Thursday’s Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

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Simon’s Town Naval Dockyard. Picture: David Erickson

This view of the Simon’s Town naval dockyard taken this week shows the Royal Navy Patrol Vessel HMS CLYDE P257, (broadside on to the camera, apparently sporting a strange construction on her foredeck. This is actually the stern gear of a trawler, which was moored on the other side of the West Breakwater), with the RMS St. HELENA making her approach to the harbour entrance. See news article below. Also in the picture are the South African Navy frigates SAS Isandlwana F146 and SAS Mendi F148. Picture by David Erickson

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Map: Offshore Energy Today

The Chinese oil exploration company CNOOC is taking over the operations of a block situated in the offshore joint development zone between Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, reports Offshore Energy Today

CNOOC’s involvement comes as a result of Impact Oil and Gas, an African-focused oil exploration company, having taken a 65% participation interest in a …[restrict] Production Sharing Contract (PSC) and associated joint operating agreement in the AGC Profond block. The agreement has been reached between Impact’s subsidiary, Impact Oil & Gas AGC Ltd, and CNOOC’s subsidiary, CNOOC UK Limited, the report says.

The offshore AGC Profond PSC covers approximately 6,700km², in water depths ranging from 1,400m to 3,700m, and is located west of the Dome Flore and Dome Gea oil accumulations, and to the south of the recent Fan-1 and SNE-1 and 2 oil discoveries located at the Cairn-operated offshore field.

Impact was awarded the license in October 2014, starting its technical evaluation of the AGC Profond PSC with the purchase of legacy 2D and 3D seismic data in November 2014, comprising of approximately 3,990km² 3D and 4,739 line km of 2D seismic.

Impact had previously entered into a farm-out agreement with Woodside Energy (Senegal) Pty Ltd covering the AGC Profond license. However, certain conditions precedent to completion had not been satisfied or waived and the agreement was terminated on February 9, 2017, Impact explained.

The transaction between Impact and CNOOC was completed on 23 March 2017. The participating interests in the AGC Profond PSC following completion of the farm-in by CNOOC is as follows: CNOOC UK Limited, operator (65%); Entreprise AGC SA (an entity owned by Senegal and Guinea-Bissau pursuant to the documents governing the Zone) (15%), and Impact (20%).

Mike Doherty, Executive Chairman of Impact Oil & Gas said they were delighted to have a company of CNOOC’s stature joining them as a partner in the AGC Profond Block.[/restrict] Source: Offshore Energy Today

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RMS St. Helena entering the Simon’s Town harbour, with the South African Navy frigate SAS Spioenkop F147 in the foreground. Picture by David Erickson


Among some fairly interesting and occasionally unusual ship movements on the southern Africa coast recently, we can record the departure from these shores of the fire damaged bulker ANTAIOS.

Regular readers will recall that the Greek-owned ship, loaded with soya beans, was sailing in the South Atlantic between the Argentine and Saudi Arabia when a fire broke out in the engine room. Believing the fire to be out of control, her crew abandoned ship somewhat prematurely and were picked up by a nearby vessel and taken to Cape Town. Meanwhile, SAMSA dispatched the coastal standby tug SMIT AMANDLA to have a look at the abandoned ship and do what was necessary. Arriving on scene the crew of the tug went on onboard, managed to extinguish the fire but with a flooded engine room, they had to take Antaios on tow for Cape Town.

Antaios. Picture: SAMSA

After some necessary repairs in … [restrict]the Mother City the bulker, with her cargo intact, was towed to Durban where she underwent further repair and after being reflagged to St Kitts, the bulker was towed away last weekend by another tug, the CSC NELSON. The destination is said to be Oman, although earlier there was talk of Antaios being scrapped in Nacala.


APL Austria


Meanwhile, another ship affected by fire, the 72,800-dwt container ship APL AUSTRIA arrived in Durban from the port of Ngqura, where she had taken shelter in order to fight a fire in one or more of her containers. The 300-metre long ship was sailing past Jeffrey’s Bay when the fire was noticed. Acting on the recommendation of SAMSA and the MRCC, the ship reversed her course and went to the shelter of Algoa Bay and eventually into Ngqura harbour where the fire was finally extinguished and her cargo discharged for transhipment.

