Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 14 July 2019

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002
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Crown Jade. Picture: Keith Betts, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Crown Jade.   Picture: Keith Betts

It’s definitely citrus season in South Africa when the reefer ships are calling. CROWN JADE (IMO 9128051) is seen arriving outside the port of Durban where she will load fruit for export. The 10,300-gt Crown Jade was built in 1997 and is owned by German interests with Ost-West Handel und Schiffahrt of Bremen as her ISM and ship and commercial manager. The above picture is by Keith Betts



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The Med

Grace 1 under detention at Gibraltar. Picture: Peter ferrary / Shipspotting, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Grace 1 under detention at Gibraltar. Picture: Peter ferrary / Shipspotting

The story continues to evolve more than a week after the ship was embargoed in Gibraltar on suspicion of violating EU sanctions against Syria, where the UK believed it was heading with two million barrels of crude oil. Her Master and Chief Officer were arrested on 4 July and the following day two other officers were taken into custody. It is understood from The Gibraltar Chronicle that all have now been bailed and released with conditions.

Early on the afternoon of 13 July Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo, spoke with the Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, about the political issues surrounding the detention of the Grace 1 last week.

Mr Picardo said in a statement issued from Gibraltar on 13 July at 1857 GMT: “I was pleased to discuss with the Foreign Secretary the political issues surrounding our initial detention of the Grace 1, the investigation that is ongoing and the extended period of detention presently ordered by the Gibraltar Supreme Court.

“Mr Hunt called me ahead of speaking with the Foreign Minister of Iran, Mr Javad Zarif. I therefore asked the Foreign Secretary to clarify to the Iranian authorities on my behalf that all the decisions made by Gibraltar in respect of the detention of the Grace 1 were made exclusively with a view to the Syrian destination of the vessel, the Baniyas oil refinery which is subject to EU sanctions, and without any regard to the origin of its cargo.

“That was the exact basis on which the United Kingdom Armed Forces, through a detachment of Royal Marines, were deployed to provide military assistance to our authorities last week.

“I also asked that the Foreign Secretary should communicate to the Iranian authorities that Gibraltar remained determined to enforce the EU sanctions against Syria through our Court processes but that we would be prepared to facilitate the release of the detained assets to a rightful claimant if we were satisfied that we had received guarantees that it would not be going to Syria or to any entity sanctioned under the relevant EU regulations.

“I emphasised that the Foreign Secretary should feel free to say that I would be happy to meet any relevant officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran who wished to discuss or clarify matters further either in London or Gibraltar. I consider this may be a useful way of avoiding any further misunderstandings as to the motivations of our actions in respect of the Grace 1 and its cargo.

“I have spoken again this evening to Foreign Secretary Hunt after his call with Foreign Minister Zarif and have been pleased to hear of Iran’s constructive approach and their wish also to resolve this situation, which comes at a time of heightened international tensions.”

The Gulf

The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan D37 which is on her way to join the Persian Gulf patrol. Picture: Wikipedia, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan D37 which is on her way to join the Persian Gulf patrol. Picture: Wikipedia

From the Persian Gulf where HMS Montrose escorted BP’s British Heritage after attempts by Iranian patrol craft to impede the tanker’s passage earlier in the week we learn that Montrose will be replaced by HMS Duncan currently on exercise in the Black Sea with Romanian and US partners as the former goes to a period of planned maintenance.

At the same the pundits writing in the letters page of The Daily Telegraph wasted no time in criticising the ruling Conservative Party (currently undergoing leadership hustings) of the folly of running down the Fleet such that the destroyer / frigate numbers have been reduced from 55 hulls to 19 since 1987, a time of heightened tension in Gulf waters.

We’ve been here before

For the naval historians what became known as the Armilla Patrol – see: CLICK HERE) – kept shipping safe in these days during what was the Iran-Iraq War – CLICK HERE.

At one time the Patrol escorted 342 ships in the first six months of 1988.

Reported by Paul Ridgway


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President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the bridge of SNMG2 flagship HMCS Toronto with Commodore Josée Kurtz, receiving a briefing on NATO and Canada’s contribution to Mediterranean/Black Sea maritime security. Picture: @WaschukCanUA / NATO ©, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the bridge of SNMG2 flagship HMCS Toronto with Commodore Josée Kurtz, receiving a briefing on NATO and Canada’s contribution to Mediterranean/Black Sea maritime security. Picture: @WaschukCanUA / NATO ©

On 11 July Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak were received on board Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) warships during a port visit in Odessa prior to US-Ukraine led Exercise Sea Breeze 2019.

Warships of SNMG2 made a planned port visit in Odessa from 4-9 July in order to prepare for their participation in multinational maritime Exercise Sea Breeze 2019. This exercise, co-hosted by the United States and Ukraine, includes land, sea and air components and focuses primarily on maritime interdiction operations including air defence, anti-submarine warfare, damage control, search and rescue, and other tactical manoeuvres.

President Zelenskyy was visiting Ukrainian Navy ships in honour of Ukrainian Navy Day on 7 July and took the opportunity to visit SNMG2 flagship HMCS TORONTO and from the UK HMS DUNCAN.

On board Toronto he was greeted by SNMG2 Commander Commodore Josiee Kurtz (Royal Canadian Navy) who explained the group’s involvement in Exercise Sea Breeze. He briefly met SNMG2 Staff and sailors and was given a tour of the bridge and a brief explanation of the warship’s capabilities.

While not a member of NATO, Ukraine is a highly valued partner to NATO, contributing to NATO operations and regularly exercising together in a demonstration of Ukraine’s strong commitment to international security.

This visit demonstrated how important this cooperation is both for NATO and for Ukraine. Previously, on 4 June, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had welcomed President Zelenskyy to NATO HQ for bilateral talks, as well as for a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission which focused on the security situation in the country.

SNMG2 is composed by the flagship, Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Toronto, the Turkish frigate TCG Turgutreis, the British frigate HMS Duncan and the Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand. On completion of Exercise Sea Breeze 2019, the group will be joined in the Black Sea by the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) and will participate in the Bulgarian-led exercise Breeze.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Port of Ngqura Container Terminal, where a number of workers have been suspended over go-slows, resported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Ngqura Container Terminal, where a number of workers have been suspended over go-slows

Transnet SOC Ltd announced on Thursday (11 July) that it has suspended a number of employees at its Ngqura Container Terminal for engaging in illegal industrial action which has had a negative impact on port operations.

The illegal industrial action, which is being carried out by employees is having a negative impact on all customers serviced by the port, particularly the citrus and automotive customers, Transnet said in a statement.

Workers at the Ngqura Container Terminal have been on a protracted “go-slow” and operations at the Durban Container Terminal have also been affected by equipment failure and a high-level of absenteeism.

In addition, a decline in performance levels at the Cape Town Container Terminal has been noted.

Transnet said it has established a daily command centre manned by national and local leadership to closely monitor performance.

Amongst a list of demands, workers are demanding an incentive.

In its statement Transnet says it is continuously engaging with customers to communicate business continuity plans including prioritising some of the urgent cargo.

Discussions are also being held with labour with a view to normalise port operations, while the impact on the economy has not yet been quantified.


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The late Captain Eric Bismeyer, who has died in Hoedspruit, South Africa, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Captain Eric Bismeyer

Captain Eric Bismeyer, late of the firm of Jessegaard Marine in Richards Bay has passed away. Captain Bismeyer, who was retired, died at his family home in Hoedspruit, Limpopo province on 19 June 2019, age 80.

Captain Eric had been a supporter and an occasional contributor to PORTS & SHIPS with news and photographs over a number of years.

