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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ALS Fauna, departing Cape Town. PIcture: Ian Shiffman, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
ALS Fauna. Picture: Ian Shiffman

The container ship ALS FAUNA (IMO 9389382) departs from Cape Town, bound for Singapore. The 162-metre long, 32m wide, 51,733-dwt ship was built in 2008 and is owned by Singapore interests and managed by Asiatic Shipmanagement Pte Ltd also of that port city – the prefix ALS representing Asiatic Lloyd Shipmanagement. The ship has also operated with the names HANJIN KINGSTON until January 2017 when she became (until end August last year) SEASPAN KENYA. In September 2017 the ship was renamed with her current name. Als Fauna was built at the Samsung Shipbuilding & Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea and owned by Hanjin Shipping until that company’s sudden demise in 2016. This picture is by Ian Shiffman


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Left to right: TNPA Dredging Services' Carl Gabriel, Tide Marine Shipyard GM Fabian Crocker, Director and Head of Supplier Development at Tide Marine Shipyard, Mrs Taneal Crocker, TNPA GM: Infrastructure & Port Planning Hamilton Nxumalo, TNPA Chief Operating Officer, Ms Phyllis Difeto. Picture: TNPA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Left to right: TNPA Dredging Services’ Carl Gabriel, Tide Marine Shipyard GM Fabian Crocker, Director and Head of Supplier Development at Tide Marine Shipyard, Mrs Taneal Crocker, TNPA GM: Infrastructure & Port Planning Hamilton Nxumalo, TNPA Chief Operating Officer, Ms Phyllis Difeto. Picture: TNPA

Construction of Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) new bed leveller (plough tug) is underway and was marked by an official keel laying ceremony on Friday in Port Elizabeth.

The new vessel is being designed, manufactured, assembled, commissioned and delivered to…[restrict] TNPA’s Dredging Services division by shipbuilder FTC Engineering (Pty) Ltd, trading as Tide Marine Shipyard. According to Transnet National Ports Authority the company has a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBBEE) Level 1 status and scooped the contract through a competitive tender process in which the contractor satisfied all technical, B-BBEE and price evaluation criteria.

TNPA General Manager: Infrastructure and Port Planning, Hamilton Nxumalo, said the new vessel is the first of its kind to be built for TNPA in South Africa.

“As Transnet it gives us great pride that we are able to promote Radical Economic Transformation, localisation and supplier development through such procurement programmes.

“Catering for larger commercial vessels in our ports requires a world-class dredging and marine fleet – and South African shipbuilders continue to demonstrate their expertise in producing vessels that can compete with the global industry,” he said.

Carl Gabriel, Executive Manager for TNPA’s Dredging Services, said that the plough tug will be the latest acquisition in Dredging Services’ R2 billion-plus fleet renewal programme, which has already seen delivery of some of the continent’s most powerful dredging vessels in recent years. “The plough tug is used as a bed leveller, smoothing out high spots created by marine traffic in the high-volume berth areas. This is a critical activity in keeping the ports’ berths to their promulgated depths,” Gabriel said.

In line with maritime tradition, a commemorative coin was placed underneath the keel of the plough tug during the ceremony and welded into place by the ship builder – a tradition said to invite good fortune during construction and the life of the ship.

Tide Marine Shipyard provided a Mandela coin for this purpose, as a nod to the Eastern Cape Province’s most noted son, former President, the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

TNPA Dredging Services’ existing plough tug, Impisi. Picture: Terry Hutson
“This project will go a long way towards revitalising Nelson Mandela Bay’s boat building sector and we are grateful to Transnet for the trust they have placed in a smaller, but well-established player in the industry,” said Fabian Crocker, General Manager of Tide Marine Shipyard.

“All of the steel – around 200 tons – to be used in this project will be sourced from within South Africa. We will be creating up to 30 jobs in technical fields such as engineering, boilermaking and welding. We will also be upskilling local marine engineering students with on-site experience so that learnings from this project can continue to serve the industry even long after completion,” he said.

Naval architecture firm, Naval Africa, will provide technical expertise and quality assurance on the project to support the shipbuilder.

Previously based in East London, Tide Marine Shipyard relocated to Port Elizabeth after securing a back-of-port lease from TNPA for premises in the Port of Port Elizabeth. The company was awarded the plough tug contract in October 2016 and initial work kicked off in September 2017.

