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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MOL Proficiency departing Cape Town, December 2017. Picture: Ian Shiffman, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MOL Proficiency. Picture: Ian Shiffman

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) 4494-TEU capacity container ship MOL PROFICIENCY (IMO 9403619) departing from Cape Town earlier this month. The 71,777-dwt, 293-metre long by 40m wide ship was built in 2007 at the Koyo Dockyard, Mihara, Japan. She is owned by Japanese interests and is flagged in the Marshall Islands. This picture is by Ian Shiffman


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South Africa's House of Assembly (Parliament), Cape Town, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
South Africa’s House of Assembly (Parliament), Cape Town

Transnet executives who failed to appear before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in parliament yesterday say they were not given insufficient notice that the entire Board was expected to appear before SCOPA.

This was after they decided not to attend and answer a series of queries about contract expansions and deviations signed by Transnet. Some of the contracts are under investigation by the Hawks and involve expansions and deviations from the open bidding process on contracts involving several billion rand.

The no-show left Scopa MPs angry at the latest snub – several other committees have had the same treatment which has resulted in summons being issued to those failing to attend.

In attendance at the committee were representatives of the Hawks who were to update MPs on their investigations into Transnet matters.

The Transnet delegation was to have included the chief executive and full board. An irate Inkatha Freedom Party MP asked how the process could even begin without the presence of the Transnet people. “We can’t dignify this behaviour,” Mkhuleko Hlengwa said.

African National Congress MP Nthabiseng Khunou described the stay-away as undermining Parliament, while Democratic Alliance MP Tim Brauteseth called it an insult to the committee. Another ANC MP, Thapelo Chiloane said the public needs to know what has happened with the contracts.

In a series of leaks and revelations, questions have been raised over reported Transnet kick-back commissions that were added to contracts for locomotives and other services amounting to  billions of rands. Many of these allegations have arisen from the so-called Gupta-leaks which allege that kick-backs were arranged on large contracts being issued by Transnet, with most of them favouring one particular group of people.

According to Scopa chairperson Themba Godi a letter was received on Monday from Transnet board chairperson Linda Mabaso asking for a postponement of the meeting until January. Godi said however that the meeting should go ahead as the question of deviations and expansion of contracts was separate from other reports and revelations in the media and wasn’t a new issue. Then on Tuesday evening, after office hours, Mabaso sent an email saying that the Transnet board would not be able to attend.

“Part of the [explanation] was that they were unprepared. The matters were quite substantive and they said they wouldn’t like to come unprepared,” Godi said.

MPs were not impressed at this development. ANC Nyami Booi said it set an unwanted precedent.  “They think that Parliament is weak and they can play around. But it is clear we are doing a good job, because they are running away.”

DA MP David Ross pointed out that the matter was not new and dated back to 2014. Their non-attendance should have consequences, he said.

Another person absent was Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown who has been placed on sick leave until 24 December. Minister Brown has already appeared before a different parliamentary committee where she came under strong criticism including accusations of not telling the truth.

Transnet to be summonsed

Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said the committee would issue a formal summons for Transnet to appear at the first week of committee sittings in the new year. “This is a first, for them to decide not to come unilaterally, especially if we are not discussing any new issues. This would be the third time in a row we have discussed these issues.

“They must suffer the indignity of being summonsed.”

Godi added that Treasury would be requested to forward a set of bills to the Transnet board and to the minister, to be paid in their personal capacity.

Transnet responds

Transnet banner appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime newsIn a statement issued later yesterday, the Board of Transnet said it has noted feedback from the Standing Committee On Public Accounts over the Board’s non-attendance of the meeting that morning, 6 December 2017.

“The Board is committed to having proper engagements with SCOPA to discuss the various concerns that were raised by the committee and to pave a way for enhancing Transnet’s business processes. However, the Board is of the view that for that engagement to be meaningful and constructive, it is important for the Board to be properly informed of all issues that were contained in the information that Transnet management had submitted to the committee.

