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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Hoegh Trotter at Lyttelton
Höegh Trotter. Picture: Alan Calvert

Not an unfamiliar name in a South African port, HOEGH TROTTER (75,717-gt) is seen here visiting Lyttelton in New Zealand, and becoming the biggest car carrier to have called at that port. With an 8,500-car (ceu) capacity she is among the biggest of such pure car RoRo vessels to call anywhere, for that matter. Delivered to Höegh Autoliners in December 2016, she is one of the newest car carriers and the final ship of six in the New Horizon Post-Panamax class. Höegh Trotter sailed in the East Asia to Europe trade on her Maiden Voyage and since then she is deployed to the Europe to East Asia via Africa and Oceania trades – the latter including New Zealand of course. This is the second ship to carry this name. Höegh Trotter was last in Durban on 23 March this year. This picture is by Alan Calvert

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Kenyan standard gauge railway bridge infrastructure

Africa must mobilise domestic savings and capital markets to invest on deals on the continent, says Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

The minister highlighted the African continent having to continue battling poor infrastructure.

“Africans must not expect others to invest in what we ourselves, are not ready to invest in. Our capital resources may be limited, but they are not insignificant. We need to…[restrict] mobilise our domestic savings and capital markets to invest in deals on the continent,” Gigaba said yesterday.

He was addressing a Black Business Council breakfast roundtable in Durban, and said poor infrastructure continues to undermine intra-continental trade.

While Africa’s infrastructure backlog is estimated at around US$100 billion per year, regrettably, available financing covers only half of this.

Gigaba said the combination of years of under-investment and exploitation has meant that African roads and railways were mainly designed and built to facilitate transportation of raw minerals and resources to markets outside the continent.

“We need infrastructure which supports industrialisation, the beneficiation of minerals and the delivery of basic services to our people. We need social infrastructure to support a globally competitive education system, such as schools, universities and housing for students.”

The consequences of poor infrastructure have led to intra-African trade only being at around 11%, whereas intra-Asian and North American trade are both at 40%.

“Intra-continental trade in Europe sits at an impressive 60%, thus mobilising capital to build economic infrastructure. Unlocking industrial activity, intra-Africa trade, and growing Africa’s share of global trade, is crucial for Africa’s development,” said the Minister.

He noted that in most cases it is not funding that is missing, but projects which are well structured and bankable.

“South Africa has over R4 trillion worth of projects in our pipeline, the National Infrastructure Plan. Government is spending R1 trillion over the next three years in funding and delivering the most strategic and urgent of these.”

Malusi Gigaba
Finance Minister Gigaba

He added that the projects are attracting private investment as well.

“What often holds us back, are projects which have not been rigorously packaged through the various feasibility stages, such that they are ready to be funded with a clear path to repayment.”

Gigaba said governments on the continent need to put in place policy and regulatory regimes which attract investment.

An African infrastructure report pointed out that weak policy in sectors like electricity and transport can hold back investment.

“These investments involve huge initial outlays and long repayment horizons and therefore investors require certainty and stability. We have to balance political pressure for low user charges, with the need to establish user pay funding models which are needed to provide funding in a scarce resource context,” said the Minister.

He also called for the strategic use of state procurement resources, as the state plays a leading role in capital investment due to the resources it can mobilise.

He added that government must show decisive leadership with regards to inclusive growth and economic transformation.

“We must sustain the political will to drive it such that growth results are achieved, with real benefits for our people. We must be bold and creative, and not limit ourselves conceptually from imagining new approaches appropriate for our national circumstances.”[/restrict]

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Prince Edward Graving Dock, Durban
Durban floating docks in action – seen during the tour of the port. Picture: Terry Hutson

Transnet, which is the biggest freight operator on the African continent, is pursuing commercial opportunities in Senegal, Liberia and Nigeria, among others, says Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.

Speaking about Transnet’s continental initiatives in Durban, yesterday, Minister Brown said currently Transnet is pursuing opportunities in Senegal, Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.

“These include possible joint ventures in areas such as rail and port opportunities; the development of infrastructure at ports and establishing transport corridors in those countries.

