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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Tokomaru Bay approaching the port of Durban, June 2018, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPSmaritime news. Picture: Keith Betts
Tokomaru Bay. Picture: Keith Betts

Sailing far from her New Zealand namesake, the bulk carrier TOKOMARU BAY (IMO 9604782) arrives in Durban earlier in June. Named not after Japanese interests, as the name might initially suggest, but a place of the same name on New Zealand’s North Island, on the East coast some 90km north of Gisborne. The name originates from a derivation meaning bay of sandflies, by the way. The ship is currently owned by STC Shipping registered in Singapore, where the bulker is also flagged. Her ship manager is the firm of Northstar Ship Management situated in Hong Kong. At 28,258-dwt Tokomaru Bay has a length of 170 metres and a width of 27m and was built in 2011 at the Imabari Shipbuilding yard in Imabari, Japan. This picture was taken by Keith Betts


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Douala Container Terminal, Cameroon, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Douala Container Terminal

Cameroon has shortlisted four international terminal operators to potentially handle the Douala Port container terminal concession.

In January this year Cameroon called for expressions of interest ahead of the expiry next year of the existing concession agreement in favour of a combined operation between the French company Bolloré Africa Logistics and Maersk’s APM Terminals, known as DIT.

Ten companies expressed their interest in the future concession but this number has been shortlisted to four by the Cameroon authorities.

The four remaining companies in the running to operate the Douala Container Terminal are…[restrict] the present concession holder (Bolloré Africa Logistics and APM Terminals); Dubai’s DP World which is active in several places across Africa, including at Maputo in Mozambique; Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH); and Singapore’s PSA International.

HPH was at one time interested in the Durban Container Terminal in the late 1990s when it was still the intention of the South African government to issue concessions for private operation of all South African port terminals, a policy that was scrapped following intense union opposition.

HPH operates in 52 ports in 26 countries across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia and is the world’s leading port terminal operator,

Douala pilot boat in action, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Douala pilot boat in action

PSA International is one of the world’s largest port operators, handling 74 million container TEUs in 2017 and ports across Asia, India, the Middle East, Turkey, Europe and the Mediterranean, and the Americas.

Dubai’s DP World needs little introduction having been in the news almost constantly in recent months. DP World operates 77 marine and inland terminals supported by over 50 related businesses in 40 countries across six continents where it has a significant presence in both high-growth and mature markets. Never far from controversy the Dubai-based company has recently been immersed in several disputes involving terminal and port operations in the Gulf of Aden, that have been well documented in these pages and elsewhere.

The fourth company shortlisted is the current terminal concession-holder DIT, consisting of a partnership between Bolloré Africa Logistics and AP Moller Terminals two companies with strong footholds in West Africa. Bolloré also operates the container terminal at the nearby deepwater port at Kribi on a concession shared with French Group CMA CGM and China’s CHEC.[/restrict]


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Dumisani Ntuli, acting DG at the Dept of Transport shown during the Day of the Seafarer this week in Cape Town, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Dumisani Ntuli, acting DG at the Dept of Transport shown during the Day of the Seafarer this week in Cape Town

The International Day of the Seafarer (DOTS) was commemorated in three multi-city events held yesterday in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, as has been reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS.

25 June each year marks the acknowledgement and remembrance of the sacrifice seafarers have made over the centuries, in ensuring that the world functions swiftly through their efforts.

The Department of Transport (DOT), in partnership with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) hosted the commemorative DOTS events in the form of roundtable discussions involving seafarers and maritime industry leaders.

DOTS is an International Maritime Organization (IMO) calendar event that is being marked globally by all maritime nations.

Critical issues facing the seafarers’ day to day implementation of their duties were raised during robust question and answer sessions.

DOT and SAMSA, as custodians of the South Africa seafarers’ registry, reiterated that seafarers’ matters was everyone’s business. To this end the DOTS theme for this year, “Seafarer’s Wellbeing” entrenched government’s commitment in protecting the men and women who risk their lives in order to ensure goods travel freely, and daily living needs transported.

Dr Bonginkosi Nzimande, Minister of Transport, said in a statement: “As vital as the industry is to the world and its people, equally important is the work of the brave seafarers who perform one of the most difficult jobs in the world.”

