Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002


Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return

NEWS UPDATE (Friday 10h00):
Latest TNPA tug UMBILO launched


News continues below


naming of tug Umbilo. Picture by Terry Hutson
The traditional bottle of ‘bubbly’ smashes against the hull of the new tug Umbilo. Picture: Terry Hutson

[Durban, South Africa, 26 May 2017] South Africa’s busiest port will soon take delivery of its first new tug – the sixth of nine powerful new vessels to roll off the production line in the port city of Durban, on time and within budget.

Named UMBILO, the vessel was launched at an official ceremony in Durban this morning (Friday, 26 May 2017). Executive Mayor of eThekwini (Durban), Councillor Zandile Gumede, performed the ceremonial duty of Lady Sponsor to christen the vessel in line with maritime tradition.

UMBILO is part of Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) R1.4 billion tug building contract awarded to Durban-based Southern African Shipyards – the largest ever awarded to a South African company for the building of harbour craft.

TNPA Chief Executive, Richard Vallihu, said a new tug is exactly what the Port of Durban needs.

“Over the past few years, the Port of Durban has seen larger vessels calling at the port. This has put a strain on our marine fleet. Currently the port has a total of eight tugs of which four are old Schottel tugs with only 32 and 38 ton bollard pull power,” he said.

As a result of the tug shortage the port has been deploying a five tug operation to help guide vessels into the port instead of the industry request to use a six tug operation.

Having a new and a powerful tug in the port will release pressure on the port’s marine operations and speed up turnaround times for vessels calling at the port.

The TNPA tug procurement project also complements the skills development programme currently underway through TNPA’s Maritime School of Excellence.

Mayor Gumede asnd tug Umbilo. Picture: Terry Hutson
Mayor Councillor Zandile Gumede performs the ceremony of naming the tug, flanked by Richard Vallihu (left), chief executive of TNPA, and Lucinda Creamer of SA Shipyards. Picture: Terry Hutson

Speaking at the naming ceremony, Vallihu said it was essential to have well-trained people in place to support Transnet’s major drive to ramp up infrastructure and efficiency at South Africa’s ports. Transnet has set aside a record-breaking R7,7 billon for training over the next 10 years. The port authority will contribute in excess of R56 billion of capital expenditure under Transnet’s rolling R300 billion-plus Market Demand Strategy, or MDS, which is now in its fifth year.

Vallihu again praised the work of Southern African Shipyards, which he said was playing a proactive role in helping to unlock the potential of the Ocean Economy.

The nine tugs are being built for TNPA over three and a half years, as part of a wider fleet replacement programme that also includes new dredging vessels and new marine aviation helicopters. The programme is aimed at improving operational efficiency in the ports.

TNPA’s new fleet of nine tugs are each 31 metres long with a 70 ton bollard pull. They feature the latest global technology such as Voith Schneider propulsion which makes them highly manoeuvrable.

UMBILO is among four that will be deployed in KwaZulu-Natal’s ports of Durban and Richards Bay. Five of the planned total of nine have already been delivered to Port Elizabeth, Saldanha and Richards Bay.


K-Line's car carrier Jupiter Leader
Jupiter Leader. Picture: Keith Betts

Today’s Maritime News features the following:  Just over a week ago (17 May) we showed you the car carrier JUPITER. Now we bring you JUPITER LEADER (44,412-gt), also a car carrier but this one operated by Japan’s NYK Lines. Jupiter Leader was built in 2008 at the Naikai Shipbuilding yard in Setoda, Japan. Her overall length is 183 metres and her beam 30m, making this one of the smaller of the modern car carriers in service. The ship flies the flag of Singapore. This picture taken as the vessel enters Durban is by Keith Betts

News continues below


The 11-berth Tin Can Terminal at Lagos
Tin Can Island terminal, Lagos. Picture: OTAL

Maritime News: Lagos’ Tin Can island container terminal was shut down on Tuesday (23 May 2017) as police and other security agencies carried out an investigation into the smuggling of 440 weapons imported from Turkey.

The guns, described as assorted firearms were discovered in a container being imported into the country.

As security authorities…[restrict] descended on the terminal, one of two container terminals in the port of Lagos, all operations were brought to a halt.

The weapons are thought to have been intended for criminal gangs or militant groups operating in the Niger Delta region, fueled by rising unemployment in the country but authorities did not rule out the involvement of the Boko Harum Islamist group which however is mostly active in the north and east of the country.

