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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New York Express. Picture: Hapag-Lloyd, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
New York Express.      Picture: Hapag-Lloyd

Hapag-Lloyd’s NEW YORK EXPRESS (IMO 9501332) in semi-silhouette against the sun and revealing the beauties of nature and man-made accomplishments. In this edition we report on the German line becoming the latest container carrier to announce it will be recovering additional costs arising out of the sulphur CO2 cap that will be imposed from 1 January 2020. See our story below. New York Express was built in 2012 at the Hyundai Heavy Industries Ltd Co shipyard in South Korea as the yard’s hull number 2242 – the 366.5 metre long, 48m wide 140,580-dwt vessel has a container capacity of 13,092 TEU. This picture courtesy: Hapag-Lloyd


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NCTAD banner, flying in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

According to UNCTAD’s Review of Maritime Transport 2018 there are seven key trends that are currently redefining the maritime transport landscape and shaping the sector’s outlook.

These trends, presented in no particular order, entail challenges and opportunities which require continued monitoring and assessment for effective and sound policymaking.

1) Protectionism
On the demand side, the uncertainty arising from wide-ranging geopolitical, economic, and trade policy risks as well as some structural shifts, constitutes a drag on maritime trade. An immediate concern is the…[restrict] inward-looking policies and rising protectionist sentiment that could undermine global economic growth, restrict flows and shift trade patterns.

2) Digitalization, e-commerce and the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative
The unfolding effects of technological advances and China’s ambitious reordering of global trade infrastructure will entail important implications for shipping and maritime trade. The Belt and Road Initiative and growing e-commerce have the potential to boost seaborne trade volumes, while the digitalization of maritime transport will help the industry respond to the increased demand with enhanced efficiency.

3) Excessive new capacity
From the supply-side perspective, overly optimistic carriers competing for market share may order excessive new capacity, leading to worsened shipping market conditions. This, in turn, will upset the supply and demand balance and have repercussions on freight-rate levels and volatility, transport costs, as well as earnings.

4) Consolidation
Liner shipping consolidation through mergers and alliances has been on the rise over recent years in response to lower demand levels and oversupplied shipping capacity dominated by mega container vessels. The way this affects competition, and the potential for market power abuse by large shipping lines as well as the related impact on smaller players, remains a concern.

5) The relationship between ports and container shipping lines
Alliance restructuring, and larger vessel deployment is also redefining the relationship between ports and container shipping lines. Competition authorities and maritime transport regulators should also analyse the impact of market concentration and alliance deployment on the relationship between ports and carriers. Areas of interest span the selection of ports-of-call, the configuration of liner shipping networks, the distribution of costs and benefits between container shipping and ports, and approaches to container terminal concessions.

6) Scale
The value of shipping can no longer be determined by scale alone. The ability of the sector to leverage relevant technological advances is as increasingly important.

7) Climate change
Efforts to curb the carbon footprint and improve the environmental performance of international shipping remain high on the international agenda. The initial strategy adopted in April 2018 by the International Maritime Organization to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions from ships by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008, is a particularly important development. On the issue of air pollution, the global limit of 0.5% on sulphur in fuel oil will come into effect on 1 January 2020. To ensure consistent implementation of the global cap on sulphur, it will be important for ship owners and operators to continue to consider and adopt various strategies, including installing scrubbers and switching to liquefied natural gas and other low-sulphur fuels.

Source: UNCTAD’s Review of Maritime Transport 2018 [PDF][/restrict]


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Maritime Authority of Jamaica’s Director General, Rear Admiral (Ret’d) Peter Brady (illustrated) has praised the dedication of African States in working together towards achieving global maritime goals and meeting international environmental targets.

Speaking at the fourth meeting of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, hosted by the Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety (16-19 September), he said: “The birth of the AAMA some six years ago marked a most significant development for maritime Africa when progressive thinking by responsible states of this great continent saw the wisdom of collective thinking and joint responsibility as an effective way to identify, share and apply common approaches to shipping-related issues, not only for the benefit of individual national economies and livelihoods, but also for the sustainable development of the entire Africa.

Maritime Authority of Jamaica’s Director General, Rear Admiral (Ret’d) Peter Brady , appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

“The AAMA must be congratulated for developing this model for the African maritime administrations to meet and discuss, exchange professional knowledge and develop and formulate maritime policies for the continent and its individual states.”

