Wednesday’s Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

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Baltic Pride. Picture: Trevor Jones

The majority of reefer (refrigerated) ships used to be graceful, good looking ships that appealed to the eye and which seemed to come from a period when the aesthetic value of a ship seemed to have some meaning to both the ship’s designer and owner. A lot of the reefer ships were ‘cast downs’ having evolved from general cargo work before being converted for the trade of moving temperature controlled cargo. Standing on one of the breakwaters of a harbour entrance, the arrival or departure of a reefer ship was always something to be savoured and enjoyed. Sadly, with the retiring of that earlier generation of ships, their successors cannot be said to have quite the same appeal, being more boxlike in construction, with practicality and square corners taking the place of curves and shape (we are talking here of ships, by the way). The 150-metre long, 22m wide Liberian-flagged BALTIC PRIDE (10,695-dwt, built 1989) is an example of the modern reefer – probably a most efficient ship and not bad looking in its own way, but also not quite so appealing. The picture is by Trevor Jones

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Aris 13. Picture: Shipspotting

A small tanker type vessel named ARIS 13 has been reportedly highjacked by Somali ‘pirates’ and taken to an anchorage on the Puntland coast, according to Somali radio reports.

Details are sketchy but it appears the vessel is flying the flag of the United Arab Emirates and has on board a crew cosnsisting of eight Sri Lankans seafarers.

The ship was boarded on Monday this week by [restrict] eight men in two skiffs who claimed they are fishermen who are responding to the vessel spilling waste a few kilometres off the coast of the Alula district near the town of Ras Asayr.

Refusing to describe themselves as pirates the men say they are ordinary fishermen who took action against the tanker polluting their fishing grounds. “We were fishing and then we saw the vessel spilling waste in the sea which reached our coast” one of the men told a local radio service. “We are protecting our territorial waters from the international ships and dumping the toxic wastes on our coast.”

They described the spill as toxic waste.

Security people operating in the region refute these claims saying that piracy has never gone away and that the pirates are simply biding their time while engaged in other criminal activity.

Meanwhile, the fishermen/pirates are reported to be preventing the ship and crew from sailing away but additional armed men have since boarded the tanker at anchor off the coast.

It appears the Aris 13 was on a scheduled voyage from Djibouti to Mogadishu to deliver fuel.

Piracy has been lacking off the Somali coast for almost three years, although isolated reports are received of suspicious skiffs approaching and chasing merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden. However, there have been a few cases where foreign fishing vessels have been attacked and seized – one was an Iranian fishing vessel and another a vessel from Yemen.

This modern form of piracy off the Somali coast developed in the late 1990s and early 2000s and was initially targeted at foreign fishing vessels and ships that the Somali fishermen accused of dumping waste and toxic substances in the sea near the Somali coast. Things escalated from there with highjacking of merchant ships sailing near the coast and then further afield, as true piracy took over with criminal elements in Somali, in Europe and Pakistan and the Emirates all playing a part.

At its height hundreds of millions of dollars – some reports say billions – was paid out by ship owners and operators to have their vessels and crew released, with some of the negotiations taking months and even years to conclude. The real victims were the ordinary ships’ crew – more than a thousand all told – who were pawns in the hands of those involved. Some seafarers were simply abandoned by their shop owners/operators and left as captives for years at a time, with many men dying in captivity.

This piracy was brought under control only after the intervention of armed guards on ships and the ever presence of naval ships from numerous nations who provided escort and other guarding or reaction duties.[/restrict]

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Macauhub reports that the Portuguese construction group Mota-Engil has been hired to build a railroad between Moatize in Tete province and Macuse on the Zambezia province coast, where a deep-water port will be built for the export of coal.

The announcement was made by the president of the Zambezi Integrated Development Corridor (Codiza) in conversation with Radio Mozambique.

According to Abdul Carino, the international tender attracted six bids, and all that was left to do was sign the contract for the company to start work, “as the cost of the work was set at US$2.3 billion.”

Carino was speaking in Quelimane, the capital of Zambezia province.

Mozambican news agency AIM reported that interest in the project came from China, Turkey, Brazil, Portugal and South Korea.

The line between Moatize and the port of Macuse, located north of Quelimane, will be between 480 and 500 kilometres long and the port should be capable of [restrict] receiving ships of up to 80,000 ton deadweight, making Macuse more competitive than the port of Beira where draught limitations prevent larger ships from loading coal in the port.

Instead, at Beira two bulkers are used to tranship coal from the port’s coal terminal to waiting vessels outside.

