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

TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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FIRST VIEW: QUEEN ELIZABETH

Queen Elizabeth in Cape Town harbour April 2017. Picture: Ian Shiffman from a feature in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Queen Elizabeth. Picture: Ian Shiffman

When Cunard Line’s iconically-named cruise ship QUEEN ELIZABETH sailed into Table Bay harbour this week (23 April) to berth at the new Cape Town Cruise Terminal it was somewhere around 04h00 – not the sort of time to be grabbing eye-catching photographs. The ship was scheduled to sail late on Tuesday, again making any chance of good photographs a problematic one. As a result, and to record the visit this week of the ship, we have the use of this photograph taken during the ship’s previous visit of a year ago, on her departure at 17h00 on 20 April 2017.

However, this year’s visit was timeous in another respect – that of being the perfect opportunity of being used as part of the official opening of Cape Town’s new cruise terminal, which we reported on recently Panama Jack’s in move to Cape Town Cruise Terminal. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t all that perfect but probably didn’t dampen the spirits of those on board while visiting South Africa’s Mother City. This picture is by Ian Shiffman

 

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ANGOLAN FAST FERRY CABINDA IS LAUNCHED AT DAMEN SHIPYARDS

Fast ferry Cabinda, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Damen-built fast ferry Cabinda, appearing in a story in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

A new fast ferry to operate the coastline between Angola’s capital Luanda and the Angolan enclave of Cabinda, some 400 kilometres to the north, has been launched in Singapore.

The ferry, a Damen Fast RoPax Ferry 4812, was built at the Damen Shipyards in…

 

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WATERSPORT CLUBS AT RICHARDS BAY FACED WITH EVICTION

Section of the affected Richards Bay watersports area, from a report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Section of the affected Richards Bay watersports area

Imagine a well-developed Port not having facilities for the launching of pleasure craft such as ski – and bay boats nor moorings for yachts and larger sport fisher vessels.

It may seem unthinkable but that is the scenario which is unfolding in the Port of Richards Bay if the City of uMhlathuze is to have its way.

As has been the case at all South African commercial ports, historically the social and sports clubs making use of facilities close to the bay that also forms the Port of Richards Bay, paid nominal rentals to the municipality.

However, on 25 November 2015, the Council reviewed the position and resolved to increase the rentals to an amount equivalent to 10% of the market related rental save for those clubs conducting commercial activities on their premises.

Come 20 June 2017 and a further resolution was passed to the effect that the clubs would be offered a further one-year lease subject to the payment of drastically increased monthly rentals – the highest being that of the Zululand Yacht Club which would now be required to pay R85,000 per month.

Short Notice

On 1 February this year many of the clubs received letters requiring that addenda to their lease agreements be signed within 24 hours accepting the drastic upward adjustments to the rentals failing which they should vacate their premises by 28 February 2018.

The affected Clubs and Institute with direct access to the harbour are: Richards Bay Ski-Boat Club, Meerensee Boat Club, Zululand Yacht Club, Richards Bay Sea Scouts, Richards Bay Undersea Club, Zululand Multi-Sports Club and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).

Affected Clubs / entities removed from the harbour area are: Imvubu Lodge and Caravan Park, Empangeni Arts and Crafts, Richards Bay Rugby Club, Equestrian Club and Richards Bay Bowling Club.

Period of Occupation

The oldest of the clubs referred to above is the Zululand Yacht Club which was established in 1961 and has over the subsequent decades occupied the premises in terms of various leases. The Zululand Yacht Club has improved its premises by the construction of, amongst others, a Club house, boat houses, administrative offices, a slipway, repair facilities as well as walk-on and other moorings, the total insured value being in excess of R42 million. The other Clubs have similarly developed their premises to suit their specific requirements.

Contribution of Clubs

The boat clubs render the following services to the local and international community: launching facilities to the public, haulage and repair facilities, development programmes for the surrounding rural communities and the hosting of national and international fishing and sailing events.

