Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 23 September 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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Come with us as we report through 2019



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Torm Eric in Durban, picture by Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Torm Eric arriving in Durban. Pictures: Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Torm Eric.    Pictures: Trevor Jones

The chemical products and oil tanker TORM ERIC (IMO 9304590) enters the port of Durban in these two pictures. Built in 2006 the 51,266-dwt tanker is Danish owned and managed by Torm A/S of Hellerup, Denmark. The vessel is flagged in Singapore. The pictures are by Trevor Jones



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UN Climate Action Summir 22 September 2019, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

In the face of worsening climate crisis, the UN Summit will deliver new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into a higher gear.

Leaders from government, business, and civil society announced in advance potentially far-reaching steps to confront climate change at the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York.

As carbon pollution, temperatures, and climate destruction continue to rise, and public backlash mounts, the Summit has offered a turning point from inertia into momentum, action, and global impact – if everyone gets on board.

An extract from the event’s opening communiqué is here (below):

Leaders from government, business, and civil society today announced potentially far-reaching steps to confront climate change at the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York.

As carbon pollution, temperatures, and climate destruction continue to rise, and public backlash mounts, the Summit has offered a turning point from inertia into momentum, action, and global impact – if everyone gets on board.

The UN estimates that the world would need to increase its efforts between three- and five-fold to contain climate change to the levels dictated by science – a 1.5°C rise at most – and avoid escalating climate damage already taking place around the world.

However, the Paris Agreement provides an open-door framework for countries to continuously ratchet up their positive actions, and today’s Summit demonstrates how governments, businesses, and civilians around the world are rising to the challenge.

“The best science, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, tells us that any temperature rise above 1.5 degrees will lead to major and irreversible damage to the ecosystems that support us,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “Science tells us that on our current path, we face at least 3-degrees Celsius of global heating by the end of the century.”

“The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win.

“This is not a climate talk summit. We have had enough talk. This is not a climate negotiation summit. You don’t negotiate with nature. This is a climate action summit.”

He said: “Governments are here to show you are serious about enhancing Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. Cities and businesses are here showing what leadership looks like, investing in a green future. Financial actors are here to scale-up action and deploy resources in fundamentally new and meaningful ways. Coalitions are here with partnerships and initiatives to move us closer to a resilient, carbon-neutral world by 2050.

“And young people are here providing solutions, insisting on accountability, demanding urgent action.”

A full list of the announcements and commitments made at the Climate Action Summit can be found: HERE

The day’s agenda is CLICK HERE

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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workboat Kestrel at Cape Town port, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) will secure two new workboats by 2022 to boost marine operations at the Port of Cape Town and to improve general efficiency.

The more powerful workboats are expected to improve the port’s ability to maintain marine operations during challenging weather conditions. The engines will be approximately 20% more powerful on the new workboats and the bollard pull will be 80% greater as a result of advanced propeller and rudder designs.

The Port of Cape Town presently has two workboats, the Kestrel and the Blue Jay, which have been plagued by breakdowns and technical problems arising from their advanced age.

Cape Town Port Manager, Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana, said: “We’ve now concluded the 12-month long procurement process and are in the process of awarding the R85 million contract for the building of the two workboats to the successful bidder with an anticipated delivery date of 2022.

“This is part of the port’s craft replacement strategy through which we are responding to industry calls for a more reliable and efficient fleet of marine craft. Acquiring these new workboats will help to reduce vessel service delays and the overall efficiency and competitiveness of our port.”

Under the port’s Craft Replacement Strategy a request has also been made to bring forward the replacement of two tugs and two [motor] launches to 2019/20 instead of 2020/21 in order to meet industry needs.

The port will also be introducing a helicopter service in 2021 to transfer marine pilots onto and off visiting vessels, after the traditional method of using pilot boats has become ill-suited to Cape Town’s more frequent weather-related disruptions and high swell conditions.

It was not possible to have confirmed in time for today’s publication whether the two new workboats in the report above will be locally procured. We hope to clarify this in a later news report.

The reference to two new tugs for the Cape Town port being brought forward into this financial year raises another unanswered issue. The previous order for nine tugs was placed with Durban-based Southern African Shipyards where the final tug of that series remains undelivered over a year after its practical completion. It is understood that a financial dispute has resulted in the tug not undergoing its official handover.

Will this matter now find settlement, or will a new contract for the two above-mentioned tugs be issued elsewhere? And if so would this mean a possible departure from the use of Voith Schneider propulsion?


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Alick Rennie rescue craft of NSRI Stn 5, by Paula Leech, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Alick Rennie rescue craft of NSRI Stn 5, by Paula Leech

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Station 5 at Durban was called into action on Friday, 20 September to evacuate a patient off a ship approaching the port.