APL Austria is currently on berth at Durban’s 104, a laybye berth from where the necessary repairs to her hatch covers and other sections damaged by the heat and flames can be attended to. A month has been allocated for this repair.

Cruise season ending

MSC Sinfonia

As the 2016/17 summer cruise season draws to a close in southern Africa, the resident MSC SINFONIA is making her final voyages between Durban and Portuguese Island off Maputo. On Monday 17 April she will depart for Cape Town where MSC Sinfonia will operate three or four cruises out from the Mother City, before the popular ship heads off for the Mediterranean. She will return to South Africa in November this year.

Other cruise ships still expected before the season is over are Ponant’s LE LYRIAL already on the coast, ASTOR which is being repositioned from Australia to the UK (Durban, Cape Town, Walvis Bay), SILVER EXPLORER (to Cape Town and Walvis Bay) and QUEEN ELIZABETH (Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Walvis Bay).

Naval Engagements

The SA Navy frigate SAS Amatola is now on her way back to South Africa after having visited the UK for the SS Mendi Memorial and to take part in a naval exercise with the German Navy. En route she will call at a number of West African ports.

As far as we can ascertain, the combat support ship SAS Drakensberg which earlier experienced some propulsion difficulties while operating counter-piracy patrols in the Mozambique Channel, appears to have remained in Maputo harbour since about 20 March. She sailed yesterday from the Mozambique port, presumably to return to her patrol duties.

In Cape Town HMS Protector, an ice strengthened patrol and research vessel has arrived in Cape Town where she will remain for the next month undergoing maintenance repairs and R&R for her crew.

HMS Clyde. Picture: RN

David Erickson reports that another Royal Navy ship, the patrol vessel HMS Clyde had her repair in the dry dock interrupted to enable the drydocking of the South African Antarctic research and supply ship SA Agulhas II on 8 March. This was to have the research ship’s hull grit blasted and repainted. SA Agulhas II vacated the dry dock on Monday this week (27 March).

Yesterday morning, the South Atlantic passenger/cargo ship RMS St Helena arrived (see picture at top of story) at Simon’s Town and within 30 minutes she was in the dry dock. It is understood that the subdividing caisson will now be positioned in the dock to allow HMS Clyde to re-enter the dock for completion of her work.

Purple Beach

MACS Line’s Purple Beach on fire in North Sea.

MACS Line’s general cargo ship PURPLE BEACH, which caught fire and was severely damaged on 25 January 2015 near Helgoland, has left Wilhelmshaven after almost two years since she arrived to have her cargo of fertiliser discharged after the fire was brought under control. After spending some time in the floating dock she has now departed for a breakers yard in Turkey behind the tug ONYX. For a number of years Purple Beach was a familiar sight in Durban, Richards Bay and Maputo harbours.

Purple Beach on the floating dock undergoing repairs

Ship robbed in Beira Port

Protection Vessels International reports of an attempted robbery with potential violence on board a bulk carrier at berth 6 in Beira port on 22 March. Duty crew on routine rounds noticed two robbers armed with knives on the poop deck at 23h15 hrs local time. Crew mustered and then proceeded to the poop deck, while informing the Chief Officer via walkie talkie. Upon seeing the crew’s alertness, the robbers jumped overboard and escaped without stealing anything.

Protection Vessels International says in its analysis that the piracy attempt highlights persistent concerns over security at Beira port, after reports in January that organised crime rings had been looting fuel and trucks leaving from the port, facilitated by a lack of police presence. The incident also indicates the importance of vigilance by crew at night, when pirates attempt to profit from reduced visibility.[/restrict]

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Picture: kindly provided by IMO©

IMO has reported that Nigerian officials responsible for the security of port facilities have undergone training at a week-long course held in Lagos, Nigeria from 20-24 March.

