Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

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


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Maydon Wharf 4. Picture: Chris Hoare, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maydon Wharf 4. Picture: Chris Hoare

Civil works on the upgrading of Maydon Wharf berths 3 and 4 is nearing completion as can be seen in the photograph taken from the air last week. Transnet National Ports Authority has undertaken the rehabilitation and modernisation of a number of berthing areas along the 15-berth Maydon Wharf area. Berths 1 and 2 are completed and have been back in service for some months and it still feels an unusual sight to see large ships berthed here, after having been used to witnessing small fishing vessels on berth 1. We don’t have a date when berths 3 and 4 will return to service but when they do they will be capable of accepting ships with a much deeper draught – an important factor for an area catering for the loading of sugar and the loading or discharge of grains.      Picture is by Chris Hoare /


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SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter at the Durban Air Force Base, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter at the Durban Air Force Base

A desperate rush to rescue two seafarers who required urgent hospitalisation and treatment for malaria took place off the Wild Coast one night last week, involving an SA Air Force helicopter and volunteer crew from the NSRI together with paramedics.

The drama began late on Wednesday afternoon, September 20, when Transnet National Ports Authority at East London alerted the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) also at the Eastern Cape port, that…[restrict] two seafarers on board the Greek bulk carrier Agios Fanourios needed urgent evacuation from the ship for medical attention.

The bulk carrier was then about 92 nautical miles east of East London, sailing from Abidjan in the Ivory Coast to Durban.

The two sailors, a 53-year old Panamanian and a similarly-aged Filipino had both lost consciousness and were suspected to be suffering from malaria.

The call for assistance was made to South Africa’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), which is based in Cape Town and a Government Health EMS duty doctor had assessed their condition by radio and had requested an urgent evacuation for the two.

Time and distance ruled against sending a NSRI rescue craft from East London to carry out the evacuation of the patients and instead the MRCC requested that an SA Air Force Oryx helicopter be scrambled from Durban’s 15 Squadron while NSRI Airborne Sea Rescue (ASR) was likewise alerted to assemble NSRI ASR rescue swimmers and Netcare 911 rescue paramedics to accompany the aircraft from the Air Force Base at the old Durban International Airport.

At the same time the NSRI at Port St Johns, Port Edward and Shelly Beach were all placed on alert.

By now darkness had fallen and at 20h30 a 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter with crew plus the rescue elements from the NSRI, took off to affect a night-time rendezvous with the ship off the Wild Coast.

On board the aircraft were SAAF pilot Colonel Bruce Fraser, co-pilot Captain Bertie Fourie, Flight Engineer Senior Warrant Officer Rob Green, Flight Sergeant Sipho Myeza, plus NSRI rescue swimmers Clifford Ireland (NSRI Durban station commander), Lorenzo Taverna-Turisan and Jonathan Kellerman, and Netcare 911 rescue paramedics Konrad Jones, Dewald Schoeman and Scot Mahoney.

The rendezvous with the ship took place 13 nautical miles offshore of Port S Johns, where the NSRI rescue swimmers and the Netcare 911 paramedics were hoisted down onto the ship. Here they found the two ill seamen in the care of the ship’s medics, one on a serious condition and the other critically ill.

Immediate medical care was given before the two men were hoisted in relays on board the hovering helicopter using specialised rescue stretchers, followed by the NSRI and paramedics.

Shortly after being taken on board the Oryx the Filipino seaman’s heart stop beating. Immediate CPR treatment succeeded in restoring a heartbeat while the aircraft flew back towards Durban, with medical treatment to both patients continuing.

On landing at the hospital in Durban doctors and nurses took over medical treatment of the two seafarers but it was later reported that this had all been in vain and that both patients had died from their illness.

While details of how the seamen might have contracted malaria are not available, it serves as a reminder just how quickly this disease, carried to humans by mosquito, can prove fatal. The ship concerned had earlier sailed from a West Africa port in the tropics, where malaria is common.

Questions have been raised as to why the ship sailed past at least two ports, Walvis Bay and Cape Town where medical assistance for the two ill seamen could have been requested. By that stage the nature of the illness would in all likelihood have been indicated.

The story also reminds us of the selfless actions and responses of those involved in this and similar sagas at sea. The Air Force has carried out a number of daring rescues off our often dangerous coast – the most famous probably being the rescue of about half of the 571 people on board the Oceanos cruise ship in 1991. The remainder were picked up by ships that gathered to assist.

Other daring rescues have involved the helicopters of Transnet National Ports Authority. One was in the total darkness of night and with poor visibility off the KZN South Coast and involving the crew of a yacht, and another being the rescue of the crew of 22 from the burning cargo Ro-Ro ship Jolly Rubino off the coast of Zululand.

