Maritime News


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17 February 2017. 14h30:   Explosion at Durban Naval Base

An explosion at the Durban Naval Base on Salisbury Island left six people dead and another 26 injured, according to reports received from several sources. One person described a number of ambulances heading towards the base along Bayhead Road. The Naval Base is currently crowded with military personnel arriving for the Armed Forces Parade on next Tuesday, 21 February.


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The lovely and clean lines of the luxury motor yacht AL SHOUA (1233-gt) as she sails back into Durban, where she has taken up temporary residence at Southern African Shipyards at the Bayhead. The 57 metre long was built in the United States in 1980 by the Rockport Yacht & Supply Co at Blountstown. Since then she has undergone several name changes with different owners or charterers, before undergoing her last refit in 2007. She has a top speed of 12 knots.

Al Shoua is owned by the Qatari Royal Family and is regarded as a shadow vessel to their new Oceanco superyacht CONSTELLATION. Al Shoua also acts in support of another Qatari Royal Family superyacht, the 133m Tim Heywood-designed AL MIRQAB.

Although clearly a secondary support-type vessel to the Qatari Royal fleet, which includes several other vessels, Al Shoua has on board a helipad along with a luxury fully airconditioned interior. Her original name was Interceptor.

This picture is by Keith Betts

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Explosion in Durban Naval Base

17 February 2017. 14h00:  An explosion has occurred at the SA Naval Base on Salisbury Island in Durban today (Friday), leaving 6 dead and another 26 injured, according to the limited information that is available.  Ambulances were seen heading along Bayhead Road towards the naval base which is crowded with military personnel arriving n Durban for the Armed Forces Day parade on Tuesday, 21 February.  No other details are available at this time.



SAS Drakensberg. Picture: SANavy

Six ships of the South African Navy are beginning to assemble in Durban harbour for next week’s Armed Forces Day, which is commemorated annually on 21 February.

This is the anniversary of the sinking of SS MENDI in the English Channel on that day in 1917, resulting on the deaths of over 600 men of the SA Native Labour Corps who were en route to France. Another 200 men survived and were picked up by an accompanying escort destroyer. The event has in recent years assumed greater significance in South Africa’s history, being that the deaths of so many black soldiers had been largely overlooked.

This year’s commemoration takes on added importance being 100 years since the sinking took place. The Armed Forces Day is a fairly recent annual event that is held in different parts of the country and this year happens to be Durban’s turn. Military demonstrations, marching and bands playing will be staged over the coming weekend with the main event to be held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday 21 February.

Prior to this event a laying of a wreath will take place on Festival Island next to the Durban Maritime Museum at around 08h00. The memorial that has just been erected under the auspices of the Durban Local History Museums consists of a large stone, the Mendi Stone, which has been engraved on top with an image of SS Mendi and suitable wording in Zulu and English describing the event. President Jacob Zuma will perform the wreath-laying.

The Mendi Stone is symbolic by way of coming out of the soil of Africa, just as those brave soldiers were themselves all from the soil of Africa.

SAS Queen Modjadji II. Picture by Steve McCurrach

Meanwhile, six ships of the navy will be on display and UPDATE open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, 18 – 19 February from 09h00 until 15h00.

The ships so far identified are the combat support ship SAS DRAKENSBERG, the hydrographic survey vessel SAS PROTEA, the patrol ship SAS GALASHEWE, the submarine SAS QUEEN MODJADJI II, a frigate and a mine counter measures vessel. They are being berthed at the Point Docks at B and C Sheds – access will be from the end of Mahatma Gandhi Road (Point Road).

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Justice Manqele

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has announced the appointment of several new heads of engineering at their Eastern Cape Region.

Justice Manqele, who is promoted to the position of Senior Engineer for Port Elizabeth Container Terminal (PECT) in the Eastern Cape, has been on an 21 year journey with Transnet in the engineering field. From 1995 he has worked his way from being a junior to holding the positions of Technical Manager, Imports Manager and Projects Engineer/Manager.

From 2007 until 2011 he joined the private sector where he gained most of his project and construction management skills. Rejoining Transnet in 2011 as the Technical Manager at the Ngqura Container Terminal, he later relocated to Port Elizabeth Multipurpose Terminal in 2013 in the same role. Manqele holds a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering and Specialist Project Management and is still furthering his studies in the field of Engineering.