In January of this year authorities intercepted another consignment of weapons consisting of 661 pump action shotguns imported from China. They were hidden in a 40ft container of steel doors. Authorities arrested three people accused of being involved with the importation of the weapons, as well as several Customs officials on charges of being complicit in the release of the container from the port.

In December 2016 Nigerian authorities confiscated a smaller consignment of US-made weapons, ammunition and clothing smuggled into the country in a secondhand used motor vehicle.

In this week’s latest case the importer and two of his assistants as well as the Customs officials who cleared the container have been detained.[/restrict]

News continues below


Arab dhow
typical dhow-type vessel used for trading or fishing

Unconfirmed reports from Somaliland say that pirates have captured an Iranian fishing dhow which they intend using as a mother ship to attack other shipping in the Gulf of Aden.

The reported capture took place on Tuesday but hasn’t been confirmed by EU NAVFOR or any of the other official counter-piracy groups operating in the area. This is not…[restrict] unusual as attacks on fishing dhows have often gone unreported in the past.

This latest report comes from a small town in Puntland, a region from where it is thought a resurgence in piracy is taking place. The modus operandi is for pirates to operate from small skiffs in which they are prepared to motor great distances, or to capture larger vessels such as small ships of trading and fishing dhows which can be used as ‘mother ships’ to a group of skiffs.

In a recent incident a suspected mother ship was found by a naval vessel operating in the Gulf of Aden with eight skiffs alongside. Several of these fled on the approach of the naval ship, which was responding to a call for help from a tanker sailing nearby.

So far this year incidents of piracy have been few and far between, save for one short period when it looked as though an outbreak was taking place but this turned out to be all it was.[/restrict]

News continues below


International investment remains a critical, and often underappreciated, part of the global economy. Nearly two million jobs were created directly by foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2015, according to a Financial Times analysis. These employment gains in turn support many more jobs indirectly and, as a new paper from the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation points out, can lead to productivity improvements throughout the wider economy.

The unbundling of modern production into regional and global value chains provides opportunities for economies to attract investments specialised in specific segments of the manufacturing chain. Morocco, for instance, has attracted over US$ 3 billion in FDI into its manufacturing sector since 2011, about two-thirds of this into automotive components. Sri Lanka — another lower middle income country — attracted over US$ 1 billion in manufacturing FDI over the same period across a number of sectors focused on export markets. During this period, FDI into manufacturing accounted for less than one-third of total investment in Sri Lanka, but more than two-thirds of total jobs created by foreign investment.

Only 5% of FDI into Africa goes into manufacturing, but even with the limited levels of FDI into this sector, it has been a major driver of formal employment in countries such as Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. A number of factors drive the complex foreign investment decision-making process, but the ability of manufacturers to move goods quickly across borders is critical, especially for modern value chains.

If shipments are consistently delayed at ports or if the paperwork needed to clear goods for export is overly cumbersome, investors will turn towards other opportunities. Indeed, as the Alliance’s analysis shows, the more complex the manufacturing sector, the better the border environment must be.

A joined-up approach

Investment promotion agencies — key players in facilitating investment into priority sectors — must make the link between trade and investment. Similarly, customs and border agencies must understand the impact that improving service delivery has on productive sectors. Ambitious implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) — which came into force in February — sends a clear signal to both domestic and international investors that countries are committed to making trade easier and will prove influential in unlocking FDI opportunities, especially in the context of growing south-south trade and investment ties.

African countries are investing heavily in trade facilitation projects aimed at accelerating the movement of goods. This is a difficult task and a fine balancing act as they also have to preserve and secure government revenue. Yet – to maximise the yield of these investments, successfully achieve TFA objectives, and in the end increase FDI, it is essential that such projects are implemented in a coordinated, structured and sustainable way. It is for this reason that the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation and other similar initiatives have been established. A lot of work still needs to be undertaken but Africa is moving in the right direction.

author: Philippe Isler
Geneva (World Econmic Forum)
The writer is the Executive Director for the Global Alliance For Trade Facilitation and is based at the World Economic Forum in Geneva.

News continues below


Kenya Railways SGR
Kenya’s luxury and standard SGR train services set to roll

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta will launch the much-anticipated Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line next Wednesday, 31 May 2017.

The ceremony will be attended by a Chinese Government delegation comprising members of the State Council who will include two ministers and a vice-minister.

China’s Exim Bank has provided…[restrict] the funds through loans to build and equip the new railway. A spokesman for President Kenyatta said he would be officiating at events at the Mombasa Container Terminal on Tuesday and will embark on the new train the following day.

