Tuesday’s Africa PORTS & SHIPS 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


OGS Explora. Picture: Alan Calvert

The forty-four year old research ship OGS EXPLORA (1408-gt) arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand during March for bunkers and stores, at the end of her research voyage in the Ross Sea. Owned and operated by the Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (Italian National Oceanographic Institute) she departed shortly afterwards for Lagos, Nigeria. The research vessel was built in 1973 at the Elsflether Werft A.G. shipyard in Germany and flies the Italian flag. Her overall length is 72.62 metres, her breadth 11.8 metres and moulded depth 6.55 metres. She operates with a draught of 4.8 metres. This picture is by Alan Calvert

News continues below


Isandlwana. Picture: TNPA

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA)’s Dredging Services division has embarked on a R15 million maintenance dredging campaign at the Port of Cape Town to restore the design depths inside Duncan dock.

The maintenance campaign, which began on 8 March, is scheduled for completion by the …[restrict] end April 2017. TNPA says that the main objective of the dredging campaign is to ensure the Port of Cape Town provides safe navigational channels and berthing facilities for shipping by restoring the original design depths.

Two dredging vessels, ISANDLWANA, a trailing suction hopper dredger and the ITALENI grab hopper dredger have been mobilised by TNPA Dredging Services for this purpose. Multi-beam bathymetric surveys are conducted at regular intervals throughout the campaign that will ensure all areas within Duncan Dock are restored to their original design depths.

Italeni. Picture: Trevor Jones

Dredging is specialised underwater excavation that helps to keep ports and harbours safe and navigable and is a critical aspect of port maintenance.

Isandlwana, which has a 4200m³ hopper capacity, will remove approximately 70,000m³ of material from the sea bed before the end of April. Spoil is pumped into the hopper and can be offloaded by discharging through 10 conical bottom valves. Pumping ashore is also possible by means of either a floating pipeline, a side discharge mechanism or by ‘rainbowing’, where the dredging vessel discharges material that has been claimed from the ocean floor in a high arc to build a land mass elsewhere, such as during nourishment of beaches, to prevent erosion along the coasts or to reclaim land.

TNPA’s fleet renewal programme has boosted the dredging division’s capacity to aid the removal of approximately four million cubic metres of excess material from the seabed every year at South Africa’s ports.

“With the most modern equipment available in the specialised service industry, Dredging Services is able to not only meet the needs of the South African port system, but the needs of Southern Africa, helping other African countries grow their economies,” says TNPA in a statement.[/restrict]

News continues below


Map: courtesy OBP

The escalation of Somali piracy is continuing with reports of a Somali cargo vessel, thought to be the ASAYR 2, has been highjacked by a group of pirates operating from two motorised skiffs.

Six pirates were involved while the ship had on board an estimated 20 crew which included a Somali guard. Most of these were dropped off near a village by the name of Maraya on the Puntland coast but the pirates retained seven crew on board to operate the vessel.

It is thought the intention may be to…[restrict] use the highjacked vessel as a mothership for acts of piracy far out to sea.

It is not certain if this vessel is the same described earlier as a dhow which was taken for the same reason, although this seems likely.

Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), which is part of the One Earth Future Foundation, reports that attacks on dhows and small fishing vessels like the Asayr 2 are not uncommon and have occurred along the Somali coast over the last few years, despite larger reporting agencies not reporting such incidents. “For example OBP’s last report (for 2015) recorded five dhow hijackings, a failed attack on the fishing vessel Mook Andaman 28, nine incidents suspected of being piracy-related, one armed robbery, and a number of reported suspicious incidents.”

OBP says that the potential for the Asayr 2 to be used as a mothership is alarming as it could extend the range of the pirates and expose the crew to increased dangers. At the height of the piracy crisis off Somalia in 2010 and 2011, OBP’s Human Cost of Piracy reports noted that pirates frequently used pirated dhows and fishing vessels as motherships to search for other targets on the ocean. For those two years alone, over 1000 crewmen were forced to facilitate pirate attacks, either as human shields or to man motherships used in attacks on larger vessels. OBP also found that the crews of these vessels frequently were subjected to greater rates of extreme abuse at the hands of their captors as compared to other hostages.