Nzimande said had it not been for seafarers, the global trade would come to a standstill.

During the roundtable sessions, delegates heard the DOT had committed to enhancing the wellbeing of seafarers by proposing to add specialised health services in vessels.

Dumisani Ntuli, head of Maritime Transport in DOT, said through the assistance of the Department of Health, the health services onboard would be beefed-up.

“We are determined to roll out services to help elevate the health status of the seafarers, while working at sea.

“Psychological, medical and physiological services will help ease the burden faced by seafarers, while removed from land services. Health professionals will soon be travelling with seafarers,” said Ntuli.

“As a country, in comparison to other maritime nations, we have a low number of seafarers. To catapult the growth of the country’s maritime industry, we need more youth to consider the maritime industry in choosing their preferred career paths.

“By ensuring the wellbeing of our current seafarers, we understand that we may be able to inspire the younger generations to enter the maritime industry.”

Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Operating Officer for SAMSA reiterated the authority’s openness to seafarers and informed those gathered that the overall wellbeing of seafarers was their priority.

Seafarers had to prepare themselves for the challenges associated with working in a diverse and multi-cultural environment, he said.

Some seafarers gathered in Durban asserted that one of the challenges they faced at sea was being perceived as ill-disciplined when they raised labour-related issues with their superiors on-board.

Sobantu Tilayi, acting COO at SAMSA, who featured in a story appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Sobantu Tilayi

Tilayi said: “It is important for our seafarers to understand that it is the Merchant Shipping Act, rather than the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, which governs the labour rights of seafarers.”

He encouraged seafarers to view the maritime industry in its global context, and consider the norms and standards established in the companies in which they worked.

“We encourage all our seafarers to understand the complexities of the industry they serve,” Tilayi said.

DOT and SAMSA said the maritime industry had the potential to address the high unemployment rate, and a plan of action was necessary to include the following interventions:

● Adopt South African models and knowledge to solve the country’s unemployment rate.
● Develop and own a South African shipping fleet for economic growth.
● Develop a seafarers’ culture and create employment opportunities for qualified South African seafarers.
● Develop a career path plan.
● Build the fishing industry to accommodate SA seafarers.
● Strengthen the capacity of the SA Agulhas to use it as a training vessel for South African seafarers.
● Integrate technological advancements in the industry.

Ntuli pointed out that in previous years the Unicorn and Safmarine Shipping lines were South African owned, which also traded in international waters and South African coastal shores. As a result, South Africa’s maritime sector was booming.

With the migration of these two companies offshore South Africa’s maritime sector was negatively impacted.

Ntuli added that South Africa needed to develop and grow its shipping lines on its coastal highway to recover its previous prestige.


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Computer image of Coral South FLNG courtesy LR, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Computer image courtesy LR

LR says that it supports the Coral South FLNG project in Mozambique.

The scope of work that LR is undertaking covers design, procurement, certification, construction, integration and commissioning, as well as providing classification services under a risk based inspection regime to the FLNG when it enters into service in 2022.

The Coral South field is being developed by Eni in Area Four of the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of Mozambique. The floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) unit will be Africa’s first floating gas facility. The size, quality and position of the field’s resources are set to transform Mozambique’s economy. The Coral South field contains approximately 450 billion cubic meters of gas.

The Coral South FLNG unit will be the world’s first ultra-deepwater FLNG, operating at a depth of 2,000 metres. It is expected…[restrict] to produce around 3.4 million tons of LNG per year. The FLNG will be about 430 metres long, 66m wide, and will weigh about 210,000 tons. It has a design life of 25 years.

Lloyd’s Register (LR) is providing project support through a range of services. LR has been the leading technical service provider to the gas supply chain for over 50 years and has experience in complex FLNG projects.

LR has been involved in the project since 2014, and was awarded a first Approval in Principle for the design in 2015. LR’s primary role in the project is to ensure that the FLNG operates safely, and to protect the safety of the workers onboard the unit, whose design is to be in accordance with most recognized industry standards.

LR will be heavily involved throughout the entire supply chain. The project is currently in a detailed engineering design phase, with the bulk of design work happening in Korea, France and Japan.

