Thursday’s Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002


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PLEASE NOTE: Because of the Easter holidays, our next edition will appear on Tuesday, 18 April 2017.   A very Happy and Blessed Easter to all

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Warnow Whale Picture: Tony de Freitas

The container ship WARNOW WHALE (18,318-dwt), operated by Seaboard Marine based out of Miami, is seen here at Port Everglades in Florida, USA. Seaboard maintains quite a large fleet and operation – there had been some talk of transferring their home port and storage facilities to Port Everglades but whether this has or will come about is not clear. Warnow Whale is owned by GB Shipping & Chartering of Leer, in Germany and flies either the Antigua & Barbuda or Cypriot flags – there are conflicting reports about this. She was built in 2007 at the Zhejiang Ouhua Shipbuilding yard in Zhoushan in China. The ship has a nominal container capacity of 1296 TEU and her current schedule see her sailing out of Miami to Costa Rica and Central American ports.

Also in the image is the brand new tug, TRIDENT (484-gt), the first Rotortug built this year in the US for Seabulk Towing, one of the two contracted tug companies operating out of Port Everglades (McAlister being the other). A second is being built and will be named TRITON. Trident has been in service since February/March this year. Picture by Tony de Freitas

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TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) says that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to facilitate projects that will improve cross border trade and enhance trade links between the country and East Africa Community member states.

With the MOU in force, TMEA, a leading trade facilitation institution, says it intends replicating and consolidating its success in contributing to the ease of trading across East and Central African borders and in this case, by investing in already available resources like water transport, simplifying trade processes through… [restrict]training and facilitating adoption of Information Communication Technology (ICT) around Eastern DRC.

The government of the Netherlands made a commitment of US$ 6.7 million to kick-start the projects.

The projects will comprise dredging and the rehabilitation of Kalundu port on Lake Tanganyika; support to cross border trade which will include capacity building and implementation of Integrated Border Management systems on the border crossings in Rusizi between Rwanda and Bukavu; rehabilitation of the Ports of Kasenyi (DRC) and Ntoroko (Uganda) and finally infrastructure work at the border crossing at Goli (Uganda) Mahagi (DRC).

East African Community borders with the DRC
TMEA’s involvement with DRC consolidates the benefits accrued from similar interventions that it has facilitated in East Africa and especially along the regions’ main transport routes including the Northern Corridor from Mombasa linking Uganda, Rwanda, DRC and South Sudan, plus also on the Central Corridor, connecting the Port of Dar es Salaam with Rwanda, Burundi, and Eastern DRC by road and lake transport.

During a visit to State House after the signing ceremony the DRC Directeur du Cabinet, Prof. Nehemie Wilondja, stated that: “Trade is a way to reduce conflict and unemployment. The agreement will contribute to the training of cross border traders in trade issues, exporting and tapping into regional markets. This will especially benefit our youth.”

TMEA Director General David Stanton expressed optimism that the DRC will benefit from ease of trading across borders because of TMEA’s facilitation. “TMEA successfully partnered with governments and businesses in the EAC partner states to drive down the costs of trade along the key transport corridors – which come all the way to the border with DRC,” he said. “We now want to take this further, by replicating successful initiatives here in DRC with the aim of ensuring that Congolese businesses are competitive and that the benefits of trade along these corridors spill over to the DRC.”

Evidence from training of border officials and cross border traders, especially women, has promoted cordial relationships and built trust among the two core players of cross border trade. It has enabled traders to not only identify and tap into local markets efficiently, but their knowledge about regional markets means they submit requirements at the border points without much hassle.

Combined, the efforts reduce time taken to transit across the main transport routes, enable businesses to not only diversify their products but also supply market needs thus creating employment opportunities.

The new agreement will enhance trade links between the EAC and the DRC.

East Africa Community

EU to invest in Mombasa port projects

In other news from the East African region, the European Union (EU) is reported to be considering investing at least 20 billion shillings (about US$ 200 million) on projects in the port of Mombasa, including the rehabilitation and upgrading of berths.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is processing a request for financing for Kenya’s ports, which will be in the form of a loan. Regional Director of TradeMark East Africa, Ahmad Farah, said that although a final decision had been reached, there were still high-level negotiations to be completed.

