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One of the more interesting ships to come to Durban in recent months is the self discharging Italian bulker BULK LIMPOPO (53,776-dwt, built 2012) which arrived from Beira to undergo routine dry docking and maintenance/survey. The 192m long, 32m wide ship, which is owned by Coeclerici Armatori of Milan, is employed at Beira as one of two transhipment vessels moving coal from the port terminal to waiting Capesize or otherwise overlarge bulkers waiting outside port. The other vessel so employed at Beira is her identical sister ship, BULK ZAMBESI (53,776-dwt, built 2011). This picture is by Keith Betts

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Typical Tanzanian metre-gauge railway scene

A consortium consisting of Turkish and Portuguese railway construction companies will commence building Phase 1 of the Tanzania standard gauge railway (SGR) between the Port of Dar es Salaam and Morogoro, some 300km distant.

This will mark the first stage of one of Tanzania’s most ambitious projects ever, of building a standard gauge railway inland from the country’s main port to its western borders and leading to several neighbouring states with whom Tanzania hopes to increase its share of freight traffic.

The new railway is considered essential if Dar es Salaam is to maintain or grow its share of shipping. The Kenyan SGR extending from the port of Mombasa is already well inland and heading towards Nairobi and then the Ugandan border.

The contract with the Turkish/Portuguese consortium was confirmed on Friday (3 February 2016). It is thought to be worth US$1.215 billion and involves the Turkish firm of Yapi Merkezi and the Portuguese company Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construção África, S.A. and the Tanzanian state-owned railway firm, Reli Assets Holding Company Ltd (RAHCO).

Tanzania has already announced that it has secured a loan worth $7.6 billion loan from China’s Export Import Bank (Exim) for building part of the new railway network.

The total length of the SGR line that Tanzania wants to build is 2,561km. Ultimately it will also connect with the superport at Bagamoyo, about 100km north-west of Dar es Salaam and which is to be built and developed by the Chinese and ultimately being a part of China’s Great Silk Road project.

When completed the new SGR line will have the potential of serving not only Tanzania but its neighbours Zambia, Malawi, the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

Construction of the line is expected to start in March and will take 30 months for Phase 1 to be completed. The next phases taking the line to Mwanza, a port on the southern shores of Lake Victoria, are Morogoro – Makutupora 336km, Makutupora – Tabora 294km, Tabora – Isaka 133km and Isaka to Mwanza 248km. The next tender will be opened in April.

Speaking at the signing ceremony last week, Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa said the government would continue seeking soft loans for the project.

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Benga mine scene, near Moatize, Tete province

After having suspended mining operations more than a year ago following the sharp drop in international coal prices, India’s International Coal Ventures Ltd (ICVL) has announced that it will resume coal mining in the Tete province of Mozambique.

ICVL is a consortium consisting of five Indian state groups – Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), National Mineral Development Corporation Limited (NMDC), National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) and Coal India Limited (CIL) – which was formed to acquire stakes in mines abroad and ensure the supply of both coking and thermal coal. Subsequently, NTPC and CIL have withdrawn from the consortium on account of the then low prices of thermal coal.

ICVL’s suspension of all mining operations in the south-east African country was sudden and came about in December 2015 when coal commodity prices fell below US$80 per tonne. ICVL had begun mining operations in Mozambique in 2014 when it acquired a 65% stake in Anglo-Australian group Rio Tinto in the Benga Mine near Moatize and 100% of the greenfield coal assets known as Zambeze and Tete East (Orient) for US$50 million.

At that time only the Benga mine was in operation and was recording consecutive losses.

The price of coking coal has risen considerably from the $80 per tonne in January 2016 to reach $283 per tonne in December 2016, but has since dropped to $193 in January 2017, reports the Indian Steel Association.

In October last year India’s Jindal Steel and Power Ltd’s (JSPL) Mozambique Minerals resumed coal mining in Mozambique at the Chirodzi mine in Tete, also on account of the rising price of coal, particularly coking coal on the international market.