In addition, the clubs’ premises are used by the Natal Sharks Board, the Waterwing of the South African Police Services, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), National Sea Rescue Institute and to launch anti-poaching craft to combat gillnetting which is taking place on a massive scale within the port.

Legal Position

In view of the fact that none of the affected clubs are able to afford the exorbitant rentals imposed, which even if agreed to would have extended their tenure by a mere 12 months, some of the clubs have instituted legal proceedings by way of interdict and action against the municipality to resist the proposed evictions.

The hearing of the interdict was set down for 11 April 2018 on which date an agreement was reached to postpone the application indefinitely pending the outcome of the action challenging the grounds for the evictions. In the interim, the municipality has undertaken to suspend all further action against the clubs.

Rationale for evictions

The municipality avers that the space occupied by the various clubs is required to make way for a further waterfront development which gives rise to a number of questions:

* The proposed evictions must surely be premature given that no tender has been put out for any development?
* Why have the clubs situated well-outside any possible waterfront development zone been included in the list of those to be evicted?
* What is to become of some 135 yachts and other vessels berthed at the moorings of the Zululand Yacht Club?
* Has the position of those employees who will lose their employment been considered? The yacht club alone provides some 38 employees with work.
* Why could those existing clubs requiring access to the harbour not be permitted to remain in place and given the opportunity if and when a bona fide developer is appointed, to negotiate to be incorporated in the envisaged grand waterfront development?
* Has the massive contribution of the clubs in promoting tourism been considered? During the State of the Nation Address, President Ramaphosa stressed the importance of developing the tourism industry.
* The evictions of the clubs would be in direct conflict with the government initiative of Operation Phakisa which has as its objective the unlocking of the economic potential of the oceans.
* What is to become of the structures on the clubs’ premises once these have been vacated? They are likely to become a haven for vagrants and criminal elements as has happened elsewhere in Richards Bay following irrational and ill-timed evictions.

Resolution of matter

It will be interesting to see how the courts interpret the reasonableness of the municipality’s decision to evict the clubs.

Alan Heydorn
Shepstone & Wylie Attorneys

 

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SGR LINE BEING LAID TO 10 BERTHS AT PORT OF MOMBASA

Bridgeworks in Port of Mombasa. Picture by John Chesoli, from a report appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News
Bridgeworks in Port of Mombasa. Picture by John Chesoli

In a measure aimed at improving and speeding up the transfer of cargo from ship to rail, Kenya Railways Corp is extending the standard gauge railway (SGR) at the Port of Mombasa to include 10 berths that fall under the jurisdiction of the Kenya Ports Authority.

Together with the construction of two bridges, one for rail services and the other for vehicles, are expected to be completed the end of next month.

According to Transport Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia, the…

 

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SOUTH AFRICAN WEATHER SERVICE ISSUE WEATHER WARNINGS

 

Angry Cape waters - not for nothing is the Cape also known as the Cape of Storms, from a report appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Angry Cape waters – not for nothing is the Cape also known as the Cape of Storms

The South African National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has urged the public to follow the SA Weather Service advisory and to be alert to the approaching storm conditions.

NSRI urge the public to be cautious around the coastline today, tomorrow and over the next few days following the Weather Service alerts to storm conditions causing heavy sea swells and rough seas brought on by the approaching cold front.

Gale Force winds, thunderstorms, hail, rough seas, localised flooding and hail are predicted in places over this time period.

Bathers, boaters, paddlers, sailors, surfers and anglers are urged to be cautious around the coastline during this cold front and for the days following the cold front.

While the alert is concentrated from Alexander Bay to Algoa Bay NSRI urge all coastal users to be cautious at all times and to monitor the weather advisory of SA Weather Service for alerts.

NSRI and Emergency Services have gone on high alert.

 

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GHANA PORTS & HARBOURS SIGNS MoU TO BUILD NEW PORT AT KETA

Keta in eastern Ghana, where a new port (jetty) is to be built. Picture: Culturevie.info, froma feature appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Keta in eastern Ghana, where a new port (jetty) is to be built. Picture: Culturevie.info

The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Diamond Cement Ghana Limited, one of the top cement producers in the country to begin construction of a port at Keta in the Volta Region.

