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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San Waitaki and Tapuhi in Lyttelton dry dock, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news. Picture: Alan Calvert
San Waitaki and Tapuhi.        Picture: Alan Calvert

Lyttelton dry dock in New Zealand and the 1899-gt stern trawler SAN WAITAKI (IMO 8901468) follows the harbour tug TAPUHI (IMO 9647435) in ahead of undergoing maintenance, survey and possible repairs. The 250-gt tug Tapuhi hails from Wellington and was built in 2013. The trawler was built in 1991 and is owned and managed by Sanford Ltd of Auckland, New Zealand. This picture is by Alan Calvert


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Transnet banner appearing in a report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Barring some new revelations on the matter, it now seems certain that Mr Siyabonga Gama, group chief executive officer of Transnet SOC Ltd, will be fired within the next week to ten days.

On Thursday Mr Popo Molefe, Transnet Board SOC Ltd chairperson, issued a statement advising that the Board of Transnet has served Mr Siyabonga Gama with a letter informing him of the Board’s intention to terminate his employment as Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Transnet SOC Ltd.

Siyabonga Gama, Transnet CE,
Siyabonga Gama

Gama has been given ten days to make written representations as to why his appointment as GCEO should not be terminated.

The reasons provided to Gama by the Board relate to alleged serious violations of his financial, procurement and fiduciary responsibilities as Transnet GCEO.

The statement said that as a result, the Board had lost trust and confidence in his ability to lead Transnet as GCEO.

The Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Pravin Gordhan, has been informed of the Board’s decision.

The question of Siyabonga Gama’s role in the unfolding drama of the Gupta-related scandals involving several state-owned enterprises has until recently remained in the background of the drama and revelations involving ESKOM and those involved with that overwhelming scandal – notably and involving the ESKOM chief executive officer Mr Brian Molefe, who was prior to his appointment to ESKOM the GCEO of Transnet.

Brian Molefe, featured in report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Brian Molefe

The story of Transnet and in particular, a massive order said to be the biggest ever at any one time of any railway company, for 1064 electric and diesel-electric locomotives that was placed with three manufacturers, began to attract attention as reports surfaced of so-called commission kickbacks equal to 10% paid to Tequesta, a Gupta-related group on an order totalling over R50 billion for the locomotives.

Another sales commission ‘kickback’ of 10% was paid by German software giant SAP to a company controlled by the Guptas to clinch business from Transnet.

It then seemed apparent if not obvious that Mr Gama, as head of the overall Transnet group and himself a former chief executive of Transnet Freight Rail, had to be aware in one way or another of this extraordinary ‘commission’. A commission that if nothing else would have inflated the cost of individual locomotives to far beyond their normal value which in itself ought to have triggered alarm bells.

A significant number of other senior officials within Transnet and Transnet Freight Rail in particular must also have been aware of the higher price being paid to the Chinese firm for some of the locomotives.

While all this human drama is continuing, the delivery of locomotives from the Chinese company continues.


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Hapag-Lloyd's new Dakar Express service rotation, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Hapag-Lloyd’s new Dakar Express service rotation

German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd has added to its West Africa services.

With effect from week 47, Hapag-Lloyd will introduce the DEX (Dakar Express) Service which will offer weekly sailings from North Europe to Senegal and Mauretania and vice versa.

These markets will be connected with Hapag-Lloyd’s…[restrict] Global Mainline Network via Tangier.

At the same time Dakar will be removed from the WAX (West Africa Express) which will significantly reduce operational stress on this service and improve the schedule reliability.

The DEX service will be served by four 1700 TEU Hapag-Lloyd operated vessels, with the following rotation:

Antwerp – Dunkerque – Lisbon – Tangier – Dakar – Nouakchott – Tangier – Leixões – Antwerp

The first estimated departures times of DEX will be:

Southbound: Antwerp 25 November 2018

Northbound: Dakar 3 December 2018, Nouakchott 5 December 2018

The last estimated WAX departure to Dakar will be:

Southbound: FRISIA OSLO voyage 1840S, sailing from Antwerp 12 November 2018, Dakar 26 November 2018.[/restrict]


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Spirit of St Francis at St Francis Bay, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Spirit of St Francis at St Francis Bay

On Saturday night shortly before midnight the duty crew of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) at St Francis Bay in the Southern Cape was activated following a request for medical assistance from the Chokka (squid) fishing boat BLUE MARLIN, reporting a crewman suffering severe stomach ailment and dehydration.

