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Höegh Copenhagen. Picture: Keith Betts

The car carrier HÖEGH COPENHAGEN (68,392-gt) was seen arriving in Durban in this photograph, taken earlier in April – just one of a number of Höegh Autoliner vessels to call at South African and other African ports while engaged on their worldwide services. Höegh Copenhagen was launched from the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) Okpo Shipyard on 2nd February 2010 as hull number 4454 and entered service with Höegh Autoliners shortly thereafter. She is the 11th in the series and the 17th vessel built by DSME for Höegh Autoliners. She became the 2nd vessel with a length of 228 metres and a carrying capacity of 7800 cars. This picture is by Keith Betts

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source: UNHCR

More than 2000 boat people, seeking refuge in Europe, were rescued from possible drowning off the coast of Libya on Friday and Saturday (14-15 April 2017), the Italian Coast Guard reports.

The rescues took place in numerous separate episodes involving migrants making their way towards Europe in the hope of a better life and in the process risking their lives in small and often unseaworthy craft. Rescue workers have reported the deaths of at least seven of these migrants, who set off from Libya after arriving in the North African country from various parts of West, East, Central and even Southern Africa, intent on finding their way to a European country of refuge and the chance of making something of themselves.

By Saturday, Chris Catrambone, who is one of the founders of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), said the…[restrict] organisation was appealing for “urgent assistance” as they had become overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people out on the sea. “Our crew says they’ve never seen anything like it,” Moas tweeted.

The Italian Coast Guard said it had rescued over 1500 migrants in just one operation. However, they reported seven migrants who drowned before being rescued – one of these an eight-year-old boy. Another report said more than 20 bodies had been recovered but the final death toll for the Easter weekend will be much higher. Moas reported that although it has rescued at least 450 people by transferring them to safer boats or ships, another 1,500 remained in danger just in their area of operation.

Other groups involved in the mass rescue of an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 migrants included the Italian NGO group Sea Eye and the German Jugend Rettet, while the Doctors without Borders (MSF) had two of its boats that together rescued about 1,000 people on Friday alone.

The migrants are being forced to go to sea by human traffickers operating on shore in Libya, placing them in often unsafe wooden boats or rubber inflatable dinghies and overcrowding the boats to add to their predicament. The BBC reported that at least 97 migrants died the previous week when their boat sank, leaving 23 men to survive by holding on to a flotation device. It said that in late February 87 bodies had washed up on the Libyan shore.

The Libyan government, which is fighting a war against a rebel terrorist group seeking to overthrow it, is fighting an unequal battle in halting the actions of the traffickers. The migrants arrive in the south of the country and are trekked north to the coast where after making final payment they will be placed in boats and cast offshore. Some of the overcrowded boats make it to Italy, Greece, Sardinia or other parts of Europe, but others don’t and simply disappear.

The European Union gave €200m to Libya’s UN-backed government to reinforce its coastguard and to prevent or at least interrupt the people-smuggling networks but with an internal war being fought the Libyan government still lacks the ability and resolve to prevent the movement of the human traffickers and their ‘cargo’ through the country. Human Rights groups place pressure on those who seek to encourage the migrants to turn back to Libya, saying that they face danger by remaining in or returning to Libya.[/restrict]

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Walvis Bay-based ship repair company EBH Namibia (EBHN) says it has completed a contract to maintain and repair five tugs being operated at the Angolan port of Soyo, which is in the mouth of the Congo River in the Angolan province of Zaire.

The contract was awarded to EBHN by the international ship towage, support and emergency response company, Svitzer, which is a part of the international Maersk Group.

Soyo is a busy port that acts as a conduit for oil from the local refinery. This major oil-producing region generates in the order of 1.1-million barrels of oil a day.

Svitzer’s tugs serve…[restrict] the company’s primary client in the region, Angola LNG, a joint undertaking between Chevron and Sonangol. Delivered new to Svitzer in 2011, all five tugs were due for a special survey and also needed modification to their thrusters.

As there is consistent – and frequently urgent – operational demand for all five tugs, Svitzer released one tug at a time to be attended to by EBHN. The client’s requirement for quick turnaround times was therefore critically important, as having a tug out of service could have meant substantial revenue losses.

“Considering that it is approximately the same distance from Soyo to Walvis Bay, Namibia as it is to the West African shipyards in countries such as Nigeria and Ghana, it is very noteworthy that Svitzer chose EBHN as its preferred maintenance and repair partner,” says EBHN’s Commercial and Marketing Manager Willie Esterhuyse.