Representing both Jamaica and the wider Caribbean maritime sector, he pointed out the critical importance of international shipping “for our respective countries”, where the “lion’s share of international trade” depends on international shipping.

He added: “And so the safety and security of shipping along with the need for its very high environmental requirements and efficiency, serve to guarantee the sustainable aspects of the business as the world marches towards the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.”

As well as Admiral Brady, who represents Jamaica at the IMO and is a Board Member of the World Maritime University, the meeting was also attended by Laurence Barchue, IMO Assistant Secretary General, and William Azuh, Head of the Africa section of the Technical Cooperation Division.

He praised the fact that AAMA: “…does not discriminate nor makes concession for status of country, that is to say, whether developing or developed. It requires the uniform interpretation and application of its international instruments for safety and security and environmental standards of ship source pollution which makes shipping’s record commendable.”

The meeting took the theme: Protecting the African Marine Environment to Support Sustainable Development. Brady commented: “Not only Africa but our entire planet has this imperative to develop our Blue Economy but with the pre-occupation to do so in a responsible way in order to achieve our sustainable development goals and thereby preserving and protecting its fragility.”

Praising the discussion programme for its relevant and topical agenda, he singled out:

• The inclusion of education and training for protecting the African marine environment to support sustainable development. This was of significance not only to mariners but also to those outside the formal system;

• The inclusion of gender mainstreaming as it relates to African women in the maritime sector. This was of particular interest to Jamaica’s Women in Maritime Association Caribbean (WiMAC), whose President is MAJ Deputy Director General Claudia Grant, which is keen to identify success stories in comparative situations; and

• The discussion on the impact of marine litter, especially plastics, on the marine environment. This was so relevant and current that the upcoming IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee Meeting later this month already has several papers relating to this issue, from ocean governance principles to the development of action plans to address marine litter from ships.

Admiral Brady revealed that Caribbean maritime administrators may follow Africa’s lead and consider adopting this model of meeting which has broader objectives. In his word: “I shall be inviting member states of the CARICOM* region to consider this approach at our next Senior Maritime Administrators (SMA) meeting.”

Edited by Paul Ridgway

*The Caribbean Community: the oldest surviving integration movement in the developing world, is a group of 20 countries: fifteen full Member States (Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Haiti; Jamaica; Montserrat; Saint Lucia; St Kitts and Nevis; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) and five Associate Members (Anguilla; Bermuda; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands).

Founded on 4 July 1973, CARICOM rests on four pillars: economic integration; foreign policy coordination; human and social development; and security.

See also:


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Tropical Cyclone Luban (05a) is continuing to track westwards across the Arabian Sea as it nears the African continent and Gulf of Aden.

The cyclone’s position this morning was near 14.1N 59.1E and moving at a speed of 7 knots.  Imagery indicated that the cyclone has retained its overall convective structure in the hours since the last report in yesterday’s news.

Wind speeds are now reported as 65 knots gusting to 80 knots and expected to rise to 70/85 knots with the storm centre situated approximately 335 nautical miles east-southeast of Salalah in Oman. Cyclone Luban is now expected to make landfall to the northeast of Mukala, Oman, in the mouth of the Gulf of Aden, after which it should weaken over land.

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Photo: Id 401009 Title Mediterranean slick. Released 08/10/2018 4:36 pm. Copyright contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO © featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Photo: Id 401009 Title Mediterranean slick. Released 08/10/2018 4:36 pm. Copyright contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO ©

In a report from the European Space Agency (ESA) it was noted that the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission has photographed an oil spill in the Mediterranean following a collision between two merchant ships on 7 October 2018.

According to the ESA a Tunisian cargo ship ULYSSES struck…[restrict] a Cypriot container ship CSL VIRGINIA in waters north of the French island of Corsica. There were no casualties, but the collision caused a fuel leak – which resulted in an oil slick about 20 km long by early the following day (8 October). [See report in yesterday’s News.]

Although the collision occurred in French waters, the clean up operation is part of a joint pact between France, Italy and Monaco to address pollution accidents in the Mediterranean.

This image of the slick, which can be seen as a dark patch north of the tip of Corsica, was captured by the Sentinel-1A satellite on 8 October at 0528 GMT (0728 CEST).

Sentinel-1 is a two-satellite constellation built for the European Commission’s Copernicus environmental monitoring programme. The identical satellites each carry an advanced radar instrument that can see through the dark and through clouds. Its wide swath allows large areas of Earth’s surface to be imaged so that events such as this can be detected and monitored easily.

