Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 4 April 2020

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 2020

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MSC Ludovica arriving in Durban, March 2020.. Pictures: Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

MSC Ludovica arriving in Durban, March 2020.. Pictures: Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
MSC Ludovica.      Pictures: Keith Betts

Mediterranean Shipping Company’s container ship MSC LUDOVICA (IMO 9251690) seen arriving in the port of Durban earlier in March. Built in South Korea in 2003 at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering yard in Geoje, the 85,882-dwt vessel is 300-metres long, 40m wide and has a container capacity of 6,750 TEU. MSC Ludovica is owned and managed out of MSC Ship Management of Hong Kong and is flagged in Panama.       Pictures by Keith Betts



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Statement on Coronavirus by UNCTAD Secretary-General, Dr Mukhisa Kituyi

UNCTAD statement on the coronoavrus pandemic, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

There is a series of related links to be found at the foot of this article*

“As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, the global maritime transport industry is playing a critical role in the response.

“A call by the industry to all governments to keep maritime trade moving by allowing commercial ships continued access to ports worldwide and by facilitating the rapid changeover of ships’ crews should not go unheeded.

“Around 80% of global trade is transported by commercial shipping, which moves the world’s food, energy and raw materials, as well as manufactured goods and components, according to UNCTAD statistics.

This includes vital medical supplies, which are sorely needed at this time, and items that are necessary for the preservation of many jobs in manufacturing – without which modern society cannot function.

“In this time of global crisis, it is more important than ever to keep supply chains open and to allow maritime trade and cross-border transport to continue.

“This means keeping the world’s ports open for ship calls and the movement of ships’ crews with as few obstacles as possible.

“Transit needs to be facilitated, too. Landlocked countries need access to food and medical supplies through neighbouring countries’ seaports.

“Shipping and ports hold the world economy together. They connect countries, markets, businesses and people, on a scale not otherwise possible.

“A vast array of goods and commodities are transported by sea to meet the demands of industrial and manufacturing sectors, energy needs, as well as business and consumer requirements.

“These range from raw materials such as coal and iron ore, oil, gas carried as bulk, to manufactured goods of intermediate and finished products carried in containers.

“Facing the current pandemic, cross-border movements of relief goods such as food and medical supplies will increase dramatically.

“Restrictions on trade and cross-border transport may interrupt needed aid and technical support. It could disrupt businesses and have negative social and economic effects on the affected countries.

“Governments should therefore continue to facilitate movement of not only relief goods, but goods in general, to minimise the negative impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“To ensure that vital goods reach consumers and hospitals in destination countries, responsible agencies should coordinate and cooperate within and among countries so that indispensable goods reach the populations in coastal and landlocked countries alike.

“At the extraordinary G20 Leaders Summit on the COVID-19 pandemic, which meets virtually this week, world leaders should embrace the call made by the shipping industry to keep maritime trade moving by allowing continued access to ports worldwide and the rapid changeover of ships’ crews.”

Support seafarers and port operators, take measured steps

“Amidst the current outbreak, seafarers have come under increased checks and scrutiny in various ports.

“Many port states have imposed local regulations, travel and quarantine restrictions, precluding free access to seafarers. Some operators have suspended crew changes aboard ships to lessen their social interactions.

“While observing necessary health protocols, ports should treat seafarers as key workers and afford them the same flexibilities currently given to aircrew and health workers in boarding and leaving ships, as some 100,000 shipping crew members need to change shift every month.

“Port operators also need to be ready given the potential risks to public health and the economy, if their key role in the transit of goods is affected by the spread of the virus.

“Port workers are facing the danger of contracting COVID-19, and many ports are not ready if a critical mass of workers become sick.

“In several ports – especially in hard-hit regions like Europe – goods in transit are already affected, and essential medicine and equipment are being held up.

“Without functioning ports, cargoes including those with life-saving supplies cannot be transported to where they are needed.

“As they meet virtually this week (week commencing 22 March), G20 leaders have an important opportunity to protect the free movement of all goods by affirming the smooth functioning of their shipping, ports and transit industries.

“All available technological trade and transport facilitation solutions should be used to reduce the burden posed by COVID-19 on maritime and cross-border trade.

“We cannot afford to compound the health and economic challenge facing us.”

UNCTAD banner, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Readers may wish to be aware of the Related links:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) : News, Analysis and Resources

Review of Maritime Transport (Series)

Maritime Transport Statistics

Seafarer supply, quinquennial, 2015

Transport and Trade Facilitation Newsletter

Paul Ridgway, Africa PORTS & SHIPS, LondonCollated by Paul Ridgway


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Queen Mary 2 at her berth in Durban earlier this week. Long-range picture taken by Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Queen Mary 2 at her berth in Durban earlier this week.   Long-range picture taken by Trevor Jones

In confirmation of our report and updates of last evening (Thursday) the following report from the station commander of the NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) Durban Station 5, Jonathan Kellerman refers:

At 17h10, Thursday, 2 April, NSRI Port Elizabeth, NSRI East London and NSRI Durban were placed on alert following reports from MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) of a 58 year old British man requiring medical evacuation off the Queen Mary 2 following a medical emergency (not Covid19 related) with the patient suffering a medical condition.

A WC Government Health EMS duty doctor had spoken to the ships medical team and it was deemed necessary for a patient evacuation to a hospital as soon as possible.

At that stage the ship was approximately 20 nautical miles off-shore of Morgans Bay, on the Transkei coastline, and after investigating options MRCC re-routed the ship to head in a direction towards Durban and an SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, NSRI Durban rescue swimmers and a Netcare 911 ambulance services rescue paramedical team were activated to prepare for the rescue operation 216 nautical miles South West of Durban.

NSRI bases along the East Coast, NSRI Durban, NSRI Shelly Beach, NSRI Port Edward and NSRI East London were placed on high alert to be on stand-by during the helicopter patient evacuation operation.

At 19h00 the SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, carrying 4 SAAF crew, 2 NSRI rescue swimmers and 3 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics departed Durban.

