Thursday/Friday’s Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

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MSC Filomena. Pictures: Ken Malcolm

Get a load of that! One of the bigger ships to call at Durban is the 12,562-TEU capacity MSC FILOMENA (153,514-dwt, built 2011), seen departing the port earlier in March, with an impressive cargo of containers filling the ship, although we suspect that quite a number might have been empties. MSC Filomena has an overall length of 366 metres and a beam of 48m. She is owned by German ship owner Doehle Peter Schiffahrts and is of course under charter to Mediterranean Shipping Company. The ship was built at the Samsung Shipbuilding & Heavy industries Co shipyard in South Korea as yard number 1795. This picture is by Ken Malcolm

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Capt. Rufus Lekala

South Africa’s Chief Harbour Master has been suspended, that’s official but with no reason given for this sudden development other than alleged irregularities.

We posed the question earlier this week asking about Captain Rufus Lekala’s whereabouts, as this had taken on the role of a mystery because nobody at Transnet National Ports Authority could answer. Our queries were being deflected on the basis that as Capt Lekala is an executive, no-one below executive level may respond to queries about him.

Well, that has been resolved now, thanks to TNPA chief executive Richard Vallihu, who responded:

“Transnet National Ports Authority can confirm that Chief Harbour Master Rufus Lekala has been placed on precautionary suspension due to alleged irregularities. This is to enable the internal investigation process to reach a fair conclusion.”

The big question now concerns the reason for this sudden development, and to expect an [restrict] official answer to this is perhaps a step too far. The answer will instead come from more discreet enquiries. Or maybe not at all.

In the meantime, Capt Brynn Adamson has assumed the role of acting chief harbour master and is already in that capacity at Durban.

The suspension or sudden dismissal of senior executives at Transnet is unfortunately not something new – even the chief executive of Transnet Group, Siyabonga Gama had to undergo such treatment while he was head of Transnet Freight Rail, although he was later exonerated and reinstated, subsequently being appointed as the head of Transnet Group itself.

Back in December 2006 Durban’s then port manager, Basil Ndlovu was suddenly suspended – months later he left the company. No official explanation was ever forthcoming but an internal letter said he was on indefinite leave. Reports said Ndlovu had acted “outside his level on authority regarding leases and supplies.” Gama was to be accused along similar lines.

Before Ndlovu’s experience another senior officer – Durban’s Harbour Master, the irrepressible Capt Derrick Cooke – was summarily dismissed just a few days before Christmas, as was another senior official, the chief port engineer Pat Raw. Even earlier in 2005 a group of senior Port of Richards Bay managers were suspended – all subsequently left the company.

In the mid 1990s the then Durban port manager, Bax Nomvete came under a cloud of suspicion and there were reports of his and other offices at the Ocean Terminal Building being bugged by persons unknown.

With all this history of intrigue and mystery, what will the end story be concerning Captain Rufus Lekala, South Africa’s first (and youngest) black harbour master? Time may tell. Or maybe it won’t, leaving the memory of the first black captain to fade away just like the others.[/restrict]

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SAS Amatola. Picture: Clinton Wyness

As Denel prepares to revive the Naval Dockyard facilities in Simons Town, the company is collaborating with thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (tkMS) for joint support of the SA Navy frigates and submarines.

Denel, which is a global supplier of world-class defence products and solutions, and tkMS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) this week on board the SAS AMATOLA, in Rostock, Germany.

The cooperation is based on the recognition of the critical importance of the operational availability of the South African Navy Fleet at all times.

Denel’s Maritime division will take responsibility for maintenance and upgrades on [restrict] three Heroine Class submarines (SAS MANTHATISI, SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE AND SAS QUEEN MODJADJI) and four Valour Class Frigates (SAS AMATOLA, SAS ISANDLWANA, SAS SPIOENKOP AND SAS MENDI). The vessels were commissioned by the SA Navy between 2005 and 2008.

The agreement creates a framework in which tkMS, the original manufacturer of the submarines and frigates, will provide technical and shipyard support as subcontractors to Denel. It will include quality assurance and procurement, on-site technical support, the transfer of technology and the development of the local supply chain. The training of Denel’s technical personnel will take place in Germany.

