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Hoegh America. Picture: Keith Betts

The RoRo car carrier vessel HOEGH AMERICA (57,218-gt) seen here arriving in Durban during April, with the harbour tug INYALAZI in front. Owned by Ray Car Carriers of Douglas, Isle of Man, and managed by Stamco Shipmanagement of Athens, Greece, the 2003-built RoRo is operated by Hoegh Autoliners. The ship was built at the Gdynia Shipyard in Gdynia in Poland as hull number 8168/4. At 200 metres long and 32m wide, the ship can carry up to 6658 cars. Until 2008 she operated with the name Hual America. This picture is by Keith Betts

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square-stern dhow. Picture: Knight Associates

In the fourth such attack on foreign shipping off the Somali coast, a dhow named SALAMA I has been seized by pirates and taken with its crew as hostage for ransoming.

Salama I is a small dhow type trading vessel from Pakistan and was sailing near…[restrict] the coast of Galmadug in central Somalia, when pirates operating from an open skiff launched their attack. This is the fourth attack on foreign shipping in three weeks.

Not much in the way of detail is available except that the dhow’s cargo consisted mainly of foodstuffs. Salama I was heading towards the port of Kiswayo on the Somali east coast when the pirates attacked. After capturing the vessel and its crew the pirates forced the Pakistani vessel to head towards the town of Elhur, close to the port of Hobyo in Puntland.

On arrival other pirates boarded the dhow presumably to rob the vessel of its cargo but also possibly to open communications with Salama I’s operators. It is not known how many crew were on board the dhow. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) is said to be attempting to open communications with the vessel or the pirates.

Within the last three weeks Somali pirates have captured an oil products tanker named Aris 13, a fishing vessel and two dhow trading vessels.[/restrict]

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CMA CGM has announced the strengthening of its position on Europe to West Africa route by becoming the vessel operator on its current service EURAF 5.

With effect from 5 April 2017 CMA CGM now operates …[restrict] 2 vessels on EURAF 5 between North Europe and West Africa South Range.

On a weekly frequency, EURAF 5 connects Europe to Angola, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cameroon is served on a fortnightly basis.

Reefer cargo from Abidjan relies on a direct service to Europe with very fast transit times. Antwerp is reached in 15 days, Le Havre in 18 days, Lisbon in 21 days

The EURAF 5 port rotation is as follows:

Antwerp – Le Havre – Lisbon – Algeciras – Tangiers – Pointe Noire – Luanda – Lobito (fortnightly) – Namibe (fortnightly) – Douala (fortnightly) – Abidjan – Algeciras – Antwerp[/restrict]

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Bunkering tanker Lefkas now at Port Elizabeth. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting

The Eastern Cape has set itself the target of becoming the leading bunkering stop-over in Africa, says Eastern Cape MEC for rural development and agrarian reform, Mlibo Qoboshiyane.

He was speaking during the South African Maritime Industry Conference (SAMIC 2017) which was held in Port Elizabeth on Thursday and Friday last week.

This …[restrict] follows the successful introduction of a deep-sea bunkering service in Algoa Bay off Port Elizabeth.

“The province is targeting liquid fuels including bunkering services and biofuels, gas to power generation, development of commercial and industrial gas, and oil rigs service industry.

“Our vision as the province is to become the biggest bunkering service centre on the continent.

“We are pleased with the progress in the first offshore bunkering services that started in May 2016. It has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Nelson Mandela Bay is the most suitable location for offshore bunkering services,” he said.

There are also plans for a gas pipeline linking a new terminal in the port of Ngqura to Mossgas.

“The commitment by the national government to allocate 1000MW gas to power generation at Coega IDZ is warmly welcomed.

“The Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) in partnership with Nelson Mandela University [at Port Elizabeth] is in the advanced stages of baseline studies on the shale gas potential in the Karoo and other parts of the province.

“These initiatives place the Coega IDZ and Ngqura Port in a better position for Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) industry and gas to power generation,” he said.

In addition to the proposed pipeline from Ngqura to Mossgas the Department of Economic Affairs is “also exploring feeding East London Port with Liquid Natural Gas to supply industry around the Buffalo City Metro and the Wild Coast Special Economic Zone,” the MEC said.[/restrict]

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Transnet says that its adequate liquidity levels will enable it to pursue its funding plan, thanks to management’s sharp risk management framework and sound relationships with financial institutions.

Transnet was responding to its Sovereign rating downgrade, in which S&P Global Ratings has reviewed Transnet’s (and three other parastatals) long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating to ‘BB+’ from ‘BBB-‘ and the long-term local currency rating to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BBB’.

The ratings agency said the outlook …[restrict] for the state-owned company was in line with its assessment of the Sovereign rating as Transnet’s rating is linked to that of the Sovereign.

