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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African Sunbird in Lyttelton harbour, New Zealand, May 2018. Picture: Alan Calvert, from a feature in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
African Sunbird. Picture: Alan Calvert

We last featured the bulk carrier AFRICAN SUNBIRD (IMO 9397884) on 13 June late year as the ship was sailing from Durban. Today’s First View shows her arriving at the New Zealand port of Lyttelton earlier this month. In between these times the bulker has completed numerus voyages, criss-crossing the oceans as is the wont of merchant ships. The 55,688-dwt ship was built in 2006 and is owned by Misuga Kaiun of Tokyo, Japan being managed out of that company’s Hong Kong office. Previously named TOMOSHIO, the 190-metre long, 32m wide African Sunbird was built at the Mitsui Tamano Engineering & Shipbuilding yard in Tamano, Japan. This picture is by Alan Calvert


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Transnedt banner, displayed with a news report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has been as good as his word by cleaning house at Transnet by way of a new interim board at state-owned transport company Transnet.

Popo Molefe is the new chairman of the interim board. This follows the stepping down or replacement of all existing previous board members after Transnet became mired in controversy over corruption charges.

Other new appointees are Louis von Zeuner, Ramasela Ganda, Ursula Fikelepi, Edward Kieswetter, and Dimakatso Matshoga.

Transnet is mainly concerned with providing rail, port and pipeline services within South Africa and other parts of Africa. However, the so-called Gupta-leaks uncovered evidence of kickbacks particularly over locomotive purchases from Chinese manufacturers running into billions of rand.

Pravin Gordhan, SA Minister of Publce Enterprises, appearing in a news report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Pravin Gordhan

Just over a month ago chief financial officer Gary Pita resigned and left the company, citing health problems. A few weeks later chairperson Linda Mabaso resigned as did non-executive directors Vusi Nkoyane and Yasmin Forbes.

This left three remaining non-executive directors of the board, Potso Mathekga, Zainul Nagdee and Seth Radebe who indicated their desire to remain on the board; however the minister has chosen to remove them with immediate effect.

“Transnet is facing serious allegations of maladministration and corruption. The previous board has not demonstrated appreciation of the seriousness of issues at hand or the ability to deal with these decisively in order to protect the entity in the interest of South Africans,” Gordhan said.

“We have to hold directors of SOCs to a high standard of corporate governance and accountability and to protect the assets of the State.”

The appointment of the new interim board remains pending until approved by the Cabinet.


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Macuse on Google map appearing in article in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
location of the new deepwater port of Macuse in relation to Quelimane

Seventy-three families living in the Supinho region of Quelimane district in Zambézia province are in the process of being transferred to make way for the construction of the Macuse Deep Water Port, which will be used to export coal from Tete, reports Notícias.

In order to safeguard against potential future conflicts involving stakeholders, the resettlement process of these families is being preceded by four public consultation sessions.

Mamede Latif, executive director of Thai Mozambique Logistic (TMZ), told Notícias that…


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The first stage of the new Lamu port is nearing completion, from a news report carried by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The first stage of the new Lamu port as envisaged  is nearing completion

In a quest for economic security and at the invitation of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali has made a state visit to Kenya earlier in May during which they committed their countries to the development of LAPSSET – the northern transport corridor network that includes building a road network between Isiolo, Moyale through to Addis Ababa and a railway from Addis Ababa to Nairobi.

Of equal importance is the ongoing development of the new deep water port at Lamu, near the Somalia border, which has the potential of providing Ethiopia with yet another outlet to the sea.

Ethiopia feels vulnerable with a 90% dependence on using the port at Djibouti and has recently…


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Nicole Gouvias, Master Mariner, from a news report carried in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Nicole Gouvias, Master Mariner

Lawhill Maritime Centre at Simon’s Town has received news that one of its former pupils, 27-year old Nicole Gouvias, has formally obtained her Master Mariner’s licence in April 2018, thereby becoming the first ever South African female from the school to achieve the top honour in big ships sailing.

To add further to the distinction, it was not just an entry level licence, but an internationally-recognised Master’s Certificate of Competency (Unlimited) which means she is qualified to command a ship of any size in the world’s oceans.