LNG tanker Sonangol Sambizanga being escorted by four of the Svitzer tugs
“EBHN was the closest service provider with a respected name and a good reputation,” explains Peter de Raaf, Regional Technical Manager at Svitzer MEA.

He adds that proper management and industry expertise – combined with a well-organised, effectively-equipped facility, competitive and transparent pricing system for repair services as well as their ability to extend their services by sending mobile maintenance teams to the home port of the client – were the deciding factors in the choice of EBHN.

The Svitzer projects also involved the achievement of several ground-breaking ‘firsts’ and records successfully achieved by EBHN. The performance by the EBHN’s propulsion, mechanical, fabrication and rigging teams contributed to the overall success of all the projects in record time.

“The remarkably short turnaround time on all 5 Svitzer projects was the result of absolutely seamless EBHN teamwork,” says Hannes Uys, EBH Namibia CEO.[/restrict]

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P&O Ports has announced that it has won a 30-year US$336 million concession for the management and development of a multi-purpose port project at Bosasso in the Puntland State of Somalia.

The agreement was signed by the President of Puntland, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and the Chairman of Ports, Customs & Freezone Corporation (PCFC), Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem at a ceremony in Dubai.

Work on the project will involve…[restrict] building a 450m quay and a 5 hectare back-up area, dredging to a depth of 12m with reclamation work using dredge spoil. There will also be major investment in an IT and Terminal Operating System (TOS), mobile harbour cranes and container handling equipment. The local community in the port area will be relocated.

The port will be built in two phases, with a $136 million investment for the first phase and $200 million for the second,

“This investment is a huge undertaking in Puntland and will greatly contribute to the infrastructure development in Somalia, particularly the Puntland State of Somalia,” said President Ali.

Bosasso, the present and the future

“Infrastructure development is a priority for the government of Puntland as it underpins the efforts of taking this country forward. This concession agreement of expanding the Bosasso port is a major achievement for my government and for the people of Puntland. It promotes the historical and the trade relations between the countries of UAE and Somalia,” he said.

PCFC Chairman, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, said that the Port of Bosasso is a unique opportunity to enter into a multi-purpose port that is transitioning to containerisation in a country that is growing strongly as it enters a period of sustained peace. “It fits ideally into P&O Port’s mandate to invest in multipurpose ports in emerging markets, employing local people and developing skills. In return, the state of Puntland will benefit from an internationally recognized port operator contributing to its economic growth and trade potential,” he said.

The Port of Bosasso is located in Puntland State of Somalia, 2,000kms north of Mogadishu. It occupies a strategic location for maritime transport in the Gulf of Aden at the Southern approach to the Red Sea and Suez Canal.[/restrict]

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“The recent events (with three acts of piracy off the Somali coasts after five years of calm), reminded us that maritime insecurity remains a major challenge in the Western Indian Ocean. That is why we must not slacken our efforts,” said the Indian Ocean Commission’s (IOC) General-Secretary, Hamada Madi.

He was addressing the opening of the fifth Steering Committee of the Regional Programme for the Promotion of Regional Maritime Security (MASE), earlier in April 2017 in Bagatelle, Mauritius. Madi advised the regional organisations and the countries of the Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, as well as the international community to “remain mobilised in our region that is strategic for world trade.”

The IOC General-Secretary pointed out that the region is crisscrossed by…[restrict] many maritime highways. “For our countries, maritime trade, fisheries and seaside tourism are essential for our economies,” he said. “The added value of the EU-financed MASE Programme lies in the fact that it is covering all aspects of maritime security and safety.”

It was in this respect that he welcomed the operationalization of the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre in Madagascar and the Regional Maritime Operational Coordination Centre in Seychelles, two useful tools for securing maritime zones.

Ambassador Tewolde Gebremeskel, Director of IGAD* Peace and Security Division said there was a range of myriad issues taking place off the coast of Somalia, which he said was not only piracy but illegal fishing, arms and human trafficking which continue to challenge the region.
* IGAD – Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an eight-country trade bloc in Africa comprising countries in the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley, and the African Great Lakes.

IGAD thus committed to redouble its efforts to working with the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the IOC within the MASE Programme** in order to achieve practical results in the realm of security and governance in the maritime domain as well as in social and economic domains such as livelihoods for coastal communities that are the causal factor of maritime criminality.