Blue Marlin was steaming towards…[restrict] Port St Francis from the fishing grounds at Maitlands, approximately 25 nautical miles off-shore, reports NSRI St Francis Bay duty coxswain, Marc May.

The call was made to the chokka boat to let them get a bit closer due to high wind and rough sea conditions. At the time there was a 20 to 25 knot Easterly wind and three-metre confused seas.

At 01h20 the sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II was launched and rendezvoused with Blue Marlin six nautical miles offshore of the water tower.

The patient, an adult male, in a stable condition, was successfully transferred onto the sea rescue craft and taken to Port where Private Care Ambulance Services were in attendance. The patient was then transported to hospital in a stable condition and the operation was completed at 02h45.[/restrict]


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Nigerian Shippers Council banner, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Nigeria’s Shippers Council (NSC) says that the establishments of dry ports in the country will not succeed without proper and effective rail connections.

This was indicated by the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Hassan Bello, whilst talking to journalists at the sidelines of the two-day Sub-Regional Workshop and Joint Standing Committee Meeting of the Union of African Shippers’ Council (UASC) which had the theme ‘Port Concession in West and Central Africa: Impact on Economies of Member States’, being held in Abuja.

According to Bello the cost of shipping into Nigerian ports was…[restrict] the most expensive in West Africa but, he said, it was no use blaming any single group or organisation as everyone involved from the operators to the government was responsible.

He said that the idea of inland dry ports arose out of the federal government’s efforts at finding ways and means of reducing the high cost of shipping goods to Nigeria by at least 35 per cent in order to make its ports efficient and also in an attempt to decongest the sea ports.

Nigerian Shippers Council's Hassan Bello, featured ina report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Hassan Bello

“But what we are battling with is the rail connection,” he said, adding that once Nigeria had the need rail infrastructure it could look to achieving the true cost of shipping. “Because, right now, shipping companies, because of the risk of truck transportation they are not issuing true bill of landing. The Ministry of Transportation with GE from America and a South African company [Transnet] are considering bringing rail connection to Kaduna Inland Dry Port,” he said.

Bello said that the Kaduna Inland Dry Port was working perfectly, “but what we have is the problem of the rail connection. We need rail wagons, so that we will have exclusive transportation of goods from the seaports to Kaduna.”

Bello said the so-called diversion of Nigerian-bound cargo to other ports was not a diversion in the true sense but a decision of shippers based on the high costs and inefficiencies at Nigerian ports.

“Yes, Nigerian ports are the most expensive in West Africa. But don’t single out anybody for blame. Don’t single out the terminal operators, don’t single out the shipping companies, don’t single out the freight forwarders and don’t single out the government. All of them are culpable.”

He said that sometimes costs were high as a result of inefficiency and also some chaos in the harbour area, or some lack of processes or procedures.

“Once we have the single window, once we have the cargo tracking note, these issues will be eliminated and by the nature of that, you will see costs of doing shipping businesses in Nigeria coming down.”

According to Bello the Nigerian Shipper’s Council is about to sign a very important MoU with the shipping companies that drastically reduce the cost of doing business in Nigeria by about 35 per cent.

“If we perfect our system, we find efficiency, we find competition, because competition drives down the cost, we want the cost of transportation to be a minimal part of the cost of production. Right now, the transport cost is very high but, it is our hope that, after the single window, and after negotiations with the shipping companies, the shipping cost will come down very drastically.”

He confirmed reports that there was a review of port concessioning going on. However, the Nigeria Shipper’s Council is not participating in those debates. “You cannot have a meaningful input in port concessioning without the Nigerian Shipper’s Council,” he warned.

“So, I’m aware that the federal ministry of Transportation is looking at this because, one has to consider the interest of all users. This is what happened in the past when the ports concessioning was exclusive. We should operate an open society.

“Those enemies of open society would not succeed in this port concessioning. Shipper’s Council will insist to be part of the port concessioning agreement because the Nigerian Shipper’s Council is a port economic regulator and also a representative of the users and also the providers of the shipping services. You need everyone together.” source: This Day[/restrict]


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Boarding the harbour tour boat to enjoy the sites of South Africa's only river port, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Boarding the harbour tour boat to enjoy the sites of South Africa’s only river port

To mark World Maritime Day on 27 September Transnet National Ports Authority’s Port of East London played host to around 2000 learners from schools across the Eastern Cape.

The learners from rural areas such as Umtata, Tsolo and Mount Ayliff explored South Africa’s only river port on tours, during which…[restrict] they gained an inside view of Port of East London sites including the car terminal and grain elevator.

