Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

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


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Monserrate. Picture: Terry Hutson
Monserrate .   Picture: Terry Hutson

The Portuguese fishing trawler MONSERRATE (IMO 9104907) seen outside Durban in mid-December last year, preparing to enter port. The 295-dwt vessel, 28-metres long and 7.5m wide, was built at the Estaleiros Sao Jacinto shipyard in Aveiro, Portugal and until 2004 operated with the name Francisco Maria. Monserrate is currently fishing off the KZN fishing grounds and makes regular calls at the port of Durban. This picture is by Terry Hutson


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Artist impression of the Stan patrol 6211 vessel, design of the new SA Navy inshore patrol vessels, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Artist impression of the Stan patrol 6211 vessel to be built for the SA Navy

Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) has received an order from Armscor – the acquisition agency for the South African Department of Defence – for three Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPV).

The 62-metre long, 11m wide vessels form part of the South African Navy’s Project Biro. The project aims to develop South Africa’s maritime security, ensuring that the country has the capability to respond effectively, rapidly and cost-efficiently to maritime threats such as illegal trafficking and fishing.

DSCT received the order exactly four years to the day that it received the order to deliver vessels for a previous project for the South African Navy – Project Canter. The yard is was delighted to be able to continue to provide support to the navy, says Chairman Mr Sam Montsi.

“We are very happy to receive this order and are looking forward to this continuation of our long-standing relationship with the South African Navy.”

Participating in Project Biro underlines Damen’s commitment to the South African Government’s Operation Phakisa initiative, which aims to unlock the potential of the country’s maritime industry.

Mr Montsi continues: “At DSCT we are not only about shipbuilding and repair, but also about providing people with the opportunities needed to reach their potential – whether they work for us or for one of our many local suppliers – and supporting the country’s economy. DSCT is about the development of an entire shipbuilding and related industries.”

Naturally, with this philosophy in mind, DSCT will be sourcing as many components and services as possible for the project from South Africa-based suppliers. In this regard, DSCT plans to provide active support for the Government’s Enterprise Supplier Development programme, supporting small and micro-businesses in the country.

The project will also actively contribute to the Department of Trade & Industry’s National Industrial Participation (NIP) programme and the complimentary, defence-focused Defence Industrial Participation (DIP). In turn this contributes to the Government’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) initiative. DSCT is a Level-3 BBBEE rated company.

The IPVs will be the first vessels of a Damen Sea Axe design to operate in South Africa. The Sea Axe is a revolutionary, Damen patented hull design, which offers exceptional seakeeping behaviour. The straight-edged, axe-shaped bow cuts through the water, minimising slamming for improved safety and comfort on board and significantly reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

About Damen Shipyards Cape Town

Damen Shipyards, Cape Town, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Damen Shipyards, Cape Town

Building in Africa for Africa:
Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) builds ships in Africa for Africa. To date, the yard has constructed & delivered 40 vessels to the African continent from its base in Cape Town, including offshore patrol vessels, dredgers, tugs, naval craft and platform supply vessels, some of which have been built for stock in order to ensure fast delivery. The DSCT Services & Repairs department has provided training, delivery, maintenance & repairs assistance to countries across the globe and especially to African countries seeking to source high quality services from South Africa.

Through thorough research, on-going evaluations and customer feedback, DSCT’s vessels are of the highest international quality standards and provide customers with the assurance of generations of proven high-tech commercial off-the-shelf (C.O.T.S) vessels.

DSCT has a well-established Apprenticeship Training Centre which is accredited by MerSETA and ChietaSETA. Apprentices selected for the Apprenticeship Training Centre program have the opportunity to obtain the necessary skills in order to achieve artisan status in Welding, Boiler Making, Pipe Fitting or Electrical and they are provided with a job opportunity at the same time. The first, second and third year apprentices are productive on the shop floor under the mentorship of qualified artisans until they pass their Trade Test.

Once qualified, all apprentices have the opportunity to be absorbed into the business as artisans. To date, DSCT has trained 63 Apprentices of which 19 are female. DSCT’s Apprenticeship Training Centre is the true reflection of the yard’s commitment to the South African Governments economic initiative, known as Operation Phakisa, which aims to reach the potential of the South African Maritime Sector, including shipbuilding, and to accelerate economic growth and job creation.


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The Doraleh Multipurpose Terminal phase 1 in Djibouti, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Doraleh Multipurpose Terminal phase 1 in Djibouti

The Government of Djibouti has responded to reports that it has cancelled its contract with DP World for the Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT) concession – see our report in yesterday’s Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news Djibouti seizes illegal control of DP World terminal

In a statement issued by the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority (DPFZA), which administers and manages the Djibouti port, it said that it had taken the step of taking back control of the Doraleh Container Terminal “in light of poor performance of the DCT and to rectify irregularities in the agreement covering the operation.”

