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Leo Spirit. Picture: Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News
Leo Spirit. Picture: Keith Betts

The Ro-Ro car carrier LEO SPIRIT (60,825-gt) on her berth at the Durban Car Terminal’s R berth earlier this year. As her funnel denotes, Leo Spirit is managed and operated by the Nissan Motor Car Carrier company of Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan – the ship being owned also by Japanese interests. The 200-metre long ship was built in 2012 and has a car carrying capacity of 5,200 motor vehicles. Nissan Motor Car Carriers operates a fleet of 16 Ro-Ro car carriers. This picture is by Keith Betts

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USS Fitzgerald. USNavy pic, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald alongside at Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating SW of Yokosuka, Japan. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter Burghart/Released. USN©.

Search continues for missing sailors

It was reported by the US Navy on 17 June that search and rescue efforts by US and Japanese aircraft and surface vessels were continuing in the hopes of recovering seven USS FITZGERALD sailors.

Fitzgerald was involved in a collision with the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX CRYSTAL at approximately 02h30 local time on 17 June while operating…[restrict] about 56 nautical miles SW of Yokosuka, Japan.

It is understood that shortly after the collision the US Navy made a request for support from the Japanese Coast Guard (JCG), which first arrived on scene and continued to be the lead for finding the seven missing sailors.

Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) ships JS Ohnami, JS Hamagiri, and JS Enshu joined the JCG ships Izanami and Kano with USS Dewey. A US P-8 Poseidon aircraft has been working in concert with two JMSDF Helicopters and a JMSDF P-3 Orion aircraft to search the area. Names of the missing sailors were withheld until the families had been notified.

The collision affected Fitzgerald’s forward starboard side above and below the waterline, causing significant damage and associated flooding to two berthing spaces, a machinery space, and the radio room, which damage control teams quickly began pumping out.

While those efforts helped stabilise flooding, it was initially uncertain how long it would take to gain access to the spaces at a pier side berth in Yokosuka to methodically continue the search for the missing and to inspect the damage and develop a plan for repairs and inspection of the spaces.

Following the incident three patients required medical evacuation. One was Commander Bryce Benson, Fitzgerald’s CO, who was transferred to US Naval Hospital Yokosuka by a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) helicopter. All three were reported as awake and were to remain under observation at the hospital. Two additional personnel were medevac’d from Fitzgerald to USNH-Yokosuka by Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 (HSC-12) for lacerations and bruises. Other injured assessed aboard the ship.

A USS Fitzgerald Emergency Family Assistance Center was opened for chaplaincy and counsellor care.


Within 24 hours the US Navy reported that as search and rescue crews gained access to the spaces that were damaged during the collision remains of missing sailors were located in flooded compartments in Fitzgerald. At the time of writing they were being transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka for identification.

Families were being notified and provided with the support they need during this difficult time. The names of the sailors will be released after all notifications are made.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Day of the Seafarer banner, SAMSA appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

It has been announced that South Africa will host the 2020 World Maritime Day (WMD) conference organised by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), with the conference being held in Durban.

This is according to Sindisiwe Chikunga, Deputy Minister of Transport who said at the weekend that all eyes will be on South Africa’s maritime sector and Operation Phakisa when more than 230 countries participate in the WMD.

She was speaking ahead of the celebrations of the Day of the Seafarer, organised by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and supported by the DoT, which is to be held in Bizana in the Eastern Cape on Sunday, 25 June. The theme for this year is ‘Seafarers Matter’.

Sindisiwe Chikunga, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News
Sindisiwe Chikunga

The IMO, which supports the Day of the Seafarer, is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping. Every year the IMO celebrates World Maritime Day, which focuses attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasise a particular aspect of IMO’s work.

World Maritime Day is celebrated each year in the last week of September – in South Africa it is celebrated on 25 September.   This year WMD will take place in Port St Johns [coincidentally not too far from Bizana].

In 2020, 230 maritime nations will converge in Durban, with experts in the shipping and maritime industry in attendance, together with an array of exhibitions involving the oceans economy.

Chikunga, who will be part of the IMO Day of the Seafarer celebrations in London this week, said South Africa’s participation in the international body was critical, as “we are able to showcase the vast potential that lies within our oceans”.

“Sitting on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) allows us to showcase our oceans economy, Operation Phakisa. But also it exposes us to what other countries are doing,” she said.

“When 2020 comes, the world will be in South Africa and they will want to know what South Africa has done. They will want to meet our seafarers. They will want to see our mariners. They will want to see our captains.

“In actual fact they will also want to see those vessels that are flying the South African flag, which makes us a flag state. They will want to visit our ports which make us a port state. They will also want to see our seas as we are a maritime nation,” said Chikunga.

The deputy minister called on young people to enter the maritime sector by becoming seafarers, by making the oceans their choice of vocation.

“If we train you as a seafarer or as cadet, as an engineer, maritime engineer, as a maritime lawyer, you are guaranteed to find employment because the opportunities are available. We are building this industry almost from scratch.”

