Maritime News

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


Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return


News continues below


Strange Attractor. picture: Ken Malcolm

The bulk carrier with a ‘different’ name, STRANGE ATTRACTOR (55,742-dwt, built 2006) is seen at the City Terminal (Point) in Durban. Owned and managed by the Greek firm of Star Bulk Shipmanagement, Strange Attractor was built by Mitsui Tamano Engineering & Shipbuilding in Tamano, Japan. This picture is by Ken Malcolm

News continues below


Iris Oldendorff loading at Takoradi. Picture: GPHA

Iris Oldendorf (200 metres loa) at Port of Takoradi’s bulk jetty. Picture kind courtesy of

News was received from Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) on Thursday, 16 February that the Port of Takoradi had received its largest vessel since the port was created in 1928.

It is understood that berthing was made possible by lengthening of the bulk jetty. Port of Takoradi’s Public Affairs and Marketing Manager, Peter Armoo Bediako, said that as the first 200 metres of the intended 800 metres of the bulk jetty had been completed Takoradi Port was able to berth two large vessels namely mv Josco Fuzhou (197 metres loa) and mv Iris Oldendorf (200 metres loa).

Prior to the port’s expansion project berthed vessels could only load up to 35,000 tonnes and now this capability has increased to 150,000 tonnes of cargo.

Bediako stated that Iris Oldendorf was currently loading 63,000 metric tonnes of bauxite bound for the People’s Republic of China.

Expansion of the port which began in November 2014 is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 to permit larger volumes of import and export cargoes to be handled.

Bediako said of this port expansion: “…it will allow for bigger vessels to call at the port, it will allow for more cargo to be loaded and more imports of bulk or clinker to be brought into the country. More bauxite and manganese could be loaded, and more quick lime. It will impact positively in our revenue stream not only for GPHA but also for Ghana as a whole.”

Finally, it is understood that the project when complete will make Takoradi the deepest draft port in the sub-region. It will also be equipped with a conveyor belt system for rapid handling of bulk cargoes.

About Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA)

GPHA is a Statutory Corporation established under Ghana’s Provisional National Defence Council Law (PNDCL 160) of 1986 to build, plan, develop, manage, maintain, operate and control ports in Ghana.

The statutory functions of the GPHA may be summarised as follows:

  • Ownership, administration and regulation of the port estates
  • Planning the use of port lands
  • Planning, development and maintenance of port infrastructure and superstructure
  • Granting of concessions and licences to private port operators
  • Licensing of small craft to operate in the ports
  • Operation and management of port facilities
  • Provision of marine (vessel handling) services – viz. pilotage, towage, mooring and unmooring, salvage
  • Provision of cargo handling services – viz. stevedoring, receipt, storage and delivery of consignments
  • Supply of fresh water and electric power to vessels, tenants, etc.
  • Regulation of port operations and the use of the ports
  • Environmental management, port security, property protection and emergency preparedness and response
  • Setting and administration of port tariffs

Ghana Ports handbook is available by CLICKING HERE

Paul Ridgway

News continues below


SAS Spioenkop. Picture: Keith Betts

SAS Spioenkop F147 arrives in Durban to take part in the annual Armed Forces Day. Another frigate, SAS Amatola F145 is currently in the English Channel to pay homage at the place where the troopship SS Mendi was accidently rammed and sunk, with heavy loss of South African lives on this day in 1917. This picture is by Keith Betts

South Africans are in for a treat today (Tuesday) as they will celebrate Armed Forces Day with the South African Defence Force (SANDF) who will display their fire power and equipment for all to see, reports

A full mechanised parade of 300 military vehicles including tanks and 4000 soldiers from SANDF will take part in a parade at Moses Mabhida Stadium, in Durban, from 10am until 2pm.

Armed Forces Day is commemorated on 21 February, a day that coincides with the commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi in 1917, during World War One.

As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces President Jacob Zuma will officiate at the 6th Armed Forces Day celebrations.

In a build-up to the main event on Tuesday, Durban has been host to many events from 16 February.