In 2016 Carimo said this line would be an outlet for the coal mined by four Indian companies and used for power production in India.

The big difference between the Sena railroad feeding Beira, which is currently operational, and the future Macuse railroad is that while the former mainly exports coking coal to supply steel mills the latter will carry thermal coal.

The Macuse project is 60% owned by the Italian-Thai Development Company Limited operating as Thai Moçambique Logística, 20% by Mozambican state port and rail company CFM and the remaining 20% by the Integrated Zambezi Development Corridor. source: macauhub[/restrict]

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Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) is to re-introduce a container appointment system which aims at tackling congestion issues and improving operational performances at the Durban Container Terminal.

This follows a stakeholder engagement session held earlier in March involving both the landside and maritime transport sectors.

The container appointment system will address challenges over truck and container transactions that are not spread evenly over a seven day week, resulting in some days of the week being highly pressurised when compared to others. The consequence of the pressurised days is longer truck turnaround times and ultimately congestion in the surrounding roads leading to the port.

According to Julani Dube, TPT’s General Manager Operations: KZN Containers, the proposed goal is [restrict] to achieve a 35 minute truck turnaround time (gate-in to gate-out), with zero percent staging time.

“We have done the necessary research and tracked all movements and transactions over the past year to know where the problems are and what is realistically achievable if we get the necessary buy-in from stakeholders to implement the container appointment system,” he said.

Bayhead Road congestion. Picture: Terry Hutson

“Our engagement session held at DCT was to identify any additional concerns raised by transporters about the implementation of this system so we could factor these in and ensure a smooth roll-out. We intend to go live with a pilot of the system on 1 April 2017 at DCT Pier 2.”

The benefits to introducing the container appointment system include:
* a more structured operation,
* fluidity of the terminal/staging area,
* better utilisation of terminal resources for the benefit of all users,
* volume smoothing, improvement of safety and minimising fatigue,
* a stop to the ongoing allegation of bribery,
* minimising of industry frustration,
* reduction of Bayhead road congestion, and
* saving of costs for all parties.

Concerns were raised by stakeholders about a lack of resources and equipment that would impact on the success of the container appointment system. TPT management said the issues raised would be included in creating a workable and viable solution and a further follow-up session would be scheduled ahead of the pilot being system launched.[/restrict]

The scheduled go lives dates are:

DCT 2 – 1 April 2017
DCT 1 – 1 June 2017

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Images: Bolloré Ports ( )©.

It was announced by Bolloré Ports Congo on 10 March that 70 gantry crane operators were recruited in the first half of 2016. Nine of them became the first female RTG (rubber tyred gantry) operators in the Republic of the Congo.

It is understood that they have graduated, are smart, meticulous and have immediately demonstrated remarkable professionalism.

At an altitude of 50 metres above the wharf the nine operators of portals of Congo Terminal are at the heart of port activity. At the controls of these 1200 tonnes machines, they handle an ever-increasing number of containers.

In November 2016, seven of these nine operators, who already had [restrict] experience on RTGs, were qualified to undertake training of operators of STSs, (ship-to-shore gantries).

Thanks to the support of the training centre of Bolloré Ports in Abidjan and partnership with the GMP company of Le Havre, staff received an initial training of two weeks on a simulator in France. Their apprenticeship was then completed and finalised on site and in operations at the port of Pointe Noire.

Employees are trained on state-of-the-art equipment, with the latest technologies. This demands a high level of technical competence in its operation.

By having its staff trained in France, Congo Terminal has shown its objectives of development and modernisation.

Bolloré Ports’ investment has seen reconstruction and extension of the wharf, with purchase of six STS and sixteen RTG. Thanks to this support, Port of Pointe-Noire has become in eight years, an example of success in Central Africa with currently nearly 600,000 TEU handled each year.

At the end of October last two new STS gantries were taken delivery of for Congo Terminal, a subsidiary of Bolloré Ports in the Republic of Congo. Able to load and discharge vessels with a capacity of 16,000 TEU, the new STSs, added to the four existing gantries, will significantly improve productivity at the Port Autonome de Pointe-Noire.

Since 2009, Bolloré Ports has invested substantially to make Congo Terminal into a modern, highly-efficient platform. This investment has focused on deepening draught and lengthening wharves. By the end of 2016, total available wharf length has been increased to 1.5 km. Congo Terminal has practically doubled its storage areas, now totalling over 32 hectares (79 acres).

