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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Norwegian offshore support ship Deep Cygnus at Durban, picture by Ken Malcolm, as appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Deep Cygnus      Picture: Ken Malcolm

Against a backdrop of the early morning sun and the familiar sight and shape of the Bluff peninsular that guards Durban Bay, the Norwegian offshore support vessel DEEP CYGNUS (IMO 9479541) enters port at Durban yesterday. Built at the Bergen Group Fosen in Rissa, Norway in 2009, the 9,423-gt support vessel is 122.4 metres long and 22m wide and is owned and managed by Volstad Management of Aalesund in Norway. This picture is by Ken Malcolm


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The Manganese Ore Terminal at Port Elizabeth. Picture: TPT, from a report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Manganese Ore Terminal at Port Elizabeth.    Picture: TPT

Port statistics for the month of March 2018, covering the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority, are now available.

Results appear to have returned to their normal levels after the excitement of a really big January followed by a ‘return to earth’ February which has now been maintained during March with 22.039mt of cargo being processed by all eight commercial ports. This figure can be seen as…


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Southern Venture, one of three bunker tankers in the Unicorn fleet. Picture: Ken Malcolm, from a report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Southern Venture, one of three bunker tankers in the Unicorn fleet.     Picture: Ken Malcolm

Empowerment group WOESA buys South African owner’s three-ship fleet

South African shipowner Grindrod has sold off its bunker division which it says is part of a transformation of the domestic shipping industry.

Unicorn Bunker Services (UBS) and its three modern tankers have gone to WOESA (Women in Oil and Energy in South Africa).

Grindrod are pleased to announce that the sale of its Bunker Division, Unicorn Bunker Services (Pty) Ltd has been finalised for an undisclosed amount, the company said yesterday in a statement. The transaction was financed through the IDC and the Bunker Division is now co-owned by WOESA and Linsen Nambi.

The conclusion of this deal has facilitated the participation of black women and black youth in the maritime sector and created the first 100% black shipowners in the country. Grindrod says it is proud to be part of this historic achievement.

“The business is well managed and profitable. It services the South African maritime industry and is contracted by oil majors in South Africa and is a significant role player in the local bunkering industry,” said Russell Burns, Unicorn Bunker Services CEO.

“Grindrod’s participation in the debate over local registration of its fleet and considering the need to transform the sector in which Grindrod operates in South Africa, encouraged Grindrod to identify what was possible within its local maritime fleet to support a transformation transaction. This transaction was borne out of that desire to address the need to transform the local maritime industry.”

Unicorn Bunker Services has been operating since 2006 and owns and operates three modern bunker tankers in the ports of Durban and Cape Town under contract to BP, Engen and Chevron. These bunker tankers were designed and built to meet and exceed all the oil majors’ safety and operational requirements and are staffed by qualified and experienced seafarers who ensure that bunkers are safely and efficiently delivered to ships calling at the Ports.

This proudly South African company was a division of Grindrod Freight Services and employs 110 people, said Grindrod in its statement.

WOESA Investment Holdings was born out of the Association of Women in Oil and Energy South Africa (WOESA) and is focused on facilitating women’s participation in business opportunities in the oil, gas and energy sector in South Africa. It is a broad-based women empowerment company with more than 1000 shareholders.

“We are excited about the acquisition and look forward to growing the business to greater heights together with staff and our partners. This acquisition provides another opportunity to expose our members to the maritime industry,” said Khumo Ntlha, CEO of WOESA.

Linsen Nambi was established in 2012 by a group of experienced black maritime professionals as a 100% black owned and managed shipbroking firm. Since then, the company has expanded their service offering to include inland haulage, warehousing, supply chain management and distribution.

“Transformation of the maritime sector has been a key focus of Linsen Nambi for many years, this deal is the first of its kind in South Africa but hopefully not the last,” said Thuso Mhlambi, director of Linsen Nambi.

In March Grindrod released results for the financial year ending 31 December 2017 and at the time confirmed the business restructure was well progressed and included the planned spinoff of its Shipping division on the Nasdaq, the closure of the rail assembly business and sale of the rail construction business.


