Fire Forces Passenger Ship to Change Course to Majorca

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…As Westports’ Nine-Month Container Volumes Down***

The 1995-built passenger vessel Tariq Ibn Ziyad suffered a fire in its cargo hold on November 12, which forced the vessel to divert its heading to Majorca, according to the Ministry of Finance and Public Administrations of Balearic islands.

The fire started in the early morning hours while the 5,125 dwt ship was sailing from the French port of Marseille to Algeria and forced the ship to stop at the Port d’Alcudia in North East Majorca.

The ferry was transporting some 470 passengers, as well as over 130 crewmembers, 29 of whom were treated for smoke inhalation at the port and three were moved to a hospital with non life-threatening injuries. An unknown number of cars was also being transported aboard the ship, some of which were damaged.

AIS data provided by Marine Traffic shows that the vessel is currently moored at the North East Majorca’s port.

Another ferry, the 2004-built Tassili II, has been designated to carry the passengers and the cars from the affected vessel to their destination port of Algiers.

Relevant authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the incident.

In the meantime, Malaysian port operator Westports Holdings Berhad saw its container volumes drop in the nine-month period ended September 30, mainly due to the industry’s recent mergers and acquisitions.

Container operations handled a total throughput of 6.8 million TEU during the nine-month period, dropping by 8 percent from a total of 7.4 million TEU handled in the same period a year earlier, driven by a drop in containers on the Asia-Europe and Asia-Africa trades. The group’s third quarter volumes also fell by 14 percent to 2.14 million TEU.

“The container shipping industry has just gone through an unprecedented recalibration and realignment processes which affected almost all major liners,” Ruben Emir Gnanalingam, the Chief Executive Officer of Westports, said.

In the first nine months of 2017 the group achieved an operational revenue of MYR 1.28 billion, driven by the container operations. Compared to the first nine months of 2016, the operational revenue decreased by 4 percent from MYR 1.33 billion.

Similarly, the company’s profit for the period was down by 9 percent to MYR 440.5 million from MYR 481.9 million.

For the third quarter ended September 30, the company’s operational revenue stood at MYR 421.1 million, representing a decrease of 6 percent compared to MYR 449.8 million reported in the same quarter a year earlier, while the profit for the quarter remained flat at MYR 150.8 million.

“At Westports, we now serve as one of the South East Asia transshipment hubs for Ocean Alliance and also as a port of call for a service under THE Alliance. The industry’s recent mergers and acquisitions have affected our container volume handled, especially of transshipment boxes, and Westports have now transitioned successfully towards serving new services under Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance,” Gnanalingam added.

World Maritime News

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