Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News 18 December 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

***  We wish everyone a very Happy and blessed Christmas period, and a prosperous cheerful New Year  ***

 Reminder: Today, Monday 17 December is a Public Holiday in SA – our next Newsletter will appear on Tuesday 18 December 2018. Thank you.



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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  • The masthead today is Port of Cape Town






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Silver Discoverer. Picture: Trevor Jones, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Silver Discoverer.      Picture: Trevor Jones

The small specialist expedition cruise ship SILVER DISCOVERER (IMO 8800195) called at Durban this week to exchange passengers before returning to Richards Bay, her previous port of call. Capable of carrying a maximum of 116 guests the 5,218-gt ship possesses the intimacy of a cruising yacht combined with the spaciousness and ‘feel’ of a cruise ship without the crowds. By the middle of next week Silver Discoverer will be in Maputo at the start of an exciting cruise among the Mozambique Channel, with visits to coastal towns in Madagascar and Mozambique, including Mozambique Island followed by Zanzibar and then several of the less visited Seychelles Islands. The cruise segment ends in Mahe before departing towards India and destinations further east. Built in 1989 Silver Discoverer has been owned, managed and operated by Silverseas since March 2014. This picture of the ship berthed at the Durban N Shed Cruise Terminal is by Trevor Jones




SAS Protea off Durban. Picture TNPA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

SAS Protea by Trevor Jones appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Pictures: SAS Protea TNPA (top), Trevor Jones (lower)

Hydrography has been much in the news lately surrounding the cutting of steel last week for the new hydrographic survey ship for the SA Navy. This is a 40-month contract and in the meantime the old warhorse of the navy, the ever reliable existing hydrographic survey ship SAS PROTEA soldiers on…. or should that read navies on?  Protea was built on the Clyde and entered service with the navy in 1972, being the last ship built for the SA Navy in the UK. Displacing 2750 tons fully loaded she replaced a  converted Loch-class frigate SAS NATAL as South Africa’s hydrographic survey ship. Now after all these years SAS Protea is due to be replaced by a newbuild ship whose first steel was ceremonially cut last week. In the meantime Protea will no doubt continue faithfully with her work, mapping and charting the long coast as well as providing valuable support with other navy activities.  The pictures here are by TNPA (top) and Trevor Jones (lower)



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Mission to Seafarers' Nine Carols Service held in London, December 2018, featuredin Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

London – The Mission to Seafarers has reaffirmed its commitment to developing new mental health services in 2019 in response to increasing concerns around mental wellbeing at sea.

Speaking to many leading industry figures, including the UK Shipping Minister, at its annual Festival of Nine Carols & Lessons in London, the Mission acknowledged the work many shipping companies are doing to tackle issues such as loneliness and isolation, but called for a renewed focus on reaching vulnerable seafarers who may be unable to access existing resources.

The Mission also recognised the vital work of its frontline teams of port chaplains, centre managers and volunteers, who address seafarers’ mental health on a daily basis.

This year the Mission received a Highly Commended distinction at the Safety at Sea 2018 Awards for its shoreside services. Shoreside support is particularly vital at this time of year; whether it’s visiting ships, offering pastoral support or delivering Christmas gift parcels – often the only gift a seafarer will receive on Christmas Day.

The Revd Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General, The Mission to Seafarers, said: “While many of the stresses that seafarers face are the same as they were 20 years ago, new concerns are emerging as more and more ships start to provide internet access to their crew.

“Our Seafarers’ Happiness Index, which uses the data from our conversations with thousands of seafarers around the globe, clearly shows that a lack of connectivity is one of the greatest issues facing seafarers today.

“Many cite poor or no connectivity as a major contributor towards unhappiness at work, leading to increased pressure on mental health. If shipping companies want to retain happy and motivated seafarers, they will have to ensure their crews have access to fast and reliable internet.

“However, we recognise that with greater connectivity come other pressures for seafarers. Access to real-time news about what is going on back home can also add to stress and anxiety.

“Consequently, the Mission is rolling out new programmes in 2019 in response to this key issue, which will complement our existing services.”

UK Shipping Minister Nusrat Ghani MP was among the readers at this year's Festival of Nine Carols & Lessons, which was featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
UK Shipping Minister Nusrat Ghani MP was among the readers at this year’s Festival of Nine Carols & Lessons

The Mission also announced that it will continue to develop and expand its global services around key maritime hubs across the globe to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving sector.

Last month, the Mission signed an MoU with the Panama Maritime Authority for the provision of seafarer welfare services – the first of its kind in the region. The agreement will enable the Mission to establish welfare services at all major Panamanian ports, including the Panama Canal, one of the busiest waterways in the world.

UK Shipping Minister Nusrat Ghani MP was among the readers at this year’s Festival of Nine Carols & Lessons.

At this year’s Festival of Nine Carols & Lessons, the Mission welcomed Shell as its new headline sponsor. It also thanked Silver sponsors Ince & Co and Wärtsilä, and Bronze sponsor Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. The carol service included readings from a number of high-profile industry figures, including Ms Nusrat Ghani MP, UK Shipping Minister, and Dr Grahaeme Henderson, VP Shipping & Maritime at Shell and President of the UK Chamber of Shipping from 2016-18.

The service was followed by a reception, attended by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, President of The Mission to Seafarers, where she met loyal supporters of the Mission.

The Mission has launched a Christmas campaign to raise awareness of the issues currently facing seafarers, particularly the loneliness many feel around the festive period as a result of being separated from their families and loved ones.

So far, over £40,000 has been raised from online donations and sponsorship of the Christmas carol service – all of which will go towards running the Mission’s vital welfare services across the globe, including its new support network in Panama.

To make a donation, or to find out more about how you can help, please CLICK HERE

HRH The Princess Royal, President of The Mission to Seafarers, met with supporters of the Mission and leading industry professionals, including Minister Chancellor Ms Ana Alvarado, Panama Embassy and Dr John E. Meredith, CBE, Chairman-Designate, of MtS Panama, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
HRH The Princess Royal, President of The Mission to Seafarers, met with supporters of the Mission and leading industry professionals, including Minister Chancellor Ms Ana Alvarado, Panama Embassy and Dr John E. Meredith, CBE, Chairman-Designate, of MtS Panama



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Relinquishes Tembo Block Appraisal Licence (Tembo)

Tembo field in northern Mozambique, being relinquished by Wentworth Resources to concentrate on Tanzania, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tembo field in northern Mozambique, being relinquished by Wentworth Resources to concentrate on Tanzania

Wentworth, the listed independent, East Africa-focused oil & gas company has announced that further to its announcement of 3 October 2018, it intends to relinquish the Tembo block in northern Mozambique with a planned effective date of 30 April 2019 ahead of the end of the current appraisal term on 15 June 2019.

The Company will also exit Mozambique, closing its Maputo office and shutting down activities in the Muxara and Palma camps concurrently, in order to focus on its core Mnazi Bay asset in Tanzania and its M&A led growth mandate.

The Tembo Block, which has an area of approximately 2,500 km2 is in north-eastern Mozambique, approximately 2,600 km north of Maputo and 120 km southwest of the Mnazi Bay field, in the onshore Rovuma Basin.

The block is operated by Wentworth Resources (85%) with Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH 15%) as a partner.

The relinquishment of the Tembo block will release Wentworth Resources from any further appraisal work programme obligations with no material costs foreseen ahead of relinquishment. It is anticipated that the Company’s Intangible Assets which are attributable to the Tembo appraisal licence will be written down in full in the current financial year 2018.

“We have now completed a thorough technical and commercial review of the company’s asset portfolio and determined that our Tembo asset does not provide us with suitable monetisation solutions in keeping with our material growth mandate,” said CEO Eskil Jersing.

“We have appreciated the excellent relationships to date with ENH, the National Oil Company of Mozambique, and INP, the National Regulator, and will work hard to ensure an efficient and smooth transition period for all stakeholders. Our work both to maximise the potential of Mnazi Bay and to identify M&A opportunities to add material value continues apace and we look forward to updating shareholders on our progress in due course.”



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EMATUM fleet lying idle in Maputo harbour, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
EMATUM fleet lying idle in Maputo harbour     Picture: Ematum

According to Mozambique’s Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Agostinho Mondlane, the total catch or fisheries production estimate for 2018 is for 394,000 tonnes, of which 92 per cent comes from small-scale artisanal fishermen.

Commercial or industrial fishing produces the balance of 8 per cent only and this includes the high value prawns, lobsters and other shellfish for which Mozambique remains famous. Much of the latter is exported to Europe.

Mondlane said in 2015, the first year of the current government, the catch was 290,915 tonnes. Since then the sector has been growing at a rate of over 9.5 per cent each year.

He said there 492 licensed commercial fishing vessels in the country. Of these 250 are licensed to catch kapenta (Limnothrissa miodon, or Lake Tanganyika sardine) on Lake Cahora Bassa in Tete province. He said the number of fishing vessels licensed to fish on the open seas was only 242.

All the industrial and semi-industrial vessels in Mozambican marine waters are subject to monitoring, he said. Each vessel contains electronic devices and are monitored by satellite. This, Mondlane said, means that their routes are tracked and any suspicious behaviour (such as stopping at sea to transfer catches from one vessel to another) can be noted.

Mondlane hoped that in the near future the electronic monitoring will be extended to the boats fishing on Cahora Bassa Lake.

The Minister said there 700 inspections of commercial fishing vessels have been undertaken so far this year, and in 101 cases the fishing companies were fined. The total fines amounted to 80 million meticais (about US$1.3 million).

The offences detected included under-reporting of catches and fishing outside of the area for which the licence was issued. “When this happens repeatedly, the captain of the boat will be banned from Mozambican waters,” the minister said.

He said the government is determined to increase the tax take from commercial fishing. In 2015-2016, the taxes collected were equivalent to about one per cent of the value of the catch. But this year they have risen to about 320 million meticais, which is three per cent of the value. “We intend to reach five per cent,” said Mondlane.

He was heavily critical of the failure of Mozambican fishing companies to invest. Some of them are operating with boats that are over 40 years old.

“The companies must limit the age of their boats, and use fishing gear that is environment-friendly.”

He said the companies are also refusing to invest in aquaculture. Of the total catch, 99 per cent is wild fish and shellfish, and only one per cent comes from aquaculture.

“We could produce millions of tonnes of various species from aquaculture,” the minister said, adding that if the companies refuse to invest voluntarily in aquaculture, new regulations being drafted will force them to do so.

One recent improvement, imposed by the Ministry, was that no fishing vessel can refuel on the high seas, because of the risk of oil spills. The boats must come into port to refuel.

Asked if the tuna fishing company Tunamar has begun to operate, Mondlane confirmed that all its boats are still paralysed although he expected the company to start fishing soon. Tunamar is the reincarnation of the bankrupt company Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), one of the beneficiaries of Mozambique’s ‘hidden debt’ scandal.

Ematum was granted a loan of US$850 million from the banks Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia, thanks to illegal loan guarantees issued by the previous Mozambican government under President Armando Guebuza. But the 24 boats hardly did any fishing [plus patrol vessels], and are currently lying at anchor in the Maputo fishing port.

A partnership with the US company Frontier Service Group (FSG) was supposed to bring Ematum to life under the name Tunamar. But, a year after an agreement was signed with FSG chairperson Eric Prince, nothing has happened.

Ematum currently has no fishing licence for any of its boats (the licences must be renewed annually). Mondlane said that, before Tunamar can start fishing, all the boats must be inspected to ensure that they are seaworthy and meet all health requirements, and all must pay their licenses. source: AIM



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SAS Spioenkop showing slight damage to hull following collision. Picture: SA Navy, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SAS Spioenkop showing slight damage to hull following collision. Picture: SA Navy

News has emerged of a collision between two of the navy’s ships in Simon’s Town harbour.

The accident occurred at 15h30 on Thursday (13 December 2018) as the navy frigate SAS SPIOENKOP was returning to harbour following sea trials to test her engines.

According to reports there was either a mechanical or communications system failure at a critical moment as the frigate entered the harbour during which the naval ship was supposed to reduce speed.

Although the attendant tugs attempted to bring the frigate to a standstill their attempts were not sufficient and the bow of SAS Spioenkop collided with the berthed combat support ship SAS DRAKENSBERG.

Minor damage resulted to both ships, well above the waterline and there was no danger of either vessels taking on water.

There were no reported injuries to sailors on board both vessels.

The navy has said that a board of enquiry would be established to look into the circumstances of the incident.


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We regret having to report that Willem Kruk, a well-known figure in the Port of Durban, has passed away after a sudden illness.

Mr Kruk (69) was a director of Elgin Brown & Hamer (EBH Shipyards) for many years where he headed their marketing team until his semi-retirement several years ago, although he continued working on a part-day basis during the mornings.

He remained a strong supporter of SAIMENA – the South African Institute of Marine Engineers & Naval Architects – and was a member of the Friends of the Port Natal Maritime Museum.

Willem Kruk, who went to sea as a young boy from the Netherlands, came ashore in Durban while still a young man, going to work for the late Thorleif Lunde, also a well-known figure in the port – with whom he remained a lifelong and close friend. He was a generous person who amongst other things enjoyed collecting and donating objects such as ship’s artifacts that he acquired at ship’s demolition yards. He also reached out to others in need such as building the lady who worked in his house on the outskirts of Durban her own new home as an expression of thanks.

Willem’s funeral has been announced for this coming Thursday, 20 December at the City Hill Church in Hillcrest, Durban. We extend our condolences to his family.



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Port statistics for the month of November 2018, covering the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority, are now available.

No less than six ports achieved more than one million tonnes of cargo throughput for November – Richards Bay with 9.445mt, Durban with 6.787mt, and Saldanha with 6.173mt but these were joined by Port Elizabeth which handled 1.070mt, Ngqura with 1.050mt and Cape Town with 1.010mt. The total cargo handled at South Africa’s ports was 25.759 million tonnes for the month. Details are available in the tables below.

Containers handled for the month, measured in TEUs, came to 383,507. Top port with this commodity was Durban with 232,893 TEUs, followed by Ngqura (72,343), Cape Town (63,508), Port Elizabeth (9153) and East London with 5122). For all ports see below.

Total cargo handled for the previous month (October) was 22.799 million tonnes. For other months refer to the tables published in earlier editions of Africa  PORTS & SHIPS  

For comparison with the port turnover of the equivalent month of last year, November 2017 please CLICK HERE

These statistic reports on Africa PORTS & SHIPS are arrived at using an adjustment on the overall tonnage compared to those kindly provided by TNPA and include containers recorded by weight; an adjustment necessary because TNPA measures containers by the number of TEUs and does not reflect the weight which unfortunately undervalues the ports.

To arrive at such a calculation,  Africa  PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13.5 tonnes per TEU, which probably does involve some under-reporting.  Africa PORTS & SHIPS  will continue to emphasise this distinction, without which South African ports would be seriously under-reported internationally and locally.

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Figures for the respective ports during November 2018 are:

Cargo handled by tonnes during November 2018, including containers by weight

PORT November 2018 million tonnes
Richards Bay 9.445
Durban 6.787
Saldanha Bay 6.173
Cape Town 1.010
Port Elizabeth 1.070
Ngqura 1.050
Mossel Bay 0.062
East London 0.162
Total all ports 25.759 million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during November 2018
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT November 2018 TEUs
Durban 232,893
Cape Town 63,508
Port Elizabeth 9,153
Ngqura 72,342
East London 5,122
Richards Bay 0,485
Total all ports 383,507 TEU

SHIP CALLS for November 2018

PORT November 2018 vessels gross tons
Durban 303 11,000,258
Cape Town 140 3,812,345
Richards Bay 178 7,086,891
Port Elizabeth 94 2,252,382
Saldanha Bay 56 3,970,284
Ngqura 45 2,776,539
East London 28 970,283
Mossel Bay 46 192,222
Total ship calls 889 32,051,204
— source TNPA, with adjustments regarding container weights by AP&S


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Trade & Industry Minister Rob Davies, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Trade & Industry Minister Rob Davies
  • South Africa has deposited the instrument of ratification of the Agreement establishing the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.The instrument of ratification was deposited on the margins of the 7th African Union Meeting of Ministers of Trade (AMOT) meeting taking place in Cairo, Egypt, which got underway on Wednesday (12 December 2018).The TFTA comprises three regional economic blocks – the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).The deposit of the instrument means that South Africa has formally and legally committed to the TFTA which was launched in June 2015 in Sharm El-Sheikh.South Africa signed the agreement in July 2017 and Parliament ratified the Agreement in October this year. A total 22 of 26 member States have signed the agreement, which will enter into full force once it has been ratified by 14 countries.South Africa is the fourth country to deposit the instrument of ratification. The other three countries are Egypt, Uganda and Kenya.Davies, who is attending the two-day AMOT, said South Africa regards the tripartite initiative as extremely important.

