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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Maersk Murotsu in Durban harbour. Picture: Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maersk Murotsu. Picture: Trevor Jones

The Maersk Tankers’ oil products tanker MAERSK MUROTSU (IMO 9425514) shown here on arrival in Durban during December 2017. The 50,093-dwt vessel was built in 2010 and is owned by Japanese interests while managed by Handy Tankers K/S of Copenhagen, Denmark. The tanker has a length of 183 metres and a beam of 32.2m and flies the Panamanian flag. She was built in Japan at the Onomichi Shipyard in Onomichi. This picture is by Trevor Jones


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The young cadets in front of SA Agulhas which is to set sail to South Africa today, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The young cadets in front of SA Agulhas which is to set sail to South Africa today

Long and exciting journey nears its end

The South African cadet training ship, the former Antarctic supply vessel SA AGULHAS, sets sail from Port Louis in Mauritius this morning (Friday, 8 February) to return to Cape Town after visiting Antarctic waters.

The ship has been in Mauritius to drop off international scientists who boarded the vessel last year. The return trip home is expected to last 10 days.

The vessel, which is the South African Maritime Safety Authority’s (SAMSA) dedicated training vessel, sailed to the Antarctica on 24 November 2017, via Port Louis carrying 20 cadets who are enrolled at various institutions pursuing maritime studies. The vessel was chartered by an Indian science team who boarded the ship at Port Louis, Mauritius. The ship spent approximately one month in Antarctica.

SA Agulhas, an ice strengthened ship, has performed well during the voyage. SA Agulhas is 41-years-old and has undertaken numerous missions to Antarctica, including several since she became a cadet training ship. Captain Michael Barnes is the current master.

Forty-seven scientists from the Indian National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research joined the cadets on the expedition to carry out oceanographic research.

During the recent stopover at Port Louis, Mauritius, the vessel carried out minor repairs. A wash-up meeting was held in Port Louis in which the charterers (scientists) expressed their thanks for the support given to them during the voyage which was termed a great success.

The research team was headed by Doctor R. K. Mishra from Goa, India.

SAMSA’s Chief Operations Officer, Sobantu Tilayi said: “As SAMSA we are proud to have created a platform for young cadets to be trained on our vessel and gain experience in the open sea.

“She has been doing well on her journey and we are confident that the knowledge that was acquired through this journey will benefit the students. Through such missions we also hope to push for greater employment opportunities for our youth.”


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Out of use NRZ rail wagons, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is hoping that Transnet’s US$400 million capitalisation of the Zimbabwe railway network will result in capacity being made available for NRZ to handle the country’s reported 200,000 tonnes of export chrome ore – see Africa PORTS & SHIPS 1 February 2018 LACK OF RAIL TRUCKS MEANS ZIMBABWE IS UNABLE TO EXPORT 200,000 TONNES OF CHROME ORE

The chrome ore is sitting at Zimbabwe’s ferrochrome producer, Zimasco’s mines unable to…[restrict] be moved to ports for export because NRZ lacks the rail trucks necessary for this.

Zimasco has an agreement to deliver chrome ore to the Mozambique port of Maputo, which was signed in November last year. However, NRZ has been unable to provide the necessary rail trucks, due mainly to a lack of necessary maintenance.

rail wagons at Richards Bay

Apart from the reported 200,000 tonnes of chrome ore, NRZ had aimed at moving 3.7 million tonnes of cargo during 2017. It is not yet known what it has achieved but strong doubts exist whether anything like this volume was achieved.


Certain commodities in Zimbabwe are being transported by road, albeit at a higher cost than by rail.

Clara Sadoma, Zimasco’s marketing manager said that Zimasco was hoping that under the recapitalisation programme, NRZ will be able to improve on the availability of wagons.[/restrict]

Zambia Railways

Zambia Railways to buy locos and wagons from South Africa’s Transnet

In a related item of news, it has been announced that Zambia Railways Limited has entered into an arrangement with Transnet of South Africa to buy eight locomotives and 600 wagons.

The latter will be suitable for carrying bulk commodities, including…[restrict] copper, cobalt concentrates, coal, cement, sulphur sugar and fuel.

ZR’S chief executive officer, Christopher Musonda, announced this on the sidelines of the Investing African Mining Indaba which was being held in Cape Town. Musonda pointed out that the recently introduced Statutory Instrument (SI) directed that a minimum of 30% of bulk cargo currently being handled in Zambia by road transport must be moved to rail.