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The Danish shipping company Det Forenede Dampskibs-Selskab (DFDS) has entered into an agreement with the Government of Kenya to provide shipboard training to Kenyan cadets on board its ships.

The signing ceremony was held at the residence of the Danish Ambassador with representatives from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) present. JKUAT offers a degree in Marine Engineering and KMA has in place a surveyor training programme for engineering and nautical studies. It is expected that both institutions (among others) stand to benefit from this new initiative of facilitating students to acquire the much needed sea time experience.

The 5-year agreement will enable Kenyan marine engineering and nautical science cadets to acquire seagoing service of twelve months which is a mandatory requirement towards attainment of professional qualifications in the maritime industry either as marine engineering officers of navigating officers.

The negotiations leading to the agreement were facilitated by the Royal Danish Embassy, Nairobi, led by Commander Senior Grade John Aeroe Hansen while Mrs Nancy Karigithu, Principal Secretary Maritime Affairs, represented the Government of Kenya. DFDS is one of Northern Europe’s largest shipping and logistics company and therefore the students will be exposed to different aspects of international shipping.

Kenya currently has five institutions that offer marine engineering and nautical science courses. However, due to various reasons, students have found it challenging to secure the required shipboard training, the key reason being the lack of locally owned ships appropriate for training cadets.

Bachelor of Science Degree courses are currently offered in Marine Engineering only while at Diploma level there are studies in Nautical Science and Marine Engineering (JKUAT and the Technical University of Mombasa respectively).

Bandari College is undertaking training leading to certification in Craft – Nautical Science; Craft – Marine Engineering and Artisan Seafarers Course as well as IMO mandatory Maritime Proficiency Courses.

Mrs Karigithu said that the Ministry plans to expand maritime training so as to equip Kenyan youth with the skills to enable them access seafaring jobs in the local and global shipping industry.

“We have got one of the longest coastlines in Africa, and it’s sad that we are not a power to reckon with when it comes to shipping and other maritime affairs in the continent,” she said.

She hoped that with the setting up of the new department that she is heading, as well as partnerships with notable global players like Denmark, that the situation will change.

“This will also help us take advantage of our strategic geographical location and resources which provide us with opportunity to increase our share of involvement in the maritime sector. It will also help us create a marine manufacturing market, including ship repair, rig repair and refurbishment as well as boat-building.”

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Looking at the port of Freetown, Sierra Leone

The Port of Freetown in Sierra Leone is the latest in West African ports to have acquired an electronic x-ray scanner.

The hi-tech dual energy scanner was installed by Africa Link Inspection Co Ltd and is capable of x-raying organic and inorganic materials. The new machine can also scan a 20-foot container in just under three minutes.

The machine was unveiled with all due ceremony at the Elizabeth II Quay on Thursday, 2 February 2017. In attendance were the Minister of Trade Captain, Alieu Momodu Pat-Sowe; the Deputy Minister of Trade, Washingai Mansaray; the APC Secretary General Ambassador, Foday Yansaneh; Managing Director of Africa Link Inspection Company, Ekow Hayford; the General Manager of Ports, Abu Bakarr Bangura and Madame Binta Jalloh.

General Manager Abu Bakarr said that the scanner would help the port reach its goal of being “efficient and secure.”

He said the scanner would make it easier for ship operators and would reduce turnaround times for container ships that berth at the quay and need to have their cargo checked.

According to Abu Bakarr, the presence and use of the ultra-modern scanner meant that Freetown Port had become one of the leading ports in West Africa.

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The South Africa-based School of Shipping, which offers adults an education in maritime studies specifically relating to importing and exporting, and INTTRA, the world’s ocean shipping electronic marketplace, have announced a collaboration through which the School of Shipping students will make use of INTTRA’s training environment as part of their course work.