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Durban's Bayhead Road, main thoroughfare to the container terminals and Island View, with Ambrose Park on the right. Picture by Steve McCurrach from a story appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Durban’s Bayhead Road, main thoroughfare to the container terminals and Island View, with Ambrose Park on the right. Picture by Steve McCurrach

A protected industrial (strike) action is due to take place today (Thursday, 19 April) involving the Bayhead Road and Ambrose Park areas of Durban’s Bayhead.

The strike action has been called by the Revolutionary Transport Union of South Africa (RETUSA) which served notice on Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) of its intention.

RETUSA says it intends holding a march in Durban and accordingly some disruptions in and around Bayhead Road and Ambrose Park can be expected.

TNPA advises that the strike action is likely to impact TNPA’s marine operations less significantly than Transnet Port Terminal operations, which include the Durban Container Terminal.

Contingency plans have been put in place to ensure that delays and disruptions to shipping are kept to a minimum, said Acting Port Manager, Nokuzola Nkowane. She said a Joint Command Centre between TNPA and TPT will be activated during the day.

“Transnet acknowledges the right of employees to embark on protected industrial action, and we remain committed to minimising the impact of such action on our valued clients,” Nkowane said.


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Naval Base Durban (Salisbury Island). Picture: The late W/O Manny Gounden, from a report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Naval Base Durban (Salisbury Island). Picture: The late W/O Manny Gounden

Naval Base Durban is to host a Charging of Command Parade this morning (Thursday 19 April) at the Salisbury Island Naval Base Sports Field at 10h00.

Flag Officer Fleet, Rear Admiral Bubele Kitie Mhlana will officially charge Rear Admiral (JG) J A Mbotho with command of Naval Base Durban.

This is yet another step towards returning Durban to the status of a full and active naval base. A base, like in Simon’s Town, is commanded by a Flag Officer due to the responsibilities that come with it. The new Flag Officer Commanding Naval Base Durban will have the responsibility of ensuring the base returns to its full former status after Naval Base Durban was downgraded to a naval station in 2001 on an austerity exercise.

At the time the navy was preparing to take delivery of four new frigates and three submarines while a number of the missile-carrying strike craft that had been based at Durban were being transferred to Simon’s Town prior to being withdrawn from service.

After a rethink by the navy three of the former strike craft were later converted into offshore patrol boats (OPVs) and were transferred back to Durban on its official resumption as a naval base in 2015.

Rear Admiral Mhlana is on record saying that the navy intended increasing the Salisbury Island workshop and dockyard capacity in order that all required Docking and Essential Defects (DEDs) and Planned Maintenance programmes on the OPVs can be carried out at Durban. He said this was to avoid ships that are home-ported in Durban from having to go to Simon’s Town for maintenance purposes.

The once well-equipped Naval Base Durban fell quickly into a state of disrepair during the 15 years that it remained a naval station, with accommodation and other buildings becoming abandoned and neglected. Part of the island is to be transferred to Transnet for cargo working (container terminal) with the result that the Naval Base Durban will be a smaller facility than it originally was.

Another responsibility facing Rear Admiral Mbotho is to be responsible for providing guidance to the men and women serving at the base.


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Trade between India and South Africa is the focus of the India-South AFrica Business Summit being held in Gauteng. Froma story in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The inaugural India-South Africa Business Summit, which will be held later this month, will focus on doubling trade figures between the two countries, says India’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Ruchira Kamboj.

Addressing a media briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Kamboj said the summit is aimed at maximising the potential of economic relations between the two countries.

“Trade figures between our countries stand roughly at US $10 billion and we would like…


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New report examines port-based incentives to boost green shipping

Ports play an important role in reducing the global carbon footprint of maritime shipping, says a new report by the International Transport Forum at the OECD.

Greenhouse gas emissions from shipping currently represent around 2.6% of total global emissions. Without reduction measures, this share could more than triple by 2050.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) last week set a target of reducing shipping CO2 emissions by “at least” 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. To achieve this, stringent measures now need…


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Maersk Honam after the blaze was put out - the fires continue to burn within some containers, from a story appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maersk Honam after the blaze was put out – the fires continue to burn within some containers.