When SI was introduced in Zambia the question most asked was whether the railway was going to develop the capacity to meet this target, the CEO said. The answer is ‘yes’ and ZRL has made the arrangement with Transnet for the acquisition of the eight locos and 600 wagons.


The Times of Zambia reports that the Tanzania Zambia Railways Authority (TAZARA) has dispatched an engineer to South Africa to conduct a due diligence on five U30 mainline diesel locomotives that are to be hired within the next few weeks.

This was also in anticipation of the increased demand on capacity that the introduction of SI is expected to bring.

The SI takes effect within 30 days.[/restrict]


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Johny Smith, TransNamib's new CEO, appearing in Africa PORTS N& SHIPS maritime news
Johny M Smith, TransNamib’s new CEO

Johny Smith, who has been in charge of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) for the past 11 years, has been appointed as chief executive officer of TransNamib, Namibia’s state-owned railway company.

Smith takes over the parastatal at a difficult time as the…[restrict] rail network has been operating at a loss for a number of years. Headquartered in Windhoek, TransNamib provides rail and road freight services as well as passenger services by rail. The rail network has more than 3,000km of railway tracks, including recent additions to the northern railway, all of it on 1067mm Cape gauge (3ft 6ins). Some sections are however not in use for operational reasons.

In 2015 TransNamib took back into service 10 refurbished diesel-electric locomotives that had undergone refurbishment in South Africa. Prior to that the rail company had suffered through under-investment, although an attempt was made to modernise with about 21 Chinese-built diesel locomotives but these proved to be unsuitable with a lack of spares. Those that survived derailments and fires are currently stored out of use in Windhoek.

TransNamib had at that stage a serviceable fleet of about 18 locos with another 50 out of service.

A new board of directors was credited with helping to re-energise TransNamib although the railway has not really made any major inroads into the monopoly held by road transport.

Until recently TransNamib was led by an acting CEO. Smith, who now moves into that position, holds a B Comm degree and a Masters in Business Administration, and serves as the chairperson for the Alliance for Corridor Management in Africa, chairperson of Telecom Namibia and commissioner of the National Planning Commission.[/restrict]


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South African stand at the Berlin Fruit Logista, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
South African stand at the Berlin Fruit Logista

Two South African companies are eager to show off their wares at the Fruit Logista Berlin Trade Fair that got underway in Germany yesterday (Wednesday).

Stems Fruit and Unlimited Group based in the Western Cape, both received financial support from the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), and are part of the 25 companies that will be participating in the trade fair taking place in Berlin.

Managing Director of Stems Fruit, Annelie Hauman, said Berlin offers opportunities for South African companies to supply the best quality stone fruits. She said Berlin provides…[restrict] local companies with an opportunity to expand their footprint in Europe.

“This will be my fourth participation. I will get an opportunity to meet up again with our existing clients, retailers, logistics people and service providers. We have also set up meetings with breeders and growers who have representatives all over the world in order to access new markets,” said Hauman of the trade fair.

The trade fair covers every sector of the international fruit and vegetable supply chain from production, distribution and marketing, through to the point of sale, including global players, as well as small and medium-sized suppliers from all around the world.

Sterns Fruit is a marketing company that represents 25 growers and exports white and yellow flesh nectarines and peaches, plums and apricots.

Meanwhile, Unlimited Group’s managing director Riel Malan said the fair is unique in the sense that it is the centre of the fruit universe.

Fruit Logista banner, appeared in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Malan said the three-day exhibition fair will provide him with much needed opportunities.

“Every single year is interesting, and as a mature company we are always looking at fine-tuning our business and find two or three extra high-end customers and new products that might expand or fit into our basket,” said Malan.

At the 2017 fair, Malan’s company signed a deal with a small supermarket chain that is based in Siberia. Unlimited Group is already supplying the chain store on a small scale since beginning of this year.

Over the years, the dti has assisted hundreds of businesses through its Export Marketing and Investment Assistance scheme. The scheme develops export markets for South African products and services.

Joybells launch

Meanwhile, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), in partnership with the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) and Culdevco will launch the seedless breeding of the red table grape variety called Joybells at the fair.

Joybells was cultivated in 2001 by table grape breeder and senior researcher at the ARC Phyllis Burger.

The breeding programme for grape varieties since 1952 has changed so much in that the industry has increased by size.

“Based on the increase in the industry and consumer demands, as a research council together with the industry, we started to locally invest more into the seedless breeding programme in the past 10 years. To get varieties in the table grape sector most South African growers relied heavily on imported varieties that had to be adapted to our climate. Therefore, there was a need to cultivate a breeding programme locally,” said Burger.