He was born on 26 March 1939 in Singapore and lived his early life in Indonesia, where he survived the concentration camps of the Japanese. After the conclusion of the war his family returned to The Netherlands where, due to his condition from being a child prisoner of war, he was sent to the Island of Bornholm to gain strength.

There he lived on a farm called Jessegaard, hence the later name of his company. Jessegaard in Bornholm nursed him back to health and strength. Jessegaard Marine in South Africa, which he built up with the support of his wife Mieke, was his life.

He commenced his shipping career in 1958 after enrolling at the famous Nautical School in Amsterdam, following in his father’s footsteps with some trepidation. This was even though he had his sights set on a career as an airline pilot, but even after winning the Szesze Trophy for air cadets in 1956, this was not to be.

Eric married Mieke in July 1965, before they emigrated to South Africa from the Netherlands in 1965.

He went straight into the shipping industry in South Africa- this was to be a temporary post, however, he and Mieke decided to make South Africa their home.

Sailing for Safmarine, he obtained his South African Masters Certificate in Durban and later became Service Manager Foreign Trades for Unicorn, while serving as Secretary of the Society of Master Mariners and the Institute of SA Shipbrokers for many years.

He started Jessegaard Marine (Pty) Ltd in 1983 from his home in Johannesburg, with the full support and commitment of his wife.

In 1997 they moved the office to Richards Bay, from where they continued to live and operate till he ‘swallowed the anchor’ from Operations in March 2017 at the age of 78, after having assisted some 3000 vessels in ports worldwide. However, he remained as the Managing Director up until his death on 19 June 2019.

He now commences on a new voyage which we will all ultimately follow.

Eric Bismeyer leaves his Son Kjell Bismeyer and two granddaughters and daughter Karen Vicente and two grandsons.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, 27 July at 10h00 at his daughter’s house in Duxberry, Sandton.


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US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ford Williams/Released. USN ©, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ford Williams/Released. USN ©

In an edition earlier this month (see here we reported that USNS Carson City of the US Military Sealift Command* was underway to a deployment in West African waters.

On 9 July it was reported from Dakar, Senegal that Senegalese, Portuguese, Spanish and US service members conducted small boat exercises while the Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Carson City (T-EPF 7) is on deployment in the Gulf of Guinea in support of 2019 Africa Partnership Station**.

Carson City is deployed to the Gulf of Guinea to demonstrate progress through partnerships and US commitment to West African states through small boat maintenance assistance, maritime law enforcement engagement, and medical and community relations outreach.

* See here:

** Africa Partnership Station (APS) is US Naval Forces Africa’s (NAVAF) flagship maritime security cooperation programme. The focus of APS is to build maritime safety and security by increasing maritime awareness, response capabilities and infrastructure. See also: HERE

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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UK to cut ship eissions to zero by 2025, report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

UK’s clean maritime plan sets maritime zero-emission travel strategy

On 11 July the (UK) Department for Transport headed by Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani MP announced ambitious targets to cut shipping emissions.

The clean maritime plan sets a zero-emission travel strategy while the points embodied in the document are:

* Zero-emission capable ships to be in UK waters by 2025.

*There will be a competition launched to spark innovation in clean maritime technology; and

*The clean maritime plan is part of long-term strategy to keep UK as world leader in the maritime sector.

It is understood that…[restrict] all new ships for UK waters ordered from 2025 should be designed with zero-emission capable technologies. This directive appears in ambitious plans set out by Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani to cut pollution from the country’s maritime sector.

The commitment is set out in the Clean Maritime Plan published on 11 July: see HERE

It is further understood that the (UK) government is also looking at ways to incentivise the transition to zero-emission shipping and will consult on this next year (2020).

This plan also includes a £1 million competition to find innovative ways to reduce maritime emissions and is published alongside a call for evidence to reduce emissions on UK waterways and by domestic vessels.

The clean maritime plan is part of the government’s Clean Air Strategy, which aims to cut down air pollution across all sectors to protect public health and the environment. It will also help deliver the UK’s commitment to be net zero on greenhouse gases by 2050.

On the launch of the publication Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani commented: “Our maritime sector is vital to the success of the UK’s economy, but it must do everything it can to reduce emissions, improve air quality and tackle climate change.

“The clean maritime plan sets an ambitious vision for the sector and opens up exciting opportunities for innovation. It will help make the UK a global hub for new green technologies in the maritime sector.”

In the UK the maritime sector has already taken significant strides to reduce emissions – hybrid ferries are already being used in UK waters, including in the Scottish islands and on cross-Solent journeys to the Isle of Wight. The Port of London Authority – where the Maritime Minister launched the plan on 11 July – also uses hybrid vessels.

Guidance has also been issued to ports to assist them in developing air quality strategies. This will both address their own operations and support improving air quality across the country.

A further consultation to increase the uptake of low carbon fuels will also take place next year.

The clean maritime plan is part of the government’s Maritime 2050, a long-term strategy published in January 2019 to keep the UK as a world leader in the maritime sector for decades to come.[/restrict]


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HMS Montrose, a Royal Navy type 23 frigate involved with escorting a tanker through the Strait of Hormus. Picture: courtesy MOD , featured in Africa PORTS & SHIOS maritime news
HMS Montrose, a Royal Navy type 23 frigate involved with escorting a tanker through the Strait of Hormus. Picture: courtesy MOD

Tensions have been heightened after a Royal Navy frigate, HMS MONTROSE (F236) was required to train its guns on five armed Iranian patrol boats that began harassing a British tanker BRITISH HERITAGE sailing through the Strait of Hormuz.

After the Iranian craft approached the tanker and requested that it move into Iranian waters the RN frigate positioned itself alongside the tanker, trained her guns in their direction and issued a radio warning, after which the Iranian craft broke off the engagement.

The Iranian vessels were open speed boats equipped with a large machine gun and each carrying a number of armed personnel. Whether they would have attempted to board the tanker is not known but it is considered likely that they would have attempted to force the British Heritage to an Iranian anchorage in retaliation for the British holding another tanker loaded with Iranian oil at Gibraltar.

A week ago British Royal Marines and Gibraltar authorities boarded the tanker GRACE 1 as it entered the anchorage outside Gibraltar to take stores and supplies. The tanker is loaded with crude oil believed by the British to have been loaded at an Iranian port, although the Iranians claim the tanker loaded her cargo in Iraq.

The detention of the vessel relates to the suspected destination of the cargo, the Banyas refinery in Syria, which is owned by the Banyas Oil Refinery Company. This company is the subject of European Union sanctions under EU Regulation 36/2012, which is directly applicable in Gibraltar.

The Royal Navy has at least five warships available in the Persian Gulf and available to provide escort facilities while these tensions persist, the other vessels being four mine hunters permanently on station in the Gulf.

The US Navy has also positioned naval assets in the region, including the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group.

The British naval presence in the Persian Gulf is nothing new and has been ongoing as Operation Kipion since the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and is aimed at “ensuring the safe flow of oil and trade.”


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Map showing location of Nangade village near the Rovuma River border with Tanzania, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Map showing location of Nangade village near the Rovuma River border with Tanzania

Another seven people, including one policeman, have been killed in a terrorist attack in northern Mozambique in the past week.

The latest attack took place on Wednesday 3 July in Cabo Delgado province at a village with the name Lidjungo which is in the Nangade district, close to the Tanzanian border.

Among the six civilians killed in the attack were two children.

Despite efforts to play down the incidents by the Mozambique authorities and even after some arrests, attacks on local civilians and villages by the Islamist group allied to the Islamic State (IS) group in the area have continued.