Likewise, never enough credit is given to the volunteers of the NSRI and the paramedics of several organisations that provide instant responses to calls for help no matter the time or weather conditions. This latest case is yet another episode in their largely untold story.[/restrict]


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Kalmar reachstacker, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) South Africa has renewed its contract with Kalmar, part of Cargotec, by way of a new order for container-handling equipment.

The order comprises two Kalmar reachstackers and five empty container handlers and will begin delivery in the fourth quarter of 2017 continuing into the second quarter of 2018.

In addition to being involved in sea freight and global container shipping, for which MSC has a network of over 480 offices in 155 countries and a fleet of 490 container vessels, the company offers integrated warehousing and haulage services. The new Kalmar machines form part of a fleet renewal programme that will be used for processing laden and empty containers at MSC’s five terminal locations across South Africa.

According to Kalmar, MSC chose to renew its fleet with Kalmar equipment based on the reliable and economic performance of their existing Kalmar machines. Kalmar maintains a dedicated local team of technicians that provides MSC with technical support, spare parts and training services.

“The trustworthy performance of our existing Kalmar machines played a major role in our decision to place this new order,” said Sandra Sarno, Director, MSC.

“We know that we can always rely on Kalmar equipment to provide cost-efficient operation and world-class reliability.”

Leslie Bramraj Venketas, Sales Manager at Kalmar South Africa, said that MSC has been an important partner of Kalmar for a number of years. “We are delighted to strengthen our relationship by supporting them with their fleet renewal programme,” he said.


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Jubilee field fpso, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Jubilee field FPSO

Tullow is set to recommence TEN drilling after the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) ruled in Hamburg, Germany, that Ghana did not violate the sovereign rights of its neighbour, Ivory Coast, by conducting oil and gas activities in the disputed area.

The dispute centres around a ruling on the maritime boundary between the two West Africa countries.

At a sitting of the Tribunal in February this year, Ghana’s Justice Minister, Gloria Akuffo told the court that…[restrict] “a fairly drawn agreed line does not suddenly become unfair simply because one state decides it would be economically more advantageous for it if the line were drawn somewhere else.”

The matter has been before the Tribunal since 2014 after months of discussion failed to find an agreement.

Throughout the dispute the two countries insisted they would remain on good terms with each other.

Production at the Jubilee oil field commenced in 2010 with 100,000 barrels a day being produced.

In response to the Tribunal’s finding, Tullow Oil said that the new maritime boundary as determined by the tribunal “does not affect the TEN fields.”

The finding of the Tribunal was that Ghana suspended its activities by implementing its obligations in accordance with the Order of the Special Chamber of 25 April 2015 namely to ensure that no new drilling either by Ghana or under its control would take place in the disputed area.

The oil company said it would now work with the Government of Ghana to put in place the necessary permits to allow the restart of development drilling in the TEN fields and expected to resume drilling towards the end of this year which will allow production from the TEN fields to start to increase towards the FPSO design capacity of 80,000 bopd.

“Tullow looks forward to continuing to work constructively with the Governments of both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire following the conclusion of this process. While the TEN fields have performed well during the period of the drilling moratorium, we can now restart work on the additional drilling planned as part of the TEN fields’ plan of development and take the fields towards their full potential, said Paul McDade, Tullow CEO.”[/restrict]


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Hapag-Lloyd's Colombo Express - much larger ships expected to call at Nigeria following merger with UASC, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Hapag-Lloyd’s Colombo Express – much larger ships expected to call at Nigeria following merger with UASC

Hapag-Lloyd has renewed its liner agency agreement with GAC Nigeria, following its merger with the United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) earlier this year, according to a GAC report.

Following the merger GAC will now handle all aspects of Hapag-Lloyd/UASC’s business in Nigeria including husbandry services, sales, customer service and the import and export of…[restrict] a large number of containers. This comes after five years of successful cooperation since Hapag-Lloyd and GAC Nigeria signed their first liner agency agreement for which a dedicated team and office was set up specifically to handle all its activities in the country.

The merger of the two shipping lines will result in a substantial increase in business for Hapag-Lloyd in Nigeria, prompting significant investment in office assets and personnel by GAC Nigeria to meet the demands of additional business.

According to Casper Bahnson, GAC Nigeria’s General Manager for Liner Services, the new agreement with Hapag-Lloyd after the merger is a clear sign of the robust relationship that GAC Nigeria has developed over the last five years. “I have no doubt that our joint efforts we will increase their presence in Nigeria,” he said.

In future Hapag-Lloyd will be deploying much bigger vessels including some of the largest vessels able to call at Nigerian ports and a new dedicated service for West Africa which will call directly to Nigeria will be set up.