S&P however, maintained Transnet’s stand-alone credit profile at ‘bbb’, reflecting the company’s strong financial metrics as the company executes its multi-billion rand infrastructure investment programme. Transnet continues to raise funds on the strength of its own balance sheet and receives no funding or guarantees from the national government.

S&P said Transnet’s liquidity remains adequate and is backed by the company’s sound relationship with banks, satisfactory standing in capital markets, optimised capital investment programme linked to validated demand, its prudent risk management framework as well as unused credit facilities which will enable Transnet to meet its commitments.

“S&P’s affirmation and acknowledgement of the critical role that Transnet plays in South Africa’s economy as a provider of essential infrastructure services is testament of the strong and agile manner in which Transnet management is navigating the tough macro-economic challenges,” said Siyabonga Gama, Transnet Group Chief Executive.

About 26% of Transnet’s debt portfolio had a credit rating clause with a trigger below sub-investment grade. Between May and November 2016, management proactively and successfully negotiated with its lenders to lower and relax the credit rating default triggers to below sub-investment grade.

“The company has strong liquidity and has secured more than R16 billion in unused short-term credit facilities that are available within 24 hours as well as long-term specific committed funding in excess of R15 billion,” said Group Chief Financial Officer Mr Garry Pita. “Furthermore, the company has access to the domestic and global capital markets through the Domestic Medium-Term Note and Global Medium-Term Note programmes amounting to R93 billion to meet its funding commitments.”

In a statement Transnet said it reiterates that its financial fundamentals remain strong and its stand-alone profile at investment grade is a strong indication of that.[/restrict]

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cocoa beans being sorted

Ghana and the Ivory Coast should be able to withstand short-term low cocoa price fluctuations, despite cocoa prices being at 10-year lows, says Moody’s Investors Service.

Its report said that current average cocoa prices reflect a drop of around 30% compared to mid-2016.

The report, “Sovereigns — Africa: Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana Resilient to Credit Pressures from Fall in Cocoa Prices”, is now available on The research is an update to the markets and does not …[restrict] constitute a rating action.

“The 30% drop in cocoa prices will put pressure on all stakeholders in the cocoa sector, but particularly Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, through the current account, fiscal and economic channels,” said Aurélien Mali, a Moody’s Vice President — Senior Credit Officer and co-author of the report.

Although Africa produces close to 74% of global cocoa, the continent accounts for only around 20% of the grinding process. Unlike manufacturers and traders that are concentrated in a small number of companies and enjoy higher bargaining power, farmers receive a very small share (6-7%) of the value distribution in the supply chain. Household revenue is more exposed to the volatility in prices as the agriculture sector employs about two-thirds of the population in Côte d’Ivoire and over 40% in Ghana.

“That said, minimum farm gate prices have protected farmers in Côte d’Ivoire from the short-term fluctuation in prices, while Ghana’s burgeoning oil sector will help to offset the impact on its credit profile.”

The impact of the cocoa price fall on the current account balance will be more significant for Côte d’Ivoire than Ghana because cocoa exports accounted for around 43% of its total merchandise exports in 2015, compared to 24% in Ghana.

For Côte d’Ivoire, Moody’s expects lower cocoa prices and higher investment-related imports will increase the current account deficit to 2.7% of GDP in 2017, from 0.6% in 2016 and compared to a surplus of 0.7% over 2014-15. Lower exports will also weigh on growth.

In Ghana, Moody’s expects the current account deficit to improve to 6.3% of GDP in 2017 from 6.6% in 2016, amid higher GDP growth supported by new oil and gas field developments.

Over the longer-term, growing demand for chocolate in developing markets suggests that low prices – although still possible – are unlikely to persist for many years.

Although Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States remain the top chocolate consumers, these markets are already fully penetrated. On a per capita basis, Switzerland annually consumes around 9.2 kg of chocolate and the average Western European consumes 4.7 kg, while consumption for China and India only stands at around 0.1 kg, indicating further potential for cocoa production to meet growing demand over time as those markets are likely to deepen.[/restrict]

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Dunkerque floating dock. Picture: Damen

Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque (DSDu) has recently completed major refurbishment works to the yard’s floating dry dock. The dock, capable of taking vessels up to 180 metres in length and lifting 14,000 tonnes, is owned by the Port of Dunkerque (Grand Port Maritime de Dunkerque – GPMD) and is operated by DSDu. It is a major piece of ship repair infrastructure and an important part of the yard’s capability to repair and maintain a wide range of vessels.

The dock has recently celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. It was built in 1986 in Germany and purchased by GPMD in 2001. After 30 years in service, in which …[restrict] the tank top had undergone only minor repairs, it was time to renew this major part of the overall structure. The contract was awarded to DSDu after a public tendering process and required the replacement of 700 tonnes of steelwork plus 16,000 metres of new welding and the application of 12 tonnes of paint.