East London Port Manager Sharon Sijako said the day was used to foster an early interest in the maritime industry among Eastern Cape youngsters. TNPA presentations showcased the many exciting career opportunities within the industry, while also promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as the key subjects in unlocking these marine and engineering careers.

“The International Maritime Organization’s 2018 World Maritime Day was observed under the theme ‘Our Heritage, better shipping for a better future’. This was an opportunity for us to offer young learners, boys and girls, valuable information about the industry and how they can fully grasp the many exciting opportunities available to them to ensure a better future for themselves. It also helps us as the port authority to address the critical skills shortage we have within the industry,” said Sijako.

Learners lined up waiting for their turn to tour the harbour, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Learners lined up waiting for their turn to tour the harbour

In addition to learning about TNPA career paths, learners were exposed to the infrastructure of a working port, including visiting marine craft and seeing vessel and harbour crews at work.

Sijako added: “Thanks to the generous support of John Barry of Southern Cross Cruises who operated boat rides throughout the day, many of the youngsters were introduced to the water for the very first time.”

World Maritime Day is an annual global maritime event led by the United Nations’ maritime agency, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The day is used to celebrate and raise awareness about maritime issues by countries that are signatories to the IMO. In 2018 the IMO celebrates 70 years of existence and continues to ensure that people all over the world can benefit from shipping in a manner that meets the needs of the global economy.[/restrict]


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Port Nolloth, aerial, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news. Picture courtesy TNPA
Port Nolloth. Picture courtesy: TNPA

After an 11-year journey to acquire their fishing rights, fishermen from the small fishing town of Port Nolloth in the Northern Cape can finally get on their fishing boats and catch linefish and rock lobster – on their own terms.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana has launched South Africa’s first small-scale fisheries cooperatives – the Port Nolloth and the Hondeklipbaai cooperatives, which also marks the implementation of the small-scale fisheries policy.

* See our report of 25 September on this development: CLICK HERE

The two small-scale fishing communities have received…[restrict] basic training on cooperatives and they have been assisted to registered cooperatives for the purpose of applying for 15-year fishing rights.

In an interview with SAnews ahead of the launch, Zokwana said the fishing rights are a game changer for the small fisheries sector.

“We want them to build their own funds so that they can progress from being small-scale fishers to [big players].

“Young kids will not sit around the streets not knowing what to do. We are creating an avenue that [makes] it is good to stay close to the ocean. You don’t only listen to the sounds of the waves, but you are part of those who are [utilising its] resources,” he said.

The launch comes after Zokwana approved the final list of small-scale fishers for the Northern Cape in October 2017, the Eastern Cape in December 2017 and KwaZulu-Natal in December 2017 – with the exception of the Western Cape communities.

In the Northern Cape, Zokwana has declared 103 individuals small-scale fishers.

Zokwana said the fishing rights gives local fishermen dignity and turns them from fishing illegally to doing so under protected rights.

“One thing it gives them is dignity to fish knowing that they have the right to exploit the [fishing opportunity], to make sure that they get money and create a system that will be able to curb the scourge of illegal fishing.

“Our people have been turned into illegal fishers because there was no system that was guiding them.

“… We want to get them to understand the value of the fish that they are going to harvest. We must be able to get markets for them. We must build infrastructure for storage…”

Fishing for jobs

At the official launch of the small-scale fisheries cooperatives at the Port Nolloth town hall later in the morning, Zokwana said local fishermen should not allow big players to use their fishing rights.

He said in the next round of fishing rights applications, efforts will be made to ensure that resources that are caught in Port Nolloth waters are processed in the town so that more jobs can be created.

Morgan Johnson, a local fisherman and the chairperson of the Port Nolloth cooperative, said 75 households will benefit from the fishing rights.

The launch, Johnson said, marked an end of a fishing rights application journey that went on for 11 years.

He said the cooperative was made up of local fishermen, including women and young people.

The board of the cooperative, Johnson said, is made up of seven members – five men and two women.

As part of the fishing rights, they will be sending boats into the waters to catch line-fish species like snoek and cape bream, horders, mussels and kelp.

“There are 75 households out of Port Nolloth that will benefit out the small-scale fishing rights policy. In Hondeklipbaai, it is a smaller town than us and about 28 households will benefit from the fishing permit,” Johnson said.

He said the cooperative currently has nine fishing boats and 15 to 20 small lobster vessels. A quarter of the fishermen are young people. source:[/restrict]


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IHS Fairplay magazine covers, soon to disappear into history, reports in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
IHS Fairplay magazine covers, soon to disappear into history

IHS Fairplay, the British weekly publication targeting the international merchant shipping industry is to cease publication. Fairplay has been in continuous publication since 1883.

