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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Onego Bora departing from Durban, March 2018. Picture: Ken Malcolm, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Onego Bora. Picture: Ken Malcolm

The general cargo ship ONEGO BORA (IMO 9613604) sails from Durban in this scene captured earlier in March. Built in 2011 the vessel is owned by a Cyprus-based company and managed from Cyprus by Mastermind Shipmanagement Ltd based in Limassol. The ship is 117 metres in length and 19.7m wide. She flies the flag of Cyprus. This picture is by Ken Malcolm


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Port of Berbera in Somaliand, Gulf of Aden, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Berbera in Somaliand, Gulf of Aden

The Somali Government says that a multi-million deal by DP World to involve Ethiopia in the operation and development of the port and container terminal at Berbera in the semi-autonomous Somaliland is “null and void”. The deal would see Ethiopia taking a 19% share in the port and helping develop the container terminal and a trade corridor to Ethiopia.

DP World is currently involved in a dispute with neighbouring Djibouti with that country summarily cancelling the concession held by DP World to operate the strategic container terminal. DP World has commenced arbitration proceedings in the UK to protect its rights, or to secure damages and compensation for breach or expropriation.

On Friday (9 March) the prime minister of Somalia nullified the tripartite agreement between the UAE ports operator DP World, Ethiopia and Somaliland which brought Ethiopia into having a share of the operation of the port. Berbera is seen by Ethiopia as an additional gateway for its international shipping.

About 90% of Ethiopia’s international trade goes through Djibouti at present and since the eviction of DP World, Ethiopia will be watching developments in that country very closely.

Somalia’s Ministry of Ports and Marine Transport called the agreement “defective”, and said the terms of the deal “contravene procedure and are in blatant breach of the Provisional Constitution [of] Somalia. The Ministry therefore, considering the above factors, declares this deal as non-existent, null and void.”

The ministry added that the Somalian government had not been party to the agreement, which it called “detrimental to the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Somalia and the unity of the country.”

However, a statement issued from the office of the president of Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi stated that the agreement to bring on board Ethiopia was an “extension of the agreement entered into between the Republic of Somaliland and DP World and approved by the Parliament.”

Port of Berbera in Somaliand, Gulf of Aden, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Berbera port

Somalia is “not helpful in creating a conducive environment for dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia, and has no bearing, whatsoever, on the commercial and investment agreement between the Republic of Somaliland, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and DP World, which we expect the international community and the neighbouring countries to support,” the statement said.

In terms of the deal DP World will control 51% of the port operation, the Somaliland government 30% and Ethiopia the remaining 19%.

The Ethiopian government will also invest in infrastructure to develop the Berbera Corridor as a trade gateway for the landlocked country.

Ethiopia enjoys one of the fastest growing economies on the African continent with a forecast GDP growth of 8.2% in 2018, according to the World Bank.

DP World’s plans for the port of Berbera include building an additional berth and says that it has signed the final agreement with the Government of Dubai to develop a 12 square kilometre greenfield economic free zone in Somaliland to complement growth of the port.


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South African abalone. Picture:, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
South African abalone. Picture:

Nine marine inspectors from the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) appeared at the Hermanus Magistrate‘s Court for alleged involvement in an abalone-poaching syndicate.

The inspectors are…


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Greenpeace Esperanza which has been on patrol off West Africa
Greenpeace ship Esperanza which has been conducting patrols off West Africa. Picture: Greenpeace

Evidence of various infringements including illegal nets, shark finning and fishing without licence were handed over by Greenpeace to West African and Chinese authorities

The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) is pulling the plug on three Chinese companies conducting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in West Africa.

Greenpeace Africa says this demonstrates an increased intolerance by authorities towards Chinese vessels involved in IUU. The MoA has cancelled the distant water fishing certificate of the Lian Run Pelagic Fishery Company Ltd. The company has had a poor record of…


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Arab dhow about to be boarded for inspection by CTF 150 forces.  Picture courtesy CTF 150
Arab dhow about to be boarded for inspection by CTF 150 forces. Picture courtesy Australian Navy/CTF 150

Further to recent seizures of illicit drugs being smuggled to the African coast on boar Arab dhows, naval ships attached to the Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 has continued the action with further encounters at sea off the Horn of Africa.

The French destroyer FS JEAN DE VIENNE intercepted a vessel carrying 4 tons of hashish on 5 March , this being the third such success for CTF 150 in recent weeks. Together with the Australian naval ship HMAS WARRAMUNGA, CTF 150 has been responsible for confiscating over US$ $400 million of narcotics in just 48 hours.