    Africa Trade Blocs. Countries shown with multi colour stripes are members of the two blocs depicted by the colours, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Africa Trade Blocs. Countries shown with multi colour stripes are members of the two blocs depicted by the colours
  • “It was the tripartite initiative that led to the work of broadening the integration beyond our existing regional communities and working towards the establishment of large free trade areas across our continent, the initiative that is now taken forward by the African Union,” he said.Chair of the Tripartite Task Force and the Secretary General of COMESA, Chileshe Kapwepwe, congratulated South Africa and indicated that it was encouraging to the other countries that have already deposited their instruments.Kapwepwe said there are an additional six countries that are in the process of depositing their instruments.She said the TFTA’s focus on three pillars namely market integration, industrial development and infrastructure development adding that these areas have been prioritised to support the regional economic integration efforts in the region and the continent.Davies reiterated that numerous benefits would accrue to South Africa as a result of the agreement.These include access to new and dynamic markets characterised by a combined gross domestic product of $1.2-trillion and a combined population of about 626-million people, which is over half the total African population and economy.South Africa’s trade with TFTA countries represents about 16% of its trade with the world.In 2017, total trade with TFTA countries was in excess of US$27.6-billion. The bulk of the trade is with within Southern African Development Community (SADC). source:


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    Oil barge vessel MV Anthony with her bow section missing aground off the Tema port anchorage. Picture: GPHA, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Oil barge vessel MV Anthony with her bow section missing aground off the Tema port anchorage. Picture: GPHA

    Barely six months after an oil tanker loaded with 1,200 metric-tons of light crude oil split into two at the Tema Port anchorage, Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority (GPHA) reports that a second vessel, an oil barge tanker by name MT ANTHONY (IMO 8678102) from Lagos has also split into two at the Tema port anchorage.

    All ten crew members on board the vessel escaped unhurt.

    The oil vessel has been operating in the waters of Ghana for three years.

    One section of the vessel has been burnt, which sources said was a result of some residents of Tema New Town who had moved into the drifted half to fight over a pump.

    In the process, it was alleged that one of the residents set the vessel on fire.

    This was after GPHA’s marine department had towed the other half of the vessel from the anchorage to the Tema New Town area to prevent it from sinking.

    Attempts to speak to the agent of the vessel proved futile.

    The 2759-dwt oil tanker MV Anthony is owned and managed by a firm called Okasi P, registered at Plot 15, Bombay Crescent, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria. MV Anthony was built in 1982. source: GPHA with additional information by Africa PORTS & SHIPS



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    One of the fast patrol boats built and supplied by a French company to Mozambique supposedly for fishery patrol,featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    One of the fast patrol boats built and supplied by a French company to Mozambique supposedly for fishery patrol

    Personnel from the Mozambican navy and Ministry of Fisheries and Transport and Communications are being trained by France, says a report in O País.

    The article mentions that the Mozambicans are being exposed to techniques aimed at dealing with maritime piracy and other threats associated with the exploitation of natural resources.

    It says the initiative’s aim is to equip the Mozambican Navy and other participants with the capacity to deal with threats associated with the exploitation of natural resources.

    The Mozambique government initiative is supported by the French Navy. It is hoped that the training will help personnel combat illegal fishing and drug trafficking.

    Several years ago a French shipbuilder completed an order for a number of fast patrol boats for a Mozambique government-sponsored company known as EMATUM, together with 24 modern fishing trawlers. The order for these was signed off in the presence of the then presidents of France and of Mozambique and the vessels duly completed and shipped to Maputo.

    Since then they have largely remained either on the quayside or later in the water at the port and have not gone to sea except in one or two isolated cases. Who will ever operate the patrol boats has never been publically explained. Source: O País with additional information from Africa PORTS & SHIPS



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    SAS Protea. Picture: Clinton Wyness, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    SAS Protea. Picture: Clinton Wyness

    Coming recognition for oceanographers and metocean experts, cartographers and navigators

    The IMarEST (Institute of Marine Engineering Science & Technology) has launched a new hydrography descriptor for its Chartered Marine Scientist register to allow hydrographers to distinguish themselves by using the letters “CMarSci(Hydrography)” after their name.

    No such designation has previously existed and the IMarEST is the only organisation that can offer the Chartered Marine Scientist register.

    Coming so soon after the start to building a new and highly sophisticated hydrographic survey ship for the South African Navy, which is being built at Southern African Shipyards in Durban, and the recent moves to increase the importance of hydrography in South Africa, the announcement from IMarEST has added interest.

    The hydrography post-nominal has been introduced to reflect the increasing importance of the discipline in allowing us to manage future challenges, IMarEST said in a statement.

    Every human venture in, on or under the sea depends on hydrographic knowledge. That is a knowledge of the nature of the seafloor, its depth and any hazards that may lie beneath, as well as an understanding of the tides and currents. Obtaining this information is fundamental to progress within the marine sphere.

    It is often said that we know more about the surface of Mars and the Moon than we do about our own planet. We really only have a detailed map of about 15% of the ocean floor at present and hydrographers are our key to not only growing this knowledge but, in doing so, to ensuring the preservation of the human race.

    IMarEST banner displayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

    The topography of the sea floor determines weather patterns, currents and can provide protection against coastal hazards such as approaching tsunamis. Mapping the sea floor is crucial for us to be able to navigate safely, build offshore structures including renewable energy generators, find natural resources, use fish stocks sustainably, lay communication cables and conduct search and rescue missions, amongst many other crucial activities.

    The ocean is already a hectic environment, teeming with activity. And as our global climate changes, we face new challenges that mean the oceans will only get busier. The work of our hydrographers is central to facing these challenges.

    As climate change results in more extreme weather, the prediction of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis will become increasingly important, as will the development of early warning systems that can reduce the impact of such events.

    Equally, these events may change the coastal landscape, rendering navigation hazardous around them until they can be surveyed again by hydrographers and consequently mapped. Simulations of rising sea-levels could also provide insight into where may soon no longer be safe for navigation, allowing us to move our harbours and ports in good time, as well as improving coastal defences against this rise in other areas.

    As the temperature and chemistry of the oceans changes, so will the ecosystems they support. Hydrographic surveys will be vital in identifying the coverage of flora and fauna across the oceans and how they change over time.

    Another important future application will be for the construction of a greater variety of offshore structures and even entire floating cities. For such creations to be feasible, a detailed understanding of the ocean floor is paramount. We will need to know which areas are safe to anchor to, build on and run cables through, as well as whether or not there are enough resources available and if the structures will be able to withstand variable weather.

    David Loosley, Chief Executive, IMarEST said that he was delighted that hydrographers can now demonstrate their unique and hugely important expertise through the CMarSci(Hydrography) post-nominal.

    “We will also, over the course of the coming year, recognise oceanographers and metocean experts, and cartographers and navigators in a similar way with added descriptors to the CMarSci and CMarTech registers respectively,” Loosley said.



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    Palma and district in northern Mozambique, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Palma and district in northern Mozambique, earmarked for increased port activity with the oil & gas industry

    Another three terror attacks have taken place in the Palma district of northern Mozambique, close to the Tanzania border.

    The terrorists in the recent past have all been extreme Islamist-affiliated and are thought to be linked to terrorist groups in Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia. The name of al-Shabaab has been bandied about. al-Shabab in turn is said to have links with another more notorious group, al-Qaeda.

    The Mozambican daily newssheet Carta de Mocambique reported that three attacks took place – the first being a pre-dawn Monday attack on the village of Nalyandele, which is about 20km from the town of Palma.

    Palma is expected to play an important role in the development of offshore and possibly on-shore oil and LNG exploitation.

    In the Nalyandele attack one man was shot dead in his own home.

    A second report in another newssheet, Mediafax also reported the attack but said three people were killed in the village and 15 houses burned down.

    The terrorist attacks in the recent past generally see a few people killed and houses burned down. In some of the attacks villagers get wind of the coming attack and flee into the surrounding bush.

    Also on Monday the village of Malamba was attacked at about 11am. Here one person was killed and three others – two of who are elderly and one disabled) were kidnapped. The mother of the disabled young person was stripped of her clothes and left on the road. Malamba is about 10 kilometres from Palma.

    A third attack took place also on Monday in the area of Makanga, which is near the Rovuma River that forms the border with Tanzania. Three young men collecting firewood were surprised by the terrorists – they attempted to escape but one was shot and then beheaded.

    Reports say there have been other attacks of people working in the fields but no positive detail is provided. Local people, having realised that Mozambique security services is proving to be of little help, have begun to resist and on Sunday an alleged insurgent was caught and then killed near the boundary between Nangade and Mocimboa da Praia districts.

    AIM reported that members of the Mozambican defence and security forces were seen heading towards Miando, while residents were fleeing from the village in the direction of Palma town. No other details are available.

    The authorities have had some success and a trial is currently taking place in the Cabo Delgado Provincial court, which is sitting in the port town of Pemba. In total 189 people stand accused in connection with the insurgency – details are sketchy as the trial is taking place mostly behind closed doors despite this being in clear violation of the constitutional principal of trials being open to the public.

    It is assumed that many of those appearing before the court are local people thought to be sympathisers. Source: AIM



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    CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupery at southampton docks. Picture: Wikipedia Commons featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupery at southampton docks. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

    The giant French container shipping company CMA CGM has been recognised for its initiatives with environmental issues facing the shipping sector by being given the Environment Award at the annual Lloyd’s List Global Awards, which was held in London on Tuesday (11 December 2018).

    This prize rewards the actions the CMA CGM Group has been carrying out for several years to reduce its environmental footprint as well as its pioneering choice to power its future vessels with LNG, thereby leading the entire industry towards an unprecedented energy transition.

    Maritime transport is arguably the most environmentally-friendly mode of transportation of goods. According to CMA CGM, the Group is constantly seeking to find innovative ways of making its ships more environmentally-friendly.


    CMA CGM Banner, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime newsOne example is the 400-metre long, 21,000-TEU container ship CMA CGM ANTOINE DE SAINT EXUPERY which emits less than 3 grams of CO2 per ton transported per kilometre, as compared with 91 grams for a truck and 470 grams for a plane.

    The Group has additionally reduced its CO2 emissions per container transported per kilometre by 50% between 2005 and 2015, and it has set up a plan to achieve a further 30% reduction by 2025. As proof of its commitment, the Group achieved a 10% reduction in 2017 alone.

    During 2018 CMA CGM was awarded the ‘Gold Recognition Level’ for the fourth consecutive year by the ratings agency EcoVadis. EcoVadis assesses companies’ corporate social responsibility, particularly through the prism of environmental protection. This evaluation positions CMA CGM among the top 1% most responsible companies in its sector and among the top 5% most responsible companies across all sectors.

    The jury of Tuesday’s Lloyd’s List Global Awards, comprised of a panel of leading journalists and figures of the shipping world, annually rewards leaders and companies who are seen as advancing the shipping industry.

    The Environment Award acknowledges the company that has launched the most significant environmental initiatives.



      Dragon's sea-boat approaches the dhow. All pictures Courtesy: CMF, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Dragon’s sea-boat approaches the dhow. All pictures Courtesy: CMF

      In a report by the Combined Maritime Forces’ HMS Dragon, the Type 45 Daring-class destroyer operating under the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) has conducted her second major seizure of narcotics in less than two weeks.

      HMS Dragon was on patrol as part of CMF’s Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 when the crew found and destroyed more than 500kg of drugs, including nearly 200kg of Heroin and 9kg of crystal methamphetamine.

      The drugs would have sold locally for more than US$2.1 million and for many times that had they made it to their final markets. These sales of illicit drugs are a known source of funding for terrorist groups and criminal networks. This year CTF 150 has destroyed 49,255 kg of illicit drugs.

      Crew of HMS Dragon with the haul of narcotics, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Crew of HMS Dragon with the haul of narcotics

      CTF 150 has recently come under the command of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). The Task Force is led by Commodore Darren Garnier RCN. He was delighted to achieve such a result so early in his command: “I thank HMS Dragon for its continued vigilance and support to CTF 150 so early in our tenure of command, and for a superbly executed drug interdiction operation. This seizure of illicit drugs is continuing to deny terrorists the use of the high seas as a pathway for illegal activity.”

      Winching the sea-boat back on board the Dragon, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Winching the sea-boat back on board the Dragon

      HMS Dragon encountered the suspicious dhow on the ‘Smack Track’ smuggling route running from the Makran Coast of Iran and Pakistan to the shores of East Africa.

      Lt Jonathan Bennett is one of HMS Dragon’s Officers of the Watch and also the ship’s Royal Naval Boarding Officer. He was on watch on the bridge when he spotted something unusual: “I had just taken over the watch when I spotted this dhow, and whilst a common sight within the Middle East and the Indian Ocean, this was in an unusual area for the size of vessel,” he said.

      “It looked suspicious, and as we closed in on the vessel, the boarding teams went out in the sea boats to talk to the crew of the dhow. Their answers raised our suspicions further, and so we started a boarding. Following a search by our trained teams we were able to locate and recover these narcotics, stopping their onward likely travel to their final markets, as well as disrupting the funding of illicit activity.”

      Commander Michael Carter Quinn, the Commanding Officer of HMS Dragon, is delighted to be working for CTF 150 again and have another success under the new command: “to achieve this seizure, so swiftly after the last, is demonstration of the hard work and professionalism of all the Dragons on board. I am delighted for the new team at CTF 150 to start their Command so positively.”

      CMF is a multi-national military organisation based in Bahrain. Its purpose is to maintain maritime security in the busy sea lanes of the Middle East. HMS Dragon will spend the period over Christmas at sea continuing her support to CTF 150 and her great work ensuring the security of the high seas.

      Ship's company sort and weigh the narcotics, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Ship’s company sort and weigh the narcotics



      News continues below


      Hurricane ravaging Western Europe

      Special Feature: Courtesy Tugs Towing & Offshore



      m.s. MÜNCHEN, fatured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      m.s. MÜNCHEN

      Eternal Father, Strong to Save

      “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” is a British hymn traditionally associated with seafarers, particularly in the maritime armed services. Written in 1860, its author William Whiting was inspired by the dangers of the sea described in Psalm 107. It was popularised by the Royal Navy and the United States Navy in the late 19th century, and variations of it were soon adopted by many branches of the armed services in the United Kingdom and the United States. Services who have adapted the hymn include the Royal Marines, Royal Air Force, the British Army, the United States Coast Guard and the US Marine Corps, as well as many navies of the British Commonwealth. Accordingly, it is known by many names, variously referred to as the Hymn of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, the Royal Navy Hymn, the United States Navy Hymn (or just The Navy Hymn), and sometimes by the last line of its first verse, “For Those in Peril on the Sea”. The hymn has a long tradition in civilian maritime contexts as well, being regularly invoked by ship’s chaplains and sung during services on ocean crossings.

      The Storm on the Sea of Galilee is a painting from 1633 by the Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrandt van Rijn, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      The Storm on the Sea of Galilee is a painting from 1633 by the Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrandt van Rijn

      Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters.
      They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep.
      For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves.
      They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away.

      Eternal Father, strong to save,
      Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
      Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
      Its own appointed limits keep;
      Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
      For those in peril on the sea!


      Remember Winter in the North Atlantic 40 years ago
      Hurricane ravaging Western Europe

      Rig towage to Marseille

      The ocean-going tug Smit Rotterdam with her 22,000 horsepower departed from Rotterdam in October 1978 and connected up a Jack-up rig in the North Sea bound for Marseille. On board was the famous maritime cineaste Pim Korver to make a movie of the Smit Rotterdam and her crew just to show the difference after the movie of Holland’s Glory.