Sentinel-1 images are used by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) as part of CleanSeaNet, the European satellite-based oil spill and vessel detection service.

Note: Other dark areas show patterns featuring low reflectivity of the radar signal, for instance very calm waters.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Hapag-Lloyd's Abidjan Express (IMO 9303807), appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Hapag-Lloyd’s Abidjan Express (IMO 9303807)

Hapag-Lloyd has become the latest container shipping line to opt for introducing a marine fuel recovery surcharge to offset higher costs when using fuel with a minimum sulphur content of 0.5%.

The maritime industry is facing great changes, Hapag-Lloyd said in a statement this week. “Beginning on 1 January 2020, vessels will only be allowed to use fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5 per cent. The current standard is a sulphur cap of 3.5 per cent. The so-called IMO2020 regulation is the largest in a series of International Maritime Organization (IMO) measures to reduce marine pollution.”

In Hapag-Lloyd’s opinion using low sulphur fuel oil will be the…[restrict] key solution for the shipping industry and the company to remain compliant. “Furthermore, it is the most environmentally friendly solution in the short term.”

“This will entail a radical transformation for the entire shipping industry. However, the good news in this is that the regulation will make the industry greener. For this reason, Hapag-Lloyd welcomes the new regulation and views it as an important step towards setting uniform standards that will benefit both, the environment and people.

“At the same time and on the assumption that the spread between high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) and low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO 0.5%) will be 250 US-Dollars per tonne by 2020, Hapag-Lloyd estimates its additional costs being around 1 Billion US-Dollars in the first years. Furthermore, we aim for establishing a customer friendly solution for the calculation of fuel costs and a clear improvement with regards to the outdated approaches that are practiced in the industry.

“With our new Marine Fuel Recovery (MFR) mechanism, we have developed a system that enables a calculation of costs for our customers that is causal, transparent and easy-to-understand – and that shows our customers just how high the additional costs of using low-sulphur fuel are. The MFR mechanism will be reviewed quarterly or monthly in case fuel price fluctuations are above USD 45 per tonne and takes into consideration various parameters, such as fuel costs, vessel size (basis: Market-class vessel), vessel utilisation and route length.”

The MFR mechanism will replace all previous fuel charges and be gradually implemented beginning on 1 January 2019. “The amount of the MFR will be shown separate to the sea freight. The MFR is based on a formula that combines consumption with market prices for fuel oils.”

Hapag-Lloyd says the impact of the new regulation will become visible already in Q4 2019 as its vessels will have to start refueling with the compliant fuels in Q4 2019 in order to fully be in line with IMO2020 as from 1 January 2020.

“Our goal is to provide our customers with the most economical solution possible for complying with the required emission targets and to make the costs causal, transparent and easy-to-understand.”

As with other lines that have indicated they will introduce surcharges – Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM among them – all including Hapag-Lloyd intend a surcharge implemented from 1 January 2019, a full one year ahead of the new regulation coming into effect.[/restrict]


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Silver Cloud in the ice, 2016, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Silver Cloud

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Silversea Cruises this week announced agreements to build three new ships for Silversea Cruises, the ultra-luxury and expedition cruise brand that recently joined the RCL family.

Silversea signed a memorandum of understanding with German shipbuilder Meyer Werft to build two new vessels in a new ‘Evolution Class.’ The first Evolution-class ship is expected to deliver in 2022.

Silversea also signed a contract with Dutch shipbuilder Shipyard De Hoop to construct a new expedition vessel, which will be named SILVER ORIGIN that will…[restrict] serve the Galapagos Islands itinerary currently sailed by SILVER GALAPAGOS. The new ship is expected for delivery in March 2020.

“We are delighted to have entered into an agreement with Meyer Werft on the Silver Evolution series and De Hoop for Silver Origin,” says Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Silversea’s Executive Chairman.

Silver Shadow in Lyttelton, New Zealand in 2011. Picture by Alan Calvert, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Silver Shadow in Lyttelton, New Zealand in 2011.      Picture by Alan Calvert

“With our guests in mind, we are pushing the boundaries of ultra-luxury cruising, as well as expedition cruising in the Galápagos Islands and beyond, redefining the concept of immersive travel.”

“We are excited to get to work helping Silversea grow and realize its ambitions,” said Richard D Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, which finalised its two-thirds acquisition of Silversea earlier this year. “There is tremendous potential in the ultra-luxury and expedition markets of the cruise industry, and we believe discerning travellers will embrace the exciting designs Silversea is imagining for them.”