DP World in its own previous statement maintained that the Djibouti government’s seizure of the terminal was the culmination of its campaign to force DP World to…


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Angolan railway map, with Benguela Railway from Lobito to the DRC border, now back in service.
Angolan railway map, with Benguela Railway from Lobito to the DRC border, now back in service.

It will be a special day for the Benguela Railway and the Angolan port of Lobito when a train arrives early in March having left from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with 50 containers loaded with manganese ore.

This will be culmination of years of planning and rebuilding of the Benguela Railway which reaches from the Atlantic port of Lobito and runs inland for 1344 kilometres before reaching the tow of Luau on the DRC border in Moxico state.

The containers have been loaded in the Kisenge mining region of the DRC’s…


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Picture: Wikipedia Commons/Geographer, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture: Wikipedia Commons/Geographer

An operation by the Hawks and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has led to the seizure of 1.6 tonnes of abalone valued at R2.37 million.

In a statement on Friday, the revenue service said the sting operation at the port of Durban was initiated after the Hawks had seized illegally harvested abalone from a container in Port Elizabeth in the…


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Nigeria's existing older railway network is built to Cape gauge, i.e. 3ft 6ins gge but the country has embarked on a policy of rapid rebuilding of its railway network to the wider standard gauge (4ft 8.5ins), featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Nigeria’s existing older railway network is built to Cape gauge, i.e. 3ft 6ins gge but the country has embarked on a policy of rapid rebuilding of its railway network to the wider standard gauge (4ft 8.5ins)

Nigeria has confirmed plans to construct a standard gauge railway between the city of Ibadan, near Lagos, and Kaduna in the north of the country.

Approval has been granted by the Federal Executive Council (FEC ) of Nigeria. The 520-km railway will cost an estimated US$ 6.7 billion and take three years to complete.

Making the announcement was transport minister Rotimi Amaechi, who revealed the line would be an extension of the 40-km long Lagos – Ibadan SGR railway, which has been under construction by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation since last year, at a cost of US$1.5 billion.

Kaduna has been connected to the capital Abuja by a new SGR railway completed in 2016. source: Global Construction Review


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Techobanine - no sign of a harbour here, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Techobanine – no sign of a harbour here

Renewed talks are underway between Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique with regards the re-development of a railway from the Botswana coal mines to a port in Mozambique.

The railway line already exists, as far as a line from Botswana to Zimbabwe is concerned, and from Zimbabwe to either the port of Maputo or alternately the port of Beira.

Both these ports have facilities for the export of coal, however the talks currently underway include another revival, that of a new deepwater port at Techobanine between Maputo and the KZN border at Ponto do Ouro.

This idea was bandied about…


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The hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19). Official US Navy file photo ©, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19), in her homeport at San Diego. Official US Navy file photo ©


It was announced by the US Navy from Singapore on 23 February that it will join allied and partner nation armed forces for the 13th Pacific Partnership mission, scheduled to begin that day.

This annual maritime operation will help improve disaster response preparedness, resiliency and capacity while enhancing partnerships with participating nations and civilian humanitarian organizations throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral disaster response preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. This year’s mission will be led by Commander, Destroyer Squadron 31 and staff, embarked on the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Fall River (T-EPF 4) and will include more than 800 military and civilian personnel from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Peru and Japan.

In the words of Rear-Admiral Don Gabrielson, Commander Task Force 73, the executive agent for Pacific Partnership 18: “Through Pacific Partnership we are deepening integral ties with our allies and partners across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The challenges we face with natural and manmade disasters do not respect borders or national sovereignty.

“This dynamic mission enables many nations and subject matter experts to come together to pursue solutions to complex problems while enhancing preparations for disaster emergencies that reduce the severity of their impact. The foundation of trust created through Pacific Partnership engagement helps foster a cooperative environment that encourages collaborative approaches to improving the lives and conditions for the people of this region and beyond.”

Mercy will make mission stops in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Vietnam while USNS Fall River (T-EPF-4) will visit Yap, Palau, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Medical, dental, civil engineering and veterinary teams will partner with each host nation to conduct civic action projects, community health exchanges, medical symposia and disaster response training activities.

It is reported that additional community relations engagements will occur in each mission stop to enhance relationships and camaraderie with citizens of the host nations. Following the mission stops, Mercy will also visit Japan during her return transit across the Pacific Ocean.

Engagements between Pacific Partnership participants and host nations are intended to improve capacity, enhance regional partnerships and increase multilateral cooperation for preparedness.

Captain David Bretz, Commodore, Destroyer Squadron 31, said: “Our staff and team have come together to form a dynamic team of professionals and we are ready to execute this mission and engage with our partners throughout the Indo-Pacific. We are excited about forging new friendships and deepening partnerships across the region.”

