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Hoegh Brasilia and Lufafa

Car carrier Hoegh Brasilia
Höegh Brasilia. Pictures: Keith Betts

Another of the Höegh Autoliners pure car carriers to visit Durban during April was the 200 metre long, 32m wide HÖEGH BRASILIA (51,731-gt), seen in the upper photograph with the pilot boat LUFAFA also making its way into harbour. For the sake of those who prefer their ship photographs to be ‘uncluttered’ by other craft, the car carrier is shown in the lower picture after the pilot boat had moved on ahead. Built in 2007 at the Tsuneishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Balamban, Philippines, she flies the Panamanian flag and is owned by Kambara Kisen of Fukuyama, Japan, and is managed by Union Marine Management Services based in Singapore. The ship is of course in service with Höegh Autoliners. These pictures are by Keith Betts

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Sinoe Port
Greenville port tugs

After a hiatus of about 18 years, the port of Sinoe, Liberia’s third largest, has handled its first ship since the start of the second civil war in 1999.

The port of Sinoe, also known as Greenville, has a basic facility composed of two quays, one 180 metres long and the other 70 metres. The port has traditionally handled the export of…[restrict] logs, and it was a logger ship that took advantage of the reinstated port services recently.

“This port is ready for business and we encourage all Liberians as well as the international community or well-meaning investors who have businesses in the eastern part of Liberia to use this port as an entry port to bring in their goods,” said J Dagger Wiles, the port manager.

He added that as an international seaport, security had been put in place.

In addition to logging facilities, the port is having an oil storage tank farm erected which will be operated by Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL).

The port falls under the jurisdiction of the Liberian National Port Authority.

Greenville, Liberia
Tugs and the recent logger at Sinoe

As a ship began loading logs on the quayside, a local resident described the scene. “This is my first time to see such a big ship, since I was born.”

The port is serviced with a couple of tugs, made possible through a loan from the Kuwaiti Government.

The Port of Sinoe lies on a lagoon near the Sinoe River about 150 miles south-east of Monrovia. The population of Greenville is small, less than 17,000 people at the 2008 census. According to Wikipedia, the town was built in about 1838 by colonists of the Mississippi Colonization Society. Part of what was then the Mississippi-in-Africa colony (now Sinoe County), Greenville was named after Judge James Green, one of the first Mississippi Delta planters to send a group of former slaves to Liberia.

The town was destroyed in the Liberian Civil War but has since been rebuilt around a port for the local logging industry. Before the civil war, the town’s main exports were lumber, rubber, and agricultural products. sources: The Observer, Wikipedia[/restrict]

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World Economic Forum Africa banner

As the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) draws to an end on Friday, South Africa’s Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has argued that Africa should, more than ever before, trade among themselves.

Minister Gigaba says Africa must boost its intra-regional trade and…[restrict] identify new emerging markets within the continent.

“African countries need to identify new markets to focus more on trading with one another, identify markets in emerging economies and trade with those countries that are still open to trade,” Minister Gigaba said at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, in Durban, on Friday.

Malusi Gigaba

He said although there were opportunities for African countries globally, these often came with risks.

“However, I think on the overall, we need to take a positive outlook and focus on what we need to do in order to grow our economies to sustain the growth over the medium to long term,” Minister Gigaba said.

The overall theme for this year’s WEFA meeting is “achieving inclusive growth”, a direction, President Jacob Zuma on Thursday said, South Africa has begun to take.

“In our country we speak about radical economic transformation, which in our view will take us on the path to inclusive growth and a better life for all,” he told delegates at the opening of the conference. –[/restrict]

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Coega Oiltanking, Calulo, Grindrod
artists impression of the planned Ngqura development

The contract for a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) agreement to construct, maintain and operate a new liquid bulk handling terminal facility at the Port of Ngqura, was ceremoniously signed in Port Elizabeth on Thursday (4 May 2017).

The concept engineering design as well as the topographical and geotechnical survey has already been completed and construction is due to commence in the 4th quarter of 2017, with commissioning planned for the 3rd quarter of 2019.