His journey will take him to Nairobi where the official opening of the line will conclude.

The train is expected to stop at each of the major stations along the line to allow the president to officially open them – Mariakani, Miasenyi, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Emali and Athi River.

Extension to Kisumu

It has also been announced that Kenya has secured further loans from China’s Exim Bank to fund the next section of the SGR that will see it extended from Naivasha to the Lake Victoria port of Kisumu. Funding to the amount of US$ 1.5 billion for the section between Nairobi and Naivasha has already been secured.

Figures for the section Naivasha to Kisumu have not been revealed.

Facilities at the port of Kisumu are also expected to be improved and a new emphasis placed on lake travel, both for cargo and passengers.

The opening of the SGR line between Mombasa and Nairobi from the beginning of June will be for passenger travel only at this stage. Freight trains are likely to commence only towards the end of this year.[/restrict]


metre and Cape gauge railways
Tanzania existing railway system of metre and Cape (Tazara) gauges

In related news, Tanzania is reported to be finding the funding of its plan for a standard gauge railway from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza on Lake Victoria, and to Rwanda and Uganda on its northern borders, not so easy to come by.

Tanzania has embarked on the first phase of the new railway which takes the line from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro and is funding this largely through its own resources. Tanzania is looking for low-interest loans to finance the mammoth undertaking and President John Magafuli was…[restrict] reported to have approached South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma during the latter’s state visit to Tanzania earlier this month, to approach the BRICS Bank for a loan.

“I have asked President Jacob Zuma to help us secure a low interest loan from Brics to finance particularly the SGR project,” President Magufuli said.

The proposed 1,200km railway will have a planned capacity of 17 million tonnes of cargo a year and will follow the route of the existing metre-gauge railway that was built in colonial days. Tanzania has gathered support from his landlocked neighbours Rwanda and Uganda for the line but Uganda could be hedging its bets and is likely to rebuild its own metre-gauge railway as a SGR from Kampala to the Kenya border, although some horse-trading is likely before that goes ahead.

Sceptics of the Tanzanian SGR feel that the East African country is over-extending itself. Even the World Bank, which has pledged US$ 200 million for the refurbishment of the metre gauge Central Railway (from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza) is reported to have said that a Tanzanian SGR is simply not viable and is not keen for the $200 million to be diverted to the SGR.

As with his Kenyan counterpart, President Magafuli appears determined to plow ahead with the project despite its enormous cost. One of the differences between the Kenya SGR and that in Tanzania is that the Kenyan line will link its port with the nation’s capital and largest city, and most likely also with its neighbour Uganda.

The Tanzanian line however has no major city to reach towards, although Mwanza will act as a terminus for lakeside transport. It also has the possiblity of garnering traffic from Uganda in addition to Rwanda.[/restrict]

News continues below


K-Line woodchip carrier
K-Line’s Forestal Gaia

K Line took delivery yesterday of its new woodchip carrier named FORESTAL GAIA.

The 49,200-dwt woodchip carrier was built at Tsuneishi Shipbuilding in Japan.

Forestal Gaia’s maiden voyage will…[restrict] see the bulker sailing for Dung Quat Port in Vietnam to commence a dedicated service of carrying woodchips for paper materials to Nippon Paper Industries.

Forestal Gaia’s hold capacity is about 3.6 million cft.

With the South African ports of Durban and Richards Bay both equipped and dealing with wood chip exports, perhaps the time will come when Forestal Gaia will make her maiden voyage to Africa.

K Line said that it had “inherited this traditional and unique vessel name from a predecessor also engaged in service to Nippon Paper Industries for a long time in the past.

“She is equipped with the latest environmental-friendly, safety-oriented features,” K Line said in its statement.

The ship’s dimensions are: Length – 199.9m; beam – 32.2m; dwt – 49,200t; Holds – six

K Line recently revealed plans to reorganise its ship management companies in order to upgrade services.[/restrict]

News continues below


Ghana's TEN and Jupiter oilfields
Ghana’s claimed offshore oilfields

Tullow Oil plans to drill new wells and increase output at its TEN field off the coast of Ghana to 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) once a maritime border dispute with Ivory Coast is resolved, the company said recently.

Tullow also intends investing in exploring for new reserves off the West Africa country’s coast…[restrict], in addition to its Jubilee and TEN fields, its Ghana head Charles Darku said.

Ghana is in dispute with the Ivory Coast over where the border lies and how it affects claims to the oil lying beneath the surface of the sea. Ghana filed suit at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in 2014 to bring about a resolution on this matter, after failing to find a solution with its neighbour.