From 16 – 21 February, a Fan Park at the old Durban Drive-in site has been set up. From 8am to 4pm daily there has been an expo by the army, air force, navy, medics and military police.

At the weekend South Africans enjoyed the opportunity of the Naval Ship Open Day Berth A and B. The navy ships in port were two offshore patrol vessels, the submarine SAS Modjadji, the frigate SAS Spioenkop, the combat support ship SAS Drakensberg and the hydrographic survey ship SAS Protea.

Yesterday, people in Durban could watch a Capability Demonstration by the SANDF at Blue Lagoon (Umgeni River Mouth). Firing of tracer rounds by specialised military weapons and small vehicles were on show with a test from 3pm to 4:30pm. The main event was from 7:30pm to 9pm.

This morning President Jacob Zuma will lay a wreath at the Mendi Stone memorial in Festival Park, which is next to the Durban Maritime Museum and overlooks Durban Bay. The Mendi Stone memorial is the country’s latest memorial to the SS Mendi and the men who sailed on her and has been created by a small group on behalf of the Local History Museum in Durban.

As the build-up celebration gained momentum, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure was well in place to ensure that scores of people attending the event feel safe.

Members of the security forces including the SAPS and Metro Police were out on full force since the week before.

Road closures and diversions

To ensure a smooth running of the event today, motorists are urged to pay attention to the closure and partial closure of roads and diversion of traffic.

Umgeni Road south bound (going into town) will be down to one lane from Goble Road at 5am. Traffic will be diverted. Umgeni Road will be open again at 1pm.

NMR Ave will be closed from 8am at Blue Lagoon Engen (Athlone Drive). Traffic will be diverted to the M4 for access to the city. NMR Ave will be open again at 3pm.

Argyle Road will be open until 10am. Argyle will be closed at Stanger Street and at Stamford Hill Road. Argyle Road will be open again at midday.

Access to Walter Gilbert (MMS), Kings Park, (Virgin Active) will be from Umgeni Road only until 10am and again at midday.

Snell Parade from Sun Coast Casino to Blue Lagoon will be closed from 10am in both directions. Snell Parade will be open at 4pm.

Motorists who don’t necessarily need to be in this area today are urged to steer clear to help avoid traffic congestion.

SAS Amatola

Meanwhile, in the English Channel the South African frigate SAS AMATOLA will be laying a wreath over the place where the troopship SS MENDI was sunk exactly one hundred years earlier, leading to the loss of over 600 soldiers, mostly from the South Africa Native Labour Corps.

A special commemorative service took place in Southampton yesterday at a cemetery where many of the soldiers whose bodies were recovered, lie buried.

News continues below


Picture: YouTube

President Paul Kagame last week visited the newly operational One Stop Border Post (OSBP) facilities at Kagitumba, Nyagatare district at the border between Rwanda and Uganda, reports TradeMark East Africa (TMEA).

The OSBP started operations in December 2015 and has already resulted in a 25% reduction in clearing time from 5 hours to 3.45 hours. TMEA with Support from UKAID and the Canadian government funded the facility. The visit was part of President Kagame’s trip to Nyagatare district.

An OSBP is a ‘one stop’ form of border crossing point jointly managed by neighbouring countries, with officials from host and neighbouring country sitting under one roof on either side of the border. This allows border users to stop only once at the country of destination, where their travel or other documents are stamped both exit (from country of origin official) and entry (by country of destination official) at the same time, thus the ‘One Stop’. This eliminates double clearing and enables cross border trade documentation to be done on the border side of destination thus reducing time it takes to cross border.

A survey commissioned by TMEA in March 2016 established that total clearing time at the border already reduced by 25% from 5 hours to 3:45 hours within 3 months of operation. Time reductions are estimated to hit 30% by June 2017. Further, various initiatives are being undertaken to popularise the border crossing to attract 60% of Northern Corridor.