Phase 1 of the liquid bulk facility will…[restrict] provide approximately 150,000 cbm of storage capacity for refined petroleum products and will replace the tanks currently in use in the Port of Port Elizabeth, which will be decommissioned and the land redeveloped. This is in line with Port Elizabeth’s plans to clean up the terminal facilities and develop the commercial and tourism sectors.

Future phases will provide for an additional 550,000 cbm of storage capacity and handling. The new modern facility will service the Oil Majors, new entrants into the South African oil industry as well as international traders – all supporting the local shipping industry.

Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo, a South African owned company, is an independent bulk liquid storage provider in South Africa. The Ngqura facility is a unique opportunity for the joint venture partners as well as for the region.

For Oiltanking, it will be its first holding in a South African fuel terminal, whereas for Calulo, being involved in all aspects of the oil supply chain, it will be its first clean products terminal. For Grindrod, the Ngqura liquid storage facility provides diversification into fuel storage and handling and aligns with its coastal tanker shipping through Unicorn Tankers.

The liquid bulk facility will create socio-economic benefits and will boost the Eastern Cape economy. Besides generating local jobs during the construction phase of the project, the facility will provide permanent positions in the long term.

“This milestone signals progress in our plans to free up port land for future expansion at the Port of Port Elizabeth, and will in the near future lead to our decommissioning of the Port Elizabeth tank farm and rehabilitation of the site once the Ngqura facility becomes operational,” said Richard Vallihu, Chief Executive of TNPA.

“OTGC is a world-class independent storage operator and we are delighted to have them onboard at the Port of Ngqura,” he added.[/restrict]

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Greenpeace ship
Greenpeace ship Esperanza

Greenpeace has concluded its months long ship tour with strong recommendations to West Africa states. The findings are symptomatic of West African fisheries’ desperate need for effective regulations at a regional level.

The ESPERANZA has been on a two month long expedition in West Africa to document the threat from overfishing to the marine environment and food security for millions of Africans depending on fish. The crew on board, with the support of fishing authorities from coastal countries in the West Africa, aim to reduce the number of vessels fishing illegally or committing different offense.

Eleven vessels fishing illegally were arrested in just three weeks of joint surveillance with local authorities in West African waters, reports Greenpeace.

This is out of 13 fishing regulation infractions identified during the two month Hope in West Africa ship tour, which also included fisheries monitoring and civil society and political engagement in a total of six countries. The results of Greenpeace’s ship tour, which ended in Dakar, have been compiled in a preliminary report just released.

Greenpeace says the findings are symptomatic of West African fisheries’ desperate need for effective regulations at a regional level.

In total, Greenpeace and inspectors from Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Senegal boarded and inspected 37 industrial fishing vessels in the region. In Mauritania Greenpeace conducted its own monitoring and presented the findings to the Minister of Fisheries, Mr Nani Chrougha. The 13 infractions included shark finning, incorrect net mesh sizes, transshipment at sea, lack of documentation and fishing outside of permits. The infractions were committed by fishing vessels with Chinese, Italian, Korean, Comoros and Senegalese flags.

“After two months at sea documenting and inspecting industrial fishing vessels in the waters of West Africa, it is clear that illegal fishing is worryingly common,” said Pavel Klinckhamers, Hope in West Africa project leader.

“We also found an eagerness among local fishermen, civil society and governments across the region to address the situation and move towards a sustainable fisheries system. The next step is for these stakeholders to show real commitment in working together towards that goal. We look forward to supporting that process.”

Without decision-making powers current managing bodies for the seas, from Cabo Verde to Sierra Leone, including the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) and the Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic (CECAF), can only perform insufficient advisory roles. A lack of transparency on fisheries policies and practices also blights the region. Fisheries authorities’ vessel lists are often incomplete or inaccurate, and the numbers and details of joint venture companies and fisheries access agreements in the region remains opaque.