Chief Executive Officer of SATI, Willem Bestbier, said with the launch and introduction of Joybells in the table grape industry, South Africa’s profile as a serious table grape grower and supplier world-wide will be raised.

“The table grape industry globally is spoilt for choice. There are many breeding programmes that are available in international markets, but nothing beats a home-bred success that has all the local breeding objectives focusing on our own reality like soil, climate, the market that we serve, farmers’ skills, and other inputs constraints or challenges that we face as the industry,” said Bestbier.

He added that experience over many years has showed that a home-bred and locally evaluated breeding programme often performs better than an imported one and that the risks are lower.

General Manager of Culdevco, Dr Leon Von Mollendorff, said as the marketing and licensing company for South African deciduous fruit industry varieties, they are proud to partner with ARC and SATI to launch the freshest addition to its varieties.

The fair will conclude on Friday. –[/restrict]


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The intercepted dhow. Pictures: Pakistan Navy/CMF, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The intercepted dhow. Pictures: Pakistan Navy/CMF

The Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) ASLAT continued Combined Task Force (CTF) 150’s recent string of successes by seizing 5 tonnes of hashish on Tuesday this week (6 February 2018). With this latest seizure, CTF 150 has confiscated over US$1 billion USD of narcotics since December 2017.

PNS Aslat, in support of CTF 150 and as part of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), was conducting routine patrols in the…[restrict] international waters of the Arabian Sea when she detected a dhow of interest. The Pakistan ship requested permission from CTF 150 to conduct a flag verification boarding. Once the dhow was determined to be without nationality, PNS Aslat was authorised to conduct a non-destructive search of the dhow. During that search, the boarding team from PNS Aslat located 5 tonnes of hashish, valued at over $197 million USD. After a thorough search, the illegal drugs were catalogued then disposed of safely.

Commander of CTF 150, Commodore Mal Wise, Royal Australian Navy, emphasised that the ongoing success of CTF 150 is due to the interoperability between partner nations within the task force. “CTF 150 is a multinational task force working together in order to promote security and stability throughout our area of operations. The recent seizure with PNS Aslat highlights the expertise and local operational knowledge of our partner navies that is key to achieving success.”

Since November 2017, multinational assets in support of CTF 150 have seized over 16 tonnes of hashish and 1.5 tonnes of heroin, valued in excess of $1 billion USD. This is the sixth confiscation of drugs by CTF 150, currently under Australian leadership, with a combined Australian and Canadian staff and supported by assets from partner nations like Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. source: Combined Maritime Forces[/restrict]

crew of PNS Aslat pose with latest drug haul, fatured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


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Zeaborn banner, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The ZEABORN Group has acquired 100 per cent of the business shares in E.R. Schiffahrt GmbH & Cie. KG (‘E.R. Schiffahrt’). The takeover is effective retrospectively from 1 January 2018, with E.R. Schiffahrt’s management, staff and subsidiaries, including the shipbroker Harper Petersen & Co, being integrated into the ZEABORN Group.

The relevant contracts were signed by the transaction parties on 1 February 2018 and the completion of the transaction is subject to antitrust clearance. The parties have agreed to keep the key financial data confidential.

With the takeover of E.R. Schiffahrt, ZEABORN says that it has achieved another important milestone on its way to becoming…[restrict] an integrated and globally operating shipping company in both line and tramp shipping: the shipping fleet under commercial and technical management has been expanded by 61 container vessels and 20 bulk carriers to more than 165 vessels.

Once E.R. Schiffahrt with all its subsidiaries and the shipbroker Harper Petersen have been integrated, the ZEABORN Group’s employee numbers will be approximately 360 staff on shore and more than 5,000 staff at sea. Having locations in Asia, Europe and the US, the company has a global presence.

“We are very pleased that in E.R. Schiffahrt we were able to add a well-known shipping manager to our group of companies, which is a great fit for our portfolio and with whom we can further optimise our services for our customers,” said Ove Meyer and Jan-Hendrik Többe, the ZEABORN Group’s Managing Partners in a statement.

“Our customers require flexibility, reliability and optimal transport solutions. With this fleet expansion, we can further improve both quality and quantity of our products and services to the benefit of our customers. Our approach remains the same: we are an integrated shipping company that is open for partnerships and acquisitions. Going forward, we will continue to drive further growth thanks to our clear organisational structure, for example through the rapid integration of additional tonnage and businesses.”