      The weather was fair and the tug made a good speed and within three weeks time she delivered the Jack-up rig to the client in Marseille. The Smit Rotterdam continued her voyage to Barcelona to change her captain and to drop off Mr Pim Korver. In the port of Barcelona was seen the replica of the Santa Maria, the flagship and supply ship of Christopher Columbus, who in 1492 ‘discovered’ America. However, he was not the first European to set foot there, that was a Viking from the ship of Leif Eriksson, who came from Greenland probably in 1001 or 1002.  Columbus’

      The replica of the Santa Maria at Barcelona, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      The replica of the Santa Maria at Barcelona

      ship was originally called María Galante, but since this was also synonymous with a prostitute, it was decided to change the name. On the Christmas night of 1492 the Santa Maria suffered shipwreck off the coast of Quisqueya, later called Hispaniola. It was very shocking to see such a small ship in comparison with the big and strong Smit Rotterdam and difficult to understand that they had some 100 sailors on board while the Smit Rotterdam sailed with 18 persons only.

      Once the Smit Rotterdam was cleared from Barcelona she set sail to Horta on the Azores island of Faial to take up her station duties during the winter months.

      Station duties Azores

      Horta is a single municipality and city in the western part of the Archipelago of the Azores, encompassing the island of Faial. In 1921, Dutch seagoing tugboats began to use Horta as the salvage station of the North Atlantic shipping crossings. After World War II, they returned during the period of European reconstruction.

      The Port of Horta on the island Faial in the Portuguese Azores of the North Atlantic, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      The Port of Horta on the island Faial in the Portuguese Azores of the North Atlantic

      The Smit Rotterdam anchored in the marina bay with giving the Smit crew a daily view of the well-known Café Sport. This was a period of waiting for the crew of the Smit Rotterdam, with normal duties of maintenance and salvage equipment testing, while listening to the North Atlantic radio traffic. And so it was that the worst winter station of December 1978 started, althoughit is good to remember.

      S.O.S. Greek cargo vessel

      On 10 December the radio officer of the Smit Rotterdam received a mayday call from a Greek vessel in distress in the Gulf of Breton. She reported that the shaft sealing was leaking and she was flooding with water. The Smit Rotterdam anchored up and with full power sailed to the given position. The weather was very bad, strong winds with hurricane force 10 to 11. After more than 12 hours sailing the Greek reported that she had everything under control and was continuing her voyage. The Dutch ocean-going salvage tug Smit Rotterdam returned back to her salvage station and in the meantime she received a telex that the München had sent out a Mayday. The search for the München begins.

      Smit Rotterdam directed the search for the m.v. München, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Smit Rotterdam directed the search for the m.v. München

      On 12 December 1978, the Smit Rotterdam, which was off the Azores at the time, received a telex from the listening service with the information that the German containership München, had sent out a mayday signal. In a severe storm gusting to force 10 the Smit Rotterdam with captain P de Nijs in command, sped to the position given. The Smit Rotterdam shipped heavy seas, which battered her and even caused damage to one of the working boats, but the ocean going tug fought her way through the raging water. From search- and rescue planes the Smit Rotterdam received only negative reports. Not a trace was to be found of the München in the area in question and no further distress signals were received. The Smit Rotterdam crew realised that the situation was critical.

      Captain P de Nijs at the chart table, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Captain P de Nijs at the chart table

      The radio-station served as a communications- and crisis centre. Radio-officer Ronnie Verschoor constantly sent out appeals to all vessels in the neighbourhood to report, while captain de Nijs plotted all their positions on the map. The mate had posted double look-outs on the wings with all crew members available, Whilst the remaining crew members got the remaining workboat, the inflatable Zodiac, the hospital, diving gear, tools and numerous lines and wires ready.

      During the following ten days of radio silence, so as to be able to hear any distress signals, captain de Nijs and radio-officer Verschoor hardly ever left the radio station. All reports and further particulars from the searching ships and aircraft were channelled to this communications-centre. A search pattern had been set out on the sea chart, and all ships movements were continually updated on the plotting table. For days on end some 14 ships in line with the Smit Rotterdam at about four miles distance from one another searched the map sections. On reaching the end of each section the hole convoy pivoted round the Smit Rotterdam to begin searching the next section.

      Radio-officer R. Verschoor at the radio station, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Radio-officer R. Verschoor at the radio station

      In view of the fact that the search area was in the centre of the transatlantic shipping route, a total number of 110 vessels participated in the search. The sixteen search- and rescue planes were also controlled from the Smit Rotterdam and on the basis of the findings they reported, ships were directed to the supposed floating objects. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a false alarm in most cases. Only fishing gear, oil slicks, or garbage were found. Ultimately only three lash-barges were found but one sank later on. The other two were towed to Lisbon by the Smit Rotterdam and the the German tug Titan.

      It was the first time in history that an ocean-going tug had directed such a unique search of that magnitude. Notwithstanding all the efforts and the vast amount of work carried out by the crew of the Smit Rotterdam, the outcome was regrettably negative. The loss of the München is likely to remain a mystery for ever. Captain, officers and the other members of the crew of the Smit Rotterdam received messages of thanks and appreciation from the Hapag-Lloyd shipping company and from Land’s End coastguard for the professional way in which they handled the search.

      m.s. München, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      m.s. München

      m.s. München was a German LASH carrier of the Hapag-Lloyd line that sank with all hands for unknown reasons in a severe storm in December 1978.

      The most accepted theory is that one or more rogue waves hit the München and damaged her, so that she drifted for 33 hours with a list of 50 degrees without electricity or propulsion.

      Early career

      m.s. München was launched on 12 May 1972 at the shipyards of Cockerill, Hoboken, Flanders, Belgium and delivered on 22 September 1972. The München was a LASH ship and was the only ship of her kind under the German flag. She departed on her maiden voyage to the United States on 19 October 1972.

      Lash carrier Rhine Forest in 2006 in the Waalhaven of Rotterdam, Netherlands, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Lash carrier Rhine Forest in 2006 in the Waalhaven of Rotterdam, Netherlands

      Her sister ship m.s. Bilderdijk was built for the Holland America Line at the Boelwerf Temse Shipyard, also in Flanders, Belgium (Yard number 859). She sailed under the Dutch flag until 1986 when she was renamed Rhine Forest. This ship was retired from commercial operation on 15 December 2007. She has been scrapped in Bangladesh.


      Last voyage and search operations

      The München departed the port of Bremerhaven on 7 December 1978, bound for Savannah, Georgia. This was her usual route, and she carried a cargo of steel products stored in 83 lighters and a crew of 28. She also carried a replacement nuclear reactor-vessel head for Combustion Engineering, Inc. This was her 62nd voyage, and took her across the North Atlantic, where a fierce storm had been raging since November.

      Radio station of the München with call sign 'DEAT', featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Radio station of the München with call sign ‘DEAT’

      The München had been designed to cope with such conditions, and carried on with her voyage. The exceptional flotation capabilities of the LASH carriers meant that she was widely regarded as being practically unsinkable.

      The München was presumed to be proceeding smoothly, until the night of 12/13 December. Between 00:05 and 00:07 (all times GMT) München’s radio officer Jörg Ernst was overheard during a short radio communication on a “chat” frequency. He reported bad weather and some damage to the München to his colleague Heinz Löhmann aboard m.s. Caribe, a German cruise ship 2,400 nautical miles (4,440 km) away. Ernst also transmitted München’s last known position as 44°N 24°W. The quality of the transmission was bad, so that not everything was understood by Löhmann. Since it was a standard communication, the information was not relayed back to the ship’s owner until 17 December.

      Distress call

      The Greek Panamax freighter Marion received the SOS calls from the München, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      The Greek Panamax freighter Marion received the SOS calls from the München.

      Around three hours later (03:10-03:20), SOS calls were received by the Greek Panamax freighter Marion, which relayed it to the Soviet freighter Marya Yermolova and the German tug boat Titan. m.s. München gave her position as 46°15′N 27°30′W, which was probably around 100 nautical miles (200 km) off her real position. The messages were transmitted via morse code and only parts of them were received. One fragment received was 50 degrees starboard, which could be interpreted as a 50-degree list to starboard. Automatic emergency signals were also received by multiple radio stations starting at 04:43. No further calls were recorded after 07:34, probably because US stations stopped listening on the frequency 2182 kHz. At 17:30 international search and rescue operations were initiated and co-ordinated throughout by HM Coastguard at Land’s End, Cornwall. Wind speeds of 11-12 Beaufort were reported in the area of the search, hampering efforts. The initial search requested by HMCG was by RAF Nimrod maritime recognisance aircraft this air asset co-ordinated by SRCC RAF Mountbatten.

      Initial search efforts and further communications

      appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

      The next day, 13 December, an additional C130 Hercules aircraft from Germany and six ships searched for the München. At 09:06 Michael F Sinnot, a Belgian radio amateur in Brussels, received a voice transmission on the unusual frequency 8238.4 kHz, which is usually used by the German ground station Norddeich Radio. The transmission was clear but interrupted by some noise, and contained fragments of München’s name and callsign. Later in court, Sinnot reported that the voice was calm and spoke in English but with a distinct German accent. Since Sinnot only had a receiver for this frequency, he relayed the message via telex to a radio station in Ostend.

      Between 17:00 and 19:14, ten weak Mayday calls were received by the US Naval Station Rota, Spain at regular intervals, mentioning “28 persons on board”. The messages may have been recorded and sent automatically. München’s call sign, ‘DEAT’ which was sent in Morse code, was received three times on the same frequency. The Dutch ocean-going salvage tug Smit Rotterdam, which was returning from other Mayday calls in the Gulf of Breton and the English Channel, received the calls as well and went to the designated position under the command of Captain PF de Nijs.  Seas were heavy, with a swell averaging 22 metres. Lands’ End CG provided the search planning and areas to be covered and appointed the salvage tug Smit Rotterdam as On scene Commander co-ordinating the activities of eventually more than 100 ships and also the 16 aircraft all now temporarily based in the Azores.

      The search intensifies

      On 14 December wind speeds dropped to Force 9. By now four aircraft and 17 ships were participating in the search operation. Signals of München’s emergency buoy were received. At 19:00 the British freighter King George picked up an empty life raft at 44°22′N 24°00′W. The same day, Hapag-Lloyd’s freighter Erlangen found and identified three of München’s lighters. The following day, 15 December, a British Hawker Siddeley Nimrod patrol aircraft discovered two orange objects shaped like buoys at 44°48′N 24°12′W and the salvage tug Titan recovered a second life raft. A third one was located at 44°48′N 22°49′W the next day by m.s. Badenstein; all were empty. A yellow barrel was also sighted that day.

      On 17 December, at 13:00 Düsseldorf Express salvaged München’s emergency buoy. By now wind speeds dropped to Force 3. The freighter Starlight found two life belts, at 43°25′N 22°34′W the Sealand Consumer picked up a fourth empty life raft. Also three life vests were sighted, two of them by Starlight and another one by Evelyn.

      The search is called off

      The international search operation officially ended in the evening of 20 December, a week after it had begun. The West German government and Hapag-Lloyd decided to search for two more days, with British and American forces supporting them. The search effort had been the largest undertaken to that date. Altogether 13 aircraft from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Portugal and Germany, and nearly 80 merchant and naval ships had searched for the München or her crew. On 16 February, the car transporter Don Carlos salvaged a lifeboat from the starboard side of München, the last object discovered from her.


      The subsequent investigation into the disappearance of the München centred on the starboard lifeboat and in particular the forward block from which it had hung. The pins, which should have hung vertically, had been bent back from forward to aft, indicating the lifeboat hanging below it had been struck by a huge force, that had run from fore to aft of the ship and had torn the lifeboat from its pins. The lifeboat normally hung 20 metres above the waterline. With the existence of rogue waves then considered so statistically unlikely as to be near impossible, the investigation finally concluded that the severe weather had somehow created an ‘unusual event’ that had led to the sinking of the München.

      As the science behind rogue waves was explored and more fully understood, it was accepted that not only did they exist, but that it was possible that they could occur in the deep ocean, such as in the North Atlantic. Investigators later returned to the question of the München and considered the possibility that she had encountered a rogue wave in the storm that night. Whilst ploughing through the storm on the night of 12 December, she was suddenly faced with a wall of water, between 80 and 100 feet (24 to 30 metres) high, looming out of the dark. The München would have plunged into the trough of the huge wave, and before she could rise out of it, it collapsed onto her, breaking across her bow and superstructure, tearing the starboard lifeboat out of its pins and likely smashing into the bridge, breaking the windows and flooding her. Having lost her bridge and steering, she would probably have lost her engines. Unable to maintain her heading into the storm, she would have been forced broadside into the waves. She seems to have floated for a number of hours, during which the storm and inaccurate positioning prevented her from being located. The force of the waves then hulled or even capsized her; another rogue wave may have contributed to her distress. She would then have succumbed to the flooding and sunk within a short period.

      Report from one person onboard of a searching vessel

      It’s the night of 11 to 12 December. Over the North Atlantic raging for days a heavy hurricane, the mean wave height, so the predictions and measurements, is more than 16 metres. Massive volumes of water have begun to move in the north-west storm, the sea is boiling, the wind is screaming.

      Rogue wave phenomena, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

      In the middle of it, a large LASH carrier heads for the American East Coast, powered by a state-of-the-art 26,000-horsepower machine capable of driving 18 knots. The huge ship is five days out from Bremerhaven, far out in the Atlantic, a good 830 km north of the Azores and 1,700 km behind Lizzard, the exit from the English Channel. With a length of 240 metres and 37,000 GRT, it is significantly larger than the Titanic and, with state-of-the-art technology of its time, represents the pride of German maritime shipping. It has loaded “heavy stuff”, machine and steel components into self-floating barges, stacked in a double position, which occupy the entire length of the ship behind the bodywork. Her name is München and we write the year 1978.

      In the late evening, shortly after midnight, the radio operator of the large ship still has contact with the German passenger ship MV Caribe several thousand kilometres away on the “Sabbelwelle”. He reports of very bad weather and – as a result – damage to the structure, but speaks neither of imminent danger or even distress. After contact, the ship will probably continue its course through night and storm.

      Just a few hours later, at 03.10, two ships on the Atlantic take on an electrifying paging: “SOS SOS SOS DEAT DEAT DEAT” and a mutilated position message. This is the international call sign of the German cargo ship. The call will be routed as usual, with several ships in range immediately changing their course and heading for the distressed vessel’s reported location, not a safe haven in prevailing weather conditions. The shipping company is notified, and in turn makes contact with the families of the sailors. Early in the morning, a first “Nimrod” long-range reconnaissance aircraft sets off from England and flies out into the storm, finding weather conditions with west winds from 11 to 12 Beaufort and arriving hours later in the target area. Calls to the München remain unanswered, the aircraft cannot find anything in the reported position. Slowly it gets scary. Such a powerful ship cannot just disappear.

      In the afternoon, the Dutch salvage tug Smit Rotterdam takes over the coordination on-site at sea and probably the largest search operation of German maritime shipping begins. More and more ships hurry to the busy North Atlantic route, are divided and search in the next few days from an area that is five times the size of today’s Federal Republic.

      The German Navy relocates “Breguet” sea ice reconnaissance aircraft from Northern Wood to southern England, later to the Azores, and flies non-stop search missions. British, Portuguese and American machines are also in use. In the end there are 75 ships and 13 planes on the way and find … NOTHING.

      On the evening of 13 December in the Azores it is said that two hours of slower calls for help from the München will be intercepted. On the morning of the 14th, the München EPIRB buoy begins automatically to send the vessel identification, a sure sign that it has floated out of its cradle at one of the highest points on the ship. Freezing cold is spreading across the radio network. Everyone who hears about it knows the meaning. Slowly you come to realise in the course of the day that you may have searched due to an incorrect position 350 km too far south. In the new search area are relatively fast driving barges, the radio buoy, life jackets and unopened life rafts in a thick layer of oil. No crew. Neither alive nor dead.

      It will continue to search. With high expenditure on ships, airplanes and humans. On 20 December the international search will be stopped. The shipping company in Hamburg does not want to give up, continues to search with its own ships, it is supported by German, American and English aircraft. On 22 December 22 they must also stop the search. The München and her 28-member team remain missing.

      The world is puzzled. How could such a thing happen? What had gone so horribly wrong that such a “super ship” and with it 28 people just disappear almost without a trace into the depths?

