Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 18 November 2019

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002
Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002


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Seaspan Eminence sails from Durban, October 2019 picture by Ken Malcolm, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The container ship SEASPAN EMINENCE (IMO 9407146) sails from Durban earlier in October. The 67,386-dwt ship, built in 2009, and flying the flag of Hong Kong, is owned and managed by the Canadian Seaspan Corp but managed by Mitsui OSK Lines, which is also the operator. This picture is by Ken Malcolm



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Investigation of marine accident at Hustadvika, Møre og Romsdal county, Norway

Viking Sky, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Viking Sky

The Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN) initiated a safety investigation after the incident with the cruise ship Viking Sky’s engine failure at Hustadvika on 23 March this year. It is understood that the US and the UK are participating in the investigation as substantially interested states.

Interim report

On 13 November 2019 AIBN issued an interim report with a simplified narrative and initial findings from the incident.

The interim report is available by a link to be found by CLICKING HERE

This report also includes action taken by the company. Further, the AIBN support the Norwegian Maritime Administration’s recommendations issued shortly after the incident. This investigation will continue with analysis of the sequence of events and systematise and analyse factual information. Areas of further investigation are described in the interim report.

In brief

On the afternoon of 23 March 2019, the cruise vessel Viking Sky experienced a black-out and loss of propulsion in gale to storm force conditions in the Hustadvika area of the Norwegian Coast. The vessel’s master immediately sent out a Mayday as the ship drifted towards shore. On receipt of the Mayday, Southern Norway Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) launched a major rescue operation and started scrambling resources, including helicopters, on a large scale. The local Police reported 479 evacuated passengers had been received at the emergency centre ashore over 16 hours.

Viking Sky was owned by Viking Ocean Cruises with technical management provided by Wilhelmsen Ship Management. It was the third in the Viking Star class of cruise vessels, was classed by Lloyd’s Register and was registered with the Norwegian International Ship registry (NIS). The vessel had been built at Fincantieri in Italy and was delivered in January 2017.

Viking Sky was manned by 458 crew and was carrying 915 passengers. Most of the passengers were US (602) and UK (197) citizens, followed by Australians (69) and other nations (47).

The Admiralty Sailing directions state:
Area 11, Hustadvika (63°00.00’N 7°00.00’E) is a notoriously dangerous area; the coast is completely exposed to the weather and extensive shoals lie offshore. Strong winds from SW to NW raise a large steep swell with hollow breaking seas, especially during the out-going tidal stream. These conditions are likely to be particularly severe in the area of Budadjupet between Bjørnsund (62°53.75’N 6°48.96’E) and Kolbeinsflua, 5 miles NNE. Breaking surf is reported to occur throughout the whole area.

Initial findings

The lubricating oil sump tanks of all the diesel generators were maintained at 28%–40% capacity. MAN’s recommendation was to maintain them at 68%–75% capacity.

The diesel generators shut down as a result of the loss of lubricating oil suction due to low sump tank levels, combined with pitching and rolling.

All three operational diesel generators shut down within 19 minutes of each other, causing blackout and loss of propulsion.

AIBN estimate that Viking Sky came within a ship’s length of grounding, having passed over or in immediate proximity to 10 m shoals, before propulsion could be re-established.

Action taken

In addition to action taken by the vessel’s managers on 27 March 2019 the Norwegian Maritime Authority issued a Safety Message on risk assessment of critical systems which asked: “All shipping companies to take the necessary precautions to ensure the supply of lubricating oil to engines and other critical systems under expected weather conditions. This should be done in collaboration with the engine supplier and included as part of the ship’s risk assessments in the safety management system.”


Safety advice issued by the Norwegian Maritime Authority is supported by the ongoing safety investigation, with the following recommendation:

All vessel owners and operators are recommended to ensure that engine lubricating oil tank levels are maintained in accordance with engine manufacturer’s instructions and topped up in the event of poor weather being forecast.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Continuing a long tradition of ceremonial at sea

Sailors of USS Gerald R Ford ship’s company participated in burial at sea, 11 November 2019. US Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Zack Guth. USN ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Sailors of USS Gerald R Ford ship’s company participated in burial at sea, 11 November 2019. US Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Zack Guth. USN ©


Veterans’ Day, 11 November, is an annual day of commemoration honouring all military members and was observed with a unique and special ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78), laying veterans to rest in the waters of the Atlantic.

Ashes of 29 service members from four different branches of the US military and one from the US Merchant Marine were laid in the sea during a burial at sea ceremony in Gerald R Ford on 11 November. Though the time honoured tradition of a burial at sea has been in practice for as long as mankind has sailed the seas, this ceremony marked the first for Ford and her ship’s company.

In the words of Commander Dave Kim, from Mineola, New York, one of Ford’s chaplains: “The burial at sea ceremony connects us to the rest of the Fleet and it also connects to our traditions, our pasts, and those who were also connected to the sea. It was a great experience throughout the whole ship to get involved with this experience.”

The ceremony was led by Ford’s principal Chaplain, Commander Michael Amedick, from Pennsauken, New Jersey, who was honoured to carry out this request for so many veterans.

He said: “There was a lot of service among them across a lot of eras; it’s just nice to be able to honour that service in a fitting way, and even more special to be able to do it on Veterans’ Day. All of them served, we’re just trying to honour their desire [to be committed to the sea] in a way that is fitting for what they did.”

The Honour Guard takes post to perform their volley of respect, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Honour Guard takes post to perform their volley of respect

Surviving family members of the deceased received the American flag that was carried with their remains, three spent cartridges which represents each of the volleys fired by the firing detail’s 21-gun salute, an official certificate showing the charted coordinates of where their loved ones were laid to rest, photographs from the event and a personal letter from Ford’s CO Captain John J Cummings.