TNPA's existing plough tug, IMPISI, seen here moving across Durban Bay.  Picture by Terry Hutson, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
TNPA’s existing plough tug, IMPISI, seen here moving across Durban Bay. Picture by Terry Hutson

The as yet unnamed vessel is expected to be handed over to TNPA Dredging Services by October 2018. It will feature the latest global technology and will be able to sail from port to port, which is an added advantage over the old vessel it replaces.

In the next few months the plough tug will be relocated from the contractor’s workshop to the port’s recently upgraded 40-ton slipway and boat hoist in the shipbuilding precinct, where its accommodation and final fittings will be added.

Port Elizabeth Port Manager, Rajesh Dana, described the plough tug project as boding well for the port, which is being developed into a boat building and repair hub to support the fishing industry and recreational craft. This is in line with Government’s Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy programme in which TNPA is a lead implementing agent.[/restrict]


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RMS St Henena off the island of St Helena. Picture : St Helena Tourism, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture above : St Helena Tourism

One of the world’s surviving mailships, RMS ST HELENA, is due to sail on Wednesday this week for the last time from Cape Town harbour bound for the South Atlantic Ocean island of St Helena.

This will be her final official voyage following the successful introduction of an air service between Johannesburg and the mid-South Atlantic Ocean island.

Until the construction of an airport on the island all services including passenger and freight had to be by sea. In recent years the mailship voyages had largely been restricted between Cape Town and the islands with more frequent voyages to the UK having been curtailed.

RMS St Helena will depart from F berth – it is understood that the Government of St Helena will be holding an official function on the first floor of the passenger terminal overlooking E berth, where the Fred Olsen cruise ship BOUDICCA is expected to be berthed.

The Cape Town branch of the Ship Society has been offered the use of the top floor of the Terminal which has an open deck overlooking the quayside, from where the Society flag will be flown and there will be a party to mark the occasion.

The voyage will bring to an end 27 years of service to the remote island – not only of St Helena but shuttle services to Ascension.

She will arrive at St Helena on 6 February where an official welcome is being arranged as well as on-island activities to mark her final visit. This includes a service of thanksgiving at St James’ Church for the ship’s crew which is to be followed with a procession through the streets to the sea front. Organisers are arranging for a ‘memory wall’ in various locations where islanders can share their memories of the RMS.

RMS St Helena in Cape Town. Picture: Ian Shiffman, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
RMS St Helena in Cape Town. Picture: Ian Shiffman

On the following day the island’s public will be invited on board the ship to visit her for one final time, with a trip to the bridge to overlook the ship’s cargo decks and open deck spaces. The lifeboats will also be opened for visitors to inspect their insides.

RMS St Helena is due to sail from the island of the same name on Saturday, 10 February, prior to which the crew will march through the streets from the Grand Parade in Jamestown, through the Arch and along the way to the seafront before returning to their ship.

RMS St Helena will be returning to Cape Town for her paying off. – acknowledgements to St Helena Tourism & Cape Town Ship Society.


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K Line container ship, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
K Line container ship

The merger of Japanese container lines NYK, K Line and Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) into a single container operation known Ocean Network Express (ONE) remains on course for a 1 April start, with the good news being that ONE has now gained all necessary approvals from competition authorities in regions and countries including the Republic of South Africa where such approvals were required for the launch of a service by the newly-established joint venture company.

In a statement ONE said that…[restrict] it has steadily proceeded with the preparation for the launch of operations from April 2018.

Approval of most authorities were granted…[restrict] last year not long after the announcement of the planned merger of the three top Japanese container companies. This followed mergers between a number of other lines leaving the Japanese companies exposed.

The South African Competition Commission initially rejected the merger and creation of Ocean Network Express but the three companies quietly went about engaging with local authorities until last week when they were able to announce that approval has been granted.

The South African Competition Commission has yet to make its announcement public.

ONE container ships, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
ONE container ship

In South Africa MOL operates through its own subsidiary MOL South Africa and MOL ACE South Africa while K Line does the same through its subsidiary, K Line Shipping South Africa. NYK Line does its business locally through the Mitchell Cotts agency, which is a division of the Grindrod Group of companies.

When the SA Commission first denied the application it said “The commission has found that the structure of the container liner shipping market is conducive to coordination, based on previous collusive conduct in the container liner market in other parts of the world.

“The merger increases the likelihood of coordination as it creates further structural linkages in the container liner market,” it stated.

Counting against the proposed merger was that the SA commission also looked at what effect it would have on the car carrying side of the respective company’s business. Earlier all three companies were found to have taken part in a price fixing cartel, which included several other companies, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Höegh Autoliners, EUKOR and CSAV.