“With West African fish stocks already in freefall, governments must act right now to ensure food security is no longer threatened by overfishing and illegal fishing,” said Ahmed Diame, Greenpeace Africa Oceans campaigner. “Fish stocks are not restricted to national boundaries, and that is why the solutions to end the overfishing of West Africa’s waters can only come from joint efforts between the countries of this region. Governments must work together to set up and implement an effective regional fisheries management system to safeguard these precious resources now and for generations to come.”

Lian Riln 34
The Chinese fishing vessel Lian Riln 34 being monitored by the Greenpeace vessel

In the latest round of joint surveillance, in Senegal, from 25 to 29 April, Greenpeace and inspectors from the Office of Fisheries Protection and Surveillance (DPSP) identified two cases of illegal fishing. The Marcantonio Bragadin, owned by a Senegalese-Italian joint venture, and Kanbal III, owned by a Senegalese-Spanish joint venture, were both caught using methods to constrict the mesh size of their nets, effectively making the net mesh smaller than the permitted size. The Marcantonio Bragadin reportedly paid a deposit of West African CFA 30 million (€ 45,700) one day later in order to continue fishing. The Kanbal III will be further investigated by the DPSP.

Greenpeace is handing its report to government representatives from Cape Verde, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal with strong recommendations as to how West African governments can live up to their responsibility and jointly manage both foreign and local fishing activities in order to safeguard their waters and ensure a fair and sustainable distribution of resources at sea.

In the coming months, Greenpeace will also share its findings concerning the poor working conditions on board many foreign fishing vessels, where drinking water is often in scarce supply and many local crew are left to sleep, eat and wash outside.

Greenpeace is advising that an effective regional fisheries management body be established and national fisheries policies harmonised. Transparency, including bilateral fisheries agreements, the sharing of resources to optimise Vessel Monitoring Systems for tracking fishing vessels, and the setting up of a black list of IUU vessels and non-cooperating captains in the region must be adopted by all countries.

There is an urgent need to establish a committee to monitor stock assessment and catches to bring fisheries capacity in balance with available resources. In addition, the voices of local fishing communities, those hit hardest by industrial fishing in the region, must be made central to the planning and implementation of fisheries management. With West African fish stocks plummeting, the need for such a system is urgent.

See also our earlier report on this expedition: Greenpeace and Guinea patrol intercepts foreign fishing vessels with shark fins

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drillship West Saturn
Seadrill’s West Saturn. Picture: Shipspotting

The Ayamé-1X exploration well, offshore Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa, has been spud* using the Seadrill WEST SATURN drillship.

The spud took place on 29 April on the well, which is operated by Ophir Energy. and is located on the CI-513 license, reports Petroleum Africa

[restrict]African Petroleum holds a 45% interest in the license, with Ophir Energy holding 45% and PETROCI the remaining 10%.

The Ayamé -1X well will target Santonian and Turonian turbidite channel complexes through a water depth of 2,835 metres, with planned total depth of 5,459 metres. The well is expected to reach TD in approximately 30 days from spud.

Commenting on the news, CEO Jens Pace said: “This is a material milestone for the company and one which we have been working towards with our partners since Ophir Energy joined the licence in March 2016.  Since this time, the partnership has carried out technical work to decide on the best location for this well.  The Ayamé West prospect that we are targeting has a significant resource number and a commercial discovery will be truly transformational for African Petroleum. We look forward to updating the market with the outcome of this exciting event.”

In other news from Ophir Energy, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Ophir Holdings & Ventures Ltd, a subsidiary of Ophir Energy, OneLNG SA and La Compañía Nacional De Petróleos De Guinea Ecuatorial (“GEPetrol”) have signed a detailed Umbrella Agreement (“UA”) that establishes the full legal and fiscal framework for the Fortuna FLNG Project, Africa’s first deepwater FLNG** project.

The UA reconfirms the participation rights of GEPetrol as partners for 20% of the upstream portion of the project, and for a future potential participation of up to 30% ownership of the midstream FLNG vessel by the Republic of Equatorial Guinea or a designated State company.

