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SAS Drakensberg. Picture: Trevor Jones

The SA Navy combat support ship, SAS DRAKENSBERG, sometimes also referred to as a replenishment vessel, seen here arriving in Durban last Thursday, 30 March. The ship has been deployed in Mozambican waters on counter piracy work. See report below. The picture is by Trevor Jones

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Europa off the Wild Coast. Picture: Theresa Brereton

Tall Ship EUROPA arrives in Cape Town

The square-rigged sailing barque EUROPA is a current visitor at the port of Cape Town, having arrived last week. The sail training ship sails around the world, providing opportunities to would-be adventurers and lovers of the sea to take part in experiences of a lifetime – of sailing the oceans under sail on a real Tall Ship.

The 1911-built Dutch ship Europa is due to sail from Cape Town …[restrict] for Ascension Island in the South Atlantic on 13 April, after which she heads for Boston in the USA where she is due on 17 June 2017. Don’t bother trying for a booking from Cape Town however – she’s fully booked although there might be a space from Ascencion.

SAS DRAKENSBERG returns from deployment

The SA Navy combat support ship SAS DRAKENSBERG returned from her deployment on Operation Copper, involving counter piracy patrols in the Mozambique Channel, arriving in Durban on Thursday last week (see picture First View above). This was not Drakensberg’s first deployment to Operation Copper and she is the only SA Navy ship to have ‘engaged’ with pirates, when she took on the role of stopper to prevent a known pirate vessel from sailing south into the northern Mozambique Channel.

In the event the pirates were apprehended off the Tanzanian coast by naval forces of Operation Atalanta, a European Naval operation undertaking similar counter piracy patrols further north off the Somali coast, in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.

More recently, SAS Drakensberg experienced propulsion problems while on her current deployment, which saw her languishing in port at Pemba for some while, something the navy has since tried to play down to the point of denial. Rear Admiral Bubele Mhlana, Flag Officer Fleet, told the military news publication defenceWeb that reports of Drakensberg being in Pemba for two weeks were false. He said the ship had returned to Durban “due to a defect.” Once a spare part had been acquired the ship’s own crew fitted this and the combat support vessel returned to her operational duties in Mozambique, he said.

Other sources however told the publication that repairs to the Drakensberg were indeed carried out in Pemba. Africa PORTS & SHIPS has meanwhile tracked the vessel as arriving in Maputo on 20 March where she remained for about a week, before sailing on Wednesday 29 March for Durban, arriving at the naval base of Salisbury Island on the following day, Thursday 30 March 2017.

Port of Durban ship repair

Dry Dock caisson
Inner Caisson Rehabilitation – External specialists, commissioned to assess the condition of the inner caisson and to develop the rehabilitation methodology, have completed their work, reports TNPA in its latest newsletter. On the strength of this expert input, TNPA has removed the caisson from operations as a risk mitigation measure. TNPA plans to go out on tender for the rehabilitation of the caisson around May 2017, pending necessary capital approvals. The Dry Dock is still operational.

Equipment Upgrade for Workshop 24

Shop 24 scene. Picture: TNPA

The TNPA newsletter also reports that an equipment upgrade for Workshop 24, the first time since its creation that a major equipment modernisation and replacement has been implemented. The tender has run over the past few months and TNPA is in the process of appointing a successful bidder. Delivery of the equipment will commence in April 2017. It will supplement the new high tech welding set and Shop 24 forklift that have already been taken into service. (The editor of Africa PORTS & SHIPS remembers when, in another life while working for a general wholesaler, he called on Shop 24 which in those days ran a canteen for the artisans employed at the shop. Shop 24 serves as a workshop for the ship repair section and dry dock of Durban harbour. Such was the strength of the workers that this warranted a weekly call where some of his best sales were made.)

Dredging Report

TNPA reports that the majority of berths at the Port of Durban are 100% to depth with only berth A (Point) not to depth. All berths at the Durban Container Terminals are 100 % to depth. It said the port is still using the services of an external dredger from Subtech as well as TNPA dredgers to keep all berths to depth. Having a permanent dredger in the port with the ability to dredge anytime required gives the port the ability to respond to dredging requirements at short notice.

Namibia: Port tariff increase

Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) has announced a 6% tariff increase across all services to come into effect from tomorrow, 1 April 2017, reports GAC. Soft copies of the new tariffs are available upon request.

