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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Crystal Symphony at Lyttelton, New Zealand, Feb 2018.  Picture:  Alan Calvert, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Crystal Symphony. Picture: Alan Calvert

Crystal Cruises splendid cruise ship CRYSTAL SYMPHONY featured in our pages a couple of months ago – in December. Then she was visiting South Africa ports on an extended cruise up and down the coast. Here she is again, but in New Zealand this time – during the recent weekend in fact when she called at the port of Lyttelton on the South Island, the port that serves Christchurch. The 51,044-gt ship, which is 238m long and 30m wide, has 12 decks of which eight are accessible to passengers. When fully booked she would have 922 passengers on board, along with 545 crew to take care of them. Crystal Symphony, a sister ship to Crystal Serenity, was completed in 1995 at the Kværner Masa-Yards Turku New Shipyard in Finland, as yard number 1323 at a cost of US$ 250 million. This pictures is by Alan Calvert


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Hydrographic survey ship in Royal Navy service, similar to the design chosen for the SA Navy as per Project Hotel. Southern Africa Shipyards will build the ship. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Hydrographic survey ship in Royal Navy service, similar to the design chosen for the SA Navy as per Project Hotel. Southern Africa Shipyards will build the ship.

Earlier this week we reported that Damen Shipyards Cape Town had been awarded the contract to build three inshore patrol vessels (IPV) for the SA Navy, the contract being awarded by Armscor in terms of Project Biro.

You can find that report CLICK HERE

As expected, Armscor has also awarded the contract for a hydrographic survey ship for the navy to Durban shipyard, Southern African Shipyards – Project Hotel as it is known.

The sophisticated ship will be built at the…[restrict] Durban shipyard and is based on Finnish shipbuilder Vard Marine’s VARD 9 105 science vessel concept.

This is a well-proven design that has been specifically tailored to South Africa’s unique requirements as specified by Armscor and designed to incorporate the latest hydrographic and oceanographic sensor suite.

The new ship will replace the navy’s existing hydrographic survey vessel, SAS PROTEA.

A statement issued by Vard informs that it has been contracted to complete the Basic Design and support Southern African Shipyards through detailed design and construction stages.

The vessel configuration results in a PC7 ice strengthened vessel of 95 metres in length and a width of 16.8m with approximately 7,800 kW propulsion power, a shafted controllable pitch propeller, and a maximum speed of 18 knots.

The vessel will have a 10,000 nautical mile range with 44 days endurance, and will be manned by a total crew of 120 persons comprising ships’ crew and scientists.

The VARD 9 105 design is an evolution from the Vard Marine designed hydrographic survey vessels HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise which were successfully delivered in 2002 to the UK’s Royal Navy. Those ships were built at the Appledore Shipbuilders yard in Devon and were the first RN ships to be fitted with azimuth thrusters.

Vard is now a subsidiary company of the Italian Fincantieri group, better known for building cruise ships but which also builds a range of naval vessels.[/restrict]


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ST Marseille, pirated in Gulf of Guinea, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
ST Marseille

There has been a sudden increase in pirate attacks on shipping in the Gulf of Guinea.

The most recent report concerns an attack this Tuesday (24 February) on a product tanker named ST MARSEILLE which received a ‘visit’ by five armed pirates while the ship was at anchor off Cotonou, Benin, which appears to be becoming a favourite place for these attacks on shipping.

According to a report issued by the government of Luxembourg, the ST Marseille was boarded by five armed pirates who opened fire on two Beninese guards, who sustained gunshot injuries in the exchange.

The tanker was riding light with no cargo loaded when the attack took place and this appeared to dishearten the pirates who left the ship, with the crew otherwise unharmed and reported safe.

The two injured guards have since received medical treatment and are in a stable condition.

well-armed NIgerian pirates, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

ST Marseille is flagged in Luxembourg and is operated by the French firm of ST Management SAS.

On Monday this week (26 February) we reported a tanker that was attacked off the coast of Brass on the previous Monday, 19 February. We carried a report of another attack on 15 February, this time on a container ship.

Two further attacks can be reported, both also on 24 February. The first involved a container ship chased by a speedboat with eight pirates on board, who opened fire on the box ship – this was south of Bonny Island. All non-essential crew retired to the ship’s citadel and the ship security alert system (SSAS) was activated. The ship’s master began evasive manoeuvres while liaising with the Nigerian Navy who were in the area. The pirates meanwhile attempted to hook a ladder onto the container ship’s deck but thanks to vessel hardening they were unsuccessful and thereafter abandoned their attack.

