Monday’s Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

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Eternal Ace. Picture: Keith Betts

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) car carriers are no strangers in the South Africa ports – ETERNAL ACE (59,022-gt) being the latest to call at the Durban Car Terminal at R berth. The ship is pretty standard in terms of size – 200 metres in length, 32 metres wide and has a capacity of 6,163 motor cars. Eternal Ace was built in 2011 at the Minaminippon Shipbuilding yard in Usuki, Japan and flies the flag of Panama. She is owned by Mitsui OSK Lines of Tokyo, Japan and managed by MOL Shipmanagement of Singapore. This picture is by Keith Betts

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The resignation of two senior port managers, at Cape Town and at Saldanha, has brought about a wholesale change with new appointments being made at four of the country’s eight ports.

This follows the sudden resignation in December of Willem Roux as port manager at Saldanha – Roux gave notice and emigrated to Australia almost before anyone was aware, leaving the port in the hands of an acting manager.

The other resignation has just occurred but was not entirely unexpected as word leaked out several weeks ago, concerns the port manager at Cape Town, Sipho Nzuza who has been appointed as city manager of the eThekwini Municipality (Durban).

“TNPA has bid farewell to the Port Managers of Cape Town – Sipho Nzuza – and Saldanha – Willem Roux – both of whom served our organisation admirably for a number of years. We are indeed grateful to them for their contribution to the organisation and wish them well as they pursue interests outside of TNPA,” said TNPA Chief Executive, Richard Vallihu.

Mpumi Dweba, new port manager, Cape Town

In his place at Cape Town, Transnet National Ports Authority has appointed its first female port manager in the form of Mpumi Dweba, who until now has been port manager at Ngqura in the Eastern Cape. TNPA says that Dweba boasts solid experience in port operations, supply chain logistics and the maritime industry and adds that she was instrumental in delivering on TNPA’s strategy to operationalise the Port of Ngqura and position it as a major container transshipment hub linking ports in the East, West and Southern Africa with their trading partners.

[restrict]Ngqura may have been positioned as a major transshipment hub but it has so far failed to make its mark in that respect, having seen container turnover fall from 705,377 TEU in 2014, to 636,663 TEU in 2015 and 572,021 TEU in 2016, an 18.9% drop in two years. Total tonnage of cargo handled at the port also decreased, from 9.588 million tonnes in 2014 to 7.789mt last year (-18.76%).

Dweba succeeds Nzuza when he leaves at the end of April.

Capt Vernal Jones

Staying with the Western Cape, Cape Town’s harbour master, Capt Vernal Jones, has been appointed as port manager at Saldanha in the place of Willem Roux. Prior to going to Cape Town as harbour master, Capt Jones was harbour master at Richards Bay and therefore has extensive knowledge of marine operations to add to his portfolio. TNAP says he is expected to continue to lead the delivery of TNPA’s strategy to transform Saldanha into a service centre for the oil and gas sector.

Tandi Lebakeng

Former Mossel Bay Port Manager Tandi Lebakeng has been transferred to the Port of Ngqura to succeed Dweba. Lebakeng has been with Transnet for more than 20 years and her experience spans trade and logistics, business strategy and planning and development. She was previously acting port manager at Saldanha but was later transferred to Mossel Bay.

In another move involving a port manager, Jacqueline Brown, East London Port Manager, has been appointed as Executive Manager for Capacity Development and Enablement. She has more than 18 years’ experience in transport logistics, operations and management industries, a comprehensive training foundation and an exemplary career at leading organisations, particularly in port operations, says TNPA.

Jacqueline Brown

Ricky Bhikraj, Brown’s predecessor, is appointed to the office of the Chief Executive to establish and lead TNPA’s new Research and Development department. Bhikraj will also continue to head up TNPA’s Operation Phakisa projects aimed at exploring the untapped economic potential of the blue economy, primarily through marine transport and manufacturing (MTM) initiatives in the ports. Until 2012 Bhikraj had been the Durban port manager.