Participants were trained in the necessary skills to …[restrict] plan and conduct effective self-assessments and audits of port facilities – in line with IMO’s International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code and other guidance.

This course was organised by IMO and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) following a needs-assessment mission in January 2016. The Lagos training event is the second phase of the three-phase IMO technical assistance programme to help support NIMASA’s maritime security programme.

The course was conducted by a team of IMO consultants.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Picture and video courtesy: Meyer Werft


Norwegian Cruise Line began to take delivery this week of NORWEGIAN JOY, the first custom-designed cruise ship for the Chinese cruise market, as the 333-metre long ship eased her way from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg where she had been built.

The ship headed off …[restrict] along a 14-hour voyage down the Ems River on Sunday (26 March 2017), with the Dutch port of Eemshaven as her immediate destination, travelling stern-first down the river and through the shipyard’s locks, which her 41-metre width just cleared with 1.2 metres to spare.

According to NCL travelling stern first helped with manoeuvrability especially in the narrow sections.

After provisioning at Eemshaven Norwegian Joy will head into the North Sea for her sea trial and all being well, on 27 April she sails for her new home in Chinese waters.[/restrict]

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Aircraft that crashed. Picture: Bob Adams/Wikipedia Commons

It has been confirmed that the four passengers who were killed in an air crash on Mount Vumba near the Mozambique/Zimbabwe border were all from the Port of Beira operator, Cornelder-Mozambique (CdM).
After colliding with the mountain the aircraft fell inside Zimbabwe. It was on a flight between Beira and the eastern Zimbabwe town of Mutare. The accident occurred early on Monday morning.

Those who were killed were the Chief Executive Officer of Cornelder-Mozambique, which operates the port of Beira, Adelino Mesquita; prominent lawyer Antonio Jorge Ucucho, who worked for the Cornelder legal department, and was a former member of the Executive of the Mozambique Bar Association (OAM); Cornelder financial director Isac Noor; and another senior Cornelder official, Banele Chibande.

The four executives from Cornelder were on their way to Zimbabwe to sign agreements with private operators linked to grain imports from the Port of Beira.

The two crew on board the Britten-Norman BN2 Islander twin-engine aircraft C9-AOV were pilot Luis Lopes dos Santos and co-pilot Rui Fonseca Pereira dos Santos, who were also killed. Earlier reports suggested that one of the crew had survived but police in Manica have denied this.

The aircraft belonged to ETA Air Charter, based in Beira which operated with two aircraft and which is reported to have a good record. The two pilots were described as highly experienced.

A Mozambican technical team from the National Civil Aviation Institute (IACM), which has gone to the crash site, will work with Zimbabwean counterparts to establish the cause of the crash.

Africa PORTS & SHIPS extends its condolences to the families of those who died and also to Cornelder in Beira for their loss.

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MOL Triumph. Picture: courtesy MOL

MOL TRIUMPH (192,672-dwt) will soon be setting off on her maiden voyage as the first of the 20,000+ TEY capacity container ships. This monster ship is 400 metres in length (that’s equal to the huge Valemax ore ships), 58.8 metres wide and a total capacity of 20,170 TEU.

Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) is placing her on …[restrict] THE Alliance FE2 service and when she sails in April it will be on a rotation of Xingang to Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Yantian and Singapore. From there she sails through the Suez Canal and continues on to Tangier, Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam and Le Havre. On route back to Asia she will call at Tangier and Jebel Ali.

MOL Triumph is the first of six sisterships coming from the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard. The ship was named at a ceremony at the yard on 15 March 2017.

“The MOL Group is honoured to unveil this new vessel, which is the largest containership in the world. The vessel is equipped with various new sustainable technologies to provide more efficient fuel consumption and improved environmental performance,” said Junichiro Ikeda, President and CEO of MOL.

The new class of 20,000 TEU container ships employ energy-saving technologies including low friction underwater paint, a high efficiency propeller and rudder, Savor Stator as a stream fin on the hull body and an optimised fine hull form.

