Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News — 11 November 2018

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


These news reports are updated and added to on an ongoing basis.  Check back regularly for the latest news as it develops – where necessary refresh your page at  

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MSC Musica sailing from Durban. Picture: Clinton Wyness, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Musica.      Picture: Clinton Wyness

MSC Cruises’ 92,400-gt cruise ship MSC MUSICA  which arrived in Durban on Wednesday at the completion of her positioning voyage from Italy, sailed yesterday from her summer homeport bound for Mozambican waters.  This morning the ship was off Portuguese Island adjacent to Inhaca Island off the Ba of Maputo, where sea conditions permitting, passengers will go ashore to enjoy the amenties and fcailities of both islands. This picture show the cruise ship on departure from Durban on Thursday afternoon and is by Clinton Wyness



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Rob Davies, SA minister of trade & induatry, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Rob Davies

Twenty-seven South African organisations were hoping to clinch trade deals at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) last week.

The organisations, from agro-processing, footwear and…



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Picture: Deutsche Welle / R da Silva, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture: Deutsche Welle / R da Silva

The delayed opening of Africa’s longest suspension bridge across Maputo Bay, connecting the Mozambique capital with the town of Catembe on the opposite side of the wide estuary forming Maputo Bay, was officially opened on Saturday, 10 November 2018.

The bridge, which is claimed to be the longest suspension bridge in all of Africa, was designed and built by…



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Fort of San Sebastian defends the island of Mozambique. Picture: Terry Hutson , featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Fort of San Sebastian defends the island of Mozambique.   Picture: Terry Hutson

Researchers and historians have been able to share experiences and deepen knowledge about the Indian Ocean at the International Seminar on Indo-Portuguese History which was held on the Island of Mozambique in Nampula province between 31 October and 3 November.

This was the fifteenth seminar on the Indian Ocean – chosen because of its importance in socio-economic and cultural relations between Portugal and India – and was organised by Universidade Lúrio and Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

The rector of the Lúrio University, Francisco Noa, was the first speaker and looked at the dimension of knowledge in the imagery of the Indian Ocean.

Island seminar held in November 2018 on Mozambique Island, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Island seminar held in November 2018 on Mozambique Island

The Island of Mozambique, the island city that gave its name to the country, celebrated its bicentennial anniversary this year. In centuries past it was one of the main stopovers in the round trips of the ships plying between Lisbon and Goa, as well as an important trading hub. The island was also an important trading hub in the days pre-Portuguese with ships from India and Oman making regular calls.

The East African coast was part of the state of India until 1752, in continuation of relationships forged in previous centuries and projected to the present day. The border of the Western Indian Ocean has long been a meeting point for Africans, Indians and Europeans, providing rich human and cultural exchange in an atmosphere of intense commercial activity.

The island of Mozambique became the centre of the Portuguese presence and one of the main planks of the intercontinental voyage, and where India shaped its longest-lasting territorial presence in the Zambezi basin.

This was the focus of the 15th International Seminar on Indo-Portuguese History, in the year in which this forum celebrates 40 years of existence and marks the second centenary of the island’s elevation from Mozambique to the city.

Themes during the seminar included:

– Mozambique – bicentennial city
– Mozambique and the India Route
– African, Indian and European: migrations and commercial networks
– Religious identities, territories and political configurations on the East African coast
– Material and visual culture in the Indian Ocean

For more information on the papers presented (mostly in Portuguese) visit CLICK HERE

1598 map of Ilha de Mocambique, featured n Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
1598 map of Ilha de Mocambique



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HNoMS HELGE INGSTAD 8 November 2018

It was reported from NATO MARCOM in Northwood, NW London that the Norwegian Navy’s HNoMS HELGE INGSTAD was involved in a collision with the Malta-flagged oil tanker SOLA TS in Norwegian waters at around 04h00 on 8 November while sailing inner Fjords for navigation training.

Due to the damage to the frigate it was moved to a safe place and the crew was evacuated in a professional manner. There are no reports of damages or leaks from the oil tanker and no report of serious injuries, though eight crewmembers are being treated for minor injuries.

The Norwegian Armed Forces are working with the Norwegian Coastal Authority to address the situation. HNoMS Helge Ingstad is part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1). The group was sailing in and around the Fjords, following their participation in exercise Trident Juncture 2018 which concluded on 7 November.

The rest of SNMG1’s ships are understood to be positioned nearby at sea in the event that further assistance is required.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Video of the action taken to save the frigate.


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This is thought to be the type of Interceptor patrol boat being donated to Mozambique, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
This is thought to be the type of Interceptor patrol boat being donated to Mozambique

A group of Mozambique Navy officers and personnel are undergoing a two-week training course at Chennai in India in preparation of India donating two Interceptor patrol boats to the African country.

A statement issued by the Indian Navy said that India and Mozambique had started…


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Ematum fishing trawlers that helped to collapse the Mozambique economy, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Ematum fishing trawlers that helped to collapse the Mozambique economy

Creditors and Mozambican government agree new bond loan restructuring

Mozambique has been able to come up with a plan to exchange US$726.524 million in bonds for new debt and a percentage of profits from natural gas exploration.

