Tuesday’s Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

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MSC Paris. Picture: Trevor Jones

Mediterranean Shipping Company’s 7,928-TEU container ship MSC PARIS (102,756-dwt) arrives in Durban during March this year. The ship, which was built in 2006 at the Hyundai Heavy Industries Ltd Co shipyard in South Korea as hull number 1633, is owned by Doehle Peter Schiffahrts of Hamburg, Germany. She is 335 metres in length and 42.8m wide. This picture is by Trevor Jones

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Port of Richards Bay

The MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala will today (Tuesday) officiate the signing of a major partnership between the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone, Nyanza Light Metals and a New Zealand based company.

The deal will culminate in the construction of a …[restrict]R4.5 billion titanium beneficiation plant in Richards Bay.

The plant will produce titanium dioxide pigment, a product used in paint, toothpaste and colourants for food products. The construction of the plant will commence next year, while production is expected to begin in late 2019. The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) extended a grant of R17.1 million to the company for feasibility studies and has also approved an investment allowance of R900 million.

MEC Zikalala has described the project as a major boost for the KwaZulu-Natal economy, saying it affirmed the province as a preferred investment destination.

“We are very excited about this project because it will have a huge impact on our economy and it will also create 550 permanent skilled jobs, 1 200 indirect and 800 jobs during construction.” – SAnews.gov.za[/restrict]

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By Anne Carnegie
Secretary: The International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA)

Imagine you have just been appointed as the Harbour Master of a major international port and you are now standing in the Port’s VTS centre.

Flushed with pride at your achievement in landing this job, with the congratulations of your family and former colleagues still echoing in your ears, you survey your new domain. Through the big windows you see what appears to be frenetic and perpetual motion, container ships, tankers, cruise liners, bulkers, tugs and many other different vessels coming and going. Through the double glazed windows, you can hear tug whistles, ship sound signals and many other noises mingling together to add to the scene growing in your mind of a juggernaut operation, seemingly too big to control.

But as you also listen to the calm and professional voices of the VTS operators around you, and the equally measured and professional responses coming over the VHF from the activity outside the window you take comfort: you have done this before, you are trained and professional and anyway, you got the job. Nevertheless, as this first onset of nerves gives way to a measured, competent and practised appraisal of your port, you realise that you could use some extra help occasionally; the comfort of testing your ideas by sharing them with other respected professionals.

Fortunately, it is rare to find anything completely new. ‘Someone’, somewhere will probably have done it before, all you have to do is find that ‘someone’; you also have to be sure that the ‘someone’ you have identified is actually competent, experienced and qualified. Again you are in luck, as the Harbour Master of a port you are eligible to join the International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA). Here you will find that elusive ‘someone’: Harbour Masters from around the world from small ports, big ports, container ports, bulk ports, all kinds of ports, and they have all at some stage found themselves exactly in your position. And not just Harbour Masters, IHMA welcomes VTS Managers and indeed all those who hold a managerial position in aspects of the control of marine operations within a port.

As we all know, you will never know everything and you can always learn a lesson or two from others, mind you, they will also expect to learn a thing or two from you. Amongst its many other benefits, every two years the IHMA holds its congress. Here you will find Harbour Masters from upwards of 80 ports around the world, all gathered together in one place for almost four days; fertile ground indeed to gather ideas and swap information.

There can surely be no more cost-effective way of networking with fellow Harbour Masters with a congress agenda that is carefully constructed around a central theme and pointed at professional topics of direct interest to Harbour Masters. The formal debate in the auditorium is enhanced significantly by the exhibition outside, where manufacturers and service providers demonstrate their wares to a focussed and highly interested body of potential purchasers. They come also to learn from Harbour Masters about how their products could be developed and improved.

The next IHMA Congress will be held in London, 25-28 June 2018, and will address the theme ‘Ports – Essential for Safe, Efficient and Secure Global Trade’. Further details can be found on the Congress website at www.globalportoperations.com/

Of course for many Harbour Masters attendance at a conference may be out of the question both in terms of time and cost. IHMA recognises this and helps its members to connect by other means. These include the opportunity to participate in a members only on-line Forum where questions can be posted and answered by members across the world. The Secretary of the Association is always happy to support members as they submit their questions particularly when there are technical or second language obstacles to be overcome. The President keeps in contact with members through a monthly blog post which is also emailed to members and provides the latest information on Association activities and interests. The IHMA website provides further information at www.harbourmaster.org

There are opportunities too for IHMA members to further their professional development. IHMA has Observer status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and participates in meetings in its capacity as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). Members are welcome to attend the IMO by arrangement with the Secretary and to participate in inter-sessional correspondence groups. It is a great honour for IHMA to be the international voice of Harbour Masters at IMO.