Transnet confirms that it was aware of the SCOPA meeting that was to take place on 6 December 2017. The management of Transnet was prepared for the SCOPA engagement and had submitted a further presentation to SCOPA on Monday 4 December 2017.

“However, during the late afternoon of Monday 4 December 2017, the Chairperson of the Board was informed for the first time that the entire Board was expected to appear before SCOPA.”

The statement pointed out that only the chairperson was present at the previous two SCOPA sessions held on 22nd and 28th November 2017.

“This left the Board members with less than 48 hours to prepare for the engagement with SCOPA…. some board members would not have been able to attend at such short notice.”

In requesting a postponement of the session in order to get an adequate opportunity to engage internally, Transnet said it reiterates its commitment to transparency, accountability and continuous improvement to its control environment.

“To the extent that Transnet’s failure to appear at the SCOPA meeting could be perceived as an act of disrespect toward Parliament, Transnet offers its unreserved apology both to Parliament and the South African Public at large. Transnet’s absence must not be interpreted as defiance of Parliament, or unwillingness to co-operate or to avoid accountability.


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Suez Canal, featuringin Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Suez Canal – continuous development, Sisi orders

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has met with the Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and Suez Canal Economic Zone, Mohab Mamish, to discuss the latest developments with the tunnels project under the Suez Canal (in the city of Ismailia).

The meeting took place on Tuesday (5 December) during which the president directed the need for continuous development of the canal.

The Ismailia road tunnel is a twin tube road tunnel that will cross the…


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MOL bulker, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (MOL) has announced the signing of a five year bauxite transport contract with Alufer Mining Limited. The contract was signed between Toshiaki Tanaka, MOL’s Head of Dry Cargo, and Bernard Pryor at MOL’s offices in Tokyo.

Alufer has received all required permissions from the West African government of Guinea with regard to building the Bel Air bauxite mine and construction commenced in January 2017.

The Bel Air mine is located…


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Frank Veenstra of Pro Liquid, the specialist liquid offloading services and equipment provider
Frank Veenstra

Pro Liquid, the specialist liquid offloading services and equipment provider, is due to open its first African branch in Durban, South Africa at the beginning of 2018 to serve the African and Mozambican maritime markets.

With an almost 40-year history in the international market, Pro Liquid offers 24/7 worldwide solutions such as off and on-loading of any type of liquid cargo, de-bunkering operations using portable pumping equipment, salvage support services as well as the delivery of fire-fighting equipment, pumps and powerpacks, equipment sales, rental and repair.

The Durban office, to be manned by Frank Veenstra, forms part of the company’s expanding network of operational offices in the Netherlands and Singapore.

“Our core business is assisting vessels, oil platforms and other floating platforms with their pumping needs but we are also able to assist the on-shore clients with their pumping needs. A great example is our assistance with the clean-up and de-sludging of several API oil/water separators at one of the biggest refinery’s in South East Asia,” Veenstra explains.

Pr Liquid banner, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

“Furthermore we will soon be in the position to offer onsite reconditioning of off-spec bulk liquid cargoes such as chemicals, fuels or bio-fuels,” said Veenstra ahead of the opening of the South African branch. “This reconditioning service can be provided on site at shore installations or on board tankers during the voyage by using our portable equipment and highly trained technicians to avoid extra costs.”

Veenstra, who has a background in the oil and chemical inspection sector, has been involved in cargo superintendent work for leading shipping companies over the last seven years and is optimistic about the future of Pro Liquid in South Africa. “Our goal is to hire and train local technicians for the market and the prospects look promising,” he says, adding that further South African branches are likely.

The Durban branch is already equipped with a range of pumping equipment including diesel hydraulic powerpacks, submersible portable pumps, booster pumps, cargo hoses etc. All equipment is portable and can be mobilised within several hours after the call is made.