This is in relation to the 2016 debt crisis that the current government ‘inherited’ from the previous government involving US$1.4 billion of unauthorised debt arising from the procurement of 30 fishing and security vessels that the country neither wanted nor needed.

The order for the 24 trawlers and six patrol vessels was…


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Drawing of Damen Sea Fisher stern trawler, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Drawing of Damen Sea Fisher stern trawler

Damen intends presenting its new vessel leasing fund which is specifically designed for African shipowners when it stages the first Damen Fishing Seminar* in Cape Town on 22 November. *See that announcement HERE

“The new fund is particularly interesting for smaller, private fishing vessel owners,” says…



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Australia’s Syrah Resources has entered into a binding agreement to supply graphite extracted in Mozambique to China’s Qingdao Taida-Huarun New Energy Technology Co Ltd under a binding contract, the company said in a statement just released.

In terms of the agreement which enters into force immediately, the agreement with…


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MSC Musica arriving Durban Pictures taken shortly before sunrise by Clinton Wyness (05h40) and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

MSC Musica arriving Durban Pictures taken shortly before sunrise by Clinton Wyness (05h40) and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

MSC Musica arriving Durban Pictures taken shortly before sunrise by Clinton Wyness (05h40) and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Musica arriving Durban. Pictures taken on a cell phone by Clinton Wyness (05h40), shortly before sunrise

The cruise ship MSC MUSICA (IMO 9320087) arrived in Durban at dawn this morning to kickstart a six-month summer cruise season sailing out of Durban and Cape Town.

The 294-metre long, 92,409-gt MSC Musica has replaced the slightly smaller MSC SINFONIA that handled MSC’s recent previous South African cruising calendar. Normally structured for 2,550 passengers in 1275 cabins and suites, the ship will carry over 3200 while cruising locally because many South Africans cruise as a family group, with additional beds/bunks installed in the cabins.

Most of Musica’s cruises will be out of Durban on 3, 4 and 5-night cruises to Mozambique destinations. Longer cruises are available to Mauritius and the ship will also undertake a short season cruising from Cape Town to Walvis Bay in Namibia.

MSC Musica remains in Durban overnight before beginning her cruises tomorrow (Thursday).



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The development of a group of knowledgeable personnel with high expertise in the management of illegal fishing in South Africa and in the rest of the continent has been given a further boost with the allocation of an additional financial support of about R1-million by the Norwegian government.

The additional funding confirmed earlier this week will go to the Nelson Mandela University (NMU)’s Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy (a.k.a FISHFORCE) which…


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Cyclone Alcide 03S imagery, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cyclone Alcide 03S    imagery

A Tropical Cyclone, identified only as TC 03 at this stage (has been named Cyclone ALCIDE overnight), has developed rather quickly to the north-east of Madagascar and was yesterday (15h00 local time) located near position 9.6S 59.3E which is approximately 640 nautical miles north of Port Louis in Mauritius.

Over the previous six hours the storm tracked west-southwestward at 8 knots.

The storm’s updated position this morning (7 November) at 03h00 is 9.9S 57.5E with winds of 50 knots gusting to 65 knots (update immediately below).  

Alcide’s position at 12h00 today (7 November) was 10.4S 56.0E with sustained winds of 75 knots gusting to 90 knots. The cyclone was then situated approximately 587 n.miles north of Port Louis and was tracking southwestward at 9 knots over the previous six hours.  Satellite imagery shows the storm system has continued to deepen and maintained a smaller 10 n.mile ragged eye.

Maximum significant wave height of noon today was 29 ft (8.8 metres)

The cyclone is tracking toward Madagascar along the northwest periphery of a subtropical ridge to the southeast.   source JTWC &



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SA Passports, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news. source: Wikipedia Commons

Plans are underway for South Africa and Kenya to introduce a 10-year multiple entry visa for businesspeople to ease movement between the two countries.

If all goes according to plan, the two countries will, with effect from 1 December 2018, introduce the…




An RAF Chinook helicopter refuels on HMS Albion during the final Fire Power Demonstration of Exercise Saif Sareea 3 in Oman, where Royal Marines from 40 Commando fast-roped as part of a beach assault. During the exercise the aircraft have been training in a variety of roles, moving 40 Commando Royal Marines and Omani troops, as well as taking part in deck landings on HMS Albion in the Indian Ocean. 27 Squadron have utilised the exercise to carry out vital environmental training for pilots and aircrew, and the support staff accompanying the aircraft. Photos: MoD Crown Copyright 2018 © as feastured in report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
An RAF Chinook helicopter refuels on HMS Albion during the final Fire Power Demonstration of Exercise Saif Sareea 3 in Oman, where Royal Marines from 40 Commando fast-roped as part of a beach assault. During the exercise the aircraft have been training in a variety of roles, moving 40 Commando Royal Marines and Omani troops, as well as taking part in deck landings on HMS Albion in the Indian Ocean. 27 Squadron have utilised the exercise to carry out vital environmental training for pilots and aircrew, and the support staff accompanying the aircraft. Photo: MoD Crown Copyright 2018 ©

The UK is cementing its deep and special relationship with Oman for generations to come with the opening of a new Omani-British Joint Training Base, the Defence Secretary announced in Muscat. This was reported by the (UK) Ministry of Defence on 5 November.

