Monday’s Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

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


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Please note that tomorrow (Tuesday 21 March) is a public holiday in South Africa (Human Rights Day). Our next edition of the Maritime News will be on Wednesday 22 March 2017. For those who can, enjoy the day off.

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Mount Hikurangi. Picture: Alan Calvert

Lyttelton harbour, South Island, New Zealand and the Pacific Basin operated bulk carrier MOUNT HIKURANGI (31,646-dwt, built 2013) is on her berth to discharge grain. The ship, which is named for a mountain peak in New Zealand’s North Island, is owned and managed by Pacific Basin Shipping of Hong Kong and was in the news last year when a Chinese deckhand fell overboard while the vessel, then carrying a cargo of logs, was in New Zealand’s Port of Tauranga. Police who later recovered the body said the man fell 10 metres from the ship and his body was only discovered by navy divers some 15 hours later. This picture is by Alan Calvert

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Greatship Manisha. Picture: Neil McBride, Shipspotting

Cape Town based ship operator, and seafarer recruitment and training company, Marine Crew Services (MCS) has responded to the call for increased opportunities for South African seafarers by registering a modern, multi-purpose platform supply and support vessel (MPSV) on the South African Ships Register.

The 94 metre multi-purpose supply vessel, GREATSHIP MANISHA (4765-gt, built 2010), is owned by Singapore-based Greatship Global Offshore Services Pte Limited. MCS has bareboat chartered the vessel to service its two-year contract with PetroSA.

While this is the first vessel to be registered by MCS under the South African Flag, it is not the first time it has employed South Africans on foreign-owned vessels. “In fact, MCS, as the only private South African manning company with [restrict] ISO 9001 accreditation, has for the past 14 years successfully trained and placed in excess of 880 South African and African officers, ratings and cadets on local and international vessels, among them the highest number of sea-going, black female seafarers in South Africa,” says Lester Peteni, MCS Chairman.

The company also provides bursaries to Lawhill Maritime Centre graduates to enrol for tertiary Maritime Studies students at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The South African Government, in recognising the important role played by the maritime industry in South Africa – and its potential to provide training opportunities and employment for young South Africans – has introduced a number of initiatives with the aim of growing South Africa’s Oceans Economy under Operation Phakisa.

One of these initiatives – which also forms part of the 2017 Maritime Transport Policy – is to encourage more vessel owners to register their vessels under the South African flag. According to Daniel Ngubane, Group CEO of MCS. “The registration of the Greatship Manisha on the South African Ships Registry, supports this initiative and offers several important advantages. “These include having the opportunity to provide employment for South African officers and ratings and most importantly, being able to offer young South Africans, who have completed their theoretical training, the opportunity to obtain the required, practical, seatime experience which forms part of their international qualification.”

Two South Africans have been serving on the ultra-modern vessel – which was previously registered in Singapore – and the move to the South African Ships Register will lead to a further seven South African seafarers joining the vessel upon registration.

“Our aim is to have a 100% South African crew complement on this vessel and this will be achieved as South Africans with the requisite experience and skills in operating this type of vessel become available,” says Ngubane. The South African crew complement will also include a Second Officer, Third Officer, Fourth Engineer and 6 ratings.

Provision has also been made to take six South African trainee cadets on board once the vessel has been recognised by the South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) as a designated training vessel. The vessel, which has a total crew complement of 17, will be deployed off the coast of Mossel Bay.

There are currently only two merchant vessels on the South African Ships Register, which means the South African economy and its security of trade are dependent on ships owned and regulated in foreign countries. Currently, at least 96 percent of South African exports to the rest of the world move on ships registered outside the country.

According to the Maritime Policy (currently in draft format), South Africa’s share of fleet ownership in terms of volume is 2.233 thousand deadweight tonnes (DWT). Ship ownership currently stands at 0.13% of world total and the National flagged fleet represents less than 0.01% of world total. The growth and expansion of ships owned by and registered in South Africa is largely dependent on the regimes governing the ownership, financing and registration of ships. According to the draft Policy, deliberate promotion of vessel ownership and registration of ships has been largely absent and the dramatic loss of locally owned fleet to foreign flags clearly indicates the need for policy challenges in this regard.

The main policy objective in this regard is to ensure a levelled playing field for present and future South African shipowners and operators vis-à-vis foreign competition and to attract both domestic and foreign investment in the local maritime industry. However, there are a few issues that relate to the ownership, financing and registration of ships in South Africa that require attention if the playing field is to be levelled. National Treasury has already in 2013 introduced a package of tax incentives to attract foreign ship registration with the South African ship register.