French ship FS Jeanne de Vienne appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
FS Jeanne de Vienne

The incident involving the French destroyer saw a Lynx helicopter from FS Jeanne de Vienne flying with HMAS Warramunga’s Seahawk helicopter on a…


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Maersk Honam on fire in the Arabian Sea, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maersk Honam on fire in the Arabian Sea

While efforts continue to find four missing crew members – one a South African – on board a Maersk Line container ship currently on fire since Tuesday off the Arabian Sea near Oman, Singapore transport ministry officials have begun a probe in the incident that’s already claimed one seafarer’s life, reports SAMSA.

The dead seafarer was confirmed by Maersk Line on Thursday as a Thai national and one of 23 seafarers that were successfully evacuated from the ship, the Maersk Honam, after a massive fire had…


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It has long been accepted that letters of indemnity provided by cargo receivers to take delivery of cargo without production of the original bill of lading are, in principle, enforceable. A recent judgment of the High Court of Justice Commercial Court has confirmed this and extended the principle beyond delivery to the intended receiver under the letter of indemnity (LOI). The judgment highlights the practical difficulties often faced by carriers and receivers, particularly in the commodity trade, in dealing with the valid delivery of cargo without the original bills of lading.

One of the primary functions of a bill of lading is that it is a document of title allowing the holder of the bill of lading to demand delivery of the cargo reflected in that bill of lading from the contractual carrier. This function underpins the bulk of international trade, particularly in commodities and explains the value of the original bill of lading to its holder.

It has long been recognised, particularly in the tanker and short sea trades however that delivery against presentation of the original bill of lading is not always possible. This is either because it may have been lost or, more commonly, because it has not yet worked its way through the trading and banking systems particularly if there have been multiple trades or if the voyage is of a short duration. To cater for this, LOIs have been developed allowing receivers to take delivery of the cargo either without production of the original bill of lading or at a discharge port other than that named in the bill of lading or a combination of both.

Malcolm Hartwell of Norton Rose Fulbright, Durban, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Malcolm Hartwell, Norton Rose Fulbright (Durban)

Because this practise undermines the primary function of a bill of lading, LOIs have been treated with some caution by traders, the courts and insurers. This is reflected in the fact that the members of the International Group of P&I Clubs will not provide liability cover to carriers who release cargo without production of the bills of lading and against a LOI.

It is also reflected in the fact that courts will not enforce LOIs which have been issued either with the intention, or in the knowledge, that the effect would be to defraud a third party. So, for example, the carrier that issues a clean bill of lading against a LOI knowing the cargo not to be in accordance with the description in the bill of lading will not be allowed to enforce the LOI issued by the shipper.

In the case of Songa Chemicals AS vs Navig8 Chemicals Pool Limited [2018] EWHC 397 (Comm), the Queen’s Bench Court had to consider a summary judgment application whether to enforce a series of LOIs. The LOIs had been issued up a chain of charters to the head owners. They were provided to allow for discharge of cargoes of sunflower seed oil to a party without production of the original bills of lading. The wording of the LOIs was in the standard form approved by the IG P&I Clubs which stipulated amongst other things that the owners should deliver the cargo to a named receiver or “…such party as you believe to be or to represent the named receiver or to be acting on behalf of the named receiver”. This extended the request beyond simply asking for the cargo to be delivered to the named receiver in a LOI.

The only reason, as with most of these problems, that the LOIs were thrust into sharp focus was that the original bills of lading were held by a financier of one of the traders which had run into financial difficulty.

The court accepted that the LOI would be enforceable if delivery had been made to the named receiver. In this case however they were being asked to consider whether delivery to Ruchi Soya Industries Limited (Ruchi) triggered liability under the LOI which described the named receiver to be Aavanti Industries Pte Limited (Aavanti).

The court found at the summary judgment stage this was a question of fact to be determined by reference to the carriers’ understanding of the relationship between Ruchi and Aavanti and whether the carrier believed Ruchi to represent Aavanti or to be acting on behalf of Aavanti.

As a result of prior practice and instructions received by the carrier from Aavanti, the court held that delivery to Ruchi was in fact covered by the contemplated terms of the LOIs and accordingly held that the LOIs were enforceable.

