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crude oil tanker Delta Harmony
Delta Harmony. Picture: Keith Betts

Delta Tankers Ltd’s crude oil Suezmax tanker DELTA HARMONY (157,410)enters port at Durban during April this year, assisted by two harbour tugs, PHOLELA (on the right) and LOTHENI (left). The tanker flies the Greek flag with her homeport registered as Athens. The tanker was built at the Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries shipyard at Samho, South Korea. Delta Tankers is a relatively new tanker company, having been founded in 2006. It operates with a fleet of about 25 vessels with a deadweight total in excess of 3 million tons. This picture is by Keith Betts

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Port Saldanha Bay
aerial view of Port of Saldanha

Port statistics for the month of April 2017, covering the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority, are now available.

Total cargo handled at all eight ports during the past month amounted to 22.031 million tons, compared with the previous month (March 2017) when [restrict] 23.168 million tons of cargo was handled, reflecting another overall decrease in cargo volumes month on month. The port of Richards Bay recorded a cargo volume of 7.325 (Feb: 8.071) million tons for the month, while Durban handled 6.774 (Feb: 6.047) million tons and Saldanha 4.653 (Feb: 5.584mt, indicating that the drop in volumes was due to lower dry bulk (minerals) exports in comparison with the previous month.

Container volumes were up by a small margin which is encouraging.

For detailed comparison with the previous April (2016) figures please go HERE; use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page.

These statistical reports on africa PORTS & SHIPS are arrived at using an adjustment on the overall tonnage compared to those kindly provided by Transnet. This is to include containers by weight; an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers by the number of TEUs and does not reflect the weight which unfortunately undervalues the ports.

To arrive at such a calculation, PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13.5 tonnes per TEU, which probably does involve some under-reporting. PORTS & SHIPS will continue to emphasise this distinction, without which South African ports would be seriously under-reported internationally and locally.

Port Statistics continue below

Figures for the respective ports during April 2017 are:

Cargo handled by tonnes during April 2017, including containers by weight

PORT April 2017 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.325
Durban 6.774
Saldanha Bay 5.584
Cape Town 1.246
Port Elizabeth 0.903
Ngqura 0.766
Mossel Bay 0.197
East London 0.166
Total all ports 22.031 million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during April 2017
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT April 2017 TEUs
Durban 225,383
Cape Town 83,604
Port Elizabeth 14,882
Ngqura 56,405
East London 5,549
Richards Bay 1,782
Total all ports 387,605 TEU

SHIP CALLS for April 2017

PORT April 2017 vessels gross tons
Durban 273 10,725,681
Cape Town 348 4,721,754
Richards Bay 158 6,041,490
Port Elizabeth 78 2,622,421
Saldanha Bay 52 3,249,081
Ngqura 46 3,007,513
East London 25 971,042
Mossel Bay 26 349,319
Total ship calls 1,006 31,688,301

— source TNPA, with adjustments made by africa Ports & Ships to include container tonnages [/restrict]

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SAS Amatola in Europe 2017
SAS Amatola in Plymouth, UK. Picture: Jasper van Raemdonck

In January when the first heist at Silvermine this year took place, the SA Navy frigate SAS Amatola was in Europe for the SS Mendi 100 years memorial and the Exercise Good Hope with the German Navy in the Baltic. This picture of Amatola in Plymouth is courtesy Jasper van Raemdonck
Where’s the best place to shop for copper wire? The thieves of Cape Town would say, “Oh, that’s easy, at Silvermine, of course.”

Silvermine in this case is the high-tech communications command centre on the slopes of the Table Mountain National Park.

The latest theft, in which thieves dug their way to buried copper cabling and helped themselves to antennas and other equipment, was similar to one that took place in January this year, and two others in 2013. In the 2013 theft, they helped themselves to cables, antennas and other equipment and a week later returned to remove hundreds of metres of replacement cable that had been installed.

Security at what is presumed to be a national key point appears to be lax, which is perhaps putting it mildly. Or maybe there are insiders helping those on the outside.

In the latest theft it was once again to reap the benefit of temporary repairs carried out after the January heist. They even took the video equipment that is supposed to provide added security.

On a previous occasion the theft left the navy unable to communicate directly with ships at sea, including the counter piracy patrol vessel in the Mozambique Channel. They were however able to relay messages through the naval base at Durban as well as one of the submarines at sea. In January the navy had one of its frigates, SAS AMATOLA on duty in European waters and would have required daily communication links with this vessel, in addition to the patrol ship off Mozambique.

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Richards Bay tug UKHOZI at Durban
Ukhozi enters Durban after sea trials in April this year. Picture: Keith Betts

The Port of Richards Bay has taken delivery of its new tug, UKHOZI (460-gt), which made its delivery voyage from Southern African Shipyards in Durban.

