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Pacific Selena bulker
Pacific Selena. Picture: Keith Betts

An arrival in port at Durban earlier this week was this midsize but quite smart looking bulk carrier, PACIFIC SELENA (49,052-dwt), built in 1997 at the Oshima Shipbuilding Co in Japan. The 190-metre long, 32m wide bulker was carrying an interesting deck cargo of buses and other wheeled vehicles. This picture is by Keith Betts

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YouTube video [2:51]: WATCH: Richards Bay Port protest – public warned to ‘stay away!’

Angry contract workers at Richards Bay went on the rampage yesterday, using large front end loaders to tear up road installations and overturn a police vehicle.

Police stood by helplessly as workers commandeered several of the front end loaders and set about using them in an aggressive manner, including tearing up a section of armco rail and then turning their attention on an abandoned police vehicle, which was overturned on its side.

A Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) spokesperson said the workers who were employed by materials handling company Radds…[restrict] at the TPT facility at the port of Richards Bay, had embarked on an illegal strike on Monday, 8 May 2017. It appears they were demanding to have permanent employment instead of being used as casual labour.

According to TPT the company has taken steps to ensure there was “minimum disruption to port users and customers.” It had bolstered security on site which included reinforcements from the SA Police Services, “to ensure the safety of our colleagues, our assets and assets of third parties in our premises. The situation has been contained and our operations are running smoothly.”

Outside the gates to the port on Tuesday, however, things were not under control, and as police stood by watching, workers took control of a number of large front end loaders and set about destroying the armco rail along the roadside near the main gates. Police vehicles were abandoned and angry workers rolled one over on its side using one of the front end loaders.

News reports said that shots were fired – by the police it is assumed but whether this was with live ammunition or rubber bullets is not clear. Community members meanwhile were advised to stay away from the area and employers in the immediate area sent their staff home for their own safety.

Cargo working inside the port is reported to have continued without interruption.[/restrict]

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Nigerian Navy patrol boats
Damen-class patrol boats of the Nigerian Navy

Nigeria’s Federal Government has approved the spending of US$186 million to combat piracy in its waters.

This was announced at a one-day national conference aimed at fast-tracking port reforms which had as its theme, Making Nigerian Seaports World Class.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said the $186 million approved for the fight against piracy will be used to buy three helicopters and three fixed wing aircraft, 12 patrol boats and…[restrict] 20 amphibious Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) which could be used across rugged terrain and riverine coastal areas.

He appeared confident that this equipment would be available and in service within three months when it could go into service in the battle against piracy.

Niger River Dredging

In a related matter, the minister announced that an expenditure of N100 million had been budgeted for the dredging of the River Niger. He said that he had told the Governor that the project had already started and would be completed in one month. The dredging was being undertaken ‘in-house’ using dredgers belonging to the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and would cover 570km of the waterway.

This would enable patrol boats to safely navigate the river and to aid with the eradication of piracy.[/restrict]

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French patrol frigate
FS Surcouf

A French Navy frigate and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft joined forces to intercept a consignment of heroin on board a dhow off the coast of north-east Africa.

The frigate FS SURCOUF was on patrol along with the RNZAF aircraft as part of the Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150).

Surcouf was only three weeks into her deployment when she made two interceptions with back-to-back boardings bringing in a haul of 400kg of heroin.

The first took place on 28 April when Surcouf boarded a suspicious dhow. It took the French boarding team four days to uncover all of the heroin, which had been stashed in different places around the vessel. They ultimately discovered about 200kg of the drug.

Once complete with this task the French ship began tracking a second suspicious dhow sailing in the area and on intercepting this vessel and boarding her on 3 May, they discovered another 200kgs of heroin hidden in multiple places. CTF-150 said afterwards that the haul has a value of more than US$150 million.

CTF-150 is currently under the command of the French Navy (Marine Nationale), supported by the Royal Navy under a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force framework, and includes staff from Belgium, Italy and Australia, exercising command over ships and aircraft from several CMF participating nations.

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French navy frigate Floreal
FS Floreal approaches Durban on an earlier occasion, escorted in by a SA Navy Namacurra patrol craft. Picture by Steve McCurrach

The French patrol frigate FS FLOREAL is currently visiting the port of Cape Town where her crew are enjoying some R&R at the V&A Waterfront.

Floreal is based at Reunion in the Indian Ocean and undertakes regular patrols of the French Dependencies in the wider regions of the Indian Ocean, including those…[restrict] in the Southern Seas and others in the Mozambique Channel.

The frigate was commissioned into service in 1992 and is the lead ship of her class. She has also seen service in the South Pacific.

The ship has a top speed of 20 knots and was built more to commercial standards than to expensive naval standards. As a result she and her sisters are economic to operate and maintain. Floreal has a range of 10,000 nautical miles at 15 knots, extending to 15,000 miles at slower speeds. She is 93 metres long and has a beam of 14 metres. Her armament includes a 100mm gun and two Exocet missiles plus two 20mm guns and a Panther helicopter.

The ships complement is amde up by 11 officers, 36 non-commissioned officers, and 42 enlisted personnel of which 11 are on board for the helicopter.[/restrict]

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GE Transportation loco
new GE diesel-electric locomotive arriving in Angola

Angola hopes to establish itself as a regional transportation hub for freight and mining commodities. The government estimates that routing through Angola could cut 40 to 50 percent of the cost of local transportation.