According to the Director-General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah, the government is committed to widening developments across various sectors of the economy. Developments in Port and Harbours are not going to be left out, he said.

“In collaboration with Diamond Cement that dream of government is…

 

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NIGERIA TO STOP FUNDING OLD ‘NARROW GAUGE’ RAIL LINES

Nigerian train service on Cape gauge, from a report appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Nigerian train service on Cape gauge

Nigeria’s Federal Government is to withhold funding the country’s existing network of ‘narrow gauge’ rail lines, says transport minister Rotimi Amaechi.

Nigeria has embarked on a programme of rebuilding railway lines linking the main centres with the European Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) of 4ft 8.5ins gauge of which currently about 500km has been built. The remainder of Nigeria’s railway network consists of 3,500km of Cape gauge railway (3ft 6ins) which the minister referred to as ‘narrow gauge’.

Cape gauge is the standard gauge of Southern and Central African railway lines extending throughout South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, the DRC and the TAZARA railway between Zambia and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. However, an increasing …

 

INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY INTO BRYDE’S WHALES DEATH IN MOSSEL BAY

Mossel Bay, South Africa's oldest port, where two dead Bryde's Whales have provided a mystery, ina story appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mossel Bay, South Africa’s oldest port, where three dead Bryde’s Whales have provided a mystery

The South African Departments of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) have launched a full investigation to identify the causes of deaths of three Bryde’s whales in Mossel Bay.

“Both departments would like to ensure members of the public that they share the concerns and a full investigation on the death of these whales will be undertaken. The situation will be monitored and measures will be put in place to address identified causes,” the departments said in a joint statement.

The departments said that currently, there is a perception that the Experimental Octopus Fishery may have contributed to the deaths of whales. However, this must still be confirmed.

“Other potential causes of death might include ship strikes, other types of fishing gear or natural [causes]. However, as the octopus fishery makes use of lines and buoys that have the potential to entangle whales, ongoing attention is being given to the octopus fishery’s gear design to limit possible whale entanglements,” the departments said.

The departments said concerns around octopus fishery, including gear designs, were discussed at a stakeholder workshop coordinated by Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in June 2017.

The octopus fishing gear is designed to limit entanglement of large whales, and the designs have demonstrated success in reducing entanglement incidents in False Bay.

According to both departments, no entanglement was reported in octopus fishing gear since January 2018.

“The industry uses a long-line fishing method. Weighted longlines lie flat on the sea floor to prevent bowing of ropes between traps. Anchor lines are made up of polypropylene rope, chain and an anchor and set up such that there is no slack in the buoy line.

“Entanglement probability is therefore reduced, both for bottom and pelagic interactions between the gear and large whales. Interference with this design like cutting of buoy lines, become an entanglement hazard due to the resulting slack or lost gear, a problem known as “Ghost Fishing”. These interferences drastically increase the risk of entanglement,” the departments explained.

The DAFF will, with the assistance of DEA and all role players, continue to monitor this experimental fishery closely.

Bryde's Whale illustration, accompanying a story in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Bryde’s Whale

Mitigation measures will be implemented as the need arises, the departments added. Measures already put in place by DAFF include:

* Permit holder is expected to form part of a local disentanglement team
* Permit holder shall report all entanglement incidents to authorities
* Report to DAFF each time a vessel leaves the harbour for fishing operations
* Industry updates to the DAFF’s “New Fisheries Working Group”
* GPS locations of all the fishing gear

“The experimental nature of this industry means stakeholder engagements are ongoing and all concerned parties should approach DAFF for further industry specific queries and DEA can be contacted if any whales are observed that are entangled, including in fishing gear.”

Bryde’s whales have two different forms; one that occurs offshore and the other one inshore.

The latest assessment of the species by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), classified the inshore form as “Vulnerable” and the offshore form as “Data Deficient”.