“This is a major breakthrough for the South African maritime sector as Denel becomes responsible for specialist services on some of the world’s most-sophisticated submarines and frigates,” says Zwelakhe Ntshepe, the Acting CEO of Denel.

As the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of the South African Navy (SA Navy) MEKO® A-200 frigates (Valour Class) and the SA Navy 209/1400mod submarines (Heroine Class), tkMS will provide general support with regard to the Dockyard operations, infrastructure, and maintenance. In addition, the company will provide technical support for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of the frigates and submarines in the Dockyard, with all activities focused on ensuring that the SA Navy ships are able to spend maximum time protecting South Africa’s maritime territory.

“These vessels are the sharp end of South Africa’s naval forces and the primary protectors of our coastline against possible intruders and illegal incursions into our territorial waters.

“We are smoothing the waves for the growth of South Africa’s future maritime and shipbuilding industries,” says Ntshepe. “The benefits of this agreement will cascade down into the Simon’s Town community, the Western Cape economy and the entire local defence and technology sectors,” says Ntshepe.

This will be a major boost for Operation Phakisa, government’s broad strategy to develop the ocean economy and unlock the potential of the country’s vast coastline. The experience Denel gains on the pride of South Africa’s naval fleet will soon become available to other state-owned vessels and enable Denel to expand into the commercial sector over the long term. The agreement with tkMS forms part of Denel Maritime’s strategy to establish key strategic alliances in the maritime sector.

“Both tkMS and the South African Navy have demonstrated their confidence in Denel’s ability to look after our country’s most valuable naval assets. We are confident of our ability to take over these responsibilities,” says Ntshepe.[/restrict]

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Port of Ngqura and adjacent IDZ

Eskom and the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) have signed a collaborative agreement on South Africa’s nuclear new build programme.

Signed on Tuesday this week, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will see the two state-owned companies working together in support of government’s plans to build local capacity through supplier development and localisation around the unfolding infrastructure for the nuclear programme.

“We are gearing ourselves up in preparation for the nuclear new build programme in order to deliver the project within the set timelines and budget. We want to ensure that South Africans get reliable, decarbonised baseload power that will bring sustainable economic growth,” said Eskom’s Group Executive for Group Capital, Abram Masango.[restrict]

Masango said it is critical to lay the foundation for local people to participate meaningfully during the various stages of the project by skilling them for jobs as well as business opportunities.

The areas of cooperation covered in the MOU will include, but will not be limited to, the following:

* Project management and implementation services for infrastructure development;

* Skills development and localisation;

* Provision of the requisite skills training for different stages of the project;

* Socio-economic development (SED) studies in relation to the impact of the NNBP; and

* Fitness for duty (FFD) centre processes.

* Stakeholder engagement and communications

The Coega Development Corporation’s Executive Manager of Business Development, Christopher Mashigo said the collaboration with Eskom is aligned with the corporation’s mandate to drive the creation of an industrial complex to promote integration with industry and increase value-added production, while creating employment.

“An integrated energy plan carries with it the potential to catalyse the re-industrialisation of the East Coast Corridor manufacturing economy – translating to a higher and inclusive growth path and job creation,” said Mashigo.

Meanwhile, Eskom has applied for the environmental authorisation for the first nuclear power reactors.

The environmental assessment practitioners recommended Thyspunt site, which is located in Jeffrey’s Bay, in the Eastern Cape, as the preferred site.

Eskom said the success of the nuclear new build programme rests on the participation of various government departments and state-owned enterprises.

“The memorandum of understanding between Coega and Eskom enhances the bond between these state entities.”

Eskom is the designated procurer for the nuclear new build programme.

The CDC is mandated to develop, grow, and attract manufacturing capabilities in the Coega Industrial Development Zone in the Eastern Cape. –[/restrict]

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VIDEO: Update on Sunrise Energy LPG Import Terminal Construction


No, speaking, no reading (other than this), and no restrictions, just watching for the next 13 minutes on progress with the marine installation and onsite progress at Sunrise Energy LPG Terminal in Saldanha.

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The South African Navy will hold its annual Festival this weekend, with events taking place from this evening (Thursday 16 March) right through until Sunday 19 March.

This is an occasion when the naval dockyard is opened up to the public to come and explore and visit the naval ships and to enjoy the fun and festivities. One of the big attractions is the concert which is taking place tonight, with the Navy Band in performance.