As part of his visit to Oman for the culmination of Exercise Saif Sareea 3, the UK’s largest exercise in 17 years, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson underlined the UK’s enduring commitment to Oman and highlighted the importance of protecting peace and stability in the Gulf.

He said: “Our relationship with Oman is built on centuries of cooperation and we are cementing that long into the future with the opening of our new joint base.

“We stand as a beacon of stability in the region. This has never been more important as malign activity by hostile states and violent extremist organisations seek to undermine stability and subvert the rules-based order on which we all rely.”

Troops will deploy to the joint training base in March 2019 to work and train alongside the UK’s Omani partners, building on the successes of Exercise Saif Sareea 3. For decades to come, it will support a variety of combined and joint training activity in the challenging and austere environment that 5,500 UK personnel have experienced in the month of October.

This exercise also tested the interaction and collaboration between civilian and military structures, providing valuable lessons about ensuring the deployment of the right combination of assets to tackle complex threats. It goes without saying that there has needed to be a vast surface logistics operation in support of the exercise and this will continue during future collaboration.

Williamson also attended the Exercise Saif Sareea Fire Power Demonstration which involved both UK and Omani personnel who have been living and exercising side-by-side for the past five weeks. The exercise’s culmination saw thousands of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen from both nations execute a set piece battle across the desert.

In a meeting between Williamson and the Sultan of Oman and Omani Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs the former signalled his intent to sign an agreement of enduring defence commitment early next year, reflecting on wider cooperation beyond defence and reaffirming the deep cultural links and economic ties.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson meeting soldiers and officers from The Royal Tank Regiment. On 3 November 2018, British and Omani armed forces worked together on the Fire Power Demo, the culmination and final element of Ex Saif Sareea 3. In the space of an hour guests witnessed a range of military capabilities from armoured assault and artillery bombardments to air despatch and helicopter assaults. Also being demonstrated was the military interoperability which both countries have been working towards during Exercise Saif Sareea 3. Visitors included the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sir Philip Jones. The MoD has deployed over 5500 troops to Oman for Exercise Saif Sareea 3 (SS3). This is the third time that the British and Omanis have trained together, SS1 was in 1986 and SS2 in 2001. SS3 is the British Army’s largest exercise of its kind in 17 years and tested the UK’s and the Sultanate’s ability to operate together in austere conditions through the deployment of a Coalition Joint Task Force (CJTF).  Photo: MoD Crown Copyright 2018 © as featured in report carried by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson meeting soldiers and officers from The Royal Tank Regiment. On 3 November 2018, British and Omani armed forces worked together on the Fire Power Demo, the culmination and final element of Ex Saif Sareea 3. In the space of an hour guests witnessed a range of military capabilities from armoured assault and artillery bombardments to air despatch and helicopter assaults. Also being demonstrated was the military interoperability which both countries have been working towards during Exercise Saif Sareea 3.
Visitors included the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sir Philip Jones. The MoD has deployed over 5500 troops to Oman for Exercise Saif Sareea 3 (SS3). This is the third time that the British and Omanis have trained together, SS1 was in 1986 and SS2 in 2001. SS3 is the British Army’s largest exercise of its kind in 17 years and tested the UK’s and the Sultanate’s ability to operate together in austere conditions through the deployment of a Coalition Joint Task Force (CJTF).  Photo: MoD Crown Copyright 2018 ©


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Doraleh Multipurpose Port, Djibouti, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Doraleh Multipurpose Port

Lawsuit for unlawfully procuring and inducing the Republic of Djibouti to breach various agreements between the African country and DP World

United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) DP World Limited and its subsidiaries has taken the threatened legal action against China Merchants for building an international free zone on a terminal being disputed with Djibouti.

The lawsuit was filed in the High Court of Hong Kong for unlawfully procuring and inducing the…

By Paul Nyakazeya


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Tau Morwe, acting group CE of Transnet, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tau Morwe

Tau Morwe has returned to the fold as Acting Group Chief Executive of Transnet.

This was announced last night by Dr Popo Molefe, Transnet Chairperson.

Morwe had a long career in top management with Transnet, during which he served as CE of three of the Transnet divisions: National Ports Authority, Freight Rail and Port Terminals. He will also serve as a member of the Transnet Board.

His appointment is for the period from 1 November 2018 to 30 April 2019 as he fills the position left vacant by the dismissed former CE, Siyabonga Gama.

The appointment of Mr Morwe was approved by Transnet’s shareholder minister, Mr Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises.

Morwe joined Transnet in 1997 and spent the next 17 years of service with the company. His initial position was as chief executive officer of the then South African Port Operations (now Transnet Port Terminals) during which he was tasked with preparing the terminal operating division with its 16 terminals for concessioning. Before the end of his contract the decision was taken that TPT would not be concessioned but would remain as a part of Transnet as a state owned company. He remained with TPT building the division into a successful operation.