To understand how difficult it is to put out a fire in containers on a ship at sea, the fire on the MAERSK HONAM is continuing to be considered as still burning more than six weeks after the blaze was first reported on 6 March, when the container ship was in the Arabian Sea.

Although not ‘ablaze’ anymore the fire continues within the containers and being at sea those fighting it are unable to remove the affected boxes and to extinguish the fire completely.

Five seafarers lost their lives in the blaze, one of them a South African. The remainder of the crew abandoned ship and were rescued. One of the five who died was among those rescued, the other four perished on board the stricken vessel.

The ship is under tow on what is apparently a heading for Jebel Ali in Dubai. Those fighting the fire have been concentrating on cooling the affected containers but a number of hotspots remain.

The intention is to take the ship to Jebel Ali and go to anchor while the containers on board are removed.

In a statement issued by MSC several days regarding cargo that MSC has on board the Maersk ship, MSC said “We will only be able to clarify the situation once the cargo has been discharged and inspected but we can now provide to the owners of cargoes that were stored in the holds 1 to 3 some certificate of total loss if requested.”

The statement continued: “For the other cargoes, insurers should prepare the required GA and Salvage security bonds (when supplied by the General Average Adjusters), as those documents will be essential for the cargoes to reach their final destinations and be released under General Average.

“As the salvage operations are still ongoing, the General Adjuster is not yet in position to finalise his request for Salvage security bonds, but we will relay them to you as soon as known.”


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The semi submerible rig Ocean Valiant which is the suh=bject of a story in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Ocean Valiant

Cathelco has won an order to supply marine growth prevention systems (MGPS) for the OCEAN VALIANT, a semi-submersible drilling unit operated by Diamond Offshore.

The Ocean Valiant is currently operating in the Janice Field located in the Central North Sea, approximately 175 miles east-south-east of Aberdeen.

The systems provided by Cathelco will protect the pipework connected to port and starboard seachests against blockages caused by the growth of barnacles and mussels which can impair the efficiency of associated equipment.

This will be achieved by installing copper and aluminium anodes in two electrolysis tanks with pipework connected to the seachests in order to dose the water flowing through the system.

In operation, the anodes are fed with a low impressed electrical current from a control panel resulting in the production of copper and aluminium ions. The copper ions flow through the seawater pipework system and produce an environment where the larvae of barnacles and mussels do not settle or grow. At the same time, the aluminium ions form an anti-corrosive layer on the internal surfaces of pipes.

The concentration of copper is extremely small, around six parts per billion, but effective in preventing marine growth, without harming the wider marine environment.

“Cathelco systems have proved their effectiveness in preventing marine growth on semi-submersibles and offshore platforms operating in the North Sea and around the world,” said Scott Rose of Cathelco Grampian, based near Aberdeen to serve the Scottish offshore oil industry.

Cathelco is the world’s leading manufacturer of MGPS systems for ships and offshore structures with a record of more than 50,000 installations over a period of 60 years.

The company also produce impressed current cathodic protection (ICCP) systems used to protect the underwater surfaces of offshore platforms against corrosion. These are also installed on offshore supply vessels, product carriers and VLCC’s to safeguard hull integrity.


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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.



Jolly Diamante arriving at Durban in April 2018, picture by Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Jolly Diamante arriving at Durban in April 2018, picture by Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Jolly Diamante arriving at Durban in April 2018, picture by Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Jolly Diamante.       Pictures:  Keith Betts

One of four Ro-Ro container ships of Italian Ignazio Messina Line to call regularly at Durban, JOLLY DIAMANTE (IMO 9578957) is seen here approaching the port (top), in the entrance channel (middle), and within the harbour, with the Bluff now forming a background to our scene. The Ro-Ro ship was arriving from Italy via the East Coast and Suez. With a maximimum container capacity of 2920 TEU, the 50,720-gt Jolly Diamante is 240 metres in length and 375m wide, considerably larger than the ‘Jolly’ sips that preceded her and her sisters. Jolly Diamante was built in 2011 at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co shipyard at Geoje, South Korea as hull number 4465and flies the Italian flag. Having since completed her call at Durban, the ship is on her way ack to the Mediterranean and is today due in Dar es Salaam. These pictures are by Keith Betts



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