According to the NSRI Durban station commander, Jonathan Kellerman, the NSRI Durban duty crew was called out at 05h41 on that morning to launch the sea rescue craft Alick Rennie to rendezvous with a bulk carrier that was heading for Durban with a 32 year old Indonesian crewman on board suffering a medical complaint and requiring evacuation.

The NSRI duty crew was accompanied by Netcare 911 rescue paramedics.

The patient had been monitored by a Government Health EMS duty doctor over the previous two days with the the patient evacuation being arranged for Friday morning as the ship approached closer to her next port of call, which was Durban.

MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre), NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre), TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority) and Telkom Maritime Radio Services all assisted in coordination and communications during the operation.

“We rendezvoused with the bulk carrier 10 nautical miles off-shore of the Port of Durban and the patient, in a stable condition, was transferred onto our sea rescue craft and taken into the care of the Netcare 911 rescue paramedics,” said Kellerman.

He advised that patient was taken to the NSRI rescue base, Station 5, which is in the Port of Durban, from where he was transported to hospital by ambulance for further care.


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A consignment of elephants being tranquilised before delivery to the port at Walvis Bay for shipment to the DRC. Picture courtesy: Namport, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A consignment of elephants being tranquilised before delivery to the port at Walvis Bay for shipment to the DRC. Picture courtesy: Namport

The Port of Walvis Bay is excited about the opportunities presented by the multipurpose terminal at berths 1 – 8, following the commissioning of the New Container Terminal.

The commissioning of the new container terminal has has freed up space at the previous container terminal site, with the freed up space being utilised for…


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A new history reviewed by Paul Ridgway
London Correspondent

Cover of book for reviews title Pirates, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

It is unbelievable that the scourge of piracy is still with us and to set the scene past and present has come Pirates: A New History, from Vikings to Somali Raiders by Peter Lehr, published by Yale University Press, New Haven and London.

With 261 pages, 20 colour and 6 monochrome illustrations with maps, this is priced at £20.00 (ISBN 978 0 300 18074 9) and tells the story from AD 700 in a well-arranged volume considering the subject in three parts: to 1500; to 1914 and to the present).

There is a useful glossary (remember the Barbary Coast from our history books, corsairs, Drake, privateers and more) and a huge set of more than 500 endnotes and a bibliography of more than 300 references to books, papers, media and other sources. All this adds up to a scholarly work upon which one reviewer reflected as: “…the most comprehensive history of piracy,” he had ever read.

Here is a global account of pirates and their methods and where in our century piracy has gained a central place in our entertainment thanks to Pirates of the Caribbean. Then there is the huge rise of modern-day piracy in the waters of the Horn of Africa, Indonesia and the Gulf of Guinea, reports of which are the stuff of our daily news and which has been reported regularly in www.Africaports.co.za

As if to demonstrate these workings for many years I have kept in touch with the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) and received reports issued by its noteworthy Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur, the link for which can be found HERE: They maintain a round-the-clock watch on the world’s shipping lanes, reporting pirate attacks to local law enforcement authorities and issuing warnings about piracy hotspots to shipping.

The narrative to be here illustrates some of the recent attacks: www.icc-ccs.org/index.php/piracy-reporting-centre/live-piracy-report

Peter Lehr, a maritime terrorism and piracy expert, casts fresh light on pirates and delves deep into what motivates them and how they operate. He also illuminates the state’s role in the development of piracy throughout history: from privateers sanctioned by Queen Elizabeth I to pirates operating off the coast of Africa taking the law into their own hands. After exploring the failures which create fertile ground for pirate activities, the author evaluates the success of counter-piracy efforts—and the reasons behind failures.

I remember hearing a lecture on the subject 20 years ago when the speaker said that as long as life on land was tough, piracy would be profitable, improve the lot of those ashore and there would be no need to go a-pirating.


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Durban container terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Durban container terminal

Problems at the port terminals operated by Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) in Durban only got worse this week with a terminal operating system ‘glitch'(don’t use the word ‘crash’ we were requested) that brought things to a sudden halt.

The container terminal has already been under strain resulting from delays in clearing containers in and out of the terminal, so much so that the minister of public enterprises, Pravin Gordhan and Transnet chief executive Popo Molefe had to step in with a special visit to Durban that ended up in the reported suspension of TPT chief executive, Nosipho Sithole.

That serious step was a result of a fracas of a meeting between TPT top officials including the CEO and transport companies and this followed the issuing of interdicts against some transporters whose drivers and vehicles had been involved in the blockading of the terminal gates.

Transport company owners claimed they couldn’t be held responsible for the unauthorised actions of their drivers and according to several reports, the meeting became so intense that Sithole walked out saying that the transporters had been negotiating in bad faith. Transporters say they want the interdicts rescinded and legal costs reimbursed.