On arrival at the ship, at 21h36, in challenging conditions with 25 knot North Easterly winds gusting to 34 knots and 2 metre swells, an NSRI rescue swimmer and two Netcare 911 rescue paramedics were hoisted onto the Queen Mary 2 and they received the patient from the ships medical crew and the patient was secured into a Stokes basket stretcher and hoisted into the helicopter, and he was airlifted, in a stable condition and in the care of the Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, to a hospital in Durban, arriving at the hospital at 23h38, for further medical care.

NSRI Emergency Operations Centre, NSRI Durban Station 5 duty controllers, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, WC Government Health EMS, Transnet Port Health Authorities and Transnet National Ports Authority assisted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in the coordination, communication and logistics during the operation.

The operation completed at 00h04. source: NSRI Station 5, Durban


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PMAWCA banner logo for Africa PORTS & SHIPS

The Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa has made it clear that West and Central African ports cannot shut down because of the coronavirus crisis and must therefore remain open with essential services. The association says that ports are critical infrastructures and…


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Siza Mzimela, new chief executive officer at Transnet Freight Rail, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Siza Mzimela, new chief executive officer at Transnet Freight Rail

Transnet Freight Rail has a new chief executive, Siza Mzimela who joins Transnet from the airline industry.

Mzimela’s appointment as TFR chief executive is among several new appointments made by the Transnet Board since Portia Derby recently took the reins as Transnet’s group CEO.

Other Transnet appointments made, according to an internal memo circulated among staff are Mark Gregg-Macdonald who becomes group executive: business services, Vuledzani Nemukula appointed as chief procurement officer, and Pandelani Munyai who becomes chief information officer.

Siza Mzimela resigned in March as acting CEO of SA Express, a state-owned airline under business rescue and facing a recommended liquidation, saying she had other opportunities to pursue. At one time Mzimela was also CEO of South Africa Airways, followed by her founding and heading Fly Blue Crane in 2015, a regional airline operating with two Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft. Fly Blue Crane went into business rescue the following year and subsequently folded after 17 months of operation.

According to the Transnet memo, Mzimela has “extensive experience in running complex logistical entities.” She will now head up Transnet’s largest and certainly most complex unit, the rail company TFR.

The job of heading up the South African railway organisation traditionally fell to railwaymen yet in the modern era has had a succession of chief executives drafted in from other services or from outside. The challenge of running Africa’s biggest railway company that includes several world-class heavy haul sections remains highly challenging, not only for moving cargo around South Africa but interconnecting with other railway networks in the SADC region.


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Queen Mary 2 arriving in Durban on Tuesday. Picture: Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Queen Mary 2 arriving in Durban on Tuesday 31 March 2020. Picture:  Someone in the Point Waterfront Complex, via Keith Betts

LATEST UPDATE Thursday 23h00:  Queen Mary 2 reached a position opposite Coffee Bay on the Wild Coast where a patient was taken off the ship by helicopter, after which the ship turned south again and is now heading in the direction of the Cape of Good Hope at increased speed.

UPDATE Thursday 19h25:  Queen Mary 2 has turned back in the direction of Durban with a report of a sick (or injured) person on board needing evacuation.  The ship was nearing the coast off East London when she began to turn.  

The most unusual visit to a South African port by the iconic cruise liner QUEEN MARY 2 has ended on Thursday morning with the ship sailing from the port of Durban.

Queen Mary 2 was on a World Cruise when the global coronavirus crisis brought to a disappointing end to all cruising activities across the world.

Ironically, Queen Mary 2 did not even have to alter her route or eventual destination, as her planned cruise involved the ship sailing from Fremantle, Australia to Mauritius, then on to Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town before heading out into the South Atlantic and back to Southampton in the UK, and finally the USA.

Instead, most of her passengers left the ship in Australia to be flown back home mostly in the UK and USA. Some 264 passengers remained with the ship for reasons generally related to being unable to fly. With them on the ship were 1,215 crew which included a number of South Africans, of whom six indicated they would like to leave the ship on arrival in South Africa.

With this background, the ship duly arrived off Durban last Friday, 27 March after requesting clearance to berth to receive bunkers and stores. After necessary COVID-19 testing of a number of people on board, approval was granted on Tuesday this week by the Department of Transport and the Port Health unit of the Department of Health, for the vessel to dock, refuel and allow the six crew members to come ashore.

With that approval the ship then entered port at around 14h30 that day as reported here previously and docked on the T-Jetty at O-O/P berths.

Earlier today, Thursday 2 April, port landlord Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) confirmed that Queen Mary 2 departed from the Port of Durban that morning at 07h00. The six South African crew members had disembarked from the liner during her two-night stay in the port.

According the the TNPA, the six South African crew who disembarked were among 27 individuals on-board including passengers and crew members who were tested for COVID-19 due to flu-like symptoms and/or contact with symptomatic individuals on-board.

The results of all 27 were negative. However, Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, said the six South Africans will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days as a precautionary measure.

TNPA said on Thursday that it has been working closely with the Department of Transport, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Department of Health to manage requests from cruise liners after new Regulations were promulgated by the Minister of Transport on 18 March 2020.

These Regulations essentially prohibit cruise ship calls, any crew changes, any disembarkations apart from returning South African citizens or permanent residents, and any embarkations unless they are for departing foreign nationals.

However, all parties have worked together to manage individual scenarios.

The Port of Durban faces a final call from the Holland America cruise ship AMSTERDAM scheduled for Sunday, 5 April 2020. Officials are in communication with the vessel’s agent and master to determine how this ship will be managed and to arrange any measures that need to be put in place.