Angola: Bad weather causes fuel shortages

Adverse weather has interfered with the delivery of fuel in Angola. The weather off the coast of the south west African country has prevented fuel vessels from docking at two Angolan ports, reports Sonangol.

According to the Angolan oil parastatal, the weather prevented docking at the ports of Cabinda and Benguela, causing shortages at filling stations and resulting in power blackouts.


Land deliveries were also affected. “The constraints on supply, especially in the provinces of Cabinda, Benguela, Cuanza Sul, Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul, stem from the atmospheric conditions that have prevented the rapid and normal movement of trucks and suppliers,” the oil company said in a statement.[/restrict]

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The Cameroonian landing marine craft CNS FIFINDA (LMC 204) used for maritime interdiction training during exercise Obangame Express 2017, 19- 21 March. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theron J. Godbold/Released USN©)

It was reported by the US Navy that the main closing ceremony for exercise Obangame Express 2017 was held on 31 March at Camp Gallieni in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

Maritime forces throughout the Gulf of Guinea, Europe, North and South America, as well as other regional and international organizations came together to celebrate the 12-day exercise. Several other local ceremonies celebrating the exercise also took place throughout the Gulf of Guinea.

Captain Mike Coleman, Obangame Express zone D commander commented: “The challenges of illicit trafficking, illegal fishing, and piracy are …[restrict]a continuing challenge to all of the West African nations, but through consistent training on command and control, international communications, and interoperability during this exercise they have become very proficient in maritime interdiction operations.”

Commander Tim Farward added: “Obangame Express ended on a high note with the closing ceremonies today. The exercise was a resounding success and all participants walked away with valuable lessons learned to improve the exercise in the future. The professionalism and dedication exhibited by the Zone D countries of Cameroon, Gabon, São Tomé, and Equatorial Guinea will further increase the safety and security for their countries and the entire Gulf of Guinea region.”

Over 30 nations were scheduled to participate in this year’s exercise including Angola, Benin, Belgium, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Togo, Turkey, United States, and the United Kingdom, as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

Numerous partner nation maritime operations centres were used for the exercise.

Exercise Obangame Express leadership and participating country representatives pose for a group photograph during exercise Obangame Express closing ceremonies at Camp Gallieni, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on 31March. Obangame Express 2017, sponsored by US Africa Command, was designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and tactical interdiction expertise to enhance the collective capabilities of Gulf of Guinea and West African nations to counter sea-based illicit activity. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin Stumberg/Released USN©.

The concentration of US forces operated in Douala, Cameroon; Accra, Ghana; Abijan, Cote d’Ivoire; and Contonou, Benin.

The word Obangame comes from the Fang language of southern Cameroon and other parts of Central Africa that means ‘togetherness.’ This name was selected by African participants during a proof of concept for this exercise in 2010, to promote the importance of regional cooperation between all the navies of the Gulf of Guinea.

The exercise took place from 20 to 31 March and included an in-port Command Post Exercise and an underway Field Training Exercise in the Gulf of Guinea.

Obangame Express 2017 was created to increase the collective ability of African, European, South American and US maritime forces to improve interoperability, which in turn increases regional maritime security.

US Naval Forces Europe-Africa / US 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with joint, allied and interagency partners, in order to advance US national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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The South Korean-owned ore carrier STELLAR DAISY (266,141-dwt, built 1993), operated by Polaris Shipping and flagged in Majuro, has been reported missing in the South Atlantic. A search is being undertaken and the Uruguayan Navy reports that two Filipino seafarers have been rescued from a life raft in the sea. They were picked up by another ship.

So far there have been no reports of …[restrict] any other survivors, although the search is continuing.

The Uruguayan Navy has alerted all ships in the area to keep a lookout. It reported a strong smell of fuel in the area where the ship is thought to have last been.

According to a report on the BBC, a crew member sent a text message on Friday (31 March) saying the giant ship was taking on water. Stellar Daisy is 312 metres long and 58 metres wide. She has a crew of 24, consisting of 16 Filipinos and eight South Koreans.

Earlier, the ore carrier had loaded iron ore in Brazil for a Chinese destination.