Chairman of IHMA 2018 Papers’ Committee Mr Kevin Gregory meets the S-G at IMO. The author at left

Secretary-General Kitack Lim in choosing the theme “Connecting Ships, Ports and People” for this year’s World Maritime Day theme has demonstrated the IMO’s commitment to focussing on helping Member States develop and implement maritime strategies that invest in a joined-up, interagency approach to address a range of issues including efficiency, navigational safety, protection of the marine environment and maritime security and to standardize port operational procedures through identifying and developing best practice guidance and training materials.

IHMA strongly supports this initiative and last year at IMO we were pleased that information contributed by our members was incorporated in the revised Guidelines on minimum training and education for mooring personnel (FAL.6/Circ.11/Rev.1).

IHMA recommended that the guidelines should distinguish between the knowledge required by mooring personnel who work ashore only and those who work ashore and on mooring boats, and also proposed additional content to reflect current good practice including awareness of risk to health and safety and how these risks are controlled; relevant safe manual handling practice related to the use and lifting of mooring equipment; muster location and wharf lighting set-up; reference to sound signals; lifebuoy and ladder location and man overboard procedures; and the hazards of working with wires and ropes under tension including awareness of snapback zone.

Members of IHMA occupy positions from the smallest to the largest and busiest ports in the world and they place high value on the support of their fellow harbour masters.

They enjoy each other’s company, openly share their successes and difficulties and are keen to work with sister organisations including IALA, The Nautical Institute, PIANC and IMPA. IHMA welcomes new members and the Secretary is always pleased to answer any enquiries secretary.ihma@harbourmaster.org

Currently IHMA has 16 harbour master Members in Africa including in the ports of: Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Walvis Bay, Nouadhibou and Port Tanger.

Author’s note:
It is important that I pay tribute to Commander David Phillips, former Chief Harbour Master of the Port of London Authority, for his provision of material for this article.

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The Fort of São Sebastião, Ilha de Mozambique. Picture: Terry Hutson

The Island of Mozambique will have a new archaeology centre later this year, the first of its kind in the country and one of the few on the continent.

Funded by the Government of the United States of America through the Ambassador’s Fund for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, it will focus mainly on research and documentary archive on slave routes and wrecked slave ships, reports Voa Portugues.

Thousands of slaves left for various destinations, including …[restrict]the American continent, from Mozambique and other parts of Africa, and, while the slave trade ended long ago, the evidence and material testimony of the period still exists today.

This heritage however could disappear forever if measures are not taken, and it was with this in mind that it was decided to launch the Slave Wreck Project, which will study the route of slave ships locate the wrecks of those which sank.

Ricardo Teixeira Duarte, a professor at the Eduardo Mondlane University, is the director of the project, entitled’ Preservation and Protection of the Underwater and Terrestrial Cultural Heritage Endangered of the Global Slave Trade on the Island of Mozambique’.

arrow points to island’s location

The initiative is supervised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism with the involvement of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Eduardo Mondlane University.

Located about 200 kilometres from Nampula, the Island of Mozambique is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

According to Yolanda Teixeira Duarte, a researcher at Eduardo Mondlane University and George Washington University in the United States, it is hoped to set up the centre later this year.

The US Government has made funding available through its embassy in Maputo, and US Ambassador Dean Pittman is said to be very interested in the project, declaring that US$187,000 had been budgeted for the project.

It is possible that research might confirm that many Americans are descendants of slaves taken from Mozambique. The initiative, however, is multinational, involving the United States, Brazil, Cuba, Senegal, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Uruguay. Source: Voa Portugues


Fort São Sebastião, dating back to the 16th Century


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An amphibious element, part of US, UK and French assets engaged in Exercise Alligator Dagger 17 from 5-20 April. Official US Navy file photo of Arta Beach Amphibious Training Area, Djibouti. US Marine Corps photo by Sgt Xzavior T McNeal/Released USN©

Naval forces from the US, UK and France began Exercise Alligator Dagger 17 on 5 April. The two-week multilateral amphibious exercise is taking place in international waters off the coast of Djibouti and in the vicinity of Djibouti and Arta Beach. This was reported by the US Navy on 8 April with the exercise running to 20 April.