All the equipment, systems and machinery that make up the topside plant on the FLNG will be certified by LR. To do this LR will be holding more than 500 contracts with equipment vendors directly and will be delivering services in all vendor locations. This will result in all the equipment arriving in Korea certified by LR to agreed codes and standards.

Upon completion of construction, the FLNG will be towed from Korea to Mozambique and LR will be in attendance to witness the hook up of the mooring system and to survey the commissioning of the topside plant on station. LR site surveyors will confirm that the unit is installed and commissioned in accordance with its rules and the industry codes and standards that it is designed to. source: Lloyd’s Register[/restrict]

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Ghana's Takoradi port, featured in Africa PORTS& SHIPS maritime news
Ghana’s Takoradi port

The introduction of the national Single Window system has saved Ghana US$500m since its implementation in 2016, reports Ghanaweb quoting a University of Ghana Business School report.

Dubbed the Ghana Business Development Review, the 20-page report discusses developments, performance,…[restrict] managerial and governance issues and major constraints on businesses covering the period 2015-2017.

According to the report, the introduction of the Single Window system, apart from increasing revenue, had also made operations at the ports more effective and productive.

The report also quoted figures from the Ghana Revenue Authority’s Customs Division’s Monthly Revenue performance, noting that the implementation of the single window system had increased government revenue significantly by 24% over the past two years, rising from GH¢744 billion in 2015 to GH¢975 billion in 2017. source: Ghanaweb/UGBS[/restrict]


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Kenya Railways SGR freight train, featuring on Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Kenya Railways SGR freight train

A report in the Nation newspaper of Kenya states that the standard gauge railway (SGR) service from Mombasa to Nairobi and connecting with the inland container terminal at Embakasi will see an increase in the number of daily trains departing from the port.

The increase in trains is intended to facilitate the movement of cargo from the port and to help reduce any likelihood of congestion.

At present only four freight trains a day operate the service, each carrying a maximum of 108 containers.

However, Lu Shan, China Communications Construction Company chairman, is quoted as saying that currently they are operating 12 freight trains a day on a daily basis and that these will be increased to 28 trains daily by December.

The railway also sees two passenger trains each day, each way. The confusion in the reports over the number of trains may arise over the number of trains running in each direction. Four freight trains heading out of Mombasa will be matched by four heading towards the port, giving eight trains in total. Add the four passenger trains (two each way) brings the total to 12.

Any correction or confirmation of this will be appreciated. Efforts at getting a response have so far failed.

The inland container terminal outside Nairobi has the capacity to handle 450,000 TEUs per year, an increase from the original design of 180,000 TEU. It is this depot that the report says is receiving just four trains a day.

A report carried by the Chinese news agency Xinhua quotes Paul Maringa, Principal Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, as saying that Phase 2A of the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR line being constructed by the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) is currently 70 per cent complete. This is an extension of the SGR railway beyond Nairobi.

“The SGR line is expected to help take modernity to the far flung parts of the southwestern Kenya by opening up the hinterlands,” Maringa said. source: Marine Link and Nation


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Kommetjie NSRI station building.  Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news. picture: NSRI
picture: NSRI

In a sequel to the story in yesterday’s edition of Africa PORTS & SHIPS about a whale carcass being found at sea off the Kommetjie coast and towed into Hout Bay by the NSRI, a second carcass has been reported and recovered. Read on….


Ian Klopper, NSRI Kommetjie station commander, now reports that at 14h30 yesterday (Tuesday 26 June), the NSRI Kommetjie crew was alerted by an Estate Manager in Kommetjie reporting a whale carcass on Kommetjie Beach.

“We responded to investigate and located the carcass of a Southern Right baby whale foetus,” he said.

The City of Cape Town Waste Management Department was also contacted and is arranging the removal of the carcass.

Klopper said that it is suspected that the 3.5 metre-long baby whale carcass is related to the same incident of an 18 metre Southern Right Whale carcass that was found floating off-shore of Kommetjie yesterday and towed to Hout Bay for recovery and disposal.

“It may be that the adult whale died during delivery of the baby and both whales died,” he said. This is being investigated by City of Cape Town Marine Authorities as a possibility.


