps to prepare the restructuring, in particular consisting of presenting a restructuring opinion certifying a positive restructuring prognosis. It has reached commercial agreements with all other financing banks, and obtaining positive binding tax rulings for the debt-push-up structure.

Notwithstanding this, HSH Nordbank AG has now informed Rickmers Holding AG that the board of HSH Nordbank AG has rejected the credit applications of Rickmers Group and denied approval to the term sheet dated 19 April 2017 and rejected further negotiations of the restructuring.

Rickmers says that as a result, the term sheet of 19 April 2017, on the basis of which the bondholders’ meeting was convened, cannot be implemented anymore.

“According to the assessment of the management board and supervisory board of Rickmers Holding AG the positive going concern prognosis of Rickmers Holding AG does therefore no longer apply. The management board of Rickmers Holding AG is forced to file for insolvency without undue delay.

“The management board of Rickmers Holding AG strives for restructuring in self-administration, on the basis of continuation of business and vessel operations. The management board and supervisory board of Rickmers Holding AG have initiated corresponding preparations.”

Rickmers says that it has submitted an application for insolvency under self-administration to the Hamburg District Court with the aim of restructuring, and that the Executive Board remains in office and capable of acting.

“The insolvency application applies solely to the holding company Rickmers Holding AG. On the other hand, the operating subsidiaries – in particular Rickmers Shipmanagement Hamburg and Singapore – are not affected and are working normally. Business and shipping operations are continuing.”

The statement says that the aim of the Executive Board is to work out a new restructuring solution together with the creditors and making use of the tools of the insolvency law. Banks, bondholders and the workforce will be represented on a temporary committee of creditors.

Rickmers operates a fleet of 114 container, dry bulk and Ro-Ro ships and employs about 2000 people. Ship valuation company VesselsValue says the company’s assets have a worth of about US$661 million. If the ships were to be sold as scrap however, their worth would be about $224 million, it said.

Referred to as the longest shipping downturn on record, the industry has already seen the demise of one of the biggest shipping lines, South Korea’s Hanjin Merchant Marine which went into bankruptcy last year. Since then a number of other lines have scrambled to amalgamate and create joint ventures (see report Three into one for the 3 big Japanese lines above) in an effort to consolidate services and reduce operating costs.

Banks meanwhile have been forced to write off billions of dollars in loans to shipping lines. According to Moodys Investor Service the top 10 German banks have US$128 billion in loans to shipping companies – more than double the value of their government holdings to Greece, Italy, Ireland, Spain and Portugal.

Some observers say the banks, in particular those in Germany, are largely responsible for the state of the container industry, by encouraging an oversupply of container shipping and a resultant collapse of freight rates.[/restrict]

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EMSA banner logo

At the close of a workshop in Lisbon on 2 June the pilot project Creation of a European Coast Guard Function brought together more than 110 participants from various European and national entities at the premises of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

During the event the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), the European Fisheries’ Control Agency (EFCA) and EMSA jointly presented the project results. This 18 month pilot project was launched in January 2016 in order to provide the test bed for the co-operation mechanism proposed by the Commission within the framework of the European border and coast guard package.

It was reported that the project aimed to raise cross-sector awareness of Frontex, EFCA’s and EMSA’s activities between the three agencies and among pilot project stakeholders and to create operational and technical collaboration between different coast guard functions at EU level.

In the framework of the project the three Agencies explored and tested ways to further enhance their cooperation in four areas:

  • The sharing of information generated by fusing and analysing vessel movement and earth observation data
  • Provision of surveillance and communication services based on state-of-the-art technology
  • Capacity building
  • Capacity sharing including multipurpose operations and the sharing of assets and capabilities across sectors and borders

Furthermore, it was reported that the enhanced cooperation among Frontex, EFCA and EMSA will enable them to support in an effective and cost-efficient way the activities of more than 300 civilian and military authorities in the EU Member States responsible for carrying out coast guard functions in a wide range of areas such as: maritime safety, security, search and rescue, border control, fisheries control, customs control, general law enforcement and environmental protection.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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More African collaborations and international investment needed for continents’ maritime sector

Sobantu Tilayi at Nor-Shipping, 2017

Oslo, Norway: Meeting in Norway, African maritime delegates committed their countries to work together to collaborate efforts in developing the maritime economy on the continent.

Sobantu Tilayi (pictured), acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) led South African delegates to one of the most prestigious international shipping events for maritime experts, the Nor-shipping Conference in Oslo, Norway. The Conference commenced on Tuesday, 30 May and concluded on Friday 2 June.

SAMSA used the opportunity to showcase the vast potential that lies within South Africa’s…[restrict] fast-growing oceans economy.

Speaking from Oslo, Tilayi said delegates – from South Africa to Nigeria – understood the potential of accelerated growth if African countries worked together rather than separately as individual states.

“In a discussion with my Nigerian counterpart, Dr Dakuku Peterside, the CEO of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency [NIMASA], we placed great emphasis in working towards achieving the African Union’s 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime (AIM) Strategy.

“Interestingly, at this conference through networking we were able to gather potential business opportunities worthy of exploration for South African maritime businesses. I immediately communicated with the concerned businesses and encouraged them to consider Nigeria as a commercially viable location,” he said.

Tilayi said the conference not only benefited those who were in attendance, it also benefited those maritime companies and organisations who were not present and could not form part of live discussions and interactions in Norway.

On advancing partnerships with maritime agencies from other African countries, Tilayi stated the conference not only exposed the country to an international audience of maritime investors, it also gave SAMSA an opportunity to engage with its African counterparts, particularly those from Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.

He added the conference raised confidence that SAMSA would be able to realise the country’s ambitions in relations to South Africa’s maritime sector as stated in Operation Phakisa, a fast track delivery program to promote the ocean’s economy and the potential that lies within South Africa’s coastal line.

South Africa is a maritime country endowed with just of over 3200km of a coastline on which sits eight commercial ports, and some 1.6-million square kilometres of an Exclusive Economic Zone spread over three oceans from the Atlantic in the west, the Southern Ocean in the south and the Indian Ocean to the east.

“The conference gave us massive leverage in terms of strengthening our name as an investment destination. Through the conference, in one room, we had access to an audience that would have taken us two years to reach. We are happy to note that the South African Department of Trade and Industry was already engaging in talks with Innovation Norway [the investment agency of the Norwegian government] pursuing areas of partnership in the country’s maritime sector and other economic sectors,” asserted Tilayi.

Senior officials from the South African Department of Trade and Industry, South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University formed part of South Africa’s delegation to the conference and were accompanied by local business leaders in the maritime sector.

The conference featured exhibitions, debates, product launches, and attracted ship owners, shipbrokers, ship financers, ports and port technology representatives, cargo handlers, maritime and training institutions, research organisations.[/restrict]

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Naval News

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bulker Endless Horizon sailin from Durban, April 2017 Picture by Trevor Jones
Endless Horizon. Picture: Trevor Jones

The bulk carrier ENDLESS HORIZON (58,018-dwt) makes a fine sight as she heads out into the Indian Ocean after a call at Durban. The ship is 189 metres in length and 32m wide and was built in 2012. She is owned by Greek interests and managed by Sea Vision Shipping Inc of Athens, Greece and flies the Liberian flag. Picture is by Trevor Jones



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