To improve physical connectivity, two bridges were constructed with one serving cargo and passengers going to Uganda and the second serving those entering Rwanda. Accessibility from the border point into Uganda will become easier once a 37km Ntungamo-Mirama Hills bitumen road is completed in April 2017.

The Ntungamo-Mirama Hills route is a natural preference as it offers a shorter and less difficult way from Rwanda to Kampala. It is also a principal route connecting Kigali to Burundi, and DRC along the Northern Corridor, offering a shorter distance to Rwanda in comparison to other road networks along the same corridor.

Construction and operationalisation of the OSBP complements several regional and national trade facilitation projects undertaken by the Government of Rwanda and its development partner TMEA. These initiatives including the Rwanda Electronic Single Window, modernisation of Rwanda Standards Board laboratories and automation of key trade processes all aim to improve the ease of doing business in the country and trading across borders.

News continues below


Map: Offshore Technology

Total E&P Angola added about 35 million barrels or 30,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) to production of the Dália field, with the launch of production in the third week of January 2017 of the ‘Dália Phase 2A’ project, Angolan oil company Sonangol said in a statement issued in Luanda, as reported by Macauhub.

The ‘Dália Phase 2A’ comprises four filling wells connected to an existing Floating Production Storage and Offloading Unit – the FPSO Dália.

Total E&P Angola is the operator of Block 17 with a 40% stake, and its partners are Statoil with 23.33%, Esso Exploration Angola (Block 17) Limited with 20% and BP Exploration (Angola) Ltd with 16.67% and Sonangol with the remaining 40%.

Block 17 is located in the Congo Basin and is part of the deep water blocks, and exploratory activity resulted in 17 commercial discoveries and two dry wells.

This block also includes the Girassol field, the largest discovery of oil reserves in the history of Total E&P Angola.

News continues below


Tracking Cyclone Dineo across southern Africa 17 February 2017. Image: NASA

Devastating. That’s the only way to describe tropical Cyclone Dineo, which rocked Inhambane province in Mozambique on Thursday and Friday last week, reports the Mozambique newspaper O País.

Dineo’s position on 15 February 2017

The winds were merciless and battered everything in their path. Homes, electric poles, publicity panels and billboards, everything. Much of the public infrastructure, mainly education and health, has been partially or totally destroyed. As a result, 1,687 classrooms were damaged, affecting a total of 160,000 students and 5,500 teachers, and 70 health units were destroyed in twelve districts.

In all, 652,684 people were affected, corresponding to 130,538 families, in the districts of Funhalouro, Homoíne, Inharrime, Jangamo, Mabote, Massinga, Morrumbene, Panda, Vilankulo, Zavala, Inhambane and Maxixe.

The cyclone also devastated 29,173 hectares of maize, nhemba beans, cassava, vegetable plantations and fruit trees, a situation catastrophic to the hopes of the population.

The provincial government has announced that, with the support of the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC), the process of assisting the most vulnerable families has begun.

The seriousness of the situation has left families needing support of every kind; what took years to build disappeared from one day to the next.

Maxixe – Inhambane City crossing

The wharf on the Maxixe side of the crossing fell victim to tropical storm Dineo and collapsed. As a consequence, boats cannot dock there properly, causing passengers difficulties. In order not to run aground, the boats can only get to about a metre from the landing. From there, young people who see an opportunity to make money step into the breach, carrying passengers ashore by brute strength. And because the demand is great, so is the price – 10 meticais, or the same as the crossing itself.

But if, on the one hand, the crisis has become an opportunity for these young men – mostly seamen who have lost their boats – on the other, to the users it represents a loss because their costs have increased. source: O País

News continues below


By Carl Bildt
Sweden’s foreign minister from 2006 to 2014 and Prime Minister from 1991 to 1994, when he negotiated Sweden’s EU accession.

I must confess that I am a firm believer in the benefits of globalisation. To my mind, the gradual interlinking of regions, countries, and people is the most profoundly positive development of our time.

But a populist has now assumed the United States presidency by campaigning on a platform of stark economic nationalism and protectionism. And in many countries, public discourse is dominated by talk of globalisation’s alleged ‘losers,’ and the perceived need for new policies to stem the rise of populist discontent.