The project also demanded a fast turnaround, with just three months available to remove the old steel, fabricate and fit the new tank top and then apply the special paint system. To prepare for that, a dedicated team of 10 engineers spend the previous four months undertaking studies and getting everything ready for work to begin as soon as the dock ceased operations. Then 170 people worked night and day to cut out and remove the old floor, prefabricate the new steel sections and then install the new structure before finally applying the anti-corrosion treatment to guarantee optimum protection of the new structure.

In addition, a new access pontoon for the dock called Dynamo was added. Originally a Damen Stan Pontoon 5213, it was adapted by the yard for its new purpose. Work on the dock began at the start of September 2016 and was completed in mid-December, just in time to receive the first ferry – P&O’s European Seaway – marking the start of DSDu’s annual winter refit season.

Achieving this deadline required close cooperation between DSDu’s steel workers at every level and the various project partners including Quadrant Marine and NIDAB.

On the 10th of March 2017, a special event was held in the yard to celebrate the inauguration of the dock with local and regional dignitaries invited by the GPMD and Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque.

The work was jointly funded by GPMD, the Hauts-de-France Region and Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque under an agreement signed in 2012 when Damen first arrived at the yard. The strategic location of Dunkerque near to major shipping lanes and at the heart of the ferry traffic crossing the English Channel / Le Manche makes it a convenient location for ship repairs. Since P&O’s European Seaway, the newly refurbished dry dock has accommodated various vessels including ferries, a bunker-tanker and a floating training school for welders operated by Allseas.

“The refurbished floating dry dock will give us at least 25 years more service and represents a valuable upgrade to our capabilities,” said Bob Derks, Managing Director DSDu, “and we are very pleased that GPMD entrusted us to undertake this major project. It demonstrates the successful partnership that continues between the Port of Dunkerque and Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque, and the willingness of both parties to invest for the long term to ensure a bright future for the port, the yard and all those that work in them.”

Dunkerque ship repair. Picture: Damen


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Ghana Investment – Oil and Gas

Why engineers from across sub-Saharan Africa will head for the Western Cape in July

Cape Town is the hub of the oil & gas, midstream and downstream sectors for sub-Saharan Africa and the city hosts Oil & Gas 2017, a three-day conference and expo.

Engineers are being invited to Cape Town this July for Oil & Gas 2017 with its unique three-day conference, with presentation on issues from fracking to refining.

“Western Cape is the hub of sub-Saharan oil industry’s midstream and downstream oil industry and this year ensuring a convenient and attractive location for senior engineers,” says Brad Hook, who is organiser dmg-ems Africa’s Commercial Director.

“The conference will set the agenda for the region, influence policy and explore the economic potential focused on the importance of continued development and the associated benefit to Africa’s oil and gas sector.”

Oil & Gas 2017 also attracts international suppliers to the exhibition halls, providing them and visitors a comprehensive platform to meet prospective business partners face-to-face, says Hook.

“This is a networking event, a top-level conference and an opportunity to meet suppliers. The conference programme will cover the key future issues: regulation, exploration, refineries, service industries, offshore logistics, renewables and the energy mix.”

Oil & Gas Africa 2017 was acquired last year by global exhibition and conference organiser dmg events MEA adding to its worldwide energy portfolio that includes ADIPEC, which attracts 80,000 visitors to the UAE in the world’s largest oil expo outside of North America.

Oil & Gas Africa 2017 runs from 11-13 July at the Cape Town International Conference Centre with a three-day conference and exhibition.

More details available at

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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.


Happy Ranger. Pictures: Tony de Freitas

An interesting vessel to make a call at Port Everglades in Florida, USA was the heavy lift vessel HAPPY RANGER (15,634-dwt). She was meant to sail the day before but strong winds apparently prevented her from loading / discharging her cargo of yachts. Happy Ranger belongs to a group of such ships known as the Happy R-class, vessels equipped with strong, 400 mt SWL Huisman cranes that enable them to handle units up to 800 mt in a tandem lift. The ships are equipped with a moveable tweendeck, which when removed allows cargo units with an overall height of 11.70 metres to be stowed under deck. Tweendeck and upper deck strength can be increased by positioning pillars underneath the hatches. This allows large, concentrated loads to be placed on deck.

The Happy R-type ships are approved to sail with partly opened hatches to allow very high units to be stowed on the tank top and protruding through the main deck. Due to the hatch cover arrangements with folding hatches the Happy R-Class ships can also be used for bulk cargoes and other general commodities. The other two ships of this class are named HAPPY RIVER and HAPPY ROVERand were built in 1997 – Happy Ranger the following year. The ships are 138 metres in length and 22.88 metres wide. The operators of these specialist ships, BigLift, are based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Pictures are by Tony de Freitas


Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here
– Max Ehrmann ‘Desiderata’


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