This was announced late last week by its current owners, the IHS group.

“We have made the difficult decision to cease publication of Fairplay magazine and The magazine will continue to be published until the final issue on 6 December 2018 and stories will continue to be published daily on until 26 November.

According to Stuart Strachan, senior vice-president, Maritime and Trade, at IHS Markit, despite great improvement in the editorial product in the past three years, a very competitive market and the challenges of print as a medium were behind the decision to close Fairplay.

“Despite investment and concerted efforts to build an online community and maritime events, we have been unable to generate growing circulation, subscription, and event revenues,” Strachan said. “Not unlike many print-based brands, we haven’t gained sufficient traction with these efforts.”

Fairplay was the first publication to make use of the internet by publishing an online daily news and email service in 1996. It entered a partnership with Lloyd’s Register in 2001 and in 2004 entered into a partnership with HITT NV of the Netherlands, leading to the creation of AISLive for tracking vessel movements. In 2008 the publication was acquired by IHS Markit who took full control from 2011 when they bought out the Lloyd’s Register 50% share in the company.

The editor of Africa PORTS & SHIPS, Terry Hutson was the South Africa correspondent for Fairplay for a period of about ten years.


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Two F-35B Lightning II fighter jets have successfully landed on HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time, laying the foundations for the next 50 years of fixed wing aviation in support of the UK’s Carrier Strike Capability. Photo MoD Crown Copyright 2018 ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Two F-35B Lightning II fighter jets have successfully landed on HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time, laying the foundations for the next 50 years of fixed wing aviation in support of the UK’s Carrier Strike Capability. Photo MoD Crown Copyright 2018 ©

Fighter jets join forces with British aircraft carrier to make history

The first F-35 Lightning fighter jets have landed on the deck of the United Kingdom’s new aircraft carrier, making history and marking the beginning of more than half-a-century of Carrier Strike operations.

On 25 September Commander Nathan Gray, RN, and RAF Squadron Leader Andy Edgell were…[restrict] the first pilots to land their stealth F-35 Lightning fighter jets on board the carrier, demonstrating the formidable force HMS Queen Elizabeth and her fleet of jets will be.

The first landings and take-offs from HMS Queen Elizabeth are the culmination of a national endeavour lasting more than a decade to bring an aircraft carrier back to the UK’s arsenal. Able to embark up to 36 of the supersonic jets, the carrier provides the Royal Navy with a capability possessed by few others.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The largest warship in British history is joining forces with the most advanced fighter jets on the planet. This marks a rebirth of our power to strike decisively from the seas anywhere in the world.

“The historic first landing on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth is a monumental moment in our country’s proud military history. It is also a statement of Britain’s determination to promote peace and prevent war.”

The landings mark the start of more than 500 take-offs and touch-downs set to take place from the mammoth warship during the next eleven weeks, with the jets being put through their paces in a range of weather.

The return of Carrier Strike capability to the UK comes eight years after a fighter jet last landed on a British carrier.

CO of Queen Elizabeth, Captain Jerry Kyd, who was also commanded HMS Ark Royal when the last Harrier took off from a carrier, said: “I am quite emotional to be here in HMS Queen Elizabeth seeing the return of fixed wing aviation, having been the captain of the aircraft carrier which launched the last Harrier at sea nearly eight years ago.

“The regeneration of big deck carriers able to operate globally, as we are proving here on this deployment, is a major step forward for the United Kingdom’s defence and our ability to match the increasing pace of our adversaries. The first touch-downs of these impressive stealth jets shows how the United Kingdom will continue to be world leaders at sea for generations to come.”

Commander UK Carrier Strike Group, Commodore Andrew Betton added: “The Queen Elizabeth Class carriers have been specifically designed and built to operate the F-35 Lightning, offering an immensely flexible and potent combination to deliver military effect around the world. Conducting these trials is a critical and exciting step on this journey and I applaud the many thousands of civilian and military personnel who have played a part in bringing the strategic ambition to reality.”

While the HMS Queen Elizabeth Class carriers will be able to project British military power across the globe for the next half-century, they can also provide humanitarian relief, deepen defence relationships with key allies and provide critical support to our forces as they are deployed across the world.

In recent operations, US aircraft carriers such as the USS George HW Bush and USS Harry S Truman have played a central role in the Gulf and the Mediterranean, conducting strikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

Last week’s historic flight trials come more than 100 years after the UK’s HMS Argus became the world’s first carrier capable of safely launching and recovering naval aircraft.