It is thought that the Commission’s original decision was challenged on the grounds that ONE’s container operations would remain separate from its other businesses, which could be guaranteed by forbidding the lines from sharing information.[/restrict]


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The tanker Barrett. Picture courtesy: Union Maritime, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The tanker Barrett. Picture courtesy: Union Maritime

The crew of the UK-owned tanker BARRETT together with their ship have been released by the pirates after being captured and held hostage.

Barrett came under attack by armed pirates while at anchor off Benin in West Africa. For a while the ship was out of contact with authorities although one may surmise that the owners would have been contacted by representatives of the pirates, seeking a ransom for both ship and crew. The incident was unusual in that all the crew were…[restrict] apparently held for ransom together with the ship, whereas the usual modus operandi off West Africa is to take a small number of crew ashore as hostages until a ransom is paid for their return.

The fact that they held the ship at sea indicates a confidence that there would be no intervention.

The owners Union Maritime said last week that it could confirm the safe release of the ship and crew after an “incident lasting six days”. It said all crew were safe and expressed gratitude to the “many parties that assisted in achieving the successful resolution of this incident.”

The ship and crew were safe in Lagos, Nigeria where they were met by senior representatives from Union Maritime and the technical managers.

It is presumed that a ransom was paid for their safe release.

Union Maritime’s statement said that Barrett was at anchor off Benin, West Africa when communications were lost on the morning of Wednesday 10 January. Union Maritime’s emergency response plan was immediately activated and regional maritime authorities and other vessels in the area were alerted.

The exact nature of the incident only became clear late on 12 January when those holding the vessel made contact with the company. A resolution process began, which ultimately led to the release of the vessel and all crew on board on 16 January.

The tanker Barrett (IMO: 9351749) is a 11,999-dwt tanker, built 2005 and registered in the Marshall Islands. Union Maritime regularly operates from ports in the West African region.[/restrict]


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Port Elizabeth station rescue craft Spirit of Toft. Picture: NSRI, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port Elizabeth station rescue craft Spirit of Toft. Picture: NSRI

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has again been kept busy with a number of rescues at different locations around the country.

Africa PORTS & SHIPS does not usually report the many incidents involving rescue of paddlers, swimmers (in both sea and rivers and dams), assistance given to yachts in distress or having difficulty with the elements, or cases where assistance is provided for injured or trapped hikers in otherwise inaccessible places along the coast.

Two incidents took place late last week that fall into the zone that we consider our duty to share with readers. They are as follows:

Port Elizabeth Station 6

Ian Gray, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander reports that on Saturday, 20 January the NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew were alerted to prepare for a patient evacuation involving a 53 year old male Turkish crewman on the bulk carrier LADY ALARA who had suffered a dislocated left shoulder. The bulk carrier was heading towards Algoa Bay with her last call having been Durban.

Gray said they had launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Toft accompanied by an Eastern Cape Government Health EMS rescue paramedic and a doctor to rendezvous with the ship eight nautical miles off-shore.

The doctor and NSRI rescue crew were put aboard the ship where the patient, in severe pain and swelling, was stabilised and then, secured into a Stokes basket stretcher, was lowered onto the sea rescue craft.

The NSRI rescue craft then returned to shore with the patient in a serious but stable condition. He was then taken into the care of an EMS ambulance and transported to hospital.

St Francis Bay

On the previous day the NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew were activated following a request for medical assistance from the chokka (squid) fishing vessel Viagro.

Sarah Smith, NSRI St Francis Bay station commander, reported that a 33 year old male crewman, from Plettenberg Bay, suffering dehydration on board the fishing boat, was taken on board the sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II and taken ashore to be transported to hospital by Private Care ambulance “in a stable condition.”


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DTL-TTL-Supply Chain, featured in Africa PORTS &N SHIPS maritime news

Almost a dozen officials from the Port of Buenos Aires completed an UNCTAD* management programme in December 2017 as part of an overall strategy to boost competitiveness. This was reported from the Geneva-based UNCTAD in mid-January.

Eleven mid-level managers working in the Port of Buenos Aires graduated last month from a two-year UNCTAD port management programme, marking a successful end to the first cycle of training in Argentina (see illustrations).

During a ceremony on 6 December, Gonzalo Mórtola, head of the country’s port authority…[restrict] (Interventor de la Administración General de Puertos), awarded United Nations certificates to managers working in different areas of the port including terminal operations, customs, human resources, legal affairs, and security and environment.