AIDAmira - another visitor to be caught up with the COVID-19 cruises whilst in South African waters. Picture: Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
AIDAmira – another visitor to be caught up with the COVID-19 cruises whilst in South African waters. Picture: Trevor Jones

COVID-19 tests related to cruise liners in South Africa to date have included:

AIDAmira – docked in Cape Town on 16 March following a COVID-19 scare involving six AIDAmira passengers and two MV Corona bulk carrier crew, all of whom tested negative. All passengers were later flown from Cape Town back to Germany.
Silver Wind – docked in Cape Town from Antarctica, later sailed.
Norwegian Spirit – arrived from the Middle East. Passengers allowed to disembark and were flown home from Cape Town International Airport, after which ship sailed for the USA or the Caribbean.
Arcadia – docked in Durban on 26 March after results proved negative for 13 symptomatic individuals onboard. The vessel docked to refuel and restock provisions, as well as allow six South African crew members to disembark and return home.
MSC Orchestra – At anchor outside the port of Durban, MSC currently working with the Department of Health to trace passengers following confirmation of positive test results for two individuals who cruised on 28 February and 13 March respectively. South African crew members allowed to disembark, others were flown back to Europe.

Free Pratique

It is standard procedure for the Department of Health’s Port Health unit to be required to grant free pratique (i.e. checking and confirming a clean bill of health for all onboard) before any vessel is allowed to dock. Flu-like symptoms reported by vessel masters are being investigated and tested accordingly to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

These are the reasons why the ships arriving off Durban have been required to wait outside for several days.


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Combi Dock 1 preparing to load one of the project's barges. Picture courtesy GPHA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Combi Dock 1 preparing to load one of the project’s barges. Picture courtesy GPHA

Ghana’s Port of Takoradi had to undertake a specialised and unusual operation this week involving the loading of Project Cargo onto the heavylift vessel COMBI DOCK 1.

This equipment which include barges, tugboats, Caterpillar earth-moving equipment among others, is owned by South Korean company which was contracted to the Aboadze Thermal Power Station project.

With their involvement in the project…


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Port Elizabeth Manganese Terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Port Elizabeth Manganese Terminal

Concerns heard by the South African government over strict restrictions on maritime sector activities, and in particular around the country’s ports, have been heard and acted on.

The Department of Transport announced this earlier this week.

Details of the relaxations were revealed by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in a new Marine Notice 21 issued in Pretoria on Tuesday (31 March 2020).

In particular, the Marine Notice addresses such issues as crew changes at the country’s commercial ports, revised regulations on the management of cargo vessels as well as the loading and off loading of cargo, all of which faced tough measures before, including in some cases an outright ban.

The tough measures had come about as a result of the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic globally following its outbreak in China in December 2019.

In the Marine Notice SAMSA states: “On 23 March 2020, the President of the Republic (of South Africa) declared a lockdown, effective from 23h59 on Thursday, 26 March 2020, for a period of 21 days, to stop the spread of the COVID-19 corona virus until 23h59 on Thursday, 16 April 2020.

“In compliance with the lockdown, the Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) has sent out numerous communications on how the ports will be operating during this period.”

Following the revision of the tough restrictions since put in place at the outset of the national lockdown, SAMSA confirmed the following were now effective:

* All South African ports remain open for port operations
* Cargo operations will continue in all ports
* Stevedore operations will continue in all ports and
* All types of cargo will be allowed to be loaded and off loaded (and not just essential cargo).

SAMSA adds: “The Department of Transport recognises that there have been numerous instructions distributed by various entities, causing confusion amongst various entities, service providers and shipping companies. The Department of Transport would therefore like to clarify all requirements during the lockdown period as follows.

Durban Container Terminal Pier 2,, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Durban Container Terminal Pier 2, looking west


All South African Commercial Ports will remain operational for Cargo Work. These are Cape Town, Saldanha, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, Port of Ngqura, East London, Durban, and Richards Bay.


Following on the initial announcement by the President, there have been changes such as the enablement of the mining companies to approach their regulator Ministry on an individual basis and seek authorisation to continue operations, albeit on a limited basis.

Government has now decided that in the interest of ensuring a functional supply chain across all ports, that all cargoes will be accepted for loading and off-loading. Where possible, essential goods should receive preferential treatment over non-essential goods.

Transnet will be in a position to communicate which of its operations will be reactivated with the relevant customers and logistics partners.

Transnet will reactivate certain of its operations, these would be at a reduced level and not full capacity. The reactivated operations will be dictated to by the applicable regulatory framework, national priorities and contribution to the health of the economy and Transnet’s ability to deploy its resources, having regard to people safety, which is of paramount importance.

Transnet’s current priorities, in addition to all the essential services previously communicated, are:
The integrated container logistics system mainly around the Port of Durban and the link to the economic hub in Gauteng – ensuring that the complex system remains efficient to enable the movement of priority and essential containerised goods; this includes the movement of non-essential cargo to City Deep, only for purposes of decongesting the Port of Durban, .

The heavy haul rail and ports export system from the Northern Cape to the Port of Saldanha; and
The domestic and export Coal and other GFB cargo through the Port of Richards Bay.

All other specific approvals granted by Government, which are dependent on the rest of the South African rail and ports system will be considered on a case by case basis, and our [Transnet’s] ability to respond responsibly will be communicated directly to customers making applications based on Government approvals granted.

Customers are to ensure that all applications and evidence of approvals are submitted to the Transnet Customer Nerve Centre via email at transnet.cnc@transnet.net

Commodity managers and key account executives normally dealing with each customer remains the primary point of contact and channel of communication with all our [Transnet] customers.


The provision of Transnet’s service is subject to customers and their cargo handlers/siding operators taking necessary measures to protect Transnet staff who interface with their operations.

All port personnel (both Transnet, private stevedoring and any other category of employees) must have access to hygiene services, e.g. sanitation, soap and water which each employer shall cause to be provided together with standard operating procedures to ensure the highest hygiene practices.

This therefore means strict adherence to health and safety protocols will not be compromised. Customers must provide Transnet with the Business Continuity Plans (BCP) and update Transnet daily on the status of their employees.


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West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea

Industry organisations, supported by government and military organisations, have worked together to produce a new publication that will help mariners detect, deter and delay external threats to their safety.

Best Management Practices to Enhance Maritime Security for Vessels & Mariners Operating Off the Coast of West Africa including the Gulf of Guinea (BMP West Africa) consolidates and enhances existing guidance for specific threats in this region, it has been reported.