The agreements are subject to certain contingencies which are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.

Silver Explorer in the ice, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Silver Explorer in the ice

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd is a global cruise vacation company that controls and operates four global brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and Silversea Cruises. It is also a 50 per cent joint venture owner of the German brand TUI Cruises and a 49 per cent shareholder in the Spanish brand Pullmantur Cruceros.

Together, these brands operate a combined total of 59 ships with an additional 15 on order. They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on all seven continents.

Silversea Cruises, in which Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio serves as Executive Chairman, is considered an innovator in the ultra-luxury cruise line industry, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: SILVER WIND, SILVER SHADOW, SILVER WHISPER, SILVER SPIRIT and SILVER MUSE.

With the inclusion of the expedition ships SILVER EXPLORER, SILVER GALAPAGOS, SILVER DISCOVERER, and with SILVER CLOUD recently joining the Expedition fleet, Silversea’s itineraries encompass all seven continents and feature worldwide luxury cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, both Polar Regions and hundreds of fascinating destinations in between.

Silver Spirit in Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Silver Spirit in Durban.      Picture by Trevor Jones


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Aerial view of Singapore harbour with many oppportunities for ship to shore transition, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Aerial view of Singapore harbour with many oppportunities for ship to shore transition

The prospect of coming ashore to progress their career can be daunting to many working at sea, according to a survey into the experiences of those who had made the ship-to-shore transition conducted by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST).

Many, understandably, reported feeling apprehensive about climbing the ladder.

Those who found the transition relatively straightforward stressed the importance of studying for certain qualifications before leaving the sea. As one engineering superintendent explained, sea-going qualifications are acceptable for operational level roles, but not the managerial roles that senior sea staff are aiming for: “For that they need degree and postgraduate qualifications.”

Many of those who struggled cited the practicalities of arranging interviews as a major frustration. It often proved hard for seafarers to schedule interviews whilst on leave and then persuade a potential employer to wait until they returned from their next voyage for the next step. One respondent warned that recruitment processes can take ‘longer than your leave’, whilst another was forced to take more drastic action by resigning from their current role in order to be ashore long enough to see the process through.

Culture shocks

Another common difficulty was adjusting to working in an office environment, where the pace of work lacked the urgency ex-seafarers are used to. A typical comment was at sea “things have to be done and the results of them not happening are far more immediate and obvious. Ashore, people go home at 5pm. They are not living the job.”

There were other culture shocks: a need for greater diplomacy and patience and adjusting to a less hierarchical management structure. Management onshore tends to be much flatter, but, as one respondent noted, this can actually complicate relationships: “Sometimes the boundaries are unclear.” For the uninitiated, it can take time to learn and adapt to the slower pace and bureaucracy of this new environment.

Life at sea, away from friends and family, is often described as lonely. However, moving to shore means this loneliness can take on a new shape, particularly if the new role is away from home ties. “It took time to come to terms with living in a new place and not knowing many people outside of the work environment,” said another technical superintendent. Nevertheless, on reflection, he added, it was worth persevering as “in the end because it opened up many opportunities for career advancement and promotion.”

Soft skills

Technical skills and competence are only part of the story, when it comes to stepping ashore. They must be accompanied by a mixture of ‘soft skills’ needed for effective people and project management, such as leadership, communication (verbal and report writing), negotiating and networking, and administration skills such as budgeting, finance, logistics and procurement.

While the administration tasks done on ship are a sound foundation for developing the latter group, it can take longer to build the requisite people skills.

One chief engineer who came ashore to work as a class surveyor advised seafarers considering a transition to achieve as much as possible while at sea: “That additional rank could turn out to be really crucial. The difference between serving as a chief engineer compared to 2nd or 3rd engineer is immense.”

The management and responsibility skills needed on land, he continued, generally come with higher ranks. A comprehensive understanding of the roles of class, P&I, flag and how they interact is imperative.

Potential development

Several respondents said that secondments ashore during their seagoing careers would have (or had) helped prepare them to ‘swallow the anchor’. An overwhelming 88% believed that the right sort of education or training would assist the transition. Two-thirds said they would have benefited from either management/business training or gaining a higher education qualification such as a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, or both.