With the new infrastructure, Port Autonome de Pointe-Noire now has the capacity to process over 11 million TEU per year, compared with 150,000 in 2009, it has been reported.

Paul Ridgway

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Port of Namibe

Two Russian companies, Fortland Consulting Co and Rail Standard Service, are reported to be ready to invest US$12 billion in Angola to build an oil refinery in the port of Namibe and a rail link connecting the Benguela and Moçâmedes railroads.

Acting on a presidential order, the oil refinery will be capable of processing 400,000 barrels of oil per day once it reaches peak production 11 years after the start of operations.

This is [restrict] the equivalent of almost a quarter of Angola’s current daily oil production.

Angola, showing railways to be linked

The investment also involves building integrated infrastructure to support the project, “namely the construction and management of a residential area for workers’ housing, a dock, power plant and a railway line linking the Moçâmedes Railroad [Namibe] to the Benguela Railroad,” according to the contract with the Private Investment Technical Unit (UTIP).

The project will be implemented by Namref, an investment vehicle set up by the two Russian groups (75% investment by Rail Standard Service and 25% by Fortland Consulting Company) and local partners, as stipulated in the contract, quoted by Portuguese news agency Lusa.

In addition to the licenses and 1000-hectare plot of land, in the contract the Angolan State undertakes to buy between 28,000 barrels of refined oil (in the first phase, within three and a half years) and 364,000 barrels per day (in the final phase within 11 years). source: macauhub[/restrict]

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Manoah Esipisu

The Kenya government says it has plans to revive the Kenya National Shipping Line through its Blue Economy Committee.

State House spokesman, Manoah Esipisu said the State Department of Maritime and Shipping Affairs has plans to restructure the ownership of the KNLS.

Such a move has the potential to contribute Sh304 billion to the country’s economy annually, he said.

According to its website, the KNSL was [restrict] established in late 1988 by the Kenyan Government and operates from its head office in Mombasa. KNSL had been a full member of the East African Conference until its abolition but now operates under a slot charter agreement with Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

The slot service with MSC operates a weekly service between Felixstowe in the UK and East Africa.

Esipisu said the move to revive the shipping line is intended to ‘return Kenya to its historical place as a rich seafaring nation with highly respected seafarers and is expected to create an average of 3,000 job opportunities for youth in the first year, and thereafter progressively increase to 6,000 in five years.’

“Negotiations are at an advanced stage for the exit of foreign shareholders who have expressed desire to cease working with KNLS, due to KNSL having become a parastatal” said Esipisu.

He said that the revival of the the shipping line, which has been dormant for decades, is part of the Jubilee administration’s wider plan to boost the economy of the coast region as well that of the whole country.

“This administration has invested billions of shillings in this region to build or improve security, infrastructure and general service delivery, with the simple goal of uplifting the live of residents in an inclusive way,” said Esipisu. source: The Exchange and KNSL[/restrict]

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Photos: MoD Crown Copyright 2017 ©.

On 9 March the first of the Royal Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) was formally named in Scotland.

The 90 metre loa warship, which will be tasked with vital counter-terrorism, anti-smuggling and maritime defence duties, was named HMS Forth in honour of the famous Scottish river in a ceremony at the BAE Systems Scotstoun shipyard.

Of the River Class Forth will soon depart on sea trials before entering service with the Royal Navy in 2018. She is the first of a fleet of five new Batch 2 OPVs being built on the Clyde which are all expected to be in service by 2021.

The work to build HMS Forth and her sister ships is sustaining around 800 Scottish jobs, as well as the critical skills required to build the Type 26 Global Combat Ships, construction of which will begin at the [restrict] Govan shipyard in the summer of 2017, subject to final contract negotiations.

HMS Forth was named by her Lady Sponsor, Rachel Johnstone-Burt who, in tribute to Scottish shipbuilding and in keeping with naval tradition, broke a bottle of Scotch whisky on the bow.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin, commented: “As part of a sustained programme delivering world-class ships and submarines, HMS Forth’s naming is a vitally important part of the Government’s ten-year £178 billion plan to provide our Armed Forces with the equipment they need.

“From counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean, to securing the UK’s borders on patrols closer to home, the Royal Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessels will help protect our interests around the world.”

HMS Forth, the fifth Royal Navy vessel to bear the name over the past two centuries, is affiliated with the city of Stirling, maintaining a connection which began when the people of the city adopted a previous ship with the name Forth during the Second World War.