Confirming that the root causes of piracy is on land, the EU Ambassador Marjaana Sall recalled that the European Union was the largest donor in Somalia, with over 1.2 billion Euros spent on development and capacity building. She also underlined EU’s overall contribution to maritime security in the region, in particular with the MASE Programme.

The fifth Steering Committee made it possible to take stock of the progresses of the MASE Programme activities, as well to start the process regarding the next Programmes on maritime security and safety in ports to be funded by the 11th European Development Fund.

The members of the MASE Programme’s Steering Committee noted the IGAD’s commitment to engage with the new Somalia Federal Government at the highest level, and its will to continue engaging with the Federal Maritime Security Coordination Committees and the Regional States, in order to realise optimum Result 1 outcomes.

The Steering Committee also noted with interest the offer by the Republic of Mauritius to host a Centre of Excellence for prison staff training. ESA-IO Chiefs of Prisons will visit the Prisons Training School in the course of their 2nd Meeting to be held in Mauritius under the coordination of EAC in late April 2017.

In addition, it has been recommended that COMESA and EAC should benefit from the possible synergies in the implementation of their respective activities in the MASE Programme supporting Law Enforcement Agencies, notably the financial regulation institutions and legal and judiciary bodies.

Finally, the members of the Steering Committee pledged support for the development of collaboration between MASE through the IOC’s Anti-Piracy Unit, and Crimario, the EU-funded Critical Maritime Routes in the Indian Ocean Programme, and that this should continue as part of the operationalization of the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre and the Regional Maritime Operational Coordination Centre. source: East African Community Secretariat

** The MASE Programme aims at promoting maritime security and safety in the Western Indian Ocean. Coordinated by IGAD, it comprises five result areas implemented by ESA-IO regional organizations:
1 – IGAD: Alternative livelihoods through vocational development initiatives and advocacy against piracy are supported; maritime coordination mechanisms are reinforced in Somalia;
2 – EAC: National & regional legal, legislative and infrastructural capabilities for arrest, transfer, detention and procesution of pirates are developed and strengthened;
3 – COMESA: Regional capacity to disrupt the financial networks of pirate leaders and their financier while also addressing the structural vulnerability factors and minimise the economic impact of piracy is strengthened;
4 – IOC: National and regional capacity for maritime tasks and support functions are enhanced;
5 – IOC: A regional mechanism for coordination and exchange of information is developed.

The regional organisations (IGAD, IOC, EAC and COMESA), implementing this Programme which are financed by the EU in the amount of 37.5 million Euros for the 2013-2020 period, are closely collaborating with numerous key players for security and development, including EU missions (EUNAVFOR, Atalanta and EUCAPNESTOR), UN Agencies (UNODC, FAO), Interpol.[/restrict]

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Walvis Bay’s new Container Terminal, under construction and a national priority

The expansion of the Namibian Port of Walvis Bay by way of its new container terminal is now a matter of being a national priority among development projects.

This was arrived at following consultations with the African Development Bank (AfDB), reports the Namibian newspaper Informante.

Eleven executive directors and one senior advisor from the AfDP paid a five day visit to Namibia earlier this month to conduct high-level consultations with authorities and relevant stakeholders.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Ericah Shafuda, said at the…[restrict] resultant media conference that although Namibia has a handful of developmental projects, the new Port of Walvis Bay Container Terminal Expansion project is a government priority, as it will provide Namibia with ample business opportunities to become a transit zone of import and export bulk commodities in SADC.

Mohamed Zaghloul, AfDB’s executive director said on-going government efforts to develop an integrated multi-modal transport network linking the port to land-locked countries in SACU and SADC will play a crucial role in advancing Namibia’s ambition to become a logistics hub for trans-shipment, promote economic integration and strengthen intra-regional trade.

He also took note of the progress made in the construction of the liquid bulk terminal, partly funded under the Line of Credit to the Development Bank of Namibia.

Zaghloul commended the authorities’ plans to exploit improved legislation for public private partnership to mobilise private financing for the future expansion of the port and the development of rail, air and road transport network.

The AfDB, however, shared concerns that unemployment remains high and that while good progress has been made in poverty eradication, more efforts are needed to further reduce inequality.

Since commencing operation in the country in 1991, the bank group has committed about US$705 million in 25 operations supporting largely the financial and transport sector.[/restrict] source: Informante

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HMS Sutherland and Russian corvette 532. Pictures: UK Crown Copyright 2017 ©

On 15 April the Ministry of Defence reported that HMS SUTHERLAND had escorted two Russian warships sailing through the English Channel the previous night.