Government is highly sensitive to any news of such terror activity because of the region being the focus of development by foreign companies in the exploration and production of gas reserves,

Since October 2017 when the attacks began more 250 people have been killed, often in brutal fashion and thousands of local villagers have been forced to flee from their homes and to hide out in the bush. Attacks have even take place close to or in some of the small towns in the district.

Mozambique has posted military forces to assist the police but the terrorists have been able to continue their activities – possibly by merging back into the local population.

The Islamic State (IS) has now issued two statements claiming credit for attacks in the country, including this latest incident. On Friday 5 July IS issued a statement stating “The soldiers of the caliphate assaulted barracks of the crusader Mozambican army, in the Nangade area, in northern Mozambique, two days ago… …killing and wounding a number of them and forcing the remainder to flee.”

The IS statement claimed to have seized a quantity of arms and ammunition.

In early June IS claimed to have made its first incursion into northern Mozambique, which some analysts are disputing as not possible. Nevertheless for the people on the ground in that region of Mozambique the situation remains real to them and their lives are now uncertain.


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The ninth edition of the flagship Assessing Regional Integration in Africa report (ARIA IX) was launched on Saturday, 6 July 2019 during the African Business Forum in Niamey, Niger.

Titled ‘Next Steps for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’, the report argues that AfCFTA’s success will be measured largely by its ability to actually change lives, reduce poverty and contribute to economic development in Africa.

During the launch – which took place in…[restrict] the presence of Niger’s president, the chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), heads of UN Agencies and top business persons from across the continent – the executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Vera Songwe emphasised that:

“For us to make the AfCFTA work, we need to make competition, industrial policies and property rights work well.”

That is what the report is saying, she said, adding “and I really urge you to read it.”

ARIA IX is jointly published by the ECA, UNCTAD, AU and AfDB.

The secretary-general of UNCTAD, Mukhisa Kituyi, also spoke at the launch and highlighted “competition, investment and intellectual property rights” as crucial requirements in the next phase of the AfCFTA, as expounded in the report.

Mr Kituyi expressed his solidarity and partnership with ECA and AUC and urged the African business community to “take ownership of the integration effort” on the continent.

ARIA IX notes that traditional investment treaties predominate on the continent, with major repercussions for the policy and regulatory space available to policy makers. It holds, however, that the AfCFTA investment protocol represents an unparalleled opportunity for AU member states to revamp the investment policy landscape.

The report recommends that ratification of the AfCFTA, which went into force on 30 May 2019, must be followed by effective implementation and that implementation will be more effective if national AfCFTA committees are created by country trade ministries.

Looking ahead, the report considers e-commerce and integration in a digitising Africa, and how the digital economy can interact with the AfCFTA and trade in Africa.

The Implementing the AfCFTA is about dispelling the crisis of implementation of AU decisions and initiatives and validating the AU and its Agenda2063.

It is a litmus test of African countries’ commitment to economic integration. source: Economic Commission for Africa

Download the report HERE



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Saga Discovery at the shipyard, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Saga Discovery at the shipyard
  • In perfect weather last week Saga Cruises saw their new expedition cruise ship SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY being named at Dover Port by Camilla Duchess of Cornwall.

    The 58,200-gt ship was built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, and is capable of hosting up to 999 passengers supported by 533 crew members. She begins a new chapter for Saga Cruises which until now has largely depended on older tonnage passed along from other cruise companies.

    Spirit of Discovery is the first of…[restrict] two similar ships and will establish a new chapter in Saga cruising.

    The naming took place in front of about 500 guests and was treated as a ‘garden party’ with grass grown in Yorkshire having been laid in front of Dover harbour, together with bunting, floral foliage, trees and parasols suitable for a garden-party type occasion.

    On hand to entertain the guests was the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood, supported by the Morriston Orpheus Choir. Before the naming, which involved a jeroboam of English sparkling wine, the ship was blessed by the Bishop of Dover.[/restrict]

    Video of the building of Spirit of Discovery [2:57]


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    Radio Holland with Orolia equipment usedwith inland shipping, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

    Orolia, a world leader in resilient positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) solutions has announced a new partnership with Radio Holland that includes the development of a Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) specifically designed for inland shipping.

    This solution will enhance safe navigation and ship performance and provide tools for understanding the cause of incidents. Radio Holland will also be installing Orolia’s Netwave VDR NW6000 series as its preferred global VDR solution for retrofit and new build projects, while Orolia will utilise Radio Holland’s established global network as one of its globally preferred service partners.

    The architecture of Orolia’s renewed Netwave NW6000 VDR system, which has a global install base of over 6000 vessels, is based on latest ethernet technology, making full use of so-called PoE (Power over Ethernet) solution. This leads to reduced need for cabling saving in installation time.

    As an increased number of navigation and communication equipment with ethernet output will become available on board of ships, the NW6000 VDR can provide additional tooling for performance measurements. Next to the standard VDR function, the NW6000 VDR can be used for optimising ship performance.

    “We have a long-established relationship with Radio Holland and look forward to taking this to the next level,” said Chris Loizou, Vice President Maritime Business Line at Orolia.

    “This partnership is based on our mutual experience and understanding of the growth of the marine inland waterway economy, and the ambition to ensure that technology utilised in SOLAS vessels can be used to analyse accident data and help develop risk-reduction strategies for the future,” he said.

    Paul Smulders, CEO Europe for Radio Holland said that Radio Holland was continuously seeking partners “with whom we can work to develop and create solutions which can meet our customer’s requirements.

    “As a result, we partnered with Orolia on the new and unique Inland NW6000R VDR, which registers all movements and communications on and around the inland vessels. The VDR is obligatory in Deepsea Shipping, but for inland shipping it is also a relevant tool to enhance safety and ship performance. The NW6000R VDR is perfectly suitable to monitor, measure and improve the performance of the ship. Based on the interest we have found with inland ship owners; we believe this innovative product is a relevant addition on board of inland vessels,” Smulders said.

    Radio Holland is also partnering with Orolia on its innovative M-SecureSync system and will adopt this solution as its preferred navigation cyber security technology. The M-SecureSync employs various technologies to resist GPS/GNSS jamming and spoofing attacks, alert the bridge to discrepancies in the navigation signals and activate defence solutions. It offers modular layered protection that can be utilised as a stand-alone safety indicator or integrated into existing vessel navigation solutions.


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    Durban Container Terminal Pier 2, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Durban Container Terminal Pier 2

    Labour unrest at several of the container ports is continuing to hamper operations including ship movements.

    Labour has been in dispute with Transnet over incentive bonuses and with no solution in sight has embarked on what is effectively a go-slow.

    The ports affected include Durban, Ngqura and Cape Town, the three main container ports. This has…[restrict] led to ships being delayed on their berths and others lining up outside port waiting to come in, with no solution in sight.

    According to some reports it takes a container vessel almost twice the time to be turned around.

    The impasse is also affecting deliveries to the ports particularly by road transport. It is also reported that citrus fruit exports have been adversely affected.

    A go-slow action by labour at some of the South African ports is continuing to hamper terminal operations.

    There has been no comment received from Transnet on the matter.[/restrict]


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    Mombasa 2nd Container Terminal, to be operated by KNSL and MSC, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Mombasa 2nd Container Terminal, to be operated by KNSL and MSC

    President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Mombasa to commission the refurbished and re-equipped Bandari Maritime Academy – see that report HERE has not been without controversy.

    Government plans to relinquish operating control of the newly-developed Second Container Terminal at the Port of Mombasa, built at a cost of KSh30 billion, to a joint venture involving Swiss-owned Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and the resuscitated Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL), although approved in the National Assembly, met with strong criticism in some quarters, particularly at the coast.