On arrival on the scene the Nigerian navy escorted the vessel to the pilot boarding point.

Also on 24 February ten pirates in a speedboat chased a reefer that was underway 40 nautical miles off the Bonny fairway buoy. Armed guards on board the reefer discouraged the attacking pirates by returning gunfire, forcing the speedboat and its crew to retire from the attack. The crew on the reefer remained safe and unharmed although their vessel received some damage from the gunfire.

At this rate the West African region could well be renamed the Wild West.


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Hapag-Lloyd's new EAS service port rotation, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Hapag-Lloyd’s new EAS service port rotation

It is always a good sign when a new shipping service is introduced and that is the case with news that Hapag-Lloyd will introduce a weekly service connecting Jeddah with East African ports.

We reported this earlier but will do so again. Hapag-Lloyd will operate with four ships to ensure weekly connections and will be represented in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya by Diamond Shipping Services based in Nairobi.

The ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam will…[restrict] act as the gateways to neighbouring landlocked countries – South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia.

“With our East Africa Service (EAS), we will be entering a trade which our customers have wanted us to serve,” said Lars Christiansen, senior managing director Region Middle East. “In the process, the EAS will benefit from Hapag-Lloyd’s strong presence in the Middle East and connect to our global network.”

Via Jeddah Hapag-Lloyd will be able to offer connections to Asian ports, to Europe, as well as services to Mexico and the Caribbean.

The port of Mombasa currently handles an average of 100 ships each month. Traffic remains slanted heavily towards imports. Kenya’s exports to Saudi Arabia remain small and consist mainly of tea, coffee, vegetables, textile materials, fruits, nuts and beef.

“The entry of the Hapag-Lloyd East Africa service is a vote of confidence in the expected growth of trade in the region in coming years,” said Abhishek Sharma, a logistics analyst at TradeMark East Africa.[/restrict]


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Mozambican fishing vessels, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The management of Mozambique’s fishing ports and associated infrastructure will in future be carried out by the national government in a move that aims at ensuring greater safety, efficiency and financial sustainability.

This has been decided by the Council of Ministers…[restrict] sitting at its 5th Ordinary Session on 20 February 2018, which considered and approved the decree establishing the National Institute for the Development and Management of Fisheries Infrastructures (INFRAPESCA).

A communique issued by the Council of Ministers says that INFRAPESCA is a public legal entity with legal personality and administrative, financial and patrimonial autonomy, created to exercise authority in fishing ports and other fishing infrastructures.

This is with a view to ensuring their development and management, as well as implementation of hygienic fishery management measures in fishing ports and related infrastructure. source: Notícias[/restrict]


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PIL container ship, Kota Arif. Picture: Terry Hutson, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
PIL container ship, Kota Arif. Picture: Terry Hutson

Pacific International Lines (Pte) Ltd (PIL), PSA International (PSA) and IBM Singapore (IBM) signed a MOU in August 2017 to collaborate on blockchain-based supply chain business network innovations.

Following the signing of the MOU, the companies worked on a Proof of Concept (POC) exercise, built on the IBM Blockchain Platform, applying and then testing a blockchain-based supply chain platform to track and trace cargo movement from Chongqing to Singapore via the Southern Transport Corridor.

The trial successfully achieved the following objectives:

* Transparent and…[restrict] trustworthy execution of multimodal logistics capacity booking

* Regulatory-compliant execution of multimodal logistics capacity booking process

* Real-time track and trace

* Permissioned access control for ecosystem participants

The POC testing gathered momentum from August to December 2017. The partners say they believe that there is now sufficient evidence to show that the concept can be taken to the next stage. The scope of the POC will be widened and they are eager to engage more participants from the different nodes of the distribution network that form the supply chain logistics ecosystem.

PIL MD Teo Siong Seng, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
PIL MD Teo Siong Seng

“We are highly committed to this idea because we as a company believe the wider application of blockchain across the global logistics and shipping businesses will lead to much greater operating efficiencies, security and transparency. It is the future for our industry,” said Teo Siong Seng, Managing Director of PIL.