It is claimed that these factors can reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per container moved by about 25-30% when compared to 14,000 TEU-class containerships.

Not that long ago similar claims of efficiency and cost saving were being made for the 14,000-TEU ships. Where to next?

MOL Triumph and her sisters have also been designed with the retrofit option to convert them to an LNG-fuelled ship in view of the implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s new regulation to limit SOx emission in marine fuels which will come into effect in 2020.

The second ship in the class is expected in May 2017.[/restrict]

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HSV-2 Swift, a former US Navy ship on charter to the UAE which was badly damaged off the coast of Yemen on 1 October 2016

The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) has issued an advisory warning that continued regional tensions in Yemen have increased the risks to US-flagged commercial vessels transiting the Southern Red Sea.

“The Houthi rebels have conducted attacks against a Saudi warship and UAE logistics vessels, as well …[restrict] as an attempted but failed attack against US Navy ships in the southern Red Sea,” says the advisory.

“There has been increased fighting along the Red Sea coast and there is a risk that US-flagged commercial vessels operating in the area could be associated with anti-Houthi operations, or otherwise at risk. US flagged vessels operating in this vicinity should exercise extreme caution.”

The advisory contnues: “It is recommended that US flagged commercial vessels avoid entering or loitering near Yemen’s Red Sea ports, and that vessels at anchor, operating in restricted manoeuvring environments or at slow speeds, be especially vigilant. US flagged commercial vessels transiting the region should conduct a pre-voyage risk assessment and incorporate appropriate protective measures into their vessel security plans.”

Transit by yachts and privately owned sailing vessels through the region is also extremely hazardous and may result in capture. The US Coast Guard advises against all operation of yacht and pleasure craft in these areas.

The advisory can be read HERE[/restrict]

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Over 250 delegates from industry, the government and academia will be meeting for two days to identify opportunities in the maritime sector and to plot a future growth path at the second South African Maritime Industry Conference.

SAMIC 2017 will be hosted at the Sun Boardwalk Convention Centre in Port Elizabeth from Thursday, 6 April until Friday 7 April 2017.

It follows on the first SAMIC, which was held in 2012.

“When SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) convened the inaugural SAMIC in 2012 as the first indaba of its kind to bring industry and government together to deliberate on a development agenda for the maritime sector, the landscape looked very different to what it is today.

“Operation Phakisa was not yet on the horizon, SAIMI was still a pipe-dream, and the National Cadet Programme (NCP) was in its infancy,” says Professor Malek Pourzanjani, chief executive officer of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI).

SAMIC 2017 is being organised by SAIMI.

The keynote address on the first day is scheduled to be delivered by Dr Blade Nzimande, minister of higher education and training.

Following this speech the plenary session will look at the outlook for the maritime economy and identify trends, opportunities and challenges.

This will be followed by breakaway sessions in the afternoon which will explore opportunities in a number of different sectors, including the South African offshore oil and gas exploration industry, ship-building and repairs, coastal and marine tourism and small harbours.

“The definition of ‘maritime’ goes beyond shipping, into mineral and energy resources, sustainable fisheries, aquaculture, tourism opportunities and coastal infrastructure development,” says Pourzanjani.

On day two the keynote speaker is scheduled to be deputy transport minister Sindiswe Chikunga.

Break-away sessions will focus on education and on creating a supporting regulatory framework for the maritime sector.

To find out more about SAMIC 2017 visit the website

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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 Austria. Pictures: Trevor Jones

The container ship APL AUSTRIA (72,800-dwt, built 2007), minus her cargo which was discharged in Ngqura for transhipment, arrived in Durban earlier this week for up to one month’s work of repairing the damage brought about by a number of burning containers. This happened while the ship was passing the South coast near Jeffrey’s Bay, forcing the ship to seek shelter in Ngqura harbour. APL Austria is undergoing the repairs while berthed alongside Pier 1, berth 104. These pictures are by Trevor Jones


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– Max Ehrmann ‘Desiderata’


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