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 Virgin Cruise ship design
Image courtesy Virgin Cruises

ABB to supply the complete electric power and propulsion package for the Virgin Voyages’ new fleet

The initial Virgin Voyages vessel, due for delivery in 2020, will be the first of a fleet of three innovative ships designed and built with environmental responsibility in mind.

Each of the 110,000 gross ton vessels will feature ABB’s Azipod® propulsion, a gearless steerable propulsion system where the electric drive motor is in a submerged pod outside the ship hull. Azipod® propulsion has become an industry standard in the cruise segment, with the proven ability to cut fuel consumption by up to 15 percent compared to traditional shaftline propulsion systems.

“Making Virgin Voyages environmentally sustainable is central to our vision and we are delighted ABB’s Azipod® propulsion will help us achieve that goal. Combined with excellent manoeuverability, it was a natural choice for our ships,” said Stuart Hawkins, Senior Vice President, Marine & Technical Operations for Virgin Voyages.

“Azipod® electric propulsion stands for innovation and efficiency like no other propulsion system and is fundamental to our vision of electric, digital and connected shipping,” said Peter Terwiesch, president ABB’s Industrial Automation division. “Based on 25 years of experience and development, our Azipod® propulsion technology continues to lead ships into the future of e-mobility, underpinning our commitment to a technology with superior performance, reliability, safety and environmental profile.”

Two Azipod® XO units, with a combined propulsion power of 32 MW (43,000 HP) will propel each of the three ships. In addition to highest energy efficiency, Azipod® XO units, where “X” stands for “next generation” and “O” for open water operation, provide high manoeuverability and minimal noise for increased passenger comfort.

Each vessel will feature ABB’s complete electric power plant concept – a solution encompassing electricity generators, main switchboards, distribution transformers and a remote control system for maneuvering the Azipod® units from the bridge. The combination of Azipod® propulsion and ABB’s electric power plant concept makes it possible to configure all of the equipment for optimized performance, resulting in increased efficiency and lower emissions.

In line with ABB’s “Electric. Digital. Connected.” approach that envisages shipping’s digital and connected future, these vessels will have the capability to connect to the ABB AbilityTM Collaborative Operations Centers infrastructure. This network uses remote equipment monitoring and data analytics to enable predictive maintenance, planned interventions or even remote technical support.

The four-stroke engines powering the electricity generators – four per vessel – will be equipped with ABB’s TPL-C turbochargers, designed to handle demanding operations and consistently chosen for large cruise ships for their reliability and efficiency.

Each of the ships will be 278 metres long and 38 metres wide, and accommodate more than 2,700 passengers and 1,150 crew. All three ships will be built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy, with the second and third vessel deliveries scheduled for 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Since the first installation over 25 years ago, Azipod® propulsion has saved approximately 700,000 tons of fuel while clocking up close to 15 million running hours at an impressive availability rate of 99.8 percent. In March 2018, Azipod® propulsion secured its 100th contract for powering a cruise ship.

By being placed outside of the hull, the Azipod® propulsion system frees up space for more cabins. Due to minimal noise and vibration, Azipod® propulsion also improves passenger and crew comfort. The units’ ability to turn in all directions increases cruise ships’ access to ports without tug assistance. Options for Azipod® propulsion now span 1.5MW to 22MW.

About ABB

ABB is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 135,000 employees.


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Indian Navy ship INS TEG in exercises off the SA coast, feaured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Brazilian Naval ship BS BARROSO taking part in IBSAMAR 2014 of the Cape coast.     Picture by Louis Vosloo

The navies of Brazil, Uruguay and South Africa will participate in Exercise Atlasur XI during the months of August and September this year.

The exercise will take place along the South African coast, with the two South American countries sending ships to participate.

A notable absentee this time round is Argentina because, it is believed, of…[restrict] financial issues.

Normally the exercise is held every two years, alternating between South African and South American waters but has not been held since 2014.

Exercise IBSAMAR 2014 was held off the South African coast. Here the Indian Navy frigate INS TEG is seen on patrol. Picture: Louis Vosloo, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Exercise IBSAMAR 2014 was held off the South African coast that year. Here the Indian Navy frigate INS TEG is seen on patrol.    Picture: Louis Vosloo

So far only Uruguay has revealed which ships they will be sending – the replenishment vessel ROU 4 GENERAL ARTIGAS, which has a crew of 140 and will include an onboard helicopter.