      As one of the innumerable possibilities, experts assume “green water” on deck, ie the impact of an unbroken wave on the deck or on the bodywork. Trials in the towing tank later revealed clues to this thesis. For the damages also speak on the retaining bolts of the found lifeboat. In professional circles, this is called a sea beating and – depending on the amount of water – can have disastrous consequences for the integrity of the ship’s hull. Years later, the only identical sister ship of München, the Dutch Bilderdyk, also experienced such a storm. She just got away from it.

      However, in 1978 there cannot be such huge waves by definition of science and its “linear model” of wave development. Among seamen, however, there have always been rumours of “monster waves”, “Kaventsmännern” or “Freakwaves”, the round, monstrous, all-destroying mountains of water which seemed to come from nowhere and are so much bigger, higher and more powerful than anything around them. But no one spoke loudly, certainly not a helmsman or captain who kept his council and did not want to be suspended for drunkenness in the service. Only 17 years after the München the Norwegian oil drilling platform Draupner-E was unequivocally documented during a storm in the North Sea experiencing a single wave with a 26 m height. A rethinking began. Today, you do not just know that they exist, but also that such monsters are much more common than assumed. There even seems to be “hotspots” for them and they are obviously still much higher than the Draupner wave – 35 metres cannot be ruled out.

      Ultimately, the reason for the downfall of the München cannot be clarified. Most likely is a chain of events that may have started with a sea beating. It is equally certain that the ship stayed afloat for many hours, possibly until the morning of 14 December, just as the buoy began to swell and send. After a careful examination of the few pieces of evidence, the Maritime Inspectorate later made a short statement: “… an extraordinary event must have occurred due to bad weather, causing the sinking of the ship.”   She lies in the dark depths of the North Atlantic, her grave north of the Azores, somewhere on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, close to the last reported position at 46.15 N 27.30 W. There, the sea is between 1,000 to 4,000 metres deep and any search would probably be in vain. And for what?

      What do I have to do with it? I had been aboard my training ship since the summer of 1978, and we were at sea at the time of the search, albeit in a distant part of the world. Nevertheless, we followed everything, the listening radio operator gave out a bulletin every few hours of how things stood with the search. After the first few hours of no success, the mood became ever more depressed – everyone on board knew how small the chance wsa for the colleagues on board. And I myself could not imagine it – after all, I had been standing in the Bremerhaven at the Kaiserschleuse in the spring of that year and admired the huge ship that was on its way to the North Sea. Unimaginable that something so enormous could be brought to an end by ANYTHING! When the search was stopped there was silence on board. Everyone knew he could have been in the place of the concerned sailors. On Christmas Eve we were in Santos on the South American coast and I celebrated Christmas in the local sailor’s club. In the devotion, as in the pre-selected speech of the Federal President, the team of the München was thought about.  It was depressing.

      On 3 January 1979, there was a memorial service for the crew in the Bremen Cathedral. Two thousand people came.  In Hamburg and Bremen flags flew at half-mast. The ceremony was broadcast, the Bremen taxis were wearing mourning fleur, the people took part. At the end of the moving celebration, the names of the 27 crew members and the traveling woman companion of e of the helmsmen were read out.

      Towing lash barges to Lisbon, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Towing lash barges to Lisbon

      On 22 December the search to the München was halted. Everybody on board the Smit Rotterdam was depressed and felt that this tragedy had made a very heavy impact on their lives. But there was no time to think about it. Work continues and the search for the floating Lash container called for their attention. Just after a half day the first Lash container was found. The problem for the crew of the Smit Rotterdam was how to connect this Lash container for towage. Her very heavy 9 inch towing wire was useless for this job. The weight of the towing wire is so big that when connected the towing wire should pull the Lash-barge down and sink her. However a connection was made with a smaller towing wire connected on the Lash-barge and connected to the Smit Rotterdam’s wire storage reel. After the connection the Smit Rotterdam slowly towed the Lash-barge to Lisbon. The weather was much better but the sea was still rough with high waves. On the 26th the second Christmas day the tug arrived on the Lisbon roads. But if you think that all was clear and fine for the crew it was a mistake. During the handover of the Lash-barge to the local tugs, strong winds gusting with heavy rain overtook the transport. But the experienced crew succeeded transferring the Lash-Barge to the harbour tugs who moored the barge safely to a berthing place. Likewise the Smit Rotterdam was moored safely to a berthing place. The engine were stopped and the full crew were relaxed after three weeks of intensive duties.

      Station duties

      After the delivery of the Lash barge the Smit Rotterdam set sail to South West Portugal for station duties. She dropped anchor on 29 December in the Bay of Lagos. It is good to give crew some rest after the efforts and experiences of the past two and a half weeks. However much rest to the crew was not provided. The Smit Rotterdam received orders from the head office in Rotterdam to pick up her Azores station sailing with economic speed. In the morning of the last day of the year the anchor was heaved up and the Smit Rotterdam sailed from the Lagos Bay bound for Horta.

      Around 21.00 hrs the same day, the crew not on watch noticed that the engines of the tug were running on full power. A few minutes later the Captain enters the messroom with a notice that says there is a tanker in distress and the Smit Rotterdam with make full speed to the casualty.


      The tanker, the 46,827-ton Dutch-owned, Liberian-registered Getafix, was in trouble with a flooded engine room 95 miles north-northwest of Lisbon. “She was stopped dead in the water,” the duty officer reported. It was not immediately known what, if any, cargo it had or how many crewmen were aboard. The weather was reported as poor.

      In the morning of New Year’s day 1979 the tanker, with a black out and rolling heavily in the North Atlantic swell, was reached. The life/workboat was being made ready with salvage equipment, pumps and generator sets. The engine room flooded but reported with the seawater inlet valves closed and flooding stopped.

      The workboat reaches the Getafix and the salvage equipment is transferred on board the tanker. The second engineer of the Smit Rotterdam also went on board to start the pumps to empty the engine room and make ready the emergency towing connection.
      Getafix, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

      The radio officer of the Getafix wrote the message below describing the events around the voyage of the tanker from the time when he signed on in Rotterdam until the Getafix was safely delivered back in Rotterdam.

      A trip to remember

      After 40 years it is time to put my memories on paper.

      Mid May 1978 I joined the Liberian flagged tanker Getafix as a 20 year old radio-officer in Europort – Rotterdam, not realizing how it would end.

      The Getafix was a tanker of 102,065 tons dwt, built in Norway as Credo. In 1976 it was transferred to the Liberian flag and technical and crewing management were put in the hands of Nievelt, Goudriaan & Co, at the time a well-known Dutch shipping company based in Rotterdam.
      From Rotterdam we departed for Teesport / U.K. to load Northsea-crude for Freeport Bahamas. Upon completion of discharging we were ordered to proceed to the Mediterranean, with a prospective trip to the Gulf of Mexico. Eventually we loaded in Arzew / Algeria and Ras es Sider in Libya. While passing off Malta a technician came out by small tug with a Loran navigator. This was necessary to comply with US rules and regulations on navigation equipment. In the Gulf of Mexico the greater part of the cargo was ship-to-ship transferred to another tanker while the remainder was discharged in Houston.

      From Houston there was an eight week voyage to Singapore where a drydocking was planned. During this eight week trip preparations were carried out such as tank-cleaning. The drydock was to last for about six weeks.

      At the Sembawang shipyard in the north part of Singapore, two Norwegian class surveyors were in charge of the surveying during the drydock period. The Getafix was originally Norwegian and classed by DNV. After the drydock a voyage from Indonesia to West Europe was planned. Unfortunately the drydock period did not deliver much benefit; we were regularly plagued by black-outs etc. Quite annoying when you are awaiting your turn with Scheveningen Radio to obtain or send your Radio traffic. At a certain moment a more serious problem developed in the engine-room. In consultation with Nievelt (Nigoco) it was decided to carry out emergency repairs in Capetown. However, a few days before arriving at Capetown we received a telegram from Nigoco that the emergency repairs were cancelled because of economic reasons. The engineers were not very pleased by this decision, to put it mildly. So we kept soldiering on towards Rotterdam.

      Unfortunately on 31 December 1978 we encountered a real problem. A main coolwater pipe burst and the engine-room flooded, resulting in a dead (the lights o/b flickered a couple of times, but we were all already used to that).

      The chief officer appeared suddenly in the radio room, saying the legendary words : “Sparks, I think It is now time to call your friends.” (I have always been and still am a tug-lover, which can be easily explained by the fact I grew up in Maassluis, homeport of the Smit tugs.)

      I did send a XXX message requiring tug assistance, we were dead ship. The call was acknowledged and relayed by Monsanto radio / CUL. Also a Russian vessel with callsign URIL responded. After a short while the tug Smit Rotterdam offered assistance and gave ETA early morning 1 January. Also the German tug Titan offered assistance, but because of our Dutch background Smit Rotterdam was accepted. Despite a heavy swell still running, the workboat of Smit Rotterdam succeeded in transferring two small generators and pumps o/b Getafix. Also 2nd engineer Hans van der Ster managed to get o/b Getafix. An emergency towing connection was made (easier said than done on a dead ship) and course was set for Vigo / Spain. After a three-day towing trip we entered the Bay of Vigo. Towing line was disconnected and Smit Rotterdam came alongside to provide electricity etc. As our galley was dead as well, we endured three days of compulsory cold buffet. The complete crew of Getafix was therefore invited for a good hot meal on board Smit Rotterdam. It was nice to see on the noticeboard on mit Rotterdam: “o/b the casualty NO SMOKING”.
      featured on Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime nrews

      Arrangements were made to get a more powerful generator from Holland o/b Getafix in order to provide energy to keep the cargo of 96,000 tons of Indonesian crude at the correct temperature. Also a proper towing connecting was set up for the trip to Rotterdam. In the meantime two (rather nervous) company Superintendents arrived o/b. There were a few spare seats in their charter plane, so some of the officers left the vessel, stating: “I do not sail another mile with this derelict floating oiltin, certainly not without a radio-officer.” In the end I was asked whether I was willing to stay o/b during the towing trip to Rotterdam. I agreed, being a tug-lover…… but this time on the other end of the tow-line. I did the 3rd officers navigational watch and radio communications in between. Navigation also had my interests and putting Decca positions in the chart does not require a genius.

      Shortly after departure from Vigo the weather was very nice and speed about 8 knots, but as soon we entered the Bay of Biscay the weather deteriorated fast. Speed reduced to 2 knots, vessel heavily rolling and lots of water on deck. Upon approaching the entrance of the English Channel the French navy provided escort services with a standby tug.

      Getafic arriving Rotterdam under tow 1979, feeatured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

      Despite regularly transmitted navigational warnings that Getafix was sheering behind Smit Rotterdam, some ships [came] pretty close by. I frequently used the Aldis-lamp sending the letter D. In the end in consultation with the watch-keeping officer on Smit Rotterdam it was decided the switch on part of our deck-light. It is a fact that a lot of light on a pitch dark sea, scares most of the other ships away. On the early morning of 15 January we arrived at Rotterdam. Between the breakwaters Smit Rotterdam disconnected and with the assistance of four harbour tugs we were safely berthed.

      My brother and father travelled to Hook of Holland, despite very wintry conditions and icy roads to see us enter port and take some photos. Another fact which still surprises me today, is that my brother had to read in a newspaper [that] we encountered problems during New Year’s eve. My father phoned the ship’s office, and Radio Holland, the content of his conversation is not suitable to put in writing here. Fact remains both were not able (or willing) to supply information.

      These memories are strictly personal and any accusation towards Nigoco are on my account. The message with the cancellation of emergency repairs for economic reasons is very real. Nowadays a trade union or crew would most probably prosecute the shipping company, or Port State detention would have been very likely. I certainly do not regret that Nievelt in the end ceased to exist as a shipping company.

      Henk Ros
      Radio officer Getafix / 5LPC

      Andros Patria

      On the same day as the troubled Getafix another tanker faced problems in the North Atlantic at the Spanish coast near La Coruna. The Andros Patria was a Greek oil tanker which caught fire on 31 December 1978 northwest of Spain. Two Dutch ocean-going tugs, Typhoon from Wijsmuller at Ijmuiden and the Poolzee from Smit International at Rotterdam, were alerted and proceeded to the given location.

      Off the north-west coast of Spain the Greek tanker Andros Patria had caught fire. The explosion occurred midships and the captain, fearing that the entire ship would explode, ordered the lifeboats to be launched. Almost the entire crew along with the captain abandoned the burning tanker. Only the chief engineer and one crewman stayed aboard.

      The fire did not spread and the chief managed to restart the engines, set the autohelm to avoid the coast thus saving the ship and a greater environmental disaster. The tanker was carrying over 200,000 tons of Iranian crude oil and ultimately released over 14,000,000 gallons into the Bay of Biscay.

      The ship was later taken in tow and was salvaged. The lifeboat carrying the captain and the thirty-three crewmen who abandoned the ship capsized in the heavy seas and all were drowned.

      The accident

      The tanker Andros Patria of the United Shipping & Trading Company of Piraeus, Greece was on a journey in December 1978 from Kharg to Rotterdam with 208,000 tons of crude Iraqi heavy crude.

      Andros Patria, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

      At 6:20 pm on 31 December in bad weather off Cape Finisterre the ship developed a crack in the outer skin through which oil spilled out. About two hours later, an explosion occurred at the cracked tank 3 of the ship, which set fire to the ship’s expiring oil cargo. The ship initially requested that the crew be lifted off by helicopter, but 34 of the 37 people on board, including the captain, his wife and two-year-old son, left the ship soon after in a ship’s lifeboat. The boat capsized in the heavy sea, killing all persons. The remaining three people on board were rescued by helicopter one day later. On 4 January 1979, a salvage team boarded the ship and the damaged vessel was later taken in tow. Because Spain, Portugal, France and Great Britain refused to allow the damaged vessel through their territorial waters the Andros Partia was towed to the sea area south of the Azores where the remaining cargo was lightened until 9 February 1979. After that, Portugal allowed the now empty tanker to be brought to Lisbon. Arriving in Lisbon, the insurers declared the ship to be a constructive total loss. The Andros Patria was sold for demolition and scrapped from 19 June 1979 in Barcelona.

      Note: The Smit Rotterdam was the last tug that remaineed as salvage tug on the Azores station. After this terrible winter the company decided for economic reasons to leave the station. The cost of having big ocean going tugs on station is much higher than the profit paid by the insurers. After 57 years, 1921-1978, the Azores salvage station came to an end. However, the salvage company still exists and operates under the name Smit Salvage and is a part of Royal Boskalis. Salvages are carried out in a different way today. Tugs are hired and salvage material is held on standby at various strategic locations around the world. ISU president Charo Coll said: “We need to accept the realty of different ways of working. The shipping and insurance industries must, in their own interest, recognise the need to provide sufficient remuneration to encourage investment in vessels, equipment, training and the development of highly qualified staff in order to continue to provide an essential global emergency response capability.”

      Tugs Towing & Offshore News, from which this narrative is produced with permission
      Sleeptros February 1979
      Memories of Harm Jongman, chief officer of the Smit Rotterdam
      Memories of Hans van der Ster (towingline), second Engineer of the Smit Rotterdam
      Memories of Henk Ros, Radio Officer of the Getafix
      Timmscorner: reports from a searching vessel
      Photo Andros Patria
      Martyn Wingrove:,salvors-adapt-to-changing-commercial-realities_56128.htm




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      Isandlwana, dredging at Mossel Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Isandlwana, dredging at Mossel Bay

      Transnet National Ports Authority’s Dredging Services has confirmed that its trailing suction hopper dredger ISANDLWANA has sailed from the Port of Durban and was due to arrive in the Port of Mossel Bay on Sunday, 9 December 2018.

      Isandlwana will spend approximately 10 days at the Southern Cape port to address some high spots in Mossel Bay’s port entrance channel.

      See our earlier report Total prepares to start drilling off South African coast

      Dredging the high spots is a necessity ahead of an oil drilling expedition from December 2018 to March 2018 by petroleum refining company, Total, where supply vessels to support the activity are being utilised.

      Port of Mossel Bay, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Port of Mossel Bay

      “The Port of Mossel Bay has some high spots in the entrance channel and the sand trap is full,” said Port Manager, Shadrack Tshikalange. “The high spots in the channel pose a navigational risk especially during low tides. We want to ensure that we provide an excellent service to our customers, hence we have brought forward the dredging activity to ensure the drilling expedition and the movement of the platform supply vessel are not compromised.”

