Most German Rivers

Reopened to ShippingFRANKFURT, West Germany - The Rhine River and most of its major tributaries are open again to shipping, as warm, sunny weather has caused water levels to recede, the Water and Shipping Authority in Mainz, West Germany, said Tuesday.

The rivers had been closed for much of the past three weeks as rain and runoff from snow caused rivers to swell. Riverside communities were flooded and about 11,000 ships were idled. The Rhine was reopened during the holiday weekend. Of its major tributaries, only the Main River remains closed.

Tugs Free Cruise Ship

Hung Up on Coral Reef

SUVA, Fiji - A West German-owned cruise ship, the 7,300-ton Society Explorer, was refloated Tuesday, three days after it ran aground on a coral reef, agents for the ship said.

A spokesman for Burns Philip (South Seas) Ltd. said the luxury passenger ship was towedfrom the reef north of the main island of Viti Levu to the Port of Lautoka, on the western side of the island.

The official, who in keeping with company policy would not be named, said the vessel suffered no damage and would continue its passage to the island nation of Tuvalu after refueling.

The ship, carrying 130 passengers on a cruise of Pacific islands, hit the reef after leaving Lautoka on Saturday and was pulled free by two tugs on Tuesday, the official said.

FMC to Investigate

Activities of Benel

WASHINGTON - The Federal Maritime Commission has ordered an investigation into the activities of Benel International Co. of Miami and its sole officer and shareholder, Benedict Ramos.

The agency said it appears that Benel and Mr. Ramos had acted as ocean freight forwarders on at least 56 shipments between January and October of 1985 without an ocean freight forwarder license issued by the commission.

They also may have continued, and are continuing, to act as . . . forwarders without a license . . . in a continuing violation, of the 1984 Shipping Act, the agency added.

A public hearing was ordered, with a decision to be rendered by July 31, 1989.

S. Jersey Port Corp.

Set 2 Records in '87

CAMDEN, N.J. - The South Jersey Port Corp. set both cargo volume and income records in 1987.

Cargo volume reached 2.28 million tons, a 15 percent increase over 1986, while income rose by 10 percent to $12.8 million.

E.J. McManimon Jr., chairman of the port corporation, said the gains resulted from a more productive work force and capital improvements made at the port in the last year.

The port agency spent $10.2 million last year to expand berthing, transit shed and warehouse space. Other capital improvements included a dredging program and rehabilitation of older terminals. A 108,000-square-foot warehouse completed Jan. 1 also has improved efficiency of the port's warehouse space.

Both bulk and breakbulk cargo contributed to the increase, with plywood and lumber showing a 119,000-ton increase at Beckett Terminal. Bulk handling was up even further at Broadway Terminal, which showed a 200,000-ton increase.

The only cargo to be down, said Mr. McManimon, was steel. He attributed this to federal import quotas.

Italian Ship Explosion

Injures at Least Eight

VADO LIGURE, Italy - A strong explosion Tuesday in a hold of the cargo ship Michele Damato severely burned eight workers and touched off a fire, the Italian news agency Ansa said.

The agency said it was not immediately known how many workers were below decks at the time of the blast in this port city about 30 miles west of Genoa. It said eight workers were hospitalized with severe burns.

Ansa reported that officials said they believe the blast was triggered by gas fumes that seeped into the hold where welders were working.

Firefighters extinguished the flames that threatened to spread to other parts of the vessel moored at the port's coal unloading terminal, Ansa said.