The month-long exercise will take place between 20 August and 24 September.

The SA Navy also participates in joint exercises with India and Brazil, known as Exercise IBSAMAR, and with the German Navy (Exercise Good Hope). Both these exercises are usually held in South African waters but there are exceptions, such as when the SA Navy frigate SAS AMATOLA travelled to the UK to mark the centenary of the sinking of SS Mendi, after which Amatola sailed to Germany where Exercise Good Hope was held in the Baltic Sea.

This was in February 2017.[/restrict]


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Carine Magdo of aqua-tools, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Carine Magdo

Piraeus-based engineering and manufacturing firm Maritech Ltd has signed a sales and distribution agreement with French water microbiology company aqua-tools to meet “significant interest” in onboard ballast water testing from Greek shipowners.

The agreement, which covers the training and supply of aqua-tools’ B-QUA test kit, was inked during the Posidonia 2018 event, in early June.

“Greek shipowners are looking at the use of indicative-based monitoring as a means of assessing the efficiency of their ships’ ballast water treatment systems,” said Maritech Business Development Manager Dimitris Nikoleris.

“We have talked to a number of high-profile owners and many are concerned that they could face financial penalties if they are found to be inadvertently operating systems incompatible with the rules or if these systems are under performing. It is difficult to verify the treatment efficiency of these closed loop systems. The agreement we have in place with aqua-tools means Greek shipowners can now benefit from a cost-effective solution for evaluating system performance.”

Maritech’s initial focus will be to target its client base of Greek owners with fleets of 80 ships or more.

“There is high interest in B-QUA and the ATP2G test method pioneered by aqua-tools,” said Nikoleris. “It is a complete solution. Compared to other test methods, the ATP2G protocol is the only one capable of rapidly assessing the viability of all organism sizes stipulated in the Convention.

“We are looking at being able to report new orders in the next few weeks,” he added.

Carine Magdo, aqua-tools’ Business Development Manager, said: “We are delighted to have signed this agreement with Maritech. As operators of one of the world’s largest fleets, Greek shipowners could potentially provide the ballast water treatment and monitoring sector with its largest market. However, they could also provide a good income stream for Port State Control authorities if they cannot verify these systems are operating in line with the rules. The onboard use of our B-QUA system delivers the evidence owners and manufacturers need to ensure their systems are doing the job intended.”

aqua-tools is currently extending its distributor network and is looking at exploring new opportunities aimed at further strengthening its global presence in the ballast water segment.


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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.


MSC Regulus departing Durban June 2018. as featured in Africa PORS & SHIPS maritime news. Picture: Trevor Jones
MSC Regulus. Picture: Trevor Jones

The impressive sight of the 366-metre long, 48m wide neo-Panamax type container ships MSC REGULUS (IMO 9465291) sailing from the berth that was about to be taken by another company ship, the almost as big MSC SAVANNAH – shown in yesterday’s edition of Africa PORTS & SHIPS CLICK HERE. The two quite big ships had crossed inside the harbour, a practice only introduced some years ago to speed up operations at the container terminal.

MSC Regulus is dimensionally among the largest container ships calling regularly at Durban. The 148,542-dwt ship was built in 2012 as the E.R. Regulus at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard at Ulsan, South Korea as their hull, but has been sailing in MSC colours since 2012 and ownership since June 2014.

On 17 December 2016 the 13,102-TEU capacity MSC Regulus was in a collision with an Ecuadorian fishing vessel named DON GARARDO II, carrying 23 people. The force of the collision that took place when the Don Gerardo II crossed the path of the container ship, saw the fishing vessel capsize and sink. Five people died in the collision and another six were officially missing, later presumed dead despite an immediate search and rescue procedure from relevant Peruvian and Ecuadorian authorities as well as the container ship, which took on board the survivors including some who were wounded. MSC was on her way from Callao, Peru to Lázaro Cárdenas, Mexico at the time of the collision.

So next time you pause to admire a ship in the harbour, or gaze in admiration at its photograph, take pause to think of the people on board going about their daily business and what their stories might be, while considering the possibility of drama and excitement that may fill a part of the canvas surrounding this ship and its years at sea.

This picture is by Trevor Jones



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