Need for further incentives
In addition to these, tax incentives for domestic shipping and officers or crew working on ships were also introduced. But there is a need to further investigate and consider non-tax incentives to support growth of the domestic ship ownership market.

Says Peteni, “Although Singapore is widely considered as a more attractive ships register, the decision to move the Greatship Manisha onto the South African register is not only a perfect example of private companies and government working together to achieve a common goal, but it has been taken in the interests of supporting the growth of the South African maritime industry and Greatship should be commended on supporting this move.”

According to Peteni, South African seafarers are highly regarded internationally and demand for senior South African officers is particularly high. “Furthermore, South Africa offers world-class training and certification standards which not only allows us to employ high quality seafarers on South African registered ships, but also creates an opportunity for South Africa to play a more active role in the global seafarer supply market.

“We at MCS, believe there is enormous potential to support Governmental aims by creating awareness of career opportunities at sea, thereby increasing the number of trainee seafarers, as well as the number of training berths made available to them. Registering this vessel on the South African flag represents a step in the right direction, and we are looking at adding further vessels to the SA Ships Registry in due course.”

MCS says that for the past 13 years, it has worked closely with international shipowners and managers to provide berths for South African cadets, a collaboration which Ngubane describes as “highly successful and mutually beneficial” as it has given them the opportunity to gain seatime while providing vessel owners and managers with additional certified, qualified and English speaking manpower.[/restrict]

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Official US Navy file photo of Hospital Corpsman Unique Mooney teaching two local nursing students how to properly perform CPR during a basic life savings skills course during Pacific Partnership 2017 in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Micah Blechner©

Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific and aims to enhance regional coordination in areas such as medical readiness and preparedness for manmade and natural disasters.

Now in its twelfth year, the US-led Pacific Partnership continues to enhance regional partnerships and host nation relationships through civil-military cooperation, medical exchanges, and inter-government agency coordination.

On 14 March it was reported from Hambantota, Sri Lanka, that members of the US armed forces with those of the Sri Lankan Air Force and Navy had [restrict] exchanged best practices and lessons learned during the first-ever bilateral Humanitarian Aid / Disaster Relief Symposium. This took place during a critical Pacific Partnership 2017 Sri Lanka evolution at the Magam Ruhunupura International Convention Center in Hambantota, Sri Lanka the previous day.

Led by the Sri Lankan Navy the symposium focused most of its efforts on discussions regarding disaster management and relief response in scenario-driven events such as those that might be encountered in the wake of tsunamis and flooding caused by natural disasters.

In the words of U.S. Marines Captain Nathan Jensen, US Marine Corps: “Participating in forums like this are of huge value to the US Marine Corps, Navy and Department of Defense as a whole. Discussing, coordinating, and practicing humanitarian aid operation with nations throughout South and South-East Asia builds our knowledge base of their organic capabilities as well as showcasing the capabilities we are able to provide.”

Jensen went on to explain that such evolutions help build relationships with other nations and promote international military interoperability.

He continued: “Because we have pre-existing relationships with these countries who are more prone to massive natural disasters we are able to more easily incorporate ourselves as an organisation into their disaster management plan and provide immediate relief in any type of conceivable scenario.”

Three pillars of disaster relief were established early in the symposium: (i) immediate engineering needs (that is clearing roads and establishing critical supply avenues), (ii) a “first-in” capability for water purification, and (iii) an initial Command and Control Center for both overall logistical and follow-on manning support. (The latter may be provided by the State Department and other NGOs).

It will be recalled that after South Asia’s deadly tsunami of 2004 only one temple was left standing in Hambantota, the one structure built from concrete.

Pacific Partnership 2017 came to a head on 16 March with all players participating in a Field Training Exercise on the beaches of Hambantota.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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MOL Triumph

Records are there to be broken, but there has been a short hiatus in the race to have the biggest container ship afloat when at one time not so long ago it seemed that there would be no limit to what they (shipbuilders) would achieve.

The two interests that have broken this hiatus are South Korea’s major shipyard, Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), and Japan’s leading shipping line, Mitsui OSK Line (MOL). Strangely, MOL has not been noted for having [restrict] the ‘biggest’ ships in recent years but they’ve certainly set down a new marker now, one that other lines will soon be chasing in spite of the economic circumstances.

The Ultra Large Container Ship (ULCS) has been named MOL TRIUMPH and is 400 metres overall in length with a width of 58.8 metres and a depth of 32.8 metres. If fully loaded the maximum that she can carry is a reported 20,150 TEU.

The ship has been built at Samsung’s Geoje shipyard and was named in a ceremony held on Wednesday last week, 15 March 2017.