“Leadership and management skills are essential to prove your worth to an employer and to complement the range of engineering skills that you have acquired at sea,” said one chief engineer who came ashore to take on a management role in gas processing. Gaining these qualifications involves a lot of hard work. For this reason, many seafarers like to get ahead by studying for a degree or similar qualification through distance learning.

A chief engineer who rarely felt outside his ‘comfort zone’ working on ship said his new role as a senior technical manager overseeing a wide range of projects demanded a totally different approach and attitude to seeing and doing things. “Getting to grips with the interactions between all the different disciplines really made me appreciate the variety of the maritime world,” they commented, adding that it was “a quantum leap from the (relatively) routine business of running a ship.”

The IMarEST has developed a qualification in Sustainable Maritime Operations to answer precisely this type of need. The distance learning programme can be studied whilst at sea, leading to either a post-graduate qualification or a BSc/MSc degree.

“Upskilling whilst at sea allows seafarers to stay at sea longer whilst still helping them move up the career ladder. Those who don’t feel the urge to come ashore are not forced to do so before they really want to,” David Loosley, Chief Executive, IMarEST.

Lost in translation

Over half (56%) of those surveyed were promoted to a higher position when they came ashore. However some saw a salary drop, which was often attributed either to a lack of formal qualifications or else a difficulty in communicating [the relevance of] their skills. As one respondent more plainly put it: a person working on board is always considered a fresher when moving ashore.

Many of the seafarers surveyed reached the conclusion their skills were not properly recognised or valued by their shore-based colleagues. “I was seen as a jack-of-all-trades and insufficiently specialised rather than a flexible employee with broad engineering experience who could work independently,” was a typical response.

A common predicament was explaining how skills gained at sea would carry over to roles on land. As one respondent pointed out, the diversity of skills in the maritime environment is largely unrecognised: “I had to stop describing my experience for positions using maritime roles, instead everything needs to be communicated in terms of transferable skills.”

Another added that this was compounded by the fact that some skills acquired at sea don’t translate readily to a commercial, shore-based setting.

One seafarer confessed that his post-nominals, “CEng MIMarEST” denoting Chartered Engineer and Member of the IMarEST, were his main entry route to gaining employment ashore. Apparently few recruiters could relate to his marine qualifications and experience. He was eventually appointed as a senior lecturer at a marine academy.

“I wholeheartedly believe that ‘CEng’ was my passport to most of the interviews I attended, more so than the years of maritime experience in a senior position,” he elaborated. This experience spurred him to become a FIMarEST or Fellow of the IMarEST.

This indicates a certain reverence within the industry for professional registration, whether Chartered, Registered/Incorporated or Technician status. David Loosley concludes: “That status functions as a simple indicator of professional excellence, especially in those without formal academic qualifications. The opportunity for seafarers to gain professional registration is one that should be taken by all those setting their sights on a promotion.”

About the IMarEST

The IMarEST is an international learned society and membership body that brings marine engineers, marine scientists and marine technologists together into one multi-disciplinary professional body. The largest marine organisation of its kind, it spans 128 countries and works to promote the scientific development of marine engineering, science and technology, providing opportunities for the exchange of ideas and practices and upholding the status, standards and expertise of marine professionals worldwide. Members are able to gain professional registration through the Institute (such as Technician, Incorporated, Registered or Chartered status).

The IMarEST is an NGO with consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and observer status at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, International Hydrographic Organization, the London Convention/London Protocol (LC/LP) and the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP).

It has special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), which facilitates its access to other international intergovernmental meetings where its specialised marine expertise is of particular use, e.g., the United Nations meetings on Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the work of the International Seabed Authority on marine mining. See more at


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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Grand Dolphin. Pictures: Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Grand Dolphin arriving in Durban. Pictures: Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Grand Dolphin.         Pictures: Keith Betts

With storm clouds assembling overhead of the sea the car carrier GRAND DOLPHIN (IMO 9279329) makes her ‘grand’ entrance into port at Durban earlier in the month. Previously named HOEGH DUBAI, this ship was in port for only a short time discharging and loading new cargo before sailing – next port Tema in Ghana. Built in 2004 at the Japanese shipyard that specialises in vehicle carriers, Shin Kurushima Toyohashi Shipbuilding in Toyohashi, the 59,217-gt RoRo is 199 metres in length and 32m wide and is owned by Hong Kong-based interests and managed by Cido Shipping HK Co Ltd, originally a Japanese company but also operating out of Hong Kong.         These pictures are by Keith Betts



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