      The benefits of dredging the areas will be an entrance channel that is dredged to the designed depth and all high spots that would have posed a navigational risk, will be removed, explained Tshikalange. The dredged sand trap will then again have capacity for the migrating sand to not settle in the entrance channel of the port.

      Regarding Total’s local oil drilling expedition, Tshikalange said TNPA was supportive of the initiative as positive results would contribute towards unlocking the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans and subsequent job creation as part of Operation Phakisa, which was proclaimed in 2014.

      TNPA’s Dredging Services division aids the removal of approximately four million m3 per year of dredged material from South Africa’s ports. The present fleet of dredgers includes two trailing suction hopper dredgers, the Isandlwana and the Ilembe, the 750m3 grab hopper dredger Italeni; the Ingwenya trailer hopper dredger and the Impisi plough tug.



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      HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to Portsmouth, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Illustrations MoD Crown Copyright 2018 ©

      HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed back into Portsmouth yesterday (10 December) after successful completion of initial fast jet trials in America, marking a new era in UK Carrier Strike capability.

      The 65,000-tonne carrier’s first transatlantic deployment, which began in August, saw her embark two F-35B Lightning II test aircraft, from the Integrated Test Force (ITF) based out of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. She also conducted an historic, week-long visit to New York.

      During the development trials, the jets conducted 202 take-offs from the ship’s ski ramp, 187 vertical landings, and 15 shipborne rolling vertical landings (SRVL) —a landing technique unique to the UK. They also dropped 54 inert bombs, testing the weight loading in a variety of weather conditions and sea states. The operating envelopes will be further expanded during operational trials, scheduled for next year.

      Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “HMS Queen Elizabeth’s inaugural deployment to the US has not only marked the return of the Royal Navy’s carrier strike capabilities, but also strengthened our special relationship with US forces. A true statement of our global reach and power, this ship will serve the United Kingdom for generations to come, keeping the nation safe and supporting our allies as we navigate increasing threats.”

      Having assumed Command from Rear-Admiral Jerry Kyd in New York, Captain Nick Cooke Priest summed up the deployment, saying: “The WESTLANT 18 deployment has been a real success; and let us not forget that we are just a year on from the ship being commissioned and accepted into service. The main effort – Fixed Wing Flying trials – have delivered outstanding results, which is testament to the co-operation, hard work and dedication of both the ship’s company and the US Integrated Test Force, assisted by the US Navy and US Marine Corps. Their combined efforts have put us in an excellent starting position for next year’s Operational Testing. The ship has proudly flown the flag for the UK across the Atlantic.”

      Commander Air onboard, Commander James Blackmore, oversaw the flight trials and said: “Since the ship sailed from build only 17 months ago we have operated Fixed Wing – most notably the F-35B – Rotary Wing and the Tilt Rotor MV-22 Osprey – nine different aircraft types in all. We have proved the incredible design of the Queen Elizabeth Class of ship and the partnership with the F-35B. In that combination, we have something very special that will provide significant operational capability for decades to come, strategic choice for our government and a Task Group focus for the Royal Navy; we are truly back in the Super Carrier era.”

      Illustrations MoD Crown Copyright 2018 ©

      The deployment was also the first for the reformed UK Carrier Strike Group staff, headed up by Commodore Michael Utley, who said: “This has been an extraordinarily successful deployment on the Royal Navy’s journey to full Carrier Strike capability. It has once again demonstrated the strongest of relationships with our closest allies in the US and will underpin future work as we re-introduce fixed wing aviation at sea.

      “The design of HMS Queen Elizabeth, specifically built for the immensely capable F-35B Lightning II, has enabled outstanding progress which will form the basis of Operational Testing in 2019. The other Task Group units deployed, including HMS Monmouth, our new Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker RFA Tidespring and the Merlin helicopters from 820 and 845 Naval Air Squadrons, as well as Royal Marines and members from our sister services, have all contributed to this significant success.”

      The WESTLANT 18 Task Group comprised HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Monmouth, RFA Tidespring and aircraft from 820, 845 and 814 Naval Air Squadrons, as well as Royal Marines from 42 Commando and supporting units from the US Navy and US Marine Corps.

      It is understood that Queen Elizabeth will remain in Portsmouth during the early part of 2019 undergoing maintenance.

      Edited by Paul Ridgway

      HMS Queen Elizabethj reurns to Portsmouth Illustrations MoD Crown Copyright 2018 ©
      Illustrations MoD Crown Copyright 2018 ©



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      No truth that a Chinese fishing fleet is on its way to fish in Mozambique waters, says minister, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      No truth that a Chinese fishing fleet is on its way to fish in Mozambique waters, says minister

      Mozambique’s Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Agostinho Mondlane, says he has no knowledge of the licensing of over 100 Chinese fishing vessels to operate in Mozambican waters.

      Mondlane was responding to last week’s independent newssheet Carta de Mocambique, which claimed that 114 Chinese fishing boats had been licensed by the Mozambican state and would shortly be arriving in Mozambique.

      The fisheries minister told a media conference that although his ministry handled the licensing of fishing vessels, he was unaware of any mass licensing of foreign boats, nor did he have any idea where the story came from. “We are paying attention to this report,” he said.

      According to the report carried by AIM, Carta de Mocambique quoted sources within the fishing sector and provided a long list of Chinese companies whose vessels have supposedly been licensed to fish in Mozambican waters. Some of the boats are trawlers and others are longliners.

      Mondlane said that fishing licences are not granted to foreign companies. Only companies registered in Mozambique can apply for licences, although they may acquire their boats from anywhere in the world.

      “Any boat must be operated by a company registered in Mozambique,” he insisted. The sole exception was for tuna fishing, since tuna is a migratory species and the boats might follow the shoals through more than one fishing jurisdiction.

      But the tuna vessels too must be licensed, even if the operator is not registered in Mozambique. “They must be authorised to enter our waters, otherwise they may be seized,” said Mondlane. “All fishing boats are inspected to ensure that the fishing gear used is legal, and that they comply with health requirements.”


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      "Whatever the possible modification and/or relaxation of the US rules, the UV dose must remain significant for treating all ballast waters," advises Benoît Gillmann, reported by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      “Whatever the possible modification and/or relaxation of the US rules, the UV dose must remain significant for treating all ballast waters,” advises Benoît Gillmann

      Ballast water treatment manufacturer BIO-UV Group says that it has noted the US Administration’s approval of the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) and the possible acceptance of the Most Probable Number (MPN) methodology, the method currently used by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to test BWMS treatment efficiency.

      However, while the US Coast Guard now has to draft policy detailing reproductive methods, BIO-UV Group’s President and CEO Benoît Gillmann says it is important to remember that the process of acceptance of a viability method is not immediate, and that there is no guarantee that methodologies coming out of this process will be the same as the MPN as currently used.

      “For the moment, the method in force today in the US is the CMFDA process. But whatever the possible modification and/or relaxation of the US rules, the UV dose must remain significant to treat all water types and a system like BIO-SEA is and will continue to be a safe choice for shipowners while staying very competitive,” said Gillmann.

      Essentially, VIDA sets a clear, unambiguous definition of what constitutes a “live” and “living” ballast water organism. It defines as living any organisms capable of reproduction. If they cannot, then they are classed as “dead”.

      The US Environmental Protection Agency will have to put the standard in writing and incorporate the USCG’s final version. But irrespective of the legislation, shipowners will need to very carefully evaluate system performance and limitations against their vessels’ operational scope.

      Xavier Deval, Business Director, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Xavier Deval, Business Director

      “In terms of performance, reliability, energy consumption and ballast water holding time, the gulf between pre- and post-VIDA BWMS could be very huge indeed,” says Xavier Deval, BIO-UV Group’s Business Director, BIO-SEA.

      “BIO-SEA as an early IMO/USCG approved system has proved its capacity to treat a range of organisms, in a greater spectrum of waters with varying turbidity, and to a much higher standard.”

      Deval added that the performance measured by the IMO & USCG is a key aspect, since a vessel navigating today only in IMO-regulated waters may be required to operate in USCG-controlled waters tomorrow. “Choosing an efficient system, in terms of water treatment of different qualities, with short retention times, easy to use and maintain, and fully automatic is crucial,” he said.

      “Shipowners should install a BWMS as soon as possible to prevent operations from being limited to specific trading zones and from being incompliant with the regulations, as evidenced by the penalties imposed on ships, which are starting to see the light of day.”

      He said that a system that is certified to operate with zero holding time, like BIO-SEA, will have greater traction with owners. “This is very important since systems that are not certified with zero hours holding will inevitably cause delays to vessel operations.”

      The makers of BIO-UV’s BIO-SEA system says it requires zero holding time when treating fresh water and 24 hours in marine water and is currently undergoing tests for zero holding time in brackish waters.



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      Daniel K Inouye approaching Honolulu on her maiden voyage 28 Nov 2018, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Daniel K Inouye approaching Honolulu on her maiden voyage 28 Nov 2018

      ‘Future Skills Requirements for a Digitized Maritime Industry’

      ISC ’19 Invitation to submit abstracts

      IFSMA, the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations, and CMMI, the Company of Master Mariners of India, has invited all members of the maritime / marine scientific and professional community to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations at ISC ’19, the International Shipmasters’ Congress 2019, which is scheduled to be held from 25 to 27 September 2019 at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India addressing the theme Future Skills Requirements for a Digitized Maritime Industry.

      ISC ’19 is organised by the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA) in co-operation with the Company of Master Mariners of India (CMMI) and enjoys the kind support of the Indian Ministry of Shipping, the Indian Maritime University, the HSB | City University of Applied Sciences and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.

      HE Kitack Lim, the Secretary General of IMO, has kindly agreed to be the patron of the 2019 International Shipmasters’ Congress.

      The setting of the ISC ‘19 Congress venue provides a unique meeting place for high-level interdisciplinary exchange of newest research and effective networking.

      ISC ’19 Congress Topics

      The International Shipmasters’ Congress 2019 intends to provide details on the skills needed both ashore and onboard ships in order to assure a safe, secure and environment friendly operation of any future digitized maritime systems.

      ISC ’19 will therefore provide technical sessions as well as a poster session taking a holistic view on the following topics related to the ongoing digitization of the maritime industry:

      • Conceptual Aspects
      • Technological Aspects
      • Operational Aspects
      • Human Resource Aspects
      • Safety and Security Aspects
      • Legal Aspects

      ISC ’19 Deadlines and important dates

      Start of Early Bird Registration: 01.02.2019
      Abstract Submission Deadline: 01.03.2019
      Abstract Acceptance Notification: 15.04.2019
      Author Registration Deadline: 15.05.2019
      Full Paper Submission Deadline: 01.06.2019
      End of Early Bird Registration: 01.06.2019
      Registration Deadline: 20.09.2019

      See also:

      ISC ‘19 | Congress Secretariat
      c/o International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA)
      One Birdcage Walk, London SW1H 9JJ UK
      Phone: +44 (0) 20 7261 0450
      Fax: +44 (0) 20 3468 2134

      Reported by Paul Ridgway



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      Brexit flags, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

      Firstly let me look at the latest from Westminster:

      On 9 December the House of Commons Brexit Committee indicated a united verdict on the Prime Minister’s deal for Brexit. It was: ‘Uncertainty, not clarity’.

      The Common’s Brexit Committee’s report indicated that the Prime Minister’s deal fails to offer sufficient clarity or certainty about the future. It went on to say that the Political Declaration is neither detailed nor substantive. It only sets out a series of options, and people and businesses will continue to face significant uncertainty about the terms of the UK’s trade with the EU after the transitional period ends.

      The full report is available by CLICKING HERE

      The Chair of the Committee, Hilary Benn MP, commented: “It is because the Government has refused to face up to the hard choices confronting us that this deal would represent a huge step into the unknown.

      “The Political Declaration falls far short of the ‘detailed and substantive’ document promised by former Secretaries of State and by the EU Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier. It does not give the British people or our businesses the clarity and the certainty they need about our future trading relationship with the EU in five or ten years’ time. And with these negotiations having not even having started yet, this could take years to sort out.

      “It is now time for colleagues to decide on the Prime Minister’s deal. Throughout this process, the Select Committee has always argued for Parliament to be given a full and proper role, and a vote on what has been negotiated. The opportunity to do that is now before us, and I hope this report, with its detailed analysis of the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration, will help members on all sides of the House to make their decision.”

      Now see the following report:

      Edited by Paul Ridgway


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      Brexit map featured in Africa PRTS & SHIPS maritime news

      Comment from the Freight Transport Association (FTA)

      FTA is one of the biggest business groups in the UK, supporting, shaping and standing up for efficient logistics. It is the only organisation in the UK that represents all of logistics, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.

      On 28 November FTA issued a paper on the Public Accounts Committee report (issued that day) which showed why No Deal is No Option and stated that there is a significant and growing risk that the Department for Transport will not be ready if the UK leaves EU without a deal next March.

      According to FTA, appropriate project management would have never been enough to mitigate the impact of a No Deal exit on transport: the only way at this stage to prevent major disruption to the UK’s supply chain is for MPs to vote in favour of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement proposal due to be debated on 11 December.

      Pauline Bastidon, FTA’s Head of European Policy and Brexit commented: “We share some of the Public Accounts Committee’s concerns and have many questions, particularly in relation to traffic management in the event of No Deal… FTA is concerned many businesses are not aware of the true scope of possible changes, particularly on the Continent, but we are doing everything we can to address these shortcomings and provide answers to our member’s questions.

      “However, the Committee has missed the biggest and most fundamental problem in our view in relation to transport and No Deal.

      “Ultimately, the biggest issue for transport is the issue of market access: the ability for operators to transport goods across the borders. This is not an issue the UK can solve unilaterally. With just four months until the UK leaves the EU, the situation is alarming.

      “No amount of contingency planning can increase the limited number of international haulage permits available to both UK and EU hauliers. In the event of a No Deal exit, the number of permits available would likely only cover 5% of the current vehicle journeys made between the UK and EU.

      “And no air cargo can be transported until between the UK and the EU until the UK is added to the EU Green List for cargo security. Solving these issues require a negotiated outcome that the UK alone cannot deliver – it needs the full support and active approval of both member states and the European Commission.”

      Bastidon continued: “The only way to address the issues a No Deal would present for transport, and ultimately for the entire economy, is for MPs to vote in favour of Mrs May’s proposals.”

      Road transport, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

      The view of the Road Haulage Association (RHA)

      Without a transitional period, the industry responsible for moving the UK economy, will stagger towards a cliff-edge disaster, it was said.

      Following a meeting on 6 December with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling at 10 Downing Street, RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett said: “The current withdrawal agreement is a solution for the UK’s all-important haulage industry which will keep the supply chain moving. A rejection of the withdrawal agreement, without an alternative transitional period, means that the industry responsible for moving the UK economy, will stagger towards a cliff-edge disaster.”

      The RHA knows that the withdrawal agreement leaves many issues unresolved and is subject to negotiations on a long-term trade deal with the EU, but the extra time the implementation period gives is vital for new processes and systems to be put in place across the supply chain.

      Burnett said that transition gives a chance for efficient new border technology, and systems across industry, to be put into place to avoid disastrous queues at ports and a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. He continued: “A deal will avoid reliance on an acute shortage of permits and measures for customs that are unworkable and impractical.”

      With the haulage industry struggling to fill driver and other vacancies and many current EU workers choosing to leave, he called on ministers to make changes to immigration rules after Brexit: “We continue to argue with Government for future immigration rules that do not to exclude lorry drivers from the definition of skilled workers – so the bar is not set too high and excludes these vital, skilled and trained workers from jobs in the UK. It is essential that lower-paid skilled workers are still allowed to fill vacancies where there is a need for qualified staff in the UK.”

      “The RHA has never taken a political view on Brexit, but the RHA’s Board of Directors feel parliamentary approval for a deal that includes a transition period is essential to avoid crippling the supply chain. The RHA believes any outcome delivered by Parliament that fails to deliver this is irresponsible.”

      The RHA is the UK’s only body solely representing the road transport industry, and its members represent approximately half of the trucks on Britain’s roads.