“The total population size remains unknown but a study of the inshore form off Plettenberg Bay on the South Coast of South Africa estimated between 125 and 195 individuals. This indicates that the number of whales are low and the mortality of one individual is therefore one too many,” the departments noted. source: SAnews.gov.za

 

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FWN RAPIDE PIRATE ATTACK UPDATE – SEAFARER FOUND HIDING ON SHIP, OTHERS ALIVE

 

FWN Rapide, by Ria Maat-MarineTraffic, appearing with a report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

One of the seafarers thought to have been taken hostage along with eleven of his colleagues when pirates attacked and boarded the general cargo ship FWN RAPIDE, has been found hiding on board the vessel.

Because he couldn’t be accounted for when Nigerian Naval authorities arrived on the scene – only two crew had apparently been left behind – it was assumed that all 12 missing crew had been taken away by the pirates when…

 

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** CRUISE NEWS **
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TUIs NEW MEIN SCHIFF 1 IS LAUNCHED

Mein Schiff 1 outside the Meyer Turku dry dock. Pictures courtesy Meyer Turku, from a report appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mein Schiff 1 outside the Meyer Turku dry dock.    Pictures courtesy Meyer Turku

TUI’s new MEIN SCHIFF 1 cruise ship was launched yesterday (Wednesday 25 April 2018) from the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland.

The 315-metre long ship has been given the name MEIN SCHIFF 1, the second vessel to carry this, but is a based on a different and evolutionary design to her earlier sisters.

She is the fifth Mein Schiff ship built by Meyer Turku to TUI Cruises, all of them featuring design improvements based on careful observation of the passengers’ preferences, says Meyer Werft, the builder.

Mein Schiff 1 after launching at Meyer Turku in Finland, from a report appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Hence the cruising experience of Mein Schiff 3 and Mein Schiff 4 were a critical starting point in 2015 when Meyer Turku’s architecture and engineering team together with TUI Cruises and their architects started to work on the improved New Mein Schiff 1 design. The outcome was a 20m lengthened ship combined with a substantial redesign of the passenger spaces and a number of new iconic features like the new diamond, which now spans the almost 50m breath of the ship, the new “Lagune” sun deck area, the new covered sports “Arena”, and the new elevated jogging track with a spectacular view.

Mein Schiff 1's theatre, from a report appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mein Schiff 1’s theatre

“The impressive new 50m wide steel and glass window structure that makes up the new Diamond at the aft of the ship just above the propellers is a good example how we combine architectural design with our engineering skills supported by sophisticated computer models. Innovations, strengthening our Turku team and our Euro 200 million investments in Finland well in advance are our way to compete with our mostly government owned and supported competitors,” CEO of Meyer Turku Jan Meyer says.

Environmental friendliness was also observed in the design of New Mein Schiff 1. Each Mein Schiff marks another step in energy efficiency improvement and with New Mein Schiff 1 Meyer Turku is making another big step ahead by engineering it for a 10% energy efficiency improvement compared to Mein Schiff 6 launched in 2017. Mein Schiff 1 is one of the first cruise ships to be equipped with catalytic converters for the main and auxiliary engines, reducing nitrogen oxide emissions.

“I am very thankful to our customer TUI Cruises to embark and engage in this innovation journey with us and continue it with the recently ordered Mein Schiff 7,” CEO Meyer adds.

“On our tenth anniversary, we are giving ourselves and our guests the gift of a new Mein Schiff 1, which marks the starting point for a new generation of ships. We will proceed with this expansion over the next year with the new Mein Schiff 2. In 2023, the Mein Schiff 7, another ship in this class, will continue the trend,” said CEO of TUI Cruises Wybcke Meier.

At the shipyard, New Mein Schiff 2 is already under construction and TUI Cruises recently ordered a third sister ship to New Mein Schiff 1 & 2 for delivery from Turku in 2023, which will be called ‘Mein Schiff 7’.

From Turku New Mein Schiff 1 will sail to Hamburg to be christened there on 11 May. She will begin operation shortly after.

