Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 21 October 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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Santa Clar sailing from Durban October 2019, picture by Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Santa Clar at christening in Durban January 2011, picture by Terry Hutsonfeatured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Top picture: Trevor Jones.      Lower picture: Terry Hutson

Hamburg Süd’s container ship SANTA CLARA (IMO 9444716) sails from Durban recently after a call at the container terminal – the vessel now a part of the greater Maersk/Hamburg Süd fleet and flagged in Copenhagen. The 93,551-dwt ship, built in 2010, is managed and operated by Maersk Line although she retains her former German line appearance.

By way of interest, what special ties has this ship with the port of Durban, if any, you may ask? Well, on 21 January 2011 Santa Clara was officially christened here in this port, on Pier 1 before an assembly of guests from Germany and locally. The second photograph depicts this auspicious occasion with the ship alongside berth 103. Top picture is by Trevor Jones; the lower picture is by Terry Hutson.



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Russia-Africa Summir banner, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the South African delegation to the first Russia-Africa Summit taking place this week in Sochi, Russia.

The forum, which will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, will focus on key areas of cooperation between Russia and African countries.

“The summit is expected to deepen friendly relations between the Russian Federation and countries of the African continent at both bilateral and multilateral levels; forge closer collaboration on regional and international issues of common interest…” the Presidency said in a statement on Sunday.

The summit is also expected to raise…

Russia-Africa Summir banner, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Russia, a strategic partner to SA

According to the Presidency, Russia is a Strategic Partner for South Africa in terms of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement that was signed in eThekwini in 2013.

“One of the primary mechanisms for improving the bilateral relationship between the two countries and advancing South Africa’s development objectives is the Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ITEC).

“The ITEC is the foundation for…


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Brexit flags

On 17 October the EU agreed terms for the UK’s withdrawal. These were accepted by Downing Street although there were objections from parties in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Terms of the departure were not debated in the Commons when it sat with a rare Saturday assembly (only the fourth time in 70 years) on 19 October.

On that day MPs voted by a majority of 16 to back an amendment to withhold approval of the latest deal until proper scrutiny of the terms for departure had taken place. This has been regarded as a form of insurance against the UK leaving without a deal on the scheduled date of 31 October.

PM Johnson was forced by Parliament to send a letter to the EU negotiators requesting an extension which, in an unorthodox approach, he left unsigned*. This was accompanied by a second letter saying he did not want an extension to be granted.

Cabinet ministers have been reported as insisting the UK will leave the EU on 31 October, despite the PM’s letter. Furthermore, HMG’s contingency plan to handle a no-deal Brexit was being triggered as risk of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October had increased.

At the time of writing HMG was to seek a vote in the Commons on its Brexit deal today (21 October).

Reported by Paul Ridgway

*To see copy CLICK HERE


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One of Kenya Railway's impressive but costly standard gauge container trains, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
One of Kenya Railway’s impressive but costly standard gauge container trains

Last week Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta officially opened Phase 2 of his country’s ambitious standard gauge railway (SGR) that extends the line from Nairobi further inland to the Rift Valley town of Naivasha.

The SGR, which so far has been funded with Chinese loans and built by a Chinese construction company, is intended to ultimately link the port city of Mombasa and the Ugandan border. If these intended plans happen the line will then connect with a similar SGR being built from Kampala in Uganda to the Kenya border.

Except that neither appear to have much hope of ever getting underway.

Those hopes and intentions are in serious doubt for several reasons, one of which being that the Ugandan government appears to favour an alternate standard gauge railway connecting the landlocked country with the port of Dar es Salaam in Kenya’s southern neighbour, Tanzania.

Kenya stalled by lack of a Chinese loan

Kenya’s plans have also stalled following China having declined to advance a further loan for completing the Kenya SGR from Naivasha to the Uganda border. The reason for China’s reluctance in this matter has not been made clear although it appears that China may not see any guarantee of Kenya’s ability to pay for this extension over and above the existing completed railway – particularly if Uganda opts to route its freight and cargo through Tanzania.

When approached for a further loan to continue extending the SGR from Naivasha to the Lake Victoria city of Kisumu and the Uganda border at Malaba, China agreed to loan little more than 10 percent of the amount requested. This was tied to the upgrading of the existing metre gauge Rift Valley Railway built in colonial days by the British which came as something of a slap in the face for the Kenya government.

Kenya needed Sh380 billion (US$3.658 billion) to complete the line to Kisumu and the Uganda border. Instead, the Chinese government only parted with Sh40 billion ($385 million) to upgrade the metre-gauge railway between Naivasha and Malaba (the Uganda border) as a compromise.

The Kenyan government was not amused but there is little it can do without the sort of loans that only China once appeared willing to make. China is however clearly concerned over Kenya’s continuing ability to service its existing debt.