    MSC has strengthened its base in Kenya and has recently taken 40 young Kenyan seafarer cadets on board its ships, with a further 79 due to follow. The Swiss/Italian company is also involved in assisting the re-establishment of KNSL to provide Kenya with its own national shipping line in which MSC has taken a 47% stake.

    MSC is also collaborating with the recently refurbished and established Bandari Maritime Academy in Mombasa.

    The Kenyan government says the deal will enable thousands of Kenyan youth to find employment at sea on Kenyan-flagged and MSC ships. MSC is said to have committed to create training opportunities for Kenyan youth and to provide about 3,000 jobs per year. 1,500 of these will be sea time slots for Kenyan youth.

    As it is doing in South Africa, MSC Cruises has also employed a number of Kenyans on its cruise ships across the world.

    The proposal to have KNSL and MSC jointly run the Mombasa Second Container Terminal was passed in the National Assembly a week ago. This opens the way for KNSL to commence operating the terminal after a number of restrictions were lifted. The majority shareholder in KNSL is held by the state-owned Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).

    Among the detractors to the agreement involving MSC is the Dock Workers Union whose General Secretary Simon Sang said the union remained opposed to the deal. Other detractors involved several Coast MPs who are insisting that only a fully-state-owned company should run the container terminal.

    Among the restrictions that were lifted by the amendment signed into law by the president are restrictions in providing crewing pilotage, clearing and forwarding and general ship contractor among other operations.


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    Bandari Maritime Academy, Mombasa, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Bandari Maritime Academy, Mombasa

    MSC intake is 119 Kenyan trainee seafarers

    At the recent commissioning of the Bandari Maritime Academy* in Mombasa, President Uhuru Kenyatta saw off 62 trainee seafarers out of the 119 that have been recruited by MSC.

    Forty of the recruits have already been assigned a vessel for their ‘sea time’ exposure by the company while the others are awaiting their opportunity.

    President Kenyatta had a chance to interact with some 16 seafarers that he dispatched last November whom he said “have become the pride of Kenya” for serving in foreign countries with diligence, commitment and integrity.

    The 16 included Kenya’s first female marine pilot Elizabeth Wakesho Marami.

    “Well done Elizabeth and your fellow seafarers. Kenya is proud of you,” he told the young Wakesho who spoke on behalf of her colleagues.

    He told the new cohort of seafarers to emulate the first batch by becoming Kenya’s ambassadors in the sea and help re-establish the reputation of Kenyan seamen and women as trustworthy and hardworking professionals.

    “Such a reputation will attract more companies to recruit from Kenya,” the President said.



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    Dream of a Pan-African continent, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

    President Cyril Ramaphosa says the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) is a milestone that fulfills a dream crafted by the founders of the Organisation of African Union (OAU) 60 years ago when they conceptualised an integrated Africa.

    President Ramaphosa was speaking at the conclusion of his working visit to Niger, where he attended the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) from 7 – 8 July 2019.

    The summit marked the entry into force of the agreement and formally launched the operational phase of the African Internal Market.

    “President Ramaphosa anticipates the agreement will…[restrict] catapult the economies of many African countries onto a higher growth trajectory and says South Africa stands to significantly benefit from being part of the world’s largest single market encompassing 55 countries with a combined population of 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of USD3.2 trillion.

    “The President sees the implementation of the agreement as a platform for African countries to trade among themselves and reap the benefits of the tariff-free area,” said Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko.

    One of the key spin-offs is expected to be greater focus and urgency for infrastructure development across the continent to support economic activities.

    While at the summit, President Ramaphosa participated in the high level meeting of the African Union on Libya and the first mid-year coordination meeting of the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities.

    The President also held a number of bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the Republic of Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangangwa; the Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi; Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, and the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt and African Union chairperson Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

    During the visit, the President was supported by the International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel.[/restrict]


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    Fishing is a major income provider at the shores of Lake Victoria. Picture by H Fiebig, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Fishing is a major income provider at the shores of Lake Victoria.    Picture by H Fiebig

    According to Kenya’s President Kenyatta, the government has been rebuilding and upgrading the fishing infrastructure at the coast region as part of efforts to expand its economic base.

    Speaking in Mombasa last week he expressed satisfaction that even before the rehabilitation of the Liwatoni Fisheries Complex is complete, there are already 12 Kenyan fishing vessels that are utilising the facility.

    “And more exciting is that close to 400,000 metric tonnes of fish have landed since the facility was re-opened in November,” he said. “This may appear small but it is a significant step towards the recovery of thousands of jobs for our fishermen.”

    To boost the fishing industry, the President announced government plans to…[restrict] develop designated fishing ports at the coast, facilitate landing of fish by deep sea fishing vessels and finance aquaculture technology and innovation transfers.

    He said the goal of the incentives is to position the country globally as a nation that is harnessing its ocean resources in a sustainable manner for the benefit of current and future generations.

    “We are, indeed, emerging in the world as a rising maritime nation,” Kenyatta said.

    Last year President Kenyatta gave orders to Kenya’s Fisheries department as well as the National Land Commission to recover possession and secure all fish landing sites in Kenya.

    He said many of these were in the hands of illegal private developers despite being public properties. These assets had to be returned to state control by April 2019, he ordered.

    These included all fish landing sites along the Indian Ocean coast as well as those on Lake Victoria in addition to others on rivers and other lakes.[/restrict]


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    Up to US$50 billion could be invested in the exploitation of natural gas in the Rovuma Basin in Mozambique over the next ten years, says a report on Rádio Moçambique quoting President Filipe Nyusi.

    The president expressed this view during a banquet held to thank his counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of Portugal at the end of Nyusi’s state visit to Portugal.

    Mozambique's Rovuma Basin in the extreme north of the country featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin in the extreme north of the country

    The project to liquefy the natural gas on land of the consortium led by…[restrict] ENI-Exxon Mobil, with the participation of Galp, is one of the major investments in view.

    “Work is also under way in the Rovuma Basin to build a floating platform that will produce liquefied natural gas in Area 4 which, in addition to opportunities for profit and business, will completely transform the national economy,” President Nyusi said.

    Last month, Mozambique witnessed the final investment decision of the natural gas exploration project in Area 1 of the Rovuma Basin, an investment of about US$23 billion – the largest in history.

    “With opportunities for Portuguese business people, in partnership with Mozambicans, to explore the immense business opportunities that emerge, our aim is to create value chains around Mozambique’s natural resources, favouring their transformation and local improvement, taking advantage of the incentives that the government offers within the framework of the industrialisation strategy and improving local content,” he said.

    “We have already stated openly that revenues from hydrocarbon revenues will be invested in the diversification of our production and in the social sectors, with the emphasis on education and health,” the president said of expectations regarding natural gas exploitation in the Rovuma Basin.[/restrict]


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    Eckerö Lines mv Finlandia among the first ships to be equipped with Nowhere Networks broadband solution. Picture: Wikipedia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Eckerö Lines mv Finlandia among the first ships to be equipped with Nowhere Networks broadband solution. Picture: Wikipedia

    Each year, a total of 70 million passengers travel the Baltic Sea by ship. 700,000 are international tourists on cruise ships who anchor in Stockholm before returning to the Baltic Sea.

    So far, the only broadband alternative at sea has been the internet via expensive satellite or poor LTE connection. Those connections are rarely sufficient for today’s modern and demanding passengers who require constant high speed and low latency connection.

    Nowhere Networks, a fast-growing Swedish innovative high-tech company that develops its own cost-effective radio-based broadband solution for the shipping industry, is now building a complete network with 100 times higher capacity to a fraction of the cost compared to satellite connection

    “The demand for safe and cost-effective broadband is enormous,” says Asbjörn Frydenlund, CEO of Nowhere Networks. “This is a breakthrough that now makes it possible to work, surf and…[restrict] manage social media the same as on land. We build broadband capacity on ships at a level that nobody had thought was possible.”