Students will be able to simulate shipment management for the ocean stages of container transport. That process includes planning container bookings through Ocean Schedules (INTTRA’s search tool to identify sailings), executing bookings, submitting shipping instructions and container weight information for SOLAS VGM compliance, tracking containers and a range of other functions.

“Aligning with INTTRA to create this training module enhances our program by giving our students insight into the practical application of the theoretical training we provide,” said Louw Franken, Director at the School of Shipping. “By training on the premier technology platform in ocean shipping, students will develop a firm understanding of communication with carriers on core functions as well as basic operations and functions of exporting. We expect this collaboration to help create better-qualified graduates and eliminate the need for additional basic training when they join BCOs and forwarders.”

INTTRA is the largest neutral electronic transaction software platform and information provider at the centre of the ocean shipping industry. INTTRA’s products empower customers to trade with multiple parties and leverage ocean industry information to improve their business. Connecting over 225,000 shipping professionals with more than 50 leading carriers and 110 software alliance partners, INTTRA streamlines the ocean trade process. Over 700,000 container orders are initiated on the INTTRA platform each week, representing approximately 25 percent of global ocean container trade.

School of Shipping
School of Shipping is based in Cape Town. Its accredited courses have been developed according to the rigorous demands of the South African Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). School of Shipping is also a member of the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF).

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Optimarin has signed a new agreement with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding (FBS) in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for the delivery of two 500 m³/h capacity Optimarin Ballast Systems (OBS). The contract, identical to one secured last year, comes at a busy time for the Norwegian ballast water treatment (BWT) specialist, which has seen order enquiries go ‘through the roof’ since securing US Coast Guard approval in December.

The fresh agreement will see both systems installed on an 155,000-barrel capacity clean products barge, with delivery scheduled for August 2018. It is, according to Optimarin CEO Tore Andersen, an important sign of the trust his company’s clients have in both his business and its environmentally friendly UV technology.

“Repeat orders are one of the best endorsements any supplier can have,” Andersen comments. “And when they come from a company of Fincantieri’s standing it really is a cause for celebration. They’re one of the premier specialised shipbuilders in the industry, with huge experience and a reputation to match.

“They choose our technology because it is market proven, simple, easy to install and maintain, and compliant with the most rigorous regulations in the world. It gives them, and their customers, complete peace of mind for safe, predictable and environmentally responsible operations. In a sector that is still relatively young, the reassurance that our 20 plus years of expertise gives yards, owners and operators can’t be overstated.”

Optimarin has been exclusively focused on developing BWT technology since its formation in 1994. Optimarin becvame the company to install the first ever commercial system – on the PRINCESS REGAL in 2000 – it also became the first supplier to receive full USCG approval in December 2016.

“This was a massive step forwards for the business,” said Andersen. “We were already busy, but since that point enquiries have gone through the roof and our order pipeline is developing at a rate that has surprised even us. The industry knows that we are now leading the way in compliance, as well as expertise, and that, for any shipowner that wants the optimal flexibility for their global fleets, is of paramount importance.

“With USCG’s tough standards and IMO’s ratification of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) convention, BWT is an issue that no shipping company can afford to ignore. We’re here to help them find the best, safest and most compliant way forward for their vessels. That’s our only focus, and I think the industry appreciates that level of dedication and proven experience.”

Optimarin says it has now received orders for around 500 OBS systems, with more than 300 installed worldwide. Over 100 of these have been retrofits, delivered in conjunction with global engineering partners Goltens and Zeppelin Power Systems.

Alongside approval from the IMO and USCG, Optimarin’s technology is certified by a comprehensive range of classification organisations, including DNV GL, Lloyd’s, Bureau Veritas, MLIT Japan, and American Bureau of Shipping.

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Maintenance works on the cruise vessels MARCO POLO and MAGELLAN, both operated by British based Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) (part of the Global Maritime Group), has been completed at the Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam (DSAm).

