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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Stena Paris in Lyttelton. Picture: Alan Calvert, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Stena Paris. Picture: Alan Calvert

We’ve recently featured several of these attractively liveried products tankers calling at Durban, but here now is another from the opposite side of the world, at the port of Lyttelton on New Zealand’s South Island. She is STENA PARIS (65,125-dwt), on charter to Mobil Exxon and seen arriving at Lyttelton to discharge petroleum products from Singapore. The 183-metre long, 40m wide vessel was built in 2005 at the Brodosplit Shipyard in Croatia.
This picture is by Alan Calvert


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MSC Ines now safely on her berth but showing signs of her scrape. Pictures: Trevor Jones, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Ines now safely on her berth but showing signs of her scrape and narrow escape. Pictures: Trevor Jones

Marine operations at the Port of Durban were partially resumed last night at around 18h30 although a number of berths and adjacent navigation areas remained unavailable to shipping.

According to Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) 80% of the navigable area of the port was declared safe for marine operations.

However, Africa PORTS & SHIPS understands that berths D, C and E at the City Ro-Ro Terminal (Point), 104, 105, 107 at Pier 1, 108 on the cross berths, and 200, 202 and 203 at DCT Pier 2 remain unavailable until later today (Thursday).

detail on MSC Ines. Picture: Trevor Jones, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
detail on MSC Ines. Picture: Trevor Jones

TNPA said last night that the results of sounding surveys that were conducted indicate that there is some obstruction on the seabed that could pose a risk to navigation but that in the interest of ensuring safe navigation of vessels, operations have commenced in channels that are clear from obstruction.

“We are extremely appreciative of the excellent collaboration between TNPA and various stakeholders who acted quickly and efficiently to partially restore normality at the port. Our immediate focus is to continue with the implementation of the recovery operations,” says TNPA Chief Executive, Shulami Qalinge.

TNPA said that port teams remain on scene and the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) will remain in place until normality is restored at the port.

Summarising the events of Tuesday at the port, Transnet said that swift action by TNPA, in collaboration with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and African Marine Solutions (AMSOL), saw the successful delivery of a multi-vessel emergency operation during inclement weather.

“By 18h30 on Tuesday, three vessels that were grounded had been successfully refloated and remoored. The 2.5 hour operation included up to eight tugs and 70 individuals working tirelessly to secure the vessels. Among the tugs assisting in operation was the Port of Durban’s powerful new UMBILO which was recently built locally.”

FS Floreal at Durban's N shed. Picture: Trevor Jones, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
FS Floreal at Durban’s N shed. Picture: Trevor Jones

The French patrol frigate FS FLOREAL which is on a goodwill visit at Durban may also have been involved in some of Tuesday’s drama, if marks on her stern hull and the flying of the divers in the water flag are anything to go by. Floreal has been stocking up on essentials prior to a month-long patrol of the Southern Ocean.

FS Floreal detail. Picture: Trevor Jones
FS Floreal detail. Picture: Trevor Jones

By late on Tuesday evening vessel movements had also been suspended in the Port of Richards Bay due to strong winds, however marine operations have since resumed.

According to Durban Port Manager Moshe Motlohi, first priority on Tuesday was the stricken MSC INES container vessel which was grounded across the port’s entrance channel. Five tugs successfully towed the 9,115-TEU, 348.5 metre vessel to safety. Next to be secured was the tanker BOW TRIUMPH at Island View berth 4, followed by a second container vessel, SM NEW YORK, which was remoored and stabilised at the Durban Container Terminal.

He said that teams had also managed to refloat the floating dock at the premises of Southern African Shipyards together with one of TNPA’s nine new tugs which was still under construction at the shipyard.

Mopping up operations continued all Wednesday. TNPA’s Dredging Services division, Subtech – a private marine service company – and drones conducted sounding surveys to highlight any unsafe build-up or obstruction on the seabed that could pose a risk to navigation. Engineering teams aided by aerial drones were conducting physical assessments of affected port buildings and infrastructure to assist in quantifying damage.

“This successful operation was made possible through our Joint Operations Committee with SAMSA and our 24-hour Business Continuity Plan (BCP) at head office and the Ports of Durban and Richards Bay,” said Motlohi.

“We commend the marine workers involved who displayed skill and agility in managing the situation. A special thank you to all those involved including SAMSA, the private sector and our own TNPA tug masters and marine crew.”

Video clip of MSC Ines in the channel entrance on Tuesday 10 October.

Video courtesy: Nick Hastie


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The tug PSD 2 in her days as PENTOW SERVICE and based in Durban. Picture: Terry Hutson, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The tug PSD 2 in her days as PENTOW SERVICE and based in Durban. Picture: Terry Hutson

The crew of the offshore service tug PSD 2 (built 1983) which is currently in the Port of Beira, are threatening to blow up their vessel and themselves with it.

PSD 2 is the former Durban-based offshore service tug PENTOW SERVICE (736-gt) which in the employment of Smit Amandla Marine, now renamed AMSOL, was the standby tug and support vessel at the single buoy mooring (SBM) outside Durban opposite Isipingo.

The tug was renamed SOFALA in May 2012 and PSD 2 in January this year. Africa PORTS & SHIPS Ship Movement records show the tug in Durban earlier this year…



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CMA CGM’s feeder services in the western Indian Ocean are being improved with the launch announced this week of a 5th service.