Security Guidance W Africa and Gulf of Guinea, piblished by BIMCO and associated organiastions, and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

The publication is free to download from ‘Free resources’ CLICK HERE which also provides links to other maritime security information useful to mariners.

It is understood that printed copies of the publication will be available later in the year.

Industry organisations are reported to have welcomed the publication.

In the words of Angus Frew, Secretary General & CEO, BIMCO: “Due to the regrettable lack of efficient law enforcement especially in Eastern Gulf of Guinea, this consolidated antipiracy guidance is a must-read for seafarers operating within reach of Nigerian pirates.”

Guy Platten, Secretary General, ICS, commented: “It is unacceptable that pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea continue to threaten the lives of our seafarers, especially at a time when we are also having to fend off the threat from COVID-19. This publication shows the shipping industry’s firm commitment to the safety and welfare of the men and women who move world trade, and ending the blight of piracy in the region once and for all.”

Dr Kostas G Gkonis, Secretary General, INTERCARGO, added: “The safety of seafarers is our top priority. Seafarers need our support and with this publication, supplemented by adequate training, we hope seafarers should feel and be safer. Their feedback would also be much welcome for the industry to improve the offered guidance.”

To quote Katharina Stanzel, Managing Director, INTERTANKO: “Insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea continues to blight the lives of seafarers working in the region. This new BMP, tailored specifically for local conditions, provides guidance and advice to mitigate the threat. While it is just one small part of a solution, the key remains in the hands of the region.”

Finally, Rob Drysdale, Director, OCIMF, said: “This publication offers practical mitigation measures to keep seafarers & vessels safe, a must read for all.”

The organisations which developed the publication are BIMCO, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO, ICS and OCIMF.

BIMCO is the world’s largest international shipping association, with around 1,900 members in more than 120 countries. BIMCO’s global membership includes shipowners, operators, managers, brokers, agents and P&I clubs.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the principal international trade association for the shipping industry, representing shipowners and operators in all sectors and trades. ICS membership comprises national shipowners’ associations in Asia, Europe and the Americas whose member shipping companies operate over 80% of the world’s merchant tonnage. Established in 1921, ICS is concerned with all technical, legal, employment affairs and policy issues that may affect international shipping. It represents shipowners with the various intergovernmental regulatory bodies that impact on shipping, including the International Maritime Organization (IMO). ICS also develops best practices and guidance, including a wide range of publications and free resources that are used by ship operators globally.

INTERCARGO, the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners ( www.intercargo.org ), represents the interests of quality dry cargo shipowners, the dry bulk sector being the largest shipping sector in terms of number of ships and deadweight. INTERCARGO convened for the first time in 1980 in London and has been participating with consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) since 1993. INTERCARGO provides the forum where dry bulk shipowners, managers and operators are informed about, discuss and share concerns on key topics and regulatory challenges, especially in relation to safety, the environment and operational excellence.

INTERTANKO is the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, a forum where the industry meets, policies are discussed and best practices developed. INTERTANKO has been the voice of independent tanker owners since 1970, ensuring that the liquid energy that keeps the world turning is shipped safely, responsibly and competitively.

The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) is a voluntary association of oil companies with an interest in the shipment and terminal operations for the handling of crude oil, oil products, petrochemicals and gas. OCIMF focuses exclusively on preventing harm to people and the environment by promoting best practice in the design, construction and operation of tankers, barges and offshore vessels and their interfaces with terminals. www.ocimf.org

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Tin Can Island in Lagos has 11 berths, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Tin Can Island Container Terminal. In all Tin Can in Lagos has 11 berths

Africa’s most populated and overcrowded city, Lagos, appears deserted following Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari announcement on Sunday, 29 March that a 14-day lockdown, described in Nigeria as a curfew, was to apply as from the following day, Monday 30 March. This applies across Lagos and Ogun States in addition to the Federal Capital Territory.

However, he announced, “all seaports in Lagos shall (Tin Can Island and Apapa)…


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Almost 1,000 seafarers repatriated by Philippines crewing specialist as coronavirus impacts global shipping

Repatriated seafarers travel to begin their compulsory quarantine in Manila, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Repatriated seafarers travel to begin their compulsory quarantine in Manila

Almost 1,000 seafarers stranded on cruise ships around the globe due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic are in the process of being repatriated to the Philippines. This was reported from Manila on 1 April.

CF Sharp Crew that day flew 445 seafarers into Manila on flights arranged by Norwegian Cruise Lines. A further 454 crew members were due to…

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Repatriated seafarer arrives in Manila, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Repatriated seafarer arrives in Manila



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HMAS Toowoomba. Picture: Royal Australian Navy, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
HMAS Toowoomba. Picture: Royal Australian Navy

The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Anzac-class frigate HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156) has intercepted and confiscated over 3,000 kilograms of illegal narcotics including hashish and heroin in the Gulf of Aden.

The frigate is deployed to the Middle East region and was achieved in support of…


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Searching for stowaways on board a ship loaded with logs, note the dog used to search hard-to-get-at places, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Searching for stowaways on board a ship loaded with logs, note the dog used to search hard-to-get-at places

It’s long been reported, or should that be ‘rumoured’, that the worst choice for a stowaway is to go on board a Chinese ship, because once discovered, they will seldom remain on board for long.

Such unfortunate practices are not unique to Chinese vessels of course, and differing laws in countries where the affected ships may visit don’t make things easier for ships’ masters faced by confusing and conflicting laws regarding unwanted passengers. And the long arm of the law doesn’t necessarily stretch far across the ocean…..

At Zinkwazi beach, which is on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast between Durban and Richards Bay, two Tanzanian stowaways were discovered on Monday this week, who claim to have been put off a Chinese ship after it left the port of Durban.

IPSS Medical Rescue were called to the scene and attended to the two men, who had apparently been severely beaten by the ships’ crew after the ship left port last Wednesday. They say they were put overboard on the following morning, Thursday 26 March, spending the rest of the time afloat on their raft made from timber dunnage, before coming ashore on Monday this week.

Each man was given a life jacket before being forced overboard onto the raft. These kept them alive but subject to the current, waves and weather.