The Tribunal gave an interim ruling in 2015 that Ghana could continue developing offshore projects in the disputed area, but it imposed a ban on new drilling.

The Tribunal is set to rule on the dispute in the coming months.

“We are looking to the Ghana government to reach a resolution on that to enable us immediately to resume drilling new wells as planned in order to boost production to the plateau of 80,000 bpd,” Darku told shareholders in Accra.[/restrict]

News continues below


new DRC Ebola outbreak
Ebola outbreak in DRC brings precautions

South Africa’s Department of Health says it is on high alert following the reported outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

On Friday, 12 May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that nine suspected cases and three deaths of persons with Ebola virus disease (EVD) were reported from a remote forested area in the Likati Health Zone, Bas Uele Province in the north of the DRC, bordering Central African Republic.

“There is a low risk of transmission to South Africa. However, South African Emergency Departments and clinicians are advised to be on the alert for cases of fever and/or haemorrhagic symptoms amongst returning travellers from the area,” the Department of Health said on Wednesday.

South African Port Health authorities have been informed and continue to screen persons, who enter via airports, for fever. However, no travel restrictions are in place.

As of 20 May, a total of 37 suspected EVD cases and four deaths have been reported, giving a case fatality rate of 11%. The reported cases are from five health areas, namely Nambwa (12 cases and three deaths), Muma (four cases and no deaths), Ngayi (16 cases and one death), Azande (three cases and no deaths), and Ngabatala (two cases and no deaths).

No healthcare workers have been affected to date. The majority of the cases presented with fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and other bleeding symptoms and signs. The outbreak currently remains confined to Likati Health Zone.

The DRC Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation and various partners are working closely to rapidly control the outbreak through strengthened epidemiological surveillance, and implementation of a comprehensive logistics plan including the deployment of teams comprising experts in epidemiology, clinical management, social mobilisation and risk communication.

This is the eighth Ebola virus outbreak in the DRC since 1976. The last outbreak occurred in 2014 with 66 cases and 49 deaths.

Ebola virus is transmitted following direct contact with persons infected with the virus – through contaminated body fluids including blood, stool, urine, saliva and semen, or with an environment contaminated with body fluids.

Symptoms develop eight to 10 days after contact and include fever, weakness, myalgia, headache, sore throat, abdominal pain, rash and bleeding from mucous membranes. Treatment is supportive. Rapid implementation of infection control measures, as soon as the disease is suspected, is essential. –

News continues below


Send your Press Releases here and marked PRESS RELEASE. Provided they are considered appropriate to our readers we will either turn them into a story, or publish them here.


Vesconite drain plugs
Vesconite polymer drain plugs

A US supplier of marine parts has found considerable demand for Vesconite T-handle and flatter stern screw-in drain plugs for a particular brand of wake surfing boats built between 2006 and 2014.

The original drain plugs were made of brass and also had a brass base. They were found to corrode due to galvanic corrosion, a process through which one metal corrodes preferentially when two metals are in contact with each other. They were…[restrict] also found to be hard to remove and required greasing of the thread, which is not ideal due to environmental concerns about lubrication in a marine environment.

Users have now looked elsewhere. Brass, stainless steel and aluminium are all available. Different sizes and shapes are also obtainable, particularly among the T-handle plug offering.

However, many of users continue to face difficulties with their drain plugs, and have chosen Vesconite replacements, which are made of a polymer that does not swell, does not require lubrication, is resistant to the effect of ultraviolet light and remains unaffected by sea water.

The Vesconite T-handle plugs and stern plugs have been a long-standing order from the US marine-part supplier for ten years, and thousands of units are now employed in trailered boats globally.

The correct insertion, proper tightening and sealing of a drain plug is essential to making a boating safe.

The removal of boat plugs is also an important way of ensuring the stored boats do not fill with water when they are stored. Moreover, plug removal after boating is also vital to ensure that aquatic invasive species are not spread from one water body to another water body, which is a serious concern in many parts of the world, including in the US.

Vesconite Bearings, the maker of the marine drain plugs, believes that custom and OEM boatbuilders understand the importance of details, even down to the drain plug. A quality fitting—especially one that is used so often with trailered boats—reflects highly on the brand.

“Vesconite has 10 times the wear life of traditional bronze,” says Vesconite Bearings marine representative Sharon Mc Ardle.

“This is an important feature as the polymer is unlikely to abrade and will not corrode, and ultimately begin to leak.”