    The shipping company Rederi AB Eckerö has used the Nowhere Networks radiolink technology for approximately a year on the line between Grisslehamn and Mariehamn. After a short while they decided to expand the solution to cover all passenger ships in their fleet.

    “The need for data capacity is constantly increasing and the combination of sufficient reach and high capacity is a challenge,” says Kenneth Påvall, IT infrastructure manager at Rederi AB Eckerö.

    “After evaluations we have now chosen the solution that we believe will provide the best capacity. The projects have run smoothly and we are approaching our goal of having a stable and fast broadband to all passenger ships in our fleet. Cost-effectiveness is important and the fact that vessels operate on routes where other shipping companies also have the same interest in fast broadband is an advantage,” he said.

    Today shipping companies, with more than 15 million passengers a year travelling the Baltic Sea, are involved in creating this large network. Already there is coverage from Stockholm as well as Visby to Helsinki and Tallinn.

    “This is just the beginning. By the end of the year we will cover traffic to Turku, Riga and Oskarshamn. At the current rate, we will have digitalised the entire Baltic Sea by the end of year 2020. This means that ships and travelers can be fully connected at the same speed and with the same stability as on mainland,” Frydenlund said.

    Nowhere Networks started year 2017 with the idea of creating a radio link system for ships that would reach over 50 km from the coast with the highest possible capacity and which could be scaled up through normal sales and distribution.

    “We quickly realised that the need in the market was much broader than that of normal sales and distribution. Therefore, a year ago, we decided to make life better for our customers by creating a full service concept.” CG Sänne, vice president and sales manager said.

    “This includes installation, mast rent, operation, internet, and everything else required for the vessels to handle today’s customers who require constant connection and also the vessels IT operations increasing need for more broadband.

    The Solution

    In order to achieve long reach and high capacity, Nowhere Networks uses highly positioned heavy-duty antennas on land and on ships. It ensures high speed and fast response time. It is the same technology that mobile operators use to link their mobile masts, but with moving targets in the form of ships.

    “We combine our moving and stabilised antennas with cloud-based software that constantly monitors, adjusts and ensures that the ships get the best possible connection. The software continuously learns what is best for all vessels and builds up its intelligence over time,” explained CEO Frydenlund.[/restrict]


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    mv GARIEP, De Beers Marine diamond recovery vessel on which Babcock has been awarded a contract for redesign, featured in a report if Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    mv  !GARIEP, De Beers Marine diamond recovery vessel on which Babcock has been awarded a contract for redesign development

    A contract has been awarded to UK-based Babcock International by De Beers Marine to undertake design development activity in support of the planned upgrade to the power and propulsion system on the offshore diamond vessel mv !GARIEP.

    The vessel is owned and operated by Debmarine Namibia – a joint venture offshore marine diamond prospecting and exploration company owned in equal shares by De Beers and the Government of the Republic of Namibia.

    Babcock has been a regular supplier to the De Beers Group for a number of years. The design development activity, which will take place from Babcock’s engineering office in Rosyth, UK, will support modifications to the vessel system to allow the physical and functional integration of new generating plants, a new electrically driven propulsion system and the necessary changes to support auxiliary, structural and control systems.

    With a bespoke team leading the work, Babcock will utilise its engineering, naval architecture and project management expertise to provide the design documentation required to complete the upgrade of the mv !Gariep.

    “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract by De Beers Marine South Africa and look forward to starting another engineering package of work for this important client,” said Sean Donaldson, Managing Director for Babcock at Rosyth.

    “A team from our 560 experienced engineering and design resources will work to complete the vessel survey in South Africa and then complete the programme critical engineering and design for this re-engineering project from our new state-of-the-art engineering hub at Rosyth.”

    The offshore diamond recovery vessel has previously undergone a number of conversion stages including a hull extension upgrade and multiple recovery equipment upgrade programmes. It is anticipated that the design work will be complete by November 2019.

    In the United Kingdom Babcock has been providing complex asset management and training to navies, air forces and specialised emergency and rescue services for decades, with projects that extend across land, air, water and nuclear.

    Internationally Babcock is the United Kingdom’s leading naval support business, having worked closely with the Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence for decades.

        • !Gariep is a San name for the Orange River, along which most of the diamonds to be recovered off the South African and Namibian coast will have washed from upcountry in South Africa and Lesotho.


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    screenshot showing location of oil tanker Grace 1 in Gibraltar harbour, featured in a report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

    HM Government of Gibraltar confirmed on 8 July at 17h03 BST that after having received the results of comprehensive laboratory testing, that the Very Large Crude Carrier, GRACE 1, which was detained in the early hours of Thursday morning (4 July), is loaded to capacity with crude oil.

    The results of these tests conclusively prove and confirm the information disseminated last week (week commencing 30 June) by the Gibraltar Government and contradict the statements of some commentators from outside the jurisdiction who had speculated that the cargo on the vessel was not crude.

    Grace 1 was detained last week in Gibraltar when it freely navigated into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW) to a point two miles off the Eastside of Gibraltar, having previously exited the international waters of the Straits of Gibraltar, on a pre-arranged call for provisions and spare parts.

    Grace 1’s position well inside BGTW when boarded can clearly be seen on the above screenshot. The ship remains detained in that area.

    Grace 1 at anchor in Gibraltar Bay. Picture courtesy: Peter Ferrary/Shipspotting
    Grace 1 at anchor in Gibraltar Bay. Picture courtesy: Peter Ferrary/Shipspotting

    The detention of the vessel relates to the suspected destination of the cargo, the Banyas refinery in Syria, which is owned by a company, the Banyas Oil Refinery Company. This company is the subject of European Union sanctions under EU Regulation 36/2012, which is directly applicable in Gibraltar.

    The investigations of the Royal Gibraltar Police continue and the vessel remains detained under an Order of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar.

    Edited by Paul Ridgway


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    The Spearhead-class expeditionary transport ship USNS Carson City T-EPF-7 sits pierside before departing Naval Station Rota, Spain, in support of the ship’s 2019 Africa Partnership Station (APS) deployment on 2 July 2019. APS is NAVAF’s flagship maritime security cooperation program focusing on maritime safety and security through increased maritime awareness, response capabilities, and infrastructure. Picture by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sara Eshleman, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    The Spearhead-class expeditionary transport ship USNS Carson City T-EPF-7 sits pierside before departing Naval Station Rota, Spain, in support of the ship’s 2019 Africa Partnership Station (APS) deployment on 2 July 2019. APS is NAVAF’s flagship maritime security cooperation program focusing on maritime safety and security through increased maritime awareness, response capabilities, and infrastructure. Picture by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sara Eshleman

    USNS Carson City (T-EFP 7), a Military Sealift Command Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship, has departed Rota, Spain on 2 July as part of the Navy’s second deployment to the Gulf of Guinea this year.

    Sailors and embarked personnel will work alongside regional partners on an Africa Partnership Station (APS) mission to provide small boat maintenance assistance, maritime law enforcement engagement, and medical and community relations outreach.

    “The deployment of USNS Carson City to the Gulf of Guinea enables our partners to improve maritime security along their coastlines, territorial seas, and exclusive economic zones,” said Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa.

    “Maritime security is critical for…[restrict] coastal nations as seaborne trade is the lifeblood of global trade. When maritime trade freely sails across the seas, economic development and opportunities for prosperity are possible.”