They told their rescuers that the Chinese crew accused them of not only being stowaways but of being carriers of the coronavirus.

After being attended to on the beach they were taken to Stanger Hospital for further treatment and for screening for the virus.

Durban, as a major port city on the African East coast has a serious ongoing problem with stowaways who are so numerous that they form a small colony living under a bridge in the city while awaiting the chance to board another ship which they hope will take them to Europe.

Searches are made on certain ships in port but this is a costly affair and is not called for by the masters of some ships. When caught before sailing it is not uncommon for a stowaway (he arrived this way and qualifies for the title) to demand a payment before he will agree to being repatriated quietly to the East African country he originally came from. In this way he has the prestige of returning home with money to give to his family who have been looking to him for support.

The chances are that he will soon be back in Dar es Salaam or Mombasa, finding another likely ship to take him south or north.


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Queen Mary 2 on O-P berth of Durban's T-Jetty on Tuseday afternoon. Picture taken long distance by Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Queen Mary 2 on O-P berth of Durban’s T-Jetty on Tuseday afternoon.  See report below,  Picture taken long distance by Trevor Jones

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has provided an update on the implementation of transport regulations involving the coronavirus lockdown.

Law enforcement officers are being increased at Lebombo to monitor all roadblocks leading towards the borders to ensure that vehicles refrain from approaching the port of entry, particularly on the SA – Mozambique border. This followed some problems when…

The full report given by Minister Mbalula is currently available on the www.gov.za site by CLICKING HERE


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Iron ore train on the Sishen-Saldanha ore line, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Iron ore train on the Sishen-Saldanha ore line

The first train in three days has been observed crossing the Berg River bridge on the Cape West coast heading for the port of Saldanha.

The significance is that this indicates a resumption of deliveries or iron ore and manganese to the port. The break in deliveries may have been routine but following Transnet’s recent statement that it was scaling back on many of its services as a result of the COVID-10 pandemic* fears were expressed by stakeholders concerning their exports.

* See that report HERE.

“Transnet has taken a decision to scale down all of its transportation services and operations for non-essential cargo during the period of the state of lockdown,” the statement read.

Given the dire condition of South Africa’s economy, all trade remains of utmost importance.

Ackowledgements to Graeme Clemitson
Cape West Coast


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Gjertrud Maersk in Koper, Slovenia, picture courtesy Aljaz Hrvatin/Shipspotting, and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Gjertrud Maersk in Koper, Slovenia, picture courtesy Aljaz Hrvatin/Shipspotting

Seven crew members of the container ship GJERTRUD MAERSK have been evacuated from their ship, the Gjertrud Maersk, in Ningbo harbour, China after one member tested positive with the coronavirus and four others proved to be asymptomatically infected. Another two tested negative but have also left the ship to be quarantined ashore.

Gjertrud Maersk now has the dubious honour of being, it is believed, to be the first container ship in the world to carry the coronavirus.

The 9,074-TEU ship was in Ningbo was in the process of being phased into one of the Maersk services and is idle in Ningbo.

Maersk has confirmed the news, saying that several seafarers on board the ship were feeling unwell. They were isolated and when COVID-19 symptoms appeared they received medical treatment based on input from Maersk’s medical advisers.

The hospitalised crew members are reported to be in stable condition.

Earlier in March Maersk suspended all crew changes on its container ships until 14 April. This was to ensure the safety of the crews, Maersk advised.


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GSL Ningbo in her earlier OOCL Ningbo colours, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
GSL Ningbo in her earlier OOCL Ningbo colours

Maersk Line advises that due to market demand reductions in Far East to Southern Africa ‘SAFARI’ trade caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the line is endeavouring to balance its network to match reduced demand.

“Therefore the Safari vessel (GSL NINGBO 014S) currently planned for week 15 in Ningbo (6 April) and Shanghai (8 April) will not sail to South Africa and Mauritius.

“Please note that Asia sailing plan of GSL NINGBO is still under evaluation, and you will be informed your cargo contingency plan once our Asian coastal coverage is finalised,” Maersk said in a statement issued yesterday (31 March).

“Our normal weekly sailings to South Africa and Mauritius will continue from the following week. You are therefore very welcome to continue to book on the GSL NINGBO 014S and your cargo will be delivered for that specific week with 7 days extended transit time.”

Customers are encouraged to visit the Maersk website CLICK HERE or liaise with their local Maersk customer service representative.


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Princess Dr Vicky Haastrup, chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Princess Dr Vicky Haastrup, chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN)

Terminal operators in Nigeria’s ports have emphasised the need for the country’s ports to remain open at all times during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement issued by the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), chairman Princess Vicky Haastrup said: “As we face the global public health crisis birthed by the Coronavirus disease, otherwise known as COVID-19, we advise government to ensure that the supply chain is not disrupted and the seaports keep running.

“Even if other sectors of the economy are shut down…


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Port Maputo, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Port Maputo

A package of measures aimed at securing the continuity of business at Port Maputo has been introduced by the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC).

The measures will, it is believed, help mitigate any financial impact arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a media statement MPDC said: “We understand that we are facing an unprecedented crisis. These measures, among other cost revision initiatives, have been designed to allow MPDC to protect its work force, so that the company is adequately prepared to return to normal when the Covid-19 outbreak is over.”

Port Maputo is expected to feel the impact of South Africa’s lockdown, now in its fifth of 21 days, as 70 per cent of the traffic flowing through the port originates in South Africa.

MPDC revealed it is scaling back on its plans by delaying investments in infrastructure and equipment that has not yet commenced. The port will also reduce maintenance to the minimum levels necessary to guarantee integrity and continuity.

Where possible staff are working from home and others are taking leave early. In addition the port authority is negotiating adjustments to the supply of goods and services.

MPDC said it recognised the importance of keeping the logistical chain operational and was making every effort to reduce the interruption of port services to a minimum while remaining fully operational.


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A ship on her berth in the port of Calabar, Nigeria, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
A ship on her berth in the port of Calabar, Nigeria

NIMASA (Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency) has banned all international shipping in Nigerian waters that lack thermal screening facilities.

