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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Melanesian Chief. Picture: Alan Calvert, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Melanesian Chief.      Picture: Alan Calvert

The container ship MELANESIAN CHIEF (IMO 8809191) arriving in the New Zealand port of Lyttelton with container of cement to discharge. The 13,387-dwt ship has a container capacity of 981 TEU and was built in Japan at the Miho Zosen shipyard at Shimizu where she was later lengthened in November 2005 to 158 metres long (width 22m). Originally named Coral Chief, the ship is owned and operated by China Navigation (the Swire Group). This picture is by Alan Calvert

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Number 10 Downing Street. Illustration from, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Number 10 Downing Street. Illustration from

Theresa May visits South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya for the first time with senior ministers and a wide-ranging trade delegation

Theresa May is leading an ambitious trip to Africa this week on her first visit to the continent as Prime Minister.

She will be the first British Prime Minister to visit Sub-Saharan Africa since 2013, and the first to Kenya for over 30 years.

This visit comes at a time of enormous change across Africa with a unique opportunity, as the UK moves towards Brexit, for a truly Global Britain to invest in and work alongside African nations, with mutual benefits.

The Prime Minister’s central message will be focused on a renewed partnership between the UK and Africa, which will seek to maximise shared opportunities and tackle common challenges in a continent that is growing at a rapid pace – from the Sahara to South Africa.

She will use a speech on the opening day of the visit in Cape Town to set out how the UK can build this partnership side by side with Africa, particularly by bringing the transformative power of private sector trade and investment from the UK to a continent that is home to 16% of the world’s population but just 3% of Foreign Direct Investment and 3% of global goods trade.

As Africa seeks to meet the needs of its growing population the visit will also emphasise that it is in the world’s interest to help secure African stability, jobs and growth because conflict, poor work prospects and economic instability will continue to encourage migration and dangerous journeys to Europe.

Because nations cannot prosper without security, the Prime Minister will also use the visit to announce further support to tackle instability across the region.

“Africa stands right on the cusp of playing a transformative role in the global economy, and as longstanding partners this trip is a unique opportunity at a unique time for the UK to set out our ambition to work even closer together,” Prime Minister May said prior to her flight.

“A more prosperous, growing and trading Africa is in all of our interests and its incredible potential will only be realised through a concerted partnership between governments, global institutions and business.

“As we prepare to leave the European Union, now is the time for the UK to deepen and strengthen its global partnerships. This week I am looking forward to discussing how we can do that alongside Africa to help deliver important investment and jobs as well as continue to work together to maintain stability and security.

“I am proud to be leading this ambitious trip to Africa and to become the first UK Prime Minister in over 30 years to visit Kenya.”

The Prime Minister will be joined by a business delegation made up of 29 representatives from UK business – half of which are SMEs – from across all regions of the UK and its devolved administrations. The delegation shows the breadth and depth of British expertise in technology, infrastructure, and financial and professional services.

Delegates include:
• The London Stock Exchange
• Cardiff-based cooling technology firm Sure Chill
• Solar tech provider Northumbria Energy from North Tyneside
• London-based start-up who have created a knowledge-sharing mobile platform for farmers
• Northern Irish agri-tech leader Devenish Nutrition
• The world-renowned Scotch Whisky Association
• Midlands manufacturing giant JCB

Also travelling are Trade Minister George Hollingbery and Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns will join the visit in South Africa to support the Welsh companies in the business delegation, while the Lord Mayor of London Alderman Charles Bowman is also accompanying the Prime Minister.

Tuynhuys, the Cape Town offices of the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa. Picture: Wikipedia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tuynhuys, the Cape Town offices of the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa. Picture: Wikipedia

The Prime Minister will begin her trip in Cape Town where she has arrived to see President Cyril Ramaphosa and meet young people and business leaders.

While in South Africa the Prime Minister will present the Mendi bell to President Ramaphosa in a ceremony at Cape Town’s presidential office the Tuynhuys – over a century after it was lost in a shipwreck.