Roger Tan, Regional CEO Northeast Asia of PSA said that PSA’s collaboration alongside its partners and relevant stakeholders in this Blockchain trial demonstrates their efforts to enhance physical and digital connectivity, as well as to improve efficiencies along the global supply chain.

“Ultimately, we hope to create value for our customers along the Southern Trade Corridor – a key route in the Belt and Road initiative,” he said.

About PIL

Pacific International Lines (PIL) is the world’s 12th biggest container ship operator and one of the largest shipowners in Southeast Asia. PIL owns and operates with a fleet of more than 160 modern vessels offering services to the Far East, Africa, Americas, Europe, Black Sea, Middle East, Indian sub-continent, Oceania and Southeast Asia. The group has several business units including container manufacturing, ship recycling, marine service, real estate, depots and logistics services. One of PIL’s subsidiaries, Singamas Container Holdings Ltd, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, is the world’s second largest container manufacturer with 10 container factories and operates 8 depots in China.

About PSA International

As one of the leading global port groups, PSA participates in around 40 terminals in 16 countries across Asia, Europe and the Americas with flagship operations in PSA Singapore Terminals and PSA Antwerp. PSA strives to continue growing its port network alongside its shipping line customers and become the preferred partner to port stakeholders across the world. As the port operator of choice in the world’s gateway hubs, PSA is ‘The World’s Port of Call’.

About IBM

IBM is the leader in open-source blockchain solutions built for the enterprise. As an early member of Hyper Ledger, an opensource collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies, IBM is dedicated to supporting the development of openly-governed blockchains. IBM has worked with more than 400 clients across financial services, supply chains, IoT, risk management, digital rights management and healthcare to implement blockchain applications.[/restrict]


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MOL Azul Fortuna, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MOL Azul Fortuna

Japanese shipping major Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has announced that it is restructuring the organisation with effect 1 April 2018.

Among the changes MOL will establish different business divisions.

One of these will be a liner business management division to…[restrict] “fulfil its management role as one of the major investors in Ocean Network Express (ONE), into which the liner division is being integrated.”

The tanker division will be divided into tanker division (A) and tanker division (B) to create a more customer-focused approach and establish a ferry business division.

The Japanese carrier will also establish a technology innovation unit and the position of chief technical officer to supervise operations as a representative of the unit.

MOL will transfer operations of its environment and emission-free business, which was positioned as a business for future development in its ‘Rolling Plan 2017’, from the corporate planning division to the new business creation and group business division.

It aims to accelerate the business and will rename the new business creation and group business division, the new and clean energy business division.

ONE completed its approval process in January this year, with operations set to commence on 1 April 2018.[/restrict]


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The cruise ship Bremen negotiating the incredibly narrow Corinth Canal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The cruise ship Bremen negotiating the incredibly narrow Corinth Canal,which has now been closed temporarily due to a rockfall

The famous but extremely narrow Corinth Canal has been closed to shipping because of a rockfall which blocked the waterway.

This is forcing the small vessels that can ordinarily pass through the canal to travel 185 nautical miles around the Peloponnese to transit between the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf.

The rockfall occurred on Monday this week (26 February). Video footage shows the waterway blocked by a large pile of rock with loose sediment still pouring down. Authorities are confident however that they can have the blockage cleared within two weeks.

another view of this remarkable piece of engineering, the Corinth Canal.  Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
another view of this remarkable piece of engineering

The Corinth Canal was completed in 1893, having been first conceived 2700 hundred years earlier during the reign of Periander, ruler of Corinth.

Faced with what seemed insurmountable costs as well as engineering challenges, Periander settle for an overland portage instead. About 600 years later the Roman emperor Nero took up the challenge but his death in 68 AD brought a stop to the project, which was then abandoned until 1882 when a concession was granted for the canal to be cut.

The finished product was 70feet wide and 26 feet deep but vessels using the canal that are close to its 56 foot width limit have to be escorted by tugs.

The canal's location in the Mediterranean, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The canal’s location in the Mediterranean


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The Royal Navy aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has returned to Portsmouth following a successful set of rotary wing sea trials conducted in the Atlantic.

During this period a team of 56 aircrew, analysts and engineers from the Air Test and Evaluation Centre (ATEC) at MOD Boscombe Down have been onboard the aircraft carrier for the past month with two Merlin Mk2 and two Chinook Mk 5 test aircraft.

A thousand deck landings were carried out in a range of sea and weather conditions, with the specially equipped helicopters gathering data to identify the operating limits of the aircraft from the carrier at sea. Both airframe types have flown an average of ten hours a day.