By Maggie Sieger

A few years ago, a group of investors from Singapore planned to open a large iron mine in southwest Angola’s Huila province. The mine would bring jobs and money to the local economy, but the project failed because there was no reliable way to move ore from the mine.

This is a common story in Angola, a country of 26 million. A lack of infrastructure has hampered economic growth within the region and continent. Angola has just three rail lines and 30 or so locomotives, the “youngest” of which have been…[restrict] operating for more than three decades. Radio correspondence, which isn’t always dependable, is the sole form of communication, making it difficult to track the trains and manage their schedules.

However, big changes are just around the bend. As part of the Angolan government’s effort to modernise the country’s transportation infrastructure, signed a US$350 million deal with GE Transportation for 100 new and eight upgraded locomotives. The new machines and a full overhaul of Angola’s tracks will position the country as a transportation hub among its mineral-rich, land-locked neighbors and help stimulate economic development.

GE assembles these C30 locomotives at its century-old factory in Erie, Pennsylvania. Fifty miles down the road, workers at another GE plant in Grove City, Pennsylvania, manufacture the 3,000-horsepower engines. The first 15 locomotives are scheduled to begin service by the end of May.

The Erie plant built components for 200 of the same locomotives for South Africa, and similar ones for Mozambique. GE workers in Erie, for example, are now also building locomotives for Pakistan.

GE diesel for Angola
Photo: GE Transportation/GE Reports

As part of the deal, GE will also train operators and maintenance personnel to add skilled labor to the local workforce. These individuals will work to rebuild and maintain the eight locomotives that had been built between 1967 and 1982. The upgrade will include all new digital control systems to extend the life of the trains by 10 years, said Gavin Mandy, a senior sales manager for GE Transportation.

The Angolan locomotives initially will haul both passengers and general freight. The country hopes to establish itself as a regional transportation hub for freight and mining commodities. The government estimates that routing through Angola could cut 40 to 50 percent of the cost of local transportation. “These are going to be all around better locomotives than what they had in the past,” says Alan Dilla, locomotive project manager for GE Transportation.

The C30 will be the first locomotive in the country to use GE’s AC propulsion technology, which includes a digital control system. Each wheel has its own motor, which allows for greater control of the train’s speed and adhesion to the tracks. In the past, if a wheel started slipping at higher speeds or on a steeper grade, the entire train had to slow down to accommodate the problem.

Now, the C30’s digital brain can calibrate power to each individual motor, so a single wheel — rather than the whole train — can be adjusted. That means the train can keep moving at high speeds, no matter the conditions. The control system uses sensors and other feedback to monitor each wheel and motor, which also allows for quicker adjustments and a safer ride. The increase in safety and speed, along with greater horsepower, means these locomotives can haul trains that are 30 percent longer than Angola’s current stock.

Some of the locomotives will be also equipped with GE’s Locovision product, a high-definition video recording system that helps monitor the track.

“They’re always going to know where they are, how they’re performing and if there are any issues,” Mandy says. That should help put Angola on the right track.

This article first appeared at GE Reports.[/restrict]

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Now watch the collision as it happened.


If we thought the collision between a ship, the bulker Julian, and a ship loader at Durban was an unusual event in the life of a port, the month of Many is about proving that wrong. This week a French container ship, CMA CGM CENTAURUS, struck the quayside and a 6-month old ship-to-shore gantry crane alongside, sending the STS crane toppling to the ground in spectacular fashion.

Six people were reported with injuries as a result of this incident, but fortunately no fatalities.

A second STS crane alongside was shifted off its rails but remained upright. A DP World spokesman said afterwards that every necessary measure was being taken to minimise disruption of terminal operations. The wrecked crane will be removed and the second crane is temporarily out of service, he noted.

An investigation into the accident has been set up. This accident took place on 4 May 2017.

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TUI Mein Schiff 6
Mein Schiff 6 departs from the shipyards

While TUI Cruises is getting ready to take delivery of the 99,300-gt cruise ship Mein Schiff 6 from the Meyer Turku shipyard, the full crew has arrived onboard.

Of the 1,030 crew members, 70 percent come from…[restrict] the other TUI ships, the company said in a prepared statement.

Captain Kjell Holm, who has taken out all the ships in the Mein Schiff series, commented that with the crew aboard the ship comes alive, preparing for the first guests to come aboard on 16 May.

He mentioned that last minute work include storing some 750,000 items purchased for the hotel department alone, including 51,000 towels, 12,200 pillow cases and bedspreads.

Meanwhile, the crew is undergoing safety training in addition to job training and familiarizing themselves with the new ship.

From some 50 different nations, the crew celebrated at a Crew Welcome Event on Tuesday, 9 May when TUI took delivery of Mein Schiff 6.

Mein Schiff 6 is identical to Mein Schiff 3, 4 and 5 and once in service will be able to carry up to 2,500 guests along with her 1030 crew. TUI has on order two larger cruise ships being built at the same shipyard and entering service in 2018 and 2019.[/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.

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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.


bulker TD Hamburg, Maydon Wharf Durban
TD Hamburg. Picture: Trevor Jones

A journey by boat along the Maydon Channel made possible this picture of the Peter Dohle bulk carrier TD HAMBURG (63,600-dwt). Built in 2016 at the Jiangsu New Yangzi shipbuilding yard in China she is 200 metres in length with a 32m beam and has a maximum draught of 9.1 metres. TD Hamburg is seen here at Maydon Wharf 11. The picture is by Trevor Jones


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