Announcing this, NIMASA’s recently appointed Director General, Dr Bashir Jamoh said the agency has introduced the rule to assist all shipping companies and all maritime stakeholders in following the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and…


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Esselen Park School of Rail at Kempton Park, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Esselen Park School of Rail at Kempton Park

Transnet has made available several sites as quarantine centres and shelters for the homeless for the duration of the 21-day COVID-19 lockdown period, now in its 5th day.

This action is being done in partnership with the local governments in the provinces of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.

The lockdown…


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What is the MSC? [1:29]

Fisheries are being offered a six-month extension on the usual timelines for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) assessments and certifications. It is the first time in the MSC’s 22-year history such a step has been taken, reflecting the enormous challenges the pandemic is posing to the global seafood industry.

The measures were agreed unanimously by the Board of Trustees and are effective from 27 March 2020. The decision means timelines for fisheries assessments, including audits, delivery on conditions and certifications will receive an automatic six-month extension.

However, fishery partners who wish to go ahead with remote audits and existing timelines, can do so if this is feasible and agreed with Conformity Assessment Bodies.

For supply chain businesses with an MSC Chain of Custody certificate, audits can still be conducted remotely. But if this is not possible due to the impacts of Covid-19, then a six-month extension can be requested.

This latest move is in response to the massive disruption facing the industry and builds on MSC’s previous decision that fisheries and Chain of Custody certificate holders can be audited remotely, as travel restrictions and public health advice have made it increasingly difficult to carry out on-site visits.

MSC will be contacting fisheries, conformity assessment bodies and partners in the sustainable seafood supply chain with further information in the coming days. Other MSC activities, such as the licensing of products, will carry on as normal.

“This is an extraordinary moment in history, unprecedented in modern times,” said Chief Executive Rupert Howes. “MSC is acutely aware that many of our partners are facing enormous challenges and uncertainty. For some it may be a question of survival.

“Whilst the regional situation varies, supply chains have been disrupted, in some cases broken, plants have been closed and vessels tied up. Management is quite rightly focusing on responding to the crisis.

“It is for this reason that we have implemented these new measures. MSC wants to do what it can to support our partners through these exceptionally challenging times.”

About MSC

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organisation with a vision for the world’s oceans to be teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations. “Our ecolabel and certification program recognise and reward sustainable fishing practices and is helping create a more sustainable seafood market. The MSC ecolabel on a seafood product means that:

*it comes from a wild-catch fishery which has been independently certified to the MSC’s science-based standard for environmentally sustainable fishing.
*it is fully traceable to a sustainable source.

Currently, 395 fisheries in 36 countries are certified to the MSC Fishery Standard and more than 41,000 seafood products worldwide carry the blue MSC label.


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dmg events conference being held in Mauto, where the date has been set back to August 2020. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

As the global situation surrounding the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, conference and exhibition organiser dmg events has taken the decision to move an event planned for Maputo to a later time.

This arises from the restrictions introduced by South Africa and by Mozambique to protect public safety as well as internal travel bans within companies, with a large majority of participants now finding themselves unable to travel.

“Based on all this information, we have made the decision to change the event dates.” Transport Evolution Mozambique Forum & Showcase, which was scheduled to take place on 13 and 14 May 2020 inside the Port of Maputo, will now be held in the same venue but from 11-13 August this year.

According to the organisers, more than 800 attendees from 20 countries were expected to attend the Transport Evolution Mozambique Forum and Showcase. Although the event is seen as extremely important for the region’s transport sector, “we take our responsibility for the health and safety of our visitors, exhibitors, employees and of course the local population, very seriously,” said dmg events in a statement.

Updates and other information on the event can be seen by CLICKING HERE


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Russian Navy frigate Yaroslav Mudry, seen here in the English Channel. Picture: Wikipedia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Russian Navy frigate Yaroslav Mudry, seen here in the English Channel.    Picture: Wikipedia

An unusual visitor is due in Cape Town later today (Monday 30 March 2020) at a time when few will be able to witness her arrival or departure, owing to the COVID-19 lockdown. Perhaps a kind someone at Transnet will take a photograph for the rest of us to enjoy.

The frigate is the YAROSLAV MUDRY, the second of the Neustrashimyy-class frigates built for the Soviet and Russian Navy, with Yaroslav Mudry, pennant number 727 entering service in 2009. Initially she served with the Northern Fleet but has since transferred to the Baltic. She was built at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad.

The frigate displaces 3,800 tons and has a length of 129.6 metres with a beam of 15.6m. Her propulsion consists of two shafts, COGAG (gas turbines) and a declared top speed of 30 knots. The vessels has a crew complement of 210 persons.

Yaroslav Mudry’s armaments include a 100mm main gun, two Kashtan combined gun and missile systems, SAM missiles, six torpedo tubes for missiles or torpedoes and a single Ka-27 helicopter housed in a hangar and pad.


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ONE container vessel, isplayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Ocean Network Express (ONE) has advised of the addition of a ninth container vessel to the Europe-South Africa service, which for ONE is designated SRX service.

ONE is a consortium consisting of Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, and K Line). The SRX service partners include Maersk, Safmarine and DAL.

In an advisory ONE said that during 2019 they had been informing clients of the problematic operational performance of the South African container terminals, which resulted in extended port stays, berthing delays and challenges to maintain schedule integrity.

“Although climate elements such as strong winds resulting in stoppage of operations have always been a factor to consider when operating in South Africa, we have noted that over the past two years the situation has worsened,” ONE said, adding that strong winds are no longer limited to the windy season and are now causing delays throughout the year with increased frequency.

“In addition to these weather delays, operations are also negatively affected by surging and swell,” the line said.

“Another important factor affecting current operational performance issues are the challenges experienced by the terminal operator TPT (Transnet Port Terminals). TPT is the sole party mandated to operate the South African terminals. The challenges experienced range from labour issues, maintenance and equipment investments problems to process issues.