As a result of these changes, the ports of East London and Mossel Bay have vacant port manager positions. The roles will be fulfilled in an acting capacity at East London by port engineer, Alvin Singama, and in Mossel Bay by senior operations manager, Shadrack Tshikalange.

In other announcements at the weekend, TNPA revealed that Debbie Cilliers has been appointed as executive manager: office of the chief executive, with effect 1 May 2017. Cilliers is a qualified chartered accountant with various postgraduate qualifications in accounting, auditing and finance. In addition to senior financial roles, she has also served as executive manager: supply chain and national business manager for the auxiliary and ports business unit at Transnet Engineering.

Ayanda Mantshongo, previously corporate affairs manager at the Port of Durban, is appointed as executive manager: corporate affairs, effective 1 May 2017. Mantshongo has been with Transnet for seven years, working at both TNPA and TPT in senior corporate affairs roles at the Ports of Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.[/restrict]

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Port of Dar es Salaam container terminal

Tanzania’s Port of Dar es Salaam has shown some encouraging increases in volumes over the past six months and looks at reaching an annualised port throughput of 16 million tonnes.

According to the director-general of Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), Deusdedit Kakoko, this increase in cargo volume has materialised in the final three months of 2016 and has continued into the first quarter of 2017.
“We recorded an impressive surge in traffic of cargo between…[restrict] October and December last year and this was maintained during January to March this year,” he said.

A prominent local businessman, Azim Dewji has promised the port authority an additional 120,000 tonnes of imports and exports over the next year, saying that President John Magafuli’s sweeping reforms at the port are responsible for the marked improvements in efficiency.

He was speaking at an event held at the port to mark the arrival of a fleet of more than 50 long-distance trucks loaded with heavy machinery and destined for mining and processing operations in the eastern section of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“We have clients in DRC who will be importing machinery for mining and construction projects and at the same time will be transporting through the Dar es Salaam port copper and other exports from DRC and Zambia.” He added that there had been issues at the Tanzanian port involving bureaucratic red tape and government officials in the past. “This is no more and we managed to secure a permit from TANROADS to transport the wide load consignment in just three days – it would have taken us weeks then,” he said in a report in Tanzania Daily News.

The TPA and Port of Dar es Salaam have been on a drive to not only improve efficiency levels at the port, which has received sustained criticism in the recent past, but also to woo customers from the neighbouring landlocked states. Dar es Salaam faces strong competition in the East African region, particularly from Mombasa in Kenya, where the first phase of a new standard gauge railway is nearing completion, which will ultimately link with Uganda and Rwanda.

In response Tanzania will shortly commence its own standard gauge railway from Dar es Salaam to the southern Lake Victoria port of Mwanza, as well as extensions of the railway northwards to the borders of Rwanda and Burundi. However, this railway is unlikely to reach its respective destinations before the Kenya SGR reaches its own immediate target of the border with Uganda. source: Tanzania Daily News, and Africa Ports & Ships[/restrict]

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Sonangol is Angola’s state-owned oil company

Angolan oil exports to China placed the African country in third place in February among the Asian country’s largest oil suppliers.

This detail became available from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)’s monthly report on the oil market .

It also revealed that…[restrict] during March oil sales to China from Saudi Arabia increased by 60,000 barrels per day and from Russia 37,000 barrels per day, while Angolan exports fell by 317,000 barrels per day.

Secondary sources revealed that in March Angola recorded production of 1.614 million barrels per day, a monthly drop of 18,700 barrels per day, while Nigeria lowered production by 29,800 barrels per day to reach 1.545 million barrels per day.

On the basis of direct communication, the difference is substantially higher, with Angola having produced 1.652 million barrels a day, with an increase of 3,000 barrels per day and Nigeria having produced 1.269 million barrels, with a monthly drop of 156,900 barrels per day.

In April the Nigerian subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell was forced to shut down an oil pipeline to repair sites where people were stealing oil. source: macauhub[/restrict]

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Pirates have struck again in the Gulf of Guinea, with eight crewmen from an unnamed offshore tug being kidnapped by what is assumed to be Nigerian pirates.