SAMSA is currently implementing the Maritime Youth Development Program which was established to attract youth, and graduates to the maritime sector.

“This programme matters to SAMSA for two reasons,” said Sizwe Nkukwana, Programme manager for Operation Phakisa at SAMSA. “We would like to see the contribution of maritime towards solving some of the country’s problems. We also believe the oceans economy creates opportunities for the unemployed and those who want to build businesses in it.”

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Boarding party from HMAS Arunta off Somali coast. Picture: RANavy, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News
HMAS Arunta’s boarding party prepares to board a dhow smuggling illegal narcotics in the Middle East Region. Picture: Royal Australian Navy

The Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS ARUNTA, which is on her third deployment to the seas off north-west Africa and the Arabian Sea, has carried out another successful stop and search of an Arab dhow off the coast of Africa. Although the exact position has…[restrict] not been communicated it is clear that it was somewhere off the long Somalia coast.

The motorised dhow was intercepted after one of the French-led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) Seahawk helicopters identified the dhow the previous day as a suspicious vessel. HMAS Arunta was despatched to intercept and carry out a stop and search of the vessel. This was done during the dark hours of 8 June.

After a thorough search 260kg of heroin was discovered hidden in void spaces on the vessel. After seizure and examination and documenting the haul, the narcotics were destroyed at sea on 12 June. The dhow had meanwhile been allowed to continue her voyage.

The multi-nation ships of CTF 150 are engaged in conducting maritime security and counter piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean off the north-west African and Arabian coasts. For HMAS Arunta this was the ship’s third successful intercept of drugs during her current deployment to CTF 150.

She is the 64th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel in the region since the first Gulf War in 1990. source Naval Today[/restrict]

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Sarkim Baka. Picture: Akanbi Williams / Marine Traffic, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News
Sarkim Baka. Picture: Akanbi Williams / Marine Traffic

The Nigerian-flagged fishing vessel SARKIN BAKA, which was operated by the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research, a division of the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has been released from detention in Cameroon and handed over to the Nigerian authorities.

The 272-gt vessel, built in Japan at the Fujishin Shipbuilding yard in Kizugawa, Japan in 1984, was stolen by…[restrict] its then-master and taken out of Nigerian waters and into those of Cameroon. On arrival off the Limbe coast the captain then had the name of the vessel changed to LUMEN CHRISTI.

After becoming aware that their research vessel had disappeared in June last year, the Nigerian authorities alerted those in Cameroon and a joint search was conducted.

In November 2016 the Cameroon Navy based at the Limbe naval base discovered the whereabouts and new identity of the missing vessel and made an arrest, taking the captain, Nigerian Mike Ogorye and three others into custody.

Nigeria subsequently requested the repatriation of the ship and suspects in order for them to stand trial in Nigeria.

Last week on 14 June the ship was handed over to the Nigerians at a ceremony held at Limbe in Cameroon. Regional Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai said that cooperation was the key to stopping piracy and theft in the Gulf of Guinea. He praised the good cooperation that led to the vessel being recovered. The vessel was fraudulently sailed from Nigerian waters into those of Cameroon, he said. “It came here and they changed papers to mislead some Cameroonians who thought they could go into business with the so-called commander,” the Governor added.

He said the return of the vessel was a token of the good relationships existing between both countries. “We want this cooperation to continue,” he said.

It is understood that the captain and crew that stole the vessel have also been returned to Nigeria where they will face prosecution.[/restrict]

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SS Nujoma.appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News
SS Nujoma

Debmarine Namibia’s newest diamond mining vessel, and the world’s largest, has been handed over and is ready to commence operations off the coast of Namibia.

Costing US$157 million the new diamond dredger SS NUJOMA (7,800 gross tons) is a joint venture between the firm of Debmarine Namibia, a part of the De Beers Marine organisation, and the Government of Namibia.

The vessel was built…[restrict] at the Kleven shipyards in Ulsteinvik, Norway and fitted out and completed in Cape Town, where the design work of her sampling system was carried out by De Beers Marine. She is designed for exploration and sampling and introduces a variety of unique technologies to enable the vessel to sample twice as fast and take larger samples than her predecessors, and collect more information per sample than any other diamond sampling vessel.

She will be exploring and mining in waters off the Namibian coast north of the Orange River mouth and in depths up to 130 metres below sea level.

SS Nujoma under construction at Kleven, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News
SS Nujoma under construction at Kleven

SS Nujoma is 113 metres in length and is powered by diesel engines. She carries a crew of 80 and is equipped with a helicopter deck suitable for Sikorsky S61s.

The partnership between De Beers Group and the Namibian Government delivers in excess of N$10 billion (R10 billion) annually.

Subsea diamond mining was pioneered more than 50 years ago by a maverick Texan, Sam Collins, who defied his critics to prove that diamonds washed down the Orange River and into the sea could be recovered using specialised vessels. His organisation soon had its copycats and Collins was eventually bought out by De Beers Mining.