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Islands of the Maldives. Picture courtesy: Pixaday Creative Commons, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Islands of the Maldives. Picture courtesy: Pixaday Creative Commons

Dutch marine contractor Van Oord has been awarded a DPC Innovation Award for its innovative and sustainable approach to a land reclamation project in the Maldives.

Van Oord won the award in the ‘Innovation in Project Design – Open Water/ Coastal Dredging’ category at an award ceremony held in London last week.

According to the organisers,


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It was reported from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) HQ on 4 December that the Directors of five regional Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres (MTCCs) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the global maritime technology centre network.

This network of MTCCS – in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific – is the mainstay of the GMN* maritime technology project, run by IMO and funded by the European Union.

MTCCs are expected to provide leadership in promoting ship energy-efficiency technologies and operations, and the reduction of harmful emissions from ships.

Through collaboration and outreach activities at regional level, the MTCCs will…

Reported by Paul Ridgway

* Global Maritime Technologies Cooperation Centres (MTCCs) Developing countries and, in particular, Least Developed Countries and Small Islands Developing States, will be the main beneficiaries of this ambitious initiative. See also:


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Nusret 2017 Invitation Exercise took place in the Saros Gulf between 24 November and 3 December 2017. In addition to elements of the Turkish Navy and Air Force, NATO Mission Countermeasures Task Force and various ships and non-explosive disarmament teams from the United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Qatar participated. Photograph kindly provided by Turkish Naval Forces / NATO MARCOM ©, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Nusret 2017 Invitation Exercise took place in the Saros Gulf between 24 November and 3 December 2017. In addition to elements of the Turkish Navy and Air Force, NATO Mission Countermeasures Task Force and various ships and non-explosive disarmament teams from the United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Qatar participated. Photograph kindly provided by Turkish Naval Forces / NATO MARCOM ©

Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) has just finished participating in the Turkish-led maritime exercise NUSRET 2017 in the Aegean Sea off Canakkale, Turkey.

SNMCMG2, consisting of its flagship HMS Enterprise, Turkish minehunter TCG Alanya, Bulgarian minesweeper BGS Shkval, Italian minehunter ITS Crotone, Royal Navy minehunter HMS Pembroke and Hellenic Navy minehunter HS Evropi joined more than…

Reported by Paul Ridgway


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Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard is one of a number of Chinese shipbuilders that is spearheading the return to water-lubricated propulsion, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard is one of a number of Chinese shipbuilders that is spearheading the return to water-lubricated propulsion

Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard is one of a number of Chinese shipbuilders that is spearheading the return to water-lubricated propulsion. Chinese shipbuilders are showing other yards in the Asia-Pacific region that seawater-lubricated shafts are less complicated to install than oil-based systems

Thordon Bearings has received another order from a Chinese shipyard for its COMPAC system, in a development that indicates more and more of the country’s shipbuilders are specifying water lubricated propeller shafting arrangements as their standard solution.

The latest order comes from COSCO Dalian Shipyard, which will install 600mm diameter COMPAC propeller shaft bearings, Thordon’s water quality packages (WQP), ThorShield shaft coatings and bronze shaft liners to three 62,000dwt multi-purpose vessels under construction for COSCO Shipping.

Alex Li, Managing Director, CY Engineering, Thordon Bearings’ partner in China, who secured the contract, said: “This latest order is significant in that it shows Chinese shipbuilders commitment to the Chinese government’s wider environmental strategy to reduce industry-borne emissions and pollutants. Thordon’s COMPAC water lubricated propeller shaft system is now becoming the standard arrangement for Chinese shipbuilders.”

Li is referring to recent orders for COMPAC from the Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard and the Shanghai Shipyard, of which the latter has installed the water lubricated bearing system to 15 newbuilds to date.