Exercise Alligator Dagger 17, led by US Naval Amphibious Forces, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (51/5), is a multilateral amphibious exercise with the …[restrict]Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) as part of the sustainment training for ARG/MEUs in the US 5th Fleet area of operations.

US 5th Fleet’s area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water and includes the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprising of 20 countries, includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.

Alligator Dagger Exercise procedures familiarize ARG/MEUs with the US Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR) and sharpen tactical proficiency.

Participating forces include the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), the command ship for Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 8, USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), 24th MEU, HMS Monmouth (F235), USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) and a detachment of the French 5th Marine Regiment.

Participants will conduct fire team, squad and platoon level live-firing, vessel board search and seizure (VBSS), integrated amphibious operations, day and night full mission profiles/long range raid and coalition integration. The exercise also provides a unique opportunity to enhance multilateral capabilities in critical mission-sets inherent to the US Navy-Marine Corps team with partners and allies in the region.

In the words of Captain James Dunn USN, Deputy Commodore of Amphibious Squadron 8: “We are excited to be participating in this dynamic exercise alongside our allies and partners. Exercises like Alligator Dagger enhance the execution of our wide range of capability, while increasing the ability of all participants to plan and oversee complex operations.”

Exercise Alligator Dagger 17 is one of several training opportunities to be undertaken by US and allied marines and sailors during their deployment in the region. Recurring training opportunities such as this support the professional development of US forces and military-to-military relationship-development with partnering nations.

Colonel Ryan Rideout, Commanding Officer of the 24th MEU added: “This exercise is an excellent opportunity for the Navy-Marine Corps team. Marines and sailors are always excited about any opportunity to work with regional partners and allies as we conduct operations at sea, from the sea, and ashore.”

The Amphibious Ready Group and Marine Expeditionary Unit are forward-deployed-engaged, and postured to shape actions across the range of military operations to resolve conflict, conduct humanitarian assistance, or combat the enemy in remote, austere environments that would otherwise be inaccessible. Alligator Dagger provides a unique opportunity to enhance capabilities in critical mission sets inherent to the US Navy-Marine Corps team.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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European Naval ships on counter piracy patrol in Gulf of Aden

Piracy off the east coast of Africa is refusing to go away, despite the best efforts of international naval fleets and attempts at introducing a stable government in the failed state of troubled Somalia.

We’ve reported several pirate attacks over the past three to four weeks and now there is another, although in this case with a happy ending, as the intended victim got away.

On Saturday (13h10 UTC, 8 April) a bulker …[restrict] (a real ship this time, not one of the smaller dhow or coastal type trading vessels, came under attack and was actually boarded by pirates who arrived in a skiff. This took place in the Gulf of Aden and according to UKMTO (UK Maritime Trade Operations) centre, the crew quickly turned off the ship’s engines and took to the citadel, leaving the bulker adrift in the sea.

The next day the pirates abandoned the ship, leaving the crew to re-emerge in the early hours of Sunday morning and retake control of their ship. They have since continued with their voyage along with a naval escort. The bulker has not been identified other than it is flagged in Tuvalu.

UKMTO said in an advisory that “Vessels transiting the area are advised to exercise extreme caution.”

So far in the last few weeks pirates operating from Puntland have attacked and seized a small tanker, a fishing vessel, a Pakistani trading dhow as well as the latest incident involving the bulker. That they haven’t been successful in holding any of the vessels for any length of time counts for nothing. Sooner or later they are going to capture a merchant ship and its crew out there in the Gulf of Aden or the Arabian Sea and it will then have to be seen whether the 2017-version of pirates can successfully hold their prize for hostage or ransoming without being dispossessed by the Puntland marine police or any other Somali force when they come ashore.