He subsequently headed up both Transnet Freight Rail during the period when the then CEO of that company, Siyabonga Gama was under suspension and after Gama’s return from suspension Morwe was appointed to head up Transnet National Ports Authority.

In addition to these roles, Mr Morwe led the Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA) from 2011 to 2014. He strengthened relations among member ports and promoted regional cooperation and integration. His service was invaluable to the country, ensuring that South Africa continues to play its role in growing regional economies.

He has also served as a board member of several entities, including KwaZulu-Natal Trade and Investment, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Agriport Partnership. He is a BA Economics graduate from Howard University in the USA and also holds qualifications from the National University in Singapore.

Following his departure from Transnet in 2015, Mr Morwe has served extensively as a transport and logistics consultant in South Africa as well as on the rest of the continent.


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featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Illustrations kindly provided by IMO ©


On 1 November IMO reported that Libyan port and maritime security officers had been receiving training on IMO’s International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (the ISPS Code) a few days before.

The ISPS Code sets out preventive security measures to detect and deter threats to ships and port facilities. CLICK HERE

Participants in the training course are in charge of port security…

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Moscord banner: Engine room, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Moscord, the online platform for the purchase of ships supplies, has recruited Lars Rosenkrands, former CEO of SevenSeas Group and CEO and founder of Wave Shipping, as Commercial Director as it looks to accelerate its drive to become ‘the Amazon of shipping’.

According to Moscord it aims to disrupt established, inefficient and expensive procurement practices by creating a direct connection between manufacturers/suppliers and their customer base.

This, it says, is achieved through an online maritime market place where users browse, assess and order the exact type and quality of product they need (ranging from consumables, to engine parts, safety equipment, tools and uniforms) without the need to go through traditional ship supply firms.

Moscor banner appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The result it claims is significantly cheaper products for customers, direct links to the market for suppliers, and a simplified, efficient and highly transparent procurement process for all parties.

According to Moscord Founder and CEO Freddy Ingemann, Rosenkrands can be a key figure in realizing the huge potential of this transformative market concept.

“Lars has over 30 years of high profile experience within the shipping and maritime service industry, and I’ve known him personally for much of that time,” Ingemann comments. “He has proven expertise of logistics, business development, procurement processes and much more, backed up by an intimate understanding of the needs of both suppliers and customers.

“We’re assembling a team of senior, ambitious and respected industry executives to demonstrate that there’s ‘a better way’ to conduct shipping supply procurement. Lars is exactly the calibre of individual we need to help take us on to the next stage of development and truly maximize industry impact.”

Moscord’s maritime retail platform already offers over 100,000 quality products, a number that Rosenkrands will be seeking to multiply through the expansion of both the supplier and customer network. By eradicating the need for ‘middlemen’ through a direct selling channel, costs can be greatly reduced (by around 20%) and significant efficiencies achieved, as Ingemann explains:

Moscord banner appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

“Aside from the financial benefits, there’s also no need to obtain quotes from multiple suppliers – suddenly everything is online, accessible and completely transparent in pre-priced catalogues. This means customers, and suppliers, can focus their time and resources on conducting core activities, rather than wasting it on administration.

“This is nothing necessarily ‘new’,” he adds, “it’s how we buy more and more of our everyday products, but that isn’t the case in the needlessly complicated and opaque world of shipping procurement. Until now that is. We aim to revolutionize the market and transform standard practices. We see this as an inevitable step forward for our industry and, with the people, products and infrastructure now in place, we’re determined to lead the way.”

Moscord is headquartered in Singapore with offices in Copenhagen and the Philippines. Rosenkrands, who has also worked for Maersk, Incrementum Capital Partners, Inchcape Shipping Services, Wilhelmsen Ship Services, ShipServ and Sinwa, will be based out of the firm’s Singapore hub.

Moscord’s cutting edge supply and logistics solutions allows chosen products to be delivered worldwide at times and locations to fit vessel schedules, minimizing any potential downtime. The team has targeted seizing 10% of the entire global ship supply sector, within its relevant categories, over the course of the next five years. See

Provisions banner for Moscord appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news



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Mozambique will issue a two-billion-US dollar sovereign guarantee to enter the gas sector and this will be valid for five-years, according to Augusto de Sousa Fernando, deputy minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (pictured below).

He said that the sovereign guarantee is different in every respect from the state backing provided in the hidden debt (Ematum) case.

“These are totally different things, as this is…


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Vale opencast mine, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Vale opencast mine, Moatize, Mozambique

Vale Moçambique has lowered its forecast for coal production at the Moatize coal site in quite dramatic fashion.

The Mozambique division said this downward review is a result of the subsidiary company reviewing processes and plans for the Moatize mine in order to make…


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IMB Report Infographics, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
IMB Report Infographics

Record low hijackings yet danger persists in Gulf of Guinea, shows latest global piracy report  SEE HERE

By 29 October a total of 156 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships had been reported to the ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in the first nine months of 2018 compared to 121 for the same period in 2017.