[restrict]Ukhozi (the name means ‘Eagle’) is the fifth of nine tugs in the current series being built at SA Shipyards. Costing R155 million before any escalation, Ukhozi will provide added power to the fleet of tugs at the Zululand port.

She joins a similar tug from the same shipyard named LILANI that was delivered in 2011 from an earlier contract.

On arrival in Richards Bay Ukhozi was welcomed by two tugs, Lilani and Uzavolo spraying water from their water cannons in time honoured fashion while nearby ships sounded their horns.

Watch now a short [0:46] YouTube clip of the new tug arriing at Richards Bay.


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SADC economic region
Southern Africa economic region

There is a need for South Africa and Tanzania to work together in establishing linkages that will allow effective and efficient intra-Africa trade, says President Jacob Zuma.

The two countries should capitalise on the mutual trade opportunities that exist in order to grow their economic relations, he said.

“We have agreed with His Excellency [President John Magufuli] that we need to expand relations further between the two countries, especially economic cooperation, so that our people can reap the benefits of these historic relations,” President Zuma said on Thursday.

Addressing a South Africa-Tanzania business forum in Dar Es Salaam, President Zuma said…[restrict] relations between the two countries date back to South Africa’s liberation struggle, when Tanzania stood with the South African people against apartheid.

Over 200 South African companies are investing in Tanzania across a wide spectrum of sectors.

“There are further opportunities as well within the infrastructure arena, including roads, as well as agro-processing, minerals beneficiation, information and communication technologies, tourism, energy, advanced manufacturing, oil and gas and the financial services sector,” said President Zuma.

The President urged the business sector to explore these areas further. He called on South African companies to invest in Tanzania.

“I think this is an important call that I encourage all of you to heed. South Africa is particularly going big on infrastructure development.”

South Africa’s domestic investments include the construction of ports, roads and railway systems as a path to stimulate economic growth and to link the country to its neighbours in Southern Africa and the rest of African continent.

“While we welcome the growing trends on our bilateral trade, we should also note that a concentration on commodities is not sustainable. The recent drop in commodity prices has shown that governments cannot rely on commodity rents as an engine of growth and development,” said the President.

President Zuma said Africa’s heavy reliance on commodities has the potential to be disruptive and destabilise the two countries’ economies.

“It also does not create sufficient quality jobs to lift large segments of the population out of poverty,” he said, adding that the time has come to intensify production and the trade of intermediate and final consumer products.

Speaking of the recent Inaugural South Africa-Tanzania Bi-National Commission (BNC), President Zuma said progress has already been made in several areas including environmental affairs, defence cooperation and trade, among others.

To make further progress, it is imperative that the two countries work together to eliminate market restrictive measures.

“As governments, the onus is upon us to assist our business sector by dealing with the tariff and non-tariff barriers that continue to hinder trade between our two countries.”

Tanzania is geo-politically and strategically positioned. She is uniquely placed as a member of both SADC and the East African Community. Both organisations share the idea of cross-border economic integration, envisioned by the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area launched in June 2015.

President Zuma, accompanied by six Ministers, arrived in the east African country on Wednesday night for a State visit.[/restrict]

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Italy’s High Court has handed down a 16-year sentence to the former captain of the ill-fated cruise ship COSTA CONCORDIA, which ran aground off the island of Giglio on Italy’s Tuscan coast in 2012.

As a result of the ship being…[restrict] deliberately run onto the rocks to avoid sinking in deep water after striking a rock, 32 people lost their lives. Captain Francesco Schettino, who infamously abandoned his ship and refused to go back on board when ordered by the Italian Coast Guard, was found guilty in 2015 of manslaughter but appealed the verdict.

As a result of Italy’s highest court now upholding the original verdict he has reported to a Rome prison to begin his sentence.

cruise ship Costa Concordia
Costa Concordia on the rocks of Giglio

His lawyer stated after the final judgement was delivered that Italy always needed a scapegoat. He said his client had expected the worst and had waited outside the prison gates for news of the verdict, rather than stay at home with his family.

Prosecutors had originally asked for a sentence of 26 years.

Costa Concordia was carrying 4,200 passengers when she struck the rock that caused her to start sinking. The ship had sailed too close to the coast, in order that crew could wave to a former colleague who lived on the island.[/restrict]

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HMS Somerset and Russian Kilo class submarine
On 6 May 2017, HMS Somerset, a Type 23 Frigate was escorting a Russian Submarine through the English Channel. A Merlin helicopter from 820 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Culdrose met the frigate, submarine and support tug south west of the Isle of Wight before returning to base. Photo: Crown Copyright 2017©.

The Plymouth-based warship Somerset located…[restrict] the Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine Krasnodar in the early hours of 5 May as it sailed down the UK’s East Coast.