The statement said that the consolidation in the German ship management sector has been long been overdue and that ZEABORN is pursuing a dynamic growth strategy. “E.R. Schiffahrt is a profitable company that is extremely well managed. Combined with ZEABORN’s existing activities, the company will now reach the critical size that is necessary to successfully compete on a global scale”, said Jochen Klösges, CEO of E.R. Capital Holding, in reference to the transaction.


The ZEABORN Group was founded by Kurt Zech together with Ove Meyer and Jan Hendrik Többe in 2013. The Group is an integrated shipping company operating globally that provides services along the entire value-added chain and caters for capital market requirements. Along with the basic principles of transparency and fair partnership, ZEABORN’s strategic ambition and declared goal is the expansion of its fleet, both under commercial and technical management, as well as maximising the benefit for the tonnage operated. In the MPP segment, ZEABORN is already managing the fifth-largest fleet world-wide. In addition to the purchase of resale tonnage, the focus is on the establishment of strategic partner-ships and the expansion of our team in the area of technical and commercial management.

E.R. Schiffahrt

E.R. Schiffahrt does not own any vessels itself, but is a service company for crewing, technical management and operation of container vessels and bulk carriers. The company was established in 1998 by Erck Rickmers, employs approximately 3,000 people ashore and at sea and manages 81 vessels for international ship owners.[/restrict]


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Balizamar buoy, Switzerland.  Picture: Grupo Lindley © appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture: Grupo Lindley ©

Almarin navigation buoys are being installed in a growing number of markets in Europe and further afield, proving effectiveness by simple reliable design with the use of high quality materials manufactured in Europe.

In Léman lake (Lake Geneva), on the border between France and Switzerland, buoys (illustrated) have been established to mark a floating containment boom in the estuary of the Rhône river, near Port Valais. The Balizamar buoys used in this project were adapted by the customer for this application.

Further east, in an estuary in Beirut (Lebanon), several buoys have…[restrict] been supplied complete with moorings and self-contained lanterns to provide safe navigation.

Almarin has also supplied buoys in other parts of Lebanon, for example, Balizamar buoys were Veolia’s choice to mark the sea outfall at Ras Nabi Younis Wastewater Treatment Plant. Here buoys were provided complete with a monitoring system linked to an online platform that allows the client to appreciate position and status of the buoy and lantern at any time as well as to interpret a series of pre-determined alarms.

Algeria, on the North African Mediterranean coast, has also been a destination for Almarin buoys to mark subsea infrastructure related to a water desalination plant.

All Almarin’s products are designed to meet current IALA recommendations. This year IALA, of which Almarin has been an industrial member for a decade, celebrates its quadrennial congress, the 19th IALA Conference to be held in Incheon, Republic of Korea, from 22nd May to 2nd June. Almarin will be exhibiting.

About Grupo Lindley

Grupo Lindley was formed by three privately owned companies established in 1930:

Ahlers Lindley: Marina and harbour infrastructure
Almovi: Lifting systems and cargo handling equipment
Salt Technologies: Analysis and design of marine structures

Grupo Lindley has more than 85 years’ experience in the supply and manufacture of equipment and infrastructure for harbour and industrial areas.[/restrict]

by Paul Ridgway


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picture The Nautical Institute, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Shiphandling is probably the most important skill for mariners and one of the most difficult to practise. The Nautical Institute recognises the value of gaining sea-time experience and developing shiphandling skills and has developed the Shiphandling Logbook, launched yesterday.

This logbook aims to provide users with an essential tool to help them manage the development of their shiphandling skills and take advantage of training opportunities. Mariners will be able to record and reflect on their experiences, provide evidence of what has been learned, identify gaps and be encouraged to take opportunities to learn more.

The Nautical Institute’s Director of Projects, David Patraiko FNI, commented “Mariners should take advantage of every opportunity to improve their understanding of shiphandling, to identify any additional learning they need and to arrange for this to happen.

“The logbook should encourage mentoring, which costs very little, if anything, and is essential to the learning of shiphandling. If done well, it will lead to greater safety, as the skill levels and confidence of officers will increase,” added Patraiko.

This generic and easy-to-use logbook includes a complete list of manoeuvres and understanding required under STCW. The Shiphandling Logbook is an essential tool for all mariners, regardless of ship and trade, who want to develop their professionalism.