    U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) cutter Thetis (WMEC 910) was the first U.S. ship to deploy to the Gulf of Guinea in 2019. See related story HERE

    “Thetis conducted training with our African partners on maritime law enforcement throughout exercise Obangame Express 2019 and continued training with our partners in the region during its deployment,” said Foggo.

    “Carson City’s deployment will enhance Gulf of Guinea nations’ maritime capabilities through workshops and collaboration. The presence of U.S. ships such as Thetis and Carson City helps address some of the challenges our African navies and coast guards have requested assistance with, including law enforcement and maritime resource management.”

    During Carson City’s deployment, U.S. military personnel will work alongside U.S. partners in Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal to provide assistance based on host nation requests during previous APS exercise and engagements. The crew and the embarked European allies will provide host nation-requested, needs-based assistance through engagements as part of our enduring friendship and partnership with our African partners.

    Mission personnel traveling with Carson City include a small boat maintenance and repair team, a medical team, United States Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement personnel, and the U.S. Naval Forces Europe band, who will conduct performances for local communities.

    “We have a lot of experts embarked aboard Carson City to work alongside our Gulf of Guinea partners in areas they have asked for assistance such as maintenance and medical engagements,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Howard Gray, lead planner for Carson City deployment.

    These experts include service members from other regional partners and allies, who are also joining Carson City for the deployment.

    “Not only do we have U.S. service members from the Navy and Coast Guard, but we also have members of the Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian navies embarked to help ensure our African partners are getting the assistance and mentorship they need to succeed,” said Foggo. “We are also embarking members of the Ghana Navy for a brief period. Together, we are promoting progress through partnership.”

    Thetis’ deployment earlier this year, like the Carson City deployment, was part of the APS program. The cutter was in Africa theater for three months, conducting training with regional countries on law enforcement tactics and techniques to combat illegal fishing, human and narcotics trafficking, piracy, and pollution.

    APS is U.S. Naval Forces Africa’s flagship maritime security cooperation program focusing on maritime safety and security through increased maritime awareness, response capabilities, and infrastructure. It consists of the various exercises and operations conducted by U.S., European, and African partners and allies throughout the U.S. Africa Command area of operations.

    U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests, security and stability in Europe and Africa.[/restrict]


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    Vehicles being discharged in Walvis Bay. Pictures courtesy: Namport, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Vehicles being discharged in Walvis Bay.     Pictures courtesy: Namport

    The number of motor vehicles being discharged through the Namibian port of Walvis Bay is continuing to increase with most of the units being destined for neighbouring landlocked countries.

    The latest RoRo car carrier to call at Walvis Bay was GLOVIS CENTURY which discharged 321 motor units. According to Ashton Nash from NMT Shipping, the shipment included some new vehicles loaded in…[restrict] Antwerp destined for Namibia, but the majority of the units were for further export to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana.

    “In the previous financial year 2018/2019 the Namibian Ports Authority recorded 274,504 freight tonnes of vehicles handled at the Port of Walvis Bay. This significant increase of 39% in comparison to the 2017/2018 financial year is due to the aggressive marketing of our adequate facilities and services offered to our users,” said Mr Immanuel Hanabeb, Commercial: Executive.

    He said that about 35% of the total freight tonnes went to Zimbabwe, 22% Zambia, 11% Botswana, 5% Malawi and 3% DRC. Only 24% were imported locally for the 2018/2019 financial year.

    NMT Shipping recorded their highest load of 558 units discharged for this year in January 2019. Two more RoRo vessels are expected to call at the Port of Walvis Bay during the month of July.

    The location of the Port of Walvis Bay allows it to provide an easy and fast transit route between southern Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas.[/restrict]

    Truck being offloaded at Port of Walvis Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


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    Bandari Maritime Academy in Mombasa, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

    Kenya’s efforts to position the blue economy sector as a key driver of the country’s transformation received a major boost with the commissioning of the Bandari Maritime Academy in Mombasa County.

    President Kenyatta led hundreds of maritime sector stakeholders at the ceremony during which he announced a raft of reforms the government is undertaking to secure both local and international seafaring jobs for Kenyan youth.

    Kenyatta said the new institution will be key in equipping young Kenyans with the requisite skills and know-how to enable them compete favourably for employment opportunities in the vast blue economy sector.

    “The Academy is expected to become a top supplier of world class seafarers for shipping lines all over the world,” he said.

    Twinning with MSC Training Academy, Naples

    As a pointer to its strategic importance to the country’s economy, Bandari Maritime Academy will partner with the Kenya Utalii College, the Kisumu Maritime Centre and also establish twinning arrangements with the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Training Academy based in Naples, Italy.

    “I am confident that the enhanced training will bring out the best in our talented young people,” said President Kenyatta.

    The transformation of the college into a centre of excellence in maritime training and research is envisaged to facilitate the country’s quest to reap maximum benefits from the blue economy sector, an agenda that the President has given undivided attention.

    It is estimated that blue economy, if properly harnessed, has the potential to inject up to 4.8 billion US dollars to Kenya’s economy and create over 52,000 jobs in the next 10 years.

    Revival of National Shipping Line KNSL

    At the ceremony, the President announced the revival of the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) and witnessed the signing of a new shareholding agreement between KNSL, Kenya Ports Authority and the MSC aimed at restoring the state corporation into a world class shipping company.

    “The shareholding agreement we have signed today, marks the beginning of our well thought out plan to transform the Kenya National Shipping Line into a world class shipping line, over the next ten years,” the President announced.

    Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)

    He said MSC, the second largest shipping line in the world, which has been a strategic partner with the KNSL since 1997 will assist in re-engineering KNSL into a world class entity.

    “The Agreement we have just signed will, thus, deepen this partnership and enable the MSC to more effectively support the revival of the Kenya National Shipping Line,” he said.

    KNSL was established in 1987 as a national carrier to handle containerised export and import freight cargo, to and from ports in Kenya. It however failed to to grow into an effective national carrier.

    “We are here to revive that vision. The revival of the Kenya National Shipping Line will enable Kenya to benefit from the regional and global maritime transport value chain. About 90 percent of Kenya’s foreign trade is dependent on maritime transport,” said the President.

    He said taking part in our own maritime transport services will enhance the contribution of the sector to the national economy and make the cost of Kenyan goods more competitive.

    Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS)

    President Kenyatta said since the launch of the Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS) in November last year to secure Kenya’s territorial waters and protect the country from threats emanating from the sea, the unit has made good progress.

    “The Coast Guard Service has maintained daily patrols of Kenya’s waters to guard against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, provided safety to seafarers, and prevented drug smuggling and other illegal movement of people and goods,” he said.

    UN World Ocean Conference

    President Kenyatta said that after successfully hosting the blue economy global conference in Nairobi last year, Kenya will in June next year co-host the UN World Ocean Conference with Portugal in Lisbon.

    Video: Pres Kenyatta launches Maritime Academy in Mombasa [1:58]


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    Chrysanthi S, the oil products tanker involved with an oil spill in Algoa Bay. Picture: Shipspotting, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Chrysanthi S, the oil products tanker involved with an oil spill in Algoa Bay. Picture: Shipspotting

    The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said on Sunday it has launched an investigation to establish why up to 400 litres of oil spilled into the ocean off Port Elizabeth early Saturday morning.

    The spill occurred while the vessel, the 80,280-dwt Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Chrysanthi S was being refuelled by a bunker barge from the bunker service company SA Marine Fuels.

    The cause of the accident was overflow.

    SA Marine Fuels immediately activated an oil spillage control exercise to contain the oil spread.