The last radio contact with the ship was when she was 1,500 nautical miles into the South Atlantic, heading towards the Cape of Good Hope.[/restrict]

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Twenty Mossel Bay high school learners have been given the opportunity to witness first-hand the inner workings of the port as part of Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) participation in the national Tracker Tomorrow’s Man initiative held on Thursday, 30 March.

The 20 boys came from TNPA’s adopted high schools in Mossel Bay, …[restrict] Indwe Secondary School and Hillcrest High School. TNPA’s Adopted Schools programme runs nationally and is designed to build the Authority’s capabilities within the ports by developing mission critical skills within its communities from the ground up.

The Tomorrow’s Man initiative, spearheaded by national vehicle tracking company, Tracker, is aimed at empowering and developing high school boys, by exposing them to positive role models, career guidance and the working world.

“TNPA, as the ports landlord of South Africa, has the responsibility to facilitate the integration of the port with its communities and the city, to promote awareness of the port, careers and business opportunities offered by the maritime industry,” said port manager Tandi Lebakeng.

“Our participation in the Tomorrow’s Man initiative is about focusing on the needs of male learners as they endeavour to make important choices about their lives. Government has determined that the Oceans Economy has the potential to grow GDP by approximately R177bn and create 1 million new jobs by 2023 if South Africa resolves infrastructure and skills constraints. As a key player in Oceans Economy, TNPA is giving these young men an inside peek into how it runs the business to open their minds up to the various career aspirations one can fulfil through the ports.”

The port developed a full-day programme including career shadowing and exposure to mission-critical port-related careers such as Marine Engineering, Marine Operations, Procurements, Finance and Safety. The boys were also treated to various presentations, lunch and were invited to share their feedback with peers at the end of the day.

“We recognise that we have an obligation to educate and positively impact on the lives of boy-children so that they grow up to be responsible citizens and future leaders of our country. To us, progressive and sustainable ports are ones that co-exist with and uplift their communities. A key pillar of the Transnet Market Demand Strategy (MDS) is Sustainable Developmental Outcomes and this is just one example of how we can meet the needs of the port while uplifting surrounding communities,” said Lebakeng.[/restrict]

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Miami-based SunStone Ships Inc has signed an agreement with China Merchants Industry Holdings Co (CMIH) to build four expedition cruise ships, with options for an additional six vessels.

The cruise ships will each have between 80 and 95 passenger cabins, will be 104 metres in length and 18.2m wide with a draught of 5.1 metres, designed to …[restrict] access areas barred to bigger vessels. They will be Ice Classed 1A and Polar Code PC6, and have a speed of 15 knots.

Each ship is to be flagged in the Bahamas.

SunStone is the largest tonnage provider of expedition vessels to the cruise and travel industry, with an existing fleet of ten small cruise vessels on charter to companies within the expedition market.

CMIH is part of the China Merchants Group formed in 1872 and one of the largest groups of companies in China, including the China Merchants Bank, one of the 20 largest banks in the world.

CMIH has entered into an agreement with Ulstein Design & Solutions, who will supply the vessel’s design and equipment package, as well as the supervision for the building of the vessels.

Celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year, Ulstein Group is a well-known international designer, builder and provider of ship system solutions. The family-owned group is headquartered in Ulsteinvik, Norway, and encompasses over 600 employees in six countries.

CMIH has also entered into an agreement with Mäkinen, Finland, one of the leading contractors of cabin and interior public spaces for cruise vessels. Mäkinen will establish a cabin assembly plant and interior workshop at the shipyard’s facilities, and will be responsible for all interior spaces on the new builds.

Mäkinen was founded in 1992 and it has completed over 5000 successful projects for the most significant cruise lines and shipyards.

The vessels will be part of the SunStone Fleet and chartered to new and existing clients.[/restrict]

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Maritime leaders on Friday called for the industry to proactively prepare for future challenges to not only remain competitive and relevant in today’s volatile market environment, but to also future-proof the industry.

Speaking at a briefing session ahead of the Sea Asia 2017 conference and exhibition in April, the four industry leaders pointed out the importance of investing in solutions now to ensure companies are well-placed to navigate future headwinds such as regulation changes, while better understanding the impact of technology.

Mr René Piil Pedersen, Chairman for the International Committee of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), said despite challenges in 2016, this year is looking to be a better year for the industry, with projected growth …[restrict] of two to four percent in container shipping demand as well as growing demand in bulk and tanker segments.