One of the new lounge's in Mein Schiff 1, from a report appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
One of the new lounge’s in Mein Schiff 1

Mein Schiff 1 Features:

Contract signed: 1.7.2015
Length: 315 m
Width: 36 m
Gross Tonnage: 111,500-gt
Number of Passengers: 3,132
Number of cabins: 1,437
Crew: 1,092
Flag: Malta

 

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** PRESS RELEASES **
Send your Press Releases here info@africaports.co.za and marked PRESS RELEASE. Provided they are considered appropriate to our readers we will either turn them into a story, or publish them here.

OPENING OCEANS CONFERENCE COPENHAGEN, 2-3 MAY 2018

Opening Oceans banner, appearing with Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Opening Oceans is timed to coincide with Danish Maritime Days, and supported by both the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association and Danish Shipping.

“The Danish maritime sector is strong, with world-renowned players, an advanced fleet, leading equipment and service suppliers, and growing digital strength. However, we recognise the need for the industry as a whole to innovate and stay ahead of the curve. With that in mind, we are very interested in collaborating with our Norwegian counterparts, as well as with innovative players from outside maritime industry, to explore solutions for a sustainable blue economy with a thriving shipping sector at its core,” says Anne H. Steffensen, Managing Director Danish Shipping.

Organized by Nor-Shipping, the Opening Oceans Conference has been conceived to highlight the many emerging business opportunities to be found for maritime and ocean industries. By attracting top speakers to share their views on cross-industry collaboration, governance and technology, the event promises to provide key insights what is driving the sustainable commercial development of the ocean space.

Speakers represent a dynamic cross-section of industry stakeholders, including individuals representing shipping and offshore, banks, consultants, NGOs, and Northern European government and policy leaders and many more.

Top participants in the conference include:

Claus V. Hemmingsen, Vice CEO, A.P. Møller – Mærsk CEO Energy division and Chairman of the Board for Danish Shipping
Jenny N. Braat, Managing Director, Danish Maritime
Bjørn Otto Sverdrup, Senior Vice President for Sustainability, Statoil
Sturla Henriksen, Special Advisor on Oceans to the UN Global Compact
Thina Margrethe Saltvedt, Senior Advisor Sustainable Finance, Nordea Bank, the largest banking group in the Nordic region

When: May 2-3, 2018

Where: Lokomotivværkstedet, Otto Busses Vej 5A, 2450 Copenhagen

Doors open: 09h00, Events start: 09h30

 

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GENERAL NEWS REPORTS – UPDATED THROUGH THE DAY

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EXPECTED SHIP ARRIVALS and SHIPS IN PORT


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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CRUISE NEWS AND NAVAL ACTIVITIES


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.

 

PIC OF THE DAY : PILOT BOATS OF THE USA

Pilot Boat 5 at Port Everglades, by Tony de Freitas, appraing with a feature in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Pilot Boat 5
Pilot Boat 7 at Port Everglades, by Tony de Freitas, appraing with a feature in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Pilot Boat 7
Pilot Boat 7 at Port Everglades, by Tony de Freitas, appraing with a feature in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Pilot Boat 7
Pilot Boat at Miami, by Tony de Freitas, appraing with a feature in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Pilot Boat at Miami
USCG patrol boat outside port, by Tony de Freitas, from a feature appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
USCG patrol boat outside port

A glimpse at some of the pilot boats of the Florida ports in the USA – not too different from what we have in use here in South Africa including the conditions. First up is Pilot Boat 5 out of Port Everglades in Florida, followed by two views of Pilot Boat 7 also of Port Everglades. PB No.5 is one of three similar pilot boats of the older design in operation at this port, no.7 being a more recent type – “….she also looked to be gliding in the slight chop…wonder how they would fare in South African waters,” commented the former Cape Town photographer of boat 5.  We then move to Port Miami where the pilot boats have a different livery, as shown here. Port Everglades has a regular stream of cruise ship arrivals and departures, apart from other commercial shipping and the port employs at least four, possibly more pilot boats. Then finally, and not a pilot boat but a small patrol boat of the US Coast Guard, always vigilant. These pictures are by Tony de Freitas

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“Don’t underestimate me because I’m quiet. I know more than I say, think more than I speak and observe more than you know.”
– Michaela Chung

 

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