It is also an opportunity for the Navy to show off some of its skills, not just with the ships but with its human resources.

On show will be several of the Valour class frigates (SAS AMATOLA is away in Germany, while the combat support ship SAA DRAKENSBERG is officially on deployment in the Mozambique Channel). Other ships include the Heroine class submarines, mine counter-measure vessels, the ever popular navy tugs (which will be giving rides) and possibly other vessels.

The Royal Navy patrol ship HMS CLYDE also happens to be in Simon’s Town while on a visit to South Africa and will be opened to visitors.

Picture: David Erickson

On Saturday evening there will be a night shoot across False Bay while during the day the Air Force Silver Falcons aerobatic team will do their thing in the skies overhead, as will the Super Lynx helicopters.

Last year’s Festival has been described as something of a disappointment but no doubt this year’s event will be the smashing success it has been in the past.

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Maersk tanker with rotor sails

Maersk Tankers has agreed to have one of its tankers equipped with the Flettner rotor sails as a means of testing and evaluating its effect on fuel savings.

The rotor sails will be fitted during the first half of 2018, before undergoing testing and data analysis at sea until the end of 2019, it was announced this week by Maersk Tankers, Norsepower Oy Ltd, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), and Shell Shipping & Maritime.

Maersk Tankers will supply a 109,647-dwt Long Range 2 (LR2) product tanker vessel which will be retrofitted with two 30m tall by 5m diameter Norsepower Rotor Sails. Combined, these are expected to reduce average fuel consumption on typical global shipping routes by 7-10%.

The project is majority funded by the UK’s Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) with [restrict] contributions from Maersk Tankers and Norsepower. Shell will act as project coordinator, and provide operational and terminal / port consultancy to the project team, while Maersk Tankers will provide technical and operational insight.

Tuomas Riski, Norsepower’s CEO said: “We are optimistic that support for this trial from these industry leading organisations will open up the market for our technology to a larger number of long-range product tanker vessels – paving the way for ship fuel efficiencies, and ultimately reducing emissions, including greenhouse gases. As an abundant and free renewable energy, wind power has a role to play in supporting the shipping industry to reduce its fuel consumption and meet impending carbon reduction targets.”

Tommy Thomassen, Chief Technical Officer, Maersk Tankers, said that this provided the opportunity to deploy an innovative technology that can improve fuel efficiency on Maersk’s LR2 product tanker vessels and help to reduce their environmental impact. “We look forward to contributing to the project, and sharing our decades of experience and knowledge within safety and tanker operations.”

Andrew Scott, Programme Manager HDV marine and offshore renewable energy, The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), said that Flettner rotors have the potential to reduce ship fuel consumption substantially, especially on tankers and dry bulk carriers. “It is one of the few fuel saving technologies that could offer double digit percentage improvements. To date, there has been insufficient full scale demonstration on a suitable ocean going marine vessel to prove the technology benefits and operational impact. Demonstrating the technology in this project will make it more attractive to shipping companies and investors, and could play a significant role in reducing the fuel costs and improving the environmental impact of shipping in the future.”

What is a Flettner rotor sail?
The Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution is a modernised version of the Flettner rotor – a spinning cylinder that uses the Magnus effect to harness wind power to propel a ship. Each Rotor Sail is made using the latest intelligent lightweight composite sandwich materials, and offers a simple yet robust hi-tech solution. When wind conditions are favourable, the ships main engines can be throttled back, providing a net fuel cost and emission savings, while not impacting scheduling. Independent experts will analyse the data gathered from the project before publishing technical and operational insights, and performance studies.

Now watch a Video from Norsepower


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Ships and submarines in Catania, Italy, prior to exercise Dynamic Manta starting on 13 March.
Photo reproduced by kind permission of NATO MARCOM©.

NATO’s Submarine Warfare Exercise Dynamic Manta 2017 (DYMA 17) began on 14 March off the Sicilian coast, with ships, submarines, aircraft and personnel from ten Allied nations converging on the Central Mediterranean Sea for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare training.

Submarines from France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United States, under the control of Commander, Submarines NATO (COMSUBNATO), are due to join ten surface ships from Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States.