      Edited by Paul Ridgway



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      Map of Gabon showing location of Latoursville, map courtesy Wikipedia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Map of Gabon showing location of Lastoursville. Map courtesy Wikipedia Commons Cartographers

      Bolloré Logistics has started operations at its new logistics hub in Lastoursville in Gabon.

      Connected to the railway operated by SETRAG (Société d’Exploitation du Transgabonais), the new logistics platform will store, manage and carry processed wood in containers from the production sites in the forest to the Owendo container terminal (OCT), 557 km away.

      With an area of 14,000 m², the hub will be able to handle 4,500 TEUs per year during the start-up phase. It will streamline the timber shipment process for the four main forestry companies in the province of Ogooué-Lolo.

      The effective start-up took place on 13 November with the reception of the first train of 15 wagons loaded with empty containers for the region’s four forestry companies: PW-CEB (Precious Woods and Compagnie Équatoriale des Bois), SBL (Société des Bois de Lastourville), SBK (Société des Bois de Koulamoutou) and BH (Bonus Harvest).

      By joining forces with Bolloré Logistics and SETRAG, the four companies are seeking to address the difficulties encountered in shipping their processed timber by road, and to limit transhipments between the production sites and container terminal.

      To further improve the efficiency of the new site, Bolloré Logistics plans to set up a central office offering administrative and customs services in early 2020. The containers will then be cleared through customs directly in Lastourville instead of Libreville.

      As a result, the time required for operations and shipment, including packing the wood into containers, shipping it to the port and completing loading formalities, should fall by 15 days, bringing gains in productivity of between 15 and 20%.

      “The new hub in Lastourville has a number of advantages for all the players in the timber industry,” says Jean-François Ollivier, Managing Director of Bolloré Transport & Logistics in Gabon. “The opening of a customs office in 2020 will round out our existing services, making it possible to cut transit times for significant gains in productivity and substantial reductions in cost.”



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      Destroying a pirate whaler off Somalia. Picture: EU NAVFOR, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Destroying a pirate whaler off Somalia. Picture: EU NAVFOR

      Saturday, 8 December marked an important milestone for the EU’s Common Security & Defence Policy, as the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) celebrated ten years of maritime operations.

      Commanded from its military HQ in Northwood, London, the European Union Naval Force was officially launched on 8 December 2008. Codenamed ‘Operation ATALANTA’ (after the mythological Greek huntress), it is a naval force generated by EU Member States working collectively, in support of UN Security Council Resolutions agreed from 2008 onwards, to tackle the Somali piracy crisis at source.

      EU NAVFOR has played a vital military role over the past decade in upholding freedom of navigation for commercial shipping and in protecting World Food Programme (WFP) humanitarian assistance destined for Somalia.

      As a tool of EU foreign and security policy, EU NAVFOR represents more than just ships. It is a network of military, civil and diplomatic capability that certainly includes maritime patrol aircraft and on-board vessel protection detachments, but which also links into legal, political, commercial and development objectives.

      • Under EU NAVFOR protection, nearly 1.8 million tonnes of WFP food aid have been escorted safely into Somali ports, using a combination of both EU and partner military assets to ensure that the Somali population remains fed.
      • Under its ‘legal finish’ policy, some 145 Somali pirates have been detained by EU NAVFOR, transferred into regional justice systems and successfully prosecuted.
      • The operation’s Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) has registered hundreds of thousands of commercial vessels transiting the contested waters of the Horn of Aden since 2008, in order to assess vessel vulnerability and afford appropriate protection from piracy and other security threats.
      • Local maritime capacity-building efforts performed by EU NAVFOR in support of security and development have seen training sessions organised with African coastguard, port security and military forces in fields as varied as harbour security to forensic evidence protection.

      EU NAVFOR continues to work closely with other naval and military partners like the US-led Combined Maritime Forces; those regional states affected by piracy like Kenya and Seychelles; and independent deployer nations like China and India, whose navies share the burden of international convoy escorts in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor.

      In this sense, EU NAVFOR continues to act as a catalyst for the network of maritime security capability that is seen developing from the southern Red Sea into the western Indian Ocean, and EU NAVFOR has become a small but recognised part of the maritime security architecture of the region. It remains extremely relevant in both human and economic terms, as EU NAVFOR seeks to provide protection to the more than €800 Billion of east-west trade transiting the military area of operations.

      Happy anniversary to all EU NAVFOR service personnel currently deployed on Operation ATALANTA.

      EU NAVFOR naval ships on patrol off the Horn of Africa, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


      Unfortunately the order out of a seriously chaotic situation off the Africa East coast, thanks in part to the work of EU NAVFOR and the introduction with encouragement of armed guards on board ships transiting the area, has not been duplicated on the other side of Africa, off the West coast and mainly in the region of the Gulf of Guinea.

      Attacks on ships occur regularly and no vessel is safe from approaches by pirates. The general modus operandi here is different from what it was off Somalia, where ships were seized and take, with their crew, to an anchorage of bay off the coast of Somalia or Puntland after which negotiations for the release of both ships and crew would commence. This would often take months or even in some extreme cases, years to conclude.

      Off West Africa the pirates initially operating from Nigeria but recently also from adjacent waters, would attack a ship, ransack it for valuables, disable some or all of the navigation equipment, and leave taking a number of crew as hostage but always leaving sufficient to operate the ship and sail to the next port.

      Negotiations for the release of crew thus taken would be much quicker and generally crew would be released within weeks or on some occasions, in about a month’s time. They would re[port having been taken ashore in some isolated creek, or sometimes being held in towns or villages.

      News of these attacks is seldom broadcast immediately and little detail including the name of the ship is provided, although this invariably leaks out.

      Such is the case with a fishing trawlers attacked on or about 23 November at 02h00 UTC in position 04:18.31N – 008:47.63E, this being around 13 nautical miles West North West of Idenao in Cameroon.

      Armed persons boarded a fishing trawler that was underway, and after holding the crew captive for a short period, kidnapped two crew members and made their escape. The remaining crew sailed the vessel to a safe (but not named) port.

      No further details are available at this time.



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      African Development Bank banner appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

      Europe’s Future Lies in the South and not the North, says Italian Finance Minister at Africa Conference

      “Africa is a continent of great change and opportunities. However, Europe finds it difficult to understand that its future lies in the South and not in the North,” said Giovanni Tria, Italian Minister of Finance and Economy. He was a speaking in Rome at a conference on Africa, challenges and opportunities: Italy and the African Development Bank.

      Africa is currently home to five of the world’s fastest growing economies, and only four African countries out of 54 will record negative growth in 2018, compared to eight in previous years.

      According to Tria, the current narrative about Africa is all wrong. He says, “Africa today has five distinctive advantages – a huge land mass of 30 million square kilometres, huge resources, a fast-growing population, fewer conflicts and major developments in education, and an economy that has consistently expanded over the last 15 years, even though it still only accounts for 3% of global GDP.

      There is clear evidence of sustained demand growth across the continent. Consumer spending will reach US$2.5 trillion by 2030, while business-to-business investments will reach over $3.5 trillion in the same period. “With a growing middle class and rapid urbanisation, consumer demand from a burgeoning middle class will turn the continent into a prime collective investment opportunity that cannot be ignored,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.

      “This is proof positive of an Africa in the process of full transformation. Africa is the new international investment frontier,” he added. With $11.6 billion, Italy was the largest European investor on the continent in 2017, and the third largest after China and the United Arab Emirates.

      Minister Tria commended the African Development Bank for its unique role in fostering a favourable investment environment and addressing Africa’s development challenges.

      According to Adesina, “The migration crisis in Europe is one of the biggest current social and political challenges that Italy and Europe have to deal with. I do not believe that the future of Africa’s youth lies in Europe. Neither does it lie at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. The future of Africa’s youth is in Africa helping to grow its economy and employment opportunities.”

      The African Development Bank has launched a major initiative, the Jobs for Youth in Africa programme, aimed at creating 25 million jobs over a ten-year period. The Bank has also launched the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) to encourage banks and finance institutions in Africa to lend to female entrepreneurs and businesses run by women. Adesina points out that it is now “critical to change the lenses with which we look at Africa, from development aid to profitable investment.”

      The evidence for this comes from the tremendous success of the Bank’s new mould-breaking initiative, the Africa Investment Forum, an event dedicated to investment transactions which took place last month in Johannesburg, South Africa. Investment interests were secured in deals worth $38.7 billion in three days of transaction-dominated meetings between investors, the private sector and African countries.


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      Anadarko Petrolum Corp. Logo (PRNewsFoto/Anadarko featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

      Anadarko Mozambique Area 1, LTDA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anadarko Petroleum, has on behalf of the co-venturers in Mozambique’s Offshore Area 1, selected the consortium consisting of TechnipFMC and VanOord as the preferred tenderer for the EPCI of the offshore subsea system for its Mozambique LNG project.

      Anadarko Petrolum Corp. Logo (PRNewsFoto/Anadarko featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

      “Selecting the preferred tenderer for the EPCI contract for the offshore subsea system is another major step for the Anadarko-led Mozambique LNG project in moving toward an expected FID in H1 2019,” said Mitch Ingram, Anadarko Executive Vice President, International, Deepwater and Exploration.

      “TechnipFMC and VanOord bring additional proven experience to the project and further demonstrate our continued commitment to advancing this important project toward first cargoes. We congratulate them and look forward to working together toward a safe and successful outcome for the people of Mozambique and our partnership.”

      APC and its partners have discovered more than 75 Tcf of natural gas resources in the Prosperidade and Golfinho-Atum complexes in Mozambique’s Offshore Area 1, which will be used to feed an onshore LNG terminal.



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      The winning three teams in this year's Innovation Challenge, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      The winning three teams in this year’s Innovation Challenge

      After an inspiring, exciting and gruelling six-month challenge, innovators Smartipants were awarded first place in the Maritime Youth Innovation Challenge at the prize-giving awards ceremony held recently.

      This is the fourth Youth Innovation Challenge, the flagship programme of Durban ideas and strategy incubator, Innovate Durban, with the 2018 challenge having a firm focus on the maritime industry.

      Celebrating the innovators, a director on Innovate Durban board, Richard Gevers said, “The maritime industry is the heart of our country’s economy. Understanding that, this journey has been inspiring to see our young innovators understanding and stimulating skills and activities around our busy ports.”

      The wining team: Smartipants comprising of innovators – Chiemela Onuka; Lindelwa Dlamini; Nonjabulo Gasa; Ntuthuko Msimango and Sandile Goqo. The five strong team focused their idea on port infrastructure enhancement.

      Winning themselves a R50,000 grant from top global IT company, Oracle and Innovate Durban; a six-month Acceleration Programme with Innovate Durban; a three-month internship with Transnet, and internship and support with global engineering and infrastructure advisory company, Aurecon. Law firm Adams & Adams will offer free consultations to all three winners, and for the top winner, they are offering free trade mark applications and free registered design application.

      Earning second place, the team Load Box made up of Solam Dontsa and Mpumelelo Tembe won a R35,000 grant through the Domino Foundation and Innovate Durban; a six month Acceleration Programme with Innovate Durban, and a three month internship with Transnet. Their challenge touched on the supply chain integration with Transnet.

      Third place was tied between Trailblazer and the Sagiya Foundation. The two-man team from Trailblazer focused their challenge on skills-development with shore-side staff in the ports optimising modern-day, technology-driven working environments. Sagiya Foundation’s winning challenge was the idea of a port radio station. They each get a R25,000 grant through Innovate Durban; a three-month internship with Transnet, and six-month Acceleration Programme with Innovate Durban.

      All four teams were recognised for their innovations at the CE Transnet Port Terminals awards last month.

      Managing Transnet’s innovation portfolio, Willie Coetzee was blown away by the ideas, “The quality of thinking and the proposals presented have been impressive throughout the process. The different concepts all communicated by these guys are fresh and exciting and brings about new thinking in the age-old trade of maritime while addressing pressing problems in the port of Durban.”

      DUT Head of Maritime Studies, Leon Govender stated, “This is the only maritime youth challenge that I am aware of in South Africa and it is a strategic asset to the cities and the ports of our country. The maritime industry is pivotal in modern-day existence and it is evolving all the time; and our students are needing to stay bigger all the time – we need to create better green ship technologies. I am pleased to say that DUT is progressive in this field, being one of two universities in South Africa offering maritime courses focusing on seagoing and shore-based livelihoods. Innovate Durban’s maritime challenge is important to our city and I look forward to seeing this challenge grow.”

      Johnny Gounden from Oracle encouraged, “Keep current, always be relevant. This is essential to customers and to your company! Be proud of what you have achieved and I encourage you to go and do that and more!”

      The themes of the challenges included Infrastructure, Environment, Capacity and Transport & Logistics. The Maritime Youth Innovation Challenge was pre-ambled by a series of workshops to aid the participants to develop solutions to the challenge they had selected. The workshops were led by project partners – for example Oracle offered the participants a two-day java workshop and Aurecon went through a design thinking workshop with the participants.

      The various stage winners will be included in Innovate Durban’s Aftercare Programme which consists of mentoring, prototype development, regular brain storming sessions and learning exchanges, trainings and workshops. They also have access to partner organisation programmes and funding opportunities.



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      MSC Seaside, featured in drug bust story in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      MSC Seaside, featured in drug smuggling bust in USA

      Four young South Africans, recruited by MSC Cruises among a large group to work on board cruise ships abroad, have been arrested in Miami on charges of smuggling cocaine.

      The four, identified as Wandile Mhlongo, Londiwe Shange, Viwe Tshaka and Thembeka Sokhulu, were detained along with three other Jamaican crew members on similar charges. The arrest took place last month after the cruise ship MSC SEASIDE docked in Miami following a visit to Jamaica and other destinations in the Caribbean.

      Tshaka comes from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, where a large number of recruits have recently joined MSC Cruises’ ships across the world. The other three ladies are from Durban.

      US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers boarded the MSC Seaside and “busted a drug smuggling ring” according to American reports.

      CBP officers found six kilos of cocaine and over US$100,000 in cash during the raid on the ship. The South Africans are believed to have been involved in carrying the drug ashore in their backpacks.

      A crew member on board MSC Seaside told the American Cruise Law News that “A lot of cocaine was found on the ship. The drug smugglers are dangerous and many on the ship are afraid.”

      The same report said that another MSC Cruises’ ship, MSC DIVINA had been the scene of another drug bust last year while the ship was in the port of Miami. About 30 crew members were then arrested, from housekeeping, bartenders, and waiters.

      “A US staff member (electronics technician) brought the drugs onboard. He was first arrested. Then another 10 crew were arrested and the following cruise when the cruise ship arrived in Miami police arrested more crew members. If I remembered well it was four arrests in a row,” the informant said.

      An American report says that the latest raid involving MSC Seaside was made in the early hours of 17 November shortly after the ship docked in the port of Miami from her Caribbean cruise. Law enforcement officers woke many of the crew at gunpoint, it was claimed, searched the crew accommodation areas, with cabins left “looking like hell” and leaving many ship’s crew members traumatised. Afterwards those who were found with the drugs were taken ashore for further questioning. Others were also questioned ashore.

      The informant said that the majority of the interrogated crew members were from South Africa, Jamaica and St Lucia (Caribbean).

      Some of the crew members complained of being left to their own devices after undergoing cabin searches and interrogation ashore and said that MSC Cruises didn’t provide any support in counselling after what had happened.

      The Miami Herald also carried the story saying that six crew members were found with a total of 17 pounds of cocaine on their bodies or in their cabins during a K9 drug sweep of the MSC Seaside on 17 November, according to court filings. A seventh employee, named as Damion Hawthorne, 32, was arrested on charges of recruiting five of the crew members into the smuggling operation.

      “Federal prosecutors said Hawthorne recruited Londiwe Shange, 27, Wandile Mhlongo, 29, Thembeka Sokhulu, 36, and Viwe Tshaka, 23, all from South Africa, to pick up drugs when Seaside was docked at the port in Jamaica and deliver them to someone in Miami.

      Shange, Mhlongo and Sokhulu told investigators they had been earning around $2,000 for each run over the past couple of months, according to court filings. Tshaka said 17 Nov. was her first time making a run,” quoted the Herald.



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      Damen’s first Fishing Seminar success as new leasing fund welcomed by South African fishing community, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Damen’s first Fishing Seminar success as new leasing fund welcomed by South African fishing community

      Damen’s first Fishing Seminar, held in Cape Town, has been called a great success, with more than 60 participants attending from a broad cross-section of the industry, including the five major South African fishing companies.