MOL Triumph is said to be eco-friendly with an array of energy-saving equipment designed by SHI including propeller, rudder valve, and stator.[/restrict]

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Torm Horizon. Picture: Shipspotting

In what might appear to be a rather unusual activity, it is being reported that the products tanker TORM HORIZON, currently (Sunday) outside Durban at anchor in the anchorage, will be loading a 35,000-ton cargo of gas oil (diesel) fuel for Singapore.

South Africa seldom exports the fuel, except to neighbouring countries and even more rarely (if ever?)[restrict] to Singapore – its usually the other way around with gas-oil coming into South Africa along with petrol and other similar products. That’s despite there being two major oil refineries in Durban itself (Engen and Shell/BP), another SASOL in Gauteng and Chevron’s smaller refinery in Cape Town.

In recent years demand has outstripped the South African refineries’ ability to match production and a series of tankers arrive at Durban’s Island View to deliver oil products – that’s in addition to crude oil being pumped ashore at the SBM off Durban.

According to the reports, increased demand in South East Asia has meant Singapore having to import high sulphur gas-oil.

APL Austria update

The fire damaged container ship APL AUSTRIA (72,807-dwt, built 2007), which entered the port of Ngqura last month to have a fire extinguished among her cargo of containers, has remained at Algoa Bay and is now expected in the Port of Durban only on 26 March 2017. The 6,350-TEU container ship is to undergo final repairs in Durban which will probably be carried out alongside berth 104.[/restrict]

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Hodeida port

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has warned that Saudi-led coalition plans to launch an assault on the Yemeni port of Hodeida, the Gulf of Aden nation’s chief port, is of great concern.

Plans to launch an offensive against Yemen’s biggest port, Hodeidah, are especially worrying, the ministry’s Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

“Combat in this region will not only cause mass flight of the population, but will essentially cut the capital, Sana’a, off from food and humanitarian aid supply routes. There is no need to say what disastrous [restrict] consequences this would have.

“Airstrikes continue causing tremendous damage to Yemen’s civilian infrastructure. Schools, hospitals and transport facilities have been destroyed. Arbitrary air blockades and obstacles to shipping make it extremely difficult to get food and fuel supplies into the country. Medicines are in acutely short supply, which means that many Yemenis are dying of what are curable diseases today. The north of the country is in a catastrophic situation, with no cash supply. Public sector workers have not been paid in more than six months.”

Zakharova said that terrorists from ISIS and Al-Qaeda are capitalising on this chaos, bolstering their strongholds in Yemen, mostly in the south of the country, and even further complicating the humanitarian situation.

The dispute is centred around the conflict between forces loyal to the ousted President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and forces allied to the Houthi rebel movement. The sectarian conflict see Saudi Arabia and much of the Emirates nations blockading Yemen which was largely in the control of the Iran-supported Houthi group.

Saudi-backed forces recently overtook portions of the port and city of Aden which was under threat by the Houthi forces. The situation there remains fluid.[/restrict]

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Europa Point Lighthouse, commissioned in 1841, provides a landfall and waypoint for vessels passing through the Strait, Photo: ©

Europa Point Lighthouse re-engineering complete

Trinity House London has completed the re-engineering of Europa Point Lighthouse in Gibraltar, its most southerly lighthouse.

This extensive project has seen a number of improvements which assure a more effective service to the mariner, perhaps most notably the installation of two all-round white LED lanterns positioned one above the other to provide a main light and a standby light. This arrangement satisfies the station’s updated navigational requirements.

As well as a new state-of-the-art light source, other improvements to the station include the installation of lightning protection, increased battery capacity to maintain the station’s aids to navigation in the event of a power failure and [restrict] also the renewal of all electrical systems. The improvements mean that the aids to navigation in the lighthouse and other systems can now be monitored and controlled from Trinity House Planning Centre in Harwich, Essex on the East Coast of England.

Europa Point Lighthouse was built by Trinity House in 1841 at the southernmost point of Gibraltar, the gateway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Responsibility for the lighthouse — a landfall and waypoint for vessels passing through the Strait — was vested in Trinity House by an Act of Parliament of 1838 and under the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 the Corporation became the General Lighthouse Authority for Gibraltar.

Historical optic
Trinity House presented the historical Second Order optic to the newly-opened University of Gibraltar, thereby preserving it and making it accessible for future generations of the Gibraltarian community.

Trinity House personnel joined staff at the University to unveil the optic in its new home on 15 March following group tours of the lighthouse; the optic was unveiled by the Trinity House Director of Operations Commodore Rob Dorey and Professor Daniella Tilbury, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gibraltar.