In the words of the port authority’s chief of staff, Mariano Saúl: “One of the great things about this programme is how it brings together workers from all areas of operations. Each participant learns more not only about how the different parts of the port work but also about the challenges their colleagues face. The result has been a stronger sense of community in the Port of Buenos Aires.”

TrainForTrade Port Management Programme

UNCTAD port management training Port of Buenos Aires, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

To earn the certificate, each participant had to complete a 240-hour course on port management and then conduct research on a challenge the port faced, devising a strategy for improvement. They presented their final reports to panels of senior port managers and UNCTAD officials.

The report that scored the highest mark looked at why the port had lost a quarter of its transshipment traffic – containers shipped through Buenos Aires to or from smaller ports in the region – during the past decade and how it could win back some of the lost customers.

Sebastián Garcia determined that the drop in traffic coincided with a change in customs procedures that had made the clearance of transshipment containers slower and more costly.

Referring to neighbouring Uruguay’s main port, located on the other side of the Rio de la Plata river, which divides the two countries Garcia said: “The stricter clearance procedures were put in place to make sure goods in transshipment containers were not being illegally unloaded in Argentina. But they had also made Buenos Aires less attractive to Paraguayan exporters and importers, who were instead sending or bringing their goods through Montevideo.”

Participants improved competitiveness

For Saúl, the programme’s high added value lies in the quality of the participants’ final reports. He commented: “These reports show that the graduates have already been able to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and use it to improve port operations.”

The Port of Buenos Aires decided to join this UNCTAD programme in 2016 as part of its overall strategy to improve competitiveness – container traffic had slipped 12% from 1.6 million TEU in 2006 to 1.4 million in 2015.

A better managed port will benefit the millions of businesses and consumers who rely on Buenos Aires to trade with the rest of the world. More than 85% of the country’s container traffic is loaded and unloaded in the Argentine capital.

To quote Gonzalo Ayala, the UNCTAD official who manages the programme’s activities in Latin America and the Caribbean: “A more efficient port means more competitive exports and less expensive imports. In the case of Buenos Aires, this is true not just for people living in Argentina, but also for their landlocked neighbours in Paraguay and Bolivia.”

Call of duty

UNCTAD port management training Port of Buenos Aires, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Buenos Aires training

Started in 1996 in ports in Benin, Gabon and Senegal, the TrainForTrade Port Management Programme has since expanded to more than 200 ports in 34 African, Asian and Latin American nations, training more than 3,000 officials worldwide.

In the Latin American and Caribbean region, the programme is active in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Peru, in addition to newcomer Argentina.

UNCTAD works closely with Irish, French and Spanish ports, whose senior managers give their time and expertise as course instructors and mentors. Some European ports also provide funding. Support provided by the Spanish ports of Gijón and Valencia was key in the success of the first training cycle in Buenos Aires.

Helping developing countries improve their ports’ performance is a priority for UNCTAD, whose call of duty is to help such nations better integrate the global economy.

Because more than 80% of goods traded globally leave and enter countries by ship, the health of a nation’s economy depends greatly on the efficiency of its ports.

Students of the United Nations System are invited to take a look HERE

* United Nations Conference on Trade and Development[/restrict]

Reported by Paul Ridgway


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RFA Fort Rosalie, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
RFA Fort Rosalie is one of two Fort class Solid Support Ships; the ships replenish warships of the Royal Navy and allied navies with food, stores and ammunition, whilst underway. Fort Rosalie carries the explosive and non-explosive stores to support a Royal Marines Landing Force from the sea and has the capacity to assist with disaster relief, for example with hurricane support and evacuation of British nationals and entitled personnel. The ship’s company have the skills to enable them to respond to a range of emergencies: fire fighting, first aid, technical support and damage control/repair. RFA Fort Rosalie underwent a life extending programme at Cammell Laird’s yard, Birkenhead in 2015 and is now back in the RFA flotilla.

It was reported by Ministry of Defence (MoD) earlier in January that the Royal Navy had helped seize more than £100 million worth of drugs that were being shipped across international waters – and they also found time to save a family of turtles.

Under the command of Combined Task Force (CTF)150*, Royal Fleet Auxiliary FORT ROSALIE’s helicopter spotted a suspicious boat while flying over the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Oman.

HMAS WARRAMUNGA working with Fort Rosalie as part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) then…[restrict] intercepted it and found more than 3.5 tonnes of illicit substances, valued at £105 million.