The 2018 figure is broken down as: 107 vessels boarded, 32 attempted attacks, 13 vessels fired upon and four vessels hijacked—although no vessels were reported as hijacked in the third quarter of 2018. This is first time since 1994 when no vessel hijackings have been reported in two consecutive quarters.

Nevertheless, incidents of this crime persist, with the number of crew members held hostage increasing in comparison to the same period in 2017—from 80 incidents to 112 by the third quarter of 2018.

Of these figures Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB, commented: “While the record low number of hijackings in the second and third quarters of 2018 is of course to be celebrated, incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery remain common. ICC urges governments to leverage the timely data available from the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre to concentrate resources in these hotspots.”

Shifting piracy trends in the Gulf of Guinea

Statistically, the Gulf of Guinea accounts for 57 of the 156 reported incidents. While most of these incidents have been reported in and around Nigeria (41), the Nigerian Navy has actively responded and dispatched patrol boats when incidents have been reported promptly. There has also been a noticeable increase in the number of vessels boarded at the Takoradi anchorage, in Ghana.

It is noted that 37 of the 39 crew kidnappings for ransom globally have occurred in the Gulf of Guinea region, in seven separate incidents. A total of 29 crew members were kidnapped in four separate incidents off Nigeria—including a 12-crew kidnapping from a bulk carrier off Bonny Island, Nigeria in September 2018.

In other regions of the world incidents of piracy and armed robbery are comparatively seldom. No new incidents have been reported off the coast of Somalia in the third quarter of 2018, while two fishermen were reported kidnapped off Semporna, Malaysia in September 2018.

Incidents in the remaining regions, including some Latin America countries, border on low level opportunistic theft. Nevertheless, the IMB continues to encourage all masters and crew members to be aware of these risks and report all incidents to the 24-hour manned PRC. The Centre will ensure that reported incidents are relayed without delay to the appropriate response agency and will liaise with the ship, its operators and the response agency until the vessel is deemed safe.

Since 1991, the IMB’s PRC has provided the maritime industry, governments and response agencies with timely and transparent data on piracy and armed robbery incidents—received directly from the master of the vessel or its owners. The IMB PRC’s prompt forwarding of reports and liaison with response agencies, its broadcasts to shipping via Inmarsat Safety Net Services and email alerts to company security officers—all provided free of cost—have helped the response against piracy and armed robbery and the security of seafarers globally.

A message for shipmasters and owners

IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to report all actual, attempted and suspected piracy and armed robbery incidents to the IMB PRC.

See here: CLICK HERE

This first step in the response chain is vital to ensuring that adequate resources are allocated by authorities to tackle piracy.

Transparent statistics from an independent, non-political, international organisation can act as a catalyst to achieve this goal.

The full report can be requested : HERE

About the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the world’s largest business organization with a network of over 6.5 million members in more than 130 countries. It works to promote international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation through a unique mix of advocacy and standard setting activities—together with market leading dispute resolution services. Members include many of the world’s largest companies, SMEs, business associations and local chambers of commerce.
See also:

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Scarlet Lady, the first ship of four under construction at Fincantieri's Genoa shipyard, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Scarlet Lady, the first ship of four ships under construction at Fincantieri’s Genoa shipyard

Virgin Voyages has yet to enter the cruise ship parade although Richard Braxton’s venture into this ‘virgin’ domain has yet to take place, has placed an order for a fourth ship with Italian cruise ship specialist builder, Fincantieri.

The contract, said to be worth about US$795 million, will…


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Helsinki-based Containerships has inaugurated a second weekly service from London Thamesport, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Helsinki-based Containerships has inaugurated a second weekly service from London Thamesport

International News

Hutchison Ports London Thamesport’s growing reputation as a short-sea container hub has been further enhanced by Helsinki-based Containerships plc’s introduction of a second weekly service from Gdynia, Poland.

Helsinki-based Containerships (illustrated) has inaugurated a…

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Oceanos with SA Air Force helicopters arriving to pluck passegers from the sinkling ship. Picture: East London Museum, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Oceanos with SA Air Force helicopters arriving to pluck passegers from the sinkling ship. Picture: East London Museum

–4 August 1991 —
Rescue ship to a person on the bridge of the fast sinking OCEANOS

“Where are you?”
“I don’t really know, somewhere between East London and Durban.”
“Can you give me your actual position?”
“What is your rank?”
“I’m the guitarist”

Transkei stamp of the Oceanos sinking, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Unbelievable but true – an account of the terrifying conditions on the OCEANOS on 4 August 1991 when it became obvious that not only was the position of the ship unknown, but the whereabouts of the captain and some crew as well.

Most have heard the story, the sinking of the OCEANOS with 571 passengers and crew on board, none of whom suffered fatalities or serious injury.

It was then up to the Tour Director and members of the entertainment group having to take over the task of getting passengers off the vessel into lifeboats and rescue helicopters.

This account was brought to life by Andrew Pike, a maritime lawyer (Bowmans)  who was involved in what he termed as the biggest case he had dealt with in his career.

Andrew was the speaker at a recent well-attended fund-raising breakfast of the Sailors’ Society in Durban.

