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Wallenius Wihjelmsen car carrier Elektra arriving Durban in March 2017. Picture by Keith Betts
Elektra. Picture: Keith Betts

Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s Ro-Ro car carrier ELEKTRA (67,264-gt) has been one of the most frequent of car carrier visitors to South African ports in recent times. This photograph was taken in March this year of the ship arriving in Durban harbour on yet another call. Built in 1999 she is managed out of Wallenius Marine’s offices in Singapore. Her capacity is an impressive 7,200 motor cars – alternately she could carry a combination of 3,700 cars and 600 trucks. ELEKTRA is a sister ship to BOHEME, MIGNON, UNDINE and MANON, all of which have called at South African ports at various times. Elektra is also one of the ships that has undergone lengthening – in her case by another 28 metres, giving her an overall length today of 228 metres and having increased her car capacity by 20 per cent. Her width has remained at 32 metres. She was built at the Daewoo Heavy Industry Ltd in South Korea and is registered in Singapore whose flag she flies. This picture is by Keith Betts

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MOL Triumph, in Maritime News
MOL Triumph, one of the first 20,000+ ships in service

There are currently 76 containerships of 15,000+ TEU worldwide for a total capacity of 1.4 million TEU, representing an increase of 29 per cent compared to May 2016, as measured in TEU terms, according to research by Clarksons.

Deployed solely on the Asia-Europe trades, they…[restrict] account for 36 per cent of capacity on the route, up from 27 per cent a year earlier.

The rising proportion of 8,000-12,000 TEU vessels deployed on the transpacific trades is partly due to the displacement of the 15,000 TEU ships from the Far East-Europe route, as well as to new deployment opportunities on the Asia-US east coast owing to passage via the expanded Panama Canal.

In May, 8,000-12,000 TEU ships accounted for 54 per cent of total capacity deployed on transpacific trade lanes, whereas the 3,000-8,000 TEU sector accounted for 32 per cent, according to research by Clarksons.

“From around mid-2016, the ‘cascade’ of larger units onto transpacific routes has also been supported by firm trade growth. Enhancements to US east coast port capability to handle larger ‘Neo-Panamax’ units have been ongoing, supporting cascading of larger ships into the Far East-US east coast route, now including ships of 12,000+ TEU,” Clarksons said.

On north-south routes in May, the 8,000-12,000 TEU sector accounted for 32 per cent of deployed capacity, up from 29 per cent a year earlier, while the proportion of 3,000-8,000 TEU capacity dropped from 53 per cent to 49 per cent.

Further down the size hierarchy, deployment of 3,000+ TEU vessels on intra-regional routes has remained relatively steady at 30 per cent, while the intra-Asian trades recorded robust growth throughout 2016 and Q1 2017.

Although there remain some additional opportunities for larger vessels on these routes, these appear to be diminishing over time on the back of port capability limitations, added Clarksons. source: Clarksons and Shipping Gazette[/restrict]

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Damen built ferry for The Gambia, in Maritime News

Damen-built ferry for The Gambia, in Maritime News
new Damen ferry for The Gambia

Damen has delivered a Ro-Ro ferry to a client in The Gambia more than a month ahead of schedule. The ferry was built entirely in the Netherlands to a very tight deadline, with the hull constructed in just 70 days at Damen’s subsidiary Niron Staal in Amsterdam. The outfitting was then carried out at Damen Shipyards Gorinchem.

Operating from Banjul, the Gambian capital, to Barra, across the mouth of the Gambia River estuary, the passenger and vehicle ferry is…[restrict] designed with a very flexible layout where it can be reconfigured from passenger and vehicle transportation to passenger only – with a maximum of 2,000 persons.

This function makes it ideal to facilitate passenger transport during local celebration days.

Damen Sales Manager Africa, Peter Post comments: “This special ferry has been designed in close cooperation with the client and this has resulted in a safe, fuel efficient and maintenance friendly vessel built to the latest standards in shipbuilding. The ferry is built under BV class. We are also providing an extensive training package and a long-term maintenance agreement. The vessel will sail under the Gambian flag.”

The ferry was transported via a heavy lift vessel from the Netherlands and arrived safely over a month ahead of schedule, enabling the client to commence operations before the end of Ramadan and in time for associated festivities.