Other new appointments within the TPT Eastern Cape fold include Jaco Meyer who has been appointed as the Technical Manager at PECT, where his role will include leading the PECT technical teams, maintenance of PECT equipment and managing projects related to the terminal.

A third new appointment is Linamandla Busakwe, who has been appointed by TPT as the Technical Manager for East London Terminal. His role at the East London terminal as the Technical Manager will include balancing the managing of technical processes and teams along with using his technical skills to provide the necessary environment for project success within the terminal.

“Employees like Justice Manqele remind us how important it is to invest time and resources into the development and growth of our staff,” said Siya Mhlaluka, General Manager of TPT Eastern Cape. “He has worked his way from a junior engineer into his recently promoted senior position and we look forward to seeing his further growth within the company.”

He said that Manqele, Meyer and Busakwe’s skills and expertise will prove them to be great assets to the TPT Eastern Cape team and the company as a whole.

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storm position yesterday

Last night Mozambique was bracing itself for the arrival onshore of Cyclone Dineo, which was then being classed as a category four cyclone.

The tropical storm, which developed higher up the Mozambique Channel and gathered strength as it moved slowly south-westwards down the channel until late on Tuesday night when it began to veer westward towards the coast opposite Inhambane in central Mozambique.

Weather forecasters expect the cyclone to intensify just before striking the coast and as it begins to move inland, to lose some of its strength but still be able to dump large volumes of water onto the low-lying country of the Limpopo valley which is so prone to flooding. Heavy rain is also expected to fall in the Kruger National Park in South Africa and across eastern Limpopo and most of Mpumalanga provinces, as well as Swaziland and northern KZN and Zululand. Visitors to the Kruger Park are being advised to remain in camp once it starts raining. The storm will however be losing intensity as it moves further inland, being starved of its supply of warm seawater in the Mozambique Channel.

The rains over South Africa are expected later today (Thursday) across the Lowveld. Disaster management teams are on alert in the affected provinces, while in Mozambique authorities were taking what steps were possible ahead of the cyclone coming ashore.

SA Weather said in a report yesterday that while Dineo was likely to reach Tropical Cyclone intensity during the day (Wednesday), the projected maximum strength of surface winds associated with the system will be 70 knots, or about 130km/h. “Whilst this wind strength is somewhat weaker than the earlier estimate of 160 to 170km/h, this is still a formidable storm system which has the potential to cause much damage to coastal and inland infrastructure.”

The forecast said that an obvious concern was for communities in southern Mozambique which faced heavy or torrential rain resulting in widespread flooding. “Sea conditions along the southern Mozambican coast are forecast to be very rough, of the order of 6 to 8 metres, while the additional threat of marine storm surge will be particularly pronounced on the forward flank (south-western) side of the system (due to the combined effect of storm motion as well as winds swirling clockwise around the system).”

The coastline north of Xai-Xai is particularly vulnerable to storm surge, said SA Weather. It said that during the day today (16 February), Dineo can be expected to migrate due west along 23 degrees south latitude, still as a significant rain-bearing system but starting to weaken significantly. Notwithstanding this, it is expected that much of southern Mozambique can expect very heavy rainfall, most likely in the region of 100 to 200mm per day (or even more).

“Bearing in mind that the lower portion of the Limpopo River flows directly through the Mozambican region that is most likely to be severely affected, this compounds the risk of flooding for communities which may possibly be displaced by this event.”

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Messina Line’s Jolly Diamante.  Picture by Trevor Jones

Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is reported to be in talks with Genoa-based Italian shipping company Ignazio Messina, which operates a fleet of Ro-Ro container ships including between Italy, southern Europe and East and South Africa.

The world’s container lines have been manoeuvring to bring about further consolidation of services as they seek ways of reducing costs and economies of scale. Nevertheless, a merger or even a stake in Messina Line by the world’s second largest container line, comes as a little surprising.

This is particularly so given that until now MSC has grown to its current position through organic growth and not through mergers and take-overs. Thus a deal with Messina Line may appear a little surprising.

MSC Flaminia. Picture by Ian Shiffman

MSC said in Geneva that it held a meeting in Genoa with Messina and funding bank Banca Carige.

“The aim of the meeting was the possibility of an entry by MSC Group into the shareholding of the Genoa-based group. MSC Group and Gruppo Messina, thanks to the availability shown by Banca Carige, will continue their dialogue with the objective to reach an agreement between them,” MSC said in a statement.

The announcement followed the revelation this week that Carige was reporting a US$314 million loss for 2016, as a result of loan write-downs. Carige is understood to be Messina’s main financier.