    The Department of Environmental Affairs together with SAMSA say the spill has been contained to the water and is not expected to reach the beach or islands. According to SAMSA a company has been contracted to assess the effect of the spill and has confirmed that there are “no oil traces in the water” – whatever that means. Where did the oil go?

    SAMSA and other authorities will conduct a check of the beaches and islands off Port Elizabeth tomorrow (Monday, 8 July 2019) to confirm that the oil will not reach land, says acting SAMSA CEO Sobantu Tilayi.

    “SAMSA will conduct a comprehensive investigation into this unfortunate incident. While responsibility for preventing pollution by ships at sea no longer resides with SAMSA but with the Department of Environmental Affairs, we take our role as the custodian of the country’s maritime affairs and for promoting South Africa’s maritime economy extremely seriously.

    “We know the impact that an oil spill can have, from the marine wildlife affected to the people who earn their living from the sea and the local economy, and we will do everything in our power not only to ensure that the impacts of this spill are contained, but also to ensure that it never happens again, Tilayi added.

    He said that the bunkering protocols adhered to by South Africa’s bunkering services companies were of world-class standard and that the South African public did not need to fear a repeat.

    While it is good to have this immediate response, environmentalists and conservationists will be saying that what they feared and regarded as inevitable has happened in Algoa Bay.

    The incident is also one of the bunker operators worst fears. The idea of refueling a ship even in the safe calm waters of a harbour is fraught with risk, and these are amplified while being conducted outside in the open ocean.

    Even though Algoa Bay provides shelter, it covers a huge expanse of open water and when there’s a swell running and a wind blowing, which it often does off the windy city, then those risks are multiplied.

    First Bunker Operator

    Lefkas, Aegean's first bunker barge to be registered in Port Elizabeth. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news Picture by Shipspotting
    Lefkas, Aegean’s first bunker barge to be registered in Port Elizabeth. Picture: Shipspotting

    In 2016 there was surprise among the country’s few bunker traders when it was suddenly announced that a Greek-owned operation, Aegean Bunkering Services (now renamed Minerva Bunkering) had been granted a licence by SAMSA and TNPA to conduct bunkering services offshore in Algoa Bay.

    Until then all applications by local bunker traders to undertake offshore bunkering had been dismissed, with bunkering restricted to the ports of Richards Bay, Durban and Cape Town.

    Several bunker tanker/barges arrived and one was promptly placed on the local register, to much publicity as further evidence of the advantages this was bringing to the region.

    Second Bunker Operator

    Further surprises were in store when in 2018 a second bunker operator, SA Marine Fuels was licensed. Part of the justification was that this was a South African-owned, black-women managed company, although by definition they could be bringing little practical experience such as the Greeks provided.

    Since then, barely a year down the road and SA Marine Fuels has been acquired by Oryx Energies, a company active in Africa but with Swiss/Maltese ownership. Gone is the boast of South African ownership, removed in less than a year.

    Third Bunker Operator

    We know of a third bunker operator who may be appointed in Algoa Bay, a highly sensitive area including the four islands of Jahleel, Brenton, St Croix and Bird islands. Each of these are conservation areas in need of protection from illegal visitation.

    So sensitive is Algoa Bay that the Algoa Bay Management Plan stated that Ngqura harbour, 22km across the bay from Port Elizabeth, should not be opened for recreational or commercial fishing vessels.

    Tier 1 Incident

    Meanwhile, the the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries referred to Saturday’s spill as a ‘Tier 1 level incident’ and said it did not require national authority intervention on the basis that local resources were sufficient.

    The department said the oil was unlikely to reach the coast and was moving in an offshore direction. Does that mean it is acceptable if it is just the open ocean that gets polluted?


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    Map of Angola with Mocamedes Railway in the far south of the country, inland from Namibe, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Map of Angola with Mocamedes Railway in the far south of the country, inland from Namibe

    Traffic on the Moçâmedes Railway is expected to increase as result of the commencement of pig-iron production at two municipalities.

    The financial manager of the railway management company, António Conceição said the turnover for the railway would increase from 700 million to over 1 billion kwanzas per year.

    The 905-km railway covers the provinces of Namibe, including the harbour at Namibe, Huíla and Kwando Kubango and carries about 12,000 tonnes of miscellaneous cargo each month. This could increase to 400,000 tonnes monthly once…[restrict] the iron ore production begins.

    Iron ore is being mined in the region of the Cutato, Kwando Kubango and Jamba in Huíla municipalities where iron ore will be turned into pig iron for transportation along the Moçâmedes Railway.

    Conceição said that CFM’s was average monthly turnover is around 70 million kwanzas, while operating costs are set at 200 million kwanzas. This is about 35% of the expenditure structure of the public company, with the rest having to be covered by the state.

    He said that CFM is in touch with companies that manufacture rolling stock, with the aim of buying wagons for ore transport, The mining companies are expected to share the cost of their acquisition. source: Macauhub[/restrict]


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    Iran has threatened to retaliate over the detention of a tanker by the UK Gibraltar authorities (see story above) that it alleges is carrying Iranian oil bound for Syria.

    Pacific Voyager. Picture: Shipspotting, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Pacific Voyager.     Picture: Shipspotting

    On Friday an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander, Mohsen Rezai said on Twitter: “If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities’ duty to seize a British oil tanker.”

    The Iranian government had meanwhile summoned the British ambassador in Tehran to voice a strong objection to the “illegal and unacceptable” seizure of what it called its ship and cargo.

    This appears to have eliminated any doubts concerning whether…[restrict] the ship’s cargo was in fact of Iranian origin or was loaded at an Iraqi port as has been claimed.

    The UK and the European Union nations are not necessarily in agreement with US-imposed sanctions on Iranian oil and other products, although they are likely to adhere to the US-imposed restrictions, but the issue of the UK detaining a ship has less to do with where the oil was loaded than where it is intended.

    Since 2011 the EU, of which the UK is still a member, has had in place measures aimed at prohibiting the sale of oil to Syria. The vessel detained at Gibraltar, Grace 1, was boarded and is detained on the basis that it is suspected the oil on board is intended for discharge at a Syrian port.

    British tanker safe in the Gulf

    A British tanker PACIFIC VOYAGER is “safe and well” according to a UK official after there were fears that the vessel was going to be the target of an attack or boarding by the Iranians acting in retaliation for the detention of another vessel, Grace 1, carrying Iranian oil thought to be for Syria.

    Pacific Voyager is reported to have stopped in the Gulf on Saturday while sailing between Singapore and Saudi Arabia. It is not clear why the tanker went into the Gulf to adjust its arrival time at the Saudi port but in doing so it may have become a risk in the ‘tit for tat’ actions that are unfolding.[/restrict]


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    Grace 1 at Gibralter on Thursday 4 July 2019. Picture: Peter Ferrary / Shipspotting, as featured in report carried by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime ns
    Grace 1 at Gibraltar on Thursday 4 July 2019. Picture: Peter Ferrary / Shipspotting

    News broke in the UK early on 4 July that a tanker had been arrested in Gibraltar waters. This was the crude oil tanker Grace 1, (IMO No 9116412) Panama-flag, believed to be managed by iships Management Pte Ltd of Singapore. (Previous names found to have been: Meridian Lion (2013) and Overseas Meridian (2011) both on the Marshall Islands’ Register.

    This 330 metres loa, 300,579-dwt crude oil tanker, built in 1997 by Hyundai Heavy Industries of Ulsan, ROK, was understood to have been carrying a cargo of crude from Iran to a Syrian refinery in contravention of EU sanctions. The vessel was boarded by Royal Marines with the support of the Royal Gibraltar Police and HM Customs.