Warned of this

Critics of the venture have been quick to point out they warned that the SGR would plunge the country into debt. Kenya’s efforts at forcing importers and the smaller number of exporters into using the rail as opposed to road has met with strong opposition especially in Mombasa, leading to the port being blockaded at one point. But without these measures it simply appears that Kenya’s SGR is unable to generate the return expected of it and which it so confidently forecast when the SGR was still being negotiated.

Meanwhile, the new section of track just opened is a mere 120 kilometres in length, with 12 stations in between and has cost $1.5 billion. Passenger and freight traffic is permitted although the emphasis will be on garnering as much freight traffic as possible. It is intended to build an inland container park (ICD) at Naivasha similar to another outside Nairobi, and from this new inland park containers will be distributed to Uganda, Rwanda and to South Sudan.

The $1.5 billion for this shortish section seems high in comparison for the much lengthier section from Mombasa to Nairobi, which cost $3.2 billion.

President Kenyatta says he is confident that the new section of SGR will bring prosperity to the region. “The completion of the Nairobi Suswa section of the SGR project is expected to revolutionise the development of the surrounding areas,” Kenyatta said.

The Chinese ambassador to Kenya, Wu Peng called on Chinese enterprises to invest in the Naivasha ICD and the special economic zones.

Not everybody and particularly those across the border in Uganda and Rwanda appear to share the same degree of optimism.


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Artist's impression of Port of Walvis Bay's new cruise ship jetty, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Artist’s impression of Port of Walvis Bay’s new cruise ship jetty

The development of a Waterfront & Marina has been identified as a project through which Namport wants to better combine seaport activities with recreational and tourism activities, albeit through a secure physical barrier between the two.

And now that the port’s new container terminal is operational, the port authority is able to turns its…

The proposed Walvis Bay Waterfront development adjacent to the port and cruise jetty, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The proposed Walvis Bay Waterfront development adjacent to the port and cruise jetty


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The IMB's latest Piracy report shows that danger exists at a number of hotspots around the world, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
The IMB’s latest Piracy report shows that danger exists at a number of hotspots around the world

The International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) report for the third quarter of 2019 demonstrates fewer incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships than the first nine months of 2018.

In total 119 incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships have been reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) in 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018. Overall, the 2019 incidents include…


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Korean Peninsula. Released 18/10/2019 10:00 am. Copyright contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO Id 432324. Copernicus ©. ESA ©. Illustration reproduced by kind courtesy of the European Space Agency ©, featured in Afric PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Korean Peninsula. Released 18/10/2019 10:00 am. Copyright contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO Id 432324. Copernicus ©. ESA ©. Illustration reproduced by kind courtesy of the European Space Agency ©


Seen here is the Korean Peninsula in East Asia in an image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission. The peninsula is over 900 km long and is located between the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, to the east and the Yellow Sea to the west.

Korea’s peninsula is divided into two countries: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

North Korea is divided into nine provinces, with Pyongyang as the capital. Pyongyang, which can be seen in light grey in the upper left of the image, lies on the banks of the Taedong River and on a flat plain about 50 km inland from the Korea Bay.

The capital of South Korea is Seoul, which is in the northwest of the country, slightly inland and around 50 km south of the North Korean border.

As the image shows, the Korean peninsula is mostly mountainous and rocky, making less than 20% of the land suitable for farming.

The Yellow Sea owes its name to the silt-laden waters from the Chinese rivers that empty into it. It is also one of the largest shallow areas of continental shelf in the world with an average depth of around 50 m.

Waters off the coast of Korea are considered among the best in the world for fishing. The warm and cold currents attract a wide variety of species and the numerous islands, inlets and reefs provide excellent fishing grounds.

Sentinel-3 is a two-satellite mission to supply the coverage and data delivery needed for Europe’s Copernicus environmental monitoring programme. Each satellite’s instrument package includes an optical sensor to monitor changes in the colour of Earth’s surfaces. It can be used, for example, to monitor ocean biology and water quality. This image, which was captured on 21 May 2019, is also featured on the ESA’s Earth from Space video programme, see: www.esa.int/

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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report by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)

FS Jean Bart stands watch as her sea boats close in on the suspicious vessel, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
FS Jean Bart stands watch as her sea boats close in on the suspicious vessel

Two warships, one from the Royal Navy and one from the French Marine Nationale, have made major drugs seizure from a dhow in the Arabian Sea. HMS MONTROSE, a Type 23 frigate, and FS JEAN BART, a Cassard class frigate, worked together to intercept 94 kgs of heroin and 76 kgs of crystal methamphetamine with a local street value of over a million US dollars.

Narcotics smuggling in the region is linked to major criminal networks and terrorism.

The suspicious dhow was initially located by FS Jean Bart’s helicopter and boarded by a team from the French ship who secured the vessel and conducted an initial investigation. In associated support to CTF150, they collected information on her…


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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

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