One thing is clear. Some shipowners or operators have relaxed their guard and are allowing or encouraging the crews to take chances such as sailing too close to the north-east African coast or by taking the gap between the African coast and Socotra island, in order to cut down on costs.[/restrict]

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New SGR trainset (red) and metre gauge Rift Valley Railway (green)

Egypt’s investment firm Qalaa Holdings, the majority shareholder in Kenya’s Rift Valley Railway, is in talks with prospective investors to buy out its stake in the troubled metre-gauge railway.

The Kenyan newspaper East African quotes The Business Daily in saying that a “consortium of local firms has made a $133 million bid to buy an 80 percent interest in the Kenya-Uganda railway from the Cairo-based firm.”

Qalaa has itself confirmed these reports saying that …[restrict] preliminary talks are ongoing. “No official agreement or offer has been reached as of yet, and Qalaa will continue to communicate further information in due course as negotiations advance.”

The surprising part is that there appears to be strong interest from a number of interested parties. Last month the Kenyan Railways gave Qalaa notice that it was cancelling the 25-year concession for reason that Rift Valley Railway has failed to pay concession fees for the past nine months, and in terms of the concession it (KR) was cancelling the concession.

Qalaa (previously known as Citadel) has apparently won a short reprieve of one month while it explores the interest being shown by at least three would-be investors. These are Armstrong & Duncan, petroleum distributor Rubix Energy and logistics firm Shreeji Enterprises. The report says these three are interested in bringing in South African state-owned railway firm Transnet Engineering to “bolster the consortium’s technical and operational credentials.”

Qalaa with its partners holds an 85% stake in Rift Valley Railway. The rail operation has yet to make a profit for the Egyptian company, which acquired RCR from South Africa’s Sheltam Railway which found itself obliged to sell after strong political pressure was brought to bear.

The new consortium interested in acquiring Qalaa’s 85% stake appear to think they can turn around the fortunes of a poorly equipped railway requiring major attention to its general maintenance as well as injections of new rolling stock. On top of that, RVR faces strong competition on the Kenya side of the operation from the soon-to-be-opened standard gauge railway (SGR) which is to link the port of Mombasa with Nairobi and the Uganda border.

Uncomplimentary view of a Rift Valley Railway operation

RVR operations extend into Uganda and it is interesting that reports saying that Uganda is not in agreement with the Kenyan Railways over the matter of cancelling the RVR concession. The Ugandans appear to think that there are better ways of addressing the matter of the arrears in concession fees.

A less flattering example of the Rift Valley Railway operation near Nairobi
Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) has taken a different stance from its Kenyan counterpart and says it wants to explore other options.

“Until all these processes are fully exhausted, URC cannot take a decision whether to also terminate,” s spokesman for URC said.

He did admit however that URC was concerned with RCR’s inability to meet operating targets especially the concession fees.

As a result of the uncertainty, suppliers, particularly of fuel and spare parts, have started demanding upfront payments at a time when Rift Valley Railway is experiencing significant financial constraints.[/restrict]

With operations on the SGR about to commence within months, the outlook for Rift Valley Railway is looking bleak although the lifeline thrown by potential investors who want to buy Qalaa’s majority stake will have provided some hope that this historic railway can actually survive even if it is unlikely to ever prosper. sources: East African, The Business Daily, Africa PORTS & SHIPS.

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Picture: Rolls Royce

Cathelco is supplying marine growth prevention systems (MGPS) for RSS Sir David Attenborough, a state-of-the-art polar research vessel commissioned by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) which is being built by Cammell Laird and will be operated by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

The 128m vessel, which comes into service in 2019, will transform how ship-borne science is conducted in the Polar Regions. The commissioning of the RSS Sir David Attenborough is part of a major Government polar infrastructure investment programme designed to keep Britain at the forefront of world-leading research in Antarctica and the Arctic.

This state-of-the-art ‘floating laboratory’ will support teams of up to 60 scientists who will carry out research into key issues such a climate change and future sea level rises. Designed with an ice-strengthened capability, the ship can remain at sea for 60 days without re-supply.

The Cathelco marine growth prevention equipment will protect seawater pipework serving the main engines and auxiliary systems against ‘bio-fouling blockages’ caused by barnacles, mussels and other organisms.

The ‘biofouling community’ – consisting of tiny species like squirts, hard shell worms and sponges – affects many industries including underwater construction, desalination plants, ships hulls and pipework. Removing these organisms (a process called anti-fouling) is estimated to cost billions of dollars a year globally.