“Transnet is not only committed to…[restrict] develop infrastructure but their presence must also change the socio-economic conditions of those living close to these projects.

Public Enterprises Minister Lynn Brown
Minister Lynn Brown. Picture: Terry Hutson

“The company must also as far as possible procure locally and develop Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises in those countries,” Brown said.

The road into the continent started in May 2015 when Transnet adopted its Africa Strategy which is based on their mandate to develop and pursue commercial opportunities on the rest of the continent more actively.

She said this must be done with other state-owned companies and the private sector. Brown said it is also based on Transnet’s need to diversify revenue sources in response to the economic slowdown in the country and the world.

The continent has 15 landlocked countries requiring access to ports than anywhere else.

“If we can address Africa’s logistics infrastructure deficit, we can change the quality of lives of all Africans. And we look to Africa as a key, under-developed market.

“In 2015, intra-African trade accounted for less than 18% of total continental exports. Among the key factors underpinning these numbers is Africa’s logistics infrastructure deficit,” she said.

According to the Logistics Performance Index of the World Bank, just six of the 46 African countries ranked are in the top two categories, 18 are ranked “partial performers”, and 22 are ranked “logistics unfriendly”.

The Minister was on a tour of sub-Saharan Africa’s busiest port- the Port of Durban, and included visits to the Maritime School of Excellence and Transnet Engineering.[/restrict]

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Gulf of Guinea piracy occurrences
Map showing location of piracy attacks: OBP

West African piracy reports have almost doubled in 2016, says a report issued by the Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) project, published this week.

The report says that armed attacks on ships in West African waters saw a focus on kidnapping of crews for ransom purposes, as opposed to the prolonged highjacking of ships.

Incidents of cargo theft have…[restrict] also given way to an increase in kidnapping, with 95 attacks being recorded in the Gulf of Guinea in 2016, compared with 54 such attacks in 2015.

The number of crew taken for hostage increased proportionately from 96 crewmembers to 44 taken hostage the previous year.

The only successful highjacking of a ship during 2016 involved an oil tanker seized off the Ivory Coast.

According to Maisie Pigeon, one of the authors of the OBP report, “One of the reasons we are observing increased incidents of kidnap for ransom is that the model offers financial gain with less risk to the perpetrators than hijacking for cargo theft.”

There is a suggestion from analysts that the pattern of kidnap-for-ransom attacks is closely linked to militant attacks against the oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta.

OBP estimates the economic loss due to piracy around West Africa in 2016 alone to be at nearly US$794 million.

West Africa has emerged as the world’s epicentre for piracy after increased patrolling by international navies and ramped up onboard security succeeded in suppressing hijackings off the Horn of Africa, although several incidents in that region have broken out in the past weeks.

Those incidents tally with a reduction in counter-piracy operations, both from the navies and from some ship operators declining to use armed guards under the assumption that piracy off Somalia had been defeated.

“In an attempt to lower costs, ship operators are increasingly shifting towards privately contracted armed security teams comprising three rather than four members,” the report said.

“Pirate networks in Somalia still possess the intent and capability to commit acts of piracy,” the OBP report adds.

The OBP project is funded by the One Earth Future Foundation. The project encourages cooperation among stakeholders in the shipping and international maritime community to tackle the problem of piracy.[/restrict]

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CTF 151 naval exercises
Boarding Exercise, HMS Monmouth and ROKS Choi Young, RHIB from the latter. Pictures kindly provided by Combined Maritime Forces. Taken by Kang, Joo Seok (ROKS Choi Young©)

Ships and aircraft from four nations of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) conducted an advanced Counter Piracy Validation Exercise (CPVE) commencing on 20 April under the direction of the Commander Combined Task Force 151 (CCTF 151).

This exercise took place in the Gulf of Aden (GOA), adjacent to the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), demonstrating the task force’s professional and highly effective capability. It was considered that the exercise was particularly pertinent after recent piracy attacks in the region. Activities which took place reassured crews of merchant vessels, fishing fleets and communities in the vicinity.