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[4:17] Watch video (YouTube)

This incident happened in New Zealand’s Timaru Harbour at the recent weekend, when the luxury cruise ship, the 40,350-gt SEABOURN ENCORE was making a special visit.

The cruise ship is on her maiden voyages around New Zealand, having been launched only in November 2016. What went wrong as seen in the video is not clear, except that she broke her moorings and began to drift across the narrow waterway towards another vessel, the New Zealand-flagged 8,465-dwt cement carrier, MILBURN CARRIER II.

Both ships received some damage from the collision although it appeared minor. There were no injuries, except maybe to pride. A Seabourn spokesman put on a brave face when he told New Zealand Radio later that the Seabourn Encore remained fully seaworthy, had been inspected by New Zealand maritime authorities and was able to sail again later that night on schedule. The ship’s next call was at Akaroa near Christchurch, not far from where Milburn Carrier II is registered in Lyttelton, Christchurch’s port.

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Schoonhoven ferries. Picture: Joop van Houdt Luchtfotografie

Green Award, the quality certificate for ships that meet above-industry standards, is now available for inland passenger vessels.

Established in 1994 as a certification scheme for sea-going oil tankers, Green Award has grown to a world-wide recognised quality assessment organisation accepting 5 types of sea-going ships and with incentive providers all over the world. In 2011 the foundation introduced a certificate for inland freight vessels. The program has proved to be an enormous success with over 590 European inland barges currently certified and many ports and commercial organisations supporting Green Award fleet with significant discounts.

From this year, advantages of the Green Award certificate are available for inland waterways passenger vessels. Ferries, river cruise ships and day cruisers are eligible for the certification. The requirements for passenger ships are similar to the requirements for freight inland vessels with focus on the safety and environmental aspects. If a ship has hotel and catering facilities on board, then a Green Key certificate with at least the bronze level is required.

In the pilot phase Green Award tested the requirements and inspected the ferry SCHOONHOVEN and the day cruise boat ‘Z8’. Both vessels have successfully passed the inspection and obtained the Green Award certificate. The Green Award certificate proves that ships apply the best practices and minimise their environmental impact.

Since Green Award certificate implies that the ship’s owner is socially responsible, there is significant interest from ports and companies to become incentive providers for inland passenger vessels. Green Award is currently is contact with several interested parties and incentives for this new category of ships are expected to be announced in 2017.

Z8 Zilvermeeuw

About Green Award

The Green Award foundation was established in 1994. Green Award is a global, independent, non-for-profit quality assurance organisation that works by certifying ship managers and vessels that go beyond the industry standards in terms of safety, quality and environmental performance. The scheme is open for sea-going oil and chemical tankers, bulk carriers, LNG and LPG carriers, container carriers and inland navigation barges.

The essential of Green Award is that it covers a wide range of aspects related to safety quality and the environment. Green Award brings together high quality ships, maritime service providers and ports that want to improve safety, attract quality ships and reduce environmental and safety risks. In fact Green Award acts as the platform for the industry cooperation. Green Award incentive providers (ports and maritime service providers) award ships the highest safety and quality standards of which are confirmed by the Green Award certificate with various benefits such as discounts on the port dues, products and services.

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[8:34] Watch video. Doraleh Multipurpose Port

As reported in africa PORTS & SHIPS yesterday, the Port of Djibouti near the southern entrance to the Red Sea, has announced that the Doraleh Multipurpose Port (DMP) is to be completed next month at a total cost in the region of US$590 million.

DMP will consist of four separate terminals which will handle containers, Ro-Ro traffic, breakbulk cargo and bulk cargo.

The new port has been taking delivery of new infrastructure and equipment including quayside cranes, portal cranes, RMGs and a number of RTGs, all built by Chinese companies. A Chinese company also built the new port which will have 1200 metres of quayside and a depth alongside of between 16 and 18 metres.

The Port of Djibouti sees itself as an extension of China’s One Belt, One Road or ‘Silk Road’ strategy.

The video is provided by the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority.

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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.


The Handysize oil and chemical products tanker ARCHON (50,000-dwt, built 2016) heads out from Durban as the pilot boat waits alongside to take off the marine pilot. Archon is owned and managed by Capital Maritime & Trading of Piraeus, Greece and was built at Geoje in South Korea by Samsung Shipbuilding & Heavy Industries. The ship is registered in Monrovia, Liberia. This picture is by Trevor Jones


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