These participations create alignment with the EG Government throughout the project value chain from upstream through to LNG marketing. Signing the UA was one of the key milestones to be delivered ahead of Final Investment Decision (“FID”). The Fortuna FLNG Project FID is on schedule for mid-2017 with first gas expected in mid-2020.

Project Update

The execution of the UA completes one of the four key milestones required for FID. The other three milestones are: (i) the award of construction contracts for the upstream and midstream vessel, (ii) the completion of the project finance facility and (iii) a decision on the amount of gas to be termed at FID and signature of resulting LNG SPAs. With respect to these milestones:

1.The impending award of construction contracts is well progressed and on schedule.
2.Term sheets have been agreed with a consortium of China-based lenders. The counter-parties to the financing have now entered into final documentation stage.
3.The Fortuna partners will decide in the coming weeks the amount of the expected 2.5MMTPA to put under contract at FID from the several offtake options available.

The expected total capital expenditure for the integrated project is approximately US$2 billion to reach first gas. Approximately $1.2 billion is expected to be debt financed, with full drawdown by the start of commercial operations.

This announcement has been determined to contain inside information.

* SPUD: to ‘spud’ means the start of drilling a well in the oil and gas industry. Initially a larger drill bit is used to drill a surface hole, which is lined with casing and cement to protect groundwater.
** FLNG VESSEL: Floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) refers to water-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations employing technologies designed to enable the development of offshore natural gas resources – source: Wikipedia

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MOL containership
MOL Modern. Picture: MOL

The planned merger between the three big Japanese container lines has been dealt a body blow by the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) which has rejected the proposal on ‘jurisdictional grounds’.

This doesn’t end the merger necessarily, which will now be referred to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), which could delay or even halt the proposed joint-venture.

Nevertheless, the decision of the FMC has come as something of a surprise, although it doesn’t preclude the three from merging their container services into a single standalone company.

“The Shipping Act does not provide the FMC with authority to review and approve mergers,” the FMC said. “After careful consideration, the commission determined that parties to the ‘tripartite agreement’ were ultimately establishing a merged, new business entity and that action is among the type of agreements excluded from the FMC review.”

The three shipping lines, Mitsui OSK Line (MOL), NYK Line and ‘K’ Line are wanting to share information and begin negotiations among themselves from today (8 May) with a planned joint-venture emerging in April next year.

All three Japanese container lines suffered losses totalling a collective US$700 million in the fiscal years ended 31 March 2017. By merging their interests they believe they will be better positioned to compete with other merged liner shipping companies.

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Monte Olivia at Durban container terminal. Photo: Trevor Jones
Monte Olivia. Picture: Trevor Jones

The takeover of Hamburg Süd by Danish shipping giant is being performed with no drama and a planned ‘business as usual’ approach with the two companies carrying on largely as before.

When the takeover was first announced last year Maersk referred to the model they have employed with Safmarine, which has mostly retained its independent identity although very much a part of the Maersk group.

According to Maersk it “intends to maintain the business model of Hamburg Süd as well as the commercial structure in the regions. Hence, the five customer facing regions and the areas will…[restrict] remain unchanged after closing and the respective management is asked to continue in their current capacity.”

The sale will only be completed in the fourth quarter of this year with the two businesses carrying on in their own existing way. Some changes are taking place in senior management with Ottmar Gast retiring as chairman of Hamburg Süd’s executive board to become the chairman of its supervisory board.

Soren Toft, Maersk Line A/S chief operatin gofficer will become a member of the supervisory board at the German line, and Arnt Vespermann, who sits on Hamburg Süd’s executive board, will become the new chairman of the executive board of Hamburg Süd and will also be in charge of compliance, corporate communication and of the German line’s Columbus Ship Management unit.

Vespermann will also become a ‘coach’ for two of Hamburg-Süd’s five regions – North America as well as the Caribbean and Latin America West Coast.