Forth is an advanced vessel equipped with a 30mm cannon and flight deck capable of operating a Merlin helicopter. She is manned by a ship’s company of 58 sailors. Displacing around 2,000 tonnes, she has a maximum speed in the region of 24 knots and a range of 5,500 nautical miles.

First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, added: “With the naming of HMS Forth, the Royal Navy looks forward to another impending arrival in our future Fleet. In a few short years, these five Offshore Patrol Vessels will be busy protecting the security of UK waters and those of our overseas territories.

“They are arriving in service alongside a new generation of attack submarines and Fleet tankers, and will be followed shortly by new frigates and other auxiliaries; all of this capability will coalesce around the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers. Together, they form a truly balanced Fleet, able to provide security at sea, promote international partnership, deter aggression and, when required, fight and win.”

The UK Ministry of Defence has invested £648 million in the OPV programme, and its delivery is one of the key commitments laid out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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SAGA VIKING. Picture: courtesy Shipspotting

Norway: Saga Shipholding has completed the installation of Optimarin Ballast Systems (OBS) throughout its entire fleet of 32 advanced open hatch cargo vessels. In doing so, Saga has become the world’s first shipowner to fit ballast water treatment (BWT) systems that are USCG compliant throughout a fleet of this magnitude.

Saga originally chose BWT specialist Optimarin as its supplier of choice in 2011, installing its first system, on-board SAGA FUTURE in 2012. Since that point it has rolled the UV-based and environmentally friendly treatment units out across its fleet, signing the contract for the final installations last May (three 2000 m3 BWT units for newbuilds from Oshima Shipbuilding, Japan).

“We’ve now enjoyed close to five years of reliable, simple and efficient BWT operation,” comments Nils Otto Bjorhovde, Saga Shipholding’s Hong Kong-based Technical Manager.

“Saga prides itself on being a responsible shipowner and we understand that untreated ballast water is a major threat to marine biodiversity. With that in mind we took an early adopter position on BWT, thoroughly researching the segment for a market proven system that would be both effective and future proof in terms of compliance. That way we could deliver optimal value to all our stakeholders on this investment.

“We always knew we’d made the right decision with Optimarin and that was proven when they became the first company to receive USCG approval in December. We’re a global shipping firm, so present and future global BWT compliance is an absolute must to ensure we can be as flexible as our customers’ demands. I’m very satisfied to say we now have that across our entire fleet.”

The final installation was completed on the 47,000 dwt open hatch carrier SAGA VIKING during a scheduled docking in China. This vessel, along with the rest of the Saga fleet, operates with the primary purpose of transporting pulp from South America to markets in Europe and the Far East.

Optimarin CEO Tore Andersen believes that, in addition to his firm’s compliant technology, teamwork is at the heart of the Saga success.

“We’ve been focused on BWT for a very long time now,” he comments, “since we formed the business in Stavanger, Norway in 1994. So, we’ve spent more than 20 years perfecting the system, but also working alongside shipowners like Saga so we fully understand their individual needs and requirements. We see every customer as a partner and that, as shown in this case, is always the best foundation for a strong working relationship.”

He continues: “We appreciate that shipowners want complete peace of mind with BWT – ranging from carefree installation, operation and maintenance, through to compliance with the most stringent global standards. That’s what they want, so that’s what we give them. There’s no one else in the market that can match us in that regard.”

Optimarin’s system has employed the same proven technology since 2012, utilising 35kw UV lamps to eliminate all potentially invasive species carried in vessel ballast water. The firm is now set to become the first to install the necessary USCG software upgrade to existing systems – a process that will roll out throughout Saga’s fleet – ensuring on-going compliant operation for pre-installed units into the future.

“This is a new sector, with new companies and new technology, but we are an established player with proven systems,” Andersen concludes. “By employing this simple upgrade we can ensure that existing systems, bought years ago, are still 100% compliant with the strictest standards in the world. That is the peace of mind Optimarin delivers.”

Optimarin 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 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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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.


APL Santiago. Pictures: Ian Shiffman

The container ship APL SANTIAGO (110,000-dwt, built 2014) in Table Bay outside the Port of Cape Town during last month. The container ship has an overall length of 332 metres, a width of 43m and has a container capacity of 9,200 TEU. The ship was built at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Ltd in South Korea as hull or yard number 4249. APL stands for American President Lines and is a subsidiary of NOL – Neptune Orient Line, which has been taken over in 2016 by the French shipping company CMA CGM. Now there’s enough acronyms to last anyone a while. These pictures are by Ian Shiffman


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