Principal Chaplain Revd Boet van Schalkwyk introduced the work of the Society by means of a short video and description of the situations encountered by chaplains who go on board vessels, in short, how the Sailors’ Society cares for seafarers ecumenically and materially. Seafarers are at sea for lengthy periods by the very nature of their work, away from families, also with limited time ashore. Others find themselves in the unfortunate position of their vessel being arrested resulting in lengthy times in ports without being able to go ashore. Here chaplains ensure they have sufficient food and necessities on board.

Three years ago the Crisis Response Network was formed. Headed by Revd Van Schalkwyk, CRN Co-ordinator for Sub-Saharan Africa, this service focuses on trauma counselling of seafarers after suffering events such as piracy attacks, disasters at sea and also death and illness of their families back home when they are thousands of kilometres away. The Sailors Society steps in and through the network is able to ensure that chaplains are able to render trauma counselling and help no matter where they are.

Those on the OCEANOS also suffered indescribable trauma. Many organisations played vital roles in the rescue; the SAAF, NSRI, Ports Authority amongst others. Passengers were airlifted from the ship which had been disabled and was sinking near Coffee Bay in the then Transkei and were taken to the Haven Hotel.

Andrew related the story of a two week old baby having been placed in a bucket and hoisted from the sinking ship onto a passing bulk carrier. Children had also been separated from their parents in the haste of the rescue with the parents not knowing their whereabouts.

Andrew Pike of Bowmans attorneys and Revd Boet van Schalkwyk of the Seamens Society, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Andrew Pike of Bowmans attorneys and Revd Boet van Schalkwyk of the Sailors’ Society

The Port of Durban, where a crisis centre had been set up, received vessels which had been contacted to rescue passengers. A captain of one of these ships reported 30 metre waves. Although trauma counselling was arranged at the time, it is ironic that the very work done by the CRN team could have been so appropriate then.

All were spellbound listening to Andrew’s vibrant account of this disaster, sharing with us details we either have forgotten after having read reports or didn’t know. He, by the nature of his work, had to interview many role players regarding claims and other legal aspects and so could give a profound insight into the situation.

There are always some humorous vignettes even in the face of tragedy.

“I didn’t know so many people went on this voyage wearing Rolexes”! he said.

Andrew Pike has written a book on this miracle so many may also shortly be able to share this remarkable rescue – which he correctly described as “worthy of a Hollywood movie”.

He concluded: “It was the greatest maritime rescue in history, in fact a miracle, – a miracle where there were no fatalities or serious injuries.”

The Sailors’ Society requires donations without which their work would have to be curtailed. Andrew’s contribution to the fundraising effort so as to continue with the vital services is highly appreciated.

by Yvonne de Kock
Public Relations Co-ordinator
Sailors’ Society SA

  • This article will also appear in the FEATURES column


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Capt Sloane (on left), Ms Charo Coll (ISU President) and Capt Rob Whitehead. Pictures: SOMMSA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Capt Sloane (on left), Ms Charo Coll (ISU President) and Capt Rob Whitehead. Pictures: SOMMSA

Faced with a reluctance by the South African state to grant any sort of official recognition of the achievements of South African salvage master Captain Nick Sloane in leading the team that raised the capsized cruise ship COSTA CONCORDIA, the Society of Master Mariners South Africa decided to initiate a unique gold medal as its highest honour to a fellow mariner.

The gold medal was awarded to Capt Sloane in the presence of a large group of international salvage delegates attending the International Salvage Union’s AGM that was being held in the Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town on the evening of 23 October 2018.

The citation awarded to Cape Nick Sloane together with a gold medal award given by SOMMSA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

In making the presentation the Society’s President, Capt Rob Whitehead, told those assembled that, as a result of the state’s reluctance to recognise the significant achievement and international recognition generated by Captain Sloane’s leadership in the successful salvage of the Costa Concordia, the Society had created this gold medal award as its highest honour to a fellow mariner.

The laid down criteria for making the award is as follows: “Certificated Master Mariner or Deck Officer who, by an exceptional action, has brought the highest honour to our profession by him or her exercising the pinnacle of marine skills acquired as a result of their qualifications and experience”.

Full marks to the Society for taking the lead in granting this overdue recognition of a true South African hero and an example to old and young alike. That a South African was chosen to lead the international team that successfully raised and refloated the cruise ship is a factor that should never have been overlooked and does no credit to those in the South Africa government and state organisation that deliberately or otherwise neglected this.


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Maersk Kolkata. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maersk Kolkata.      Picture courtesy: Shipspotting

AP Moller – Maersk, so often the pioneer in container logistics, has become the first container shipping company to launch instant booking confirmation.

The initiative offers significant improvements to customer experience as booking a container with Maersk becomes as easy as booking a flight ticket.

Maersk customers can now complete their bookings within seconds compared to…


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IMPSA xrane collapsed at Port Elizabeth 30 Oct 2018, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news. Picture TNPA

Following the collapse of the ship-to-shore (STS) crane at Port Elizabeth on Tuesday morning – *see that report HERE – Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) at Port Elizabeth advised this evening (Thursday 1 November) that the crane boom (jib) has been successfully floated, brought alongside and secured to the quay wall of the berth opposite the breakwater in the port entrance channel.