      “The event was a good opportunity for different stakeholders from various sides of the industry to come together – to engage, listen and understand the current operating environment and various push and pull factors such as the cost of doing business, etc. It was a very informative day,” said Jeremy Marillier, Executive Director of FishSA, the representative of the main industry associations in South Africa.

      Marillier added that the fishing industry would welcome more information days like these.

      The Fishing Seminar, held on 22 November 2018 at Damen Shipyards Cape Town, was also chosen to launch Damen’s new fund, ‘Africa Ship Leasing’.

      “Damen wants to show how it can support the fishing community, both in terms of maintaining the existing fleet and also through the fund, which can help them develop their fleet and potentially replace ageing vessels,” said Benny Bhali, Sales and Marketing Executive at Damen Shipyards Cape Town.

      Jeremy Marillier, Executive Director of FishSA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Jeremy Marillier, Executive Director of FishSA

      “I think the fishing industry appreciated our efforts.”

      He pointed out that it appeared clear that these issues are of interest in other parts of southern Africa as companies from Namibia and Mozambique also attended.

      Participants also had a tour of Damen Shipyards Cape Town to highlight the advantages of building vessels ‘in Africa for Africa’.

      “We can show shipowners what is possible and how we can help them grow their business,” Bhali said. “Although fishing companies are awarded their quotas, it is not always easy for them to get local financing for investments in their fleet, so the Damen Fund enables them to tap into the international financing market.

      “The South African government has some important initiatives to help develop the fleet but it won’t be able to achieve its ambitions on its own” he said. “But by working in partnership with industry and government we can provide creative solutions to move the market forward. Ultimately, I think we have started a conversation with the key players.”

      Africa Ship Leasing

      Damen has delivered more than 1,200 vessels to customers in Africa over the years. Africa Ship Leasing was established in May 2018 and is already assisting owners in both Nigeria and Angola, with each lease agreement being tailormade. The customer begins by chartering the vessel for a certain number of years, while at the same time repaying the loan and the applicable interest. They then have the option to purchase the vessel during the tenor of the agreement and the obligation after the repayment period.

      To date, Damen has constructed and delivered 40 vessels to the African continent from its base in Cape Town, including offshore patrol vessels, dredgers, tugs, naval craft and platform supply vessels, some of which have been built for stock in order to ensure fast delivery. The DSCT Services & Repairs department has provided training, delivery, maintenance & repairs assistance to countries across the globe and especially to African countries seeking to source high quality services from South Africa.

      DSCT has a well-established Apprenticeship Training Centre which is accredited by MerSETA and ChietaSETA. Apprentices selected for the Apprenticeship Training Centre program have the opportunity to obtain the necessary skills in order to achieve artisan status in Welding, Boiler Making, Pipe Fitting or Electrical and they are provided with a job opportunity at the same time.

      The first, second and third year apprentices are productive on the shop floor under the mentorship of qualified artisans until they pass their Trade Test. Once qualified, all apprentices have the opportunity to be absorbed into the business as artisans. To date, DSCT has trained 63 Apprentices of which 19 are female. DSCT’s Apprenticeship Training Centre is the true reflection of the yard’s commitment to the South African Government’s economic initiative, known as Operation Phakisa, which aims to reach the potential of the South African Maritime Sector, including shipbuilding, and to accelerate economic growth and job creation.

      Damen Shipyards Group operates 35 shipbuilding and repair yards, employing 12,000 people worldwide and has delivered more than 6,000 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers some 160 vessels annually to customers worldwide.

      A wide range of products, including tugs, workboats, naval and patrol vessels, high speed craft, cargo vessels, dredgers, vessels for the offshore industry, ferries, pontoons and superyachts are offered.



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      The controversial Port of Doraleh, Djibouti, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      The controversial Port of Doraleh, Djibouti

      Djibouti, strategically situated in the Gulf of Aden and seldom out of the news for long this year, has announced the resumption of port service to South Sudan following what it calls the peace in the latter African country.

      Djibouti’s Doraleh Multipurpose Port (DMP) CEO, Mr Wahib Daher Aden, said that just before the war in South Sudan broke out, Djibouti was serving South Sudan but had been forced to stop.

      “Now as peace is being restored in the country, we are going to restart that service for South Sudan,” he said.

      He pointed out that DMP, which began operations in June 2017, had expanded greatly in the recent past. He made no reference to the country’s dispute with port developer and operator DP World which had been forced to leave the country despite winning arbitration court decisions.

      “For a small country like Djibouti, building five new ports and a railway connection with Ethiopia in 10 years is a massive infrastructure investment. DMP is really a game changer in the whole industry and the region,” Mr Aden said.

      “It is the most efficient port that also serves Ethiopia, and aims at serving Burundi and Rwanda,” he said without elaborating on why Burundi and Rwanda, separated by long distances and several countries in between, would want to use the Djibouti port terminals as opposed to the much closer Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.

      “Because Ethiopia is a big country, we want to be chosen by our service. We want to be chosen in eastern Africa because of our modern, customer-oriented and efficient services, which save costs.”

      According to Aden, DMP was for the first time expecting to handle its biggest ship bringing an 80,000 tonnes shipment of grain for the Ethiopian government. This would arrive before the end of December, he said.

      Djibouti and the recently rebuilt and electrified railway to Ethiopia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Djibouti and the recently rebuilt and electrified railway to Ethiopia

      He also pointed out that the recently constructed electric railway line connecting Djibouti with Ethiopia would be linked to DMP within two months.

      Once fully operational, goods from DMP would reach Ethiopia’s Modjo Dry Port, about 76km east of Addis Ababa, within 12 hours.

      Djibouti has investing heavily in new port developments over the past few years and currently has five specialised ports (terminals) in operation plus an additional two others under construction.

      Referring to claims that Djibouti is among the most indebted African countries, Mr Aden responded by saying that no country will provide loans “unless what you do is financially feasible.” source: Business Daily



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      Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer at AP Moller - Maersk, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer at AP Moller – Maersk

      AP Moller – Maersk aims at having carbon neutral vessels commercially viable by 2030 and calls for strong industry involvement

      Maersk said this week that in order to accelerate the transition to carbon neutral shipping, it was setting its goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

      To achieve this goal, carbon neutral vessels must be commercially viable by 2030, and an acceleration in new innovations and adaption of new technology is required.

      “Climate is one of the most important issues in the world, and carrying around 80% of global trade, the shipping industry is vital to finding solutions. By now, Maersk´s relative CO2 emissions have been reduced by 46% (baseline 2007), approx. 9% more than the industry average,” Maersk said.

      The Danish shipping giant added that as world trade and thereby shipping volumes will continue to grow, efficiency improvements on the current fossil based technology can only keep shipping emissions at current levels but not reduce them significantly or eliminate them.

      “The only possible way to achieve the so-much-needed decarbonisation in our industry is by fully transforming to new carbon neutral fuels and supply chains,” said Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer at AP Moller – Maersk.

      Maersk said it was putting its efforts towards solving problems specific to maritime transport, as it called for different solutions than automotive, rail and aviation. The yet to come electric truck is expected to be able to carry max 2 TEU and is projected to run 800km per charging. In comparison, a container vessel carrying thousands of TEU sailing from Panama to Rotterdam makes around 8,800 km.

      With short battery durability and no charging points along the route, innovative developments are imperative.

      Given the 20-25-year life time of a vessel, it is now time to join forces and start developing the new type of vessels that will be crossing the seas in 2050.

      “The next 5-10 years are going to be crucial. We will invest significant resources for innovation and fleet technology to improve the technical and financial viability of decarbonised solutions. Over the last four years, we have invested around US$ 1 billion and engaged 50+ engineers each year in developing and deploying energy efficient solutions. Going forward we cannot do this alone,” Toft said.

      Research & Development is key to take the industry away from today’s fossil based technology and by setting this ambitious target, Maersk hopes to generate a pull towards researchers, technology developers, investors, cargo owners and legislators that will activate strong industry involvement, co-development, and sponsorship of sustainable solutions that we are yet to see in the maritime industry.

      In 2019, Maersk is planning to initiate open and collaborative dialogue with all possible parties to tackle together one of the most important issues in the world; the climate change.



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      A combined Africa, when all are members of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, featured in report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

      Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has welcomed Parliament’s ratification of the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

      Davies said South Africa is expected to deposit the instrument of ratification during the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in February 2019.

      The agreement will enter into force once 22 Member States have deposited their instruments of ratification.

      “The AfCFTA, comprises 55 African countries and, once entered into force, will constitute the largest Free Trade Area globally.

      “As a flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, the AfCFTA aims to build an integrated market in Africa that will see a market of over one billion people with a combined GDP of approximately US$3.3 trillion,” Davies said on Tuesday.

      The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the AfCFTA will increase intra-Africa trade from the current 10%-16% to approximately 52% by the year 2022.

      The AfCFTA was launched during an Extra-Ordinary Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government on 21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda.

      South Africa signed the agreement during the 31st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union on 1 July 2018 in Nouakchott, Mauritania. To date, 49 countries have signed the Agreement, while Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Eswatini, Chad, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Guinea Conakry have deposited their instruments of ratification.

      The Minister said the AfCFTA is anchored on the development integration approach, which places emphasis on market integration, infrastructure development, and industrial development in order to boost intra-Africa trade.

      “In support of these objectives, the AfCFTA Agreement covers both goods and services under Phase I and will include investment, intellectual property and competition under Phase II of the negotiations,” said Davies.

      The agreement will create a single set of rules for trade and investment among all African countries and provides legal certainty for traders and investors through the harmonisation of trade regimes.

      “It also facilitates intra-Africa investment and increases the continent’s prospects of stimulating industrialisation, employment, income generation and poverty reduction,” said the Minister. source:



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      African Nations met in Kigali to sign the AfCFTA in March this year, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      African Nations met in Kigali to sign the AfCFTA in March this year

      Uganda has become the latest on the continent to submit the instruments of ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The development was confirmed by Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AU) who is hopeful that other countries would follow suit.

      As of July 2018, six countries had submitted ratification instruments – Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Niger, Chad, and Eswatini with the expectation that many more would do so before the end of the year. South Africa’s Parliament has just ratified the Agreement enabling its signing – see next story.

      In March 2018, 44 African countries out of the 55 AU member states signed the vital continental free trade agreement in Kigali, Rwanda to enable the long-awaited economic integration and movement of goods and persons across member states.

      This agreement was first introduced in January 2012 during the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The member states adopted the decision to establish the Continental Free Trade Area by 2017.

      The agreement is meant to establish a single continental market for goods and services; enhance free movement of business persons and investments; enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploiting opportunities for full-scale production.

      It will also bring together the 1.2 billion African population with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$2 trillion with the commitments of the countries to remove tariffs on 90 per cent of goods, with 10 per cent of “sensitive items” to be phased in later.

      However, 11 countries at the time did not sign the agreement for diverse reasons. The countries are Nigeria, South Africa (which later signed in July), Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Zambia.

      One of the reasons for these countries not to sign is that they faced pressures from business leaders and labour unions who believe the agreement could affect their economies. In South Africa’s case there were legal reasons.

      Five more countries signed the AfCFTA at the African Union (AU) summit in Mauritania in June, bringing the total number of countries committing to the agreement to 49 by the end of July.

      For the agreement to take effect, at least 22 countries must submit instruments of ratification to commence the process. Depositing the instruments of ratification means the country has undertaken all required internal legislative and legal measures in readiness to implement the agreement.

      During the signing of the agreement in March this year, African Union Member countries set a deadline of 180 days to ratify the agreement through their respective legislative bodies.

      The UN Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) Conference recently urged African countries to speed up the ratification and adoption process of the agreement with reasons that it is a powerful tool for driving industrialisation, economic diversification and development.

      The implementation of the agreement could also boost intra-African trade from its current level of 16 per cent to 52 per cent by 2022, according to estimates by the ECA. source: TMEA


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      Port of Tema, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Port of Tema

      Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Transport, Daniel Titus-Glover has officially launched the Ghana Ship Suppliers Association.

      The association made up of ship chandlers has committed itself to making a significant impact in the maritime industry and in helping transform the port industry in Ghana.

      Titus-Glover urged members of the association to upgrade their skills in order to attract more investors for their business.

      We need to upgrade our skills and I am sure that the Regional Maritime University will offer opportunities for you to return and upskill yourselves, he said.

      The Deputy Minister also urged the association to purge itself of miscreants and also take advantage of ICT to boost their business.

      “We are also in an ICT world,” he said, urging members to take advantage of available software to make their business in supplying ships more efficient.

      Tema Port Director Edward Kofi Osei said Ghana’s Port Authority is working diligently to increase the volume of cargo coming through the port from 14 million tons per year to 20million tons.

      He said the Tema Port expansion project will open up the country for more businesses including transhipment, hence, the need for the Ghana Ship Suppliers association to properly position themselves.

      “We also know that with the MPS expansion, Tema port and Ghana will become a hub in West Africa and with that there would be an increase in the number of vessels that will be calling at Tema port and transhipment is going to go through the roof,” he stated.

      The Vice Chancellor of the Regional Maritime University, Prof Elvis Nyarko urged members of the association to conform to international best practices in their business activities.

      “As a trade association I urge you to ensure that your members conform to and also apply international best practices into your business activities as you carry along the image of Ghana to where every you may be, I will also plead with you that as you expand please think of the youth who are looking up to you for jobs.”



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      Valour class frigates of the SA Navy, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Valour class frigates of the SA Navy

      The Chief of the SA Navy, Vice Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane, will officiate during the Junior Officer’s Graduation Parade in Gordon’s Bay on Friday, 7 December 2018. The parade takes place at 11h00.

      A total of 53 junior officers will graduate; from there they will proceed to the Fleet and various functional and academic training institutions. The task of the SA Naval College is to prepare junior officers for appointments as officers in the SA Navy. This is where all officers of the SA Navy receive their common grounding as they qualify to become motivated and well-trained junior officers.

      The military professional education, training and development of young men and women make a direct and significant contribution to national development and the future success of South Africa. Apart from the necessary military knowledge and skills, the development of the attributes expected of an officer is instilled. The college prides itself in providing the Fleet with quality naval officers through dynamic training.


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      Source: EU NAVFOR, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

      On Tuesday this week, 4 December 2018, EU NAVFOR’s Force Commander, Rear Admiral Alfonso Pérez de Nanclares handed back command of Operation Atalanta Forces to the Operational Headquarters in Djibouti.

      The Change of Command Ceremony took place during a reception held on board ESPS Castilla on the occasion of 10 years of continued presence of EU NAVFOR in the Western Indian Ocean.

      The Head of the EU Delegation to Djibouti, Ambassador Adam Kulach, highlighted in his…


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      Comoros Blocks 35-37, courtesy Bahari Resources, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Comoros Blocks 35-37, courtesy Bahari Resources

      Tullow Oil, the multinational oil and gas exploration company from Tullow in Ireland but now headquartered in London, has signed a binding agreement with Discover Exploration Comoros for a 35% working interest in Blocks 35, 36 and 37 offshore the Comoros in the northern Mozambique Channel.

      Tullow Comoros will become the operator and will…


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      Tau Morwe, Acting Group Chief Executive, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Tau Morwe, Acting Group Chief Executive, tasked with finding new strategic direction for the group

      The Transnet Board of Directors and its top management held a board strategy workshop in Limpopo last week, where a new strategy to take the company forward was crafted.

      The central theme and thrust of the strategy workshop was to review the deteriorating financial and operational performance of Transnet. The Board also agreed on key strategic interventions to arrest the decline and craft a new growth trajectory.

      The board of directors said they wish to share with the South African public the key decisions flowing from the workshop to urgently reorganise and rationalise Transnet’s operating model and corporate structure adopted by both the board and executive management.

      * The first resolution is on the principles for the corporate design of a new operating model underpinned by financial sustainability, customer centricity and operational excellence.

      * The second resolution is to sub-delegate and mandate the Acting Group Chief Executive, Mr Tau Morwe to develop a revised operating model, corporate structure and new Group Executive including its supporting implementation strategy for submission to the Board by latest end of February 2019.