About Damen
Damen Shipyards Group operates 33 shipbuilding and repair yards, employing 9,000 people worldwide. Damen has delivered more than 6,000 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers some 180 vessels annually to customers worldwide. Based on its unique, standardised ship-design concept Damen is able to guarantee consistent quality. Locally Damen operates a shipyard in Cape Town.[/restrict]

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Ebola outbreak in DRC, in maritime news

By Carol Holness, Senior Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright

The recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo may result in delays and higher freight costs for charterers and cargo owners in addition to the health risks posed to the health of crew members on board vessels calling at affected ports.

In May 2017, the World Health Organisation declared an Ebola outbreak in the Bas-Uele province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although the extent of the outbreak is…[restrict] being investigated, the effect of the 2014-2016 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa may still be on the minds of many shipowners and charterers. South African cargo owners may be affected by this outbreak, especially if it should spread as the 2014 outbreak did.

Cargo owners who charter ships for bulk cargoes to export to, or import from, Ebola affected countries may suffer financial losses and penalties as a result of delays and shipowners may refuse to load or discharge cargo at Ebola affected ports.

Under both time and voyage charterparties, a charterer is obliged to nominate a safe port for both loading and discharging cargo. A port will not be safe unless, in the relevant period of time, the particular ship can reach it, use it and return from it without, in the absence of some abnormal occurrence, being exposed to danger which cannot be avoided by good navigation and seamanship. If a port is considered unsafe, a shipowner may refuse to sail to that port and may have a claim for damages against the charterer who nominated the unsafe port.

An isolated case or unexpected outbreak of Ebola may constitute an abnormal occurrence and may not make a port unsafe because it is not a danger characteristic of the port. Even if the outbreak is prolonged, a port may still be considered safe if the port has suitable disease prevention and safety management systems in place. Accordingly, shipowners do not have an automatic right to refuse to call at a port simply because an Ebola outbreak has been declared.

An Ebola outbreak (or the threat of an outbreak) may result in countries imposing stricter safety procedures to prevent the spread of the disease. In response to the 2014 outbreak, some carriers imposed a surcharge on cargo to and from affected ports and undertook additional cargo inspections. Such additional inspections and restrictions imposed by carriers and port authorities can result in severe delay for cargo owners and higher freight costs.

Where shipowners refuse to call at Ebola affected ports, they may, depending on the terms of the charterparty or bill of lading, have a contractual right to discharge the cargo at another port. In the absence of such a right to deviate, shipowners and charterers or cargo owners may have to come to a commercial agreement regarding the discharge of the cargo. Following the 2014 outbreak, some shipowners and charterers have included specific clauses dealing with Ebola in their charterparties setting out the rights and obligations of the parties following an Eebola outbreak.

Losses due to delay are not generally covered by most marine insurance policies nor can they be recovered against the shipowner or the carrier under a bill of lading. In any event, most shipowners will rely on a force majeure clause in their contracts to escape liability for any claims for delay by cargo owners. This means cargo owners may suffer large unrecoverable losses where ships are delayed or unable to call at Ebola affected ports and charterers may face penalties for nominating Ebola affected ports for the loading or discharge of cargo.[/restrict]

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naming of MSC Maritime News

MSC Cruises has welcomed into its fleet not only its biggest cruise ship but also the biggest to have been built for a European ship owner. MSC MERAVIGLIA tops out at 171,598-gt and has a passenger capacity of 5,714 guests.

The christening ceremony was held last Saturday (3 June 2017) in Le Havre with international screen legend and godmother of all of MSC Cruises’ ships, Sophia Loren performing the naming.

MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, hosted the glamorous, high-profile event with entertainment from top international performers and an exclusive gala dinner in the company of special guests, authorities, key partners from the travel industry, global media and top management from MSC Cruises and its parent company MSC Group.

Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group’s founder and executive chairman as well as the ship owner, attended together with the Aponte and Aponte-Vago families.

“We have an ambitious vision for the future and MSC Meraviglia marks the start of a new era for our company,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman. “For this reason, this evening is an extremely proud moment for all of us at MSC Cruises as we see the first of our next-generation ships being named.”

“The new ships that will come into service over the coming ten years are purpose-built connected ships, featuring innovation in both product and design, as well as the very latest-cutting edge technology to create unforgettable holiday experiences at sea for guests of all ages. MSC Meraviglia is the first to make this vision come to life, as it sets a new standard for cruise ships as a destination in itself.”

MSC Meraviglia is the Company’s new flagship and the 13th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet as well as the first of 11 new MSC Cruises ships due to come into service over the next 10 years under an industry-unprecedented €9 billion investment plan.