Professor Daniella Tilbury, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gibraltar and Commodore Rob Dorey unveil the historical optic on display at the University of Gibraltar. Photo: ©

Trinity House Director of Operations Commodore Rob Dorey commented:
“We are very happy that we could cap our successful re-engineering project with the presentation of this handsome lighthouse optic to the University of Gibraltar after almost 60 years of service to the mariner. We hope that both students and staff of the university will enjoy having this beacon on their campus for many years to come.”

About Trinity House

Trinity House is a charity dedicated to safeguarding shipping and seafarers, providing education, support and welfare to the seafaring community with a statutory duty as a General Lighthouse Authority to deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective aids to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.

The Corporation of Trinity House was incorporated by Royal Charter of Henry VIII in 1514 to regulate pilotage on the River Thames and provide for aged mariners.

With a mandate that has expanded considerably since then Trinity House is the UK’s largest-endowed maritime charity, the General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar and a fraternity of men and women selected from across the nation’s maritime sector.

The organisation with its knowledge of the channels, hazards, currents and seamarks of the English and Welsh coast regularly inspects and audits almost 11,000 local aids to navigation. It licenses Deep Sea Pilots and provides Board Members (known as Elder Brethren) as Nautical Assessors to the Admiralty Court.

Per annum the charity donates around £4 million to the charities it supports. These include the provision of cadet training schemes, welfare provision for retired mariners and educational programmes teaching safety at sea skills.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Durban harbourmaster, Capt Alex Tiya (left), Pilot Rauntenberg, and deputy harbourmaster Capt Justin Adams (right) with the Hoegh Tracer in the background. Picture: TNPA

Many of you will have seen this short video clip on social media. It was taken on a mobile phone camera, as the Hoegh Autoliner car carrier HOEGH TRACER is brought into Durban at a time when heavy swells were being experienced along the KZN coast. The ‘bar’ across the port entrance channel – where seas moving along the Bluff surge around the end of the South Breakwater before pushing across the entrance towards Durban’s main beaches – this invariably results in some rolling for ships entering or sailing, even in calm conditions. With the sea conditions recently, coinciding with a spring high tide and strong winds, and supposedly the after-effects of Cyclone Enowa in Madagascar, the conditions were anything but optimium.


The TNPA press release follows:

The cyclonic weather conditions which battered the Durban beach front earlier this week, did not stop the Port of Durban’s marine pilot Rainer Rauntenberg from safely steering an automotive vessel into the port on Sunday, 12 March 2017.

Rauntenberg, who has been a marine pilot for more than 14 years, [restrict] successfully steered the vessel under adverse weather conditions believed to be caused by a tropical cyclone Enawo – which struck Madagascar last week.

As a result of the rough weather conditions, the Port of Durban had to deploy three tugs to steer in the vessel. In normal weather conditions, one to two tugs are used.

Port of Durban Harbour Master Alex Miya said: “The pilot’s bravery to safely bring in a vessel in high wind conditions and large ocean swells proves that the Port of Durban is always ready to service its customers and will not let adverse weather conditions delay vessel turnaround time, whilst adhering to maritime safety precautions.”

The wind speed on Sunday was recorded between 30 to 40 knots and is considered a very high speed wind which can create difficulty in manoeuvering vessels.

“It was challenging to bring in a vessel in such rough weather conditions but my focus was to make sure that it was safely berthed,” said Rauntenberg who has worked for the Port of Durban for seven years.[/restrict]

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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.


Stadt Koln. Picture: Trevor Jones

It’s not all about bigger and bigger container ships. South African ports still see a number of the smaller vessels – those that run on the coast and others that feed traffic further afield. The result is an always interesting mix of ships. Here we see the 3398-TEU capacity STADT KOLN (43,127-dwt, built 2007), owned by German ship owner Thien & Heyenga* and managed by another German group, Hapag-Lloyd, although the evidence of cargo on board in this scene suggests she may be on charter to French line CMA CGM. Stadt Koln (City of Cologne) was built at the Hanjin Heavy Industries Co. Ltd shipyard in South Korea as hull number 159. She flies the Marshall Islands flag. This picture is by Trevor Jones

* In 2014 Thien & Heyenga together with the MPC Group took over the struggling Ahrenkiel group, forming an even stronger shipping group. Thien & Hayenga alone owns about 25 container ships, all on charter to various shipping lines. The fleet of about 139 Ahrenkiel Shipmanagement, MPC Steamship and Thien & Heyenga vessels, both container ships and bulkers, have been subsequently pooled while operating under their separate identities.


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