The marine growth prevention equipment consists of two electrolysis tanks, each containing a pair of copper and aluminium anodes which dose the water passing through four seachests. In operation, the copper anodes produce ions which create an environment where barnacle and mussel larvae do not settle or breed, but pass directly to discharge. At the same time, ions from the aluminium anode create an anti-corrosive layer to protect the internal surfaces of pipes.

The concentrations of copper required to achieve this are extremely small – less than 2 parts per billion – resulting in a system which is environmentally benign.

Without proper bio-fouling protection, there is a risk that pipework serving engine cooling systems can become partially or completely blocked over a period of time, resulting in the need for manual cleaning or premature pipework renewal.

“RSS Sir David Attenborough is an innovative vessel which demonstrates the UK’s capability in ship design and construction. We are delighted to have an association with the ship through the supply of our MGPS equipment which is the most widely used of its type in the world. One of the reasons for its popularity is that it does not involve the use of chemicals, an important factor for all vessels from an environmental perspective, but particularly for those entering Polar Regions”, said Justin Salisbury, managing director of Cathelco.

Cathelco are world leaders in the manufacturer of MGPS systems which are installed on vessels of all types ranging from oil tankers and naval vessels to cruise ships and ferries with a record of more than 50,000 installations worldwide.



The second in The Nautical Institute’s 2017 series of Command Seminars continues to focus on Navigation Accidents and their Causes, a topic that is receiving considerable attention in the industry.

The seminar began yesterday (Monday, 10 April) in Cape Town, South Africa, with NI President Captain Duke Snider FNI giving the opening address before handing over to South African Maritime Safety Authority CEO Mr Sobantu Tilayi for the keynote address. Independent marine consultant Captain Alan Reid MNI, then introduced the main theme.

Navigation assessments play a key role in helping maintain high standards on board and prevent accidents. NI Technical Manager Captain Harry Gale FNI, author of The Nautical Institute’s popular new book Navigation Assessments – a guide to best practice, stressed that a well-conducted assessment is something that all on board should welcome.

Captain Gale explained: “A navigation assessment is a learning event for both the assessor and the bridge team, bringing fresh insights and new resources. The assessor should aim to help improve the skills of the bridge team, congratulate them on what has gone well and encourage them to further improvement.”

The theme of emphasising the positive continued as Captain Simão Finda José MNI of Cabinda Gulf Oil spoke about mentoring.

The event continues with Captain Snider updating attendees on the latest developments in ice navigation and polar operations, while independent marine surveyor and consultant Captain Gary Walsh MNI discusses some aspects of ECDIS.

Proper training and preparation for command is vital to the safety of vessel and crew. With this in mind, the final presentation of the Cape Town Seminar will be delivered by Captain Stuart McAllister, on the topic Preparing for Command. The subject ties in with the newly launched Nautical Institute Command Diploma Scheme distance learning programme, which is designed for those aspiring to command or who have recently been promoted to Master. To find out more about the scheme, please email: command@nautinst.org

All the Command Seminars offer excellent opportunities for debate, discussion and networking with maritime professionals. The next event takes place in London on 17 & 18 May, coinciding with the Institute’s annual general meeting. The Command Seminar roadshow then moves on to Cork, Ireland, on 12 & 13 October, before concluding in Limassol, Cyprus, on 3 November.

More details about all these events can be found on the Institute’s website at: www.nautinst.org/Command-2017

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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.


Thorco Alliance. Picture: Keith Betts

The general cargo (or multipurpose) ship THORCO ALLIANCE (9,822-dwt) is a regular caller at Durban and is seen here departing for Maputo earlier this month. She is one of a threesome of Thorco general cargo ships to call, the others being Thorco Conquest and Thorco Amber. Thorco Alliance is flagged in Antigua & Barbuda and is 132 metres in length and 15.87m in width. She was built in 2012 and has a service sppeed of 13.5 knots. Thorco Alliance is managed by Marship Shipmanagement of Ems in Germany (technical) and Thorco Shipping A/S (commercial) of Denmark. Completing the all-European feel to the ship, she was built in The Netherlands at the Volharding Shipyard in Hoogezand. The pilot boat alongside in one of the pictures is LUFAFA. These pictures are by Keith Betts



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