The polymer that makes up the drain plugs is available in the US as custom precision-machined, ready-to-use parts or raw stock.[/restrict]



WFS banner

Showcasing at Nor-Shipping for the first time; global fuel logistics, transaction management and payment processing company, World Fuel Services (WFS) will highlight its robust offering for the first time at Nor-Shipping from 30 May – 2 June 2017.

WFS, a Fortune 100 company, will…[restrict] present its fuel and lubricants offer together with its complete range of marine-related solutions. In addition to their tradeshow floor presence at stand E04-06, WFS will host a series of special events including a customer seminar to drive thought-provoking discussions on the most compelling issues facing the maritime industry today.

In particular, WFS will use the Nor-Shipping event to further emphasise the importance of subjects covered in their recently-published white papers: Mass Flow Meters in Singapore, 2020 Global Regulations, Fuels & Lubes choices and working with a Strong Counterparty in the marine environment.

“Our offer goes far beyond just fuel,” said Paul Lowther, Director of Marine Marketing at WFS. “Nor-Shipping is a great platform to help us illustrate how our team of experts partners with the marine industry to provide a comprehensive product and service portfolio.”[/restrict]


Ale and Goldhofer people
partners from both ALE and Goldhofer shaking hands: Rainer Auerbacher (Goldhofer’s General Manager/Transport Technology), David Purslow (ALE’s General Manager – Global Operations), Ronald Hoefmans (ALE’s Group Technical Director) and Renato Ramella (Goldhofer’s Director Sales Europe/North Africa)

Since it was founded in 1983 in Hixon, Staffordshire, ALE has grown into one of the world’s leading heavy haulage companies with numerous operating centres on all five continents.

For many years, the industry giant’s road success has been supported by Goldhofer Transport Systems, with more than 850 of the German company’s heavy-duty axle lines in service in the ALE fleets around the world.

This includes widening trailers designed specifically for the Australian, UK and South African markets, various…[restrict] self-propelled transporters, plus flatbed semi-trailers for moving wind turbine blades, and a wide range of accessories including vessel bridges and drop decks.

More recently, ALE took delivery of two 6-axle ADDRIVE heavy-duty modules for its business in Kazakhstan plus twenty modular THP/SL axle lines for the Argentinian market. “Goldhofer’s ADDRIVE technology is the ideal solution for our transport operations in Kazakhstan,” said David Purslow (General Manager – Global Operations at ALE). “For us, the big attraction of the heavy-duty modules is their versatility: The combination of a self-propelled transporter and a towed trailer in a single vehicle gives us the flexibility we need to deal with a wide range of transportation requirements.”

In addition to the all-rounder qualities of the two 6-axle vehicles, the transport professionals at ALE particularly appreciate the innovative hydro-mechanical drive system. The ability to completely disconnect the drive while towing at speeds of up to 80 kph reduces drive component wear to a minimum even at maximum load. Mechanical disconnection avoids overheating in the drive components and effectively reduces maintenance requirements.

As soon as they arrive in Kazakhstan, the ADDRIVEs will be on the road on their first projects. Once they have proven their advantages there, ALE intends to acquire more modules for various other ALE regional branches.

As Ronald Hoefmans (Group Technical Director at ALE) puts it: “We decided to go for the ADDRIVE system because of its flexibility and the combination of cutting-edge technology and high-grade materials for the components.”[/restrict]

News continues below


in partnership with – APO

News continues below


Request a Rate Card from


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.

News continues below


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 Geminin Pioneer at Durban Bulk Connections
Gemini Pioneer. Picture: Ken Malcolm

The bulk carrier GEMINI PIONEER (55,624-dwt) seen on her berth at Bulk Connections (Durban’s Bluff) earlier this month. The vessel is seen with her hatches open, prior to begin loading ores at what used to be Durban’s coaling terminal but is now increasingly handling other minerals such as manganese and magnetite. Gemini Pioneer is 190 metres in length and 32m wide and was launched in May 2008 from the Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co, Ltd, Tamano Works in Japan as hull number 1674. The ship flies the flag of Panama. Owned by Japanese interests she is managed out of Singapore by Executive Ship Management Pte. This picture is by Ken Malcolm



“Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.”
― Max Ehrmann ‘Desiderata’


For a Rate Card please contact us at

Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome. Email to

Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.
Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.P O BOX 809, CAPE TOWN, 8000, SOUTH AFRICA 



South Africa’s most comprehensive Directory of Maritime Services will shortly be listed on this site. Please advise if you’d like your company to be included. To sign up for a free listing contact or register online