Pacific Partnership began in response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters, the December 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of South and Southeast Asia. The mission has evolved over the years from emphasis on direct care to an operation focused on enhancing partnerships through host nation subject matter expert and civil-military exchanges.

Pacific Partnership 2018 will have several other distinctions:

  • A multinational command-and-control structure will be used to include a deputy mission commander from the United Kingdom and mission chief of staff from Australia.
  • The mission will visit Sri Lanka for a second consecutive year to enhance ties with the Indian Ocean nation.
  • Pacific Partnership will continue to leverage the US National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), a plan backed by Executive Order 13595 and UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Integration of WPS into Pacific Partnership yields opportunities to engage with partner nations on the topic of gender integration and perspectives, as well as preparedness in dealing with vulnerable populations (women, children, elderly and disabled) during and in the aftermath of crises.

This year’s mission will return to Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, where the United States continues its legacy of strong cooperation and defence ties with these nations.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Durban Harbour scene, in the background is the University of KZN. Picture: Terry Hutson, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Durban Harbour scene, in the background is the University of KZN. Picture: Terry Hutson

Durban, 25 February 2018: Port of Durban terminal operators were acknowledged for their role in the success of South Africa’s busiest commercial seaport at the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Port of Durban Customer Awards held on Wednesday, 21 February 2018 at the Durban International Convention Centre.

Durban Port Manager Moshe Motlohi said the awards – hosted for the first time in 2016 – were important in recognising operators’ compliance with stringent operating standards set by the authority.

“Close collaboration with our licenced terminal operators aids us as we strive to improve port efficiency, increase productivity and instil operations oversight as part of our licencing conditions. We would not be able to fulfil our role without them.”

The awards followed a customer breakfast session at which TNPA and its clients dissected the theme of ‘Big Ship Readiness’. This looked at how the port could be improved to better accommodate the larger commercial vessels now calling more frequently at our ports.

The winners at the Port of Durban Customer Awards for 2017 achievements were:

SHE Compliance Award

Winner (Container Precinct): Transnet Port Terminals – Pier 1 Terminal, a repeat winner in this category
Winner (Island View Precinct): Natcos
Winner (Maydon Wharf Precinct): Bidfreight Port Operations BPO, also a repeat winner in this category
Winner (Point Precinct): Transnet Port Terminals RORO Terminal; Transnet Port Terminals MPT

Best Performing Terminal Award
(Rating performance against Terminal Operating Performance Standards (TOPS) and volume growth):

Winner (Island View Precinct): Vopak Terminal Durban
Winner (Maydon Wharf Precinct): Profert (Pty) Ltd
Winner (Container Precinct): TPT Pier 2
Winner (Point Precinct): FPT Port Leasing (Pty) Ltd – consecutive winner

Best Performing Ship Repairer Award
(Applicable to repairers based in the Bayhead Precinct, and judged in terms of safety record, investment, job creation and skills development)

Winner: Elgin Brown and Hamer

Best Performing Shipping Line
(For safety record, investment, job creation and skills development):

Winner: CMA CGM

Most Improved Shipping Line
(Based on volume growth as a percentage in two key sectors, Containers and Automotive)

Winner: K Line 2016, a repeat winner in the category

Environmental – Sustainable Port Practice
(Based on monitoring, performance, managerial perspective and environmental initiatives)

Winner: Chevron

Best Performer on Transformation
(Recognising the biggest transformation improvements and commitment to BBBEE, including skills development and gender equality):

Licence holders:
Winner (Vessel Agents): Thembani Shipping (Pty) Ltd
Winner (Diving): Dormac
Winner (Bunkering): Nonke Petroleum (Pty) Ltd (Winner)
Winner (Waste Disposal): Wastetrans
Winner (Stevedores): A4 International (Pty) Ltd

Terminal Operators:
(Based on BEE, Black ownership, audit findings)

Winner: Veetech Oil

Adopt-a-Spot – Special Environmental Award

Winner: SABT


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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.

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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.


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Cap Cortes, sailing from Durban, February 2018. Picture: Trevor Jones, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cap Cortes. Picture: Trevor Jones

Hamburg Süd’s container ship CAP CORTES (IMO 9670834) makes for a colourful sight as she leaves Durban, bound for ‘high seas’ and the next port on her tight schedule. With the absorption of this former German line into that of Maersk it is to be hoped that we in South Africa will continue to witness these ships coming to these parts. All indications are that this will be so as Hamburg Süd is to continue operating separately within the group, in much the same manner as does Safmarine. Whether these ships will continue on the Far East – South America service with calls in South Africa is what will be watched with interest. The 51,733-dwt Cape Cortes is 228 metres in length and has a beam of 37,4m. She was built in 2013 at the Taizhou CATIC Shipbuilding Heavy Industry yard in China as hull number UN 01 and flies the flag of Portugal (Madeira). This picture is by Trevor Jones



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