The warship will go on to continue her programme off the US East Coast. The flight trials are expected to take around eleven weeks, during which time the ship is also expected to call at New York. More than 1,400 sailors, flight crew and Royal Marines are working on board the carrier during her deployment.

Queen Elizabeth remains set to be deployed on global operations from 2021. Britain now has 16 of a planned 138 F-35 Lightning jets as part of its world-leading fleet of military aircraft.

HMS Queen Elizabeth left her home port of Portsmouth in August, transiting the Atlantic to conduct these trials.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


On 25 September two F-35B Lightning II fighter jets successfully landed on HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time, laying the foundations for the next 50 years of fixed wing aviation in support of the UK’s Carrier Strike Capability. Commander Nathan Gray RN, made history by being the first to land on, carefully manoeuvring his stealth jet onto the thermal coated deck. He was followed by Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, RAF, both of whom are test pilots, operating with the Integrated Test Force (ITF) based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Shortly afterwards, once a deck inspection has been conducted and the all-clear given, Cdr Gray became the first pilot to take off using the ship’s ski-ramp. Image taken by and credited to Lieutenant-Commander Lindsey Waudby RN ©[/restrict], featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
On 25 September two F-35B Lightning II fighter jets successfully landed on HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time, laying the foundations for the next 50 years of fixed wing aviation in support of the UK’s Carrier Strike Capability.
Commander Nathan Gray RN, made history by being the first to land on, carefully manoeuvring his stealth jet onto the thermal coated deck. He was followed by Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, RAF, both of whom are test pilots, operating with the Integrated Test Force (ITF) based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.
Shortly afterwards, once a deck inspection has been conducted and the all-clear given, Cdr Gray became the first pilot to take off using the ship’s ski-ramp. Image taken by and credited to Lieutenant-Commander Lindsey Waudby RN ©

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INS Tarkash visiting London, May 2017. Picture: Wikipedia, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
INS Tarkash visiting London, May 2017.        Picture: Wikipedia

Having concluded Exercise Atlasur, a naval exercise involving ships from the South African Navy, Brazil and Uruguay, the next exercise IBSAMAR VI is now underway.

Participating ships from the Indian Navy, Brazil and South Africa are taking part, they are:

South African Navy: SAS AMATOLA (frigate),…[restrict] SAS PROTEA (survey vessel), SAS MANTHATISI (submarine) and Maritime Reaction Squadron.
South African Air Force: 1 C-47TP (35 Squadron), 1 Super Lynx (22 Squadron, embarked onboard SAS AMATOLA), 1 Oryx (22 Squadron) and 2 Gripen (2 Squadron).
South African Military Health Service: 1 Medical Task Group.

Brazil: BNS BARROSO (frigate), 1 AS350 Ecureuil (helicopter), 1 Platoon Special Forces.

Indian Navy: INS KOLKATA (Stealth Guided Missile Destroyer), INS TARKASH (Talwar Class Frigate), Marines.

Indian Air Force: Organic Sea King Maritime Helicopter and Alouette Helicopter.

The following is a broad outline of the planned activities:

1-3 October: Alongside Phase 1 programme. Simon’s Town harbour.
4-6 October: Sea Phase 1 programme. False Bay area.
7-11 October: Sea Phase 2 programme. False Bay area and East coast area.
12-14 October: Alongside Phase 2 programme. Simon’s Town harbour.
15 October: Conclusion of IBSAMAR VI 2018.

The objectives of the Exercise amongst others are:

Maintain, promote and build on previous operational and tactical cooperation between the Brazil, India and South African Joint Forces, evaluate support capabilities of the Joint Force, over a period of high demand. To develop and test joint combined Planning Doctrine, as well as to evaluate joint and combined Interoperability in order to improve joint capability understanding and cooperation. source: SA Navy[/restrict]


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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.

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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BS Barroso. Picture: Louis Vosloo, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
BS Barroso.      Picture: Louis Vosloo
SAS Amatola at sea. Picture courtesy: SA Navy, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SAS Amatola.       Picture: SA Navy

Two of the frigates that are taking part in the Exercise IBSAMAR VI which commences today. At the top is the Brazilian Navy frigate BNS BARROSO seen here at an earlier IBSAMASR held also off the Cape in 2014, and lower is the SA Navy frigate SAS AMATOLA seen at sea. The BNS Barroso photo was taken by Louis Vosloo, while the lower picture is courtesy the SA Navy.



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