Later in the New Year Week Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson commented: “Thanks to the skill and professionalism of Britain’s armed forces, working with key allies, such as the Australians, we are keeping our citizens safe by tackling the evil international drugs trade that funds terrorism.

“I am incredibly grateful that we have the best service men and women in the world who always go the extra mile, whether they are protecting us from harm or saving precious wildlife such as this family of turtles.”

The Flight Commander, Lieutenant-Commander Dan Breward added: “We are delighted to have been able to contribute to CTF 150’s missions within the joint operations area. There was a massive effort from all parties involved from both Fort Rosalie and, ultimately, Warramunga.

“As long as drugs and weapons continue to be trafficked to aid terrorism, we will be here with the coalition members to stop them; we have a track record that we aim to build upon.

“In addition to the huge haul, RFA Fort Rosalie was also able to rescue three young Loggerhead Turtles that were caught in a huge mass of fishing nets drifting through the water. The baby turtles were freed by some delicate cutting from the team.”

drug haul seized by HMAS Warramunga, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Parcels of seized narcotics lay on the deck of the smuggling vessel as HMAS Warramunga’s boarding team conduct an illicit cargo seizure during operations in the Middle East. The joint RN / RAN operation enabled seizure of more than £100 million worth of drugs that were being shipped across international waters. Under the command of Combined Task Force (CTF)150, Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Fort Rosalie’s helicopter spotted a suspicious boat while flying over the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Oman, recently.

The navigator of Fort Rosalie, Second Officer Thorsten Brabetz, reflected: “It was not what we expected to find when we investigated the floats. It was great to be able to save the turtles and release them back into the sea. It was a real feel good moment for the boats crew and the entire ship.

“In 2017, CMF ships have seized a total of 22.67 tonnes of narcotics. Boarding, search and seizure operations at sea require a persistent and methodical approach by CMF sailors and marines.”

*Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 is an element of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) multi-national naval partnership which is designed to promote security, stability and prosperity across more than three million square miles of international waters.

CTF 150’s principal mission is to disrupt terrorist organisations and their unlawful activities by restricting freedom of manoeuvre at sea. The Task Force has been combating terrorism by tackling the narcotics and weapons smuggling that funds terrorist activities.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Rolls-Royce banner, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Clarification on Rolls-Royce press release: Rolls-Royce announces further simplification of business, strategic review of Commercial Marine operation and plans to restructure support and management functions’.

“Following Wednesday’s announcement of a further simplification of our business into three focused operating businesses (Civil Aerospace, Defence and Rolls-Royce Power Systems), Rolls-Royce would like to make it clear that our Power Systems business including MTU & Bergen Engines is unaffected by the decision to start a strategic review of our Commercial Marine operation.

“Rolls-Royce Power Systems, which has headquarters in Friedrichshafen, Germany, will continue to supply and service complex power and propulsion systems from MTU and Bergen Engines for customers in marine and infrastructure markets, with applications ranging from power generation, rail and mining, to construction, agriculture, yachts and defence. Marine customers include Navies, yacht manufacturers, shipyards and operators of commercial vessels.

“Our Commercial Marine operation, which has its largest facilities in Norway and Finland, provides ship design and onboard equipment mainly for the offshore oil and gas and commercial marine markets. It is this part of Rolls-Royce which is subject to a strategic review.”

The Wednesday 17 January 2018 Rolls-Royce Press Release can be found HERE


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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.



Albatun Tres departs Durban, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Galerna II departing Durbasn January 2018, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

On 21 November last year we featured pictures and a brief story about the arrival in the port of Durban of the Spanish-owned fishing vessel GALERNA II (IMO 9663154), an eye-catching ship of 3,450 gross tons, registered in Victoria, Seychelles and owned by Albacora of Madrid, Spain. The vessel was built at the Astilleros Armon Gijon shipyard at Gijon, Spain in 2014. Galerna II is 96 metres long and has a beam of 15 metres and she joined a second similar but bigger vessel on berth at the Point, ALBATUN TRES (4,406-gt) which is 115m in length and 16.6m wide. Both vessels subsequently moved to the ship repair basin for maintenance and possible repairs. They are tuna freezer vessels and are reportedly among the most sophisticated of their type in the world. Whatever one may think of the job they are designed to do, there is little escaping the fact that these are highly impressive-looking ships. Here we see them departing from Durban on 13 January, with Albatun Tres in the top picture and Galerna II in the lower. These pictures of the pair departing, as for those taken in November of the ships arriving, are by Keith Betts



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