STS Lawhill Maritime Center has been in existence for 23 years, providing 15 to 17 year old students with specialised knowledge and skills in maritime and other fields in their last three years of secondary schooling.

It is the only school in the Western Cape offering two maritime subjects; Maritime Economics and Nautical Science.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) – the country’s agency statutorily charged with, among other things, promoting South Africa’s maritime interests – is among a handful of institutions in both the public and private sectors that has consistently supported the school over the years, mainly through bursaries for youths from previously disadvantaged communities expressly keen on maritime and related studies.

This past week the school was visibly excited about Gouvias’ historical achievement, particularly in a maritime sector field where far few women have either qualified or thrived as sailors.

To date, even though South Africa is a maritime country with a coastline of some 3200 kilometres and an Exclusive Economic Zone measuring some 1.5-million square kilometres over three oceans, it has produced a disproportionately low number of female Master Mariners when compared with males.

In fact, the first ever three black female Master Mariners with unlimited licences only emerged in the last three years, though not from among former Lawhill students.

For Gouvias, according to the STS Lawhill Maritime Centre this past week, her achieving the qualification was a fulfillment of a long held childhood dream of becoming a ship’s captain one day.

She is currently serving as Chief Navigation Officer on board container vessels within Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping line.

She joined Safmarine as a cadet immediately after completing her studies at Simon’s Town School (which she attended from Grade 1 to Grade 12) and graduated cum-laude from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

“She received the internationally-recognised Masters Certificate of Competency in April this year. Doing so was the final step in achieving her dreams of being in command of a ship, as its Master or Captain. As Chief Navigation officer she is currently second in command on board vessel,” the school said in a statement.

Her former educator and currently still a tutor at the STS Lawhill Maritime Center, Mr Brian Ingpen as well as the school’s administrator, Ms Debbie Owen, share their views of the great achievement for Nicole and the school in the following video.

Maersk Line container ship (Maersk Carolina), accompanying a story in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maersk Line container ship (Maersk Carolina)

Meanwhile, Nicole, who was away at work overseas this week and therefore not available for an interview, was reported to have attributed her success to her tutors as well as the many retired sea captains who inspired her during their visits to the school.

She told the school: “I always enjoyed the stories told by Captain Schlemmer and the other retired shipmasters and it made me want to go out and make my own stories.

“Having the opportunity to do the maritime subjects at Simon’s Town School also made University chartwork exercises so much easier.

“I benefitted enormously from the constant words of encouragement of my maritime educators and the time Captain Schlemmer took to help me with chart work helped me be the person I am today,” she said.

According to Lawhill Maritime Centre, while Nicole’s career has taken her to many parts of the world – with Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Germany, South Korea, Portugal, China, USA. Argentina, Madagascar and Australia among her favourites – one of her goals is to see more of her own country, South Africa.

“A passionate animal lover, Nicole also enjoys spending her time caring for abandoned animals on her smallholding outside Stellenbosch,” said the school. source: SAMSA


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SIAL Asia Exhibition, appearing with report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SIAL Asia Exhibition

South African cuisine is set to tantalise the taste buds of the world at the SIAL China International Trade Fair for Food, which gets underway in China today (Wednesday).

The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) is leading 23 local companies from the agro-processing sector to the largest annual Asian food fair that will take place in Shanghai.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the three-day fair offers South African companies, which are…


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map of yemen and port of Hodeidah, where it is feared that a battle will soon take place. From a feature by IRIN carried with Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The United Nations made a failed attempt to evacuate more than 5,000 Yemenis from near the country’s largest port of Hodeidah, which is facing an imminent assault, according to a UN operational plan obtained by IRIN and discussions with aid officials.

The attempt on 27 April to move civilians to safer areas where they could receive assistance flopped. In the end, only a handful of locals showed up and the rest refused to move. “The whole thing was a failure,” said one humanitarian official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

For the past three years Houthi rebels and their allies have been fighting forces allied with internationally recognised (but deposed) President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and a Saudi Arabian-led coalition.