The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) ship Teruzuki and P-3 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, the Republic of Korea Navy ship Choi Young, USS Carter Hall, and HMS Monmouth conducted a variety of training evolutions that reinforced collective tactics, procedures and quick information-sharing designed to deter, deny and suppress piracy in the region.

boarding exercises CTF 151

Boarding exercises from Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) were conducted by participating warships to hone skills and inspire confidence of interoperability, teamwork and collective effectiveness against pirates.

Commander CTF 151, Rear-Admiral Tatsuya Fukuda JMSDF, said: “This exercise was an excellent opportunity for the highly capable and well trained ships’ companies from my multi-national task force to demonstrate their commitment and ability to communicate and cooperate in operations designed to counter any intent or act of piracy.

“The international waters in the GOA and IRTC form an essential route for merchant vessels. Our counter piracy operations in this area are primarily focused on maintaining freedom of navigation and the continued free flow of commerce.”

About Combined Maritime Forces
CMF is a unique multi-national collective of 31 like-minded nations, dedicated to promoting security and free flow of commerce across 3.2 million square miles of international waters in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin, the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. CMF’s main focus areas are disrupting terrorism, preventing piracy, reducing illegal activities, and promoting a safe maritime environment for all.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Salvage tug Smit Amandla (ex John Ross)
AMSOL standby tug Smit Amandla in new livery, March 2017. Picture: Glen Kasner

The African Marine Solutions Group (AMSOL) has received a timely boost with the awarding of a five-year contract to operate the standby tug on the South African coast.

The contract was issued by the South African Department of Transport and follows the acquisition of SMIT Amandla Marine in December 2016.

The standby tug, currently the SMIT AMANDLA (former John Ross) has been…[restrict] the standby tug for almost its entire existence, with the only period not in this service coming when her sister tug WOLRAAD WOLTEMADE carried out these duties. The standby tug forms part of the state-driven proactive marine pollution prevention measures.

In what it describes as another exciting development. AMSOL has announced that it has been appointed by the Sunrise Energy Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Import Terminal as the preferred marine contractor to fulfill their Marine Operations and Multi Buoy Mooring surface and subsea maintenance requirements in Saldanha Bay.

AMSOL’s Managing Director Paul Maclons says the award by the Department of Transport is a testament to the experience and professionalism of seafarers and shore based support personnel involved in the contract, who are now focused on continuing to deliver safe and sustainable solutions to international standards, ensuring that the Department of Transport’s objectives are met.

“We will provide experienced masters, officers and crew, a purpose-designed high speed tug and the support services required to safeguard South Africa’s marine environment and ensure proactive protection from the impact of pollution caused by incidents at sea, in partnership with the Department of Transport and the South African Maritime Safety Authority.”

The standby tug (Smit Amandla) is available 24/7/365 on the South African coast to respond to marine emergencies and has the ability and inherent power to deal with the biggest sea going vessels. She was purpose designed to operate successfully on the South African coast, where characteristic weather and sea conditions often prove challenging to passing shipping traffic.

AMSOL says that the tug is an important platform for the training and development of South African seafarers and will continue to provide the vital link to seagoing experience for mariners entering the profession.


As the owner of the new LPG import facility based in Saldanha Bay, Sunrise Energy’s shareholders include MOGS (Mining, Oil & Gas Services), Industrial Development Corporation and Ilitha. In expanding AMSOL’s subsea solution offering into the region and driving sustainable growth, the opportunity to partner with Sunrise Energy and ensure efficiency in their supply chain builds on AMSOL’s solid track record in offshore terminal management and the provision of underwater solutions.

Paul Maclons says the team is now focused on delivering safe and sustainable solutions to international standards into the project in Saldanha Bay, ensuring that project objectives are met.

“We will provide specialised marine resources and diving specialists to assist Sunrise Energy with the safe and timeous turnaround of LPG tankers discharging at the Multi Buoy Mooring. Our solution is focused on ensuring environmental protection and we are an IMCA Member, as well as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified.”