      * The third resolution was the dissolution of the current Group Leadership Team (GLT) and its replacement by an interim group executive team – until the new Executive Committee is established in terms of the new operating model and corporate structure.

      In a statement the Board said it is confident that the new strategy will assist in positioning Transnet in a trajectory that will contribute to a growing economy. “This will stimulate economic growth and achieve economic efficiency in the movement of goods across the country,” said chairman Mr Popo Molefe.

      The strategy workshop follows closely behind the dismissal of former Transnet Group Chief Executive Mr Siyabonga Gama and the suspension of several other key executives linked to several scandals, notably one concerning the purchase of over a thousand locomotives from various manufacturers. It is claimed that hefty kickbacks amounting to billions of Rands resulted from contracts awarded to a Chinese locomotive builder.



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      South Africa, economy recovering from recession, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritimw news
      South Africa, economy recovering from recession, or just an interlude?

      South Africa has come out of a technical recession with the economy growing by 2.2% in the third quarter of 2018, said Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

      “We can inform the public that the economy has expanded by 2.2% in the third quarter of 2018. Year-on-year growth was 1.1% and nine month on nine month it was at 0.8%,” said Statistician General Risenga Maluleke.

      “We made revisions on second quarter of 2018. The previous…



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      The railway line and bridge that has been knocked out of alignment between Vredendal and Lutzville on the Sishen-Saldanha ore line, blocking traffic for more than a week. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      The railway line and bridge that has been knocked out of alignment between Vredendal and Lutzville on the Sishen-Saldanha ore line

      The strategic iron ore railway line between Sishen in the Northern Cape and the port of Saldanha is to be reopened to traffic on Monday 9 December 2018, Transnet has confirmed.

      This follows the decision to stop all rail activity along the Saldanha iron ore export line following an accident where…


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      De Mist is gradually emerging…… photos taken today at 13:43 hrs. Picture: David Erickson
      De Mist is gradually emerging…… photos taken yesterday (Tuesday 4 Dec) at 13:43 hrs. Picture: David Erickson

      After the SA Navy tug DE MIST, which is awaiting disposal, sank at her moorings on Saturday 10 November (see our report CLICK HERE), she settled on her port side in between 8 and 10 metres os water in the Still Water Basin of the navy base at Simon’s Town.

      The navy took the decision to salvage the tug themselves and have since been engaged on this mission. After attaching lifting bags to one side of the tug they managed to roll her onto the other side to which bags were then fitted, allowing the tug to come to a more upright position, albeit with an angle of about 30 degrees to starboard. Divers could then work on both sides of the vessel.

      The navy divers then began closing all vents and watertight hatches inside the tug to make her as airtight as possible.

      In a current up-to-date report, reader David Erickson has provided the accompanying unique photographs and this interesting report:

      De Mist is gradually emerging…… photos taken yesterday (Tuesday) at 13h43 hrs

      The Mooring Lighter is a key component of the operation to raise the sunken tug.

      This vessel was built for the British Admiralty in 1900 by Fleming & Ferguson at their Phoenix shipbuilding yard at Paisley, Scotland, United Kingdom. She was then disassembled into sections and shipped from Deptford, London, to Simon’s Town where she was reassembled.

      It is 116 years since she was commissioned for service with the King’s Harbour Master’s Department in Simon’s Town, on 19 February 1902. Originally steam powered, she now has diesel-hydraulic capstans and winches; however, these have not been used; instead, the tug ZTAG Umalusi has been positioned stern-to-stern and the Umalusi’s towing winch cable is being used (via the sheaves atop the Mooring Lighter’s horns) to lift the bow of the De Mist.

      Two spare crown anchor buoys have been pressed into service as flotation devices at the De Mist’s stern, which is still submerged in these photos.

      Raising the tug De Mist,
      Pictures and report courtesy: David Erickson



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      HMS Echo, to be deployed to the Black Sea. Picture: Royal Navy
      HMS Echo, to be deployed to the Black Sea. Picture: Royal Navy

      The UK and Ukraine will continue to strengthen their defence partnership in the face of intensifying threats and aggression, the Defence Secretary reaffirmed on 21 November.

      In a meeting with the visiting Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak, Gavin Williamson announced a range of forthcoming deployments and exercises that will see the two countries’ Armed Forces continue to work together in defence of the international rules-based order.

      Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “As long as Ukraine faces Russian hostilities, it will find a steadfast partner in the United Kingdom. By continuing to work together, whether through training programmes or military exercises, we help Ukraine to stand up for our shared values.

      “Those values of freedom and democracy cannot be traded. I have witnessed on the frontline the effects of the conflict in the East and this has completely reinforced my support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”

      Minister of Defence of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak said: “The United Kingdom is a valued partner that has supported Ukraine’s Armed Forces for the last four years in the face of Russian aggression. As we fight to defend our territory, the offer of extended support from the UK Armed Forces is vitally important and gratefully received.”

      The Defence Secretary announced at the meeting that HMS Echo would deploy to the Black Sea in 2019 to demonstrate the UK’s support to ensuring freedom of navigation in the region.

      It was also confirmed that, in January and February next year, training teams – made up of personnel from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the Army – will deploy to Ukraine as part of the extension to the UK’s military training operation announced by Gavin Williamson on his visit to the country in September.

      The UK and Ukrainian Armed Forces will gain another opportunity to develop capability and share expertise when UK contributes to the US-Ukrainian led Exercise Sea Breeze next year.

      While visiting Ukraine in September, where he visited the east of the country to see first-hand the effects of the ongoing conflict, the Defence Secretary announced that the UK would be extending its military training programme, delivered through Operation Orbital, until 2020.

      Since the start of 2015, British personnel have trained over 9,500 of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

      Edited by Paul Ridgway

      Stepan Poltorak the Minister of Defence of Ukraine visits the Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Defence at the Ministry of Defence. Pictur: RN, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Stepan Poltorak the Minister of Defence of Ukraine who has just visited the Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Defence at the Ministry of Defence. Picture: RN



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      Vice Admiral Timothy Fraser CB (left) and Vice Admiral Tony Radakin CB, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Vice Admiral Timothy Fraser CB (left) and Vice Admiral Tony Radakin CB. Pictures courtesy Royal Navy

      On 3 December (UK) Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson reported that HM The Queen has approved the following senior appointments to the top echelon of the Armed Services:

      Vice-Admiral Timothy Fraser CB is to be promoted Admiral and appointed Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, in succession to General Gordon Messenger;

      Vice-Admiral Tony Radakin CB is to be promoted Admiral and appointed First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, in succession to Admiral Sir Philip Jones;

      There are also corresponding Army and Royal Air Force senior appointments

      Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:…

      Edited by Paul Ridgway



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      One section of the Durban Car Terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      One section of the Durban Car Terminal

      Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has rolled-out an Automated Service Instruction entry (SIE) system which uses a portal and/or electronic data interface (EDI) to all its Durban Automotive customers, abandoning the manual processing of paperwork for the export, import and transshipment of vehicles.

      More than one hundred TPT customers, supply chain partners and various other stakeholders in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and beyond South Africa’s borders who utilise the Durban Car Terminal will have the ability to exchange information at an improved speed including Original Equipment Manufacturers, second hand car dealers and their Clearing and Forwarding agents.

      This follows a pilot on the portal with Original Equipment Manufacturer Toyota South Africa Motors.

      “Our current Transnet 4.0 strategy places a huge emphasis on how we maximize the digital environment to make the life of the customer simpler while reducing the cost of doing business and SIE automation is another way we are attempting that,” says TPT General Manager for Sales and New Business Siyabonga Mhlaluka.

      He added that the benefits of the automation will reduce document processing time from 72 to 24 hours, making it possible for customers to continue production and shipping as close to vessel sailing times as possible – something that could not happen before.

      Another benefit is that time previously spent by customer resources manually capturing data, going in and out offices to submit documents is now used to maximise resource capacity and enhance productivity.

      Digital always ensures the reduction in operational expenditure due to less printing and storage costs associated with paper with the benefit of electronically having access to records of all transactions, whenever required.

      SIE automation was developed by in-house resources within TPT’s Information Technology and Communications department.

      Ultimately the system will create flexibility and capacity planning in the port, and will launch fully in East London and Port Elizabeth in February next year.

      “At TPT we’ve somehow figured out that innovation is not a nice term to throw around when convenient,” said Mhlaluka. “It’s becoming more and more a practice and the results – although slow to implement because of due diligence required, are coming in.”

      TPT has previously created a web-based General Cargo Operating System called GCOS which enhances security of break bulk cargo and automotive, offers simple user interface and greater data integrity compared to the old manual method.

      GCOS is a commercial product that some of the West African ports are already using.

      Another view of the Point Docks section of the Durban Car terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Another view of the Point Docks section of the Durban Car terminal



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      Personnel from across British Forces Cyprus played their part in supporting HMS Diamond during her short visit to Cyprus as a part of her wider mission in the Eastern Mediterranean. Photo: MoD Crown Copyright 2018 © Featured in a report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Personnel from across British Forces Cyprus played their part in supporting HMS Diamond during her short visit to Cyprus as a part of her wider mission in the Eastern Mediterranean. Photo: MoD Crown Copyright 2018 ©

      Personnel from across British Forces Cyprus played their part in supporting HMS DIAMOND during her short visit to Cyprus as a part of her wider mission in the Eastern Mediterranean. This was reported on 29 November.

      Diamond, a Type 45 Destroyer, anchored off…

      Edited by Paul Ridgway



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      Seismic survey vessels similar to Ramform Sovereign (above) have been observed in operations of the South Africa East Coast. Featured in a report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Seismic survey vessels similar to Ramform Sovereign (above) have been observed in operations of the South Africa East Coast.

      In January 2018, environmental consultant ERM (Environmental Resources Management) submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) application on behalf of Italian oil company Eni seeking environmental authorisation to drill up to six deep water wells offshore of the East Coast of South Africa (Block ER236) in water depths up to 3000m.

      On 17 September ERM notified interested and affected parties that a new EIA process approved by the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA) had commenced, and a draft EIA report was made available for public comment.

      The WILDTRUST (with a marine conservation programme – WILDOCEANS) is one of the many organisations that has submitted comment to ERM regarding their environmental impact assessment report.

      “A key concern relating to any offshore oil and gas exploration drilling programme is…



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      Tramp Ships cover, from a book review in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


      By Roy Fenton
      Published by Seaforth Publishing
      Hardback; 176 pages; price £30.00
      ISBN: 978 1 84832 158 8
      (To order: CLICK HERE )






      Published in 2013 and still available from the publisher’s catalogue is this compendium devoted to a valuable class of cargo ship that has been the mainstay of many a mercantile marine for more than three generations and trading in every ocean. Generally the type was an ocean-going, steam- or diesel-powered dry cargo ship of up to 10,000 tons gross and of from 270ft to 550 ft loa with an adequate cruising speed of ten knots.

      We all know what a tramp ship is. To some it was seen as the taxi of the seas.

      As a cargo ship the tramp was not confined to any particular route but carried cargo anywhere that was convenient and profitable. There were no regular schedules, it steamed everywhere, loading and discharging cargoes, often bulk cargoes such as coal, grain, timber, china clay and oil.

      Archibald (later Sir Archibald) Hurd, writing in The Sea Traders*, informed that Allied victory in the First World War would have been impossible without “… the comparatively small, comparatively slow, and quite inconspicuous vessels – ‘the tramps’ – that made the chief contribution to this triumph.”

      He went on: “It was not the luxurious passenger liner, steaming at high speed, it was not even the big cargo liner; it was, above all, the tramp, buffeting her patient way over the world’s seas, that was the chief maritime instrument of victory, apart from the Grand Fleet.” He continued: “The tramp was the lineal successor of those earlier individual vessels owned by single enterprising sea traders who laid the foundations of our prosperity…”

      In his book, written only three years after the Armistice, Hurd pointed out that of the British (and Empire) steam tonnage in pre-war days more than 50% was provided by the tramp fleet.

      Spot the tramps: Singapore Inner Roads, 1970, where vessels anchor for stores, fresh water, bunkers, crew change, cargoes, orders and even sale. Featured in book review in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Spot the tramps: Singapore Inner Roads, 1970, where vessels anchor for stores, fresh water, bunkers, crew change, cargoes, orders and even sale.

      There may have been a depression between the wars but by 1938 there was an uplift in trade bringing many tramps much-needed cargoes and in that year Britain exported, for example, 38 million tons of coal – about half the highest level of 1913**.

      However, it was the older and slower vessels that tended to find their way into this trade, hence the tag ‘tramp’ although new tramps were built, often with the owner’s eye on chartering to the liner companies.

      Over 13 chapters in this volume by the well-known shipping author Roy Fenton***, the tramp ship’s evolution is described over the course of more than 100 years, from the 1860s, when the steam tramp ship developed from the screw collier, until it was largely replaced by the specialist bulk carrier in the 1980s.

      Here an introduction looks at the design and building of tramps. Then follows a description of vessel’s machinery, from simple triple-expansion turbines to diesel engines. Regarding steam, it has been recorded that a reheated triple-expansion engine fitted in a 10,000 ton tramp ship was capable of moving each ton of cargo one mile on the energy developed by burning half an ounce of coal.

      Tramp ship operation and management and the life of the officers and crews are also covered here along with the ships’ design features being highlighted and notes on machinery included.

      The meat of the book is to be found in the 300 wonderfully evocative photographs of individual ships which illustrate the development of the tramp and its trades through the last years of the 19th century, the two World Wars, and the post war years with Liberty ship replacements. All are supported by a lengthy index of ship-names.

      Each picture caption provides the reader with the dimensions of the vessel, the owners and the builder and then goes on to outline the ship’s career, with notes on trades and how they changed over a ship’s lifetime. Lives, varied, ended nearly always sadly by collision, grounding, foundering, by enemy action or of demolition and scrap.

      To close there is an important bibliography with close on a hundred titles for further research into this fascinating subject.

      Shanghai, 2006. Is the vessel beneath the Nikon advert an A&P SD 14, of 14,000 tonnes, built as a no frills modern tramp ship from 1967? Some of the class may still be afloat. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Shanghai, 2006. Is the vessel beneath the Nikon advert an A&P SD 14, of 14,000 tonnes, built as a no frills modern tramp ship from 1967? Some of the class may still be afloat.

      But the tramp was not peculiar to the British and Empire Registers for vessels for this type of trading were designed, financed, built and operated by businesses in Scandinavia, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and France and there are plenty of examples shown in these pages. Fenton importantly includes hulls built for the COMECON states for Russia (or the USSR as we knew it).

      The penultimate chapter introduces what might have been the tramps’ replacements, the A&P SD 14 being one example. She was designed by Austin & Pickersgill, with (SD) shelter deck and with a capacity of 14,000 dwt. Some examples are believed still afloat

      Without doubt this volume will become a classic work, to inspire all merchant ship enthusiasts and historians and once again we are able to appreciate the ships in which our forefathers sailed and earned a living.

      Reviewed by Paul Ridgway

      * Cassel and Company, 1921.

      ** The History of the British Merchant Navy, Volume Five, Fiddler’s Green, The Great Squandering: 1921-2010 By Richard Woodman, The History Press, Stroud, Glos.

      *** Roy Fenton is a full-time researcher and writer and the author of some 25 books on shipping history. His specialism is coastal trade in the steam era, and in 2005 he was awarded a PhD for a thesis on the transition from sail to steam in the coastal bulk trades. He is a former council member of the World Ship Society, – and is still active in the organisation.

      Singapore Inner Roads, 1970, where vessels anchor for stores, fresh water, bunkers, crew change, cargoes, orders and even sale, featured in a book review in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
      Singapore Inner Roads, 1970, where vessels anchor for stores, fresh water, bunkers, crew change, cargoes, orders and even sale (2)



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      Renault cargo sailing ships, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

      French carmaker Renault has revealed ambitious plans to build two wind-powered roll-on/roll-off vessels by as early as 2020.

      Renault is partnering with the French start-up Neoline, which was founded in 2015 with the goal of becoming…

      Renault cargo sailing ships, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news



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      Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

      Ports & Ships publishes regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENT reports including ETAs for ports extending from West Africa to South Africa to East Africa and including Port Louis in Mauritius.

      In the case of South Africa’s container ports of Durban, Ngqura, Ports Elizabeth and Cape Town links to container Stack Dates are also available.

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      QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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