Over 600 troops, the majority black South Africans, died when the Mendi tragically sank in the English Channel in 1917, on their way to join the Allied forces on the Western Front. It was the worst maritime disaster in South Africa’s history, and the Mendi has become a symbol of the country’s First World War remembrance.

In Nigeria the Prime Minister will meet President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja and spend time in Lagos meeting victims of modern slavery – a cause Theresa May has worked passionately to tackle.

In Nairobi she will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta and see British soldiers training troops from Kenya and other African countries in the techniques needed to identify and destroy improvised explosive devices before they go to fight Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

She will also commit to helping support the next generation of energetic, ambitious young Kenyans as they seek to build a more prosperous country in the years ahead.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Indian Ocean, featured in report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

South Africa is participating in the 3rd Indian Ocean Conference which is expected to promote strategic cooperation and trade ties between regional countries, among others.

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Luwellyn Landers will represent South Africa in the conference which kicked off yesterday morning at Hanoi, Vietnam, under the theme: “Building Regional Architectures”.

The two-day conference, which has drawn 250 attendees from 43 countries and territories, will also…


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Luanda Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Luanda Bay

Investors are becoming concerned with entrenched state corruption and the persistently weak state of the economy, says a report published by EXXAfrica Business Risk Intelligence

Since gaining power one year ago, Angolan President João Lourenço has enjoyed the benefits of renewed market optimism and fresh investor interest in the important oil-producing African economy. However, the report says there are growing indications that the new government’s ‘honeymoon’ period is over as investors are becoming concerned with entrenched state corruption and the persistently weak state of the economy.

Lourenço has launched a high profile crack-down on corruption and sought to end industry monopolies. However, so far the only graft cases pursued by his administration have been politically motivated, thus allowing…


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NRZ train as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
NRZ train

The highly dilapidated Zimbabwean rail network is set is set for a cash injection under a new multi-party concession.

A private Zimbabwean company, Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG), and South African transport utility Transnet have joined state-owned National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) in a concession to operate the rail network, in a deal that was struck last year, reports Bulk Materials International.

One of the new operators’ main priorities is…


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Manakara, as appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

According to reports a feasibility study into the development of a new port at Manakara in Madagascar is being assessed by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Manakara is situated on the south-east coast of Madagascar a little more than halfway between the island’s main port of Toamasina and Tolanaro (Fort Dauphin) which is…


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Lyttelton Harbour. Illustrations kindly provided by OMC International DUKC® ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Lyttelton Harbour.       Illustrations kindly provided by OMC International DUKC® ©

OMC International, provider of under-keel clearance technology for ports and harbours, has helped Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) significantly reduce the volume of dredging required to upgrade the Port’s entrance channel, through use of Dynamic Under Keel Clearance (DUKC®) technology.

As the month of August draws to a close one of the world’s largest dredgers will start work enlarging the entrance channel to Lyttelton Port, New Zealand, it is reported.

In Stage 1 of the project the existing 7km shipping channel will be lengthened by 2.5km, widened by 20m and deepened to increase maximum vessel draughts from 12.4m to 13.3m. The project is the result of more than two years of careful planning and stakeholder consultation by LPC.

With container ships having doubled in size in the past ten years, the channel deepening project is necessary to ensure the Port can accommodate larger vessels and support Lyttelton’s future as the South Island’s major international trade gateway.

LPC Chief Executive Peter Davie said dredging of the shipping channel “will enable larger ships to call at Lyttelton Port providing Canterbury’s importers and exporters the best possible and most cost effective international shipping solutions.”

As part of the Port’s commitment to minimise the environmental impacts of the project and provide an efficient service to its stakeholders, LPC engaged OMC International to review the preliminary channel design and determine optimum channel depths required to allow the larger ships to safely transit to and from the Port, it is understood.

Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

“OMC provided LPC with two alternative channel design profiles,” said Project Director Martin Watts. He added: “The first design was the most efficient design that could be achieved if LPC continued to use traditional methods for managing the under-keel clearance of deep-draught vessel transits. The second design was based on applying a more scientific decision-making process using OMC’s DUKC® system.

“LPC evaluated the costs and benefits of the two approaches and the outcome was clear: The decision to adopt the DUKC® system has allowed LPC to reduce the dredging volume required for Stage 1 of the deepening project by more than 40% compared with initial estimates, which were based on standard industry guidelines.

“Adoption of DUKC® will provide the port with a significant reduction in capital dredging costs and ongoing operational benefits through wider vessel sailing windows and a reduced risk of vessels grounding under severe conditions.”

Channel dredging should be completed by November and Lyttelton Port expects to be able to accommodate deeper vessels by the end of 2018 when the new navigation aids, and DUKC® system, will be installed and operational.

Two relevant background videos are available here:

DUKC® technology: CLICK HERE


LPC Channel Deepening project: CLICK HERE

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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As previewed in our article in Africa PORTS & SHIPS of 27 June 2018, the navies of several nations will shortly be taking part in the biannual EXERCISE ATLASUR which this year takes place in South Africa waters, with the SA Navy base at Simon’s Town acting as the base for the exercise.

Exercise Atlasur takes place from Friday this week, 31 August and ends on 21 September 2018.

Navies taking part are the hosts this year, South African Navy, Brazil and Uruguay. Argentina will not participate this time round.

The theme for this year’s exercise is “Combined we are combating illegal trade” with special reference to the illegal trafficking of people and to trafficking in drugs and arms at sea.

The planned activities for this year’s exercise are as follows:

* 31 August-6 September: Alongside Phase 1 programme. Simon’s Town harbour.
* 6-9 September: Sea Phase 1 programme. False Bay area.
* 9-14 September: Sea Phase 2 programme. False Bay area and West coast area.
* 14-17 September: Alongside Phase 2 programme. Simon’s Town harbour.
* 17-20 September: Sea Phase 2 programme. Simon’s Town and West coast.
* 21 September: Conclusion of Exercise ATLASUR XI (2018).

Naval ships taking part are:

South African Navy: SAS AMATOLA, SAS PROTEA, SAS MANTHATISI and Maritime Reaction Teams (Boats, Reaction Force, Divers, Boarding).
South African Air Force: 1 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft, 1 Lynx embarked on SAS AMATOLA, 1 Medium Transport Helicopter (Oryx) and 2 Fighter Aircraft.
South African Military Health Service: 1 Medical Task Group
Brazil: BNS BARROSO (Frigate), 1 Super Lynx, 1 Platoon Special Forces (7 Members)
Uruguay: ROU GENERAL ARTIGAS (Replenishing Vessel), 1 Visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) Team.


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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.



Lisinda by Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Lisinda departing Durban, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news Pictures by Keith Betts
Lisinda.         Pictures: Keith Betts

Fishing vessels are often overlooked amid all the imposing bulk carriers, container ships and RoRo car carriers but for some ports they are a vital part of the scenery and activity – Cape Town being the most obvious point in South African terms. The Port of Durban by contrast sees relatively few fishing vessels, although it does play host to several that fish on the coast and off the Tugela Banks, as well as a small number of foreign vessels that base themselves locally. Then there are others that call to drop off frozen cargo and to take stores before heading back to the fishing grounds. One of the recent callers at the port was this fishing vessel named LISINDA (IMO 1048640) which is now a South African-registered vessel (Cape Town), having previously been registered in Walvis Bay, Namibia. At that time she had been owned and operated by Benguella Sea Products Pty Ltd since at least 1999. In April 2014 Lisinda was in a head-on collision with one of her sister company vessels, LYNETTE, about four nautical miles north of the bell buoy off the port of Walvis Bay. Although both vessels took serious damage neither sank and had to go for repairs. Lisinda was built in 1973 and has a length of 33 metres and a width of 6 metres. These pictures are by Keith Betts



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