De Beers Namibia produced around 1.2 million carats in 2016.

Short YouTube video clip [2:57]


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Anxious to secure its own stake in a seaport, landlocked Ethiopia is reported to be negotiating with DP World to form a joint venture in which Ethiopia will have a minority stake in the DP Berbera port and terminal in Somaliland.

Ethiopia is looking to…[restrict] secure a 19% share in the administration of the Port of Berbera, where DP World earlier announced it has secured a 30-year concession to manage and operate the port and terminal.

The semi-autonomous region of Somaliland is understood to have agreed to the venture ‘in principle’ which would secure for the port a share in Ethiopia’s international trade. It would also secure for Ethiopia’s that landlocked country’s first ‘share’ in having a seaport to call its own.

Somaliland’s Foreign Minister confirmed the agreement reached so far and said that the Somaliland Government together with DP World would hold the majority share in the port at Berbera. DP World holds a 30-year concession to develop, manage and operate the port which faces into the Gulf of Aden.

Berbera port map, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News
Port of Berbera



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IMarEST award for research into collaborative autonomous marine fleets

Fletcher Thompson (left), and IMarEST's Greg Hellessey, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News
Fletcher Thompson (left), and IMarEST’s Greg Hellessey

The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST) has awarded its prestigious Laurie Prandolini Research Fellowship of AU$14,000 to Fletcher Thompson. Fletcher holds a BEng degree in Naval Architecture and is a PhD candidate at the Australian Maritime College of the University of Tasmania.

This fellowship will go towards supporting Fletcher’s PhD research project, Project FOX. Project FOX (Fleet Operations and eXpeditions) aims to…[restrict] “establish distributed intelligence into an autonomous marine vehicle fleet to exhibit collaborative behaviours”.

Greg Hellessey from the IMarEST’s Victoria Branch said that Fletcher’s research was chosen because of its global potential.

“Out of all the applications from across Australia, Fletcher’s was an absolute stand-out in that it was clear it would be ground-breaking work at a national and international level. His work here is pushing into new ground in the maritime sphere around the world.”

Autonomous marine vehicles that have the capability to collaborate will be able to achieve multi-faceted and complicated missions that the current industry standard solo platform would be unable to complete. Such missions include persistent and sustainable environment monitoring; autonomous monitoring and maintenance of subsea systems and structures; and, persistent search and rescue standby. The underlying requirement is that the vehicles within the fleet must be capable of recognising their ability to contribute to a task in a collaborative manner. This distributed intelligence is the primary focus of research for Project FOX.

“This fellowship is such an exciting injection for my research – suddenly, much more is possible.

“It will fund the equipment needed for physical experiments [which] will extend my research, building on my existing computer-based modelling and bringing the results into the real world.” Fletcher Thompson, winner of the Laurie Prandolini Fellowship.

Project FOX’s secondary aim is “to pursue real world fleet-specific tasks and scenarios to provide basis of applicability for a heterogeneous autonomous marine vehicle fleet”. To achieve this aim, Fletcher seeks to implement an aerial, surface, and subsea fleet that is capable of performing search and rescue missions for an extended time at sea. He aims to demonstrate the capabilities of such fleets and to outline that the scope of missions for which such a fleet can be configured has no restrictions.

Now, with the support of the IMarEST’s Laurie Prandolini Research Fellowship, Fletcher will be able to obtain additional equipment for these vehicles and extend the scope of Project FOX. These resources, such as embedded high performance 3D image processing systems; laser scanning modules; and, high resolution mono and stereo camera units will greatly improve the navigation, and environmental sensing abilities of the fleet, to a globally competitive level.

About the Laurie Prandolini Research Fellowship

The Laurie Prandolini Research Fellowship was established in November 2011 to honour the memory of the late Mr Lawrence Prandolini, OAM, CEng FIMarEST MRINA MIEAust. Laurie made an outstanding contribution to the maritime community in Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific region, and in particular to IMarEST, nationally and internationally.

The IMarEST awards a single AU$14,000 Laurie Prandolini Research Fellowship every year to a Doctoral candidate or post-Doctoral researcher in either marine engineering, marine science or marine technology. Applicants will be formally affiliated to a university in Australian, New Zealand or the Pacific Islands.[/restrict]


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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

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Leeuw, by Trevor JOnes, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

Leeuw, picture : Jan de Nul, appearing if Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

An unusual visitor to Durban earlier this year was Jan de Nul’s split hopper barge LEEUW (6,210-dwt) which is seen berthed at the Point. The red crane overlooking the hopper is not part of the vessel but a mobile crane on the wharfside beyond the vessel. Leeuw is one of ten hopper barges in the Jan de Nul fleet. She was built in 2012 and has a hopper capacity of 3,700 cubic metres. As with most of the fleet she is registered in Luxembourg. Despite being known as a barge, the 99.5 metre long vessel is a fully fledged ocean-going motorised vessel.

The top picture is by Trevor Jones, the lower is courtesy of Jan de Nul



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