An ongoing problem and challenge

These problems involving the road delivery to and from the port terminals are not new and over the years no real solution has been found, although there have been long periods where things ran reasonably smooth. It is when things gets busy though, such as at this time of year, that a build-up of trucks on the road culminates in congestion outside the gates of in particular the container terminal but also to other areas of the port.

The problems are exacerbated by equipment shortages and breakdowns within the terminals, an issue that TPT says it is addressing but never quite seems to get on top of the problem.

The Cutler complex at the Bluff is another area that adds to the overall problem facing the port of Durban – an inadequate road network leading to the container and liquid and dry bulk products terminals at the Bluff (Island View included), Piers 1 and 2 (containers) and Maydon Wharf (liquid and dry bulk).

Arriving trucks often park indiscriminately on the roadsides waiting their call to the terminals which then on access to the roads and neighbouring areas for other drivers. Truck drivers are accused of taking the law into their own hands by ignoring local bylaws while SA Police Services are also accused of not assisting by ignoring the obvious transgressions of laws.

Matters will get worse

In fairness to the transporters there is often no where else they can go and until the city and port authorities make a serious attempt at finding a solution, the matter will simply get worse.

This week matters did just that and deteriorated even further when the operating ‘glitch’ occurred, apparently on the weekend or Monday and preventing any semblance of efficient cargo handling at the terminals. The breakdown/glitch/crash resulted in a further accumulation of trucks and vehicles blockading the Durban South roads.

Once again no long-term solutions, statements or answers are forthcoming.


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VARD stern trawler design for Lunto, featured in article in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
VARD stern trawler design for Luntos fishing company

On 19 September it was announced simultaneously in Ålesund, Norway and in Vũng Tàu, Vietnam, that VARD, one of the major global designers and shipbuilders of specialised vessels, had signed an agreement to provide an advanced design of stern trawler to Russian deepwater fishing company Luntos Co Ltd.

It is understood that this vessel, a VARD 8 02 design, will feature a range of innovations to ensure optimal productivity, sustainability and operational efficiency, delivering high performance in the most demanding environment.

The new vessel, of 80.4 metres loa with a beam of 16.7 metres, has been specially tailored for Luntos, based on the proven VARD 8 02 design.

Luntos operates out of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Far Eastern Russian Economic Fishing Zones and Bering Sea.

Scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of 2021, the trawler’s design combines a safe, comfortable, and modern working and living environment for crewmembers, and a high focus on quality of the pelagic catch handling, keeping the fish in healthy condition until processing and storing to maintain premium quality.

Key features include efficient deck equipment, an advanced fish factory, two separate cargo holds for palletised, refrigerated and frozen fish, with a freezing capacity of 170 tons per 24 hours.

Working in partnership with Luntos, VARD has focused on incorporating the latest, most efficient technology to ensure the catch can be brought ashore with the minimal environmental footprint. The vessel hull has been designed for optimal efficiency during both trawling and transit, and an environmentally friendly propulsion and power solution optimises energy consumption for all operational needs.

The newbuilding project makes use of VARD’s network of specialised international facilities. Vard Design in Ålesund has developed the VARD 8 02 design, while the build itself will take place at Vard Vũng Tàu in Vietnam.

A range of leading firms within the fishing industry are operating fishing vessels developed and built by VARD.

About VARD

Vard Holdings Limited, otherwise known as VARD, together with its subsidiaries, is one of the major global designers and shipbuilders of specialised vessels.

With HQ in Norway and approximately 8,600 employees, VARD operates nine strategically located shipbuilding facilities, including five in Norway, two in Romania, one in Brazil and one in Vietnam.

Through its specialised subsidiaries, VARD develops power and automation systems, deck handling equipment, and vessel accommodation, and provides design and engineering services to the global maritime industry.

VARD’s long shipbuilding traditions, cutting-edge innovation and technology coupled with its global operations and track record in constructing complex and highly customised vessels have earned it recognition from industry players and enabled it to build strong relationships with its customers.

The majority shareholder of VARD is Fincantieri Oil & Gas Sp A, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fincantieri Sp A. With HQ in Trieste, Italy, Fincantieri is one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and has, over its 200 years of maritime history, built more than 7,000 vessels.

About Vard Vũng Tàu

Vard Vũng Tàu is an advanced and fully-integrated facility designed to undertake the entire shipbuilding process, from hull construction to final vessel outfitting. The company was established in 2007, with the grand opening in 2010. Since that point it has delivered a broad range of offshore and specialised vessels and an expedition cruise vessel, with all projects completed to agreed schedules.

The Vietnam-based shipyard complies to the same high, international standards as VARD’s other shipbuilding facilities, with the in-house equipment, expertise and resources to handle complex project management for the most demanding vessel builds.

The African link

Vard is involved with the design of the South African Navy’s hydrographic survey vessel currently under construction by Southern African Shipyards in Durban.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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in partnership with – APO


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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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