AMSOL is a majority black owned company serving clients in the Energy, Ports, Mining and Maritime sectors in the region. Employees and management own more than 30% of the business, and together drive professional service delivery to international standards. AMSOL is owned by a consortium representing management, employees, Pan-African Capital Holdings, the Mineworkers Investment Company and RMB Ventures.[/restrict]

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NYK Line
The 14,000-TEU NYK Blue Jay as a newbuild. Picture: NYK

Japan’s NYK Line (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) has announced a net loss of JPY265.7 billion (US$2.39 million) for the 2016/17 financial year that ended on 31 March 2017.

This compared to a profit of JPY18.2 billion in the previous year.

NYK Line is Japan’s biggest…[restrict] container carrier and the 8th largest in the world.

Revenue for the year just past amounted to JPN1.92 trillion, down 15.3 percent.

“During the fiscal year under review, the maritime shipping market slumped to historic lows which greatly affected NYK’s performance,” said the statement accompanying the results” the company said in its statement.

“Freight rates remained low in the container shipping market, due to excess capacity, even though the gap between supply and demand narrowed due to the progress in scrapping vessels. The effects of the bankruptcy of a Korean shipping company [Hanjin] along with increased shipping traffic led to an improvement in the balance of supply and demand.

“Market conditions appeared to gradually recover for transpacific and European shipping routes. The balance of supply and demand also improved for Central, South and North American routes, but market conditions remained severe for routes in Asia,” NYK said.[/restrict]

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Masters & Mates Union of Greek Merchant Marine go for Green Award

Greek ship operators embrace Green Award
Hoisting the Green Award flag

3 May 2017, Rotterdam – the Greek Union of Masters and Mates embraces cooperation with Green Award</>

P.E.P.E.N., known internationally as Masters & Mates Union of Greek Merchant Marine, has demonstrated its solidarity with the Green Award foundation and its core values and joined the scheme as an incentive provider.

Green Award certifies ships and ship managers that demonstrate performance above and beyond the industry’s standards. Best practices and maintenance, human factor and emission reduction are amongst the required elements.

On 27 of April, onboard SS HELLAS LIBERTY at the Port of Piraeus, Green Award Chairman Capt Dimitrios Mattheou formally accepted Masters & Mates Union of Greek Merchant Marine to the Green Award scheme. Capt Manolis Tsikalakis, President of P.E.P.E.N., received a Green Award plaque.

The Masters & Mates Union is one of the oldest organisations of its kind, with over a hundred years of history, uniting over 5,000 members. In all these years, it has been dedicated to support of seafarers. Respect for human qualities and values, improvement of working conditions and protection of marine life and the environment are amongst the core values and objectives of the union. Actually, what we call Corporate Social Responsibility nowadays has been the union’s principle for many years. This is where values of both organisations meet.

Effective as of 27 April, 2017, P.E.P.E.N. members (Masters, Chief Mates and Second Mates) who belong to companies and ships certified by Green Award Foundation are entitled to a 10% discount on the Union’s annual fees.

Captain Dimitrios Mattheou, Green Award Chairman, addressing the attendee said: “Having already celebrated 100 years (1916 – 2016) of successful activity, the Union has been and will be a major delegate of all Masters and Mates of Hellenic Citizenship, into any shipping-related treaty, either with state authorities or with international bodies.

Union’s presence and support, does not only rest with members’ interests and its presence into industry happenings, but goes deep into the community, through offers and solidarity actions and initiatives. The Hellenic Union of Ship Masters & Mates and Green Award scheme, share the same vision and focus their attention towards the safety and quality of seamen’s lives, the wellbeing of anyone involved into shipping services and the sustainability of the planet.”

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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 Renee, bows. picture: Trevor Jones

13,000TEU MSC Renee in Durban
MSC Renee. Pictures: Trevor Jones

The 366-metre long, 140,570-dwt MSC RENEE seen departing from Durban during April this year. The ship is owned and managed by ER Schiffahrt of Hamburg Germany and under charter to Mediterranean Shipping Company. She was built at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea and entered service in 2012. Now cascaded onto the South Africa service, MSC Renee has a container capacity of 13,102 TEU. These pictures are by Trevor Jones


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― John Green, An Abundance of Katherines


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