The battle for Houthi rebel-held Hodeidah appears to be inching ever closer, threatening to displace many in the city of 600,000 and further slow activity at the Red Sea port, which has historically brought in over two thirds of Yemen’s imports. On 14 May, the United Arab Emirates – the most active coalition member on the west coast – announced a new amphibious assault south of the port.

“It’s pretty clear that this is the real deal,” said Adam Baron, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “They are actually making legitimate momentum towards Hodeidah.”

Despite the initial failure, UN officials and aid workers suggest such evacuations could become a significant new relief tactic in Yemen, where 22 million people need aid, more than eight million are severely short of food, and the looming battle at Hodeidah threatens to take the crisis to another level.

Moving civilians out of harm’s way is a “last resort” in the humanitarian toolbox – and the plan in Yemen would have been risky, analysts say.

“Any sort of movement of civilians has to be voluntary,” said Sahr Muhammedally, Middle East and North African director at CIVIC. “It has to be a consultative process in these areas, with local communities, local NGOs, to see where people will leave, and who they may leave behind.”

Others in the humanitarian community believe the UN and aid agencies were getting ahead of themselves by planning evacuations, and said more pressure should be applied to avoid a battle for the city.

“The onus is very much on the parties to conflict to avoid causing displacement to the civilian population,” said Jenny McAvoy, director of protection at US NGO alliance InterAction. “It seems to be putting the cart way before the horse to talk about evacuation when the conversation and the issues that humanitarians should be raising must be about the parties to conflict avoiding displacement.”

Relocation bid unravels

The UN operational plan, obtained exclusively by IRIN, states that the relocation effort was coordinated by the UN after a request from the Houthi-controlled National Authority for the Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (NAMCHA) to help 1,600 households “trapped between front lines” as of 14 April.

It says that by 20 April violence had intensified in several areas in southern Hodeidah province, which runs along the Red Sea, prompting the action.

Street scene in Hodeidah, 1893. Wikipedia Commons, appearing with IRIN feature in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Street scene in Hodeidah, 1893. Wikipedia Commons

After some civilians were able to flee under their own steam, the UN planned to assist another 800 households that remained stuck in Hays district, near battle lines south of the port (the UN estimates an average of seven people per household, hence the 5,000+ figure).

Trapped civilians were to be taken from a “mustering point” to a “humanitarian service point” around 40 kilometres from the front lines where emergency aid – including food, blankets, kitchen supplies, and medical assistance – would be provided. They were also to be given rental subsidies and money for transportation, although where they were to go after is unclear.

Several aid agency officials, speaking to IRIN on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said the route was also to be “deconflicted”, meaning discussed and agreed with the Saudi-led coalition so they could put it on a no-strike list.

The UN was supposed to be joined by partner agencies including Save the Children, Oxfam, and Action Against Hunger (ACF), IRIN understands. The Norwegian Refugee Council, which has a 64-page policy on if and how to do wartime evacuations “did not commit to a role”, according to an official.

The Geneva Conventions include the possibility of civilian evacuations, but the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which acts as the guarantor of the conventions and would typically assist in such cases, said it had not been involved.

Why it failed

Several UN and aid officials told IRIN the plan fell flat because locals were not consulted and because no one made a clear case to the residents to explain why they should leave their only source of livelihood – their land.

“Some families refused to leave, basically because they don’t know what’s happening tomorrow, and they don’t want to leave their homes and everything they have in this life,” said Anas Shahari, a spokesman for Save the Children in Yemen.

The planning document does not mention consultations with locals ahead of the evacuation. It concludes that evacuees would move on to unspecified “final destination sites”, although they were to receive money towards rent and transport.

The evacuation would have been the first of its kind by the UN in Yemen, but the world body has performed them elsewhere.

In Syria, the UN’s involvement in a hasty and flawed “evacuation” in 2014 from Homs’ Old City fell below acceptable standards, even tolerating the screening of evacuees by internal security agencies, a review found.

In sharp contrast to the Yemen situation, plans for evacuations in Central African Republic the same year involved broad consultations with armed groups and took into account the views of the people at risk, but delays in actually carrying them out meant they came too late, although they likely saved lives.