“The container industry is not out of the woods yet, but we are seeing most trades being in better balance after record-low freight rates in 2016. This could lead to a more sustainable industry in 2017 supported by the increased consolidation activity. In the bulk segment, there is optimism while the coming year’s newbuilding program will be decisive for the tanker segment” said Mr Pedersen.

Digitalisation also presents a huge opportunity for the industry, according to Mr Pedersen.

“Digitalisation can give companies the possibility to engage with customers in a way that creates more value to the customers, just as Big Data can be used to operate assets more efficiently. Two to three years ago, you’d see a container booking take two hours, whereas today it takes minutes, and in the next few years, it will likely take seconds.

“With the growing focus on e-commerce and digital solutions, SMEs and consumers who were not directly linked to the global supply chains, now have the opportunity to connect, giving companies the opportunity to address consumer needs in a more direct and efficient way than ever before,” he said.

Ms Tan Beng Tee, Assistant Chief Executive (Development) of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) emphasised the importance of industry players keeping an eye on the future, especially with the fast pace of technology adoption.

“The advent of digitalisation will help improve processes in the industry but it will also disrupt the way you do business. With this in mind, there is a need for us to be prepared and start thinking about the new business models that will arise as a result of digitalisation in the industry.

“Another area we need to start focusing on is the skills of our workforce. Shipping is a traditional and documents intensive industry. This will no longer be the case in the future with blockchain coming into the market. New skills will be required and we will need to start equipping our workforce with cross-disciplinary skills such as IT literacy and data analytics,” said Ms Tan.

The panellists also discussed the importance of solid risk management as the industry anticipates major structural changes with new mega-alliances, mergers and acquisitions, in addition to an increasingly demanding regulatory environment and compliance issues.

Mr K Murali Pany, Managing Partner at Joseph Tan Jude Benny (JTJB) LLP, stressed that companies must re-evaluate their business models with a view to invest in risk management.

“There has to be a fundamental rethink of how business is going to be done in terms of managing the risk. All businesses have risk, but it’s a question about whether to take on the risk blindly, or taking it on in a measured way, where you’re prepared for when things go wrong,” said Mr Pany, a speaker at Sea Asia 2017.

For example, he pointed to the need for proper contracts. Too many times, he said, millions of dollars have been at stake over contracts that were too vague or not set up appropriately. He also highlighted the need to make considered agreements, encouraging companies to take a hard look at the credit-worthiness of who they were supplying to.

“Rather than chasing every dollar, businesses should be chasing the good dollars. Don’t just focus on volumes; focus on creating a more solid business.”

And with more regulatory changes coming such as the Ballast Water Management Convention and the low sulphur cap by 2020, Mr Pany said compliance with these is key to risk management.

“In line with this, companies need to have and invest in more stringent and stronger risk management programmes. The key to this is setting up the right procedures, protocols and technological structures,” he said.

Mr Marcus Hand, Editor of Seatrade Maritime News, said these are some of the discussions that will be taking place at Sea Asia 2017, including conversations around the implications of disruptive and innovative technology for the future of shipping.

“In addition to market challenges, the industry will need to prepare itself for the wave of technological change that has already begun to take place. Industry players need to look ahead and see how they can leverage current opportunities in the industry, while at the same time ensuring they have proper safeguards ready to tackle barriers in the future.

“This year’s edition of Sea Asia 2017 will explore some of these opportunities and barriers, and it will provide an international platform for maritime leaders to come together and share with one another insights on how they can shape the course of the global maritime industry.

“With more than 16,000 people expected to come for this year’s Sea Asia, we are looking forward to fruitful discussions that can further propel the industry forward,” said Mr Hand.

Sea Asia 2017 will be held in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands®, Singapore from 25 – 27 April 2017.[/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.


Glovis Passion and pilot boat Lufafa. Pictures: Keith Betts

The car carrier GLOVIS PASSION (36,834-gt) departing from Durban recently after calling at the port’s car terminal. Managed and owned by Ray Car Carriers of Douglas, in the Isle of Man, UK, the ship is one of the smaller Ro-Ro car carriers on the Africa service at 168 metres in length, 28m wide and with a maximum capacity of 3,969 cars. The ship was built by Hyundai Mipo Shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea in 2011. These pictures by Keith Betts


Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
– Max Ehrmann ‘Desiderata’


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