The judgment reinforces the fact that traders and carriers must be extremely careful when negotiating LOIs to ensure firstly that they are not unlawful and secondly that they cover the contemplated delivery either without production of the original bills of lading or to a port other than the nominated discharge port.

by Malcolm Hartwell
Norton Rose Fulbright (Durban)



Bursary Fund supported by the SAIMI

A Memorandum of Agreement has been signed by Dr Cleeve Robertson, CEO of National Sea Rescue Institute and the Captain Keith Burchell, Chairman of S.A.T.S. General Botha Old Boys Association Bursary Fund.

“One of the NSRI’s strategies in achieving a society with fewer drownings is collaboration,” said Dr Robertson. “Our agreement with the General Botha Old Boys Association Bursary Fund and partnership with Lawhill Maritime Centre has two objectives: firstly, we are taking a long term view on the future, recognising that the sustainability of maritime rescue services and drowning prevention systems will depend on the right human capital, with the right attitudes, skills and capacity, to fuel the engine of the organisation.

NSRI banner, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

“This cooperation is a small but significant step. Secondly, we recognise that, as an organisation, we bring a unique experience to education. We are at the sharp end of water-related industries and have comprehensive insights into water safety across a broad range of industrial, commercial and recreational activities. We believe that the safety culture, values and experience that we can share with students will prove invaluable to them in the future. We are very happy to be establishing relationship that will help realise our vision and, as South Africans and Africans, to play our part in building the society we need,” he said.

As part of the commitment to the relationship, NSRI supports the education and development of two Lawhill Maritime Centre Bursary Fund students, Buren Van Wyk and Owami Zuma.

SA Training Ship General Botha Old Boys Association, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Ship

In turn, the Bursary Fund commits to the provision of a three-year NSRI Modular Education & Training Programme which will supplement the theory studies of Bursary Fund Students during the time they are at Lawhill Maritime Centre by providing them with Leadership, Practical Navigation and Seamanship training.

This training is specifically aligned to the SAIMI (South African International Maritime Institute) run National Navigator and Engineer Cadet Program in providing practical training and skills development to potential cadets.

Professor Malek Pourzanjani, CEO of SAIMI pledged their support of this strategic alliance through funding as well as investment in the development of a mentoring guide which is a critical success factor in the success in this collaborative agreement. The intention is that this mentoring guide will then be shared freely through an open access public portal.


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Fishing Vessel Vertrouwen. Picture by Joop Sponselee/MarineTraffic, asppearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Fishing Vessel Vertrouwen. Picture by Joop Sponselee/MarineTraffic

At 00h26 on 6 August 2017, the 5.64m recreational motor cruiser James 2 and the 26.24m commercial fishing vessel Vertrouwen collided in Sussex Bay, 1.6 miles south-east of Shoreham harbour.

James 2 was drifting with the wind and tide while the four men on board were rod fishing for mackerel; Vertrouwen had just left port and was on passage to Grimsby.

Neither vessel was damaged by the impact but James 2 was…

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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out airboat, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The airboat

A company that specialises in African airboat ecotourism tours has switched to the hard-wearing thermoplastic Vesconite as a support for the engine/ gear box – propeller system to ensure that its boats can cope with the rigours of an African boating experience.

The US manufacturer had built the engine stands with nylon dampers encased in stainless steel tubes, explains Airboats Afrika MD Chris Grosch.

Vesconite discs and holders, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Vesconite discs and holders

However, the result was a significant number of cracks in the tubes due to the constant vibrations and strain, which worried Grosch as his expeditions would often take him to hippo and crocodile-filled African rivers where it would be difficult to access maintenance facilities.

Grosch’s engine-mounting solution was to make a metal cup holder into which a Vesconite disc is bolted, and on which the engine sits.

Vesconite cup holders installed, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Vesconite cup holders installed

Through these means, vibration was lessened and steel-on-steel wear was eliminated. Vesconite also provided the advantage of being dimensionally stable and resistant to salt water, which were boons for the tour company, which had to chisel off salt off the original water-absorbing nylon support base in the past.


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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.



DL Navig8.   Picture:  Alan Calvert, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
DL Navig8. Picture: Alan Calvert

The crude oil tanker DL NAVIG8 (IMO 9428841) on berth at the tanker terminal in Lyttelton harbour, New Zealand. The 50,3776-dwt tanker is 189 metres in length and 32m wide and was built in 2008 at the Shinasb Yard in Tongyoung, South Korea for her owners, DL Maritime SA of Seoul, South Korea. The tanker is managed by Korea Line Corp based in Seoul and if flagged in Panama. This picture is by Alan Calvert



“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
– Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”


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