Zhong Jie, Manager, Electromechanical Section, Purchasing & Supply Department, Shanghai Shipyard Co Ltd, said: “We are now very familiar with the Thordon solution. From many years’ experience, we know this product is really reliable. As a leader in water lubricated stern tube systems, Thordon’s professional approach has helped streamline the ship design and construction processes at the shipyard.”

Highlighting the key shipyard benefits of moving to water lubricated systems, Shen Yu Gui, Project Manager, Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard, said: “Using Thordon’s COMPAC system is economically advantageous for us. It is easy to install, environmentally safe for shipowners and offers a longer service life than oil lubricated white steel bearings. Technical service is very important and CY Engineering/Thordon has done a fantastic job.”

In November, Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard successfully installed Thordon’s COMPAC system to two newbuild containerships under construction for U.S-based Tropical Shipping. And later this month, the first of two 2700TEU containerships with COMPAC, Delaware Trader, will undergo sea trials for a UK-based owner.

Commenting on the success of COMPAC in the Chinese shipbuilding market, Sam Williams, Thordon Bearing’s Regional Manager, Eastern Asia, praised CY Engineering’s technical competency and local knowledge.

“There can be teething problems when a shipyard diverts from its standard offering but the application to Guangzhou Wenchong’s first COMPAC ship was a text-book installation. CY Engineering was responsible for all detailed technical/engineering work with the shipyard and teamed up with Thordon’s Global Service & Support (GSS) technicians to supervise the installation and commissioning processes, resulting in the system being installed very quickly, much to the delight of the yard.

“Installations such as this require close cooperation between our representative looking after the shipowner, Thordon’s GSS team and our local partner working with the shipbuilder. When we receive new orders, we approach both parties and work to achieve a preference on the part of the owner, and a commercial/technical agreement with the yard. This can be a process which goes through much iteration, depending on the owner’s involvement and on the preferences of the shipyard,” Williams said.

Craig Carter, Thordon’s Director of Marketing and Customer Service, added: “China’s ongoing commitment to reducing pollution across a number of industries is indicative in the work Chinese shipbuilders are doing to environmentally future-proof their newbuildings.

“The shipping industry is returning to seawater-lubricated systems for a number of commercial and technical reason and Chinese shipyards have been quick to understand the benefits of a COMPAC installation.”

Thordon Bearings and CY Engineering will be showcasing the COMPAC water lubricated propeller shaft arrangement at Marintec in Hall N2, Booth E61.


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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.



Nautica at Cape Town, picture TNPA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Oceania Cruises' Nautica which is currently cruising on the South Africa coast, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Oceania Cruises’ Nautica which is currently cruising on the South Africa coast.

South Africa’s ports welcomed another cruise liner of the 2017/18 season this week. MS NAUTICA, owned and operated by Oceania Cruises, arrived at the Port of Richards Bay on Saturday, 2 December and has since called at the Ports of Durban on 3 December and Cape Town on 5-6 December. NAUTICA will spend the month sailing between Richards Bay, Durban, Cape Town, Mossel Bay, East London and Port Elizabeth before departing for the remainder of her Indian Ocean Jubilee cruise that will end in Singapore in January 2018.

MS Nautica is 181 metres long and was launched in 1999. She caters for 684 guests and has a crew of 400 professionally trained European staff. The ship is one of more than 20 luxury cruise ships operated by 17 international cruise lines that will call at South Africa’s ports during the 2017/18 cruise season. At the Port of Durban she sailed in with around 630 passengers predominantly from Europe and North America, while in Cape Town she brought around 670 passengers into port.

Her South African calls this season are:

Richards Bay – 2 December 2017
Durban – 3 December 2017
Cape Town – 5 to 6 December 2017
Mossel Bay – 7 December 2017
Richards Bay – 9 December 2017
Durban – 11 to 12 December 2017
East London – 13 December 2017
Port Elizabeth – 14 December 2017
Cape Town – 20 to 22 December 2017
Port Elizabeth – 24 December 2017
Durban – 26 December 2017
Richards Bay – 27 December 2017



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