GAC says it has more than three decades of local experience and hands-on knowledge of providing integrated shipping, logistics and marine services at all the country’s major ports and terminals. source:[/restrict]


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Maputo from the air. Picture by Terry Hutson, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maputo from the air. Picture: Terry Hutson

East and Southern Africa fertiliser and agribusiness leaders to discuss how to boost regional food security and prosperity

The leaders of fertiliser production and trade from across the region will all be participating in discussions

In less than a fortnight over 300 visitors from 28 different countries will join senior government figures and leading industry executives in Maputo, Mozambique.

They will all gather to discuss the technical and commercial challenges facing the fertiliser and agribusiness industries in the region. The event is a three-day conference, including a gala reception hosted by OCP Africa, and is organised by CRU – – a leading, independent, global fertiliser analysis, consultancy and events business – and The African Fertilizer Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) (

The conference opens with keynote addresses from…[restrict] the Government of Mozambique, a former commissioner of the African Union, the Secretary General of COMESA and a representative of Ma’aden, a leading global producer of fertilisers. The event continues with over 40 speakers from across the fertiliser agribusiness supply chain including leaders of Mozambique’s leading institutions, such as the country’s Ministry of Trade and Investment, the Association for Fertilizers (AMOFERT), the Confederation of Economic Associations (CTA) and the Agency for Investment and Export Promotion (APIEX).

The leaders of fertiliser production and trade from across the region will all be participating in discussions, including OCP Africa, ICL, Indorama, ETG, Farmers World and Chemplex. They will be joined by representatives of the development and investment community such as the African Development Bank, AGRA, One Acre Fund and the Alliance for Commodity Trade in East and Southern Africa (ACTESA).

“With sessions on critical issues such as how the cost of fertiliser for the regions farmers, how supply chains of agricultural inputs can be improved and how local government and international suppliers of fertiliser can work in partnership to build strong agribusiness, the event will be invaluable” said Nicola Coslett, CEO of CRU Events.

“We are pleased that the conference also has the commercial support of organisations like Ma’aden, OCP Africa, Cornelder and Bagtech who are sponsoring the conference. With a sold-out exhibition featuring EMT, Beira Logistics, euragglo, Mediterranean Fertilizers, Yargus, Nectar Group and Tessenderlo, this event will be unmissable for everybody involved in the regions fertilizer and agribusiness sectors,” she continued.

The East and Southern Africa Agribusiness Conference will be held on 9-11 October 2017 and full details of the conference can be found at[/restrict]


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OOCL, currently the world's biggest container ship. Picture: courtesy Shipspotting and appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
OOCL, currently the world’s biggest container ship. Picture: courtesy Shipspotting

Confirmation has come of orders placed with shipyards for 20 new mega container ships in the region of 22,000-TEU each.

In earlier articles we reported that MSC and French line CMA CGM were believed to be on the brink of placing orders for 11 and nine new ships respectively.

These reports have now been confirmed late last week with both shipping giants, numbers two and three in ranking…[restrict] by number of ships and container carrying capacity, having firmed up orders with Asian shipyards.

CMA CGM signed contracts for nine 22,000 TEU Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCVs) to be built by state-run China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) Group.

The nine vessels will be, for most likely only a short period, the largest containerships ever constructed. The current holder of this unofficial title is the 21,413-TEU OOCL Hong Kong which is already in service between Asia and North Europe.

Last week CMA CGM confirmed the orders while making the announcement of its second quarter results, saying that Letters of Intent had been signed with Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group), Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding and China Shipbuilding Trading Co (CSTC), all three of which of which are part of CSSC.

Delivery of the new French ships will commence in 2019.


Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), which has refrained from newbuilding for a while now, has placed orders with DSME and Samsung Heavy Industries for 11 new ships, worth an estimated US$1.5 billion.

These ships are also reported to be of 22,000-TEU in capacity. This will become one of the biggest orders in container shipbuilding history. Confirmation was given by MSC chief executive, Diego Aponte.

It appears the newbuildings will replace older charter vessels in the current MSC fleet. What has not yet been revealed is whether the new ships will feature conventional scrubbers, at an estimated ship cost of US$136 million, or will make use of LNG in a dual-fuel alternative at a cost of $154 million each.

Alphaliner data, meanwhile, reports that there are currently 59 ULCVs in service between Asia and Northern Europe, which will increase to 105 ships in the 14,000-22,000 TEU range by 2019 and that doesn’t include the 20 newbuildings for CMA CGM and MSC reported here.[/restrict]


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P&O Cruises' Aurora in Durban on an earlier visit. Picture: Terry Hutson, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
P&O Cruises’ Aurora in Durban on an earlier visit. Picture: Terry Hutson

P&O Cruises 76,152-gt cruise ship AURORA suffered an engine room fire while sailing in mid Atlantic between Bermuda and the Azores last week (20 September).