The data will be processed over the coming months and will eventually provide the Ship Helicopter Operating Limits (SHOL) information for a range of helicopters including Merlin Mk2, 3 and 4, Chinook, the Apache attack helicopter and Wildcat. The aim is to achieve the widest SHOL envelope possible, so the ship is not constrained in its ability to manoeuvre.

Neil Thomas, QinetiQ’s Programme Technical Manager onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, says the trials have been very successful.

“It’s gone extremely well, even through we had a very compressed timescale,” he said. “We achieved 450 deck landings on Chinook and 540 on Merlin, which is pretty good going. This is definitely a once only career opportunity for us. It’s been an enormous challenge but well worth it for what we have achieved for the Royal Navy”.

In other developments, faced with the loss of its amphibious assault ship, HMS Ocean, which has been sold to Brazil, and the rumoured early disposal of HMS BULWARK and HMS ALBION, the Royal Navy is having to relook at how it carries out amphibious warfare without these stalwarts being available.

HMS Queen Elizabeth lacks a well deck for landing craft but the RN believes it can provide the same service using helicopters. The recent exercise reported above was partly for this purpose and more complex exercises involving Royal Marines are scheduled.

“HMS Queen Elizabeth will maintain the United Kingdom’s ability to have a forward-based strategic conventional deterrent which has the ability not only to conduct strike operations with the F-35B, which is its primary role, but also to have an embarked military force that is fully trained and ready to be projected ashore to conduct tasks that might arise,” said Lt Col Mark Searight, the carrier’s amphibious operations officer.

Speaking as the ship sailed into Portsmouth, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commanding Officer, Captain Jerry Kyd said the success of the rotary wing flying trials in the Atlantic with Merlin and Chinook is another important milestone on the journey. “We are rapidly approaching our deployment to the United States in the summer when we will see the first F-35B Lightning aircraft land on Queen Elizabeth’s deck.

“The ship is performing well and the marriage at sea of the Lightning and our carrier in a few months time will be a hugely symbolic event putting on notice that the UK is on the cusp of returning to fixed wing carrier operations at sea and a return to serious maritime power projection”. Source: Royal Navy


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e-certificates now delivered by email or accessible via the My VeriSTAR mobile application and the VeriSTAR Info desktop portal. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
e-certificates now delivered by email or accessible via the My VeriSTAR mobile application and the VeriSTAR Info desktop portal.

Bureau Veritas is now issuing both classification and statutory e-certificates following successful pilots with ship owners and flag states. Bureau Veritas digital certificates may now be issued on behalf of 52 flag states, representing 72% of the Bureau Veritas classed fleet.

E-certificates make life simpler for masters, ship owners and their staff as the related paperwork is time-consuming and can be expensive.

E-certificates, delivered by email or accessible via the My VeriSTAR mobile application and the VeriSTAR Info desktop portal, reduce the administrative burden both on-board and ashore.

Patrick Le-Dily, Vice-President, Legal Compliance & Regulatory Management, Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore commented, “With a significant number of flag states providing their support to this project we now expect to see the rapid development of e-certification. The pace of that development should increase as more flag states come on board.”

Confidence and security are vital. Bureau Veritas implemented the electronic signature feature of the new digital certificates working with Cert Europe, electronic signature experts. Cert Europe is certified in accordance with applicable technical requirements and specifications for class and statutory certification and supports digital certification for the Bureau Veritas Group. In 2017, Bureau Veritas issued more than 50,000 e-certificates for different services including the inspection of shipping containers.

“We continue to digitize the class business,” commented Laurent Hentges, Vice-President, Operational Excellence and Information Systems.

“Our e-certification capability now provides the industry with the opportunity to benefit from further digital efficiency – reducing administration, reducing costs and improving accuracy with peace of mind, under-written by a secured solution.

“Bureau Veritas solutions are scalable, to anticipate possible technology developments. For example e-certificates data could be moved from Bureau Veritas system into a blockchain, where the maritime data could be shared and made directly transparent to the involved stakeholders.”