The loan of $180 million would soon come, he said, while a $20 million grant was under consideration. He added that the project would be undertaken in close association with the Kenyan Revenue Authority.[/restrict]

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MOL Delight, on charter from RMT. Picture: Shipspotting

Rickmers Marine closes down

Final efforts to stave off the winding up of panamax shipowner Rickmers Marine Trust (RMT) have all been fruitless and this week the Singapore=based company, which owns and charters out 14 container ships in the range between 3,450 and 5,060 TEUs, will now have to be sold.

An improvement in the charter markets came… [restrict]too late to save the company from what had become inevitable, given all that has happened in this market in the past year and more.

Rickmers has five ships on long-term charter to MOL. Another five are in the spot market while four are laid up.

The Trust said yesterday that “in light of the aggravated illiquidity and lack of new investors, the Trustee-Manager opines that it is impracticable to continue the Trust and that it shall therefore be wound up.”

Rickmers said that rock-bottom hire rates saw the value of panamax vessels plummet. “According to VesselsValue, the RMT fleet is now worth just US$ 89 million – equal to the scrap value of the ships – compared with around $ 200 million a year ago.”[/restrict]

Maersk claims top spot in megamax container ships

Madrid Maersk

No one line holds the crown for long in the business of having the largest container ship. A few days ago we brought you a report about MOL TRIUMPH, the new holder of the ‘title’ at 20,179 TEU. MOL has another four similar ships on order. MOL Triumph sailed this week and has just made her maiden call at Shanghai after which she will head for Singapore and then to Europe via the Suez Canal.

She won’t be doing it as the biggest ship however. For what it is worth, [restrict]the title has been passed to Maersk, who seldom make a noise about these things. They have disclosed some facts about MADRID MAERSK, which has just been delivered from the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Engineering (DSME) shipyard with little or no fanfare. Madrid Maersk, the first of a planned 11 of these Triple E class, Mark II ships, can load up to 20,568 TEU.

comparative changes in Triple E Mk II design

This has been achieved by tweaking the design of the Triple E class to provide 12% more capacity, despite having the same 400 metre length and 60 metre width. The secret is in using a smaller engine, and moving the engine room one bay back, while pushing the bridge two bays forward. The ship is also deepened to permit one extra tier of containers, while deck tiers go one layer higher.

For how long can Maersk hold the boasting rights? (not that they have been boasting, in fact the introduction of this ship has been low key) – the answer is: not for long, as OOCL is awaiting delivery of their OOCL HONG KONG from Samsung Heavy Industries – she will have a nominal maximum capacity exceeding anything else and passing the 21,000 TEU mark, at 21,100 TEUs. The race to build bigger and bigger is back on after a short interlude.[/restrict]

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Trading dhow

Somali security forces have detained a number of pirates who were holding the crew of an Indian-owned trading dhow, AL KAUSAR, after a series of actions, but others managed to escape ashore taking Indian sailors with them as hostages. The dhow is now free from pirate control.

The drama unfolded on Monday this week after an exchange of gunfire. In the event, some of the pirates slipped ashore, taking eight of the Indian crew with them but leaving two onboard to be rescued. A second report suggested the [restrict]two rescued may also have been taken ashore but were abandoned in a car after security forces approached. Alternately, these may have been among the eight taken ashore with the pirates.

The sailors all come from Mandvi near Mumbai.

What is clear is that all eight sailors taken ashore have been rescued ashore on Wednesday, with any fighting taking place. A coast guard official reported that security forces first surrounded the pirates and then enlisted the parents of some of them to call on the pirates to hand themselves over peacefully. This was successful and the remaining eight hostages were freed without harm and allowed to rejoin their dhow.

They are said to be safe and healthy.

There are also some reports saying that the objective of the pirates was to exchange the Indian crew for pirates detained in Indian jails for several years, after being captured in engagements with the Indian Navy. This has not been confined however.

In another report, this from the Voice of America, a Somali pirate leader, Abdikarim Salah also known as ‘Aw Koombe’ and two other pirates have ‘disappeared’ after last being seen on board a Lebanese-registered cargo ship, OS 35 near Socotra Island, as they attempted to force the crew to navigate the vessel in the direction of the Somali coast.