Those critical of evacuations point to studies saying they run the risk of making aid agencies auxiliaries to the warring parties, or worsen vulnerability in the long-term and can ultimately put people at even more at risk.

“If people do decide to leave, it still does not negate the obligation of various parties of the conflict if they try to engage in battle where there may be very few civilians left,” Muhammedally added. “They cannot automatically assume a combatant status of those who decide not to leave.”

Ethical concerns

In Yemen, the plan created unease both inside the UN and among its humanitarian partners, according to several high level sources.

Some humanitarians feared moving civilians from the path of coalition and allied forces could be seen as clearing battle space, or give the appearance of benefiting the Saudi-led coalition.

At the same time, the Houthis could potentially take advantage of the operation to position civilians in strategic locations, or use deconflicted zones to their own advantage.

“We know evacuations have taken place in Iraq and other conflict-affected countries with lessons from which we can learn, but this won’t necessarily mean the evacuations model can or should be replicated in Yemen,” said Suze Van Meegan, an adviser with the Norwegian Refugee Council based in Yemen.

“Humanitarian actors in Yemen are very conscious of the ethical maze involved and will continue to assess situations on a case-by-case basis.”

The UN’s humanitarian efforts in Yemen are heavily funded by the coalition itself – most recently a one billion dollar infusion from Riyadh and the UAE received in March. At the same time, the UN’s human rights office says more than 60 percent of nearly 16,500 civilian deaths and injuries monitored since March 2015 were due to coalition airstrikes.

The battle for Hodeidah

UN and other aid agency officials were loathe to speak about the evacuation on the record. The UN’s humanitarian coordinator, Lise Grande, did not respond to IRIN’s request for comment. In March, Grande officially moved to Yemen from Iraq, where she had held the same position during the fight against so-called Islamic State and as millions were displaced from cities like Fallujah and Mosul.

A spokesperson for OCHA, the UN’s emergency aid coordination body, told IRIN they were “not in a position to confirm or deny” information about the attempted evacuation in Hodeidah.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a UN official did tell IRIN they were preparing for the possibilities of a battle at Hodeidah.

“If the conduct of hostilities on the west [Red Sea] coast continues, what I can tell you, the humanitarian community has plans… as humanitarians we are ready to respond to every eventuality.”

A battle for Hodeidah has been a possibility for years, and aid agencies have warned that a fight for the city will lead to catastrophic consequences, not only for the civilians who live nearby, but for millions of Yemenis who rely on the goods its port provides.

Now, thousands of coalition fighters are reportedly advancing towards Hodeidah from the south.

While Yemeni military officials opposing the Houthis have said the advance will avoid entering densely populated areas, the province is home to nearly three million people.

Late last year, the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, told IRIN that an intensification of conflict in Hodeidah could lead to large-scale displacement of anywhere between 100,000 to half a million people. Some two million people are already displaced in Yemen.

source: IRIN / UN author: Samuel Oakford Freelance journalist based in New York, and regular IRIN contributor


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Liaoning at Hong Kong July 2017
China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning at Hong Kong, China, July 2017

China’s second aircraft carrier – as yet unnamed as far as is known – has made an appearance by going on sea trials on Sunday, 13 May 2018.

The announcement was made by state media. The aircraft carrier, built completely locally as compared with China’s first flat top, LIAONING, which started life as a Ukraine-built aircraft carrier intended for the then Soviet Navy, but was sold to China in 1998 and completed in…


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Tiamat when she was under different ownership and named Ls Aizenshtat, aqs appearing in Anews report with Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tiamat when she was under different ownership and named Ls Aizenshtat

US and Guatemalan authorities have carried out a stop and search procedure involving a Tanzania-flagged containership TIAMAT (IMO 9117753) off the Guatemalan coast, which revealed a hidden consignment of an estimated three tons of cocaine.

The Turkish-owned and managed Tiamat (Okyanus Lojistik Service Co) was sailing in Guatemalan waters when stopped and ordered to proceed to the port of Puerto Quetzal. Authorities discovered…


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The Pearl of the Caspian, makes a new record

Port of Jakarta, IAPH member, from report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Jakarta, IAPH member

On 15 May 2018 The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) reported that the previous week it had convened its conference in Baku, Azerbaijan (from 8 – 11 May) with the theme Ports of the Future: Building Hubs, Accelerating Connectivity.