BV e-certificates, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Bureau Veritas e-certificates provide significant benefits for all stakeholders, providing:

• Reductions in administrative time and costs
• Secured accuracy
• Elimination of either the loss of or damage to original certificates – and the related risk of delay
• Reduced opportunities for fraud – no modification is possible without invalidating a signature
• Quicker and easier management of certification, with secure storage and easy sharing of documents among stakeholders

Bureau Veritas e-certificates display the usual content and layout of class and statutory documents and they incorporate an electronic signature. Every time a Bureau Veritas surveyor goes on-board a vessel a new version of the e-certificate is issued to reflect either the endorsement or the renewal of the required certification. Endorsement, managed via e-certification, requires that no document now will need to be manually signed and stamped.

Certificate authenticity and validity can be verified via a secure online web portal using a QR code, URL or search via the certificate’s unique tracking number.

Bureau Veritas e-certificates have been developed in compliance with IMO guidelines FAL 5/Circ.39/Rev 2, which invites flag state administrations to ensure adequate national legislation is in place for the use and acceptance of electronic certificates.



OSM chief executive Geir Sekkesaeter, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
OSM chief executive Geir Sekkesaeter

OSM Maritime Group is aiming to make the shipping industry accessible to all as part of its pioneering involvement in the UN Global Compact (UNGC) initiative.

The ship management company, which provides tailored services to over 500 vessels worldwide, has signed a MOU to re-launch the Mozambican Higher School of Nautical Sciences. It is also actively working to increase the number of females in its global pool of 11,000 qualified seafarers.

OSM is one of the first companies in the ship management segment to join the UNGC. The Norwegian-headquartered business has now submitted an initial report detailing its desire to set new industry standards, with a focus on the four key UNGC areas of Human Rights, Labour, Environmental Protection, and Anti-Corruption.

As ‘quality education’ is a UN Sustainable Development Goal prioritised by OSM, the Mozambican project is, according to CEO Geir Sekkesaeter, a perfect fit.

“There’s a demand for skilled seafarers in Mozambique, but a ‘competence gap’ with regards to the local workforce,” Sekkesaeter states. “The developing coastal shipping network, fishing sector and the logistical needs of the offshore hydrocarbon industry have created real opportunity for Mozambicans, but they need the required competence.

“Through this MOU, OSM Africa will draw up a viability study for re-launching the school and transforming it into a centre of excellence for maritime training. We strongly believe that quality education is a cornerstone of developing a sustainable industry that rewards all stakeholders – in Mozambique and worldwide. This kind of investment fits not just with our UNGC goals, but also with the OSM way of doing business.”

The company will now use the next four months conducting the feasibility study for the Maputo-based facility.

OSM joined the UNGC in 2017. All OSM offices have supported and contributed to the overall UNGC reporting, which addresses ten defining principles with qualitative assessments to gauge compliance.

“It’s been an enlightening project,” Sekkesaeter notes, “highlighting areas where we excel, such as worldwide community CSR projects and upholding labour principles, and others where we need to improve, such as increasing female participants in our trainee seafarer programmes.

“Overall, the reporting provides a deep level analysis of our entire organisation and will form a strong foundation for an on-going process of improvement. As such it’s an invaluable business tool, as well as a force for positive, responsible and ethical development.”

OSM banner, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

As a demonstration of this, OSM is already working to address its perceived lack of female seafarers. Over the course of the next year the organisation will launch internal and external campaigns to raise awareness of employment opportunities for female crew, highlight existing success stories, and campaign for greater inclusion and equality across the wider maritime industry.

“Awareness of UNGC and the need to abide by the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals is growing,” Sekkesaeter concludes, “and we’re proud to be leading the way for the ship management segment in this regard. We’d encourage all major maritime businesses, and ship management firms, to sign up to the scheme and help build a sustainable future for our industry.”

OSM provides a comprehensive range of bespoke solutions for its customer base – ranging from complete ship management and all-inclusive arrangements to individual value-added services, such as crewing, procurement, accounting and insurance. In the past year the company has grown significantly.


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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

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Naval News

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Bow Faith. Pictures: Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Bow Faith. Pictures: Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Bow Faith. Pictures: Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Bow Faith. Pictures: Keith Betts

Odfjell Tankers’ chemical and oil products tanker BOW FAITH (IMO 9114232) is one of those vessels that has been making regular calls at Durban for many years, servicing the chemical and oil products industry from berths at Island View and at Maydon Wharf. Built in 1997, the 37,479-dwt vessel is 183 metres long and 32m wide. Owned and operated by Odfjell, she flies the flag of Norway. These pictures are by Keith Betts



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