Marco Polo is certainly no stranger to Damen Shiprepair & Conversion, having benefitted from maintenance stopovers at Damen Shiprepair Vlissingen in the past.

Nor is she a stranger to South African waters, having cruised here on a number of occasions in years gone by.

During the initial docking process at the yard, Marco Polo was inspected by DSAm Project Manager Wouter van den Bossche. “After examining the vessel, we scheduled various equipment overhauls and repainting,” he says. “Our first task was to completely high-pressure clean the hull and then paint the flat bottom and vertical sides in the renowned ‘Marco Polo’ blue. The topside of the vessel was painted at a later stage, which became the critical path for undocking.”

The equipment maintenance included polishing the main propeller and bow thruster blades, and overhauling the main engine coolers. The main engine cooler jacket was removed and replaced with a new jacket fabricated at the yard.

Damen’s work on the 1965-built vessel continued in maintenance, renewal and upgrade works in her public areas and cabins, the air conditioning and evaporator rooms as well as renewal of numerous sea water and fresh water piping and overhauling of the overboard valves. Work on the ship’s rudder – taking rudder clearances and repacking of rudderstock – was also performed.


Magellan at Damen’s Shipyard. Picture: Bram van de Biezen

For MAGELLAN, the maintenance work also marked a return to Damen Shiprepair & Conversion. “She was here last year for a scheduled maintenance stopover,” notes DSAm Project Manager Daniel Gerner. “And, because we often see her sailing to the Amsterdam Cruise terminal, she has become a well-known friend.”

After her initial inspection, the 1985-built vessel presented a substantial work schedule for the Damen team. “A significant part of the docking involved the tail shaft. For example, the starboard propeller hub needed inspection in the workshop. So a special lifting tool was made for removing the hub. Then, after Rolls Royce’s survey, we machined the existing hub, blade carriers and W-plates as per inspector’s instructions.”

Work on Magellan’s propulsion system also included polishing of starboard propeller blades and repairs to the bow and stern thruster blades.

Varied scope
Another major part of the project was installation of a new sewage tank system. This required cropping and removing the existing tanks. This was followed by construction and fitting of new foundations for the new sewage treatment units and strainers.

“The new sewage treatment units were transported in sections from the workshop to the vessel, where they were fitted onto the new foundations and connected later on,” said Mr Gerner.

In addition to maintenance, renewal and upgrade works in her public areas and cabins, repairs of various steel damages and the overhauling of numerous ship’s systems was also necessary. “This included overhauling the main engine blower, tender embarkation cylinders, heaters, evaporator and purifier. And also one of the scupper pipes, which was renewed by Niron Staal’s pipefitters department.”

Winter cruise schedule
With her next cruise voyage departing from London on 6 December, Magellan had a tighter schedule than her older sister. “This project was performed within the time scale – utilising short communication lines and a team who was on top of it all the time. We were proud to see Magellan sail away on the 5th of December,” said Gerner.


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, but this is also available in a dedicated Cruise News section. This section will include various stories and news not covered in the general news so if you have an interest in this sector don’t forget to check regularly on our CRUISE NEWS page.

This you will find here in CRUISE NEWS & REVIEWS

Naval News

Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories which also have their own dedicated section, although some stories may be duplicated in the general news section.

Find the Naval Review section HERE

Remember to use your backspace key to return to this page.


Hoegh Autoliners’ car carrier HOEGH BERLIN (68,871-gt, built 2005) is one of the regular Ro-Ro car carriers on the South Africa service. Here the ship is sailing from port after having completed her cargo working, and is seen with the pilot boat alongside shortly before the ship heads out to sea. The 228 metre long by 32m wide car carrier has a maximum capacity of 6,100 motor cars and operates at a speed of 15 knots but has a top speed of 20.5 knots. The ship was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in South Korea and forms part of the Hoegh Fleet Services group but is owned by Mare Berlin Schiffahrts GMBH. The ship is registered in Nassau. This picture is by Trevor Jones


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