HMS Somerset, a Type 23 frigate, then followed her through the Dover Strait and the rest of the English Channel over the weekend.

Commander Tim Berry, the Commanding Officer of HMS Somerset, said: “Policing the sea both in home waters and further afield is core business for the Royal Navy. Escorting foreign warships, in this case a Russian submarine, through UK waters is just part of our ongoing effort to protect our island nation.”

Last month (April), Somerset’s sister ship HMS Sutherland was called on to escort two Russian warships as they sailed close to UK territorial waters.

When on patrol in Home waters, Somerset may be called upon at any time to help prevent arms trafficking and people smuggling, and to conduct counter-terrorism operations, maritime search and rescue, or escort duties like those she recently undertook.[/restrict]

Paul Ridgway

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Riding on the wave of Our Oceans Challenge

OOC is a unique initiative that acknowledges the difficult times that the offshore industry is facing, brings together all industry partners and delivers real solutions to real sustainability challenges. – Ton Berendsen, Fugro Business Development Manager Sustainability

Riding the wave of Ocean Resources

The world’s oceans are a wild and wonderful resource but a growing population and expanding economy is putting pressure on our natural resources.

To combat this, Fugro has joined forces with Our Oceans Challenge (OOC) a collaboration which so far involves more than 685 people, from over 50 organisations determined to protect and safeguard our oceans.

In December 2016 OOC launched an on-line platform, open to all, which invites industry and the public to generate ideas and creative solutions to urgent sustainability challenges.  In just 3-months more than 166 ideas and 642 solutions have been generated.

All ideas submitted to the portal are reviewed by a diverse group of Ocean Experts, including Fugro, and are assessed for their potential to be accelerated and shaped into viable and business-ready solutions.

“As a major international player in the offshore industry, we know only too well the importance of balancing ocean protection with the use and exploitation of oceans space and resources,” states Ton Berendsen, Fugro Business Development Manager Sustainability.

“OOC is a unique initiative that acknowledges the difficult times that the offshore industry is facing, brings together all industry partners and delivers real solutions to real sustainability challenges.  It’s something that Fugro feels really passionate about as an industry partner”.

Selecting the award-winning ideas

The group of ocean experts has also selected 20 of the most promising ideas submitted so far and these are being taken forward with partner organisations for further development.  All 20 ideas will be showcased at a grand final in Rotterdam in June where the best ideas will receive awards.

“The scope and standard of the ideas submitted has been very impressive,” added Ton Berendsen. “We were delighted that two of our ideas were amongst the 20 shortlisted suggestions for further development, an offshore data portal and combining windmills and wave energy.”

Fugro idea 1 – Offshore data portal

Spatial planning in the ocean environment is important and often complex, especially in busy ocean areas.  For example, the development of an offshore wind farm could rely on up to 28 different layers of data and information (geology, steel price, logistics, ecology, etc).

This idea is all about creating simplicity around data and information by creating an open data portal for public and private sectors to share their up-to-date data and all available information. It is hoped that the results of better data and information will be result in lower costs and a reduction in the economic and environmental risks.

Fugro idea 2 – Combined wind and wave energy

Combining existing wind turbines with a fitted buoy system to generate energy from wave-movement is the second idea being developed further with Fugro.  The proposal seeks to combine wave and wind energy in one plant. Using existing wave-power technology, the existing wind-farm power network and the existing wind turbines as the foundation for buoys to create a dual-purpose energy generation infrastructure. When wind is not available, power is still generated with a wave generator.

More information on the OOC is available from

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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.

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.


car carrier Glovis Sirius arrives Durban
Glovis Sirius. Picture: Keith Betts

The RoRo car carrier GLOVIS SIRIUS (65,697-gt) arrives in Durban harbour last week to deliver and load motor vehicles at the busy car terminal. Glovis Sirius is 199 metres in length and at 35 metre beam a little wider than many of the other vehicle carriers that call. Built in 2016 the 7,400-CEU ship flies the Marshall Islands flag. Over 400,000 motor vehicles a year are imported and exported from the Durban Car Terminal and has become a major activity of the port. This picture is by Keith Betts


“For this reason the gentleman will employ a man on a distant mission and observe his degree of loyalty, will employ him close at hand and observe his degree of respect. He will hand him troublesome affairs and observe how well he manages them, will suddenly ask his advice and observe how wisely he answers. He will exact some difficult promise from him and see how well he keeps it, turn over funds to him and see with what benevolence he dispenses them, inform him of the danger he is in and note how faithful he is to his duties. He will get him drunk with wine and observe how well he handles himself, place him in mixed company and see what effect beauty has upon him. By applying these nine tests, you may determine who is the unworthy man.”
― Confucius


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