“The debris on the seabed will now be removed and a final dive inspection conducted ahead of the Harbour Master declaring the port safe for shipping. Subject to good weather conditions and no uncontrollable salvage variables, shipping movements have started and will continue from 16h00 today (Thursday).

“Notice has been given to vessels to prepare themselves for shipping. Three pilots, a berthing crew and our two tugs will be deployed to expedite the recovery of the shipping backlog,” said Rajesh Dana, PE Port Manager.

The collapse of the IMPSA crane on berth 103 at the PE Container Terminal left a part overhanging into the port entrance channel. As a result of this and in the interest of navigational safety, all commercial shipping movements in the Port of Port Elizabeth were suspended until the port entrance channel has been cleared.

Transnet immediately appointed a contractor to assist with the salvage and recovery of the crane.

Meanwhile Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) proceeded with terminal operations. The cargo of four vessels were successfully handled leaving them ready to sail while another five vessels were expected to dock once the entrance was reopened.


In an update TNPA reports that “all port operations (including, but not limited to Shipping operations and terminal operations) have returned to normal. The commercial shipping backlog has been recovered and depending on good weather conditions it is anticipated that the terminal operations should be fully recovered by next Wednesday [7 November].”


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Bulk loading at Richards Bay. Picture: Port of Richards Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Bulk loading at Richards Bay.       Picture: Port of Richards Bay

The bulk sector is navigating its way out of the doldrums but market correction has come at a price, delegates attending Bulk Terminals 2018 learned last week.

Speaking in Hamburg at the annual conference of the Association of Bulk Terminal Operators (ABTO), Frachtcontor Director Frank Grone said that while the bulk segment is slowly but steadily working its way out of the doldrums with a positive cash flow, he reminded delegates that 60mdwt was scrapped in 2015 and 2016 at “ridiculous prices”, while financing banks took serious “haircuts” leaving bulk carrier owners faced with a complete wipe out of their invested capital.

The trigger for recovery, he said, has been a healthy growth in demand, which in 2017 was in order of 4% with 3% expected for this year. Fleet growth was moderate in 2017.

Congestion and slow steaming have been two ingredients for recovery as it kept tonnage off the market. Slow steaming is still the flavour of the month, but a 3 to 4 knot increase in speed could kill the upturn, Grone warned.

As far as bulk commodities are concerned demand for iron ore has been the major driver and the iron ore market should increase by about 2% this year and continue upwards with suppliers in Brazil and Australia ramping up production. Demand from the Chinese market is still there he said, and locally produced product is nowhere near the quality of imports. Coal is also a market driver with a 7% increase in Chinese imports and Indian imports up 6%.

The overall increase in seaborne coal trade is 3-4% which is in stark contrast to Europe where imports have fallen. China, India, Japan and Korea import approximately 900mt of coal per year compared to the two biggest importers in Europe – the UK and Germany – which import approximately 110mt annually. The music, he said, is “clearly being played in the Pacific Rim”.

The challenge for European terminal operators is the fact that Germany now uses 36% energy derived from renewables. The fact that Australian coal port Newcastle is now planning an ultra large container terminal to cater for a projected massive increase in movement of containerised cargo may be an indication of market attitudes going forward.

In summary, Grone said growth looks positive and fleet growth manageable but there are a number of challenges.

These include the trade conflict between China, the US and EU, which, he said, will affect the shipping market negatively. “The market is not only driven by hard facts, but also by sentiments”.

While the immediate impact of restrictions on soya bean trades may be positive in the short term for South American suppliers, ultimately China will have to turn to the US for supplies, Grone believed. Trade barriers are generally negative in the longer term, he added.

Another area of uncertainty is what will happen as a result of the global sulphur cap due to come into force in 2020.

Commenting on the options available to meet the requirement, Grone estimated, on the basis of current use, that 66% of all fuel burned will have to be switched by 2020 to comply with the rules.

ABTO banner appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Owners can either continue to burn high sulphur fuels and risk fines and port state control detentions and trade bans, or install scrubbing technology or switch to gasoil, he said, adding that scrubbing technology is expensive while switching to gasoil may also be expensive as the price will be substantially higher.

Grone told ABTO delegates that suppliers are likely to reduce stocks of high sulphur fuel because of falling demand.

Only 1200 owners have decided to retrofit scrubbers and there are 60,000 vessels that need to be dealt with. For the remainder of vessels needing to move to low sulphur products, delivery can be expected to be tight. The upside for tanker owners is that there is likely to be movement of gasoil from the Middle East, he said.

The challenge for shipowners will be how to pass the costs on to charterers and to realise the competitive advantage of installing scrubbers. Another strategy may well prove to be partnerships between charterers and owners of ships with scrubbers.

Grone’s market appraisal followed a key note speech from Axel Mattern, CEO of the Port of Hamburg Marketing Association, who informed attendees that Hamburg has now received the green light to dredge and rebuild the entrance channel to the port.