The fire began around 13h00 as far as can be ascertained, although no details have been posted on the company’s website.

It seems that..[restrict] the fire was quickly brought under control and extinguished within an hour, but not before the vessel became disabled with little or no electricity.

News of this sneaked out by way of passengers reporting the matter once power had been restored, making use of social media. Considering this is now the norm it seems rather silly for the company not to issue an official media statement setting out the actual details.

Aurora was built in 2000 and is capable of carrying up to 1878 passengers along with a crew of 850. The ship flies the flag of Bermuda.

Reports said the ship was underway again on by 11h00 on 21 September.[/restrict]


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Vesper Marine deckWatch® honoured with industry award for product innovation

Auckland, New Zealand – Vesper Marine, a leading manufacturer of innovative marine safety products, announced last week the Vesper Marine deckWatch® smartwatch app has been awarded the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Innovation Award in the Safety Equipment category at the 2017 International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX).

The new app displays navigation and safety information, as well as critical alert information on a smartwatch directly from Vesper Marine smartAIS® transponders – without the need for a phone or tablet to relay the information.

If a collision alarm is triggered, users can see the bearing and distance of a vessel that is a collision risk, allowing them to immediately change course or contact the other vessel.

With Anchor Watch, users simply tap their smartwatch to mark the precise location when the anchor is dropped, as well as monitor if the anchor is dragging. If the anchor drags, an alarm sounds on the smartAIS transponder and users can see bearing and range of the boat from the anchor on their smartwatch to take necessary action.

In man overboard situations, Vesper Marine smartAIS offers users a unique and potentially lifesaving feature. The powerful and versatile system works seamlessly with any brand of AIS man overboard device and if a MOB situation is encountered, it triggers a dedicated audible alarm directly on the smartAIS transponder. The user can view on their smartwatch continuously updated bearing and range to the person in the water for quick retrieval. In addition, NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 information such as depth, wind, speed, heading, SOG, COG and more are available for at-a-glance accessibility.

The deckWatch app is a free companion to all Vesper Marine smartAIS transponders and is available now for Android Wear 2 smartwatches.

“When it comes to safety at sea, every second counts,” said Jeff Robbins, CEO, Vesper Marine. “We designed deckWatch to give boaters quick, at-a-glance situational awareness and immediate visibility of critical situations directly on their smartwatch from anywhere on the boat. We hope that our smartAIS technology helps boaters enjoy their time on the water more and sleep just a little better at night. We are honoured to be recognised by this distinguished panel of industry experts by receiving this accolade.”

The Innovation Awards program, organised by the NMMA and judged by Boating Writers International (BWI), recognises exceptionally innovative new consumer marine products that best meet the criteria of “Having innovative distinction from other products currently manufactured in the marine industry; providing benefit to the marine industry and/or consumer; providing practicality of use; and are cost-effective.”

For more information on Vesper Marine, or its entire product line, please visit


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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.


Stena IMperial at Durban, by Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Stena Imperial departing from Durban. Pictures: Keith Betts (top, bows); Trevor Jones (lower, stern), pictures appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Stena Imperial departing from Durban. Pictures: Keith Betts (top, bows); Trevor Jones (lower, stern)

One of the more eye-catching chemical and products tankers to call at Durban in recent times was this vessel, the 50,000-dwt STENA IMPERIAL, launched into service in 2015 as the third of a design based on the IMOIIMAX CONCEPT, developed by Stena Teknik together with the Chinese shipyard in Guangzhou. This is a further development of a well-established and successful concept offering high cargo flexibility and lower fuel consumption. The IMOIIMAX concept is owned by a joint venture of which Stena Bulk and Indonesian Golden Agri Resources (GAR) each own 50 percent.

Stena Imperial possesses 18 tanks of the same size, each with a capacity of 3,000 m3, which allows for greater cargo flexibility. The design includes a large number of innovative technical solutions, which together, when sailing at service speed, result in 10-20% lower fuel consumption compared with other vessels of the same size.

The tanker is designed to transport both vegetable oils, chemicals as well as clean and dirty petroleum products.

Stena Imperial is the third out of ten vessels ordered by Stena Bulk for a total of US$400 million with delivery to be completed during 2017. The vessels are operated by Stena Weco and trade within the company’s logistical systems, which now will include a fleet of some 60 tankers.

The remaining nine IMOIIMAX tankers are the Stena Impression, Stena Image, Stena Important, Stena Imperative, Stenaweco Impulse, Stena Imagination, Stena Immortal, Stena Immaculate, and Stena Impeccable.

The pictures above are by Keith Betts (top, bows) and Trevor Jones (lower, stern)



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– Marcus Aurelius



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