Maersk Line’s Santa Ursula whch is joining the Europe-South Africa service from April
“In order to address these issues, the South African government have taken action by appointing a new TPT management team and making funds available for the necessary repairs and investments needed. However, reversing a situation that has built up over a decade is not something that can be corrected overnight. While operational performance over 2020 will improve, it may take another year before TPT can guarantee a stable performance at the required performance rate.

“Knowing that our clients require schedule reliability for adequate planning of resources and product, we have decided to add an extra 9th vessel to our SRX service, whereby we have particularly increased the buffer time in Durban to ensure we can arrive at every South African port within the CTOC window (when we arrive outside our CTOC berthing window, our window is no longer guaranteed).”

ONE said the the addition of the 9th vessel will not only vastly improve the reliability of its SRX service, “it will also allow us to reinstate the northbound call of Port Elizabeth and Algeciras.”


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Container ship Lana. Picture: Vesselfinder, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Container ship Lana. Picture: Vesselfinder

Dryad Global reports yet another piracy attack on a ship in the Gulf of Guinea, one that is some distance from others that have occurred recently and the first in this specific area in 2020.

The attack took place on 27 Marc at 16h00 UTC in position 02°45’N, 006°52’E, 30 nautical miles (nm) South East Egina Terminal, 99nm South Bonny Island.

The attack, which was not successful, was made on the container ship LANA (IMO 9484522) by a single skiff with six pirates on board. According to the report shots were fired.

The 260-metre long, 32m wide 42,115-dwt container ship increased speed and conducted anti-piracy manoeuvres, with Dryad reporting that the perpetrators were unable to board the vessel and were seen to withdrew heading east. The vessel and crew remain safe.

In its analysis Dryad comments that this is the first incident to occur within this area in 2020.

“This incident sits in close proximity (30 nautical miles South-East) to a concentration of serious maritime security incidents that occurred throughout 2019 in the Nigeria-Sao Tome JDZ.

“It is assessed that incidents in this area have been perpetuated by the relative absence of formalised security presence throughout the area. Perpetrators operating within this area have relative freedom of movement to conduct operations against vulnerable vessels.”

Dryad says that international maritime response has improved recently with the Portuguese Navy establishing a semi-permanent presence out of Santo Antonio, however security coverage of the area remains limited.


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Richards Bay Minerals north of the port of Richards Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Richards Bay Minerals    Picture: Wikipedia

In response to the action taken by South Africa to contain the spread of COVID-19, production at the Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) mining operations has been halted in line with the 21-day lockdown of the country.

This decision came into line, along with many other activities across the country, at midnight of Thursday 26 March.

Arrangements have been made for….


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CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin at Port of Los Angeles, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin at Port of Los Angeles

In a manoeuvre intended to reduce its debt and increase liquidity, CMA CGM has completed the first transaction in an agreement with China Merchants Port (CMP) for the sale of CMA CGM’s stake in eight port terminals to Terminal Link for US$815 million in cash.

Terminal Link joint venture was created in 2013 and is 51% owned by CMA CGM and 49% by CMP.

The transaction delivers on CMA CGM Group’s US$ 2.1 billion liquidity plan…


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USNS Comfort is deployed on US East Coast 
On the West Coast it is USNS Mercy

USNS Comfort. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua D. Sheppard/Released. USN ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
USNS Comfort. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua D. Sheppard/Released. USN ©

The Military Sealift Command (MSC) ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived in Los Angeles on 27 March deployed in support of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts in a similar way as USNS Comfort was deployed on the East Coast last week.

The two hospital ships are part of MSC’s operation with more than 110 ships around the world.

With the designation USNS (United States Naval Ship) they are not commissioned ships. They are crewed by civilians. Some MSC ships have small military departments assigned to carry out specialized military functions such as communications and supply operations. MSC ships carry the prefix ‘T’ before their normal hull numbers.

The two Mercy-class hospital ships have become prime assets in the US Navy’s efforts to reach out to foreign countries and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Since 2001, the hospital ships have conducted a number of humanitarian-assistance and disaster-response missions at home and abroad, providing care to more than 550,000 people.

Comfort, which originally drew most of its medical staff from the Washington area, was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia, in 2013 to be closer to the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center, where most of its medical staff now is based. Comfort deployed for 180 days for Continuing Promise 2015. In 2017 Comfort deployed to Puerto Rico to support relief efforts after Hurricane Maria, and in 2018 she deployed to South and Central America for Enduring Promise 2018.

Mercy has made three 150-day deployments in recent years including Pacific Partnership 2015, 2016 and 2018. Comfort also provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief for Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017.


USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) each contain 12 fully-equipped operating rooms, a 1,000 bed hospital facility, digital radiological services, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, a CAT-scan and two oxygen producing plants.
Each ship is equipped with a helicopter deck capable of landing large military helicopters. The ships also have side ports to take on patients at sea. When fully operational, the hospital ships have a crew of about 71 civilians and up to 1,200 Navy medical and communications personnel. The precise crew composition and size varies by mission type. During humanitarian-assistance missions, the crew often includes representatives from other US services, foreign militaries and non-governmental organisations.


Both hospital ships are converted San Clemente-class super tankers. Mercy was delivered in 1986 and Comfort in 1987.

Normally, the ships are kept in a reduced operating status in Norfolk, Virginia, and San Diego, California, by a small crew of civil service mariners and active duty Navy medical and support personnel.

It is reported that each ship can be fully activated and crewed within five days.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

USNS Mercy. US Marine Corps photo by Corporal Alexa M Hernandez/Released USN ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
USNS Mercy. US Marine Corps photo by Corporal Alexa M Hernandez/Released USN ©



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Durban on a previous visit. Picture: Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Queen Mary 2 in Durban on a previous visit.   Picture: Trevor Jones



Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 arrived off Durban on Thursday 26 March and, in an unusual action for the Queen, went to anchor outside port at the anchorage opposite Umhlanga. By Friday midday the ship, which has always been welcomed by crowds of Durbanites even in the days when access to the North Pier was heavily restricted, remained in this position, not far from another anchored cruise ship visitor, MSC Orchestra.