Both the ship herself and Saturday night’s event were inspired by the wonders of the world, as Meraviglia literally means wonder. The christening ceremony itself was hosted by one of Europe’s most loved comedians, Gad Elmaleh. The audience were also entertained by internationally renowned artist Patrick Bruel who will perform a selection of his most loved songs. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Kids United performed to represent a diverse world, promoting peace and tolerance.

Cutting the ribbon
The crowning moment of the evening was the parade of the ship’s officers, as Sophia Loren cut the ribbon and named MSC Meraviglia to a time-honoured crescendo of champagne and fireworks. Ms Loren has held a close relationship with MSC Cruises for over a decade, when she first became godmother of MSC Lirica in 2003.

As the MSC Cruises fleet continued to grow, she blessed each and every new ship, reflecting MSC Cruises’ belief not only in loyalty, but also in Loren’s unique beauty, talent and elegant style – the same elements that distinguish every aspect on board an MSC Cruises ship.

The evening was concluded on a note of haute cuisine. Hélène Darroze, the chef with the two Michelin stars created an exceptional menu for the VIP gala dinner as well as an exclusive dish for all guests.

MSC Meraviglia is the largest cruise ship to launch in 2017 but is able to call in most of the world’s international cruise ports and is set to become one of the hottest destinations at sea.

MSC Meraviglia commenced her maiden voyage from Le Havre to Genoa on the following day (4 June) and then commences her summer itinerary from Genoa from 11 June. MSC Meraviglia will offer six embarkation ports in the Western Mediterranean including the popular ports of Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona as well as other much sought after Mediterranean destinations including Naples, Messina in Sicily and Valetta in Malta.

Watch a short video clip of the opening ceremony [2:04]

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Takoradi port, Ghana, in maritime news
Upgrading the port of Takoradi

A delegation from Sinopec, China’s largest and the world’s third-largest company, has visited the Port of Takoradi in Ghana to explore business opportunities arising from the ongoing Takoradi port expansion project.

The delegation was received by…[restrict] port management and marketing and public relations manager, Peter Amo-Bediako, took the team through the expansion works completed so far.

He explained that 200m of an 800m quay wall has now been completed and is currently is use and able to receive vessels.

Richard Acquah, port operations manager of Takoradi Port said that the port of Takoradi is opened to strategic investors.

The delegation from Sinopec was later taken on a tour of the port to see for themselves the expansion works.

Meanwhile, a delegation from Ghana Manganese Co Limited (GMC) and Ningxia Tianyuan Manganese Industry Company (TMI) from China also visited the Port of Takoradi.

The visit allowed officials of Ningxia Tianyuan Manganese Industry Company to acquaint themselves with the port’s facilities, the port expansion project and manganese operations at the port of Takoradi.[/restrict]

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severe weather over Cape expected, in maritime news
stormy seas ahead

Port operations at Cape Town and Saldanha could be impacted by what may be described as the Cape’s ‘Super Storm’ which is expected to reach the coast today.

On land authorities have…[restrict] taken precautions, with schools closed for at least one day and people in low lying areas warned of flooding that may occur across the drought-stricken region. Winds of 90 km/h are also likely and sea swells of 10 metres or more have been forecast, as the arrival of the storm coincides with the spring high tide.

The area around Cape Town can expect at least 50mm of rain within the first 24 hours as the low front crosses the coast, with the heaviest rain falling in the mountains. People living along the Atlantic coast have been warned to take special precautions and should stay at home where possible or indoors.

The storm is being touted as one of if not the worst in memory and is more than likely to affect operations at both Cape Town and Saldanha ports, at least when the gale force winds are blowing. Passengers using the Cape Town International Airport are advised to monitor their flights with the airlines although at this stage no flights have been cancelled.[/restrict]

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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.

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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

Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories here in the general news section.


d'Amico's Medi Aero, by Trevor Jones, in Maritime News
Medi Aero. Picture: Trevor Jones

The d’Amico bulker MEDI AERO (57,517-dwt) is seen arriving in Durban this week. d’Amico is an Italian shipping company dating back to the early 1950s and operates with a fleet of owned and chartered dry bulk and container ships and product tankers, Medi Aero being one of the chartered variety of dry bulkers. The bulker is owned by Taiwanese interests and managed by First Steamships Co Ltd of Taipei, Taiwan. She is currently at berth on Maydon Wharf 6. This picture is by Trevor Jones



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