During the month of February 2018, this publication is The Nautical Institute’s Book of The Month, available at a discounted price of £21. To purchase your Shiphandling Logbook, please email:




Sanmar tug for Taranaki port, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Sanmar tug for Taranaki port

A second more powerful version is available for early delivery

KINAKI is the first of the Sanmar Delicay tug series and the tug is currently on its way by heavy lift ship to New Zealand from the builder’s Turkish yard.

Sanmar tug, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Built by Sanmar to the innovative TRAktor-Z 2500 SX (Sanmar eXclusive) design by Robert Allan Limited, the tugboat also has considerable technical input from the builder. However, unlike the more common ASD configuration, this series has forward mounted Z-drives in tractor format designed for maximum efficiency in both harbour, ship-handling and towing duties.

Built to ABS certification and New Zealand flag requirements, the new vessel is being shipped to its new owner, Port Taranaki Ltd, located on the west coast of North Island, New Zealand.

The flexibility of this brand new design allows for a series of options to be added or deducted based on individual owner requirements. The Delicay series can be supplied with either 60 tonnes or 70 tonnes bollard pull – Kinaki is equipped with the lower power option at 60 tonnes to meet this customer’s particular requiremnts. A 70 tonne bollard pull version of this model is also very close to completion enabling any interested operator to take advantage of an exceptionally quick delivery.

Sanmar tug, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Measuring 25.3m overall with a beam of 12m and maximum draft of 6.1m; the first of the new series is powered by a pair of 3512CTier II Caterpillar engines, each developing 1902kW at 1,800 rev/min. These turn Rolls Royce Z-drive azimuthing thrusters with 2,500mm diameter propellers to give a trials performance of 62 tonnes bollard pull ahead and a free-running speed of 11 knots. A main engine driven Fi Fi system from FFS of 1400m3/hr is fitted but full FiFi1 can be incorporated if required. Twin Caterpillar C4.4 generator sets are installed.

Despite its compact nature, the wide experience of both Robert Allan Limited and Sanmar has given the vessel an air of spaciousness throughout the fully air conditioned accommodation which comprises three twin berth cabins, all with en suite facilities, separate galley and mess/TV room (with enough seating for the entire crew plus guests).

Attention to detail is particularly obvious in the wheelhouse where most components can be be raised and lowered to suit the operator’s convenience. This applies to the Furuno radar screens, engine control consoles and CCTV monitors. Adjustable ‘sliders’ enable the position of the controls to be positioned for maximum operational comfort.

Sanmar tug, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Kinaki also has highly effective deck machinery fit-out comprising an aft towing winch by DMT with an 187 tonne brake load. Each drum carries 150m of 60mm Dyneema rope along with a 15m pennant. There are two vertical capstans by Data Hidrolic and a Palfinger boom type deck crane is also fitted. The fendering arrangement aboard this first vessel is exactly to this customer’s rather special requirements. Sanmar’s standard fender scheme (as being employed on the second example of his series) comprises W-fender, fore and aft, and replacing the side tyre fenders with D-fendering.

Port Taranaki is at the centre of New Zealand’s petrochemical industry and is primarily an export port for methanol and other petrochemical products as well as import of dry bulk product supporting the local agricultural sector. Up until the arrival of Kinaki, its tug complement comprised three tractors.

“Sanmar and Robert Allan have delivered us a high quality vessel with excellent performance which will integrate well into our existing fleet of tractor tugs,” said Grant Squire, Port Taranaki Limited’s Marine Engineer who is overseeing the project.


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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.



Stolt Selje in Durban, February 2018. Pictures: Keith Betts, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Stolt Selje in Durban, February 2018. Pictures: Keith Betts, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Stolt Selje in Durban, February 2018. Pictures: Keith Betts, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Stolt Selje. Pictures: Keith Betts

Bringing a bright and colourful finish to this edition of maritime news are these images of the oil and chemical products tanker STOLT SELJE (IMO 8919051) arriving in Durban earlier this month. Stolt Tankers BV is a Dutch company operating out of Rotterdam. The Stolt-Nielsen fleet numbers 164 ships, all tankers with a combined deadweight capacity of just over 3 million tons. Built in 1993 Stolt Selje is just one of a number of Stolt ships that feeds the Durban oil and chemical industry at Island View and Maydon Wharf. Registered in Monrovia, Liberia, the 182-metre long, 32m wide Stolt Selje was built in Glasgow, Scotland at the BAE Systems Surface Ships yard at Govan. The ship was formerly named Jo Selje before Jo Tankers was fully absorbed into Stolt-Nielsen BV in mid-2016.
* Stolt Selje was previously featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS on 13 September 2017.



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