This attack, says OBP, shows that Somali pirates still possess the capability and intent to capture vessels. “Additionally tensions in coastal communities about illegal fishing in Somali waters continue to escalate. At the same time vessels are transiting closer to shore, with low freeboard and at slow speeds are granting pirates access to vulnerable vessels. The attack on the Asayr 2 and the ARIS 13 should be taken as a warning to the seafaring community that there is the potential for piracy in the region and that appropriate safety measures such as the industry recommended Best Management Practices should continue to be followed.”[/restrict]

News continues below


SA Agulhas. Picture: Trevor Jones

South Africa’s dedicated seafarer training vessel, SA AGULHAS, fresh from a three month long research and training expedition to the Antarctic region, proved to be the star of the show at the 2017 Nelson Mandela Bay port festival held at the recent weekend. A crowd estimated at no less than 6,000 people had been over the ship by midday Sunday, reports SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority).

The port was celebrating its ‘People’s Port Festival’, organised by … [restrict] Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) during which the public has access to certain parts of the harbour.

The two-day festival kicked off on the Saturday morning (25 March) with various activities ranging from sports (water and land based), ship tours, harbour cruises, and food, music and comedy shows.

The port festival is held annually in rotation at all the country’s nine commercial ports to give local communities an opportunity of interacting with some of its activities.

Picture: courtesy SAMSA

SA Agulhas, fresh from a three month research and training expedition from Cape Town to Madagascar and then to the Antarctic region with a group of Indian scientists and about 30 South African cadets onboard, has proved to be a main attraction after docking at Port Elizabeth a fortnight ago.

At the start of the show on Saturday morning, the entire expedition crew including the cadets, minus the Indian scientists; were on hand to show off the vessel to thousands of festival goers who queued up on the quay alongside the vessel for almost an hour before the vessel opened its doors for a six hour show on each of the two days.

The tour on board included a brief presentation by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) about the current utilisation of the vessel as a dedicated seafarer training ship since its acquisition by the maritime authority from the Department of Environmental Affairs some six years ago.

Festival goers were then taken on a tour of the ship, with a new group following every 15 minutes. On Saturday an estimated 4500 people went over the ship, with more queues waiting patiently on the Sunday morning. source: SAMSA[/restrict]

News continues below


Japan’s Big three container lines have passed their first major hurdle in obtaining the green light to operate together in a joint venture.

The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) is the first such organisation to give them clearance to operate a joint venture between themselves.

The three lines,.. [restrict] Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), announced their planned consolidation last year involving the integration of their container shipping business as a single entity by 1 July 2017 and the commencement of a joint service from 1 April 2018.

In terms of the JV, the three will merge their container liner shipping business, as well as their container terminal services businesses outside Japan. The only effect this would have for Singapore lies in the provision of container liner shipping services.

The three shipping companies are also involved in bulk shipping, Ro-Ro motor vehicle sea transport, liquid bulk shipping, and landside logistics services, but these will continue to be conducted by the companies separately and independently of each other and the JV.

Once formed, the JV will control about 7 percent of global container shipping trade, as the world’s 6th largest container ship operator.[/restrict]

News continues below


The ambitious Bagamoyo port project in Tanzania

One of the more salient points to emerge from last week’s African Ports Expansion 2017 conference held in Mombasa, was that there is too much duplication occurring in regard to the building of new and often over-large ports.

Instead of discovering their own niche or area of speciality, African governments were also guilty of …[restrict] duplicating their expansion projects and trying to expand their port operations that fail to add value to their competitiveness and growth.

According to Tessa Major, from the Port of Antwerp, by working together African countries can supplement each other instead acting as competitors so as to ensure growth in their maritime industry.

She pointed out that many African countries had embarked on huge expansion projects of their ports so as to keep up with the increase in cargo volumes but without focusing on future trends of the shipping industry.

The conference brought together major stakeholders in the maritime industry including government officials, port authorities, contractors, technology providers, suppliers of port equipment and consultants.

“When you look at the majority of the expansion projects in African ports, most of them are similar. When we were expanding our port in Antwerp, our biggest competitor was the port of Rotterdam in Netherlands but we realised the Port of Rotterdam deals more in liquid cargo,” she said.

The port of Antwerp is the second largest port in Europe after the Rotterdam port in the Netherlands which handles approximately 200 million tonnes of cargo in a year.

Her remarks come just as the race for construction of the largest port in East Africa commences, with Tanzania expected to begin construction of the Bagamoyo port and Kenya beginning the construction of the first three berths of the Lamu port; which is expected to ease cargo delays at the port of Mombasa.[/restrict] source: Media Max

News continues below



With the two icebreakers HUGO LENTZ and JOHANNES DALMANN, the Hamburg Port Authority has added two multi-functional ships to its fleet. With their christening, the Port of Hamburg’s fleet renewal programme is complete. Enjoy the short video clip, courtesy Port of Hamburg

News continues below


US Navy photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Gaines/Released. US Navy©
US Navy photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Gaither/Released. US Navy ©.