Other appointments include Frank Smet who will continue as member of the executive board of Hamburg Süd with responsibilities for sales and marketing, customer order management and all Hamburg Süd operations, including network and logistics. He will be the coach for the Asia Pacific and South America East Coast regions.

Jakob Wegge-Larsen, currently chief financial officer of Maersk Line operations, will join the executive board of Hamburg Süd with the responsibility of finance and accounting, controlling and information technology and services. He will be the coach for the Europe region.[/restrict]

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Thordon seawater lubrivated seals
Thordon Bearings seawater lubricated propeller shaft system

Thordon Bearings and Drydocks World-Dubai (DDW-D) have signed a milestone agreement under which the UAE-based shipyard will work together with Thordon Bearings Inc. to promote the conversion of ships’ oil lubricated propeller shafts to Thordon’s COMPAC open seawater lubricated bearing system.

The agreement will create an action plan in which a specialist team, comprised of Drydocks World-Dubai and Thordon Bearings’ personnel, offer support to ship managers and owners looking to ensure their vessels are fully compliant with environmental legislation prohibiting the discharge of oil from the oil-to-sea interface of ships’ propeller shafts. Shipowners could face substantial financial penalties if their vessels are found to be non-compliant.

Mohammad Rizal, COO of Drydocks World-Dubai, said: “Thordon Bearings is a pioneer in water lubricated propeller shaft bearings, with over 35 years’ of experience in this technology. By entering into this partnership, we will not only have an opportunity to expand our service offering, but will also have the opportunity to provide our customers with a real, long-term solution to the environmental problems they face with oil lubricated stern tube bearings and seals. With concerns increasingly being raised about the impact oil discharges have on the marine environment, converting an oil lubricated system to seawater is the only guaranteed solution for today and tomorrow.”

Terry McGowan, President and CEO of Thordon Bearings said: “Drydocks World-Dubai is an internationally renowned shipyard with the capabilities and state-of-the-art facilities required to carry out some of the world’s most specialised ship and rig repair, maintenance and conversion projects. Having the advantage of offering comprehensive, engineered solutions in partnership with an experienced bearing manufacturer will help further strengthen Drydock World’s position as one of the world’s leading shiprepair yards.”

Leaking shaft seals are known to be a significant contributor to on-going pollution at sea. The use of biodegradable lubricants, which are an improvement over mineral oils, are still a very expensive option for shipowners and some are having seal compatibility issues. Even biodegradable lubricants still need to be reported to authorities when discharges occur. Thordon provides a solution that uses seawater as the lubricant that meets all regulations, eliminating any risk of oil pollution.

Thordon seawater-lubcricated seal

“Seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearing systems are less complicated and time-consuming to install than oil lubricated systems, providing clear commercial advantages for the customers,” said McGowan. “There are fewer components, fewer pipe-runs and no air equipment is required with a seawater lubricated system. Plus, with recent class society rule changes, seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearing systems no longer have a pre-determined shaft withdrawals as long as certain monitoring conditions are met”

He added: “This new partnership agreement provides a win-win situation for both parties. DDW-D will stand to benefit from having new customers and a new revenue stream with oil-to-water conversions, while Thordon Bearings will benefit from supplying the COMPAC seawater lubricated bearing equipment for upcoming conversion projects.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Thordon Bearings will also provide equipment, training and guidance to Drydocks World-Dubai personnel and support the yard in carrying out propeller shaft conversion projects to the “highest standards and in the most efficient and cost effective manner”.

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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.


general cargo ship Yong Xing

Yong Xing at Port Everglades
Yong Xing. Pictures: Tony de Freitas

The general cargo ship YONG XING (18,207-gt, built 1998), carrying a deck cargo of motor yachts of various types and sizes, departs Port Everglade in Florida USA. Owned, managed and operated by Chipolbrok (Chinese-Polish Joint Stock Shipping Co) of Shanghai, China, the ship flies the flag of Hong Kong. She has a container carrying capacity of 1096 TEUs. These pictures are by Tony de Freitas


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