The liner was arriving from Fremantle, where most of her passengers were disembarked. Those that remain on board are understood to be passengers returning to the UK who are otherwise unable to fly and will return instead with the ship, whose destination remains Southampton. When she finally enters port to take bunkers and any necessary supplies, it will be a silent mostly ‘non-event’ save for those fortunate people living in apartments along the beachfront.

Update Sunday 22h30:

The NSRI reports that on Friday, 27 March, at 19h00 the NSRI Durban duty crew launched the sea rescue craft Alick Rennie, accompanied by a ShipMed doctor, to rendezvous at the Queen Mary 2 cruise liner at the outer anchorage off-shore of Umhlanga, Durban.

The ShipMed doctor, under the authority of the Department of Health Port Health Unit and the Department of Transport, was tasked to carry out routine Covid-19 tests onboard.

On arrival at Queen Mary 2 the doctor, wearing full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), was transferred onto the ship and following the sample tests that were collected the doctor was transferred back onto the sea rescue craft and brought back into the Port of Durban without incident.

All precautions, PPE and protocols as outlined by the Department of Health were followed during the operation. As of 22h30 Sunday 29 March Queen Mary 2 remained at anchor outside, although earlier in the weekend the ship sailed a short distance along the coast to improve the conditions on board for the remaining passengers.


Arcadia in Durban this past week, purely to take bunkers and supplies. Picture: Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Arcadia in Durban on a windy and overcast day this past week, purely to take bunkers and supplies. The bunker barge can be seen alongside. Picture: Trevor Jones

The P&O Cruises’ Arcadia arrived in Durban on Sunday 22 March – her movements being similar to those of Queen Mary 2, of going to anchor outside until cleared with ‘free pratique’ and allowed to enter harbour. With Arcadia it involved several false alarms and it was Thursday 26 March before she was finally cleared, allowing the ship to proceed to P berth on the T-Jetty.

It appears the port authority and health officials were required to carry out COVID-19 tests on 13 symptomatic individuals onboard the vessel, which turned out to be negative. The Port of Durban helicopter transported a medical doctor out to the vessel to conduct the testing in full personal protective equipment (PPE).

TNPA subsequently advised that the vessel was then cleared and granted free pratique (a clean bill of health) by the Port Health Unit of the Department of Health. Arcadia then docked on the morning of Thursday, 26 March 2020 and departed for Southampton at 7pm on the same day.

Arcadia was one of six cruise ships that were already on their way to South Africa before new regulations were promulgated by the Minister of Transport on 18 March 2020, which now ban cruise liners and prohibit passenger embarkation and disembarkation at all South African cruise ports.

As a result Arcadia’s other cruise calls in South Africa were cancelled and she docked in Durban to receive bunkers and provisions. Four South African crew members were allowed to disembark, as permitted by the new regulations which allow cruise ships only to disembark a returning South African citizen and/or a permanent resident.


The arrival of this ship back in Durban after a final cruise to Mozambique has been recorded in earlier editions. After all passengers and crew had disembarked, save for a small ‘skeleton’ crew sufficient to operate the ship, MSC Orchestra moved to the outer anchorage where she will remain until a date in April when the ship may then return to the Mediterranean.


In news that became available on Sunday, 29 March and more than a week after MSC ORCHESTRA returned on her final voyage from Mozambique, it has been reported that a female passenger who travelled with the ship on that occasion, has proved positive with the coronavirus.

Apparently the woman returned home and later began showing symptoms of the virus.  She was tested and proved positive. Efforts are now underway to trace the more than 3,300 passengers and crew that were on board the ship with her.

MSC Cruises SA has issued health authorities with a list of everone that was on board the final cruise.


SAS Durban returns to the Port Natal Maritime Museum in Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
SAS Durban returns to the Port Natal Maritime Museum in Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones

This is not a cruise ship item by any means but may be of interest to some readers. After a long eight month sojourn at the Bayhead shipyards, undergoing very necessary repairs and maintenance, the former SA Navy mine sweeper, SAS DURBAN M1499 was returned on Tuesday 24 March 2020. She joined another museum exhibit, the former Transnet salvage and harbour tug JR MORE, which had also returned from the shipyard some weeks earlier.

While appearing much more sprightly than when she went for repair last August, it was noticeable that more work is required to place the naval ship back in good appearance. An onlooker made the comment as the vessel returned to the museum, saying he was left seriously underwhelmed by the external appearance of the minesweeper. “She didn’t look to me like a craft that had received six months of shipyard attention to spruce her up.”

A fresh coat of paint should do wonders.


AIDAmira, which concluded an otherwise successful cruise season operating in South African waters. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
AIDAmira, which concluded an otherwise successful cruise season operating in South African waters, and is likely to return in the coming summer

Much has already been reported on the AIDAmira and the fears of having cases of the coronavirus on board, after six passengers arriving from Turkey were reported to have been in the proximity or company of two crew of the inappropriately-named bulk carrier, CORONA, who were joining the ship in Cape Town.

Tests on the passengers proved negative and after some delay in port, during which the passengers disembarked to take chartered flights back to Germany, AIDAmira sailed at around 14h30 on Thursday, 26 March, bound for Gibraltar.


Sail training ship Sagres, which called briefly at Cape Town. Picture: wordpress.com, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Sail training ship Sagres, which called briefly at Cape Town. Picture: wordpress.com

Amidst all the fuss over the pending lockdown and cruise ship arrivals and departures, not much notice was taken of one of the more spectacular Tall Ships that slipped into Cape Town harbour on Wednesday 25 March 2020. Her stay was short and later the same day Sagres, a training ship of the Portuguese Navy, sailed from the Cape bound for Vitória in Brazil. CORRECTION: Sagres is returning direct to Lisbon (acknowledgements to Sergio Rezendes and Ricardo Gaudino for this update)

Because of the COVID-19 scare and the approaching lockdown any thought of the crew on board being able to enjoy and explore the wonders and beauty of the Western Cape were dispelled, while local folk were equally denied the opportunity of visiting and exploring the sailing ship.

One a final note, Transnet reports that to date there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in any South African sea-port.


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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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