In the early hours of (Friday) 14 April the Type 23 frigate located the two Russian ships as they sailed through the southern North Sea towards the Dover Strait.

These Steregushchiy-class corvettes, SOOBRAZITELNY (531) and BOIKY (532), were joined later by a Russian support tanker and an ocean-going tug.

Sutherland was expected to continue monitoring movements of the ships as they passed by UK territorial waters.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon commented: “HMS Sutherland is carefully marking these Russian ships as they pass close to UK waters. The Royal Navy maintains a vigilant watch and is always ready to keep Britain safe.”

Warships such as the Plymouth-based Sutherland, a type-23 frigate of the Duke class, have kept watch on every movement of the ships, tracking course and speed.

Commander Andrew Canale, the Commanding Officer of HMS Sutherland, added: “As one of the Royal Navy’s high readiness units, HMS
Sutherland is required to escort warships that approach the UK and this task is considered routine business for us.

“It is vitally important the Royal Navy demonstrates its presence and commitment to the integrity of UK territorial waters as we work around the clock to secure the seas of our island nation.”

As a high-readiness unit Sutherland may be called upon at any time to help prevent arms trafficking, people smuggling, to conduct counter-terrorism operations, maritime search and rescue, or escort duties such as those undertaken over the Easter weekend.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

All pictures: UK Crown Copyright 2017 ©

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Send your Press Releases here info@africaports.co.za and marked PRESS RELEASE. Provided they are considered appropriate to our readers we will either turn them into a story, or publish them here.


Christophe de Margerie

World’s first reinforced Arc7 class LNG carrier maiden port calls go smooth as ice, thanks to GAC Russia

GAC Russia has marked an important milestone with its successful handling of the first LNG carrier designed to withstand harsh Arctic conditions at the icy Russian ports of Murmansk and Sabetta.

The CHRISTOPHE DE MARGERIE is the world’s first specialised LNG ship in the reinforced ice Arc7 class, and the first of a fleet of 15 designed to export liquefied natural gas from Sabetta to European and Asian markets.

Ice trials
When it arrived in Murmansk for its…[restrict] ice trials in the Kara Sea, GAC Russia provided the vessel with a range of services, including: obtaining its permit to operate in Russian territorial waters; boarding engineers and scientists for the trials; delivering equipment and supplies on board; coordinating her route with the Russian Coast Guard Service; and providing valuable advice on navigation in the Arctic. Once the trials were concluded, customs and border formalities were completed and the ice crew disembarked. GAC Russia also handled safe passenger operations in Murmansk, arranged bunker supplies and delivered machine parts and ship supplies.

New era
The ship then set sail for her first call at Sabetta, on Yamal. The port is dedicated to exports of gas and gas condensate from the South-Tambeyskoye gas field and home to a natural gas liquefaction plant to prepare the raw hydrocarbons for transportation by sea. Commercial shipments are expected to commence before the end of this year.

Tatyana Shorokhova, GAC Russia’s General Manager, says the expertise of GAC’s team at the port was an integral part of the successful preparation and implementation of the high profile maiden call of the first ice LNG carrier to the port.

“This was an important milestone, both for us and for the country, and one which attracted considerable media attention,” she adds. “We believe that this is the start of a new era for Sabetta, and we look to forward with confidence to the part that we will play in that future.

“GAC Russia will be at hand when commercial shipments start to provide the world-class professional agency services and other support, thus further strengthening our position in the Arctic.”

NB: GAC Russia’s ability to undertake business is subject to prevailing sanctions.[/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.


MSC Zebra. Picture: Tony de Freitas

Here’s a MSC container ship that we are unlikely to see on the South Africa service anytime soon, yet she has called in times past under a different identity. She is MSC ZEBRA (34,622-dwt), seen here arriving off Port Everglades in Florida, USA. Built in 2001 the ship is 210 metres in length and 30.1m wide and has a container capacity of just 2,602 TEU – when she was built that was considered a medium-sized ship. Previous names for this ship have been MARFRET SORMIOU and more recently NILEDUTCH ZEBRA, and it is in this guise that we would have observed the ship in our ports and on the West African coast. The tug coming alongside to assist is the VICKI M.McALLISTER. This picture is by Tony de Freitas


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