Nine Maritime Patrol Aircraft and three shore based helicopters from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States will [restrict] operate from Sigonella Air Base under the control of Commander, Maritime Air NATO (COMMARAIRNATO).

The aim of this exercise is to provide all participants with complex and challenging warfare training to enhance their interoperability and proficiency in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare skills, with due regard for safety.

Said NATO Maritime Air Commander Commodore Andreas Vettos, Hellenic Navy: “NATO’s annual anti-submarine-warfare exercise Dynamic Manta remains one of the most challenging exercises and an excellent opportunity for NATO nations’ naval forces to practice and evaluate their Anti-Submarine skillset in a challenging environment. This exercise is a unique opportunity to enhance naval forces’ warfighting skills in all three dimensions of Anti-Submarine-Warfare in a multinational and multi-threat environment. We appreciate the outstanding host nation support of the Italian Navy that is required to make this challenging and effective exercise happen”.

Host nation Italy is providing support from the Augusta Naval Base, Catania Harbour and the Sigonella Air Base in Catania.

Sicily Maritime Commander Rear-Admiral (LH) Nicola De Felice, Italian Navy. Added: “Sicilian Maritime Command (MARISICILIA) will support the exercise assets during their operational port visit in Augusta and Catania harbours, in order to provide them logistic support, in details for refuelling operations, medical assistance and personnel accommodation”.

During the Exercise it is understood that each surface ship will have the opportunity to conduct a variety of submarine warfare operations. Submarines will take turns hunting and being hunted, closely coordinating their efforts with the air and surface participants.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Becker Marine Systems Establishes Itself on the US Market

Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3), US Navy, 2x Becker KSR Fullspade Rudders (Picture ©NASSCO)

For more than two years, Becker Marine Systems has been represented by a branch office in Houston. During this time, the Hamburg-based ship supplier has succeeded in positioning itself on the vital North American market, generating numerous orders for the company’s various product ranges.

“We have been able to significantly improve the degree of familiarity with Becker throughout the North American region and in the meantime have received a number of new orders“, says Walther Bauer, Director of Sales & Projects at Becker Marine Systems.

Major orders include delivery of rudders to the new generation of US Navy tankers being built at the NASSCO (National Steel & Shipbuilding Company) shipyard in San Diego.

Strong interest from numerous local shipping companies is also reflected by new orders for fish trawler, ferry and pushboat retrofits. There is thus great demand for inland waterway transport, on the Mississippi for example. A significant improvement in manoeuvrability and energy savings of up to fifteen per cent can be achieved with Becker Marine Systems’ innovative solutions.

Loree Eckstein, push boat, 2 x Becker Flap Rudders (Picture © Marquette Transportation)

“The entire Becker range of manoeuvring systems and energy-saving devices as well as cold ironing, the external and low-emission supply of power based on liquefied natural gas or LNG, is in demand in the North American region,” says Bauer. In future, Becker’s newly developed COBRA (Compact Battery Rack) maritime battery system will be marketed and sold via the office in Houston.

From Monday, 20th March to Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, Becker Marine Systems will be represented at CMA Shipping (Connecticut Maritime Association), North America’s leading shipping trade conference and exposition taking place at the Hilton Hotel in Stamford. At stand L4, Mike Pevey, Director of Sales USA, and his team will, among other things, be presenting to professional visitors high-performance rudders for newbuildings of all size classes and ship types, as well as manoeuvring systems for river navigation.

Becker Marine Systems is the market leader for high-performance rudders and energy-saving manoeuvring technology solutions for any type of ship. Becker’s products are well-established on the world market and represent the top choice for both super tankers as well as container ships, passenger ferries, large cruise ships and luxury yachts. Hamburg-based Hybrid Port Energy was founded by Becker Marine Systems with the objective of supplying environmentally-friendly maritime energy.

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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.


Eastern Highway. Picture: Trevor Jones

‘K’-Line’s car carrier EASTERN HIGHWAY (39,422-gt, built 2006) arrives in port at Durban for an appointment with the car terminal. The 188 metre long vessel, flagged in Panama, was built by the Shin Kurushima Dockyard Co, Ltd, in Tokyo, Japan as hull number 5345. The vessel has a carrying capacity of 3,983 motor cars. This picture is by Trevor Jones


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