According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) which collects data and reports on incidents of piracy, the eight were taken from an offshore tug approximately 11 nautical miles off Brass in Nigeria.

The armed men boarded the tug last Wednesday at the reported time of 09:34 UTC. In the attack on the tug one of the tug’s crew was injured. After looting the ship the pirates returned to their speedboat, taking eight crew with them as hostages. They then left the area.

The Nigerian Navy responded to the incident and evacuated the wounded man to hospital by helicopter. No sign of the pirates and their hostages has been reported.

In a separate incident, an also unnamed but underway tanker came under attack about 59 n.miles south-southwest of Brass at about 08:45 UTC on the same day.

As the nine armed pirates approached in their speedboat, the crew of the tanker were able to raise the alarm, started the fire pumps and all unessential crew took to the vessel’s citadel. Meanwhile, the tanker’s speed had been increased and evasive manoeuvring action was adopted.

The pirates soon gave up the chase and left the scene, leaving the tanker and crew unharmed and safe.

It is possible the same group was responsible for both attacks.

The IMB reports there have been 11 incidents involving pirates in the Gulf of Guinea this year. This includes five boardings, four ships were fired on, and two other reports stated the sighting of suspicious craft nearby. All of these incidents took place off the coast of Nigeria.

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Zimbabwe’s transport minister says that the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has been so badly mismanaged that it has made the state-owned entity unattractive and too disgusting to prospective investors.

Transport minister Joram Gumbo was answering questions from legislators in the upper house of parliament, during a recent sitting.

In response to a question as to whether government would consider reviving the fortunes of the NRZ in order to relieve the number of heavy road trucks hauling bulk cargo, Gumbo said that…[restrict] it was going to take an enormous amount of time and effort to restore the railway to its former glory.

He said that cabinet has given the go-ahead to source some funding to resuscitate the railway lines. The transport ministry would now have to look at the various ways of attending to this – involving the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) or other external donors who may come and assist them.

“We need to look at all those ways of resuscitating the railway system.

“Unfortunately, the accounting system or the balance books of the National Railways have been so badly managed that we do not have any partner who may come into the country and gladly come into partnership with us after observing that.”

Nevertheless, he said, “we are in the process of sourcing for partners who can help us resuscitate the transport and the railway system in Zimbabwe.”

Gumbo called on MPs to help government find support, financial or otherwise, for it to revive the once thriving parastatal.

Over the years, NRZ has seen its staff complement drop from 20,000 employees during its peak to 12,000 in 1990 and is now down to an idle 5,000.

The firm has had recurring action taken against it by employees who have gone for months without any pay.

At operational level, customers, government included, now hire road haulage trucks to move grain and other bulk freight as the comatose parastatal has lost capacity to provide smooth service.

This is despite it being cheaper to use rail transporters and the apparent damage caused by heavy trucks as they ship goods using the country’s road network.

Like many other state run firms, NRZ has not been spared the blight of mismanagement which has often seen President Robert Mugabe deploying retired senior soldiers to run the entities.

This has been slammed by the opposition which has accused the Zimbabwean leader of appointing unqualified loyalists to manage firms which they often run into the ground through incompetence. source:[/restrict]

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MOL Delight. Picture: Shipspotting

Rickmers Holding AG last week released a statement that an understanding had been reached regarding restructuring of the Rickmers Group. This follows on from news from last month that Singapore-based Rickmers Maritime Trust is to be wound-up.

VesselsValue reports that it is now understood that the sole shareholder, Bertram Rickmers, will reduce his shareholding to below 25%. The remaining 75% will be taken by lenders and bondholders.

The value today of the Rickmers Group (subsidiary of Rickmers Holding AG)…[restrict] sits at US$ 740 million. The group owns 4 handy container newbuildings currently being constructed at Jiangsu New Yangzijiang in China. These newbuildings are worth US$ 68 million.