Hosted by Baku International Sea Trade Port CJSC (Dr Taleh Ziyadov, Director-General), this event turned out to be the most successful and well-attended Mid-term conference of IAPH, attracting more than 400 delegates, accompanying persons, speakers and exhibitors from 65 nations.

The opening ceremony was staged at Heydar Aliyev Center – a symbol of modern Baku, on 9 May.

In his opening speech, IAPH President Santiago García-Mila stressed the significance of…

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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PaxOcean Singapore, from a story carried by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
PaxOcean Singapore

UK-headquartered Newport Shipping has added to its global network of ship repair yards with facilities in Singapore, Indonesia and China, following the signing of a cooperation agreement with Singapore-based PaxOcean.

The agreement, specific to PaxOcean’s Pertama (Batam, Indonesia), PaxOcean Singapore and PaxOcean Zhoushan facilities, brings Newport’s tally of ship repair yards to six, totalling 13 drydocks and providing annual drydocking capacity for more than 1000 vessels.

Newport Shipping Group CEO Erol Sarikaya said: “We are delighted that PaxOcean has added three shipyards to Newport Shipping’s network of shipyards. These three ship repair yards help to strengthen a growing portfolio of ship repair facilities around the world.”

Newport Shipping Group already has cooperation agreements in place with the Zhoushan Longshan and Fujian Huadong shipyards in China, and the Cicek Shipyard, in Tuzla, Turkey. The company is also in the process of finalising agreements with other yards, coatings suppliers and original equipment manufacturers.

While the group’s repair yards are all strategically located within the lower cost regions of the Pacific/Atlantic trading zones, “they are all state-of-the-art facilities capable of handling all ship types and sizes and carrying out highly complex ship repair projects and retrofits,” said Mr. Sarikaya.

PaxOcean Pertama, Batam (Indonesia), appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
PaxOcean Pertama, Batam (Indonesia)

“We now have the ability to offer a total annual drydocking capacity for more than 1,000 vessels, offering shipowners the freedom to drydock where best suits their operational needs.”

Commenting on the decision to work together with Newport, Mr. Tan Thai Yong, Chief Executive Officer, PaxOcean Holdings Pte Ltd, said: “Newport’s overall strategy to provide shipowners with a standardised drydocking for all their ship repair, maintenance and equipment upgrades complements PaxOcean’s capabilities in executing and delivering quality, reliable and cost-efficient solutions.

“We found Newport Shipping’s unique financing capabilities particularly attractive since vessels repaired at Newport’s docks will be fully paid for before leaving the yard. This de-risks any payment problems and reduces considerably the shipyard’s administrative burden.”

Another novel aspect to the cooperation agreements Newport Shipping has with its yards, is the procurement and delivery of equipment and spare parts for ship repair projects.

Roy Yap, Newport Shipping’s Chief Operating Officer said: “The agreements we have in place with shipowners covers all maintenance costs in addition to drydocking costs, such as spare parts, equipment upgrades, specialist and retrofit works, such as those for BWTS or scrubbers. By procuring the delivery of spare parts upon vessel arrival, we help shipowners eliminate unnecessary time off-hire, while optimising project time and planning for the shipyard.”


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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Perseus Liberty. Picture: Keith Betts, appearing in a feature in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Perseus Liberty. Picture: Keith Betts

The Japanese Ro-Ro car carrier PERSEUS LIBERTY (IMO 9177430) of NYK Line made a rare visit to Durban during April on what may have been the first time this particular car carrier had called in South Africa, despite Perseus Liberty being one of NYK’s older car carriers in service. The ship was built in 1999. With a length of 200 metres and a beam of 32.2m and a gross wegiht of 57,449 tons, Perseus Liberty has a capacity of 6,000 motor cars making her one of the biggest such ships when she was first launched. The ship is Japanese-owned and commercially managed by Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, with her ISM management by Wallem Sipmanagement of Hong Kong. This picture is by Keith Betts



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