He explained it has taken 17 years and “many battles with regulators” to get the go ahead for work on the Elbe, which up until now has meant ships with a beam of 15m or more have been unable to pass each other and have had to wait to enter the port. “Hamburg is back in the game”, he said.

In his closing remarks, Ian Adams, ABTO Chief Executive, commented: “Bulk Terminals 2018 had a very broad agenda, but a common theme running throughout the two-day conference was that market near-term prospects appeared to be positive, which is good news for everyone involved in the bulk industry. ABTO continues to provide a valuable service to its members and to the industry as a whole.”

About ABTO

The Association of Bulk Terminal Operators provides a service to bulk terminal operating companies by helping to establish a favourable operating environment. As a forum for discussion on non-competitive issues, and by providing up-to-date information and market intelligence ABTO can help strengthen and support business development strategies, lobby governments and administrations to ensure operators are aware of the issues affecting the transportation of bulk cargoes and, consequently, global trade.


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The site of the proposed Richards Bay ship repair facility with floating dock. The small craft quay that will be strengthened and deepened is on the right, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The site of the proposed ship repair facility with floating dock. The small craft quay that will be strengthened and deepened is on the right.

It has been well over 20 years but at last the green light of official approval has been given to the building of floating dock infrastructure at the Port of Richards Bay.

Since the mid 1990s and the aspirations of a local businessman, Rowley Morgan, there has been one obstacle after another standing in the way of providing ship repair facilities at the Zululand port.

Now that wait appears to be over, with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) giving Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) Port of Richards Bay the go ahead to construct its long-awaited R1.4 billion rand floating dock infrastructure.

The new floating dock facility, which will be located in the vicinity of the port’s Small Craft Harbour, forms part of the R4.4 billion capital investment plans announced by TNPA in 2017.

The consent from DEA followed a drawn-out rigorous process, which included a series of specialised studies, impact assessments and consultations with various environmental and industry stakeholders, including the South African Heritage Resources Agency, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, DEA: Coastal Pollution Management as well as the local municipalities among others.

Market studies and Expressions of Interest confirmed an appetite for a Floating Dock in the region.

Local stakeholders have been saying this since the days of the late Mr Morgan.

Port manager Thami Sithole, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port manager Thami Sithole

The implementation of a floating dock has been in the pipeline for a number of years, gaining traction in 2016 when an expression of interest was issued, said Richards Bay Port Manager, Thami Sithole.

“At the time, 23 interested parties attended the site briefing, while 11 submissions were received, including ship / rig repair players, consulting firms and entities interested in being service providers or sub-contractors to the potential sponsor. Respondents were favourable towards mobilising a floating dock provided that certain risks were addressed.

“TNPA will approach this project in two streams, namely the infrastructure development and a concession to a private sector operator to supply and operate a floating dock. As the Port of Richards Bay we are extremely excited about moving forward with this long-awaited project,” Sithole said.

TNPA will be supporting this initiative by undertaking the dredging, marine infrastructure and bulk landside infrastructure developments.

The project is expected to create approximately 1000 direct and indirect jobs, with a current targeted operational date of April 2022. Once complete, the facility will be capable of accommodating Capesize vessels. This will require upgrades to the existing Small Craft quay and extensive deepening of the berth from its current 8.5 metres to a planned -18 metre depth.

The floating dock project represents one of the initiatives of Operation Phakisa, a government-driven programme aimed at unlocking the potential of South Africa’s Oceans Economy. Of a total of 18 Marine Transport and Manufacturing (MTM) Initiatives under Operation Phakisa, TNPA is directly associated with eight of them of which four involve infrastructure developments. Other initiatives address operations, skills and capacity building as well as market growth.

TNPA has specifically identified ship building and repair as strategic competencies towards the growing of GDP and creation of jobs in the Richards Bay region.

Ricky Bhikraj, TNPA Operation Phakisa director, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Ricky Bhikraj

Ricky Bhikraj, Operation Phakisa Programme Director said that the new development would ensure that the Port of Richards Bay was able to enter the ship repair market for typical vessels that call at Richards Bay and grow a base for wider marine manufacturing at Richards Bay.

“Former Richards Bay Port Manager, Preston Khomo, has been appointed as the TNPA Ship Repair Executive. He will lead the creation of an enabling environment for wider marine manufacturing at our ports to enable this industry to thrive and to contribute towards the nation’s prosperity,” Bhikraj said.

“Across our ports, we are making steady progress on the upgrades at our ship repair facilities to ensure they are internationally competitive and capable of attracting more business to South Africa. Having addressed the start-up and planning issues, it remains for us to accelerate delivery of these projects in consultation with port users. This is in line with our role as a lead implementer of the Operation Phakisa initiative,” Bhikraj said.


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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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MSC Musica. Picture: Clinton Wyness
MSC Musica sails from Durban on Thursday 8 November 2018, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news.     Picture: Clinton Wyness

Another view of the MSC Cruises’ ship MSC MUSICA as she sailed from Durban bound for Mozambican waters. The ship will return to Durban to commence another cruise on Monday. This picture is by Clinton Wyness



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