The fleet is made up of 4 MPP vessels, 2 vehicle carriers and 35 container vessels ranging from Feedermax class to New Panamax.

Bertram Rickmers

Over the last 12 months the fleet has declined in value by 31%. This matches the decline of the liner business that is plagued by oversupply of tonnage and slow demand growth.

This decline is supplemented by strong selling and demolition activity from the shipowner. 10 vessels have left the fleet in the last 12 months.

In related and subsequent news, it has been reported that Rickmers Maritime Trust is now selling all 14 of the Rickmers Maritime Trust container ships to the Greek carrier, Navios. The sale consists of 11 ships of 4,250 TEU capacity, and three ships each with a capacity of 3,450 TEU.

These ships are: Vicki Rickmers, Maja Rickmers, CMA CGM Azure, Laranna Rickmers, CMA CGM Jade, CMA CGM Onyx, MOL Dominance, MOL Dedication, MOL Delight, MOL Destiny, MOL Devotion, Henry Rickmers, Richard Rickmers, and Moni Rickmers

Navios is understood to have paid US$113 million for them. The ships have an average age of 9.5 years. Five of the vessels are reported to be on long charter contracts, and should secure approximately $52 million during the contract period.[/restrict]


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Strainstall wins EU-type approval for load pin based container weighing system

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Strainstall, a leading provider of container weighing systems and part of James Fisher and Sons plc, has successfully achieved full Automatic Weighing Instruments EU-type approval from the National Measurements and Regulatory Office (NMRO) for its innovative Container Weight System (CWS)™.

Strainstall’s CWS™ EU-type approval enables complete compliance to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) amendment for the verification of container weights, which came into force 1 July 2016. This is a critical milestone in the product’s development as CWS™ is now fully approved to provide the verified gross mass (VGM) of containers, assisting ports and terminals in the provision of container weighing services to their customers.

Strainstall’s CWS™ solution was specifically developed to meet the SOLAS container weight verification regulations and has been successfully installed at a number of international container terminals, including DP World Southampton’s full straddle carrier fleet, where the system has demonstrated its high accuracy in excess of industry expectations.

Simon Everett, managing director at Strainstall explains: “The NMRO approval process certifies full compliance to the IMO’s SOLAS amendment for the verification of container weights, and I’m delighted that CWS now has EU-type approval.”

CWS™ offers customers a fully compliant and robust solution. It’s designed to be easily integrated into terminal operating systems (TOS) giving a simple and automated process for producing a verified gross mass for SOLAS compliance, with no impact to existing terminal operating procedures.

“The industry is still experiencing some issues with implementation and enforcement, so this certification will help to give customers complete confidence in compliance and their ability to provide verified weights as legislated by the IMO, using our innovative and fully integrated container weighing solution.” Everett adds.

CWS™ also doesn’t just provide the verified gross mass of a container, but also container snag detection and its centre of gravity (COG), helping to ensuring the safety of container stowage and transportation.

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in partnership with – APO

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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.

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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.


Pictures: David Erickson

The South African Navy frigate SAS AMATOLA (F145) returned to South Africa and the naval base of Simon’s Town on Saturday, 22 April, after a three month deployment to the UK and Germany, followed by visits to several West African countries.

On Saturday the ship arrived ‘home’ at Simon’s Town to a warm welcome and was met by two of the navy tugboats spraying the traditional water welcome. The time was 09h11, Saturday, 22 April 2017.

Entry into the harbour was timed at 09h17.

SAS Amatola departed Simon’s Town on 17 January under Operation Ketane, which saw the vessel undergo Basic Operational Sea Training (BOST) under guidance from the British Royal Navy off Plymouth, the centenary commemoration of the accidental sinking of the troopship SS Mendi during the First World War near Portsmouth on 21 February and participation in Exercise Good Hope VII with the German Navy in the Baltic Sea from 27 February to 5 March. This was followed by visits to Rostock (Germany), Rota (Spain), Tema (Ghana), Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), Luanda (Angola) and Walvis Bay (Namibia).      Pictures are by David Erickson


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