When I was born, the world’s population was 2.5 billion. I vividly recall a time in my life when many people feared that starvation would soon run rampant, gaps between the rich and poor would grow ever wider, and everything would eventually come crashing down.

We now live in a world with 7.5 billion people, and yet the share of people living in absolute poverty has declined rapidly, while the gap between rich and poor countries has steadily closed. Around the world, average life expectancy has increased from 48 to 71 years – albeit with significant differences between countries – and overall per capita income has grown by 500%.

Just looking back at the last 25 years, one could argue that humanity has had its best quarter-century ever. Since 1990, the share of people living in extreme poverty in the developing world has fallen from 47% to 14%, and child mortality – a critical indicator – has been halved. The world has never seen anything like this before.

A similarly bright picture emerges from other indicators. Fewer people are dying on battlefields than during previous periods for which we have data; and, at least until a few years ago, the share of people living under more or less representative governments was gradually increasing.

This spectacular progress has been driven partly by advances in science and technology. But it owes at least as much to increased economic interaction through trade and investment, and to the overarching liberal order that has enabled these positive developments. In short, globalisation has been the single most important force behind decades of progress.

These days, trade is often wrongly blamed for shuttering factories and displacing workers in developed countries. But, in reality, the disappearance of older industries stems primarily from new technologies that have improved productivity and expanded the wealth of our societies. Likewise, rising inequality, real or imagined, has far more to do with technology than with trade.

To be sure, there are not as many farmers today as in past decades or centuries; Lancashire’s cotton mills, Pittsburgh’s steel plants, and Duisburg’s coal mines have closed; and there are far fewer workers in Northern Sweden’s vast forests. The children of those employed in these industries now often head for the lights of rapidly expanding cities, where they fill jobs that could scarcely have been imagined just a few decades ago.

For most people around the world, life before globalisation was poor, brutal, and short. And yet today’s anti-globalists have turned nostalgia into a rallying cry. They want to make America – or Russia, or Islam – “great again.” Each may be rallying against the others; but all are rallying against globalisation.

Economic conditions were certainly less favourable in the years following the 2008 financial crisis, but now employment and economic growth are rebounding pretty much everywhere. Real (inflation-adjusted) GDP has been rising for 15 consecutive quarters in the eurozone, and all European Union economies are expected to grow in the next few years. Meanwhile, the US economy is already doing well – unemployment is below 5% and real incomes are rising.

Of course, many societies are undeniably experiencing a growing sense of cultural insecurity, not least because many people have been led to believe that external forces such as migration are eroding traditional sources of peace and stability. They are told that a return to tribalism in one form or another is a readily available coping mechanism. Their mythical tribe was great in some mythical past, so why not try to recreate it?

Such thinking poses a serious threat to the world’s most vulnerable people. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to eliminate extreme poverty worldwide by 2030 is entirely dependent on continued economic growth through trade, technological innovation, and international cooperation. Erecting trade barriers, engaging in digital mercantilism, and generally undermining the liberal world order will severely harm the extreme poor in Africa and other underdeveloped regions, while doing nothing to help coal miners in West Virginia.

The strong will always manage, but the weak will bear the burden of a nostalgic protectionism that erodes the benefits of globalisation. At the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping was the one extolling the virtues of globalisation, while many Western business leaders wandered the halls trying to sound concerned for the supposed losers of the process.

The communists are keeping the globalisation faith; but the capitalists seem to have lost theirs. This is bizarre – and entirely out of sync with past performance and current facts. We have every reason to be confident in a process that has delivered more prosperity to more people than anyone could have dreamed of just a few decades ago. We must not be shy in defending globalisation and combating reactionary nostalgia.