On 24 March the US Navy published these pictures of carrier operations in the Arabian Gulf.

Seen here is an F/A-18F Super Hornet attached to the Blacklions of …[restrict] Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 launching from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS GEORGE HW BUSH (CVN 77).

This warship is deployed in the US 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners. At the same time operations preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region.

The aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush (CVN 77) (top picture) performs a passing exercise (PASSEX) with the Danish frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes (F 362), the French anti-air frigate FS Forbin (D 620) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58).

These warships are part of the George HW Bush Carrier Strike Group currently conducting naval operations in the US 5th Fleet area of operations.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway

News continues below


Send your Press Releases here info@africaports.co.za and marked PRESS RELEASE. Provided they are considered appropriate to our readers we will either turn them into a story, or publish them here.


The Nautical Institute’s flagship distance learning programme, the Command Diploma Scheme, was launched this week in Singapore at the first of this year’s Nautical Institute Command Seminars.

The scheme is intended for those about to take command as well as those who have just done so. At its core are the subjects that existing and aspiring Masters have identified as areas of concern – onboard leadership and management, navigation and shiphandling, ship’s commercial business and coping with emergencies.

The Command Diploma Scheme provides a practical way for aspiring officers to prepare themselves for the responsibilities and realities of command at sea. It comprises a well thought-out programme of self-directed learning, with challenging practical assignments plus a final essay and interview, all designed to take the candidate far beyond the minimum requirements of STCW. Candidates benefit from having their work assessed by experienced mariners, all of whom are senior members of The Nautical Institute.

Award of the Nautical Institute Command Diploma offers a way for new Masters both to build their confidence and to distinguish themselves from their colleagues. In today’s highly competitive and challenging work environment there is a significant advantage to having independent verification of readiness to serve successfully as Master.

David Patraiko FNI, Director of Projects for The Nautical Institute, said: “Assuming command of a ship is a huge responsibility; you become responsible for the lives of your crew, the ship, your cargo, the commercial success of your company and of course the environment. The NI Command Diploma Scheme is a culmination of many experienced Masters’ knowledge brought together to help the Master-to-be prepare as best possible for this ultimate challenge.

For further information on the Command Diploma Scheme, please email: command@nautinst.org

Like the other four Command Seminars being organised by The Nautical Institute this year, the Singapore event will explore the theme of Navigation Accidents and their Causes. Within this overall theme, the speakers – all senior maritime professionals will consider topics such as navigation assessments, mentoring, ice navigation and lessons to be learned from accidents and near misses.

Other venues hosting Command Seminars this year are Cape Town (10 – 11 April), London (17 – 18 May, held in conjunction with the Institute’s annual general meeting), Cork, Ireland (12 – 13 October) and Limassol, Cyprus (3 November). More details about all these events can be found on the Institute’s website at: www.nautinst.org/Command-2017

News continues below


Request a Rate Card frominfo@ports.co.za


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.


Serenity Ace. Pictures: Keith Betts

MOL’s car carrier SERENITY ACE (57,692-gt) seen arriving and (lower picture) departing from the port of Durban. Serenity Ace can be thought of as one of the larger Ro-Ro car carriers in terms of vehicle capacity (maximum 6,658 cars) although much bigger vessels of up to 8,000-CEU do call. The two pictures were taken two days apart, allowing for the stay in port of the ship. In spite of her capacity Serenity Ace is only 200 metres in length with a width of 32 metres, and is quite ordinary in that respect but suggesting a more clever way of incorporating all her cargo compared with older ships.

The ship was built at the Gdynia Shipyard in Gdynia, Poland and launched in 2008. She is owned by Ray Car Carriers of Douglas, Isle of Man, managed by a Greek company Stamco Shipmanagement, and operated by MOL of Japan. The ship is flagged in Nassau, Bahamas. These pictures are by Keith Betts


And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
– Max Ehrmann ‘Desiderata’


For a Rate Card please contact us at info@africaports.co.za

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 info@africaports.co.za

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.



South Africa’s most comprehensive Directory of Maritime Services will shortly be listed on this site. Please advise if you’d like your company to be included. To sign up for a free listing contact info@africaports.co.za or register online