    Grace 1 had sailed the long way around Africa, past the Cape from the Middle East to enter the Mediterranean. This demonstrates the lengths the regime in Iran will take to avoid detection especially as transit of the Suez Canal would have been extensively monitored and the vessel’s intentions made likely.

    According to a report in The Gibraltar Chronicle the 28-man crew of Grace 1 was made up of Indians, Pakistanis and Ukrainians and they were being treated as witnesses not criminal suspects.

    Following the vessel’s arrest the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, The Hon Fabian R Picardo made a statement on 5 July which we are privileged to publish here:

    “Ïn the early hours of this morning, Gibraltar Port and Law Enforcement agencies, assisted by a detachment of Royal Marines, boarded a super tanker carrying crude oil to Syria.

    “We have detained the vessel and its cargo.

    “This action arose from information giving the Gibraltar Government reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel, the Grace 1, was acting in breach of European Union sanctions against Syria.

    “In fact, we have reason to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Banyas Refinery in Syria.

    “That refinery is the property of an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria.

    “Yesterday (4 July) we published Regulations and a Notice to enforce those sanctions against this vessel and its cargo.

    “I also gave a Direction requiring the Captain of the Port, assisted by the Royal Gibraltar Police and Her Majesty’s Customs to take control of the Grace 1.

    “With my consent, our Port and Law Enforcement agencies sought the assistance of the Royal Marines in carrying out this operation.

    “As the sanctions being enforced are established by the EU, I have written this morning to the Presidents of the European Commission and Council, setting out the details of the sanctions which we have enforced.

    “I want to thank the brave men and women of the Royal Marines, the Royal Gibraltar Police, Her Majesty’s Customs Gibraltar and the Gibraltar Port Authority, for their work in securing the detention of this vessel and its cargo.

    “Be assured that Gibraltar remains safe, secure and committed to the international, rules-based, legal order.”

    The Minister’s video statement is available here [1:50]:


    It was reported that in total about 60 officers worked together on the operation. The Royal Gibraltar Police and HM Customs have had approximately 50 officers on board conducting various roles. Currently the vessel is at anchor in Gibraltar waters.

    According to a statement from the Gibraltar Government on 5 July owner(s) of the vessel are not clear and it is expected that this will unfold during the course of the investigation.

    Extension of Detention

    On 5 July the Attorney General of HM Government of Gibraltar obtained an Order from the Supreme Court of Gibraltar extending the period of detention of the Grace 1 by 14 days.

    Under the Regulations made pursuant to the Gibraltar Sanctions Act, the dynamic detention of the vessel allowed the authorities to stop the ship for 72 hours. Continuing the period of detention beyond that required an Order of the Gibraltar Supreme Court upon an application from HM’s Attorney General for Gibraltar.

    The Supreme Court granted the Order after a hearing In Private and issued this order on the basis that there are reasonable grounds to consider that the detention of Grace 1 is required for the purposes of compliance with the EU Regulation 36/2012 on sanctions on Syria.

    Comment on Detention

    In relation to its actions regarding Grace 1, HM Government of Gibraltar has confirm that all its decisions were taken as a direct result only of it having reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel was acting in breach of established EU sanctions against Syria.

    The Gibraltar Government in a statement emphasised that there had been no political request at any time from any Government that the Gibraltar Government should act or not act, on one basis or another. Information which related to the alleged Syrian destination of the vessel and its cargo legally required Gibraltar to take the necessary action once the vessel entered the jurisdiction.

    Furthermore, decisions of HM’s Government of Gibraltar were taken totally independently, based on breaches of existing law and not at all based on extraneous political considerations. These important decisions about breaches of Gibraltar laws were certainly not decisions taken at the political behest or instruction of any other state or of any third party.

    In nations governed by the rule of law decisions about the application of laws relating to what are potentially criminal offences are decision made based on facts and legal analysis and are not decisions made on the basis of political requests, whoever the requesting party may be.

    Reported by Paul Ridgway


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    Locals flock to Slangkoppunt Lighthouse for commemoration

    Bergvliet resident Dr Fred Wannenburgh (seated), 80, was the oldest visitor to the tallest cast-iron lighthouse on 2 July 2019, in celebration of World Marine Aids to Navigation Day. He is pictured with Katherine Sinden (left), Robin Poggenpoel (middle) and Tembisa Niselo (right) from TNPA Lighthouse and Navigational Systems., featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Bergvliet resident Dr Fred Wannenburgh (seated), 80, was the oldest visitor to the tallest cast-iron lighthouse on 2 July 2019, in celebration of World Marine Aids to Navigation Day. He is pictured with Katherine Sinden (left), Robin Poggenpoel (middle) and Tembisa Niselo (right) from TNPA Lighthouse and Navigational Systems

    More than 350 locals braved the Cape Winter to celebrate the inaugural World Marine Aids to Navigation Day on 1 and 2 July 2019 at the Slangkoppunt Lighthouse in Kommetjie.

    Local resident Maggy (left) was the lucky hundredth visitor to the Slangkoppunt Lighthouse on World Marine Aids to Navigation Day. Tembisa Niselo (right) from TNPA Lighthouse and Navigational Systems handed over a goodie bag to Maggy and her children Zayn and Zahra, fgeaturing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Local resident Maggy (above) was the lucky hundredth visitor to the Slangkoppunt Lighthouse on World Marine Aids to Navigation Day. Tembisa Niselo (right) from TNPA Lighthouse and Navigational Systems handed over a goodie bag to Maggy and her children Zayn and Zahra

    The occasion also celebrated the centenary of the lighthouse, which is the tallest cast-iron tower on the South African coast. It was commissioned on 4 March 1919 and is one of 45 active lighthouses operated and managed by Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA’s) Lighthouse and Navigational Systems business unit.

    As a member of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) – the only body concerned with the provision of marine aids to navigation systems (AtoNs) at sea and on inland waterways – TNPA was proud to participate in the first ever World Marine Aids to Navigation Day.

    Erika Gerhardt (left), Scarlet Berning (middle) and Annegret Gerhardt (right). The lighthouse was completed in 1914, but was lit for the first time in 1919, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    Erika Gerhardt (left), Scarlet Berning (middle) and Annegret Gerhardt (right). The lighthouse was completed in 1914, but was lit for the first time in 1919

    “We had a fantastic two days at the Slangkoppunt Lighthouse and welcomed a number of interesting visitors, many of whom had fond memories of the lighthouse,” said David Gordon, Executive Manager for Lighthouse and Navigational Systems at TNPA.

    Visitors climbed the 139 steps to the top of the tower to inspect the 1st Order, 4-panel Chance Brothers catadioptric rotating lens system. The light’s character is 4 flashes every 30 seconds, with a range of 30 nautical miles.

    Fish Hoek resident André Theron was born at the Slangkoppunt Lighthouse, while his father Mr Petrus Theron was the lighthouse keeper between 1951 and 1953, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

    Fish Hoek resident André Theron (left) was among the special guests who paid a visit. He was born at the Slangkoppunt Lighthouse, while his father Mr Petrus Theron was the lighthouse keeper between 1951 and 1953.

    False Bay College lecturer Johan van Zyl and family braved the wind and the rain to visit the lighthouse, while members of Songezo’s Cycling Academy in Masiphumelele also made a special trip to take in the structure.

    TNPA was also honoured to welcome Bergvliet resident Dr Fred Wannenburgh 80, who was the oldest person to grace the lighthouse with his presence on the two days.


    False Bay College lecturer Johan van Zyl and family braved the wind and the rain to visit the Slangkoppunt Lighthouse on 2 July, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
    False Bay College lecturer Johan van Zyl and family braved the wind and the rain to visit the Slangkoppunt Lighthouse on 2 July



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