Commencing on 21 October 2017, the vessel MCP PACHNA of 620 TEU will significantly increase CMA CGM’s service offering on North Madagascar and Mayotte through the French line’s strategic operational hub in Pointe des Galets, Reunion.

With the launch of INDIAN OCEAN FEEDER 4 complementing its current radial feeder system in the region, CMA CGM services in North Madagascar and Longoni will both enjoy an improved 10-day frequency and increased reliability.

Connecting the world to Indian Ocean the…


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Thomson Dream, set to become Marella Dream. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Thomson Dream, set to become Marella Dream. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting

Thomson Cruises, the UK-based subsidiary company of Germany’s TUI Group, which in turn is a joint venture operation with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, has announced it is renaming to Marella Cruises by 2018. Thomson is the UK’s third biggest cruise line.

Four ships are to be renamed initially – MARELLA DREAM, MARELLA CELEBRATION, MARELLA DISCOVERY and MARELLA DISCOVERY 2. A new addition to the fleet, to be named MARELLA EXPLORER, will commence with the line as from the European summer of 2018.

A fifth ship, SPIRIT will be leaving the fleet after her charter expires next year.

The name Marella apparently is Celtic and means ‘Shining Sea’ in English.

The identity of Thomson is set to disappear, it seems, as Thomson in the UK will become TUI in the future.

Marella Cruises will add 18 new ports of call to its combined itinerary – these are on 14 new adults-only itineraries with departures in South East Asia included from Bangkok, Thailand and Langkawi in Malaysia.

In addition to cruises in South East Asia, Marella Cruises will now include two ships based in Barbados for the 2018 northern winter season. These will be Marella Explorer and Marella Celebration.


Impression of the new Celbrity Edge, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Impression of the new Celebrity Edge

Calling it ‘The largest investment the brand has ever made’, Celebrity Cruises has revealed plans to spend US$400 million on modernising is entire fleet between 2019 and 2023, which it also refers to as the ‘Celebrity Revolution’.

Celebrity’s new ship CELEBRITY EDGE is due next year and the older ships in the fleet will each be given some of the ‘Edge’ experience to render the hotel aspects of each ship as sleek, contemporary and comfortable. Staterooms are to be torn down and redesigned while Suite passengers will get a new Retreat Sun Deck which Celebrity promises will ‘rival any high-end resort.’

Suite guests will also have their own Retreat Lounge for complimentary beverages, gourmet bites and live entertainment.

Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Summit will have a refreshed Oceanview Cafe that will mimic an international marketplace with globally influenced menus and a ‘sleeker, more whimsical ambiance.’


MSC Sinfonia departs Durban on one of her summer cruises of 2016. Picture: Trevor Jones, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Sinfonia departs Durban on one of her summer cruises of 2016. Picture: Trevor Jones

Mediterranean Cruises MSC SINFONIA set off on Saturday (7 October) on her 23-night voyage from Venice to Durban where she will commence her South African 2017/18 summer season.

The popular ship, known to tens of thousands of South Africans who cruise on her to destinations in Mozambique and the Indian Ocean islands of Reunion and Mauritius, is making calls at Katakolon (Monday this week), Heraklion (Tuesday this week), Suez (yesterday 11 October), Eilat on Friday (13 Oct), Aqaba on Saturday 14th, and then a lengthy sea cruise along the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea before arriving at Port Victoria in the Seychelles on 22 October.

MSC Sinfonia will then sail for the Mascarene Islands, better known as Port Louis (25 October) and Pointe des Galets, Reunion on 26th. She then heads off to her final destination, Durban where she arrives on Monday, 30 October – just in time to set off later that day for Mozambique island destinations.

These include for the first time MSC Cruises’ own resort at Pomene, which promises to become a firm favourite among the South African cruise public.


The steel cutting ceremony was held on 5 October 2017 to mark the start of construction of HANSEATIC INSPIRATION, the second, new-build expedition ship for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Watch a short video plus others here:


Go HERE to watch all episodes


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Uganda railway scene, abandoned wagons showing the indifference and neglect of previous governments. Picture: Wikipedia Commons, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Uganda railway scene, abandoned wagons  and coaches showing the indifference and neglect of previous administrators. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

In what must surely signal the end of the way for the embattled Rift Valley Railway, the Uganda government has terminated the concession to operate the metre gauge railway in that country.

In terms of the cancellation, RVR has to hand over all property to the state with immediate effect.

According to a statement issued by the Uganda finance minister Matia Kasaija, the management of RVR has…


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ESPS Navarra on patrol in the Gulf of Aden, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
ESPS Navarra on patrol in the Gulf of Aden

Of course, it was just a coincidence, wasn’t it? Just at a time when that part of Spain which deems itself as Catalonia was declaring through a referendum that it was taking its independence, so Spain just happened to send three naval ships to the new future capital of Catalonia, the port city of Barcelona, to…


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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.



SM New York in Durban. Picture: Trevor Jones, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SM New York. Picture: Trevor Jones

Another of the container ships affected by the big storm to strike Durban this week is SM NEW YORK (102,518-dwt), seen here safely on her berth after the drama was all over. SM New York had been grounded on the sandbank opposite berth 203 at the Durban Container Terminal. Built in 2010 the South Korean SM Line container ship is one of the former Hanjin Line vessels taken over after South Korea’s biggest container line failed and went into bankruptcy. This picture is by Trevor Jones



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