Amedick added: “Because the family members aren’t able to attend the burial at sea in person, they will be really happy to see the pictures and everything we’ve done to make it more meaningful to them.”

Ford’s ship’s company—many of whom have never experienced a burial at sea ceremony — were eager to participate or attend and honour the service members.

In conclusion Amedick said; “It was really cool how the crew was really involved, it’s kind of CRMD [Command Religious Ministries Department] leading it, but I think there was about a dozen different departments involved in one way or another. A lot of volunteers were really eager to serve in either the honour platoon, as an urn bearer, or the firing detail who all really did a great job honouring the people who we were committing, so I’m proud to just be a part of that.”

Sailors stood in formation on Ford’s aircraft Elevator 3 in their dress blue uniforms, gathered to honour their service to our nation. At 09h00 the command was announced: “All hands bury the dead.” After a prayer from Amedick, the ceremony proceeded. Urn bearers carried the cremains to the catafalque one-by-one as Amedick read their names and background aloud. Salutes were rendered as they were then released to their final resting place.

A 21-gun salute was fired towards the horizon. Gunshots faded with every echo as the empty shells bounced onto the deck. ‘Taps’ sounded from a lone bugler over the silent participants.

Most of them were Sailors including two couples buried together. A few were Soldiers or Marines; one was a Merchant Mariner. Some of them served for decades, served only for a few years, but all of them served. Now they are committed to rest in the mighty blue sea.

USS Gerald R Ford is a first-in-class aircraft carrier and the first new aircraft carrier designed in more than 40 years. She is currently underway in the Atlantic conducting an independent steaming exercise.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Thirty souls were laid to rest in the waters of the Atlantic. Illustrations kindly provided by the US Navy, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Thirty souls were laid to rest in the waters of the Atlantic. Illustrations kindly provided by the US Navy



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The creel boat Sea Mist, featured in a MAIB report appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Sea Mist

Macduff, Scotland

27 March 2019
Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) Report issued
Safety flyer issued

At about 12h25 on 27 March 2019, the skipper/owner of the single-handed creel* boat Sea Mist, became entangled in a back rope while shooting creels and was hauled overboard. No-one witnessed the accident. However, the skipper’s son, who was nearby on his own fishing vessel, Ocean Lee, saw Sea Mist circling shortly afterwards and raised the alarm.

Earlier this month (November) the (UK) Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) issued Report No 14 / 2019…


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Port of Walvis Bay and new container terminal, the Jewel of the Diamond Coast, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Walvis Bay and new container terminal, the Jewel of the Diamond Coast

The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) is currently marking the 15th year of accreditations from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This notable achievement follows a successful external audit that was conducted by the South African based National Quality Assurance (NQA) representing the Global Certification Body based in the United Kingdom.

The external auditors covered the…


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Soren Toft, COO at AP Moller-Maersk, noiw heading to MSC featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Soren Toft

The well-informed Shipping Watch publication is reporting that Maersk’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Søren Toft, who resigned recently from the position he has held since 2014, will be taking up the position of MSC’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Toft joined Maersk in 1994 and worked in a number of positions before being appointed COO of Maersk Line in 2014. The report said Toft’s appointment will be officially announced next week.



MSC Ines reloading cargo in Durban after her repairs. Picture: Steve McCurrach, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Ines reloading cargo after her repairs. Picture: Steve McCurrach

Was it tempting fate when the large container ship MSC INES entered the port of Durban on Thursday 14 November 2019 – on the day when the SA Weather Service and other authorities were issuing warnings of severe storms and winds for not only Durban but the KZN coast area?

MSC Ines was the unfortunate victim of the severe 10 October 2017 storm, which saw the ship (and four others) being blown off their berths and across Durban harbour.

Such was the severity of the freak storm that the 348-metre long, 107,551-dwt ship was blown across Durban Bay and towards the entrance channel, before grounding sideways across the channel and blocking it to other shipping. This was the port of Durban’s worst nightmare, but fortunately the harbour pilots and tugs were later able to pull the ship away from the walls of the channel and into deep water.

The rudder of MSC Ines was badly damaged and a new one had to be fabricated in Durban before the ship could return to service. On this most recent occasion however the docking of MSC Ines proceeded without difficulty and at the time of writing the ship is working cargo at berth 107. MSC Ines arrived from Lome in West Africa.

Check the YouTube video below on the 2017 incident. [1:41]



Port Elizabeth and the Nelson Mandela Stadium. Picture: Wikipedia Commons, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port Elizabeth and the Nelson Mandela Stadium. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

They changed the name of Algoa Bay to Nelson Mandela Bay and named the new enlarged municipality also after the famous man. The local university did the same. The city of Port Elizabeth has continued in use however but not for much longer. And if you struggle with pronouncing Ngqura, the adjacent new port just 20km from ‘PE’, then get ready for the city’s proposed new name – Gqeberha.

This is said to be the Xhosa name for the Baakens river, which runs into PE harbour and is the favoured name of the Eastern Cape Geographical Names Committee, which has chosen to ignore the name most commonly used by Xhosa-speakers – eBhayi, which aptly means ‘The Bay’.

It makes one wonder how these committees work and what makes them tick, especially when an already-in-use Xhosa name is clearly in favour.

Residents of PE have until 30 November 2019 to submit objections to the name. The Eastern Cape premier’s spokesperson, Mvusiwhekaya Sicwhetsha, called it a matter of choosing a name that aligns with what the province is striving towards. Striving to what we wonder, even further confusion?



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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

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



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