We can have a brighter future – but only if we don’t seek it in the past. [source: Project Syndicate]

News continues below


By Eric Grundhauser (Atlas Obscura)

In 1922, Russia exiled hundreds of academics and journalists on “Philosophers’ Ships” to make way for the Soviet Union.
The Oberburgermeister Haken was one of two ships to carry intellectuals from the early USSR in 1922. Credit: Magnus Manske/Public Domain

The USSR was first established in December of 1922, but months earlier, the new nation’s future leaders ordered the deportation of a large number of Russian intellectuals.

The idea to exile the ideological opponents of the new Soviet state had come from Vladimir Lenin himself. In May of 1922, Lenin sent a letter to the head of the GPU, the state security organisation in charge of, among other things, dealing with dissidents and enemies of the Soviet state. The letter ordered the director, Felix Dzerzhinsky, to organise teams to research the backgrounds and political leanings of academics and writers. Dzerzhinsky, a loyal Bolshevik, set to work and established a pair of committees, one to create a list of troublesome professors, and another to focus on students.

By mid-August, the individuals targeted by the GPU began to be arrested under the auspices of anti-Soviet activity. Prominent among them was the Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev, but the arrests targeted a wide array of thinkers, including “philosophers, economists, sociologists, scientists, journalists and other intellectuals.” The majority of those singled out by the GPU were not active counter-revolutionaries, but people who had intellectual differences with the Bolsheviks’ government plan.

Berdyaev, for instance, was a Christian philosopher. An anti-authoritarian in general, he did not believe that Communism was compatible with a truly equal society. Boris Brutskus, an economist, had been vocal in his belief that the proposed economic structure of the USSR would fail. Yuly Aykhenvald, a literary critic, had been critical of Leon Trotsky.

As Leslie Chamberlain notes in her seminal book about this event, Lenin’s Private War: The Voyage of the Philosophy Steamer and the Exile of the Intelligentsia, the only “crime” any of the deportees had committed was to refuse to let go of their closely held beliefs. “These thinkers clashed with Lenin and in an instant lost their homeland,” she writes.

On September 28, 1922, loaded with its cargo of exiled thinkers and their families, the ship Oberbürgermeister Haken disembarked for Germany. And in November of that year, a second German vessel, the Preussen, carried yet more deported thinkers to Germany as well. All told, some 220 prominent intellectuals were forcibly removed from Russia before the official establishment of the Soviet Union.

Those who were deported on what are now remembered as the “Philosophers’ Ships” had lost the homeland they had spent their lives trying to improve. Some, such as Berdyaev, who along with some fellow exiles started a philosophical academy, were able to continue their intellectual careers in Europe. Others were not so lucky, falling into poverty and destitution.

At the time, the Philosophers’ Ships were portrayed by the Soviet Union as a peaceful, humane answer to dealing with problematic dissidents. On the rare occasions when this mass deportation is remembered today, it’s often as just another blip in the rise of totalitarianism in Russia. The reality is that it signalled a clear shift toward enforced anti-intellectualism.

News continues below


Request a Rate Card from


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.

News continues below


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 mail and supply ship ST HELENA makes another departure from Cape Town on Monday last week, bound for St Helena and Ascension islands, both off the west coast of Africa in the South Atlantic. RMS St Helena, to grant her the prefix afforded to the last of the Royal Mail Ships, is on an extended contract after problems with wind sheer prevented full commercial flights to St Helena’s new airport. How long this ship will continue with this service is not clear at this time. These pictures were taken by Trevor Jones

In related news, the mailship has a new captain – St Helenian Adam Williams, who previously served as Chief Officer on the ship. Capt Williams was promoted to master of St Helena during her previous voyage. He began his career at sea on RMS St Helena as a 16-year old cadet, before leaving the ship to attend college in South Tyneside in 1998. Following that he served on a variety of ships, including QE2 before rejoining St Helena Line as 3rd Officer in 2001. After being promoted to 2nd Officer in 2003 he gained his 1st Mates certificate and was made permanent Chief Officer on the ship in 2007. His Master Mariner certification was obtained in December 2009. Source: St Helena Line


For a Rate Card please contact us at

Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome. Email to

Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.
Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.P O BOX 809, CAPE TOWN, 8000, SOUTH AFRICA