OS 35 was freed after naval intervention including a Chinese naval ship and it is being suggested that Aw Koombe and the other two pirates, who were left on board when the others made their escape, have been taken away by the Chinese Navy.

VOA said that it could not verify the reports of the three pirates being held by the Chinese but that this appeared likely as internal information shared between international maritime forces off the coast of Somalia indicated that at least three pirates were arrested during the operation.

Aw Koombe is a known, notorious, wanted pirate leader who authorities believe was involved in the hijacking of at least 10 ships over the course of several years.[/restrict]

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CMA CGM has announced a significant improvement of its shipping service between Montreal, Canada and African West Coast markets.

Starting 6 May 2017 with the opening of the new service Med Canada, CMA CGM will… [restrict]connect Montreal cargo to West Africa with its 6 EURAF services via the hub of Tangiers.

Transit times will be shortened up to 12 days. Apapa will be reached in 25 days.

Angola, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo on EURAF 5 and Gabon, Equatorial Guinea on EURAF 4 will continue to be connected on the St Laurent service.

Transit times from Montreal to West Africa via Tangiers are as shown.


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Madeira, the group of islands lying opposite the coast of Morocco, is positioning itself to take advantage of China’s New Silk Road concept, and to secure Chinese investment while boosting exports. As an autonomous region of Portugal, Madeira sees itself with the advantage of factors such as its geographical location and duty free zone, reports Macauhub.

Madeira is situated in the Atlantic Ocean opposite the coast of Morocco.

On 24 March Funchal, the region’s capital, [restrict] hosted a conference attended by the President of the Regional Government, Miguel Albuquerque, and the Chinese ambassador in Lisbon, Cai Run, on the sidelines of which an agreement was signed between the Madeira government and the Association of Friends of the New Silk Road, with a view to putting together joint initiatives to attract projects to the region.

Given the “prime location of Madeira”, the agreement aims at “its possible inclusion (in the New Road), enabling the development of promotion and internationalisation strategies for the Region in the new policy framework and trade relations between China and the European Union and third countries, particularly the Portuguese-speaking countries.”

The Association, founded in December 2016, will support the Government, particularly in “project applications and corresponding international support” in areas such as tourism and investment in general,” said the document signed by the Regional Secretary for the Economy, Tourism and Culture, Eduardo Jesus, and the president of the association, Fernanda Ilhéu.

The scheme for economic and trade stimulus, announced in 2013 by the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, comprises an infrastructure plan intended to revive the ancient Silk Road between China and Europe through Central Asia, Africa and Southeast Asia.

It includes the construction of a high-speed railway network between China and Europe, covering 65 countries and 4.4 billion people, taking advantage of the already established the Silk Road Fund, worth US$40 billion.

In that respect, the first train from the UK to China left this week to help reopen these rail links between Europe and China.

At the conference, Ilhéu recalled the words of the former Chinese ambassador to Lisbon, Huang Songfu, who said that “Portugal positioned in the centre of the Atlantic Sea Route could have a vital role in achieving One Belt, One Road in Europe.”

location of Madeira

He stressed that the relationship between Portugal and China was improved during the visit of former Portuguese president Cavaco Silva to Beijing in 2014, the “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” meaning “that cooperation must be comprehensive, far-reaching and in multiple areas, including the economic, scientific, technological, political and cultural fields, at both bilateral and multilateral levels and is driven by both governments and non-governmental groups.”

Ilhéu also pointed out the potential of the Madeira Free Zone – Sociedade Desenvolvimento Madeirs, which parallels the Chinese Special Economic Zones, in order to promote investment and international financial services, industrial and technological parks, technological development and tourism.

The signing of the protocol was attended by the President of the Confucius Institute at the University of Lisbon, Wang Jincheng, and various entities related to the regional government. (macauhub)[/restrict]

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MOL Triumph, now on her maiden voyage

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), Japan’s largest and oldest international ocean carrier, has been given clearance for four LNG-powered 20,000 TEU containerships that are under construction at the Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) shipyards.

The clearance came from the registrar and classification society headquartered in Germany, DNV GL.

MOL LNG plans

The building of the vessels has [restrict] been under planning and then construction since 2015 when MOL opted for using LNG as a future fuel. This followed the tightening of global regulations on exhaust emissions on merchant ships by organisations such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO), other specialised international bodies and various countries across the world.

According to MOL it has conducted next-generation clean fuel studies which have shown that the use of LNG as a replacement for conventional heavy fuel oil can significantly reduce emissions of CO2, a major contributor to global warming, as well as NOX and SOX, which cause acid rain.

MOL’s first vessel of the series, MOL TRIUMPH, was delivered on 27 March 2017, and though fueled conventionally, the ship can be converted to run on LNG fuel once the LNG supply is generally available. MOL takes delivery of the second 20,000 TEU-class vessel in May 2017.[/restrict]

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CMM and DNV GL undertake first class health check of on-board control networks

LPG powered Hellas Gladiator

Classification society DNV GL teamed up with innovative Greek owner Consolidated Marine Management (CMM) for a test on the health of a control and communication network on board seagoing vessels. The pilot project, conducted on one of CMM’s state-of-the-art chemical tankers, investigated exactly what it takes to carry out a successful test of a vessel’s communication and control systems, in order to strengthen their overall robustness and resilience.

“On-board communication networks have become [restrict] the ‘nervous system’ of vessels’ integrated machinery,” says Mate J Csorba, Principal Specialist, Marine Cybernetics Advisory DNV GL – Maritime. “A growing share of disruptions and down time in offshore operations can now be traced back to problems with networked equipment.”

The pilot project on board CMM’s vessel consisted of 46 tests covering Ethernet-based networks (control systems and auxiliary systems), CAN-bus connectivity (sensors and the alarm system), and a selection of DNV GL class rules addressing on-board communication networks. In practice this translated into a focus on the alarm monitoring system, the ballast water treatment system, the main engine shaft power and performance monitoring system, the main engine control and monitoring System, and auxiliary networks.

“Having a comprehensive overview of the ‘health’ of the network on board will allow owners to schedule preventive measures at convenient times, enable better maintenance planning and perhaps even result in extended lifespan of aging assets,” says Csorba.[/restrict]

South Korean fishing vessels install Vesconite Hilube stern tubes and rudder bearings

Port Louis dry dock

Two South Korean fishing vessels have just installed Vesconite Hilube stern tubes and rudder bearings at Port Louis dry dock, Mauritius.

The vessels, with a gross tonnage of 441t and 578t, came into the port separately, with a week’s interval between their entries.

It was determined that stern tube and rudder bearing replacement was required, and the vital hollow tube-like structures that connect the ship’s engine to the propeller and assist with steering as well as tubes that allow for the free movement of the rudder were ordered from Johannesburg, South Africa.

The one Vesconite Hilube bushing had an outer diameter of 225mm, an inner diameter of 170mm and a length of 250mm, while another had an outer diameter of 155mm, an inner diameter of 75mm and a length of 400mm.

Other bushings, measuring 350mm x 250mm x 250mm and 350mm x 250mm x 1000mm, were also ordered.

“The repairer was happy that Vesconite Bearings’ Johannesburg warehouse was able to deliver the stern tubes and rudder bearings within a day of their being dispatched,” says technical consultant Eddie Swanepoel.

“The cost of a ship being in dry dock is considerable, as is the cost of lost fishing production, so delivery times of essential components is important,” he notes.

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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.


Kota Mawar. Picture: Keith Betts

Seaspan’s 3,500-TEU container ship with something of an identity puzzle, being in Cosco colours while operating on a current CMA CGM service but bearing a typical Pacific International Lines (PIL) name. At one stage the ship operated under the name Kota Fuzhou which is where the colours possibly come in. There’s probably a very logical answer to this little conundrum. Seaspan are certainly the ship’s owner (Hong Kong) and manager (Canada) but the rest we’ll leave for another time or someone to fill us in. Suffice to say, here was the ship arriving in Durban, loaded mainly with CMA CGM boxes and appearing to be on a current-charter to the French company. The ship is 232 metres in length, 32m wide and is flagged in Hong Kong. She was built at the Zhejiang shipyard in China in 2007. The last Kota Mawar to call in Durban was a 1994-built PIL vessel that operated from Singapore to South and West Africa for some years. We reported on her on 26 July 2010 HERE
and again on 6 August 2013 HERE. Today’s picture, taken on 27 March 2017, was taken by Keith Betts


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